Friday, February 19, 2010

男たちの大和, Otoko-tachi no Yamato

Ok now that we have covered the kiddie version of Yamato, I felt it neccessary to cover the story of the real Imperial Japanese Battleship Yamato. This is no kids story but sadly it does involve kids. When you grow up here in the United States, they simplify WWII down to a few catch phrases like "Well the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor" etc. The truth is not so simple. And as tragic and devestating as the war was for Japan their stories are still largely unknown to most Americans and sadly even less known among younger Japanese. This is one of those stories that should be told.

Otoko-tachi no Yamato which literally means "The Men of Yamato" is an epic film that depicts the real historical events of the Yamato's final sortie. Set against this historical backdrop is the fictional story of Makiko Uchida (Koyoka Suzuki) who comes to Kure (The Yamato's home port) to seek out a captain who would take her out to the Yamato's last location on the 60th anniversary of her sinking. No captain will help her until it is revealed to the 75 year old Captain Katsumi Kamio (played by  the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai) that she is a daughter of Petty Officer Mamoru Uchida (played by Shido Nakamura) whom which Kamio pressumed went down with the ship. Moved by this knowledge, the Elder Kamio agrees to take Makiko and his 15 year old apprentice sailor Atsushi to the location of the Yamato's last position and to Kamio's painful memories of a youth long lost with the Yamato.

There are some amazing live action sets and brilliant CGI work that bring the beloved warship back to life. For generations, The Yamato has captured the imagination like no other Battleship in history. To this day Yamato still captures the imagination as was demonstrated when the production opened the live action sets to the public in 2005. Over one million visitors walked atop Yamato's recreated decks before the exhibit was closed down in May of 2006. Along with her sister ship The Musashi, she was the largest Battleship ever built in the world. Tragically, in her final days she was crewed mostly by young sea cadets whose average age was 15. Out of her 3000 crew, 2800 were literally children such as Kamio's character. There are some heavy performances in this 2005 epic that are not to be missed. In all my collection of great war films this is by far one of my favorites.

To see a great site of the Yamato set visit
 Yamato Movie-Set

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