by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George
Episode 25: The Forever War
(Japanese Name: 終わりなき戦い / Owari Naki Tatakai)
Director: Masahiko Okura, Noriyuki Nomata
Running time: 27m 54s (22m 50s without credits)
- (Cinema/Home Video): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Isao Sasaki
- (TV): Fight For Liberty by Uverworld
- (Cinema/Home Video): Star of Love by Nana Mizuki
- (TV): Distance by Juju
[DG]: According to the countdown provided by the episode guide, this episode begins with 143 days remaining on the mission, implying it’s Mission Day 222, making it September 22nd, 2199. However, as further discussion will show, this episode is where the timeline of events in the series hits some fundamental (and avoidable) issues.
[LC]: Episode 25 became infamous for being incomplete on the theatrical premiere date of Chapter 7. Having fallen behind due to the accelerated release table, and not wanting to half-ass the final chapter (as they did with Chapter 6 by presenting a sub-par product), the decision was made to leave certain bits of Episode 25 out and to delay the release of the Blu-Ray until the full episode had been produced.
3 different cuts of the episode came out at that time (4, if we count the Bandai Channel cut, which I was recently told featured more scenes than the pure theatrical cut). The theatrical version, the initial broadcast version (which featured some of the added scenes but omitted others for time) and finally the complete Blu-Ray edit. That is also the reason why the episode has two directors, with the initial episode being directed by Masahiko Okura, and the new scenes by Noriyuki Nomata.
These differences are addressed in-depth on this page (revised version forthcoming). Therefore, we will only address them here where appropriate.
We catch up with Yamato as it leaves the Large Magellanic Galaxy and returns to interstellar space. Through narration, Yuria Misaki tells us it’s been two months since the ship left Iscandar and a total of eight since it left Earth.
[LC]: The single largest added bit in this final version was this opening narration sequence, which was totally omitted from any of the previous versions. We see the initial shots of Yamato and jump directly to the scene where Kodai and Shima discuss their heading to Balun.
[DG]: Yuria’s radio broadcast states that is 2 months since leaving Iscandar, and 8 months since leaving Earth. Here’s where the second-to-last nail in the timeline’s coffin is hammered in with Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer).
If Yamato arrived at Iscandar in mid-July, and departed maybe a week later, it should be late September when this episode picks up, which is what the day count suggests. However, if 8 months had passed since the February 12 departure date alluded so far, then it would mean it’s late October.
Back in October 2013, when I got my copy of Chapter 7 and watched it in English for the first time (having seen it twice in Japan without subtitles two months earlier), I tried to justify the dialogue by saying that it would fit if they were talking lunar months rather than calendar months. It wouldn’t be until over a year and a half later that the Ark of the Stars Blu-Ray revealed the truth: by this point in time, the writers were assuming that Yamato left Earth on January 17, 2199 rather than February 12 as several explicit cues earlier in the series provide, most notably:
- The “three weeks later” seen in the black-screen transition between Yukikaze’s sinking and Kirishima arriving at Mars to rendezvous with the Amaterasu team (Kodai and Shima);
- That the marking on Sasha’s gravestone said January 17, 2199, meaning by the time Kirishima arrived at Mars, she had been dead for three weeks; and
- The part of Shima’s dossier seen on Kaoru’s screen in Episode 12 that states Shima wasn’t assigned to Yamato until February 11 (which we see with the big assembly the day prior to Yamato’s launch).
At this point, the only confirmation of January 17 as the departure date is the “8 months since leaving Earth” reference. It’s still consistent with Yamato departing Iscandar in late July, and it’s still consistent with the other day counts. Of course, they would later compound the problem with the bonus scene in the midst of the ending credits for Ark (that really did nothing to advance the plot) by saying that it had already been nearly 325 days since Yamato had left Earth – which points to the departure date being January 17. For the sake of three seconds of drama they screwed up temporal continuity.
I’ve said this before, and it will probably not be the last time I say it, but for a series that went to the trouble of hiring an astrophysicist to get the science as accurate as possible, it’s rather poor planning to mismanage a simple timeline. It looks like they were trying to be too clever with having key dates in the timeline correspond to noteworthy historical dates. The problem was, the “dramatic effect” didn’t add any value to Ark and only confused the story overall.
We see Nanbu sitting at his station, looking at the photo of the girl his parents wanted to set him up with. He seems to have resigned himself to Yuki being out of his reach. Ota and Aihara are amused by his reluctance and break into laughter.
[LC]: It seems Nanbu has swallowed reality and is considering the young woman his parents selected for him. We saw this photo back in Episode 7. True to character and in keeping with what we saw back then, Ota and Aihara continue to draw laughs from the poor gunner’s misfortune.
Misaki says that they have lost lost many friends and there’s been much sadness throughout their long journey. But they have never lost hope. We see Yamamoto and Shinohara praying in front of the pilot’s room white board, where the pictures of fallen squadron members have been placed.
[LC]: Here we can see eight identifiable fallen pilots. Sugiyama was the first casualty of Yamato‘s air wing. To his right are rookie Kobashi and Daikuhara, which we saw being killed in the battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster, in Episode 20. In the bottom row are pilots who were never named either on the show or production materials. These were probably among the remaining 10 shot down in that same battle or maybe… (keep reading)
You may have noticed I skipped the top right photo, which belongs to Nemoto. In the original series, he was killed at Pluto, along with Sugiyama. He is unique among these pilots in that he would go on to be heavily featured in Ark of the Stars, which takes place roughly one month before this episode. For those who payed attention to this scene, that immediately told them Nemoto would fall before the movie ended… which he did. The other four pilots may have fallen at Shambleau too, but since there were no other confirmed Cosmo Falcons downed, I listed them as casualties of the battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster.
[DG]: At the very least, there are 16 photos on the board (6 on the top row, then 5 on the next two). Of these, we know of fourteen deaths – Nemoto at Shambleau, the twelve at the Rainbow Cluster, and Sugiyama at Pluto. That means Yamato lost two more against Gatlantis.
What’s interesting is that in this episode, the honor roll is all official-looking photographs. In Ark, we see Sawamura’s personal collection of thirteen photos, many of which he’s in himself.
Meanwhile, the rest of the squadron is up in the Zero’s hangar, having decided to repair Kodai’s damaged plane. We see several parts laid out on the floor while the pilots focus their attention on the Zero’s cannons.
[LC]: This scene explains an event that takes place later in the episode. During the breach by Dessler’s Garmilloids, Shinohara and Yamamoto appear out of nowhere with a massive machine gun. The gun in question is shown here to be one of the Zero’s main cannons. Since this section was missing from the theatrical version, that followup scene was cut as well.
Misaki says that their hope persists because they know the people of Earth believe in them, and are waiting for their return. We see Shima and some of his staff charting the course back home. Yuki brings a trolley with coffee and serves it to them.
Shima takes a sip and immediately gags. In turn, Hayashi does a spit take, as he too tastes Yuki’s coffee. After a brief moment, they turn to Yuki, who seems embarrassed by her lack of coffee-making skills.
[LC]: This coffee scene is a callback to the original series’ Episode 15, though they seemed to like it a lot more than here. Though in Star Blazers they changed the dialogue and kept Nova’s pride quasi-intact, the original had Shima bashing her coffee-making skills. Here they went one step farther. Since the scene itself has no dialogue, the visual reactions from the two navigation officers, as well as Yuki’s pout, convey the message more effectively.
We move to the medical section where Makoto is giving Kato some news that seem to disturb him. Though he initially seems to lose his cool, he doubles back and calms down with a flustered look across his face. Makoto is surprised by Kato’s restraint and the two stand in the corridor in silence.
[LC]: So… these two did it aboard Yamato. Let that sink in. Don’t know what’s more awkward, their faces in this scene, that I giggle every time I see it or that a medical officer somehow got pregnant by “accident.” I know there are cases where it still happens even with several methods being used, but boy oh boy, they hit the jackpot. Explaining all this to the captain and remaining crew must have been awkward as all hell, too.
Kato has really come full circle. He almost kicks up a storm but restrains himself. Looking embarrassed that he almost relapsed is soooooo cute. And Makoto noticing it but not saying anything is just perfect. These two were truly made for each other. Yin and Yang.
Right beside them, Doctor Sado lets joyful tears run down his face before guzzling down his sake. As the good doctor smiles at the outcome of the couple’s conversation, Analyzer pours more sake into his glass.
[LC]: And this is just perfect. Of course Doctor Sado listened in on the happy couple’s moment, since he’s just on the other side of the curtain. And the happiness on our favorite doctor’s face is priceless. And Analyzer is right there with him after Sado urged him to move to the infirmary in the previous episode. Just perfect.
Misaki says that the last time they came this way, the crew was very scared, but now it’s different. Yamato is heading home, carrying hope with it. We see Okita’s cabin. The captain is lying in bed with Kodai sitting beside him. Kodai gets up to leave. We can see a certain sadness as he looks at the captain, now barely able to get out of bed.
[LC]: This moment is probably the most touching, with Kodai making his now-usual visit to Okita. When Ark of the Stars arrived over a year later, we learned that it had become a regular occurrence. That last look Kodai gives at the ailing captain… you can feel his pain in watching Okita slowly wither, and the notion of his inevitable fate sinking in…
[DG]: I like that Kodai is continuing to bond with Captain Okita. It suggests more of his “Deputy Captain” role from the original series.
Misaki finishes her radio program and gets off the air with a deep sigh of relief. She looks outside to find Hoshina smiling and waving at her. Unlike in the early days of the long voyage, she returns his greeting with a big smile and a thumbs up.
[LC]: Do you still remember the harsh and annoyed look Misaki gave Hoshina when her first broadcast ended? Ah, they’ve come a long way, indeed…
In the technical section, Niimi is busy analyzing data. She takes a break to stretch her arms and rub her shoulder. She turns around and looks at the seat in the opposite end of the room, where Sanada stares in silence at the screen before him, displaying the CRS monitoring system.
[LC]: Wow. I’m always impressed when I see someone writing on a keyboard at breakneck speeds. In Niimi’s case, however… maybe she should slow down. What she’s writing is nonsensical and she keeps writing it over and over again. XDDD
For those of you curious enough, here’s the text that is appearing at the bottom of the screen (spelling errors are transcribed as seen in the episode):
“CHARACTERISTIC FREQUENCY OF INTEGUMENT 2ND TO 7TH LAYER
CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS IDENTIFICATION 4TH PHASE
MUTUAL VERIFICATION OF A POSSIBILITY OF GUESSING
EACH RESULT AND THEME OF A STRENGTH TEST
RECONSTITUTION OF BREAKAGE
LOSS PORTION OF THING AFTER V VERIFICATION
THE CLASSIFICATION. A CLASSIFICATION
V RECONSTRUCTION AND VERIFICATION OF OPERATION
EFFICIENCY OF OF ENERGY TRANSFORMATION
DULABILITY TEST BY HEAT”
Her attention is drawn to the book of poems by Chuya Nakahara, which sits in Sanada’s console. She smiles, remembering Mamoru, while Sanada stares intently at the plan before him, his attention focused on the CRS room.
Though Mamoru’s connection to the CRS will be ignored in this episode (to be more deeply explored in the finale) we do get a hint at the nature of the deceased lieutenant’s relationship to the Iscandarian McGuffin. I just love how subtle this was, simply having Sanada looking at the evolving state of the device on his main screen, with the book of poems by Chuya Nakahara by his side. You might recall that it was a gift to Sanada from Mamoru. Sanada’s gaze might indicate an early understanding of what is at the core of the CRS.
[DG]: I find it interesting that the Cosmo Reverse System appears to have a branding logo. Is this perhaps a nod to some real-world company?
Yamato moves on. On the main bridge, Kodai is curious about Shima’s intention to head to Balun. Yuki says he intends to use the Balun subspace gate, which Shima confirms.
[LC]: My one question with this strategy is that they should have no reason to believe the gate would work. Even if the Milky Way gate survived the Balun explosion, the core that powered the system was undoubtedly destroyed – they fired the Wave-Motion Gun at it. So even with an intact gate and working controllers, the gate would have no power to open.
[DG]: That didn’t sit well with me either, given Balun’s destruction.
I think the only thing they might hope for is that the gate has some energy stored for some emergency situation, but this is not addressed in any of the dialogue. I doubt that Sanada would have Yamato waste time on the mere hope that the gate might work. Sure, not much to lose, since Balun is in their way back home, but just a hint of their strategy would have helped sell the idea.
Nanbu points out that they destroyed the gate system, but Shima says that the gate connecting to the Milky Way should still be safe, and that they should at least check it out. Ota says using the gate will cut 60,000 light years off their trip in a single jump, and Hayashi recalls they also have the control codes they used last time.
Kodai concludes that if it works, they can compensate for lost time. Suddenly, Aihara reports that he’s picking up a distress signal. Further analysis identifies it as… Garmillan.
[LC]: In hindsight, and knowing the events that took place a month prior, Aihara’s look in this scene is justified. Even though they are now at peace with Garmillas, the last time they followed a Garmillan mayday they got into plenty of trouble. More details in our forthcoming Ark of the Stars commentary.
Planet Great Garmillas. It took him long to get there, but finally the green-hued orb of his home planet looms outside the command bridge window. Admiral Dietz is pleased to be back home. He’s informed that an allied fleet approaches, commanded by Minister (Ghader) Talan.
After the command ships dock, the two men meet in the Haizerad’s bridge. Eliza Domel is there, too. Talan tells Dietz that they’ve been awaiting his return. The Admiral asks him about his brother, Velte, but Ghader’s distraught expression is his only answer.
[LC]: It’s been little over two months since Dietz and Yamato parted ways over Leptapoda. No details are given about where he’s been since then, but from the amount of ships he has gathered we can tell he’s been busy.
From Ghader Talan’s statement, it would seem that after Dessler’s genocidal turn, those in charge of the current government have become more welcoming to Dietz and other former rebels. Not having Zoellick spewing his rhetoric and Gimleh’s secret police breathing down their necks might have also helped. But having a whole city block dropped in your head will change your view about many things.
Dietz says that with Dessler gone, uniting their forces in order to rebuild will be difficult. Talan agrees, but Eliza tells them that hope still remains. The bridge door opens, revealing Melda and Yurisha. The rokrohk bird flies to the Iscandarian princess’ arm, startling Melda. Talan reveals he is worried, since some ships ignored Dietz’s orders to return home. Dietz is well aware of this and reveals he has already sent someone he can trust to take care of it. As he says this, his expression turns into a mischievous grin.
[DG]: The look on Melda’s face as Elisa Domel’s bird lands right next to her is priceless. As is the sweatdrop resumption of her stoic salute to her father and Ghader Talan.
Ghader Talan’s comment about rebelling fleets could be not just limited to the group that Dietz and Talan are alluding to. It’s likely that a substantial proportion of the surviving ships have scattered throughout the empire, so it’s possible that other ships and fleets may not respond to Dietz’s orders. They could still be loyal to Zoellick or Dessler and either unable to accept recent events, or simply remain unaware.
[LC]: I wonder who would be in charge of those ships…?!
Somewhere out in space, the rebellious ships Talan mentioned have met with the Deusler II, which managed to survive Baleras II’s destruction. The fleet’s commander is none other than Goer. In his usual self-serving fashion, he tells Dessler of how he personally led a fleet of 3,000 ships, night and day. Along the way, he abandoned those who allied themselves with the traitor Dietz. With his 30 best ships, he wandered the “infinite galaxies” to finally meet his beloved leader again.
[LC]: Of course it had to be everyone’s favorite idiot. Goer has managed to survive a lot longer than in the original, and is now on a very different path. Not having him around during the battle of Rainbow Star Cluster improved the proceedings greatly.
The star in the background was added in the final edit of the episode. I call it a star but it might be some other freakish phenomenon altogether. Though it seems to be on fire around the outer edges, its textures look like water or some other liquid. Whatever it is, it’s ominous and therefore perfect for this little gathering.
Goer says his fleet currently has thirty ships. That’s considerably less than those we saw escaping Balun. You will also notice he’s back aboard his personal Gaiderol-class dreadnought, the Goergamesh, instead of the Zoelgutt II, where we last saw him. It would take us another year of waiting to finally discover the fate of the last of the Zoelgutt-class super dreadnoughts.
[DG]: So in other words, only one percent of three thousand ships that survived Yamato’s attack on Balun and initially departed with Goer ignored the order from Dietz to return home. Meanwhile, Goer seems to continue his over-the-top butt-kissing, incorporating some of Zoellick’s theatrics…
… which are appropriately treated by Talan and Dessler.
Velte Talan closes the channel, no longer able to stomach Goer’s buffoonery. He turns to Dessler and asks him why he’s obsessing over the Terron ship. Dessler says he wants it for himself, much to Talan’s surprise. He intends to turn that which drove him to the brink into his own power, asking Talan if that’s not a splendid idea. He continues, saying that “the glory of Great Garmillas shall bring order and salvation to the universe,” and that he alone can make that possible.
[LC]: These lines put Dessler closer to his original personality than in most of 2199, though here he seems more interested in capturing the ship and use it to reclaim his power than in simply destroying it. Unfortunately, he also continues to spout the same nonsensical discourse about his view of salvation for the universe, which at this point has become a bit stale.
Yamato‘s flood lights hone in on the distressed ship that sent out the mayday. The Type-100 reconnaissance craft makes an inspection pass close to the ship, an FS Torpedo Boat. They report that the ship appears to be having engine trouble and is dead in the water.
[LC]: Good to see these flood lights being used again. The only other time I can recall using them was at Enceladus, back in Episode 4. Chronologically, they used them about a month before this, but we won’t actually see that happen until Ark of the Stars comes along.
As the command staff watches the operation on the main screen, the recon craft reports they have located survivors. The camera zooms in on the boat’s cockpit, showing the pilot. Yuki is stunned when she recognizes Celestella.
[LC]: This encounter with Celestella poses a few questions which are, for the most part, left unanswered. The first is obviously, “how did she get this far and ahead of Yamato? We can assume she left Great Garmillas shortly after the events of Episode 23, while Yamato was on Iscandar and everybody on Baleras was busy cleaning up (a smart move since post-Dessler Garmillas would probably not be kind to her). Add to this the time covered in Ark and she might have gotten enough of a head start to manage this.
Then there’s the question of autonomy. Even if we disregard the fuel factor and assume that even such a small craft has the same power plant as larger ships, how could she survive for over two months? Unless she had a fully-provisioned boat ready to make her escape, should the need arise, I don’t see how she could carry enough food and water to survive for so long. And since most – if not all- inhabited planets in this area are under Garmillas’ control, I doubt she would make any pit stops. One possible answer to all this is that she took off in a larger ship and over time her resources were whittled down to this.
Then there’s the big one: why is she here at all? The straight answer is obvious: plot convenience. But the in-story answer is harder to get. Because Ark of the Stars was still just an embryo at this point, we must disregard its plot, even if it would be of great interest to Celestella since it involves her presumably-extinct people. The only other reason I can devise is that, much like Goer, she discovered Dessler might be alive and was heading to his location, (For the sake of argument, let’s just assume that blue star is somewhere nearby on the path between Garmillas and Balun.) Or at the very least, she tracked the remaining loyalist ships and wanted to rendezvous with them.
Whatever the reason might be, it’s left to the viewer’s imagination. Again, just a couple of lines of dialogue would have been enough to give some plausible explanation without deviating much from the story. Given that Celestella has a conversation with Yuki, the opportunity is there. Instead, we’re left with only the real-world explanation that running into Celestella put her on board to further the plot. And that’s really not enough.
Later, the FS Torpedo Boat has been docked to Yamato‘s starboard aft airlock and secured with mooring cables. The crew discusses the identity of pilot and if having Yuki alone in interrogation is a good idea, but Kodai tells them there’s no need to worry about her. Nanbu reluctantly agrees.
[LC]: I know they probably don’t have a better place to “park” such a large craft, but lashing the FS Torpedo Boat to that spot on the hull seriously compromises Yamato‘s rear defensive/offensive capabilities. As you may notice, the boat blocks the line of fire of two of the starboard rear torpedo tubes, effectively reducing the total torpedo firing capacity by 33.3%. They may be at peace with Garmillas, but as they learned a month earlier, there are other threats out here (even beyond the Garmillan forces still aligned with Dessler). In a battle situation, not being able to use those two torpedo tubes is a serious handicap.
In the officer’s lounge, Hirata leaves after serving the two women some tea, while Hoshina and Wada stand guard. A smiling Yuki comments on the situation, saying it’s not the first time she and Celestella have had tea together, though their roles are now reversed.
[LC]: Indeed, this is quite a role reversal, both figuratively and literally. Just a couple of months ago, Yuki was a “guest” on Garmillas, with Celestella having her for tea. And now…
Yuki vocalizing it only makes it worse, though judging from Yuki’s personality and her expression in this scene, she was just trying to break the ice, not pour salt on the wound in Celestella’s pride. But maybe she could tone down the cheerfulness just a bit…
She tells Celestella they’ll repair her ship so she can return to Garmillas. A gloomy Celestella says she has no intention of returning to “that planet.” She says her home is gone and tells Yuki about her people. The Jirel were telepaths by nature, which lead to them being feared and envied by neighboring planets and ultimately destroyed.
[LC]: Knowing the role she had in Dessler’s entourage, it’s strange that Yuki would assume she wanted to return to face Garmillan justice. Going back there would make her escape a moot point.
A little over a year later, we would hear a very similar story, disguised as a children’s tale.
In the end only she and Mirenel were left. Yuki recalls the story she told, of how Dessler rescued them. She tells Celestella she understands how she feels but Dessler died in their last battle. Celestella stands up and slams the table, refusing to accept it. She insists Yuki is lying and that Dessler needs her and can’t die without her. Sobbing, she lowers her head as Yuki watches with a pitiful look in her eyes.
[LC]: The fact that she seems unsure that Dessler is alive seems to negate one of the reasons for her to be all the way out here – though she might be following his signal in the feeble hope that he is alive.
[DG]: This scene is interesting to observe given that this episode was made over a year before Ark came out. Retrospectively, Yuki is aware that Yamato encountered Jirellians a month earlier. If the story of Ark was mapped out when this was written or recorded (which probably wasn’t the case), wouldn’t Yuki tell a clearly distraught Celestella that she’s not the last of her people?
Such a loaded question. On one hand, assuming Yuki was fully briefed on events, it’s possible she’d be aware that Celestella had been disowned by her own people. On the other hand, she may just want to give Celestella peace of mind by saying her race lives on.
We know that by the time Episode 20 was in production, Kiryu was thrown into the mix to make her character a known face to viewers, in preparation for her role in Ark of the Stars. We can assume they had at least a solid notion by the time this episode came around that the Jirellans would be featured in the film. The in-world explanation for Yuki not revealing that encounter to Celestella might be, as you pointed out, that she wasn’t briefed about it, which given her position in Yamato‘s chain of command is unlikely.
Which leaves us with another explanation… this was just an initial debrief of Celestella. Given that the whole Ark affair is most likely classified material, Yuki would have to request proper authorization to Okita or Sanada to reveal any details concerning the encounter. But due to the events that follow, she just never gets a chance to do it before all hell breaks lose.
Yamato warps out in the vicinity of planet Balun. The crew is shocked by the view before them. The gaseous giant is completely different than from when they last saw it, having apparently collapsed into a dark reddish sphere surrounded by a vast cloud of debris.
[LC]: The new look of the collapsed Balun is a nice homage to the original series’ design of the planet.
If we take the graphic display literally, two things are apparent. We see the Magellanic gate in the lower left corner, its structure visibly damaged, unlike the Milky Way gate which appears unscathed. Also, Balun appears to have undergone a significant volume expansion when the core exploded, before it collapsed into its current form.
Niimi theorizes that the planet could withstand the gravitational shift when the power plant at its core was destroyed. Sanada cautions Shima to be cautious of all the debris. Yamato decelerates and enters the debris field.
[LC]: Judging from how visible that ring is from afar and the massive amount of debris, the losses to the Garmillan fleet at Balun were indeed severe. We learned from Goer that 3,000 ships followed him out of that area. We can assume that doesn’t mean only 3,000 survived, as there were fleets from all over the empire at the naval review and they would trek back to their assigned posts, assuming they were closer than Great Garmillas. Let’s say another 2,000 ships were in that category. That would come to a 50% loss of the 10,000 ships present at Balun. This certainly puts a dent in Garmillas’ capabilities, in terms of both offense and defense. And with certain barbarians moving in closer, that doesn’t bode well for the empire.
Hidden among that debris, the Goergamesh observes the Terron ship as it makes its way toward the Geschtam gate. Goer questions the status of the engineers. Close by, several ships are connected via cables to each other and to a Geschtam core. They report they’re transmitting power to the system satellite but won’t be able to last much longer.
[LC]: This scene does provide an explanation as to the question of “how” the Milky Way gate was powered to be open. But since Yamato is unaware of this, it still leaves my other questions unanswered. Chief among them, why did they even believe a gate without a core would activate?
Goer dismisses them, saying they only have to last long enough to get Yamato through the gate. He gloats that the “foolish rats” don’t know they’re falling into a trap.
[LC]: Look at those teeth. Quite a different look from his previous scene. Only a character like Goer would allow such exaggerated features to not look out of place. When he’s brown-nosing, standard straight teeth. When he’s menacing, go for the vampire look! Why the hell not?!
Yamato makes visual contact with the Milky Way gate, which appears to be intact. Sanada gives the order to activate the gate’s controller, which Analyzer promptly does, engaging phase 1. The gate activates after a few seconds, much to their relief.
[LC]: Come on… The uber genius that is Sanada would at least wonder how the gate activated. I understand the need to advance the plot, but a simple “Ah, it seems the gate does store residual energy to activate in case of an emergency shut down” or something of that kind would make this so much more plausible.
[DG]: He’s been a little unfocused since leaving Iscandar. Maybe this is a result of his grieving process?
But their joy is short lived, as an explosion rocks the ship. The FS Torpedo Boat attached to Yamato is destroyed by enemy fire. Kodai wonders what just happened.
[LC]: Amazing that the FS Torpedo Boat explodes in such spectacular fashion and yet causes no damage to Yamato‘s hull. Also, by destroying the boat, the attacking Garmillas have inadvertently taken care of that torpedo clearance problem I mentioned earlier. Which doesn’t play in their favor.
Saijo picks up several Garmillas ships which were hidden in the debris field, waiting to ambush them. They converge, unleashing a barrage of fire. Kodai orders Nanbu to counterattack but Sanada belays his order, ordering the shields to be deployed instead and for Yamato to speed through.
[LC]: This is another thing I don’t get. Why would Goer and his fleet even bother to attack Yamato? They’re already going into the warp gate, it’s not as if they have to force them in. Other than providing another combat sequence, there isn’t much point to launching an attack here.
[DG]: Not to mention the risk that he could actually hit Yamato, thereby denying Dessler the chance of capturing or destroying the ship. Then again, Goer has never been particularly bright.
I may be wrong about this one but I think it’s the first time we see a Destoria firing its lateral cannons. I honestly can’t recall any using them before. Maybe in the background of some previous battle scenes?! Come on, start re-watching the series and prove me wrong. 😀
The engines go to full power and they head straight for the gate. The impending escape of his quarry doesn’t seem to faze Goer. Smiling, he says Yamato has fallen into their trap. He orders the ships to chase them to the gate.
The fleet gives chase, continuing their barrage. Eventually, the Wave-Motion Shield collapses. Ota reports they’re 0.2 light seconds from the gate when Saijo detects two incoming torpedoes from directly ahead and in a collision course. The torpedoes surface from the dimensional boundary layer and head straight for Yamato, but swerve around it in the last second.
[LC]: Just after Yamato takes the shot pictured above, the Wave-Motion Shield collapses. This indicates some time went by during this attack sequence. The shield has a theoretical time limit of 20 minutes, but given the rate of fire, it might have been substantially less. But at least a few minutes have passed.
0.2 light seconds might not seem like much, but it corresponds to roughly 59,958.5 kilometers or 37,256.5 miles. It’s still a bit of distance to travel under fire.
There’s a scaling error in the shot where the torpedoes circle Yamato (above right). Yamato seems to be a lot closer to the gate than it should be.
The torpedoes move on, hitting two Garmillas ships instead. As he watches his ships sink, Goer is stunned by this turn of events. Furious, he asks what’s going on. A familiar voice responds over the comms… as the UX-01 Dimensional Submarine bursts out of the boundary layer! Goer recoils in a mix of terror and rage at this sight.
Standing in the UX-01’s castle, Frakken calmly tells Goer that he ignored Admiral Dietz’s command to return and moved his fleet without orders. As a result, an order has been issued for Goer’s arrest, and he’ll be taken before a military tribunal. Frakken grins at the very notion of taking Goer down.
[LC]: Frakken solidifies his position as coolest badass in 2199 in this scene. That’s how you make an entrance. Also, the “Detail-Up” done on UX-01 is awesome. Probably the greatest degree of detail they’ve added to this particular vessel. Click here for the full pan and detail layout.
[DG]: And he does it with a minimum of dialogue. Unusual for voice actor Jouji Nakata, but still badass as hell.
Hainy comments on how much fun Frakken seems to be having, with which the smiling crew of the submarine agrees. Irate, Goer orders his fleet to open fire on the “Dogs of Dietz” and to sink them.
[LC]: I’m sure taking Goer into custody is a pleasure for any officer who’s had to put up with his buffoonery.
Hainy tells Frakken they’re ready to submerge, but Frakken wants to draw them closer. The UX-01 passes Yamato‘s port side. The crew are confused by this turn of events as they watch Garmillans fighting each other. Kodai wonders what’s happening.
[LC]: So… Kodai saw the Emperor of Garmillas drop a city block on his capital city and nearly fire a Wave-Motion cannon at it, before being destroyed. They spent some time on Iscandar and made a treaty with Garmillas and he still asks why Garmillans are fighting each other?! Was he asleep through the last few episodes?!
Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the entire UX-01 is briefly visible on the main video panel when two garmillan blasts explode beyond it. The glare reveals the boat’s silhouette, even the bottom half that is still submerged in the dimensional boundary layer. It stands to reason that since the top half of the hull is in normal space, the rest is relatively close to it. Therefore, although still out of phase, it already partially blocks or distorts light. We can actually see other beams being distorted as they pass behind the boat. This might come into play in future stories, as a way to detect sub-space craft.
Always pragmatic, Sanada says they mustn’t waste this chance and Shima accelerates the ship toward the gate. Sanada orders the phase 2 controller to engage and Yamato plunges into the gate’s event horizon.
[LC]: The concept is kinda botched in the shot above left. Even with a large explosion behind it, there’s a hard edge where UX-01 submerges. Since all other shots show at least part of the submerged hull, this might just be an error. Given how much is going on in this shot, from Yamato‘s engine glare to all the shots and explosions, they may have just forgotten to add that particular effect to the sub.
Frakken watches as Yamato vanishes to safety and orders Hainy to dive. But something’s wrong. Hainy receives a report of engine trouble that prevents the boat from diving. Hainy can’t believe this is happening just when things were getting good.
[LC]: Ah, nothing like a perfectly-timed unexpected malfunction to create some suspense.
A voice blares over the PA, announcing they’ve opened the dimensional emergency valves and the engine is ready to go. As the crewman turns, we recognize the familiar face of Yabu. The UX-01 dives under a barrage of fire, much to Goer’s chagrin.
[LC]: Good old Yabu found himself a new job and apparently some balls. He was never this gutsy in his previous stations, either on Kirishima or Yamato. Apparently, Frakken is so manly that it must rub off on others. Or Yabu just needed a bandana.
Calling them cowards, Goer demands that they show themselves. Frakken and Hainy are amused that Goer, of all people, is calling them cowards. Two torpedoes are fired, advancing towards the Goergamesh.
[LC]: Proving this, Goer himself seems to be a lot braver than before, just by being in close proximity to Frakken. Either that or he’s grossly underestimating the UX-01’s capabilities. Something he will live to regret.
Goer asks who they think he his, saying he is Gremdt Goer… just as the two torpedoes surface and hit the ship. Moments later, the Goergamesh is sunk.
[LC]: Uh… let me rephrase that last comment… because, you know, now he’s dead. XD
Still, he went down in a blaze of glory (pardon the pun). This last facial animation sequence must have given those making it nightmares. Between morphing facial features and all the flop sweat and snot, this is probably Goer’s most emotive sequence. And he had a few.
Frakken observes Goer’s demise through the boat’s periscope, saying their mission is complete. Hainy admits he was scared for a minute, with Gran adding “he’s a useful guy to have around.”
Hainy asks if he means the new kid from Zaltz, who is being complimented by chief Bern. He says the captain loves to take in abandoned dogs.
[LC]: Despite his actions aboard Yamato, I like that they gave the poor sap a chance, instead of a stupid death like in the original. This opens some nice possibilities for the future, since any encounter the UX-01 has with Yamato will open this particular can of worms. But for now, let the kid have some fun in a job where he actually seems to be happy.
[DG]: I wonder if they ever find out he was actually a member of Yamato‘s crew? I hate to point it out, but isn’t there still a language barrier to contend with? Unless someone aboard ship slipped him a translation device… or he’s somehow a savant when it comes to languages.
There is a chance that “pure” Zaltzi speak another language and only those who have joined the military or been relocated to Grand Garmillas have learned Garmillan and dispense with devices. Being in prison, maybe they believed him to be a Zaltzi dissident that simply never learned the language of his overlords.
Side note: Japanese fans were as delighted as anyone at Yabu’s unexpected return. As Yamato’s resident “everyman,” the morose underdog who could never EVER get a girl, he was easy to sympathize with. Seeing him come back for a single heroic turn was a much-appreciated easter egg when it came up in the TV broadcast. (The running battle with Goer was missing from the theatrical version, so the UX-01 never appeared either.)
Frakken smiles and orders the boat to return home. With a hearty “Zar Belk”, Hainy follows his command and the UX-01 heads back to Garmillas.
[LC]: We’ve seen Frakken sneer a few times, but this is his first proper, open smile of joy, brief as it is. I sure hope we see the Hound and his crew again in future stories.
END OF ACT ONE ~ TO BE CONTINUED