Nearly a quarter of a century since it last flew across screens, the popular Japanese animated space opera Space Cruiser Yamato, known in the United States as Starblazers, is making a return. Yoshinobu Nishizaki, who produced the original television series as well as the franchise’s four theatrical spinoff films, has announced he is planning on returning the series to theaters in 2009 with a new installment.
According to Variety Asia–
Set in 2220, the pic will depict the evacuation of 300 million people from Earth to avoid certain death from an expanding black hole. The Yamato, a space battleship, is leading the rescue fleet when it is attacked by an alien force.
Nishizaki has established an animation studio for the project, called appropriately enough Yamato Studio, in Tokyo and has already staffed it with 40 people. Character designer and animator Tomonori Kogawa, whose career traces back to such anime classics as Gatchman (i.e., Battle Of The Planets) and Robotech is set to be the film’s animation director.
The original Yamato series premiered in syndication in the United States in 1979 under the title Starblazers. Riding the science-fiction craze sparked by the popularity of Star Wars, the show was one of several Japanese imports that sparked an interest in that country’s genre output. In the mid-1990s, Disney developed a live action version of the cartoon, but the script was terrible and it never went into production.