As 2014 continues to roll on we continue my look at the Space Battleship Yamato franchise with the series only TV movie outing, The New Voyage.
Yamato: The New Voyage is an anime TV movie directed and written by series co-creators Leiji Matsumoto and Yoshinobu Nishizaki.
The film picks up after the events of Space Battleship Yamato II the retelling of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato.
One of the many changes made during the retelling was the involvement of Deslar.
While he did join forces with the Comet Empire his defeat was changed a great deal.
This time Kodai is injured during the battle on Deslar’s ship. Before Deslar has a chance to kill him, Yuki runs to his side and pleads with Deslar to not kill him.
Inspired by their love for one another he leaves, but not before telling the two of the Comet’s one weakness.
One month after the battle Deslar pledges to find his people a new home world. But before the search can begin they must look at their nearly destroyed home planet one last time.
Once they get there Deslar discovers that the planet is being mined by another alien race known as the Dark Nebula Empire.
Appalled by the sight of his planet being mined, Deslar orders his fleet to attack. The battle ends with not only the destruction of the Nebula’s mining fleet but the planet itself.
Before Deslar has time to react Gamilian’s sister planet Iscandar, whom it shared an orbit, starts moving quickly in a new direction.
On earth the surviving members of the Yamato crew led by Susumi Kodai, Yuki Mori and Daisuke Shima start taking the repaired ship into the solar system to train their new recruits.
While running exercises the crew get a communication from Deslar explaining the situation.
With a barely trained crew and an upgraded ship, the crew of the Yamato starts warping towards the traveling planet.
On Iscandar the two inhabitants Stasha and Mamoru Kodai, Susumi’s brother, are trying to find a way to save their home.
After traveling so fast that the planet warped for a brief period of time, they’re contacted by Deslar who demands that the two get off the planet. Despite the plea they refuse.
Soon after Deslar’s fleet is attacked by the returning Dark Nebula’s fleets.
While Deslar’s fleet is strong, they’re out number as most of their ships are destroyed. But before their flagship is destroyed the Yamato arrives.
In the battle the Yamato destroys the fleet with the use of it’s Wave Motion Gun (called the Undulation Gun in this film for some reason) and try to convince the Stasha and Mamoru to leave.
However, before they can be convinced the flagship of the Nebula Empire appears.
For the first time both Deslar and the Yamato must work together in order to stop the Nebula Empire from destroying the planet.
Despite the use of Deslar’s most powerful weapon, the Deslar beam, the enemy ship is still standing.
Knowing that neither ship could hurt them, the ship starts firing the canons at the planet.
Frustrated Deslar rams his ship into the canon and urges the Yamato to use the WMG to destroy the ship.
However, before they can fire, Stasha agrees to leave the planet.
Seemingly admitting defeat Mamuro readies their shuttle to leave, but before they do Stasha launches the ship without her, allowing her love and their child to board the Yamato.
As the Nebula Empire lowers to the planet Stasha detonates a bomb in the planet’s core and destroys both the planet and the giant ship.
The film then ends with Deslar and Susumi commending each other on their battles and say their final goodbyes.
On the technical side, New Voyage doesn’t look that different from the rest of the franchise.
Despite this it’s clear that this production was rushed due to its TV movie status as some of the animation is unimpressive to say the least.
The film also lacks decent quality control as certain characters and objects loss detain in the backgrounds and at one point one of the new recruits changes skin colour for one scene.
While the animation might not be the franchises best, it’s soundtrack is welcomed improvement.
Returning this time are the instrumental versions of the Yamato theme, but some of the newer themes add to the film nicely.
Finger picked Spanish guitar runs are used during some of the films emotional moments, and cellos and double basses for the more tense opening moments.
For a franchise that ends up using three or four of the same tunes over and over again these short pieces are a welcome change.
Another welcome change this time round is the films length.
While the past few films have been theatrical releases, this time New Voyage was originally aired as a TV movie with a running time of 95 minutes.
The majority of the film is spent showing large-scale battles and the film moves along quickly because of it.
Additionally the film acts a bridge to another film so not every question needed to be answered leaving fans to want more.
Despite this, much like the last film, the villain doesn’t really get screen time.
The main villain, the Great Emperor isn’t even seen during the film, his voice is heard giving orders to the two generals that the Yamato battles.
The generals themselves aren’t much of a match for the Yamato and end up looking more like jobbers from late 80s WWF rather than menacing villains.
Overall, New Voyage ends up doing a solid job of linking the second series with another feature film, and it even gave fans of Deslar a little bit of redemption, as the once feared leader becomes on of the franchises heroes.
Yamato: The New Voyage was produced by Office Academy and Toei Animation and is currently licensed by Manga Entertainment.