Yamato 2199 Episode 8 commentary

by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Episode 8: Wish Upon a Star

(Japanese Name: 星に願いを / Sei ni Negai wo)

Director: Yasushi Murotani

Running time: 24m 41s (21m 00s without credits)
Opening Theme:

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

Ending Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): Scarlet Scarf by Isao Sasaki
  • (TV): Love Words by Mika Nakashima

[DG]: This episode starts with 343 days left, on March 5, 2199. Since this entire episode takes place during the course of the celebrations of Garmillas, which certainly looks to be inside a single day, the events take place either all within March 5, or transition between March 5 and 6.

Imperial Planet Great Garmillas. The capital city, Balerus, is the main stage for the celebration of the 1000 years of the empire.

[LC]: As mentioned in our episode 6 commentary, the screen tag for Planet Garmillas now reads Great Garmillas Imperial Planet .

[LC]: So far in 2199 they’ve kept the story along the same lines as the original, speeding things up and mashing a couple of episodes together. This episode mixes things up a bit by using plot threads of several of the original series episodes.

The core of the episode’s plot comes from the original Episode 12, where Yamato gets caught in a “Space Net” in the Betelgeuse system. Yuki’s wish, the captain’s deteriorating condition, and Dessler’s plot to force them to choose between the Ecto Gas Cloud or Betelgeuse’s “sea of fire” all come from that episode.

Shulz’s pursuit of Yamato and eventual defeat come from Episode 9, which is known for the famous meteorite ring and took place before Yamato left the solar system in Episode 10.

The Garmillas command staff assembly, complete with the demise of loudmouth Gelhen (though he was not visibly drunk in the original) and video transmission of the attack operations, come from Episode 11. That episode featured the infamous Dessler Space Mines which were discarded here and replaced by the “Ecto Gas.”

Leader Dessler gives a rousing speech to his people, thanking them for their loyalty and support to the empire, without which its greatness and prosperity would be impossible.

[LC]: This scene contains the longest stretch of Garmillan dialogue in the series. Also, perhaps the biggest homage to Star Blazers by having the word Garmillon – or Gamilon, if you prefer – as the Garmillan language word for “Garmillan”, as in a person or the people from Garmillas. As we all know, Gamilon was the english name for Gamilas in Star Blazers. In 2199, Garmillas (planet or empire) is “Garmillas” all the same, but Garmillan (person or people) is “Garmillon”.

Here we get to see Hilde Shulz in the flesh for the first time. Given the amount of attention she was getting at the time this chapter was released, and the amount of merchandising related to her (not even the more popular Melda got as many items), Hilde was expected to play some major role further up the road. Unfortunately that never panned out. Personally, I fail to understand her appeal.

[DG]: Here we see something we did not see in the original 26-episode series: Garmillas/Gamilas/Gamilon civilians. The only time we ever saw anything even approaching civilians was during Domel’s trial, and even then all those assembled looked more military.

The layout of the assembly strongly reminds me of photos of the Nuremberg Rallies. Given how much effort is made to make the Garmillans resemble Nazi Germany, this is hardly surprising. What is surprising though, is that most photos of the Nuremberg Rallies show people in uniform. They were military rallies first and foremost. Here the majority are civilians.

As the crowd cheers, Dessler leaves the stage and heads back to the palace entrance, where Celestella awaits him. He congratulates her on a brilliantly-written speech and scoffs at how easy the masses are manipulated by words. Celestella simply nods, telling him that his entertainment for the evening has been prepared. A lonely space vessel called Yamato.

[DG]: Celestella shows a marked departure from the Nazi analogy. In the Nazi hierarchy, the man in her role was the notorious Joseph Goebbels, whose belief in the Aryan Master Race was second only to Hitler himself. About the only thing the two share is, surprisingly, their hairline, although this style seems common amongst the assembled Garmillans. To me, Gimleh seems the most like Goebbels in facial structure and personality.

[LC]: Dessler’s propaganda machine does a great job of making the Garmillan people love their leader, and Dessler himself plays his role with aplomb, even though he despises the people he leads, seeing them as nothing more than a means to an end. Also, the way he refers to the people as “humans” makes it seem as if Dessler considers himself more than human, maybe even godlike.

[DG]: I don’t think he despises the people he leads as such. He says they bore him rather than him despising them.

Dessler enters his throne room, where his command staff and military leaders applaud. He thanks them for their presence on such an occasion. Vice-president Hyss takes the opportunity to congratulate Dessler on how brilliant his reign has been, and how his plans of expansion have allowed them to control the Great and Small Magellanic Galaxies. Now they’re beginning to expand into the Milky Way Galaxy, bringing about an unparallelled age of peace and prosperity. Amused, Dessler thanks him.

[LC]: This profile shot of Dessler pays tribute to the famous scene where the Gamilas race turned blue in the original series, in the aforementioned Episode 11. In that scene Dessler is shown changing from pink-skinned to blue-skinned, supposedly due to lighting conditions, which meant lighting had been unfavorable to the Leader for nearly 10 episodes. I’m sure heads rolled in the imperial palace. Check the link for more details on that scene.

[DG]: Another difference between Hitler’s addresses at the Nuremberg Rallies and Dessler’s address here is the state of the nation. While Hitler was taking over a Germany completely gutted by World War I and the economic reparations forced upon it, Dessler is addressing a people whose nation is prosperous and dominant.

[LC]: This is the first time we see the major players on the Garmillas side. Though we got to meet Dessler, Hyss and Celestella in Episode 6, this is our first look at the rest, most of whom are new. Click here for a nifty infograph of who is who in this scene. Not all the characters in the background are identified, but those who could be sourced from available production materials are present and identified by name and title within the Garmillas command structure.

[DG]: Of note here is the skin tone of the servant woman behind Hyss and Velte Talan – to me it looks more green than blue. I’d be tempted to say she is Gatlantean (although green skin is not necessarily exclusive to Gatlanteans), but considering it’s highly likely that Gimleh would appoint all servants within the Imperial Court, I consider his bias against non-Garmillan races would preclude this. That said, were Gimleh to have his way, there is no way Celestella would be Propaganda Minister, either.

[LC]: Also of note, Hyss congratulates Dessler for the 103rd anniversary of his reign. This is one of those lines that can have a few different interpretations. According to official production materials, Dessler is 32 years old in Earth time. One can then assume that Hyss is referring to Garmillas years which, unfortunately, have never been set in terms of corresponding value.

Obviously, the actual value of a “year” changes depending on what planet you’re on. An Earth year is 365.25 days long – being that the value of a day is itself variable. But before you go into such theoretical exercises, as I was about to when I first approached this line, let me stop you and avoid a brain melt.

[DG]: It may not only depend on the length of your year as well as your day (a Venusian day is longer than a Venusian year, for instance), but another factor is the lifespan of the race in question, and how beings of that race age. While Dessler appears the equivalent of 32 Earth Years of age, it doesn’t guarantee that he’s actually 32 Earth years old, i.e. there’s nothing suggesting that he was born circa 2167.

In other SF franchises, races age differently, whether a result of their own nature or genetic modification. In the Sekai no Monshou (Crest of the Stars) saga, the Abh race live more than 200 Earth years, but cease aging in their 20s due to centuries of genetic modification since their ancestors left Earth. At best, we can say that Dessler looks to be 32 Earth years old, and has been on the throne for 103 Garmillas years.

Armaments Minister Talan states the Garmillas’ annexation policy has allowed for a quick and more decisive expansion of the empire by allowing those who submit to the empire to serve as second-class Garmillans rather than being destroyed. This statement draws a wicked grin from Gimleh.

[LC]: We start the introduction on a somewhat familiar face with a very familiar name, Armaments Minister Velte Talan, a character with a complex story in terms of production. The name Talan is immediately recognized by Yamato fans as Dessler’s loyal second in command, starting in Yamato 2 and remaining by his side for most of the remaining saga. He did appear in the first series, but was redesigned for Yamato 2 to such a degree that if he wasn’t identified as Talan in Series 1, you’d believe them to be different characters. As usual with 2199, this design disparity was addressed and explained in a most elegant way. How? As we can see, Velte’s design closely resembles his Series 1 counterpart. The explanation will come in a couple of paragraphs. 😀

[LC]: The painting used in this scene caused quite a bit of ruckus when it first appeared, many believing it would be a part of a Garmillas history lesson. Alas, the painting itself is not much more than a glorified screensaver. The image of the painting seem to refer to a link shared by Garmillas and their still-unnamed neighbor planet (you know the one).

The Garmillan in the painting might be Dessler’s uncle, Erik Van Dessler, who united the noble houses of Garmillas under the banner of the Grand-Duchy of Garmillas, which would then evolve into the Great Garmillas Empire. As for the woman, she might be an ancestor of Starsha – maybe even her mother – or Starsha herself. Another hypothesis, somewhat supported by the 3rd TV broadcast’s credit scroll, is that those are artistic renditions of Dessler and Starsha themselves. Unfortunately, not much more is known.

A thunderous voice fills the room. Herm Zoellick, Inspector-General of the Central Army, manages to surpass even Hyss in his blatant praise and deification of the Leader. Admiral Gul Dietz, commander of the Garmillas Astrofleets, cuts him off, cautioning him that arrogance is a mistake and that their enemies mustn’t be underestimated. Zoellick is not pleased and asks if Dietz is calling him arrogant, undermining the power of Garmillas.

[LC]: We’re now presented with the two major players in terms of the Garmillas military forces. Herm Zoellick is the commander of Garmillas’ armies, a loud, arrogant, power-hungry man who you immediately distrust. Admiral Gul Dietz, commander of the Garmillas Astro-Fleets, is his polar opposite: a calm and tempered man who measures his words and his actions and has a more strategic vision of Garmillas’ situation. He may command the fleets that have laid waste to Earth, but you just like the guy.

[DG]: Mmmm… Ham. (Homer Simpson)

Herm Zoellick appears for the first time, and with voice actor Norio Wakamoto, one of the biggest hams in Japanese voice acting. Over-the-top theatrics like this are par for the course in roles “The Norio” brings to life (such as Anderson in Hellsing Ultimate).

Zoellick’s character design reminds me of Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering, who we previously attributed part-characterization to Goer; that is, the part thought incompetent and loathed by his peers and subordinates. Zoellick is physically much like Goering, arrogant and obviously disliked at a professional level by the likes of Admiral Dietz. I’d say that Dahl Histenberger (who is seen in both images above) is also disdained by his theatrics, but he looks equally unimpressed by Dietz. That or he’s stoned – he doesn’t look all that lucid to me.

Dietz dismisses Zoellick’s statement and passes the word to one of his subordinates, Ghader Talan. He describes the current situation on the Small Magellanic Galaxy front, where a “tribe of barbarians” has been putting up quite a fight, though Garmillas has maintained the upper hand and they expect to eliminate the enemy soon.

[LC]: Now there’s the face we associate with the Talan name. Instead of choosing one of the disparate designs or coming up with some strange explanation for it, 2199 took the simplest of solutions. Instead of a single character, they made two brothers.

Dietz says he has dispatched Senior General Domel to put a end to the situation. Dessler is pleased, showing total confidence in the achievements of the renowned “Space Wolf”. Zoellick is visibly not happy with this turn of events.

[DG]: Seems there’s already a dislike of Domel on Zoellick’s part. Domel’s leadership is perhaps counterproductive to some of Zoellick’s ambitions?

Dessler announces that he has prepared some entertainment for the evening. Celestella describes the content of said entertainment, a live video feed from the front lines. Gimleh questions the reason why, but is quick to recant when Celestella says Dessler himself is behind the plan they are about to see unfold. Dessler announces “the game” will now begin.

[LC]: Here we meet Heydom Gimleh, commander of the Imperial Guard Information Office, basically the Garmillas version of Nazi Germany’s SS. Among his office’s duties are intelligence gathering, espionage and oversight of Dessler’s personal guard. This unit possesses its own independent fleet, separate from the main astrofleet under Dietz’s command. Their dark blue ships are used to great effect by Gimleh, as we shall see in a few episodes.

And finally, back to Yamato. Yuki is in the rear observation dome, staring out into the stars. She looks at the mysterious golden device in her hands. Yuria Misaki’s voice comes through the PA system, quoting lyrics from “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

In the lab, Kaoru Niimi is going over an Izumo Project file regarding the Gliese 581 solar system. Misaki closes her YRA transmission for the day when she sees Hoshina waiting for her outside. She does not look pleased.

[DG]: This is not the first time we’ve seen this map of Gliese 581’s planetary system in the show; Niimi was looking at it in Episode 7. Gliese 581 is the astronomical flavor of recent years, given the detection of planets orbiting it, and the ensuing debate about just how many planets orbit the star. The map itself shows planets b, c, d, e, and g, while 581f is seen in the legend on the top left of screen. While it is generally considered that b, c, and e are confirmed to exist, the existence of d, g, and f have either been ruled as stellar activity or have not been fully verified. Gliese 581 is also a much smaller system than our own, as this comparison map from 2010 shows. Even with the debated/discredited planets included, its outermost planet barely makes it past Venusian orbit in comparison.

[LC]: In this scene we see Niimi wearing a jacket. Though it seems to be part of the uniform, Niimi is the only character seen wearing one of these if memory serves me.

She wonders if its OK for him to be waiting for her, but he claims that he’s off duty. He tries to strike up a conversation by mentioning a mystery that’s been going around Yamato, about a door that never opens and rumors that the ghost of a beautiful woman is inside. She leaves him speechless by saying she used to see things like that all the time back on Earth.

[LC]: Misaki and Hoshina’s relationship seems to move at a slow pace in the anime. In the manga, Hoshina had already stolen first base by now, albeit dressed in a maid costume.

On the bridge, Ota announces Yamato is about eight light-years from Earth, traversing the Sirius system. Sanada says Yamato will be jumping 12 light-years in its next space warp, all the way to Gliese 581. Okita notices this will be their last chance to see Earth through Yamato‘s VLBI telescope and asks Sanada to display the image on the main screen.

[DG]: While the Sirius system is 8.6 light-years from Earth, the notion that a 12.6 light-year warp would take them to Gliese 581 is highly inaccurate. Gliese 581 is 20.6 light-years from Earth in the constellation Libra, and Sirius (the “Dog Star”) is unsurprisingly in the constellation Canis Major (the “Big Dog”). These stars are considerably distant from each other, as confirmed by the Celestia software program. By using the feature to travel to Sirius (which is in fact a binary star system) and then Gliese 581, the distance between the two is calculated as over 26 light-years. For those interested in verifying the calculation and/or understanding how such calculations are made, you can check out this site, and plug in the numbers found in the Wikipedia entries for Gliese 581 and Sirius.

I guess we have to put this one down to being one of those times accuracy is being sacrificed for the sake of the story.

The image of a blue Earth appears, looking exactly as it did before the Garmillas planet bombs devastated it. Okita urges them to take a good look at that image, since that is the Earth they’re fighting to reclaim. He orders Shima to begin warp procedures as he takes a long, nostalgic look at the blue Earth.

[LC]: The basis for this scene is scientifically sound and takes place every single day of our lives. Every time we look at object, we’re actually seeing an image of that object in the past. Of course, for everything around us that look back in time is so minute as to be nearly nonexistant. But as objects move further away, this difference increases.

If you could see a friend waving at you at a rough distance of 300km, you would actually see him wave 1/1000 of a second after he had done it. Sol, our local star, shines brightly above us, but we see it as it was over eight minutes ago. Every time we look at the night sky, each celestial object is a snapshot of a different moment in time. So if you could see the Earth from eight light-years away, you would see it as it looked eight years before. Pretty cool that they weaved that into the narrative.

Unbeknownst to them, Le Chavalier is tracking Yamato, watching as it warps out. Ganz orders his men to identify its jump coordinates when the comms officer reports that a Garmillas resupply ship is requesting a rendezvous.

[LC]: Since they’re already eight light-years away from Earth, Yamato made at least one warp between Episode 7 and this one. That aside, this is the first onscreen warp since Episode 3. Though the visual depiction is greatly compressed, the rest of the visual cues are all there.

[LC]: In the manga, these early scenes aboard Le Chevalier are mixed in with the “goodbye to Earth” scenes. This scene in particular starts a bit differently, with Ganz having a flashback to his youth on Zaltz. He runs through a forest with a female friend. As he reaches the edge of the forest he’s startled by the image of a massive Garmillas strip-mining complex. A curious thing in the mining rig is the presence of several devices, easily identified by longtime fans as “drill missiles” which, in 2199, is actually a modified asteroid mining projectile. (Michio Murakawa planting seeds for the future.)

Shulz is in his cabin. He looks at his daughter’s hologram and apologizes to it for having been forced into a fight to the death due to his failure at Pluto. Ganz informs him the resupply ship sent by Goer has arrived, giving the Zaltz general a glimmer of hope.

In the manga, we actually get to see this resupply ship. Its design is an updated version of the Gamilas tanker seen in the original Episode 18, sent by Dessler to planet Beemera to collect “Royal Bee Jelly.”

[DG]: The arrival of this supply ship raises a lot of questions. Where did this ship come from? When did it leave its base? How long would it take to reach Shulz’s location? Was the Dessler Torpedo (about to be mentioned) deployed for some kind of testing long before it was rerouted here?

Assuming that it had left Garmillas immediately after the fall of their Pluto base, it arrived at the cusp of the solar system in eighteen Earth days. Although we have yet to learn why (we will in future episodes), the majority of this time would be taken up traversing the rim of the Milky Way galaxy. This has implies that any ship in the 120-plus fleet we saw at Operation M could have flown in from Balan in the time it took for Okita’s fleet to fly out from Earth.

In Dessler’s throne room, Goer is groveling to Dessler and thanking him for being given command of this operation. A visibly annoyed Dessler asks him what has become of the cargo he sent. Goer reports that the new torpedo – which Celestella quickly identifies as the “Dessler Torpedo” – has been delivered to the front lines.

[LC]: Although they did away with the “Dessler Mines”, they still kept the running gag of having new stuff named after Dessler. Hence the “Dessler torpedo.”

Yamato warps out at Gliese 581, 20.4 light-years from Earth. In his cabin, Okita is being examined by Doctor Sado for ill effects brought on by the warp. He finds none, but warns the captain to be careful. Niimi knocks on the door as Doctor Sado and nurse Makoto are about to leave.

[LC]: Much like the warp-in sequence, the warp-out stays faithful to the first one, only slightly faster.

There is quite a difference in setting the story at Gliese 581 instead of Betelgeuse, most specifically one of distance. As mentioned by Sanada, Gliese 581 is 20.4 light-years from Earth while Betelgeuse is over 6,000 light-years away.

[DG]: About the only thing Betelgeuse and Gliese 581 have in common is their red color. The former is a Red Giant/Supergiant, between 5 and 30 times Sol’s mass, on the verge of going supernova and a rogue star hurtling through space. The latter is a Red Dwarf, around a third of the Sun’s mass.

The manga version of Okita seems to have gone to hell and back. The captain’s chest is covered in scars. In the original, this examination took place later in the episode after Kodai fires the interceptor torpedos. More on that later.

Niimi asks if she has come at a bad time, but Okita tells her it’s fine and asks why she’s there. Niimi tells him there is a planet in the Gliese 581 system that is suitable for colonization, and she wants permission to form an expedition. When Okita tells her they don’t have time, Niimi agrees but tries to convince him that they must explore all options that can help humanity to survive.

Okita quickly realizes Niimi’s motivations and tells her the Izumo Plan was scrapped. Before Niimi can rebuff his remark, the ship is rocked by an energy discharge on the port side. Some of the electronics on the ship are knocked out by a powerful charged-particle wave-motion.

[DG]: Niimi can’t seem to let the Izumo Plan go. Whether that’s out of a personal conviction that this was the more probable option, or out of some loyalty to General Serizawa, one can only guess.

It makes me wonder what percentage of the population the Izumo Plan intended to save. Would they somehow move all surviving people from Earth, or just enough to form a genetically viable population? To me it seems a lot of things could go wrong with the Izumo Plan, first and foremost not finding a suitable planet. There’s the same possibility of running into Garmillas ships, needing enough resources to establish a colony, and if the plan was to send as many as possible, time to make enough round trips should a suitable world be found.

This latter factor brings in the unanswered questions regarding how far and how frequently Yamato could safely warp due to strains on both the engine and the hull. A short distance like 20 light-years is nothing, as we see most of that traversed in one jump, but the frequency of jumps even at this stage of the journey are still largely unknowns.

In the end, the Yamato Plan plan was considered more likely to succeed, which involved a round trip journey of 336,000 light-years into another galaxy and running into hostile aliens against insane odds.

Sanada reports the ship ran into a hyper-dense plasma filament field, streams of plasma emitted by stars, or as Sanada simplifies, a solar storm. Yamato has run into the edge of one of these streams. Upon further analysis, Sanada believes the plasma streams to be artificial due to the unusually high values of the Birkeland currents.

[DG]: This is a more scientific way of explaining the “Space Net” used in the original Episode 12.

Goer continues to express his admiration of the Leader’s plan, impressed by how Dessler predicted Yamato would go to that particular system. Dessler says it amused him to analyze the ship’s course and theorize its next stop, and that the fun is just beginning. He proposes a toast to cheer their Terron friends on.

This prompts an unwelcome reaction from Dotem Gelhen, the Food Production Management Director. Visibly drunk, he laughs loudly, comments on how hilarious Dessler’s statement is, and says the Leader enjoys a good joke. Dessler is disgusted by this reaction and activates a hidden key in his throne.

The floor beneath the unfortunate minister opens and he disappears from view in front of the shocked command staff. Coldly, Dessler simply states that Garmillas has no use for such disgusting men. The commanders salute him.

[LC]: Although the demise of Dotem Gelhen seems to be taken pretty much verbatim from the original, there are two minor differences. In the original the guy wasn’t drunk, he was just a loudmouth. Also, he had no mustache. However, just like his 1974 counterpart, this Dessler seems to have a drop chute prepared for everyone in the room.

Sanada manages to get all systems up and running, but cautions against further contact with the plasma corridor. Okita orders him to find a weak point that allows them passage, just before recoiling in pain. Yuki finds a weak spot at three o’clock but the radar console gives a sudden alert. There’s a gravity distortion to their rear, indicating a warp-out.

[DG]: The marked difference in how Garmillas ships Getschtam/Warp-out compared to Yamato is fascinating. While Yamato emerges from warp space encased in ice, which promptly shatters, Garmillas ships have a very fast barrel-roll as they exit the wormhole. This doesn’t seem to have any effect on the crew, possibly due to inertial dampening. This is in stark contrast to what we see in Ark of the Stars, where Gatlantis ships actually need vernier thrusters to stabilize them upon warping out.

Le Chevalier emerges from hyperspace and the Dessler torpedo is quickly fired at Yamato. Yuki tracks it and Kodai prepares to fire countermeasures. The seconds until it reaches their defensive range go by, but the captain remain silent, still clutching his chest.

[LC]: The Dessler-type torpedo’s technical designation is [Ng„ɪFi-01(d)] in the way of German ammunition. The intention is that the Garmillas word for prototype torpedo is “Nahdengio fiese”. The (d) at the end is for Dessler. For weapons of the German military, the indicator (p) stood for Dr. Porsche.

Oblivious of Okita’s condition, Kodai waits for the order. With the torpedo about to breach their defensive perimeter, he calls out to the captain. Okita momentarily regains his composure and gives the order to fire. Three torpedos are launched and obliterate the target.

[LC]: This scene maintains 2199’s more level-headed portrayal of Kodai. In the original, he opens fire when Okita fails to issue the order. We can debate wether or not he would have done here so if Okita hadn’t regained his composure, but the fact that he waits for it is quite a change.

[DG]: Okita regaining his senses enough to issue the order comes as a necessity, since they don’t have time (with all the episodes they’re jamming into one) to follow up with the scene in Okita’s cabin. Plus, it’s already established that Okita’s illness is known to those who need to know; Hijikata and Sado know at the very least, and by extension it’s possible that Yuki and Makoto know it as well).

Yuki comfirms the hit and Kodai sighs in relief. But it’s short-lived as another contact emerges from the impact point. An eerie, dark gas cloud expands, revealing the true power of the Dessler torpedo. Shulz is baffled by the image before him, which is relayed to the Imperial Command.

Zoellick is the first among the surprised command staff to ask what the mass is. Celestella explains it is composed of an autonomous, self-replicating, gas-based life form originating from the Mirbelia System. The organisms are capable of absorbing and converting any material energy, allowing it to expand indefinitely; the ultimate chemical weapon. Dessler is pleased, saying he has thrown a cat into the rat trap.

The gas heads toward Yamato, its energy levels rising as it absorbs the energy from the plasma filaments. Upon observing this, Sanada quickly understands the threat. Zoellick says Yamato is indeed a trapped rat and that they just need to wait for the cat to kill it. But Dessler cryptically responds that he has left a way out for Yamato.

[DG]: Mmm.. Extra Ham…

Okita asks Shima if they can break through the weak spot Yuki detected earlier. Shima believes they can, but Ota discovers that heading will take them straight into Gliese 581. Dessler’s choice for Yamato: to be absorbed by the gas or destroyed by the fires of Gliese. Dessler wonders if they might find another way out, an idea promptly dismissed by Hyss, who praises the perfection of his lord’s plan.

[DG]: Two observations here. (1) Dessler refers to a Red Dwarf star as a “giant star”, when it is smaller than our own sun (had this still been Betelgeuse, this would have been an appropriate description). (2) Does he genuinely believe that there’s a possibility Yamato will find another way to survive, or is he just postulating this for kicks? At this stage of the series, at least, I believe Dessler to be a rational thinker. My view is that while he believes his plan has a high chance of success, there are no guarantees.

Kodai sees no way out of their situation, but Okita orders Shima to head toward the star at full speed. Kodai asks if he intends to ram the star, but Shima executes the captain’s order and the gas cloud follows suit. Dessler believes the Terrons have decided to commit suicide by fire and smugly applauds their decision.

Temperatures rise quickly both outside and inside the ship, the environmental control systems unable to moderate them. Sanada suggests activating the Wave-Motion Shields but Okita says there’s no need, ordering the use of environmental suits and to keep energy expenditure to a minimum as they advance. As Yamato approaches Gliese’s sea of fire, he orders the bulkheads sealed.

Okita checks on Le Chevalier’s position. Yuki tells him the ship is following at a safe distance from the gas. Just as Okita tells Yuki to keep an eye on it, a sharp pain makes him recoil and clutch his chest. Yuki hears a noise behind her and is horrified to see the captain collapsed over his console.

Doctor Sado runs to the bridge with Makoto in tow, trying to make him put on his environmental suit. When Sado gets there, the captain seems to have recomposed himself and is putting his suit on with Yuki’s assistance. Sado looks at the inferno on the main screen and orders the ship to be turned around, asking if they’re trying to get the captain killed.

[LC]: Another near verbatim scene – Sado rushing to the bridge with nurse in tow. The major difference is that here the nurse was the lovely Makoto while in the original it was probably one of the weirdest characters to pass through the first series. Check the original Episode 12 commentary for more details on that.

Okita calms him down, saying everything is okay and that his old wounds are just bothering him a little. Sado knows this is a lie but keeps up appearances for the crew’s sake. As he gives the captain a nutrient injection, he puts on his pissed-off face and warns Okita that he was asked to keep him alive – but the captain has to follow his orders. His condition is serious. Okita is all too aware…

[LC]: Sado and Okita’s dialogue mirrors the original’s examination scene. The shift is that in the original we get the sense Doctor Sado was mostly unaware of the captain’s condition. Here, he’s been watching out for him from the start. A welcome change in this scene is that when Sado takes Okita’s pulse, Okita’s arm is still not covered in the space suit. The original Doctor Sado must have had quite sensitive hands to be able to feel the captain’s pulse through both his suit and Okita’s.

Ota detects a solar prominence ahead of them and Shima steers clear of it. Yuki reports a change in the gas cloud. Upon contact with the solar flare, the gas tries to absorb it… but it’s too much. Sanada realizes Okita had predicted this outcome. Eventually, the cloud is burned off by the sea of fire. Dessler is not pleased.

Even though what just happened is not in any way his fault, Shulz holds himself together while being berated by Goer over the failure of the operation. Fed up with Goer’s disrespectful rant, Ganz simply shuts the comms channel off. Shulz shares a complicit look with his first officer before taking the matter of Yamato’s destruction into his own hands. His crew salutes him in support of his decision.

[LC]: Both Ganz and Shulz received a tremendous overhaul in 2199, as we have mentioned before. Now that they have come to the end of their journey, it’s good to see the trend continue. These final moments really bring the concept home, completing the transformation from villainous buffoons to fully-fleshed-out characters I ended up caring for. I really hoped they wouldn’t meet their demise in this new continuity, but alas, that was not to be. At least they meet their end in a much more poignant way.

Ota detects a massive flare in Yamato’s path. Its sheer size and the ship’s speed and trajectory make it impossible to dodge in time. Undeterred, Okita orders Shima to stay on course and Kodai to prepare the Wave-Motion Gun. Though initially confused by the order, Kodai starts the procedure with Nanbu’s assistance.

Yuki spots Le Chevalier moving into attack position. Though threatened by enemy fire, Okita tells the crew to disregard them. With only ten seconds to avoid disaster, Kodai manages to finish firing procedures. The Wave-Motion Gun comes to life and the beam tears a large passage through the flare.

[LC]: Le Chevalier’s attack on Yamato is a bit bigger in the manga version, but between the beams being distorted by the star’s gravity and the use of the Wave-Motion Shields, it doesn’t yield better results.

A curious fact is that much like the warp sequences, not only is the Wave-Motion Gun firing sequence condensed, both this is only its second appearance since Episode 3.

Yamato speeds through as the emerging plasma begins to close the gap, clearing it just in time. The pursuing Le Chevalier is not as lucky. The outer hull temperature exceeds maximum limits, and with the alarms blaring the dreadnaught begins to disintegrate.

Eventually, the gap in the flare closes around them. As his men salute their home planet Zaltz, Shulz closes his eyes and remembers his wife and daughter… one last time. The next second, Le Chevalier is obliterated by the sea of fire, as Yamato speeds away.

[DG]: And so we bid farewell to Shulz and Ganz in this incarnation of Yamato. Which was a more ignominious end, this one, or the original? In any case, this time we saw that they were more than just “villains of the week”, and their loss would be mourned by others.

[LC]: Shulz and Ganz’s deaths in the manga are a bit more elaborate. With their ship going up in flames, there’s an explosion on the bridge with Ganz taking a big hit. He eventually dies from his massive injuries while Shulz holds his hand. Soon after, they’re both engulfed in fire as Le Chevalier is destroyed.

The video link to Dessler’s palace is broken. The stunned Goer tries to pass the responsibility for this defeat to Shulz and get off scot free. Fortunately for him, Dessler simply disconnects the comms link. Though things didn’t go his way, Dessler says it was a splendid battle and quite an entertaining game.

[LC]: Goer’s expressions are always a delight.

He orders Hyss to award a two-rank promotion to Shulz and his men, and to give their families honorary Garmillan status. Dessler says goodnight to his commanders, but before he leaves he asks Celestella to remind him of the Terron ship’s name. She tells him it’s called Yamato, a name Dessler intends to remember in the future.

[LC]: Good to see Dessler’s generous side.

Velte Talan is pensive. When Celestella asks him what’s wrong, he says the weapon used by Yamato to break through the flare seems quite similar to a prototype that Weapons Development is working on. Ghader seems troubled by this, but Celestella dismisses it.

[LC]: Another thing 2199 does quite well is to plant seeds for future events. Here we get our first hint that Garmillas is also developing Wave-Motion Energy-based WMDs. Better than just having one pop out of nowhere, say, near the end of the story.

[DG]: To me, this is a little more than establishing that the Dessler Gun doesn’t just come out of left field later on, but was in development at the time we are first made aware of it. Keep in mind that this is the first time they’ve become aware of Yamato having the Wave-Motion Gun.

Yamato speeds away from the Gliese 581 system. Yuki is once again on the observation deck, sending a silent prayer, perhaps to those who lost their lives in the previous battle. On the PA, Misaki quotes another verse from “When You Wish Upon a Star”. Kodai comes in, but leaves Yuki alone in her thoughts as Yamato continues its long journey.

[DG]: At least this time there’s no explicit “it was for a certain someone to fall in love with me” line as in Star Blazers, which is a somewhat cringe-worthy line for me when I watch it these days. Courtesy of the Yuki backstory and the uncertainty of her identity, she could be wishing for a number of things: a safe completion of the mission or answers about herself come to mind.

Some things are better left unsaid. It makes you think and wonder, and then see if anything comes of it later in the series.

[LC]: Another sign of the more mature Kodai – in the original when Yuki refuses to tell him what she wished for and runs off, Kodai gives chase. Here, seeing that she is having an “alone moment”, he leaves her to her prayer. Wether you prefer this or the more playful original, one thing is for sure: Kodai is all grown up.

PREVIEW:

Garmilloids are the Garmillas’ vanguard. Are the words spoken by the one we captured the truth, or falsehood? Does the answer lie beyond communication between machines? What is a person? What is a machine? And, what is a heart?

Next time: The Clockwork Prisoner.

There are 339 days left before humanity becomes extinct.

RELATED LINKS:

Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Chapter 3 Trailer

Episode 8 credits

Screenplay: Sadayuki Murai
Storyboard: Keiichi Sasajima, Yutaka Izubuchi
Director: Yasushi Murotani
Chara Animation Director: Shirohoka Shibata
Chara Chief Animation Director Assistant: Mitsuru Ishihara
Chara Chief Animation Director: Akihisa Maeda
Mecha Chief Animation Director: Masanori Nishii

Series credits

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

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

3 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 8 commentary

  1. After Dessler’s speech, does he actually refer to the masses specifically as “humans,” or is the Japanese term used in dialogue the equivalent of the more generic word “people”? I don’t understand Japanese at all, but it seems a bit unusual for him to refer to Garmillons and other non-humans as “humans”–and if he did, it would be strange for a Garmillon to not use the word “Terron” instead. Thanks in advance!

    • That is actually a good question. The subs read “humans”, translating the word “ningen”, which is what Desler says in the dialogue. But i thing “people”, as in “the people, the populace” would have been a better translation. Though i do believe it is meant to show how Desler places himself above everyone else, deifying himself, as if he believes himself to be above normal humans, in an almost godlike way.

      Also, “human” isn’t used as in “human race” or “Earthlings” (which would be “Terron-jin””), but rather as in “human beings”, which is what garmillons are, much like us. Human is being used as a blanket term.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *