Since it started to run in Japan as a theatrical release in 2012, fans overseas have wondered about a release for the new Space Battleship Yamato series, Yamato 2199. It wasn’t clear if the spectacular remake of the landmark original series (released here as Star Blazers in the late 70s) would leave Japan until recently.
The best answer we can give is “kind of.” The release (renamed Star Blazers 2199 after the US broadcast) is in single volumes – , a format that died out in US anime around a decade ago. The choice is yours between six $45 Blu-rays or six $35 DVDs, and the last one will cost more because it has six TV episodes instead of four. The discs will only be available at the starblazers.com site and at Kinokuniya, a Japanese book chain that not many Americans off the coasts have access to. So there’s the plan: the only way to watch this series legally will be to put up over $300 on a series the theoretical buyer has presumably not even seen yet.
Furthermore, the marketing campaign for Star Blazers 2199 has been a little odd. Mostly the website makes announcements via videos of swimsuit model Shiori Kawana – in full cosplay as Yuki – flipping announcements written down on paper. Production values are zero, and the informal presentation doesn’t look very planned out. Pretty awkward, hard to watch… You know, even describing it makes me feel bad. Just look for yourself.
If you’ve been following this kind of thing for a while, you know that this is the kind of thing that happens when Japan handles a foreign anime video release themselves. It’s just weird to see it keep happening. Hopefully the folks behind Star Blazers 2199 are also going to supply a more reasonable way people to see the show: we hear it’s some of the best sci-fi anime in years, and it would be sad for the series to go completely unseen outside of Japan.