Yamato 2199 Episode 18 Commentary

by Luis Cotovio and Daniel George

Episode 18: Over the Black Light

(Japanese Name: 昏き光を越えて / Kuraki Hikari o Koete)

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

  • (Cinema/Home Video): Uchuu Senkan Yamato by Isao Sasaki
  • (TV): Fight For Liberty by Uverworld

Ending Theme:

  • (Cinema/Home Video): Steady as She Goes! Across the Sea of Stars by Hironobu Kageyama
  • (TV): No ending song as episode was part of a double feature with episode 19

[DG]: This episode starts on May 14, 2199 (mission Day 92) with 273 days left on the clock. Two days have passed since the start of the last episode the time it took to finally arrive at the gate, infiltrate and activate it, and then prep for Shinohara’s recon mission.

Yamato nears the recently activated Beemela system subspace gate. Nanbu comments on Balun being on the other side and recalls it being referred to as a lighthouse. Ota confirms that’s what they believed it to be. Shima says it was quite a surprise that Balun is actually a hub station for the warp network. Ota says the positive side is that now they can head straight through into the Large Magellanic Cloud.

[LC]: As the closing installment of Chapter 5, this episode is the most well-balanced of the lot. It has strong action pieces like 15, while still allowing enough time to tie up some loose ends like 16 and 17. Also, as the 2199 version of the original Episode 20, it has big shoes to fill.

Very little is actually left from that original episode, except for depicting Yamato’s arrival on Balun and the ensuing confrontation with the Garmillan fleet. But that is a minor inconvenience required to resolve those aforementioned plot points, set up the stage for Chapter 6 and address what was a major flaw in the original – why there is nearly no opposition against Yamato at the heart of the Garmillan Empire. Lets go.

Shima isn’t so optimistic, since the gates are controlled by the enemy. Ota is forced to agree. Nanbu says that the biggest surprise was Misaki and the revelation that she was possessed by Yurisha. A worried Aihara wonders if she’ll be able to return to normal while an apprehensive Yuki looks up, as if trying to look through the structures that separate the main bridge from the captain’s cabin, where an impromptu meeting is taking place.

[DG]: Aihara’s question is a valid one. After all, from what we know, this is uncharted territory for human biologists and physicians. Will there be any lasting effects on Misaki once Yurisha ceases possessing her?

[LC]: My feelings about the main staff’s reaction to Misaki’s “possession” are somewhat mixed. On the one hand, they (especially Nanbu) refused the notion that Yuki might be an alien. But now they’re quick to accept something as outlandish as a comatose alien they only recently learned about being able to take over someone’s mind and body. I understand the need to advance the plot, but a little skepticism would have felt more appropriate.

Okita has gathered Yuri(sh)a, Sanada, Kodai and Hoshina to assess the situation. Sanada reports that with Yuri(sh)a’s help, they managed to get the gate control system back online. Okita thanks her for her cooperation. Coldly, she tells him to show her gratitude with actions rather than words.

[DG]: Another reminder that this whole journey is a test. A test of resolve and a test of character. I perceive Yuri(sh)a’s voice as neutral rather than cold, as if trying to stress that her role is that of an observer rather than an ally.

[LC]: I don’t know… maybe it’s the fact she’s in a coma and has to inhabit a tiny human’s body, but at this point Yurisha is not just a bit cold, she’s downright unpleasant. Could it be because of her role as an observer, as you say? Maybe. But if we compare it to her tone after she gets out of the coma, it’s like night and day. She is still in the same role, but she’s not just warmer, she borderlines on Makoto levels of ditziness. Especially if we throw her behavior in Episode 14 into the mix. A possible explanation is that her discovery of the Wave-Motion Gun in Episode 15 might have contributed to a change in attitude. Given the Iscandarians views on the use of their tech for war and all that, she may have closed off to these people that she barely knows, at least until she figures them out.

This issue of familiarity leads to another question, which I forgot to address at the end of the previous episode but is just as pertinent here. We’ve been told Yuki was Yurisha’s companion/guide back on Earth. Even in the small interaction they had, both in and out of Yuki’s mind during Episode 14, Yurisha seemed quite friendly around Yuki. Given all that, shouldn’t Yuki be chaperoning her now? Sure, she may be pissed about the whole WMD thing, but she might loosen up a bit around a more familiar face. But no… let’s keep Yuki on the bridge.

Hoshina has a worried look. Kodai takes notice as Sanada continues his report, saying a simplified version of the control system has been loaded onto the recently-obtained Czvarke. Okita says the mission will be dangerous and asks Kodai if a recon pilot has been selected. Kodai says Kato will make the choice and that he’ll notify Okita when the choice is made. Hoshina continues to observe Yuri(sh)a as she gazes at the portal and the meeting comes to an end.

[DG]: Reverse engineering the gate activation system to the point where they have a simplified version they can install into a Czvarke isn’t really a stretch. After all, it’s likely a simple transmission of radio waves (albeit likely in the form of an encrypted authentication code) to activate the gate, much like a remote garage door opener.

Nothing really surprising here with the appointment process, either, with Kodai showing that he leaves day-to-day running of the fighter squadron and decisions pertaining to its pilots to Kato for the most part. The only time we’ve ever seen him usurp Kato on a matter was Yamamoto’s assignment to the squadron.

In the pilot’s briefing room, Shinohara is surrounded by his friends, who tease him for having been chosen for the mission. Kato arrives and puts an end to it, telling them to scram. They leave, wishing Shino good luck. Kato tells him to try and relax before leaving.

[LC]: Even if it seems a bit over-the-top, I find Kato’s bit here quite funny. And his concern for his friend is a nice touch.

Shinohara sits alone in the room, looking determined. Suddenly he’s startled by a voice. Yamamoto is sitting in the top corner seat. She tells him she’s surprised, since volunteering for such a mission isn’t like him. She asks him what he was thinking.

[DG]: The top-down aspect shows us a 4×6 seating arrangement. This would mean a briefing would be able to seat 24 and likely have the Tactical Officer, the Squadron Leader and possibly his XO all up front, meaning up to 27 pilots would be comfortably accommodated.

If I recall correctly, this is the first time we see the entire seating area of the pilot briefing room in a single shot, confirming 24 seats, meaning there’s room for 23 Hayabusa pilots, one Zero pilot, with Kodai and Kato up front, were they using 26 manned fighters (Yamato launched with 32 Hayabusas, but a number of those are spares. So far they’ve lost two pilots and three planes, including the Hayabusa that Yamamoto totaled in her dogfight in Episode 11). I don’t recall any material which states how many pilots Yamato embarks with, just that there are 32 Hayabusas, 2 Cosmo Zeros, 2 Seagulls, 2 Type-100s, and the Stork (not seen until Ark of the Stars).

He smiles and recalls a time, back when he was still a trainee, when he saw one their fighters. He remembers thinking how beautiful it was, flying high overhead, so strong and noble. He thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. Later he learned it was a recon plane.

[DG]: It’s nice to see Shinohara getting some further backstory here. While we heard back in Episode 7 that Shinohara’s relationship with his father was bad and bordering on abusive, here he reveals to Yamamoto his motivation for volunteering for this mission. While Yamato 2199 didn’t get around to all of the characters’ backstories in equal amounts, more of them were woven into the storyline wherever possible. Kodai aside, few if any characters’ pasts were reflected on in the original series (Aihara being one notable exception) aside from sparse interaction with their families.

[LC]: Shinohara seems to be aboard a Type-100 in this flashback, though all we have to go on is the cockpit and some inner details. The recon plane is barely visible in the scene, but elevation sketches were made available in the production materials. The plane is designated Tactical Space Reconnaissance Aircraft SSR-91, nicknamed Cosmo Sparrow. (click the image above right for the designs)

He turns to Yamamoto, saying he wanted to be a recon pilot… but she’s no longer in her seat. He looks around and sees her coming down the stairs. She descends in silence, speaking only when she’s already at the bottom. She tells him a recon pilot’s job is to return, and that he should be sure to do so.

[DG]: There is just a tad bit of bravado/bragging/trying to impress Yamamoto going on here, methinks.

[LC]: The way Yamamoto says this line hints at a certain degree of personal knowledge. We were never told what her brother Akio’s assignment was when he was killed. All we know is that he was a close friend to Kato and Shinohara and we’ve been led to believe they were part of the same squadron. Either they were all part of a recon squadron at the time or Akio was part of one at some point.

Balun. The Goergamesh takes off to meet the Zoellegut II, which is about to come through the gate. Goer stands on the bridge, looking at the massive armada surrounding the planet. Above the planet, the blue diamond shaped structure that houses the Magellanic gate is bustling with activity.

[LC]: Interesting detail that we hadn’t been shown before: the landing platforms of the Balun base have elevators. Though we see nothing more than this, one can surmise that they resemble those of an aircraft carrier. The elevators lower the ships and then they’re carried inside the massive structure from which the platforms protrude, which acts like a gargantuan hangar for the fleet. This would explain how they turned the Domelaze III around between Episodes 13 and 15.

Even from the distance required for this shot encompassing the whole of Balun, we can see the sheer number of ships surrounding it, almost like a new ring. (click the image for the full size view)

[DG]: We hear the name of Goer’s ship, Goergamesh, for the first time in the series. Even the incompetents seem to get their ships named after their commanders in the Garmillas Navy. Celestella’s Shangri-la is the only ship under the command of a senior warlord or bureaucrat, whose name we hear, which isn’t named for their commander.

Nope. You’re forgetting Gimleh’s Killmenheim and Shultz’s Le Chevalier.

Radio dialogue in this scene mentions that “The Field Marshal will soon arrive.” All I can hear is, “the ham will be here in ten minutes.” Meanwhile, Goer’s trying to look consummately professional on the bridge of his ship…

The Zoellegut II bursts through the gate with its escorts and is soon met by the Goergamesh, observed by Vandevel and Zoellik. Goer arrives on the bridge, immediately committing to his usual sycophantic ways. He thanks Zoellik for coming to such an isolated location and tells him how honored he is that Zoellik decided to hold such a huge naval revue at Balun.

[DG]: We see Zoellegut II emerge from the gate, flanked to port by three Haizerad-class battleships. Again we see that the warp gates work completely differently from Garmillan Geschtam technology; no high-torque barrel roll upon exiting, unlike standard warp jumps by the Garmillas ships.

Goer, what happened to the stoic, professional look? Zoellik really isn’t that scary, is he?

[LC]: Nice detail of the Goergamesh’s retros firing. As far as I can recall we haven’t seen this in any of the Gaiderol-class or Haizerad-class ships prior to this.

He proceeds to announce that more ships are still gathering, before Zoellik finally cuts his diatribe off. He says the Empire is in greater peril than ever before and that it falls upon him to unite it. Even the usually obnoxious Goer is surprised by Zoellik’s theatrics.

[DG]: Is he seriously trying to out-ham The Norio? (Voice actor Norio Wakamoto) Really? Well, it looks like Norio’s having none of that.

This episode really should have a dietary advisory: “Contains large quantities of ham.”

[LC]: I always thought Goer was over-the-top theatrical at times. Guess he got that from his benefactor. And indeed, Zoellik cranks the theatricality and haminess all the way up to eleven in this one.

In Yamato’s hangar 3, Shinohara waves to his friends in the observation room. Yamamoto is shocked when Kato reveals that Shinohara’s mission has a time limit of three hours. He has to recon the target area and locate the Magellanic gate in that time. Kato tells her Shinohara agreed to this. If he doesn’t return in time, Yamato will assume the gate is unusable and leave as quickly as possible. The idea that they’ll leave as soon as the time runs out doesn’t sit well with Yamamoto. Her protest is interrupted by Shinohara who, using the call sign “Sword 3,” says he’s ready to launch.

[DG]: The “accomplish the mission and return in time or we’re leaving without you” is taken from Episode 18 of the original series, where if Kodai and Sanada hadn’t disarmed the satellite, Yamato was warping without them.

[LC]: Other than this hint at the original and trying to create some tension, the whole 180-minute countdown is one of the those things the episode might be better off without. First, why have a countdown? The rationale seems to be that if Shinohara doesn’t make it back in that time, two main things might have happened. He was either incapable of navigating through the subspace network and was probably destroyed, or was somehow discovered by the Garmillas and captured.

The first might indicate a failure in their reverse-engineered control system. The second might preclude an impending enemy incursion to Beemela to discover the source of the spy Czvarke. All well and good but…

In either case, the randomness of the time allotted is just silly. Shino might take a bit more to come back and end up being abandoned. This doesn’t mean they should just wait indefinitely, but still, they’ve never done this before. Even with Yurisha’s knowledge, they would have little to no idea of how long it might take. The same is valid for the argument of the impending enemy attack. If the Garmillas do indeed track them, will they wait three hours to attack? Is this supposed to be like the “5-second rule”? Depending on how you look at it, three hours is either too little or way too long.

But the major problem isn’t even the premise or the randomness. Chock those down to (a) the aforementioned necessity to create tension and (b) the homage to a plot point from the original. The main problem here is one of presentation. Let’s focus on that as it progresses.

We start here at launch time. Shinohara has 180 minutes on the clock.

Looking at his friends, Shinohara pulls the improvised Garmillas visor down as the cockpit closes, saying he’ll be back soon. The Czvarke is hauled outside and in seconds, it blasts off, heading for the gate. The clock is ticking. Shinohara strains under the powerful thrust but regains control and speeds toward the gate. SID announces Phase One has started.

[DG]: No sign of a Seagull or either of the Type-100’s; in order to accommodate the Czvarke, they must have been stored in the starboard hangar.

[LC]: The improvised cosplaying provides a funny detail and it might be useful if he comes across any enemy fighters. Remember Episode 10, when Yamamoto watched Melda inside her Czvarke’s cockpit? This might be far from perfect, but close enough to fool any enemy pilots in a similar situation.

As the Czvarke crosses the gate’s event horizon, Yuki reports they’ve lost Sword 3’s physical signal and that it has become isolated from normal space. Sanada asks Shima to give him the plans for navigation through the gate, in case they decide to go through. Okita says that as soon as time expires, they’ll leave the area without waiting for Sword 3. Kodai looks apprehensively through the bridge windows.

Shinohara finds himself inside a stormy-looking dimension, surrounded by swirling pillars of energy. As he says how crazy this place looks, he spots a group of Garmillas ships above him just before they fade away from view. He checks the ship’s instruments but they’re all inoperable. Only the makeshift guidance system is working, guiding him toward the Balun gate. And the looming countdown clock, showing him time slipping away. 152 minutes to go.

[DG]: Here we have our first look inside the Akerian warp lanes. They are completely different from what we’ve seen of both warp space as used by Yamato, or the subspace pockets as used by UX-01. A maze of what appear to be electromagnetic vortexes, unlike Yamato’s usual warp patterns, these lanes require active navigation to successfully get through.

This scene reminds me a lot of Kodai’s attempt in original Episode 14 to navigate the Octopus Star Storm (with Wildstar demanding the safe passage he intends to find be called the Wildstar Channel in Star Blazers).

[LC]: I think the stormy look of this environment is another bit to create tension. If this was such a dangerous place to navigate, I doubt it would be in such wide use by the Garmillas. No matter how much it cuts the travel time, it probably wouldn’t be worth it if it costs you part of your fleet. And so far we haven’t had any hints that this network is dangerous at all. So this is probably just for show and tension. But this can pass since we’re seeing it through the eyes of Shinohara and, as far as he knows, this place is as dangerous as it looks.

It’s interesting that we see more Garmillas ships traveling in a higher lane. Is this the proper path of the Garmillas fleet and they’re negotiating an unmapped portion of the warp space to avoid detection?

At the end of this scene the countdown clock is just under 152 minutes. So, about 28 minutes have passed since take off. And yet, the whole scene is Shinohara reacting to entering this subspatial dimension. Even if we allow a couple of minutes of travel time from Yamato to the gate’s event horizon, that would mean Shinohara was so gobsmacked by the spectacle around him it took him over 20 minutes to verbalize. Then, it took the sight of a group of Garmillas ships for him to realize all standard instruments were useless. Anything wrong with this scenario?! From what we observe, he should only be in there for a couple of minutes. Tops.

Back at Yamato, Yamamoto wonders about Shino’s call sign. Kato says it was Shinohara’s choice, revealing it was once used by the 343rd Squadron and that he never expected to hear it again, especially way out in space. As she clutches her brother’s pendant, Yamamoto recalls how he always said it was part of a recon pilot’s job to return, but… she stops, implying that he didn’t. Kato heads for the door, confidently stating Shinohara will be fine and will make it back. Most definitely. Yamamoto remains alone, silently waiting…

[DG]: So, was Shinohara a member of 343 Squadron back in the day when Akio Yamamoto was a member?

[LC]: I always assumed Akio was the one in the 343rd Squadron and that that was his call sign. Shinohara used it to honor his friend – and probably to get in Yamamoto’s good graces. As to weather or not Shinohara was part of it… who knows?

I think it’s reasonable to assume that Akio failed to return from a reconnaissance mission.

Yeah, they’ve been less than subtle in that reference. The dialogue has been clearly steering us to that conclusion.

The clock shows a little over 142 minutes when SID announces they’re approaching their exit gate. The automatic systems engage Phase 2 and SID warns Shinohara to brace for shock. He gasps in disbelief as the Czvarke heads straight into one of the swirling vortexes, being swept away by the energy torrent.

[LC]: The flight seems to be controlled by SID via the jury-rigged control system (or vice-versa). Destination appears to be pre-established and the Czvarke is just flying toward it. Makes sense as even a top pilot like Shinohara would probably be unable to navigate such a featureless space. The system might need some tweaks, especially when it comes to making a proper exit. And they might take the time to fix the spelling of the word “BORTEX.”

The countdown is at 142 minutes, 32 seconds when SID commences Phase 2. So it took 37 minutes, 28 seconds to travel from Beemela to Balun. Keep that in mind for later.

So far, the major problem was having such a large length of time elapse in the first scene. They could have easily set the clock at just a few minutes in that one and the same 142 minutes in this one and it would have worked better. But now comes the really messy bit.

At Balun, traffic controllers give navigation orders to the arriving squadrons, guiding them to their designated positions for the naval review. Amidst one of the arriving squadrons, an extra fighter comes rushing out of the gate, spinning out of control. Although strained, Shinohara manages to regain control and stabilize the Czvarke.

[LC]: This scene marks the first time the Milky Way gate appears on screen. Its Magellanic sibling got center stage until now. But curiously, the Milky Way gate was the first to appear, even before the subspace gate network concept was presented in the series. When Chapter 4 premiered in theaters, promotional leaflets featuring the poster/Blu-Ray cover for Chapter 5 were also released. As you know, that illustration features Domel and Elisa, with Balun and a vast fleet serving as backdrop. The Milky Way gate is also depicted, though at the time we still didn’t know what it was.

When the Balun gates finally appeared in Episode 13 it was the Magellanic gate, leading some to think the gate’s design had been changed after the promo art was made. It was only later, when Balun was established as the warp gate network’s hub, that the existence of two gates was revealed and the design inconsistency dismissed. Click here for the Balun gates’ designs.

[DG]: We see that the Guipellon class is still in service; If the radio instructions are anything to go by, this one is from the Milky Way theater of operations. We can’t really draw conclusions about the overall service state of the type from this appearance.

Given the number of Guipellons we see in these scenes, they are definitely still in use. The status we see being given later, that of old and obsolete vessels, might just mean they’ve been in service for a long time and probably deploy only to theaters of lesser importance. Though truth be told, we haven’t seen anything even close to a proper replacement for them. Also, the definite confirmation that they’re coming from the Milky Way is that they emerge through the same gate as Shinohara.

The way the Czvarke exits the gate, completely out of control, is proof that the guidance system needs work. Also, what a stroke of luck that no one saw this particular plane coming out of the gate in such a way. It might have raised suspicion.

He catches his breath and looks up through the cockpit bubble, his attention caught by a Destria that passes just above him. As he follows the battleship with his eyes, he finally perceives the numerous other vessels surrounding him. He is shocked by the sheer number of ships gathered there, stretching as far as the eye can see. He just stays there for a few seconds as more and more ships arrive to join the massive fleet surrounding Balun.

[LC]: Though irrelevant to the episode analysis, this should be noted as a fun fact: if this had taken place just a few days in any direction, it would be a rather uneventful recon mission, as none of these ships would have been here. Timing is everything.

In Dessler’s palace, Celestella asks Gimleh how Zoellik is doing. Gimleh tells her he’s so happy, he could read it in his encoded message. He’s feeling like a king. Celestella tells him that that is no ordinary naval review and that Gimleh must contact her if any issues arise. Gimleh reassures her, saying loyalty is his life.

[DG]: Gimleh and Celestella cooperating? (checks out the window for avian porcines). It’s almost as if they’re conspiring on something.

[LC]: Yeah, this just feels wrong. XD

Goer presents the several squadrons as the Zoellegut II moves among them. Zoellik is delighted at this “splendid sight.” A show of the dignity and power that is Garmillas.

[LC]: Two more names to add to the expanding list of worlds or systems under Garmillas rule: Delheid and Zelloom. I’ve heard they’re beautiful in spring.

[DG]: Sounds like Norio’s starting to turn the ham up… somewhere around a 4.5 out of 10 right now…

Shinohara watches in awe as more and more ships fly overhead. He wonders what they’re all doing there, estimating roughly 10,000 ships surround Balun, maybe more. In the distance, just off the planet’s horizon, he spots a large diamond-shaped structure. The instruments come alive with multiple readings, confirming the Magellanic gate is operational. Further scans reveal a massive artificial object at the planet’s center.

[DG]: Sanada’s team has done a good job of augmenting the Czvarke’s sensor outfit with something Shino will find useful.

[LC]: This is the first time the artificial core of the planet is seen or mentioned. A pity it didn’t get a bit more exposure. Still, nice to realize the inner workings of Balun in a bit more detail.

Scanning is completing when a voice erupts from the Czvarke’s console. Unbeknownst to Shinohara, who doesn’t speak Garmillan, the angry officer on the other end demands his identification and to know to what squadron he belongs to. He chastises Shinohara for leaving formation in the middle of a review. Though he doesn’t understand the words, he does pick up the tone in which they’ve been spoken. He decides the time has come to leave. In a split second, the Czvarke turns around and speeds toward the Milky Way gate.

[LC]: As Shinohara is hailed by the Garmillas, the countdown clock is at 12 minutes, 58 seconds. This means 2 hours, 47 minutes and 2 seconds since he left Yamato. Lets put his arrival at Balun at around the 38 minute mark. That means that he’s been here for over 2 hours. But again, what we see contradicts the countdown. Shinohara is reacting to what’s going on around him like someone who has just arrived. He has just now spotted the Magellanic gate. Which brings us another timing problem.

[DG]: Except I don’t think he goes that far. He’s still on the same side of Balun as the gate he came through. The gas is especially thin around the edge of Balun’s “atmosphere” (going by the noticeable blackness just below and to the right of the gate), so he’s seeing through it.

If indeed it took him 2 hours to fly half way around the planet from the other gate, his mission would be fated to fail. With a little over 12 minutes left on the clock, he would never make it back in time, even at full throttle. Hell, even if he could make it back in that time… didn’t it take him 38 minutes to reach Balun? By simple application of logic, this particular plot device has already failed. And as I said, not because of the plot device itself but because of poor execution. They didn’t need a clock ticking down to zero to create tension. All they needed to do was state that he needed to return by X time, lets say 40 minutes. If he didn’t he would not make it. That and a better management of the various time lapses is all that was required for this to work.

In his cabin, captain Okita looks at his watch. There are less than 12 minutes left until the time limit expires. On the bridge, Sanada orders the secondary engines to be brought on line. Much to the shock of the rest of the command staff, he announces they have to start preparations to leave the area.

[LC]: Here’s an example of how the time that passes on the clock matches what we see. Okita’s watch marks 11 minutes, 39 seconds. Meaning little over a minute has passed since the last reading we saw. Funny thing is, this is a place where more time could have elapsed…if it wasn’t already too thin for comfort.

Much like the original, Yamato gets set to depart and abandon its unfortunate crew members. In the original they went as far as counting down to warp.

Shinohara speeds toward the gate with only 6.5 minutes left. Several fast-strike torpedo boats move in to attack and are granted permission to open fire. The escaping Czvarke flies among the amassed ships, approaching the gate. The pursuing ships open fire, unleashing a rain of energy over their target. Shinohara evades to the best of his ability, recalling that recon ship he once saw, vowing to be just like it. Strong, noble and beautiful. Unfortunately, his luck seems to have run out, as an enemy bolt strikes his starboard booster unit. The explosion cripples the craft.

[LC]: The scene starts with the countdown at 6 minutes, 32 seconds. 5 minutes gone, though here it’s perfectly acceptable and matches the action. Unfortunately, someone forgot to equate the return travel time, which means Shinohara has no chance to make it back. At least we can root for his escape.

This is the first time we get to see the FS (Fast Strike) Mid-Range Type Combat Boats, though we get only blurred glimpses of these new ships. Take a look at this original design here.

[DG]: The thing is, it could border on believable if the sequencing of shots turns around a bit. If there was only one shot of Okita checking his watch, it was after Shinohara entered the Balun end of the gate, and there was another shot of him appearing afterward. Unfortunately, this would only be a sign of things to come as far as ignoring realistic and explicit timeframes goes. But compared to the one we see later, it’s relatively minimal.

Shinohara’s visor cracks. As he struggles to remain conscious and control the ship, he remembers his prior conversation with Yamamoto. About to lose consciousness, he begs the Czvarke to fly… Seconds later, SID announces the activation of Phase 3, just as the crippled Czvarke crosses the event horizon.

[DG]: The only phrase to describe Shino’s thoughts at this time, “Well, &*$#!.”

[LC]: Glad he lost consciousness. That way he doesn’t have to deal with the fact he has about 38 minutes of travel ahead, which with a crippled booster might actually take longer. And with less that 6 minutes on the clock (based on the last time we saw it), it would be a painful trip to make. We will miss you Shinohara…

How did he get back to Yamato if he was unconscious? I doubt the autopilot would be completely reliable, provided the jury-rigged Terran systems on board could activate it.

A band of curious people surround the Czvarke, now secure inside hangar 3. They comment on the extensive damage it suffered. In a senior staff meeting, Shima asks how Shinohara is doing. We see Shinohara, lying unconscious in the medical section, with Yamamoto by his side. Nurse Harada reports that aside from some minor injuries, he is unhurt. They’ll give him a thorough physical when he wakes up but Sado has said there’s no reason to worry.

[LC]: And… after all the buildup, Shinohara made it back sort of safely. Guess the crew decided to hang around a bit more. Kato probably went to Okita at some point and told him “Sir, I should probably have told you this before, but Shinohara has never been on time for anything in his life. He’s a nice guy and all that but… So I’ll tell him we’ll wait for him for 3 hours but we actually wait 4, maybe 5.” Okita gave the OK and here we are.

[DG]: The Czvarke’s starboard pod is a wreck. Maybe they brought some spares along…

Well, since they’re still parked right next to the satellite where we saw several Czvarkes, getting parts is probably not an issue. Hell, just get one of the others on board and ditch this one.

Speaking of buildups, here’s one that actually works. I still laugh every time Sado turns around and makes that face.

There is a general sigh of relief and joy from everyone in the room. They proceed with the analysis of the data Shino retrieved. At Sanada’s request, Hoshina activates the floor panel and the relevant information is displayed. First an overall graphic of the Balun gate system, followed by a representation of the object located in the planet’s core.

[LC]: I find it funny that Hoshina is the one that takes on Niimi’s role as Sanada’s “assistant.” I can almost see Sanada telling him, “Hey, you arrested her, so it’s your responsibility.” Really, aren’t there any other people on the technical section that can handle this?

The design of the two halves of this energy plant are somewhat reminiscent of the relay satellite Domel deployed in the original Episode 19.

Sanada explains Balun is actually an artificial planet with a massive energy plant at its center to power the gate hub. Yuri(sh)a listens in silence as Sanada announces they confirmed the Magellanic gate is functional. But there is a problem.

[LC]: Here we get dialogue confirmation that Balun is indeed an artificial construct. Given what we’ll see in terms of Akerian planet-building technology in the movie Ark of the Stars, Balun isn’t really their greatest achievement. Still, from Earth or even Garmillas’ perspective, this is an impressive thing.

This scene confirms prior conjecture, adding only the final piece of the puzzle – the power plant that serves as Balun’s core. In essence, Balun IS that power plant, surrounded by a large mass of gas. We can only guess what purpose that serves, but off the top of my head… The core converts the heat and pressure generated by the large mass of gas into energy.

This energy is then channeled as needed through the control core at the lower level of the Balun HQ. From there, it’s fed via those massive cables we saw several times to the two rings, each housing a gate. I know. Most, if not all of it, is sheer conjecture. But since none of it was actually spelled out, I’ll go with it. You’re free to go with it or make up your own scenarios.

Sanada touches his tablet and the floor panel flickers, as an ever-growing number of Garmillan ships surround the diagram of Balun. The crew watches in shock as more and more of them continue to fill the screen. Immediately a sense of discouragement comes over them, as Tokugawa and Nanbu voice their doubts that they can make it through against such a large number.

[DG]: I’m just waiting for Admiral Ackbar to say, “Our cruisers will form a perimeter, while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor.”

One ship versus ten thousand, so much for the perimeter. We might have to try something different from the Ackbar Tactic.

[LC]: The fact that this graphic is not to scale makes the sheer amount of ships surrounding Balun even more impressive. I just love the crew’s reactions, especially Makoto’s. And the increasing red glow lighting the room really drives the point home.

Sanada says they’ve already plotted another course and advises the captain that they should depart immediately. To everyone’s surprise, Okita says no. He says they’ll hold their course and that their best chance is to go straight through the enemy.

[DG]: I like this Okita. He’s willing to back himself and his crew to succeed. Also, this might be meeting Yurisha’s demand to show their gratitude with actions, not words.

[LC]: Okita’s reasoning might seem suicidal, considering the sheer numbers they face. But let’s consider the situation and the stakes involved. Yamato has the surprise factor on its side. Garmillas is not expecting them to come through the subspace network they control, let alone at a time like this. As I said, it would be suicidal. So turn that mindset against them and do exactly that. Also, the large numbers, if used effectively, would be a definite deterrent. But given that surprise factor, effective mobilization will take time. And that plays in their favor, too.

Even with these factors in their favor, actually going through with it is a massive gamble. But now let’s consider what’s at stake. If they take advantage of the situation and use the intelligence gathered by Shinohara, they have at least a chance of pulling off whatever crazy plan Okita comes up with. You know his plan involves something more than just charging in, all willy-nilly. If they go with Sanada’s alternate plan… Sure, they’ll avoid confrontation with a 10,000+ fleet. But given what we learned in the previous episodes, unless they actually go for it they won’t be able to make up for lost time.

So it’s a gamble. High-stakes poker with battleships and the lives of all mankind in the balance. They either take the risk at a chance for victory or they don’t and lose for certain. Yes, they might find some other way to make up for their delay. But there’s one here. Now. And with Earth on the line, Okita has to believe in himself, his fine crew and his mighty battleship.

Zoellik addresses the fleet. He says he has sad and painful news to give them, something that surprises even Goer. He announces that Leader Dessler has passed away. Goer is stunned, as tears stream down Zoellik’s face and a murmur of shock is heard throughout the entire fleet.

[DG]: I firmly believe this episode and all the Zoellik dialogue contained within is the primary reason they got Norio Wakamoto to voice Zoellik. Of all the voice actors in Japan, nobody hams it up quite like The Norio.

[LC]: This is one of several pans that are amazing in their scope. Each one is filled with ships. Truly one of the benefits of 3D CG, as such scenes would be a tremendous headache for illustrators. To see the first full pan, click on the image above.

Zoellik proceeds with his theatrics, asking who will lead them next, now that their nation faces peril. He says that his soul trembles before such a great task and that since he shares such great sorrow with all of them, he also makes a vow; that he shall carry on their Leader’s will and bring justice to the criminals in the central government who have concealed his death.

[DG]: And here’s the reasoning behind Zoellik’s plan: gain the control of the military to usurp the entire government.

[LC]: It takes a special kind of asshole to orchestrate an assassination, pin the blame on someone else, and then take center stage as the nation’s savior in its hour of need. But truth be told, Zoellik played that part beautifully.

Even a brown-noser like Goer is finding this hard to swallow.

That’s something that I find striking in this episode, how Goer is subtly changed throughout this ordeal. He starts the episode as his usual obnoxious self. But then, as things escalate, he shows some different and unexpected facets. Let’s move along and analyze them.

To see the second pan click here

He tells those who are willing to fight alongside him to rise and wipe out the criminals who infest Baleras’ government. All of them, without mercy. Suddenly, his speech is cut short as Vandevel receives startling news. A rather displeased Zoellik demands to know what’s going on. Vandevel reports there’s something coming through the galactic gate – an unidentified foreign ship. Zoellik looks at the image of the gate.

[LC]: Had things played out differently in this episode, both that trooper and Vandevel would be soooooo fired. At best…

To see the third pan click here

There is a moment of quiet… before Yamato bursts through the event horizon, its weapons rotating to attack position. Okita orders the ship to Combat Speed 1 and Yamato accelerates toward Balun, surrounded by the still unresponsive enemy fleet. But Okita is not waiting for a reaction, ordering Kodai to open fire. Shock cannons, torpedoes and missiles are fired simultaneously in an unprecedented barrage of destruction. The Earth battleship cuts through the enemy fleet with no opposition.

[LC]: It seems Okita’s assessment played out. There’s no reaction to Yamato’s incursion as the battleship speeds toward its objective. Also, the only other time we saw Yamato fire all its weaponry like this was in Episode 15. But even though they scored multiple hits, they had a brilliant mind coordinating the attacking fleet, which rendered their attacks nearly useless. Here, the enemies are just sitting ducks with no master general to get them in line. Just Zoellik and Goer… poor Garmillans.

To see the fourth and biggest pan click here

Aboard the Zoellegut II, reports come in of Yamato’s advance. Surprisingly, Zoellik sees this as a stroke of luck, a message from the gods – that he is the one to destroy Yamato, something not even Domel succeeded in doing. He orders the fleet to open fire and sink the “horrid Terron ship” as a tribute to their fallen Leader. The fleet complies, unleashing a barrage of fire.

[DG]: The look on Zoellik’s face after being informed of the enemy ship’s arrival is insane. He’s sweating an awful lot for a man with ten thousand ships at his command and some major political capital falling right into his web…

However, their shots mostly miss the speeding battleship and cause more severe damage among their own ranks, as many of the tightly-bunched Garmillan vessels fall victim to friendly fire. Okita orders Shima to maintain their heading and increase speed. With a smile, Kodai comments on Okita’s combat strategy.

[DG]: Hmm… A lot of friendly-fire casualties here. Hardly surprising with such a tight-knit formation of ships.

[LC]: When they finally return fire, they score more hits on their own fleet than the enemy. Comparing the episodes that bookend Chapter 5, one gains a whole new appreciation of Domel’s tactical genius. Under his command, fire was focused on both driving the enemy further into their web and hitting the enemy itself. Here, all we have is chaos. In this entire pan where we follow Yamato, though the battleship is seen firing, the ships destroyed onscreen are all victims of friendly fire.

Once again, Shima uses a quite nonsensical designation for Yamato’s speed controls, in this case “Black 20.” The only thing that seems to hold any kind of consistent meaning is that “Black” refers to acceleration and “Red” refers to deceleration. Also of possible significance, Kodai’s comment “This is how Admiral Okita fights!” might have two meanings. The first and more direct being a simple remark about how Okita decided to charge the Garmillas. The second might hold a clue to what will happen next. Kodai makes that remark right after Shima’s acceleration command, so Kodai might be hinting at the next part of their plan. We’ll describe that in a bit.

Many among the fleet realize the error of blindly firing at the Terron ship with so many allies in the line of fire. This hesitation allows Yamato to continue its advance. Goer is appalled at the number of friendly fire casualties and orders the ships to split, realizing they’re too close to each other to act effectively. But Zoellik countermands him, ordering the ships to surround and crush Yamato.

[LC]: Here we see one of those different sides of Goer. The Goer we saw back in Episode 10 had no problem with destroying a friendly ship just because it was in the line of fire. Now he is actually aware of the damage going on and cares about it. Past Goer was pretty much like present Zoellik. Who cares about casualties, as long as we get results? Present Goer has gained a whole new tactical and moral appreciation of how wrong that mindset is. Guess Domel’s awesomeness can actually affect those around him.

To those who are saying this is not the Goer we love to hate, don’t worry. Although this new side and depth are a welcome addition to the character, he’ll be back to the same despicable asshole when we see him again. But on with the show.

Goer tries to reason with him, but Zoellik says he doesn’t care, stating history is only made through sacrifice. He orders the fleet to close its ranks and to not be afraid. Strength through numbers will prevail. As expected, the movement of ever closer ships backfires. Many vessel crash into each other, unable to properly maneuver.

[DG]: Here we see that Zoellik considers his ships expendable.

Okita orders Kodai to concentrate fire forward and to tear a hole through the enemy. The shock cannons fire with terrifying efficiency, clearing the path ahead. Yuki reports the approach of more enemy ships. They seem to have finally recovered their composure and now align along Yamato’s flanks. Their shots are now more measured and precise, starting to take their toll on the shields.

Though the battleship continues to advance, the Garmillas finally score a direct hit, breaching the port side shield. Okita orders the bulkheads sealed. Events take a bad turn as the ship seems to lose control. Ota announces they’ve been caught in Balun’s gravity well. Yamato flies toward Balun’s storm clouds and disappears.

[LC]: As I said earlier, surprise did play in Yamato’s favor, but it was just a matter of time until the Garmillas fell in line. If not for Zoellik’s incompetence and overconfidence, this might actually have happened sooner. So now the question is… what trick does Okita have up his sleeve?

This is witnessed on the Zoellegut II’s main screen. The bridge officers report the Terron ship has been sunk, pinpointing the exact crash point, as Zoellik observes the plume of smoke and gas that rises from where Yamato disappeared. Zoellik laughs, pleased with this accomplishment. He mocks Domel, saying that failure to sink Yamato would have embarrassed the name of the wolf.

[DG]: And now the ham is just about down to the bone

[LC]: On one hand, since there’s apparently nothing on Balun that Yamato can crash into, except the artificial core that is much deeper than this, what makes them jump to the conclusion that the Terron ship is finished? The pressure and heat I conjectured earlier could potentially be enough to do the job, but at much deeper level. Yet, as soon as Yamato vanishes from sight, it’s labeled as sunk.

Visibly happy, Zoellik laughs loudly. Goer steps back, unsure what to think of the whole affair. Suddenly, the sound of static fills the air as the image on the screen is distorted and replaced with another. A familiar voice seems to mock Zoellik’s good mood, which is now brought to an abrupt end. The general stumbles to the pulpit in disbelief as he faces the image of Leader Dessler, alive and well.

[LC]: We all knew this was coming, but it’s a true delight to see Zoellik squirm. And Dessler seems to be thoroughly enjoying it.

Given the outcome of this episode, we can deduce the UX-01 must be somewhere in the Large Magellanic Cloud and relatively close to Garmillas. He was probably extracted from the Deusler I and replaced with a double (which we’ll learn about next), while the ship was en route from Garmillas to the closest warp gate, where it was destroyed. I’m surprised he spent so long aboard the UX-01. Guess he’s tougher than we thought.

Grinning, Dessler sarcastically says how moved he was by Zoellik’s speech. Goer seems to be the only one visibly happy that Dessler’s alive. Zoellik says this cannot be, certain that Dessler died when his ship sank. Dessler responds, telling him he’s a very stupid man. It dawns on Zoellik that the Dessler who perished aboard Deusler I was nothing more than a double.

[LC]: He may be the biggest ass-kissing douche-bag in 2199, but you have to give Goer bonus points for sheer loyalty to the Leader. Not even Vandevel is capable of making a happy face. He is visibly aligned with Zoellik and this might spell certain doom for him, his boss and those who were in on the whole plot. Goer was clearly unaware of it, so he just lets the happiness fly. XD

The entire fleet watches the transmission as Dessler reveals that Celestella was well aware of Zoellik’s plans to assassinate him. He thanks the general for saving him from what would have been a very boring trip. Frakken stands silent by the Leader’s side, barely containing a smile as he watches the scene unfold.

[DG]: A note on how inconsistent the spelling of names has been in the subtitling: this is the first mention of Celestella’s name as “Cerestella,” which is self-contradictory. It would either be “Celestella” or “Ceresterra” (or more accurately, se-re-su-te-ra). Mixing the raw Romaji and the Westernization of the name here is rather poor work.

And so little bits and pieces from way back in Episode 12 come to fruition; from Zoellik standing alongside Celestella, Gimleh, and Hyss during Domel’s ceremony in Baleras, through Celestella doing Zoellik’s bidding, the Kangaroo Court “trial” of Domel, and Celestella and Gimleh meeting all add up to Zoellik’s master plan being known completely from the beginning.

Dessler gets down to business, saying that Zoellik’s crimes are clear. He asks him if he has any final words before his termination. The final part of the question is cut off in the Zoellegut II’s bridge as Zoellik shoots the screen, cutting the transmission. Visibly stressed and trying to catch his breath, Zoellik tosses his gun aside and grabs the microphone that lies on the floor.

He addresses the fleet, trying to justify his traitorous actions. He claims he took the mantle of a traitor out of love for Garmillas and… The sound of a shot cuts his speech short. a light billow of smoke rises from the wound on his back, as Zoellik turns to face his assassin. None other than Goer himself, who somehow managed to muster the courage to shoot his former patron.

[LC]: Zoellik belongs to the brotherhood of over-the-top characters who believe shooting someone’s image on a screen somehow results in their immediate death. XD Also, love the exaggerated animation in these final scenes. If Norio’s performance wasn’t enough to convey Zoellik’s raw desperation, these frames certainly would pass that along.

Here’s another of Goer’s unique actions in this episode, one that really surprised me. For a sycophant like Goer, killing the guy to whom he owes his position and status is truly off-character. He actually chose loyalty to his nation and his Leader over that which would continue to serve his interests. I never thought I’d see the day in which Goer did something that would make me cheer him on.

Grasping his chest, the general calls Goer a fool before succumbing to his injury. The proud Zoellik ends his life on his knees in a pool of his own blood. Vandevel tries to step in but his commander is dead. Goer mutters “traitor” to the fallen general before him. Goer’s moment of glory is also short-lived, as an officer reports that something is rising near Balun’s equator.

[LC]: Zoellik’s death is truly a show of “how the mighty have fallen.” One second he’s basking in his expectation of glory and power, the next he sees all his clever plans weren’t as clever as he thought and ends up shot in the back by one of his minions. He sheds his mortal coil, fallen on his knees in a rather awkward position, bathed in his own purple blood. They add insult to injury by having Goer just jumping unceremoniously over his body to get to the bridge windows. A fitting end to a truly despicable man.

A nice touch in terms of sound effects. A few times in the original, Yamato’s impending “resurrections” were accompanied by the same console bleeping sound heard here.

A pillar of gas rises as Yamato burst out of Balun’s maelstrom, passing next to the Garmillas Balun HQ. Still shaken by the previous events and once again caught off guard by the Terron ship’s resilience, not a single Garmillan ship reacts, allowing Yamato to make it most of the way toward the Magellanic gate without resistance. Goer can hardly believe it when Yamato is identified. He orders the fleet to battle stations just as the battleship soars past the Zoellegut II.

[LC]: And Okita’s trick is revealed. Knowing even a surprise incursion would only get them so far, and surely not all the way to the Magellanic gate, Okita went with the old “play dead” trick. We can assume the detailed scans Shinohara got from the planet’s structure allowed Shima to set a precise course toward Balun itself, allowing the ship to “sink” into the turbulent atmosphere, using their speed to keep them from being trapped by the gravity well. We might even wonder if Okita didn’t reuse the same trick he used back on Pluto, blowing up those handy “explosive camouflage” panels and making the damage seem worse to fool the enemy and make their sinking more believable.

Basically they made a slingshot maneuver inside Balun’s stormy atmosphere and came out at the other end. This would again catch the enemy off guard and the added speed would allow quicker travel to the gate. The use of a slingshot maneuver makes me remember what they did in the original series’ incursion to Jupiter’s floating continent. And if you look carefully at the shot of Yamato blasting out of the clouds (above left), it’s remarkably like the scene of Yamato blasting out of Jupiter’s atmosphere. Nice reference.

Aboard Yamato, Kodai prepares to fire the Wave-Motion Gun. The main engine redirects its energy to the weapon, with the battleship’s forward momentum maintaining it on course toward the gate. Okita orders the ship to rotate 180 degrees, pointing it toward the planet. Shima expertly turns the ship, stopping at a relatively short distance from the gate’s event horizon.

[LC]: This little maneuver looks quite believable in terms of real-world physics. And I might be assuming a bit too much here, but it might also be a little reverse nod to the original Episode 20. Instead of doing this, they actually have the ship turning in a circle that takes an absurd amount of time. Remember that?

Kodai commands the firing sequence with Tokugawa following the steps to power the weapon. The target scope rises, allowing Kodai to fine-tune the ship’s heading until the target is dead centered in his sights. Nanbu reports he’s ready to disable the gravity anchor.

[LC]: Balun’s bright core might not be as bright a target as the original’s artificial sun, but visually it plays the part.

This is the first mention of a gravity anchor. In this context we can assume it’s an updated designation to the original’s “anti-recoil device,” which was used to absorb the Wave-Motion Gun’s massive recoil and keep the ship in place.

The Garmillas fire at Yamato, but it’s already too late. At Okita’s command, the Wave-Motion Gun fires. The massive energy stream illuminates the skies, speeding past the Zoellegut II and apparently missing any of the ships present. Because of this, Goer scoffs at Yamato’s attack, saying they’re idiots who don’t know what they’re aiming at.

[LC]: This marks the fourth use of the Wave-Motion Gun and the first time they actually fire it at enemy ships. Or do they? Notice not a single ship is struck by the shot itself, something unthinkable in the original, where entire fleets were destroyed by a simple shock cannon. The fact that the gun is used in this way rather than for a direct attack is in keeping with a theme that’ll come to a head later – the use of Wave-Motion technology either as a WMD or for defense. Sure, a lot of ships end up falling at Balun but they’re given a chance to run for their lives. It’s a very subtle nuance, but one that might speak volumes when Yamato’s actions are weighed.

But then… then it dawns on Goer. He looks at Balun and soon his worst fears are confirmed. The energy stream has passed the Balun HQ and is striking the planet’s power plant. The energy core is out of control and about to explode. Horrified, Goer orders the fleet to disband and evacuate the system immediately.

[LC]: After a moment of brain freeze, Goer realizes what Yamato is doing and the impending demise of Balun. In a similar past situation we witnessed in Episode 10, he simply ordered the Goergamesh to Geschtam out, abandoning the rest of his fleet to certain doom. Here, he takes the time to issue a fleet-wide order to retreat and escape the planetary ignition. Good boy, Goer. 😀

[DG]: Do you think he had to explain himself for losing all those ships, and this could be the motivation for his newfound caution?

At the origin point of the blast, Okita orders the deactivation of the gravity anchor and tells the crew to brace for impact. In sequence, the anchor pistons are ejected. Without the anchor to absorb the Wave-Motion Gun’s recoil, Yamato is propelled backward toward the gate.

[DG]: Here we have a piece of Yamato 2’s plot used, where in Episode 12 they used the Wave-Motion Gun to push themselves out of Dessler’s trap at the tunnel satellite by disengaging the gravity lock at the moment of firing.

The gate begins to overload, succumbing to the massive energy surge transmitted to it from the collapsing core. The control station and the Garmillas base are engulfed in a sea of fire. In seconds, the remnants of the Akerian civilization that withstood the passage of countless centuries are obliterated.

[DG]: Clever tactics from Okita overall here. By the base’s destruction and that of the Magellanic gateway, over ten thousand ships are either destroyed or stranded outside the galaxy with a very long journey ahead of them to get back to Garmillas. They’ve given Yamato an unassailable head start.

[LC]: Quite a nice way to set the stage for the upcoming battle. And as I mentioned earlier, a clever way to explain why Domel has to face Yamato with rather limited means. Speaking of Domel, by having him and his commanders return to Garmillas instead of remaining at Balun, the plot placed them in the right place for the next act.

As we’ll learn later, the Milky Way gate survived these events. Why didn’t the Magellanic gate? Plot convenience aside, the explanation might be quite simple. The energy source for the system is overloading. The activation of the Magellanic gate by Yamato causes an uncontrolled flow of excess energy to overload the ring and surge to the gate, resulting in its destruction.

The Milky Way gate was probably idle at this point, and the lack of an active connection isolated its ring from the overload. The destruction of the control core permanently severs the connection. The consequent blast might be enough to destroy any ship unfortunate enough to be within the blast radius, but Akerian structures are quite sturdy despite their flimsy look. The structures at Balun HQ are destroyed, but they’re hovering right over “ground zero.”

The expanding mass of uncontrolled energy reaches the boundaries of space. A blinding flash of light illuminates the Balun system, announcing the artificial planet’s violent demise. Many ships in the Garmillas fleet are caught in the massive shock wave while those fortunate enough to outrun it make their escape. A long journey awaits them.

[LC]: The shot of the ships being destroyed is reminiscent of the scenes where enemy fleets were destroyed by the Wave-Motion Gun or similar weapons.

This final shot of Balun is one of my favorites. And in the end, we did get an artificial sun. Clever, hmm?

For what seems like ages, the main bridge of Yamato is dead silent. Then, slowly, the systems begins to come back on line. As they regain their composure, the crew is bathed by an intense light as the bridge bulkheads open. Kodai jumps to his feet, marveled by the sight that greets them.

[DG]: Another use of Yamato Launches from the Earth as a marker for a major milestone – arrival at the edge of the Great Magellanic Cloud.

[LC]: Click here for the clean LMC background art.

Yamato has made it across the gate network and before them is the Large Magellanic Cloud. The crew look out the bridge windows at the bright cluster of stars where their destination lies. Smiling, Yuki says they’ve made it. Okita looks on in silence but with renewed hope. The main engine propels the ship forward.

[DG]: The fact Yamato emerges from the warp gate facing in the opposite direction from entry is explainable. Shinohara’s navigation through the Milky Way Gate proved that they have to physically navigate through the lanes. This means that someone would have had to turn the ship around and guide it as if it were a surface vessel navigating a narrow seaway, such as the Strait of Magellan in South America.

Since it’s safe to assume that everyone aboard was rendered unconscious from the g-forces exerted by the release of the gravity anchor, there’s only one explanation for their safe passage: Yurisha navigated the ship through. Now that she’s conscious, it wouldn’t be difficult for her to do so since she likely used the gates on her journey to Earth.

The only question would be as to the medium for it to happen. I’m leaning toward her consciousness returning to her body, which is hooked up to the automatic navigation room, and interacting with the ship’s navigation system that way. Or, maybe she stayed in Misaki’s body and just steered it from that little steering wheel on the second bridge observation deck…

[LC]: A simpler explanation is that the auto-pilot kicked in and led the ship, much like SID did before with the Czvarke. If it can pilot a severely damaged fighter, this should be a piece of cake. Only question I have is how long were they unconscious? If the travel time from Balun to the Large Magellanic Cloud is roughly the same as to the Milky Way… were they out cold for about 40 minutes? Maybe, maybe not. Unfortunately there’s no way of knowing.

[DG]: That forces us to assume that (1) Either Yurisha or the “wave-motion core” found at Beemela provided the route through the gate they had to take and (2) that there’s a failsafe or it was pre-programmed to do so once the engine re-engaged.

In the observation deck of bridge 2, Yuri(sh)a looks at her home galaxy, stating she has returned home to her own sea of stars. Yamato flies toward its destination, now closer than they ever could have hoped.

[LC]: Yuri(sh)a really likes bridge 2.

Overall, this episode and the whole chapter did a great job at answering some long-standing questions and resolving plot threads. But more importantly, the stage is properly set for what is the biggest event of the Iscandar saga: the battle at the Rainbow Star Cluster.

The original TV broadcast of the series bundled this episode and 19 together so viewers got to enjoy the immediate followup, ramping up to the battle.


They arrive at the distant Large Magellanic Cloud. The Space Wolf is unleashed. His eyes are like fire, his fangs like swords. Each wields their knowledge against the other to further their ends.

Next time: They’re Here.

There are 246 days left before humanity becomes extinct.


Official website of Yamato 2199
Yamato Crew website
Chapter 5 Trailer Short Version
Chapter 5 Trailer Long Version

Episode 18 credits

Screenplay: Shingo Takehan
Storyboard: Masahiko Okura
Director: Takao Kato
Chara Animation Director: Takayuki Goto, Mitsuru Ishihara, Akihisa Maeda, Yoko Kotani
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.

20 thoughts on “Yamato 2199 Episode 18 Commentary

  1. Possibly the Magellanic gate’s destruction was due to the Wave Motion Gun being fired through it?

    Some of my favorite character bits between Yamamoto and Shinohara in this episode. Yamamoto plays the part of the grizzled veteran offering advice to rookies very well, even though she’s technically the newest pilot in the squadron.

    • I think it was more to do with the destruction of the power core in the middle of Balun, but it’s possible that some damage was caused by the beam as Yamato passed through the gate.

  2. You do not scare me, Zoellick! I have a ham-proof vest!

    Thankfully, nobody tried any hare-brained schemes that would have resulted in Yamato’s destruction or capture. One such scheme would have involved ramming an enemy vessel, boarding it, and taking its crew hostage! Zoellick would not spare his own ships from friendly fire, so taking prisoners would be pointless! And if the Garmillas naval review hadn’t occurred at this time, Yamato would have to face tons of ships again under Domel, which would be bad.

    As for the ridiculous amount of time for Shinohara’s initial trip through the gate’s hyperspace, maybe he nearly got lost or tried not to attract attention from all the Garmillas ships travelling in the same direction. The only way to do that is to tail said ships from a distance and perhaps blend in with other fighter planes, though the idea is rather poor given that radio silence has not been considered standard with gate travel, right? As for the other Czvarkes, couldn’t they replace the fallen Hayabusa fighters once some pilots got familiar with them? I don’t like bringing up Yamamoto’s unauthorized sortie, but there needs to be at least one plane replaced since the original pilot didn’t die with it!


    • The Czvarkes probably don’t have compatibility with the launching mechanism. The Cosmo Falcons have a flat fuselage bottom, whereas the fuselage of the Czvarkes are way above the ground due to the pods.

      • There’s also the question of whether they’d even fit on the pallets. It would be a very tight squeeze, as the Cosmo Falcons barely fit on those pallets and the Czvarkes have a slightly bigger wingspan (by 70cm – 7.5m to the Falcon’s 6.8) . At best, they’d be encroaching over the warning (black and yellow striped) areas on the edge of the pallets, if not overhanging it. Thus operating them from the main hangar would also be a safety issue.

    • The amount of time going through the gate isn’t the problem – it’s really not a bad amount of time to travel tens of thousands of light-years. The problem is that in the name of dramatization, they’ve suddenly decided that somehow Shinohara makes what should be a thirty-eight-minute return trip in six. If they’d made the initial trip shorter or still had time on the mission clock, and made the sequencing changes I mentioned, then it might have been believable. To me, this is sloppy writing.

    • I’m 99.99% certain the ship took more Hayabusas on board than they did pilots. The ready room suggests a full compliment of pilots is 26 (24 Hayabusas plus two Zeros). The front pallet carries 16 fighters on 8 pallets, the rear carries 14 on 7 for a total of 30 in the hangar. Going by the box for the 1/500 expansion kit, there were 32 Haybusas on board. Meaning maybe there are two further spares stored elsewhere aboard ship.

      They lost two ships one ship and two pilots one pilot at Pluto, and then there was the third plane that Yamamoto trashed. That brings the number of pilots excluding Yamamoto and Kodai to 22 and the number of Hayabusas down to either 27 or 29. Meaning they have either 5 or 7 more planes than they do pilots.

      [EDIT] Scratch all previous commentary on the air group. Watching further into the series preparing for the next commentary has uncovered a lot of new information, and Luis and I are hammering out theories on the hangar as I type this. Watch this space! [/EDIT]

      Another thing to consider with Czvarkes is the armament. Official materials list its armaments as:

      13mm Machine Guns x 6
      30mm Autocannon x 4
      Air-to-Air Missiles x 6

      The only time I can recall hearing its weapons used, they sounded like beams and not slugs. Assuming that the guns are all beams (which is likely given all on-screen shots from Garmillan fighters are portrayed as beam guns, and Dessler refers to the Terrons as barbarians for attacking his ship with shells in Episode 25), that still leaves the question of standoff weapons.

      As far as we know, Yamato took a sole Czvarke on board for the purpose of the warp gate recon mission. As such, while they might have taken spares aboard, it’s unlikely they took munitions, meaning once the stores aboard that plane have been expended, the plane is only good for close-in combat. There’s nothing to suggest they would have taken more than one, if nothing else then for limitations on storage space, and the fact that they weren’t looking for replacement fighters.

      • Okay, so did anyone try test flying the Czvarke to compare its performance to that of a Hayabusa? Test-flying captured enemy aircraft is a good way to figure out how to fight it in the future. But then again, we don’t see many Czvarkes attacking Yamato’s air wing from this point on… Or am I wrong?

  3. Just one minor note – the gravity anchor was mentioned briefly before. When Yurisha was touring the Wave Motion Gun room. The people working there mentioned it, I believe.

  4. About Goer’s disparity in orders between episode 10 and 18, it could also be the circumstances. In episode 10, they find the ship in question with the Yamato, and saying not to fire on the enemy. It wouldn’t be a huge leap in logic for them to be traitors, and we all know how Goer feels about those.

    • Also, in the case of episode 10, the ship Goer was firing upon was full of second-class non-blue-skeined Gamilons. We also know how he feels about those.

    • The thing that stood out for me in Episode 10 with Goer was that when his fleet was on the verge of being sucked into the reopened dimensional rift, he didn’t care about the ships under his command – he merely jumped without ordering the rest of his fleet to do the same. That’s what I was more focused on, from that perspective he seems to have a greater appreciation for the ships in the fleet. From my point of view, this is a marked change in behaviour. True, it’s more than likely survival instinct, but I can’t see there not being consequences for Goer’s ship being the sole survivor out of his expedition.

      • He was demoted relatively soon afterward in episode 13, losing command of Balun and Milky Way Theatre Operations to Erich Domel and becoming Domel’s second-in-command. With Domel awaiting execution and the empire’s leadership occupied with other issues, I guess they had no choice but to let Goer take command of the Balun base again, at least temporarily.

    • Well Goer might have developed some tactical sense from Domel, but he still a loudmouth boasting jerk that nobody bother to listen too! Even Dessler doesn’t fully like him.

      • True, since Dessler casually dismisses Goer’s theatrics just as a school teacher would tell a pretentious kid to sit down and allow other students to learn during class…

  5. Im usually very very picky and annoying with contuinuity or logic failures in this kind of shows… but im asmahed to recon that i hadnt noticed or tought about the obvious and enormous time mess…. or that the Yamato is suposed to navigate from Balum to the Magallanic cloud exit gate with an “unconscious” crew….. backwards!

    Also again in a curious coincidence.. in the Tim Eldred comic “rebirth” the Yamato (spoilers if not read) encounters at some point the “ghosts” of her victims.. wich includes a shot with hundreds if not thousands of Gamillas ships.. when i saw that i couldnt help to think “i dont renember Yamato killing THAT many Gamillas ships.. not on screen at least”.

    Then when i see this episode Tim’s comic comes inmedialtly to my mind “oh.. this would totally fit there”

    • Thanks for the callout! The number of ghosts was not meant to be taken literally. It was representative of a higher power.

  6. I don’t think that Goer acted that much out of character. He is an opportunist who would always join the victorious side, and that’s what he does, but he doesn’t like to be shooed around, not by a man like Zoellick (shades of his relationship to Domel in the original series). When Zoellick’s plot collapses, he sees a chance to rehabilitate himself in Dessler’s eyes as an outwardly loyal officer, and takes it.
    With regard to deserting from his fleet before and not doing so now, even he should know better than committing the same tactical failure twice? Certainly not right under Dessler’s nose. The Leader was certainly still eavesdropping!

  7. Bear with me but I am a little confused.
    That DWG262 Czvarke Astro Combat Fighter. Where does it comes from?!
    Did I miss an episode where that is introduced/explained?

    • The Czvarke first appeared in Episode 10. Melda Dietz flew a costumized red Czvarke in that episode.

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