Yamato 2199 Episode 3 Commentary

by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Episode 3: Escape from the Jupiter Sphere

(Japanese Name: 木星圏脱出 / Mokusei-ken Dasshutsu)

Director: Hibari Kurihara
Running time: 24m41s (21m01s without credits)
Opening Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Isao Sasaki
  • (TV): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Project 2199

Ending Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): For Those Who Know the Beautiful Earth by Aki Misato
  • (TV): Love Words by Mika Nakashima

[DG]: This episode commences on February 12, 2199. It’s very clear this episode picks up more or less the moment Episode 2 finished, the same as Episode 2 started right where Episode 1 left off.

[LC]: This is the first episode to feature a proper opening credits sequence. The storyboard for it was made by renowned director and Yamato fan, Hideaki Anno, with revisions by general director Yutaka Izubuchi. The sequence is itself almost a remake of the original but with a more modern flare. And fully awesome. The opening theme is a new recording of the classic Space Battleship Yamato Theme and is sung by Isao Sasaki.

Yamato rises from the Earth’s shadow and into the sunlight. Leaving the planet’s atmosphere, Shima retracts the stabilizer wings and engages “Space Speed 2”.

[LC]: This scene might mislead some to think it’s wrong, given that the sun had risen when Yamato broke away from its berth. It’s not. If you look carefully at the Earth, it’s rotating toward the camera, which means we’re seeing the terminator on the sunset side.

As noted in Episode 2, Yamato flies into the night side heading west, since the skies above it are filled with stars. Following that trajectory it would eventually cross the night side, emerging at sunset, as it happens here. If there is a mistake in this scene, its the fact we can still see the rising firy plume from the IPBM’s explosion behind Yamato, but that can be interpreted as simple artistic license or justified by the explosion’s sheer size and altitude.

Also worthy of note, Shima’s first use of “Space Speed” as a unit. As much as I would like to know what it means, it was never explained in any way throughout the series.

Kodai looks at the Earth above them and wonders if they can save it, leading Shima to ask if he’s getting cold feet. As Kodai dismisses it, Yuki spots an approaching ship with a friendly IFF tag. Kodai uses his field binoculars and spots Kirishima ahead.

[LC]: General Director Izubuchi used this particular placement of Yamato and Earth because it was never used in the series in this way. The feeling is supposed to mimic that of the Space Shuttle missions, where the orbiters assume a upside down (relative to us) position after takeoff. From their point of view, Earth is constantly spinning above them. Also, he wanted the crew looking up at the Earth.

A small difference in the manga is that prior to spotting Kirishima it is Nanbu and Aihara who comment on the state of the Earth, with Kodai approaching Nanbu to sort of make peace for their previous altercation.

As the two ships align, a light signal message from Kirishima reads: “We pray for your safe return.” In his cabin, Okita looks across to Kirishima‘s bridge where Hijikata, Yamanami and the rest of the crew salute Yamato. Okita returns the salute as Yamato speeds away.

[LC]: The preview for this episode showed a slightly longer cut of the Kirishima approach where the camera panned until Yamato was almost out of shot. (click the image above left for a capture of that final frame)

[LC]: A question that arises here is, aside making for a cool farewell scene, why would Kirishima be in orbit, since it obviously has yet to be repaired from the damage suffered during Operation M?

As mentioned in the previous episode commentary, an explanation for it is presented in the manga. After the IPBM is detected, given Yamato‘s engine is still lacking the necessary power for ignition, Hijikata takes Kirishima to space to try and intercept the missile. Unfortunately, despite its best efforts, Kirishima‘s cannons are not powerful enough to destroy the missile, and though the shots do manage to change its course, it uses its thrusters to readjust. Fortunately Yamato got the necessary power and destruction was avoided, as seen in episode 2. Pity this bit didn’t get animated, it would have been a cool scene.

[DG]: I don’t see how the manga explanation is plausible. This missile is more massive than any ship Kirishima and her fleet fired upon at Pluto and we’re meant to believe that weapons that just bounced right off those ships could do anything but the same with this behemoth? Why does it have to be anything more than Kirishima being in orbit to see Yamato off?

[LC]: Well, first of all, it’s a cool scene. Second, they seem to disengage the positron weapons energy limiters to increase output to less than safe levels, as shown when they nearly melting the damned cannons off. Third and last, they seem surprised when the IPBM readjusts its course so the plan was probably to just shoot it and hope that was enough to alter its course and miss Earth or at least Yamato. Anyway, no such damage appears on the anime model, other than what was incurred on Pluto, so that will have to remain in the manga’s alternate timeline.

As Yamato prepares to cross lunar orbit bound for Mars, Okita uses the PA system to call a meeting of the main staff at the central operations room, for a briefing concerning the upcoming warp test.

Some distance away, a Sumaruhi spy-plane reports on the Terron ship leaving orbit. Ganz asks if they should launch the fleet to intercept it, but Shulz is curious. He wonders what an inferior race that can’t leave its solar system plans to do with a single ship.

[LC]: As opposed to the previous episode, the Garmillans’ speech is now in Japanese, with some Garmillan terms mixed in. This is simply to save viewers from reading subtitles, as we’re meant to believe the characters are still talking in their native language. Of course, this only applies to the japanese viewers, as foreign viewers have to stick to the subtitles.

Of particular interest in this scene is the word TERRON (spelled TERON here, altered in future episodes), which is the Garmillan name for Earth. Concurrently, Earthlings are called Terrons or Terron-jin (people of Terron). In proper spoken Garmillan, Earth is pronounced TEROA.

[DG]: Trivia time! Keep this for a convention or meetup event should a Yamato/Star Blazers trivia contest be on the agenda. In the original series, Kenichi Ogata (Genma Saotome in Ranma 1/2, Myoga in InuYasha) provided the voices of Analyzer, Ganz, and Yabu. In Yamato 2199, voice actor Cho (who worked alongside Ogata-san while voicing InuYasha’s Jaken), played the same three roles.

In the Central Operations Room, Okita describes the long journey they have begun, assisted by some impressive visual aids. Traveling 336,000 light years will require Yamato to use FTL warp technology. Sanada proceeds to explain the intricacies of warp flight and also its possible risks, prompting Okita to say they must be careful with the Wave-Motion Engine. Shima seems a bit reluctant, leading Kodai to return his quip about getting cold feet.

[LC]: The production of this episode had a few difficult hurdles to overcome. First, like episode 2, it condenses two episodes from the original series. Although those had some filler that could be excised, (especially episode 4), they handle two key elements of Yamato, particularly the Space Warp and the first shot of the Wave-Motion Gun. Although their depiction becomes shorter in the future, it was important for the production staff that the first depiction of both be properly represented in full detail. And that they were.

Sanada says there is another subject to attend. His assistant, Lieutenant Kaoru Niimi, introduces herself and displays a set of schematics for a weapon based on Wave-Motion technology. Yuki seems baffled as Niimi describes the weapon, dubbed Wave-Motion Gun, with Sanada warning that a test firing will have to be done at some point.

[LC]: The WMG full official designation is “Dimensional Wave-Motion Explosive Compression Emitter.”

But for now, Okita’s priority is to test the warp technology, which will be done once they pass Mars, scheduled for 01:30. Space gear is mandatory, just in case. As everyone is dismissed, Yuki lingers, looking at the image of Mars, catching Kodai’s attention. She muses about Sasha, buried on Mars, and her loneliness.

[LC]: Another ember for the fire of the Yuki/Yurisha mystery, Yuki’s shock at what could be seen as a misuse of a peaceful technology, and her concern over the deceased Sasha, were seen by many at this point as more evidence that Yuki was indeed Yurisha. The speculation turned lit up fandom for weeks.

[DG]: Okita specifically mentions that they will warp once they’re “in the low gravity interference area past Mars.” That is, they will wait until they are sufficiently clear of Mars’ gravity well before attempting to warp. Ensuring that a gravity well is not influencing a spacecraft as it’s attempting to warp/hyperspace-jump/space fold is a common rule observed in science fiction: Star Wars emphasized from the outset that they can’t jump safely through a planet or star; Macross taught us the folly of trying to hyperspace jump within a gravity well (arriving in Pluto’s orbit rather than the intended destination of lunar orbit). Later in Yamato 2199, we will see this rule brought into play again.

As launch time was stated to be 0600 in Episode 2 (and verified by the time of day to be Japan Standard Time), we should assume that the 0130 scheduled time for warp is also on the Japan Standard Time, although it should be noted both aviation operations and military operations use Zulu time, which is UTC (Universal Time Coordinated). Simply put, Greenwich Mean Time. Yamato would have launched at 2100 UTC on February 11, 2199. On Zulu time, the warp would be scheduled for 1630 on February 12.

This gives us a timeframe of how long it takes for Yamato to get to Mars from Earth: from when she rises from the bed of the East China Sea to the point past Mars’ gravity well (which, according to this excellent article on Explain XKCD is 1,286 kilometers) takes 19 hours, 30 minutes. From this we can establish Yamato‘s average cruise speed between Earth and Mars: the distance between the two planets when on opposite sides of the sun is over 357 million kilometers (thus the 1,286-kilometer reach of the gravity well of Mars is negligible). Crossing this distance in 19.5 hours works out to 18,307,692 km/h, or 0.017 of the speed of light.

We put this speed against the other ships we see in the first three episodes:

  • Kirishima: Pluto to Mars (4.637 billion kilometers in 21 days) at an average speed of 9.2 million kilometers an hour (or 0.0085c [c=speed of light]); Mars to Earth (357 million kilometers in a ballpark timeframe between 2.5 and 3 days at an average speed of between 4.96 million kilometers an hour (3 days) and 5.95 million kilometers an hour (2.5 days), or a range of 0.0046c to 0.0055c).
  • Interplanetary Ballistic Missile: Pluto to Earth in under a day. 5.4 billion kilometers in 18-24 hours (as a ballpark, given assumptions as to when the briefing of the crew takes place [i.e. mid-morning sometime] and that this is near when the launch of the missile occurs on Pluto; there’s not much more we can do but make ballpark assumptions here) gives a range of speed from 225 million kilometers an hour to 300 million kilometers an hour (.208c to .277c)
  • Sheherazade: Neptune to Mars (~4.485 billion kilometers) in 10 minutes = 26.9 trillion kilometers per hour, or 24.93c. Relativity be damned.

    [As a side note, when first questioning this time, I did allow for delay in communication as to how long it would take a transmission from Pluto to get to Earth (which at 36 Astronomical Units [AU] is roughly 36X the time traveled by light from the Sun to Earth [1 AU], which is 8 minutes 17 seconds. 497 seconds (8 minutes 17 seconds) x 36 = 298 minutes 12 seconds, or less than two minutes short of 5 hours. Even if you allow travel time for this (i.e. that it will be 10 minutes away by the time the signal reaches Earth and it takes 5 hours or thereabouts for Sheherazade to reach Mars, that’s still going to be traveling at around 0.83c.

    Alas, it is established later in the series that the UNCN can communicate from Earth to the edge of the solar system in realtime, so that theory falls flat.]

Yamato makes a brief stop over Mars for a tribute to the fallen Iscandarian. While Yuki exits the ship through an airlock to jettison a flower bouquet, Kodai bids Sasha to watch over Yamato and its crew as they journey to her distant homeland. Just as Yamato is about to leave, Kodai notices he’s not alone on deck. Yamamoto is there, looking at what was once her home.

[DG]: While Okita, Kodai, and Yuki all pay tribute to Sasha in their own ways, this doesn’t seem to me to be the primary purpose for orbiting Mars, otherwise they would have had a much larger contingent of the crew paying tribute from whatever vantage points they could. I think it was more likely they were using Mars’s gravity to slingshot past.

[LC]: The flower bouquet launched into Mars orbit by Yuki is actually a bouquet of artificial flowers. There are flowers aboard Yamato and they seem to be real, but real flowers would freeze immediately when exposed to hard vacuum. The manga version takes a step to explain this, showing Yuki making the flowers herself, a skill she used to teach at the kindergarten on Earth.

As hinted in the previous episodes, Mars underwent extensive terraforming and colonization. At some point in the 2170’s, the so-called “Inner Planet War” occurred between Mars and Earth. Though details about the motives or events of this war haven’t been stated, it must have been a brutal affair, as it lead the Earth governments to implement the construction of the massive underground cities where humanity would later take refuge when the Planet Bomb attacks started.

[LC]: What is known is that eventually the Earth side won the conflict, the colony on Mars was abandoned, and the Marsnoids (young Akio and Akira Yamamoto among them) were relocated to Earth. Not much is left of the colonization effort aside from ruins like Port Arcadia, seen in Episode 1.

According to 2199’s scientific advisor, Professor Toshihiro Handa, the sea seen in this scene fills a real topographic region known as Amazonis Plain, which spreads out to the west of Olympus Mons, the biggest volcano of our solar system and three times higher than Mount Everest.

We get another look at Sasha’s grave marker as Yamato breaks orbit.

The engine room is bustling with activity as Tokugawa goes over the engine specs. Yabu is his usual well of doubt, but Tokugawa says they have to try. Shima and Ota set the coordinates for the warp, which is expected to take them to a point in Uranus orbit.

Yamato’s main engine bursts into life, releasing a stream of spiraling blue energy, thrusting the ship to its targeted 36 space-knots. Doctor Sado makes a toast while Kato attempts to hit a bullseye on a dart board, humming a shintoist chant and failing miserably at his task.

[LC]: The speed units used during this scene by Shima are Space Knots.

[DG]: It’s interesting to note that this sequence is about as close as we get all series to Dr Sado’s drunken antics from the original. At least they’re not going to get him to imbibe sake while in a space suit on EVA this time…

[LC]: Shinohara mentions Kato’s family as being priests. Kato left the temple to become a pilot, incurring on the wrath of his now-estranged father.

The visual style of Yamato’s warp is established here, and although future renditions lack the “other dimension” part, the depiction of both Warp In and Warp Out will remain pretty consistent throughout the series. Long gone are the simple fading in and out of frame along an assorted array of visual effects.

[LC]: In the “Warp In” part, Yamato seems to accelerate until the energy field generated by the Wave-Motion Engine causes a dimensional distortion to occur, which the ship breaks through. The acceleration part is omitted from most of the later iterations, unless relevant to the plot.

The “Warp Out” is generally more consistent, with the ship resurfacing into normal space from a black swirling sphere amidst a flash of light, covered in a layer of ice which quickly breaks up. Supposedly, the warping event that takes place between these two happens in a nanosecond and the crew doesn’t perceive it…unless things go wrong, as we’ll find out soon. I have a feeling someone took cues from a famous time traveling trilogy when coming up with the whole thing.

[LC]: The manga version of the warp scene mixes it up a little with the original version. Makoto is scared out of her mind before the ship warps, as opposed to the more calm and focused anime version. Then they warp and things turn weird. Yuki gets a bit more naked, Kodai shows just a bit of flesh, and Makoto ends up not just butt naked but regressing to an embryonic state!!! Shima gets a brief sighting of his father’s Murasame and the good old T-Rex is shown in full glory with an overflying Yamato transforming into its WWII namesake.

[DG]: Dr Sado’s appearance in-warp appears like it might be a nod to his original character design?

Suddenly, Yamato seems to hit a wall, punching through the dimensional barrier. Then, a burst of light and the ship is gone. In a different dimension, Yamato is surrounded by streams of multi-colored light, its very body phasing in and out of existence, while the crew seems frozen – suspended in a single moment in time. The ship approaches a mirror-like surface, impacting its own reflection in a wave of yellow energy.

[LC]: There was some debate on whether to keep Yuki’s infamous nude scene and if it wasn’t simply fan service. But it was too much of an iconic event to let it pass, so it was portrayed in a much less overt way. As an added note, in the TV broadcast version of the scene was modified to cover certain anatomical features for the brief glimpse we do get, by adding some lingerie that seems unaffected by warp. (click image above left to see the TV version)

Strangely enough, while the theatrical version does show more of Yuki, it’s one of those “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” things, since her space suit reappears almost instantly. In the TV broadcast version, the suit disappears, revealing her underwear, and stays gone. A “standards and practices” paradox, hmm?!

[DG]: While somewhat different from the original Yamato‘s depiction of warp space, I felt it got the spirit across.

The ice-covered Yamato ressurfaces into normal space. As the ice cover breaks off, a dart hits the bullseye, much to Kato’s satisfaction. The bridge crew snaps from the effects of the warp, and to their surprise they see the imposing clouds of Jupiter looming in front of them. Sanada postulates that the detection of an unknown object in their path may have triggered the warp system safeties, dropping them out of warp prematurely.

[DG]: Here we see the effects of a gravity well on faster-than-light travel. It’s interesting to note that Shima was adamant that there was no mistake in the calculations, suggesting he was the one who did them. Begs me to ask, given Okita’s words in the briefing room about the importance of care being exercised with the wave-motion engine, and the fact that there are at least two people with a better understanding of astrophysics than Shima (Sanada and Okita himself), did someone review his calculations?

[LC]: Neither Jupiter nor the Floating Continent are responsible for Yamato’s premature warp out. As stated by Ota, the system detected an unknown object in their trajectory and caused the warp out. This does raise an interesting point as to how much of a gravity field is required to affect warp, if something small enough to escape previous detection can have this effect.

[DG]: Interesting to note the moon coming into view from behind Jupiter. Its size, color and crater-lined topography suggests Io, the nearest moon to Jupiter.

Ota reports Yamato has been caught in Jupiter’s gravity and despite Shima and Tokugawa’s best efforts, they cannot stop their dive. A malfunction in the energy transfer system makes the main engine useless, with only the auxiliary engines to support them. Yuki detects an object 65,000 km away, too big to be a ship. Visual contact is impossible due to Jupiter’s thick cloud cover. Upon switching to infra-red, the object becomes visible: a floating continent.

Yamato dives deeper into Jupiter’s atmosphere, the floating continent now fully visible, with Ota’s scans revealing it to be almost the same size as Australia.

[DG]: In the Blu-Ray subtitles, Ota comments that the floating continent is almost as large as Australia; the readout on Ota’s console says the continent has a surface area of 7.8 million square kilometers, while the inset map of Australia on the right looks to say 7.9 million square kilometers. (The Australian Government website says the official area of continental Australia is only 7.692 million square kilometers, so going by the book it’s actually larger than Australia.) While I initially thought they were being too generous with the floating continent’s size, I changed my view later in the episode. More on that later.

[LC]: Yamato’s iconic wings are not used to support the ship by providing lift, as they are way too small for that. Their actual purpose is to act as stabilizers in atmospheric flight. They are divided into four sections which overlap each other when stored.

The blue-colored sky is based in images taken by the Galileo space probe.

Shima has to work hard to keep the ship under control, but after some effort he finally manages to pull her up, grazing the edge of the gigantic landmass. As Yamato skids over the surface, Okita orders the deployment of the rocket anchor. Planting itself firmly onto a nearby cliff, the anchor finally brings the ship to a stop.

[LC]: This is a gorgeously-animated sequence, but not without its problems. The main one, animation-wise, is when Yamato makes contact with the continent. We’re shown a wide shot just as the bow breaks the very edge of the rock face. At this point, the ship seems to slow down considerably. But in the next shot, we see Yamato sliding swiftly across the terrain. A possible explanation is that it did slow down upon contact but with the engines still at thrust it ended up gaining speed before they shut them down.

Another problem is that no matter how much you choose to ignore it, by this point bridge number 3 and all those winglets on the bottom of the ship would be gone. I’ll just chalk that up to an extremely efficient structural integrity field allied with exceptional construction techniques and materials.

[LC]: The famous “Rocket Anchor” is seen in action for the first time. Its use in this scene mirrors its first use in the original, where it was fired at Pluto’s moon, Charon, and used to stop Yamato from crashing into Pluto after being hit by the Reflection Cannon.

The chain of the Rocket Anchors is wrapped around the drum of the Wave-Motion Gun and stored there. It can be fully deployed to only one side, extending to three times the length of Yamato.

We also get to see the anchor’s firing and retrieval control room for the first time ever (which must be a loud workplace). The control rooms are located just behind the rocket anchors on the port and starboard sides, respectively, and according to mr. Nishii they are not staffed at all times. Given the quick reaction time we see depicted in this episode, someone must man the controls when the ship finds itself in situations where the use of the anchors might be warranted.

As the crew picks itself up, Okita asks Tokugawa for a report. The engine’s cooling system broke down and it overheated. The engine crews expedite the repairs. Sanada orders Kodai to gather a team to check the hull for damage and collect some samples from the continent.

[LC]: Notice the bridge windows are thoroughly dirty after Yamato’s rough landing. Fortunately, they have amazing clean up crews onboard since there is no hint of dirt in the next shot.

Yuki calls AU-09 to assist. To everyone’s surprise, the robot disengages from his console, announcing himself as an autonomous unit, and asks that they call him Analyzer.

[DG]: This is one of the few instances in the entire series we see any interaction between Yuki and Analyzer. That duty falls to Karou Niimi for most of the series, which makes sense given Karou is in the Science Division and that’s where Analyzer would be most useful.

[LC]: Though he showed up briefly in the previous episode, plus the near-miss in Episode 1, this is our first good look at AU-09 (AU standing for Analyzer Unit), a.k.a. Analyzer. I can’t believe it took me this long to notice, but even though the overall design of Analyzer was left nearly untouched (beyond a more modern and clean mechanical look) he did lose those cables that went from his back to his forearms. Personally, I think it’s a good change.

At Pluto, Shulz plays a video message from his daughter, asking him when he’ll be back home. Ganz interrupts with a report, stating that Yamato has appeared near Jupiter. Shulz dismisses the report, as it would be impossible for the Earth ship to have made it so far, but Ganz informs him they’ve detected traces of a “Geschtam Jump”.

[LC]: Here we learn another Garmillan word. Geschtam has basically the same meaning as Warp, and though both use similar energy sources and are based on the same principles, they differ slightly in execution. Visually, Geschtam Jumps are a bit different, as we’ll see in a couple of episodes. Whether that is thanks to the more advanced and refined Garmillan technology or just because of an artistic desire to make them look different, that’s for you to decide.

This scene features three small but interesting details. One is the first appearance of Hilde Shulz. As an original character in 2199, she received a tremendous amount of attention in the weeks leading up to Chapter 2’s release. She would go on to merit a very high level of attention, even more than some main characters, leading some to believe the story of 2199 had great things in store for her *sigh*. More on that as we continue.

Second, Shulz gets his own office. In the original, Shulz and Ganz never got out of the main control room. Here, not only has he gotten a personality upgrade – evolving from stock overacted villain to intelligent officer and family man – but he gets quite a nice office to round things up. And I have to say, Garmillan interior designers are awesome.

The third small detail is the tower that can be seen beyond the office window. This and others like it are seen being shot by Kodai in the Chapter 2 trailer. But what are they? Stay with us to find out.

Shulz is surprised, but orders the small contingent stationed at Jupiter to attack. At the Garmillas station on the floating continent, officer Larleta orders the four ships currently stationed there to deploy, believing they’ll be more than enough to handle the earthlings.

[DG]: The Garmillan names for all the planets we hear mentioned have some resemblance to their Latin names (which, aside from Earth’s Terra, are their official names). Zupist (Jupiter), Zedan (Saturn), and Plat (Pluto) all seem to follow this to various degrees. I liken this to how the Japanese language changes the spelling of western words when their syllables don’t exist in Japanese. Another thought: How did they learn the names of the planets, and get them even remotely close to their native names? Run into one of the Voyager probes or something?

[LC]: The Garmillan refueling station was designed by mechanical design maestro Makoto Kobayashi, an upgrade of the original series design. He’ll be responsible for a great deal of mechanical designs and background details throughout the series, particularly on the Garmillas side.

[DG]: In the first frame we see Larleta, we’re also given a look at the Garmilloids – Garmillas’ robotic soldiers. It’s interesting that all we see inside the Jupiter Base aside from Larleta himself is the row of Garmilloids to his rear. Granted, a supply base would not need a large number of biological personnel, but is Larleta the only living being on this base? Food for thought as we progress through the rest of this episode, and the first story arc (traversing the Solar System).

[LC]: When the designs for Saleluya Larleta surfaced, questions arose about whether it was a man or a woman. In an interview, Masanoru Nishii described him as an Onee-Chara. Literally translated as “Sis-character,” this refers either to a homosexual or a man who has the heart of a woman.”

The two-tailed cat-like creature Larleta is holding is a Krall, an indigenous species from planet Zaltz.

[DG]: We get a nice close-up view of the ventral hull of the Kripiteras and the Destoria here – and see their ventral turret, which is a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” feature throughout much of the series.

[LC]: Now where did the little Krall go?! Guess Larleta looked cooler in this scene with this pose.

[DG]: The Litterbox?

Back at Yamato, Enomoto and his team are checking the hull and retrieving the requested samples. Analyzer quickly analyzes the surrounding atmosphere and relays his data.

[LC]: This shot of Yamato‘s side and wings was hand-drawn by Junichiro Tamamori and allows a very detailed look at not just Yamato’s hull, but also the stabilizer wing structure. (click the image above left for a more detailed view.)

[DG]: Analyzer here specifically mentions the composition of the atmosphere: 67% methane, 6% nitrogen, 21% carbon dioxide, and traces of acetaldehyde and ethanol as well, citing that it’s vastly different from Jupiter’s surface in terms of both temperature and pressure. Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii clarified in Hyper Hobby #168 that this is the floating continent’s own original environment, and is neither that of Jupiter (which is primarily helium and molecular hydrogen) nor of Garmillas.

Considering that the main constituents of Jupiter’s atmosphere are helium and molecular hydrogen, and there are only trace elements of methane rather than it accounting for two-thirds of the atmosphere, this is a completely artificial atmosphere around the continent. It should be noted also that the “atmosphere” appears to be some cross between gaseous and liquid, judging by the “bubbles” of rising gas.

The mention of the presence of “alcohol” in the atmosphere is met by a strange response from Ota, before a startled Aihara. Ota and others in the crew, Kato among them, are suffering from what Doctor Sado calls “Warp Sickness,” and aside some mopping and fluid replacement it will have no long lasting effects.

[DG]: An interesting point here is the mention of ethanol and acetaldehyde. While these aren’t elements of Jupiter’s atmosphere, the similarly-sounding ethane, acetylene, and diacetylene are. Maybe this is a minor mistranslation? An amusing side of ethanol and acetaldehyde is that production of acetaldehyde in the liver is a possible contributing factor to hangovers – of which Ohta begins to show symptoms after Analyzer mentions it.

[LC]: Director Izubuchi considered at one point not to use the Floating Continent in 2199, but given the importance of such an element, he tried to find an idea that might make it plausible. So the idea that the Floating Continent was brought to Jupiter by the Garmillas was born. Although it wasn’t depicted or mentioned in the series, the basic concept was revealed by staff members in interviews.

In theory, the Floating Continent is an actual piece of Planet Garmillas itself, transplanted to other worlds to assert territory. This explains the giant holes on Garmillas’ outer crust. The whole continent has an anti-gravity system built into its underside (never actually shown) and is covered by a field that maintains environmental integrity and manipulates gravity.

The plants in the continent’s jungle were designed by Kazutaka Miyatake, and their mix of red, brown and darker green colors is due to the atmosphere differing from that of Garmillas, where they are mostly a palette of brighter greens. Can this be just a slight environmental deviation that the energy field is unable to correct, or intended to turn the plants poisonous as they are when seeded on Earth? As I mentioned, though Sanada does mention the possibility that the continent is used in the Garmillasformation of Earth, the concept as outlined here ended up not being fully realized in the show. So we can only guess.

Analyzer presents his findings to Sanada after studying the plant samples. They have a 99.9% DNA match to the Garmillan plants poisoning Earth, leading them to surmise the continent is a Garmillas station. Okita expects an attack, but before he can put it to words the radar comes to life with four contacts.

Another thing about their position on Jupiter is that while Toyama is finding it hard going, he and the others outside the ship are not being crushed by the pressure, which they might be lower in the Jovian atmosphere. The gravity in the upper atmosphere being in the vicinity of 2.4-2.5 times that of Earth’s would be taking its toll. However, the atmosphere around the ship seems to be in a near-liquid state, and this may provide some buoyancy.

The three Kripiteras advance on their prey as the Destoria circles around. Okita orders all crew to battle stations and Kodai orders the main guns prepped to fire. Shima reminds him that with the main engine offline, they can’t power the guns. Nanbu counters that they can use the solid Type III rounds instead, but Kodai reminds him that they have a more limited range.

Sanada proposes making a bypass to divert stored energy to the shock cannons, though it will only provide for a few shots. Tokugawa calls in and says the engine will be fixed in five minutes. Okita knows they can’t wait that long and orders the bypass to power the main guns while the auxiliaries are loaded with Type III rounds for close combat.

Everyone moves in unison to get the job done. Kodai order the forward guns to aim for the Kripiteras while the rear guns target Destoria. Nanbu quickly gets a lock on the enemy ships and Kodai orders them to open fire.

[LC]: One thing that bugged me in the original and continues to occur here, is the depiction of the Floating Continent’s atmosphere. Jupiter’s atmosphere is one messy thing and I understand that depicting it properly might be entirely impossible. My problem is consistency throughout the episode.

In previous scenes, the atmosphere around Yamato shows signs of being at least semi-fluid, as seen by the bubbles emerging from below it. But during the crash sequence, no such effect appears. During this sequence, no signs of fluidity appear in some shots, while the Kripiteras do seem to cause some sort of wake as they fly closer to the ground.

The Destoria and a Kripitera are destroyed, but the other two continue their advance, launching a volley of torpedos. Fortunately, Yamato‘s AA weapons are more than adequate at shooting them down.

[LC]: It’s funny that the very first shot Yamato fires at an enemy ship misses. Oh, Nanbu! It fares a bit better in the manga, where all enemy ships are destroyed and none manage to retreat.

[DG]: I was wondering here whether these ships were completely or significantly crewed by Garmilloids. None of the ships are executing particularly complex tactical positioning, in fact it just looks like basic maneuvers. In answer to another question in Hyper Hobby #168 back in August 2012, Director Nishii stated that the Garmilloid’s use was not widespread amongst Shulz’s forces, but they were used to some extent. While this precludes them being the primary constituent of the Garmillas forces led by Shulz in the solar system, I don’t believe it entirely rules out the possibility.

As the enemy enters weapons range, it’s time for the Type III rounds to be put to use, with devastating results. As a Kripitera goes down in flames, the final ship retreats.

[DG]: It’s also worth noting here that we see the Type III rounds in action again very early on in the story. In the same Q&A, Director Nishii made it clear that only the forward batteries could fire shells; they are stored in a magazine directly below the forward turrets. With the hangar directly underneath, there is no room below the stern turrets for such a facility.

Tokugawa reports the engine repairs are done. Okita orders Shima to retract the anchor and launch. Now at full power, Yamato quickly rises from the continent. Okita orders Kodai to prepare the Wave-Motion Gun – they’ll test-fire it against the enemy base.

Sanada claims it might be too dangerous to fire the gun at this time. No proper tests have yet been conducted, and they don’t know how powerful it might be. Tokugawa counters that they have to test-fire it sometime and this is as good a chance as any. Okita stands firm and orders firing procedures to commence.

[DG]: Ohta reports that they’re 23,000 kilometers (“futaman sansen kiro” [二万 三千 キロ]) away from the floating continent as Okita orders Kodai to destroy the base with the Wave-Motion Gun.

Yamato turns around to face the continent. Shipwide systems are shut down to divert all available energy to the compression chamber. Lights go out one by one, and all comes to a standstill. The only thing that moves at that moment is the Wave-Motion Gun’s muzzle shutter as it opens for the first time.

[LC]: The boxes in the radar array arms above the main bridge, which resemble the range finders on the primary gun turrets, are the range finders for the Wave-Motion Gun. Also, though it was always sort of drawn that way, we get to actually see the gun’s muzzle shutter open. Get a closer look at the entire beautiful rendition of this shot by clicking on the image above right.

On the bridge, Okita orders Shima to relay navigation control to Kodai’s console. A control resembling a trigger surfaces, allowing Kodai to make precise adjustments to the ship.

[DG]: It’s interesting that by the time Yamato turns around to face the floating continent, nearly 40 seconds have passed. Around 10 seconds pass between them crossing the coastline of the continent and Ohta reporting the 23,000km distance. Even assuming their traveling speed levels out once they cross the coast, in 50 seconds they’d have traveled a total of 115,000 kilometers. in Earth terms they’d be about 29% of the way to the semi-major axis point of the moon’s orbit – or about 3/4 across the diameter of Jupiter.

Even at this vast a distance, the continent looks huge – much larger than Australia does from even 23,000 kilometers away (which is barely over half of the way to geosynchronous orbit above Earth (over 42,000 km above the Earth), keeping in mind Low Earth Orbit is in a range of about 160 km to 2,000 km above the Earth. The “as large as Australia” line is actually looking ridiculously conservative here. Australia looks a lot smaller than this from 23,000 kilometers away, let alone as far as 115,000 kilometers. See the images from the Space Map software Celestia below for images of Australia at 23,000 km away (left) and 2,300 km away (right). Click on the images for larger versions.

Best to suspend disbelief here, I guess. In short: it’s big. Very big. Time to blow it up. Oh sorry, blow the base up. If they’re only wanting to blow the base up, then why are they aiming at the core of the continent? Simple. The continent is the base. The entire construct of the floating continent is a giant supply base and research laboratory.

Step by step, all officers coordinate their efforts in a precise sequence of procedures with Kodai coordinating their efforts. The whine of the Wave-Motion Gun increases as energy levels reach their peak. Kodai makes the final targeting adjustments and Okita orders anti-shock and anti-glare protections.

As the windows are polarised, the bridge crew dons protective goggles. As Yamato makes final lock on its target, Nanbu begins the 10-second countdown. Okita gives the order to fire. Kodai presses the trigger. And then…

[DG]: Here, Yuki says they’re still 23,000 kilometers away from the floating continent. Maybe Shima actually hit the brakes pre-emptively when Okita issued the order to fire the Wave-Motion Gun. Either one for suspending disbelief, or one for the blooper reel.

[LC]: The polarizing windows are nice addition to the whole process. Instead of the crew relying solely on protective goggles, the bridge windows actually become darker.

Unlike the original, instead of Kodai, it’s Nanbu who takes charge of the countdown for the Wave-Motion Gun since he is the chief gunner.

A blinding flash of light is followed by the release of a massive torrent of blue-tinged energy, speeding toward the floating continent. As the beam makes landfall, the continent gives way, breaking apart under the gun’s tremendous power. (click on both images above for more frames of the WMG firing and Floating Continent impact sequences)

[LC]: The manga retrieves another aspect of the original episode: with all the ships stationed at the floating continent destroyed, Larleta launches a barrage of missiles at Yamato, which are vaporized by the Wave-Motion Gun.

At the Garmillan base, the final Kripitera is vaporized by the shockwave while Larleta reels in confusion at this turn of events and the refueling station crumbles around him. Soon he too is gone, as is the entire mass that made up the floating continent. (Which bears more than a passing resemblance to the destruction of Uruk in Final Yamato)

[LC]: A detailed cut-out design of the Kripitera was made for use in this scene where we see the Garmillan destroyer literally ripped apart layer by layer. As far as I recall, it’s the first time we’ve seen such a detailed view of the inner structure. (click the image above left for that sequence)

As the power comes back on, Okita pensively removes his goggles. Were shown the massive scar Yamato has carved in Jupiter’s surface. Kodai is stunned by the weapon’s power. On the other hand, Nanbu is ecstatic that they have a clear advantage over the Garmillas. Sanada points out that the weapon is a lot more powerful than they had assumed, as their objective was only to destroy the Garmillas base. Okita states Yamato‘s objective is not to exterminate the enemy, and its weapons are only for self defense. Kodai looks on in silence.

[DG]: Sanada’s choice of words here is interesting. He said they “only wanted to destroy the Garmillas base,” however as I said earlier it could be construed that the entire continent constitutes the Garmillas base. Regardless, Okita and Kodai are both greatly disturbed by just how powerful the gun is. We see something akin to the Great Red Spot where the floating continent used to be. It is comparable in size, if not larger than Jupiter’s iconic feature, which for the record could accommodate three Earths and have room to spare. All the descriptions of the floating continent’s size point to one thing: they wanted viewers to gauge just how powerful a weapon the Wave-Motion Gun is.

[DG]: Since the entire time on Jupiter was spent in daylight, we can establish that the events there transpired in less than five hours, given that a day on Jupiter is 9 hours 55 minutes long. While there are no explicit references to how long the repairs or the EVA take, it certainly doesn’t feel anywhere near that theoretical maximum. They both arrive and depart in broad daylight, so unless the floating continent is traveling at the same speed as the planet’s rotation, the timeframe was probably no more than 2-3 hours.

Given that the warp itself lasted mere seconds over such a short distance, if it took any time at all, we can assume Yamato arrived at Jupiter around 1:31am JST on February 13 and departed somewhere between 2:31am and 4:31am on that day. The image showing Yamato departing Jupiter shows dusk approaching the area from above and to the left, but still some time away.

As Yamato rises from Jupiter’s atmosphere, Okita is in his quarters, looking at the still-swirling clouds beneath them. He wonders if they’re ready to wield the power they’ve been given, the power to destroy the universe itself. Knowing he doesn’t have the luxury of such considerations at this time, he decides that if this is a test of character, their actions will speak for themselves. Yamato moves forward, breaking away from Jupiter’s sphere of influence.

[LC]: The “forbidden fire of Megiddo” Okita speaks of might be a direct mention of Mount Megiddo. Though the name might not be familiar to many, its original hebrew pronunciation is “Har-Megiddo,” which became the Greek word Armageddon. So Okita is literally worried the power they have unleashed might bring about the end of the world. As we’ll see throughout the show, using this power wisely might determine the very fate of mankind…so he’s not that far off.

[DG]: So we reach the end of Episode 3. Like Episode 2 before it, this episode covered the major events of two episodes from the original – 4 (first warp) and 5 (Jupiter and the first firing of the Wave-Motion Gun). Also like Episode 2, it cuts out some parts from the original for the sake of time.

Notably absent events include: (from Episode 4, the attack by the Gamilas carrier which results in Kodai and the Black Tigers scrambling to intercept. Yamamoto struggles to bring his damaged plane back aboard ship before the ship warps. Yamato lands on a snowy Mars to repair the damage caused by the warp. The original Episode 5 content contained Kodai’s dogfight over the floating continent.


The Wave-Motion Gun… Its terrifying power has damaged Yamato itself. A mysterious distress call…different feelings…what will the man of the sea decide? And Kodai sees a hero who rests upon a frozen satellite. A requiem sounds in empty space.

Next time: Gravestone on a Frozen Field.

There are 363 days left before humanity becomes extinct.


Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Chapter 2 Trailer

Episode 3 credits

Screenplay: Yutaka Izubuchi
Storyboard: Shinji Higuchi
Director: Hibari Kurihara
Character Animation Director: Koji Watanabe, Akihisa Maeda
Mecha 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.

CG Production Support: Sunrise D.I.D.

3 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 3 Commentary

  1. The “Space Speed 2” can be a reference to the Second Cosmic Velocity, that in astronautics and physics is the Escape Velocity, the minimum speed needed for an object to escape from a massive body, in this case Earth. If this is true, Space Speed 2 is exactly 11.186 km/s or 40,270 km/h.

  2. About “Terrons”: in Italy, “Terrone” is a derogatory term to call the inhabitants of the Southern.
    Is rather hilarious, for me as Italian, hear this term used for all the Earth population 😉

  3. One thing that bugged me was the tension over whether or not to install the bypass. Why was Tokugawa so worried about installing the bypass? There’s literally *no reason* not to do so. It felt like they were just making up tension there.

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