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A valiant new voyage for Japan's battlestar galactic

The Japan Times Online writes: "The "Space Battleship Yamato" franchise, known abroad under such titles as "Star Blazers" and "Space Cruiser Yamato," began life in 1974 as a TV cartoon space opera, then generated a hit animated film in 1977. Two more TV series and four more films followed, concluding the saga with the 1983 feature "Final Yamato."

Series creator and producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and series director Leiji Matsumoto fought in court for years about the "Yamato" copyrights, finally agreeing in 2003 to share them. Nishizaki subsequently directed a "Yamato" animation that did indifferent business following its theatrical release in December 2009. On Nov. 7 of this year, he died after falling into the sea off Chichijima Island from a boat called, appropriately, "Yamato.""

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