Yamato 2199 Episode 26 Commentary

by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Episode 26: Memories of the Blue Planet

(Japanese Name: 青い星の記憶 / Aoi Hoshi no Kioku)

Director: Akihiro Enomoto

Running time: 29m 06s (24m 25s 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]: While the preview for the last episode did not specify any timeframe, it’s difficult to fathom exactly what date the episode starts. It is difficult to track as well, because there are multiple time skips between scenes that aren’t explicitly stated (they couldn’t keep track of them when they did have them on screen, so why try now?)

 

Sanada and Sado are in the captain’s cabin, making their report of the aftermath of Dessler’s attack. The ship sustained only minimal damage and won’t affect their return to Earth. On the hand, they lost 17 people, with another 34 wounded.

There must be a lot of time jumps here. At the very start of the episode, Yamato is surrounded by protostar material, meaning she is at the edge of the galaxy.

[LC]: This episode presents its title at the start. The only other episode of Yamato 2199 to do so was Episode 7. In a way, they bookend each other. Episode 7 was where they last spoke to Earth and in this one they regain contact and finally return home. But there are three other production details that make this episode quite unique.

First, the opening credits return to the original version used in Eisodes 3-9, but are shown free from any actual screen credits, using instead totally clean visuals. This “Non Telop” version was released as an extra in Volume 1. (“Telop” is the Japanese term for “caption.”)

Second, the credits removed from the opening are shifted to the end, resulting in a longer list. The cast credits are actually shown in the final sequence right before Earth is revealed. The end credits are also devoid of the usual clips, resulting in a cinematic feel.

Finally, this episode knocks Episode 20 out of the lead position in terms of running length by 47 seconds.

Sanada is reporting the events of the last battle to Okita. It would seem unlikely that he’d be reporting this with any noteworthy delay, meaning that this is likely to be somewhere around September-October 2199, depending on your point of view regarding the departure date.

 

Among the wounded is Yuki, who has lapsed into a coma. We see Kodai at her bedside, holding her hand, while Nanbu curses in the background with Shima and Makoto by his side. Okita asks if there’s any chance she will recover but Sado is not optimistic, saying it would take a miracle for her to survive.

[LC]: Jeez, poor Yuki and coma are almost in a first name basis…

It’s curious to see such a pragmatic man like Sanada talk about miracles. Of course he does so in a practical and logical way, referring to how they can use the means available to them to address a desperate situation, and not some supernatural fix-all event.

  

Okita is saddened by the news but Sanada retorts that miracles don’t just happen, you need to make them happen. We then see Yurisha’s stasis pod, indicating Sanada plans to use it for Yuki. A uniformed figure stands at the hatch entrance looking upon the capsule.

[DG]: Nakajima’s poetry must be rubbing off on Sanada. Even though he’s a man of science and doesn’t believe in miracles, he’s saying there’s nothing wrong with making one.

[LC]: I can’t help to find it funny that, even though everybody knows who this is, they go to the trouble of never showing his face until after the script has characters identifying the “ghost” as Mamoru Kodai.

 

Later, Aihara reports they have a channel open to Earth. Director Todo and Admiral Hijikata appear on the main screen. Sanada greets them and reports that that they’ve obtained the Cosmo Reverse System from Iscandar and are now on their way back to Earth. (For those keeping tabs, this scene would take place soon after the epilogue in Ark of the Stars.)

[LC]: Although not as extensive as those of Episode 25, this episode was still subjected to some visual improvements. We’ll just point out the more substantial ones. The first takes place in this scene, with Sanada being improved and the video on the panel replaced by a wider shot of Hijikata and Todo. Click here for a side by side comparison.

 

Todo is visibly moved by this piece of good news, seemingly relieved that Iscandar was real. He tells them how they’ve been waiting in suspense, gritting their teeth, resting all their hopes on Yamato‘s return.

[LC]: I find this line by commander Todo somewhat puzzling. They already made contact with two Iscandarians and received technological assistance from them. Yamato itself is a product of that. So why would Todo think Iscandar wasn’t real? Did part of the 2010 live-action film rub off on this episode’s script?

[DG]: Maybe Todo’s statement is a nod to the plot of the live-action movie. It’s the most poignant thing I can remember of that film, that the whole mission was a hoax to give the survivors hope to cling onto, and then lo and behold, it wasn’t just a load of government propaganda.

Todo’s line seems awfully out of place here though. Was he not privy to Yurisha’s arrival on Earth or Operation M? In the context of 2199, it seems a rather silly thing to say given here there’s been physical proof of Iscandar’s existence, unlike in the live-action film.

 

Noticing the captain’s absence, Todo asks where Okita is. Sanada reports that the captain’s Planet Bomb Syndrome has returned and that he isn’t in good shape. Both men seem distraught by this development. Hijikata asks if Yuki is all right, which makes Kodai clench his fist to hide his emotions. This is noticed by Sanada, who must serve as the bearer of more bad news by reporting that she’s been wounded in combat.

[DG]: Serizawa is noticeable in his absence from both this scene and the corresponding scene in Ark of the Stars as well – I’d presumed he’d been arrested over his role in the Yamato mutiny – and there’s nothing to suggest that is not the case. However, as we now know, he must have gotten a good lawyer or had a low friend in a very high place, because three years later he appears to be back in his former role. Hopefully 2202 will shed some light on the circumstances.

 

In that moment, static fills the screen as Todo calls out to them. Communications are cut off. Aihara reports the hyperspace relays are still unstable and he’ll need some time to bring them back online.

[DG]: Again, the mysterious “hyperspace relay”. If they’re using the same system alluded to back in Episode 7, then it must be something they reverse-engineered either from Yurisha’s ship or recovered Garmillas wreckage.

[LC]: The breakup of communications and Aihara’s mention of hyperspace relays seems to indicate they’re still a long way out in space, though the term “hyperspace communication” was used back in Episode 7. The difference in terms, shifting from “communication” to “relays” might not be significant, amounting to nothing more than some technobabble. But it might actually be of significance. This episode seems to start a short time after the end of Episode 25. Sanada and Sado are still giving their report and the visual of Yamato against the backdrop of the Milky Way seem to confirm they’re still relatively close to the Beemela system, in the outer rim of our galaxy.

There seems to be a time jump from the previous scene to this one – the first of many in this episode. But it’s doubtful they’ve already reached the heliosphere, since communications with the boundary of the solar system were pretty stable and didn’t seem to require any assistance from what seems to be new equipment. The fact that they seem to still be trying these relays out may indicate they’re something new for long-range communications. Where did they get it? It might have been either Iscandar or Garmillas, maybe as a gesture of good will for the recently achieved peace treaty. In Ark of the Stars we’ll learn that they’ve obtained some other items, among them an extensive library of alien languages, so this might be part of that. Wherever they got it, it’s obviously still not working at full capacity.

  

Nanbu comments that they’ve made it back, with Ota responding in agreement. But Kodai tells them that just because they’re nearing the Solar System it’s no reason to let their guard down. Everyone seems to silently agree with him. Ota comments that at least now they know their families are safe.

[DG]: There must have been a time jump before this scene began. From the edge of the galaxy to the edge of the solar system without any transition – but given that the events in the episode up to now have been on the edge of the galaxy, we have to assume from Kodai’s statement about being “on the edge of the solar system” that some considerable time has passed between the last scene and this one.

[LC]: Or we can assume he isn’t being literal when he says they’re back. He says they’re close to the solar system but given the distances involved in Yamato‘s long journey, just being back at the Milky Way and about two thirds of the way back – depending on their exact position, which we’re never told – may be enough to be considered “being back.” When I go on long journeys, just being back at the edge of my home town is enough to elicit that feeling.

Yamato could not communicate with Earth past the Heliopause, so this is almost certainly the conversation that Hijikata and Todo are about to have with Yamato at the end of the bonus scene in Ark of the Stars. At that point in Ark, Earth hadn’t heard from Yamato, and the problem with the date created in that scene suggests that Yamato is first contacted on December 8, the same day it returns to Earth. This means Yamato has either warped off-camera or is travelling at very very high speeds and ignoring the laws of physics regarding fractional lightspeed travel and time dilation. Of course, plot wins over physics every time.

Kodai’s reference that they’re “near the solar system” doesn’t have to be taken at face value. By “near the solar system”, he could be referring to being near the actual planets – which, as I mentioned back in the Episode 7 commentary, only extend a third of the distance between the sun and the heliopause.

Or they once again botched the timeline. Or worse… considered all the events of this episode, which implicitly take place over the course of several weeks – or several days at the very least – to occur in a single day… December 8th. Another possibility, which might make the timeline botch-job less egregious, is to consider that the communication in the final scene of Ark is not this one but another one when they approached Earth. I’m reaching, I know… but it would at least make more sense than this episode lasting a single day… Oh, wait… Maybe it’s a Garmillan day!!! As we saw in Episode 17, they can be quite long… XD (For those not versed in sarcasm, that was a joke)

That idea doesn’t work. The scene in Ark implies they’ve had no communication from Yamato since they crossed the heliopause.

 

Later, Niimi is in the port observation dome drinking some coffee while some of the crew comment on recent rumors about a ghost wandering the ship. This catches Niimi’s attention.

[LC]: Presumably, there’s another small time jump between these two scenes.

This shot is another example of the improvements made to the episode. In previous versions, the characters were so small that the room seemed way too big. Now, the characters have been re-scaled in proportion to the set, as well as adding a few more crew members and improving the set lighting. Click here for a side by side comparison.

 

Sawamura says he’s heard the ghost is wearing a Defense Force uniform now. Hayashi says the one he saw turned out to be Yurisha. Sawamura says this new ghost seems to be a man. Niimi listens with a frown on her face. Such nonsense, she seems to think as she lets out a deep sigh.

[LC]: Funny thing that the first “ghost” was an Iscandarian performing a sort of astral projection and the second is an actual spirit, anchored to an Iscandarian device, roaming the ship. Iscandar must be amazing around Halloween! XD

  

She opens her eyes and looks out the window… and an expression of pure shock takes over her face. There, reflected in the window, a shadowy figure stands behind the group of officers. Oblivious to his presence, Saeka comments that the ghost seems to be a man this time, and the uniform he’s wearing is not from Yamato. Sawamura asks why a ghost from another ship would be there. Niimi is still fixed on the reflection of the man, dressed in a Defense Force uniform.

[LC]: Maintaining the aforementioned ploy of keeping the ghost’s identity a “mystery,” they cut away just as Mamoru’s chin comes into view. In the previous edits, the cut was made just a few frames later, showing Mamoru’s face but covered in shadow. The edit was a good call as, admittedly, the shadow faced Mamoru looks a bit creepy. Click here for a side by side comparison.

I love it that in a single shot, they make Niimi go from one end of the belief spectrum to the other. She starts by looking at the trio in front of her as if thinking “Really, guys?! Ghosts?! How gullible are you?!” And then… BOOM, “OMG!!! IS THAT A FREAKIN’ GHOST???!!!” And you might add “Is that my ex-boyfriend’s ghost?” depending on how fast she realizes who’s ghost that is.

 

She finally manages to break out of her stupor and look directly at the man… but there’s no one there. Only Sawamura, Saeka and Hayashi are sitting there, leisurely talking about the very apparition she just witnessed. She looks around to no avail. Whatever it was… whoever it was… is now gone.

 

The conversation moves to another topic, that of Yuki’s current situation. Back in the Automatic Navigation room, Kodai sits on the floor in front of the suspended animation capsule, playing his harmonica. He recalls an earlier conversation that took place by Yuki’s bedside.

[LC]: It’s funny that in this shot, that is basically a reverse camera pan of the previous one that revealed Mamoru looking at the capsule, we have Susumu next to the capsule and Mamoru still in the shot, just in a more ethereal form.

  

Doctor Sado says that even if they can return to Earth and get her to a real hospital, her probability of survival is under 0.1%. Holding onto hope, Kodai says that it’s still possible but Sado says he doubts her body will be able to last that long. Kodai seems to resign himself to the increasingly likely possibility that Yuki will die. At that moment, Sado and Sanada offer an idea that will at least allow them to stabilize things. They can use the capsule that kept Yurisha alive during her long coma. Kodai looks at the unconscious Yuki with a renewed sense of hope.

[LC]: What we see in this flashback must have taken place right after Sado and Sanada reported to Okita at the start of the episode.

[DG]: If we assume that, given Episode 25 took place around September 22nd, then Yuki’s been in the hibernation chamber for about 2 1/2 months, depending on how much time has actually passed in all the time jumps. If we follow the notion that it was actually three weeks later due to the stuff-up in the timeline, then it’s been just under two months.

Under 0.1%…?! Jeez, doc… that’s harsh. That Kodai believes it’s still possible to recover from that borderlines wishful thinking. And you want to stabilize her condition?! Shouldn’t you have done that before she got to 0.1% chance of survival? Because that would have been awesome.

 

The flashback ends and we’re back with Kodai, playing his harmonica, Yuki’s body revealed inside the capsule. The young officer is completely oblivious to the figure standing silent by the hatch, just a few feet behind him… observing.

[LC]: It seems the glass in this suspension capsule possesses what is known as a “plot knowledge opacity capacitor”, a nifty device that makes it opaque until you know who’s inside, at which time it becomes transparent to the observer. XD

They repeat the exact same pan from a few scenes back, only with Susumu in shot and the afore mentioned “opacity capacitor” now disengaged.

 

Okita sleeps, when a familiar voice calls out his name. He opens his eyes to see Tokugawa siting by his side. He asks the captain if he’s all right, as he seemed to be having a nightmare. Okita replies he was dreaming… about Mamoru Kodai.

[LC]: Was… Tokugawa just sitting there… watching Okita sleep?! XD

It’s just conjecture on my part, but given what happens later in the episode, I think there is more going on here. Although Okita may actually believe it was nothing more than a dream, I do believe Mamoru actually reached out from “the other side” and talked to Okita within his mind. He may already be planning to intervene in the Yuki situation, taking steps to ensure someone takes his place in the Cosmo Reverser core in order to save Earth. And this might have been just one of many such “conversations”.

  

Tokugawa helps the ailing captain sit up as he recalls that Mamoru served with them aboard the Kirishima. Okita was the captain and Tokugawa ran the engine room while Mamoru Kodai was the new Weapons Officer. Okita remembers that was at the time of the Second Battle of Mars.

[DG]: This is confirmation that Mamoru was a weapons officer on Kirishima at the Second Battle of Mars. Also, it’s all but explicitly said that Okita lost his son in that battle.

[LC]: Did it take Tokugawa this long to remember that Mamoru was aboard Kirishima with him and Okita? Considering they had a similar conversation back in Episode 7, it’s strange that Mamoru was never mentioned. Guess it wasn’t relevant to the plot at that point

It’s a pity Yutaka Izubuchi never got to make the prequel story he once speculated upon. Seeing the actual events leading up to 2199, especially the much-talked-about Second Battle of Mars, would have been awesome. Maybe some day we may still see it in its full glory.

A small improvement to this scene was done to the globe on the image above center. Before, it had no geographical features.

 

Tokugawa nods affirmatively, recalling it was the one battle they won. That one success allowed them to push back the Garmillas invasion, but at great cost. They remain silent for a moment, until Okita asks his friend if he thinks that Yamato is a good ship. Tokugawa says it is.

[LC]: We’re again remembered of the high price Okita payed for that victory. Again, seeing what actually happened to his son and how he ended up defeating the Garmillas would be great and build upon events that were only teased at.

 

Okita says he’s proud of this ship, and that the flames of his life will not endure much longer. This sentence startles Tokugawa. The captain proceeds, saying Yamato will live on, and that he wants to pass that soul to the younger generation. Tokugawa asks him why he’s so gloomy all of a sudden. Okita looks at him , saying he won’t die yet. Not until he has seen Earth with his own eyes.
Reassured by this, Tokugawa gets up to leave, saying Yamazaki is talented but he still has a lot to learn.

[LC]: This is a not so subtle hint at what will take place later in the episode and, apparently, in the transition to Yamato 2202.

  

As he opens the hatch, Tokugawa remembers that Mamoru Kodai was meant to be on Yamato. Okita says that Mamoru’s younger brother is doing his job just fine. Tokugawa leaves, going down the steps. Behind him, by the hatch, stands the silent figure that’s been roaming the ship.

[DG]: Okita answering a question with a politician’s response.

 

Yamato continues the long voyage back to Earth. Analyzer asks Nanbu what is wrong with Aihara. Nanbu tells him that during their last communication with Earth, he received some bad news. Aihara weeps, telling Kodai that his father died and his aging mother is all alone at home. They told him Earth is a mess and at that rate, his mother won’t last much longer, either…

[DG]:Aihara’s statement is open to interpretation. Unless there’s been further communication with Earth as the ship travels on, it seems unlikely that this level of personal information would be received on the first day. If so, this is simply a case of Aihara recalling the situation he left behind nearly a year ago.

[LC]: Another apparent time jump. From what we’re told, Yamato has managed to contact Earth again. The dialogue concerning Aihara and his family are a callback to the original Episode 19, which takes place en route to Iscandar. Domel uses a relay satellite to allow contact with Earth. The ploy is meant to lower their morale by exposing them to the terrible state of things back home. Aihara is particularly affected, going as far as jumping ship in a space suit. IMHO it’s one of the weaker episodes of the first series. The potential for drama is there, but is somewhat offset by how ridiculous the script turns out to be.

The connection might also serve to indicate how Yamato is now capable of contacting Earth, even though they still seem to be outside the heliosphere. We saw that Gantz was capable of communicating with Balun and even Great Garmillas with ease. We can assume they’ve set up hyperspace relay stations to carry their communications as they spread out into space. Given the peace treaty now in effect, they may have allowed access to this network, thus allowing contact with Earth while still in deep space.

 

Kodai says it’s true that Earth is nearly dead, but crying won’t save it. He affirms that Yamato will make it in time. They’ll make sure it does. Standing next to Ota, who is covering Shima’s post at the helm, Misaki says Kodai is acting a bit like the captain. Seemingly inspired by Kodai’s words, Ota says to leave it to him. He’s got the helm and will get them to Earth ahead of schedule.

[DG]: Misaki’s comment was originally made when there hadn’t been any further story confirmed. Before Ark, this was the closest we got to “Deputy Captain Kodai” in 2199.

[LC]: Misaki’s line may be a throwback to the original, where Kodai had taken command of the ship, after Okita made him his deputy captain. In 2199 that never happened, since a more proper military chain of command was established from the start. Sanada is the XO and therefore in command in Okita’s absence. Still, at this point, Kodai had indeed grown a lot as an officer and a man. And though we didn’t know it at this time, he had in fact taken command of the ship during the battle operations that took place at Planet Shambleau, one month prior to Episode 25. We would only see that happen in Ark of the Stars, but when it did… it just felt right.

Wow, Ota had his grown up coffee today, didn’t he?! XD.

 

He’s interrupted by Shima, who asks him who’s got the helm. Ota is visibly flustered as he passes the station to his chief. Shima asks where Sanada is and Misaki tells him the XO went to the Wave-Motion Gun Control Room to adjust the Cosmo Reverser. Shima looks at the scene unfolding at Aihara’s console as Kodai pats his fellow officer on the back.

  

Shima sits at his station and as he’s checking the controls settings, a colorful card is dangled in front of his face. He looks up to find Kodai holding it with a smile on his face. He tells Shima that one’s for him.

[DG]: Think Makoto did the invites?

[LC]: The drawing is so cute I would say Makoto herself did it. XD But it’s probably another product of the ship’s item dispensers. Maybe they came with the wedding dress we’ll see in a bit. XD

 

Shima takes the card, an invitation for Kato and Makoto’s wedding party. He comments that it’s finally happening and Kodai tells him it wasn’t easy persuading the old-fashioned Kato to do it. He turns around and leaves, saying it’s nice to have something cheery going on.

 

Shima looks on as his friend leaves with a concerned look on his face. In the medical section, the old-fashioned Kato is waiting, as Makoto tries out her dress with the assistance of her colleague, Maki.

 

Kato wonders if it’s okay to do it, which Makoto mistakenly believes to be a remark about her dress, asking if it doesn’t look good on her. He corrects her, saying that what he meant was if it’s okay for them to be the only ones doing something like that. Makoto realizes he’s referring to Kodai. Kato says Kodai is forcing himself to act cheerful but in reality he’s falling apart. We see Kodai walking the halls, smiling at passing crew members.

[LC]: For someone who seems so hotheaded all of the time, Kato figured Kodai out pretty well.

 

Jumping from behind the curtain, Makoto says it doesn’t matter, and they should go ahead with it, in order to share their happiness with him. Kato is left speechless, looking at his beautiful bride. Holding her womb, she tells him she’s sure their child would say the same.

[DG]: Verbal confirmation of what the scene in Episode 25 meant. Makoto and Kato’s wedding is of the shotgun variety.

[LC]: Isn’t it bad luck to see the bride’s dress before the wedding? Or have such silly superstitions disappeared by 2199?

Is it just me or does it look like nurse Maki has fallen asleep in this shot?!

  

Kato smiles, nods and says she’s right. Makoto tells him to pick which one of the dresses is best. Kato says he wants traditional Japanese kimonos, only to have the idea immediately shot down by her. The scene is observed from next door by Doctor Sado, who comments that new life is born as the old passes away. Analyzer fills his cup of sake and asks who he’s talking about.

[LC]: Ah, typical bride banter. Let the groom believe he has any sort of control regarding the wedding and then shoot the poor sap down and show him who’s boss. XD

Analyzer’s question is actually pertinent. Is he talking about Yuki’s touch-and-go situation or Okita’s impending demise? Maybe even both. Whoever it is, Sado seems to know he’s pretty much powerless in both counts.

  

Sado obliviously answers that he doesn’t know. He then comments that ever since they left Iscandar, Analyzer has been “going there” frequently. Analyzer responds that that place calms him. Sado drinks the sake and says he understands and that Analyzer should just stay there forever. Analyzer seems confused, and Sado repeats that he should just stay there, as he slams the cup on the table.

[LC]: In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, this shot shows us Sado’s pad. Remember when I told you Iwata and Toyama were dead? This is where I got that info from. Although it’s not a full list, every single person on it has shed its mortal coil. The fact that Yuki’s file is in there, even if it’s pending, doesn’t bode well for her. Other names on the list are, from top to bottom: pilots Takuya Kobashi and Tsuyoshi Daikuhara, security officers Shinya Ito and Masanoru Utsumi, deckhands Shinpei Iwata and Kiyoshi Toyama. Yuki is listed, but we know she isn’t dead… yet. Then there are three names from the engineering section, Katsunori Kiyama, Yuui Saotome and Sukeji Yabu. Yabu, as we know, is very much alive. But as far as Yamato‘s crew knows, he was killed on Leptapoda. Click the image for the full size version.

 

Later, Makoto is in the Automatic Pilot Room, checking the instruments and Yuki’s condition. She talks about her upcoming marriage to Kato and how Kodai told them they had to have a party. She laughs as she recalls how mortified Kato was about the idea, but that he ended up agreeing. Inside the capsule, Yuki seems to react to the news as a small twitch in her hand gives way to something else. Makoto says that men are so cute, looking at Yuki. She is shocked when she sees Yuki looking back at her.

[LC]: In a break from the usual tropes, Yuki wakes up without any of the monitoring devices giving off a single beep to alert Makoto. Either that or she’s just so distracted she just didn’t notice… XD

  

She runs to her, happy that she finally came out of her coma, and tells her she will call Doctor Sado. But something is off. Yuki struggles to raise her hand to the capsule’s window, as if wanting to say something.

[DG]: Is it just me, or does Yuki look considerably short of breath here? Like there’s no air inside the chamber?

 

In the Wave-Motion Gun Control Room, Sanada listens closely as Niimi proposes that the continuously evolving structure of the Cosmo Reverser is like a brain’s neural network. Sanada surmises that it’s possible that the device is like a living creature.

[DG]: Sanada proves he is one of the smartest men on the planet, seeing the possibility that the CRS is inhabited by Mamoru Kodai’s spirit/memories. After all, he’s seen Yurisha possess Yuria Misaki, which goes greatly beyond any Terran knowledge of physiology. So from his perspective, the idea that Kodai’s spirit was captured by Starsha when he died has a logical basis.

[LC]: The term “Interlocking Recursive Structure” used by Niimi might refer to this. Or just gibberish that sounds like an actual term.

Whether or not this technobabble actually means something is beside the point. This is SF. Most of the time, all that’s required is for characters to say something that sounds plausible and we’re good. But what doesn’t work for me here is this: Sanada always seems to have an almost supernatural ability to look at something and immediately figure it out – or a relatively small amount of time, if that’s what the plot requires. And yet, it took him, Niimi – another genius – and his team over two months to reach the conclusions they’re presenting to us now? And only because the appearance of a “ghost” that might be his deceased best friend pushed him to look for answers? I’m not a scientist or a genius and I could have told them the CRS behaves and acts like a living thing with a brain like quantum network.

  

Niimi wonders if the Wave-Motion pattern they’re reading is the memory required to rebuild the Earth. Sanada says the question is to whom that memory belongs. Niimi asks if he thinks it might be the memories of all of Yamato‘s crew. Sanada says he can’t think of anything else, but still wonders if that’s really it. He starts to wonder if it might be… “you?”

[LC]: This is the biggest plot hole I find with the CRS. Not the machine itself or its metaphysical fuel; I can accept those within the bounds of the series’ mythology and of a quote Sanada will use later (more on that in a bit). This is super-technology which looks like magic to those not advanced enough. But that’s just the thing – I buy a Transformer and Hasbro kindly includes a set of instructions on how to turn the damned thing from a car or a plane onto a badass robot. I buy a Yamato scale model and Bandai kindly includes instructions on how to assemble it. I marvel at the engineering used to produce these things, which for the playthings they are, use some pretty advanced technology to be made.

And yet Starsha grafts this hyper-technology device onto Yamato, gives them some vague notion of how it works with the “element” of memories… shut up. In the very least, tell the user to how to recharge it in case some idiot presses the wrong button. There’s always that one person you just know will frack up. If you don’t want to give them a full instruction manual, fine. But at least pull Sanada aside and tell him “you know, just in case that guy you have on board activates the CRS ahead of time, this is how you recharge it. You’ll need to kill someone willing to have his/her soul sucked into the device so their memories can be used as a template to restore the Earth.” Instead, she just gave them the thing and let them figure it out on their own.

 

Niimi turns to her console, knowing who Sanada might be referring to. Just then, their thoughts are interrupted by the ringing of the wall phone. Sano answers it, telling the person on the other side not to yell at him. He confirms the XO is there. He turns around with a concerned look, asking Doctor Sado what has happened to Officer Mori.

[LC]: They could have gone with a simpler way of making the CRS work: instead of using an actual soul as “fuel” and template, it could just read the memories of those on board and work from there. Not as dramatic, but maybe a good Plan B.

Good to see that at this stage, while still unaware of the “ghost” that’s on board, Sanada is already taking a leap and leaning toward Mamoru being the CRS’s core. And Niimi is obviously thinking the same, having seen the ghost. She’s fighting it, being a woman of science, but still opening her mind to the idea. Love the way they made this so subtle in the character’s performances.

 

In Kodai’s room, a dim light shines upon a board with several photographs, among them photos of Yuki and Mamoru. Holding his harmonica, Kodai is fast asleep until his phone rings. He answers the call, a look of shock coming upon his face.

[DG]: Here at Kodai’s desk, we see he has the same picture that Yuki has of the two of them, along with one photo of Yuki (makes you wonder when that was taken, presumably some time after Kodai pulled his head out of his ass at Garmillas); also one of the section heads, one of his family, one with Shima (presumably during their academy days), one with Mamoru, and one of the fighter pilots either in the locker room or the gym.

[LC]: They really loved this photo, being the only one both Kodai and Yuki have in common in their photo boards.

Add to these the Mars pennant, some maps, and books with multicolored bookmarks, you could mistake it for a college dorm room, which it would be in any other circumstance, since Kodai only turned 21 a few months ago. Makes me wonder what those books are. Textbooks for a Captain’s rating? After all, by now he’s had his taste of command during the battle with Gatlantis and probably sees himself following in his brother’s footsteps.

A curious detail is that they both have a single framed photo. Kodai’s features him as a young boy with Mamoru and his parents, while Yuki’s pictures her with Hijikata. Since Yuki lost her memories and Hijikata is currently the closest thing to family she has, they form an interesting thematic juxtaposition. I do wonder, even if she did lose her memories of her parents, wouldn’t she have some photos lying around, like the one Kodai has? Or were they all destroyed in the bombings?

BTW, those maps you refer to are another of this episode’s small improvements. Before, they were blank. They also adjusted the photos and lighting of the scene to give it more depth.

 

Within minutes, Kodai is standing at the Automatic Pilot’s Room hatch, gasping for air. The look on everyone’s face is the herald of bad news, from Sanada’s distraught expression to sweet Makoto kneeling on the floor crying a river. Sado’s nod confirms the worst… Yuki died.

[LC]: These scenes are one of the rare occasions we see a main character’s shirt. Only Sanada and Ito were shown either without the jacket or with the jacket open.

Sanada’s capacity to stand there holding his forehead for such a long period of time is astounding.

 

Kodai tries to hold back the tears but he can’t. With a scream of pure sadness and pain he runs to her, the single pane of glass between an insurmountable chasm.

[LC]: Kodai’s animation in this scene is amazing. They really captured all the pain and despair that go through him at this moment. Also, good thing he didn’t scream “Yuki!” again. At this point, that touch of hilarity would ruin the scene.

And Sanada keeps that pose… Somebody check if he’s still alive. XD

  

Sado tells him she opened her eyes before dying, and her last words were his name. Sobbing, Makoto tells Kodai that Yuki said she wanted to see him again. Kodai falls to his knees, saying he wanted to see her again, too. After a few seconds, he regains his composure and tells Sanada he has a request.

[LC]: Good way to twist the knife, Doc. Tell the guy who just lost the woman he loves that she wanted to see him before she died but… “hey, too late, buddy!”

“Et tu”, Makoto.

Ah, Sanada moves.

 

Kodai asks him not to tell anyone what just happened. Everyone looks at him, visibly surprised. He reasons that they are almost home and he doesn’t want the crew to hear any more sad news. Above him, the sphere of light at the core of the Cosmo Reverser pulsates.

[LC]: Kodai wins the medal for heartbreaking selflessness. This guy will be a great captain. Even when his world is falling apart, he still thinks of his crew.

This final shot of the CRS core shining over Kodai is so touching. Especially when you take into account that it’s basically Mamoru looking down at his brother’s pain.

 

Later: Kodai holds his glass up high as streamers and confetti fly through the air. He lowers it as he looks at the stage in one of the observation domes, where the crew applauds the newlywed couple.

[LC]: I guess Makoto gave in to Kato’s idea of wearing traditional Japanese kimonos, at least in part.

Kato is another character that has come a long way. He essentially took on the original Kodai’s hotheaded temperament to become a more calm and level headed person over the course of their long journey.

  

Kodai walks towards them, observed from afar by Yamamoto. Shinohara slithers in and puts his arm around her shoulders, jokingly saying their turn will be next. A sharp elbow to the gut is her prompt reply.

[DG]: The comical look in Akira’s eyes when Shinohara gets grabby is priceless. As is the look on Shino’s face when he gets elbowed in the solar plexus.

 

Kodai climbs to the stage to congratulate Makoto and Kato. Kato asks Kodai if he remembers when they were assigned to Yamato; Kato told him that if Kodai’s orders caused any of his men to die needlessly, Kato would never forgive him. With a look of humility, he looks at the smiling Kodai and says Kodai did better than he could have hoped for.

[DG]: This little speech from Kato is a very nice touch, bringing their first conversation (that didn’t involve Kato’s fist) around to full circle.

  

He adds that for that Mori will be fine. Makoto, fully aware of her husbands verbal misstep, grabs him and stops him from going any farther. Poor unknowing Kato, unaware of how deep his foot has gone into his mouth, is puzzled. Without giving anything away and still smiling, Kodai tells Kato to make Makoto happy.

I wondered whether maybe Makoto should have at least told Kato. Though with him, that might not have worked well in keeping things a secret.

[LC]: Makoto must be thinking of how many hours it will take her and Doctor Sado to remove Kato’s foot from his mouth. Of course the poor pilot monk has no idea of what is actually going on with Yuki. Odd, since Makoto didn’t exactly keep other situations – like Okita’s condition – a secret from him before. Bad time to start hiding things, getting married and all that. XD

It’s amazing Kodai manages to not show any sign of pain throughout this exchange. He truly wants to keep the crew’s spirits up, even if he is breaking inside.

  

In the technical section, Niimi is taken by surprise when Sanada tells her he suspects the Cosmo Reverser’s system core is Mamoru Kodai. He explains that it was the answer he arrived at after following the chain of logic. Unsure of whether or not to speak up, Niimi asks Sanada if he’s heard the rumors about a ghost roaming the ship. She says he might laugh at her for being unscientific, but she saw it and recognized it as being Mamoru. Calmly, Sanada quotes Arthur C. Clarke, saying “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” He surmises that after Mamoru died on Iscandar, his memories must have been saved in some form.

[LC]: Sanada took his sweet time to get there. XD I’ll just jot this down to his uber-brain being fatigued after nearly a year of over-clocking.

Again, Sanada takes what could be considered a supernatural occurrence and frame it in a scientific way. The sentence he uses is a direct quote of the third of Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws.

 

Kodai roams the halls, approaching the corridor leading to the Automatic Pilot Room. Two crewmen come running down the corridor, saying that Earth is coming into visual range. They bump into Kodai, who just lets himself fall, slumping against the corridor wall. He drops to his knees, raising his head to look up at the hatch of the room where Yuki rests. In the background, Sanada continues his explanation, saying Mamoru’s consciousness is now the core to activate the Cosmo Reverse System.

[LC]: All the time jumps throughout the episode have finally brought Yamato all the way to Earth. I assume this scene takes place a short time after Kato and Makoto’s wedding. The effort of keeping a happy face has certainly taken his toll on Kodai. This scene is a direct remake of a similar scene in the original series. Also, though Kodai is obviously too sad to give a damn, those two idiots could at least apologize for bumping an officer. Guess there are a**holes even aboard Yamato.

The animators did a tremendous job with Kodai throughout this episode. There’s not a scene where you can’t feel the raw emotions coming out of this character.

  

We see Yuki, lying in the suspended animation capsule, now open. Sanada says that in essence, Mamoru Kodai himself is now the Cosmo Reverse System. Sanada retracts his statement, saying that Mamoru is Yamato itself. We see the “ghost,” now fully revealed as the long-deceased Defense Force officer. He stands before Yuki’s capsule, looking at her with sadness in his eyes. He hears the sound of steps coming from the stairwell and turns around to see his kid brother.

[LC]: Sanada does his best to give us a plausible explanation for how the CRS works and his metaphysical “fuel.” And for all the usual crazy technobabble, this bit is actually quite simple and makes perfect sense within the established mythology.

Now that the ghost has been flat-out identified as Mamoru, it’s suddenly okay to show his face.

  

Kodai looks across the empty room at Yuki’s inert body. He smiles and walks up to the capsule. He reaches in and lifts Yuki’s body out. He talks to her, remembering how they met. He gently brushes the hair off her face, recalling how angry he was back then, due to his brother’s death. “Not the best way to meet someone,” he says.

[LC]: This entire sequence does a tremendous job of recreating the original. 2199 actually makes the whole thing less creepy, turning this into a private moment between them, instead of having him haul her corpse up to the bridge.

 

As we’re treated to clips from earlier in the series, Kodai remembers when they both came aboard Yamato and how their different ways of thinking caused them to fight all the time. But eventually they opened up to each other. Yuki told him how she had lost all her memories and how she still tried to stay positive.

  

Without even knowing it, Kodai found himself drawn to her. He hugs her, as tears begin to roll down his face. He recalls when she was kidnapped and they met again, and he realized how he really felt. Kodai’s tears fall on Yuki’s face as he finally professes his love for her.

[LC]: This is perhaps one of the few instances I don’t mind watching a clip show, especially because the new animation in between is so beautiful. Again, the staff did a tremendous job in conveying Kodai’s raw emotional state. Only thing I take issue with is those tears… they should really have toned them down a bit. Tears should really be more subtle.

 

He says he loves her more than anyone in the world. He falls to his knees and embraces her, asking if there is even any point to a world without her. As Kodai continues his tearful embrace, the ghostly form of Mamoru watches.

 

He tells his brother that what he’s about to do is all he can do for him. He looks up and closes his eyes as a warm glow begins to fill the room. He calls out to captain Okita, saying he’s returning his ship to him. The glow increases and the orb in the core shines bright, like a new born star.

[LC]: If your heart doesn’t skip a beat right here, as Mamoru says this, you’re not human.

This all but confirms Mamoru has indeed been talking to Okita, whether in those dreams or even in a more physical form. I do believe Mamoru wouldn’t do this if he wasn’t aware that Okita is about to die and take his place. He would want to, no doubt, if only to make his little brother happy. But with the future of Earth at stake, he would have held on, no matter how much it pained him. Fortunately, the stars aligned and he was able to do this final act of love for his brother.

  

In the room below them, the main mechanism of the Cosmo Reverse System comes to life, baffling Kiryu and Sano, who are powerless to stop it. The device shines brightly, bathing them in a warm blue light. A flash of multicolored light bursts from the plug in the bow of the ship, engulfing Yamato for a moment before fading away.

[LC]: One thing I don’t understand is why the systems seem to go haywire. Is it because the device is being forcibly activated, without going through the control system?

Guess this is as close as we’ll get to seeing the Cosmo Reverser in action.

 

Kiryu says the output is dropping fast. The device continues to work as Sanada and Niimi rush into the room, telling them not to shut down the Cosmo Reverser and to keep things steady. Sano says there’s nothing they can do, since the system is refusing any of their commands.

 

Niimi pushes him aside, but is powerless to act as the system begins to shut down. She turns to Sanada, who faces the Reverser and asks “Why, Kodai? Why did you start it now?!”

[LC]: Sanada fully embraces the metaphysical aspect of the Cosmo Reverser and calls out to his friend. I doubt he expected an actual answer, but still… for such a logical character, it’s quite a leap.

 

Just as he finishes his question, the glow fades and the Cosmo Reverser comes to a halt. In the Auto Pilot Room, the sphere of light in the Reverser’s core begins to fade away. The room is filled with a golden light, bathing Kodai and Yuki. Kodai looks around, puzzled by what just happened.

[LC]: Another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment: as the scene starts and the camera pans down, we see the energy sphere in the system core fizzle out of existence.

  

Suddenly, he feels the touch of fingertips in his chest. Moving. Alive. He looks down and hardly believes what he sees. Yuki moves, as if waking up from a deep sleep. She opens her eyes to meet the young man’s gaze, a mix of total confusion combined with absolute happiness.

[LC]: I’m the most cynical a**hole I know but even I can’t help but be happy that this happens. Sure, this was as predictable as can be, but the way it was done was so beautiful and emotional, I won’t even try to lessen it with a snarky remark.

 

The tears of sorrow are replaced by tears of joy as he realizes this is real. He hugs her tight. Yuki is completely confused by what is happening, her last memory is that of being shot, an then…

  

Kodai dismisses it, saying it was just a dream. A bad dream. She realizes his intention and smiles. Their eyes lock for a moment of tender serenity, until they give in to their feelings and kiss. In the corner of the room, the Blue Crystal flowers are now in full bloom.

[DG]: THANK GOD IT DIDN’T TAKE THEM NINE YEARS, THREE TV SERIES, and FOUR FEATURE FILMS TO LOCK LIPS. This was one of the most important diversions from the original series.

[LC]: Yeah, glad they got this out of the way. Can’t wait for the sex scenes in 2202. XDDD

And now the flowers are in full bloom. Explanation please? Were they holding Yuki’s memories/spirit while her body was dead?

 

The mood is much different in the Wave-Motion Gun’s Control Room, where Sanada orders his team to inspect every part of the Cosmo Reverser and to prepare for a reboot. Niimi is still fixated on the main monitor as she says that the activation pulse that was Mamoru’s mind is almost entirely lost in the quantum sea. The Reverser cannot be reactivated. Sano says what’s on everyone’s mind. Even if Yamato makes it back to Earth… They won’t be able to save it, Kiryu concludes.

[LC]: This scene is made even sadder when you think that Niimi is literally seeing whatever remained of the man she loved disappear before her eyes. Same thing with Sanada realizing his best friend’s mind is now gone. Since they don’t know what just happened in the room above them, they must be really puzzled. Especially believing they just lost the only shot they had at saving Earth…

 

Sanada is stunned. He calls out to Kodai, then calling it Yamato, and asks him if that is his will. If that is what he wanted. But the core is empty. There’s no longer anyone there to answer, even if he could.

[LC]: Human Sanada is having a really bad day. The scene is made even more poignant as this final shot of the empty core is all the answer he’ll get.

 

Meanwhile, Yamato circles around the Moon and Earth comes into view. The bridge crew are ecstatic that they finally made it back home.

[DG]: This shot of Yamato passing the moon was brilliant on the big screen. Not only did it look like a great shot in general, but it reminded me of the “Earthrise” photo taken by the Apollo 8 Lunar Module pilot, William Anders.

  

Okita is in his cabin with Doctor Sado by his side as Earth comes into view. The weakened captain asks Sado if he can leave him alone for a moment. Sado is all too aware of what this means, but does as he’s asked.

[LC]: I can only imagine what is going through Sado’s mind at this point. He, better than anyone else, knows how improbable it was that Okita got this far. He did so out of sheer will. The will to see Earth again. And there she is… Sado knows all too well the time has come. He used all his medical skills to get him here but now… there’s nothing left.

 

As he walks away, Okita calls out to him. “Thank you” is all he says, nothing more is necessary. With tears in his eyes for his patient, his friend, Sado steps out.

  

Okita reaches into his pocket and holds the old family photograph he treasured for so long. He runs his finger across the face of his son and daughter-in-law, in a warm caress of people gone and who he hopes to meet again. He looks up at the Earth, the world he loves, his home, for whom he gave his very blood. And now… his all.

[LC]: This episode had me reaching for the tissues a couple of times. The scene where Kodai learns Yuki has died and Mamoru’s ultimate sacrifice are fine examples where I got misty eyed. I admit it wholeheartedly. But this right here… full blown tear-fest.

What makes it even more noteworthy is that I’d known this was coming. We all did. From Episode 1 we’ve known this would happen. 2199 had us unexpectedly wishing for characters not to die. Shulz and Domel, for example. But it was all for naught. Their fates were important narrative anchors that were unavoidable. And as much as I would love to have Okita around for more adventures, his death is one of those anchors. In the original, it ended up being somewhat diluted when they doubled back in Final Yamato. I don’t see that happening in this new narrative.

Was that it? The sense that this was truly the end for Okita? Was it the exquisite animation and the way the characters hit their marks perfectly? Even Takayuki Sugo’s delivery of Okita’s final and iconic line is filled with unmitigated feeling, something the original failed to deliver. All this combined to make a 38 year old man cry, despite the fact that he knew what was coming for months. And if I’m honest, even today at 42 and after many repeated viewings, it still manages to do the same.

 

Tears stream down his face as he looks at Earth and all the memories she brings back to him. He kept his promise, he saw her once more. His eyes close, his arm relaxes and the photo falls to the floor.

  

Sado comes in and a single glance is all he needs. Okita is dead, his final wish fulfilled. He salutes the captain. In tandem with this event, the Cosmo Reverser comes back to life, bustling with energy. The monitor indicates the system is rebooting, much to the surprise of all those present. Niimi wonders what has happened.

 

She looks at Sanada, who is just as puzzled as everyone else. All he can surmise is… that a miracle has occurred. He looks up at the Reverser. Above, a new sphere of light has taken the place vacated by Mamoru’s in the system’s core. She shines brightly, as if filled with the memories of a long and full life…

[DG]: And as Okita becomes One with the Force (or at least One with Yamato), Sanada believes in miracles that you don’t make happen. Of course he doesn’t seem to realize now that it’s Okita’s passing that made this possible.

[LC]: It is kind of poetic that Okita, who loved Earth so much, ends up becoming the very instrument of its rebirth. By becoming the new core of the CRS, he will become the very essence of the Earth. His memories will shape the planet, making him one with it.

I do wonder what other effects this might have had. The trailers for Yamato 2202 have shown Okita in some spirit form telling Kodai to “board Yamato.” Whether that is just some dream or an actual manifestation of Okita is still unknown at this point. Given what happened with Mamoru, we have to expect that once the CRS revives Earth, Okita would dissolve into the quantum sea as well. But given how powerful his spirit was… I’m actually hoping some part of it became part of Yamato itself. That would be a great way of keeping the beloved character around without cheapening his sacrifice by “pulling a Final.”

  

The technical team looks at their leader, all of them speechless. Niimi sends out one last thought for Mamoru. Somewhere beyond the quantum sea, Mamoru sends his final goodbye to Sanada and Kaoru.

[LC]: This moment is the perfect ending for this chapter of this trio’s story.

 

The bridge door opens. Alerted by the sound, Aihara looks at the door and is blown away by what he sees. Kodai walks in carrying Yuki in his arms. The commotion makes the rest of the crew look back. All of them are surprised as Kodai helps Yuki to her feet.

[LC]: It’s truly amazing that, in between all the emotional tear jerkers in this episode, they’ve also delivered some tremendous comedic touches from some key characters. Aihara’s reaction to Kodai and Yuki’s arrival is the perfect way to re-ignite our good spirits for the finale.

 

Everyone is elated by Yuki’s recovery. Shima comments that stuff like that happens, while a tearful Misaki runs to her mentor and friend to hug her. Yuki says she’s back as the crew gathers around them.

[LC]: From Shima’s utter disbelief of what just happened to Misaki’s cartoony run, all seems designed to get you in the right mood without being ridiculously over-the-top.

As had been done at the end of Episode 20, the TV broadcast ruined the end of this episode as well by having the end credit song start here and play through to the very end. Add the credits and you have the perfect recipe for how to ruin a perfect ending.

  

Shima welcomes her back home while Nanbu’s elation is interrupted by Yamamoto, who steps up to the couple. She stays there for a moment but eventually smiles and says everyone welcomes Officer Mori’s return.

[LC]: Nanbu’s reaction to Yamamoto barging in is another funny touch. As for Yamamoto’s bit, it’s not just unexpected, it serves to apparently put an end to the love-triangle-that-never-was. And, hey… she still has Shinohara waiting in the aisle. XD

 

She salutes them and the rest of the crew follows suit. She returns the salute and thanks them. Yamato approaches Earth’s atmosphere with Europe and North Africa now in view.

[DG]: Back when I saw the first chapter back in 2012, I thought to myself that it would be great if the mission began and finished with Yamato Launches from the Earth, in an Alpha and Omega fashion. Through the series, it was used much more sparingly than in the original, seemingly to mark events of major significance: the first face-to-face contact with a Garmillan resulting in a peaceful and constructive manner, the arrival on the cusp of the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the departure from Iscandar with the Cosmo Reverse System aboard.

[LC]: Being Portuguese, this shot of Yamato with the Iberian Peninsula in sight filled me with joy.

  

The bridge crew looks at the planet as they make their approach. Doctor Sado walks in, probably to convey the sad news of the captain’s death, but what he sees lessens his sadness: Kodai, hugging a very-much-alive Yuki with Earth beyond them.

[LC]: This sequence was slightly modified for this final version. The least noticeable improvement is a slightly better positioning of the characters in the overhead shot. It’s very subtle but effective. Then, while the theatrical and TV edits had Shinohara in Doctor Sado’s line of sight, here we have Nanbu. This fixes a continuity error; in the overhead shot, Shinohara is standing on the left side of the bridge.

Finally, they added Sado in the forward facing bridge shot. He was missing in the previous edits. Throughout the entire bridge sequence, they also enhanced the space visuals, specifically the Earth horizon which is much more elaborate in this final edit. Click here to see a few of those differences side by side.

  

Sado’s tears of sadness are replaced by tears of happiness. For now, he decides to let them enjoy the moment. Throughout the ship, Yamato‘s crew fills the observation decks, looking at their home.

 

After such a long journey, they’re finally back. The command staff looks on, and Kodai and Yuki embrace.

[LC]: The use this scene in the movie A Voyage to Remember called for a slight change. Since the movie served mostly as a run-up to Ark of the Stars, it ends with Yamato leaving Iscandar. Therefore, episodes 25 and 26 were left out. But in order for the movie to have a proper ending as a standalone piece, some key scenes from this finale are shown as part of the ending credits.

Most of them needed no modification, but since Yuki’s ordeal was left out of the movie, seeing her on the bridge wearing a dress was confusing. As such, they replaced Yuki in these two shots with a uniformed version. Click the images above to see the modified versions.

 

Yamato descends rapidly toward the terminator, beyond which lies Japan, disappearing into the night side. The screen fades to black. Two captions appear, reading:
“DECEMBER 8th, 2199. SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO RETURNS TO EARTH”

[DG]: Yamato returns to Earth on December 8, 2199. This date is significant as both Okita’s birthday (he died at exactly 58 years of age), and the date in Japan at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. (It also happens to be the birthday of General Director Yutaka Izubuchi.)

Looking at the time frame, if we take the departure date of Yamato as February 12 (alluded to in on-screen references throughout the first six chapters) up to the arrival on Iscandar, the mission has taken exactly 300 days to complete. If, on the other hand, we go by the references in Ark and Episode 25, and the mission began on January 17, then it took 326 days.

Personally, I adhere to the February 12th departure date on the basis of the explicit on-screen references.

 

EPILOGUE:
A new day dawns on Earth, the sun rising over the horizon. We move away to see that what was a ravaged, bleak wasteland has been restored to its former beauty. Planet Earth is once again a bright, blue world.

[DG]: The music covering this final scene and the credits is actually a joining of two tracks from the Yamato Symphonic Suite: the second half of Track 5, Takeoff, which is based on Yamato Launches from the Earth, and Track 11, Hope for the Future. That track was original to the Symphonic Suite, which marks this as the first time it was canonized as actual BGM.

The timing of the music to the visual cues is just perfect. Yamato Launches from the Earth‘s triumphant fanfare as Yamato passes across the Earth, and then with the shot to the bridge, really gives it a “Mission Accomplished” feel. Then the softly building coda as Yamato enters orbit and disappears from view. Then the transition to Hope for Tomorrow as the glow of the engine flies across the darkness like a spark.

[LC]: Indeed, the music used in the sequence turns a great moment into a perfect one. Also, the way in which they fade to black and keep us in suspense while the cast credits roll was well done. Then you start to perceive some shapes streaming down. By the time you realize they’re clouds, Earth’s horizon is already coming into sharp focus. And what follows is pure joy, punctuated by the choir and orchestra.

As I said, the TV broadcast ruined this by replacing the astounding orchestral score with an ending song. On top of that, they also cut this break and jumped right to the final shot. I assure you… it loses a lot of the impact delivered in this version. And having the screen filled with credits while Earth comes into view is just sad.

 

THE END?

[DG]: Finally, after the main credits run, right at the climax of Hope for Tomorrow, we see the spark of the sun rise over the once-again Blue Earth.

When I saw this in the cinema back in 2013, where all four episodes were played as a single movie, it was the first time I’d heard Nana Mizuki’s Chapter 7 ending theme, Ai no Hoshi (Star of Love). I really liked that the last episode’s credits played the song in its entirety. It is still by far my favorite of the ending themes for 2199. Now that we know they’re using From Yamato with Love as the ending song to Chapter 1 of Yamato 2202, I’m hoping that Mizuki-san will create the ending song for Yamato 2202 as well.

[LC]: I love that, just for a second, as the Sun breaks through the horizon, it gives Earth a slightly reddish hue. It’s only when the camera begins to pan up and away that we realize we’re looking at the fully restored Earth. Quite an improvement over the original, where all we got was a static shot of the red Earth turning blue after a few lingering seconds – the best they could manage in 1975. I still choke up when I see this shot.

During 2199‘s run, we always feared that, for all the spectacle it provided, it would drop the ball in the finale. It didn’t. It fully delivered and then some. This is as close to a perfect ending as we could expect. Using Episode 25 to get Dessler and all the action out of the way allowed them to make this a dramatic and emotional roller coaster. Even if most of the main beats were well known to longtime fans, they still packed a punch.

Yamato 2199 is not perfect. As our in-depth analysis showed, there is room for improvement. But hindsight is 20/20. In the end, it was far better than any of us imagined when it started. It delivered spectacular visuals with a refreshing take on a story we all knew by heart. In the end we’re left with a very different universe, filled with new possibilities for the future. Here’s hoping that Yamato 2202 is at least as good.

But don’t go away just yet… We still have the amazing Ark of the Stars to analyze. See you soon.

  

TV BROADCAST BONUS TEASER:

A COMPLETELY NEW MOVIE – COMING IN 2014

BONUS COMMENTARY: At this point, the announcement spoke only of a single movie. As time went by, this evolved into a two-film production. Months later the announcement was made that a compilation movie would be released ahead of a totally new adventure. And so A Voyage to Remember and Ark of the Stars came to life.

RELATED LINKS:

Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Chapter 7 Teaser Promo
Chapter 7 Trailer
New Movie Teaser
Nana Mizuki – Star of Love, Official Music Video

Episode 26 credits

Screenplay: Yutaka Izubuchi
Storyboard: Tomoki Kyoda
Director: Akihiro Enomoto
Chara Animation Director: Nobuteru Yuuki
Mecha Chief Animation Director: Masanori Nishii

Series credits

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

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

11 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 26 Commentary

    • You’re welcome. It’s been a long but fun ride. Ark will happen some time soon, but not sure when 2202 will happen, that will depend on the availability of English-subtitled versions becoming legally available.

  1. These flowers that erupt in blossom just display the CRS in action – it does not simply work on Yuki only but gives us a clue to what actually happens to the Earth in detail as Yamato returns.

    The little trivia that bites me about it is this: Since the CRS is able to reanimate Yuki, why not Okita?

    • The CRS was only able to reanimate Yuki because Mamoru Kodai’s spirit chose to do so. In doing so, his essence faded out of existence, and Okita’s was required to perform the job that Mamoru had initially intended to do. Thus, when Earth was revived, Okita’s spirit did the same thing, (though I’m inclined to believe part of him remains within Yamato).

  2. I still prefer Okita’s FINAL YAMATO final demise. There was great symbolic value in him going down with his command, thus sharing the same fate as all the other ship commanders of his generation.

  3. For those who are really interested to hear,I had just ordered,paid for and I am about to get my very own copy of the Special Blu-Ray Ed of Spacebattleship Yamato 2199 that is now being sent by the hands of
    the good people of CDJapan which I will be getting in a day or so.Lucky thing too,I had just purchased
    a Blu Ray Player for my personal computer and I just can’t wait to see what kind of goodies that this
    Special Blu Ray has to offer for me!

  4. Well folks,remember that I said I will be getting my Blu Ray Ltd Ed of Space Battleship Yamato 2199
    from CDJapan soon yesterday,well guess what.I got it !!And I am going to see what kind of goodies
    that this Blu Ray Ltd has to offer! And don’t give me any spoilers for it !!

  5. An equally epic commentary for an epic series! 🙂
    I really enjoyed reading and thinking about all your analisys and comments. Thank you for sharing your work!

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