And, we’re underway! Strap in and enjoy the ride, because we’re in for 26 weeks of sci-fi action, adventure, and more as and more we watch the reboot of Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199!
Why did I choose a video from an unrelated franchise to head my post? Hit the jump and find out!
First a little of my history with the franchise…
My first encounter with Yamato (in the form of Star Blazers) was almost forty years ago, when it aired every weekday afternoon after school. I’d rush home to catch the latest episode and to cheer on the crew of the Argo. About ten years ago my lovely bride gave me the DVD box set for Christmas and I sat down to rewatch it, and I didn’t make it through the first disk. The beloved series of the teenage me was unwatchable by the adult me. The animation was bad. The dubbing and voice acting was bad. The plot was bad… I’d grown and moved on over the course of thirty years, while the show was frozen in time.
A few years back, a friend told me about the reboot and passed me a thumb drive… and I sat on it for a couple of months. Not just because of the earlier experience, but because I’m generally suspicious of reboots and reimaginings. Overall, there’s been few that have pleased me. But finally, I decided to give it a chance… I sat down late one evening, put the drive in my computer, and was captivated. The new series, while uniquely it’s own, had captured the adventure and magic of the old.
I didn’t go to bed until nearly dawn. I napped, then got up and marathoned the rest of the series.
Since then, according to my list on Anime Planet, I’ve watched the series to completion four times… and I’ve watched favorite episodes too many times to count. And here I am ready to do it again…
So, having established that I’m an absolute fanboy of the series:
About the first two episodes…
Honestly, there’s not too much to say about the first two eps. They’re pretty much standard setting-the-stage fare. (Scott of Mech Anime Reviews (linked below) does a bang-up job of covering them.) We’re introduced to all the main characters, and some characters that won’t become important for a while yet. But I’m not going to talk about those! I will sometimes get into spoiler territory, but not today. Instead I’m going to skip ahead to:
The defining moment…
And finally talk about why I chose a clip from Star Trek: The Motion Picture… As folks may or may not know, I’m a US Navy veteran, ten years in the Submarine Service, and that colors my views on some things.
In particular… this one moment from the second episode:
Yamato, Hasshin! (Yamato, Launch!) It’s a magical moment.
Unable to move under her own power, often dependent on shore services for electricity, subject to the demands and whims of her keepers… a ship at her moorings is an impressive thing to the layman, but to the sailor it’s a state to be pitied. Like Gulliver and the Lilliputians, a ship made fast is mighty thing bound and made helpless by pygmies.
I was on the topside crew for getting underway, and it was an incredible feeling when the last line was cast off, when the tugs peeled away, and we were unfettered and underway on our own. Ahead of us, lay nothing but the mission and the freedom of the open ocean. Sure, there were dangers… not just the potential of war (a certainty in Yamato‘s case), but also the ordinary and ceaseless threat of wind and wave. But we had the freedom to face those on our own terms, and that freedom is a powerful and precious thing.
When Captain Kirk or Captain Okita gives the order to get underway, it brings all those feelings back to me.
Getting underway in the face of the enemy takes especial bravery, because confined by the harbor (or in Yamato‘s case by the surface of the planet) you’re still pinned in a corner. You still don’t fully have that essential freedom to maneuver. The historically minded can read about one of the most famous attempts to get underway – the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor.
Whew! with this post I’ve set myself a high bar haven’t I? I can’t promise that most entries won’t be more usual episode reviews… But I will try my best. There’s several points in the series I think I want to talk about such things, because my experience brings a point of view different from the usual ani-blogger.
Anyhow, as the title of the post says this a group effort:
Yamato 2199 group watch:
– Mechanical Anime Reviews: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episodes 1 and 2
Thanks for dropping by! Be sure and leave a comment with your thoughts!