Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thoughts about old anime- not too smooth animation, sound that make your ears hurt but....

I have been watching Uchuu Senkan Yamato recently and I finished the first series. It's the oldest anime I watched and I am quite excited. Of course this post won't be a review of Uchuu Senkan Yamato, I will write one once finished all three series. This will be about how I feel about the animation in that years- that is 1974. Of course I know it's bad to judge the animation of this decade just by watching one anime but I would like to share my thoughts.

When watching Uchuu Senakan Yamato I felt like I'm watching something important in the history of Japan, some cult anime, like Cowboy Bebop. Anime aired when I wasn't even in this world, I don't know what happened in Japan in years of 1974-75, I don't know the foundation or history but it was some exiting experience. When thinking about old series I get this feeling that it must be some propaganda in it. Like talking about war, anime shows how honorable Japanese people were and the rest of the world is bad. At first I didn't get this feeling from Uchuu Senkan, the Yamato battleship history at the beginning avoided Second World War thread as much as possible. The Yamato crew are fighting for all earth and although Japan represents earth here it didn't get that war vibe. But than it strikes me- the Gamilias represent Japanese army here.

I find it strange that the Gamilians are behaving more like Japanese than the Yamato crew themselves. We can witness two kamikaze attacks from they side. The ruler named Desler have a habit of naming the minefield after his name and general Domel behave like he read to much bushido code. As for earthlings I can only see relation by naming the characters from important Japanese people like Okita, Todo, Tokuwaga, Hajime and Yamanami. The more strange thing is that Gamilians have Germany-like names. I really don't know how to interpret this.  

''I don't know if we should fight like Japanese or Germans Desler-sama? You would rather go with Heil or Banzai?''

Many of you are wondering how the animation look and I must warn somebody who is used to perfect smoothness it obviously look bad. Mouth don't move as seiyuu speaks, some elements that were there a moment ago don't appear in next frame, the colours change suddenly and there's a lot of repeating animation. But it's obvious when watching anime from this year, right? I quickly get used to it but one of the elements I just couldn't stand- the sound effects. They were so bad that my ears hurt. Laser beams, explosions and rocket launches sounded horrible. Of course seiyuu sounded differently too, somewhat sham but it wasn't disturbing.  

If you easily got pissed by anime logic you wouldn't stand watching Uchuu Senkan Yamato. The Galinians suddenly changed their colors to blue, somebody don't wear a helmet even if they cannot breathe in this atmosphere, ships are changing color and create additional seats. The battleship is indestructible, even if some parts flakes off they are there in the next episode. Even an amateur in sci-fi like me facepalmed in some moments. Some of them are also funny, like Okita never takes his hat, even in bad. There are also many deus ex machina that appears almost in every episode. Especially at the end you wouldn't believe how overdone it is. What you could find strange is the narration. The voice in the beginning always seas how many days are left to Earth's doom, it seas it in every episode in the end and always declaim introduction in the beginning in case someone forgot what this anime is about. Yes, every single time.

''Is this just me or we weren't blue a moment ago, Desler-sama?'' ''It's just a small detail, general.''

In the end I don't regret watching Uchuu Senkan Yamato. It was a great experience watching an old anime like that and I want more, especially Capitan Harlock by the same author, Leiji Matsumoto. The animation is bad the sound is bad but I won't expect them to be great in anime of this year. Lot of deus ex machina, lot of analogical actions- it's nothing compared to that strange feeling when you are watching something important in Japanese animation, that you are listening to the most identifiable opening off all time. The journey of old anime is exiting and I hope I got much time to continue it.  

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