Having enjoyed Space Battleship Yamato well enough, I looked forward to seeing its sequel, Space Battleship Yamato 2. I liked the idea of "space marines" ("space cavaliers" actually) being added to the mix and for there to be other ships other than Yamato. Unfortunately, the writers got lazy and this sequel does not live up to its parent.
The biggest problem from the start with this new series is that from the start, the villain Desler from the Space Battleship Yamato is magically returned to life to play a 2nd-tier villain this time. I was not happy to see this because if you are going to kill a character, then leave them dead. Otherwise, what's the point? Then, the writers made it clear that they were going to follow the identical format from the first series by having a powerful, mysterious enemy attack, a warning message from a blonde-haired alien woman is then dispatched, and Yamato heads out to some remote alien planet to do whatever and return for the final confrontation. Been there, done that.
The next issue I had is with the character of Susumu -- or "Acting Captain Kodai" as he is known in the series. How long has it been since Yamato returned to Earth? Long enough that Earth has multiple fleets and the Earth itself is completely healed from the Gamilus devastating attacks. So why is he only "Acting Captain?" It makes no sense to me. I know there's some effort to give respect to the original captain, Ogata, but seriously, either be a captain or not. Most of the time, Susumu is not a captain -- he only plays one. That's why he can't control the commander of the space cavaliers, Saito. That's also why he races off more than once to jump in a fighter to get away from the responsibility.
That brings me to the character of Saito. As I mentioned before, having actual troops on board Yamato excited me because (1) you had troops to defend the ship against a possible boarding and (2) you had ground forces to be used if needed for planetary missions. Unfortunately, the space cavaliers are not used well at all. After seemingly losing most of their forces before being rescued by Yamato, their leader Saito shows himself to be an ignorant ape leading a troop of ignorant apes. He has no military discipline and constantly fought with Susumu (who should have had the gorilla thrown in the brig). Early on, he tries to interfere with everyone else's job, thinking that he can magically do that job without training, including flying a fighter. I wrote this dialog to depict Saito.
Saito (in moron voice): Duh, I big and strong. I fight. I in armies. I like guns. Fighter plane got guns, therefor I can use. I in arm-mees!
Susumu: Don't you know the chain of command?
Saito: Duuuh, I lead my arm-mee. I make rule. I no listen to man with shag hair on sissy space ship. I in arm-mees! You make order that dumb. You let enemy go. Enemy must die. I in arm-mees so I know enemy must die. I in ARM-MEES!
By the end of the series when Saito and his men are actually used a tiny bit effectively, it didn't matter. I didn't care and if Saito died, good riddance to bad rubbish.
Next on the agenda is the laughable element the writers dared to call "romance." The series starts with Yuki and Susumu supposedly caring for each other. Well, I believe Yuki did but Susumu is just a loser. Regardless, Susumu shuts down the romance until after the mission and then it is forgotten until almost the very end when Earth is on the line. However, even in the original series, their feelings for each other never seemed real and they don't feel real here either. I just rolled my eyes and tried to remember that the series was done in the 70's and is a shounen title.
Also on the romance front is the supposed romance between Daisuke and the alien Teresa. That gets forced on us when Daisuke decides that as navigator-pilot for Yamato, he's the only one qualified to speak with Teresa. As such, it is time to kick out the normal communications guy and use your best pickup lines. Yeah, whatever. So when Yamato finally reaches Teresa's planet, there was no way I believed she was somehow in love with Daisuke and vice versa. It all smacked of a convienent but forced situation so that Teresa could save Daisuke's life twice. As such, nothing that happened between them had any meaning for me.
Next are the villains. The White Comet fools are cliched as they come as is Desler. Desler performs one semi-surprise at the end of the series which seemed totally out of character in my opinion but whatever. Meh.
Bottom line: There's nothing special or good about the series. That's not to say it is some horrible anime, but the writing is not as good, the characters are weaker, the situations become more and more improbable and in the end, not only did I not care about any of the characters or the story, I couldn't wait for it to be over. As such, I can only give this a marginal "Watch."
I don't have access to Space Battleship Yamato 3, but considering the dropoff in Yamato 2, I wouldn't be that enthused about Yamato 3 no matter what.
Last updated Tuesday, February 24 2009. Created Sunday, October 05 2008.