Yamato 2202 Episode 13 commentary

by Kathy Clarkson and Anton Mei Brandt

Episode 13: Telezart landing operation, fight the enemy missile fleet!

On one of the planetary crusts confining Telezart, Goland and his clone Nol are out hunting what Goland refers to as sand dragons. Large drills containing blue crystals lodge themselves to the surface, disturbing the natural environment. As the two Gatlantean clones watch, sand dragons flee, bursting out of their underground habitat.

[KC]: Space Opera sure does love giant worms.

[AMB]: And presumably ancient alien tech.

Since 2202’s Telezart bears conceptual similarities to Final Yamato’s Aquarius, this might be a visual reference to a very short scene in that movie where Uruk tries harvesting energy from Aquarius. But instead of harvesting, these drills are imbuing the rock with Telezart’s energy for later.

Goland announces that they’re here to exterminate the swarm, cautioning Nol about the behavior shown by the smaller dragons who closely follow the bigger ones. The older clone takes aim with a large sniper rifle requiring two people to hold it steady, blowing the head off the largest dragon from far away. “We Gatlanteans are artificial life forms. Unlike humans and other life forms, we are the product of generations of cloning,” Goland reaffirms to Nol as we see him blast a younger sand dragon who’s mourning the death of the biggest one.

[AMB]: Goland’s coldness toward the creatures screeching in the distance as he mercilessly takes them out makes my skin crawl. Like the alien tech, this hunt is a different take on Goland’s dinosaur hunt in Yamato 2 Episode 10. But instead of mere stress relief, this becomes a bonding experience with his son-not-son-clone. 

[KC]: Like a lot of the other tropes used in the older series, this one is getting added levels of dimension and significance.

Nol will one day inherit his cloned elder’s name and fleet, becoming Goland the 20th. Their genes are identical to those of their very first original’s, meaning that, “there are no irrational emotions like love in there,” in Goland’s words. The last large sand dragon tucks away one of its children, heading for the Gatlantean pair. Continuing, Goland states that while it is true that he raised and trained Nol, it was only so that the being named Goland could keep serving Gatlantis. And “thus,” he notes, “we are pure!” Nol adds, “thus, we are strong.” They fire once more at the last charging dragon, the screen cutting to white.

[AMB]: It’s a sad thing, seeing a very vulnerable young child having to help his predecessor destroy families of creatures without flinching. But to adhere to Gatlantean philosophy, Nol has to learn the harsh path of putting down beings that express love. It’s just a matter of principle, but one Goland seems to enjoy. Also, take note of the scene where the larger dragon tucks in its child, it’ll pay off later.

Some time later, Nol is seen standing with a handgun in front of one of the many dragon carcasses littering the rocky surface. The blue light in the alien drills has faded. He questions Goland, telling him it’s natural for a life form to care for its successor. But to Goland, that’s just egoism, a “detestable narcissism that contributes nothing to the whole.”

[AMB]: He’s harsh to Nol, but with events from Episode 10 and later in mind I think he’s just looking out for his successor. Not out of duty, but (ironically enough) out of love. To quote Gandalf from Return of the King, “Your father loves you Nol. He will remember it before the end.”

A small crying sand dragon crawls pitifully to its parent right in front of Nol as he recounts a promise Goland made. His first battle will come soon, where he’ll become the next Goland and where he’ll receive his own Nol. The promise ends with, “I have high hopes for you.” Nol tries and fails to repeat the “Thus, we are strong” mantra, shooting the young sand dragon with tears running down his eyes. The rock bed they’d purged together is then moved to plug up the entrance to Telezart with Goland’s missile fleet overseeing the procedure.

[AMB]: The last sand dragon is presumably the one we saw being tucked away earlier, crawling to its parent in spite of knowing the danger. This makes Nol’s sadness difficult to interpret. Is he sad about this cycle of death and suffering that love brings these creatures? Or does he cry because he’s the one pulling the trigger? Maybe it’s both, topped off with seeing a child mourn the death of its parent. 

[KC]: I figure he’s lamenting the fact that even sand dragons feel a familial connection that is denied him, but there is a lot that can be taken away from this.

[AMB]: Ouch… 

Meanwhile on Yamato, Kodai interrogates “Touko Katsuragi” with Hijikata, Sanada, Saito, Sado, Keyman and Yuki watching from the security room. Asking who she is, he begins repeating the few facts they could gather. She was Professor Redrauz’s assistant, but had no prior acquaintance with him. Since she only met him on the 11th planet with a plan to survey Stravaze, anyone could have taken her place for that mission, even non-Earthlings.

[AMB]: You can see Touko playing with her feet on the monitor, as if she’s enjoying this. Having been forsaken by Zordar and had her memories reawakened, she’s now truly a wild card whose fate is bound with Yamato’s.

Production note: in the storyboards for this sequence, Touko was drawn in the Yamato crew uniform that she will eventually wear at the end of the series. This was wisely revised in the finished animation since it would visually contradict her attitude toward her captors.

Sado and Sanada elaborate on this. Touko’s biology is no different from humans like them or Garmillans, meaning that she’s a different entity from the Gatlanteans. Neither is she a living dead body. Yuki asks how they can be so sure, and Klaus answers that it’s because she’s still alive. Saito and Hijikata build on this argument, noting that Gatlanteans should explode when captured or exposed, making Katsuragi an exception. Dr. Sado adds that she’s even capable of bearing children. This makes her existence at odds with Kodai’s account of Gatlantean society as heard from Zordar. “What is she?” he asks.

[AMB]: With future context, the hints thrown at us here makes me giddy whenever I introduce this show to new fans. In short, she’s a perfect copy of Sifar Sabera, a Zemulian human who once joined hands with Zordar. She exists as a living anomaly meant to control the White Comet, yearning for her Emperor’s love. And following the last episode, she has truly stepped into the shoes of Yamato 2’s Sabera.

[KC]: Zordar’s smarmy concubine is getting not just a backstory, but a TRAGIC backstory, and I am HERE for it.

Kodai keeps up his interrogation, mentioning that before the 11th planet’s attack, widespread radar interference slowed down the military’s response. Going with the premise that Touko told him she was willing to talk, he irritably asks if the radar interference was her doing. She chuckles at this, calling him a hypocrite. As Kodai is taken aback, Touko teasingly ponders whether she used the right word.

[AMB]: And with that, we might have an answer to Touko’s outstretched arms at the end of Episode 3. She was likely interfering with the radio waves using her cosmo wave.

“We don’t have people like you among us” she says. Kodai repeats the word “Us” to himself, as she elaborates.

“You focus on things for which there is no solution. A powerless idealist.” She twists her eyebrows in a mocking manner, agitating Kodai. But much to her pleasant surprise, Kodai indulges her, asking what she means. A twisted look covers her mug as Touko’s interrogator launches from his seat.

“Do you have no ideals in your society? If you’re human…” Kodai responds, only to be interrupted by Touko rising up to feel his heartbeat.

“Sifar Sabera. That is my true name. That’s all for today, okay?”

Saito is shocked, Keyman gets an inquisitive look, and the rest stare silently at the monitor at this revelation.

[AMB]: Considering what we’ll find out about Zordar’s past, Touko clearly sees many elements of him in Kodai. “A powerless idealist” isn’t too far off from what the Gatlantean once was. Whether she wants to guide him from suffering or help him fail like Zordar, we’ll see. But Touko probably knows she’s being watched by Saito, and Zordar by extension.

On Yamato’s main elevator, Klaus and Kodai engage in conversation. Keyman looks shaken at the Sabera revelation, but states nonetheless that no more information will leak to the enemy. But Kodai isn’t convinced, questioning how they can be so sure considering their limited knowledge of Gatlantis’ capabilities. Klaus leaves with a word of caution, telling Kodai to stay away from Touko. As a member of Garmillas’ intelligence division, he’s “used to handling her type.”

“Her type?” Kodai asks.

“She stirs people up, trying to control them. There’s no need to let it bother you,” Klaus responds, much to Kodai’s dismay.

[AMB]: Oh boy, seeing Kodai realise that Klaus was criticising his open show of emotion at the end of the interrogation isn’t fun. But it’s true, you shouldn’t let your emotions out when questioning enemy soldiers.

[KC]: In my old age I have come to terms with Kodai indulging genre tropes instead of following military protocol. And since it’s my tendency to always bring it back to Dessler, I note that Klaus’ analysis of Sabera’s “type” is perhaps another subtle callback to the Sabera of old, who through manipulation and scheming managed to get His Majesty tossed in prison, at least for a while.

[AMB]: Personally I think Kodai’s ways are in line with Yamato’s spirit, so I prefer his way of dealing with her. If the military loses any semblance of humanity, connecting and rebuilding with former enemies becomes impossible. And nice catch, I’m definitely subscribing to that theory!

The bridge crew is stuck planning how to approach Telezart. Sanada repeats what we already know, that the planet’s sealed in a layer of bedrock brought from other celestial bodies, but that it’s still incomplete. Teresa sent data during her last transmission, detailing the fact that the last bedrock shipment is still being carried out and that the enemy’s missile fleet is deployed to cover the gap.

[KC]: So Zordar’s plan to keep Teresa from meddling is to seal her up like an Edgar Allan Poe villain. There is a very well known tale of his called The Cask of Amontillado where a man gets revenge on someone who insulted him by inviting them over and burying them alive behind a wall.

The plan is to send a strike force through the gap, sending Gatlantis’ rear cover fleet into chaos. They’ll achieve this by using Kato’s warp booster from when he rejoined Yamato, a disposable round trip tool, meaning it still has one more warp to go. (And who knows where they’ve been storing that chunky thing since then.) Saito says what everyone’s thinking; that they can only go one way, meaning they do so with faith in Yamato to follow. Sanada smiles at him and the Cosmo Marines.

[AMB]: Saito having faith in his new comrades to this extent is very wholesome, another slight nod to Farewell with Sanada smiling in response. In Farewell, Saito entrusted Sanada with prepping a bomb inside the Gatlantis city empire, giving his life to protect him. Sanada gets to partially recreate that scene next episode.

A large complaint I had with 2199 was that the holographic battle plans would many times be skimmed over rapidly, not giving the eye enough time to orient itself. It happens in 2202 too, but here we actually see a long static shot of the graphic moving as Sanada speaks, giving a much clearer image of what’s to come. We even get it in English.

Following the strike force, Yamato will perform a short warp inside the massive bedrock layer, using it for protection. Nagakura asks how they’ll attack this way, to which Kodai announces they’ll use the Wave-Motion Gun. The crew stares at Kodai’s unflinching resolve with a grave look. He informs them that they’ll turn 180 degrees following the warp, then use the gun to pulverize the bedrock and shower the enemy fleet with its debris. “In the end, you’ll use the WMG on rocks?” Saito asks with a crooked smile.

[KC]: This is presented as a significant moment for Kodai, but I still have to ask; is it really such a big deal, this clever, non-lethal use of the WMG?

[AMB]: There are risks. The debris could easily destroy enemy ships, or the gun might blast through the rockbed, torching every Gatlantean in its path. Keeping in mind Kodai’s words in Episode 7 about “having tricked” himself, this is the first time he surrenders to real risk of human lives at the hands of the WMG. Even if they’re manufactured lives.

Shima’s impressed with the plan, seeing as it’ll help cover their flanks. But Hijikata reminds everyone that if things go awry they’ll all be separated and wiped out. To account for this, the plan can’t remain rigid, so it has to change according to the tides of the battle. Kodai grunts, Yuki looking at him with worry. But her expression changes when Hijikata states that the surprise factor of their plan could give them a chance of winning. Turning to the rest, he sternly informs them that he expects everyone to give this operation their all.

[AMB]: Many lives ride on Kodai’s back here. Despite this tactic being very Okita-esque, its execution matters as much as his resolve. Thankfully, Hijikata’s started opening up to Yamato’s way of doing things.

Inside the White Comet’s projection room, Zordar tells whoever he’s in contact with to inform Goland of Yamato’s plan (which he’s just absorbed via Saito), a crooked smile forming. We then cut to Goland and his missile fleet, one of his ships carrying a large red missile.

Meanwhile, Nol is in the process of getting his head shaved like Goland, asking the barber if he’s ever been held in the arms of his predecessor. His answer is no, to which Nol simply closes his eyes.

[AMB]: Goland’s new uber-missile was first seen inside the White Comet last episode, making its battlefield debut here. Something else I want to give credit to is this continued trend of never showing Gatlanteans (aside from the Zordar types) sitting down. Whether it’s battlefield commanders or Nol getting shaved, they’re always shown standing up. Considering they’re manufactured, they probably don’t have to sit down.

[KC]: Damn, I never considered that before, but Zordar is the only one of them that ever sits, because I think the only other Gatlantean you ever see sitting is Mil.

[AMB]: Mil too yes, who’s another Type-Zordar. Also, for children like me who grew up in loveless homes, that barber scene is sure to hit hard. But just you wait kid, you’ll feel some warmth soon enough.

Later, Nol enters Goland’s bridge with an insecure look, only to be roused by his predecessor’s voice. “This is your first battle. Carve the essence of Gatlantean warfare into your body,” he tells Nol. Nol does his best to mimic Goland’s mannerisms, responding with a simple yes sir.

[AMB]: Children really are molded by their parent’s wishes huh… while its themes of parenthood resonate much more with me here, the basic setup reminds me of Yamato’s dealings with Schulz in 2199. But unlike then, Yamato now knows that there’s some humanity behind the Gatlanteans, and its crew has matured after both taking and losing lives these past three years. 

[KC]: Still really loving this sophisticated new take on ‘The Comet Empire.’

Yamato’s strike force is finishing up their assembly, Mobile Armors loaded with anti-ship missiles swarm onto the warp booster like bees. The Telezart Landing Operation can begin!

Saito yells at Yamato to not be tardy as Shiori does her best to help Yamamoto acclimate to being in a Mobile Armor. Yamamoto’s student Tsurumi has chosen to pilot the booster, confidently announcing their warp insertion as the other pilots salute his departure in full gear.

[AMB]: Every time I see Yamamoto in this scene my mind wonders what she’s doing here. Only to realise that she undoubtedly joined in to keep watch over Tsurumi, which is very sweet considering she could have probably piloted the warp booster herself or joined up post Yamato’s warp in her Cosmo Tiger I. It’s her way of christening his pilothood.

With Yamato prepared to do a short warp, Klaus recounts a conversation he had with Touko.

“We’re birds of a feather, right? I don’t know what you set up in this ship’s engine, but I’ll keep quiet for you. Because I want to see that man’s face when he falls into despair.“

Keyman looks at her with apprehension, responding, “Why don’t you tell them about me?”

“You will eventually betray Yamato.”

“Betray…” 

The conversation trails off into the present, with Klaus still pondering aboard Yamato’s bridge. As Shima ends the warp countdown, Keyman thinks “Betray whom?” to himself.

[AMB]: Seems we were right about some of Touko’s hints towards Keyman. And while she “confirms” my theory of her wanting to make Kodai suffer, I’m not sure I trust her.

[KC]: So as far as Touko is concerned, the enemy of her enemy is her friend. But Klaus is perhaps not sure he is Yamato’s enemy. As long as someone blonde haired and blue skinned becomes an ally in this series I’ll be happy.

[AMB]: Suddenly these two later turning to Yamato’s side thanks to each other’s presence makes even more sense. They’re basically shadow-playing each other so hard they end up sympathising with Yamato. But let’s leave Klaus’ feelings about who to betray for two episodes from now.

Yamato warps into battle, bow torpedos blazing! Several ships are hit as we cut to Yamato’s strike force having successfully warped behind enemy lines, met with a small fleet of ships (specifically, the lighter versions of Goland’s missile ships called Lasceaux, which first appeared in 2199). Tsurumi succeeds in turning the heavy booster and Nagakura praises his efforts, vowing to “hit them good and hard!” The Mobile Armors release their missiles, delivering a heavy load of firepower.

[AMB]: Seeing the backdrop of Telezart with detailed CG models engaging one another is a real treat, showing how far Yamato’s CG techniques have come. It’s so fluid and the color work is gorgeous. The BGM used here is a new piece called Time of Fate, an exhilarating track that really screams “the tides have turned!”

Goland receives intel about “mechanised infantry” hitting them from behind the rockbed and Nol clamors for Yamato. But Goland urges the kid not to rush, assuring him that “our warfare is bold, yet elaborate” and that their own fleet made the first moves long before hostilities began. He orders all ships to turn around, ordering his own ship to “unleash the Arrow of Destruction!”

[AMB]: Gatlantean naming schemes are cute. Like I gathered many episodes ago, they’re just children.

[KC]: For a race of emotionless clones, they certainly have poetic naming conventions for their arsenal.

[AMB]: Legionnaire Cannon, Deathvatators and now Arrow of Destruction. From Mazer’s rage, Nol’s sadness, Goland’s pride… it’s like they’re not even that different from other humanoids. Bring on the Ultra-Menace Missiles!

As fire and metal clash inside the rock shield, Nagakura asks the enemy to forgive their ambush since time is short. Yamamoto scores two battleship takedowns but then sees her student Tsurumi tailed by Deathvatators. She pleads with him to get away as she speeds after the boy’s pursuers. Cursing this situation, Tsurumi bites the bullet and keeps distracting the enemy fighters, taking several hits until Yamato bursts into this tight corridor. The mobile armors clean up the fighters tailing Tsurumi as the battlefield quiets down.

[AMB]: Brave boy, doing his best to act as bait until Yamato arrives. Keep those engine hits in mind for later folks.

[KC]: I have a bad feeling about this …

[AMB]: The storyboarding here takes great advantage of the 3D assets. Ships speeding past stationary cameras doing slow turns, light reflecting off the cockpits and cameras partially lagging behind the mechs as they vary their speeds, making this a very immersive and claustrophobic battle. On the 2D side we have lots of stylish closeup shots of our characters and their mechs, the blood-pumping music from earlier reaching its crescendo. 

With the Gatlantean rear guard reduced to floating scraps, Telezart lies just ahead. That’s when Goland’s new uber-missile obliterates the “plug” rockbed Yamato intended to use. This creates a violent gravitational wave and knocks the ship out of control. Shima tries his best to prevent them from crashing as Yuki explains how this turbulence is caused by the energy inside the missile interacting with Telezart’s gravitational field. Or as Sanada puts it, it’s “antimateria.”

[AMB]: This is the second of only three times we hear the iconic Gatlantis theme created for Farewell, first re-introduced in Ark of the Stars. It’s suitable, displaying the tenacious nature of Gatlantis in a triumphant way, so I won’t complain.

[KC]: Easily one of the most iconic things about the show.

[AMB]: I would have also loved to see more of the Gatlantean ship debris swirling around Yamato in that vortex, since they’d be pummeled by the same ships they ambushed.

On Goland’s bridge he explains to Nol how this energy, the antimateria, was harvested from Telezart itself. While not surprised, the commander’s intrigued by what’s left in the missile’s wake. As the dusty winds clear up, Yamato is spotted and Goland orders for the hunt to conclude. Nol’s eyes widen in response. Several dozen Gostok cruisers launch their missiles straight at Yamato in a continuous barrage.

[AMB]: Lots of callbacks this episode, but tastefully so. In Farewell, Teresa’s body was composed of antimateria. This time her entire planet is an extension of Teresa, cluing us in on the planet’s phantom nature.

[KC]: Sorry, Shima.

Cautioning against Yamato’s WMG facing their concentrated fleet, Nol asks why they won’t spread the ships out more widely. But Goland assures him that Yamato can’t fire because the turbulence makes aiming difficult. Then there’s the fact that “he won’t fire.” Nol is left in thought as we cut to Yamato sinking deeper down to the surface of Telezart, fending off tons of missiles with the AA guns.

[AMB]: Spreading out the fleet huh? If only Goer was here to convince Goland… then again he didn’t do such a good job with Zoellik in 2199 But back to Goland! I wonder who he’s alludes to with he, heh. We’ve seen Zordar keeping in touch with this fleet through telepathy, so…

[KC]: Surely we all know? I mean, we know even better than Goland. Heh, heh, heh.

[AMB]: The sight of Yamato being pummeled by missile after missile as it sinks deeper paints a stark symbolic picture of the crew’s struggle here. Acting in self-defense against an overwhelming enemy, they powerlessly sink for their ideals, something Touko alluded to during her interrogation.

Kodai orders Tokugawa to prepare for them to retreat, but Hijikata stops him, saying they’ll be taken out if they try leaving in this turbulence. Hijikata continues, stating that the original plan is still underway. Stunned, Kodai stares down at his targeting console. Sweat forms on his brow as the missiles keep coming down, forcing him to take a deep breath. He then orders the bridge to prepare the firing of the WMG.

[AMB]: It’s rare to see the weight of taking people’s lives and upholding promises in wartime so delicately portrayed in space opera these days. Witnessing the toll this is taking on Kodai, who once didn’t have an issue with “killing demons”, is heart-wrenching. When The Force Awakens came out and Finn was supposed to be this stormtrooper gone good, I figured he’d have a similar crisis of conscience at killing his own comrades, but he never did. I bless this scene for sticking by what the show established in the previous series.

[KC]: Objecting to the killing of dedicated Stormtroopers would bring up questions that Star Wars and Lucasfilm don’t ever want to deal with, especially now that they answer to Disney, and I suspect that is somewhat of an American thing. Any of the true moral quandaries introduced in the original Yamato series were obscured in Star Blazers as well.

Met with mixed reactions, from Shima and Yuki’s sad faces to Nanbu sweating bullets, Kodai tells the bridge to secure the best range for hitting the enemy fleet.

We cut to Goland, gloating over how Yamato’s captain can’t fire the WMG because he’s dominated by “the irrational human feeling of love.” The Cosmo Marines bear witness as Yamato sinks deeper.

“What will you do?” Saito asks loudly.

[AMB]: Hearing this sad violin rendition of Yamato’s theme as it sinks always hurts, with Goland rubbing salt into the wound. It’s a difficult thing, proving your worth as morally complex beings while waving around WMD’s in the name of “defense.” Like Kodai said, Yamato’s way is one of upholding promises and saving people, not by turning the hand of salvation into a doomsday device. Plus, who do you think’s speaking through Saito right now? 

[KC]: They are pretty careful about how they word things, but of course in retrospect Kodai is being taunted by Zordar here. Poor Space Bear.

As Yuki holds her chest, Nanbu informs Kodai that their current range is optimal for completely destroying the fleet with one shot. Hijikata grits his teeth as Kodai starts pulling the trigger but suddenly… Saito calls the bridge, Hijikata’s eyes widening. He requests for Hijikata to fire the WMG.

“It’s stupid, but there’s no choice,” Saito says. “It’s not about logic. He made a promise! A promise to someone important to him!” The crew stays silent. Saito asks Hijikata to take Kodai’s place.

[AMB]: The sudden yet protracted cutaway from the Yamato theme before it reaches its climax is so beautiful! Saito cuts through his puppet strings, through the sadness and offers a solution that won’t break Yamato‘s promise to Iscandar, showing Kodai his greatest respect.

“No,” Keyman interjects. “This is the cross that all who traveled to Iscandar bear equally.”

A mixture of fright and admiration spreads across the bridge as he continues speaking, staring at Okita’s sculpture. “Unless he frees himself from his restraints on his own, Yamato has no future!”

Yamato fires up its engines, the ship aiming itself at the Gatlantean fleet. Okita’s voice invades Kodai’s mind, once more telling him to show his resolve as a commander. He strengthens his grip on the trigger of the WMG.

[AMB]: First Saito, now Keyman. Long struggles and difficulties understanding one another all lead to this point, where the actions and feelings of the crew combine to make a positive change. It’s curious to think that if Touko hadn’t spurred him on, Klaus might not have confronted the crew. 

[KC]: Not gonna lie. Having a Garmillas Officer giving a pep talk to Yamato’s bridge crew is pretty damn entertaining.

[AMB]: In the words of Church and Donut from Red vs. Blue Season 9:

“I just want to say, you guys are all mixed up. You’re doing it wrong.”

“Doing what wrong?”

“THIS!”

But before Kodai pulls the trigger, the combined efforts of the entire bridge crew to start up the WMG begins, everyone resolutely voicing their actions. Shima turns to Kodai, telling him it’s not his burden alone to pull the trigger. Crew member after crew member turns to say the same thing or to nod in approval, with the exception of Klaus who braces himself for what’s to happen.

[AMB]: The BGM used here, titled Dogfight is yet another original track for 2202. Sought after by many following this episode, what followed was a year long wait for the vol.02 of 2202’s official soundtrack. It perfectly captures the unity of Yamato’s crew, their resolve to do what must be done. It’s joyous, hype and melodic, a perfect addition to an already great catalogue of new music.

The preparations conclude, but the ship is still unsteady so Kodai asks Saito and his marines for a favor.

“Let’s do it!” Saito yells at his marines, leaving them confused as they ask what exactly.

“That’s obvious. We push it by hand.” They all kick into high gear toward their ship as Hijikata announces that he accepts Kodai’s previously requested appointment of him as Captain. Yamato’s new Captain continues speaking.

“If there’s nowhere to run, and it cannot be resolved, then this is a burden we must bear. Both you and I. This is everyone’s shot!”

[AMB]: Halfway through the show and three of the major personal struggles onboard Yamato have been resolved in one scene. Saito digs Kodai, Klaus has submitted his approval of Yamato’s spirit, and Hijikata accepts the burden of Captainship. And though it’s understandable why they didn’t show it for pacing reasons and next episode’s reveal, it’s too bad we didn’t get to see what happened to Tsurumi.

[KC]: Everything’s going so well, now. I’m sure he’s fine.

[AMB]: We don’t see Akira with the Cosmo Marines any more, so she probably went after him. Speaking of, the visual motif of the Cosmo Marines literally supporting Yamato, steadying it for the shot is both corny and satisfying.

Onboard Goland’s ship, Nol stares at his hand with a shaky voice, repeating what his predecessor just told him.

“Irrational emotions. Because they are human…” He clenches his fist.

“Goland, I am…,” the boy yells out, looking up at his teacher. But he’s cut off, Goland stating that Yamato has completely stopped moving.

“Nol, watch closely. This is the end of a battle. Finish them!”

Nol moves to say something before it’s too late, but can’t. The fleet of missile ships fires their last load, all at the same time.

[AMB]: Watching this scene for the 20th time is just as heart wrenching as the first, the lack of music adding to an already dreary moment coming up. The boy starts to understand his deep-rooted feelings and tries to reach out, but isn’t fast enough. I believe what he’s about to say is something along the lines of “I am human, and you are my father.”

[KC]: I will go with that.

On Yamato’s bridge everyone’s prepped and ready, goggles on and light dampeners activated. Yuki reports the multiple inbound missiles, but Hijikata says to ignore them. The Cosmo Marines struggle to keep the ship steady as Nanbu counts down the firing sequence. Kodai ends it by pulling the trigger. Every single ship in the way is obliterated by the WMG’s blue light.

[AMB]: Oh no, here it comes…

Goland stares at the destructive force coming for him and turns to his deeply frightened clone who recoils out of fear. But Goland embraces Nol, desperately shielding him from the horror. Time slows down as the light grows stronger. Goland turns back to see the doom coming for them, then stares at Nol. With a single tear falling from his left eye, his voice cracks.

“Forgive me, Nol.”

The boy lets out a small gasp in surprise, then closes his eyes with a smile, embracing his father figure.

“It’s fine.”

The light completely evaporates them like stardust.

“It’s fine.”

Nol’s voice trails off into the coldness of space along with the WMG’s beam.

[AMB]: Writing out the synopsis for that part left my heart feeling heavy and shaken. Capping off the midpoint of the series with this showcase of love, letting us see that the Gatlanteans are more than capable of loving one another if given the chance is… heartbreaking. Just like the rest of the Gatlanteans Yamato has run into, they all awaken to this deeply rooted cosmic feeling. Love. 

[KC]: It’s almost as if this idea that they can’t or shouldn’t feel is a complete poop sandwich that Zordar has been feeding to them all this time. The one Gatlantean who doesn’t want to feel at all because he feels too much. Yeah, this species is kind of blowing melodramatic reform speeches right out of the water.

The light is strong and white, invading Yamato’s bridge. A single tear runs down Kodai’s face as his voice struggles to stay strong, the promise between Okita and Starsha repeating in his head.

“Promise me that you will never repeat our folly.”

“I promise.”

[AMB]: And the fact that they play a slower rendition of one of the piano motifs for Iscandar, Azure Crystal in the background? Ugh… leaves me feeling sick and sad. Using the energy of the universe to snuff out life from the universe, breaking a promise and living with it. Harrowing.

The mobile armors flock to Yamato’s hangar as the storm dies down, mostly washed away by the WMG. Kodai asks Hijikata for permission to state his opinion as the tactical officer on board, since Hijikata is now the Captain. Gatlantean bases should still be on the surrounding bedrock, and he urges for the operation to continue. Hijikata agrees, ordering him to coordinate with the Cosmo Marines and to propose a new shipment plan for Wave-Motion Excavator Warheads.

[AMB]: The way Kodai talks to Hijikata here not as a friend or comrade, but as a soldier really helps illustrate how he feels about this. This wasn’t the act of a Yamato crew member, or a successor of Okita’s, but a military act. Stymying his heart, he submits to what he’s done.

Former Acting Captain Kodai stares up at Okita’s sculpture as the Azure Crystal BGM trails off.

[AMB]: Wow… that… really hurt. This moment is such a phenomenal way to finish off the first half and I consider it an iconic scene for the entire Yamato franchise. So much buildup, so much strife and angst leading to such a mixed and terribly uplifting yet horrible feeling. With that, the WMG problem has been sufficiently tackled, or has it?

[KC]: A lot of heavy stuff here. I agree that it is setting up the second half of this series very nicely.

Production note: though the episode properly ends on Okita’s sculpture with its darkly shaded eyes, the storyboard interestingly cut to a scene of Touko (still in a crew uniform) in a fetal position on her bunk, symbolizing Zordar’s latest failure. Then an exterior shot of the marines regrouping around the ship.

Coda

Theatrical release: Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love Chapter 4: Destiny Chapter contained episodes 11-14. It premiered in Japanese theaters January 27, 2018.

Japanese video: Theater-exclusive Blu-ray January 27, 2018. Standard Blu-ray & DVD February 23, 2018

First Japanese TV broadcast: December 28, 2018

American debut: August 1, 2018 (streaming) March 15, 2019 (home video)

The end title Crimson Red is performed by Yuya Hoshino.

Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 13.

Episode credits
Episode Director: Hiroshi Ito
Storyboard: Tomoko Iwasaki
Animation Director: Nozomi Shimazaki
Art Directors: Akio Takami, Akihito Maeda

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

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One thought on “Yamato 2202 Episode 13 commentary

  1. Episode 13 is argubly one of the strongest episodes in mid-part of Yamato 2202. The tale of the two Goland clones is tragic and beautiful and adds a level of depth and empathy to the characters that the original hasn’t done before making them my fav Gatlantean characters in this remake.
    Goland, even though he proudly proclaims himself as a believer in Zordar’s ideals that emotions and love is a weakness, he himself subtlety expresses it without even knowing realizing it himself… Not just with his relationship with his son/clone successor but the manner he talks and his earlier interaction with General Zabaibal earlier in episode 10. Which is quite refreshing as Mazer and Cosmodart were pretty bland personality wise until Yamato messed them up by sparing them the fury of the WMG, but even then their characters were kind of boring.
    Nol has quite an interesting development in this series that sort of mirrors to Miru later on. Unlike his predecessor and father figure, he seems to be more aware of his emotions and is curious about them. Actively asking questions about why all other living beings harbors such feelings. Despite being told again and again that it’s a weakness, he still tries to understand them from different perspectives rather than just simply believing Zordar’s ideology and words.
    As much as Sabera accuses Kodai for being a hypocrite, I beg to counter her hard with the undeniable fact that a good portion of Gatlantis including Zordar himself are the bigger hypocrites as demonstrated by Goland and Nol in this episode as they themselves betray their own beliefs obliviously.

    As for their death scene… Wow… Just WOW! It’s so beautifully done to the point I’m brought to tears just thinking about it. Unlike the many times we see the WMG pulverized countless foes with expressions of horror and disbelief, this time it’s show in a more tragic and heavy felt light.
    As Goland realizes his fatal mistake, he instinctively tries to shield Nol from their inevitable demise, and tearfully and sincerely apologizes to him for getting themselves killed and maybe ignoring Nol’s cautious warning about having the fleet too close to each other. Nol, on the other hand, accept his fate peacefully and replies to his father that it’s okay, proving that Gatlanteans can indeed feel love to one another, even for a brief final moment. Which is kind of a reversal of father and son relationships I seen in films and TV because it’s usually the son that apologizes for his failure and the father is usually the one that affirms and comforts him in return.
    Another reason why this scene is so powerful is that it shows the full destructive weight of firing the wave motion gun. It’s not just killing enemies but actual people with their own remarkable lives and feelings on a massive scale. We already grew attached to these two Gatlantean characters and it’s really heartbreaking to see them getting killed off this way even though it was inevitable as we could ponder what if they were allowed to express their emotions more freely to connect one another had they not died. How many countless lives has the WMG or other weapons of mass destruction like the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Japan were ended so abruptly without them living their full potential or could have made a positive difference even if they were the enemy? It’s really heartbreaking the more you think about it, especially if innocent civilians get caught in the crossfire zone of such destructive weapons.

    Okay, enough talk about characters. XD Back to mecha/ship talk because the Gostok-class missile ships are AWESOME! Unlike the poor Calaklum battleships that were mass produced to death and lost their personality touch, the Gostoks didn’t suffer the same problem as mass producing ships that carried missile made more sense in the real world. Their vast amount and type of missiles allows the Gostok to be a pretty capable ship in handling multiple threats, especially if they work together in a pack. From anti-ship role to anti-fighter/bomber defense or even planet bombardment as seen in episode 1 of 2202. The new ‘Arrow of Doom’ antimatter missile is also a nice new upgrade for the remake and will prove to a powerful anti-wave motion shield weapon that the mighty Andromedas and Dreadnoughts would come to fear. Their fighting style and armament evokes the many missile cruisers built by the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War period, with the philosophy and charisma of Mongol cavalry troops that road on horseback and armed with, you guess it, powerful bows and arrows! The perfect combination of modern 20th century naval and ancient normadic styles warfare! And I LOVE IT! <3
    Although I'm disappointed that Gatlantis wasn't revealed to be mostly space normadic mongols like how Ark of the Stars hinted, at least the Gostok-class ships somewhat kept that image… At least from my perspective! XD

    Other comments:
    1. Is it just me, or did Yuki looked jealous and a bit agitated when Sabera seductively confronted Kodai during the interrogation?
    2. The plan that Kodai develops for the Battle of Telezart is pretty solid and a good attempt to use the WMG indirect to cripple the enemy. The other Earth battleships should really try to adopt these kind of strategies.
    3. A little nit-pick here, once again the Yamato is spamming her torpedoes and pulse laser-AAs instead of using her shock cannons against Goland's fleet. I know it was a brief scene but they've been used so many times in combat in Yamato 2202 to the point I wonder if the crew forgot they had shock cannons (in fact they only use it like five times). Especially since they have more gun mounts than the Andromeda herself!

    And that's about it for my thoughts of this fantastic episode… Now I've to wait for the inevitable commentary on the abomination that is episode 14… (sudden chills of dread as flashbacks of certain Gatlantean battleship losing it's honor and dignity pop up in my mind)

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