Yamato 2202 Episode 1 Commentary

by Kathy Clarkson, Anton Mei Brandt, and Daniel George

Episode 1: Revive, Space Battleship Yamato!

“The universe is infinitely vast. An endless expanse of silent light. Stars die and new stars are born. An eternal cycle of life. Yes. The universe is alive. It lives. It lives! And that is why we will show it … our love.”

[AMB]: Ah, the opening narration. Wait, what’s going on…?

A large white comet travels through the cosmos, destroying asteroids in its path. From the center of the comet emerges a fleet of warships which launches an attack on a nearby planet. A huge organic-looking structure is destroyed, leaving a gaping hole where subterranean levels can be seen.

[AMB]: While not nearly as lengthy a sequence as it was in Farewell to Yamato, the opening still hits the same high points of dramaturgy. Back in ’78 there was a different meaning behind its eerie and slow-paced intro, lulling the viewer into an anxious worrying state of inevitable tragedy.

Cut to a cavernous alien room. One individual sits while others stand around the perimeter, observing the outcome.

group5

[AMB]: And from left to right we see: Goenitz, Sabera, Razera, Balzey and a mysterious fifth individual. The gang’s all here, with extras it seems! Those we recognize share designs more similar to their Farewell to Yamato counterparts, which I personally prefer. Though one can see aspects of both Farewell and Yamato 2 being referenced.

Missiles dive toward the surface of the world, changing course to sail down a passageway into a large chamber guarded by a significant number of humanoids. They seem to be protecting an ornately carved doorway. The missiles transform into androids (called Needleslaves) and the humanoids are all struck down to a man.

[KC]: The creators of Space Battleship Yamato 2202 promised that it would be a mix of elements from Farewell to Yamato and its TV counterpart Yamato 2. Right out of the gate we get a new version of a familiar monologue about the vastness of space and witness Gatlantis’ attack on Telezart, but things rapidly go off in a somewhat different direction with Emperor Zordar’s ominous threats about love and the scene of Telezart being guarded by members of a mystical order.

[AMB]: Really gives off the feeling that something is wrong. Half the narration goes as it should, but trails off to something far more sinister. In a sense, I guess this is Writer Harutoshi Fukui’s way of saying “You’re in for something different.”

[KC]: These priests (or whatever they are) who martyr themselves seem to be creating some kind of protective energy field, not that it does them a bit of good. Could be science, could be magic. I am just disappointed that their blood is red, because they looked blue to me and I was hoping that they were Garmillans.

[AMB]: Garmillans or not, they’re certainly pacifistic in nature, standing up to weaponized terror with only faith on hand. If they are Garmillans, the staff could be alluding to a story arc from Yamato III where Dessler’s new planet is facing a religious crisis, hundreds of people converting to belief in what seems to be a living God. This won’t be the last time we see these monks, nor the last time we see Garmillans affected by the collapse of the Dessler regime. In any case, I think they’re just followers of Teresa.

[KC]: I have a silly theory that I’m saving for a future episode.

Back in the cavernous room, the seated individual stands before a view screen. He monologues as the camera pans up, questioning the purpose of the individuals that have just been obliterated and embellishing on his love theme. We see, now, that this is Emperor Zordar of Gatlantis. He is addressing someone he refers to as Teresa … and Teresa answers.

“Everything has been predetermined. But that does not mean all is lost. Warriors of a distant star, my hope now rests with you…”

[KC]: Back in the day, Zordar engaged in megalomania purely for the sake of it. This time it looks like there will be something more to Gatlantis’ policy of enslaving or destroying every world they encounter, which is refreshing.

[AMB]: He had the presence of a sitcom dad to me in Yamato 2, like an Al Bundy given power to rule the universe. Now he has an aura more akin to his conceptual origins, which is neat. And here’s a fun fact; the scene where Zordar stands up is drawn by Tomonori Kogawa, character designer and animation director for Farewell to Yamato. You can read more about it here.

[KC]: Conspicuously absent from this first episode is everyone’s favorite fascist, Abelt Dessler. Full disclosure; as a huge fan of the original ruler of Gamilas, I was pretty disappointed with the reimagining of the character for Yamato 2199. He was, in fact, the only thing about 2199 that disappointed me. So I am not too broken up over the fact that we don’t see him in this first episode.

[AMB]: I had a different reaction. As a newer fan, my first exposure was 2199. Then I watched Farewell, 2202 (up to chapter 5) and then Yamato 2. In Farewell, Dessler doesn’t show up until halfway through, reluctantly agreeing to the humiliation of being Gatlantis’ pawn. We’ll see how that pans out later down the line in 2202.

After the opening sequence, we move to a different part of space and the Earth Defense Force Special Mixed Fleet. They are in formation, heading unspecified. Then, presumably not far off, we see a Garmillas Fleet in formation.

“Prepare for ship to ship combat,” an officer intones. The fleets meet…and merge into one unified force.

[KC]: I love the setup for this. They go out of their way to make it look like the Earth and Garmillas fleets are squaring off against each other, even using the same music that opened 2199. When the two combine it makes my heart happy. This is the biggest departure from the original series so far, this alliance between Earth and Garmillas, and I am in love with absolutely everything about it.

[AMB]: A welcome departure indeed! And the orange-hued backdrop is drop-dead gorgeous. People can say whatever they want about Makoto Kobayashi (Assistant Director/Mecha Design/Art Direction) but his alien artwork for this fictional world is… well, out of this world.

[KC]: For the record, I don’t care much one way or the other about the different ships of this franchise even though that is a big part of the fandom, but the scrollwork on those Garmillas ships is gorgeous and I think I want it on my own vehicle.

[AMB]: While of the same mind, I do have to commend the staff for their model work and the immense variety of ships in this episode. Considering the departure of CG Director Takashi Imanishi (of 2199, City Hunter and Gundam The Origin fame) I was positively surprised, especially since this aspect of 2202 (to me) kept getting better and better.

Nestled in the atmosphere of a gas giant, the Garmillas 8th Floating Continent Base “Gamilasia Mk 8” has been occupied for 60 days by Gatlantis. Earth is there to assist the Garmillas in expelling the occupiers. Among the Earthlings is Susumu Kodai, now captain of the Kongo-class space battleship Yuunagi. Serving on his bridge is Yoshikazu Aihara, who suggests collecting intel on the Garmillas Zoellugut-class battleships while they have the opportunity. He is reprimanded by Kodai.

[AMB]: Something worth noting here is Aihara’s mention of Zoellugut-class ships being “rare” in the Garmillas fleet (there were only three in 2199). My theory regarding this class being more common in 2202 has to do with a symbolic change from autocracy to democracy. Before, these ships belonged to Dessler, Domel (a friend of the Fuhrer) and Zoellick (spearhead of the aristocracy). The filigree on the ships are similar to the scrollwork seen in Dessler’s throne room in 2199, which provides the inception of my theory. The presence of three in one place could say a lot about the importance of this mission.

[DG]: In 2199, the three Zoelluguts were named Deusler I, Zoellugut II, and Domelaze III. Their numbers have increased in the subsequent three years, as evidenced here and later in the series. These three, incidentally, are named Kerberos I, II, and III (which, given there are three ships, is a nod to the [usually] three-headed dog of Greek mythology). They’re still relatively rare because of their massive cost compared to smaller classes of ships. They’re not intended for use as a vanguard ship, but rather as a flagship. We see other examples of this transitioning from 2199 to 2202, namely in the Gelvades-class battle carrier, which had also seen limited production due to cost and complexity of construction.

I don’t think a change in the nature of the government would be needed to expand the construction of either class of ship. Most likely, Admiral Gul Dietz of the Garmillan Navy made a recommendation for both classes of ships to be built, which was then approved by the government. The process would be the same as under Dessler’s totalitarian rule, but a Parliament would have to approve it instead.

Back at Earth Defense Headquarters Central Command Center, we see Yuki Mori and Mikage Kiryu with Commander Todo and Officer Serizawa, as well as a few Garmillas and Earth men in business suits. This is the strategy-room extension of the Earth/Garmillas alliance seen in the battlefield. The Garmillas national emblem has been added to the command center to reinforce the point.

[KC]: Who are these guys, lawyers? Corporate representatives? Weapons manufacturers? The show isn’t going to tell us, so all we can do is speculate.

[AMB]: Could be all or none of these things. But based on their dialogue regarding the production of WMG-weapons, they sure sound like investors to me. We’ll see more of these guys in later chapters, so do your best to keep speculating!

[DG]: We see a large number of named ships in this fleet. Many of these are named for Japanese or American vessels, but there are some interesting ones here, many of which have stories behind them.

  • Yuunagi – Kodai’s ship is named for a Kamikaze–class destroyer that served in World War II
  • Shimakaze – this was the name of one of the Isokaze-class torpedo boats in the Earth fleet destroyed at Pluto in 2199.
  • Saratoga – of six US Navy ships to bear this name (for the Battle of Saratoga in the American War of Independence), two were aircraft carriers. The first was CV-3, a Lexington-class carrier which fought in the Pacific theater in World War II (most notably at Guadalcanal). The second was CV-60, a Forrestal-class carrier that fought in Vietnam and participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
  • Iroquois – named for the Iroquois people of North America.
  • Ticonderoga – named for an Essex-class carrier which conducted air strikes on Kyushu in the closing stages of World War II.
  • Hubbardton – named for the Battle of Hubbardton in the American War of Independence in 1777.
  • Farragut – named for David Farragut, the first Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, and Admiral in the US Navy, famous for the misquoted phrase, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”.
  • Patterson – named for a US Navy destroyer which was moored at Pearl Harbor on the December 7, 1941 (in turn, named after early 19th Century US Navy officer Daniel Patterson, and like several other ship names here, was also a name of one of the Knox-class frigates)
  • Pharris – named for Jackson C Pharris, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner for heroism aboard the USS California during the Pearl Harbor bombings.
  • Valdez – named for Phil Isador Valdez, a US Marine Corps medic who became the first American soldier of Spanish descent to have a warship named in his honor
  • Kirk – named for Admiral Alan Goodrich Kirk, who commanded the US forces at Normandy and later became Ambassador to the Soviet Union. (Patterson, Pharris, Valdez, and Kirk were all names of ships of the Vietnam-era Knox-class frigate, which probably explains their common inclusion here. However, a case could also be made for a second reference here – that obviously being a Star Trek reference, to the original captain, James T. Kirk.
  • Sugarloaf – this could either be a reference to Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil, or to Sugar Loaf Hill, a small hill captured by U.S. Marines in the Okinawa campaign in 1945. If this were a Brazilian ship and named as such, it would be consistent with Japanese ship naming convention for ships such as Kirishima and Kongo, which were named after Japanese mountains.
  • Independence – multiple US ships have borne this name, most famously the last of the Forrestal-class aircraft carriers (CV-62) as well as a light aircraft carrier which served in World War II. More recently the name of a stealthy-looking Littoral Combat Ship.

The battle commences. Kodai commands Yuunagi directly into their midst, weaving and firing almost as deftly as his Cosmo Zero. His ship also carries some pretty powerful missiles, able to take out a Medaluza in one round, almost certainly a callback to his brother doing the same with cutting-edge weapons in 2199‘s battle of Pluto. Despite vastly outnumbering the combined fleet, Gatlantis falls back to the floating continent, almost daring their enemies to follow.

By the start of 2202, previous productions have created a wellspring of Gatlantis ships to draw from. In 2199 we saw redesigns of the Destroyer and the “Goland” missile ship (now renamed the Kukulkan and Lasceaux respectively). Ark of the Stars gave us new versions of the “Nasca” (now referred to as the Nasca-class carrier) and most memorably the Medaluza with its twin Flame-Strike Cannons. Three of those four are back (“Goland” got another redesign to add muscle), and will soon be joined for the first time by a fifth. (There’s also the Deathvatator fighter craft, but we’re just talking capital ships at the moment.)

The Garmillas fleet has a new countermeasure for the Medaluza, a huge floating shield with its own maneuvering capability. It can’t actually take many hits before being shredded, but that’s not its only function; it also blacks out local warp capabilities to keep enemies from escaping (or using the much-vaunted “small warp” strategy to outflank). But everything on the Earth/Garmillas side runs second to the monster we’re all about to meet.

The reveal of this menacing vessel is one of the biggest surprises delivered in the first episode. In the original story, it was essentially a background mecha, referred to simply as “Dai Senkan” (Large Battleship). Now it’s been established at 520 meters long (about 1.5 Yamatos) and given the class name Kalaklum. This follows the same conceit as other Gatlantis capital ships whose names are (for some reason) derived from Earth heritage. Kalaklum is an interpretation of Calakmul (a Mayan archeology site), respelled for easier pronunciation in Japanese.

Even more unexpected is the initial appearance of the ship, covered entirely in rock. This is a nod toward one of the earliest concepts for Yamato as an asteroid ship carrying a layer of earth rock for protection – which led to the notion of an asteroid ring.

There’s also an unusual reason for the ship to have appeared this early in the story. Writer Harutoshi Fukui mentioned in more than one interview how frustrated he was as a kid by how difficult the Large Battleship model kit was to build. (He’s not wrong – that thing is a real challenge!) His rationale was that the sooner he got it into the series, the sooner Bandai would roll out a modern version. And that’s exactly what happened.

[KC]: Kodai grits his teeth a lot, and we set the tone for the military engagements that we can expect moving forward; grossly overblown. Even before Gatlantis reveals their secret superweapon, their number far outweighs the combined strength of Earth and Garmillas.

[AMB]: The giant battleship emerges from a cross eerily similar to the one seen in Ark of the Stars. Ancient Akerian WMD? The show does make sure to point out how the floating continent was a place for Akerius research. The cross seems to be symbolic of God’s (Akerius) judgement on us humans, but why are we being judged? We’ll see.

[KC]: Hmm, more Ark references. I know there has been some criticism among fans regarding the over-the-top battle sequences, but in my opinion they serve multiple purposes that play out across the series and are necessary to the plot. Also, this is space opera; just go with it.

[AMB]: In a post-series interview, Producer Shoji Nishizaki spoke about the differences between Izubuchi’s Yamato (2199 Director) and Fukui’s Yamato (2202 Writer). He mentioned that Izubuchi distinguished himself through the visualization of Yamato‘s tech and style whereas Fukui has a more intricately woven thread of themes and storytelling. These differences in approach can definitely be seen through the different stories they tell in battle sequences.

The Kalaklum spins up its super-weapon (sort of a cross between Yamato‘s asteroid ring and Gundam‘s psychoframe bits) and lays waste to the Garmillas ships. Commander Todo orders the Earth fleet to pull back, but Serizawa points out that they now have an opportunity to enact “Plan A.” Yuki and Mikage are confused, but Todo is resigned. “Plan A” is a go. In a hot second, both Yuki and Mikage are shifted into a new data stream. Yuki is shocked when she realizes what’s about to happen.

[KC]: Begin Operation “Screw You, Starsha!”

[AMB]: I love this scene. You can see how much both of these powerful men feel the weight of their impending decision, breaking into sweats and reluctantly leaning on each other’s judgement in order to proceed. Chilling, really.

From behind Yuunagi, two blasts lance out and disperse in dozens of directions, obliterating the entire Gatlantis fleet. The assault has come from Andromeda and the weapon is most assuredly Wave-Motion technology.

[AMB]: And the Andromeda is commanded by Captain Hiji-…wait, it’s captained by Osamu Yamanami, who formerly captained Kirishima under Admirals Okita and Hijikata! He’s really climbed up the ranks hasn’t he? Back in the day, he was a one-off character made up for Be Forever Yamato, but with the help of both 2199 and 2202 he’s been seamlessly integrated from the very beginning of this rebooted story. Also, his beard grew out these past 3 years.

On Yuunagi, Kodai and his crew are shocked and angry, even in the face of their victory. Kodai recalls the promise his former Captain Okita made to Starsha of Iscandar, then Sanada’s cold words regarding Earth’s future in re-weaponizing Wave-Motion technology.

[AMB]: The way Andromeda‘s beams pierce through a planet of some sort simply because it’s in the way is a great shot. Both figuratively and literally! Earth is on a dangerous path, where nothing is sacred.

[KC]: I believe that toward the end of 2199, when Dessler makes his last failed attempt to destroy Yamato, he also shoots through one of his own planets to get to them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence or an accident that Earth has taken a page from his book, and it is starting to make a bit more sense to me why Starsha prefers to live on a planet all by herself.

At headquarters, the suits (Earth and Garmillas alike) seem quite pleased with themselves as Andromeda begins to lead a cleanup operation. However, Yuki is not pleased at all, and harshly reminds Commander Todo of the promise made to Starsha of Iscandar.

[KC]: I really like the exchange between one of the suits from Earth and the Garmillas man beside him:

“After our success here today, perhaps the people of Garmillas will begin to see the Earth in a new light.”

“No doubt,” the Garmillas smirks. “Earth’s enemies will, too.”

As someone who has always been fonder of the Garmillas, I cannot get enough of the in-depth interaction between the races of these two worlds. While 2202 may not have been written by the same people that brought us 2199, both series have expanded on characters and given us glimpses into their motivations and culture that I never dreamed I would get from an official source. If only they applied that same level of dedication to their merchandising. (Sorry, I grew up spoiled by Star Wars. I want Garmillas toys, figures, clothing and accessories and I am never going to shut up about it.)

[AMB]: Some might (and certainly have) critiqued the show for its constant flow of information from every character on screen. As an encyclopedic nerd, I for one welcome this (haha). To respond to this critique however, there’s a difference between having the characters deliver dialogue fitting for their positions, and having them supply the viewers with entertaining and thoughtful dialogue. The latter is what this microcosm of a scene certainly did!

The EDF battleships Defiant and Saratoga are permitted to withdraw and warp back to Earth. Suddenly, the engines of the massive Gatlantis battleship come back up and it charges past Andromeda in pursuit, plunging into its own warp gate straight back to the Command Center on Earth! As it passes Andromeda it seems to have gotten even larger, almost double the size of Earth’s new flagship – which reflects Director Nobuyoshi Habara’s policy to throw specs aside in favor of dramatic effect.

[DG]: Or is it? While the same effect was used earlier to make Andromeda stand out compared to Yuunagi, there’s more to this with the Kalaklums. The size difference does not change later in this episode, as we shall see.

The artwork and the subtitles conflict here: is it Defiance or Defiant? There’s a difference between what we see stencilled on the ship (Defiant) and what is mentioned in the official subs (Defiance). Historically, HMS Defiance was a name used for numerous Royal Navy vessels that served between 1588 and 1884, at which time the name was transferred to the Royal Navy Torpedo School.

Defiant, on the other hand, was the name of multiple ships in various eras of the Star Trek universe, including in Deep Space Nine. If the on-ship spelling is in fact correct, then this (and possibly the Murasame-class cruiser Kirk seen in the flotilla) could be nods to the science-fiction franchise that many consider Yamato‘s western equivalent.

[AMB]: And they’re gone. Poor guys, right? I’ll commend my dear Serizawa for giving these ships and their crew the go-ahead to leave the battlefield for repairs though.

[DG]: These defense satellites look like pylons with a bunch of decommissioned Kongo-class battleship turrets. Like the woefully-underpowered laser turrets of Kirishima in Operation M, these turrets are spewing out green beams rather than shock-cannon blue. Can we infer from this that they have the similar levels of ineffective power to the Pluto fleet in Operation M?

The enemy battleship, glowing like lava, literally gate-crashes the solar system, smashing right through the defensive perimeter around the moon and diving directly at command HQ. “So this is how Gatlantis fights their battles,” Todo comments bitterly as Serizawa chokes, giving up the situation as hopeless. Yuki is the one to give the evacuation order, and people begin to retreat into the underground city that protected them from Garmillas attacks only a few years before.

[KC]: Here is a good example of why I have no complaints regarding the level of excess these battles will go to. Yes, the Gatlantis fleet was almost ridiculous in number. Yes, Andromeda basically wiped them all out in one shot, problem solved. But now this behemoth is on a collision course and things are exciting again. Especially since the only one to go after it is (naturally) Kodai in Yuunagi.

[AMB]: Destruction begets destruction after all. And it immediately brings up a subconscious question in our minds; how far is humanity willing to go in order to survive?

[KC]: The counterpoint to Kodai’s reckless, desperate attempt to protect the Earth yet again is Serizawa’s cowardly abandonment of all responsibility. He basically sits there with his eyes bugging out, waiting for his inevitable death and forcing Yuki and Todo to take matters into their own hands. I am definitely on Team Serizawa-is-a-Garbage-Person.

[AMB]: My perspective on Serizawa is that if he is Izumo and Todo is Yamato, they’re both a sort of yin and yang representing cold rationalism and hopeful idealism. Serizawa makes a point in this scene that, based on the speed of the Gatlantis battleship and its impact angle, Earth would be doomed. Hence, his rationalism becomes a crutch. He does not cave out of cowardice, he caves because he understands how hopeless it is. But Todo picks up where he falls.

This is what makes his working relationship with Todo so interesting to me. They are substantially different in their ways of thinking, but they use their abilities to better one another and the military as a whole for the sake of humanity. In the same episode, we’ve seen Todo almost about to dismiss Andromeda for the sake of an idealistic promise, which could have ended in the complete loss of the Earth-Garmillas task force. Serizawa gets him out of it. Later we see Serizawa cave in a similar manner, this time with Todo taking responsibility in his stead. People can and should work despite their differences, for the sake of the whole.

[KC]: Serizawa does provide a necessary balance, and I do accept the general conceit that you can’t have space opera without space battles. Honoring Okita’s promise would have made Earth completely vulnerable to Gatlantis and effectively ended the story before it began. Still, all of my nuance is reserved for excusing problematic Garmillas behavior, so on the nature of Serizawa’s character we will have to agree to disagree.

[DG]: It should be kept in mind that many characters in Yamato were named for members of the Shinsengumi, the special police force of the Bakufu (Military Government) in the 1860s, including original saga characters Okita, Todo, Hijikata, Saito, and Yamanami. Yamato 2199 added Shinsengumi names such as Harada, Nimii, and Ito. Ark of the Stars gave us Nagakura. Yamato 2199 took the use of the names further in a subplot which loosely followed the historical Shinsengumi factions (Serizawa, Nimii, and Ito part of one faction whilst Todo, Okita, Hijikata, Yamanami, and Harada were part of another). Historically, that wound up in the favor of the Okita faction as well.

Yuunagi warps in. Kodai attempts to stop the Gatlantis ship with a conventional attack, but the weapons do nothing. He then tries pushing them off course, but this plan also fails. (There’s an odd moment where an outline of the battleship on Kiryuu’s screen resembles the original Dreadnought from 1978, which proves a bit distracting to older viewers.) Suddenly, Yuki uses a secret channel to patch him through to Shiro Sanada, who has an idea of his own. He needs the Gatlantis ship’s course data.

[DG]: Here we see that this Kalaklum absolutely dwarfs the 205-meter Yuunagi (image brightened for clarity). It’s clearly at least four times as long as opposed to the “canonical” 2.6 times as long. While it might be easy to argue production technique to emphasize the larger ship, it’s more appropriate when the two ships aren’t up against one another. Additionally, we find out later that Kalaklums can come in different sizes (although it’s not until much later in that we find out why that is possible).

Sanada, along with Hikozaemon Tokugawa, Isami Enomoto and Shou Yamazaki, are of course on board Yamato. The ship is currently bolted down in an underwater drydock for renovation. With the coordinates in hand and seconds to spare, she disengages from the docking facility to roll and aim her mighty shock cannons straight up. In one phenomenal blast, Yamato pierces the drydock canopy, scatters the water above it, and destroys the Gatlantis battleship!

All evidence points to this dock being located in the port city of Kure where the original IJN Battleship Yamato was built. If so, the body of water above the dock is the Seto Inland Sea, near Hiroshima.

[DG]: During the course of events here, we see Yamato‘s turret loaded with blue-colored shells. These are Wave-Motion Cartridges, a weapon that was first seen in Be Forever Yamato as a firepower boost for the shock cannons. They gave the cannons some extra punch when the Wave-Motion Gun was not an option. Since the ship currently draws its power only from the auxiliary engines, they can’t fire the shock cannons at normal power, if at all. (We saw a similar situation at the end of 2199‘s first episode; Yamato shot down a Polmeria carrier using ballistic shells, since they didn’t have energy to fire the shock cannons.) The Wave-Motion Cartridges at least give them the same penetration power (if not more) as the shock cannons when the Wave-Motion Engine is running.

One may ask why Yamato‘s shock cannons penetrated the Kalaklum‘s hull while those of the larger and more powerful Andromeda could not. We’ll get a very good visual explanation of this several episodes from here, but the short answer is trade-off of power for rate of fire gain.

[DG]: Meanwhile, we get a nice high-altitude shot of Japan as the camera pans to Yuunagi as she enters the atmosphere. Here we see Hiroshima in the cove at the far left. Kure is in the bottom right of that cove, surrounded by islands. The exploding Kalaklum obstructs the view of Onomichi, with the lit-up area just to the right of it being Fukuyama.

[AMB]: As the episode ends, we see Todo with a glint in his eye until cold rationalism makes him realize that Yamato just broke military protocol in front of important men dressed in important business suits.

There is a moment of relief, awe and joy that Yamato has indeed saved Earth for a second time. Then a flash from some indescribable distance; a “cosmo wave” from Teresa touches the minds of crew members on both Yamato and Yuunagi. Appearing before Kodai is Captain Juuzo Okita, speaking a clear message; “Kodai. Board Yamato. Get on board Yamato.”

[KC]: And a new adventure begins, hooray! Overall, the first episode has more in common with the opening of Farewell than Yamato 2, but we now have a legitimate, previously unseen alliance between Earth and their former enemy against a new threat. I am all in.

[AMB]: There were aspects similar to Yamato 2, mainly the crew’s reaction to Andromeda as it passes. But as you say, we’re in for quite the ride!

[DG]: This closing shot strongly implies to me that the entire structure containing Yamato is submersible. We see drain pipes (on the interior of the wall surrounding the dome) pouring out water as if shedding ballast, and we clearly saw earlier that the dome was completely underwater. Given that they’re almost certainly in the harbor near Kure and thus in the Seto Inland Sea, it precludes any other scenario, such as the blast evaporating the surrounding water.

Coda

Theatrical release: Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love Chapter 1: Beginning Chapter contained episodes 1 and 2. It premiered in Japanese theaters February 25, 2017.

Japanese video: Theater-exclusive Blu-ray February 25, 2017. Standard Blu-ray & DVD March 24, 2017

First Japanese TV broadcast: October 5, 2018

American debut: May 9, 2018 (streaming) March 15, 2019 (home video)

The episode contained no opening title. The end title song was the 1978 recording of From Yamato With Love. The end title animation, a long pan of a severely-damaged Yamato, was only coupled with episodes 1 and 2.

Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 1

Episode credits
Storyboard: Akihiro Enomoto
Episode Director: Takao Kato
Animation directors: Akihisa Maeda, Hiroki Inoki

Series credits
Writer: Harutoshi Fukui
Scriptwriter: Hideki Oka
Director: Nobuyoshi Habara, Xebec Studio
Assistant Director: Makoto Kobayashi
Art Director: Yoshio Tanioka
CG Animation Director: Yuuto Uwabo, Sublimation Studio
Music: Akira Miyagawa, Hiroshi Miyagawa
Executive Producer: Shoji Nishizaki

Continue to Episode 2
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24 thoughts on “Yamato 2202 Episode 1 Commentary

  1. Yay! Yamato commentaries are back! And boy 2202 is going to be an interesting one with all its hidden themes in its stories and some controversies! Looking forward to reading your commentaries of the other episodes!

    In regards to the allied fleet in the first episode, I didn’t know those three Zoelluguts were named after Greek mythology which is a departure from the German and French styled names used in the Garmillas fleet in 2199. Initially I wasn’t a fan of the idea of producing more Zoelluguts instead of Gelevades-class battle carriers (the majority which were ‘borrowed’ by a certain faction). But looking back on it it makes sense in the story as their standard battleship classes like the Gaiderol and Haizerad probably couldn’t compete against the capital ships of Gatlantis or the WMG fleet of the UNCF in terms of durability and firepower. So it’s reasonable why they wanted to build more of those massive ships.

    LOL, I didn’t know that Sugarloaf was actually named after a minor event in WWII, thought it was some kind of joke considering how silly its name was.

    I really love the Andromeda’s big debut in this remake, her first presence in the show by firing the WMG on her maiden voyage in combat shows that she an aggressive force to be reckon with and is willing to make the hard choices to decisively win battles instead of the passive deterrence symbol she was in the original.

    As for the inconsistent size of the Calakmul, or Kalaklum, I have a theory it might be an experimental large variant of the standard Calakmul.
    My reasoning behind it is that is weird Lightning Rotation Gun System that it uses was a reusable version of the Legionare Cannon mode which typically destroys the ship using it after firing as seen in the rest of the series (most particular episode 6 and 7). Considering the mega-sized Kalaklum didn’t destroyed itself after firing it compared to other ships of its class, it’s highly possible that it was a special one-off prototype.
    Which is probably a lucky thing for the UNCF since I think their AAA-class and Yamato-class ships can’t handle that beast in a one on one fight since its more durable and powerful that the smaller mass-produced one.

    One more reason why Yamato easily destroyed the mega-Kalaklum that I think you left out: Aside from the extensive damage to the Galtantean ship, its bow was under intense heat pressure from the reentry of Earth’s atmosphere at the time when Yamato took the shot. When Yamato’s WMC shells pen though it, basically the heat burnt though the interior from the exposed holes in the bow, making it unstable and broke apart. Kinda like what happened to the late Space Shuttle Columbia.

    • Hey there Jordan, I’m glad you enjoyed the commentary!

      My personal take on the “Mega Caraklum” is related to what we’ve previously seen in “Ark of the Stars”, namely a huge cross relating to Arkelias. There’s a casual mention in this episode about the floating continent base being a research facility, and I think the reason why Gatlantis invaded said facility was to get their hands on Arkelian ship technology encased within the rock-bed. Following the ship’s extraction, data was probably transferred to the white comet for mass-production. To speed up the process, they made the ships smaller. Future episodes will show us how the ships are reproduced, and their process lends weight to this theory of mine.

      Regarding its destruction at the end of the episode… I definitely agree with your view of what happened. There’s a clear focus on the overheated bow upon re-entry, and despite this we know by next episode that parts of the ship (as well as the pilot) were scavenged by the military (so it wasn’t completely blown up)

      Feel free to keep pointing out odd stuff with either the episodes themselves or things you think we missed! Have a nice day now.

  2. You all did a great job, bringing to light different viewpoints about the series
    I only had the chance to skim but I will definitely be reading the whole piece and the others in detail.

    Bravo!

    • Feel free to read it all at your own pace, there’s some neat stuff in there for everyone! From lore analysis to mecha insight and historical parallels being drawn, we hope to deliver a fun and educational experience to every reader!

      Have a great one Dennis 😀

  3. Great commentary, but I have a couple questions. Where’d you get the names of the Zoellguts and the fact that the continent was an Aquarius Research Base? I don’t remember seeing either of those things in any of the source material I read. I’m not doubting you, but if there’s some piece of material I’m missing, I’d love to know so I can find it and read it for myself to glean stuff from it. Again, great commentary and keep it up.

    • The extra data comes from combing through print sources, such as the movie program books or the Complete Works books. Now that all the scripts have been published, we’ll have those to draw from as well.

  4. The Iroquois is also likely named after the WW2 destroyer HMCS Iroquois, considering the naming conventions of the Murasame class.

  5. I’m honestly Amazed Serizawa is still in a position of Authority at all: iirc, isn’t he the one who ordered the initial firing on the first-contact Garmilan ships in 2199, without provocation?

    If my memory is correct, then the man is essentially responsible for the near-extinction of Humanity. In a rational setting, he would have been “retired” long ago. His connection to the Izumo plan and his meddling in the Yamato plan would only reinforce the sheer NEED to remove him from his position.
    Any skill or military successes didn’t save General MacArthur from being fired for insubordination during the Korean War, and the implied threat of using Nuclear bombs on the Chinese troops invading North Korea pales in comparison to what Serizawa is responsible for.

    • It’s a tough subject, but I’ll give my abridged take: Serizawa wasn’t as much in charge of the decision to shoot first in the early 2190’s as much as he was the messenger of the unanimous decision of the military. No one man has the power to make such a decision after all, and he says as much in the 2199 flashbacks. As for why he’s still in a position of power… that’s because he followed orders, like any military man or soldier should. He was used as the puppet who told every citizen on Earth that Gamillas shot first after all. And the Izumo plan was “the” plan to save humanity up until the last minute in 2199, when it was forcefully changed to the Yamato plan on the whim of Captain Okita and (at least implicated) the UN.

      If I have to play devil’s advocate, I’d say the Yamato plan (as a military course of action in a time when your species is about to go extinct) is completely bonkers. A very idealistic and less so “safe” plan, compared to the Izumo plan. But that’s part of the underlying sub themes of 2199 making themselves shown. At the beginning, some of us probably agreed more with the Izumo plan than the Yamato plan because… it’s more reasonable than trusting some alien lady halfway across the universe who never delivered the Cosmo Reverse System to Earth with her sister on first contact, despite having the opportunity.

      What I’m saying is, Serizawa did his duty as a soldier, and likely because of this (and his knowledge/involvement during first contact) he’s hard to remove without allowing some secrets to slip. Something we’ll see later on in this show is how heavy he carries the duty to uphold order in post-war Earth, and how much he values the lives of his own people.

      Either way that’s just my take, don’t take it as gospel! I’m glad you left a comment and gave me something else to think about, take care now friend~

      • Well, it’s not like they had enough candidates available to substitute him. Remember Konrad Adenauer, chancellor of West Germany, responding to the question why his democratic government included former Nazis: “What other choice do I have? They are the only ones who came with some political experience.”

  6. Really looking forward to this commentary series. I use commentaries on here regularly for fanfic work, so this’ll be another great resource, I’m sure.

    • As an aspiring writer myself I can completely relate to this! (haha) Glad to have you here, hope you’re looking forward to the rest.

  7. Actually, the Lascaux cruiser and the Goland missile ship are completely different. The Lascaux is just a simple high-speed attack cruiser to use in regular capital ship combat. The Goland Missile ship however, is a lot bulkier, is taller compared to it’s length, and has less white parts on the hull of the ship.

    • Sort of. The 2199 redesign for “Goland” followed the same basic hull shapes but streamlined it into a lighter, faster-looking vessel. The 2202 version is also a redesign, but more bulky and muscled-up. I added some clarification, thanks for pointing it out.

  8. I’m not a fan of how the Kalaklum class is introduced — it’s all “rule of cool” instead of plausible-looking engineering. The byword of “2199” was “re-examine and improve,” including aspects that appeal to the technically-minded segment of the audience, but I’m not seeing that here.

    If its main weapon is the pod-cluster, why mount all those conventional gun turrets? Why are the pods so disproportionately tiny? If they’re independently powered, why bother with such a big mothership? If the mothership beams energy to them, why don’t we see it, since by artistic convention in visual SF, every kind of energy effect (weapons, tractors, shields, etc.) is visible? Why does it enter the scene covered in rocks, a technique Gatlantis uses at no other point in the series? –Given its unimpeded operation when scorched, it doesn’t need extra armor.

    • I’ll do my best to present my view: I always saw the introduction of the rock-covered Caraklum as being connected to the origins of the research facility-, in other words it’s Arkelian tech originally. This would then be the reason why the facility was attacked (and seized) by Gatlantis in the first place. Following this, the base design is reproduced later in the series in all manner of shapes, with seemingly different properties. The cross it was covered in bore similarities to the cross-shape in “Ark of the Stars”, making the connection more apparent.

      Now while I do agree that the more tech-minded audience is a part of the fanbase, I’m not sure how this ship (If connected to Arkelian technology) is an issue, considering the now extinct race of aliens had the powers of telepathy, cloaking capabillities, warp gates, etc etc… already back in their presentation from 2199. This is at the end of the day still SF in some respect, and some things will be difficult to explain. The tiny pods? Probably made tiny to decrease power drain and to make them harder to shoot down. (Just as an example)

      I hope my view has at least managed to open up for some broader interpretations on your part, and if not I hope our engagement here has been satisfactory. Hope you enjoy the following episode commentaries, feel free to post again whenever you like~

  9. I did picked quite some Star Trek ship names back in the day from here..

    Defiant, Saratoga, Farragut.. (plus the Kirk name in other) all those were names ships in Star Trek at one point or another.

    the battle at the start was also very nice in seeing that in this 3 years they had upgraded the existing designs and equiped them with wave motion engines vastly improving their firepower and of course now having shield and warp capabilities.. the weapons now take out any other ship in one shot like the Gamillas did with other ships …putting the earth ships on top of the food chain. How ever those shields dont seem as effective as Yamato’s given the number of ships that fall to Gatlantis fire.. Also odd that in this battle save for Andromeda we dont see any of the new 3 warship classes (dreadnought, patrol cruiser and escort frigate) when i asume at least the latter 2 should be allready arround..
    Also it was a bit RyanJohnsonish seeing how now they can track a ship throught warp to its destination.. that changes quite a lot the strategic value of warp in space warfare

    • Hey there, that’s all great input and some nice insight! I don’t believe the dreadnoughts have been officially finished yet (at this point in the story) and in as a response to the “warp tracking”… it is my belief that Earth did not have the ability to track the enemy ship’s warp course, but rather used the data from the two retreating ships (Saratoga and Defiance) as well as from the Defense satellites radars near the Moon.
      They find out about the Caraklum’s coordinates following it smashing into the Saratoga and Defiance, the information delivered by Mikage Kiryuu back at HQ.
      “A large mass has warped out in the outer rim of the Moon’s orbit! Saratoga and Defiance’s warp-out signatures were confirmed in the same spot, so…”

      Anyhow glad to see the comment section so engaged! Please stay with us the whole journey through!

    • Warp tracking was already established in the Yamato remake series way before the Last Jedi was released. In episode 8 of 2199, the Garmillan second class Zalti commander Shultz was tracking the Yamato’s warp jumps and actually caught up with them in his Gaiderol-class battleship. So it’s not really a new thing in the Yamato series.

      • That’s true! However wasn’t that more like Schultz predicting the exit coordinates based on previous data on Earth’s warp picked up when Yamato appeared near Jupiter? I remember Domel discussing predicting warp coordinates back before his first encounter with Yamato, positioning his 5 different groups in potential warp out coordinates to box’em in.

        In any case, warp travel in Yamato seems to have some limitations. Whether it’s Domel, Yamato or the White Comet their ships seem to temporarily stop whenever large celestial bodies are in the way or interference occurs, sometimes even banishing ships to the twilight zone of space haha. Then we have ships built to take advantage of the twilight zone like Flakken’s dimensional submarine.

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