Anime Film Review: Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage

Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage is a made-for-TV movie that comes between the second Space Battleship Yamato television series and Be Forever Yamato, the third Space Battleship Yamato theatrical film. It was directed by Leiji Matsumoto, and it aired on Japanese television on July 14, 1979.

Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage
Directed by: Toshio Masuda
Written by: Hideaki Yamamoto
Starring: Kei Tomiyama, Yoko Asagami, and Shusei Nakamura
Run Time: 95 minutes

At the beginning of the film, Desler and his men return to their home planet, Gamilus; when they arrive, they find the new adversary, the grey-skinned aliens of the Black Nebula Empire, mining the planet. The Black Nebula Empire is mining the planet for a mineral they need to continue their conquests; their next stop is scheduled to be Gamilus’ twin planet, Iscandar, for an ore that it possesses. Incensed by what he sees, Desler begins attacking the mining operation, and in the midst of the battle, Gamilus suddenly explodes. Then, Iscandar begins to have volcanic eruptions, and the planet leaves its orbit.

Meanwhile, Commander Kodai is training the space cadets that have joined the crew of the Yamato. While they are on board the ship and doing training exercises in space, they receive a message from Desler about what has happened to Gamilus and Iscandar; Earth Defense Headquarters has also received this message. It is decided to trust Desler and come to Iscandar’s aid, because the people of Earth owe Queen Stasha of Iscandar a great debt for her help in saving the planet when Gamilus had polluted and almost destroyed it. When the Yamato arrives at Iscandar, they must ally with Desler to help save Iscandar and the three people who are still living on the planet: Stasha, Mamoru Kodai, and their daughter, Sasha.

As someone who had grown up only seeing the first two Star Blazers series, it was an interesting experience when I finally had a chance to see Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage. It was made clear at the end of the first television series that Stasha and Mamoru had feelings for each other, so it was neat to see that not only were they together, but that they also had a child; they really did become the “Adam and Eve” of a new Iscandar. There’s also some character development for Desler in this movie, which expands on the character development that started taking place near the end of the second Space Battleship Yamato television anime series.

I will warn you, though, that the ending of this movie can be a bit of a tear-jerker. An important character makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the Yamato and her crew, and it’s what happens after this sacrifice that’s made that can potentially bring on the tears.

When it comes to the DVD release for Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage, you can tell that the footage was taken from a video master; unfortunately, it’s also obvious that it wasn’t the best quality video source. This is especially clear about half an hour into the film, where there is a tracking glitch that could only come from a videotape source that served as the master for producing this DVD.

The DVD contains several bonus features. The first is labeled as, “The Deleted Scenes,” with a sub-menu labeled as, “About Deleted Scenes.” There are 11 deleted scenes in all, and there is an explanation for the last two scenes included in this section. Unfortunately, no soundtrack survived for these scenes, so the dialogue only appears as subtitles, and music was added. The shots of the deleted scenes are rather choppy as well.

You can watch the movie with the deleted scenes included, but personally, I think it would take away from the viewing experience. Between the fact that there’s no actual soundtrack for the missing scenes, as well as how choppy those scenes look, I don’t think it would work well including them with the actual film.

The next section in the extras menu is labeled as, “Original Art Galleries.” There are color pieces that include a collection of ships, locations, soundtrack album scans, drama album scans, and comic book cover art. There are “Yamato Models,” which is 13 screens of line art of the Yamato crew, models, and mecha. The “Gamilus Models” consists of 13 screens of line art of Gamilus characters and mecha. The “Black Star Empire Models” consists of 24 screens of line art of the characters and mecha from the Black Star Empire.

There is also an “Interactive Mission Map.” You can click on six locations, and each location has a screen shot with a caption; the caption details the plotline to that point on the map.

The extras also include “The Yamato Story,” which has five sub-sections: “Producer’s Message,” “Taking a New Voyage,” “Director Interview,” “Building the Legend,” and “Nishizaki’s Vision.” These are all text-only features, which last for a varying number of screens. The extras also include a website link.

I was actually rather impressed by the effort that went into compiling the extras for this release, since Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage was not originally a theatrical release. If you’re a fan of Space Battleship Yamato or Star Blazers, you need to see this film if you want to know what happens to these characters after defeating the White Comet Empire. Also, you need to watch this film to be able to better understand the next film, Be Forever Yamato.

This DVD should really be in the collection of anyone who considers themselves a fan of Space Battleship Yamato.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage that my husband and I purchased.

Additional posts about Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers:

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