BEAR IN MIND THAT I HAVE BEEN A BIG FAN OF 'NOVA' FOR ABOUT
Heather L. Parisi | St. Augustine, FL USA | 12/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"IN A NUTSHELL: I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR A YEAR FOR THIS TO BECOME AVAILABLE
From the title, the theme is obvious, but my expectations were NOT meet. To me, a 'NOVA' program about the sinking of the Yamato should include both sufficient detail to satisfy naval history enthusiasts, at least visually, and demonstrate some compelling idea or theory about its sinking that seems valid and insightful.
Well, first off, the detail was lacking and vague. The visuals were mostly of stills plus a few stock footages, and the interviews were short and without much point. Considering there were over 200 survivors, interviews with Japanese 'officers' would have made for better interviews [presuming of course that some were still alive]. However, it was the vague and simplistic nature of the presentation that really soured me on this show.
THIS PROGRAM IS ABOUT FINDING AND IDENTIFYING THE WRECK MORE THAN THE CAUSE OF IT!
The centerpiece of this show was NOT the sinking of the Yamato, but instead, the finding of the Yamato's wreck after 60 years and in 1200 feet of seawater and identifying it correctly. Yes, the bow emblem, a 2 meter in diameter chrysanthemum, was present and indicated that this could only be 1 of two ships, the other being the Yamato's sister ship The Musashi, which is known to have sunk elsewhere.
Okay, so what about the compelling idea, if any? There was a huge explosion which U.S. Naval aviators caught on film which signalled the demise of the Yamato. Now that we can go to the bottom of the sea with 'Nova' we can see more empirically what happened to the ship. To make a long story short, the following hypothesis was confirmed;
1]- That the Yamato was torpedoed mostly on 1 side which led to the ship capsizing and foundering. This fact was already known.
2]- As the ship capsized, the turrets, no longer held in by gravity, slipped away and descended toward the sea floor. This allowed the shells and cordite charges that were secured inside the barbettes that were enclosed by the turrets to careen about and ultimately detonate the Yamato's magazines'. This was confirmed by the absence of the turrets which were lying adjacent to the wreckage and the enormous holes in the hull that occurred adjacent to the magazines, rather than where the torpedoes had struck the Yamato's hull.
In other words, the numerous torpedo strikes, estimated to be around 21, caused sufficent flooding to cause the ship to capsize and thus founder, but it was the exploding magazines that may have greatly added to the death toll, thought to be over 2600.
BOTTOM LINE: THOUGH DISAPPOINTED WITH 'SINKING THE SUPERSHIP' I FEEL THE SHOW IS STILL WORTH WATCHING
'Nova' is arguably the best program of its type on television with the greatest amount of content. This episode of 'Nova' DID NOT meet that standard, and appeared to me to be a 'walk-through' treatment of a topic that many people in both Japan and the United States are deeply interested in. The tone of the 'Nova' program is simple. It's as if to say, we've got the Yamato's wreckage on film, lets go out and make a program to celebrate finding its wreckage!
RECOMMENDED READING: IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE DETAIL ABOUT THIS CLASS OF SHIP
---> Battleship Musashi : the making and sinking of the world's biggest battleship, Akira Yoshimura,
---> A glorious way to die : the kamikaze mission of the battleship, Russell Spurr,
Sinking the Supership
L. Atkins | Roswell,GA USA | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"NOVA: Sinking the SupershipExcellent and sobering account of the making and the sinking of the YAMATO, Japan's largest battleship.What struck me most was the background story of Japan's desperate position(militarily and economically)at this juncture in the Pacific War.I recommend it highly."