By Tim Eldred, June 2005
I once heard a lecture from the physicist, Stephen Hawking, regarding black holes. He said that a civilization like the Earth’s was not likely to survive for long as it is, but he also said that there were many worlds like Earth in the cosmos. I once read a short SF tale about Earth being in danger, and its citizens embarked on a mass exodus to the stars for another world to colonize. I suggested to Producer Nishizaki that he should put these two ideas together. He liked it, so this is what will bring Yamato back again.
–Shintaro Ishihara, 1994
STAR BLAZERS REBIRTH!
25 years after the original mission of the Star Force, a black hole approaches the Earth and threatens to destroy the entire solar system in one year’s time. Most of humanity has migrated away to colony planets and are now being attacked by a mysterious enemy. With the Earth Defense Forces scattered, only one ship remains to call upon: the Argo. Captain Derek Wildstar is called out of retirement to lead a new Star Force, consisting of both veterans and new recruits, including Wildstar’s daughter, Miyuki. The rebuilt Argo launches into space, carrying a deep secret that only Wildstar suspects.
As this new Star Force learns to work together, they must confront unexpected enemies from the Argo‘s past battles. They will also learn that Desslok is still alive, something that was never revealed to the world at large. Ultimately, they will have to face the deadly black hole itself, and all the anger and hatred of everyone who fell in battle against the original Star Force.
If any of that sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back for paying attention. I’ve just described the plot that was developed in 1993 for Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection, a revival movie that Yoshinobu Nishizaki wanted to make for the loyal Japanese audience. The project did not solidify at the time, but enough of the story details leaked out for us to take up the charge on this side of the globe. [Update: of course, everyone now knows that the planning restarted in 2008 and Yamato Resurrection premiered in 2009, but that’s another story.]
Although the Cold War has ended, chaos among people has taken its place. We want to focus on how youths would live and survive in an age of chaos. On the other hand, we also want to illustrate how wonderful our planet Earth really is.
–Yoshinobu Nishizaki, 1994
I personally had the honor of drawing Star Blazers comic books for Voyager Entertainment around the same time Yamato Resurrection was in the planning stage, and I was looking forward to the new story as much as anyone else. It never occurred to me then that I might one day be in a position to bring that story to life, and now that time has come. Even as you read these words, I’ll be returning to the drawing board to begin the task of bringing Rebirth into the realm of Star Blazers the best way I know how: as a comic strip! Starting August 1 2005, you’ll be able to read it right here on this very website, in a series that will run for as long as it takes to tell.
A future generation faces dark times. The fate of not only the earth but the cosmos itself is at stake. Although Yamato is the spirit of Japan, the new Space Battleship Yamato will be the means to save all of humanity. Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki is making this new version to create a better civilization. We need to have the courage to use the right tools at our disposal to make that future come true.
–Shintaro Ishihara, 1994
Not having been at the table when Nishizaki and his crew conceived this story, I can’t pretend that my vision will precisely match theirs. To the contrary, I have only their initial concepts to build upon since no detailed plot or script has ever been made public. So, of course, I can’t ask for this to be seen as a legitimate entry into the Space Battleship Yamato saga (especially since I’m not authorized to create one). Star Blazers, on the other hand, is a somewhat different animal. When my Studio Go partners and I created the Star Blazers comic books back in the 90s, this was the approach we took. The Star Blazers continuity differed from Yamato and offered different storytelling opportunities. Fortunately for us, our readers were open to this concept, and kept coming back for all 11 issues. I can’t tell you how many times we wished we could have continued it…
But that’s the past. It’s a new day, and a new adventure is ready to unfold. I can assure you that I’ve done my homework for this project, and I’ve woven the story threads created by Nishizaki and company into a pretty complex tapestry. But in a way, I had little to do with it. All the best stories tend to write themselves, with the author functioning as a sort of idea-filter, and that’s exactly what’s been happening here.
So come along for the ride. I can promise you, it’s going to be something special. Meanwhile, here is a look at some of the characters who will soon be off to outer space.