The War in Space

Japan Release: 1977
Running Time:
90 minutes

The War in Space

Japanese Title

[Wakusei Daisenso]

Distributor: Production:


In 1988, after a comet scare, pilot Koji Miyoshi's return to Japan. Although the comets avoided earth, they left behind electromagnetic interference. Proven to be not mere coincidence, the UN's Space Station Terra is decimated from orbit with the last report mentioning a big roman ship. Convinced that the planet is under siege, Miyoshi meets with Masato Takigawa to request the aid of the Goten. The vehicle is a giant warship capable of space travel, and believed to be the only hope if a war was to break out. Miyoshi's request is ignored until an alien attempts, and fails, to kidnap Takigawa. Realizing the truth, work begins to ready the Goten. Their plan known, the invaders, called the Messiah 13 aliens, begin to create global chaos with their Hell Fighters. Following a fierce and brutal battle at the Goten base, the craft is finally ready for launch. Taking to the sky, the ship makes quick work of the Hell Fighters, destroying them. The drill ship then heads to Venus, the suspected location of the invaders' base of operations, to put an end to the alien threat...

Live Action Science Fiction

Box Office - Stock Footage - DVDs - CDs - Pictures - Background - Concept Art - Cut Scenes - Reviews


International Title

The War in Space

Initial US Title

The War in Space
US Distributor: Video Action (1980) / Time: 85 Minutes

Alternate Titles

Great Planet War
[Literal translation]

Galaxies Year 2000


Aliens, SDF & Misc.



Directed by Jun Fukuda
Writing credits Shuichi Nagahara, Ryuzo Nakanishi
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Fumio Tanaka
Music by Toshiaki Tsushima
Cinematography by Yuzuru Aizawa
Film Editing by Michiko Ikeda
Production Design by Kazuo Satsuya
Assistant Director Kyohei Imamura
Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
Assistant Director of Special Effects Koichi Kawakita
Koji Miyoshi Kensaku Morita
Jun Takigawa Yuko Asano
Masato Takigawa, Professor Ryo Ikebe
Reikai Muroi, Pilot Instructor Masaya Oki
Kazuo Fuyuki Hiroshi Miyauchi
Hell Commander Goro Mutsumi
Matsuzawa, Doctor Hideji Otaki
Tadashi Mikasa, Space Station Terra Staff Katsutoshi Atarashi
Oshi, Defense Countermeasure Commander Akihiko Hirata
Schmidt, Doctor William Ross
Research Worker Isao Hashimoto
Goten Controller Koichi Yoshida
Goten Pilots Junichi Kudo, Susumu Otani
Jimmy, NASA Staff David Perin
Narrator Shinji Nakae
Armed Forces Staff Shoji Nakayama


Box Office

Release Date: December 17th, 1977 (Japan)
Budget: ¥500,000,000 / $2,000,000 (Rough Figure)
Distribution Earning: ¥889,000,000 / $4,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)

Toho Stock Footage

DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 War in Space Discotek (2006) Order
Japan Region 2 Great Planet War Toho (2004)

Background and Trivia

  • Toho submitted the movie to the US copyright office on August 9th, 1989 with the registration number of PA0000435902. The film was submitted under its international title, The War in Space, and its Romaji title, Wakusei Daisenso.
  • Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano saw Star Wars in Japan in 1977, ahead of its Japanese release in 1978. Tanaka's first impression was that he wanted to make a film like it, and before Star Wars hit the Japanese market. As a result, The War in Space quickly entered production. The first draft was submitted on September 13th of 1977, and the final draft was submitted on October 12th of that year, leaving two months until the film was supposed to be released in theaters. This account is recalled by Nakano when being interviewed for a special feature on Toho's DVD release of the film.
  • Was originally titled Battle in Outer Space 2 and planned as a direct sequel to Battle in Outer Space (1959). The name was changed to something that would more closely resemble Star Wars. This detail is cited in Age of the Gods (self-published), although it's unknown on the timing for this. By September 13th, 1977, when the first draft was submitted, the movie was already known by 惑星大戦争 (Wakusei Daisenso - Great Planet War). It's possible that it had the Battle in Outer Space 2 title as the first thought for the project when producer Tomoyuki Tanaka saw Star Wars, which would have been after May 25th, 1977, when it opened in the US. It's also possible that this concept existed before Tanaka saw Star Wars and, looking to capitilize on George Lucas' movie, fast tracked the idea and it was heavily adapted into something else.
  • Hachiro Jinguji, 神宮寺八郎, was credited with the original outline. This was a pseudonym, though, for the writers, producers and directors who worked on the movie. The name came from the commander of the Gotengo from Atragon (1963), played by Jun Tazaki, and the credit can be found in the first draft of the script submitted on September 13th, 1977.
  • Voice actor Osamu Saka dubbed Doctor Schmidt into Japanese. Similarly, voice actor Michihiro Ikemizu dubbed Jimmy into Japanese.
  • Venus was selected as the location of the climax by special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano. The reason being that a planet with an atmosphere was desired, wanting to have a lot of explosions occur during the final battle. After doing research, Nakano felt that Venus would be appropriate for a location where explosions could easily occur, which ultimatly led to it being the chosen planet. This fact was recalled by Nakano himself for an interview found on Toho's DVD release of the film.
  • Was seen by roughly a million people during its theatrical release in Japan. This information is found in Age of the Gods (self-published).


Anthony Romero Star Rating
June 5, 2006