Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Saturday, July 11, 2020
Eyes in the Stars

James went back to working 40 hours a week this week; since he's still teleworking because he's immunocompromised and pretty much required to telework, all this meant was that we needed to leave his work desk and monitor out in the living room one more day.

As compensation for this, I was totally delighted to find an anime site which had the new version of Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) available to watch with some advertisements. I started watching this series years ago, in the late 1970s, when my best friend Sherrye recommended it to me. "You have to watch this," she insisted. I didn't realize it was a serial story, so the first time I tried to watch it I came in the middle of second season and was totally confused. Who were all these people in the arrow-motifed white uniforms? Why was a World War II battleship spaceworthy? Who was that sneering blond haired guy with the blue skin? So I gave up on it, but the next time the first episode rolled around I came back. And was intrigued. And watched some more, and then got completely hooked.

Before Star Blazers, the only anime (back then it was known as Japanimation) I'd seen was Astroboy, Kimba the White Lion, and Speed Racer. None of them was very "deep." Yet here was a series about a young crew who participated in what was a nearly hopeless mission against severe odds, and they perservered and matured and fell in love or formed fast friendships and discovered wonders they didn't know existed. It was mind-blowing. And if you can develop a crush on an animated character, I did. Not the lead, of course; I never did that. No, it was on his quiet yet determined best friend, the "driver" of the spaceship "Argo," Mark Venture, who was my special guy.

When Star Blazers came to American television, it was intended for kids. American "suits" still didn't understand that Japanese "cartoons" came in all flavors, from material for children to material for adults. Space Battleship Yamato was an adult show, but Star Wars was still setting new records at the box office a year later and they figured an animated show about a crew of earnest Earthlings fighting dastardly aliens would be a sure thing for kids. So Star Blazers was expurgated for television—there were still big space battles, but blood wasn't shown, death was cut to a minimum (in several cases we got "oh, so-and-so got out just before the bomb exploded" line when in the original the person died), but amazingly the characterizations were left intact! So Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar) still went from a callow youth to an experienced deputy commander, his (mostly) good-natured rivalry with Daisuke Shima (Mark Venture) was part of the plot, and later his growing love for nurse and weapons officer Yuki Mori (Nova Forrester) remained. It was a revelation.

I still love the original version, but the new versions, Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and Space Battleship Yamato 2202, are marvels of their own. The new animation is stunning. The story has even more depth than before, with the storyline tweaked slightly, and there are (finally) more female characters within the crew. Yuki (Nova) is no longer the only focus; there's a weapons officer, a scientific advisor, a pilot, a nurse, and even what you might call a morale officer (all female), not to mention a supposed female ghost who "haunts" the ship's drive, involved in the story. The characters have more depth, and, like the new version of Battlestar Galactica, there are several "dark motives" going on under the surface. Even the enemy Gamilas (Gamilons) are more complicated: they're shown to have families, children, even deceased children that they mourn for. Starsha of Iscandar also has new tweaks in the 2199 storyline.

The only thing that bothers me about the 2199 story is that by allowing Kodai (Wildstar) bond with the female Cosmo pilot Yamamoto (they were both orphans), there was very little of the Kodai/Shima (Wildstar/Venture) friendship and competition in the story as in the original. Shima had his own arc in the mutiny subplot, but you got very little of the other best friends (occasional antagonists) initial plotline, and I did like the friendship there.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to errands—James finally got through to Kaiser's teeny brains that he was out of pregabalin, and we got to pick it up Thursday, along with going to Publix and Nam Dae Mun; Friday while James was at physical therapy I picked myself up a thimble at Hobby Lobby and food for Mr. Snow at Petsmart (where I met a sweet pit bull named "Nala" and her buddy the pit bull puppy), and then we had lunch at Okinawa on Dallas Highway.

Saturday morning we went to Hair Day, and that was nice. We had cheese and crackers, fruit and mini-muffins, and two home-made frittata dishes to snack on, and talked and talked, until it was time for James' Zoom club meeting. This meant it was my chance to vacuum...didn't do it last week and I emptied four canisters of mainly dog hair!

The only problem with this week was that the pad thai I had at Okinawa on Friday was spicy. Not pepper, not curry James said, so probably ginger. I still ate it, and my heart was fluttery all afternoon, but only after I ate some cherries. So I can't figure if it was the spice, the cherries (???), or just the heat, because after lunch we had stopped at Hallmark. I was seriously afraid I would have to go to urgent care because my pulse was 80-84 just sitting on the sofa no matter how I tried to relax. I finally took my heart medication and that took two hours to kick in. Wondering if my acid reflux is getting worse and triggering the rapid heartbeat.

The one thing we did not do this weekend was attend the Hallmark Ornament Premiere on Saturday. We simply didn't have time before Hair Day and after James' meeting it was too damn hot—almost 90℉. The ornaments were on display Friday afternoon at Hallmark, but unless you were a member of the Ornament Club, you couldn't buy them until Friday night. Since I really only want one thing (the Lord a'leaping for the Twelve Days of Christmas set) and James really only wants one thing (this year's airplane), we just hope someone still has them next week!

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