PiFan 2012 Showcasing Classic Anime SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO Film Series

James Marsh, Asian Editor
With just over a month until the 16th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) kicks off in South Korea, we get the first news of what to expect from this year's film programme. Space Battleship Yamato, known to audiences in the West as Space Cruiser Yamato and Star Blazers, was one of the most influential science fiction anime series to come out of Japan in the 1970s. 

The series follows the adventures of Captain Juzo Okita (Abraham Avatar in the English dubbed versions) and his crew as they head off into space in a craft fashioned from the wreckage of the famous World War II naval battleship, Yamato, in order to save the planet. After an alien attack renders the surface of the Earth inhospitable, the entire human race retreats underground, but their time is running out.

After originally airing in 1974, the first season of Space Battleship Yamato was condensed into a single 130-minute animated feature that hit Japanese theatres in 1977, eclipsing the release of a certain George Lucas-helmed sci-fi adventure film that opened that same summer. In fact Space Battleship Yamato proved such a success that a second film was immediately put into production, Farewell To Space Battleship Yamato, with many more to follow, on both the big and small screens.

PiFan will be screening five Space Battleship Yamato animated feature films at this year's festival, which runs from 19th-29th July, with after-screening discussions led by luminaries from both the Japanese and Korean worlds of animation. The films screening include:

Space Battleship Yamato (1977)
Farewell To Space Battleship Yamato (1978)
Space Battleship Yamato Forever! (1980)
Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage (1981)
Space Battleship Yamato: The Final Battle (1983)

It sounds like a fantastic opportunity to see these pillars of animation on the big screen, with an adoring audience, and is a cinematic event not to be missed!

The press release goes on to extol the virtues of the series further:

'Space Battleship Yamato', a story of Yamato setting out on a space journey to acquire a device that can heal the ravaged Earth by the aliens' radiation, was born from a producer Nishizaki Yoshinori with breakthrough planning and Matsumoto Leiji, a renowned manga artist and the father of 'the Galaxy Express 999'.     

The infinite yearn for the space and romantic worldview, characteristics defining unique Matsumoto Leiji has brought a revolutionary impact on animation industry that had only been preserved for the children.  The explosive popularity of theatrical animation followed by TV series has rated as the New Generation animation and led a way to the theatrical films.   

In addition, even from today's standpoint, surprisingly sophisticated design of Yamato battleship has led the 'Otaku' craze, a layer of passionate enthusiasts of 'mechanics' in the history of Japanese SF animation. Since then 'Mobile Suits Gundam', 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' and other works have pioneered the SF series creating the SF animations boom.

PiFan Programmer Alice Yoo who organized <Yamato Special> brings up the concept, "'Space Battleship Yamato' has an absolute presence within the SF animation, one of genres PiFan loves.  Especially it has established the format of theatrical animation, I wanted to provide this opportunity to meet Yamato films featuring in theaters to as many domestic fans as possible."       

Turning to its 16th edition, PiFan is armed with the renowned cutting-edge programs including <Yamato Special> and audience friendly environment for not only theaters but event spaces as well for PiFan becoming the greatest genre film festival of the world.  The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival will open its festive door to everyone from July 19th to 29th for 11 days at Puchon.



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