Where last year saw the release of the first animated extension of the venerable Space Battleship Yamato anime franchise in many years, late 2010 saw the release of the first ever attempt to do Yamato – better known to English speaking audiences as Star Blazers – on the big screen in live action. Though there have been tantalizing glimpses from video games over the years that hinted at CGI being ready to depict the Yamato’s endless devastating battles and ground-rattling launches, talk of Yamato or Star Blazers in live action form had, up until now, been nothing more than talk.
2009‘s animated Space Battleship Yamato: Rebirth Chapter‘s soundtrack revisited many of the key musical themes built up by the late, great Hiroshi Miyagawa and the composers who followed in his footsteps, and combined that music somewhat jarringly with numerous well-worn pieces from the world of classical music. Needless to say, many longtime fans were curious what the live-action film would do – would it refer to the original series’ music at all, or do something completely different?
As it happens, the answer lands somewhere between the two. Composer Naoki Sato reverently quotes several themes dating back to the first season of Yamato on TV (which aired in 1974), but arranges them for a huge orchestra and choir. These themes are interspersed with completely new material seamlessly, and the whole thing plays out on a grand scale – to put it mildly, it’s majestic. “The Universe Spreading To Infinity” goes from a single female vocal to an entire choir, and eventually joins with snare drums to become a funeral dirge (probably for Admiral Okita, assuming this movie is following the Quest for Iscandar plot and condensing it into two hours). The Yamato theme is also quoted in its entirety numerous times, and bits of it are quoted for flavoring throughout. If the production design’s obvious reverence to the original vehicles, uniforms and character “looks” of the original series isn’t enough of a stamp of authenticity, then the music certainly is.
The new musical material is worthy of sitting alongside the classic Yamato themes, too, and they bring the whole thing right up to date. “Gamilus” is clear that the slurring-brass sound of Michael Giacchino‘s music from Lost has survived translation across the Pacific, and “Enemy Fleet Disappearance” is a suspenseful piece of mysterioso music that begs comparison with selections from John Williams‘ music from Star Wars. Being compared to such things is not a bad thing.
Naoki Sato wisely chose to come storming out of the gates with Space Battleship Yamato, and the result is an addictively listenable soundtrack. Now someone needs to hurry up and bring the movie to these shores so we can see how good the rest of the package is.
- Space Battleship Yamato Opening Title (3:36)
- The Man Who Became Thin (1:16)
- Desired Vessel (4:18)
- Wave Motion Gun Discharge (4:40)
- Gamilus Fleet (3:27)
- Return (2:45)
- Gamilus (0:48)
- Orders (1:40)
- Enemy Fleet Disappearance (3:22)
- An Instant Of Calm (4:25)
- Consolation (1:42)
- Beautiful Blue Star (0:49)
- Crisis (2:15)
- Belief (2:12)
- New History (2:28)
- Cosmo Zero Takeoff (4:38)
- Truth Of Radioactivity Removal Device (5:53)
- Entrusting The Future (2:07)
- Earth (2:36)
- Desslar’s Retaliation (3:23)
- Those We Protect (4:43)
- Final Salute (3:07)
Released by: Crown Tokuma
Release date: 2010
Total running time: 66:10