Today, the wonderful folks at Io9.com made my gradeschool dreams come true. I can’t believe I missed this news first time around but Holy Gamilon this is awesome. Granted it’s coming out in Japan first, but this movie has to be making its way to the United States shortly after. I love Star Blazers.
I spent hours of my youth (and adulthood) watching Star Blazers. In some ways it eclipsed Star Wars during my formative years, and nothing makes my wallet itch like the sight of a Yamato battleship model kit. I can’t begin to describe how engrossing this series is for me, an ensemble cast, a ticking clock like 24, epic space battles, the brotherhood of battle and the moments when that bond is tested, breaks, and is mended, and highly science based concepts that keep you on the edge of belief. Watching Captain Avatar lead the honorable conflict against blue skinned enemies while flying a Titanic vessel was the stuff of modern legend… and makes James Cameron look like a student screenwriter.
In the series, Earth has been irradiated and is on the edge of environmental collapse. Earthlings live underground, going deeper and deeper into the decaying planet until a message of hope arrives when a beautiful visitor crash lands with a message of salvation. The far planet of Iscandar will help Earth build a regeneration device but they must travel across the galaxy and back in one year before Earth is destroyed.
The crew of youthful idealists join the aged Captain Avatar and board the Yamato. Built on the ruins of the original Battleship Yamato, the crew starts a race against time and embarks on a very well written humanistic quest of hope and self-realization. Loniliness, duty, love, and trust drive the characters as every single man and woman finds their purpose. The series deals with death and sorrow in a way that children can understand, yet moves adults.
Not without it’s villains, the evil Gamilons led by Desslock are a space reich looking to conquer and erradicate Earth civilization. The Star Force proves more resilient than Desslok imagines, and his plan to the destroy them becomes fueled by his respect for the enemy, culminating in a powerful duel with Derek Wildstar where he learns that Earthlings are motivated by the same passions as his race of Gamilons. He becomes an almost tragic villain, more sinister than Ed Harris’ disgruntled general in The Rock, but more emotive Palpatine. He’s a Magneto, not Khan.
The main hero, Derek Wildstar, has all the cockiness and recklessness of a certain F-14 pilot played by a certain scientologist. Keep in mind, this maverick predates Top Gun by more than a decade. But Wildstar has a complicated friendship with Mark Venture, much more strained than Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, which the show also predates by a good THREE YEARS.
And then there’s Derek and Nova. This video compilation set to Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” might be the cheesiest thing I’ve ever seen, but if you can get into it and watch the way they interact in animation, you’ll understand that over the course of a 6 DVD box set, this is a wonderfully created love story, complicated by their duty to save earth and the close knit relationship between Derek, Nova and best friend Mark Venture.
And that is part of the awe I have as an adult watching Star Blazers. It was ahead of it’s time. It featured a holodeck which would be borrowed by Star Trek: The Next Generation, and an environmental message that predates the green movement in the US by decades. As our space program now faces tremendous challenges, I wonder who will be ready for the call if Earth was taken to the brink of Oblivion, and the only way out was in the stars…