When I heard the news that Crunchyroll would be streaming Space Battleship Yamato 2199, I was thrilled to see this reboot of a franchise I grew up watching. I had heard a lot of good things about it, so I looked forward to seeing it for myself and to make my own opinion on it.
I admit that while I was very hopeful about the reboot, I was also a little concerned. There’s been good reboots of my childhood favorites (such as Voltron Legendary Defender), but they have typically been outweighed by the not good reboots (such as the live-action film adaptation of the Jem cartoon). After watching the first episode, though, I could already tell that even though changes had been made to the original, it was still very recognizable to viewers who have nostalgia for the original franchise.
When it comes to the changes to the series, I have to say that they made the series more realistic and added new dimensions to the characters. The biggest change, though, comes with the Gamilans (aka Gamilons). They have more to them than just the bad guys who were trying to stop the Yamato from reaching Iscandar and saving the Earth. Here, Desler (aka Desslok) acts much more like an emperor, and we see just how truly tyrannical he is. In the reboot, it’s also shown that not all the Gamilans believe in what Desler is doing, and that there is an underground rebellion movement. I also appreciated characters like Sanada (aka Sandor) having more of a role and getting more development here.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this reboot is the fact that there are more prominent female characters. In the original franchise, Yuki (aka Nova) was basically the token female of the crew. Yes, we did see some other women in the background as nurses sometimes, but Yuki was the only prominent female. And when it came to the Gamilans… women were basically reduced to being Desler’s servant girls. So to see both sides have prominent female characters, was wonderful.
For all the praise I give for the character development, I do have one negative to say. In this series, Shima (aka Mark Venture) had more of a shakier ride when it came to character development. We would see the occasional glimpse of it for him, but nowhere near the extent that many of the other characters got. My guess is, if Space Battleship Yamato 2202 stays relatively close to the second Yamato series, that Shima’s character development will be more prominent there.
With the changes and new characters that were introduced, this obviously led to the stories between the two versions diverging over time. But this wasn’t a bad thing. After finishing Space Battleship Yamato 2199, I have to say that overall, the story of the reboot was a lot stronger and had more depth to it than the original. Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy the original version for what it was, but I think this reboot takes the original and elevates it to a completely different level.