Film Review: Space Battleship Yamato (2010)

Moviestardom: The Final Frontier

by Ender’s Girl

 

The Cast:
Kimura Takuya, Kuroki Meisa, Yanagiba Toshiro, Ogata Naoto, Yamazaki Tsutomu

Directed by Yamazaki Takashi / Toho; TBS Films, 2010

In a Nutshell:
A single battleship and its doughty crew are mankind’s last hope against an invading alien race!!!

The Real Nutshell:
Kimura Takuya makes a bid for international moviestardom!!!

(SpoilLert: Well it’s that kind of film, so can there really be anything to spoil?)

It’s 2199 and there’s something straaange in the solar system: Earth is this close to getting nuked out of existence by an invading alien race – SO WHO YA GONNA CALL?????????????

KIMUTAKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Did the Ghostbusters theme song start playing in your head just now??? It did, dinnit??? Hahahaha)

The last time a cocky, nonconformist hero saved the world from imminent destruction while a Steven Tyler power ballad blared in the background, the year was 1998 and the movie was Armageddon. It’s 2011 and (a newly relevant) Steven Tyler is still caterwauling the same tune (well, almost), although the crew nationalities have changed from Eeemrrican to Japanese, the Earth faces a different kind of threat (enemy extraterrestrials! instead of giant asteroids!), and the hero (Kimura Takuya in full-on Moviestar Mode) has way more hair than Bruce Willis did in Armageddon (or anything he starred in since 1987, for that matter).

I don’t know if the producers of the 2010 Space Battleship Yamato remake intentionally hired Steven Tyler as a nod to Armageddon – and, by association, that other celestial-body-on-a-collision-course-with-Earth-OHNOES!!! flick from 1998, Deep Impact (whose plotline the Bay/Bruckheimer/Willis mega-production reportedly cribbed off, tsk tsk). Strictly speaking, Yamato isn’t a disaster sci-fi flick like Armageddon or Deep Impact, but it runs on the same basic premise: A motley crew of spacemen sets out on a hail-Mary mission to [insert planetary body], which they must [destroy/steal an alien device from] in order to save the earth. Chances of success or survival seem dire, but the intrepid officers and crewmen are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our planet!!! *cue [insert Steven Tyler song]*


As the first live-action feature based on the successful 1970s anime-manga franchise, Space Battleship Yamato was given its own daunting mission to execute: to entice the core fan base back to the mother ship; to wow new and younger audiences with astronomical (pun intended) doses of visual and sound FX; and to break into international markets and, er, boldly go where no KimuTaku film has gone before.

Growing up I never really followed the original anime, or even the dubbed U.S. release, Star Blazers. (I did watch a bit of Macross, but was a far bigger fan of the cheesy supah roboto shows like Voltron and Voltes V – eeewww, I know. Hahaha.) So I can’t speak for the Yamato die-hards and judge whether the live-action was a worthy remake or not – although a quick comparison of googled photos shows that the movie had the key visual references from the series pretty much covered – from the design of the Yamato battleship to Captain Okita’s naval uniform with the white combination cap, etc. – obviously so as not to alienate the nerds fans. Well, the franchise fans didn’t seem to mind: joining forces with a hefty slice of Japan’s moviegoing public AND Kimmy’s ever-formidable fanbase, they helped propel Yamato to the top of the box-office, where it knocked Potter 7: Part 1 off the No. 1 slot in December 2010 and maintained a strong showing for the rest of its extended run.

I wish I could say that I found Space Battleship Yamato extremely enjoyable, and that I would still watch the movie even without Kimura in it. But I can’t. And while the production design and VFX (more on that later) were very impressive for the relatively modest budget (relative to Hollywood, of course), there was little else that kept me stoked. Although to be fair to the movie, it stays faithful to the original story and its space-opera genre, not deviating off-course for even one nanodegree. But it also loses points for staying too faithful to a genre that started feeling dated a good while back. The familiar tropes of a traditional space opera, which decades ago may have felt as exciting as a freshly minted Galaxy-class starship, are now clichéd and outmoded. (“Built-in obsolescence,” yah? I guess even genres have a shelf life, lol.) Space Battleship Yamato safely tries to go where a whole bunch of sci-fi shows have gone before, but did I really want another retread of the same old stuff?

Again, trying to be fair to the movie, I get that its source material was a product of its time more than anything: As one of the earliest space/military sci-fi shows in Japan, predating even the Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica franchises, all the 1974 anime had for a template was the 1966-69 Star Trek: TOS, and you really can’t get more “space operatic” than that. So it’s no wonder that the Yamato franchise comes replete with all its genre conventions, like the predictable plot trajectory and stock characters; Shatneresque (lol) voice-overs; a preponderance of technobabble (shock cannons! meteorite bombs! wave motion guns!); highly evolved alien species possessing godlike technologies that can either save or destroy mankind; smart-mouthed robot sidekicks (but okay, I loved Kimura’s robot sidekick in this one, lol); super-cool mega-weapons (i.e. the wave motion gun, called a “laser beam on steroids” by tvtropes.com, lol); etc. etc.

It doesn’t help either that the live-action Yamato came out a few years after the Sci-Fi Channel’s excellent reimagining of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. This acclaimed 2004-2009 drama was a touchstone both for the space/military sci-fi genre and for television in general, smashing well-entrenched norms and opening global audiences to the possibility that, yes, there IS more to these types of shows than phasers and latex-suited aliens and spacecraft (or should I say, cameras? lol) that pitch wildly while the crew on the bridge scream, “We’re hit aft! Losing thrust!” “Incoming!” – and later, “Aaauughhh!!!!” (lol) So I’m not sure how the 2010 Yamato remake can still be relevant, let alone sustainably entertaining, in this post-Galactica world where “naturalistic science fiction” is the new paradigm, and adult audiences are seeking more sophisticated, character-driven instead of hardware-driven forms of entertainment.

Ah, well, on with our space J-popera: It’s 2199 and for the last five years Earth has been under heavy attack from a hostile alien race known only as “Gamilas.” The unrelenting blitzing by Gamilas forces – in the form of nuclear “meteorite bombs” – has reduced the planet’s surface to one vast radioactive funk and driven the human survivors below ground where they live like starving sardines in dingy, shoebox-type bunkers. (The fact that Yamato opened in Japan just a few months before 3/11 gives the film an extra meta dimension, doesn’t it? You also realize that though the story is pure science fiction, the effects of a full-blown nuclear crisis are already being felt in the present world. A disturbing thought.)

On the verge of utter defeat, the Earth Defense Force (EDF) musters one final counterattack, but the superior technology and firepower of the alien spacecraft wipe out the entire EDF fleet except for one ship. (The Earth Defense Force is supposedly a global military alliance of sorts, but the movie makes no bones about who’s in charge: in mankind’s ultimate war for survival, Nihon stands alone. Which is perfectly understandable – this is a Japanese movie after all; even Armageddon never bothered to hide its core theme of “White American Hero saves the world!!!” and the audiences lapped it up. So it’s moot.)

Soon after that disastrous space battle, a mysterious pod thing crashes on Earth, bearing what appears to be an alien care package from the planet Iskandar in a neighboring galaxy: there are hologram-encoded blueprints for two über-technologies, namely a device that enables faster-than-light (FTL) travel, and a humungous “wave motion cannon” that can vaporize enemy ships in a single ka-boom. Also in the capsule are coordinates to Iskandar, which happens to be in possession of an anti-radiation thingamajiggy. Whoever sent the message means for the humans to come and get said curative, and then race back to clean up Earth’s irradiated surface and restore the planet to inhabitable levels.  (I dunno about you but these aliens have pretty much taken the term “good neighbors” to a whole new dimension, lol.)

Soooo let’s see… FTL travel, a badass new weapon, and directions to a radiation cure-all from Earth’s new alien BFF. If that won’t make you think twice before jumping off into hyperspace towards what could very well be a trap, then I don’t know what will. But lo! – desperate times call for desperate measures, and so! – armed with this propitious new info, the EDF brass task their engineers to assemble said gizmos (from scratch!) – and yes, we are expected to believe that unheard-of alien technology will only take humans a few months, if not a few weeks to understand, let alone build. (We are “puny earthlings” no more, didn’t you hear!) But you do wonder why the Gamilas ships didn’t just finish the humans off during this lull, with Earth’s defenses virtually nil. Did the Gamilas E.T.s call a cease-fire or something? Them little green men ain’t so smart after all, huh? lol

Then the EDF (meaning Japan) takes it a notch higher and retrofits the FTL machine and wave gun cannon into the recovered wreckage of the battleship Yamato, that once-mighty flagship that saw action in the Second World War before succumbing to Allied torpedoes in April 1945. In a masterful confluence of digitally rendered matte-backdrops and CGI modeling, the newly resurrected Yamato cruiser breaks free of its subterranean shipyard and majestically lifts off into space, a titanium phoenix rising from the ashes of a post-apocalyptic landscape. (Considering that the anime came out just 30 years after WW II, one may say that this premise making the Yamato 2.0 central to a futuristic salvation story echoes Japan’s post-War nostalgia for its faded military glory, while recalling the original ship’s revered status as a cultural symbol for patriotic duty and self-sacrifice.)

And where does KimuTaku figure in all of this, pray tell? Why, he’s here… there… and EVERYWHERE!!! Lol. No really, he is: manning the controls of the Yamato 2.0… operating the wave motion gun… piloting a fighter plane… tussling with an alien hijacker… rescuing an endangered colleague… leading a daring ground assault team… steering the Yamato into its final maneuver… saving the planet – oh you know, the usual KimuTaku everyday heroics. You’re reminded that this movie is every bit Kimura’s star vehicle as it is a remake of a classic anime. So who does Japan love more – Space Battleship Yamato, or Dorama King KimuTaku? DOH, who cares??? Put them BOTH in one movie and see if you don’t hit pay dirt, hahaha. (Oh wait, the movie studio already did!!!)

Kimura’s character, the “ace pilot” (lol I’ll never get tired of saying that) Kodai Susumu is basically a torqued-up version of one of his most successful dorama character templates, the “KimuTaku as Tom Cruise” template. Kimura really just phoned it all in, reprising his roles as Maverick Pilot Shinkai from Good Luck! and Rule-breaking Hot-rodder Jiro from Enginebut in space!!! Lawl.  So when the EDF calls for volunteer crew on the Yamato 2.0’s last-ditch mission to Iskandar, guess who’s first in line??? Shinkai! I mean – Jiro!!! I mean – Kodai!!! Same thing, same thing!!! hahahaha (I swear, I think Kimura’s space uniform in Yamato was actually one of his racer jackets from Engine – I dare you to prove me wrong! Lulz. But it’s all good because oh baby the spaceman jacket suited him oh-so-faha-haiiin…)

Kodai is a man on a mission, but he’s also one man with <wait for it> baggage from his past (oohh, backstory!!! lol). Turns out he was a decorated fighter pilot who quit the EDF some five years ago after a counterattack he was leading against Gamilas bombers went horribly awry, leading to significant civilian casualties (among them his own parents – tsk).  Since then he’s eked out a living scavenging for rare earth metals, with only his trusty HAZMAT suit and a wisecracking calculator-sized data analyzing robot named, um, Analyzer to keep him company on the surface wasteland of Earth. It’s funny how life has been reduced to hell on earth, with humans either dying from radiation poisoning above ground, or subsisting on severely rationed supplies under it – AND YET apparently there’s enough hair product available to keep Kimura’s fluffy mahogany mane in perfect luster and bounce, LMAO. Don’t you think Kimura’s character should have turned bald by now from the chronic radiation exposure? A little verisimilitude here, producers?!?!? Yes? Yes? No?

So Kodai enlists – oh I’m sorry, I mean re-enlists – for the EDF. But OH WHAT’S THIS? He’s barely boarded the Yamato when the C.O. reinstates him as squadron leader, never mind that he could be, um, a little rusty after five years? So, um, no re-orientation program or refresher course for EDF dropouts? (i.e. “This is starboard.” “This is a joystick.” “That is Saturn.” Lol) No? None? Not even a few simulation runs to test the mental-physical reflexes of 38-year-old ex-pilots who may have spent a little too much time on the earth’s highly toxic surface? No? None? *sigh*

And that’s not all! Guess who gets to fiddle with the joystick of the Yamato’s prototypical (meaning it’s never even been tested!!!!) wave motion cannon, which apparently is the only weapon strong enough to vaporize Gamilas missiles??? Take a wild guess!!!! Hahahaha. So not only does Kodai find himself on the ship’s flight deck with the other *cough*active and more battle-seasoned*cough* officers, but he gets to be the point man for the prized weapon despite himself admitting to zero experience at the command console of a battleship. But never fear, for our Ace Pilot Kodai <wait for it> has read the wave motion engine manual!!! LMFAO.

Luckily for Kodai (and for the rest of the Yamato’s officers and crew, whose lives Kodai would have recklessly put on the line had he forgotten to read the manual ahahaha), the wave motion gun actually works!!! (I am seriously getting sick of saying “wave motion gun” ayayayayyy) The Gamilas missiles sent to intercept the Yamato are promptly obliterated, allowing the battleship to pull away from the earth’s gravitational field and into space.

The rest of Space Battleship Yamato is an alternating play of flashy, messy, noisy action with close-quarter interpersonal drama, obviously meant to give audiences (as well as the movie studio’s in-house CGI-churning elves, bless their hearts) a brief respite before the next interstellar dogfight or warp jump or whatever. That’s all very good, but I thought the movie’s aim was to let viewers catch their breath, not put them to sleep. The film bogs down when the story unduly magnifies the crew dynamics, mostly to expand on (and later give closure to) unfinished business or lingering tensions between characters X and Y. But these “downtime” scenes are often too drawn-out, if not completely inessential, and only serve to bloat the movie’s running time to over two hours. (The ponderous voiceover didn’t help the momentum of the movie, either, making me feel I was watching a show at the local planetarium.)

One of my issues with Kimura’s other “ace pilot” (lol) starrer, the 2003 dorama Good Luck!, was that the dramatic tension between the passengers and crew of the ANA flights felt so manufactured. Same with the crew of the Yamato: Aliens above, but these spacemen seemed to have way too many hang-ups for their own good, starting with (who else?) KimuTaku – er, Kodai, who joins the mission carrying an ax to grind against the Yamato’s skipper, Capt. Okita (Yamazaki Tsutomu). We learn that Kodai’s oniisama (Tsutsumi Shinichi in a cameo, and wearing a uniform that was probably swiped from the set of Good Luck! lol), perished with his ship when Gamilas forces nuked the entire EDF fleet in the recent ill-fated battle. Only Capt. Okita’s ship got away, and so Kodai blames Okita for causing his brother’s death, mistakenly thinking that Okita used Tsutsumi Shinichi’s ship as a shield so he could escape – when in fact it was Tsutsumi Shinichi who voluntarily sacrificed his ship on Okita’s behalf.

Some people just DON’T KNOW when to let it go, yo: Kodai just.carps. on. ENDLESSLY aboard the Yamato, and does everything to undermine Capt. Okita’s authority – from sniping barbs in the captain’s general direction, to defying a direct order to stay aboard when a fighter pilot (Kuroki Meisa) gets separated from her squadron following a skirmish with Gamilas pursuers. Of course Kodai goes off to find Meisa, and of course they make it back to the Yamato milliseconds before the next scheduled warp jump, thereby justifying his insubordination once again. I guess it wouldn’t be a “KimuTaku as Tom Cruise” type of role without him giving chain of command The Finger – that’s KimuTaku for you, saving the world… but on his own terms.

When the movie is three-quarters done and Kodai is still taking Capt. Okita to task for leaving his brother to die in space blah blah, that’s when you realize just how badly and cheesily written the script is, particularly in the supposedly “emotionally charged” moments. I mean this was the scene where the captain was in his sickbed for frak’s sake, about to confide to Kodai the Mutinous all the secrets his ship carried – but Kodai couldn’t keep his bitter little trap SHUT for just one minute, couldn’t stop reminding the old man how they were nothing alike because he’d never leave his comrades behind. Sheeeesh.

And I don’t know if the Capt. Okita from the anime was supposed to be as stern and humorless as he was portrayed in the movie, but I expected more from actor Yamazaki Tsutomu – never mind if he looked like Captain Haddock’s grizzled grandpaw (though I wouldn’t have minded seeing him roar out “Blistering blue barnacles!!!” “Troglodytes!!!” and my favorite, “Ectoplasm!!!” just for the heck of it, lololll). It’s just that I greatly enjoyed his performances in Kurosagi (in spite of YamaPi lol) and in Departures because his characters had a twinkle to them, a sense of humor mixed in with irony, which I didn’t see in his character in Yamato.

Capt. Okita’s relationship with Kodai is a big fat flatliner despite attempts by the writing to play up the vaunted similarities between the two men. Too much time is wasted on scenes where crew members tell Kodai that he!is!justlike!theCaptain!!! while Kodai rolls his eyes or snorts in disbelief before making another gibe at the poor skipper.

There’s one scene where Kodai gets thrown in the brig (for disobeying ze captain, what else? *rolleyes*) and the chief engineer Tokugawa pays him a visit. A fleet veteran who knew Kodai from the old days, Tokugawa (played by the actor who also played Kimura’s beloved otosan-in-law in Karei naru Ichizoku) lends a sympathetic ear to the younger man, then tries to explain how Kodai is really a <wait for it!!!> younger version of Capt. Okita. *rolleyes* I liked Tokugawa but didn’t appreciate how his character was only good for perfunctory exposition and for belaboring the Kodai-Okita Ties That Bind Rainbow Connection. Actually, Kodai’s time in the brig is pretty pointless because he goes scot-free like, the next day or something. (And here I thought insubordination was a serious military offense, tsk.) At least the jail stint gives him an excuse to zip off his jacket and do sit-ups in his undershirt, showing his biceps brachii to glorious advantage, heh heh heh.

Another major character with a serious chip on her shoulder is Kuroki Meisa’s character, a prickly little hottie who liberally dispenses scowls and right hooks like a KAT-TUN member on a bad hair day – no wonder nobody likes her. Her beef is mainly with Kodai, whom she idolized in her days as a new recruit, but whose abrupt exit from the military five years ago left her disillusioned and without a father figure (hahaha).

Meisa is one idoru who knows how to play up her strengths and physical attributes (for one, she’s freakin’ gohrgeoussss), and who doesn’t seem to mind being typecast this early as the Token Tough Babe. Still, it doesn’t do her much good to phone in her performance the way Kimura does in this movie. She played someone similar in Ninkyo Helper but at least she managed to draw out highly relatable aspects of the character; she wasn’t just a sexy, one-dimensional gangster in that drama, but a person – an independent woman, a fiercely loyal friend, a girl secretly in love. She also had terrific chemistry with Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, which is more than I can say for her and KimuTaku in Yamato.

You’d expect the combined sex appeal of Kimura and Meisa to ignite some chemistry between their characters, but it’s like all they had in the Zero G of outer space was Zero C – as in zero chemistry, hahaha. Theirs is a rather lame-o “love story” marked by a few heated exchanges on the ship, followed by a couple of emotionally raw, life-and-death moments… aaand before we know it, they’re making out in her cabin and – oh what’s this? – they’re doin’ the horizontal mambo just as the Yamato enters warp drive. Hahahaha WTF??? What is this – warp sex or something? A… quantum quickie? Hahahaha. Er… faster than the speed of light, eh, Kodaiii? *wink, wink* LOLZZZ (Hey I just thought of more alliterative sex-in-space terms: interstellar intercourse? cosmic congress? FTL… er… never mind. LMAO) But don’t you think it’s – I dunno, SO irresponsible to just go off on a shagalactic time out (aka “Lust in Space” ahahaha) when your sleep-deprived crew mates are ALL PRESENT at their stations, trying their darnedest to keep the ship afloat while staving off the next wave of Gamilas attacks? Tsk tsk tsk.

On second thought, better Kuroki Meisa as the love interest in Yamato than Sawajiri Erika, who was the first choice for the role but got booted off the project for – I dunno, diva issues? ego issues? Kimura issues? (lol) I shudder to think how Sawajiri would’ve handled such a dangerous intergalactic mission: she probably would’ve cried all the time or maybe even summoned her pet magical butterflies or something. (1 Liter of Tears/Shinobi fans go: “Heyyy. Low blow!!! Low blow!!!” lolz) Fragile thing, it’s a good thing she stayed home instead.

But there are a few times when the interpersonal development actually works. For instance I enjoyed Kodai’s scenes with Shima (Ogata Naoto), the Yamato’s chief navigator. (Shima’s pregnant wife was among the collateral dead along with Kodai’s parents in the wake of Kodai’s disastrous mission five years ago. Shima’s son survived but lost his hearing.) Kodai and Shima’s backstory is given enough time and space to unfold, quietly but realistically. And when the two old friends and former shipmates find a chance to reconnect on the flight and learn to put the past behind them, none of it feels contrived.

It’s also quite a relief that Space Battleship Yamato has likable minor characters played by an able supporting cast. Besides the chief navigator Shima and the chief engineer Tokugawa, I particularly liked the chief S&T officer Sanada (Yanagiba Toshiro, who also played the stern but cool senior E.R. doctor who whipped YamaPi’s butt into shapely – er, shape in the Code Blues); swaggering Saito of the Space Commandos (Ikeuchi Hiroyuki, also seen in Beautiful Days and Tatta Hitotsu no Koi); and perhaps my favorite character of all, Analyzer the sentient robot, who shares an unexpectedly touching moment – or two – with Kodai. Analyzer reminds me of Calcifer the fire demon from Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (and guess who voiced the wizard Howl? KimuTakuuuu!!! lol). If they were people, Analyzer and Calcifer would make a fine duo of wisecracking, know-it-all geeks – or just the sort of guy friends I used to hang out with in school (and still do, lol).

The chipper youngsters of the Black Tiger fighter squadron – Kodai’s old unit – didn’t appeal as much to me: I neither cared to know their names nor felt a twinge of anything when a number of them were KIA. And from the “gruffly affectionate big bro” manner that alpha Tiger Kodai treated his still-loyal space cadets, you’d think you were watching a spinoff episode of Engine II: Lost in Space, hahaha. Just imagine the Engine rugrats growing up to be, um, fighter pilots, and they meet KimuTaku in the mess hall of the Yamato – and what else would you expect but cute, playful banter!!! reminiscing and catching-up!!! heartfelt gestures of loyalty!!! (Guhh but this Good Luck!EngineYamato mash-up is seriously messin’ wid my brain, lolzzz)

Then there’s the cat-toting ship doctor (Takashima Reiko) who doesn’t even know what “warp” means until a crew member in the hallway has to stop and explain it to her. WHUTT. I liked Takashima Reiko in her past roles, but her naïve and constantly befuddled character in Yamato was mildly irritating. Someone tell me why the Earth Defense Force picked a person so lacking in presence of mind, and so ignorant of basic aeronautics to serve as ship doctor? One thing’s for sure – she ain’t no Dr. Beverly Crusher from the Star Trek: TNG series. Oh well.

The scene that packed the most emotional punch for me wasn’t KimuTaku’s rah-rah-rally speech on the embattled ship’s bridge towards the movie’s climax; nor was it the loss of a beloved officer to a lingering illness, or even the perilous ground raid in the warren-like tunnels below Iskandar (or should I say… Gamilas? lol); and it definitely was not that protracted parting scene at the movie’s close. The most effectively touching moment for me was earlier in the film, when the Yamato’s crew were each given a minute of face time with loved ones on Earth before communication lines were cut off as the battleship exited the solar system. I don’t know about you but my eyes were not dry afterwards. This reminded me of Liv Tyler’s immortalized hand-on-static-screen shot from Armageddon – or that equally poignant scene from Deep Impact where the shuttle crew say goodbye to their families. It’s quiet but deeply personal moments like these that are ultimately more satisfying than the melodrama and hyperbolized human conflict that often plague stories set against large-than-life (and louder-than-life) backdrops.

Speaking of backdrops, the art design of Space Battleship Yamato is really commendable, the digital effects comparable to those from any Hollywood film. I enjoyed all the visuals – from the striking panoramic shots of the earth’s gasping, dust-strewn surface; to a brief scene where Kimura crosses a bridge spanning the multi-tiered bunker city the survivors have carved out underground; to the wicked-looking Gamilas ships that resemble gothic arthropods; down to the Yamato’s design – sleek yet robust, fitted with a long, red hull and gaping nozzle, and cruising through space like an interstellar whale. Super cool!

The Yamato interiors attempt to channel that distressed, space-retro vibe the 2004-2009 Battlestar Galactica series managed to make cool again: spartan and functional, if a little worn, as befitting a military vessel – and way more realistic, too, than chrome-and-leather flight decks. As for the digitally imposed Gamilas aliens, they look like standard-issue extraterrestrials so no surprise there: humanoid but not too humanoid so as to be unsettling (like Mel Gibson’s “burn-victim” visitors from Signs). Still, I think I would’ve enjoyed something looking a little more outta-this-world, like that hilariously grotesque brain bug from Starship Troopers – the brain-slurpin’ scene was SO much fun to watch! lol

All in all, not bad for something made under 24 mil USD. (Hollywood flicks can cost five times more on the average.) So big props to Yamato director/VFX supervisor Yamazaki Takashi (Returner), although let’s not discount claims that KimuTaku used his clout to get the VFX team to spruce up the visuals after finding their initial efforts wanting. His main motivation? A little movie called Avatar. Legend has it that in early 2010, Kimura was sitting in a cushy downtown-Tokyo theater after a screening of the James Cameron eco-epic. He then turned to his date wife besto friend Kame agent and sobbed, “Why can’t we come up with something like that? Why??!!???”

Okayyy so maybe I embellished a bit, lol. But Japanese media reported that Kimura pushed for spiffier FX when Yamato was already in post-production, even if it meant having to re-shoot certain scenes and re-layer the CGI. But the process wouldn’t come cheap – which is why Kimura offered to take a huge pay cut just so his, um, Avataresque vision could be achieved. A true meta moment for the star of a movie whose core theme is self-sacrifice – although one can also imagine what other belt-tightening measures the studio must have resorted to, like… cast and crew having to eat nothing but Skittles until production wrapped, or Kimura having to, uh,  share a trailer with Kuroki Meisa, lol.

The final act of this rambling space odyssey is a cavalcade of textbook heroics, though if you stuck around long enough you’d see the Independence Day and Armageddon (and, uh, Fly Boys Fly!) moments coming from a parsec away – right down to the fuzzy little epilogue (okay so that epilogue was more of a… Pearl Harbor moment, lol). (And I can assure you that Space Battleship Yamato is nothing like the 2003 alien-themed K-movie Save the Green Planet, hah hah.)

But in spite of the plot clichés and the drama, there’s something so inherently and historically Japanese about this film’s central theme of an individual – be it person or ship – making the supreme sacrifice for the sake of their nation. It’s the ultimate bushido ideal: complete your mission in a blaze of glory, or falter and flame out. For whatever it’s worth, perhaps Yamato is just the type of film that Japanese audiences need at this time, an unabashed tribute to their remarkable grit and resilience as a people.

When it comes right down to it, Space Battleship Yamato is Kimura’s baby (and not just the cute critter we see frolicking on an impossibly green Earth at the movie’s close – it’s as if the alien invasion never happened! and if the kid’s mother actually possessed a sense of humor, she’d name him “Warp Child” or “Kal-El,” hahaha). With this film, Kimura has taken his signature Cocky Nonconformist Hero Who Saves the Day on His Own Terms template, blown it up for the big screen, and beamed it far and wide for all the world – nay, the galaxy! – to see, announcing to the nations and the planets and the pulsars that THIS is his flagship role, so damnright you better expect MOAR!!! repeat performances (or variants thereof) in his coming *crossfingers* blockbusters . Call him a late bloomer, but he (and his fans) can now say with growing conviction that, YES, A MOVIESTAR IS BORN. (LOL) So the universe can go screw itself, but the Man from Japan’s got a Mission and a Plan… So excuuuuse Cap’n KimuTaku while he kisses the sky, and takes his Ultimate Hero character to infinityyyy and beyooooond…… Or for now at least, just to a theater near you.

Grade
Artistic & technical merit: B
Entertainment value: C+
Overall: B-

 

***
Photo credits: dramacrazy.net, drama-otaku.com, fat-geisha.blogspot.com, film-book.com, jfilmpowwow.blogspot.com, liveforfilms.com, nipponcinema.com, starblazers.com, tenkai-japan.com, tokyohive.com, total-manga.com, yamato-movie.net, zdoramaagain.blogspot.com, zimbio.com

 

Oh, and speaking of aliens, here’s a public service message from The Little Dorama Girl:

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Hahahahahahahahaa

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55 Comments on “Film Review: Space Battleship Yamato (2010)”

  1. Jara Says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I thought your review was funny as all hell. I’ll probably be watching it – if only for Meisa ‘Mambo’ Kuroki lol. And poor, poor Erika. There are some things she’s never gonna live down.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey thanks!😉 LMAOOO @ ‘Mambo’😀 The nickname actually makes sense given her Latina blood, lol. Well, the girl looks great in everything she’s done. And I can’t believe she’s already worked with Shun, Kimura, Tsuyoshi and, uh, Kame. Lucky her! =P

  2. bmwracer Says:

    Wow, another comprehensive (and exhaustive) review, though I’m not surprised seeing that Kimutaku was front and center in this outer space train wreck.😛

    I wouldn’t have even watched the film if I didn’t download it for a friend of mine who’s a big Yamato fan.

    I’ll not make that mistake again.

    LOL.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Thanks beemer😉 Er, sure it’s “exhaustive” and not “exhausted” — as in “this made me exhausted”, huh? Hahaha

      Lol, I doubt there’ll ever be a Yamato sequel, so fo’ shiz you’ll never get to make *that* mistake again.😀

  3. Jenny Says:

    Damn you! Now I have the ghostbusters song ín my head!!!
    I was thinking about seing this film and started to but it was late and even Kimutaku didn’t wake me up. zzzzzzz

    Meisa had zero chemistry with Shingo as well in Shiawase (well that drama was also generally bad) and I had always imagined Kimutalu could have chemistry with a lightpost. I guess this proved me wrong.

    Kimuras first choice was actually Aoi Miazaki and she’s been turning his offers down for years (lol), then came Sawajiri who I guess hoped it would have been her comeback but then they chose Meisa, I guess to be safe. She’s so gorgeus (just look at her photobook, she makes me feel old and fat) to look at but sometimes she can be so wooden in her acting.
    And finally rofl at that Kame pic.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Oh Jenny you poor thing, singing the Ghostbusters theme in her head all day long!😀

      “I was thinking about seing this film and started to but it was late and even Kimutaku didn’t wake me up. zzzzzzz” << LOLLLL I think Oda Nobunaga did that to me. I think I’ve tried watching it like 4 times but always end up zzzzzz. Even a young KimuTaku in his red shoulder-/chest-baring happi jacket didn’t wake me up.😛

      Ooooh I didn’t know Miyazaki Aoi was Kimura’s first choice for the Yuki role! Kewl (and juicy!) info, thanks for this!😉 Hmmm I wonder why she doesn’t want to work with him… Mebbe her hubby Takaoka Sousuke doesn’t want her to? hehe

      • Jenny Says:

        I usually like action/sci-fi movies, I mean Iloved Star wars and even the new Star Trek(live long and prosper) but this had the potential to be good but at least it did well in the box office and gave Japan a chance to show that they can make big budget movies.
        Yeah, Kimura has been wanting to work with her for years but she keeps refusing him, but Aoi’s projects are usually more human and not very mainstream (except for Nana)
        I’d rather choose Takaoka over Kimutaku any day.
        http://gifninja.com/animated-gifs/213757/battleship-meisa

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          ^ LOL that gif was too funny!!! I’m amazed at how easy it is for you to find this stuff on the web!🙂

          “Aoi’s projects are usually more human and not very mainstream (except for Nana)” >> Really? I think that just ramped up my respect for the girl!

          • Jenny Says:

            I found it in another blog but it’s awesome!
            I’ve seen some of Aoi’s movies and if you compare her to other actresses her own age she is definetely more careful with her projects.
            The director is the same who made Always sunset on 3rd street (3rd film is coming out next year) and his wife directed k-20 the action movie with Kaneshiro Takeshi.
            Personally I loved the Always movies, they are feel good and the characters are fun (Tsutsumi Schinichi, Koyuki and Horikita Maki etc) but this film just wasn’t good unfortunately.

          • Ender's Girl Says:

            The first Always movie was shown at a recent Eiga Sai here but I didn’t get to catch it. Whoa, I did not know the K-20 director was a woman! :O I liked the visual style of that movie, and the story is very popcorn-friendly despite ripping off every masked crusader caper you’ve seen (V for Vendetta, Zorro, etc.). Anyway Takeshi Kaneshiro is cute in everything period, so that was a nice bonus xD


  4. […] Since 2004, Kimura has been making one film a year, and 4 times out of 5 with such internationally respected filmmakers as Miyazaki, Yamada Yoji and Tran Anh Hung, aside from Wong Kar Wai. This is not to say, though, that all of his recent forays into SeriousActorLand have been critically praised. (Separate film reviews to follow.) But as of press time, KimuTaku’s latest flick — Space Battleship Yamato – is in the offing. Could this be the dawning of a new era in his film career, i.e. KimuTaku the Movie Star? Hmmm… *strokes chin* (Read my Space Battleship Yamato review) […]

  5. mil. Says:

    As an old ne… fan of the manga & anime I was mostly annoyed when I heard that they decided to do a live action for it now – even though the KimuTaku element did give me some thrills and justify some of my fant… re-imaginings of the story. *coughcough*

    I was prepared to be disappointed and from that point of view the film didn’t disappoint me – just like your review! Never a disappointment! – but Steven Tylere themesonging it totally made me WTF out loud. Not that I expected SMAP to come up with some heart-wrenching tissue-consuming hair-ripping power-ballad instead. Or did I?

    BTW, your comment on how SBY is too old-format for the post Battlestar audience is absolutely spot on. If it was really necessary to milk on Matsumoto’s heavy influence on the genre ne… fans there were other more character driven pieces they could have picked from. And while the artist formerly known as the dorama king might be a tad too old to be the lead character on a Galaxy Express 999 rendition (even though would this even stop him from taking the role if asked? Doubtful) his age would make him a quite suitable Harlock. But we all know why that fant… idea can never come true: He! Would! Have! To! Cover! His! Immaculate! Face! With! A! (dare I say it?!) SCAR! *collapses*

    Finally, the Kame graphic killed me. Killed me I say!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “Not that I expected SMAP to come up with some heart-wrenching tissue-consuming hair-ripping power-ballad instead. Or did I?” << Oooohhh now there's a thought!🙂 I doubt the Fab 5 could really come up with something so OTT dramatic, though, as any given SMAP song will invariably end up making you go "la-la-la-la-la-la" while arm-waving and smiling benignly.

      LMFAO @ "artist formerly known as the dorama king" 😀 Now you got my head filled with visions of Kimura performing all those Prince songs. All that weird sexual energy! haha

      “He! Would! Have! To! Cover! His! Immaculate! Face! With! A! (dare I say it?!) SCAR! *collapses*” << Ahahahahahaha so funny. But so true! Kimura defacing himself / donning a fat suit for a role will be the biggest sacrifice he'll ever make in his career. (But the question is, do WE want him to do it? =P)

  6. Peggy Says:

    Not sure I really want to make a comment on this ?? film?? anime??
    Not caught up in anything “Kimutaku” who is a non entity to me. I do know and love Takuya Kimura, and why he thought this effort was worth his time is a mystery to me. I confess I am not into manga or anime (except something called HOWL..but look at the studio and director and man of magic there) Anyway all the machinations before a blue screen leave me cold. I’d even prefer a wild Korean historical battle scene. At least it would be in glorious blood colours and people would be doing all the crashing and flying through the air. This battleship was constantly in gloom and the interior needed a good mopping up and dusting. No way to run a ship. Even all the emotions were on hold and I felt I was looking at the film through a glass darkly from start to finish. If you want to make a fantasy then do it one hundred per cent. This was a very halfhearted production and I can see Kimura san getting a stomach ache after watching
    AVATAR….
    It will probably take Kimura a few more dramas without roaring love scenes to make people understand that he is no longer interested in doing them. He is finding it hard to break into a new level I think. He is smart enough to know he is not the young lion anymore and I also think he cares a lot about being a family man and needs to change his persona on screen.
    Re leading ladies. He does not choose them… he only has a the choice to say no.
    I loved watching the US TV series Star Trek and it was funny and interesting and novel. I would not want to watch it all over again. I would not want to watch Battleship over again but for a different reason…it was DULL.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “This was a very halfhearted production and I can see Kimura san getting a stomach ache after watching AVATAR….” << Hahaha funny!😀

      Hmmm… as for the interiors, I actually liked the dark, austere look of the ship. I figured, if your crew are doing all they can to NOT get bombed my enemy aliens, the last thing on people's minds would be their room cleaning schedules…

      “It will probably take Kimura a few more dramas without roaring love scenes to make people understand that he is no longer interested in doing them.” << But–but–I'm interested!!!!! I'm very very interested!!! I just wish he'd do *those* scenes with more mature actresses (e.g. Natsukawa Yui). The more Kimura pairs off with starlets half his age the more I don't want him to.😦

  7. Ellen Says:

    Gee! I thought it was fun. I mean, there’s no way I was going to take it seriously (though to hear the mails from Japanese folks to KT on WUS, they certainly did). I love Kimura as a hero. No one better to save the world, err, universe, I say! I’m actually sort of glad to see him as a real movie star and not in some art house thing no one ever sees (I Come with the Rain). I agree that his best scene was the one where he did not call his relatives back home and I’m sorry he doesn’t always – in all his roles – have more to stretch him, but… I still thought this movie was a hoot! Doin’ at warp speed is a new dream of mine now!

    And as always, EG, your review was also a hoot! I don’t think we need to worry about any future alien invasions now that Kame has spoken!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey Ellen! Yes come to think of, I’d rather see Kimura in 83434838 Yamato-type roles than to watch 0.45 seconds of him playing that writhing hobo in Rain. (Ugh the memories!)

      “Doin’ at warp speed is a new dream of mine now!” << Seriously? But it'll be over before you even begin — now where's the fun in that? Hahahaha😛

      “I don’t think we need to worry about any future alien invasions now that Kame has spoken!” << ROFLLLLLL Kame = Klaatu? GOLD.😀

  8. Peggy Says:

    Really agree that E.Gs review was more enjoyable than the epic film….

  9. Mrmz Says:

    All I can say… Really enjoyed your review😀
    I’ll read it again After I watch the movie some time in the future😉

  10. Ulli Says:

    Oh, this was BEAUTIFUL, lol!!!! Just watched the movie yesterday in the cinema (Kimutaku’s hair on a big screen = EPIC win, hahaha) and kept thinking of you and your dorama/Kimutaku reviews! I actually enjoyed the movie – yes, it was corny, but it also had such a lovely nostalgic feel to it that I personally enjoyed as a Star Wars and Star Treck nerd. And I think Kimutaku did really well, he is only getting better as an actor, and I really, really, REALLY hope we can see him in many more movies (come on Hollywood, whaddaya waiting for??).
    Also, can I just point out how ridiculously GORGEOUS and intensely droolworthy he looked throughout the movie? Especially in those scenes where he takes of his jacket…yum, yum, yum. Methinks ‘someone’ has been working out for the big screen, and hurra for that!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey thanks! Nice of you to think of my blog while you were watching Yamato.🙂

      “Methinks ‘someone’ has been working out for the big screen, and hurra for that!” << I know right??? He actually looked trimmer and more toned in Yamato than he did in TsukiKoi, ne?😉

      Not that I expect Hollywood execs to be falling over each other offering him their calling cards after Yamato, but I’d still like to see Kimura do a Hollywood movie — only if it’s NOT some D-level dud like The Warrior’s Way (Jang Dong-gun’s “hello Hollywood, I’m Jang Dong-gun and I’m a big, big, big movie star in Korea!” launching vehicle). So it’s all very chancy really. I guess something more popcorn-friendly like GI Joe (Lee Dong-gun) or Speed Racer (Bi) would be a’ight.🙂

  11. Eliza Bennet Says:

    Same here, I enjoyed the review and plan to read it again when I watch the film. No matter how boring the film, at least I’ll have the Kimura factor.

    Kame was hillarious!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hahaha thanks very much!🙂

      Heh heh I seriously didn’t know that Kame graphic would be so… well-received, lol. I only added it as an afterthought… which I guess kind of shows how he’s been lurking in my subconscious all these months, yikes. @___@

  12. Peggy Says:

    I can’t leave well enought alone E.G.

    I re read your splendid report. It still is splendid but I think I have to give this film a little slack to be fair. There was redeeming cinematography in many places. Usually without any people cluttering up the place. The script was not invigorating but then it was SciFi and from a manga. Some things did stick out as impossible and could not be excused when you think of all the dangers and radiation that they were saying would finally finis off the planet. Kodai hiking around talking to his electronic friend was hard to believe. I mean his safety was non-existent. I still would not have minded this if at the end they had not shown his offspring wandering around on a renewed green planet. Not only would Kodai have lost all his hair…he wouldhave fried every sperm in his gonads and his fertility wwould be kaput. Not even Kimura san could overcome such radiation hauling space junk

    I know..it’s a manga..anything can happen.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “he wouldhave fried every sperm in his gonads and his fertility wwould be kaput. Not even Kimura san could overcome such radiation hauling space junk”

      ^ Hahahahahaha this made my day!!!!!!! You’re hilarious Peggy!😀 The radiation-induced sterility never crossed my mind but it makes PERFECT SENSE. And it makes the ending scene look way sillier than it already is. x__O

      • Peggy Says:

        Besides I just realised he would not have any hair at all wandering around on the radiated surface on the earth. (Just looked at the picture at the top of this review. somehow can’t quite picture Kimura without his locks.

  13. Achilleas Margaritis Says:

    Am I the only one who sees this movie as incomplete, due to missing Desslok? half of Star Blazer’s charm was the arrogance of the bad guys – and Desslok in particular.

    in fact, by not making the enemies humanoid, the story of Alex and Starsha is missing too, as well as the moment where Wildstar finds his brother.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      I agree that the lack of a credible and interesting villain weakened the whole narrative. But I soon got past that when I realized the movie couldn’t make me care anymore about Kimura or Meisa’s characters — or Earth, for that matter. It got to the point where Yamato became just this excuse to keep chomping on popcorn while admiring the cool VFX. The presence of plausible bad guys would’ve made for a more engaging dynamic among the characters, but I doubt this could’ve saved the film from the slow pacing and outmoded sci-fi tropes.🙂

  14. Peggy Says:

    A.M
    I have not read the manga and do not know the history of this story but I must say that it did seem to be lacking something throughout. You may have hit on the missing link

  15. jicks Says:

    ahahahahaha, the pic of Kame, EPIC!!!!!! Yamato EPIC!!! As if your random stabs at him and KAT-TUN throughout your review weren’t enough… you just couldn’t restrain your love, could you? LOL

    “I don’t wanna close my eyes, don’t wanna fall asleep…” Had to do that because OMG, that “Liv Tyler’s immortalized hand-on-static-screen shot from Armageddon” scene you mentioned is one of the teariest moments in cinematic history! And it gets me crooning everytime *sobs* (Was Ben Affleck really worth the sacrfice?~~ I mean, what has he done since that film?) Poor Brucey.

    Well, your thoughts on this review have certainly made me realise to do one thing- go in there watching this NOT taking anything seriously— esp since I am nit the guest sci-fi fan. I actually would’ve preferred Sawajiri Erika over Kuroki Meisa because I feel like Erika is the better overall actress but then again, I guess the set couldn’t possibly accommodate for TWO galactic divas, LOL. I did also read somewhere once about Miyazaki Aoi turning down Kimura Takuya time and time again- not sure how true this is, but apparently the girl doesn’t think the age difference btwn them would make for a believable love pairing^^;

    AND YET apparently there’s enough hair product available to keep Kimura’s fluffy mahogany mane in perfect luster and bounce, LMAO. <<—Gravity evades those with Gatsby (and probably those with botox, lol)😀😀

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Oh I’m so thrilled you liked the Kame placard! (Err… love, what love??? hahahaha Dang but I just can’t fool you, can I? Blarghh >__<)

      “(Was Ben Affleck really worth the sacrfice?~~ I mean, what has he done since that film?)” – LMAO probably not, come to think of it! *regurgitates Pearl “I wanna be the next Titanic SO BAD” Harbor memories* In fairness to Benny he seems to be more adept behind the camera than in front of it. (I mean did you see his Boston heist drama The Town? Pretty good ;-))

      “but apparently the girl doesn’t think the age difference btwn them would make for a believable love pairing^^;” – Ahahaha IKR???😀 Although sometimes… I dunno but it does work sometimes. I mean there’s like a 13-yr age gap between Mia Wadikowska and Fassy in Jane Eyre, but OH MAMMA I DINT KURRR THE CHEMISTRY WAS AMAZING!!! (Then how come with Kimmy and a leading lady in her twenties it’s just… eeewww? lolz)

      “—Gravity evades those with Gatsby (and probably those with botox, lol)” – GAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Mebbe that’s why Kimmy’s animatronic plushie was looking up at him so dubiously in the Gatsby CM… xP

      • jicks Says:

        Ooh, I never made it through all of Pearl Harbour, it got far to heavy/gory for me. Going by your feedback, it sounds like I made a good decision :DD Not seen The Town but I think you might be right about Ben Affleck being better behind the cam. I only have Good Will Hunting to go by but it definitely backs that observation up! (I also think he may have gotten distracted during his Jenny-From-The-Block years, lol^^;)

        And for the record, there will always be the one and only Titanic! Whenever it comes onto TV as a repeat I still always sit through all 3hrs of it and it is the only movie I have seen multiple times in a cinema. And as much as I love all his other work, this is my favourite Leonard DiCaprio role ever. I mean, who wouldn’t wanna jump off that freaking ship in the middle of the freezing night into sub-zero waters with a penniless nomad of an artist— seriously, I bet my willingness to do that is much, much greater than Kimura’s thirst to be taken seriously in the dorama ratings again, LOL. Long hail the (ex)Dorama King!

        ahaha you are SO loving on Michael Fassbender (Kame be’a watch his skinny butt, lol ;PP)! Haven’t see Jane Eyre but Mr Fassy certainly does ooze some serious radiation and Mia Wasikowska is sooooooo pretty (& both can actually act) therefore it doesn’t surprise me that there would be hotness overload. I agree that huge age differences can and has proven to work. One of my favourite series of all-time is this story based around the aviation industry called Triumph In The Skies (botchy name I know… but you get that with alot of the series out of Hong Kong.) It’s a Hong Kong TVB series, released in the same year as a certain other “I wanna become a pilot” series (Riiiiiiiide on tiiiiiiime!!!!!!)- there was a 15year age gap between the main dude and his girl, but OH MY they make for one of the cutest and one of my favourite couples ever❤

        To be honest, I don't have a problem with Kimura playing roles where romance is involved but it's the TYPE of character that he plays that I think he needs to be much more selective of. I don't think too much "courting" & "wooing" &/'or "playboy" action should be something he engages in anymore. At his age (sorry I am making him sound ancient~~ lol) I think he should stick to characters who possess strong, loyal, single-minded, protective instincts, someone would put his entire life on the line for his family & his one, true woman of his life.

        And yes, pairing with less girly girls/more mature women will most definitely help methinks. No need to try to act all hip and trendy anymore. Just be a man and be cool.

  16. kay Says:

    BAWAHHAHAHAHAH this was one of the funniest reviews i’ve come across. i especially enjoyed your alliterative sex-in-space terms. =] and thank you for that image of kame. ::shudders:: are you watching any doramas lately? i just came across Kingyo Club and i must say it makes me think of nobuta but with less dialogue, no awesome akira lines, but makes up for with an actual romance and an extremely cute OTP. no one makes high school dramas like japan. ahh i feel so old now.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Heh heh heh ssankyouu for the compliment!😉

      Kingyo Club — I actually had to DWiki this up since I couldn’t remember the title from the sundry forum discussions. This is worth a watch, you say? Too bad the ratings were shockingly low (I mean I didn’t know you could get lower than Kame’s 6% whine wine drama ughh). Yeah, from how you describe it, the premise does feel like how NwP would’ve turned out if it were just Nobuta and Shuji (and if Shuji were less cautious about school image and had just enjoyed high school for the fun ride that it is). (I guess the tradeoff for no Akira would be the OTP, then? But — nooooo I want my abnormal Akiraaaa) Anyway I will try to get my grubby paws on this drama, maybe try out a few eppies🙂 To answer your question, I am egregiously behind in my dorama watching and not following a particular show atm. (boo E.G. booo!!! you suck E.G. you succck >P)

      “no one makes high school dramas like japan. ahh i feel so old now.” – Ack I know how you feeeeel Q__Q Although high school stuff is all I seem to be watching lately lol. (Kimi ni Todoke, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, etc etc). I have yet to watch a high school movie or drama that has the same effect on me as NwP did (and still does), but I guess I’ll have to prepare myself for the eventuality that such a show does not exist😦 Will try to give Kingyo Club a shot though^^’;;

  17. himonogirl Says:

    Sempai! You’re so hilarious >__<
    Unfortunately for Yamato, your witty review was so good that it actually makes me reluctant to watch the movie. I know it'll never live up to your rendition of it.

    That and the fact that I'm far from being a sci-fi fan. Or a Kimutaku fan.
    But I love Capitaine Haddock! Bwahahahaha, this cosplay was spot-on, I almost can hear : "Mille millions de mille sabords, marins d'eau douce" (yes, I'm french). If only he weren't so apathetic.

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG, WOMAN! (yeah, I wanted to scream it)

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Lol thanks for the vote (or scream?) of confidence!😀 You’re more than welcome to drop by anytime!😉 Omg you’re neither a Kimura fan nor a sci-fi fan… how the heck did you stumble across this blog anyway? lol ^^;;

      (Eeew please don’t call me sempai, it makes me feel, er… j’ai 100 ans hahaha)

      Speaking of Capt Haddock, how stoked are you for the Tintin movie??!?!?!😀 I mean Spielberg Peter Jackson Jamie Bell Andy Serkis Daniel Craig = an explosion of awesome! /can’tbloodywait

      • himonogirl Says:

        haha, so you could tell it was a scream? Of course I’ll drop, you can count on me!
        I knooooow!!! I’m totally indifferent to Kimura’s charms (*hides from rotten tomatoes*), but I was searching for blog reviewing japanese dramas/movies, and…..I discovered this gem of a blog!
        snarky comments, wit, irony? I’m IN!

        awww, non, tu n’as pas cent ans! Ok, then I’ll try the “onni” card, it works everytime (as my korean girl friends told me….ESPECIALLY when said to ahjummas XDDD)

        Do you believe me if I say that I was turned off the minute I heard about a movie adaptation of Tintin? This project has been in works for so many years I thought it would never see the light of day. And here I watched the trailer! And daaaaaaayummmmm! It looks quite good actually! Well, I think I’ll have to go beyond the fact that I hate 3D, and swallow how Tintin and Capitaine Haddock look like video game characters…No, really it looks really good, action-packed, stunning sceneries, and the humor I loved so much when I watched Tintin animations when I was a kid.
        I thought I’d hate the new voices, used that I am to the old ones, but I watched the french trailer, and I have nothing to complain about. I’ll most surely go see it😀

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          Haha, no flying rotten tomatoes from my end! You like who you like, period.😉 Besides, I used to be impervious to Kimura’s charms too! I actually used to find him flat-out ugly, hehe >_<

          I loved Tintin as a kid too, I collected the comics and watched the cartoon and everything. I believe the live-action will be released very soon. Hope it exceeds both our expectations!😀 (I'm not the biggest fan of motion-capture 3D either, although I do remember enjoying Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf. xD Still, there’s nothing like the simplicity and beauty of hand-drawn animation. Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and the Disney Renaissance films like Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast are my all-time faves. xD)

  18. Claire H Says:

    God, how I love you❤

  19. ralphm1999 Says:

    Being a long standing Star Trek Trekkie, I started watching SBY. I will read your review when I finish. Don’t want any spoiler although I doubt a spoiler would make any difference. I’ve seen 1 1/2 hours now. I’m caught up in one of the better Kdramas “The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry” so I have to split the time.
    But I want to share my preliminary reaction. First I keep waiting for Captain Kirk to appear. Then is that a re-incarnation of Scotty in the maintenance section…
    I am enjoying the Japanese facility for superb special effects. The spaceship looks like a worn cast out Enterprise. Naturally ‘warp’ is a given.
    Now as for KimuTaku I have trouble placing him in a space ship leader environment. I keep flashing back to Love Gen and the space genius transformation does not work. Look, don’t throw stones at me…. Kimutaku is my most favorite Asian male actor. Well, let’s see if I get a new insight in the second half of the movie.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Oh I didn’t know you were a Trekkie, ralph!😀 I think I was more into Star Trek: The Next Gen than the original series. I used to watch the TNG TV series and movies back in the ’90s. Absolutely loved the 2009 film though.😉

      Lol, if you saw 1 1/2 hours of Yamato but opted to go watch something else instead of finishing the last 30 minutes, it doesn’t say much about the movie’s ability to hold your interest. :O

      “Now as for KimuTaku I have trouble placing him in a space ship leader environment.” — Really? I always thought this kind of hero role was Kimmy’s forte. Or maybe it’s because your recent LoveGen re-watch is still fresh in your memory?🙂 Not seen his Antarctica drama yet but his role in it appears to be identical to his Driven-but-Charismatic-Expedition-Leader character in Yamato.

  20. Helicidae Says:

    Have you heard? Bakanishi married this Meisa person after having knocked her up.😦

    Word is out that Johnny-san’s mad as a horny… a hornet… since Jinny Dearest conveniently forgot to inform his lord and master about the impending nuptials. (Which makes on wonder: Could it be possible that said lord and master is entitled to some kind of jus primae noctis in case one of his underlings plans on tying the knot? Would definitely explain why so many of them are still single.)

    Kame’s not too amused either: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TnAZJGHT_HU
    As a fangirl of several years, I’m a little heartbroken right now. And also delighted – I seem to be blessed with the gift of precognition. Meaning, I saw that coming: Jin’s obsession with babies and wanting to get married ASAP? Yeah, he totally planned this. Considering the jimusho’s marriage ban, he knew that a shotgun wedding would be his only real chance to get himself a Mrs. Eggplant. And so he decided to pull a KimuTaku.

    Will this affect the budding overseas career of this amazingly talented and smart Japanese super pop-tart? Stay tuned to find out as this Japanese super pop drama continues…

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Yeah I heard the news, but only because one of the readers here left a comment.🙂 I was shocked just like everyone else (Johnny-san being “mad as a horny” ahahahaha). Anyway I made a few graphics over the weekend, posting them in a bit xD

      OH CRUD the Youtube vid got shot down. What happened in the vid? What’d Kame say????? I need to know!!! Poor little thing must be devastated, bwahahaha

      That primae noctis bit…. OH. HEM. GEEEEE. Totally killed me!!!! Oh my eyes, my eyes!!!!!! Now I’m imagining Johnny-san as that lecherous soldier from Braveheart, the one who tries to rape Catherine McCormack before Mel Gibson comes to save her. I know it’s a different scene from the primae noctis scene in said movie, but that wizened old soldier was REALLY GROSS that I thought of him when you mentioned Johnny, ugh.

      Wait. Jin… obsessed with babies? Srlsy??? When? How? Why?

      And “Mrs Eggplant” => YELLOW GOLD BABY!!!!!😀 (Good grief, Meisa will never hear the end of this)

      • Helicidae Says:

        Thanks for that piece on BakaMessa! It was brilliant!

        As for that video: Gosh, they are quick!
        What Kame said? Um, well… Let’s just say that there’s no way his reaction could be lost in translation – despite the lack of subs.

        He was promoting some Panasonic product when a reporter had the nerve to ask him about Jin’s marriage. And he answered… with eloquent silence. Just stood there, forcing a semi-smile that seemed about as real as Pamela Anderson’s boobs.
        Boy, he looked really pissed. And rightfully so. Jin gets to live his dream (sex & drugs & a rocky career path) while all Kame has to hold on to is a little blowdryer. Not fair!

        But see for yourself (at around second 20). This video should still work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nVdZ0TMtNI4

        “Jin… obsessed with babies? Srlsy??? When? How? Why?”

        Oh hell yeah! Whenever he’s shown with kids, he’d dote on them like his ovaries were about to explode. And in interviews, he’d never fail to mention how much he wanted to be a young dad.
        Two years ago, he even hinted that he’ll just “do it (=getting married) when I do it” – much to the horror of the interviewers. *lol*

        Well, maybe it’s because his own parents had him really young too. His mother was freaking 15! *gasps* (She’s now only 43 years old.)

        Here’s a good summary of the above mentioned interview: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/despite-his-appearance-this-guy-really-has-a-positive-pov-about-marriage
        And in case you want to watch the whole thing: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xc0zem_hanamaru-cafe-akanishi-jin-subbed_people

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          Ohnoes, the Youtube video happens to be a private vid so I can’t view it either. But thanks just the same, I appreciate how you took the time to look up all these links for my benefit (and for the other readers as well).🙂

          Anyway your description of Kame’s pregnant pause (pun intended haha) at the Panasonic launch was more than adequate! It’s just the kind of thing I can imagine him doing, that little b*tch, lol xD

          “Jin gets to live his dream (sex & drugs & a rocky career path) while all Kame has to hold on to is a little blowdryer. Not fair!” – Aahahahaha too funny!!!😀 In that case, may that blowdryer give Kame all the comfort he needs, ‘coz this year is bound to be pretty rough.

          And thanks for the links to Jin’s musings on parenthood. This really puts him in a different light now, since I had no idea he actually had it in him. Although it’s also possible he was just saying those things to push Johnny’s buttons (Kame’s as well, lol), given his tendency to be disagreeable or perverse when he feels like it.🙂 But then again, maybe fatherhood is exactly the kind of thing that Jin needs at this point. Maybe being a dad and husband will be the turning point for his life, the way it was for Mark Wahlberg, who successfully transitioned from street punk/bad boy rapper Marky Mark into a dedicated family man and respected industry player.😉 (Lol I can’t believe I mentioned Jin in the same breath as Marky Mark! My apologies to Marky Mark. :O)

          • Helicidae Says:

            How annoying! Seems like the powers that be (…Mr. K.?…) have decided not to let you watch this video. When I posted the link, it wasn’t private yet, I swear!

            > Although it’s also possible he was just saying those things to push Johnny’s buttons (Kame’s as well, lol), given his tendency to be disagreeable or perverse when he feels like it.

            Personally, I doubt it. He’d been saying the same thing for years. So yes, I guess he’s happy. Still disagreeable and perverse but happy. *rolls eyes*

  21. Helicidae Says:

    Yeah, I know, I haven’t commented in here since ages. Sorry about that. Due to much, much (!) travelling I had to live with a crappy internet connection these past 17 months. Oh, the horror! But I’ve read most of your entries. Keep up the good work and please don’t abandon this blog! It’s so refreshing to know that there are a few sane JE fans out there for a change!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey no worries, dude😀 I haven’t posted in my own blog in ages, so how about that? lol

      And thank you muchly for that vote of confidence! I shall remember it when the dry days (creatively speaking) come… ;D

  22. Ridia (: Says:

    On my crummiest and most boringest of days, I’m glad my fingers find my way to your blog! I actually checked your blog for a post right after I watched Yamato but it wasn’t here yet! :p

    Got another MAJOR LOL from you! THANK YOU! was totally anticipating your take on Kuroki Meisa…and you did not disappoint ahahaha! Although I was kind of disappointed that Erika was not casted. Would’ve been more interesting to see if she could pull off the tough cookie-hottie character instead or Meisa who’s kinda already that symbol don’t you think? But I agree, Erika…has issues haha.

    So so watched this for Kimmy (nice new nickname you gave him :p)! It didn’t really disappoint, at least I got a few laughs and cries out of it, though the interstellar intercourse (my favourite alliterated phrase!) completely MORTIFIED me. SO. RANDOM.

    And the last scene…gosh, totally Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End post-credits scene! I experienced dejavu when I saw Meisa with the kid ZZZ…not amusing haha

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey Ridia! Great to hear from you!😀 Aww, thanks for the lovely comment, I’m really glad you got a LOL out of this post! =P

      Oh, I didn’t coin the “Kimmy” nickname, I first heard jicks use it in our early days of blogging, and it kind of stuck as our term of endearment — much like Jinny or JinJin, PiPi, and… oh right, we don’t have a term of endearment for Kame. lol

      “And the last scene…gosh, totally Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End post-credits scene! I experienced dejavu when I saw Meisa with the kid ZZZ…not amusing haha” — Yeah IKR!!! LAWL @ the At World’s End connection, but I’m totally with ya ;D

  23. remco de vries Says:

    your review of the movie rocks.😀
    all together tho, i do like the movie in principle. it’s a classic reborn after all.
    the only bad part about the movie is the ending battle. i mean, did they forget that the story of season 1 was just that? season 1.
    and yes the ship can be rebuild but you’d figure that in 2199 they would be able to build better ships after they are done rebuilding the earth lol.
    anyways, enough from me. love your work, keep it up!


  24. Hi E.G.
    Not sure why but I got four messages this morning from your place and they are all two years old. ??? Are you closed for the duration or are you still in operation. You never pop up anywhere that I can find you any more. Are you well, are you working. Is your drama bug still lurking. Is Kimura still a lodestone in your life. He still attracts me and I follow tho his dramas are so hollow. I think they don’t know how to let him go. He needs a good taiga and they say they have one coming. It will be Nobunaga and I long for him to have that creature sent from heaven..Seto Koji is hi name.
    So beautiful.

    Oh Well. Got that Big Bang Fever. It will pass.
    Love Peg.


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