Yamato 2199 Episode 23 Commentary


by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Episode 23: One Man’s War

(Japanese Name: たった一人の戦争 / Tatta Ichi-ri no Sensō)

Director: Makoto Bessho

Running time: 26m 05s (21m 00s without credits)
Opening Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Isao Sasaki
  • (TV): Fight For Liberty by Uverworld

Ending Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): Star of Love by Nana Mizuki
  • (TV): Distance by Juju

[DG]: This episode starts with 210 days left, which makes it July 16, 2199. (The 230th anniversay of the Apollo 11 launch!)

Chapter Seven begins! Myself and many other members of the CosmoDNA Facebook Community were in Tokyo for the opening day of the final chapter’s short cinematic run. It would be another two months before we’d see the final product on Blu-Ray. Unlike [most/all] the previous six chapters, they were not selling the limited-edition Blu-Ray in the cinema on release day. A legacy of the rushed timeframe meant they had to rush the last four episodes to get them into cinemas on the release date.

Space. Cold, empty and silent. That is usually the norm. But this constant is viciously broken by the massive stream of energy emitted from the halfway point between Iscandar and Garmillas. As the blinding, searing light approaches Yamato, Shima struggles with the controls to evade its path. But it is perhaps too late. As the ship moves hard to starboard, parts begin to give in to the intense power.

Seconds later, the stream follows its path, meeting the unfortunate fifth planet of the Salezar system, Epidora. For millennia, the gas giant remained peaceful in its orbit, adorned by its numerous rings. But its peace… and existence… come to an abrupt and violent end. The stream of energy is so intense, it ignites the gases that compose most of the planet’s body. Epidora becomes a massive fire ball, its atmosphere and rings flung into the depths of space.

[LC]: One has to wonder if something similar could have happened to Jupiter, had it been struck directly by the Wave-Motion Gun. Yamato‘s inaugural shot merely grazed the planets upper atmosphere and still resulted in the large scar we saw in Episode 4, so we can only guess what a direct hit would have done.

Relative size and direct impact aside, Epidora might also be made up of gases that would be easily ignited by the blast.

[DG]: Epidora looked considerably smaller than Jupiter to me, and as you said, Epidora’s gases might be more volatile. It’s probably not “burning” in the sense that the Hindenburg did, but those gases are more likely involved in some sort of fission or fusion-style reaction.

There’s enough residual thermal energy on the edge of the beam to melt away the barrels of Yamato‘s pulse laser turrets as well as the port stabilizer on the tail. Fortunately Yamato doesn’t get hit with the centre of the beam. Compare and contrast this to Yamato‘s WM gun. This is over a very long distance compared to the shot fired at Jupiter, where being on the cusp of the beam was enough to slowly vaporize a Kriptera .

Comparing the power of the Dessler Gun vs Yamato‘s WMG is really an apples and oranges situation – differences in distance and technology makes it difficult to compare the yield of each gun. While we see masses of gas from Epidora surrounding Yamato, we also get evidence from the dialogue that the planet is collapsing. Comparing and contrasting this with the test-firing of the WMG at Jupiter, the most immediate differences are that Epidora looks to be a much smaller gas giant than Jupiter or Saturn. At Jupiter, the floating continent would have absorbed the majority of the gun’s energy. Add to that, the yield of the weapon diminishes over distance.

Dessler observes the event from his control room. One of his clone guards reports the attack from Baleras II is complete. Stunned by what she just saw, Yuki asks Dessler what has he done. He responds it was just an idea he had… to use Wave-Motion Energy as a weapon. Yuki recoils at the mention of Wave-Motion Energy, while Norran stares at the screen in disbelief. A guard reports Yamato “appears” to have been destroyed, much to Yuki’s horror. Dessler jokingly comments on how they were killed in sight of their destination, after such a long, hard journey. A beautiful ending. Norran looks at Yuki who is in the verge of tears, looking at the glowing ball of fused gas on the screen. Dessler wonders what the captain of Yamato was like, almost as if expecting an answer from her…

[LC]: Indeed, Dessler’s question here could be considered rhetorical. But since he knows she is not really Yurisha but a member of Yamato‘s crew, I wouldn’t put it past him to state it hoping she slips up with the shock of seeing her comrades blown to cosmic dust.

One must point out that in original continuity Dessler and Okita never actually interacted until years later, when the “resurrected” Okita captained Yamato against the Lugal Empire forces. Even then, they didn’t speak to each other.

  

As he gets up, he says he would have loved to meet him, to give him a word of appreciation. Yuki doesn’t take his joke well, glaring at him as if she could pierce him with her eyes. Dessler runs his fingers through her hair, saying the princess seems unwell and ordering Norran to take her away. Norran leads Yuki away just as one of the guards receives a new report. An object has been detected on radar, near the point of impact. It’s Yamato. Yuki turns at the mention of her ship’s name, her eyes filled with new hope.

[LC]: Dessler is really doing his best to push Yuki’s buttons.

Yuki’s reaction to the news is another example of how bad she must be at poker. Knowing what we know about Yurisha, she might actually show the same reaction, but I think she would be a lot more composed. Lucky for Yuki, her cover has already been blown so no harm comes from this.

  

Yamato flies away from the scorching inferno that Epidora has become, surrounded by streams of gas ejected by the explosion. Nanbu reports heavy damage to the AA guns while Ota says the sensors are malfunctioning. With a heavy tone in her voice Misaki reports Epidora is collapsing, saying Epidora is no more as Melda looks at the screen in horror.

[LC]: Though Yamato is a tough ship, I believe its survival here was due to Epidora’s makeup and a bit of dumb luck more than anything else. If Epidora was a solid chunk of rock in space, its destruction would have resulted in a big bang, ejecting material in all directions. If the shock wave didn’t destroy them, being pummeled by shards of rock certainly would. A combination of being far enough from the blast and the fact Epidora basically burned itself up in a localized fireball may have permitted Yamato‘s survival.

 

Kodai wonders how a single attack was capable of destroying a planet. Okita states it was the work of a Wave-Motion Gun. Kodai is stunned at the prospect. The always calm Sanada confirms that, despite some variations on the gravitational gradient, the waveform is definitely that of a Wave-Motion Gun. Yurisha is aghast with this revelation.

 

Okita says they’ll continue to the inner system, stating the Wave-Motion Gun has difficulty targeting objects at sub-light speeds. They need to go in close if they’re to have any chance of winning. He orders the ship to move at full speed toward Garmillas. The main engine comes to life, propelling the ship forward towards its target.

[LC]: That’s not a big stretch. Any moving target is by definition harder to hit. A Wave-Motion Gun will have a hard time hitting a moving target at interplanetary distance, even at relatively low speeds.

That brings up another question. Assuming the Dessler Cannon beam moves at anything close to the speed of light, Epidora would have to be ridiculously close to Garmillas/Iscandar. We could simply assume it was due to artistic license but since the beam was right on top of them just seconds after the energy surge was detected, it would be a poor excuse. Given some sort of singularity is formed in the process of firing a Wave-Motion Gun, it’s possible the beam suffers some relativistic distortion effect. This in turn would raise the question, how did they detect it before they were hit, if the beam was in warp? Maybe artistic license is the way to go to avoid our collective brains from exploding. XD

[DG]: Interesting that they literally say Yamato is travelling at sublight speed. This would certainly imply that, in addition to all its other systems, it has inertial dampers, because the acceleration to sublight speed in a short amount of time would crush the crew. In retrospect, the acceleration looks similar to that encountered when preparing to warp.

In A Voyage to Remember, the English subtitles translate this differently. Instead of “sub-light speed,” they call it “relativistic speed.” My best guess is that Yamato accelerates to a quasi-warp speed, which doesn’t breach the dimensional barrier. As you say, the visuals look like the accelerating Yamato we’ve seen in some of the warp scenes. This might be considerably slower than the speed of light but a lot faster than standard cruising speed. I’d put it in the same bracket as Star Trek’s depiction of “impulse speed.” I do wonder why the main engine is trailing smoke, though…

 

In Dessler’s control room, he observes the ship’s advance with renewed interest just as a call from Velte Talan comes through. Yamato continues its approach at sub-light speed. Talan reports the attack damaged part of their systems. A strangely amused Dessler orders him to have the repair completed as soon as possible. Talan states that targeting an object at sub-light speed is difficult for a weapon like the “Dessler Cannon.” Dessler dismissively says Yamato will slow down soon.

[LC]: And thus the tradition of naming stuff after Dessler is rekindled.

[DG]: Does Dessler think Yamato is headed for Iscandar or Garmillas when he says “they’ll slow down soon”? Assuming he considers “Yurisha” to not be Yurisha, then he may be assuming they’ll head to Garmillas to rescue her.

 

One of Dessler’s guards reports a call on the hotline from Her Highness, Starsha, and that she wishes to speak with him directly. Starsha’s hologram appears before Dessler, prompting the holographic Talan to bow to her as he is disconnected. Starsha asks Lord Dessler what he is doing, stating that using Wave-Motion Energy as a weapon is sheer madness.

[LC]: This raises the question, if they can use holograms to communicate over the “hotline,” why the fancy hand held phone?! Sure, that was in order to keep the identity of the caller hidden until the big Iscandar/Garmillas reveal, which was only a mystery for new viewers. Keeping it consistent would mean using the phone here. But admittedly, the scene looks soooooo much better when they’re interacting with each other.

We really see how much Dessler tries to play it casual and look uninterested when he’s actually mad about her (some would say he’s gone literally mad). And the sheer awkwardness of Starsha wanting to maintain the status quo but not being able to reciprocate… They might be alien leaders of two powerful empires, but here they’re just two people in a situation that many of us have been through. Maybe that’s why the whole exchange packs such an emotional punch.

The new music piece that accompanies the scene is also a thing of beauty, doing what a good soundtrack should do, augment what is being shown on the screen.

 

Making his most bored face, Dessler asks her if she’s there to complain. When she answers yes, he dismissively says that’s all she ever does. He stands up defiantly, asking why she doesn’t complain to the Terrons. When she asks him what he means, he tells her the ship she brought to Iscandar and Garmillas also uses Wave-Motion Energy as a weapon. Starsha is totally taken by surprise, her defiant gaze turning into one of sadness and disappointment, even as she says that’s impossible.

[LC]: Starsha is totally blindsided by this reveal, and it also tells us Dessler was fully aware of her involvement, something that was only hinted at before. This is a big diversion from the original, where it was at least implied Starsha knew everything that was happening with Yamato. Here, she’s not even aware of their misstep in creating a weapon with her technology. That side of the matter has been transferred to Yurisha, as was literally stated in Episode 19, when she told Okita her role was to observe and for Starsha to decide. This pushes Starsha out of the “magical all-knowing queen” trope, though Yurisha and her strange intuition take the princess closer to that realm.

[DG]: However, did Starsha actually know about the WMG in the original series? I don’t recall the topic ever being raised by her. After all, that version of Starsha didn’t bat an eyelash when Gamilas was destroyed.

  

Dessler calmly changes the subject, asking Starsha if she saw her little sister is doing well. She gasps at the underlying threatening tone in his words, even though he tells her he has given orders to keep her safe. She asks him what is he thinking, to which he simply replies that all he’s doing is for her. She looks away and begs him to stop. He calls her name and she pleads with him. As their eyes lock, Dessler sees there’s no use in continuing the conversation.

[LC]: The way they paint the darker areas in Dessler’s face in certain scenes throughout the episode really brings out the mad king that is emerging from him. The technique is used every time he does something just plain nasty. Whether making a veiled threat to Yurisha’s life or getting ready to kill his own people, it sure is effective.

I love the animation in this whole scene. The mix of awkwardness and despair in Starsha and Dessler’s descent from “blaze tyrant who has the upper hand” to “just a guy who finally realizes he doesn’t stand a chance” are phenomenally translated into the animation of the two characters. That shot of him reaching out to her face… even if it is just a hologram, you can feel the exact moment his heart breaks.

A side note: the shot almost mirrors the one at the start of the episode when he does the same to Yuki, but without the feelings.

 

He holds his hand to her face and closes his eyes, saying how unfortunate it is that she feels that way. He nods at his men and the call is terminated. Dessler closes his eyes and lowers his head, visibly shaken. Alone in her palace, Starsha looks up at the Garmillas crescent in the skies of Iscandar, begging Dessler to stop.

[LC]: The design of Dessler’s face in this shot and a couple of others in this episode reaches back to the original series. I can’t help but think this exact shot would fit the momentous scene of Dessler’s change of heart in Yamato 2.

We can also realize that, although she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, Starsha seems genuinely concerned for Dessler and where all this might lead him. Not just the concern of a queen who sees her neighbor using her technology for evil, but a genuine, personal concern. They may never have been lovers as Dessler wanted, but there was at least a friendship between them at some point. Further evidence that the “friend zone” costs lives. XD

The shot of Starsha in her palace tower, alone, is a hint of the reveal that comes in the following episode. Also, great shot of Garmillas in Iscandar’s sky, mirroring the many we’ve seen from Garmillas’ side.

  

Yamato speeds towards Garmillas, the twin planets growing off its bow. Yuria detects three carriers approaching at ten o’clock. Sanada orders the Wave-Motion Shields to be deployed but Okita says not yet. Sanada looks at the captain and seems to understand what he’s planing.

[LC]: The glow surrounding Yamato as it flies seems to confirm our previous assessment. Like a warp bubble distorting space, allowing the ship to fly extremely fast through normal space without breaching the dimensional boundary layer.

Nice moment here, between Sanada and Okita. Sanada immediately grasps the captain’s intentions.

 

Okita orders the ship to half speed and for the Cosmo Falcons to launch. The ship’s retro rockets fire, reducing its speed as the main hangar’s hatch opens. Immediately, the Falcons begin launch procedures, joined by Yamamoto who launches from the starboard catapult in Alpha 2. Surrounded by its fighter wing, Yamato continues its approach.

[DG]: Another rare occasion where we hear the Hayabusa referred to by its Japanese name. It seems only Okita refers to it by that name. We see Akira’s Zero and at least 19 Hayabusas escorting Yamato.

[LC]: This sequence right here is probably the only instance in the entire series where I think they could have gone without the “Detail-Up” technique. We see a very short shot of the thrusters opening and firing, detailed to perfection. But not only is it so short you barely notice the detail, it then cuts to a similar shot of the 3D model slowing down. Had they used another angle in one of the shots, it wouldn’t be too bad. But this way it just feels like someone cut several frames from the shot, breaking the animation flow.

The first couple of times I saw it, it seemed that was exactly what had happened. It wasn’t until I went through it with a more clinical eye that I noticed it was due to the jump from the “Detail-Up” shot to the 3D one. And given how little the first bit is on the screen, they should have just left it out. It would’ve been a smoother sequence that way.

 

Aboard his command ship, Gimleh is informed that the advance carrier fleet is about to make contact. He order them to start their attack. The three Polmeria-class carriers stop their usual spinning motion as the Melankas begin dropping from their hangar bays like a swarm of destruction.

[DG]: Is this the first time we hear a grunt clone speak?

[LC]: No, we’ve seen the clone troopers speak as far back as Episode 12 when they first appeared.

I never quite understood why Gimleh seems to be phoning it in. Sure, his orders are to defend Baleras II, but at this point he doesn’t know Yamato won’t be attacking it. So why not make a more decisive effort? The only reason I can see is a direct order from Dessler, but that’s just an assumption.

  

Kato orders his men to shoot down the enemy and to not let them near Yamato. The Falcons break formation and engage the incoming squadrons. Okita orders the ship to go hard to starboard. They’re heading straight for Garmillas. Yamato makes the turn and speed toward the looming green sphere below.

[DG]: Hayabusas vs Melankas. A matchup we’ve not seen since Episode 2. That was in an atmosphere though. Let’s see if the Melankas fare any better against the Hayabusas here in space.

  

Both squadrons unleash a barrage of missiles, canceling each other. The Falcons move in and let their main cannons do the talking. As they approach the Polmerias, they fire their AA guns. Shinohara evades and fires missiles at the carriers, followed closely by Yamamoto. Soon, all three carriers are down for the count. Shinohara gives her a thumbs up and Yamamoto responds in kind.

[DG]: We see the Hayabusas turn their attention to the Imperial Guard’s Polmerias. A pair of multi-purpose missiles carried by the Hayabusa seems to damage them, but neither picture nor dialogue indicates the level of damage. Presumably, they disable the ships’ defensive systems.

[LC]: Looking at this missile-to-missile barrage I can’t help but think Macross. Add to that the “Daedalus Attack” Yamato pulls in a bit and this turns into a veritable Macross homage fest.

As far as I can remember, this is the only time we see a Polmeria’s upper gun turret being used.

 

Yamato is now approaching Garmillas’ upper atmosphere and maneuvers accordingly. Gimleh receives reports of the carrier fleet’s destruction and Yamato‘s progress. He says their only goal is to defend the new capital, but they must still put up a show. A small fleet of only five ships is sent in pursuit of the Terron vessel.

[LC]: Here, Gimleh is obviously not giving a damn, since it’s now clear that Yamato isn’t gunning for Baleras II. But for someone who hasn’t made much of an effort to put up a fight so far, his concern with putting on “a good show” only reinforces the thought that Dessler has told him not to interfere. Somehow, Dessler knew they were coming down to Baleras all along. And since that fits perfectly into his crazy plan, he just needs to keep the illusion for a bit longer.

Gimleh dispatches five ships: 1 Meltoria, 1 Destoria, 2 Kelkapias and 1 Kripitera. Yet, once they catch up with Yamato in the outskirts of the capital, only four are shown.

 

The Earth battleship enters the Garmillan atmosphere. After the shaky reentry maneuver, Yamato flies over one of the many holes on the planet’s outer crust, diving in toward its inner surface. Its a wonderous sight that welcomes them, as the sunlight peers down into the gleaming forests of this quasi-subterranean world, surrounded by colossal rock pillars that would dwarf most of the Earth’s mountains. Between these pillars, the far silhouette of a large city can be seen.

[LC]: Yamato is really haulin’ a**. Usually they enter planetary atmospheres slowly enough to avoid the overheating caused by drag at high speed. Nice detail that they have the ship rotating so the lower hull takes the brunt of the punishment, since it’s the more heavily plated section of the ship.

The background artists did some outstanding work in these sequences. The scale of the geological structures on Garmillas’ surface is relayed in every shot.

 

Melda peers over Ota’s shoulder, looking at the screen with a detailed map of their surroundings. She tells them the city in the distance is Baleras. If they go straight through that section, they’ll reach the Imperial Palace. Okita says they will now strike at the enemy’s heart, Lord Dessler’s palace.

 

Yamato flies over the sea that bathes Baleras’ shores, the sun setting behind it as it advances. At Dessler’s palace, alarms sound as the senior staff look at the main monitor, astonished at how far Yamato has managed to reach. An irate Hyss asks what the Imperial Guard is doing. Celestella says Gimleh is totally useless.

[LC]: This whole episode so far is in stark contrast to the original one, where Yamato was forced down to the inner structure of Gamilas and into the planet’s acid oceans. Here, they come down of their own volition and no acid comes into play.

On that subject, although we’ve seen that the “oceans” on Garmillas have a yellow tinge to them, it’s never said whether or not they are acid or just water that looks yellow. Not even while the ship is flying over them is there any mention of danger posed by these “oceans.”

All that aside, tell me… HOW COOL IS THAT SHOT?! 2199 never fails to deliver on stunning visuals.

[DG]: Hyss is showing some degree of leadership here.

 

Yamato goes around the final pillar, over the lush forest that borders Baleras and finally enters the outskirts of the city. A number of ground troops spots the ship but are powerless to act. The small pursuit squadron finally catches up with Yamato and try to surround it.

[LC]: Given how useless these troops end up being, I think a better alternative would have been to have a small crowd of civilians reacting to the massive alien battleship flying over them. For all the effort made so far to populate Baleras and make it feel like a real city (rather than just a collection of buildings) they kinda dropped the ball on this one.

The rest of the sequence goes by and not a single civilian is shown. I’m not saying they should show people being killed by debris or anything like that, but just a few reaction shots from random people watching the battle would have gone a long way.

As you can see, one of the Kelkapias has gone missing. Good for the city, one less crashing ship to worry about.

 

They open fire with little to no concern over whether they hit their target or the surrounding buildings. Yamato‘s massive guns rotate and take aim, dispatching two of the enemy ships. Unfortunately, collateral damage is still substantial, since one of the ships plows into a building.

 

Okita orders the activation of the Wave-Motion Shields. The Destoria at their starboard side takes a couple more shots and accelerates, moving directly into Yamato‘s flight path. Unfortunately for them, Yamato doesn’t flinch, ramming the Destoria at full speed. The Garmillas ship breaks up in a massive fire ball. Yamato surges on, completely unscathed, thanks to its shields.

[LC]: What was the captain of this Destoria thinking?! Did he really think his ship could stop Yamato?! And if so, would he do it in such a suicidal way?! Or did he think the Terron ship would chicken out and veer off? Whatever he was thinking, he was wrong on all counts. At least it provided one of the most awesome displays of Yamato‘s badassery in the whole series. I mean… Wow, that was just nuts!

 

Okita says they’ll ram the palace and orders the blast shields to close. The battleship accelerates and begins to climb, aimed at the top of the palace. The Wave-Motion Shields are at full power.

[DG]: Judicious use of the Wave-Motion shields here by Okita. Firstly to ram the sole remaining enemy ship, but then also to protect the bow for his next tactic.

[LC]: I can almost hear Misa Hayase shouting “Daedalus Attack!” in that shot.

 

Okita orders the crew to brace for impact and… Yamato‘s bow plows through the side of the gargantuan tower! The force of the impact is felt throughout the structure. Even Yuki and Norran are thrown off their feet, deep inside it.

 

Yamato scars the wall leading up to Dessler’s seat of power before finally coming to a stop close to the top. The screeching and cracking of stone, metal and glass give way to an eerie silence. If not for the large battleship sticking out the side of Dessler’s palace, no one would be the wiser. The crew slowly recovers from the shock. Okita grabs his chest in pain but suffers silently as Kodai asks if everyone is all right. Okita orders the crew to arm themselves and Kodai to assemble a team.

[LC]: And the badass moments just keep piling on. For a series that did so much to improve on the original, this episode just builds upon THAT. It might lack the tension and drama of the original’s battle of Gamilas, but man, this is just awesome.

[DG]: What is the plan here? Had Okita planned to rescue Yuki all along? If not, I don’t know what they would have expected to accomplish by raiding the capitol tower. We can only assume that Melda informed them off-camera that it would be relatively unguarded and taking the enemy leaders prisoner would be possible.

Best guess is they intended to use Melda’s intel, breach the palace and take Dessler and his command staff as prisoners, possibly to deliver them to Admiral Dietz. If they just happened to find and save Yuki in the process, all the better.

  

Inside the large structure at the tower’s core, Norran helps Yuki up so they can get out of there. Yuki rips her dress so she can move more freely, much to Norran’s embarrassment (and delight). Yuki tells him she was hoping he’d say that.

[LC]: On one hand, I shrug at the fan service. On the other, I appreciate the restraint they showed by not having Norran’s nose bleed compulsively. (Japanese shorthand for arousal.)

 

In the central command room, Hyss and the senior staff are picking themselves up from the floor. Hyss is baffled as he looks at the image of Yamato, firmly planted in the side of the tower. Celestella asks if Dessler is safe and that they should find him immediately. Ghader Talan tells her to calm down just as a warning is heard on the PA system, announcing that the Deusler II decoupling sequence has been initiated.

 

Hyss is confused, but Celestella has an immediate look of recognition in her face… turned into desperation as she bolts out of the room, pushing Ghader aside. A ten second countdown begins. A large hatch at the top of the tower opens, revealing the object at the tower’s core is actually a large ship, standing vertically to point skyward. Its engines come to life and the Deusler II begins to rise.

[LC]: From their reaction, it’s almost as if no one noticed the large space craft sitting upright in the center of the palace…

  

It soon leaves the confines of Dessler’s palace, trailing a plume of smoke visible from miles away. Yuki and Norran, still inside the ship, feel it accelerating. The ship heads out into space as Yuria reports its launch.

[LC]: In the original, Dessler’s ship (which didn’t receive any actual name) was hanging in the underside of Garmillas’ outer crust along with dozens of missiles. Throughout the battle of Gamilas, Dessler’s command center was in this missile base – or at least that appeared to be the case. When the whole thing was destroyed by Yamato‘s shock cannons, Dessler was believed to perish along with all of Gamilas. It was revealed in the last episode that he boarded the ship before the base was destroyed. The ship then dropped from its moorings before launching out into space. Despite the many diferences in the episode, the shot of Deusler II flying off is almost a match to the original. Click here for a side by side comparison.

 

Kodai is loading his weapon when Yurisha says she can feel Yuki is aboard the rising ship. Kodai is speechless. Just as desperate is Celestella, who watches the Deusler rise into the distance, heartbroken that Dessler left her behind. She cries out in denial.

[DG]: Poor Celestella. That’s the most surprised sense of betrayal since Rei betrayed Gendo in End of Evangelion.

[LC]: “Apply cold water to burned area.”

Once again, Yurisha’s power comes out of nowhere just to serve the plot. At least it saves Kodai the many hours it would take to canvass the whole palace. XD And it’s refreshing to have at least one episode where Yuki once again slips through their fingers but Kodai doesn’t immediately scream “YUUUUUKIIIIIIIIIIIIII!”

 

The Deusler II leaves the atmosphere. Captain Lecter welcomes Dessler to the bridge, informing him that Baleras II will be under control shortly. Dessler smiles, saying all went as planned. He says they’ll begin their operation and Lecter salutes him.

[LC]: Here we meet the Deusler II’s captain, Colonel Harz Lecter (no relation known XD). Curious that such a young (looking, at least) man has been put in command of Dessler’s flagship. Since the ship seems to be crewed by mostly Imperial Guard clones and a few of Dessler’s female bodyguards, he was either appointed by Gimleh or chosen by Dessler himself. In any case, his loyalty won’t be an issue. Click here for the character file.

  

As the ship nears Baleras II, Talan’s operatives alert him that the central control system has been taken over from outside. He orders them to find the origin, with one of them tracing it back to the Deusler II. As Talan reacts to Dessler’s takeover, the second technician reports Industrial Sector 633 has begun the decoupling sequence. Talan can’t believe it.

[LC]: Baleras II’s official technical designation is shown in the screen tag in the image above. It reads: “Dimensional Mobile City Fortress Baleras II”. In other places (like the CD soundtrack) it is referenced as “Second Baleras.”

Poor Talan keeps getting his loyalties tested. I do appreciate that he sticks by his lord’s side, despite all the horrible things he’s done. Perhaps he believes that he can eventually talk some sense into him, even when all his protests fall to deaf ears.

Also, the fact that Dessler takes over the system from the outside is a serious security fail. Sure, Dessler has the access codes to do it, but if he can access the system so easily, any decent hacker can do the same and just press “self destruct.” XD.

 

Several controlled detonations run across the border of the afore mentioned sector, breaking the connections between it and the main city structure. Slowly, the massive piece begins to move away. Slowly, that is, until giant engines begin to accelerate it… directly toward Garmillas.

[LC]: Dumping an entire city sector seems wasteful. They call it an “Industrial Sector,” so it may serve some larger purpose. Sure, they must have redundancies, so similar sectors can pick up the slack. But since they have the Dessler Cannon, this move seems to have only one purpose, spectacle aside: to give Yamato something to fire its Wave-Motion Gun at. Since they’re not blowing up volcanoes or cities this time, something had to give.

  

Aboard Yamato, Yurisha questions why Kodai doesn’t follow the Deusler II and save Yuki. Kodai doesn’t answer, while Nanbu looks on. Kodai turns to Okita and says he’ll command the assault team. Yurisha can’t believe her ears. Before any action is taken, Yuria reports a radar contact. Okita orders the image to be put up on the main screen. The crew is stunned as they look up at the massive city block approaching Garmillas’ upper atmosphere. Analyzer reports the object has an estimated mass of 60 million tons, descending from Lagrange point L1.

[LC] I have to ask something I’m guessing many have asked before… are there no soldiers providing security in the palace?! Sure, Okita did a crazy move and no one in that tower could have predicted an enemy battleship would just ram the damned thing. But surely, in a structure as big as this, there should be some sort of military contingent for emergency situations. Did they leave with Dessler? Either that or they must really do something about their response time.

 

Analyzer announces the estimated impact point is the palace, their current location. As the city block moves closer, it’s also being tracked from the Garmillan command center. They’ve determined the decoupling command was given by Dessler himself. Ghader is shocked while Hyss remains motionless. The object will reach the city at 2400 gek.

 

Breaking out of his stupor, Hyss comments on how foolish Dessler’s actions were, before stepping forward and taking over the proceedings. He orders a state of emergency to be declared throughout the capital and to begin immediate evacuation. Alarms sound throughout the palace while panels light up with evacuation orders. People rush to the emergency exits in less than orderly fashion. Caught in the confusion is Hilde Shultz, who ends up being knocked to the ground by a less than civil officer. She lies unconscious in the floor.

[LC]: Is Hilde’s hat made of paper?! No way a hat would disintegrate like that just from someone stepping on it.

 

Ghader urges Hyss to evacuate, telling him it’s not safe to remain. His head lowered and his eyes on the ground, Vice-President Hyss asks the absent Dessler if this is how a leader behaves. As he cries out his Emperor’s name, Hyss lifts up his head, his face filled with anger.

[DG]: Hyss’s face has got to be a tribute to his original counterpart’s face when Dessler shot him for suggesting they make peace with Yamato.

[LC]: My thoughts exactly. At least this time he has no smoking hole in his chest. Click here for a side by side comparison.

 

Deusler II is currently locked on a guidance beacon, making its final approach to its dock. One of the pyramids opens to allow the ship access. The ship slowly descends, docking with a large platform. As it makes contact with the docking arms, the structure closes around it, perfectly fitting its hull’s shape. Deusler II the core ship has just become Deusler II the massive dreadnought. The bridge crew reports docking is complete and the Dessler Cannon’s circuits have been connected.

[LC]: That’s one hell of a way to keep the original ship’s aesthetic and still make it badass. Pity Bandai still hasn’t released this baby as an add-on kit to the 1/1000 Core Ship.

 

Velte Talan arrives, asking Dessler what his intentions are and why has he dropped Industrial Sector 633 on Baleras. Dessler dismissively says it’s a rite of passage; Baleras and Yamato will be annihilated together, and that noble sacrifice will give rise to the rebirth of Garmillas. He announces that once this operation is done, Baleras II will land on Iscandar. Talan can hardly believes his ears.

[DG]: Aaand here we see for certain that Dessler’s lost his marbles. How does the genocide of a good percentage, if not the majority, of Garmillan purebloods give rise to Garmillas’s rebirth?

  

Dessler declares the orbital city fortress Baleras II as the new capital of Garmillas. His words echo through his palace, where Celestella is still reeling from Dessler’s abandonment. On the streets, people look up at the skies in anticipation of the incoming doom. Gimleh seems to be the only one moved by Dessler’s speech, applauding his leader.

[DG]: And in a short frame, we’re reminded visually that Garmillas has civilians this time around. That there’s a definite, human cost to this action. Except now it’s Dessler making that decision rather than Yamato.

[LC]: As I said previously, I think it would have driven the point further to show them in earlier sequences. I guess they were running out of time and a few still shots were all they could manage. Well, better than just a ghost town of cucumber towers, I guess.

And someone, please, KNOCK THE DAMN FLOWERS OF THAT GIRL’S HANDS!!! Are they grafted to her?! Every single time she appears she’s holding a flower arrangement! XDDD.

  

Dessler continues, saying Baleras II will serve as a bridge between Iscandar and Garmillas. Analyzer reports there are twenty minutes until the city block crashes on them. Okita’s following order leaves everyone stunned: “Prepare to fire the Wave-Motion Gun.” Yurisha can hardly believe her ears.

[LC]: The whole premise of Dessler’s plan is as crazy as he’s becoming. He builds a massive city in space just so he can land it in Iscandar?! Why?? If, as he says, Baleras II is to “become a bridge between Garmillas and Iscandar,” I think it’s fine right where it is. Building a space fortress to land it on a planet is silly. If he wants to claim Iscandar, he could just send the Imperial Guard fleet and take it. It’s not as if Starsha’s gonna put up a fight. Besides, the people are now convinced that Yurisha sanctions the unification of the two planets, so they won’t be against it.

And why did Dessler bother to get public approval for his plan if he intended to drop an entire city sector on them? Or blast them with the Dessler Cannon? Nothing in this plan makes sense. It’s probably the weakest bit in this final chapter, in that it fails to show a proper motivation to any move Dessler made so far. Though this episode delivers plenty of action and eye candy, it just muddles the whole Dessler subplot into an intangible mess.

Here, Dessler seemed to start on the same path, but then turned into an emo-in-love who wants to unify the universe for the woman he loves. He goes about it in a way that drives her away (not that she was into him in the first place) and now he’s just plain bonkers, doing stuff that only serves to move the plot along.

 

Okita explains that only the Wave-Motion Gun has the power to destroy such a massive object. While Kodai smiles in relief, a surprised Yurisha recalls the words she said to the captain weeks ago, “through action… not words.” She smiles as she realizes Okita’s intentions.

[DG]: Yurisha reiterates something she said to Okita back when she was inhabiting Yuria’s body – “show me with actions, not words.” Coming to the aid of an enemy; you don’t get many greater acts of worthiness than that.

 

She says that the time has come for everyone to do their best, each doing that which only they can do. As Kodai looks at her, she says that’s why she’s going after Yuki. But he cuts her off, saying no. With a wide smile of realization on his face, Kodai says that’s what he must do. He turns to the captain and asks him permission to launch in his Cosmo Zero.

[DG]: And FINALLY our boy Kodai comes to his senses!

  

Okita says he’s relieved from his duties as Tactical Officer and tasks him with the mission of rescuing Operations Officer Yuki Mori, which he readily accepts. Yurisha is not amused, as she wanted to be the one doing it. Seeing her pout, Okita smiles and says he’ll allow Kodai to take someone else with him, much to her delight and Kodai’s chagrin.

[DG]: The Yurisha Pout™ – another thing that suggests she’s a lot younger than she looks.

[LC]: Since we’re on the subject of trademark looks, how about that Kodai Cringe™, hm? XD.

 

As he assumes his new mission, Nanbu leaves his seat and heads for the main combat console, saying he’ll take care of it. In exchange, he tells Kodai to bring Yuki back. Kodai nods in agreement and leaves as the rest of the staff smiles. Melda looks on and gives a sigh.

[DG]: I love Nanbu’s “selflessness” here. He’ll cover Kodai so Kodai can rescue Yuki. You’re telling me it has nothing to do with the fact that he finally gets to fire the WMG?

[LC]: Yeah, he’s been wanting to get his hands on that firing trigger since day one.

 

Kodai’s Zero launches minutes later, heading skyward. He soon finds himself attacked by a squadron of Zedoras and Snukas. He manages to evade them when suddenly one of the fighters is shot down. Kodai looks up to see Melda’s red Czvarke catching up to him, ready to escort him out of Garmillas.

[DG]: Okay, a few things here. First, we establish that the catapults are powerful enough for atmospheric launch of the Zeros, at least on Garmillas.

Second, the Zero has enough acceleration and reaction mass to breach the atmosphere of Garmillas, and then still have enough left over to dogfight afterwards.

Third, Melda must have turned around as soon as the scene finished to catch up with Kodai… and/or the Czvarke has greater acceleration.

Fourth, How the hell did she manage to launch from the side hangar? She basically would have had no more than seventy meters to get out and pull up, unless the arms in the Auxiliary hangars can rotate the craft as well as release them. Or she did a freefall/nose dive from the hangar to build up speed before pulling out and then launching into space.

Lastly, here we get to see the Czvarke’s full weapon loadout.

  

Melda justifies her actions by stating she’s simply protecting Lady Yurisha, before she leaves the Zero behind to strike at the enemy planes. A squadron of Snukas attacks her from behind. She manages to evade their fire as the Snukas are shot by someone else. It’s Yamamoto, Kato, Shinohara and the remaining Falcons, back after taking care of the remaining Melankas. Yamamoto tells Melda to leave that to them, but Melda says it’s her task too.

[DG]: Melda’s line could be interpreted as tsundere in nature if it were in any other tone. “I’m just protecting Yurisha-sama! It has nothing to do with you!” Though that theory might have more impact if we had any inkling that Melda was interested in Kodai.

 

Kodai is beside himself, surrounded by his friends. Kato tells him he should go and do what only he can do. Urged by Yurisha, Kodai Moves on. Shinohara tells him to take good care of the princess before diving into combat. Yamamoto watches as Kodai flies into the distance, saying she’s serious about it. (???)

[LC]: Is there an echo, here?! That same sentence about “what only I/you can do” gets a lot of use in this episode! And I swear, to this day, I still don’t know what the hell it all means. Sure, Kodai is destined (by the plot) to rescue Yuki. But unless Kodai has attained a Deadpool™-ish level of fourth-wall-breaking skills, this means nothing.

 

Deep inside Baleras II, Yuki and Norran leave the Deusler II through an airlock and do a spacewalk toward a large room overlooking the dreadnought. Yuki says it’s the control room, while a baffled Norran asks her if they’re not escaping. As she goes through the controls at a nearby console, Yuki explains the enemy is using a Wave-Motion Gun, which they can use to prevent Yamato from reaching Iscandar. Norran asks what she intends to do. With a smile, Yuki says she’ll destroy the place.

[DG]: Interesting that such a sensitive area is completely unmanned and unguarded. You’d think that this would be a “No Unauthorized Personnel” zone with a huge detachment of guards making sure nobody got in there.

[LC]: Yeah, security is lax in Garmillas. Maybe they’re just not used to being invaded. XD All we see here is some guy signaling someone, who is maneuvering something. No, I can’t be more precise, since that’s all we see.

And I’ll save the big question about this facility for later.

  

The massive Industrial Sector 633 continues its drop towards Baleras, lighting up the skies as it enters the atmosphere. Nanbu, Kitano and Tokugawa are going through the Wave-Motion Gun’s checklist, preparing to fire as the target comes into range. Shima uses the ship’s rear maneuvering thrusters to nudge the ship into the correct position.

[LC]: Nice touch that they make the lights flicker and go off a couple of floors above Yamato just as the ship moves.

Yeah, Kitano is back. It’s funny (though more logical) that he got to sit in Kodai’s seat in the original but here he only gets to warm Nanbu’s seat. XD.

  

Okita orders him to anchor the ship. Both rocket anchors are fired into the building’s structure, one of them breaking through into the access corridor to Dessler’s throne room. The palace evacuation continues. Hyss is among those running to safety. But suddenly he stops dead in his tracks. From the corner of his eye he spots the unconscious Hilde Shultz.

[LC]: It’s curious that the Wave-Motion Shields managed to protect Yamato‘s bow from any substantial structural damage, even after plowing at speed into the side of a building. And yet… the paint got scratched… really, Sanada, get to work on that glitch.

I have yet to locate the exact spot in the tower where Dessler’s throne room is supposed to be. At least now we know it’s high on the top section. Not that it matters, as everything in this part of the tower is about to be history.

Nice peripheral vision there, Hyss.

 

Tokugawa reports the energy charge for the gun is at 120%. Nanbu is visibly strained as he grips the trigger. Okita orders the crew to prepare the shock and flash defenses. The countdown begins as the falling city block speeds towards Baleras.

[DG]: Nervous much, Nanbu? In all fairness, I think there’s a lot that could go wrong here, maybe his nerves are justified. It’s his first time after all…

 

The firing gate of the Wave-Motion Gun pulses with energy, ready to be unleashed. Nanbu presses the trigger and the gun fires. The entire top section of the palace is set ablaze by the massive energy surge, which finally blasts through the opposite side.

[LC]: Here’s a little error in the way this shot is set up (above left). As we’ve seen, the bow ripped through the side of the building, so the edge of the damage should be a lot closer to the ship.This is confirmed by the exterior shots. The nudge Shima made wasn’t big enough to open it up this much. Also, in the exterior shots, we can’t see the bow that is jammed inside the tower. But in this reverse shot, we can see the main guns and Yamato‘s superstructure. The whole thing looks like Yamato blasted a hole into the side of the building and then set down inside it, rather than ramming it head on.

I know they were on the clock and visualizing the inside of a tower smashed by a battleship’s bow must be hard enough even with ample time. But the structure surrounding Yamato is strange because… it has no structure. At least none that is organized like the inside of a building – even one that has been crashed into. A possible explanation might be in how these building are made. Erecting something as huge as this tower is possibly more about keeping the structure upright than providing actual usable space – which would still be plenty due to the sheer volume.

As a result, there are probably large areas that are nothing more than structural support. This area could be like that, which is why we don’t see corridors or rooms in the wreckage. The uneven pattern might be due to construction technique. Maybe Garmillas towers are grown rather than built, some sort of controlled crystal growth. That’s what this reminds me of, crystal structures. This is sheer conjecture, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. Also, although that’s what the interior looks like, the exterior don’t seem to back it up, with the sides of the tower covered in windows (or dots in the 3D texture that stand in for windows).

 

The final shot as the gun fires shows a bigger problem. It correctly shows only the forward section on Yamato‘s bow peering through the wall, but when the camera pulls back enough, it shows us a big empty space in front of the ship. Big enough that it seems to cover the entire upper section of the tower. So… where’s the Deusler II’s silo? And where are all those levels we saw surrounding it? Why didn’t they use that for the background here?

In the end, I think they just wanted something visually interesting to fill the space while our attention was focused on the Wave-Motion Gun firing, and maybe they forgot they already had it.

 

At ground level, Talan and Hyss, who is carrying Hilde, are almost thrown off their feet by the air displacement as they look in disbelief at what takes place thousands of feet above. A massive stream of pure energy breaks through the tower and speeds toward its target, bathing the whole of Baleras in blue light.

[DG]: And here, the Wave-Motion Gun yields the complete opposite result of its Gamilas firing in the original series. Rather than destroy the planet, it saves it.

 

The beam impacts the city block, disintegrating it. Hyss and those around him stare in wonder at the ball of fire in the sky. Hyss says Yamato has saved them all, just as Hilde wakes up in his arms and looks up at the ship.

[LC]: And just like that, the most over-hyped character in this series has her final scene. I want to believe they have bigger plans for her than just looking cute, serving tea and making Hyss look like a decent guy. Hopefully they’ll make up for it in a sequel.

  

As Okita raises the flash visor in his helmet, an unfortunately familiar pain makes him grasp his chest and lose consciousness. Sanada hears the noise behind him and sees the captain slumped over his console. Meanwhile, Dessler receives the report of Industrial Sector 633’s destruction, just before Lecter informs him that the Dessler Cannon is back on line. Dessler simply smiles while Velte looks in disbelief of what his lord is about to do.

[LC]: I can’t help but laugh out loud every time I see this scene. Not because of Okita, because that’s no laughing matter. But look at the background. Poor Nanbu seems to have passed out in his chair after firing the Wave-Motion Gun. Guess the excitement was just too much for him.

There’s that eerie shading in Dessler’s face, aided by some truly crazy looking facial expressions.

 

In the energy facility, Norran realizes the firing sequence has been initiated as a countdown comes up on the displays. Yuki tells him not to worry, she’s done with the reprogramming. By pressing a lever, the Wave-Motion Core will be forced out of control. Norran looks at her, concerned by the implication that they won’t make it out alive. Or rather…that she won’t…

[LC]: It’s truly impressive that Yuki manages to figure out how this works and the data on those screens, all with just a glance and no help from Norran.

Norran’s “Oh, crap, we’re gonna die” look in this shot is another candidate for trademarking.

  

Kodai’s Zero speeds toward Baleras II. Yuki thanks Norran for all he’s done and says there’s no need for him to stay any longer. He asks her why she’s doing all that. Almost in unison, both she and Kodai say that they have finally found it, they finally understand. What only they can do. What they must do. Also in unison, Yurisha and Norran realize what it is… “To protect you!” says Kodai, before telling the Zero to fly. Yurisha urges the machine to go faster and higher. The plane seems to understand and oblige her.

[LC]: Wow, this speech is getting really old, really fast.

 

Yuki backs away in disbelief. Norran is holding a gun, pointing it at her. She asks him why. He looks behind her and pushes her aside, telling her it’s obvious. It’s his chance to become a true Garmillan. When Dessler learns he protected his secret weapon, he’ll become a first class Garmillan.

[LC]: Yuki will say it in a bit, but I’ll say it right away: Norran is a really bad liar. He may have Yuki fooled for a bit, but I don’t think any of us bought his act. For all the adoration he’s shown, I just saw right through his ruse. It was as plain as day that he wanted to save her life. Still, when he whispers “goodbye” and she finally realizes what he’s about to do, it still packs an emotional punch.

 

Yuki tells him not to be stupid. He pushes her into the airlock door, telling her it’s not. He grabs the airlock control and whispers to her “this is goodbye.” Yuki suddenly realizes his true intentions as he pushes her inside. She tries to reason with him, but he wishes her to “be well” and opens the outer airlock.

[LC]: One more character to add to the long list of “I really hope this one doesn’t die… damn it!” From the first time I saw him, backed by that inspirational moment when he started singing the Garmillas anthem, we knew he would buy it. He still managed to survive for five episodes and a couple of hairy situations. And he performed his duty like a good soldier, even knowing Yuki wasn’t Yurisha. He protected her and we’re grateful.

  

A desperate Yuki is ejected out of the energy facility, over the Deusler II, and into a nearby ventilation shaft. Norran watches as she flies into the distance, bidding her farewell. Eventually Yuki is sucked out into space, flying away from Baleras II. She eventually manages to stop her spin and look up at the massive firing gate of the Dessler Cannon, protruding from the side of the city.

[LC]: Yuki being sucked out of the airlock to the Deusler II’s hangar, I buy. That she keeps being sucked away until she is ejected into space… not so much.

 

The “firing hammer” is activated, causing the walls of the firing gate to begin spinning. Dessler orders the energy to be focused so it only strikes Yamato. The target scope appears on the main screen, showing Dessler’s palace, still engulfed in smoke. Velte tries to reason with Dessler, telling him he’s about to fire on his own people. Dessler pulls the safety lock to firing position.

[LC]: That is one big firing gate. Given all the apparatus within that thing, the theory is that it somehow increases the firing output, with extra energy provided by the power plant Yuki rigged to explode. That might explain how it destroyed a gas giant with a single shot. Without that plant and this thing to enhance the weapon’s power, it’s probably “just” as powerful as Yamato‘s Wave-Motion Gun.

Given the power that the Dessler Cannon generates, why all the precise aiming?! Chances are the shot will obliterate the whole planet. Or is Dessler dialing the power output down this time?

  

Now alone, Norran puts his gun down and prepares for what’s coming. In response to Velte, Dessler says that’s why he must do it himself; he must be the one to commit the sin of sacrificing noble Garmillan lives for the future of their world. A sin he will have to live with forever. Norran places his hand on the lever as Dessler puts his finger on the trigger.

[LC]: Oh, poor Dessler… he’s gonna have to live with the sin of killing his people… that must be hard. He must haven gotten this line out of the latest edition of “Cliches for Murdering Dictators.”

 

The gun is ready to fire. Norran pushes the lever and the massive energy cores begin to crackle and hiss with energy, too much for the system to handle. Aboard Deusler II, a warning system tells them the cores are going out of control. Energy levels have exceeded the safety limits and explosive compression is imminent.

[LC]: Those are some big Wave-Motion Cores. The price you pay for reverse-engineering other people’s tech. Wonder how big an Earth-made core would be if Starsha hadn’t provided an original model?

  

Norran sits down on the floor, smiling with the sudden realization that he never learned the beautiful girl’s real name. He looks up as a bright light engulfs him. Velte orders Lecter to make an emergency jump. As Deusler II’s engines come to life, the energy core explodes. The ship is engulfed in the explosion.

[DG]: Farewell, Norran. I still think you were the 2199 universe’s Alphonse, but you went out much more spectacularly. Hopefully your actions will be honored on Garmillas when they become known.

[LC]: It’s funny I didn’t realize that until he said it, but indeed, he never asked Yuki what her name was. Even after it was revealed she wasn’t Yurisha.

Although it’s almost a sure thing that Dessler survives this, the only real hint we have is Deusler II’s engines lighting up before the ship is engulfed in flames. Good thing warp fields are apparently explosion/fire resistant.

 

A chain reaction starts, detonating the energy conduits throughout the city. Baleras II begins to crumble as the increasingly large sea of fire expands. Yuki watches all this as she flies off into the distance. She mourns for Norran, calling him “a terrible liar…”

[LC]: Boy, that was one heck of an airlock… not only did it propel Yuki out of the city, but also fast and far enough to survive the explosion.

 

The Zero approaches the city while Gimleh’s fleet tries to break away and escape the explosion. But it’s too late. Gimleh watches as his ships are consumed by the fire. He simply smiles and, seemingly accepting his fate, says “so… this is how it all ends…!” Seconds later, the Killmenheim is sunk.

[DG]: And Gimleh gets what was coming to him.

[LC]: I expected a more satisfying death for this bastard, but hey, I take what I can get. XD.

 

The ball of fire can be seen from Baleras as Yamato breaks free of Dessler’s palace. Yuria reports the collapse of the enemy fortress as Doctor Sado and Makoto tend to Okita. Sanada wonders what happened.

  

The badly-damaged Zero floats among a sea of debris. A desperate Kodai believes he has failed in his mission until he spots something floating in the distance. He maneuvers the Zero with the few thrusters that are still operational.

[LC]: What happened to the Zero?! We see it approaching the exploding city, right before the Killmenheim is destroyed, and it’s totally undamaged. Here it has taken a significant beating. Did Kodai fly into the fire ball?! That would be suicidal at the very least. I prefer to think he veered off to escape it but was hit by some stray debris.

As for momentarily believing Yuki is dead, he has a human Yuki detector in the back seat. Did Yurisha lose contact with Yuki because of the explosion?

 

Eventually, he reaches his goal. Someone in a blue space suit. He opens the cockpit and flies out toward the lone survivor, his heart filled with hope. As he comes closer, hope turns into joy as he recognizes Yuki. She turns to face him. Both are taken over by joy. He reaches out to her and grabs hold of her helmet. She asks if she isn’t dreaming, and Kodai tells her “no, it’s not a dream.”

[LC]: This is where things go a bit off the rails. First they show us that the “wonder airlock” ejected Yuki far enough away to see Baleras II exploding in the distance. But now she’s relatively close to the Zero, close enough for Kodai to spot her amidst the debris – btw, good eyes, Kodai. But at this distance, the Zero was damaged by the blast. If it was strong enough to damage the Zero in that way, what would it have done to a human in a space suit? The whole thing would make a whole lot more sense if they hadn’t damaged the Zero, especially considering it will be used for little else other than providing the air-wing pilots with an hobby.

  

He holds her hand and flips her right side up, holding her in his arms. Yurisha smiles from the Zero’s cockpit, watching the couple’s reunion. Their attention is caught by the pale blue light from the planet above them. They look at the planet of hope, for which they and their comrades have traveled so far. They embrace, floating in space, high above their destination. Iscandar.

[LC]: Putting those quibbles aside, the rest of the reunion scene is actually quite beautifully done. And that last shot is amazing.

[DG]: This final scene looked so incredible on a massive cinema screen. Not even a 50-inch plasma TV does it justice.

So we reach Iscandar an episode earlier than the original. At this point in my first cinema viewing of the movie, I was wondering how they were going to use the time they had left. Would they elongate the time on Iscandar, or the more likely scenario of expanding the the return journey?

[LC]: Overall, I love this episode. It features some of the most crazy action sequences in the series (a direct result of storyboards by super-fanboys Shinji Higuchi and Yutaka Izubuchi) and a welcome return to quality character animation. And the good stuff far outweighs the bad, even if the bad does fall on the confusing handling of Dessler and his motivations.

PREVIEW:

Before them lies a blue planet… a planet that will bring hope to their own home. But no people are to be found there, save for a lonely queen. And her words come as a surprise. She says…

Next time: The Distant Promised Land.

There are 199 days left before humanity becomes extinct.

RELATED LINKS:

Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Chapter 7 Teaser Promo
Chapter 7 Trailer

Episode 23 credits

Screenplay: Shigeru Morita
Storyboard: Shinji Higuchi, Yutaka Izubuchi
Director: Makoto Bessho
Chara Animation Director: Mitsuru Ishihara, Seiji Kishimoto
Chara Chief Animation Director: Akihisa Maeda
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.

10 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 23 Commentary

  1. Dessler’s motivations are one of the pieces of 2199 that are weaker compared to the original. In the original version, he had an understandable, simple, and consistent motivation, to protect his people and ensure they survived by finding a new home. (Putting aside the awkward question of why Earth, of course.) Dessler’s every action made sense given this motivation, and it also built up to some fantastic consequences in the second series when he finally confronted Kodai. I was very curious to find out what Dessler’s deal was in the remake since his moves were so much more mysterious; in the end, his deal basically seems to be “yeah, he’s a huge jerk.”

    The best I can come up with is that Dessler considered the political situation on Baleras to be intolerably corrupt and sclerotic, and decided the slate had to be wiped clean for the empire to run efficiently again. Perhaps by then keeping Second Baleras on Iscandar’s surface, he could exert full control over who was able to move to the new capital of the empire and symbolically demonstrate that it was a completely different animal now.

    • In other words, Dessler is a well-intentioned extremist, but an extremist nonetheless. No abundance of good intentions can ever justify blowing up tons of bystanders just to get rid of corruption and an intergalactic intruder! Perhaps it’s just that he’s totally freaked out by the fact that one ship has thrown all his plans into disorder and he wishes to go overkill in hopes of actually sinking it and then proving that it cannot have possibly survived (he’s running out of cunning ideas by this point).

      Why are there no security guards after Yuki? Everyone’s too busy fixing modules to Dessler’s ride and likely too busy dealing with the loss of Sector 633! And besides, the place seems a bit understaffed. As for Norran’s heroic sacrifice, I would have to say that he should have brought a few grenades and dynamited a set of conveniently unguarded circuit breaker boxes to Kingdom Come (it is unusual for circuit breakers to be hidden, since the last thing you want in a space station is a black out)! That would certainly keep Dessler from shooting if only because the entire system just went DEAD. No electricity, no Dessler Cannon! And this would keep any useless guards busy, just long enough for Norran to make his escape, coupled with the line “Kept you waiting, huh?” just for the moment he gets back to Yuki.

      Thinking of Yamato’s incursion into Baleras, I think the ground troops sitting there were probably reservists and rookies. This might explain the tank not doing anything, as whatever cannon is mounted in the turret would not be able to penetrate battleship grade armor. As for lack of civilians, perhaps they all ran inside once the sirens started blaring! If we must analyze Yamato ramming through a Destoria, the latter was trying to set up for raking fire via “crossing the T,” a classic maneuver from the days of ships of the line. In such an event, the attacker broadsides the defender with all available firepower while the defender can only respond with bow weapons. The defending ship will be a smaller target (albeit one whose firepower is divided between targeting enemy guns, bridge, propulsion, or hull armor), but the attacker only has to neutralize the defender’s bow guns and smash the bridge to win (conventionally win anyway, though a desperate rammer could make the attacker’s day miserable)! Had it not been for the Wave Motion Shields, Yamato’s turrets could have been blown up and the bridge staff could have been massacred, but then Yamato would just ram the Destoria through sheer inertia, meaning that the bold move by the Destoria was all for naught.

      The aircraft defending Baleras are also terrible for the job. Heavy fighters like the Zedoras and dive bombers like the Snukas are bad at dogfighting! The former set is best for targeting bombers or larger ships and the latter group is also getting pressed into an unfitting role. My best assumption concerning the planes is that they are from training squadrons and reserve squadrons, reacting in complete panic! The Snukas were probably on some sort of exercise just before the emergency and were then diverted to the capital along with the heavy fighters (panic scrambled, of course) for lack of better defenses (no flak guns in Baleras!? Gimleh, you IDIOT!!!).

      Did I mess up on anything?

    • I agree that Dessler’s motivation is one of the low points of this episode. The other is Kodai rescuing Yuki.

      It looks like insufficient development given by the writers to overly ambitious story goals, and here’s why.

      Clearly, the desired outcome of this episodes are:
      – Failure of Dessler’s attempt to destroy Yamato
      – End of Dessler’s plan to annex Iscandar
      – Dessler’s fall from grace / reconciliation beween Gamillas and Earth
      – Kodai’s rescue of Yuki, ending up in a romantic setting
      These are a lot of plot development to cover (in 20 minutes); they are all non-trivial threads that have enormous momentum behind or barrier around.

      Coming up with plausible, non-contrived chains of events (one of prime intents of the new series) that hit all these milestones and presenting them convincingly to the viewer are extremely challenging. It’s evident that the production team has put in a valient effort, but obviously not equal to the task. The end result is that we have some good bits in the episode, but the dots don’t seem to connect well, and the viewers are left to figure things out on their own.

      Having said that, Dessler’s inexplicably irrational behavior is not a problem of implausibility but of insufficient presentation. Let’s look at events from Dessler’s point of view.

      Things have been going spectacularly his way for 100+ years:
      – establishment of intergalactic empire within one life time (albeit Gamillon one)
      – unmatched technology and unstoppable military power
      – absolute respect and/or fear from his subjects
      – a cozy relationship with his love interest (Starsha).
      This guys had it all. For him, any kind of failure or difficulties is a distant fading memory, and this aspect has been well presented in the show.

      Lately, everything has come crashing down.
      – Some backwater hillbillies (Earth) now possess superior technology (WMG), and his invincible military seems unable to stop their uprising; in fact, the barbarians are now at the gate!
      – His subjects turned out to not loyal at all; his top space commander (Dietz) and army commander (Zoellick) plotted to overthrow him. You could argue Zoellick was useless so good riddence, but Dietz is capable – this has to hurt. Also, did the recent purge get all dissidents, or are there still traitors hiding within his organization?
      – Starsha has betrayed him in a profound way; not only did she reject him, but she is secretly supporting Earth’s uprising against him (willing to risk lives of her sisters in doing so)!
      This would make anyone frustrated, deeply suspicious, and frightened. He is not receptive to anyone’s advice. He is disgusted by all around him, and is desperate to turn things upside down, and start over. In this context, his actions in this episode make sense.

      Now that the plausibility of Dessler’s actions has been established, let’s discuss the problem of presentation. Is it possible to convey transformation of Dessler’s character from being cool calculating to thoughtless irrational without looking strange to the viewers all within the span of 15 minutes? Possibly not.

      The producers could have spread these events out in more episodes. Alternatively, it would have been much easier the viewers to swallow the events in this episode if they saw signs of Dessler’s distrust of all around him and the pain of Starsha’s betrayal earlier in the story. Overt display of these emotions would be out of character of Dessler, so perhaps portrayal of outbursts in private moments (we almost got this from his smothering an Iscandar canary). Then, his sudden ‘flip’ in this episode would not have seem so disjointed.

  2. Gee.. this episode has so much wrong stuff in plot … Tought i tried not to think much my brain kept deploying alarms like what the heck Okita planet by sudenly change course to Gamillas? “oh they have a wave motion gun …change of plans… we are invading Dessler palace” ? once there there could be literally thousands of troops (not even counting those pesky droids) that could overwelm Yamato security easily.. game over mission failed..
    Droping industrual sections away really seems like it has to have consecuencies on balleras II.. and Yuki’s magical oh look some controls.. if i touch them i know i can blow all this thing apart… did Norran knew Dessler was firing on Baleras? if so his actions were justified.. but nothing seem to sugest he knew if the Dessler Cannon was firing on Gamillas or on the Yamato.. the later case would put him into treason just for liking Yuki.. That airlock mini-golf throw of Yuki ….. how did Kodai expected to rescue Yuki in the Zero.. would Yurisha assist in shoting soldiers? or maybe she expected them to allow them pass unmolested by seeing her (reasonable considering how Gamillas worship Iscandarians) and the final imposible chance of spoting a space suit among all that..

    I have to say however that i liked the sudden realistic touch of having them make their helmets visors contact (you can even hear the clonk) so they could actually speak to each other (noise moves by vibrations wich move throught air but also by mediums.. in this case glass ..so it would work out at least some).
    As for Melda deploying i think its safe to asume Gamillas fighters are able to take off vertically and hover seeing how every Gamillas heavy ship.. even the giant Zelguts can VTOL

    • Has it occurred to you that trying to board a battleship sticking out of a building has its own risks? How would a security guard get in without a cutting torch? And if troops tried swarming over the bow, they’d get blown to bits by Yamato’s main guns or by debris caused by shock cannon discharge upon the building interior, which would effectively end the series with everyone dead! And of course, if Yamato’s engineers went suicidal in a boarding scenario, a self destruct sequence would start and eventually blow up Dessler’s palace, along with everyone within a kilometer radius.

      Dropping an industrial sector just means that our dictator is running out of cunning ideas. As for Yuki, she’s just desperate to stop Dessler’s plans, even if it ends her life (in any space fortress, it is usually a bad idea to hide your electrical generator control panels, especially from your own staff, if a melt down were to happen). Norran implicitly knows that Dessler seems less than sane (remember he witnessed the Dessler Cannon and probably heard the “sacrifice” speech?), and that whatever the latter is happening in an obviously armed space station cannot be good for him or for his adoptive country.

      Kodai did not expect to see Yuki ejected from Baleras II. He likely planned to shoot or bluff his way through the guards, extract Yuki, and get the heck out in once piece. And explosions are not as predictable as you would think. It is not impossible (but highly improbable) for Yuki to be unharmed while the Zero gets nicked.

      Did I mess up?

    • As for Melda deploying i think its safe to asume Gamillas fighters are able to take off vertically and hover seeing how every Gamillas heavy ship.. even the giant Zelguts can VTOL

      No, it’s not safe to assume that. There is zero evidence to support such an assumption; in fact there’s overwhelming evidence to disprove it. At Pluto, the fighters take off from runways the same as most conventional aircraft; the other fighters we see take off from carriers using rolling takeoffs even in space. There are no design drawings showing any ventral thrusters on any Garmillas fighter or bomber that are large enough to generate enough thrust to lift the craft (there are small maneuvering thrusters used to allow change of direction and lateral movement in space), and we never see any of these fighters taking off vertically.

      Taking off vertically in a fixed-wing aircraft requires huge amounts of energy and radical redesigning from a conventional takeoff aircraft of the same design (compare the F-35A to the F-35B) which has costs in range and payload. Operationally, all VTOL-capable aircraft utilise short rolling takeoffs because vertical takeoffs consume a lot of energy because they rely entirely on thrust to generate lift, as opposed to a rolling takeoff (including catapult-assisted takeoffs) where the airflow over the wings generate lift as well.

      The capital ships have vertical thrusters because they have the room and the power systems to mount and operate them. Fighter-sized craft don’t have this luxury, where they have to store control systems, ammunition, engines, avionics, and most importantly, fuel, while keeping the mass of the craft down. Assuming the Garmillan fighters have more modern technology like reactor-powered engines, these still need reaction mass (such as liquid oxygen) to convert the energy into thrust when operating in space, and even when utilising drop tanks, they would still require a certain amount of internally-stored reaction mass.

  3. I am like a month late in commenting about this commentary, but I do agree with you guys… Desslar’s plans make absolutely NO SENSE whatsoever… His logic behind everything is absurd and hard to grasp and I can’t believe that the older Tahlan is still following him to the grave with this madness!!! Even the original Desslar’s plans made more sense though he also became crazy at a certain degree which is a shame because it kind of robs his reputation as a great vengeful villain from the original series.
    However, the one thing in this episode that really made me mad was that the Killmenheim, Gimleh’s flagship, did absolutely NOTHING in this episode except get roasted in a fireball. I mean come on, I was hoping for a duel between Yamato and the Killmenheim after the one-sided duel with the Domelaze III but I was in for a BIG disappointment… Seriously, none of the Haizerad-class dreadnoughts in the show did anything at all except showing off a new ship design. Personally, I think it’s a huge waste. I know the production team wanted to show a lineage of Gamillas battleships but what’s the point of introducing a new ship class that doesn’t fight in any battle whatsoever!? Unless they are saving them to be used in the Yamato 2202 series to fight against the Gathantis Navy, the Haizerad is the most pointless new ship ever introduced in the franchise EVER!!! (Rant ended)
    On the plus side, the Wave-Motion cannon shot from the Yamato that saved Baleras was worth all that inconsistent mastermind-plot misery. Although I was a bit unsure about the storyline change from the original when Gamilas got destroyed, since it was sort of a metaphor to Japan’s own warcrimes in WWII and the guilt over the massacre of multiple Chinese. It was nice to see a change when Yamato saves it’s enemy’s world rather than destroying it which single handily helped to end the war between both races. Before I watched this episode, I was growing attached to the rebooted culture and characters of the Gamilas race and thought it was going to be a big shame when all of it was to be destroyed presumably when Yamato reaches the mother-planet… So I was quite happy and satisfied that it was spared from the destruction of the original.

  4. When does Dessler actually say that he wants to _land_ Second Baleras on Iscandar? He has mentioned his concept of Reunification before, of which Second Baleras would be a mighty symbol if it did not give any of the two planets preference – Garmillas and Iscandar as nominal equals, but of course with him in charge (and Starsha as his queen …). There is also his awareness that Garmillas is under terrible ecological pressure which would be partially relieved by relocating a large bunch of Garmillans to Second Baleras. I mean, why else all this stuff about xenoforming Earth and other worlds to live on? Here he got another, as long as he set things straight with Starsha.

    As for the airlock, of course the retreating body keeps moving since there is no friction to stop it. Once it has cleared Second Baleras, it will just drift on forever and ever.

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