by Anton Mei Brandt, Kathy Clarkson, and Daniel George
Episode 2: Tension – Go to the Secret Underground Moon Base
This is the first episode to kick off with the opening title and the Space Battleship Yamato theme. It’s presented in a music-video like fashion with images from Episode 1 interspersed with some new shots as an instrumental version of the theme appeals to our nostalgia. (It’s quite similar to the Yamato MV Series, which you can read more about here.)
[AMB]: Right off the bat we get our first incarnation of the new Yamato theme! It’s the same one we’ve all heard before, but for the first time since the director’s cut of Yamato Resurrection we get a symphonic instrumental. Habara-style direction. Some shots are nods to the Yamato 2 opening, like the White Comet Empire blasting Yamato from above! I’ll save more thoughts for a future dissection of all the opening and ending songs.
Our episode begins with a shot of a captured Gatlantian soldier being held inside a lab on Earth. Despite the severe crash of the giant battleship last episode, his body is intact and he’s still breathing. We’re also reintroduced to the 2199 original character Kaoru Niimi. She runs off to fetch some documents, intending to cross-reference data on Gatlantians she met in 2199 and this one, whose DNA has been tampered with…
[KC]: This is our next reference to Ark of the Stars. Not that it’s necessary to see it in order for Yamato 2202 to make sense, but it’s definitely worth watching and provides an additional layer of enjoyment to this series, in my opinion.
[AMB]: Definitely. Ark is less required viewing and more an expansion of 2199, but one I adore! It sets up some mysteries and concepts which will be explored throughout 2202, such as the true nature of Gatlantians & Akerian technology.
We cut to the Garmillas Empire Earth Embassy on the Moon, where two new Garmillan characters attempt to warn the Earth government of something, but they’re too late. The Gatlantian blows up, seemingly taking the entire research center with him. Fortunately Kaoru managed to dodge death, waking up confused and battered in a hospital bed. A familiar face keeps her company behind a curtain.
[KC]: Well, well, well. Who is this handsome, young, blonde haired, blue-skinned, capeless gentleman whom we have never seen before? Later in this episode, we will learn his name and purpose. While his gigantic mess of a haircut may make him look like the lovechild of Kodai and Dessler, he is actually a callback to the Dark Nebulan Intelligence and Technology Officer from Be Forever Yamato, Lieutenant Alphon.
[AMB]: Dark Nebula Empire reference indeed. Or as a friend of mine calls them, the unfortunate Leukemia Empire. Dark jokes aside, my first reaction to his appearance was something akin to, he looks like an even more modern take on Dessler mixed with Lt. Alphon, design-wise.
[KC]: Is it too early for me to point out that, while the writers have stated that any new stories to come after 2202 will be original, they have crammed all manner of easter eggs and old references into this series? See how many you can find!
Another thing about these scenes; what is the deal with Sanada staying behind a curtain in Niimi’s room? Does he not want her to know he’s there, so as not to disturb the patient, or for some other reason?
[AMB]: My interpretation is that he’s still uncomfortable with openly portraying empathy or compassion on a deeper level, meaning he rushed to check up on her immediately after hearing about the explosion, but couldn’t get himself to show that he did. Another interpretation I have is that he stayed with her all night after the med team finished up, having fallen asleep sitting up behind the curtain to respect her privacy. Or the curtain is meant to symbolize that despite how far away they are from one another these days, they’re still close at heart. Incidentally, he appears to be reading the same book of Chuya Nakahara poetry we saw in 2199.
Our first Earth Federation President is holding a speech, fireworks filling the sky near an arena outside one of Earth’s newly built supercities. A celebration is at hand, for the reconstruction of Earth and the cooperative efforts of two former feuding nations working toward peace. This is symbolized by the completion of the new Andromeda class of battleships.
[AMB]: One of the biggest tweaks to the older works so far. Not one, but a full set of Andromedas are revealed! It was originally proposed in Yamato 2 that several be built, and that promise has now been realized.
[KC]: “Peace in space; that is our goal,” intones the Earth Federation President as they unveil the new fleet with apparently no sense of irony. Naturally, I am reminded of another quote from the real – I mean, the ORIGINAL – Leader Dessler, in the English dub of The Bolar Wars. Something like, “Only by a show of peaceful aggression can we truly achieve peace in our time.”
This is also the reasoning that Abelt Dessler adopted in Yamato 2199; if he can fight everybody and beat them, then no one will fight anymore and that nice lady who lives alone and refuses to date him will be happy. But as we all know, this does not work out for either of the Desslers, and there’s no way it’s going to work out for Earth, either.
[AMB]: One can hardly blame the Earth’s collective defensive response after such a long and arduous war. But even so, it’s a painful slice of reality to face. Victims of one war can easily become perpetrators of the next if given the chance, especially if the seeds of distrust have been sown since the beginning. I’m of course referring to Earth’s decision to shoot first in the early 2190’s.
While the men in suits from last episode talk amongst one another in the back, we’re greeted by Commander Todo, Military Chief Serizawa, and the two new faces from the Garmillan Moon embassy. A clear sense of underlying distrust is felt, as the events leading up to this important day are dissected and criticized by both parties. Beginning with one question from Garmillan ambassador Varel: “Why didn’t you tell us about the survivor?”
[AMB]: As a longtime fan of space operas like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, this introductory scene to the political side of 2202’s narrative arc had me thrilled from the get-go. Underlying distrust? Political squabbling based in relatable feelings of betrayal and fear? The subtle nuances in the facial animation never reveal too much about their true agenda, which we won’t learn until much later it seems. Brilliant!
[KC]: Definitely. This is something I enjoyed immensely in 2199 and have already brought up in our previous commentary. The politics in the original series were pretty two-dimensional. I am really happy with what we’re getting here.
As they bicker back-and-forth in a dignified manner, we learn many things. Gatlantian soldiers are made to self-destruct when necessary. Earth’s population is one third of what it once was. And trust is hard to come by these days. Following Varel’s challenging remark on how Earth is “Playing with fire,” Todo says that the fall of the Dessler regime does not necessarily equate to an end of the underlying fear of war facing both parties.
[AMB]: I’m not the only one seeing parallels to the Cold War here, am I? Interesting to note that Earth’s population has grown very rapidly, considering one third of its peak population should be… at least 3 billion. Those reproductive instincts really kicked in!
[KC]: You certainly aren’t. As someone who grew up in the 70s and 80s, this show has relatable content to both then and now. This is at least the second time in as many episodes that they have mentioned “The fall of the Dessler regime.” Remember in The Comet Empire series when those Cometine jerks kept rubbing Leader Desslok’s nose in the fact that he was a big, failing failer who failed? Ah, I’m sure it’s nothing. We won’t be seeing that Abelt fellow again.
Serizawa points out that the Earth Federation government has chosen to abandon the deceased Okita’s promise to Starsha of Iscandar, on the premise that it was an informal vocal agreement made by a Captain acting beyond his own jurisdiction. Seeing the Andromeda-class ships departing, this leaves Varel with a sour taste in his mouth.
[KC]: This should leave everyone with a sour taste in their mouth.
[AMB]: Unless you’re an aviation enthusiast, heh.
The four new Andromeda-class ships give a sense of how the Cosmo Navy is evolving. They are categorized as AAA (Advance Ability Armament) and all have names starting with A. The battleships are AAA-1 Andromeda, AAA-2 Aldebaran and AAA-4 Achilles. The carrier variants are AAA-3 Apollo Norm and AAA-5 Antares. Apollo Norm is likely an homage to a vessel of the same name from the seminal 1963 manga Submarine 707. As an aside, the first Yamato 2202 Newspaper (February 2017) included a news clipping from this day (December 9, 2202) about the launch. Read it here.
[DG]: Apollo Norm was indeed a nod to the giant carrier from Submarine 707R, as it has connections to both Yamato and Yamato 2199. The 2003 anime adaptation of the manga employed Kazutaka Miyatake (primary mecha designer for the first Yamato series and Farewell to Yamato). Evangelion director and Yamato superfan Hideaki Anno directed the opening credits (he also storyboarded the opening sequence for 2199), and cast Yamato voice actors in the 707R OVA, notably Unsho Ishizuka (Hijikata), Aya Hisakawa (Kaoru Nimii), and Jouji Nakata (Frakken).
This sequence is the first big design showcase for Makoto Kobayashi. His Yamato pedigree goes back to the 90s with the first crack at Resurrection. He returned to work on the film in 2008/09, followed up with the Director’s Cut, and continued as a background designer on 2199. His position was elevated to Assistant Director for 2202, which gave him greater participation in the conceptual process (and greater exposure to controversy, since his ideas often stray from canon, but that’s another story).
Kobayashi has a penchant for large, sometimes unwieldy, and occasionally physics-defying structures. The entire launch structure is a perfect example with its massive wings and Galaxy Express-style rollercoaster tracks. Nothing about the structure makes logical sense; the wings should collapse under their own weight, the tracks should shatter under the weight of the ships (plus, why create drag at sea level?), and there’s no way the carrier decks on Apollo Norm or Antares would stay up in 1G. There’s no sugar-coating this; if design choices like these drive you crazy, your overall opinion of 2202 will be compromised. But if you’re more interested in spectacle that breaks the four walls of science (which was the core of Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s entire career) then this is a shining example of what’s to come. It’s also the first time (outside of the live-action Yamato movie) that we see a ship perform a warp within a planet’s atmosphere, so there’s some more grist for the mill.
[DG]: The Andromeda CV variant is one of the most polarizing elements of 2202. The amount of online vitriol I saw about this design was nothing short of phenomenal. Aside from nostalgia for the battle carriers from Yamato 2, there’s no real reason for it aside from “I don’t like it.” And 95% of what I saw deriding the Andromeda carrier’s design was just that.
Firstly, trying to bring real-world physics literally into anime is never recommended. 2199 did a lot to bring the physics of that universe closer to reality, but it still went out the window by Chapter 7 and certainly in Ark. Heck, if you really want to get real-world physics into space battles, then forget fighter planes completely. They are too short-legged and underarmed to be effective. But fighter planes are there because they’re awesome and we don’t give a damn about physics when we’re watching space opera.
I’m one of those few that actually like the Andromeda CV. It’s an unconventional design, sure, but it fixes a lot of design flaws in the Yamato 2 carriers. First, the planes having to land in a bay right above the engine block (one wrong move and the plane is vapor and the engine is seriously damaged). Second, their woeful rate of fighter deployment due to not even being able to retrieve the next plane until after the current one has launched (because they don’t move off the deck elevator before launching; Yamato could launch her planes faster). And third, a single point of failure rendering the carrier useless if the sole deck elevator gets damaged. In Episode 5, we’ll see the features of the new carrier in detail for the first (and only) time, so I’ll discuss them further then.
If you’re intent on instilling all of this with some logic, there’s already a built-in SAVE button: artificial gravity. It’s been a staple of Yamato since the very beginning. There’s no serious attempt to explain it, it’s just there (until it goes out, as in the Space Fireflies episode of Yamato 2). If you have the technology to pull people’s feet toward the surface of a spaceship deck, you presumably also have the technology to at least balance the pull of Earth’s gravity on a structure that would otherwise fall to the ground. Taking it farther, you can probably use the same technology to eliminate the need for any close-quarters combat…but we still have to tell a story here. (In the end, if hard science is your thing, you’re probably not a fan of space opera to begin with.)
We cut to a parking lot, children happily running around. Varel reveals to his associate that the former Yamato crew is under surveillance due to them experiencing a call from Teresa, and urges him to contact Kodai.
[AMB]: I think Kathy might love…
[KC]: The crew of Yamato in cahoots with Garmillas operatives? OMG I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS PLOT!!!
[AMB]: What she said. I wonder what kind of connections Varel has, though, considering he knew about Teresa’s message and is keeping it a secret from the mother planet Garmillas.
[KC]: I … don’t know what to think about Ambassador Varel yet, actually. He does speak matter-of-factly about Teresa to that associate of his, so he either has intel or first hand experience.
Fresh off a military court martial, Captain Kodai is greeted by the love of his life Yuki Mori. They take a drive to the city as she tries to force Kodai to vent his frustrations with the military. “Kodai Susumu saved Earth!” she exclaims, “Mori Yuki was worried!” This forces Kodai to jokingly apologize in a stern manner, as they both laugh it off.
[AMB]: They’re so gosh darn sweet. If any of you reading this have seen the original stories, the nostalgic image of seeing Yuki wearing that pink jumper during her reunion with Kodai should really strike a chord in your heart. Doesn’t matter how much overexposure she gets in the merch line for me, because the soul is still there in the animation.
Inside the city there are digitized commercials adorning the walls, from Andromeda propaganda to wedding agency ads, and an Analyzer-style Roomba cleaning up xenophobic graffiti.
The couple spends some time inside a café, discussing the future. Words are exchanged, as Kodai is reminded by the apparition of Okita he witnessed last episode. He wants to fight for their happiness going into the future. Yuki clutches his hands, revealing a wedding ring, proclaiming that she’s already happy.
[KC]: I like this scene a lot more here than the montage of domesticity we get in Farewell to Yamato. The only thing they didn’t change is Yuki’s outfit. (Why yes, of COURSE there’s a figure of it.) If memory serves, the original film has less dialogue and more furniture shopping here. It is a good indication that these two are looking forward to having a life together that doesn’t involve constant peril on a space-worthy battleship, but here we have something with a bit more meat on it. I find myself bringing this up a lot: in my opinion, this version of the story is more sophisticated. Not better, necessarily, but this dialogue between two of the main characters along with the scenes on Earth (including the casual racism) all form a more realistic picture of their lives at this point.
[AMB]: I wholeheartedly agree. Different times means different ways of conveying similar emotions. I’d like to make the point that in 1978 when Farewell was made, living together as a young couple with the one you love was a small but beautiful dream after the long postwar reconstruction. The icing on the cake was Kodai’s disinterest in the IKEA trip itself, showing how he’s trying his best to juggle the role of partner and soldier. I do prefer the more nuanced way of showing this in 2202, with Yuki and Kodai enjoying a peaceful drive, followed by a café visit where Susumu is haunted by Okita’s image as he tries to spend some quality time with his love.
[KC]: And while we’re on the subject of realism, I have seen people on the fan pages referring to the Garmillas as “Gammies.” If you are one of those people and you are reading this, I know I can’t stop you, but you should know that I am judging you.
[AMB]: I wonder what they’d call Gatlantians… Gatties? Gats?
[KC]: Oh, hey; they could call them [SPOILER] (Hee hee!)
Atop a hill on the city’s outskirts lies a monument. Sitting there is Dr. Sado with his cat, drinking a bottle of sake next to a statue of Okita Juzo. It’s the third year anniversary of his death and it seems only Sado came to observe it.
Sharing his views of these past three years with the deceased Captain, he exclaims that the world seems to have forgotten about Yamato’s long voyage to Iscandar, now building fleets of large WMG-equipped battleships. Then the former crew begins to gather, boosting his mood.
[AMB]: This scene holds a very special place in my heart. When I was a kid, I kept rewatching this really bad animated movie called Jungle Boy Kenya. One saving grace of this movie however was the background art by Ebizawa Kazuo. He’s got credits everywhere, from ufotable’s Garden of Sinner movies to Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. But most importantly, he was in charge of background art for Farewell to Yamato. When I saw episode 02 of 2202 for the first time, seeing a recreation of his famous sunset scene from Farewell… not gonna lie, I shed a tear. The combination of Hero’s Hill being in the soundtrack, Dr. Sado’s performance by Shigeru Chiba, and the beautiful scenery perfectly recaptured the same feeling I had when I saw the original. Sort of a long tangent, but needed to get this out there!
[KC]: This scene was just as iconic for the people who made the episode and I am glad you enjoyed it!
The inscription on Okita’s capstone is rendered in English, translated for the shot by friend-of-this-website Rina Lee. It reads as follows (SIC):
light year journey to Iscandar to save human from extinction crisis on Earth
we were facing on the verge of extinction.Over dearly sacrifices and sufferings he obtained
the last hope but on his returning way to Earth,
his life has ended.
The hero who saved our lives was not able to set his foot on Earth again.
The memories and example of a great heart,
a bravery of life and a heroic death will be handed down to our offspring.
Jyuzo Okita rest here in peace
December 8th, 2199
Since December 8 was the day Yamato returned to Earth, the capstone marks the day of Okita’s death rather than the day the memorial was erected.
As Yuki and Kodai arrive, Sado declares that everyone from the former Yamato crew is now present with the exception of those currently off-planet. Kodai reunites with Shima before they salute their former Captain.
[AMB]: Not sure if someone forgot to give Dr. Sado the memo, but Niimi (who is on Earth) couldn’t make it to the reunion for obvious reasons. Another interesting bit of trivia is how Shima remarks that “the entire transport fleet is buzzing about what you did,” giving off the implication that Shima is working with transportation now rather than the military.
They all stay at the monument until late at night, where Sanada apologizes to Kodai for letting him bear the responsibility of Yamato’s intervention last episode. Teresa’s vision is discussed, everyone revealing that they also saw their own visions. The common denominator? They all saw visions of dead people at exactly the same time. With the exception of Yuki, who saw no one.
[AMB]: What’s more sad? To not remember or see any dead loved ones? Or to not remember ever having met said dead loved ones, like Yuki’s parents?
[AMB]: Norran never had a chance…
As Nanbu curses the direction Earth is heading toward, Andromeda passes overhead. “You fools!” he screams out. And somewhere out of sight, someone is keeping tabs on the heroes of Earth. When asked about the Nanbu scene, Director Nobuyoshi Habara made a small but interesting comment on language. The original word was bakkayaro, meaning fool or idiot. But over the decades, its pronunciation evolved. 1978 Nanbu yelled “Bakka-yaro” whereas 2017 Nanbu yells “Bak-yaro.”
[AMB]: It’s great to me that Nanbu’s the one screaming his heart out here. Considering he started out being the biggest gun-toting bastard on Yamato’s crew in 2199, arguing for genocide amongst other things. Subtle character development, following up on his firing of the WMG in 2199 to save Garmillas and Yamato.
[KC]: It was confusing to me the first time through, because Shima is still wearing his uniform. He confirms later that he did quit the military, so maybe he was in uniform to honor Captain Okita at Hero’s Hill. Regardless, I like the fact that everyone seems to agree that the EDF’s casual disregard of Okita’s promise to Starsha is a mistake, but I don’t think that is different from their mindset in the previous works.
[AMB]: Both of the older works had Yamato’s crew acting against Andromeda’s creation/purpose, definitely.
The next day Kodai and Shima meet up with Sanada to discuss the energy wave which made them see the visions. He reveals parts of his recent research, including the discovery of a comet-like object in the far reaches of space traveling toward Earth at light speed. It turns out that the energy wave originated from almost the same direction as this quasar.
[AMB]: In this episode, I learned what a quasar was!
[KC]: Shima is still in uniform. Maybe they’re the only clothes he has. Sanada tells them that the comet is not much of a concern because it will not be in range of Earth for “tens of thousands of years.” Uh-oh. I guess he did not factor villainy into his scientific equation.
[AMB]: Dagnabbit, not…villainy! They’re doomed! Speaking of the uniform, to me it looks like it could be his father’s old uniform based on the flashback scenes in 2199. Either that, or it’s a memento granted to veterans (considering that after this we don’t see him wearing it on Yamato). Or it’s the official uniform of the non-military transport fleet he referenced during the reunion.
The energy wave targeted Earth with pinpoint accuracy, and parts of the data were intercepted by Yamato’s flight recorder. Sanada snatched it before the military could. As he plays back its contents in front of Shima and Kodai, the holographic panel displays the vague image of a woman praying.
Kodai does not wish to sit idly by, insisting that it’s their duty to rescue those in need of help. Sanada admits that his heart was shaken deeply, and that someone out there is calling on Yamato’s crew. But Shima is not so sure.
[KC]: Poor, wardrobe-lacking Shima. I know that originally the character was reluctant to buck the system in both the film and television versions of this story, but in these new stories, Shima was already used as a foil in 2199 when he refused to accept how the war with Garmillas truly started. Now here he is again to rain on Kodai’s parade.
[AMB]: Never gets a break, does he? It’s understandable though. Last time they left, he was met with some harsh realities which would break any man faced with years of propaganda and love for his father. And now, as peace has settled and his best friend has the chance to enjoy life, he doesn’t want him to rush into a new conflict. His subtle facial expressions convey a similar sense of duty as Kodai, but a reluctance to follow after three docile years. Quitting the military wasn’t only for his sake, it was because the organization perpetuated a lie that shook his worldview. At least that’s how I saw it.
[KC]: I think I understand why they are drawing a contrast between these two friends, but I hope they don’t start doing it as often as they seem to enjoy the Yuki-in-Peril trope. Whoops. Spoiler alert.
Visibly conflicted, Kodai drives off toward the old underground EDF HQ. He recounts his conversation with Shima, who asked him to stop and think of Yuki before he butts heads with the world.
[AMB]: Ah, this scene. The soft, conflicted rendition of the Yamato theme playing in the background really sold the weight and emotion being conveyed here. Kodai, troubled by his friend’s defiant stance tries to calm down by revisiting the last place of refuge for humanity from three years ago, reminding himself of why Yamato and its crew went on that long and arduous journey in the first place. As the swaying uneasiness of the music invades the scene, it starts to feel like a nostalgia trip from hell. What they fought for is still there, untouched, yet different. He too, has changed in ways he can’t yet fully grasp. As has Earth. Strong stuff!
The place is desolate, decrepit and closed off. After entering the old control room, Susumu realises he’s been tailed by men in black. Before being caught however, a strange young man extracts him from this predicament, leading him up to a high vantage point.
[KC]: Who is our mysterious hero?
[AMB]: Is he even a hero?
[KC]: I’d like to think so. Heh.
The man tells Kodai that the former Yamato crew is under surveillance, then reveals his true identity as a Garmillan. Claiming that he’s here to repay “the debt Garmillas owes Yamato,” the mystery man invites Kodai to the Garmillas Moon embassy.
[KC]: Forever coming up with new and better explanations for previous continuity errors, the mystery of Caucasian Dessler is finally revealed; the Garmillas have skin-changing spy tech! I like this more than the translation device they introduced in 2199. I love that they now have an embassy on our moon. Boy howdy, would Abelt be pissed.
[AMB]: Haha, never thought about that! Though, I just think ol’ original Dessler had too much sunscreen that one time! And why would Abelt be pissed again?
[KC]: I was thinking that it might not sit well with him were he to find that we were all playing nicely together without him, but I suppose he could just take credit for it. If he came back, which of course he won’t, because he blew up. We all saw it.
[AMB]: You produce a corpse and I’ll believe it!
We cut to said Moon as a pair of Cosmo Tiger II pilots are being trained by former Yamato crew member Akira Yamamoto. Her trainee Tsurumi is having trouble keeping up with her Cosmo Tiger 1 Prototype Fighter. Akira berates him and the rest of the newbies.
As we pass over the moon, we see that a huge disc-shaped portion of the surface has been shifted aside to reveal a giant window with human habitation on the other side. This is our first look at a fully-functioning lunar city in Yamato world, and it’s certainly an extravagant one. It’s obvious that the “surface disc” is movable, meaning it can be shifted to cover the window for protection from debris strikes. The window itself is also protective, a double-layer structure with liquid between the layers. Water can absorb radiation, so that’s a likely guess. Rather than glass, which is brittle and temperature-sensitive, the window could be made of a transparent metal called spinel. The only apparent purpose of this presumably expensive structure is to provide a tranquil view for lunar inhabitants in the park underneath the window, where we see some familiar faces.
Saburo Kato of the Cosmo Tigers (the commanding officer and former Yamato crew member) is on leave together with Makoto Harada. (his wife and former Yamato nurse, now Makoto Kato.) They’re tending to their sick child Tsubasa Kato, who is down with “Planet Bomb Syndrome,” probably residual radiation poisoning. It is said that the Moon’s facilities are equipped to slow down the progress of the disease. (And are probably less prone to residual effects of the planet bombing.)
[AMB]: Those of you familiar with this disease will know that Captain Okita suffered from the very same one. The Kato family doesn’t deserve this.
[KC]: Tsubasa is adorable and this is very sad.
[AMB]: Please give this commentary 100 likes and we’ll send him some aid. Geez, I just aged this commentary by ten years.
[KC]: But I am going to be immature and laugh about it.
As Yamamoto reminisces about old times, she gets called by Kodai from her UA smartwatch. We cut to a ship from the transport fleet dropping some containers toward the Moon, one of these containing Susumu and his fighter plane.
[AMB]: Aaaaand I think this is our first on-screen appearance of the Under Armor collaboration! I’m usually very against product placement, but only if it’s blatant and out of place. For this one however, it’s so nonintrusive and sensible I just… felt more immersed somehow? Is product placement allowed to do that to me? Also, please send me Under Armor merch at [REDACTED] address.
[KC]: *Grumble, grumble* Base on the moon and suits in HQ but no underwear contract for the Garmillas.
Throughout this sequence, we get a mini-cascade of mecha that’s all worthy of note. First, the inaugural scene of the 2202 Cosmo Tiger II. The name hasn’t changed since 1978, but in all that time we never got a hint of why it had the number II behind it. (The fighters in Series 1 were Black Tigers, after all.) Now we know: Cosmo Tiger I was a single prototype that only Akira Yamamoto could master. It’s an obvious Makoto Kobayashi design, something that – again – flaunts the laws of gravity. Kobayashi wrote his own unofficial history of the CT1, which can be read here.
A new feature of the Cosmo Tiger II is its tendency to physically change shape in flight. That’s not a story element, it’s pure fannish indulgence and has a story behind it. The fighter was designed in 1978 by Studio Nue’s legendary Kazutaka Miyatake and became so iconic that it survived unchanged all the way through Final Yamato in 1983. Variations did appear, and it was stylistically modified by animator Yoshinori Kanada in 1980 for Be Forever. His scenes are impossible to forget; when the Cosmo Tiger squadron attacks the Dark Nebula supply base, they take on a whole new look for that sequence alone with bends and angles that instantly boost their dynamism. That was purely a Kanada invention, and it brought a fresh look that fans loved.
One of those fans was Nobuyoshi Habara, who was intent on recreating it for 2202. He did so by taking a unique approach to the animation process, tasking CG studio Sublimation to create a “deform” feature for the CTII. As it flew toward the camera, its hull shape would “deform” from the standard Miyatake model to the stylized Kanada model. We see it in the very first Cosmo Tiger II scene in this very episode. The name they gave it in the production was “Version K” for Kanada. Read more about the animation process here.
Next up on our mecha review, we have a holdover from Yamato Resurrection, the cargo ship Yuki designed by Makoto Kobayashi. That was its name for the 2009 film, now we just have the ship itself captained by Kenjiro Ota. Kodai’s concealed spacecraft is the Type 100 Recon plane, which goes all the way back to Yamato Episode 1 in 1974, updated by Junichiro Tamamori for Yamato 2199.
As Kodai stealthily descends toward the moon, he recounts his encounter with the Garmillan man, who we now find out bears the name of “Klaus Keyman.” He sent Kodai to secretly meet with ambassador Varel on the Moon in order to find out the truth behind his vision, stating that “This concerns the future of both Earth and Garmillas.” Doubtful about Keyman’s true intentions and position as liaison, Kodai still pushes forward.
[AMB]: This is a neat callback to Lt. Alphon’s original name, “Kiman,” from the production days of Be Forever Yamato.
[KC]: “This Klaus Keyman. He’s no embassy liaison,” Kodai says. Then I laugh and laugh and laugh …
[AMB]: Hey, he’s just some random nobody with no connection to anything. Promise.
The Garmillas’ autonomous drones pursue Kodai, but Akira arrives at the scene to help out. She explains her encroachment on Garmillas territory as a mere accident, destroying the drones in self-defense to cover for Kodai. She salutes him, bringing an end to a quick reunion.
[AMB]: We haven’t mentioned Akira’s return much, so I’ll give some quick thoughts: I’m happy to see her indulging in work where she’s appreciated, and I hope she’s gotten over Kodai as it was implied in Ark. Her new outfit is one I prefer much much more, less cleavage and more practicality. What’s your take, Kathy?
[KC]: Ahhh, the red one? It’s all right. Melda’s is still the coolest. I love those Garmillas helmets so much.
In distant space, a fleet from the mysterious white quasar lays siege to the planet from last episode (Telezart), beginning to surround it with a rocky shell. Sabera tells Emperor Zordar that Teresa has contacted a planet in the far reaches of space with what’s called a “cosmo wave.” After briefly mentioning the disappearance of an expeditionary force near the area and the planet’s alliance with Garmillas, Zordar exclaims that they’re to immediately warp toward the planet. Planet Earth.
[AMB]: Another mention of events from Ark! The fleet she’s referring to here is most likely that of “Thunderclap” Dagarm, whose mission was to find the Ark of Tranquility. Being of a lower caste, they served as a decent disposable unit.
[KC]: Another character has been given creepy purple eyes this time around; Sabera’s new design is pretty interesting. She was never green like the rest of them, but she didn’t look this alien, either.
[AMB]: Since I wasn’t here by the time the Ark commentary was written, I’d like to share my short thoughts on the new Sabera design introduced back then. Her skin seems less green-ish in 2202, but one could argue this is due to the lighting and/or faulty technology behind the telegraphic display with which she presented herself in Ark. In any case, I’m more than happy to see the return of the Nobuteru Yuki’s Farewell to Yamato inspired Sabera design!
The episode comes to a close with the 1978 hit song From Yamato With Love by Kenji Sawada. The preview promises us some answers in regards to Teresa’s vision, and some internal angst within Yamato’s crew.
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 12, 2018
American debut: May 16, 2018 (streaming) March 15, 2019 (home video)
The opening title consisted of an instrumental version of the Yamato theme with scenes from Episode 1 mixed with new shots. 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 2
Storyboard: Tetsuro Amino
Episode Director: Ryouki Kamitsubo
Animation director: Akio Takami
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