I had lost all hope regarding the latest contest... but then came Alexander. The Contest is over! Alexander W. has guessed / determined the source for the two space ships shown in the strip from January 28. Given a choice of prizes, he went for the hand-drawn sketch.
The movie in question is 1978's "Message From Space" ("Uchu kara no messeji") starring a lot of Japanese actors, Sonny Chiba and Vic Morrow. The film wasn't exactly a success. A lot of the plot quite obviously apes Star Wars – as many movies of the time were prone to do. Curiously, some plot points from Message From Space would later turn up in the Star Wars sequels.
In 1979, sets, props and personnel from the film were re-used for a TV series ("Uchu kara no messeji: Ginga taisen") which lasted for 27 episodes. In Japan, the show never became too popular. Overseas, however, it was a different matter. In the early 80's, it ran successfully in France (as "San ku kai"), Italy (as "Guerre ra galassie") and Latin America (as either "Guerra de las Galaxias", "San kuo kai" or "Sankuokai"). In Latin America, only 25 episodes were shown. For the US market, the show was edited down to a 70 minute movie called "Swords of the Space Ark".
The series has been released on DVD in France, Italy and Chile. The movie has been released to DVD in Japan and France. From all accounts, the French dub is atrocious.