Blu-ray Review: Space Battleship Yamato

space_battleship_yamato_review (3)It’s time to do something different and head into ‘real’ space with the legendary Space Battleship Yamato, but how does this live-action film fair against its anime counterpart? Well we have no idea since we never saw the original anime, either way we take a look at what Manga UK’s Blu-ray release of the Space Battleship Yamato has to offer.

Synopsis:

An epic space odyssey takes to the stars in Space Battleship Yamato, the most expensive film ever made in Japan. With an out of this world budget, this intergalactic blockbuster takes viewers into deep space and beyond for a war set to bring the human race to its knees!

Our View:

This particular Space Battleship Yamato title is the 2010 live-action movie adaptation of the classic 1974 anime series, a film that depicts the events of the heroic Yamato spaceship, whereby its crew travel to the alien planet Iskander in hopes of obtaining an item that will return earth back to its natural state.  Along the way the secrets are revealed, love blooms and the Yamato is constantly attacked by alien ambushes all of which lead to an explosive sci-fi styled ending that can rival any Hollywood blockbuster.

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The films story itself follows closely with the original anime series, whereby viewers are introduced to the story, the main characters, the enemies and most importantly the Yamato space ship, with the story itself following Susumu Kodai. Susumu was once an ace pilot for the Earth Defence Force, however after an (undisclosed) accident he quit and now acts as a metal scavenger on earth, however when he discovers that his brother, Mamoru Kodai, was killed in combat protecting Captain Okita’s spaceship he goes looking for answers, which inevitable leads him to Captain Okita and the last working spaceship, the Yamato.  From here the film takes a pretty straight narrative, whereby after emphasising with Captain Okita’s decisions, Susumu must take charge of the ship and continue to mission to its completion , even if things aren’t what they seem.

While the film has an interesting story, which is supported by its impressive CGI visuals, the film itself does have a mediocre vibe to it with things just happening unexpectedly with no real explanation.  For instance characters are quickly introduced, and killed off, without viewers being accustomed to them – one of which even has his own flashback so you know exactly who it is that is being killed off. To viewers of the anime these characters may make sense, as they all knew Susumu before he quit the Earth Defence Force, but to those watching the franchise for the first time it just seems like a random character dying, when it should have meaning. This mediocre approach also appears in fight scenes, with enemies appearing (or disappearing) at random stages throughout their trip with no explanation into who exactly they are are fighting and why, but this itself is not explained fully until the final stages of the film – at which point brings some clarity behind the inhabitants of Iskander.

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Even if you are new to the franchise (such as myself) there is much enjoyment to be had with this film as it can be seen as a standalone sci-fi film, with its interesting story, developing plot and a variety of battles to be had, with the battles themselves being as enjoyable as the fights in J.J. Abrahams movie adaptation of Star Trek.

Extras:

Unlike Manga Entertainment’s anime release this title has a lot extra ‘productive’ content, most of which is focused on the CGI production of the film, such as side by side comparisons between the early concept design and final product as well as a comparison between the final product and its original green screen recording.

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In addition to the ‘Behind the Scenes’ styled footage, none of which is narrated, there is the inclusion of the original cinematic trailers for the film as well as a 3D Gallery which showcases all of the spaceships used within the film.

  • Visual Effects – Before & After (13 Minutes) – comparison showing the raw ‘acting’ video between the final product
  • Pre-visualisation (25 Minutes) – a comparison between 3D PS1 styled visuals to the final product
  • VFX Scale Footage (1 Minute) – Footage of the Yamato ship flying over Japan (showcasing the size of the ship)
  • 360 Degree Gallery (6 Minutes) – a look at all of the CGI Ships (Human & Alien) used within the film
  • Trailers (4 Minutes) – Two cinematic trailers for the film, both of which are subbed in English

Fans of the film will be interested in the ‘Visual Effects & Pre-visualisation’ features, as these highlight the amount of CGI work needed in order to make Space Battleship Yamato a realistic styled space film, but for those interested in the space ships seen within the film then the 360 Degree Gallery will provide you the information that you need.

Specs:

Media: BD 50 x1
Region: B
Running Time: 2:18:33
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & LPCM 5.1 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Space Battleship Yamato is a live-action movie adapation of the classic anime series, whereby we see the crew of the Yamato embark on a ‘list-ditch’ quest to attack the Gamilas homeworld and retrieve an item that will return Earth to it’s natural habitable state. In the process of this space adventure secrets are revealed, pasts are explored and loves blooms as we see the main character Susumu Kodai develop from a sulking scavenger to an acting captain, with all the crew supporting his every move.

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In regards of this Blu-ray release the quality is outstanding with both Visuals and Audio offering a truly cinematic experience, however while the visuals are presented in 1920 x 1080 (1080p) there are elements of picture grain – mostly noticeable during the space fight scenes, but nothing that its distracting enough to spoil the film – even the CGI rendered scenes look superb. Since this is a ‘sub-only’ release there is no English Audio option, however what is included is a DTS-HD Master Audio and LCPM, both of which are presented in 5.1. It is unusual to see a LCPM Audio track included, but it is available for those who would like to use it, however overall I preferred the DTS-HD master audio for the true cinematic effect through a surround sound kit.  It’s worth mentioning that If you do not have a surround sound kit then both audio options will sound exactly the same, so there is no need to change audio tracks.

Overall Space Battleship Yamato is an enjoyable film that does exactly what it says on the box, by providing a sci-filled space adventure with explosions, aliens and multiple surprises for everyone, and even if you are not into the franchise it’s still worth watching if you enjoy sci-fi films.

Score: review-stars-3

Space Battleship Yamato will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 19th August 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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