by Kathy Clarkson, Anton Mei Brandt, and Tim Eldred
Episode 3: Shock – Legacy of the Cosmo Reverse
The episode begins at the 11th Planet, located on the edge of our solar system. It’s been upgraded quite a bit since its 1978 appearance in Yamato 2. Back then, it was uniformly grey and uninhabitable, with ruins from some long-lost civilization. In retcon terms, we might consider them the fabled Akerians. The 2202 version of Planet Eleven (no one in Japan ever called it “Brumis,” by the way) has been re-engineered by Garmillas to have a breathable, temperate atmosphere that supports at least one settlement.
We can see from space that Planet Eleven has a sun of its own, and there’s a noticeable line across the center of the planet that follows the track of that sun’s orbit. When we zoom in closer, we see that this track is meltwater that leads us to a city filled with buildings of both Earth and Garmillas design.
[AMB]: This planet carries the same sickly green hue which covered Garmillas in 2199. Any thoughts on this Kathy?
[KC]: I did notice that it is another green planet, but honestly until you asked I just dismissed it as random. Now that I think about it, it is mentioned that life on the 11th planet is supported artificially. With both Earthlings and Garmillans living there, maybe this is another subtle hint that the blue folks need certain conditions to thrive. We already know from 2199 that they were terraforming during their war with Earth.
[AMB]: The strange Garmillan plants stick out the most. Also, rest in peace Jupiter cat lady.
In one of the taller Earth structures, Commander Ryu Hijikata is conversing with a man in a suit while a striking civilian woman gazes down at the ground far below.
[AMB]: Seems we found out where Hijikata got relocated to pretty quickly. But this far out? His insubordination carried a heavy price.
[KC]: Suits that make stupid decisions don’t like hearing about how stupid those decisions are. Fortunately this is space opera and there will likely be some vindication later.
[AMB]: Their “stupid decisions” aren’t what we or Hijikata desire, but they are definitely necessary in a time of political unrest. They’re nonetheless morally perplexing.
While the man asks Hijikata for permission to leave on some kind of expedition, the woman watches a huge pine tree moving seemingly on its own. It is, in fact, being carried by Captain Hajime Saito, whose Space Cavalry unit has been stationed here on Planet Eleven. Christmas is coming, and Saito is setting up the tree for a group of excited Earth and Garmillan children to decorate.
It’s worth pausing to examine the signage around the edges of the arena, some of which is in English. There are two primary messages: Merry Christmas to All, and Thank you, terraformers. More specificially, “Farewell party for Garmillas Crew, the 11th Planet Develop Team. Thank you, good bye.” In other words, the Garmillan detachment that made this planet habitable has completed its work and is moving on.
We’ll see more text on billboards later in the episode; Hajime Saito himself is acknowledged as the one responsible for the Christmas celebration, and a planetary development unit from the UN is being welcomed. Presumably, that’s the group Redrowz is part of.
[AMB]: Welcome back, Saito, you grizzly bear of a man! What a comfy way of reintroducing him, don’t you think? Even in space, surrounded by aliens, we can all learn the joy of gift giving.
[KC]: This is a great scene for establishing Saito as a person and not just a highly-trained badass with a temper. All kinds of great character development happening all around. Maybe someday my favorite character will get some. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
[AMB]: Talan, right? He’s still alive, so maybe he’ll get to return later on! Then there’s this dark-haired woman who seems oddly familiar, but I don’t remember her appearing in 2199. At this point, her name wasn’t one I recognized from the older works either, making me very curious.
[KC]: This whole archaeological expedition plot is new to the series, but I agree that there is something about her…
Back inside the building, Hijikata continues to converse with a man, Professor Robert Redrowz. Redrowz wants to leave ASAP on his expedition, but is denied authorization until his equipment is inspected and cleared. Hijikata apologizes for having to uphold regulations and leaves the room.
Saito converses with Sergeant Shiori Nagakura (previously glimpsed in the prologue of Ark of the Stars) about keeping up morale while she teases him for being a softie. Saito turns away, gazing up at the woman who is apparently so attractive he can tell from dozens if not hundreds of feet away.
[AMB]: And a big softie Saito is, focusing all his time and efforts on helping an old war veteran dressed as Santa to prepare a Christmas tree for the kids. Please let this peaceful moment last.
[KC]: There is a planet in our solar system where Earthlings and Garmillans are living together. This show has promised to blend elements of both the original film and TV series, but it also lays in plenty of groundwork for it to be its own thing. Director Nobuyoshi Habara and writer Harutoshi Fukui heard the Internet griping about how inferior and unnecessary reboots are and said, “challenge accepted.”
[AMB]: It’s nice to finally see some peace settling in after the war, not in grand political shows but in the small things. Like an old vet setting aside his scars from the war to bring joy. Seeing children from both Gamillas and Earth celebrating a joyous occasion together fills me with warmth. One of the Gammie kids even has a Yamato toy. It’s delightfully out of proportion, no doubt a nod to the vintage toys and models of the 1970s that the animators grew up with.
[KC]: I don’t care if you call them Gamilas, Garmillas or Gamilons, but please don’t call them “Gammies.”
[AMB]: How about Gazpachos?
[KC]: Gazpacho is a delicious soup, but I don’t get the connection. Only pointing out that the term “Gammies” is used on the show as a racial slur and I am not a fan of it.
[AMB]: Duly noted! Also, the way Saito is drawn to that woman is downright spooky. At least if we go by the ominous sound design choice during the zoom-in! Not that it’s very subtle.
Alone, the professor rails against the bureaucracy holding him back and we see the paperwork he’s brought with him to this meeting; a request to investigate the ancient Akerian ruins. The woman with him is Toko Katsuragi, an archaeologist assisting the professor on his expedition, should it ever be approved. She does not turn from her position on the balcony, but she is clearly paying attention.
Thanks to a brief shot of the professor’s document, we can read the following (miraculously in English, text verbatim):
United Nations UNF general staff office
The request of delegation to investigate the ancient Archelias civilization ruins
The UNF general staff office supports exploration of an ancient Archelias civilization ruins by Prof. Robert Redrowz and the UN scientific investigation thoroughly. And we request to the UNF far east HQ to assistant to their traveling, investing or any other activities. And protect them as may be necessary. We hope to observe this requests in known/unknown space.
UNF general staff office Pacific area conductor
Lieutenant General Thomas L. Clark
[TE]: This is our second Akerius reference in just three episodes, which already tells us these ancient aliens are going to figure prominently in Yamato lore as we go forward. As we all know, they were developed to explain various relics that appeared in 2199. The name is romanized various ways depending on where you look, but “Akerius” is closest to the Japanese rendering of the term so we’re sticking with that here.
Why isn’t it “Aquarius,” as in Final Yamato? Two reasons. First, it’s spelled differently in katakana. Second, because when the Garmillan language was developed for 2199, it was established that they mispronounced names that came from other cultures. Terran became Terron. Yamato became Yamate. It follows then that “Akerius” may be the Garmillan pronunciation of Aquarius. If we’re patient, maybe we’ll get an in-universe answer in a future story.
[AMB]: FINALLY! Someone with the wits to push for more investigative efforts of the universe’s Akerian legacy! Though, as is to be expected, it’s been a real hassle for Redrowz to get to this point. I’d also like to note how much this scene reflects Hijikata’s sensibilities, unchanged after his relocation. Despite clear directives from command to just let them through, he still chooses to follow the proper procedure rather than blindly following orders. He’s a man of strong personal ethics and it really shows.
[KC]: Is it his ethics, or is this a small, rather innocuous way for Hijikata to get back at the brass for making what he believes to be a poor decision?
[AMB]: Never thought about it that way, but it would make a lot of sense. You go, Hijikata!
In orbit above the 11th planet, a fleet of Gatlantis warships is waiting to strike. Before doing so, they note that the planet has an artificial sun maintaining biological activity.
[KC]: So much for there being a planet in our solar system where Earthlings and Garmillans live together.
[AMB]: I still carry hope! Santa will defeat these invaders! On a different note, we get to see the return of Yamato 2 character “Nazca”! He was the Gatlantis vanguard fleet commander in Yamato 2, here to resume his duty as such. According to the character bios, his first name is “Cosmodart.”
At his swanky pad on Earth’s moon, Garmillas Ambassador Loren Burrel gives Susumu Kodai a history lesson with some intel on the planet Telezart and the being known as Teresa. Klaus Keyman is with them.
[KC]: Yep. That’s right, Abelt. Right there on Earth’s very own moon. It’s got a big backwards four on the crater door and everything. Funny, I always thought that was your symbol, specifically. Like a family crest.
[AMB]: I always saw the crest as a symbol of their nation rather than a family crest, but considering the Dessler family has been ruling for over 100 years according to 2199, there could be some merit to that idea. However, I must also point out that plastering the crest of a former dictator on government buildings and ships three years after a change to democracy might be pushing it… so I’ll stay by my conviction for now at least.
Ambassador Burrel explains to Kodai that the accounts Garmillas has collected stretch over a millennium. He is adamant that Kodai not dismiss the information as a fairy tale and proceeds to explain. In the past, a civilization from legend developed to the point where they were able to convert human will into power. They abandoned their physical bodies to become a collective force known as “Teresa,” residing in a dimension beyond our own.
[AMB]: This scene was a lot to take in all at once, but I appreciate the matter-of-fact way in which Burrel tries to convey it to Kodai. In short, a technologically (and spiritually) advanced race of space dwellers applied the ultimate science and merged to become a Godlike entity. At least that’s how I interpreted it.
[KC]: Basically, yes. In Yamato 2, we didn’t get much of a description from anyone as to the nature of Teresa, and when we meet her she is just another willowy woman with long, blonde hair in a blue dress, living alone on her home world. I think they drew her with that constant nimbus of light radiating off of her so that you knew she wasn’t Starsha.
He goes on to explain Teresa as “The Goddess at the border between this world and the next, endlessly praying for a universal peace.” Burrel then admits that he knows about the Messengers of Teresa, and that Yamato’s crew has been called. Their visions of the dead is the proof. He believes that their mission to Iscandar is why they were chosen. Burrel tells Kodai that Teresa does not exist in linear time, and that “those called by Teresa must perform their roles in constructing a future that is already known to her.”
[KC]: Remember, kids. Military drama is a key element of space opera, but so is the wacky cosmic stuff. Strap in, because you are going to get A LOT of it.
[AMB]: I’m still surprised at the ease with which Burrel manages to convey this high-concept cosmic stuff. The most worrying bit is that last part, about “performing their roles.” It’s almost as if them being chosen isn’t necessarily a good thing, a trial similar to Iscandar’s from 2199. Aside from that worrisome aspect, I believe Fukui managed to make Teresa as mysterious as she appeared in Farewell to Yamato (so far), which is appreciated.
[KC]: Even in the original works, the Garmillans have shown themselves to be scientifically superior, religious and superstitious all at the same time. And the Hero’s Quest is never without sacrifice. Indeed, most of the fan speculation regarding 2202 centered around who would survive.
[AMB]: And am I the only one who made the immediate connection that the alien race which evolved into Teresa could supposedly have been Akerius? Just a thought.
[KC]: Time for an obligatory Ark of the Stars reference: according to the information revealed in that movie, the Akerians distributed seven different races throughout the universe that share their genetics. We know that three of them are Earthlings, Garmillas and Jirellians. It would be poetic for Teresa to be connected to them in that way.
[AMB]: I’m happy you mentioned it. There are some other races whose origins are up for speculation, such as the Zaltzians, the Alterans, the Beemelans as well as the Gatlantian expeditionary group we saw in Ark of the Stars.
On Earth, Yuki goes to visit Dr. Sado, still questioning her identity. He surmises that she is troubled by the fact that she was not called by Teresa. Sado gives her some tea and words of encouragement, and when she asks what he saw in his vision, Dr. Sado tells her that he saw Mi-kun’s predecessor.
[AMB]: Switching from the coldness of space to the coldness of the Japanese winter season is a clever visual motif, showing that both Kodai and Yuki are freezing in different ways, mentally and physically. Where Burrel proceeds to feed Kodai’s curiosity, Sado feeds Yuki with some comfort, telling her that she’ll always be the same Yuki Mori to Yamato’s crew. And seeing Dr.Sado enjoying some of his spare time at home gives us some breathing room from all the space mumbo jumbo.
[TE]: It’s worth pointing out that the winter season reminds us that we’re in the month of December, near the end of the year 2202. (Which means, despite the series title, most of the story will happen in 2203.)
[KC]: Speaking of space opera, Yuki sure does go through all the tropes. Repeatedly.
[AMB]: Tropes will always be tropes. I prefer to judge the use of the tropes rather than the tropes themselves though, and this one gets my approval.
[KC]: No judgement here. I am only preparing readers for what’s to come.
Back on the moon, Burrel and Kodai discuss the possible location of Telezart. Klaus points out that Gatlantis has been unusually active in that sector, and we get the Garmillas overview of Earth’s latest threat. Despite the fact that Garmillas has been at war with Gatlantis for some time, they know very little about them. They don’t even know the location of the Gatlantian home world. What they do know is that the Gatlantians are warmongers with a massive empire and Garmillas is gravely concerned that they will find Telezart first and use the planet for their own ends.
[KC]: Okay, can we just pause for a moment and appreciate the fact that the ambassador from the Great Garmillas Empire thinks these folks are a bit much?
[AMB]: I’d also like to pause for a moment and appreciate how the “Teresa SOS” plot from the original was worked into 2202 by Yamato’s crew misinterpreting her call as such. It’s less of “come help me” now and more of “come here if you want some answers, guys & gals!” And it’s very interesting to note that bit about Gatlantis’ home base being unknown, considering those of us who’ve seen the original works already know where it is. In fact, Burrel’s mention made me think, “Maybe it’s not where it was the last time, and they’re trying to trick us…?”
[KC]: We presume that Garmillas knows all about Gatlantis because in the original works, Leader Dessler was there. But he isn’t there now and it is very unusual that the Garmillans still have so little intel even after they were at war with Gatlantis since before the start of 2199.
[AMB]: We don’t actually know if their war with Gatlantis began before 2199. If we go by what’s said in Episode 01 however, their “war with Gatlantis” prior to 2202 seems to have been fought against a single dispatched expedition unit, with Domel’s forces keeping it at bay. If one small unit of lower caste is capable of fighting a prolonged war, what about their main force? We’ve only seen a glimpse from (again) Episode 01, as well as earlier this episode and they were a force to be reckoned with!
Speaking of which, the “mystery of Gatlantis” aspect of 2202 is one of the most interesting additions to me. It fills a Lovecraftian horror urge which I don’t get from most anime & sci-fi works. Even in Farewell, the narrator told us most of what we needed to know the moment the White Comet appeared, and in Yamato 2 they were even more neutered in the “cosmic horror” department. It’s a slow and gradually building mystery which the audience is invited to solve.
[KC]: I am also a pretty big fan of the weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and I have already mentioned how much I love the fact that Gatlantis is getting more than the two-dimensional villain treatment in this series. While Lovecraft’s style ultimately requires a hopelessness for mankind that I don’t really want in my space opera, the idea of the unknowable horror is used to good effect here.
Apparently, Telezart is sealed away, and according to legend, whomever releases the planet can use the power of Teresa to bend reality to their will. But Garmillas, or at least Burrel, believes that there is something to that legend. A higher being could theoretically alter space and time, and that higher being definitely exists because it had called Yamato’s former crew as it had called so many others through the ages.
[AMB]: The more I see of Burrel, the more I start thinking about him as a warm uncle with some out-there ideas about UFO’s and the supernatural. When do we get the Garmillan X-Files spinoff with our superstitious ambassador? Seriously though, that zoom-in on Burrel’s face with the words “It called not on Earth, or Gamillas, but your crew” really helped emphasize how much of a burden Kodai is about to take on. Burrel’s agenda is still unknown, but I think I trust him.
[KC]: Hah! Yes, his appearance and his voice in the English dub certainly help support that view of him in my opinion.
[AMB]: His and Hijikata’s English VA’S were some of my favorites in the dub.
Ambassador Burrel orders Keyman to return Kodai to Earth where Kodai can “see the truth about his reclaimed world.”
[AMB]: This is the point in visual novels or RPGs where you have the option to say “nope” and enjoy the rest of your life without worry. But Kodai remains Kodai, so I can’t blame him.
[KC]: Good thing, because otherwise the rest of his life might come a lot sooner than expected.
Back on Earth, Keyman and Kodai descend to a restricted area deep underground. At the end of a long metal corridor, Kodai is shocked to see huge reinforced doors with the Cosmo Navy logo emblazoned on them. “HIGHLY CLASSIFIED” and “RESTRICTED AREA” frame the logo.
[AMB]: For those of you who have seen the HBO series Chernobyl, the silver-coated elevator should tell you all about how irradiated this area is. It’s a small but great visual detail.
[KC]: Keyman and Kodai seem to be wearing identical suits, but in the next scene Keyman will make a comment about what the human body can tolerate, saying it in a way that implies Kodai specifically. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I am reminded of how in the original series they did try to be rather ambiguous at times with regard to how much the Garmillans actually are like us.
[AMB]: Could also be a casual display of Keyman’s views on humans. By not differentiating them, it could show that he sees Garmillans and Earthlings as equals. Now I’M the one reading too much into it.
Keyman tells Kodai that their tour will last an hour, the amount of time the human body can tolerate being down there. The doors slide open and they begin to walk down another corridor lined with strange, rotating segments saying “KEEP CAUTION.” Keyman explains the “Reverse Syndrome”: a side-effect of the Cosmo Reverse, this singularity has created a time fault where ten days pass inside of it for every one day that passes outside of it. And Earth has been using it to great advantage.
[AMB]: Visually, this place is quite the treat. The wall of artificially floating water, the red cog-like machinery inside the tunnel (reminiscent of the Wave-Motion Gun), the grimy rust covering the innermost wall indicating how much time has passed inside. Big spaceships are great and all, but it’s areas like these where I believe sci-fi has the best chance to visually blow you away. The further into the tunnel they go, the slower the water drops fall and the longer the tunnel gets. Everything feels slower at first, but once Kodai gets his act together things get… depressing.
[KC]: Since we’ve already established that we are both Lovecraft fans, I will also point out how much this set reminded me of the tunnel to the gravity drive in the movie Event Horizon. Talk about depressing. I was unable to find a clip of it from the actual film, but here’s a video of a software replica. A still image of the actual tunnel in the film can be found here.
[AMB]: Oh no… that really is depressing…
This subterranean cave now houses a huge facility that is churning out dozens of ships at a time. And not just Andromeda-class ships, either. Earth has made a deal with their new friends the Garmillans. Earth has allowed them use of the facility as well for some of the worlds within their overextended empire, including resources and native inhabitants.
Starsha’s warning “To not repeat our folly” echoes in Kodai’s mind. If Kodai was angry before, now he is furious.
[AMB]: Ah, so that’s how they managed to build the Andromeda-class so quickly! And someone better call Starsha, this is getting out of hand.
[KC]: Well, isn’t that special. We’re empire buddies.
[AMB]: No thanks! But this is another aspect of 2202’s original content which completely threw me for a loop. The time fault, an (allegorical) physical manifestation of our overly industrialized future selves bares its ugly fangs in our face. The world which Yamato’s crew fought to save and protect is rotten to the core (literally). This ugly, malformed, industrial monster of a place breaks Kodai’s view of the world. But it does its job, making sure Gamillas can’t expand as Earth steers itself to prosperity. This is also the first time we get to see the new Dreadnought ships Earth is producing.
[TE]: As we learned from numerous interviews (found elsewhere on this website) the Time Fault was one of the earliest concepts developed for 2202, primarily to explain how Earth got back on its feet so quickly after the war with Garmillas. In the original saga, it was simply a factor of human prowess (or something) that one year was enough. But when the March 2011 earthquake hit northern Japan, it delivered a dose of reality. One year wouldn’t be enough to recover from that comparatively localized disaster, let alone a global one.
When Director Nobuyoshi Habara was hired, one of his first moves was to commission a story treatment from his friend Hideki Oka, who would later become the scriptwriter for the series. Together, they came up with the Time Fault to solve matters of practicality: with it, ten years of R&D could be squeezed into one. When Harutoshi Fukui was hired to write the overall series, he dismissed their idea at first, but slowly warmed up to it when he understood how many storytelling opportunities it offered. By embracing and enhancing the concept, he made it so integral to 2202 that it became indispensable.
At first glance, it seems to bring together two big ideas from 2199: the transitional useage of dimensional faults (which visually resembles a marine environment) and the super-science of Iscandar’s Wave-Motion energy. It is described in brief as a side-effect of the Cosmo Reverse System, and though we don’t get a specific explanation, we can speculate that the huge amount of energy needed to transform a planet might be drawn from another dimension where time happens to flow differently. If the portal to that other dimension can be held open, that energy would be freely available in a pocket of “compressed time” and it would look like it’s surrounded by water. That’s exactly what we see in this underground environment. All you need is to keep it fed with raw materials, and it starts pouring out spaceships. It’s a truly miraculous achievement.
But that’s just its practical side. What it truly represents is temptation. It’s like a video game in which you’ve stored up so many lives that they become disposable. With an asset like that, you’ll soon begin to minimize the value of a life. As one who has truly seen the value of a life, Kodai could only have one reaction to the Time Fault: horror. To him, it’s an abomination. A defiance of the natural order. Created to protect and defend humanity, it will inevitably drain those who rely on it of all their humanity. Exactly the opposite of what the mission to Iscandar was meant to achieve. And as we’ll soon see, it’s an apt description of the new enemy they’re going to face.
[AMB]: On the more technical side of things, there are no actual workers inside the Time Fault; at least not exposed to its elements. The Time Fault is controlled and maintained by the Laboratory Prometheus, an experimental Dreadnought-class ship built to act as a control ship inside the Time Fault. In order to enable life support inside the fault, its dimensional inertial canceller uses warp acceleration to maintain the passage of standard Earth time on board. The bridge is expanded over the normal type with its windows blocked and external information displayed on screens. Read more about it, and other 2202 mecha, right here: here.
In the hospital, Kaoru Niimi wakes up to find Shiro Sanada standing at her bedside. He tells her that Kodai knows about the Time Fault and what it’s being used for. We then cut to a flashback depicting Captain Hijikata’s transfer to Planet Eleven. The cause was his objection to how Earth has chosen to proceed with constructing the WMG-equipped Andromeda fleet. With Yamato’s bridge crew present for the departure, he informs them of his wish that they will stay and hold their ground.
[AMB]: I had a feeling Hijikata would be against it, considering he’s the last person who’d want to see his best friend’s legacy getting trampled. A hard man living a hard life, he doesn’t seem to hold any grudge against Okita not fulfilling the promise to survive up until the moment he returns Earth to its former glory. If only Hijikata knew that Okita gave up his life and soul to the Cosmo Reverse in Mamoru’s place… not that it matters, his trust and respect remain unwavering. “Hard boiled” is the best way to describe him.
[KC]: I am so happy that we are getting these deeper glimpses into the backgrounds of characters that may have ties to Yamato’s crew, but are not necessarily members of it. More fleshing out that adds a welcome level of realism to a familiar and beloved story.
[AMB]: Which reminds me, when are we getting a “That Talan” spinoff? *wink*
[KC]: It is forever relegated to my fan fiction, I’m afraid. LOL!
After Hijikata departs, we flash forward to the bridge crew holding a secret meeting, still in the past. Tokugawa points out that if they refuse to follow protocol themselves, Earth’s leaders will just get another crew to do it. Sanada agrees to stay and refit Yamato with a Wave-Motion Gun, and his engineering crew lines up to support him. Grimacing, Kodai advances on Sanada with intent. Other members of the crew call out for him to stop and the screen goes black.
[KC]: Schroedinger’s punch.
[AMB]: You think Kodai had the guts to punch Sanada? Or was he stopped? In the end, it doesn’t matter, as the intent was more than enough to get the message across. Here’s a question to the readers at home, are you Team Kodai in this case or Team Sanada?
Back in the present, Kodai stands before Commander Todo, who denies his Telezart expedition request. They have a heated argument about how Todo would have responded if Okita been the one to raise this proposal. To add insult to injury, Kodai brings up the Time Fault, questioning Todo’s moral character. This leaves the troubled commander visibly upset, denying the Time Fault’s existence and dismissing Kodai altogether.
[TE]: The shots in this sequence are all vertical and flat, emphasizing the rigidity of the situation. But off to the side is a round ornamental-looking object that happens to be a product tie-in. In 2017, Panasonic released a limited 2202 edition of its 360-degree bladeless air circulator called the Electric Fan Q. That’s the exact object in Todo’s office. (See the real thing here near the bottom of the page.) Say what you will about product placement, at least this one looks like it belongs there.
Alone in the hallway, Kodai’s anger is replaced by despondency. But Sanada appears, assuring him that not everyone has forgotten the lessons learned from their previous voyage.
[AMB]: This episode has had a theme of dark truths being unveiled. We now find out that not everyone in charge is pleased with Earth’s direction. Todo is visibly ashamed of the situation, denying it more to himself than to Kodai. Upon revisiting this episode, I think it does a great job at utilizing the various closeups of character expressions to convey the emotions they’re going through, a sign of animation utilized in the right way. It does slow down the pacing of this episode significantly upon re-viewings, since the revelations die down and the dialogue gets memorized. But the first few viewings really get you into the mood for a somber and mysterious sequel with a lot of themes and ideas. It’s also worth pointing out the hypocrisy in Todo’s support of the Yamato plan in 2199 compared to this Telezart expedition, something Kodai alludes to when bringing up Okita.
Sanada escorts Kodai to a meeting with Yamato‘s bridge crew, who have all been briefed about the Time Fault. Sanada explains that, per Hijikata’s request, he accepted the job of refitting Yamato so that he could gather intel on what the government was doing, and he laments not being able to stop them. Unsure of what Sanada means, Kodai’s confusion is cleared up by Tokugawa; Earth Command has apparently reassigned Yamato’s crew, to different posts starting today. But as Shima says, it’s not because of Kodai’s complaints to the brass. Gazing out upon Yamato, our crew is left wondering what they can still do.
[AMB]: Talk about a downer episode. Then again, we did need this buildup for the coming mutiny. Speaking of which, this was a clever way to use the “Andromeda is bad” aspect of Yamato 2/Farewell and give it more depth via the WMG-problem from 2199. Speaking of the titular ship, the slow pan of Yamato is a nice callback to a signature shot from Farewell.
Kodai gives an impassioned speech, presenting his case. Earth’s government is unable to act beyond cold rationality. He asks everyone to leave with him on Yamato to find Telezart, to show the world where they stand, to save someone like they’ve been saved in the past. Not to shame those who’ve died. After a few moments of consideration, Sanada happily agrees to go. One by one, Yamato’s crew warms up to the idea until they are all excited about the prospect – except for Shima in the back, who quietly averts his gaze.
[KC]: It’s mutiny, then. Not that I’m complaining. They always mutiny at this point in the story. No, if I was going to complain, it would be about Shima. Again.
[AMB]: I want to stick up for my boy, but it feels like I’d be repeating what I said last episode. So I’ll just say this: I’d probably be equally as reserved about the idea of leaving civilian life after seeing what the military is capable of. Come on, Kodai, just give the guy a manly hug and this will work out!
[KC]: He was reluctant at this point in the original as well. It’s easy for me to shoot my mouth off, knowing that Yamato really does need to skip town and go take care of business themselves again. But from Shima’s perspective, his behavior makes sense. Kodai is impulsive. Probably a good thing that his best pal is not.
We return briefly to the 11th planet, where the Christmas party is in full swing. Nagakura notices the bombshell from the balcony is still there, looking up at the sky, with her arms extended in a gesture of … welcome? The lieutenant has a moment to puzzle over it before sirens start wailing and missiles start dropping.
[AMB]: Maybe she was just really happy about the warm weather? I mean why else would she do the “praise the sun” pose from Dark Souls?
[KC]: Maybe she’s just expecting that hunky Marine down on the ground to throw her some presents from Santa.
On Earth, Kodai and Yuki are heading off to make preparations for their departure when Kodai solemnly pleads with Yuki to stay behind. He explains that this trip is different, that what they’re doing is treason. This creates a negative feedback loop in Yuki, who thinks she’s being abandoned. Kodai reaches out to her, his conviction clear. Losing Yuki is the last thing he wants. She runs off, devastated that he would ask such a thing of her. Her last gesture is to leave her engagement ring in his hand saying, “We really don’t know anything about each other, do we?” The scene ends with Kodai staring vacantly at the ring in shock, but with resolve.
[KC]: Poor Yuki. She’s so self-conscious about her amnesia she thinks that Kodai doesn’t want her there because she didn’t hear Teresa’s call. But really, he’s just indulging in a little old-fashioned sexism.
[AMB]: Sexism implies that he’s doing it because of her gender though, right? Which I don’t believe is the case, considering he’s got a crew full of women. I mean, let’s be real… had his partner been Shima, he would have told him the same thing. Either way, it’s a tough choice to make, especially for someone who spent the entire journey in 2199 trying to keep Yuki from dying (and seeing her die once)!
[KC]: Exactly. Kodai is really a victim of the trope itself; to put the male protagonist’s female love interest in peril. That’s why his partner isn’t Shima, except for the occasional doujinshi. Can’t level any specific blame, since it comes up again and again in this genre and others.
[AMB]: I do have to give 2199 some cred though in how the production staff took her capture by Gamillas near the end of the story as a storytelling opportunity. Through it, we got to see more of the inner workings at Gamillas, the heart of Celestella and finally, Yuki’s part in the destruction of New Baleras.
As the episode ends, Saito and Nagakura rescue some of the children and the disabled veteran playing Santa as explosions erupt all around them. The attack on Planet 11 begins…
[AMB]: Meanwhile, at Garmillas HQ, “No take-backs!” I do wonder how they’ll respond to this though. Will they engage in some sort of relief effort, or leave it all up to Earth?
[KC]: I would definitely be interested to see what is happening back on Garmillas. Also curious as to why they’ve made the decision to live here together.
[AMB]: This was a pretty good episode! It deepened the intrigue, answered some questions, raised MORE questions and set up a fun little (not so fun) mutiny for next episode!
[KC]: I am enjoying the added layers and really looking forward to Yamato‘s next journey!
[AMB]: On the new ending song I’d just like to note that Teresa’s voice actor Sayaka Kanda did a fabulous job! The forever-associated-with-space electric guitar mixed with her emotional vocal performance gives this batch of episodes (03-06) an adventurous and magical feel. Having previously made a mark in the Japanese VA business through her breakout role in Disney’s Frozen (the first animated film to break Farewell to Yamato‘s box office record), it’s fun to see her branch out into one of the more cinematic corners anime production can offer. A fitting choice by composer group S.E.N.S. Project to have her perform one of the endings.
Theatrical release: Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love Chapter 2: Launch Chapter contained episodes 3-6. It premiered in Japanese theaters June 24, 2017.
Japanese video: Theater-exclusive Blu-ray June 24, 2017. Standard Blu-ray & DVD July 28, 2017
First Japanese TV broadcast: October 19, 2018
American debut: May 23, 2018 (streaming) March 15, 2019 (home video)
The opening title consists of a newly-recorded version of the Yamato theme featuring the second verse of the song. The handful of new scenes from the previous OP has now been bolstered by an exquisite vignettes of Yamato being refitted in drydock. All of these shots were designed by Director Nobuyoshi Habara and Illustrator Kia Asamiya.
The end title Mirror of the Moon contains entirely new animation and is used through Episode 6. The song is performed by Teresa’s voice actor Sayaka Kanda.
Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 3
Storyboard: Yuichi Nibe
Episode Director: Yutaka Kawasaki
Animation Directors: Akitoshi Maeda, Makoto Saito, Hiroki Kashiwagi, Mitsuru Chiba
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
I don’t know why, but when I saw the Time Vault Factory for the first time, it eerie reminded me of Project Insight from Captain America: The Winter Solider. A dark underground industrial shipyard building massive and powerful capital ships with the intention to deter or eliminate all threats.
The background of both the Time Vault Factory and the Helicarriers of Project Insight also are similar as both were developed after a traumatic and devastating invasions that took place on Earth, forcing the governments of both respected universes to step up in constructing a powerful and advanced arsenal of weapons and warships to prevent such a costly conflict from ever happening again.
While it is still vital for Earth to have a strong military to prevent further alien threats from roflstomping their home again, you have to wonder at what expense and cost would Earth take in the name of ‘security’ or ‘protection’? I myself support military expansion as I am a massive naval history and warship enthusiast, but I know that unlimited military expansion is just overkill and extremely dangerous.
Sure the WMG fleet was built for defensive purposes, especially in response to Gatlantis, but after defeating them, what’s next? What would be the future uses or purpose of such powerful vessels, especially under the authority of dubious politicians and leaders? Secret preemptive strikes on other dangerous alien worlds using WMGs before they get a chance to attack Earth? Sparking a dangerous arms race with other alien races in response to the sudden rise of Earth as a galactic power in less than a decade?
In my opinion, the time vault factory wasn’t destined to guaranteed peace though the universe as the Earth Federation claimed, it was meant to destroy it. A enticing Pandora’s box exploited by those shaken in fear of the unknown and those traumatized by near extinction. It’s ironic, in creating an endless fleet of battleships to keep Earth safe, they simply painted a big target on themselves on the galactic power stage. It also doesn’t help that whoever captures Earth also gets to use the time vault for their own military power expansions… A frightening reality that nearly came true thanks to Zordar.
Ok, I know there are other episodes in 2202 that has the Time Vault Factory and its questionable morals, but that sums up my thoughts regarding the matter as there are other things I would like to comment on those said episodes. Also these two quotes down below also sums up the topic perfectly…
“This isn’t freedom, this is fear.” – Steve Rogers/Captain America (2014)
“Restoration!? You can’t call this restoration!” – Susumu Kodai (2202)
Jordan, it’s actually “Time Fault” (時間断層; jikan dansou), not “Time Vault”. It’s a temporal singularity much like the one Yamato gets stuck in during Episode 10 of 2199, when they meet Melda.
A powerful allegory to make! And one (while I don’t think intentional-) very relevant to both past and present.
Your hypothetical questions are all valid and I agree that they come to mind in response to the Time Fault’s existence… and I can answer one of them actually.
“What’s next after Gatlantis?”
You forget about Gamillas itself. Gamillas, whilst currently under some democratic faction’s majority rule (presumably), Earth still has its… reservations, as seen in episode 2 mentioned by both Todo & Serizawa. Trust is hard to gain after 8 years of war, reconnecting with a nation ruled by an imperialist monarchy for 103 years prior bent on supremacy. Very similar to the US/Russian relations following the collapse of the Soviet Union after the Cold War. Gamillas was also still very much technologically superior, its vast empire (whilst fractured) a large constant threat on Earth’s backs.
In the end, the Time Fault was a tempting tool of restoration, tainted by war and bloodshed, just like Starsha warned about and Yamanami realizes in episode 21.
One thing in the flashbacks is not clear to me
Is Hijikata banished to Planet 11 after Kodai and Keyman visit the fault or before?
It happens well before Episode 1, between the decision to build the WMG fleet and the start of Yamato’s reconstruction.
I find the Time Fault very similar to the Sinclair Time Acceleration Fields of Larry Niven’s Known Space and Man-Kzin War series.
We haven’t even discussed the psychological aspects of the Time Fault, i. e. what it does to its staff. Do you leave it after your assignment period, an aged man, to find that your parents are still almost as young as you remember them? Or is all the personnel obliged by contract or force to cut all ties to the outside world and stay in the Fault for all their lifes? Either way, this thing is a grotesque abomination!
Good questions all around!
The suits have “inertial cancelers” that seemingly negate the negative effects inside the Time Fault from affecting the body. What I believe this means, in practical terms, is that you still age in accordance with Earth Time while inside the Time Fault, but only when wearing the experimental suits aboard the Laboratory Prometheus.
I believe the only workers “inside” the Time Fault reside aboard the Laboratory Prometheus. Anything else is likely completely mechanized and/or run by Garmilloids.
“The time fault was born as a byproduct of the Cosmo Reverse System brought back by Yamato, an anti-gravity singularity in which time runs ten times faster than the outside world. The Earth Federal Government utilizes that separate space as a top secret munitions factory, deciding on a huge increase in the number of ships equipped with Wave-Motion Guns. However, because it is not possible to station management personnel there, this Dreadnought-class battleship, equipped with a new Wave Engine, was diverted as a control machine inside the fault factory. In order to enable life support inside the fault, its dimensional inertial canceller uses warp acceleration to maintain the passage of standard Earth time on board. The bridge is expanded over the normal type with its windows blocked and external information displayed on screens.”
You can read more about the mecha here here: https://ourstarblazers.com/vault/163a/?fbclid=IwAR2mk0-i6YxaaYXW2jbnsJ0AOJ6gUHz3vOvvwA7VfzFLSQH-XwL-tMQT8ng