by Anton Mei Brandt, Kathy Clarkson, and Daniel George
Episode 5: Clash! Yamato vs. Andromeda
We begin this episode at the medical facility on the moon where children are being treated for “Planet Bomb Syndrome.” Tsubasa Kato is happily playing with a plushie of his father’s Cosmo Falcon in his hospital bed while his mother, Makoto, plays along. (Tsubasa’s name is written on the toy.) The boy is in good spirits, but Makoto ends up distracted by her husband’s sudden appearance. Saburo Kato, standing apart from his family, lost in thought.
[AMB]: The moment this scene started playing, I knew this episode would be centered on the Kato family drama but I wasn’t sure my heart was ready for it… The pure childish glee conveyed through Tsubasa’s voice as the sad music plays just hurts. That bit where he hides under the blankets is really cute, though. Something else worth mentioning is Tsubasa’s name, which means “wing” in Japanese. He’s a new pair of metaphorical wings which helps Kato keep flying.
[KC]: Ah, that is a poetic clue that would have totally passed me by, so thank you for that. He definitely is a sweet and adorable child!
[AMB]: Just imagine being in his mother Makoto’s position here. Having to deal with potentially losing her son every day, the guilt of keeping her husband away from work, and the strain of putting on a happy face. When people talk about strong female characters these days, Makoto definitely is one. Take note Hollywood!
[KC]: It is very moving and I don’t mean to be negative just for the sake of it, because what she is doing certainly does require incredible strength, but I am not a big fan of promoting women who stay home with the children – and feel guilt for keeping their husbands tied down – as strong role models. In the recently translated manga for 2199, an unwed Makoto has a scene where she is complaining about the ridiculously provocative design of her nurse’s uniform. That’s the kind of strong female character scene that I would like to celebrate. Not this one where she’s following traditional expectations and dressing like a grandma now that she’s married.
[AMB]: I don’t really think they’re “promoting” that lifestyle as much as they’re illuminating how hard it is to maintain such a way of life in the modern age. Fukui’s mentioned in previous interviews that he believes this work should reflect society as it stands today, and I think showing the day-to-day struggle of motherhood in the traditional sense is supposed to be tough to watch. In the same way a gritty war movie doesn’t necessarily promote the soldier life, this arc illustrates the Kato family’s struggles without bias or political messaging. In fact, those who hypothetically come out of 2202 with a stronger desire to become a good mother thanks to Makoto are the strongest of us all, choosing that difficult path despite the pain, wouldn’t you say?
On a personal note, I believe strong female characters aren’t necessarily strong just when they reject skimpy outfits or traditional values, they’re strong because they go their own way and own it. If a woman wants to endure the hardships of motherhood, if she finds that kind of life worth living, who are we to reject her just because it “follows traditional expectations”? It’s not like her husband is forcing this life upon her, forcing traditionalism. We saw as much in 2199, when he jokingly tried getting her to dress up in a traditional kimono for their wedding, but she refused. In the end, their marriage was held with her in a western wedding gown like she wanted, and Kato in traditional Japanese attire like he wanted, showing that their marriage is one of mutual respect.
I don’t believe her wearing baggier clothes makes her any less strong, because in the end she chose those clothes herself. Just like some women feel more empowered wearing skimpier clothes, Makoto goes her own way to feel comfortable and happy. Some heroes wear capes, others wear skirts. And that’s fine. I do like that addition to the 2199 manga however, totally fits her character!
[KC]: Well I’m sure I’d be more objective were I not also considering all the fanservice and the merchandising of nothing but Yuki and the occasional Akira figure, but this is not a hill I want to die on or a rabbit hole I want to go down.
[AMB]: On that point, GIVE US MORE HOT BOY FIGURES-… *cough cough*
Breaking the news of Yamato’s rebellion, Makoto tries to comfort Kato. Visibly frustrated, he has received a subpoena from the Bureau of Defense to testify. But what really troubles him is the feeling of being left out of the crew’s decision, as if abandoned on the Moon.
[AMB]: At the risk of sounding too dreamy, isn’t there something beautifully poetic about Kato’s struggle here? In a way, his son is tying him down, making him walk along a fine line between fatherhood and ace pilot. But in reality, shouldn’t Kato be happy about the opportunity to stay with his son during this very difficult time?
I believe Fukui already answered this question three episodes ago, where he revealed that Kato has already been gone for several weeks on leave. He must have felt both a restlessness and despair at not being able to fix Tsubasa’s condition, failing to do anything as either a father or a pilot. This of course reaches a boiling point with him being left out of the loop regarding Yamato’s rebellion.
[KC]: Kato is definitely struggling right now; torn between his responsibilities as a father and his duty to Yamato. We will continue to watch this play out as the series progresses.
Meanwhile, the Cosmo Navy’s shining new fleet is on their first combat exercise near Jupiter, launching fighters and testing their shock cannons against helpless space rocks. Captain Osamu Yamanami commands the AAA flagship Andromeda, backed up by its sisters Achilles, Antares, Aldebaran and Apollo Norm. With them are a dozen ships of the new Dreadnought class (previously known only as “Earth Battleship”).
[DG]:These Dreadnought-class battleships are the first twelve of what will be very, very many. As such, aside from a couple of specialized examples we see later in the series, these are the only ships of the class that are named.
The term “dreadnought” is new to neither Yamato nor SF in general, being used in most cases to describe or classify the largest capital ship in a fleet, monstrous in size compared to any of the combatants, notably Zordar’s Giant Battleship (nicknamed ‘dreadnought’ by English-speaking fans) at the end of Farewell and Yamato 2, and the Executor-class in the Star Wars universe which dwarfs Star Destroyers by a factor of almost 12.
Given the size of these ships (250m to Yamato‘s 333m and Andromeda‘s 444m), there was some outcry at the use of Dreadnought as the class name of these ships. However, there is very good reason for it, as anyone with a knowledge of naval history can tell you.
Dreadnought is a name steeped in tradition in Britain’s Royal Navy. The most famous ship to bear this name is the HMS Dreadnought built in 1906, which was the first battleship to be powered by steam turbines and to have a uniform main battery (her main armament consisted of five double-barrelled 300mm (12″) gun turrets), a design paradigm which would see its climax in the Yamato and Iowa classes three decades later.
In keeping with the naming convention for the Andromeda class, all the D-series ships in this initial batch of twelve have names starting with D, and all are named after ships which served in the Royal Navy, many of which fought in World War I.
|D-0001||Dreadnought||Name of the pioneering all-heavy-gun battleship built in 1906. Served in World War I in a limited capacity. Several Royal Navy warships bore this name prior to 1906.|
|D-0002||Devastation||Four ships with this name have served in the Royal Navy. The last predated the Dreadnought but was the first class of capital ship to have its entire main armament on top of the main hull rather than inside it.|
|D-003||Duncan||Seven Royal Navy ships named for Admiral Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan of Camperdown, hero of the Battle of Camperdown. The ship launched in 1901 and saw action in World War I against Germany.|
|D-004||Dominion||This ship was a King Edward-class battleship named for the Dominion of Canada. Dominion served in the 3rd Battle Squadron alongside HMS Dreadnought. By March 1918 they were the only two ships remaining in the squadron.|
|D-0005||Diadem||Two noteworthy ships bore this name. One was the lead ship of the Diadem-class of “Protected Cruiser” which fought in World War I and had sister ships named Andromeda and Argonaut. Similarly, the World War II ship bearing this name belonged to a class of light cruiser which also had an Argonaut. This ship covered carrier raids against the German Battleship Tirpitz and participated in the Normandy Invasion.|
|D-006||Drake||Most likely named after the World War I armored cruiser HMS Drake, named after Sir Francis Drake.|
|D-007||Devonshire||Named after the lead ship of the Devonshire-class armored cruisers which served in World War I.|
|D-008||Dartmouth||Named after a Town-class light cruiser which served in 1901|
|D-009||Diana||HMS Diana was an Eclipse-class cruiser which served in World War I.|
|D-0010||Danae||Lead ship of a class of cruisers also known as the “D-class” (a nice connection to the designation of these ships), which served in the last months of World War I.|
|D-0011||Dido||Another Eclipse-class cruiser which served in World War I alongside Diana. Dido was also the class name of the World War II cruiser Diadem mentioned above.|
|D-0012||Doris||Another Eclipse-class cruiser from World War I. Doris provided covering fire for the ill-fated Gallipoli landings in what is now Turkey on April 25, 1915 (commemorated by Australians and New Zealanders alike as Anzac Day, the equivalent of America’s Memorial Day).|
|D-0013||Dublin||Another example of a Town-class light cruiser which served in World War I.|
|D-0014||Diamond||Named for HMS Diamond, a Topaze-class “protected cruiser” which served in World War I.|
Research note: ship class naming convention follows the Wikipedia Manual of Style article on naming conventions for ships, specifically the section on Class Name, which differentiates between classes of ships which are named for members of that class (e.g. Yamato-class), which have the class name italicized and classes of ships are named for a common theme or attribute (e.g. Town-class), which are not italicized.
As we are taken along the two rows of the ships, they appear to be, from port to starboard (or from nearest the camera to farthest away), in numerical order: the top row is from port to starboard, Dartmouth through Diamond, while the lower row is Dreadnought through Devonshire. As a side note, the first 1/1000 Dreadnought kits released by Bandai in 2017 included name and number decals for all fourteen examples seen in this episode.
After only cursory glimpses of the new Andromeda-class carriers back in Episode 2, we now get a look at how they actually function in terms of storing and launching fighters. LOTS of fighters.
[DG]: The Andromeda carrier variant has been the target of much vitriol in fandom because of its radical design and the absence of the classic Yamato 2 battlecarriers. Personally, I think this vitriol is unjustified, as the design addresses flaws in the Yamato 2 design.
The original saga’s battlecarrier had a flatdeck directly behind the superstructure, but on top of the main hull. Like early real-world aircraft carriers, the deck elevator was in the center of the flight deck. This solitary elevator also marked the start of the takeoff roll, so it really limited the rate at which these ships could launch their craft; the elevator could not return to the hangar level to retrieve the next plane until after the plane on the flight deck had commenced launching. Yamato could launch hers much faster.
Although it was never shown in the original anime, the layout of the landing bay was also problematic. It was directly above the engine exhaust, meaning that there was zero margin for error. The plane could either be roasted by the engine exhaust or could even fly into the engine if something went wrong.
Realistically, fighter planes in space are a bad idea. They have a short range, a limited payload, and there’s a substantial time cost associated with launching and recovery. We saw in 2199 that Domel did not use them in his fleet, opting for blitz tactics which involved precision warp-in and warp-out. When he had no other choice, he used them the same as his fleet, courtesy of the SMITE projector, warping them in to deliver surgical strikes against Yamato.
It doesn’t really matter in the end, though, because fighter planes in space are cool and awesome so as fans we don’t care that much about this. However, Assistant Director Makoto Kobayashi, grand master of kitbashing, modified Andromeda in such a way that the carrier variant would eliminate a lot of the flaws in the old battlecarrier design (whether this was actually his intent is a matter for speculation).
The launch bay specs are prodigious: 24 each side on the main flight deck in three 2×2 arrays, 12 each side in the main hull in 3×2 arrays above and below the midline, and two more 3×4 arrays in the ventral bay under the hull. This means that they can launch a very large portion of their 180-aircraft complement very quickly; the distribution of the launch bays means there is no single point of failure and if one bay or group of bays is rendered inoperable, others are still available. The landing bay is well away from the engine, reducing risk to ship, aircraft and aircrew alike. Additionally, the flattop of the “tophat” flight deck also allows more or larger aircraft to be stored externally (in addition to what is carried internally), which gives it much more of an “aircraft carrier in space” feel.
The upper deck launch bays appear to be substantially wider than the launch bays in the main hull, probably due to the latter needing to retract into the sponsons on the ship’s beams that store them during non-flight operations. It looks like this means there may be some restrictions as to what aircraft types could be launched from these bays. The Hayabusa wingspan is 6.8m to the Cosmo Tiger II’s ~9m (given the length in official materials and no wingspan, I derived this number by comparing the wingspan to the length in design drawings contained in the first volume of the Yamato 2202 Complete Works, and from the internal shots we get, it looks like the Hayabusa fits with very little wiggle room. With needing an extra 1.1 meters either side to accommodate the Cosmo Tiger II in these main hull launch bays, it looks like it would be a very tight fit, if at all possible. Maybe they could launch with the wings stowed, provided that this is possible with the plane carrying stores on the above-wing hardpoints. If this is not the case, then either the Hayabusa was intended to remain in service specifically to operate from these bays, or someone goofed (either in-universe or a series designer) and they were left with no choice but to do so.
It looks as if the dorsal launch bays on the main hull would have to wait until after the flight deck launch bays are clear. Theoretically, the ventral bays could launch without impacting the launches from the flight deck, but it seems that launch protocol here is to launch all the planes from the main hull bays simultaneously.
As the capital ships give their shock cannons a workout, fighter pilots run training maneuvers in their sparkly new Cosmo Tiger II’s, with Akira Yamamoto in her Cosmo Tiger I. From their respective cockpits, Yamamoto and Hiroki Shinohara discuss an information leak on the Time Fault. With Yamato’s rebellion in mind, they reach the same answer as their faraway comrades, both of them choosing to rebel in an act of defiance.
[KC]: I did like the scene where Yamamoto and Shinohara just go without hesitation. “Oh, what’s that, you say? Yamato up and left? Okay, bye then.”
[AMB]: This episode excels at showing us how even the former crew members of Yamato, despite being physically far apart, are still as close in spirit as they ever were. It’s a tribute to the pilots of Yamato, and I love it. Their return in both Yamato 2 and Farewell was skimmed over, but here we get a deep-dive into their respective struggles.
[KC]: The journey to Iscandar has left everyone who made it and returned forever changed.
[AMB]: It’s painful seeing where all the goodwill of their original journey has gone. The Time Fault, the Andromeda fleet, self-interests and untreated illnesses. But just like in real life, the reconstruction period following a long war will always be tougher than everyone makes it out to be. Some choose to persevere and fight the sickness, like Kodai. Yet some are initially fearful of gripping the bull’s horns after years of conformity, like Shima.
Seven more fighters end up joining the two insurgents, and a stern-faced Serizawa informs Todo of this very fact. Serizawa is concerned about the disorder Yamato’s rebellion might cause within the foundations of the military, promising to secure the ship “by surrender or by fire.“
[AMB]: I mean, Serizawa isn’t wrong…
[KC]: We all know my thoughts on Serizawa, no need to belabor that point.
[AMB]: In that case, allow me to digress. Last episode, Serizawa stated his misgivings about this whole ordeal, and that half-assed attempts at stopping Yamato might influence rebellious attitudes within the military This just came true, and there’s really no sign of it stopping. I’m glad he isn’t acting boastful or arrogant about being proven right.
In fact, he treats this as an important issue which needs to be dealt with before it’s too late, foregoing the political pontificating which we’re so used to in space opera. He feels more real to me, like an actual military commander rather than a cartoonishly evil politician. He doesn’t act out, but rather reacts by allowing Earth’s Andromeda fleet to pursue the “rebels.”
[KC]: Oh, he definitely acts like an actual military commander. Why do you think I have no interest in defending his actions? Okay, it is also a little bit of me taking advantage of knowing what is ultimately going to happen, and a little bit of my own obligation to not give the Earthlings a pass. For anything. Heh.
[DG]: As Apollo Norm‘s fighters (green Cosmo Falcons) launch to pursue Yamamoto’s group, her ventral launch bay (the area with the two “tanks” on the underside of the hull) lowers, revealing a 3 x 4 array of launch bays, presumably on each side. (Outlined above)
Captain Osamu Yamamani is informed that there were eight former Yamato pilots participating in the drill who have all deserted. Yamamani orders that the additional 30 trainees be brought to Andromeda and detained so as not to risk mutiny. He prepares to go after Yamato, playfully commenting on the futility of the ship’s actions.
[KC]: They are setting up Yamamani as a hardass, but I know better. In the original series doesn’t he let them go?
[AMB]: In Yamato 2, Hijikata was Andromeda’s Captain. Yamanami didn’t appear until Be Forever Yamato. Hijikata did let Yamato go, but we’ll get back to that later down the page.
[KC]: Thank you; I am terrible with remembering the names of EDF folks beyond Yamato’s bridge crew and I thought it was Okita’s other friend with the white hair in the original who confronted them.
[AMB]: Regarding Yamanami though, my impressions are as follows… The suave nature of his character gives me the impression of a rugged but humorous uncle-type. And the idea of keeping his facial reactions and eyes obscured during scenes where he has to deal with Yamato in this episode? It’s intriguing, making Yamanami a much more difficult character to read until the very end. But based on his body language, he’s not too excited about this whole “hunting down rebels” business, nor is he particularly sure how to respond in his heart of hearts. A true friend of Okita’s, he presents himself as quite the poetic man through his witty dialogue.
[KC]: I got the impression that was done intentionally, to maintain the drama. As fans, we know whom he is addressing when he appears to speak to himself. And even when addressing his own crew, his words and concealed expressions serve to maintain the fiction within the fiction. Yamanami may be reluctant, but the viewers need to be concerned that Andromeda is about to blow Yamato out of the sky.
[AMB]: It’s some really compelling drama. He definitely means business this episode, representing the more orderly and stiff nature of the military at this point. As Captain of Andromeda, he’s not unlike an artist trapped within a creatively bankrupt production called the Cosmo Navy. “A soldier follows orders. But he should also have the courage to know when to disobey an order.” as Okita would have put it. Yamanami’s got the first part down, to Yamato’s disadvantage.
As Yamato approaches the inner rim of the asteroid belt, Chief Engineer Tokugawa wagers they will need about five more hours to exchange the Wave-Motion coils before they can warp, leaving Yamato defenseless inside the belt with neither shields nor a means of quick escape. In response to this pressing issue, Shiro Sanada has an idea. He asks Analyzer to access Niimi’s personal files on the Izumo Plan.
[KC]: Five hours seems like an awfully long time for them to be in an asteroid field with no shields, but really, I want to talk about Sanada. He distinctly said “personal,” not “personnel.” Does he have access to everyone’s private information?
[AMB]: Tokugawa mentioned last episode that their departure was haphazard and rushed, so the risk was always there for problems to boil up. On the personal files… I think Yamato stores the information on their past and present journeys in the ship’s systems and Analyzer is capable of unearthing that data as a dedicated terminal. If we consider Sanada’s role as vice captain and chief technician, he probably has admin access. If we go even further and use Niimi’s official character description, it says that “After the journey to Iscandar, love bloomed between her and Sanada.” So maybe he has access thanks to her trust, that curtain scene in Episode 2 coming to mind again.
On the moon, Tsubasa is sweating in his sleep and his breathing is labored. His parents watch over him while Makoto provides her opinion on Yamato’s reason for launching again. She states that the hand of salvation, which Iscandar selflessly reached out to Earth, is a debt that needs to be repaid through helping the one behind the voice from space. “It’s our turn,” she argues.
What mattered most during the last war wasn’t to win, but that they were granted the strength and choice to fight in order to pursue their goal of survival. Her tears well up as she starts losing her voice, and she pleads with Kato to join Yamato’s crew in their rebellion. For her sake and for Tsubasa’s sake. “Go be a cool dad.”
[AMB]: Back when 2202 had begun and teaser info was released for Chapter 2, I was still very intrigued with the direction this show took, but unfamiliar with the previous versions of the story. It was this scene that pushed me to plow through ALL the previous Yamato works. The raw emotion built on the feelings these characters held three years earlier, how love can affect people during times of war and relentless conflict, really shone through here.
[KC]: It’s great to see the layers of depth they’re adding to this continuity.
[AMB]: This sequence managed to convey the strong conflict within the Kato family through the voice acting, music and character expressions. Interspersed with scenes of gunfire in space, this is a personal war for Saburo. “Should I stay or should I go?” And Makoto’s suffering too, not because she wants to keep Kato with her, but because she knows that he wants to do the right thing, to help those in need. That’s the kind of man she fell in love with, and her love is on full display. To keep him here would be to destroy her husband’s spirit. Makoto’s smile breaks through her sad expression as she embraces him, knowing full well that she might never see him again when she lets him go.
[KC]: Makoto served on Yamato, as well; I am sure that some of her pain in this scene is for her own inability to return. Kato will have to be there for both of them.
[AMB]: Got too immersed in my own grandstanding there, glad you mentioned it! Now make sure you remember that last line about being a cool dad, kids. It will have its payoff in time.
Interspersed with this sequence, the eight Yamato fighter pilots are under attack from Yamanami’s pursuit force. As Shinohara questions the absurdity of Earthlings shooting each other, a mysterious Garmillan pilot shows up in a white Tsvarke. He releases an EMP strike that scrambles everyone’s instruments, confusing the situation even more.
Akira’s baffled, questioning why someone would seek to disrupt the ability to distinguish between friendlies and allies, and the Garmillan fighter responds, telling her over the intercom to use her guns and personal skills. That pilot is embassy liaison Klaus Keyman.
[KC]: Here we have Yamamoto’s introduction to Keyman, but this is not the first Garmillan pilot she’s met. She didn’t start out on great terms with Melda Deitz in 2199, but they parted friendly enough. I wonder if Klaus likes parfait. All that aside, it is a pretty cool moment because any time when Garmillans are helping Earthlings or vice-versa I am going to fangirl.
[AMB]: Klaus brings a non-lethal solution to the problem of shooting friendlies. Knock them down with the smaller guns now that missiles have been rendered useless! Might Klaus be a proponent of pacifism? Or is he simply reading the mood?
[KC]: I don’t know the details of the relationship between Earth and Garmillas, but I’m sure shooting down the other’s fighters would be problematic. Doesn’t mean that Klaus can’t have additional reasons to bring this to a peaceful conclusion.
Back on the moon, this time at the Garmillas Embassy, Ambassador Varel is on the phone with Commander Todo, who tells him that Earth has their own way of dealing with situations like these. This prompts Varel to remind him of the debt Garmillas owes to Yamato and his message is clear; they will interfere to assist the crew if necessary, albeit in their own way, following their own principles. Despite the previously tense nature of the call, Todo sighs in relief, or perhaps resignation.
[KC]: Fangirling intensifies.
[AMB]: The way these two perfectly understand each other’s feelings on the matter despite the restrictive formalities being conveyed is an inspirational showcase of how far the cooperation between these nations is coming along. Todo can’t ask Varel to help Yamato’s crew, and we’re not even sure based on his body language if he’s fully grasped the reality of the situation yet. Despite this, he is promised help in the way only a Garmillan ambassador can.
[KC]: Varel knows the stakes. He may be sympathetic to Todo’s position, but he is certainly not going to let it get in the way of what needs to be done.
[AMB]: On a more somber note, I’d like to address something rather tragic which I should have brought up earlier. To those of you who’ve watched the Japanese dub of 2199 Todo’s voice might sound a bit different this time around. That’s because his previous voice actor (Shinji Ogawa) passed away on March 7, 2015. This was before production of 2202 had been greenlit, so a replacement was found in voice acting veteran Toshihiko Kojima. This wasn’t his first time in the role, either; he originally voiced Heikuro Todo back in Episode 6 of the original Yamato 2 series. Todo was regularly played by voice acting legend Masatō Ibu, who famously voiced both Todo and Dessler with this single exception.
Aboard Andromeda, Captain Yamanami indulges in a cup of tea in front of a purposefully-obscured relief sculpture of someone wearing a Captain’s uniform. Two cups are present, one for him and one for the sculpture. Adorning the walls are four photographs, images from 2199 showing a blue Earth, Garmillas and Iscandar, Jupiter’s underbelly and Yamato docked at Iscandar. Yamanami muses on the absurdity of their actions, almost jokingly referring to “those who went to Iscandar and back” as having lost their minds. With a glimmer in his eyes, he glances at the sculpture and leaves for the bridge to personally command the upcoming confrontation with Yamato’s crew.
[AMB]: There’s some great cinematography this episode. From the obfuscation of the mysterious sculpture to the effective use of perspective, it’s a classic in the making! I’ll go over it in a second but for now… any bets on who’s in that sculpture?
[KC]: I think anyone who has seen the original works is disqualified from betting.
[AMB]: When they cut to Yamanami’s tea time, the camera’s set to an over the shoulder perspective quite far back, signaling that the conversation he’s engaged in is personal. Details surrounding the sculpture he speaks to appear in the form of photographs from Yamato’s last journey, signaling to the audience that the wall is dedicated to a former or current crew member of Yamato whom he knew. The camera focuses on the teacups as the Captain rises from his chair, showing us his typically shrouded mug until it lights up.
He’s eyeing the sculpture in a show of admiration and guilt, informing the viewers that he feels inadequate in comparison to the person it belongs to. But once he’s back on Andromeda’s bridge giving orders, the camera switches to low-angle perspective on Yamanami, zooming out to depict Andromeda in the same way. The fleet is in an orderly lineup. The final shot shows us that while the sculpture is worthy of admiration, Yamato and its crew are below Yamanami. He can’t respect their actions the same way he can the man behind the sculpture.
[KC]: Yamanami is in the uncomfortable position of knowing that breaking the rules can be the correct course, but not knowing that it is in this case.
[AMB]: This entire scene is played out as the “Yamato and the Setting Sun” track from the first 2202 OST is playing. We previously heard it during the aftermath of Andromeda’s intervention in Episode 1, making it a sub-theme for Andromeda and its captain. This melancholy take on the Yamato theme begins with troubled instruments attempting to mimic the original melody, devolving into a large bombastic fanfare akin to a show of might, perfectly capturing the symbolism that Earth is heading in the wrong direction. With all this in mind, the identity of the sculpture in Yamanami’s quarters should become obvious.
Yamato has now reached deep into the asteroid field. Inside the ship, Sanada and Tokugawa go to check out holdover equipment from the Izumo Plan that was never removed from storage during Yamato’s refit. With Tokugawa pondering over whether or not they can make use of these relics, our chief technician looks confident. (Easter egg: behind and to the left of Sanada you can see cartons for the electric fan tie-in product that appeared in Episode 3.)
At about the same time, Miki Saijo (Yuki’s stand-in as radar operator) reports nine friendly ID’d fighters showing up, creating some tension on the bridge. (If you look closely, they are recognizably coded CT1, CT2, and DWG for the Tsvarke, full designation DWG262.) Kodai orders the crew not to instigate any armed conflict, but it soon enough becomes clear that it won’t be necessary.
[AMB]: Those Izumo objects look like spy thriller spearguns mixed with prequel-era Star Wars droids. Interesting. And Miki Saijo seems to have a bigger role this time around with Yuki gone, which makes sense considering her popularity in Japan. She’s quite competent at her job so I don’t mind, though it does make me miss Yuki a bit.
[KC]: Well, there are over twenty different figures of Yuki available (compared to a grand total of one for Miki) if you need more Mori in your life. Yes, I am bitter about the lack of other figures. I will always be bitter about the lack of other figures.
[AMB]: Is the lack of Garmillan figures from this series making you feel all “Klaus”trophobic?
[KC]: I don’t know why Japan doesn’t want my money. LOL!
After a clever cut from a screen graphic to its “real” counterpart, a prelude to confrontation becomes a joyous reunion as Kodai spots Akira’s Cosmo Tiger I in the mix. These fighter planes belong to some of Yamato’s former Cosmo Tigers unit and they’re here to join the mission. Cheerful reunions are had as Yamato’s younger mechanics joyously embrace the newly-returned pilots Sho Sawamura and Takeshi Takuma, with Shinohara playfully greeting Kodai. But as we heard from Saijo, a ninth fighter has also joined their ranks.
[AMB]: Akira playfully spinning around in her new fighter upon arrival was just the right move to calm Kodai’s nerves for the coming confrontation with Andromeda. BGM choices worked out particularly well this scene, going from tense and nerve-wracking to heartwarming. It’s fun seeing our side-pilots after Ark of the Stars, too. A welcome treat in an ever-expanding cast of characters.
[KC]: I don’t talk about the music much, but whether we are discussing these new series or the original works, there really is nothing like it.
[AMB]: Regarding Yamato’s music, it was what originally got me invested in Yamato as a series. Pieces like “Great Love” and “The Rival” from the Farewell Yamato Symphonic Suite were the biggest influencers, look’em up. But back to the scene. For those of you familiar with the prior works, this segment originally featured the return of Saburo Kato, Akira Yamamoto and Jiro Tsurumi. But for obvious (and disheartening) reasons, our ace pilot Kato couldn’t make it to this rendezvous.
[KC]: Well, if he listens to his wife’s advice…
Docking in the hangar bay with them is Lieutenant Klaus Keyman, who requests permission to stay on as an advisor. Kodai is reluctant, still concerned with whatever agenda this suspicious Garmillan operative might have since their last meeting. A chuckle from Shima breaks the tension. He can’t resist teasing his best friend, blurting out the equivalent of “Why not Cap?”
[AMB]: As readers have so astutely already pointed out: yes, this is definitely an homage to Melda’s face reveal in 2199 Episode 11.
[KC]: Okay, now I need to talk about Klaus Keyman, exiting his ship and adjusting that mop of his like he just stepped out of an 80s movie or a shampoo commercial. This guy shows up with his smirks, his smartass comments, his blonde hair and his “let me stay, you can trust me” like he owns the place.
[AMB]: I believe his Japanese VA (Hiroshi Kamiya) even made that joke in an interview! He’s a pretty neat story addition this time around, and now I can’t help but remark on his absence any time I go back to rewatch the original works. He feels like such a natural add-on. But yes, continue.
[KC]: It’s as if the show were saying; “Look. We know you all thought Dessler was swell and you didn’t care that he used to whip robots in the face or shoot his own men dead. But when 2199 had the new one squeeze his poor, pet bird to death and drop half a city on that backup Talan we came up with, maybe we crossed a line. Please accept this younger, blonder Garmillan with our apologies.” Or maybe I’m just imagining it.
[AMB]: My role as Abelt’s devil’s advocate will have to wait until a more fitting point in the story. Please look forward to me breaking this “one character defense” rule in future episodes.
[KC]: I am hoping to be in a better position to defend Abelt later, myself. Also, props to Shima for seeming to have zero issue with Keyman tagging along, despite his earlier portrayal as Kodai’s far less impulsive friend.
[AMB]: Some of Klaus’ cool persona must be rubbing off on the guy. Then again, Shima is pretty cool himself. “WARP”!
Suddenly the good mood is broken up by Andromeda’s appearance at the edge of Yamato’s radar! With shields still down but closer to a repaired state, our crew is not in the best of situations. Aihara patches Andromeda’s Captain through to the large screen. Yamanami relays an order: turn around now. This ignites a heavy argument between the two Captains.
[AMB]: Like 2199’s approach to Yamato’s journey, this sequence of events mirrors the original story while creating another path toward its end point. In the original, Hijikata (Andromeda’s Captain back then) continuously denies his XO (same guy as Yamanami’s XO in 2202) the option to fire warning shots, intending to catch Yamato on its way to the asteroid field first. After this plan fails due to miscalculations by Andromeda’s automated systems, he sneaks past the asteroid field to block Yamato’s exit path, then issues his warning message.
This time around, Yamanami gets to the point immediately upon entering communication range, intending to settle things diplomatically while the mutineers are stuck inside the asteroid belt. Same scenario, different approach. Similar direction with the constant obfuscation of the respective Captains’ eyes, but their personalities affect the flow of events differently, as does their approach. This is one of the many ways in which Director Habara and Writer Fukui showcase their intention to not devalue the original work, but to present their own version. And I can respect that.
Kodai argues that a conflict beyond the military’s scope of imagination might break out in space, prompting Yamanami to ask, “What if it can’t be stopped with Yamato alone?” Kodai freezes on the spot, unable to answer. Yamanami asks Susumu to face reality before recklessly charging into conflict. This prompts Kodai’s counter-question: “And if that reality is leading us to the wrong future?” As both ships slowly approach one another in this tense situation, Yamanami is now unable to respond. He orders Yamato’s turnaround once more, which Kodai refuses. “What a shame.” And with that, the negotiations escalate to Class-1 combat.
[AMB]: Difficult questions being raised here. Even if Yamato might be “in the right” on an ideological or empathic level, they might be about to cause more trouble than it’s worth, putting innocents and former co-workers at risk. And if their convictions are proven true despite their superstitious nature, what’s one outdated battleship going to do against a mysterious cosmic threat?
[KC]: Well, it worked last time; Earth just didn’t have anything left to lose. Yamato was sent out as Earth’s last hope, and that hope was restored. Now, with a healthy planet, a new alliance and a wealth of advanced technology, too much is at risk and decisions are influenced by the fear of loss.
[AMB]: The answers are obvious to anyone who fancies themselves a rationalist, but those people are stuck deep inside the hole of conformity. And I believe Kodai confronts this with his counter-question, that maybe people like Yamanami are either willfully blind or too scared to face the possibility that rationality is leading Earth down a dark path from which they can never return. “A wrong future.”
[KC]: In the English dub, there is no question. Kodai’s response to Yamanami is; “The reality is we’re heading toward the wrong future.” Kodai has already had his faith tested. He has seen what can be accomplished through trust and sacrifice, and has the courage of his convictions. Fortunately, mankind has individuals like him to seek out an alternative.
Sanada suggests that they move into the asteroid belt despite the shields not being ready, relaying to Kodai that he has an idea. Before Kodai can think too deeply about it, Andromeda fires their first warning shot – a new piece of weaponry called a “Graviton Spread.” It was first seen earlier this episode during the fleet’s training exercise. Small orbs of light are ejected into the heart of the asteroid field, imploding to create a shockwave which annihilates the nearest objects
[DG]: This weapon, the graviton launcher, seems to stem from Niimi’s explanation of the Wave-Motion Gun (from Yamato 2199 Episode 3.) The WMG creates micro black holes which emit Hawking radiation. They’ve managed to weaponize this into something that can create a gravity source that either pushes things away or drags them in, perhaps dependent upon polarity. We see later in the series that it has other very valuable uses.
[AMB]: Such compact rapid-fire destruction imbued within those orbs of light… as a scare tactic, this would surely affect my judgement.
[KC]: These folks have stood defiant before everything the Garmillas Empire had to throw at them. I don’t think Yamato is all that fazed by Andromeda’s posturing.
[AMB]: Under normal circumstances, sure. But until their shields are up they’re probably at least a bit scared.
Sanada’s counterplan commences with Yamato launching several of the spear-like objects found in the Izumo archives. They attach themselves to the surrounding asteroids, red lights flashing to show us that they’re more than just hunks of metal. Tokugawa activates a magnetron wave, drawing the field of rocks toward Yamato.
With Andromeda’s warning shot out of the way, Yamanami orders the next shot to hit the target. Impact is confirmed, as Yamanami bitterly bears witness to the explosive cloud of space dust left in its wake. But then something starts to emerge.
[AMB]: This man could become the greatest space janitor of all time, but instead he became the most ambiguous space rodent exterminator. Kudos for that first warning shot though, considering Yamato had already gone past the point of no return last episode. Those of us who’ve seen the original Series 1 probably already know what’s about to happen, and it’s pretty damn exciting.
[KC]: I was definitely grinning pretty wide by this point.
Seemingly unscathed, Yamato emerges from the belt, her hull protected (and hugely expanded) by a thick layer of rock. Captain Yamanami’s sour mug has now flipped to a crooked smile as he commends the craziness of such an “antiquated trick” as “asteroid ship.” Andromeda starts firing off concentrated blasts from her main guns in an attempt to penetrate Yamato’s impromptu shielding, with Boatswain Enomoto announcing a 1-minute ETA for the shields to come back online.
It’s worth a moment of digression to examine the “asteroid ship.” Among the vast substrata of Yamato lore, this is one of the deepest. As outlined in our Yamato Origins series, it came from a story draft written in the summer of 1973. Back then, the working title was Asteroid Ship Icarus, and it was literally an asteroid; a giant chunk of rock that was hollowed out to contain an engine, living space, and weapons to fight aliens. It’s probably safe to say that if the story was not further developed, you wouldn’t be reading these words now. The concept got its first nod in Be Forever when Yamato was hidden inside asteroid Icarus, and now we have a direct revival of the name itself. This is how you know fans are in charge.
[AMB]: The shot of Yamato emerging from the cloud of space dust is too cool! And Yamanami cheesily commending our crew makes me all giddy inside. The ticking time element is the icing on the cake. On another note, though we’ve heard his voice earlier in 2202 I’d like to take the time to briefly mention another change in the Japanese cast, this time for Isami Enomoto. He was previously voiced by Keiji Fujiwara (Famous from Gintama, HxH 2011, etc.) but an “unspecified illness” in 2017 prevented him from reprising his role. Fortunately, he recovered, but for the rest of 2202 our Boatswain is voiced by Kenjirou Tsuda, known for his roles in Golden Kamuy, Boku no Hero Academia and Yu-Gi-OH as Seto Kaiba.
Frustrated with the slow repairs, Chief Engineer Tokugawa announces that he’s releasing the camouflage! The rocks expand into multiple orbits around Yamato, creating a rapidly rotating shield against Andromeda‘s guns.
[AMB]: THEY DID IT! THE MADMEN! THEY BROUGHT BACK THE ASTEROID RING FROM THE FIRST SERIES! The ring was used early on in Series 1, then to escape Goland’s anti-gravity field in Series 2, followed by a brief tribute in Be Forever’s opening act. So here it feels kind of seamless, especially when we look back and think, “Wait… why DIDN’T Yamato use this again while they dodged Andromeda’s pursuit in Series 2?”
[KC]: It’s possible that at the time the writers simply did not want to have Yamato use the same trick twice. But it worked last time; there’s no reason they wouldn’t use it again in a similar situation.
[AMB]: In the days of yore, a common practice in anime was to have “villains of the week,” (or “robot of the week” as Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino called it) and our heroes would respond with new and quirky techniques to counter these monstrous challenges. So I don’t think you’re wrong there.
With the ships edging ever closer to one another, the rock volume steadily drops to 30%. Instead of rotating the rocks around her entire body, they’re now concentrated at the bow of the ship. This buys Yamato enough time to finally get the Wave-Motion Shields up. The last rocks are shed and the two battleships play a game of chicken.
[AMB]: While the rocks themselves vary in visual fidelity, the craftsmanship in presenting this old strategy for a new generation is commendable. Following 2199‘s philosophy of “respect the original, don’t copy it” we see the asteroid ring used as in OG series 1, with rocks spinning around the hull. Now they’ve reconfigured the rock shield to cover parts of the ship that are under fire.
[KC]: It is also a nice tension builder, as the number of asteroid chunks protecting Yamato rapidly dwindles.
[DG]:Sure, it’s supposed to make it a poignant moment, but if that was actually Andromeda‘s trajectory, the bow would have driven straight through Yamato‘s bridge and the whole story would have ended.
Neither side yields, and Yamato literally scrapes by Andromeda as their captains stare each other down. With the shields of both ships sparking back and forth, Yamato’s strength shines through as it brushes past Andromeda. Yamamani admires the stubbornness of his dear friend Okita’s “boy” with what appears to be good humor. With that, we finally get a clear look at the sculpture, and it is indeed Captain Juuzo Okita. A distressed subordinate asks if they should pursue. Yamanami just sits there, quietly smiling.
[AMB]: Following up on Todo’s comment last episode, the strength of Okita’s spiritual successor, or “son,” is recognised by a former comrade of the legendary Captain. Yamato’s strength here is pure willpower distilled into rebellion, scraping past the rigid arm of the military. I love this stuff. And seeing the revelation of Okita’s sculpture, though obvious to fans of the originals, was a well-earned treat. Makes one wonder though, if Yamanami will keep it this time around?
[KC]: I really enjoy these shots of Kodai as Yamato passes. It’s an almost exact match to Okita scraping past Domel in Yamato 2199. He is so defiant!
[AMB]: I believe Yamanami was testing Kodai’s mettle, to see if he was both able and willing to overcome great odds and persevere for the sake of his ideals, like Okita. As mentioned earlier, this was something they explicitly pointed out in Ark of the Stars, the father-son relationship.
An order is broadcast from Earth Headquarters; all ships in the system are to cease pursuit of Yamato. This prompts several stunned and confused reactions, with Yamanami simply sighing in relief. In his broadcast, Commander Todo states that the charge of treason has been lifted.
Klaus takes partial credit on behalf of Garmillas for this unexpected turn of events. What’s more, the four sullen crew members who were forced to stay behind on Earth are released from detention. They may not on board Yamato, but they’re still full members of the crew.
[AMB]: As much as I love raving about Farewell to Yamato, parts of the story are so sublimated to its themes and message that they can break a viewer’s suspension of disbelief. There was an attempt to remedy that in Yamato 2, but there (in my opinion) they stalled both the pacing and certain characters’ stories entirely.
Then again, the suspension of disbelief tends to break for people in the original Series 1. So to summarize; when a military-grade battleship violently goes AWOL followed by, “OK it’s fine now because you guys are the real heroes” it might turn off the more reality-driven viewers, which is understandable. In 2202 we get a decent middle-ground, Yamato exonerated with the help of our new friends from Garmillas.
[KC]: Yes, this show’s nostalgic melodrama and sophisticated plot is really enjoyable, no doubt in my case because it also provides Garmillas with a lot more attention. Gotta love that smirk on Klaus’ face when Todo lets them off the hook.
[AMB]: It’s a natural development which I more than gladly welcome! Due to their survival in 2199, it’s terrific to see them being integrated into the plot of 2202. To what degree remains to be seen, but to all you Garmillas fans out there, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
We go to the Earth Federation president’s office as he finishes up a call, confirming to us that the order to terminate Yamato’s pursuit came from the very top. Ambassador Varel thanks the president for his service. It’s implied throughout their conversation that the dark truth of the Time Fault might have leaked out from Varel’s own embassy to select members of Yamato’s crew. In order to keep a lid on the secret, Varel skillfully applied political pressure on Earth’s president. Ending their conversation, the president humorously remarks that things went “all according to your plan.”
[AMB]: Imagine, Varel traveled all the way down to Earth just for this conversation. Pure dedication on his part.
[KC]: A Garmillas ambassador exerting political pressure on Earth’s president for Yamato. This is the series I’ve always dreamed of.
[AMB]: And they’re not acting like complete adversaries. Glad we got that settled. Speaking of the Earth president, like many other characters this time around he’s gotten more to do than in previous works. We are speaking about a VERY minor character, but the way he influences the plot is a welcome addition in my book.
[KC]: I’m pretty sure that in the previous work he made a speech at the unveiling of the Andromeda and that’s it.
Addressing Kodai and the rest of the crew directly, Commander Todo orders Yamato to uncover the truth behind the crisis facing them, do what they must and return to Earth safely. This leaves the crew stunned at the sudden development. Todo salutes them, cracking a broad smile. We see full salutations from the entire bridge crew, accepting their responsibility as representatives of Earth yet again. The proper Yamato salute is back in the canon.
[AMB]: That smile. That damn smile.
[KC]: We don’t see Serizawa in that last shot. I bet he’s not smiling. LOL!
[AMB]: Heh, no doubt about it. Orders are orders, so he has to be biting his tongue over this. We do see him for a small second in the row of politicians and military commanders lined up behind Todo, but he’s surprisingly calm.
Unsure of his place in all this, Keyman leaves the bridge and we cut to Kato and Makoto wearing hopeful expressions. As Makoto treats her child, Kato leaves with a space booster, glancing over the open ceiling of the Moon to where his family is.
[KC]: Off to rendezvous with Yamato. I am unsurprised, but moved nonetheless.
[AMB]: Sunshine follows rain. Hopefully the tears poured into this difficult decision were well spent, and each member of the family makes it out of this series alive.
Despite Andromeda’s initial stand against Yamato, Yamamani has seen to it that his sculpture of Captain Okita has found a new and proper home on Yamato’s bridge. He also orders the release of the 30 detained pilots, all of them intent on transferring to Yamato. His subordinate asks Yamanami if he knew this would be the outcome, but his Captain casually disregards the notion with a well-worded excuse.
[AMB]: There’s so much subtle joy being expressed this episode, which feels great following the “Why are we still here? Just to suffer?” episodes. Yamato’s resolve uplifts the hearts of the commanders. Maybe we’ll see them grow to rebel in their own way! Yamanami sure seems okay with that.
[KC]: Yamanami is certainly fine with how everything transpired, whether he had a hand in it or not.
In the final moments of this episode, as Yamato‘s journey resumes, the last reunion is Kato’s return to the ship. Proudly announcing his arrival to an overjoyed bridge crew, he glances at a photo of Tsubasa and Makoto, and as if speaking to them he presents Yamato as “dad’s ship.” He wishes his son will have the opportunity to see it one day.
[AMB]: I love the decision to make Kato a family man. He completely fits the role and I applaud the brave decision 2199’s staff made when they announced Makoto’s pregnancy. Back in the day when Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack was made (1988), the series protagonist Amuro Ray was originally set to become a father, but due to Sunrise (Production studio) interfering with the script, this was changed. The former ace and hotshot pilot of the original Gundam could not be profitable as a father figure in the eyes of the movie’s producers. I’m glad the social climate has changed.
[KC]: Seriously, how long did it take for Kodai and Yuki to finally make it official? I know that many people think the will-they/won’t-they tension works better for a series, and once people get together on a show the viewers lose some interest, but don’t tell me that an entire crew went all the way to Iscandar and back to save the Earth and no families were born out of that journey.
Our final shot has Yamato’s crew setting up Okita’s sculpture above his still-unused Captain’s chair, Kodai staring with a mixture of admiration and something else. Everyone who can be with them has now joined up as they head off to save Earth. One more time.
[AMB]: And there we have it! The sculpture is where it always should have been, something Yamanami immediately realized following this confrontation. It’s beautifully rendered, showing off Okita’s determined expression. But as we see on Kodai’s face, he’s almost scared of the task of succeeding his mentor. Of helming Yamato. But honestly, who wouldn’t be? Especially after the things he’s experienced and the fact that he’s left his loved one behind. Will all his choices as Captain help lead to the desired future?
[KC]: He has some big shoes to fill for sure. If I have already said this in a previous commentary, let me reiterate that I have a lot more faith in this Kodai than I did in the Kodais and Wildstars that came before him.
One more thing worth mentioning is the recurring term “wrong future” in this episode, which has a real-world connection. In many of his interviews, Writer Harutoshi Fukui commented on what has transpired for the “Yamato generation” over the last forty years; a huge economic boom, long-term employment, the esprit de corps of all working together for a better tomorrow, and then the bursting of the economic bubble in the 90s thanks to government decisions that pulled the rug out from under everyone. Today, with all of that promise lost, many observers feel that Japan itself is on the path to a “wrong future.” There are many equivalencies around the world wherever governments let their people down, but it shouldn’t be lost on us how this specific chain of events resulted in Fukui’s choice of theme for this series. It’s a fascinating way for a story to be reimagined, delivering a new message to the same audience that absorbed it as teenagers in 1978.
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: November 2, 2018
American debut: June 6, 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 5.
Storyboard: Satomi Nakamura
Episode Director: Takanori Yano
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