Ahead of the next chapter, let’s wrap 2199!
Based on a series that was originally released 44 years ago, the premise of Star Blazers Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is still all too familiar in present times in terms of relevance. In the seventies, the world was still entrenched in the Vietnam War, and our relationship with Soviet Russa was getting so cold that it wasn’t out of the question for the world to wonder if one side would destroy the other. In Space Odyssey 2001, Stanley Kubrick imagined a future with two superpowers and one airline (TWA).
Similarly, the underlying tone that Yutaka Izubuchi exhibited in Star Blazers, was certainly that of a universe where we’ve got warring planets hell-bent on taking each other out for no other reason than to take the other out. In the case of this franchise, we’ve got the citizens of Earth and the Gamilas and their leader is trying to destroy us before we get the one weapon that can save us all. To get there, we take the Yamato, powered by alien tech (I’m looking at you Interstellar) that doubles as our loan machete in the jungles of space occupied by the fervent population of Gamila space captains all under orders to destroy us before we make it to our destination.
The setting is by far the show’s sharpest asset. Set against of eye-dropping space visuals that could make George Lucas blush, Star Blazers 2199 nails backgrounds like no other space anime, and features space battles that are choreographed to perfection. But, if you want to make a series interesting for 26 straight episodes, you gotta mix it up a bit. Fans of Isaac Asimov and ardent sci-fi like Ex -Machina and Altered Carbon will fall in love with a lot of the plots and premises that break away from the overall arc of mankind’s survival against all odds.
Lost in the shuffle, especially early on, are the numerous characters. For the first dozen episodes, you’re not going to care about anyone specifically, just rooting for our own kind living long enough to make their trip. As the show winds down, your investment begins to pay off in rooting for Okita to live and the budding relationship between Yuki and Okita that reaches a crescendo that equals the best in romantic anime that you’ve seen on Funimation.
For those that want more Star Blazers, 2022 is up next, and I can’t wait.