A space battleship fights alien enemies and travels 30,000 light years in a quest to save Earth
If there’s one thing that could make an SF anime fan squeal, it is a classic like Space Battleship Yamato. Released in the 1970s, the anime is considered to be as influential in Japan’s as Star Wars or Star Trek, and it even became popular in the West as the anime was dubbed as Star Blazers.
With Space Battleship Yamato 2199, released in 2013, we get a much deserved remake of the sci-fi classic with a big budget, fantastic visuals, and great action.
The anime follows the titular Space Battleship Yamato as it goes on its solo mission to save Earth, which is now scorched beyond recognition by alien attacks. These attacks from the Gamilans – the aliens – render most of Earth’s surface uninhabitable. Humanity is driven to utter chaos and forced to live underground, with not more than a year before total extinction. Can humanity be saved?
In its final season, Game of Thrones tried to subvert expectations. It kind of forgot about character development. But more than 20 years ago, Berserk got its villain right.
Game of Thrones finished airing more than a year ago. Many have decided to forget about it than remember the travesty that was the final season. Why did the dragons die? Why did Dany transform so suddenly?
Above all, why did the people of Winterfell hide in the crypts during an Ice Zombie apocalypse?
One thing that helps answer these questions is to compare it to an anime series called Berserk. It is a dark fantasy series, based on the manga by Kentaro Miura, that started its run in the late 1990s.
In a lot of ways, Berserk is similar to Game of Thrones. It is set in a medieval era with protagonists trying to grapple with their ambitions, lust, morality, and duties. It has relentless violence, both physical and sexual.
But above all, both have characters who are deeply flawed, who want the world in their grasp, and who collapse into madness when their dreams crumble into dust.
A despised group of psychics search the galaxy for a place they could call home, while being persecuted by humans. Along the journey, the different motives of the protagonists clash, creating a truly spectacular story.
There’s something about moral ambiguity that is deeply disturbing but strangely enchanting. If the classic myths like the Ramayana talk about the struggle between good and evil, our modern epics like Game of Thrones talk about the struggle between…well, people. This grey versus grey morality, rather than black versus white morality, forms the bedrock of many fantastic anime, such as Tokyo Ghoul, Berserk, or Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
And then, there is Toward the Terra.
Toward the Terra (2007) is based on a late 1970s science fiction comic written by Keiko Takemiya, which in turn is inspired by a sci fi novel written in 1940 called Slan, written by A.E. van Vogt.
The series starts in way that is very familiar, nearly cliched. A 14-year old school boy named Jomy discovers that he is a Mu, a race of mutants with psychic powers. But in this dystopian society ruled by artificial intelligence, the Mu’s existence is kept a secret. What’s worse, once kids pass the age of 14, they have to take a test, and they are killed if the test shows any signs of them being a Mu. In the past, there were even genocides against the Mu.
Nearly killed himself by the humans, Jomy is rescued by other Mu who are in hiding…