Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Space Battleship Yamato: The Movie is essentially a “warp speed” version of the first season of Space Battleship Yamato. The film only included the most relevant pieces of the series, in order to distill it down to a film that runs about two hours and 15 minutes. For the most part, it can be hard to tell that they did this if you aren't familiar with the original series. The main exception is when they are on Iscandar. Yuki Mori is uninjured when they first arrive; however, in the final scene that takes place on Iscandar, the audience can see she sustained some kind of an injury. The scene where Yuki sustained her injury was removed from the film version, so a viewer who is unfamiliar with the original series will be left wondering what happened to Yuki's arm.
When you put the DVD into the player, the main menu comes up. The menu includes the following options: Play, Chapters, Features, and Website. "Play" allows you to view the film from the beginning. "Chapters" allows you to choose where you would like to start watching the film. "Website" takes you to an advertisement for the official Star Blazers website; this advertisement includes a link to the DVD credits.
There are several bonus features included on the DVD. First, you can watch the original theatrical trailer (the trailer includes English subtitles). There is also "alternate animation footage"; when the film aired on Japanese television, the section that takes place on Iscandar was replaced with a much shorter sequence in order to get the film down to two hours. In this footage, Stasha is actually not physically with them, and says that she is dying. In this alternate version, Susumu Kodai's brother, who had been presumed dead, is not on Iscandar. This alternate footage puts the television version of the film into its own kind of "alternate timeline" for the series. This segment ran about seven to eight minutes, and it was subtitled.
The "Features" menu also includes the original program book that was handed out at the movie theater. There are writeups and pictures of characters included. On the DVD, you can choose to see translated versions of the text, as well as views of some of the pages that are closer in. The most interesting thing to me in here was the fact that an explanation for how the Yamato could have been converted so quickly to make the trip to Iscandar is given; this is something I had always wondered, since it was never explained in the series.
There is also a "Yamato Promotion History," which includes a text feature titled "The Yamato Story" (which is 14 pages long), and a section of posters and graphics (which, like the original program booklet, can be seen in better detail).
The DVD release of Space Battleship Yamato: The Movie is a must-have for fans of Space Battleship Yamato or Star Blazers. It can also serve as a good introduction to Space Battleship Yamato for new fans.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD that my husband and I purchased.