Space Battleship Yamato (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 14-Dec-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-Various
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 138:33 (Case: 133)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Takashi Yamazaki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Takuya Kimura
Meisa Kuroki
Toshirô Yanagiba
Naoto Ogata
Hiroyuki Ikeuchi
Shin'ichi Tsutsumi
Maiko
Reiko Takashima
Toshiyuki Nishida
Toshihiro Yashiba
Kazuki Namioka
Takumi Saitô
Takahiro Miura
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Naoki Sato


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese Linear PCM 48/16 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Two or so years before Star Wars was released back in 1977, there was an animated TV series made in Japan called Uchu Senkan Yamato. This series was revoiced and released in the English speaking world as Star Blazers in 1979, at least to some degree to cash in on the success of Star Wars. It was quite successful both in its original Japanese and then in the English version. Three series were made along with four animated movies. In 2010, a live action movie, Space Battleship Yamato or if you prefer Supesu Batorushippu Yamato, was released in Japan followed by the rest of the world. In many countries this film only got a festival or disc based release rather than a full theatrical release including the US. The film is based on the original television series telling a very similar story.

     The story is set in 2199 and Earth has been under attack by an alien race called the Gamelons for five years. The bombing that the earth has endured has resulted in the surface being unliveable due to radiation. Accordingly, the few survivors have gone underground and their defences are failing. A salvage hunter, Susumi Kodai (Takuya Kimura) who was previously a space fighter squadron leader, goes to the surface looking for scrap to sell. Whilst he is there, something falls from space near him knocking off his protective clothing, exposing him to radiation. He picks up the object which fell and it somehow protects him from the radiation. Once Earth's scientists get a look at the object it reveals that it has come from the planet Iskander and offers Earth a way to fix their radiation problems and defeat the Gamelons. It is also includes plans for a wave engine so that they can reach Iskander. Accordingly, the last space battleship, Yamato, is recommissioned and has the wave engine installed. The plan is for a select crew to go to Iskander and retrieve the device which can fix the radiation. Of course, Kodai signs up for the crew which is led by crusty old Captain Okita (who Kodai blames for his brother's death) and includes Kodai's old fighter pilots and his former flame, Yuki Mori (who is also a fighter pilot). All of this leads to a plot full of derring-do, action, space battles, heroism, romance and melodrama.

     There is a lot of fun to be had with this film and fans of Star Blazers will certainly want to see it. Despite a relatively low budget, the effects are excellent and the space battles exciting. The acting and story are quite over the top at times but that fits with the style of the film. The storyline is a bit confusing at times but this may not be an issue for those who know the original series. The music is suitably heroic and goes very well with the action. This film is a little like a Japanese version of Independence Day, just with the Japanese saving the world rather than the Americans.

     In short, this film is certainly worth a look for fans of space action films like Star Wars, especially if they enjoy Japanese culture or animation.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is excellent with one minor artefact. The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.

     The picture was very clear and sharp throughout. The shadow detail was excellent. The colour was also excellent, showing off the destroyed earth and the majestic space battles.

     The only artefact I saw was a strange black spottiness on a white sheet at 71:12. It looked like some sort of film artefact.

     There are subtitles available in English. They are yellow, clear and easy to read but a little small.

     There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is very good. This disc contains the original Japanese soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 and in LPCM 48/16 5.1. There does not seem to be a whole lot of difference between them. I listened to the DTS HD-MA in full.

     Dialogue seemed clear and easy to hear and understand, although Japanese is not my strong point. As I mentioned above the music by Naoki Sato was suitably heroic adding to the over the top style of the film. A Steve Tyler (Aerosmith) song plays over the final credits.

     The surround speakers were used constantly in the space battles and other action scenes but never quite rose to the heights of other Blu-rays. The subwoofer was also used a lot for crashes, explosions and music support.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu included sounds and scenes from the film but the menu text is a little small. If I have to get up and go to the screen to read text on a 52" television, I think that qualifies as being a little small.

Visual Effects - Before & After (12:15)

     Shows the green screen work plus the layers of VFX. Accompanied by music.

Pre-Visualisation (24:59)

     Compares final scenes to rough animated pre-visualisation.

VFX Scale Footage (1:07)

     Compares the scale of the VFX space ships to Japanese landmarks.

360 Gallery (5:07)

     360 degree views of the various ships and fighters.

Theatrical Trailer (3:11)

     Original Japanese Trailer.

Other Trailers

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film has also been released on Blu-ray in Germany (not English friendly) and in Region A (Asian release not US) which seems to be Region locked. For local English-speaking consumers, the Madman release is the best.

Summary

     A heroic and melodramatic space adventure from Japan.

     The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is very good.

    The extras don't add up to much but will be of interest to VFX geeks.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, February 03, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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