I liked anime before it was cool. In fact, I don't even think it was called anime yet. I would come home from school so anxious to see the next episode of Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato in Japan) that I'm sure my parents thought I had a disorder of some sort. I really felt like I was on that trip to Iscandar to save the Earth and if I missed the show, they might not make it. It was a great show and I've read that it was the first serial animated show, meaning that you watched them in a certain order to get the story. It was so different and so serious compared to most after school cartoons, and I couldn't get enough.
Fast forward about thirty years, almost forty since the original aired in Japan, and we are gifted the series, "Yamato 2199" by those wonderful animators in Japan. I've just finished watching the entire 26 episodes and it is AWESOME. The story is the same as the original, though they've changed a few things up a bit; added a character or two, plot tweaks, science tweaks... but overall it's the same story, just updated and slathered in awesome-sauce. I also feel like having the original story to follow forced them to avoid some of the pitfalls that turn me off of most anime. For instance, the ships are piloted completely by adults. There is no special gifted fourteen year old who happens into a weapon of war and is preternaturally an expert at using it. That's anime code for realism, ha!
Needless to say, being the geek I am, I had to find some way to enjoy hobby stuffs whilst paying tribute to this beautiful blast from my past. Enter, the Bandai Yamato 2199 series of 1/1000 model kits.
There have been Yamato kits since the 1970's in all sorts of scales. Over the course of my life I've owned and lost, broke, or otherwise stopped owning a half dozen at least. However the new series is, so far, a more focused effort on the part of Bandai. The kits are all 1/1000 scale. Not huge, but they are doing a better job than ever sticking to scale, and these are all new tooling using the latest magic that they do to create plastic kits. And when it comes to Bandai plastic kits, it is magic. Being a 'not huge' scale, they also give you multiple ships when the ships are smaller. And, they've returned to an old tradition of putting a small non-scale ship in the boxes as a bonus. Nice!
So if you've read this far, you deserve some pictures... if you just skipped to here go back and read the wordy bits, we'll wait for you...
Quick, before they get back, let's go!
Presenting the United Nations Cosmo Navy Combined Cosmo Fleet Set 1.
This box set comes with three ships that are featured in Episode 1 at the Battle of Pluto. I'll not get my geek all over you by naming them, but basically it's a battleship, a cruiser, and a destroyer class ship.
Inside are lots of sprues full of bits. All modeled in color so you can get away with minimal or no painting and still have a decent looking model.
|The kits include waterslide decals... they even sneak decals for other ships in to encourage collecting them all|
|This bag includes the sprue of the non-scale bonus ship, a Triple Deck Aircraft Carrier!|
And a couple shots of the instructions. They are in Japanese, but all parts are numbered and the pictures explain things more than adequately.
If you've never seen the series, I'd recommend it. You'll have to read the 2199 version as it is subtitled only right now. There are talks of it coming over as Star Blazers 2199 though, so a dubbed version may be available in a few years. One problem with the current version is it is available only in Japan and the prices are... um... insane? We're talking close to $600 for six Blu-rays. And the DVD version is harder to find and really not any cheaper. There are other ways to watch a bit of it though. Keeping in mind that I'll buy it as soon as it's released over here (so the price is within reason) I'd offer this link as a good place to start if you'd like to check the series out.