Yamato 2199 Episode 1 Commentary

by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Episode 1: Messenger of Iscandar

(Japanese Name: イスカンダル の 使者 / Isukandaru no Shisha)

Director: Akihiro Enomoto
Running time: 24m36s (22m24s without credits)
Opening Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): None
  • (TV): None

Ending Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): May the Light of the Stars Shine Forever by Aira Yuuki
  • (TV): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Project 2199

Crossing the void, the UNCF destroyer Yukikaze approaches Pluto, serving as a scout for Fleet 1. Though initially the shores of Pluto seem calm, as she signals the fleet, spotters inform them of the approach of a large number of the enemy.

[LC]: Yamato 2199 jumps right into the action, with no opening credits sequence. Instead, just a star field and the series logo along with the iconic sound of deep space used in the original, followed by the Yukikaze darting across the screen. Another big difference from the original is that the ships have crews. They had them back in ’74 but aside a few glimpses, they were hardly noticeable. Here we get to meet these men, though briefly. This immediatelly makes the universe of 2199 feel more alive. Although the Yukikaze and Kirishima’s crewmen received only generic designations in the credits (such as Navigator A or Gunner A), Yukikaze‘s XO is named Eiji Ishizu.

This opening scene gives us an immediate taste of the mecha visual feast that will reward viewers. There are two different takes on the mecha. For the action scenes, where ships are seen moving, 3D animation of the ships is used, providing perfect ship movement. Then comes the real feast. In scenes where mecha is static or movement is provided solely by the camera, plates of the 3D model are rendered in a 2D medium and layers of mechanical detail are drawn by hand, most notably by mechanical designer Junichiro Tamamori himself. This technique, which became known as Detail-Up, produced some trully outstanding eye candy throughout the entire series and became one of the defining marks of Yamato 2199.

(Click on the image above right for a full view of the Yukikaze and a view of the 4 steps of the Detail-Up technique.)

 

Aboard the flagship Kirishima, in command of a 21-ship-strong task force, Admiral Juuzo Okita receives the message. Captain Yamanami orders a scan of the incoming fleet. The rapidly increasing number on the screen indicates the terrible odds they’re about to face. Still, Okita orders Operation M to start.

[LC]: After years of being simply called Okita’s Battleship, the iconic vessel is finaly christened Kirishima.

[LC]: Also, the ship’s captain is Osamu Yamanami, with Okita serving as operational fleet commander. This is the first case of a character retcon in Yamato 2199, as the original Yamanami didn’t appear until Be Forever Yamato. I do point out that this version of the character looks a lot younger than his classic series counterpart.

The Murasame class cruisers are new to 2199, not appearing in the original series. The ship in which their design is based did make a brief appearence in one of the many manga dedicated to the original.

[LC]: In 2199 all the ship classes were named and some particular ships gained proper designations. The command dreadnaught, previously known simply as Shultz’s Battleship, is a Gaiderol-class Dreadnaught. Though never named on the show, official materials refer to it as Le Chevalier. The other ship classes in the Pluto fleet are called, in order of size, Destoria-class Battleship, Kelkapia-class Cruiser and Kripitera-class Destroyer.

The Garmillas final onscreen count puts the number of ships at least 5 to 1, with 119 ships. Truth be told that even at 1 to 1 odds, the Garmillas ships would outclass the Earth’s in every way conceivable. (Check the diagram below for a scale comparison):

[DG]: Note that the 89 destroyer count is just the last number we see here. There’s nothing to suggest that they’ve finished counting the Kripiteras when the camera returns focus to Okita. We know that there are at least 89 destroyers.

[LC]: The UNCF Fleet 1 is comprised of 22 ships:

Kongo-class Battleship (BBS) x1
555 – Kirishima

[DG]: Kirishima was one of the four Kongo-class Battlecruisers (later Fast Battleships) which were in service with the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1913 and fought in World War II (Kirishima herself was sunk at Guadalcanal in 1942). Using this name provides an excellent analogy of the technological gap between Kirishima and Yamato (their IJN namesakes were designed and built over 20 years apart).

Murasame -Class Cruisers (CCA) x9
Red+White+Yellow pattern: 229 – Abukuma, 253 – Yugiri, 266 – Atago
Grey+Red+White pattern: 702 – Nachi, 718 – Harakumo, 741 – Ibuki, 777 – Tsurugi
Red+White pattern: 854 – Kurama, 890 – Yakumo

The Murasame-class have no namesake class of ship in World War II. The WWII Murasame was a Shiratsuyu-class Destroyer.

Isokaze -Class Destroyers (DDS) x12
Red+Yellow+White pattern: 117 – Yukikaze, 106 – Shikinami, 103 – Ayanami, 172 – Shimakaze
Red+White pattern: 144 – Shirauni, 119 – Ayase, 149 – Hatsushima
Red+Grey pattern: 101 – Isokaze, 148 – Minatsuki, 147 – Fuyutsuki, 216 – Tachikaze, 164 – Kagurou.

Likewise, there was no Isokaze-class destroyer in WWII, however there was the Kagero-class Destroyer, which had numerous ship names that we see in the Isokaze-class here (including Isokaze itself). Notably, the sole surviving ship of the class at the end of World War II was Yukikaze.

It should also be noted that none of the ship names in either the Murasame class or the Isokaze class adhere to coming from a single class of warship or even a single type of warship.

As the two fleets align, weapons bearing on each other, Okita receives a message from the enemy, demanding unconditional surrender, to which he simply responds: “Tell them they’re nuts.”

[LC]: The iconic Garmillan ship’s “eyes” are seen changing color, from green to orange, as they prepare to engage the Earth fleet. According to reference materials this serves to show the enemy their intent. Guess honor in the battlefield is not a lost concept for the Garmillas.

Okita’s reply to the Garmillas demand for surrender, a laconic “Nuts!,” is probably a reference to General Anthony Clement “Nuts” McAuliffe, a WWII american general. On December 22nd, 1944, he was in command of the 101st Airborne Division, at Bastogne, besieged by a far larger german force, under the command of General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz. Under a flag of truce, an ultimatum demanding unconditional surrender was delivered to McAuliffe. To the German’s long note, McAuliffe muttered “Aw, nuts!.” Failing to come up with suitable language for an official reply, Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard suggested that McAuliffe’s first response summed up the situation pretty well. The official reply was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper. It read:

“To the German Commander.
NUTS!
The American Commander”

The germans were confused by the meaning of the message, prompting Harper to tell them “In plain English? Go to hell.

The Garmillas response is swift and brutal, with the first barrage taking out several ships. Okita has the fleet hold its fire until the enemy is within optimum firing range, but when they finally fire their beams seem to just bounce off the enemy ships, with no effect.

[LC]: The Garmillas ship’s armor plating is covered in what they call Migobueza Coating. The name comes from Migobuia, the Garmillas term for the reflection satellites.

 

The UNCF fleet is quickly overrun by the numerically and technologically superior enemy fleet, sinking one ship after another, the Kirishima itself taking heavy damage. The Yukikaze, still at the vanguard, listens to the radio chatter and Mamoru orders the ship to turn around and engage the enemy.

[LC]: The Kirishima‘s resilience is explained in production matterial as being the result of successive repairs done to the ship utilizing salvaged Garmillas technology, ever since it and her 2 sister ships, the Kongo and the Haruna, fought at the Second Battle of Mars (Operation K2).

 

Aboard the Kirishima, chief engineer Hikozaemon Tokugawa does his best to keep the engines running. When his assistant, Yabu, questions how long they’ll manage to keep up, Tokugawa tells him to have faith in the admiral.

While his fleet is destroyed around him, Okita waits for news of their primary objective. Several minutes into the battle, it’s confirmed Amaterasu has appeared and is on course for its destination, passing Neptune heading for Mars.

[LC]: Although not named in the episode, Sasha‘s ship is called Sheherazade, after the Persian queen who narrated the Arabian Nights. Operation M is used as a distraction to keep the Garmillas forces busy and allow the Sheherazade to enter the solar system; a more plausible explanation than just having the last remaining Earth forces attack an enemy they have no chance of beating.

[DG]: In the original, this made me wonder why they were doing it, too. Why they would send their fleet out all the way to Pluto to challenge the Garmillas to a fight they couldn’t hope to win. Now with the altered storyline, it makes sense.

A coded message is sent to UNCF Far East HQ. Yuki Mori relays it to Chief Administrator Todo and Admiral Ryu Hijikata, who order the deployment of their assets stationed on Mars.

[LC]: Another retconned character is Admiral Hijikata, the captain of Yamato in Farewell to Yamato ~ Soldiers of Love, later recast as captain of the battleship Andromeda, flagship of the Earth Fleet in Yamato 2.

On the ruins of Port Arcadia, pilots Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima, receive the go ahead to proceed. They launch in a reconnaissance plane to rendezvous with the ship. As the Sheherazade approaches, fire erupts from the rear starboard section.

[DG]: Shima says in this scene they’ve been on Mars for three weeks.

[LC]: Earth terraformed and colonized Mars at one point. Port Arcadia was the main hub of the colonizing effort. Some time before the Garmillas arrived, a conflict erupted between Earth and Mars, leading to the abandoning of the planet. More in this in future episodes.

As Kodai and Shima make visual contact, it breaks up and explodes, but not before an escape pod is ejected.

[LC]: The plane Kodai and Shima use is a Type 100 Scout Plane, an updated version of the same plane used in the original.

Code names in Operation M are related to the legend of Amaterasu, the sun goddess in the Shintoist pantheon. The Sheherazade herself is code named Amaterasu, Kodai and Shima receive the code name Uzume, and Okita’s message to Earth reads “The cave of the Sun Goddess has opened.” “Ama-no-Iwato,” which literally translates to “heavenly rock cave,” is where a depressed Amaterasu hid, bringing a long darness to the world, until Uzume, the goddess of mirth, tricked her out of her cave.

Painting portraying the legend of Amaterasu. Click to open a larger version in a new window.

Shima and Kodai land and find the occupant of the pod, a beautiful blonde woman, to have died in the crash. They retrieve the device she was clutching.

[LC]: Unlike the original, the first contact with Iscandar was made in early 2198. Construction of Yamato began soon after. Sasha arrives one year later with a capsule containing further information. The capsule itself is a core component of the Wave-Motion Engine.

At Pluto, the UNCF fleet is in shambles, despite their efforts. After receiving confirmation that the objective has been accomplished, Okita orders the fleet to retreat, only to learn that only two ships are left, Kirishima and Yukikaze. As he prepares to issue the order to retreat, a Kripitera attacks from above. The Yukikaze arrives in the nick of time to destroy the enemy ship.

[LC]: The Yukikaze scores the only confirmed kill shot in the entire Operation M. According to official materials this is due to the fact Yukikaze was carrying a still experimental new type of torpedo that analyzes the armor plates of Garmillas ships, armed with a double warhead that scatters across the reflective material on the surface. This technology will be used to arm Yamato.

The Kirishima signals the destroyer to retreat but the Yukikaze doesn’t follow them. Okita breaks radio silence and orders them to follow, but the Yukikaze’s captain, Mamoru Kodai, refuses to retreat, saying Okita is needed back on Earth and that the damaged Kirishima and its larger crew won’t be able to escape unless the Yukikaze draws the enemy away. Heartbroken, Okita accepts his decision.

[LC]: 2199‘s approach to Mamoru Kodai’s decision to have the Yukikaze stay behind closely mirrors the one used in Star Blazers as opposed to the “death before dishonor” used in the original Space Battleship Yamato.

Even though he knows he made the right call, Mamoru appologizes to his crew. In response, his men sing the UNCF anthem, showing their support of his decision, as the Yukikaze flies bravely into the heart of the enemy fleet and faces her fate.

[LC]: The song is called “The Galactic Pilot” and is revealed in later episodes to be the UNCF’s anthem. The anthem version, both with and without vocals, was released on soundtrack CD 1. I have to admit that, to this day, having watched it dozens of times, this scene and this rendition of the theme still pack one hell of a punch.

[DG]: Tactically, Yukikaze‘s valiant effort was all for naught. After all, there are well over a hundred Garmillas ships capable of faster-than-light travel and easily capable of chasing Kirishima down if they saw fit to do so; they could have left a handful of ships to deal with Yukikaze and sent one or two to finish off Kirishima.

Why didn’t they? Potentially, a number of reasons. First and foremost, they didn’t see any threat in the Earth ships. Their primary weapons couldn’t cause any damage to their ships and they weren’t capable of leaving the solar system. There’s another reason we will examine in future episodes when Yamato reaches Pluto. In the end, it’s likely that had Yukikaze chosen to retreat with Kirishima without engaging the rest of the fleet, they too would have survived.

[DG]: In Yamato 2199, a number of explicit dates are seen, or timeframes mentioned. Three of them are mentioned in this episode:

  1. Shima’s comment that he and Kodai have been on Mars for three weeks;
  2. The date “2199-01-17” on the makeshift gravestone on Mars; and
  3. The subtitle “Three weeks later,” as the explosion of Yukikaze segues to Kirishima arriving at Mars.

The date of January 17, 2199 can be considered to be the same day as the commencement of Operation M, as Sheherezade was hurtling through space at a speed that would see it arrive at Mars in ten minutes. This, combined with the fact that we see realtime communication from as far as the edge of the solar system in early episodes, we can assume Operation M commences on January 17, 2199.

Three weeks to the day after this would have Kirishima arriving at Mars on February 7, 2199. Whether the “three weeks” is literal or approximate (as being in “more than three weeks, but less than four”) is something that depends on the date Yamato leaves Earth. This will be elaborated upon further in commentary for Episode 2.

Given the concrete date of January 17, 2199 for Operation M’s commencement, Shima’s quote that they’ve been on Mars for three weeks would put their arrival date on or around December 27, 2198.

Three weeks later, Kirishima retrieves Kodai and Shima and secures the alien device. As Kirishima departs, we see a makeshift gravestone, with the inscription “Here lies a messenger from a distant star,” and a date, January 17th, 2199. Kodai learns of his brother’s demise in battle from his friend, Hirata.

[LC]: Third retconned character, Hajime Hirata, former classmate of Kodai and Shima, who originally appeared in Yamato III.

Back at HQ, news of Kirishima’s return is met with ambivalence. Though the “Yamato Plan” is now in full swing, Admiral Hijikata is cautious, given how little is known of the enemy aside from their name: Garmillas.

[LC]: The spelling of Garmillas in the english subtitles for this episode (and all the way up to episode 10) is still the classic GAMILAS. This would be altered in volume 4 and all subsequent promotional materials have used the new spelling. The new spelling seems to reflect Leiji Matsumoto’s original riff on the name Carmilla (from an 1872 vampire novel by J. Sheridan LeFanu), but could also reflect the name “Garuman” from Yamato III (rendered as “Galman” in Star Blazers)

The positions of Mars (left) and Earth (right) as projected by Celestia on February 7, 2199.
Click either image to open a full-size image in a new tab/window
.

[DG]: While the positioning of the planets in 2199 is not necessarily the same as what they will be in reality for sake of story continuity, there are a number of planets that actually will be in early 2199. Thanks to the excellent freeware planetarium software Celestia, we are able to look at what the layout of the Solar System will be in early 2199. Looking at the images above, we see where Mars and Earth will be respectively on February 7, 2199, which is exactly three weeks after Operation M on January 17. Note that in this case, their position more or less matches the map that Todo, Hijikata, and Yuki examine.

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Above are two more images from Celestia, focusing on Pluto and Jupiter; Jupiter (and Saturn, which can be seen to the right of Jupiter) are on the same side of the sun as Mars. With Pluto, it’s on the same side as Earth, which would logically cause problems later in the series. Likewise, Neptune is not in a convenient location for the story, so its projected position will also have to be disregarded for the sake of the story. That said, it’s impressive how cooperative so many of the planets’ alignments are for the purposes of the story.

 

Kirishima continues on to Earth. The Earth is now a red, barren planet, a pale shadow of its once blue magnificience. Okita laments that they can no longer do anything to stop two passing planet bombs, vowing to fight the enemy as long as life exists within him.

As the Kirishima arrives home, Yuki is seen telling a class of kindergarten children about the state of the Earth, nearing extinction in 2199.

After an initial attempt at direct attack was met with massive resistance at Mars, the Garmillans initiated long-range attacks with planet bombs, which have devastated the planet’s surface, killing all animal and plant life.

[LC]: This battle became known as the Second Battle of Mars or Operation K2. From the imagery we realize the cost was great, though at this point no further details are disclosed. But it was enough to make the Garmillans rethink their strategy and initiate long-range attacks using Planet Bombs. Also, one is left to wonder about the First Battle of Mars. More on that in following episodes.

 

Radiation and biological agents have driven mankind into underground cities. But time is running out, as scientists predict that in one year’s time, the advancing radioactivity will reach their haven and mankind will become extinct.

[LC]: This episode is the one that most closely resembles its 1974 counterpart, not just in terms of story but also in that many shots copy the original.

 

Yuki explains how, over the course of the 8 years of conflict, the Garmillans altered Pluto’s environment to use it as a base. When one of the kids asks her why the enemy is doing all this, Yuki conjectures that, just like mankind terraformed Mars, the aliens may be doing the same to make Earth suit their needs.

[LC]: Pluto’s environmental change explains the existence of the large sea that will play a big part in future episodes. This is also a bit of a departure from the original, where apparently mankind didn’t even know the Garmillas had a base there, which would be hard to conceal given the planetary alteration. That does raise the question, If they didn’t know the enemy had a base on Pluto, why did they even go there to fight them?

In this new version, besides the radiation, the Planet Bombs have seeded alien plants which release toxic spores. This is believed to serve as an initial stage of the garmillaformation of Earth.

[LC]: The kid who questions Yuki in class is Jiro Shima, Daisuke’s younger brother.

After the class, she returns to HQ with Yasuo Nanbu who tries to impress with news about the Kirishima‘s return, and the rumor that Operation M was a decoy to distract the enemy. Unfortunately for him, he does so as Kodai and Shima exit an access elevator, prompting an outburst from Kodai.

Yuki steps in to break them up, making Kodai stand down. She tells him Okita is at the hospital block and leaves with Nanbu. After they leave, Shima mentions that Yuki looked just like the woman they buried on Mars, which a disgruntled Kodai verbally downplays despite his own initial thought being the same.

[DG]: While Yuki and Nanbu are riding the escalator downward, in the background we hear a news bulletin that reports on a riot which took place at 16:30, so it’s safe to assume that this exchange takes place sometime after 16:30 (4:30pm) the day Kirishima returns.

[LC]: Kodai’s reaction to Yuki can be seen in two ways. First and most obvious, his flashback to Sasha on Mars, playing on how much the two of them look alike. Second, and something of a inside joke along the series, the fact that Kodai is a noob when dealing with women. More on this in future installments.

 

The two of them head to the central hospital. Despite Shima’s protests, Kodai wants to learn the truth from Okita himself. At the hospital, Okita is checked out by Doctor Sado, who Okita claims to be the best doctor in the cosmos.

[LC]: The underground cities weren’t built to escape the planet bomb effects. They were constructed during the Inner Planet War, between Earth and Mars, in order to shelter the population. Though it’s only conjecture, one can only assume how bad that war got, to require such measures. But it does serve as a much better explanation for the cities than something built in a hurry over 8 years.

This scene serves as an introduction to nurse Makoto Harada, the first of the amply publicized Yamato Girls, in effect the first fully new main character to appear in Yamato 2199. As we all know, in the original Yuki was the nurse and…just about anything else. Makoto and the other new female characters fixed that.

Also, it should be noted that Okita has his hat off at the start of this scene. This is somewhat of a gag on the original where, even when wearing an helmet or in surgery, he never took it off. In 2199 they made sure to correct this.

Suddenly, Kodai barges in, despite Makoto’s best efforts. He adresses Okita, demanding to know the truth about Operation M. Again, Kodai’s outburst is interrupted, this time by Hijikata, prompting a near facepalm by Shima. Hijikata apologizes for his pupil’s behavior. Upon learning that he is Mamoru Kodai’s younger brother, Okita reveals the truth and apologizes for his role in his brother’s death. Kodai accepts this and leaves with Shima.

[LC]: Hijikata’s role as Kodai and Shima’s teacher was established in the original saga.

Later, Okita is at his office, reviewing some staff files, when he’s informed that testing of the core brought back from Mars is about to start. He closes the folder marked Top Secret, titled Yamato Plan Crew Manifest. Kodai and Shima’s files are seen inside.

[LC]: From the brief glimpse of their files we learn that Kodai’s birthdate is July 7th, 2178, and Shima’s is August 15th, 2178.

At the lab, Major Shiro Sanada, Admiral Hijikata and the top brass are confirming the Wave-Motion Core retrieved from Mars is the real article, and that the crew to enact the Yamato Plan are on standby. As Sanada looks at a strange capsule being serviced by lab technicians, Hijikata says how unfortunate it is they lost Kodai.

[LC]: This is the first glimpse we get of this mysterious capsule, and I believe we can say with confidence that it was the biggest source of fan conjecture early in the series.

[DG]: This is also our first glimpse of General Kotetsu Serizawa, another character brought back from the classic saga. Known in Star Blazers as General Stone, he was the hardnosed offsider to the Commander (Todo) who was attempting to prevent Yamato from launching in response to Teresa’s S.O.S.

As they stand by at the local hangar, Kodai and Shima are looking at a beautiful plane, which seems to be a new model. From behind them, a man Kodai recognizes as top ace Saburo Kato, identifies it as the new Type-zero Space Model 52, aka Cosmo Zero. Kato is also on standby and is adamant that the two don’t touch his plane. This prompts a mischievous grin from Shima and Kodai, implying that the more he tells them not to do something…

[DG]: The Cosmo Zero remains unchanged in name and in spirit from the original, of course named for the famed Mitsubishi A6M Zero carrier-based naval fighter that was the mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II.

[LC]: According to an interview with mecha concept coordinator Satoru Koizumi, the engine model in this Zero makes it a Type 51. Since it looks the same as the new and improved production type, Kato mistakenly identifies it as a 52. This scene also provides us the first look at what will be the Yamato‘s new fighter aircraft, the Type 99 Space Fighter Attack Craft, aka Cosmo Falcon.

Suddenly, an air raid siren sounds. At HQ, an enemy squadron is detected, prompting Admiral Hijikata to wonder if they have been discovered. In the hangar, the comm system blares order for launch, indicating the enemy target area. Kodai and Shima end up “borrowing” Kato’s Zero to get in on the action. An irate Kato tries to stop them and warns them of something, but it’s too late.

[LC]: In this version, Kodai and Shima borrow the Cosmo Zero (belonging to Saburo Kato) instead of a Type-100 scout plane, to give chase to the Garmillas spy plane. Unfortunately for them, it ends up in pretty much the same way. As a probable homage to that, you can see the Type-100 in the hangar’s background.

They eventually intercept a recon plane, with Kodai proving himself quite the pilot. He manages to lock on to the enemy, only to press the trigger and realize that the Zero is unarmed.

[DG]: This time around, at least Kodai and Shima save some face for their misadventure in pursuing the intruder; in the original, they chased after them in an unarmed recon plane (the Type 100 in 2199). At least they thought the Zero was armed and loaded when they took off this time around…

A notification broadcast while Kodai and Shima are preparing to launch the Zero mentions that the enemy is sighted off Bonomisaki, which is a cape on the southwestern corner of Kyushu. (The subtitle for Bo no misaki – 坊ノ岬 in Japanese – includes the term “Cape” for clarification; “no Misaki” in Japanese means “Cape of”) Bonomisaki is a significant name in Yamato history; Operation Ten-Go is referred to by the Japanese as “Naval Battle off Bonomisaki,” as it is possibly the closest point on Kyushu to where Yamato was sunk on April 7, 1945. Prior to the wreck’s discovery in 1984, it was considered the closest point of land to where the great ship sank.

The mecha designers went to a considerable amount of effort to draw parallels between not only the UNCN mecha and their namesakes in World War II, but also those of the Garmillans; their fighters all resemble in appearance, designation, and/or name to those of Nazi Germany. The first example is right here, with this Garmillas reconnaissance plane. Its tribute is a bit unique, since its designation and design stem from two very different Luftwaffe aircraft. The designation is the FG-156 Sumaruhi (スマルヒ) in official materials. The Luftwaffe employed a scout plane designated the Fieseler Fi-156 Storch (Stork) during World War II, and the model number and purpose of this ship meets the criteria of that aircraft. The design, on the other hand, bears a more than fleeting resemblance to the rocket-propelled Messerschmitt Me163 Komet interceptor, which was intended to intercept high-flying allied bombers.

The recon plane escapes into space, and though Kodai tries to follow, the Zero suffers engine failure, and they crash-land on the surface.

[LC]: In reference materials, it is said that this is what Kato tried to warn them about in the hangar. The Zero was undergoing maintenance due to engine problems.

 

Climbing out of the wreckage, they go to the top of a nearby cliff and see what looks to be the wreck of an ancient ocean-going battleship, lying half-buried in the dry seabed. They wonder whether this was what the enemy was looking for, but dismiss it as being an ancient wreck.

[LC]: One of the most iconic images of the entire saga is the wrecked Yamato, lying in the Earth’s dried up sea bed at sunset. Since the original series, the real-life wreckage of the Yamato was discovered; its condition is inconsistent with this image, since the ship is broken into several pieces and the superstructure is lying on its side. In an effort to preserve the iconic imagery, a slight change was made in which the ship in the sunset is in fact the Space Battleship Yamato, camouflaged to avoid detection, not the actual Yamato and never identified as such.

[DG]: Aside from the historical facts regarding the IJN Yamato‘s state at the bottom of the East China Sea, one other thing cements that this Yamato can’t possibly be the risen ancient super battleship: its size. This Yamato is 333m long, 20% longer than its 1974 counterpart, which was said to match the length of the IJN original.

PREVIEW:

The year is 2199.

The Earth is on the verge of destruction. Now, humanity’s last hope slips past the fangs of the enemy and takes flight. The name of the ship is the Yamato. They leave Earth behind, and set a course for unexplored space.

Next time: Toward a Sea of Stars.

There are 365 days left before humanity becomes extinct.

[DG]: Yamato 2199 has modern-style previews for the next episode following the ending credits, unlike the original series which did not even mention the next episode’s title (a practice that started with Yamato 2).

Instead of the famous “Days left to complete their mission” counter appearing at the end of each episode, Yamato 2199 closes its next episode preview with Captain Okita saying, “There are XX days left.” Given that this is said in context of discussing the next episode, for the purposes of establishing timeframes and dates in which each episode takes place, the assumption will be that this is the number of days left at the beginning of the next episode. In other words, the “365 days left” according to the preview is the time remaining at the start of Episode 2.

RELATED LINKS:

Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Teaser Trailer
Chapter 1 Trailer

Episode 1 credits

Screenplay & storyboard: Yutaka Izubuchi
Director: Akihiro Enomoto
Character animation director: Akio Takami
Mecha Animation Director: Mitsuru Ishihara, Akihisa Maeda, Koji Ito

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.

CG Production Support: Sunrise D.I.D.

21 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 1 Commentary

  1. I read this article with great interest! Thank you Daniel George and Luis Cotovio for the excellent work. Looking foward the next episodes.

  2. So exciting to be reading episode guides in realtime!!! Great BG info here. I’d love to see more subjective commentary as well in the future!

  3. Nice comentary… actually when i first watched the original i readed the review of each episode here after ..while quite spoilerish to myself it was quite interesting see the analisis of each episode..

    I didnt knew about the Yukikaze’s experimental torpedoes being specifically designed to counter Garmillas armour … i knew they were suposedly experimental and the same type as the ones the Yamato would use later (tought in the end we dont see them used much against specifici targets and most of the time taking out Kripiteras in swarms) .

    Still missing in this article (maybe in some future analysis?) is the UNCF ships main bow gun.. i readed in forums that some official source said the axial bow gun in Kirishima and Murasame class destroyers is a positronic shock cannon..wich is exactly the same type of gun the Yamato will use in her main batteries.. (only obviously 3 guns per battery vs a single axial gun per ship).. and that theese positronic cannons were capable of taking out Garmillas ships and what allowed the UNCF to stop the invasion at Mars.. one wonders then why they didnt used them in Pluto at all ….

  4. Great Article, although I disagree that Yukikaze’s sacrifice was in vain. There is a possible explanation for why she had to stay behind that the article didn’t address: as honor is not lost on the Garmillas, it is reasonable to assume that they would want to avenge the destruction of the ship that Yukizake destroyed. Had Yukizake fled with Kirishima, the Garmillas would have followed to destroy the Yukizake, and then I’m sure they would have been more than happy to take out the Kirishima too. By separating from the Kirishima, Kodai assured that the Garmillas would leave the Kirishima alone, because they did not see the Kirishima as a threat and they had no need to wreak vengeance on as ship that hadn’t scored a kill.

  5. Thks for the lot of info. The war between Earth and Mars is a good explanation for Earth already having space battleships. What I dont know is how the Gamilons were repelled in the second battle of Mars. The Kirishima main gun should be powerful like a wave motion gun to defeat a Gamilon fleet. On other side this can explain too why the battle of Pluto was fought in side by side formation, avoiding an direct aiming of Kirishima gun.

    • Kongo battleships and Mursame class cruisers bow gun is a positron gun like the Yamato turrets (only a single axial gun vs the Yamato 15 turreted barrels) and acording to the series creators those bow guns were what stoped the Gamillas invasion at Mars.. i asume they piled a lot of ships there and ambushed the Gamillas with bow fire while taking a lot of casualties and that the Gamillas commander decided to retreat unable to justify many casualties..

      still doesnt explain why then they dont use the bow guns at Pluto…

  6. I asume there was an explanation why the Kirishima could run away and the Yukikaze needed to stay ..
    After all the Gamillas had recon planes and ships arround the solar system.. if the earth fleet couldnt “hide” from them in the way to Pluto the Gamillas would had plenty of chances to ambush them (just warp next to them at thats it).. but they only scrambled when the 1st fleet was right next to Pluto… probaly Okita had an estrategy to aproach Pluto undetected ..and then some to run from Pluto.. they knew they couldnt defect the Gamillas fleet.. it was a sucide mission but they werent expecting to loose all ships (wich they nearly did). Okita probably needed time to run away from the Gamillas fleet while they were reorganizing… Kodai tought they didnt had that much time and bought some more so the Kirishima could run away… is not like the Gamillas would let run away a battleship.. probably the most dangerous ship to them at that point.

    Also dont understand why if the Yukikaze was carrying advanced torpedoes capable of defeating Gamillas ships.. why then they left her away from the fleet as a picket ship…

  7. Firstly, a very belated thanks for reading! I’ve been so busy the last few months that I haven’t had the chance to reply to these comments. Continuing to work on the commentaries and planning a month-long trip to Japan eats up much if not all of my free time.

    Now to answer everyone’s points:

    Miguel, remember that the Kirishima lacks a wave-motion engine, thus its power output is at a level where it can barely charge a single barrel of one of Yamato‘s turrets in a time similar to what charging the wave-motion gun takes Yamato.

    David, the Yukikaze could have been picked off at any time. There were well over one hundred Garmillas vessels there; they could have taken down both Kirishima and Yukikaze at any time, had they wanted, or if they were interested in revenge. In the end they only took it out when it engaged the fleet again. When you get right down to it though, the Yukikaze’s destruction was predestined by the storyline.

    JL, when it comes down to the Kongo and Murusame classes’ positron guns, they have the same energy and rate-of-fire constraints as Yamato does with the wave-motion gun. They take considerable time to charge, and render the ship vulnerable as all of the ships’ energy needs to be diverted to them. Thus like the wave-motion gun, it makes it ineffective as a ship-to-ship combat weapon, especially how outnumbered they are. Aside from that, the sole purpose of the fleet at Pluto was to stall for time so Sasha’s Sheherazade could safely sneak through without the Garmillas being aware of it, and had they started sinking Garmillas ships, the enemy would have brought much more of its fleet’s firepower to bear on the Earth fleet and their mission would likely have failed.

    I apologize for the lateness of the reply. I hope you keep reading and keep enjoying, and keep commenting!

    • What if most of the Garmillas ships were crewed by robots? Robots usually don’t take the initiative to chase down and kill survivors… though they can engage any moron who decides to make a suicidal charge, meaning they were set to “over-watch” mode after the battle was practically over. With no desire to lose any ships to shock-cannon ambushes, the Garmillas flag ship gives the order to return to base once the Earth Fleet is destroyed, though the ships must line up for a head count. It isn’t likely that Kirishima’s missiles were filled with stuff that would jam communications, but who knows? The missiles didn’t seem to have impact fuses, so what the heck were they doing by detonating before hitting an enemy ship’s bridge!?

      I know you will probably attempt to drop a piano on me in effigy for making wild claims.

      Cherndog

      • Actually, you have a good point. It’s explicitly shown the Garmillas do make heavy use of robots on their ships- the whole alter episode comes to mind. That would make a lot of sense.

  8. I disagree about the “Yukikadze” efforts being useless. Don’t forget; she was a destroyer. The ship, designed to fight with missiles – and big enough nuclear warhead would take out anything, reflective armour or not.
    The destroyer charged the Garmillas fleet, attacking on counter-course. The combined closing velocities would be quite large. If the Garmillas fleet remained on the same trajectory, they would be forced to deal with the possibility of missile attack with only a few milliseconds to attempt to shot down or intercept the missiles. Clearly not the best idea. It would be incredibly unfortunate – to destroy the whole Earth squadron with minimal casualties, and then lose half of the fleet due to one single destroyer charge.

    So, the Garmillas do the right thing. They diverted and deccelerated, decreasing the closing velocity and dispersing the fleet to avoid being torpedoed in company. But by doing that, they diverted from the intercept trajectories on “Kirishima”. This is Space. If you diverted from your trajectory, you need a lot of time to correct the course and make a new intercept attempt.

    And FTL is not the solution either. Again, the problem is relative velocity. The “Kirishima” obviously used the confusion to accelerate. Lacking FTL, Earth ships probably carry much more reaction mass than Gamillians, and their delta-V was much higher. In other words – even with FTL, the best that Garmillans could do, was possibly the few very high-speed firing passes on “Kirishima”, with low hit probability. And they lacked delta-v to close their relative velocity.

    • Welcome to the site, nice to see someone new here adding to the conversation.

      While your arguments regarding delta-v in space are sound in a real-world situation, they don’t hold water in Yamato as far as warships go. The series kept it much more realistic with the fighters, but the ships still violate the laws of physics regularly and much more spectacularly.

      Firstly, we see in multiple instances in the series that the Garmillan ships of the line (Kulikapias, Destorias, Meltorias) are capable of turning very tight circles; the most appropriate and immediate example that comes to mind is in Episode 6 we see Yarletora’s Destoria, a ship that’s larger than Kirishima, turn in a circle that’s roughly the ship’s length in diameter, and they do this while they’re accelerating in the opposite direction and attempting to flee Pluto. Their ships have multiple large vernier thrusters to allow change in vector quickly, and their engines offer high acceleration. We see further acts like this by the ships under Domel’s command later in the series.

      Secondly, as a result of this maneuverability, they could easily change vector and pursue Kirishima with the same ships that engaged Yukikaze (these ships can keep pace with Yamato), or conversely send scores of ships that weren’t attacking Yukikaze (they had over a sixty-to-one numerical advantage by then) ahead and caught up to them either by regular power or by warping ahead of them and ambushing them much like Domel did. Kirishima would have no hope in hell against them if they wanted to chase them down. We’re talking about a ship that took three weeks to get to Mars. Once the intercepting Kulikapia was destroyed by Yukikaze, right after that was when Kirishima withdrew. There was no pursuit of Kirishima. We don’t see any ships chasing after her, nor any further shots fired at her. In the end they only engaged Yukikaze, the ship that was attacking them.

      Thirdly, the behaviour of not pursuing the retreating ship is likely the direction of the man who was almost certainly their commander: Schulz. Pursuing a fleeing ship would have been completely against his character. Also, consider the psychological effect of sending a single ship back in defeat.

      The point I was making that from an objective standpoint, considering these factors, that Yukikaze’s sacrifice was unnecessary and wouldn’t have yielded any result had Garmillas wanted to annihilate every last ship.

      In the end, as one earlier commenter pointed out, two things had to result in that battle from a plot perspective: Yukikaze gets shot down only to have her resting place discovered by Kodai as Yamato heads outwards; and Kirishima makes it to Mars to retrieve Kodai and Shima, and subsequently return to Earth. The Garmillans not pursuing a retreating ship is a mentality that supports this plot point being met.

      • Thank your for warm welcome!

        Well, being a hard-sci-fi fan, I simply could not resist the urge to bring some hard physics and math anywhere in fiction… hope you forgive me for that) (And please forgive some possible mistakes in texting – English is not my native)

        Discussing the battle of Pluto, we must (firstly) make several assumptions about both sides goals.

        For UNCF the goal wasn’t determined. Of course, all this operation was just a decoy… but they must have SOME plan, that looks at least theoretically possible – both for internal (to persuade the crews) and external (so Garmillas would not start to wonder “what are they trying to achieve? Maybe it’s some sort of elaborate ruse?”) purposes. Since the Okita’s squadron was obviously outnumbered, the goal could not be the achieving of space superiority. So, what left? Probably the attack on Pluto itself.

        So, the assumed goal of UNCF could be to make high relative velocity flyby of Pluto, nuke everything warm on surface – and hope, that the dynamic of high-speed engagement would prevent Garmillans from scoring many hits. As we could see in later episodes, this actually MAKE SENSE: when “Yamato” head-charged the Garmillas fleet in episode 15, they missed quite a lot. So, their ballistic computers probably could not comprehend a fire solution on high closing velocities.

        For Garmillas – as defending side here – there were two goals:

        1) Protect the Pluto base
        2) Destroy the Earth squadron

        Of course, the defense of Pluto base have clear priority.

        So, if we agree on such assumptions, we could state, that to accomplish the abovementioned goal, the Garmillas fleet must mantain position somewhere between the Okita’s squadron and Pluto. Otherwise they would not be able to intercept all missiles, launched by UNCF. This is supported by the series: just before the Garmillans send their message, someone reported that “relative ”

        The UNCF have no particular reason to decelerate near Pluto – especially if they prepared to high-relative velocity engagement. The Garmillans have every reason NOT to accelerate their fleet: they may lose the position, that they need to achieve their goals. That’s why they probably bring so overwhelming forces in action – they could not dictate the dynamic of engagement, they weren’t sure that Earth fleet would chose to close with them, and their fire solutions probably weren’t perfect. So they brought several times more ships, to compensate the low probability of the hit by fire volume.

        Make sense? I think so. Let’s go further:

        The engagement came, the Earth fleet was decimated and started to retreat. I may be mistaken, but it was never shown that they changed acceleration vector for more than tactical purposes. I.e. they simply run the gauntlet and continued to move the same trajectory with the already-obtained velocity. This support the idea that the whole battle was high-speed engagement (basically the only thing that contradict that is the view of Garmillans ships from the portholes of “Kirishima”… but those portholes may actually be screens, because otherwise the combat was at zero relative velocity at the range of several kilometers – and in that case the Earth ships could not survive even the initial salvo).

        I must point out, that the Garmillans at least attempted to chase – the destoyer, that came after “Kirishima” and was destroyed by the “Yukikadze” clearly operated out of formation and tried to close the relative velocity between her and Earth battleship.

        So, after the battle we have the situation:

        – The “Kirishima” and “Yukikadze” are retreating by the same ballistic trajectory that they came to Pluto – they haven’t changed course for long enough and they have no reason to decelerate near Pluto previously.

        – The Garmillan fleet still on station between them and Pluto, but now they could gave chase and destroy the Earth squadron.

        Then “Yukikadze” charged – i.e. decelerated and fell toward Pluto gravity well. Now, to gave chase, the Garmillan fleet would be forced to accelerate toward “Yukikadze” – which is (relatively) accelerated toward them. Situation is the head-on missile attack, with a very limited time to react (as the destroyed Garmillan destroyer demonstrated – sorry for the pun – outside of formation, the Garmillans anti-missile defense isn’t very powerfull). The Garmillan fleet rationally disperced and changed trajectories to avoid missile attacks – problem is, that they lost valuable time. “Kirishima” still accelerated, and she ALREADY have huge velocity advantage (she was on flyby trajectory). And, she probably have better acceleration than Garmillan heavies (after all, she is intersystem ship, without FTL drive).

        So, my point is – “Yukikadze” attack probably diverted the Garmillans fleet exactly at the moment when they could rush after “Kirishima”. They lost time, their trajectories became a mess. After that, the relative velocity difference between still-accelerating “Kirishima” and just de-orbiting Garmillans ships became too much to make chase cost-effective. They couldn’t intercept “Kirishima” until she reach inner planets – and after Second Battle of Mars Garmillans clearly considered fleet actions against inner planets as too costly.

        (I would try to draw a scheme of trajectories, that I assumed for this engagement).

  9. //Firstly, we see in multiple instances in the series that the Garmillan ships of the line (Kulikapias, Destorias, Meltorias) are capable of turning very tight circles; the most appropriate and immediate example that comes to mind is in Episode 6 we see Yarletora’s Destoria, a ship that’s larger than Kirishima, turn in a circle that’s roughly the ship’s length in diameter, and they do this while they’re accelerating in the opposite direction and attempting to flee Pluto. Their ships have multiple large vernier thrusters to allow change in vector quickly, and their engines offer high acceleration. We see further acts like this by the ships under Domel’s command later in the series.//

    Er, the maneuvrability and acceleration rate aren’t linked. For example, if the “Destoria” could accelerate of 10g most (i.e. 100 meters per second by second) and she already moved in some direction with relative velocity of, say, 500 kilometers per second – no matter how fast she could turn around, she still need 1,5 hours of full thrust to cancel the velocity.

    It is space, after all, If you merely turn your ship around, you would just flew in same direction, stern-first. To move in opposite direction than you previously moved, you need to cancel your velocity.

    //Secondly, as a result of this maneuverability, they could easily change vector and pursue Kirishima with the same ships that engaged Yukikaze (these ships can keep pace with Yamato), //

    They could turn fast, but how fast could they accelerate? The “Kirishima” already have some velocity, and probably pushed for more. The Garmillan fleet must achieve the same velocity for chase.

    • And supposing one of those Garmillan ships warped in front of Kirishima without first adjusting the velocity vector magnitude, the latter vessel might RAM it by accident. I don’t think the collision would end well for either ship!

  10. I love this commentary. However, I’d like to point out an error- the earth ships’ turret-mounted guns are “High Energy Amplified Light Cannons” (Read-lasers), not positron beams. That’s why they have the green color and the Gamilas positron beams have a red color.

    • Good catch. For now, I’ve simplified it to “beams” and we’ll make a more detailed revision later. We’re focusing on the Ark of the Stars commentary for the next few months.

      • I’m looking forwards to it- never really understood you guys’ objection to the Odyssey of the Celestial Ark name (‘roll credits’ moments have been in a lot of movies) but it was still an amazing movie.

        • The name itself is OK, but the title is spoken in the film in a way that reveals “Odyssey of the Celestial Ark” to be an obvious mistranslation. “Celestial Ark” or “Ark of the Stars” would have worked perfectly well, but they arbitrarily shoved the word “Odyssey” into the English title when there is no corresponding word in the original title.

    • They clearly aren’t lasers; the same particle beams as any else. Probably just other kind of particles (protons, maybe?)

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