Anime Film Review: Final Yamato

Final Yamato is the fourth theatrical film for Space Battleship Yamato. The film was directed by Tomoharu Katsumata, and was released to Japanese theaters on March 19, 1983. At the time the film was produced, it was intended to be the final film for the Space Battleship Yamato franchise; however, the Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection film was released in 2009, so the title of this film no longer works as well as it did when it was first released.

Final Yamato
Directed by: Tomoharu Katsumata
Written by: Eiichi Yamamoto and Kazuo Kasahara
Starring: Kei Tomiyama, Yoko Asagami, and Goro Naya
Run Time: 163 minutes

At the beginning of the film, we learn that the traveling planet Aquarius had come by Earth millions of years ago, and was responsible for providing water and the seeds of life to the planet. Then, the film comes to the year 2203, which is the present day in the Yamato universe.

An unexpected phenomenon happens: a chance collision of galaxies. The collision causes the destruction of the Gamilan Empire. Kodai, along with the crew of the Yamato, come by the destruction and believe that Desler and his people are dead. They leave white roses, then continue on their way.

The Yamato comes by the planet Dinguil, and discover the planet Aquarius is pouring down rain and flooding the planet. They see people trapped on high ground, and Kodai orders a rescue operation. Unfortunately, the only survivor ends up being a young boy from Dinguil. The rest of his people, as well as the rescue crew from the Yamato, end up drowning. On their way back to Earth, a fleet of ships from Dinguil that had been roaming the galaxy come across the Yamato and attack with radioactive missiles; the crew passes out.

Yamato turns on the autopilot, and the ship steers itself back to Earth, and Yuki and others from Earth Defense Headquarters discover the unconscious crew members. Meanwhile, the remaining beings from Dinguil are forcing the planet Aquarius to warp to Earth, so Earth can be flooded and the life there destroyed. The Dinguil plan to turn Earth into their new home after the water recedes.

When Kodai recovers, he hands in his resignation; he feels this is the only way to take the responsibility for all the lives lost under his command. When Yuki delivers Kodai’s resignation, the commander of the Earth Defense Forces hands Yuki a sheet of paper with a name on it, telling her to contact that person. Yuki looks at the name in shock, because it’s someone she doesn’t expect to see. With this individual joining the crew, Kodai cancels his resignation. It’s up to the Yamato and her crew to save the Earth from destruction.

When it comes to the film, the overall film has a rather interesting story going on. However, in regards to the person Yuki is told to contact, I found it a little hard to use my “willing suspension of disbelief.” It just seemed rather strange for this individual to suddenly reappear “out of the blue” like they did, and I really have to wonder how the secret around this person was able to be kept a secret for so long. Since this film was originally intended to be final one for the franchise, I’m really curious as to how Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection is able to pick up where this film left off.

This DVD release of Final Yamato contains several special features. When the film aired in theaters, there was a postlude added on after the ending credits; however, when the film was re-released to theaters, a different version of the postlude was included. Both versions of the postlude are included as a bonus feature. The first version runs about nine minutes, and there is a “hinted at” sex scene included; the extras menu warns “viewer discretion advised.” The second version runs about 11 minutes, and the “hinted at” sex scene is removed. Also, other changes were made to the second version to lengthen it out. There is also a text-only feature explaining the bonus footage.

The original theatrical trailer is included as an extra, and you can watch it with or without subtitles.

There are also “Original Art Galleries,” which include various line art and promotional art. A lot of the line art included in these galleries also include text describing the mecha, characters, and locations. The “Original Art Galleries” include: Earth Defense Forces Models (25 screens of line art of the Yamato and the Earth Defense Forces mecha, as well as a size chart showing the scale of the mecha against each other), Character Design Models (23 screens of character line art and biographies for the major characters), Small Mecha Models (24 screens of weaponry and mecha), Dinguil Large Mecha (38 screens of mecha and two size charts), and Color Art Gallery (which includes movie posters, roman album cover art, and promotional artwork).

“The Yamato Story: The Making of Final Yamato” is a text-only feature that is split into seven sections: Launching the Movie, The Fans Speak Out, Design & Production, The Radio Drama, Image Board Gallery, Voice Recording, and Design Gallery.

“Final Event: The Grand Festival” is 14 screens of text talking about “The Grand Festival” that was held, where 2,000 fans with tickets got to go to a very special event to prepare for the release of Final Yamato.

The Original Program Book includes scans of the pages of the booklet that was handed out at theaters showing Final Yamato. You can see detailed close-ups of the pages, but only some of the text has been translated.

Final Yamato is a “must see” for Space Battleship Yamato fans, in order to see how the franchise was originally intended to come to an end. This DVD should be in the collection of anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of the Yamato franchise.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Final Yamato that my husband and I purchased.

Additional posts about Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers:

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