Jun 12, 2020
SBY: Aratanaru Tabidachi is the series’ first feature length film, and with anime, usually these are of higher quality than their episodic equivalents, since they typically have higher budgets, and the shorter length forces them to tell a complete story, and without much room for filler. Usually, I say, because Yamato is a clear exception, it’s only 90 minutes, but I was only able to watch 70 before losing interest, and in retrospect, I should’ve realised how hollow it was in half that time.
The story we’ve got this time around is that the Yamato is engaging in a live-fire exercise with a series of new
recruits, Tokugawa’s son among them, and as this happens, another race of aliens is introduced, who wish to destroy Iscandar, where Kodai’s brother is stranded, and due to the position of the Yamato, with the help of Desler, they engage in a search & rescue mission, and storywise, it’s all fine, there’s nothing wrong with this premise, the only real problem is that there’s so little story of which to speak of.
Firstly, it is strange that these new recruits know almost nothing about the functionality of the ship they’ve been prepared to crew, someone asks them “just what did you learn in the academy?”, and I have to agree, a recruit is obviously not going to be as well trained as a veteran, but it is peculiar just how little these people know. But the main issue I have is in the first hour there’s so much time that they could have used better, they spent about as much time talking about Kodai and Yuki’s wedding (the ideal amount of time for that would have been none at all, and this is one of many equally unimportant scenes) as they did these new aliens, all I can tell you about them is that they’re grey, and they like mining stuff. Compare that to the 1977 TV anime, wherein you saw factionalism, character motivations and strategy, not to mention the architecture, weapons and uniforms, things that made it feel alive, like Gatlantis was a real empire that operated as an empire would, and clearly with a lot of thought put into it, whereas these are just grey aliens with flying saucers, lifted straight from a 50’s B movie. Also, Kodai’s brother refuses Desler’s offer of rescue, for no reason.
Secondarily, the art quality is very inconsistent, at certain times it looks a lot better than the last entry in the series, and it is a major step, but for some reason, this is only about 10% of the time, and the rest of the time it ranges from being on par with the 1977 anime, to sometimes feeling like a straight up downgrade, and as such it has an undeniably rushed quality to it. When it comes to the soundtrack, it feels equally inconsistent, but for different reasons, the music itself is fine, and it’s a good idea of them to expand the soundtrack beyond almost entirely being comprised of different renditions of the opening theme, but the problem is, the music is missing in a lot of crucial moments, while there are certain situations in which the absence of music can accentuate a scene, this is not one of those situations, in the battle sequences especially, which often went on uninterrupted for over five minutes, with no music, no dialogue, just a montage of ships being destroyed, which feels very directionless, I have no reason to have any real emotional response to these nameless, characterless aliens being killed.
At the end of the day, Aratanaru Tabidachi is just very bland, perhaps it is my fault for watching a 40 year old anime, but the action sequences are unengaging, since it was the strategy and character that made them special, the enemies are as empty as conceivably possible, and there is just too much filler, it takes too long to actually get in gear and have something of consequence happen, but even when it does, there’s not anything interesting on offer.
Reviewer’s Rating: 4
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