Sarabaaa chiyuu yo Tabidatsu fune waaaaa uchuuuu senkannn YaaaMaaTooooooooooooo!

July 3, 2006 at 8:12 am (Anime)

I am hard gay for Space Battleship Yamato. I dunno why, but I decided I should watch it (haven’t seen it before). Apparently I rock at making decisions like that. I figured it’d be hilariously camp at best. But it’s that and…well, that, but in a really good way. I’m gonna explain a couple of reasons why Space Battleship Yamato is great (based on the first four episodes).

Captain Beard needs YOU!

These are both the kind of OP/ED songs that you got way back when, before j-pop was invented. Where it’s this deep Japanese voice crooning along without synthesizers or electric guitar. See also, the first Mobile Suit Gundam OP. Also, the ED is some song about a red ribbon, for no apparent reason.

Is it possible to be nostalgic about a style of animation that was around before I was alive? When I think about a lot of the anime I like (Haibane Renmei, Honey and Clover) the style seems almost faded relative to a typical modern day production. I don’t like…gloss. Let’s compare:


Not so much…

Interestingly, xxxHolic has a weirdly retro style to its art. Low-gloss, very flat.

I dunno, while the laminated look may be better at blinding birds of prey with reflected light, it bugs my eyes a little, so I kind of appreciate the simplistic and calmer old-school style. Not that I want people to go back to this; I like new and different animation character design and styles; keeps things fresh; but it is nice to see what it used to be like sometimes and not want to gouge out my eyes in pain. Maybe it’s just vinyl record syndrome though, where the imperfect medium has a nicer feel to it for some reason.

Aside from the obvious aspect of Nationalism in the premise of the show (saving humanity with the Battleship Yamato), right in the first episode they tap the traditional Japanese concept of honor. Captain Beard tries to order a tactical retreat so they can at least live to defend Earth, but the other officer says he wouldn’t be able to face the survivors if he ran away from his admittedly suicidal endeavor. Then later the suicide guy’s brother, one of our main prots, yells at Captain Beard for being unable to save his brother. That one kinda hit me for random personal history reasons. Once when I was like twelve years old I called this Ex-Marine a coward, because I was pissed off [about random situation I won’t get into]; nothing was really his fault, but he was a convenient and immediate authority figure, and I was raised with a very anti-authoritarian tilt. I felt kinda bad about it later, but never met the guy again. So I felt Captain Beard’s pathos a little bit there. Good stuff. But anyway, it may dissipate rapidly as they get out into space, but the first few episodes of the show felt so very Japanese national-nostalgic to me. Oh, why is this a point of awesomeness? I dunno, but Japanese Nationalism is an interesting topic in and of itself, because of the changes the country’s culture underwent from the Meiji Restoration through the years after World War II, and I have sort of an erstwhile academic interest in that topic, so it perked me a little.

Penis Arrows

I think this is pretty self-explanatory.

Red Robot

This guy is rapidly becoming my favorite anime robot ever.

Omake, for my commoner readers.

Captain Beard’s Chair

Gods I need a tracked-chair like that.

There are so many hilarious camp factors in this show. The maniacal laughter of the evil villain. The Sexy Female Alien cliche, with the face super-imposed on a planet. But easily the best is the ten minutes of Episode 04 devoted to the first Warp launch of the SBY.

The location of his penis needs no further explanation.

First of all, I was amused that they put so much effort into explaining their pseudo-science. Like it was somehow important that it be believable. Also, the poor nav officer is informed that if he fucks up, he will blow up the ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Wuh oh.

Then there’s the actual warp, which has such a wide array of amusing effects, like prismatic separation. And clothing separation. It’s like campiest 70s science fiction movie, except in anime that is otherwise sorta vaguely serious (or maybe I just think it’s serious). I was actually surprised at the level of fan-service in a mid-70s SF show; I hadn’t realized the advent of this practice was so early. Though I guess it’s only five years later that we get Gundam and its cartoon boobie bath scenes.

Warp. The morning after.

Low-hanging fruit

Space Dildo?

Yeah, the jokes sorta write themselves.


1 Comment

  1. punkednoodle said,

    There’s so much love to Yamato!! SOOO MUCH LOVE!

    If stories of Epic Planetary Journeys have a father, it’ll be Yamato! Great piece of classic work with enough unintended crack that only the Japanese can think of (I’m thinking that you got the uncut version too. ^__^) This was my Christmas leisure. I cried at the last episode and in the movies after seeing who has come and gone. Great great stuff.

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