Yamato 2199 Episode 20 Commentary, part 2

by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Back up to part 1

ACT TWO

 

The drill missile continues to relentlessly bore into the Wave-Motion Gun’s Control Room. Niimi and Analyzer have gained access to the inside through the front hatch. Analyzer comments that he’s surprised they got in so easily. Niimi says that the device was made into a makeshift weapon from something else, that must be why.

[LC]: Niimi takes Sanada’s place defusing the drill missile, which makes sense in a series that has more than one or two main cast members assigned to any given section. As I stated in Part 1, it’s a nice way to get her on track to absolution. Also, as we’ll see in a bit, Sanada has unwittingly saved her life by having her out of the brig when it gets blown up. At least in her case, it helps to avoid what will be a major question in the following episode in relation to other characters.

The subtitles on the Blu-Ray of Chapter 6 have Analyzer saying “I’m surprised it got through so easily.” This is a bit misleading since it makes it seem as if Analyzer is referring to how easily the missile got through the Wave-Motion Gun’s main chamber. This was fixed in A Voyage to Remember, where Analyzer’s line is corrected to “I did not expect to gain access so easily.” This makes a lot more sense, especially because of Niimi’s follow up about how the missile is a makeshift weapon.

 

Analyzer says that is a logical conclusion, while accessing the missile’s control systems. Niimi comments that the enemy is starting to feel cornered… much like themselves.

[DG]: The expansion of the number of female characters in 2199 and the depth of their stories, both in their own right and their importance to the overall plot, are one of the best elements of the whole storyline. While they don’t all get the same amount of depth, most of them get as much depth as the restraints of the storyline will allow. Yuki’s was a given, Akira’s was an interesting retelling of Kodai’s “Angry Young Man” storyline from the original series, Melda, probably the most radical change of an original series character, provides an important gateway into the first non-aggressive contact with the enemy. Kaoru represents the fallen soul seeking redemption

In anime, the trope of “fallen hero finds redemption” is way overdone, but in Kaoru’s case, it fits into the story nicely. In the original series, it was Sanada who defused the Drill Missile along with Analyzer. In 2199 it was the perfect opportunity for development of one of the new characters, and the existence of the Wave-Motion Shields offered a valid way for Sanada to be prevented from taking that critical role.

Kaoru’s path to redemption began back at the end of the mutiny in Episode 16, and now her opportunity to fully redeem herself is here, in Yamato‘s darkest hour, with the mission and the future of humanity on the line.

 

The Falcons continue their battle against Ghetto’s forces. Once again, Kobashi finds himself in the enemy’s cross-hairs. Again, he is saved by the timely intervention of one of his fellow pilots, this time by Sawamura. He asks the rookie if he’s okay and tells him not to push himself.

[LC]: Kobashi continues to be mostly useless. Sure, he’s managed to evade enemy fire so far with some fancy evasive maneuvers, so he’s not totally bad at his job. But unless the UNCF has an established strategy of using so-so pilots to bait the enemy and set them up to be shot by the pros, I really can’t see how Kobashi managed to become a military combat pilot, let alone get chosen for the Yamato Plan’s elite.

Though Sawamura has been actively portrayed in several episodes so far, his increased screen time is another seed for Ark of the Stars, where he’ll be one of the major players.

  

Kobashi takes this last remark personally, but before he responds something grabs his attention. He tells Sawamura he spotted an enemy at 10 o’clock. It’s Balgray, navigating below them, hidden by the gas clouds. Before Sawamura can process this, Kobaji dives in to strike. Sawamura tries to tell him to wait but the rookie, eager to finally prove himself, doesn’t listen. He speeds toward the carrier, saying he’ll take it down and prove he’s no coward.

[LC]: Much like Daikuhara’s over-confidence in act one almost seemed to be his death sentence, Kobashi sets himself up to be the next one to die.

If there were any doubts about Kobashi being little more than a rookie pilot way over his head, this scene dissipates them all. Of all the attack angles to choose from, he goes straight at the side that has the only weapons on the whole ship. Sawamura was wiser and chose to attack from a less life-threatening and overall more effective angle.

  

On Balgray‘s bridge, Captain Vokk is alerted to the approaching enemy and orders the carrier’s AA guns to open fire. Surrounded by fire from the enemy, Kobashi still manages to launch two missiles. But the inevitable happens and Kobashi pays for his recklessness with his life, calling out to his mother.

[LC]: Here we see Balgray’s bridge with the ship’s name in Garmillan. Transliterating the symbols we obtain BALGLEY, instead of the official translation used in merchandise and production materials “BALGRAY”. Lambea will suffer a similar hull stencil error in Ark of the Stars, where the stencil spells LAMVEA.

 

Sawamura witnesses his comrade’s demise and watches as the two missiles he fired plow into the enemy carrier, severely damaging part of its starboard support structures. Sawamura takes advantage of this and goes on the offensive.

[LC]: Many fans have commented on how implausible it seems that just a few missiles would be enough to sink a ship like Balgray. Indeed, just 4 missiles seem to seal Balgray’s doom. The Guipellon-class carriers are not exactly Garmillas’ most recent ships and probably have a few years of service on them. Despite their relatively large size, these ships are basically just four runways stacked on top of each other, supported only by the outer walls and some carefully-placed load-bearing support pylons.

The rear of the ship has some sturdier sections, housing the engines and other support facilities. But these make for a relatively small part of the ship. So it’s not that unrealistic for just a few well placed shots to take one of them down.

Kobashi’s last hurrah is a rather lucky one, as the missiles pass through an opening in the port side, hitting the inner starboard side hull. The ensuing explosions must have caused a lot more damage than if they had simply struck the outer hull, where the armor plating is thickest. But an inner detonation causes massive damage.

 

Two more missiles hit the lower hangar and cripple the starboard engine, setting the ship ablaze. Sawamura uses his main cannons to shoot the main bridge. Secondary explosions take over the ship, breaking the runways apart. Seconds later, Balgray is finally sunk in a ball of fire.

[DG]: Here we see how by its very structure, the Guipellon-class carrier is not intended to remain on the front lines for long. Its hollow and woefully under-armored design leaves it susceptible to even low-to-medium-yield missiles like those carried by the Hayabusa. One other thing that’s really notable is that the level of protection offered by the bridge’s windshield is atrocious – it really shouldn’t be vulnerable to aircraft-level cannon fire.

[LC]: Sawamura hits Balgray in the deck at an almost straight angle, his missiles striking right at the heart of the engine section. Weapons and fuel may also be stored in this area, meaning the destructive power of the Falcon’s missiles is aided by the detonation of all these materials. The damaged engines begin to rip themselves apart.

Sawamura’s strafing of the ship’s bridge may seem more for personal vengeance than actual destructive power, but it does finish off the ship’s command as well as any hope of rallying damage control units. It may also have helped that with navigation control gone, Balgray loses “altitude” into a layer where gas is thicker. In normal conditions, it would be a piece of cake to navigate it. But the extreme damage to the ship’s structure spells its end.

As I commented in Part 1 when Galunt was shot down, notice the difference here. Balgray is ripped apart and goes down into the clouds in a huge fireball. There’s no coming back from that. But take notice of Galunt and another ship that simply disappear into the clouds. Seeds, my friends. Seeds.

 

Kato is involved in a dogfight with none other than Ghetto himself. Ghetto has the advantage, hot on Kato’s tail. Kato tries to shake him off but to no avail, saying the enemy pilot is not bad.

[LC]: Kato and Ghetto’s dog-fight is a wonderful piece of digital animation. The whole scene is beautifully executed.

Though he and his comrades all had a lot more airtime in 2199 than they did in the original, the only one we saw actually involved in some sort of combat before this episode was Berger. So it’s nice that they showcased Ghetto’s extraordinary skills as a combat pilot, even if the scene is very short. It speaks volumes that he manages to have someone like Saburo Kato fighting for his life, and ultimately win, if not for…

 

They continue their dance, Ghetto impressed by the enemy’s skill. But soon he gets a target lock on Kato, claiming this is the end. Before he can fire, Kato’s lucky star shines upon him. A call from another pilot, reporting that Balgray has been sunk, surprises Ghetto. The split second distraction is enough for Kato to gain the upper hand and get on the Debbake’s tail.

[DG]: Kato’s duel with Ghetto shows just how the slightest mistake or distraction in a dogfight can be fatal. The timing of Balgray‘s sinking being announced over the Garmillan radio clearly saved Kato’s life. Makoto would be thankful.

  

Ghetto realizes his mistake, but it’s too late. Kato locks on to him and fires. As his plane breaks apart, the unfortunate commander hails Domel one last time. Kato salutes his counterpart.

[LC]: It’s a nice touch that Ghetto’s last words are “Ghare Domel”. Unlike other characters we’ve seen who had similar lines focused on their homeland, like “Ghare Gamilon” or “Zaltz Banzai”, this shows the devotion Domel inspires in his men. Their loyalty to Garmillas is unquestionable, but to their commander even more so.

Kato’s respectful salute to his fallen enemy is a nice touch. I can’t help but compare it to the similar scene in the original Episode 2, where an american pilot salutes the sinking WWII Yamato, or when Kodai salutes his Gamilas opponent over the floating continent in Episode 5.

  

Back aboard Yamato, the infiltration team has managed to make it back to the extraction point but the security team is hot on their trail. Mek fires at them and manages to take down a guard before he himself is strafed. Raische kills the other security guard just as Kodai and more security arrive.

[LC]: This particular scene is rather brutal. There were plenty of firefights in the original saga, and 2199 has had – and will have – its fare share. But this is the only one that comes to mind where each hit is followed by a gush of blood. In the original many heroes and foes found themselves riddled with enemy blasts, but those were usually depicted as simple burn-punctures. The most that came out was a plume of smoke for dramatic effect – much like what was done a couple of episodes ago with Zoellik.

The only instance of bloody injuries that spring to mind in the original were Kodai’s injured shoulder when he confronted Dessler in Yamato 2 and Shima’s agonizingly slow abdominal wound in Final Yamato. 2199 has a few deaths where we see a pool of blood come out from beneath the stricken character; Zoellik and Paren Nerge as examples. The only other example of such a bloody shot was back in Episode 15 when Gimleh’s guard shot Governor Droppe. And sure, we just saw Hoshina’s blood floating around in the end of act one. But there the blood is for effect, you don’t actually see him get shot. Funny that for most of this confrontation they revert back to the standard way to portray shots. This was probably done to emphasize the brutality of this particular fight.

 

Shinohara joins them, eager to help. Raische takes cover as Kodai looks around the corner and spots Norran, holding the unconscious Yuki in his arms.

[LC]: Even if he’s out of commission due to his injuries, Shinohara keeps popping up. Sure, he might not be able to fly a plane but he can still fire a gun. Nice to see our easy-going flyboy doesn’t back down from a fight.

 

Distracted by this, he’s nearly shot by Raische. While she covers her comrades, Belger orders Norran to go back to the boat with their quarry. Kodai opens fire and hits Belger. Enraged, Raische opens fire while a dying Belger takes a drastic step.

[LC]: When Norran speaks to Belger, he calls him Lieutenant Gerd, using his first name instead of the more formal family name. Was this just a lapse in the script, or something else in this group’s backstory that ended up being left out? I would go with the former, as the latter would infer that Norran would simply call him Gerd, leaving out “Lieutenant”. The others address Norran by his first name, but that might be due to his rookie status. This can also serve as a possible explanation for his slip. Maybe he’s still such a rookie that rank protocol temporarily escaped him in the heat of the moment.

  

He closes the access hatch to the escape boat, locking Norran and Yuki on the other side. Norran calls out to him but Belger tells him to leave, fulfill their mission, and make Zaltz proud. Grief-stricken, the young officer follows Belger’s final order. Raische continues to pin Kodai and his men down until Shinohara manages to get a few shots in and kills her. On the verge of death and with nothing left to lose, Belger arms a grenade and hails his home planet, Zaltz.

[LC]: From this point on, I stopped calling Shinohara a lady killer. When such a nickname goes from a figurative state to a literal one, it’s just not funny anymore.

 

The explosion sets off the emergency bulkheads, blocking the desperate Kodai’s path. He cries out for Yuki, pounding on the door. The FS Boat detaches from Yamato’s hull, observed by Frakken who orders the UX-01 to surface retrieve the “suckerfish”.

 

As the boat flies to meet its ride, Kodai makes a rather dangerous maneuver to launch his Cosmo Zero without a catapult. He looks frantically around and spots the two ships docking. He speeds toward them, asking himself what he will do. But his question is moot.

[DG]: Kodai made it to his Zero really quickly, even considering how close the scene of the battle was. It also says that either the Zero can power its engine up really quickly, or it was on standby during the battle. As for how dangerous it is, only in the context of battle. Pilots of space fighters are probably trained to get their fighters out of tight spaces like this.

[LC]: And the prize for craziest takeoff in a combat plane goes to… Kodai. This daredevil move is awesome and showcases Kodai’s extraordinary ability as a pilot. The one thing I take issue with is that, since Yamato is moving forward, the moment the Cosmo Zero begins firing its attitude thusters and loses forward (or backward) momentum, it would probably crash into the ship. At the very least, if Kodai cleared it, Yamato should be seen moving away. But hey, I disregard physics when a scene is this badass.

 

It’s already too late. UX-01 submerges before Kodai’s eyes, leaving the young officer desperately crying Yuki’s name. As Berger and his remaining planes make it back to the fleet, a report arrives for Domel from Frakken, saying the target has been acquired. Domel is pleased.

[LC]: Putting the awesome launch sequence aside, we do have to ask… What was Kodai’s plan? Was he gonna chase the enemy boat and force it to stop with harsh language? He can’t fire on such a small ship without risk of critically damaging it and killing Yuki in the process. Sure, he was probably not thinking straight and just wanted to chase it and figure the rest out when he got there. And he was definitely not expecting the boat to be picked up by a dimension-diving sub. But really, there was not much to be achieved here.

[DG]: Another picturesque scene here, with the Snukas’ flypast of the fleet. I feel like I’m watching a navy movie like The Final Countdown or Midway with shots like this.

  

Schderg requests permission to launch its attack teams. Haidern asks if they should proceed. Domel says the drill missile’s explosion should finish Yamato, but there are no certainties in battle. Therefore he orders the torpedo bombers to launch and ensure that the enemy is sunk.

[DG]: Enter the FWG-97 Doljira. In the original, the designation was DMT-97, but didn’t have a name; in both instances, the 97 is almost certainly a reference to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Nakajima B5N “Kate” torpedo bomber, whose official designation was the “Type 97”. An example of this type was credited with sinking the USS Arizona in the atatack on Pearl Harbor, and it was also instrumental in the destruction of the carriers Lexington, Hornet, and Yorktown at the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. Like the B5N and numerous other torpedo bombers such as the Grumman Avenger, the FWG97 is seen to have a three-person crew.

To me, this aircraft has a decidedly Royal Navy feel. The color scheme is reminiscent of RN Phantom fighters which were primarily navy blue with a red tail like these, and the size is considerably larger. The giant tubby fuselage resembles that of the Fairey Gannet.

 

Kraize and his squadron take their positions. Domel orders the Third Attack Force to launch and the massive Doljiras take to the skies. Moments later, they assemble in the Domelaze’s matter-projection zone.

[LC]: Here, they the takeoff dips again as a way to instill how much heavier these planes are compared to the Debbakes and Snukas.

At this point and in preparation for a comment I’ll be making soon, I have to recall the switch in launch order between the Doljiras and Galunt. Remember, in the original the heavy torpedo bombers were deployed before the drill missile. Now, taking the infiltration unit’s plotline into consideration, this switch makes sense. You don’t want to blow the crap out of Yamato with heavy ordinance while you have your own people aboard, or risk killing the person they’re trying to get. So you’d wait until they give you the all clear. But as I mentioned in the previous episode, wouldn’t that be true for the drill misisile too?

Once they deployed that, they basically had the capture team running a 10-minute gauntlet, searching a huge enemy ship for one person. They were lucky to run into her (well, not really her but…okay) before the timer on the missile ran out. Sure, they did have that time, unlike what happens with torpedoes, which would just go boom. The whole thing makes sense at one end but loses it at the other.

Also, as we see in the very next scene, the clock on the missile would run out well before the Doljiras warped into Yamato’s area, presumably destroying the ship. So what is the point of launching them in the first place? Domel does point out that there are no certainties in the battlefield, and in hindsight he was right to launch them. But he could have just waited a few more seconds and launched them after he realizes Plan A had failed.

 

Meanwhile, Niimi has managed to hack the drill missile’s control system and stop the device. With the countdown and the drill stopped, Niimi lets off a sigh of relief. She tries to wipe her brow before recalling the space suit helmet won’t allow for that. She smiles at this small moment of distraction.

[LC]: Here you go, the countdown stops at 00:075:31, or a little over 7.5 seconds. Glad they didn’t go with the good old fashioned trope of having the countdown stop with 1 second on the clock. Still, it was close. But as I said, this would finish the ship well before the Doljiras got to do their thing.

 

She reports the device has been disabled, much to the relief of everyone on the main bridge. Okita praises Niimi for her work, seconded by a hearty thumbs-up from Analyzer. Niimi is happy for the first time in a long while.

[DG]: As I mentioned in Episode 3’s commentary, I was amused when Niimi was describing the Wave-Motion Gun to the rest of the command crew during the operational briefing, since her voice actress (Aya Hisakawa) voiced the mechanically-gifted Skuld in the Ah! My Goddess franchise, who liked building things that frequently went “boom”. The idea of Skuld building the WMG fit just too well. (Of course, we later confirmed that Sanada built it, but Niimi is likely to have had some level of involvement.) This scene just makes me think of Skuld and her robotic sidekick, Banpei.

[LC]: I just love Analyzer’s thumbs-up. After watching The Force Awakens, I do wonder if BB-8 watched 2199… (Or, since Star Wars takes place well into the past, a long time ago… would it be the other way around?) XD

 

The peace of space around Yamato is again broken by the machinations of Domel’s matter projectors. A lonely spark of light is quickly followed by another, and another… soon, over 30 Doljiras materialize on both sides of Yamato. For a brief moment, the lumbering planes remain there, motionless. Waiting. Then, when all of their number have appeared, they dive toward their pray like a pack of wolves.

 

Their approach is detected by Yamato, which unleashes a torrent of AA fire from its pulse lasers. Several Doljiras fall victim to this barrage, but not before they unleash their deadly cargo. The torpedoes speed relentlessly toward their target.

[LC]: AND SO WE ARE FINALLY HERE!!! (Breathe, Luis… breathe).

Throughout this series of commentaries you may have noticed instances where I referred to “the most heinous error in the whole series.” Throughout this episode I’ve been mentioning some points which set up this comment and somehow justify why this error occurred.

And that detail is… Look at the image above left. What’s missing? Yep, they forgot to put the drill missile in Yamato’s bow. You may ask what makes this error any worse than, for example, putting Yamamoto’s name on the briefing room screen as pilot of Cosmo Zero Alpha 2 (when she hadn’t even spoken to Kodai in order to become a pilot)? Because the drill missile is probably the most iconic piece of hardware used in this battle. In such a huge moment of the saga, filled with a lot of great stuff, the drill missile just tops all the rest. So leaving it out is a big deal.

Now, this is a relatively small shot with Yamato far in the background. And although the missile is clearly not there, it could be dismissed as a one-time lapse…if not for the fact that the lapse happens throughout the entire Doljira attack sequence. In a total of 4 shots where Yamato’s bow is visible, the drill is missing in every one of them. More on that in a bit.

 

The intense wall of AA fire proves to be more than the slower Doljiras can handle. Kraize is surprised by the enemy’s resilience and observes, powerless, as his planes are shot down by the AA guns and then by the two Cosmo Zeros. Kodai is out for blood.

[LC]: Kraize’s astonishment at the sheer number of casualties really shows that things did not go as planned. They either expected Yamato to be a smoking wreck by now from the drill missile’s detonation, or just didn’t expect such an intense barrage. If I recall correctly, the pulse lasers were barely used in their previous encounter in Episode 15. Whatever the reason, Karize knows he’s in trouble and that the Doljiras are woefully outgunned.

The fact that Kodai is pissed off and out for blood also didn’t play in their favor. I think we hadn’t seen Kodai’s “murder mode” in 2199 yet… Ah, love… makes kids crazy… XD

 

Yamato’s defenses also prove highly effective against the incoming torpedoes, destroying most in their approach. But though most are shot down, several still manage to hit with devastating results. Each projectile causes great damage, even to Yamato’s reinforced hull, increased by the concussive pressure of the surrounding gas.

[LC]: Here we see two more shots where the drill missile was left out. Again, you can argue that in the left image, Yamato is just too far away for that to be an issue. But the image on the right is right next to the ship and the bow is clearly visible. And it’s obviously missing its new appendage. Still, it is the fourth and last shot that ends up being the worst. More on that in a bit. Let’s now focus on what else is going on in this scene.

[DG]: Historically, the American torpedo strikes against Yamato in Operation Ten-Go focused on her port side, resulting in the ship eventually capsizing to port, which led to the shells in her magazine shifting and detonating. Here, it’s an interesting choice of camera angles and perspectives, because the footage is clearly focusing on the attack against Yamato’s port, but the first torpedoes to strike her are to starboard (in a near-simultaneous attack).

 

Blasted away in massive plumes, it resurges back, adding to the explosion’s power and ripping massive holes in the ship’s outer hull. One area that takes a direct hit is the brig. Several crew members are sucked out into space.

[LC]: Here we see that the brig is severely damaged by the torpedo hits. A frame by frame analysis shows the explosion erupting from the left, at the end of the corridor. This might lead us to believe the brig is relatively close to Yamato’s inner hull. But in reality, these torpedoes pack a big punch. An early scene in Episode 21 shows Chief Enomoto and one of his men making an inspection of the damage. We see them enter the ship from the outside through this hole and follow them all the way into the brig corridor. It’s still quite a stretch. We can honestly say that a big chunk of the massive damage Yamato suffers in this battle comes from these torpedo impacts.

The scene that mimics a water column rising from each torpedo hit was picked by CG Director Takashi Imanishi as a highlight from this episode. Quite a statement in an episode that featured over 200 shots done in CG, when the usual average is around 30 – 40. Even for an episode such as this, the amount of work was surprising. Masanori Niishi also worked overtime. From the average 20 – 30 shots where the Detail-Up technique is used, Episode 20 reached close to 100. With so much to do, no wonder no one noticed a missing missile. XD

For more about the CG work in 2199 and this episode, check out this interview with mr. Imanishi.

 

Kodai fires several missiles, taking out a few bombers and torpedoes. He is joined by Kato and his surviving Falcons, who have finally managed to return home. Kato watches as the final torpedoes approach Yamato, vowing not to let the Garmillans get away with this.

[LC]: Here’s the final offending shot where the drill missile was left out. This is the worst because we stare right down at Yamato’s bow and Wave-Motion Gun and the missile is nowhere to be seen.

How could such a blatant slip up go unnoticed? This is akin to making Christmas decorations and leaving out the Christmas tree. Let’s analyze the possible reasons. These are just conjectures, since not a single word in any official materials or interviews have ever addressed it. If not for the evidence of the episode itself, it would seem this never happened.

First, and probably simplest, is the aforementioned workload. As we mentioned, this is the single longest episode in the series to this point and the amount of work in many departments went through the roof. Take the number of CG shots as an example. Add to this the fact that as Chapter 6 was in production, a decision was made to accelerate the release of Chapter 7. This forced all departments to speed up their schedule. Though this is (IMHO) the single biggest error in the series, the shortened schedule had more serious repercussions in the two remaining episodes, especially Episode 22. Overall, the quality of those episodes drops significantly, something more noticeable in a lavish production like 2199. But we’ll address those in due time.

The third and probably main cause of this is the altered attack order. As I’ve pointed out, in the original series the heavy torpedo bombers attacked before the drill missile was used. In 2199, the plot called for this order to be altered. Maybe at some point during production it was the same as the original, being changed at a time in which production was well underway. And in the confusion caused by the other situations, no one remembered to add the missile. The storyboard booklet that was distributed with the theatrical Blu-Ray has the scene in the correct order but that may be for the readers’ benefit. I’m sure that, had they had the time to do things properly, someone would have noticed it. But it was not to be.

In A Voyage to Remember, the number of shots in the Doljira sequence where the bow is seen was reduced to only three. Two of them were replaced with newly-animated shots, but the overhead wide shot with the torpedoes hitting Yamato’s starboard side was left unchanged. Did they just not notice it? Click here for a side-by-side comparison of these shots.

Maybe I am being too picky (to use only one of the lighter things I’ve been called) for singling this out, but I think my initial statement stands for all the reasons I pointed out at the beginning – but so do the arguments in the production staff’s defense. And in the end, annoying as I may find it, the merits of the episode outshine even this. And over time, you’ll be able to almost forget what is missing in the middle of all that is there.

 

As the Falcons move in to strike, Kraize’s plane is being pursued by Kodai. He calls Domelaze for reinforcements, saying they have encountered and engaged the enemy. Domel listens to his plea in disbelief.

[LC]: For such a large plane, the Doljira is woefully weak in terms of weaponry. Other than a top rear-mounted machine gun, it carries only two other cannons, mounted in its rear underside. It seems to have no other offensive or defensive weapons, leaving it highly exposed to front or flank attacks – not unexpected from a plane whose task is to carry and drop a large piece of ordinance, much like the Galunt. But it pretty much seals Kraize’s fate when confronted with a pack of vengeful combat planes.

  

Kodai finally gets into position and strikes a deadly blow to Kraize’s plane, severing comms with Domelaze. As the crackle of static fills the bridge, Haidern turns to Domel, unsure of what to do next.

[LC]: Kraize’s death isn’t as poignant as Ghetto’s in terms of visuals, but the fact that Domel and Haidern listen to their friend’s last moments packs a different kind of punch. In a somewhat strange alteration, A Voyage to Remember altered Domel’s face and gave him a slight grin instead of the look of disbelief he has in the episode. Though this is in line with the look he has in the following scene, here it just seems out of place.

 

Domel has fire in his eyes, wondering if the heavens are telling him to sink Yamato himself. He says he’ll do their bidding. He orders the fleet to advance. Darold takes the lead, rotating its runway to reveal the battleship’s vast arsenal.

[DG]: Is that Domel performing an old-school Yamato Salute?

[LC]: And speaking of differences between the episode and A Voyage to Remember, after Domel orders the fleet to advance, the movie included a longer scene with shots of the Domelaze’s engines firing before Darold is seen moving to the front of the fleet. It then resumes with Darold’s flight deck rotating and its weapons deploying.

 

Back at Yamato, the battle is over. Kodai’s plane pulls up to its hangar with the flight crews moving in to secure it. Kodai sits silent in the cockpit, visibly shaken by what has transpired.

[LC]: The most talked-about addition in A Voyage to Remember happens here. They finally show us how the Cosmo Zeros are retrieved. In a surprisingly simple operation, each plane lines up with the launch hatch using a beam system, very reminiscent of what we’ve seen in the many iterations of the Gundam universe. Then some sort of energy beam is fired at it and pulls it to the launch catapult. This is either a tow beam, much like the tow cables used by Meltoria in Episode 10, or simply a laser guide that allows SID to automatically make a precision alignment to the catapult. From that point on, its pretty much the same as the launch but in reverse, with the planes being carried back to their pallets. Click here to see a few shots from that sequence.

Curiously, the addition of that scene comes at the expense of this one, where we get to see how the Zeros are retrieved. The system here is a lot simpler, with a flight crew simply attaching cables to the Zero and reeling it back into the hangar. From what we saw Kodai do earlier, they could probably just fold the plane and maneuver it right in, but it would be a risky operation at best. Kodai did that in a moment of desperation. Security protocols probably go against such rash launch procedures. XD

One can only guess at Kodai’s state of mind at this point. He really seems to be completely lost and out of it… Damned love…

  

The Falcons are also retrieved into the main hangar. Saijo announces twelve planes were lost. Okita orders resupply operations to be done as quickly as possible. He asks Ota if he has found the ion turbulence. Ota says he has.

[DG]: 50% loss ratio among the Hayabusas. Considering the numerical disadvantage they were at, that’s a lot better than one could reasonably expect. Perhaps a fair amount of it could be attributed to the cobbled-together Garmillas flight crews. With more seasoned pilots, things could have been a lot worse.

[LC]: There is a subtle moment here where Okita, after hearing how many planes they’ve lost, orders them to be rearmed as quickly as possible. This might sound cold-hearted, but Okita keeps his head lowered during the whole thing. The look in his eyes (or in this case eye) says it all. It’s not that the loss of so many pilots hasn’t affected him… It’s just that the battle is ongoing and they might have to send them back out. And as the captain he has to keep his feeling in check and power through. The rest of the crew – and Earth – depend on it. The burden of command is indeed a heavy one.

 

Iwata calls the bridge. His recon teams have spotted the approaching fleet off the starboard bow. Kitano takes the field binoculars and quickly spots Darold in the lead, followed closely by Domelaze while Schderg and Lambea stay in the back.

[LC]: The fleet’s disposition makes sense. Although Domelaze is bigger and the fleet’s flag ship, Darold packs a bigger punch in terms of sheer fire power. The Guipellons, whose offensive power resides in their air-wings are basically useless at this point.

It is strange that we only see Darold using its main cannons and none of its missile launchers. In Ark of the Stars the Gelvades-class battlecarriers let loose with all they have and it’s a sight to behold. Maybe it’s just that Darold didn’t have the time to go all out, due to what is about to happen.

 

Okita has a fierce look of steely determination in his eyes. This determination is mirrored in Domel’s own eyes. Both commanders know this is their final bout. This is where the battle will be decided.

[LC]: This small moment mirrors the ones we saw back in episodes 15 and 19. Okita and Domel obviously never actually see each other, but it’s almost as if they can stare each other down across time and space. Both are filled with the resolve of a great commander and the strength that the love for their home and cause can give. And though they never say a word in any of these moments, each is filled with a strength and purpose that words could not convey. Two amazing characters, indeed.

 

Darold‘s gun turrets open fire, relentlessly hitting their target. Yamato’s forward guns have taken a beating and the ship is severely outgunned, but they do their best to hold the enemy.

[LC]: Darold is indeed a strong contender for most the prize of most powerful ship in the Garmillas fleet. I doubt even Domelaze can match it. The only one that might surpass it is the upcoming Deusuler II. Adding to its guns, it has the ability to convert into a carrier and deploy its own fighters. Its as close as it gets to being the Garmillas’ own Yamato. A way to set it up as Dessler’s flagship in future productions? For now, it’s just lucky for Earth that the Gelvades-class was deemed too costly to mass produce. XD

Look, the drill missile is back where it belongs. (Okay, I’ll stop, now… XD)

The angle of the shots in this scene is a bit odd. Darold’s beams seem to come from the left of frame, consistent with a starboard side attack. But Yamato’s shock cannon fires straight ahead. A Voyage to Remember makes this a bit worse, since the fleet approaches from the starboard bow and an added sequence shows the shots from Darold passing Yamato on both sides (click here to see the sequence). This seems to indicate that the enemy fleet is almost straight ahead. This clears why Yamato’s cannon is firing straight, but not why the enemy shots seem to come from the side. Weird perspective? Or maybe some relativistic distortion at work?! XD

 

Niimi is exiting the drill missile and calls Analyzer, who switches the drill into reverse. Analyzer uses his built-in thrusters to get out as the massive drill begins to back away from the Wave-Motion Gun’s chamber.

[LC]: The missile display (and translating screen tags) read “REVERSE” and “ENGAGED”.

Nice bit of animation as Analyzer shows off his thrusters and flight skills.

 

Eventually, the missile spins itself free from Yamato and flies off toward the enemy fleet. Okita orders evasive maneuvers. He gives a heading of forty degrees to port at Combat Speed 1.

[LC]: Keeping in line with what they did when the missile drilled in, since no resistance thrusters are fired as the missile backs out, the main body itself spins almost in tandem with the drill bit. Since it’s backing out of the hole it made, the missile doesn’t need assistance to release itself. Nice detail.

  

Ota tells him that will take them directly into the ion storm. Shima adds that if that sucks them in, they’ll be adrift. Okita shouts, asking them if they didn’t hear his order. Though he has his doubts, Shima is not about to disobey Okita and changes course accordingly. Yamato turns away from the enemy, taking another hit in the process.

[DG]: Ota, Ota, Ota. You should know by now that Okita has a plan. He always has a plan. He’s not a man who acts without thought.

[LC]: Here we get a good look at the damage the drill missile did to the Wave-Motion Gun. That’s gonna be a pain in the ass to fix. (Click the image above right to enlarge.)

 

Okita tells Ota to relay the drill missile’s course to the gunnery officer and for Nanbu to shoot it when it’s aligned with the enemy fleet. The captain’s plan finally dawns on them. Kitano urges Nanbu not to miss. Nanbu is confident, telling him guns are his specialty.

[LC]: Nanbu has come a long way from whiny a**hole to reliable gunnery officer. This is starting to be the Nanbu we know and love.

In A Voyage to Remember they made a small addition that bookends the “commander’s stare” moments. After we see the drill missile backing toward Darold, they replaced captain Bareck’s reaction with an earlier shot of Okita staring at it, then added a new shot of Domel suddenly realizing what is about to happen. If the previous stare down showed resolve in each of them, this one shows Domel realizing Okita has just beaten him. Just a perfect moment. Click here for a scene comparison.

 

The rear main gun rotates into position, targeting the drill missile and locking onto it. Captain Bareck orders Darold to take evasive maneuvers. Whether or not they would succeed is a moot point as Yamato’s shock cannon causes the missile to detonate.

[LC]: While in the original the missile just struck Darold and exploded, wiping out the entire fleet in the usual Yamato-style chain reaction, a different and more realistic approach is taken here. Instead of hoping the missile hits an enemy ship and its idle explosive charge detonates on impact, they actually take steps to cause the detonation. It’s doubtful the impact would be enough. The explosive charge is obviously capable of resisting it, as the missile already impacted Yamato and didn’t go off. So they just wait for the missile to be close enough and set it off with a cannon shot. Brilliant thinking.

 

Darold is engulfed by the explosion and is itself destroyed. Domelaze manages to turn away and avoid the massive blast. Schderg is unable to escape and careens right into the explosion, joining the casualty list.

[LC]: As I mentioned, in the original the missile and Darold’s explosion sets off a chain reaction that destroys all three remaining carriers, with each exploding ship causing the destruction of the next. This ended up becoming one of Yamato’s tropes. But admittedly it’s a bit of a cheat. In 2199 things were done differently. Balgray has already been destroyed in battle at this point. Domelaze and Lambea escape the explosion while Schderg flies right into it. From what we see, it seems they attempt to avoid hitting Domelaze and correct to port, right into the explosion. They then try to make a hard-to-starboard maneuver but fly right into it and meet their end.

 

Lambea manages to follow Domelaze and escape destruction. They come under fire from Yamato and Berger orders his plane to be reloaded with missiles so he can launch and attack. Captain Bester tells him not to be stupid, but Berger says he wants revenge.

[LC]: In A Voyage to Remember they cut this sequence of Schderg’s demise and replaced it with one of Domelaze and Lambea escaping while Schderg’s destruction is simply stated in the dialogue.

 

Just then, shots from Yamato’s shock cannons hit Lambea on the port side, causing the ship to catch fire and list dangerously. A crew member reports a direct hit to the engines while another says inertial control is off line. An enraged Berger says he refuses to let things end this way.

[LC]: Lambea takes a couple of direct hits from Yamato’s shock cannons and yet it escapes Balgray’s fate. This is due to the shots hitting the side of the ship instead of going right into the bowels of the flight decks, like the falcon’s missiles did. It causes severe damage but it’s not yet catastrophic. I’m sure a few more shots would have gotten the job done, but Lambea sinks into the cluster’s clouds and thus avoids certain destruction.

 

Lambea continues to list until the Snukas on its decks begin to slide across the runways and off the side. Its lower deck set ablaze, Lambea disappears among the gas clouds.

[LC]: This scene of the Snukas sliding off the flight deck was another highlight for the CG department. You may ask “why are planes sliding out of a runway if they’re in space?” Remember, there are intense gravity distortions in this cluster. With the ship’s inertial control off line, they lost the ability to keep them anchored to the deck.

In line with a previously comment, notice that there’s no fiery explosion when the ship disappears into the clouds. Most if not all of us believed this was it for Berger and Lambea. After seeing Ark of the Stars, I’m glad it wasn’t.

 

Haidern watches in disbelief and calls out to Berger. Domel orders the main guns to open fire. One of the salvos hits Yamato, which returns fire with its rear guns, taking out some of Domelaze’s guns.

[LC]: We’re again confronted with the fact that for such a huge ship, Domelaze seems little more that a glorified instrument of shock and awe. They make no use of any of the ship’s other armaments, focusing solely on the main guns. It’s funny that they quickly meet the same fate as in their previous encounter in being blown up by Yamato’s shock cannons.

 

They continue to exchange fire. Despite Domelaze‘s larger size, Yamato is more effective in its delivery. Domelaze takes several direct hits and tilts to port. Domel urges his men to keep calm and continue firing.

[LC]: At this point, animation quality seems to take a bit of dive in a few scenes. This is especially noticeable in Domel, whose character design changes wildly from scene to scene. The cracks caused by the accelerated production schedule start to show. Fortunately, it’s still nowhere as bad as in the following episodes.

  

Okita orders all firepower concentrated on Domelaze. As it takes another hit, Yamato unleashes a barrage of torpedoes which lays waste to Domelaze‘s port side.

[DG]: The irony is that this was the fate of the original Yamato in World War II, eventually capsizing to port. Is this an intentional nod to that fateful day, albeit a reversal of fortune, given that this time Yamato is on the delivering end of a port-side barrage, causing its prey to list uncontrollably to port?

 

Domel continues to order fire but suddenly the entire ship is rocked violently. Haidern orders his men to right the ship but they report that they’ve been caught in the ion turbulence. A stunned Domel realizes that was Okita’s plan all along.

[DG]: This is what you get when you have an astrophysicist in charge of a battleship. Okita has applied his knowledge to lure Domelaze into a trap, gambling that his opponent would be too focused on sinking Yamato to remain aware of his surroundings. A masterstroke from Okita.

[LC]: Indeed, throughout this sequence, we see Domel continuously ordering his gunners to keep hitting Yamato. He was so focused on that he didn’t pay attention to what he was walking into… until it was already too late.

 

Yamato continues to hit Domelaze, which is now totally out of control. Ota reports the enemy ship has been caught by the ion turbulence. Okita smiles, pleased at the success of his tactic.

[LC]: The look of victory in Okita’s face mirrors Domel’s absolute look of defeat. It’s a tribute to Domel that he quickly realizes and admits that his pride and overconfidence spelled his doom. Okita used not just his tactical know-how and knowledge of astrophysics to win… he also played a psychological game against Domel – and did so brilliantly.

On a personal note, I think I understand why Okita doesn’t smile that much… He’s creepy as frack! XD

 

Domel is visibly shaken by this twist of fate, concluding that Okita lured him into a trap and that his arrogance led him to try and sink Yamato personally. At the very end he made the wrong move.

[LC]: God… in the original he was just a smug a**hole, but now I actually feel sorry for Domel. Again, 2199 makes us love a character on the enemy side. So much so that I found myself wishing that, much like i wished for Shulz, he didn’t have to meet the same end as his original incarnation

 

As the crew struggles in vain to regain control of the ship, Domel flips a switch in his command console. A panel opens and a large handle is revealed. Domel gives a vocal command, “Eruc Domel, ID #17492-Zek”. Haidern hears this and turns around with a stunned look on his face. Slowly, an orange device rises from the open panel.

  

Haidern realizes what Domel is about to do. The device is Domelaze’s self-destruct trigger. Domel tells the crew that this is now his own personal fight and orders them to abandon ship. But no one moves. All men stay at their posts, giving their honored leader the unspoken consent to do what needs to be done. Haidern smiles and jokes that everyone will be heading for a court-martial for disobeying orders.

[LC]: This is another major diversion from the original. There, Domel simply used the self-destruct with no regard for the rest of the crew. Admittedly, since his main companion back then was cowardly Goer instead of faithful Haidern, Goer probably would be out the door before Domel had finished the sentence. Here he orders the crew to abandon ship and they decide to stay. It makes a big difference in terms of character depiction and keeps him in line with what we’ve been shown throughout 2199.

I have two questions. Plot and character considerations apart… how were his crewmen supposed to escape? Sure, a big ship like Domelaze probably has lifeboats or escape pods. But in these conditions, would they be able to escape the current that is pulling the ship down? Also… is this all of the ship’s crew? Probably not, it would just take too much time to show more reactions throughout the ship.

 

Domel looks around at his men and with a smile and newfound determination makes his last move. The doomed Domelaze meets its end, sinking ablaze into the ion storm. Moments before it explodes in a massive ball of fire, the bridge section detaches.

  

The smaller and more maneuverable craft manages to escape the current and fly away, heading straight toward Yamato. It quickly approaches the battleship’s underside, anchoring itself beneath Bridge Three.

[LC]: At last, Domelaze becomes the “saucer ship” from the original. As a fun homage, as the saucer flies away from the main ship and toward Yamato, it mimics a similar spin maneuver the saucer ship did in the corresponding sequence of the original. It also trails magnetic lightning to match that of Dagon’s double-saucer in Yamato III.

 

Hull panels open and four mechanical arms grab hold of Bridge Three. Inside, Enomoto hears the sound and says he doesn’t like it. Sanada says he’s almost finished with the converter repairs. Kiryu reports the enemy ship has attached to Yamato’s underside.

 

Aihara tells Okita the enemy ship is hailing them via video message. Okita tells him to display it in the main video panel. Domel’s image appears. Finally the two enemy commanders look each other in the eye. Domel requests to speak with the enemy commander and Okita introduces himself. Domel returns the courtesy, pleased that they have finally met.

[LC]: The way Domel looks in this scene… either another bit of rushed animation or maybe just the perspective of the tilted panel… his head looks a bit too big.

 

Okita says he shares his sentiment. Domel asks Okita to allow him to express his admiration for his splendid command. Okita responds, saying the battle is over and that he doesn’t wish to fight if it isn’t necessary. He asks Domel if he will allow them to pass. Domel closes his eyes for a moment, immersed in thought.

[LC]: This exchange between Okita and Domel is just a beautiful piece of writing. Though they’re on opposite sides of the battlefield, you can feel there’s true admiration and respect for one another. One can only imagine what these two might have accomplished as allies…

 

Again, he faces Okita and responds that he cannot. He tells Okita that as a soldier he must understand that if Domel simply allowed Yamato to pass it would mean his men died in vain. Standing by his side, Haidern lowers his head at the thought of his fallen comrades.

[LC]: This is a touching way for Domel to justify his decision. It’s no longer a matter of honor or pride or even following his orders. He simply can’t allow his comrades’ sacrifice to be in vain. If he allowed Yamato to pass, they would have died for nothing. They died trying to stop them, in Domel’s name. How could he now do otherwise? It might seem illogical or outdated, but an honorable warrior lives and dies by his values and Domel has already made his peace with that. Haidern’s silent reaction to the mention of his friends is also a great touch.

[DG]: In Star Blazers, Captain Avatar appealed to Lysis that they were only trying to reach Iscandar to save their homeworld from destruction. It’s interesting that Okita didn’t use this in the hope that any further bloodshed (and damage to the ship) could be avoided.

In the original, the exchange between them was almost the same as in 2199. The main exception is that Domel doesn’t refer to his comrades dying in vain, as he had basically just met them before the battle. The other difference is that Okita actually asks if Domel will let them go on to Iscandar. Because 2199 had a lot more backstory to Domel and his commanders, and Iscandar is still a bit of a secret, the changes make sense. An interesting point in the original is that Domel also made that final wish to Earth and Garmillas. In Star Blazers he just tells Okita he has 10 seconds before the bomb explodes.

 

Domel continues, saying that as a soldier… as a man, he is proud to have met a man like Okita before his death. He wishes blessings and honor to the Terrons and to those from Garmillas.

[LC]: In A Voyage to Remember, they altered Domel’s last line. Instead he wishes blessing and honor only for his people. There’s a change that makes little to no sense.

 

As the video cuts off, Domel reaches for the trigger. Okita realizes what he’s about to do and orders the immediate evacuation of the ship’s lower levels.

[LC]: The explosive device in the original episode looked pretty much like a barrel with a detonation plunger on top. The design upgrade here is substantial.

In the original, we see several shots of crewmen frantically trying to escape from the lower levels. Here, though Okita issues the evacuation order, we see no such thing. Truth be told, there’s little to no time to make any practical escape. And watching the crew panic would just lessen the moment.

  

Domel’s hand is on the trigger. His men stand up and join Haidern in a silent salute. He smiles, closes his eyes and plays his last hand. A massive detonation lights up the Rainbow Star Cluster and engulfs Yamato.

[LC]: The TV broadcast pretty much spoiled the episode’s finale. They didn’t cut anything out, but they did something even worse – they moved the beautiful BGM used in these final moments (OST 1, Track 45 – A Dictator’s Anguish (Strings)) to the previous scenes and used the new ending song instead. That’s a less than epic soundtrack for such an emotional scene. Also, having Juju sing as dialogue is being spoken by characters makes it even more confusing. Adding insult to injury, the text that usually scrolls in the end credits sequence was superimposed over these final scenes. Pitiful.

[DG]: Right before the detonation, we see a streak of light emerge from the central hull, presumably from the third bridge. This is the Wave-Motion Shield coming online just in the nick of time. As it turns out, placing the Wave-Motion Shield generator in the third bridge was dictated by plot as much as by design. The Third Bridge survives the Battle of the Rainbow Cluster! It’s horribly singed and missing its paint, but it survives nonetheless. Click on the image above for enlargement.

 

Sitting in her cell light years away, Eliza seems to feel her husband’s demise. With her hand on her chest and looking up, she calls out to him. A thick cloud of black smoke spreads across space. From it erupts the familiar shape of Earth’s last ship. Though severely damaged, Yamato has survived.

[LC]: Warp love actually works. XD

Yamato is left in a sorry state, but nowhere near as bad as in the original where most of the ship’s bottom section was simply gone. As someone stated in an interview (I believe it was Mr. Izubuchi), there would be no coming back from that. Even with this considerably less damage, it’ll take the repair crews a lot of time and a convenient dry dock to get the ship back to full strength.

  

Shima grips the controls waiting for the end that didn’t come. He looks up, surprised that they somehow survived. Outside Bridge Three’s access hatch, Sanada, Enomoto and his crew sigh in relief. They got out, having managed to fix the converter and activate the Wave-Motion Shields, just in time to take the brunt of the explosion.

[LC]: Here we do get to see a bit of that crew evacuation, as Sanada, Enomoto and the rest of Bridge Three’s crew had to get out of dodge. Admittedly, their timing was more than convenient. Still, it’s better to have a convenient shield activate at a convenient time that to have half the ship blown up only to be fully repaired in the following episode with no explanation.

And give the guys who put Bridge Three together a prize. It may be missing a few bits, but it’s still there. What a change from the good old days, where it would fall off the ship if someone sneezed.

 

Okita orders all energy to be diverted to the engines. He wants to leave the area immediately. The injured battleship speeds away from the black cloud that marks the dying place of Garmillas’ finest commander.

[DG]: As Yamato approaches the camera, we see all of the viewports (both dorsal bridges, the Captain’s quarters, and the side viewing portals) have their retractable shields extended. Throughout the episode characters have regularly looked out of these ports, so they must have been closed up immediately before Domel detonated the self-destruct.

[LC]: Okita’s expression is not that of a man who just won a great battle. There’s a sadness in his look that almost reminds me of the classic speech Kodai made on the ruins of Garmillas. Victory tastes like ashes, indeed. They may have won their hardest battle so far, but it came at a cost in lives. Ours and theirs. And knowing your enemy is an honorable man makes it even harder.

This last shot of Yamato reminds me of the final shot in the original Episode 6, where Yamato flies toward camera with Saturn in the background. That scene was used in the closing credits for Star Blazers.

 

Kodai slams his helmet against the sealed bulkhead on deck 6, where he last saw Yuki. He hears footsteps behind him. He turns to find a familiar-looking woman. He asks he if she is Yuki. Playing with her hair, she looks at him and with a soft voice says no. She introduces herself as… Yurisha Iscandar.

[LC]: So, now that Yurisha is finally awake, you’d think the whole confusion about her and Yuki would end. But nooooooo. It will go on, albeit in a more plot-relevant and fun way.

[DG]: Thus we end the seminal battle of the original Yamato series. It finished a few episodes earlier than in the original, which gives the story time to build on some of the foundations laid back in the middle episodes.

Overall, despite the last-minute directorial decision and the reduction in turnaround time for Chapter 7 (three months to two) 2199 really did the iconic battle justice. When you combine it with the brilliant Episode 19 and consider the two as a single story, then it has really eclipsed the original series in a most spectacular fashion.

This episode was indeed a tour de force for the entire production staff. The good greatly outweighs whatever nitpicks we pointed out and which can be excused by all that was mentioned here. However, the original material hasn’t all been covered yet; the opening scene of the next episode was still a part of this story in the original.

As an end note, just a few days prior to my writing this, we learned that Episode 19 director Nobuyoshi Habara was appointed series director for Yamato 2202. I can hardly wait to see what he has in store for us for the iconic battle against Gatlantis.

Yeah. As someone that has Episode 19 as a personal favorite, that was great news. Time to get excited about Yamato once again. Let the long wait begin.

 

PREVIEW:

A requiem sounds in the sky. Yamato barely survives its battle with Domel, and heads to a new planet to recover from its wounds. It is Leptapoda, a desert planet. And it holds another side as well…

Next time: Prison Planet 17.

There are 230 days left before humanity becomes extinct.

RELATED LINKS:

Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Chapter 6 Trailer Short Version
Chapter 6 Trailer Long Version

Episode 20 credits

Screenplay: Shigeru Morita
Storyboard: Yutaka Izubuchi
Director: Makoto Bessho
Chara Animation Director: Nobuteru Yuuki
Mecha Chief Animation Director: Masanori Nishii

Series credits

Original Story: Yoshinobu Nishizaki
Planning: Shoji Nishizaki, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Satoshi Kono
Original Character Design: Nobuteru Yuuki
Guest Character/Prop Design: Shinichi Yamaoka
Mecha Design: Junichiro Tamamori, Yasushi Ishizu, Kiminori Yamane, Yutaka Izubuchi
Set Design: Takeshi Takakura, Makoto Kobayashi, Takashi Watanabe
Concept Design Support: Kazutaka Miyatake
Chief Director: Akihiro Enomoto
Director of Photography: Takashi Aoki
Art Director: Minoru Maeda
Video Editing: Emi Onodera
Color Correction: Rumiko Suzushiro
Music: Akira Miyagawa, Hiroshi Miyagawa
Sound Director: Tomohiro Yoshida
Sound Effects: Mitsuru Kashiwabara
Chief Mecha Animation Director: Masanori Nishii
CG Director: Takashi Imanishi
General Director: Yutaka Izubuchi

Production: Space Battleship Yamato Production Committee
Production IG, Bandai Visual, Xebec, Bandai, Bandai Namco Games, Voyager Entertainment,
Tohoku Shinsha Film Corporation, Shochiku Co. Ltd., OLM, Lantis Co. Ltd.

17 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 20 Commentary, part 2

  1. Kobashi, you kamikaze nut job… Then again, Kobashi’s attack upon the carrier’s port side makes sense if one realizes that trying to do a missile run head on risks missing or ramming the intended victim. Considering that dive bombing is generally also a way to get flak in the face, perhaps Kobashi thought the opposing flak guns wouldn’t depress low enough to get him on his “just above the water” attack run. In the Battle of Taranto, outdated Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers flew so low that their intended victims, a bunch of tightly packed Italian warships in harbor, couldn’t actually shoot the planes without hitting each other as well! What helped the British was that they attacked in the middle of the night! Sadly for the Garmillan torpedo bombers and Kobashi, flak guns do depress low enough to take out both attacking planes and oversized anti-shipping missiles.

    If Norran didn’t get off Yamato and stuck around (probably to get killed once the hatch was forced open), I suppose the torpedo attacks would be called off considering that the drill missile was just defused. Then a possible order would be “disable Yamato’s combat capabilities and tow it into custody.” That would be bad. Everyone on Yamato apart from Yuki and Yurisha would be dead, stuck in a cell, or stuck in handcuffs. Considering that Starsha also disapproves of weapons of mass destruction, perhaps she would let Earth perish upon receiving photographic evidence of the Wave Motion Gun (courtesy of Dessler).

    About the brig getting hit: “JAIL BREAK! JAIL BREAK! Ito and Yabu are loose!!” Maybe one of the crewmen sucked out through that hole in the wall tried to tell us that.

    About Yurisha: I have that feeling that says she’ll just suddenly pop up where you DON’T want her around. I mean, she’s so good at stealthily getting into and out of places (and good at hijacking Yuria’s mind) it’s scary!

    Did I mess up on any of this?

    SAY SOMETHING!!!!

    Cherndog

  2. I’m gotta admit, I was dying for you guys finally reach ep. 19-20, and that was well worth the wait! These are my absolute favorite and I rewatched them many times. And I totally missed that mistake with drill bomb! Wowza.

    Maybe I’m seeing things, but I loved small “father-son” dynamic between Berger and Haidem. He made a remark about his cockiness after the battle against Gatlantis, scolded him for that during the ambush against Yamato and finally showed genuine care when he saw Lambea going down.

    p.s: no, I’m not implying that he is his father 🙂

  3. An epic battle that was nearly ruined by Domelaze III’s stupid demise… Seriously, when I first saw the ship get so easily penetrated by Yamato’s guns I was really confused and shocked. How can this mighty dreadnought that was able to bounce of a trio of shock cannons on the bow failed so miserably to do so on it’s sides!? After all the hype about this battle and the incoming rematch between the flagships, I was so disappointed by the climax considering how much I like Domel’s flagship and my expectations was so high. However, after doing a little research and re-watching the episode with English subtitles, I understood more on why was the Domelaze was so humiliatingly defeated.
    First of which was the ion storm that caught the ship in it’s stormy wake. Considering the mass and size of the ship, it was almost impossible for the ships’ thrusters to maneuver in such conditions thus was unable to avoid most of Yamato’s shots.
    In the debate about the side armor, it turns out it wasn’t unrealistic as I thought it was. I am a frequent player in World of Warships and there was this game mechanic that states that if a warship shows it’s entire side to an enemy, the chances of having it’s armor penetrated was extremely high. But if it angled, the density of the armor would be better thus the chances of bouncing off enemy shells was likely to happen. Of course this is just game, but I learned that this was actually reality in terms of armored warfare. I guess Domel forgot to read and learn WOWS tactics… 😛 Still, after playing the game several times and getting nuked in my Kongo in the same situation as Domelaze was, I realized it wasn’t absurd as I thought. I guess the only chance for Domelaze III to be effective is really to use her very strong bow armor to bounce of Yamato’s fire and use it’s concentrated forward battery to do the rest.
    Still, despite the mistakes that Domel made, I came to the conclusion that despite it’s awesome size and firepower, the Zeogullet class superdreadnought is NOT a match for Yamato. They lack the speed,maneuverability, and versatility of it’s weapons to take down multiple threats on it’s own and work best with numerous escort ships at it’s side. Even if the superdreadnought would use good tactical positions against the Yamato, there was no way it could take it down espcially with those wave-motion shields up. Take note that every single time the Domelaze hit the Yamato with massive damage in the show, her shields were down. Thus if both vessels go to a head to head fight against each other, Yamato’s wider versatility of weapons and her wave-motion shields would be too strong for Domelaze to take.
    It’s a crying shame and disappointment that the Domelaze was not the match against Yamato I hoped it to be. However, there is one ship that could potential overwhelm Yamato herself. And that is the Gelvades-class battlecarriers. I used to dislike the orignal for having that unrealistic flip deck, but after seeing the Mirangel in action in the Ark of the Stars, I was highly impressed with it’s huge array of weapons and dang it is very durable for a Gamilias warship considering the pounding she took from those Comet Empire ships. If three of those ships could fight Yamato, I think she would be in trouble…. Still the Domelaze is still one of my all time favourite ships in the series, and though she offers only shock and awe and nothing else in particular, we can all agree it is way more impressive looking than that stupid saucer ship in the original… That ship, despite it’s flaws, is worthy for a great military leader with shrewdness….

    • Well put. I think Domelaze would get trashed by Yukikaze in a hypothetical battle, if the latter’s torpedoes had targeted the bridge and propulsion units…

      • LOL! That would be the greatest humiliation in the history of the Imperial Gamilas Navy! 😛 😀 A perfect David vs Goliath duel…

        • Okay, let’s see here… Domelaze’s advantage set against Yukikaze is the combination of her thick armor (with protective coating) and powerful main guns. Yukikaze has weak main guns, very little armor, and no protective coating against positron emissions, but she’s faster and more agile than Domelaze, and her torpedoes can still make a kinetic energy penetration kill in space even if the explosive warheads don’t do much. For Domelaze to sink Yukikaze, she must probably ambush her with a snipe attack (with another ship acting as spotter). For Yukikaze to sink Domelaze, she must dodge any initial attack, fly in an unpredictable manner, and then get into position for a missile/torpedo attack from astern. By that point, Domel should probably order his men to abandon ship, seeing as Domelaze does not appear to have anti-ship weapons in the rear.

          By the way, the classic way to bring all guns to bear in traditional naval warfare is to “cross the T.” In such a move, the attacker broadsides the defender who can train only her bow-side armament on the attacker. The attacker is exposed to counter-fire as it is showing its full profile but that won’t prevent it from dishing out plenty of damage. Domelaze’s mistake came from broadsiding Yamato while moving parallel to her. At the beginning of that ship-to-ship duel, both ships had 3 working gun turrets capable of sinking capital vessels (said units are Domelaze’s 3 main turrets set against two of Yamato’s main turrets and one of Yamato’s secondary turrets). Domelaze’s main guns are capable of penetrating Yamato’s armor when the Wave Motion Shield is down, but Yamato can smash through the protective coating on Domelaze’s armor (just with the main guns, though I wonder if the anti-air batteries might be capable of turning a destroyer into Swiss cheese). Yamato’s projectile shells aren’t usable because there isn’t enough time to ready them (and gravity would get in the way before the rounds got close to Domelaze). If the anti-air batteries are already exhausted and therefore can’t engage the enemy any further, the only weapons Yamato has apart from her main guns and secondary guns are the torpedoes and multi-purpose missiles. As it is, the torpedoes certainly travel fast enough to get enough energy to penetrate Domelaze’s hull armor (and likely destroy quite a few subsystems) at that particular range. So because Domelaze did not cross the T, she loses. For Yamato to cross Domelaze’s T, she’d need to spam attack Domelaze’s frontal armor with torpedoes before opening up with the main guns (no protective coating, no beam deflection)!

          Is there any problem in my discourse?

          Cherndog

          • Ok I do see your point… I never thought that Yamato could penetrate the front armor by using torpedoes first then use the shock cannons next. But it’s going to take an awful amount of torpedoes considering how thick and strong it is.

    • As I stated repeatedly during these commentaries, the Domelaze’s depiction in the series in due to one of two things. Either the ship is just an instrument of shock and awe propaganda, which I would seriously entertain, considering Garmillas penchant for such methods (IPBM’s are the finest example), OR they just didn’t find a way to use it to its full potential in a way that both fit the narrative and didn’t make its destruction by Yamato seem absurd.

      We know she’s equipped with a lot more fire power than shown in the series… hell, she basically only used that main cannon array in the two battles fought with Yamato. Such a huge beast should pack a lot more fire power and in the very least house a squadron of support fighters. This could be the Garmillas version of Galactica (even if a bit smaller than the iconic Battlestar).

      In the end, IMHO, it all came down them giving Domel a mighty looking ship that seemed appropriate for such a fine general (and character) to lead his forces into battle and that didn’t look as silly as that flying saucer ship, while at the same time incorporating that into the design in order to maintain Domel’s final moment. In that respect, I believe they succeeded. And come on, despite its on screen shortcomings, she looks awesome and bad-ass, both in the show and in my display case, next to the other 1/1000 “puny” models. XDDD

      • Well considering that the Zoellegut class super-dreadnoughts were designed by the ham-strung Zoellik, they most likely be built for only shock and awe considering how accurate it portrays that loud-mouth egoistic traitor’s personality… 😛
        I wonder why the Zoelleguts don’t have any other weapons (besides the rear guns which were never used at all surprisingly) for such a huge ship. Couldn’t they install fighters like the Blue Noah of Resurrection? Or turn it into a hybrid troop transport? Cause that is an awful lot of space unused in the hull… Still I think the Domelaze III is still one of the coolest enemy ship in the entire franchise and dang she looks beautiful too!

  4. So.. next episode is 21 uh.. :D… that will be an interesting comentary

    As for the number of Falcons.. 20 can be counted (or 19 asuming one of the engine glows is from CosmoZero 02) launching from Yamato in the battle of Gamillas.. (right when the Melankas are heading into the Yamato) they lost 12 in the Rainbow Cluster battle.. and 2 more before (Yamamoto’s and Sugiyama’s).. that means the Yamato carried at least 33/34 Falcons plus the 2 CosmoZeros….

    Also i have to say i hoped Domell didnt met his fate as well in 2199.. .. same as Shultz .. but it wouldnt be. However this made a couple of surprises bigger later in the series (as other characters unexpectedly survive ..unlike in the oirignal)

    As for Kodai launching like that.. for some reason it totally made sense in a very pleasant way.. Kodai was just desperate ..he didnt knew what to do but he had to try .. anything.. i could relate that and made sense tought in perspective his action seems futile.. and that put him in the air in the CosmoZero.. perfect to meet the incoming Doljiras later..

    I saw the BR version back in the day.. but quite clearly renember the big shitstorm that exploded when the TV version aired with its “finale” alteration.. having seen the original i really felt bad for the people who had this ruined by the TV version

    • Don’t get your hopes up. At least on my end, I see episodes 21 and 22 (especially 22) as the absolute low point of the series. There are a few good moments in both but they’re just painful to watch… animation quality drops significantly from 19 and 20. But at least it leads to some stellar episode in the final chapter. Still, we’ll do our best.

      • I have a bad feeling. One that just screams “jail break.” What the cheesecakes happened to the guys stuck in the brig? Certainly they didn’t get sucked through the ruptured hull. I don’t think Yabu would even fit through that hole.

        And just what is Norran going to do now that his kidnapping mission is done, just sit back and gaze longingly at Yuki (or even a photograph of her), even though he knows he’s forbidden from falling in love with her due to politics? Yes, we know Yuki and Yurisha are obviously not the same person. But our shell-shocked racial minority member of the cast on the Gamlias team doesn’t know that (yet?). Any ideas about him? Does he become the token minor crush and/or bodyguard, doomed to die a knight’s death for the sake of the plot?

      • I renember back then how in the few past episodes in forums there was a lot of complaining about animation and draw quality droping at an alarming rate..
        then episode 21 and 22 hit..

        there is stuff in them that even i could draw better

        • As we have said in previous episodes and this one – and will say again – episodes 21 and 22 suffered mostly due to the advancement in Chapter 7’s release date. This cut the production time significantly and it meant the “A Teams” had to move on to the final episodes. Those two episodes probably ended up with the “B Teams” or with less supervision.

          Izubuchi himself said in an interview that if had had the time, he would have redone certain scenes in episode 22 (which is considerably worse than 21). But work had to advance in Chapter 7 and time also ran out. With the Blu-Ray release model they had, the episodes just had to be delivered.

          This led to changes in Chapter 7, the final Blu-Ray not being released in theatres when the movie came out – though the limited edition with storyboard was made available to ticket holder via subscription – since instead of rushing production, they maintained overall quality by sacrificing some scenes (especialy in Episode 25), which were then added to the final product. Also, I guess episodes 19 and 20, being the massive center piece that they are, consumed significant resources, in terms of time and budget.

          They did make a couple of fixes to some really bad animation error in episode 22 when they made “A Voyage to Remember”, most notably what became known as the “Dessler Afro”. XDDD

  5. Late to the party, but maybe someone will see this 🙂

    There’s another explanation for the Super-Dreadnoughts and their surprising lack of combat effectiveness: it’s a deliberate design decision. They only appear as Command Ships, and in a society playing to so many of the Nazi Germany tropes – you don’t give potential rivals the most powerful ships in the fleet! If you want to command a Garmillas fleet, you have to have your flag on one of these ships.

    It’s also a way to keep valuable (in theory) fleet commanders from directly engaging the enemy.

    This makes me accept the lack of pew pew easier.

    • Why not just stick the commander in a corvette and let him sit in the rear of the formation, if you don’t want him to be a ridiculously oversized target? If I had to command a fleet of spaceships, I’d probably be required to have a capital ship with distinguishing features (i.e. applique paint stripes or more advanced communications equipment) since there are no command ship flags in space! Or did some moron steal the torpedoes from Domel’s ship while he was in jail?

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