|Space Battleship Yamato|
(Uchū Senkan Yamato)
|Genre||Military science fiction, space opera|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Leiji Matsumoto|
|Produced by||Yoshinobu Nishizaki|
|Written by||Eiichi Yamamoto|
|Music by||Hiroshi Miyagawa|
|Original network||NNN/NNS (YTV)|
|Original run||October 6, 1974 – March 30, 1975|
|Written by||Leiji Matsumoto|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Original run||November 1974 – April 1975|
|Original video animation|
|Great Yamato No. Zero|
|Directed by||Tomoharu Katsumata|
|Produced by||Masamitsu Haga|
|Written by||Kazuo Kasahara|
|Music by||Hiroshi Miyagawa|
|Released||March 31, 2004 – June 15, 2007|
|Runtime||45 minutes (each)|
Space Battleship Yamato (Japanese: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト, Hepburn: Uchū Senkan Yamato, also called Cosmoship Yamato and Star Blazers) is a Japanese science fiction anime series produced and written by Yoshinobu Nishizaki, directed by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto, and produced by Academy Productions.[c]. The series aired in Yomiuri TV from October 6, 1974 to March 30, 1975, totaling up to 26 episodes. It revolves around the character Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar in the English version) and an international crew from Earth, tasked during an interstellar war to go into space aboard the space warship Yamato, derived from the World War II battleship of the same name, in response to a message of aid from the planet Iscandar in order to retrieve a device which is able to reverse the radiation infecting Earth after being bombed by the Gamilas (Gamilons).
Space Battleship Yamato is one of the most influential anime series in Japan. Its turn toward serious themes and complex storylines influenced future works in the medium, including Gundam, Evangelion, and Macross, in addition to video games such as Space Invaders.
The first ideas for what would eventually be Space Battleship Yamato began in 1973 by producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, but the project underwent a number of revisions and overhauls before settling on the final design. The team responsible for the creation of Space Battleship Yamato consisted of Yoshinobu Nishizaki, Keisuke Fujikawa, Eiichi Yamamoto and Aritsune Toyota. It was initially planned to be a tokusatsu, and Nishizaki was inspired to create something set in space after reading Methuselah's Children. Aritsune Toyota offered his 1970 novel Desecrated Earth (地球の汚名, Chikyū no omei) as a further source of inspiration for Nishizaki.
In 1973, works such as The Poseidon Adventure and Japan Sinks were enjoying considerable success. Eiichi Yamamoto believed this was because of the way in which they depicted people being able to survive in extreme circumstances, and this influenced the creation of Yamato. Additionally, he believed that, overall, industrialisation caused people to become more miserable, and Yamato was designed to show a triumph of humanity and love.
Originally intended to be an outer-space variation on Lord of the Flies, the project at first was titled "Asteroid Ship Icarus" and had a crew from all over the world journeying through space in a hollowed-out asteroid in search of the planet Iscandar. There was to be much discord among the crew with many of them acting purely out of self-interest and for personal gain. The enemy aliens were originally called Rajendora. The Rajendorians were robots whose exact form was unknown, and it was to be revealed towards the end of the story that the Rajendorians, along with the rest of the life on their home planet, had died over a hundred years ago.
The first rough draft of Yamato came towards the end of summer 1973, where the Yamato (named as such by Nishizaki) was a regular spaceship, that used a large rock as a shell, and the story was notably darker. Heavier emphasis was placed on the character's flaws, who were overall more misanthropic, and only one of them would survive until the end of the series.
The production of Yamato in its conceptual stage was overseen by Eiichi Yamamoto, until 1974, when he had to leave to work on a documentary film. As a replacement, Toshio Masuda, who had worked on Tora! Tora! Tora!, was considered, but had to decline as he had other projects of his own to focus own, though he would become involved in the production of the 1977 film. The role was given to Leiji Matsumoto, who had at an earlier stage declined an offer, due to his desire to have complete creative control. Matsumoto overhauled the story, designing the titular ship after the IJN Yamato, its crew, and the Wave Motion Gun, which came from Sexaroid, an erotic comedy manga written by Matsumoto in 1968.
In the earliest stages of production, Space Battleship Yamato was planned to be 52 episodes in length, before reducing this to 39, and ultimately, 26. The bulk of the cut content centered around Gamilas, who had more characters, and more complex motivations and goals. Additionally, in this earlier stage, the Yamato's battles were more closely tied to events in World War II – for example, the battle near Neptune in the first episode represented Germany circumventing the Maginot Line.
The first draft for Space Battleship Yamato was completed on May 21, 1974. In August, a ten minute pilot episode was created, with at least nine copies being sent to the relevant organisations, and, after the pilot's success, pre-production of the anime began, with the first episode airing in October that year. The original series contained 26 episodes, following the Yamato's voyage out of the Milky Way and back again. A continuing story, it featured the declining health of Yamato's Captain Okita (Avatar in the Star Blazers dub), and the transformation of the brash young orphan Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar) into a mature officer, as well as his budding romance with female crewmember Yuki Mori (Nova Forrester). The foreign edits tend to play up the individual characters, while the Japanese original is often more focused on the ship itself. In a speech at the 1995 Anime Expo, series episode director Noboru Ishiguro said low ratings and high production expenses forced producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki to trim down the episode count from the original 39 episodes to only 26. The cut episodes would have introduced Captain Harlock as a new series character.
In the year 2199, an alien race known as Gamilas (Gamilons in the English Star Blazers dub) unleash radioactive meteorite bombs on Earth, rendering the planet's surface uninhabitable. Humanity has retreated into deep underground cities, but the radioactivity is slowly affecting them as well, with humanity's extinction estimated in one year. Earth has a space fleet, but they do not yet have interstellar capability, and they are hopelessly outclassed by Gamilas. All seems lost until a message capsule from a mysterious crashed spaceship is retrieved on Mars. The capsule yields blueprints for a faster-than-light engine and an offering of help from Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar in the Large Magellanic Cloud. She says that her planet has a device, the Cosmo-Cleaner D (Cosmo DNA), which can cleanse Earth of its radiation damage.
The inhabitants of Earth secretly build a massive spaceship inside the ruins of the gigantic Japanese battleship Japanese battleship Yamato which lies exposed at the former bottom of the ocean location where she was sunk in World War II. This becomes the "Space Battleship Yamato" for which the story is titled. In the English Star Blazers dub, the ship is noted as being the historical Yamato, but is then renamed the Argo (after the ship of Jason and the Argonauts).
Using Starsha's blueprints, they equip the new ship with a space warp drive, called the "wave motion engine", and in an apparently unexpected move, weaponize the technology to create a new, incredibly powerful weapon at the bow called the "Wave Motion Gun". The Wave Motion Engine (波動エンジン, hadō enjin) is capable of converting tachyon particles which travel faster than light and enables the Yamato to "ride" the wave of tachyons and travel faster than light. The Wave Motion Gun (波動砲, hadō hō), also called the Dimensional Wave Motion Explosive Compression Emitter, is the "trump card" of the Yamato that functions by connecting the Wave Motion Engine to the enormous firing gate at the ship's bow, enabling the tachyon energy power of the engine to be fired in a stream directly forwards. Enormously powerful, it can vaporize a fleet of enemy ships—or a small continent (as seen in the first season, fifth episode)—with one shot; however, it takes a brief but critical period to charge before firing.
A crew of 114 departs for Iscandar in the Yamato to retrieve the radiation-removing device and return to Earth within the one-year deadline. Along the way, they discover the motives of their blue-skinned adversaries: the planet Gamilas, sister planet to Iscandar, is dying; and its leader, Lord Dessler (Desslok in the Star Blazers dub), is trying to irradiate Earth enough for his people to move there, at the expense of the "barbarians" he considers humanity to be.
The series was condensed into a 130-minute-long movie by combining elements from a few key episodes of the first season. Additional animation was created for the movie (such as the scenes on Iscandar) or recycled from the series' test footage (such as the opening sequence). The movie, which was released in Japan on August 6, 1977, was edited down further and dubbed into English in 1978; entitled Space Cruiser Yamato or simply Space Cruiser, it was only given a limited theatrical release in Europe and Latin America, where it was called Patrulha Estelar (Star Patrol, in Brazilian Portuguese) or Astronave Intrepido (Starship Intrepid, in Spanish), though it was later released on video in most countries.
The success of the Yamato movie in Japan eclipsed that of the local release of Star Wars, leading to the production of a second movie that would end the story. Also going by the name Arrivederci Yamato, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, set in the year 2201, shows the Yamato crew going up against the White Comet Empire, a mobile city fortress called Gatlantis, from the Andromeda Galaxy. A titanic space battle results in the crew going out on a suicide mission to save humanity. The film has been considered as a non-canonical, alternate timeline.
Viewer dissatisfaction with the ending of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato prompted the production of a second Yamato television season which retconned the film and presented a slightly different plot against Zōdah (Prince Zordar in the Star Blazers dub) and his Comet Empire, and ended without killing off the Yamato or its primary characters. Like Farewell, the story is set in the year 2201, and expands the film story to 26 episodes. This second season featured additional plots such as a love story between Teresa (Trelaina) and Yamato crew member Daisuke Shima (Mark Venture), and an onboard antagonism between Kodai and Saito (Knox), leader of a group of space marines.
Footage from Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato was reused in the second season, particularly in the opening titles. The sequence of the Yamato launching from water was also reused in two of the subsequent movies.
The television movie Yamato: The New Voyage (aka Yamato: The New Journey), came next, featuring a new enemy, the Black Nebula Empire. The story opens in late 2201. In the film, later modified into a theatrical movie, Dessler sees his homeworld, Gamilas, destroyed by the grey-skinned aliens, and its twin planet Iscandar next in line for invasion. He finds an eventual ally in the Yamato, then on a training mission under deputy captain Kodai.
The theatrical movie Be Forever Yamato, set in the year 2202, sees the Black Nebula Empire launch a powerful weapon at Earth, a hyperon bomb which will annihilate humanity if they resist a full-scale invasion. The Yamato, under new captain, Yamanami, travels to the aliens' home galaxy only to discover what appears to be a future Earth—defeated and ruled by the enemy. Appearing in this film is Sasha, the daughter of Queen Starsha of Iscandar and Mamoru Kodai (Susumu's older brother).
Following these movies, a third season of the television series was produced, broadcast on Japanese television in 1980. Its date was not mentioned in the broadcast, but design documents, as well as anime industry publications, cited the year 2205 as the time it takes place. In the story, the Sun is hit by a stray proton missile from a nearby battle between forces of the Galman Empire and Bolar Federation. This missile greatly accelerates nuclear fusion in the Sun, and humanity must either evacuate to a new home or find a means of preventing a supernova. During the course of the story, it is learned that the people of the Galman Empire are actually the forebears of Dessler and the Gamilas race. Dessler and the remnants of his space fleet have found and liberated Galman from the Bolar Federation. Originally conceived as a 52-episode story, funding cuts meant the season had to be truncated to 25 episodes, with a corresponding loss of overall story development. This third season was adapted into English several years after the original Star Blazers run and, to the dissatisfaction of fans, used different voice actors than the earlier seasons.
Premiering in Japanese theaters on March 19, 1983, Final Yamato reunites the crew one more time to combat the threat of the Denguilu, a militaristic alien civilization that intends to use the water planet, Aquarius, to flood Earth and resettle there, having lost their home planet to a galactic collision. Captain Okita, who was found to be in cryogenic sleep since the first season, returns to command the Yamato and sacrifices himself to stop the Denguili's plan. Kodai and Yuki also get married.
The story is set in the year 2203, contradicting earlier assumptions that its predecessor, Yamato III, took place in 2205.
In the mid-1990s, Nishizaki attempted to create a sequel to Yamato, set hundreds of years after the original. Yamato 2520 was to chronicle the adventures of the eighteenth starship to bear the name, and its battle against the Seiren Federation. Much of the continuity established in the original series (including the destruction of Earth's moon) is ignored in this sequel.
Due to the bankruptcy of Nishizaki's company Office Academy (former Academy Productions), and legal disputes with Matsumoto over the ownership of the Yamato copyrights, the series was never finished and only three episodes were produced, which were only released on home video.
Space Battleship Great Yamato (新宇宙戦艦ヤマト, Shin Uchū Senkan Yamato, lit. "New Space Battleship Yamato") is a graphic novel comic created by the animator Leiji Matsumoto. It was temporarily available for streaming online.
In March 2002, a Tokyo court ruled that Yoshinobu Nishizaki legally owned the Yamato copyrights. Nishizaki and Matsumoto eventually settled, and Nishizaki pushed ahead with developing a new Yamato television series. Project proposals for a 26-episode television series were drawn up in early 2004, but no further work was done with Tohoku Shinsha not backing the project. American series expert Tim Eldred was able to secure a complete package of art, mecha designs, and story outline at an auction over Japanese store Mandarake in April 2014.
Set 20 years after Final Yamato, the series would have shown Susumu Kodai leading a salvage operation for the remains of the Yamato. The ship is rebuilt as the Earth Defense Force builds a second Space Battleship Yamato to combat the Balbard Empire, an alien race that has erected a massive honeycombed cage called Ru Sak Gar over Earth, in a bid to stop the human race's spacefaring efforts. A feature film to be released after the series ended would have featured the original space battleship fighting the Balbards' attempt to launch a black hole at Earth. Kodai, Yuki, and Sanada are the only original series characters who would have returned in the series.
The story begins in 3199, when a mighty enemy attacks the Milky Way from a neighbouring galaxy, and defeats the Milky Way Alliance, reducing them to just six fleets. After the Alliance headquarters is destroyed, and when the collapse of the central Milky Way Alliance is imminent, the Great Yamato "Zero" embarks on a mission to assist the Milky Way Alliance in one last great battle.
Although New Space Battleship Yamato was abandoned, Nishizaki promptly began work on a new movie titled Yamato: Resurrection (宇宙戦艦ヤマト 復活篇, Uchū Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu hen), set after the original series, while Matsumoto planned a new Yamato series. However, additional legal conflicts stalled both projects until August 2008, when Nishizaki announced plans for the release of his film on December 12, 2009.
Set 17 years after the events of Final Yamato, Resurrection brings together some members of the Yamato crew, who lead Earth's inhabitants to resettle in a far-flung star system after a black hole which will destroy the solar system in three months is discovered.
Released on December 1, 2010, Space Battleship Yamato is the franchise's first live-action film. Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, the movie stars Takuya Kimura as Susumu Kodai and Meisa Kuroki as Yuki. It was revealed originally that the plot would be based on that of the 1974 series. However, an official trailer released during June 2010 on Japanese television has also shown elements from the series' second season (1978). The film had a budget of over ¥2 billion, and was the fourth highest grossing Japanese live-action film of the year, and the 31st highest grossing Japanese film of all time at the time of release.
Debuting in Japanese cinemas on April 7, 2012, 2199 is a remake of the 1974 series. Yutaka Izubuchi serves as supervising director, with character designs by Nobuteru Yuki, and Junichiro Tamamori and Makoto Kobayashi in charge of mecha and conceptual designs. The series is a joint project of Xebec and AIC. Hideaki Anno designed the new series' opening sequence.
The sequel to the first remake heptalogy, and debuting in Japanese cinemas on February 25, 2017, 2202 is a remake of the second series, with Nobuyoshi Habara as director and Harutoshi Fukui as writer. Most of the staff and original cast from the first remake were brought back to the project. It is animated by Xebec.
The sequel to the second remake heptalogy, it debuted in Japanese cinemas on October 8, 2021. 2205 is a remake of the film Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage. Kenji Yasuda directed the film while Harutoshi Fukui returned as writer. It is be the first Yamato work animated by Satelight.
With the retelling of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato as the open-ended Yamato II television series (ending in late 2201), Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato was redesignated as a discardable, alternate timeline. The follow-on film, Yamato: The New Voyage, took place in late 2201; and its successor, Be Forever Yamato, in early 2202. Yamato III was commonly believed to be set in 2205 (several printed publications used this date, although it was never stated in the show's broadcast). But the following film, Final Yamato, was set in 2203. The opening narration of Final mentioned the Bolar/Galman conflict, implying that the date for Yamato III was to be regarded as some time between 2202 and 2203 (making for an unrealistic and compressed timeline).
It is not known if this change was due to the lackluster response to Yamato III, the production staff's dissatisfaction with the truncated series (additionally, Nishizaki and Matsumoto had limited involvement with it), or a mere oversight.
In 2220, the ship is rebuilt following the events of Final Yamato. The new captain of the ship is Susumu Kodai, who was the main character in the previous movies. It is stated in Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection that it is set 17 years after Final Yamato.
|Space Battleship Yamato
|Leiji Matsumoto||Yoshinobu Nishizaki||Eiichi Yamamoto
|Space Battleship Yamato
|Arrivederci Yamato||Toshio Masuda||Yoshinobu Nishizaki
|Leiji Matsumoto||Keisuke Fujikawa|
|Space Battleship Yamato II||Noboru Ishiguro||Keisuke Fujikawa|
|Yamato: The New Voyage||Toshio Masuda||Hideaki Yamamoto|
|Be Forever Yamato||Tomoharu Katsumata|
|Space Battleship Yamato III||Eiichi Yamamoto||Yoshinobu Nishizaki||Keisuke Fujikawa|
|Final Yamato||Tomoharu Katsumata||Eiichi Yamamoto|
|Yamato 2520||Takeshi Shirato
|Yoshinobu Nishizaki||Eiichi Yamamoto
|Studio Take Off|
|Great Yamato No. Zero||Tomoharu Katsumata||Leiji Matsumoto||Kazuo Kasahara||God Ship Company|
& JCF Studios
|Yamato Resurrection||Yoshinobu Nishizaki||Toshio Masuda
|Yoshinobu Nishizaki||Bull Ishihara
|Yamato 2199||Akihiro Enomoto||Atsushi Ariyoshii
|Yutaka Izubuchi||Yutaka Izubuchi
|Xebec & AIC|
|Odyssey of the Celestial Ark||Makoto Bessho||Fumi Teranishi
|Yutaka Izubuchi||Yutaka Izubuchi
|Yamato 2202||Nobuyoshi Habara||Shoji Nishizaki||Harutoshi Fukui||Harutoshi Fukui|
Space Battleship Yamato was a 1985 Japanese exclusive Laserdisc video game designed by Taito which was based on the television series of the same name. Game Machine listed Space Battleship Yamato on their August 1, 1985 issue as being the second most-successful upright/cockpit arcade unit of the month.
Released in 1992 for the Game Boy, Space Battleship Yamato is a turn-based strategy game, with the player fighting against Dessler. The player can move a few places on the battlefield at a time, and, if they encounter an enemy, it will start a shoot 'em up section that they must complete without losing all their Cosmo Tigers in order to advance.
Released in 1999 for the PlayStation, the game's story is based loosely on events from Leiji Matsumoto's manga. The game requires the player to manage the Yamato, and its crew, flying the ship, attacking enemies, and using individual crewmen to invade enemy territory.
Released in 2000 for the PlayStation, this game is based on the events of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato. It features the same basic gameplay as The Faraway Planet Iscandar, but allows for a branching story, with events coming from either Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato or Space Battleship Yamato II.
The first PlayStation 2 Yamato game, released in 2004, The Reminiscences for Planet Iscandar is more action-oriented than previous titles, focusing more on combat between the Yamato and Gamilas, rather than micromanaging the crew, though it is heavy on dialogue and cutscenes, which make up the majority of the content of the game.
Due to its extensive financial success, Space Battleship Yamato has since its release seen a long line of merchandise.
Starting in 1974, many Yamato-themed products have been sold, including clothing, tableware, stationery, and models of the characters, with the Cosmo Tigers and Yamato itself receiving particular attention. Additionally, models of Dessler's fleet were available, and at the time it was uncommon for the villain's ships or mecha to be sold. Bandai was responsible for most of the merchandising, and their choice to sponsor Space Battleship Yamato at such an early stage of its production is considered influential in the company's financial success.
Bandai produced an extensive number of models of the Yamato, in a variety of sizes, the largest, and most elaborate one being a 70 cm (27.5 inch) model released in 2007. The ship comes with a remote control, designed to look like the Wave-Motion Gun's pistol grip, with which the Yamato's shutters, main and auxiliary guns, pulse lasers, and Wave-Motion Gun can all be interacted with. The ship was sold for ¥47,250 ($450).
Initially, Space Battleship Yamato was ignored – the original 1974 anime was forced to halve its episode count due to low ratings and viewership. However, with the release of the 1977 film, it had a surge in popularity, and ultimately achieved a cult status. During the original broadcast, despite the general lack of interest, Leiji Matsumoto received a "very surprising" amount of fan mail from women who had watched the show, which came as a surprise due to the fact he had intended for it to be watched mostly by a male audience.
"Two or three months after the broadcast started, fans began to make frequent appearances at the studio. There were enthusiastic girls who came by plane from Kyushu and we gave them cels and background paintings as souvenirs because they had taken such great pains. Those cels now have the same street value as drugs, but in those days they were just a waste of space." - Noboru Ishiguro, 1980
Prior to the release of Yamato in 1974, anime was called terebi manga (TV manga). The success of Yamato, both because of its tone and themes that were ambitious for an anime at that time, and the fact it was an original work, made it influential in the move towards the term anime.
Space Battleship Yamato is one of the most influential anime series in Japan. Its turn toward serious themes and complex storylines influenced future works in the genre, including Gundam, Evangelion, and Macross.
Yamato would go on to influence many later anime, including Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Its popularity subsequently lead to various parodies and references, such as in Sgt. Frog, Haruhi Suzumiya and Space Battleship Tiramisu.
Hideaki Anno has ranked Yamato as his favorite anime and credited it with sparking his interest in anime. Yamato was also the first anime series or movie to win the Seiun Award, a feat not repeated until the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984).
The original 1974 Yamato series has a number of striking similarities to the later 1977 film Star Wars. For example, both are space opera works with militant empires, star ships and space battles; the robot Analyzer in Yamato bears a strong resemblance to R2-D2, in terms of both design and narrative function; and both works involve ship design blue-prints which are delivered by the female leads. Several critics have suggested that Yamato may have influenced Star Wars, though George Lucas did not mention it among his Japanese influences (such as Akira Kurosawa's samurai films).
Yamato also had an impact on video games. It was cited as an inspiration behind the influential shoot 'em up game Space Invaders. Game designer Takashi Nishiyama also credits an energy attack in Yamato called the Hadouho (lit. the "Wave Motion Gun") as the origin of the Hadouken move in the Street Fighter series.
The Space Battleship Yamato series generally involves themes of brave sacrifice, noble enemies, and respect for heroes lost in the line of duty. This can be seen as early as the second episode of the first season, which recounts the defeat of the original battleship Yamato while sailors and pilots from both sides salute her as she sinks (this scene was cut from the English dub, but later included on the Star Blazers DVD release). The movies spend much time showing the crew visiting monuments to previous missions and recalling the bravery of their fallen comrades. Dessler, the enemy defeated in the first season and left without a home or a people, recognizes that his foes are fighting for the same things he fought for and, eventually, becomes an important and loyal ally to Earth.
For many years, English-language releases of the anime bore the title Space Cruiser Yamato. This romanization has appeared in Japanese publications because Nishizaki, a sailing enthusiast who owned a cruiser yacht, ordered that this translation be used out of love for his boat. However, in reference to naval nomenclature, it is technically inaccurate, as senkan (戦艦) means "battleship" and not "cruiser" (which in Japanese would be jun'yōkan (巡洋艦)). Leiji Matsumoto's manga adaptation was titled Cosmoship Yamato. Contemporary Yamato releases, including the Voyager Entertainment DVD, are marketed either as Star Blazers or Space Battleship Yamato.
Star Blazers (1979) is a heavily edited dubbed version for the United States market produced by Westchester Film Corporation. Voyager Entertainment released DVD volumes and comic adaptations of the anime years later.