Yamato: From Battleship to Spacecraft
October 2, 2005 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Sinking the Supership is the latest episode (airs 4 Oct) of the PBS show Nova about the IJN Yamato. I didn't know that the Yamato had been explored like other wrecks. I only became aware of it when I saw underwater scenes of the Yamato wreck in the Star Blazers 25th anniversary documentary DVD. Flash forward 250 years.

In the year 2199, Earth is under attack by the mysterious planet Gamilon. Gamilon planet bombs will render the Earth unlivable in one year's time. The IJN Yamato is rebuilt as Space Cruiser Yamato, and she undertakes a journey to planet Iscandar to save Earth. Can Space Cruiser Yamato and her Star Force crew save mankind? There are only 364 days left...
posted by Fat Guy (30 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This FPP was motivated by this AskMe thread.
posted by Fat Guy at 4:55 PM on October 2, 2005

Awesome fpp.
I used to "play" Star Blazers with my best friend when I was a kid; I was Derek and she was Nova. Ah. good times, good times.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:18 PM on October 2, 2005

This is one of those dimly remembered Japanese animated cartoons that occasionally popped up on local television when I was a kid.

It has popped up in my mind a few times over the years but nobody recognized it from my descriptions. Cool to finally know its name.
posted by obfusciatrist at 5:35 PM on October 2, 2005

Total nostalgia attack. Thanks for posting this.
posted by boo_radley at 5:36 PM on October 2, 2005

I just watched the first five episodes of Star Blazers the other day to relive some old memories, and it was quite a heady flashback. SB was my favorite show for a while (I didn't learned long division properly because I spent class time drawing SB-style spaceships on graph paper instead of listening to the teacher). Thanks for posting this.

The show really holds up, actually. Great animation, suspense, good writing, drama -- classic anime space opera. And disco-era space funk background music.
posted by swift at 5:58 PM on October 2, 2005

Man, total nostalgia attack here too when I first saw the AskMe thread. Now I have to totally geek out and go buy a Yamato model.
posted by tetsuo at 6:10 PM on October 2, 2005

I had a Space Cruiser Yamato birthday cake one year.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 6:34 PM on October 2, 2005

I'm now going to have the damned Star Blazers theme stuck in my head all night, but I appreciate the nostalgia.
posted by crataegus at 6:45 PM on October 2, 2005

way to go, Fat Guy!

I am interested in the rhetorical implications of the crysanthemum on the bow of the model Yamato and the double, corresponding hole-and-cannon on the anime startship revenant. Man, that show fascinated the hell out me as a kid.
posted by mwhybark at 6:53 PM on October 2, 2005

Here is a link to a reconstruction of the Yamato wreck (I don't know if this picture was included somewhere in the post - I thought that the combinedfleet site had a link, but couldn't find it). A bit more violent an end than some.
posted by Tullius at 7:13 PM on October 2, 2005

Bandai just re-released a toy of the Space Cruiser Yamato... It's about 14" inches long, features lights, sounds, wave motion-gun action, and even small cosmo tigers and a cosmo-cleaner. unfortunately it's only available in Japan, and will run you about $180.

But I have it, and if you are a Starblazers / Yamato fan, its the toy you always wanted. (Without paying $900 for the vintage big scale Yamato by Popy).
posted by quibx at 7:16 PM on October 2, 2005

It's cool to see other members of the blue have an interest in the StarForce. We have some closet fans @ work as well.

If Hollywood is bent on re-making things to try to make a buck, re-doing StarBlazers (well) would net them a gazillion dollars and might entice me to give more new movies a shot. A modernized version would have to deal with the science part of the sci-fi a bit better (uh, what was up with the "time radar"?), and they should definitely keep it animated.

Then again, being able to pull out the DVDs of the series and watch a few episodes does bring back good memories. Re-doing it badly would be almost unforgivable.

quibx: eBay has regular postings of (usually older) model kits for sale (and for much less than $180.00USD).
posted by hrbrmstr at 7:38 PM on October 2, 2005

Thanks for this post. I spent some time on the PBS site, where I loved the line diagrams of the Yamamoto. I found out this guy did them; there is lots of stuff here, a very talented artist.
posted by fluffycreature at 7:56 PM on October 2, 2005

This was my favorite cartoon series when I was a kid. It was on every morning, ending right when the schoolbus was scheduled to pick us up. We would end up watching for as long as possible, we could see the bus coming from about 3/4 of a mile away, and our stop was about 1/4 mile away. It was a sprint out to the road every morning, but those times when we got to sing out the closing credits? Some of my favorite memories of childhood.
posted by Jazz Hands at 8:00 PM on October 2, 2005

Yamato Mechanics is a Japanese website with some great Yamato related illustrations.
posted by Tenuki at 8:32 PM on October 2, 2005

I remember hearing it got nixed in America due to the high casualty rate of many of the characters. True or no?
posted by bardic at 8:34 PM on October 2, 2005

The ship looks like it'd be kinda difficult to rebuild.
posted by Joeforking at 8:44 PM on October 2, 2005

I got that Bandai Soul of Chogokin back in 2000 when it was first released. It currently resides on top of my TV and has so far survived the cats (the other SoC model on the TV is Majinga Z... he's been hit once).

SB was my favorite cartoon growing up. Nice to see others share the same feeling.
posted by linux at 10:12 PM on October 2, 2005

fluffycreature: Skulski is indeed an amazing and diligent researcher. His books on Takao and Fuso (also in Conway's Anatomy of the Ship series) are also wonderful, and have allowed me to construct 1/50 scale models of the things (well, I'm working on Fuso now) in, of all media, Lego. (!!)

Another really nice resource for those who enjoy the Combined Fleet (and have already visited Combined Fleet), is Jentschura et al., Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1869-1945. You may also want to look for the sites devoted to the Japanese battleship Mikasa, the only surviving predreadnought (and post-Warrior) battleship in the world and a representative of the engineering of the British Majestic class (though improved).

I can say less about Star Blazers, because although I enjoyed its premise, I knew far too much about the condition of the ships envisaged to suspend that much belief. But Yamato and Musashi have become embroidered with and into a very interesting global sort of mythology about war and the sea--a place held by very few battleships like it, and perhaps only Bismarck alone.
posted by trigonometry at 11:16 PM on October 2, 2005

Here's a review of Disney's attempt at a live action Starblazers featuring a resurrected U.S.S. Arizona and Star Force headquarters located inside Mount Rushmore.
posted by Tenuki at 11:58 PM on October 2, 2005

Well, here it is. Sorry about that.
posted by Tenuki at 11:59 PM on October 2, 2005

"It took at least 40 seconds to load and fire one shot from the main guns, an interminable time during an air attack."

Other than possibly trying to splash low-flying torpedo aircraft, it'd be a waste of resources to fire the 18.1-in. main guns at aircraft, if that's what they meant to imply here.
posted by alumshubby at 3:41 AM on October 3, 2005

No one else has said it:

*clears throat, conjures up Derek Wildstar*


Of all the PBS shows...
posted by emelenjr at 5:01 AM on October 3, 2005

Other than possibly trying to splash low-flying torpedo aircraft, it'd be a waste of resources to fire the 18.1-in. main guns at aircraft, if that's what they meant to imply here.

Large anti-aircraft cannon (or general-purpose guns used for anti-aircraft) didn't fire directly at aircraft. Instead, they fired timed exploding shells in the path of the aircraft.

Apparently, the Yamato had munitions for the main gun that were intended specifically for anti-aircraft use.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:44 AM on October 3, 2005

I know that, at least for US Navy, 5"/38 cal. weapons were dual purpose, firing VT fuzed projectiles when employed as AA weapons...but 18.1"? Were any battleships' main batteries ever used in the way you're describing? Did I miss a cite for this in the main article, or can you point me to where you found this information? (sorry; naval geek)
posted by alumshubby at 7:16 AM on October 3, 2005

I hope this isn't a repost:

Theme song .mp3 link

(Let the childhood flashbacks begin..)
posted by tbonicus at 7:20 AM on October 3, 2005

Charge up the Wave Motion Gun!

I loved that show as a kid. I watched the first few episodes recently and, um. Can't say I still do. There's a nostalgia thing but that's it.
posted by Foosnark at 8:41 AM on October 3, 2005

Man, that's a corny theme song. I have a feeling that, like Foosnark, I'll regret having put the starblazers dvd in my netflix queue.
posted by jepler at 8:44 AM on October 3, 2005

Yeah somehow that song seemed cooler in grade school...
posted by tbonicus at 9:04 AM on October 3, 2005

Good stuff. One of my favorites when I was a kid... Kids today with their Cowboy Bebop and their Naruto... they dunno what they missed!
posted by davros42 at 9:54 AM on October 3, 2005

« Older Party like a rock star...on the cheap.   |   "Filmmakers like Gilliam keep coming to the... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments