Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato) Japanese Live Action Movie Cast

October 5, 2009

The Japanese movie industry is about to lay a big egg, but the egg my hatch into an American live action version of the Star Blazers anime series from tv.

I think an egg will be laid because they’ve decided that the role of “Wildstar” in the Star Blazers action movie should be played by SMAP star “Kimu-taku”, Takuya Kimura. Japanese bulletin boards are buzzing with anger and disappointment at the choice of the 37 year old entertainer to play the lead role in the movie.

I believe that there are two problems holding back the Japanese movie industry. One is the profit over art school of thought. I know that people will probably say this is true for the United States as well, but Japanese movies tend to cut corners that would best not be cut. Recently there have been some improvements in the efforts put forth by studios.

Another big problem in the industry is evident in the choice of Takuya Kimura as the lead in this movie. The industry will choose a miscast 37 year old to play the Derek Wildstar character hoping to get cheap and easy SMAP fans to come and see the movie. The problem is just how poor a match this is.

Needless to say, true fans of the series, called Uchu Senkan Yamato in Japanese are not pleased with the selection.

Other cast members include:

Nova (Yuki Mori in Japanese) played by Meisa Kuroki:

Captain Avatar of the Yamato,  (Juzo Okita in Japanese)will be played by veteran actor Tsutomu Yamasaki who fans of director Juzo Itami’s movies should recognize. This is probably a good choice simply because he’s a fine actor who specializes in movies.

I can’t honestly say that I’m looking forward to this movie, but if they put some effort into making it nice and campy it might have some value. The choice of Takuya Kimura as the lead shows that they are not respecting the original story, and hoping for SMAP fans to come out to see it. I think that if they were going for true anime fans, or fans of the series, they would have taken a different approach with the lead.

There was also a decision to change the communications specialist, and the ship’s doctor female characters. The ship’s doctor will be played by veteran actress Reiko Takashima. I don’t have a problem with this, but a lot of Japanese fans don’t seem happy with having the lecherous, hard-drinking doctor (often comic relief) replaced by a woman. This is Reiko Takashima:

Also communications specialist Homer (Aihara) will be played by a young entertainer named Maiko.

For some reason, the Wikipedia entry for Space Battleship Yamato lists her as Maiko Yuki who is an adult video actress not associated with this production. The actress in the film goes only by her first name, “Maiko”.

Maiko is a model, she also has a popular blog. Her Wikipedia page can be found here: Maiko (Model), and her blog can be found here: Maiko’s Blog.

Here is her real photo, she is 24 and a half-American, half-Japanese model and actress who was born in Seattle and is currently  with the Esprit agency in Japan. She has been in a few small films, but many think this will be her big break. This photo is from her work in the recent film “Kafu o Machiwabite” or “Waiting for Kafu”. I have seen the movie titled as “Waiting for Good News” in English. It is based on the romance novel of the same name.

Here’s are photos of the entire cast other than Takuya Kimura:

{ 12 comments }

1 Ken February 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Wow. I think the knew movie looks great. Takuya Kimura might be 37 but he looks much younger. I’m not sure why him being in a band hurts this movie. From what I hear he is a long time Yamato fan and he looks the part. Guess being on this side of the pacific I don’t know much about him.

I just hope that hollywood doesn’t get their hands on this. They will make more changes and if they end up calling the ship “Arizona” I will not watch it.

2 Craig February 4, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I agree with Ken. I’m hoping this movie will rock! Tab Murphy’s hackjob of a script was beyond insulting, and I will not watch any film penned by him because of his airhead take on this particlar subject. I am so glad that his version did not see the light of day. I’d rather just watch the series again. I hope this movie is not as disrespectful; somehow I doubt it will be, Kimura Kodai or not.

By the way, I’ll gladly play Desslar! I look like him! lol

3 jay@newzjapan February 5, 2010 at 12:39 am

I’ll give the movie a chance. Recently film execs in Japan were lamenting the fact that they couldn’t make any money on films that weren’t based on anime, manga, or tv dramas. Let’s hope they get inspired and start putting some money and energy behind them.

The official website is up as well now:
Star Blazers Live Action Movie Official Site
although there’s no content yet.

I’ve heard rumors that Masato Ibu (a very good actor) would play Desslar, but that could just be because he voices Desslar in the animated movies… of course, if Desslar is CG, it would make sense to have Ibu voice him.

4 MARCOS HP March 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

Pelo trailer os japoneses mostraram que este filme tem tudo para ser o melhor de todos os tempos com relação a história real do anime, acredito que todos os fãs estão anciosos para ve-lo. Mesmo que os americanos tentem muda-lo, eles não conseguirão pois o YAMATO é um icone da história mundial e do Japão.
Parabens a todos que estão a se esforçar por este filme.
Saudações de Todos os fãs do Brasil.

5 jay@newzjapan March 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Here is how Google Translate handled Marcos HP’s post:

For the trailer showed the Japanese that this film has everything to be the best of all time regarding the real history of anime, I think all fans are anxious to see him. Even if the Americans try to change it, they will not because Yamato is an icon of world history and Japan
Congratulations to all who are striving for this movie.
Greetings to all fans of Brazil.

How is that Marcos? Google doesn’t do it perfectly, but it’s easy enough to understand…

Sounds like Brazil is as excited about Yamato as Japan is!

6 MARCOS HP March 8, 2010 at 1:07 am

MARCOS HP is a fan of Yamato and of Japan, of the it encourages Yamato for his/her contribution to a youth of the whole world that he had the opportunity to attend serializes her, which for us Brazilian they were few opportunities, but that the internet came acontribuir so that this admiration the series, us light to look for more knowledge on the powerful Encouraçado YAMATO, and on Japan on his/her millenarian History which still influences today a lot of cultures for everybody.
I hope the previous translation has been understood, because she represents the anciosidade of seeing in the screens a dream that began in 1974 and soon we will be seeing as if we were us them Honest members of the Crew of YAMATO (ARGOS).
My executions and greetings to the whole Team that this to work for the accomplishment of this FILM.
MARCOS HENRIQUE PEREIRA – PIRACICABA – SÃO PAULO – BRAZIL

7 Thomas Dickensheets March 19, 2010 at 10:26 am

I hope see this in USA. In English.

8 James March 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I’ve been a fan of this since I was a child, now 35 years old I gotten my 3 children 11, 7 & 6 to become fans of this great ICONIC masterpeace. As long long as it doesn’t get to far from the story line and chactors, I’m just happy and excited that it is being made into a live movie. I have not been this excited about a movie coming out, since the Superman Returns was released. I’m from America, “Texas” and lived in Okinawa for 5 years years. So I know that this movie will be a hit on both sides of the Pacific LOL….Lets just rejoice in the fact that this movie is finally getteing made.

9 Thomas Dickensheets March 23, 2010 at 12:17 am

I saw Star Blazers cartoon on TV. Now they are on DVD.

10 jay@newzjapan March 23, 2010 at 8:29 am

Thomas – I remember buying the complete set of the Star Blazers cartoons on DVD from a company in Hong Kong about 10 years ago. I used to like looking for scenes I didn’t remember from the original (like all the times the doctor was drunk with a wine bottle or tried to look up someone’s skirt…)

James – I’m looking forward to this as well. I express some doubts above about Kimu Taku mostly because I think they could have found someone a little younger and Wildstarrier, but I’m still psyched for it. I just hope people in the US get to see this in theaters and not just on DVD!

11 Craig March 24, 2010 at 4:08 am

I think it would be the wildest longshot to expect to see this in American theaters, although I’d love to. There are many high quality foreign films that do not get a theatrical release over here, and I think if this one does, it will be a very limited release. Let’s face it, this franchise is wonderful, and my favorite, but it is seriously overlooked in the US. And I’d rather see it subtitled than with poorly read lines dubbed over it per most anime. Can’t watch that stuff dubbed. And NO renaming the ship! It’s YAMATO, so get over it! Would Paramount have let the Japanese rename the Enterprise in Star Trek? IT is also named for a WWII vessel, after all.

12 jay@newzjapan March 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

Craig, I would love for more Japanese movies to make it to theaters in the US… and Thai movies too for that matter! There are some awesome Thai martial arts flix out there.

There are a lot of Japanese movies that I think could do well in theaters outside of Japan… it would be nice if Hollywood stopped feeling like movies had to have an American version. I think the Death Note series could have done well here, there were actually quite a few recent Japanese movies that could have had international appeal. “Waterboys” from a few years back could have done well (even though I didn’t particularly like it)… it was fun, had some underdogs, comedy, romance… Maybe I’ll try to get a good list of movies together because all the movie lists I see include a lot of the “art house” type movies but not the pop ones that can be fun.