Category Archives: Anime Analysis

Let’s take a quick look at broad differences between Yamato (1979) and Yamato 2199

This is full of spoilers!

My first post about the differences between the original Yamato TV series and the remake Yamato 2199 remains my most popular post (that doesn’t use StumbleUpon). I’ve wanted to write a more in-depth post since then, but I lack the time. One day, though.

But let’s not leave you hanging! A thread on reddit’s /r/anime asked this very question. The original poster wanted someone to enlighten them on the changes. As that series is, for some unknown reason, not talked about a lot, I immediately jumped to the challenge. Here’s the post. Stuff in brackets [] are edits/notes I made to the original post.

> I have not watched the original series but I heard that some things were changed. Does anyone care to fill me in on what the differences are?

Oh god YES there are. Lots of them. It’s still very similar, but in my honest opinion one reason why Yamato 2199 is such a good series is that every change they made improved the series. I do a quick episode-by-episode rundown on the differences for the first 22 episodes on my blog, but the tl;dr of it is that Yamato 2199 speeds up the plot and then fills in the holes with new and (more) interesting content. Here are some key areas, some of which have great implications:

  • More races/planets. In the original, the amount of habitable planets could be counted on one hand: Iscandar (which was a dying planet actually), Gamilon, Earth, and the one with bee people [Beeland]. The Gamilons want Earth because their planet is dying, but they and humans cannot live in the same environment. Gamilons need a heavily irradiated ecosystem, which humans obviously cannot live on. In terms of races, they was the humans (who only lived on Earth), the Iscadarians (only a couple of them), the bee people, and the Gamilons. No subraces. [A better term might be “subjugated races”]
  • Rei is not present in the original series. THEY HANDLED THIS SO WELL BY THE WAY. She is the sister of Yamamoto, who was a pilot in the original series. In Yamato 2199, they changed a lot of the genders of the crew because the original sorely lacked female characters (the only one was Yuki). So, not only did they gender flip a character, they created an entire back story for it! That is, Yamamoto the male pilot from the original, was killed in 2199 and replaced by his sister, Rei. Oh my god so meta. I love it.
  • Yuki is a LOT more tomboyish in 2199. She was so ladylike and in the romance with Kodai was more like a housewife. A supportive role. I like Yuki in 2199 a lot more.
  • Balan got a pretty cool change. It was originally a rocky planet with an artificial star orbiting it (not sure how that works). In 2199 it was changed into an artificial gas giant with an artificial star in the center. In the original, Domel wanted to crash the Yamato into the artificial star, but the Yamato shot it with the Wave Motion Cannon (we still get this scene in the original, but earlier). I think I might be wrong, though.
  • The bee people. Holy shit I am so glad they changed this. Remember that extinct species they found in the middle of the series? You know, when they’re getting chased by that monster thing in the forest? Well, that planet is populated by a race of bee people… in the original, they made honey for the Gamilus. I don’t remember why but there was this big rebellion and everything. I thought it was silly honestly.
  • Melda Ditz was a man and a side character. He only had one episode, and he got killed when he was released. Melda Ditz obviously was not killed, but they gave her more importance in the story.
  • GATLANTIS! You don’t know who that is, do you? Remember when Domel was fighting “barbarians” on the out edges of their territory? Those green ships? Those guys are actually the villains of the second season (and the breakthrough movie that made the series so popular, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato). You see, the cool thing about Gatlantis is that they disguise their invasion fleets as comets (they’ve also called The Comet Empire). They’ve conquered galaxies, and they’ve made it to the Large Magellanic Cloud… possible villains in the Yamato 2199 movie?!
  • Analyzer was given his own episode, and a mighty fine episode at that. He was more of a comic-relief character.
  • The psychics. Not in the original.
  • The Imperial Guard (blue ships). Not in the original.
  • That whole assassination/conspiracy thing didn’t happen. So, Norio Wakamoto is not in the original. šŸ˜¦
  • AND POSSIBLY THE GREATEST AND MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF THEM ALL… THE SURVIVAL OF THE GAMILONS! In the original series, they’re wiped out. Killed off. Every single one of them, except for Lord Desslok (or Dessler) and a few of his men (actually they get killed, too, although not in the first season). Yup. The Yamato actually commits genocide in the original; they shoot a volcano with the Wave Motion Cannon that sets off all of the volcanoes on the planet, which then kills everyone on the planet.

Those are the ones off the top of my head.

There’s probably more! Hopefully I can do something more in-depth (or do a “Yamato 2199 versus Warhammer 40,000” post… Nah). Stay tuned!

Anime Analysis: Master Keaton – episodes 33 and 34

Screenshot_2013-11-14-11-29-36

Master Keaton is an obscure work by a not-so-obscure mangaka. Anyone who sees the artwork will instantly know who did it. I recently watched two episodes–33 and 34–that made me want to talk about this series.

Originally a manga, it was adapted to TV in 1998 as a 24 episode series and was animated by Studio Madhouse (Madhouse strikes again). It was then followed by a 15 episode OVA in 2005. The OVA is a very similar to the TV series in terms of visuals. It is an improvement, as the animation is not as stiff, but the style and character designs are very similar.

The music gives the series a more whimsical feeling. It sounds European to me (or what I perceive to be European) and does not sound like modern music. It may sound traditional to me, but to anyone from Europe that might be a ridiculous (or offensive) claim. Nevertheless, it does give the series a sense of the old. This actually helps the series in many cases, such as in flashbacks or when Keaton visits ruins (ruins are common, as he is an archeologist).

The plot follows Taichi Keaton, a man of many talents, skills, and jobs. He graduated from Oxford University, where he met his wife. He is divorced from his wife, but his daughter spends time with him in some episodes. He primarily lives in England, but he travels all over the world. His father lives in Japan. I do not remember where his wife lives. His main occupation is working as an insurance investigator for Llyod’s of London, but he tries to maintain work as a professor of archeology.

The series overall has a slow pace to it. Episodes feel longer than they actually are (20 minutes feel like 40 minutes) and that is probably because most of the time is devoted to dialogue. There are action sequences, though, but they are few and short (even in the OVA, even though OVAs are known for having impressive action sequences).

The series is episodic and typically each story will be a mystery of some kind. This is not a detective series, however, like Detective ConanĀ or NSIC. Master Keaton is primarily an insurance investigator, which means he usually has to find people that get into nasty financial trouble. In episode 33, for example, he has to look for a boy that is going to get a huge life insurance check due to his mother’s passing; however, the boy has gone missing. As it turns out, the boy had gotten tangled up with Italian terrorists, who were looking for money to finance their plot against the Italian government. Quite exciting for an insurance investigator!

The series does do a decent job at building characters.For example, the reason why Keaton has so chosen many occupations beyond just an insurance investigator, and why he is called “Master Keaton,” is explained in episode 34. In this episode, we go back to his childhood in Cornwall. While traveling to the ocean, he meets a bus driver that seems to be an admirable role model for the young Keaton: he is polite and kind, he does his job with respect, and he has an appreciation for life. The bus driver calls himself a “Master of Life.” He states that he is on a journey to acquire as much knowledge and skills as he can, which incidentally is what Keaton ends up doing: he is a professor, an archaeologist, a former SAS, a bounty hunter, an insurance agent, and a former survival instructor.

Screenshot_2013-11-14-11-34-01

Chris, the bus driver, is a man that takes his job seriously and does not let anyone push him around. In this scene, he kicks a man, John, off his bus for causing a ruckus.

In particular, episode 34 was an interesting one, because it showed what caused Keaton to head down on his path(es) in life. As I described earlier, it explains why he is called “Master” Keaton; however, it is also a cautionary tale. As we learn later on, the bus driver, Chris, may talk tough, but it is all a facade. He talks the talks and gives good advice, but he lacks the will to truly follow it. He is a failure as a father and as a husband. Because of that, he resorts to drinking.

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He later gets the snot beat out of him by John. John is the man he kicked off his bus earlier.

Drunk as drunk can be, he gets beat in a fight by John in front of Keaton. Chris then cowers and assures John that he will never go against him. Keaton finds his new idol on the floor in his own misery. His “Master of Life” philosophy was for show, as he considers himself a failure in career, fatherhood, and marriage. He can talk big, but he cannot deliver when push comes to shove.

This would have an affect on Keaton’s future, as this could be the reason why he joins the SAS. Through the SAS, he learns how to defend himself in combat, which he does many times throughout the series. After seeing Chris cower for his life, this would convince him that self-defense skills are important.

In another way, this episode is also be exploring much more of Keaton’s character through the gang that he meets. Earlier in the episode, he meets a boy and his gang on the port. In the second half, they convince Keaton to cross the moorland in Land’s End. As I was watching, I had a feeling that these boys were just tricking Keaton into doing something that he might regret (it was established earlier that they did not like him). However, the tables turn on them as it turns out that Keaton is more resilient than they thought. It all comes to an end for them, though, when they discover that the usual water pool is dried up. After marching into the middle of what seems to be an endless desert, the group is left without water or food. Keaton ends up finding water under an old monument, because apparently human ancestors built monuments on or near water (makes sense if you think about it – it would help travelers). He then guides the group back to town.

Keaton’s whole journey through life could offer some advice. In many ways, this episode is the starting point for many of Keaton’s life: why he joined the SAS and why he became a survival instructor. These skills stuck with him for the rest of life, and luckily for him they save his life many times in his work.Ā This episode parallels a similar story earlier in the series when he is much older. He had no idea that these skills would be useful later on, but they saved his life. Skills will always be useful, and we never know when we will have need them, but we will be thanking ourselves when we do need them; we might even get out alive, too.

Anime Analysis: Differences between Space Battleship Yamato and its remake, Yamato 2199

1970s cheese at its finest, folks.

1970s cheese at its finest, folks.

Space Battleship Yamato originally aired in Japan on October 6, 1974 and finished airing on March 30, 1975. It would be brought to the United States as Star Blazers by Westchester Corporation. Interestingly, it received minimal localization from the Westchester; the changes were mostly to the names.

Whether you have seen the original Japanese version with Kodai (as I have) or the Americanized version with Derek Wildstar (as other people I know have), the 2012 remake, Yamato 2199, will feel very, very similar. It is mostly the same series, but there are many subtle changes present and some pretty obvious.

Personally, I think all of the plot-related changes are positive. The script and story are basically a second draft, which has refinements. Certain areas are expanded upon, such as the Gamilas, while some of the more goofier episodes are handled much better. However, if I had one grip with this remake, it would be that there is more sex appeal. It is not necessarily overdone, but I feel that it is not needed.

Of course, all of these changes do introduce new plot holes and whatnot. One episode in particular I felt was handled very sloppily.

As the remake comes to a close, I thought I would go over the changes that the producers did to the story, up to episode 22 (I have not seen episodes 23-26 as of this writing). They expanded on certain characters, added a few more characters, and made the animation much better. I felt that the original focuses too much on Kodai and the Captain, so it is nice to give the supporting characters more screentime. I also like the new characters (it helps that they are cute girls, but the new male characters are alright too).

Episode 1

Original: the crew of theĀ Yukikaze did not sing before their demise.

2199: As the Yukikaze is destroyed, the crew sang.

Episode 2

Original: The Yamato is fitted and fights off a Gamilus carrier.

2199: The Yamato is fitted, launched, and fights off a Gamilus carrier and the interplanetary missile launched from Pluto.

Episode 3

Original: The Yamato is launched and destroys the interplanetary missile launched from Pluto.

2199: The Yamato tests its warp engine, but crashes on a floating continent on Jupiter because the engine malfunctions.

Episode 4

Original: The warp drive is tested and the crew head to Mars. They also join with the Cosmo Tigers.

2199: The crew land onĀ Enceladus so they can repair the Wave Motion Engine. Kodai finds the Yukikaze and the crew is attacked by autonomous soldiers.

The floating continent as it appeared in the original series.

The floating continent as it appeared in the original series.

Episode 5

Original: The Star Force is trapped by Jupiter’s gravity and they land on an artificial continent.

2199: The Yamato launches an attack on the Pluto base before leaving the Solar System, however, they are trapped by the Gamilus’s satellite-based weapon.

Episode 6

Original: The Star Force searches a moon of Saturn for mineral so they can repair the Wave Motion Engine.

2199: The Yamato finishes the assault on the Pluto Base.

Episode 7

Original: Part 1 of the attack on the Pluto base.

2199: The crew of the Yamato give their last good byes to their loved ones before leaving the Solar System.

Episode 8

Original: Part 2 of the attack on the Pluto Base.

2199: the leader of the Gamilons, Lord Desslock (or Dessler), leads an operation in which the Yamato will either be destroyed by a star or eaten by a gaseous monster (think of the C’tan from Warhammer 40,000).

2199 episode 9: this series has some pretty cool shibe.

2199 episode 9: this series has some pretty cool shit. Image courtesy of Metanorn.

Episode 9

Original: The Star Force must make it past the Asteroid Belt. A mechanism is displayed that does not appear in 2199: the Asteroid Shield. Basically, by launching magnets into rocks, asteroids, and debris, the Yamato can use those objects as shielding against weapons and other space debris. This is replaced by an actual shield in 2199 called the Wave Motion Shield, which works similarly to the kind in Star Trek.

2199: The crew captured an autonomous soldier that appeared in episode 4, however, this robot escapes. The “goddess” is revealed, although the “goddess” is never explained or shown until later.

Episode 10

Original: The Star Force give their good byes to their loved ones.

2199: The Yamato is trapped in a dimensional rift and they must work with another trapped Gamilus ship to escape. The Gamilon pilot Melda Ditz is introduced, who replaces a captured male pilot in the original series episode 13.

Episode 11

Gatlantis in Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato (1978)

Gatlantis in Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato (1978)

Original: Lord Desslock tries to destroy the Yamato with space mines.

Gatlantis in Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (2012)

Gatlantis in Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (2012)

 

Yamato 2199: Gatlantis is introduced. This is a big, big deal, because Gatlantis (also known as the Comet Empire) does not make an appearance until the film Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, which would become season 2. Also, Melda Ditz is left on the ship.

Episode 12

Original: Lord Desslock tries to destroy the Yamato similarly to how it was planned in 2199 episode 8.

2199: this episode develops General Domel’s character a lot more than the original did.

Episode 13

Original: this was about the Gamilus pilot that they capture; the pilot leaves in the same episode, while Melda Ditz stays aboard for two episodes.

2199: Yamato is fighting a space ship that can travel dimensions (basically, it’s a space submarine, which the original did have except they couldn’t travel dimensions); they are trapped in an asteroid field.

Episode 14

Original: the Star Force is trapped in a space storm and must escape.

2199: The Yamato is under attack by a Chaos worshiping space witch under the service of Tzeentch (nah, she’s just a space witch; she and her sister are part of a new species introduced in 2199).

The Yamato firing at Domel's fleet.

The Yamato firing at Domel’s fleet.

Episode 15

Original: General Domel tries to destroy the Yamato.

2199: General Domel tricks the Yamato into warping straight into the middle of his fleet.

Episode 16

Original: the Star Force stops at Beeland, basically a planet inhabited by walking bees. They make honey for Gamilus.

2199: the Bee people are extinct and the only thing that remains are their old civilization, the wildlife, and whatever Gamilus and Iscandar left behind.

Episode 17

Original: Domel replaces the Commander of Balan and tries to destroy the Star Force with creatures that can morph into other things. The captain has to undergo surgery in order to extend his lifespan.

2199: The Yamato crew explores a gateway (this gateway is similar to a webway).

Episode 18

Original: The Star Force destroys a Gamilon fortress that emits magnetron waves; these waves rips apart metals.

2199: originally, Balun was orbited by an artificial star; instead, that star is placed in the middle of Balun and it powers the gateway and the military defenses there. The Yamato destroys Balun and the gateway.

Episode 19

Original: The conditions on Earth are explored.

2199: Domel is released from prison and prepares for a battle to the death with the Yamato.

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Domel’s original plan at Balun. Image courtesy of CosmoDNA.

Episode 20

Original: The Star Force reaches Balun; Domel tries to use an artificial star to destroy the Star Force.

2199:Ā Domel and the Yamato fight until one is defeated; Yuki is captured by the Gamilons.

Episode 21

Original: Domel prepares for the last battle with the Yamato.

2199: Yuki is taken to a prison planet and the Yamato crew are taken prisoner on that same prison planet.

I do like the new additions to the cast.

I do like the new additions to the cast. Image courtesy of Bowling Ball Fansubs.

Episode 22

Original: Domel and the Yamato have their battle to the death.

2199: The crew learn that Iscandar and Gamilus are twin planets. The captain’s health deteriorates.