Friday, August 24, 2012

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

A remake of the 1974 classic Japanese animated series (known as Star Blazers here in the U.S.), Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199) - apparently, even the Japanese have to mine their own classics. What's next? A new movie based on the original Macross? (Hrm, apparently a new TV series is under development for the 30th anniversary of the original show, Macross Two-Nine.)

Technically it is quite well-done, in particular the use of CGI. But I note they have added more women to the crew (including an ace pilot who is initially forced to take another role on the ship because of her brother, also a pilot). Fan service? An attempt to appeal to female viewers? Or the influence of feminism in Japan?

Yuki has more of an attitude, typical of more recent female characters and less "feminine" than the original. In some ways the characters behave more immaturely, especially in the bickering between Yuki and Susumu Kodai. This may be standard for Japanese animated fare for the last 20 or 30 years, but the original characters seemed more "mature" even if they could be young and impetuous (in the case of Susumu Kodai). Has some version of adultlescence carried over into anime?

This has probably been the way things have been for some time - the glorification of teenagers (and all their weaknesses). The new Gundam TV series are like that, and there's also Neon Genesis Evangelion. Of course, the characters in those shows were still in their teens; I think Kodai and company are a few years older. Still, I do think there is a difference in personality and maturity between those characters in the remake and their counterparts in the classic series.

The remake will undoubtedly feature great heroism as did the original; the addition of female characters (tne supporting cast includes the pilot, the nurse/medic to Dr. Sado, and the science officer) is nonetheless grating. The depiction of women in Japanese mass media has changed much in the last 30 years, even if some claim that feminism of the Uhmerican sort has a negligible presence in Japan. (Is that really the case, given the power that mothers have over children, especially sons? Even if the toxic ideology of feminism is absent in the consciousness of Japanese women, they can nevertheless be emasculating.) What prominence does anime (and manga) have in Japan today? What impact does it have on the formation of boys and teenagers?

Will they continue the series of movies that began with Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection (宇宙戦艦ヤマト 復活篇)? The CGI for the movie was good in quality, but the style was not really to my liking. There is also a lot of death in the movie, maybe too much even though it's a staple of the franchise and to be expected when the story takes place on an interplanetary scale.

The opening for the remake:

PV for the first episode after the jump.

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