Yamato 2202 Episode 14 commentary

by Anton Mei Brandt and Kathy Clarkson

Episode 14: Zabaibal’s Fierce Assault – Find Teresa

Supported by cosmo marine mechs, Yamato comes roaring out of the rock shell around Telezart, engines blazing.

[KC]: Blazing. Heh, heh. Get it? I’ll show myself out.

[AMB]: I’m baffled, yet unsurprised.

We’ve picked up immediately after Kodai’s request to deploy measures against Telezart’s ground forces. Fewer Space Cavalry mobile armors accompany Yamato, a sign that a bunch of them have started hostilities down below.

Behind Yamato, a garrison of tank-converted Medalusas launches a barrage of laser fire, which Yamato returns. One vessel is destroyed as Yamato escapes into space.

Yamato has come. It’s a mystery. What drives them to go so far?”

The speaker is Zordar, projecting his voice to Zabaibal, the Gatlantis warrior who had been training young Lord Nol. The soldier takes in the view of the battlefield outside of his vehicle before turning and heading in.

[AMB]: Indeed, what gives them such motivation? To Zordar, they’ve forsaken their promise to Iscandar completely at this point, so now he tries to prepare Zabaibal for the worst. The man’s already lost his best friend, so what more is there to lose but his life?

Nagakura and her Space Cavalry in their mobile armors sets up a perimeter around Jiro Tsurumi’s crashed fighter, fending off attacking Needle Slaves. Seeing as there’s no end to their onslaught, she orders the forward units to focus straight ahead and the rear guards to focus on any coming from above.
 
[AMB]: The Cosmo Marines leave no man behind, especially not someone who led their charge and took the bulk of the heat for them last episode.

On the ground, leaning up against his transport vehicle, is Jiro Tsurumi, who appears mortally wounded. As he applies pressure to his side where a bandage has already soaked through with blood, he receives a message from Teresa.

[AMB]: The trials we put younglings through during wartime… it really brings to mind a conversation Tokugawa had with Okita in 2199, of how the young ones keep dying as the old guard remains.

“We have a bond,” she says, appearing to him not as a departed loved one, but as a pulsing ball of light. “The power of that bond ties that ship to us.”

[AMB]: Teresa foreshadows a huge part of the finale here, namely how the fates of everyone willing to lay there lives down for Yamato will end with Teresa’s descent to our dimension. In his dying moments, she assures him that his sacrifice is not in vain, even if it might not seem that way at the moment.

The scene changes to a cavernous forest. The pulsing orb is now a dull, spherical object, suspended above and below by thick, ropy vines. Zabaibal’s vehicle is there and he stares out of his viewport at the sphere. A vision of three robed individuals appears before him.

[AMB]: A fresh take on another element of Yamato 2, namely Teresa’s life pod. In Farewell, she was trapped in a ball of light and in Yamato 2 she had a floating spaceship (called the Terezarium). Here, it’s an organic pod of some sort. Based on what we later learn about Teresa’s harmonious nature given shape, it makes perfect sense why she’d manifest with flowery imagery rather than metal.

[KC]: I am definitely liking this deeper, metaphysical take on her for sure. Also can’t resist making a dig here at her previous English dub voice, which made dogs bark and my ears bleed. This Teresa is an improvement on multiple levels.

[AMB]: Speaking of metal, this very quick shot of Zabaibal’s tank gives us one of our only two hand-drawn closeup shot of the Medalusa in this series, and it’s gorgeous. It’s adorned with the same filigree as we’ve previously discussed, but upon recently rewatching Ark of the Stars I noticed that it’s present in the titular Ark’s control chamber. Figured it worth pointing out.

[KC]: It’s no less attractive to me now that I know this design aesthetic came from the creators of this universe and wound up on the technology of the races they distributed throughout it, but I still like it best on the Garmillas ships.

“You phantoms still haven’t learned,” he says to the ghosts. But his musing is interrupted by a report coming from a familiar-sounding computer system, confirming that the Telezart Defense Fleet has been destroyed and the life signs of two Goland types have stopped.

[AMB]: So ever since coming down, the man’s been dealing with dead people clinging to Teresa’s chamber, evidently the monks who were annihilated in Episode 1. Another cute continuity nod that will become more apparent in a few minutes is the system’s voice, being familiar to fans of 2199 as the Garmillan reflective satellite communications system (among others).

Zabaibal seems to take a moment of silent reflection to acknowledge their passing and then gives the order to assemble all divisions to eliminate their new enemy, including Yamato‘s mechanized unit that landed earlier. He aggressively announces he’ll be going out with them as the ghosts fade away.

[AMB]: When announcing his departure, the right side of his face is unmoved, whereas the left side (carrying a jagged scar) frowns in anger. It’s like his Gatlantean programming and his individuality are at conflict.

“Truly the world is outside our control, huh. Until my time comes, I will live a full life and savor the hope that I might live. Yamato!”

[AMB]: It’s heartbreaking to see those few seconds of grief this rugged man experiences, wishing to take out his frustrations on the enemy which he believed Goland would turn into mincemeat. The regret of his overconfident words is heard clearly through Yara Yuusaku’s voice performance, Zabaibal lowering his head with his back toward us.

[KC]: More evidence that Gatlantis is not exactly on board with Zordar’s whole “feelings are bad and we shouldn’t have them” campaign.

[AMB]: Either that or Yamato‘s presence is awakening something deep within them, though Goland and Zabaibal were seen to be friends since long ago.

[KC]: Ooooh, I had not considered that there might be some kind of influence growing from exposure to the Earthlings. I think I prefer that interpretation!

Yamato turns around and Kodai orders all units to launch from the Second Drop Team. He personally departs to assist Sanada on the bedrock shell. Hijikata orders the Space Cavalry to prepare to use special equipment.

[AMB]: The special equipment can’t be referring to the mobile armors, can it? Or maybe they use something off screen to help cut out parts of the bedrock which Saito is about to use.

“If we’re going to break down the bedrock, can’t we do that from Yamato?” Nanbu asks. Klaus informs him that the main gun isn’t powerful enough, and if they use the Wave-Motion Gun they’ll end up destroying Telezart. Yamato has no choice but to rely on the Wave-Motion Excavation Warheads developed by Sanada.

“Believe in Kodai and the others,” Keyman says.

[KC]: Awww, well that just warms my Garmillas-loving heart.

[AMB]: The bonds deepen as Yamato’s harmony infects the crew, how endearing. Seeing Nanbu’s abstinence from his (former) destructive tendencies is a sweet character moment as well, and Klaus is actually referring to Sanada here as “the XO”, contrary to how he uses Kodai’s name instead of calling him Tactical Officer. Take that as you will, fandom. Memories of 2199 remind us that the WMG would definitely destroy Telezart in its entirety based on size alone. Wave-Motion Excavator warheads are an entirely new thing which we’ll see in action soon enough.

Back on the surface, the battlefield is quiet as one of the Space Cavalry approaches Tsurumi. The mech scans his eyes to reveal his identity, along with his weakening vitals. The boy groans and calls for Akira with blood running down his forehead. Then we see that it is Akira Yamamoto in the mecha. She tells him not to talk, but he goes on to tell her that she is going to make it. (He also refers to her as “Akira,” which in Japanese is an extremely personal way to address someone, especially a superior.)

“That person said … you’ll be okay …”

[AMB]: These mechs are quite advanced, technologically speaking. They scan for heart rate, vitals and identity among many other things. In fact, they also sport “health bars” on their front exterior panels, which seems like kind of a giveaway to the enemy. Seeing Tsurumi addressing Akira so personally in his dazed state is oddly wholesome, too.

[KC]: Geez, Teresa. Spoilers!

[AMB]: Far off spoilers, in fact! It may seem like Tsurumi means Teresa’s told him Akira will be okay in this battle, but on multiple viewings one could see this as foreshadowing for her being taken into Teresa’s dimension in Episode 25 following Klaus’ sacrifice. Seeing as Tsurumi’s “fate” was coming to an end, Teresa must have shown him what his own sacrifice could potentially lead to, a reward for someone so brave who is about to die. There’s also the possibility that the “person” he saw might have been Akira’s brother, and if not then I’m sad to inform Tsurumi that Teresa is not really… a person.

“That person?” Akira asks him, but at that moment the dusty winds of the battlefield let up – revealing a Medalusa-class customized surface tank group. It is Nagakura who delivers this information, and she tells Ensign Yamamoto to leave with the wounded, to ensure her own safety as well. The Space Cavalry will hold position.

[AMB]: Fog of war is something we barely see in Yamato, seeing as most battles take place in space. Here, the desert warfare of WWII comes to mind as the weather changes, only to reveal their enemy is closer than they thought, the sound of their engines obscured by wind and the marines’ own loud mechs. Based on the Medalusa-tanks’ previous firing angle (upward), this was the same group Yamato escaped from at the start of the episode. Some fans have pointed out their displeasure with the lack of fighter plane action in 2202, but in this scene I’d argue their absence helps make the Medalusa-tanks look way more imposing and the action more grounded, pun intended.

Akira agrees and turns to take Tsurumi away as Nagakura and the others begin their attack. Small and highly maneuverable in her mobile armor, Nagakura makes it up to a bridge where she sees that these vehicles are unmanned. She orders the others to aim for the control systems on the bridges.

[AMB]: Rewarding Akira and Tsurumi’s brave efforts last episode, Nagakura orders them to depart from the battlefield. Honor means a lot to this woman. A quick note about the battle direction: the style is distinctly handheld like last episode, but even more dynamic in range. The camera’s mostly over-the-shoulder, matching the marine mechs’ pace in a way that would be hard to replicate in live-action, with lots of complex tracking shots.

The Calvary seems to make short work of the tanks and Nagakura is wondering if they’ve held out when she receives a report of numerous enemy reinforcements ten kilometers ahead. She flies up to see a ludicrous number of tanks barrelling down on them. In the face of doubt and fear from her compatriots, her orders are simple; the tanks are not to get any closer.

[AMB]: That long pan shot of Zabaibal’s tank group, accompanied by a battle variation of Zordar’s theme, never fails to make my jaw drop. The might of Gatlantis is once again on full display, but the music informs us that the might is Zordar’s alone. In essence, these tanks are controlled by AIs and are technically ordered by Zabaibal, but they move only because of Emperor Zordar’s will, disposable tools in a grand design.

[KC]: And here we go again with the grossly overblown odds. I don’t say this as a criticism, merely for those keeping track.

[AMB]: It’s definitely worth pointing out, seeing as it’s not a coincidence. Those red pulsating control systems on the Medalusa bridges we saw earlier? To me they really put into perspective how inhuman the Gatlanteans’ way of fighting has become, increasing their reliance on automata and AI technology to fight their battles for them. While our Cosmo Marines also use machines to better their odds, they pilot these themselves, just like Zabaibal who seems to be the last of his kind when it comes to fighting your own battles.

“Roger!” One of the Cavalry says. “We can’t let the crew of Yamato die, after all!” Other soldiers chime in their determination to defeat the enemy, to repay their debt to Yamato. Then a particular voice calls out, “Hold on, Nagakura! Sorry I’m late!”

[AMB]: Had it not been for Yamato, the Cosmo Marines really would have died back on the 11th planet. In their eyes, their desire to lay their lives down is a debt they must repay in blood. The BGM here, Advance, is (unlike its 4-minute OST Vol. 2 version) arranged to fit the exact same melodic rhythm and beats as Zordar’s theme on OST Vol. 1. There’s also a deeper, thematic purpose for playing it here, conveying musically that this inhuman war machine is the reality of Zordar’s vision of the future. It is devoid of the hypocrisy humanity will show during the battles to come. Through this battle, mankind is fighting against what they will inevitably become. In Zordar’s eyes, this action is meaningless.

With a start, Nagakura realizes that Commander Saito has arrived. He orders the cavalry out of the way and then we see him: hurtling down from above at considerable speed, pushing three massive chunks of rock ahead of him. “Eat this!” he shouts with glee, and the entire tank squadron is crushed. He tells his troops to watch out for the remaining Needle Slaves, ordering them to clean house.

[AMB]: The musical timing and change in tone, the warm explosions, the sound design of metal being crushed and the hand-drawn rugged look of Telezart’s bedrock as it’s being used to smash the tanks… what a satisfying sequence. And the fact that the bedrock which was meant to shield the Gatlantean ground troops and imprison Teresa is now being used against them? Karma at its finest. But the icing on the cake must be the fact that Saito refers to Nagakura in particular by name, asking her to forgive him for being late. It’s just heartwarming.

[KC]: Nagakura is probably my favorite addition to the character lineup, at least when it comes to the Earthlings. I love the dynamic between these two.

[AMB]: The small continuity nod to Saito’s experience with Needle Slaves can be seen as something he knows as a living dead body or as someone who fought them personally at the end of Gatlantis’ invasion of the 11th planet. Either way, it’s appreciated. Their bout with the Slaves themselves is neat, going from hand to hand combat to showing off the machines’ dodging capabilities. Machines fighting machines.

Behind the crushed tanks, Zabaibal’s vehicle remains unscathed. “They’re good,” he notes with admiration, observing a battle map. “But when humans do things like this, there’s always something behind it.”

[AMB]: The map Zabaibal’s looking at shows us in a simple way how grossly outgunned Yamato’s crew is. He’s impressed though, excited to fight the marines himself.

[KC]: Poor Zabaibal has never seen the show; Yamato thrives under such conditions.

[AMB]: The map is quite similar to those used in the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes OVAs, which is funny to me considering the fact that Zabaibal is voiced by LoGH’S original Narrator, Yara Yuusaku.

With a chuckle to himself, Zabaibal orders the firing of the Helvestia Cannon, a smaller version of the Garmillas Reflection Satellite Gun, and which does indeed bounce off multiple satellites before striking not far from Kodai and Sanada. The two are alarmed that they have been noticed, and Zabaibal is furious that they weren’t obliterated. He is informed that half of their relay system was lost when Yamato used the Wave-Motion Gun and that this is as precise as they can get.

[AMB]: The Helvestia Cannon’s ocarina-style controller is an exact replica of the one used by Schulz on Pluto in 2199, and the cannon itself is a kitbash of design principles from both Garmillas (the head of the cannon) and the Medalusa’s Flame Strike Gun (its base). Musically, they’re using a reorchestrated version of the theme heard during the reflection satellite sequence in 2199, a callback that should feel instantly familiar and comfortable. The name Helvestia could be a combination of the words “Hell” and “Hestia,” the latter being the greek Goddess whose name means both “hearth” and “fireside”.

The cannon is also a decent payoff to Sanada’s idea a few episodes ago that Gatlantis seems incapable of creating, only capable of destruction. My part in this commentary is just pointing out continuity nods and BGM choices it seems. Oh well!

[KC]: Both valuable areas of information for fans reading along, whereas I am mostly here to fangirl over blue people and be a smartass.

[AMB]: The increased focus on Garmillan characters has put them side by side with Yamato’s own crew in terms of story relevance and screen time, so it’s hardly unfair for you to do so. It’s much appreciated!

“In the end, it’s just a copy of theirs, is it? Damn!” Zabaibal fires the cannon again and on Yamato the remaining bridge crew recognize it for what it is. They speculate as to whether Gatlantis stole the technology from Garmillas and Keyman informs them that Gatlantis has taken Garmillas scientists prisoner in order to develop weapons.

[AMB]: The reference to Garmillan scientists being taken prisoner by Gatlantis is another carryover from Ark, mentioned by the expeditionary unit leader Dagarm. This was never heard by Yamato’s crew, however, so Keyman’s mention of it still serves a purpose.

[KC]: This is where I get to plug my failed theory that Velte Talan was being held by Gatlantis and Abelt would have to bust him out of prison, preferably with the aid of his brother Ghader, in an homage to the original Yamato 2 prison breakout. Where better to discuss such a wasted opportunity? Alas, I know His Majesty is a popular character generally, but no one obsesses on Dessler and Talan like I do.

[AMB]: It would be exciting, but a pace killer. Though, by the end of this series there is another character they can break out of prison…

To break through Keyman’s obvious emotional struggle with this knowledge, Hijikata points out that if it is Garmillas tech, Keyman would know how to disable it. So Keyman takes off in his fighter with Kato flying alongside. They don’t have time to destroy the satellites one by one, so Keyman tells him to aim for the central control satellite. Kato understands this to mean that they will be able to then follow the command signal to whomever is sending it, and he is eager to get started. They race for their objective, each one vying for the lead in a playful competition.

[AMB]: It’s short, but seeing Keyman’s reaction to his own people suffering at the hands of Gatlantis further proves how much he cares for them, a followup to his emotional journey on the 11th planet.

[KC]: I am really starting to like this kid.

[AMB]: As is Kato, who’s set aside his differences with Keyman, happily helping him out. Love wins.

Saito, meanwhile, has ordered all units to fall back to their rendezvous point as they take heavy fire. Miki Saijo warns Sanada of the Helvestia cannon as Zabaibal takes another shot. This one hits closer, but Sanada continues working on his datapad despite being told to evacuate.

[AMB]: So much happens in this episode’s first half that a lot can’t be shown and is therefore told. Examples range from how the “2nd landing group” is sent to “use equipment,” ultimately meaning Saito’s group (which carried Yamato last episode) dealing with Telezart’s bedrock. Kodai and Sanada then land on another part of its bedrock as well, but we only see them fly toward it for two seconds without establishing whether Sanada got there first or joined Kodai.

It was mentioned last episode, however, that Sanada’s group would deal with detaching the rockbed, something you could easily forget if you, let’s say, bought the first volume of Funimation’s blu-ray set which only housed the first 13 episodes instead of 14 (a much more appropriate number). This could all be the result of Episodes 13 and 14 forming the second half of what was originally “Chapter 4.”

Keyman arrives at the control satellite first and sees that Gatlantis has not altered the Garmillas tech in any way. He immediately gets to work reprogramming the satellites. “If they’re going to steal people’s things and use them, they have to be punished,” He states.

Zabaibal fires yet again and Keyman directs the blast right back at his remaining forces, obliterating them.

[KC]: Definitely a stand-up-and-cheer moment, particularly for us Garmillas fans.

[AMB]: Karma was the main theme for these four episodes (11-14), and it sure feels good. Pure might grouped together the way Zabaibal’s unit was ended up being undone by his own theft, heh.

Saito is optimistic but uncertain about their victory, and Sanada finishes his task. His datapad alerts him that the timer has been set, Five minutes until detonation. Kodai orders the crew to withdraw to the rendezvous point immediately, Yuki departing in a Cosmo Seagull. Saito reiterates the order for his own troops, letting them know that the bedrock will soon blow and the surface will no doubt be affected.

[AMB]: This is great and all, but what is Yuki doing here? Since she’s not there to pick up Sanada and company, one could assume that she’s released some of those Wave-Motion Excavator warheads across the rock shell. But she’s most likely heading down to pick up Tsurumi and Akira, since Yuki tends to the boy in the next episode.

Suddenly, there is a cry of alarm from Nagakura. Zabaibal, in his one remaining tank, is bearing down on them. There is another blast from his cannon and Saito orders everyone down. Clinging to a rocky outcropping as it washes over him, he survives the blast with only his ordinance blown off. Onoya and Yahata, however, are not as lucky. Though futile, Saito yells out to see if anyone’s okay.

[AMB]: Modern day anime has a hard time finding the time and resources to draw mecha by hand. In sequences like these, where the surface of Saito’s mobile armor is being progressively burnt as he holds onto a piece of rock, it always looks so much better when they do what’s called a “detail up” shot (hand-drawn details on top of CG).

[KC]: I don’t believe that these named Space Cavalry troops are included in the 2202 character guide, but those are the names we are given. I cannot say if there is any prior character development for these poor, unfortunate souls.

[AMB]: Another Sugiyama situation. In 2199, the character Sugiyama was mentioned once but never seen, dying in Episode 6 when he was flying side by side with Kato on Pluto. His character was a reference to the first confirmed crew death in the original series, as mentioned in the 2199 commentaries. I don’t recall these two being named in the original series, however.

Saito snarls in anger. He asks who still has usable weapons and Nagakura informs him that there’s interference from the Wave-Motion Resonance. Everyone has twenty percent power at most. Saito orders their retreat, then takes off in the opposite direction as Nagakura stares after him in concern, the screen cutting to black.

[AMB]: After all the high octane action, it’s nice to get some time to reflect on the events that just transpired. And Saito seeing dead comrades? If his resolve to take vengeance on Gatlantis for what happened on the 11th planet wasn’t conveyed strongly enough on Stravase, his anger boiling up now should. Nagakura seems to understand, not even trying to stop him.

The 5-minute countdown reaches its end, followed by a detonation. The rock formation around Telezart shifts in huge sections, shock waves spreading around the entire shell. The rocks are beginning to collapse as five survivors from Nagakura’s group and the Cosmo Seagull return to Yamato. Zabaibal’s tank now hovers above the ground.

[AMB]: Considering the 5-minute countdown began about 90 seconds before we cut to black, that left Yuki with a little over three minutes to have picked up the survivors and rendezvous with Yamato along with the others, which we see them do. Zabaibal has left his preferred terrain (the ground), leaving him alone with an incoming Saito. Then hundreds of rocks crash toward the surface and beams of Wave-Motion Energy light permeate the sky, a true spectacle to behold!

Zabaibal is sweating bullets with a constipated look on his face and then Saito comes screaming in, guns firing, aiming right for the viewport. It cracks under his weapon fire and he smashes through it, knocking Zabaibal back. The Gatlantean draws on him, but Saito leaps from his mecha and disarms him with a well-placed kick. He then proceeds to engage a very surprised Zabaibal in hand-to-hand combat. Zabaibal gets the upper hand and takes a moment to introduce himself, strangling Saito.

“Zants Zabaibal. That is the name I inherited.”

[AMB]: A hand-to-hand fist fight. This rarely happened even in the original series, usually between Earthlings.

[KC]: Of course he introduces himself. That is absolutely 100% bad ass.

[AMB]: And for good reason! Seeing this Earthling soldier eject from the mechanical suit which gave him a clear advantage in order to face his enemy head-on is a sign of true warrior spirit, of honor. Zabaibal has seemed very frustrated with having to rely on technology and machines to fight his battles, now finally able to show his mettle on truly equal grounds. Saito reminded the Gatlantean of the thrill of battle, of a warrior’s pride.

Zabaibal asks for Saito’s name and Saito provides it, identifying himself as a member of the Space Cavalry whose men Zabaibal killed. Zabaibal finds this amusing. The barrage of rocks from the planet disorients the ship, distracting them both momentarily and then the fist fight resumes. Following a quick punch to the nose, Zabaibal chuckles and strikes back, quickly subduing Saito with a glimmer in his eyes. Saito falls to the ground and tries grabbing Zabaibal’s gun from the floor, but the Gatlantean takes it, preparing to execute the marine. The shot goes off, but we see that Saito has shifted at the last moment and buried a dagger in Zabaibal’s chest.

[AMB]: The testosterone in the air is making me wanna do push-ups. The Gatlantean is a man who inherited his role as a warrior from a previous clone, whereas the Earthling is a man who chose to become a soldier. Zabaibal is bound by the limitations of his society, having grown reliant on technology to win, making his actual skills in battle rusty but still fierce. But what truly binds them in this moment is their desire to take vengeance on one another for murdering their friends. Ohara and Yahara for Saito, Goland and Nol for Zabaibal. THEY EVEN HAVE A SIMILAR SCAR ON THEIR LEFT CHEEK!

Zabaibal’s moment of hesitation is also of interest, implying that he sees Saito as a living being not too different from himself in that moment. Maybe he doesn’t want to lose a good sparring partner. Maybe he doesn’t want to kill something that clearly wants to live. It’s a similar situation as Nol’s last episode when he was forced to shoot the sand dragon. The moment Zabaibal hesitated to shoot (using a technologically superior weapon), he lost to Saito’s knife (a physical weapon). Pulling a trigger at someone’s head and throwing a knife into someone’s chest is the difference between Gatlantis and the Earthlings in this battle, of relying on a tool or relying on your skill.

The Gatlantean drops his gun, staring at the knife in his chest in disbelief. He steps forward to pull in Saito and Zabaibal’s self-destruct sequence begins to initiate, his eyes going wild and bloodshot. But Saito is having none of it. He grabs Zabaibal and the two of them plunge off the bridge, landing outside on the tank. When Zabaibal rises his self-destruct sequence has shut off and his eyes have returned to normal. Saito squares off to fight him with a grin.

Zabaibal grins himself and begins walking backward, away from Saito. The Space Cavalry Commander is confused, then angry, then surprised as Zabaibal closes his eyes with a content look, falling backward to explode in the smoke below.

“What’s wrong with you, you idiot?” Saito rages as he peers over the edge.

[AMB]: This moment further solidifies how truly diverse the Gatlanteans are. Knowing of his own embedded self-destruct sequence, Zabaibal pulls Saito in close to see if his own body recognizes the knife to his chest as defeat or death, which it clearly does. Saito thinks this is the Gatlantean’s attempt at taking him to the grave, but based on how he chooses to end his own life, I believe he did it to show Saito a true warrior’s spirit at the end of his life.

Saito reminds Zabaibal of the thrill of battle, of living. What point is there in surviving forever if machines dictate your future, rather than skill and honor? Compared to the beauty of a desperate human being defying those very machines for the sake of life, can you truly call “surviving” the same as living? I think Saito finally saw some humanity in the Gatlanteans through this battle, understanding that “the enemy” are also people, and by proxy; finally getting what Kodai feels.

On the other hand, this could be another beat in the thread of the uber-spoiler, that Saito is an ignorant puppet of Zordar. Possibly even a channel for Zordar at that moment. If Zabaibal has some way of recognizing this, perceiving a shade of Zordar looking back at him (the smirk alone could have been a signal), it would also explain why he intentionally stops himself from killing the Earthling. After all, the Great Emperor has a plan for everyone.

Kodai comes to pick Saito up in his Cosmo Zero as the shell surrounding Telezart collapses away, revealing a bright, blue planet beneath.

Yamato descends toward what they refer to as the Terezarium, the source of Teresa’s message. Hijikata cautions Kodai to be careful as he heads down to the surface with Sanada and Saito in their two Cosmo Zeroes.

Terezarium is a massive, tiered structure that we saw bombed by Gatlantis all the way back at the beginning of the story. Its entrance looks much like that of a colisseum. Walking inside, Kodai, Sanada and Saito find a dark forest of extremely tall trees and a faded meadow of wildflowers. They are baffled by the plant growth, knowing that there is no sun here. Saito speculates that the plants subsist on the orb they find before them, the same one Zabaibal was staring at earlier.

[AMB]: And the same orb those monks were protecting in Episode 1. Their bodies may have joined with the soil, blooming into the flowers. Speaking of which, the art in this environment is very comparable to Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty and Ebisawa Kazuo’s work in ufotable’s Garden of Sinners movie series. Kazuo, conveniently enough, drew backgrounds for Farewell to Yamato, specifically the sunset at Hero’s Hill.

They wonder if Teresa is inside and what Gatlantis was planning to do here, when the orb begins to glow. The plant life surges to full color and new growth springs up around their feet. The glow fades to reveal a huge lotus blossom. The petals unfurl and inside is the praying form of Teresa, kneeling in supplication.

Kodai is in awe. Here, finally, is the source of their quest. She opens her big, blue eyes and turns to them, golden light circling around her.

[AMB]: I’m not the only one who fell in love with her at first sight am I? In all seriousness, she truly is a beauty to behold in her true form, a form fitting for someone who embodies the harmony of the universe. Her impractical praying pose now has significance, as it’s what Teresa as a being aspires toward, to pray for peace with great effort even if it strains your delicate back, quite literally revealing her naked truth.

There’s also the lotus flower, a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth which she projects herself on top of. So much care was given to the visual presentation of this Goddess-like being. Even some strands of her hair shine like stardust, trickling down like a physical manifestation of time itself (this comment will be relevant later). It’s no wonder Kodai’s group is absolutely enamored.

“I am Teresa,” she says. “Teresa of Telezart.”

Kodai steps forward to tell her that they received her message and came as soon as they could. He asks her “why us”? when she could have called on anyone in the universe.

“I did not choose,” she tells them, her visage barely keeping up with her movements. “It was already decided that Yamato would come.”

[AMB]: The Terezarium may be capable of projecting her, but she still looks like she’s having trouble staying connected to our world. Her mouth moves out of sync, her projection can barely move without looking like it’s rubbing the fabric of the cosmos the wrong way. This effect seems to be done by animating her at a different frame rate, making her very mesmerizing.

Saito and Kodai express some surprise at this, and Sanada then steps forward, asking Teresa to confirm that she is a higher-dimensional being who also lives on a higher-dimensional plane than their own. In order to hear her they had no choice but to travel to her. Teresa tells Sanada that he is correct; Teresa’s voice can only be heard by those existing in her dimension with her. The Terezarium is a gate for that purpose.

[AMB]: Let’s leave “Yamato’s destiny” for now and deal with Sanada’s comment. Garmillan Ambassador Varel mentioned in Episode 3 how Teresa was a race that evolved to become a collective, forming to become one being residing in a different dimension over 1000 years ago. In Episode 3 this was pure speculation, but it’s finally been confirmed. The monks in Episode 1 were probably doing their best to send Teresa’s message to Yamato, only to be crucified and blown up by Zordar’s Needle Slaves.

Sanada postulates that the people of Telezart cast their bodies aside and passed through the dimensional door while they were still alive. Teresa is the aggregate of their minds. She exists in the boundary between this universe and the next, able to see both its beginning and its end, much to Saito’s confusion. A world where even time is made visible and they are standing at the entrance. Saito equates it to the Sanzu River (Or River Styx in the dub, both based on the same concept) and Kodai asks if it has already been decided what Yamato will do from now on.

[AMB]: Interesting enough, Teresa’s creation is not a religious or supernatural development, it’s a result of science and evolution. Through these means, the race (which I presume to be Akerians) passed through the dimensional door and became Teresa. Or as Sanada refers to it in the Japanese dub, “The Door to Heaven.”

Teresa asks them if they know of the White Comet. Kodai tells her that they believe it to be the homeworld of Gatlantis, but Teresa says that is something the ancient Akerians left behind long ago.

“While sowing the seeds of humanity on one hand, they also prepared a safety mechanism. If the seeds they sowed evolved in a bad way, this mechanism would reap them all, leaving none behind.” Sanada realizes that Gatlantis is the mechanism she is referring to. “The goal of all life is the same,” Teresa continues. “To continue existing. But Gatlantis is different. They awakened the ark that governs destruction.” As she speaks we are shown scenes of war, death and devastation, presumably around the universe.

[AMB]: In short, what Ark of the Stars set up regarding Akerius is finally confirmed. Their arks were left to safeguard the universe. Gatlantis is seeking them and their treasures to realize Zordar’s ideals. Whether it be the ancient Kalaklum ship unearthed in Episode 1 or the cloaking technology they desired from the Ark of the Stars, they’re on a quest to gather the tools needed to wipe humanity from the slate. Their ultimate tool? The White Comet, also known as the Ark of Destruction. But unlike other humans, Gatlanteans don’t have an innate desire to continue existing. This is something Yamato has awakened in Gatlanteans throughout their journey so far, with a component called love.

Fans of Farewell will recognise the BGM choices here. Going from Cosmo wave to Theme of Teresa to Teresa’s Prayer (track names on the 2202 soundtracks), originally these were all part of the same track called Teresa’s Prayer, all playing during Kodai’s confrontation with her. Hearing them all played in succession feels very harmonious and nostalgic. The visuals showcasing a destroyed city are reminiscent of Telezart’s destruction in Yamato 2. Though I believe what we’re seeing is planet Zemulia in its prime, a planet we’ll find out more about later.

“Until they destroy all humans who exist in this universe, their attacks will not stop. You people must face the White Comet Empire. Not just for Earth, but for all life in this universe.”

“The outcome…” Saito suddenly barks out. “… You can already see it, right?” Kodai chides him, but Teresa informs him that if she tells him the future, that future will change. She cannot interfere that much. She shows them the vision of the three robed monks Zabaibal saw earlier. Those who have left their physical bodies, Teresa explains, should not involve themselves with the physical world. The images dissipate and she tells them that all she is allowed to do is pray.

[AMB]: “All I can do is pray.” Truest pacifist who ever pacifisted.

[KC]: Strap in, kids. Our Very Strange Trip is about to begin.

[AMB]: Very true. Something else that’s very true is Teresa’s proclamation, that if she were to tell them the outcome things just won’t go that way. They just have to blindly keep doing what they believe is right, even at the cost of their own lives, for this to work out like it should. And what she’s referring to, of course, is the outcome where Yamato and its bonds manage to penetrate through the white comet, using everything their inner conspiracies threw against themselves as strengths – pushing their poor engine to the point where Gatlantis’ defenses are wrecked and Teresa can seep out of it. Just like how they rejected the time fault, they have to reject rationalism and push forward for the sake of their ideals. “And for everything else.”, as Teresa said in her original message.

It’s delicate, borderline impossible, and foolhardy. But if they keep believing that they can make it, they’ll reach the point where this becomes possible. If she told them right now that most of the crew would perish, Earth would be permanently damaged, etc etc… Yamato’s destiny would fall apart. Especially considering the fact that Zordar’s listening intently through Saito, and is probably the one who asked the question in the first place. If asking it was his whole plan, it just crumbled in front of him.

Sanada contemplates what they are facing; a destruction mechanism left by the god-like civilization that created all intelligent life. It is daunting. Kodai points out that even if they assemble all of Earth’s forces, it’s not clear they can handle Gatlantis. He asks Teresa for a hint of how to fight. She gestures and the world around them vanishes. Saito, Sanada and Kodai stand in the vast emptiness of space, nothing but Teresa’s voice around them.

[AMB]: To Sanada, this must be the scariest thing ever. Essentially, a God has been confirmed in front of his very eyes, and she speaks of destiny, fate and being able to see time itself. Like him, I’d also be sweating bullets, especially after seeing the monks from earlier living on past their physical deaths as spirits guarding the Telezarium from the beyond.

“You people came here,” she begins, and Telezart appears before them. “That means that I, too, have been connected to you people with a bond. Yamato is a great harmony. Harmonies are fields created by lives created by bonds. Bonds have the power to connect different people. With a certainty akin to gravity, they tie phenomenae together and can even act across the wall of dimensions.”

[AMB]: A lot to unpack here. Since Teresa’s call was met by Yamato, Yamato has formed a bond with her. Bonds connect different people beyond reason or logic, meaning bonded people become more susceptible to doing things they wouldn’t outside their bonds. Yamato is a great harmonious element which is capable of making Garmillan brats, Gatlantean spies, bickering marines and self-deprecating Captains love and appreciate one another, through their bonds. She foreshadows how stuff like Keyman’s anti-Wave-Motion lattice and Touko’s wildcard nature will eventually become a force of good, if only they value their bonds.

Another interesting note regarding Yamato and “great harmony,” is that Yamato can be read in Japanese as both “Japan” and “great harmony.” Great Harmony is also the name of Ark’s ending song, which combined the efforts of Akira Miyagawa and Ayaka Hirahara. Their families were originally united thanks to Yamato, through the music creation process as Ayaka’s father (Makoto) was part of Hiroshi Miyagawa’s ensemble (Akira’s dad). The text and meaning of the song they created together carries a different meaning now that its DNA has been inserted into this sequel. It’s my favorite piece of carryover lore or trivia from Ark, and it will have the greatest payoff in Episode 26.

Teresa projects images of Mamoru Kodai and Captain Okita, stretching her arms outward. They join her circle of life as golden sparks, circling around her.

[AMB]: So in other words, these visions that Teresa’s shown Yamato’s crew might not just be visions but actual spirits of the deceased as they appear on the other side. If Wave-Motion Energy is extracted from memories or life essence, does this mean it leaves our dimension and enters a higher plane when it is released? Does it go to heaven?

“The power of bonds transcends all physical laws. No matter how great the violence wielded, these bonds can never be overturned.”

[KC]: Violence? Why would she bring up a bond Yamato might have that is based in violence? Weird.

[AMB]: “War is necessary,” a blonde space dictator cries to himself in the distance. (Referring to Episode 25 of 2199)

Teresa appears upright, energy swirling about her, an image of Yamato covered in golden light hovering between her hands.

“The bonds centered around the great harmony, Yamato will surely stop the Ark of Destruction. Bonds grow. Sometimes together with pain. He will, too.”

[KC]: Hmm, now who on this show is known for bonding with Yamato and experiencing pain?

[AMB]: Goer, Garemud Goer.

[KC]: I was alluding to his Boss, but you’re not wrong!

Teresa looks past them, toward the tree line, and they turn. Slowly, out of the darkness, comes the sound of footsteps. A silhouette emerges, caped and familiar. Kodai gasps as the newcomer steps into the light.

“It’s been too long, gentlemen of Yamato,” says Abelt Dessler, his face highlighted in gold.

[KC]: Yes! So exciting! I am so here for where this is going. I can’t wait until next episode. But first we are treated to a great song for Dessler, Crimson Red, and a Dessler-centric end title with hints that Dessler’s relationship to Yamato’s crew is still developing.

[AMB]: A man burned by the flames emerges from the darkness to challenge his rivals, Yamato’s crew. Just like the old song The Rival by Isao Sasaki, this painful bond is carried over to Crimson Red. The familiar sound of Dessler’s Bolero (now renamed Dessler’s Destiny) steals over us as he enters, the familiar “Garmillas boom” signaling the start of some intense focus. Get hyped!

At the time of this episode’s release, I had only seen Farewell, and had yet to see Yamato 2. So imagine my disappointment when we arrived at this moment and Dessler wasn’t there! It felt so iconic and natural for him, and yet he didn’t show. That’s how powerful this moment was for me in 2202. I mean come on, the way he traces the pavement with his feet as if it’s his own red carpet? The cut to golden yellow tracing his facial features? Golden moment! (pun intended)

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: January 4, 2019

American debut: February 2, 2019 (streaming) November 26, 2019 (home video)

The end title Crimson Red is performed by Yuya Hoshino.

Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 14.

Episode credits
Episode Director: Tatsunari Oyano
Storyboard: Yuichi Nihei
Animation Directors: Akitoshi Maeda, Hiroki Takagi, Shinichi Yamaoka

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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3 thoughts on “Yamato 2202 Episode 14 commentary

  1. What could be more ludicrous than having 2.5million battleships together for a single strike?

    having hundreds of +500m mega tanks built into battleship hulls but restricted to ground operations…

    brillant

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