The story is about what happens to some of the officers on board a warship named Yamato. On April 6, 1945, crewman from the ship Yamato were sent out on a suicide mission in order to attack a US fleet that was residing near Okinawa. Yamato was one of the prize ships of the Japanese navy and, as such, it was believed that their men would have no problem destroying the Americans. On April 7th, and American aircraft spotted Yamato and radioed the coordinates back to the US military. A massive strike force of airplanes was sent to destroy Yamato.
Crew members on Yamato discovered that the Americans were coming and got ready for the battle, but it was no use. After over two hours of fighting the order was given to abandon ship as the giant ship went down in a mushroom of smoke. It took eight bombs and twelve torpedo hits to collapse the ship and 2,475 crew members were lost. 269 men managed to be saved, and Yamato is the story of some of the survivors.
Makiko Uchida is the adopted daughter of a Yamato survivor. She wants to go to the wreckage on the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the huge boat and is looking to find a captain to bring her to the wreckage. Nobody wants to bring her. Eventually she finds a fisherman named Kamio. He is hesitant to help her at first, but when she tells him that she is the daughter of Petty Officer Uchida, he quickly agrees. Kamio and Uchida had become friends on the Yamato.
The movie flashes back to the past when Uchida, Kamio, and a host of other young men were rookies on board Yamato. They learn together and manage to create a sort of family before the ship explodes. Kamio had believed the Uchida, who had been sent out on the suicide mission, had died, and he is in shock to find that he had not.
In the past ten years there has been a host of movies that has come out about war time, including Saving Private Ryan. The movie, however, also borrows from the blockbuster Titanic when it comes to filming and emotionalism in the movie.
One of the most difficult things to do when you create a movie with no real villains is to create a true story. Yamato manages to keep the story going and avoids putting Americans into the evil slot. In doing so the director manages to make the movie appealing to all, both Japanese viewers and the audience in the west. He tells the story of the warriors, not of the war, which pulls at the heartstrings of anybody who views it.