Episode 16: Farewell, Teresa! Flowers for Two Desslers!
by Anton Mei Brandt and Kathy Clarkson
Yamato is still on the run with the Neu Deusuler close behind when we see Keyman activating his anti-Wave-Motion lattice device. Yamato’s engine stops dead, including the sub-engines, and the crew prepares for emergency landing. Shima, teeth gritted in determination, puts Yamato down on the surface of Telezart’s ocean, hard but safe for the time being,
[AMB]: This sequel series never fails to follow up on the smallest of things. Remember back in Episode 8 where Tokugawa noticed a weird reading on the engine controls during Keyman’s anti-Wave-Motion lattice insertion? Mirroring the expression he had then, he seems to recall these same readings eight episodes later as if suddenly remembering something he’d forgotten in the heat of the Stravaze crisis. Namely, to check the engine.
[KC]: If they left something out of this series, it’s because they very much intended to.
[AMB]: On the topic of Yamato’s crash landing, this is the first time the ship has touched down on the watery surface of a new planet since Iscandar, though regrettably in bad shape. It’s quite exhilarating seeing the crash from just behind the bridge, as if we’re diving down a slide at a water park attraction!
We then see Kodai waking up from his blast to the head in what appears to be a cell. Beside him is his helmet, one section of it shattered where Klaus Keyman’s shot struck him. With a shocked expression, he recalls Keyman apologizing to him right before it happened.
[AMB]: That sturdiness of his helmet armor aside, it seems like the greatest harm was done to Kodai’s trusting heart, rather than his body. Keen viewers will notice that the visual aesthetic of these cells harken back to the ones we saw on the UX-01 Space Submarine piloted by Flakken’s crew in 2199, and seeing how that ship was “the leader’s personal ship” as well, it’s reasonable for the cells to look this extravagant.
Around Kodai, the rest of the team is holed up in their own individual cells. Saito’s meditating and Nagakura seems to be sulking, but Sanada is musing to himself about Keyman. Wondering if Keyman always intended to betray them, Sanada notes that Ambassador Varel must have been a conspirator, evidenced by his inviting Kodai to the Moon before the start of this journey. However, Keyman seemed just as surprised as anyone to see Dessler, making Sanada question why Klaus boarded Yamato in the first place.
[AMB]: Having just started to truly get along with Keyman, the cosmo marines’ sour attitude is to be expected. Saito could also just be projecting Zordar’s mood here, left in deep curious thought.
[KC]: We see him for the briefest moment with his eyes closed, so draw your own conclusions.
[AMB]: Let’s answer Sanada’s question. Why did Klaus originally join? And why did he betray them? Short answer: to spy more effectively on both parties – the Dessler faction and Yamato’s crew. The why’s we’ve discussed prior to this episode will be delved into in just a bit. And Varel? He’s a conspirator, but not the kind Sanada might be led to believe.
Meanwhile, Abelt Dessler and his long-lost nephew stroll down a corridor together. Klaus, or Ranhart, tells his uncle that they are the same. Both reluctant to let the Earthlings have access to Telezart’s power. Ranhart claims that this was his purpose for staying with them; to neutralize Yamato when the time was right.
“And bring the power of Telezart back to Garmillas,” Abelt finishes for him. “For those who resist democratization, and seek to restore the Dessler Regime.”
[AMB]: Classic Dessler moment. He finishes Klaus’ sentence for him, knowing fully well what boring reason he’d make up (as a spy) to try and gain his favor. How do I profess to know this? Abelt’s facial features are hidden during his delivery, particularly his eyes. Slowly turning back as if cautioning the lad to not stab him in the back, or perhaps even subtly advising him against reviving the Dessler regime with his words.
Knowing his past, Abelt sees how a young Dessler family member without his own baggage could successfully lead Garmillas, but also how he’d have to bear all the suffering that comes with those responsibilities. Klaus is in the same position his brother Mattheus was in, where he can entrust the future to the next generation, a tempting thought. As the nobility said in the past, “If Mattheus was the light, Abelt is the dark.” In that case, Ranhart could become the new light.
A cell door opens before them, revealing Miru with crystal inhibitors preventing his telepathic communication with Zordar. Miru seems amused to see Ranhart, who in turn looks shocked, and Miru asks about the commotion he heard outside. Abelt tells him that some outlaws tried to steal Telezart’s power, but he punished them and Telezart is now under the control of his fleet. Miru does not seem amused about that at all. Abelt offers him back his weapon from Episode 11 and invites him to go and see. “The door is open. See for yourself. Seeing is your job.”
[AMB]: First off, Miru seems to recognise how similar Ranhart is to Abelt, or perhaps he gained some intel on Keyman back during Episode 11 from Touko via their cosmo wave.
Second, the sweat on Miru’s brow as he hears about Abelt’s takeover is further proof of how valuable Zordar considers Telezart to be, important information for Dessler.
Third? Dessler just made a clever pun, one that at first seems to just be a Farewell to Yamato nod (where Miru was created just to observe Dessler), but it has a much deeper meaning than you might imagine. In Japanese, miru (見る) means “to see” or “to observe.” So when Abelt tells him that observing is his job, he’s saying that to observe used to be his only purpose, but he dares Miru to go beyond his own reason for being by “Seeing for yourself.” And by giving Miru his gun back, he’s saying (in a roundabout way) “own up to your namesake or forge your own path, the choice is yours.”
The music agrees, repeating its usage of the Sabera/Emperor’s shadow theme from Ark (which starts off as Sabera’s White Comet theme but ends with Dessler’s Bolero) to show how Miru’s drifting toward becoming independent like Dessler. Based on the events of Episode 11, Dessler already knows Miru is to become the next Zordar… So maybe he wants the boy to become his own individual who makes his own choices, just like how he’s preparing Ranhart to make the choice of whether or not to become the next head of the Dessler family. That was a choice Abelt never had, and which he now wants to give to both of these youths. (And this is why he’ll be a great surrogate dad for Starsha’s daughter in the sequel.)
[KC]: I definitely see Miru smiling like he knows something Ranhart doesn’t. As for that in-depth Dessler analysis, after the last episode I am not going to refute it. The character has often been presented as if he somehow got his hands on a copy of the script and I see no reason for that to change. And if he does become that child’s ward, I can only hope that the child’s age cycles are 100% less creepy this time around.
[AMB]: Referring to Sasha of Be Forever Yamato, I take it?
[KC]: I will accept accelerated aging, provided it doesn’t come with a crush on your own uncle.
[AMB]: It’s interesting that you mention it, since that plot element already exists in a revised fashion in the reboot saga. Be Forever’s Sasha confusing her familial love for Kodai with romantic love was expanded upon with Yurisha in 2199, where she can’t tell the difference between her love for Starsha as a sister to the romantic love Akira and Melda speak of. The writers also added nuance like her not understanding hugs or physical attraction in general, making her confusion more wholesome. It’s very much in line with Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s view on love as a broader concept, one he tried conveying in Be Forever Yamato with varying degrees of success.
Abelt tells Miru to open negotiations with Emperor Zordar. “I will humbly offer Telezart to the emperor. In exchange …”
He trails off as the scene jumps ahead to the exterior deck of the Neu Deusuler, where Abelt and Ranhart discuss what just took place. Ranhart wonders if Gatlantis will agree to negotiate. Abelt assures him that Zordar is not a man preoccupied with appearances. He is confident that Zordar will give them what they want rather than risk losing Teresa and her planet in a fight.
[AMB]: If we’re to believe Abelt here, Zordar is not quite sure of the nature of Telezart as a phantom planet, something confirmed to be the case in the next episode. Fukui (the writer) then references two original Yamato 2 elements. First off, “he won’t risk losing Teresa or her planet in a fight” being a playful meta jab at Zordar’s disastrous and strategically unsound attempt at fighting Telezart in original Yamato 2 instead of using her. The second element being the mutual respect between the two leaders Zordar and Dessler – where the latter refers to the former by his title alone when speaking to Miru, even referring to his fleet as “our fleet,” meaning his and Miru’s. It’s a show of diplomatic respect, though covered under miles of smug where he tries selling the idea that he “swiped back the emperor’s treasure” for him.
[KC]: Yes, in the original series it was portrayed as an almost fatherly affection. But aside from that meeting in the throne room a few episodes ago, I don’t think we ever see Abelt spending any time with fully grown Zordar in 2202.
[AMB]: Dessler’s mostly stuck to oberving Zordar through Miru, ironically enough.
Walking toward the end of the platform, Abelt continues speaking, his cape fluttering in the wind.
“The discovery of a planet where Garmillas can live. Or the creation of one. Gatlantis may be able to do it.”
Abelt asks Ranhart for his opinion of Yamato. “It was an odd ship,” Ranhart tells him. “The crew were a little strange. And more than soldiers, they reminded me of pilgrims.”
“Pilgrims, huh,” Abelt replies, closing his eyes in deep contemplation.
[KC]: And there it is. Abelt has been biding his time with Zordar, waiting to get control of Teresa’s power so he can force Gatlantis to help him fulfill his promise and save Garmillas.
[AMB]: Desperately stubborn, this plan is the disgraced leader’s only ticket out of the failures brought forth by the hand of Yamato in 2199. But seeing the nuanced portrayal of Abelt in this scene, does he truly still believe it’s only Yamato’s fault?
[KC]: Like the plans of his predecessor, it is grandiose and doomed to fail. Also, we see Abelt begin to realize he may well share a commonality with Yamato. A bond, if you will. Remember that word for later.
[AMB]: “Pilgrims, huh…” The mention of pilgrims seems to have struck close to heart for Abelt, either because of his drifting in space between 2199 and 2202, or perhaps more likely he wants to escape his responsibilities toward his planet – like Yamato, to fulfill a dream closer to his heart. Pawning off the Dessler monarchy to Klaus after having Zordar provide a new planet for Garmillas would certainly fulfill the conditions necessary for him to become a pilgrim himself.
Next we go to Planet Garmillas itself. In a much smaller building next to the ruined palace of Baleras tower, the Dessler remnants discuss Ranhart’s arrival on Telezart. Kazette, one of the Garmillas officers that met up with Ranhart back on Stravaze, speaks (via holo-chat) to a few public officials from the fallen Dessler regime. They are seated around a table under the Dessler Crest. Kazetta informs them that the Gatlantean forces surrounding Telezart have been wiped out and that the planet is currently under Garmillas control. A man at the table questions the attachment of the fleet and everyone gasps when they hear it belongs to Abelt Dessler himself. “He’s alive?”
Everyone turns to a shadowy end of the room, where someone with a cup in hand cracks a smile, his identity obscured.
“The head of the Desslerists was, for a long time, a mystery,” we hear Ranhart saying. “I don’t know his identity, either.”
[AMB]: From right of Dessler’s chair, the Garmillas officials from the former Dessler regime present are: Hidore Zarume (Anexation Administration Minister), Heydom Gimleh (Imperial Guard Officer), Medom Narkin (Finance Minister), Thol Toad (Labour Minister), Nerun Keeling (Chief of Staff) and Logue Moram (Justice Minister).
Short but rewarding; we see the present-day planet Garmillas for the first time since 2199! The vivid imagery of the Salezar sun, shining through the cracks of Baleras Tower’s withering husk, was originally conceptualised by Makoto Kobayashi for a deleted 2199 scene! The conference room used by these Dessler remnants is either an exact replica of the one in Baleras Tower, or another conference room that the Garmillas government used in 2199. I’d like to believe it’s the first option, since it further shows us how fanatically devoted this group is to the former regime, which will soon make a lot of sense.
[KC]: Should we address the elephant in the room? The elephant that looks exactly like a blue Adolph Hitler sitting at that table? And the officer who asks about the fleet might not be recognizable to anyone by his appearance, but his name should ring a bell. He is General Keeling, now sporting a full head of hair. Fans may remember the bald version of him from the much-maligned Bolar Wars series and the way cooler Bolar Wars Extended webcomic where Talan punches his filthy, traitorous teeth out. But there is nothing to suggest his disloyalty here.
[AMB]: General Keeling aside, the supreme leader’s chair (the one decorated with horns) remains empty, and has been so since Abelt disappeared. The man sipping tea from his personal cup should be obvious to everyone at this point; another man stuck in the past. My favorite detail about this scene is how the secret man, who’s unusually stiff and lifeless compared to when we last saw him, suddenly relaxes his back and cracks a comfortable smile at this news. It shows us this man truly missed Abelt in the post-war chaos, perhaps even on a personal level. Again, something that will become much more apparent shortly…
On the bridge of the Neu Deusuler, Abelt turns to look back at his nephew. “He’ll show himself, I’m sure,” Dessler assures him. “At this stage he has no choice but to talk with me directly.”
As if on cue, Talan steps in to announce that the Supreme Leader has a call from Garmillas. The caller is put up on the main screen. Talan is in shock upon seeing who it is and Ranhart also gapes in disbelief.
“Ghare Dessler,” says a familiar voice, and we see that it is the former Imperial Guard Commander Haidom Gimleh, who somehow survived his ship and fleet being completely consumed by the explosion of Second Baleras in 2199. A scar is now slashed across the right side of his face. He greets Abelt, happy to see that he is well. Abelt comments that he is surprised to see Gimleh alive. At this point, Gimleh launches into an unflattering recounting of Abelt’s final actions before leaving Garmillas. Gimleh informs them, that this is the official story of the new democratic government. He goes on to claim that he knows the truth, however; that Abelt’s actions were necessary to save both Iscandar and Garmillas.
[AMB]: Gimleh’s back – and with a really memorable design makeover! The man who always had a dislike for jokes and merrymaking is now cursed with nerve damage from a scar across the right side of his face, forcing that side’s muscles into a permanent Joker smile. Aside from the clearly ironic reason for this redesign, it also says a lot about the man, especially once we factor in what he’s about to say. The right side of his face has suffered greatly, cracking that smile he had for most of last season. But the left side tells a different story, that of a dignified man who bears the sins of Garmillas on Abelt’s behalf. He can no longer “wear a face” completely again due to his nerve damage, so we now see him in a different light.
[KC]: Get the popcorn, this ought to be good.
[AMB]: “As he went mad, the capital Baleras was caught in the crossfire as the dictator tried to defeat Yamato. This is how the Democrats tell the story as they defame you. However, I know. That was done to save both Iscandar and Garmillas; an act of necessity.”
I remember the exact moment I saw Gimleh return with this line, and it felt like someone had surfaced who truly understood my take on 2199’s Dessler. My theories went from fringe to canon as Fukui projected his takes onto Gimleh. I never expected Gimleh, a holdover mystery of a character from last season, to return after his ship was engulfed in flames, nor did I expect the show to dive so deep into the reasoning behind the Abelt’s madness. Thank you Gimleh, I’ll let you speak on my behalf for a bit.
Gimleh goes on to describe a secret plot within the military. Baleras Tower was built to act as a giant superweapon (or “blade”, as he puts it) pointed right at Iscandar, the idea being that they would threaten the planet with total annihilation, presumably to acquire the means of healing their own dying world. But according to Gimleh, Dessler found them out and used Yamato’s attack as a means of cutting the power to the superweapon by removing its source: the core ship. Then, to eliminate the traitors, Dessler dropped a part of the floating city of Second Baleras’s industrial sector on the tower.
Gimleh states his belief that a powerful dictatorship such as Dessler’s is the only option to save the future of Garmillas. How he thought that with Abelt gone the solution was to have Ranhart take Abelt’s place as leader. Gimleh starts to point out how that is no longer necessary when Abelt cuts him off. Dessler asks Ranhart for permission to resume his leadership of the government, which Ranhart grants without hesitation.
[KC]: That last bit could be played for laughs, except that in the Japanese version Abelt seems legitimately willing to step aside for his nephew. Possibly even desirous of doing so.
[AMB]: I’d like to dissect Gimleh’s entire statement, so here it is for context:
“Baleras Tower. That was a blade pointed at Iscandar. Those who stole the Cosmo Reverse, and plotted to save Garmillas from the path of ruin, created that massive weapon without your permission. The military betrayed you. You, who had found them out, made use of Yamato’s attack, and cut the core ship that was its power source free from the tower. Then, to wipe out the traitors, you destroyed the second Baleras. This was all done to save Garmillas and bring peace to Iscandar. To save Garmillas’ future, command by a powerful dictatorial regime is the only option.”
Baleras Tower, as hinted last episode in the flashbacks, was built to extort Iscandar for the CRS (Cosmo Reverse System). That much is correct, but there are some things that we need to discuss.
1. Yes, the military did betray Dessler. The xenophobic faction helmed by Zoellick did try to oust him, yet most of their rebellion was done in by the fake assassination plot in 2199. Gimleh is implying that there were still people in the government willing to use the secret weapon that is Baleras Tower. This undoubtedly refers to the group surrounding Archduke Erik’s table in the last episode, the ones who spoke of using the tower to extort Iscandar, unwilling to give in to Iscandar’s demands (whatever they were). These people were then most likely the ones who made Zoellick their front figure, starting the military coup. It was a desperate attempt to save Garmillas as soon as possible before Dessler took his citizens away on Second Baleras, abandoning the planet and its unique heritage to its fate. (This is actually quite similar to the Izumo plan remnants of 2199 now that I think about it.)
2. There are some assumptions being made in the official subs that, like last episode, just aren’t true. It’s stated that the conspirators “stole the CRS,” but it’s more accurate to translate it as “they tried stealing the CRS,” you know, since that’s what Baleras Tower was built for. Then the subs state that “to eliminate the traitors, you destroyed Second Baleras,” but this is also an assumption! In the original Japanese line, Gimleh trails off as he mentions Second Baleras, shying away from stating precisely what Abelt did – the dropping of an industrial sector of Second Baleras onto the tower. Gimleh never states that Abelt “destroyed Second Baleras,” he says the equivalent of, “and that’s why Second Baleras was…” We all remember who actually destroyed Second Baleras: Norran and Yuki.
Gimleh encourages everyone to spread the word of Abelt’s victorious return and informs them that he has prepared an uprising in case it were to happen. Ranhart seems disturbed by this, and leaves as Gimleh finishes off his sermon with one sentence: “I hope you will return as soon as possible.”
[AMB]: 3. Dropping an industrial sector of Second Baleras was not “just for the sake of Garmillas and Iscandar’s peace,” though it’s not unreasonable for Gimleh to believe so. Up until Abelt’s temporary madness at seeing Yamato destroy his endgame plan for Garmillas, Gimleh (and I) sincerely believe Abelt intended to move the people to the new capital and depart from Garmillas to let it recuperate for a few years. What he doesn’t know is that most of his actions at that time were fueled by emotion rather than grander designs.
Gimleh has never heard Abelt’s account of why it happened, and has thus reasoned out why he dropped the industrial sector. It’s very similar to how fanatical believers of political figures, no matter how reasonable and educated they are, find ways to justify even the most unreasonable of actions or events. This is most likely why Gimleh reasons as he does, and why he doesn’t seem to be lying here. It’s the first time we hear him proclaim something with an uncanny sense of urgency, completely devoid of humor.
4. Talan witnessed this reveal, meaning that this is the second time he’s seen a Garmillas official having survived a certain-death event (after Abelt). It is also the scene where he finds out the (supposedly) true motives behind why a piece of Second Baleras was dropped while he (Talan) was on the surface. In short, Talan might be getting his hopes up about his brother Welte being alive. If he had any lack of faith in Abelt, it’s gone now. After having spent most of his time in 2199 questioning Gimleh, Ghader might finally see the man in a different light.
5. Gimleh’s steadfast belief in the Dessler regime is unquestionable at this point, and his motives for all of 2199 are called into question. The deporting of random Garmillans to the prison planets? Seemingly malicious in the past, this event now becomes one of necessity, where a planet which is buzzing with second-class citizens of new creeds and colors along with the original ethnic population is being overburdened during a time where the planet is dying. Hence the secret deportations.
The hard crackdown on rebellions and democratic instigators within the empire? To ensure the empire’s iron fist remains strong until a new planet or a cure is found. These were sins Gimleh carried for Abelt while he took on the mantle of hero. The sentencing of moderates like Deitz? Done to ensure that even potentially ideologically opposing voices were stifled and silenced before they could fester and grow, keeping the dictatorship and its executive powers alive and well for large and sudden changes. As the man said, “all for the sake of Garmillas and Iscandar’s peace.” This also means he respects and supports Iscandar and Dessler’s association with Starsha.
Dessler’s facial features are hidden as he hears of Gimleh’s plans for an armed uprising, perhaps saddened that all his sacrifices have to be replicated for him to return to the cursed duty of saving Garmillas. Of course, Gimleh’s also responsible for this, and Abelt seems to reflect on how many of his sins he’s pawned off on others. Lots of complicated feelings here. Gimleh’s actions are correct, as is Abelt’s compliance, since they are rooted in a desire to save Garmillas and protect Iscandar. But are their actions right? Causes can spread like wildfire once people are riled up enough, creating havoc and political turmoil for citizens and politicians alike. Perhaps Abelt’s seen enough of this. Lastly… I just think it’s sort of sweet for Gimleh to basically say, “please come home soon Boss.”
Stuck on the surface of Telezart, Shima voices his frustration about the Garmillas fleet hovering above Yamato while Tokugawa works on the mystery of the failed Wave-Motion Engine. Shima compares them to vultures. The problem with the engine is not a mechanical issue, it seems. Tokugawa is unable to determine the cause, but it appears to be a fundamental problem with the engine itself.
Elsewhere on Yamato the pilots hold a service for Jiro Tsurumi, making sure his body is ready to be sent into space once Yamato’s found a way out of its predicament. “It’s strange,” Shinohara observes as Sawamura sobs uncontrollably. “His body is right there, but Tsurumi is gone. Where do we go?”
[AMB]: Another young boy who chose his own future? Seems to be a theme for this episode. Quick note about the subs: Shinohara doesn’t specifically state “where do we go?” but rather voices the open question of where we as people go (after we die). Everyone who’s ever been to a wake knows exactly the feeling of seeing a dead body and wondering where we go after death; where the person we loved went after death.
[KC]: Just to clarify if anyone reading along is confused, I am working completely off of the Funimation English subs and Anton is adding his own takes on their translations.
Having left Neu Deusuler and arrived at the Telezarium, Ranhart calls out for Teresa. She does not reveal herself, but he begins to speak anyway. “I … don’t know anymore,” he says. “The preparations are complete. What I should do has already been decided. But – ”
He clenches his fist, addressing her orb forcefully. “Teresa, if you are a goddess who can see to the end of time, I want you to tell me! What is for the best? What path should I take?”
[AMB]: Indeed. To oust the Dessler remnants was his purpose, one given to him. But seeing the truth behind his uncle’s actions, seeing the Dessler remnants’ side of the story, has surely shaken his heart. Ranhart was set on seeing his uncle as an evil man, but he clearly isn’t. The young, handsome and cool-looking Garmillas boy who the audience loves and relates to is forced to accept that there are different multifaceted perspectives to intergalactic conflicts and ideals, and collapses in front of God.
Seeking guidance, Ranhart desperately pleads with spirituality itself to tell him how to live his life, now that the state and its dissenters have been revealed as more than just good or evil. If Ranhart at this moment isn’t a walking allegory for modern youth with skewed extremist views of good and evil (based on nothing but hearsay and perceived justices/injustices) I don’t know what would be.
[KC]: And we are also going on this journey with Ranhart to discover the truth about Abelt Dessler, who we have seen prior to now in a very unfavorable light.
The orb begins to glow, and in it Ranhart sees images of those he knows aboard Yamato, gasping at seeing Akira’s face showing up at the end. The storyboard for this episode originally took this moment farther, showing multiple images of her. If left intact, it would have put a bit more foundation under the not-quite-there romance between the two.
In another bit of production trivia, Director Nobuyoshi Habara stated in at least one interview that he changed up the approach to staging these specific scenes. To emphasize Keyman’s direct, in-your-face communication style, the artistic approach was intentionally flat with lots of stiff posing. Here, the character is ruderless, having lost his foundation. To wit, the shots become more turned and angular to symbolize an added dimension.
“The things you felt while aboard Yamato were all correct,” Teresa tells him. “What is for the best will change depending on you. Do not as you thought, but as you felt. You are a part of the great harmony.”
[AMB]: In a world increasingly devoid of both morals and justice, we seek guidance from others – to a fault. At first Klaus only had Varel, but he’s gained guidance from Touko, Kodai and Abelt during the course of this journey. They all have different teachings to impart on him, but until this moment Ranhart had mostly only dared to see these through the lens of rationality. It’s rational to topple a crazy dictator, it’s rational to dispose of a Gatlantean spy, it’s rational to use Yamato to further his own ends… but we’re back to the issue he had to face when meeting Gimleh. Gimleh’s argument was rational to a fault, even bulletproof. But was it right? Such things can’t be measured with reason and logic alone, and have to be felt by each one of us as we see fit. A beautiful message.
[KC]: It is corny, but boiled down to its basic elements, Teresa is providing him with the advice fundamental to all space opera; “Do what your heart tells you.”
[AMB]: In the current world climate, it’s a message that should be very close to heart to everyone watching. Pun intended.
“The great harmony,” Ranhart repeats, a tear sliding down his cheek. He is surprised by it, then seems upset when he is suddenly approached by his uncle, who has followed him down. Abelt asks Ranhart what he’s doing, and Ranhart turns, addressing his uncle as Supreme Leader. Abelt appears to joke with Ranhart that it is embarrassing since he suspected Ranhart wanted that title for himself. Ranhart faces his uncle fully, not looking very amused, but Abelt chuckles.
[AMB]: While we see the tear fall, it doesn’t seem like Ranhart can sense it, just like Abelt last episode. It’s a tear of the heart, one he feels rather than sees. There can be truth lying hidden underneath that which is seen. That aside, it’s incredibly cheesy and awkward to see Abelt trying to joke around with his nephew about such heavy subjects as being the next dictator. And joking aside, he seems happily impressed with Ranhart finally facing his uncle with honesty.
[KC]: To be fair, Abelt is trying to bond with someone he sent into exile as a toddler because that toddler’s mother was trying to assassinate him. That is a pretty awkward family dynamic.
[AMB]: Even more awkward when Ranhart has to concede that he’s only alive because of his uncle in the first place.
Abelt suggests that if Teresa were a being that could be taken away, he would have to suspect that Ranhart came down to betray him. Ranhart chooses to be confrontational and asks Abelt why he came down alone, to which Abelt responds that it is likely the same reason Ranhart is here himself.
“Everyone uses something for emotional support,” Dessler explains. “Especially if that person has lived relying only on their own power. However, my support … ”
[KC]: Ooooooooh, is he gonna talk about Starsha?
[AMB]: The official translation is very stiff here so the message doesn’t quite come across, but she’s definitely the person he’s alluding to. The beautiful language used isn’t always conveyed as well as I’d like it to be – this instance being of particular note. Let me explain…
The “something for emotional support” part could easily be translated as “mental pillar of support” because it’s inferred by what he’s looking at, a literal pillar leading up to the emotional support of Teresa which Keyman engages with. The usage of the word “onore” (己; meaning I, oneself or my own) in the second part of the sentence does not lend itself to being easily translated as “their own power.” Power being derived from the kanji “力” (chikara), a word that means everything from capability to power to ability. So a person’s “力” doesn’t necessarily mean “power,” just the inherent abilities of the person.
Here’s a quick fix: “Especially those who can only rely on themselves.” It’s inferred that the power spoken of here is the inherent power of people who don’t have/won’t allow themselves emotional support, meaning they have to rely on themselves. Using the word “power” downgrades the message here, of how people who attach themselves to others for emotional strength are weakened as independent individuals once they lose these people. Just like Abelt after he lost the mental pillar of support called Starsha.
Abelt pauses momentarily, and we hear the beginning strings of Dessler’s Loneliness (titled Dessler’s Death on the 2202 OST) before he continues.
“She reached out a hand of salvation to the planet that we were attempting to remake from the ground up so we could migrate the people of Garmillas.”
We see Earth as it appeared after the bombings; brown and lifeless, an image of Starsha superimposed over it.
[AMB]: The midsection of Hiroshi Miyagawa’s Dessler’s Bolero from the Farewell to Yamato symphonic album re-emerges here. Suitably sad and devoid of hope, it was once called Dessler’s Death in the original Farewell music score due to the disgraced leader’s literal death. The name is now passed down to 2202’s official soundtrack. The meaning is different now, emphasizing more how the man Abelt Dessler used to be is “dead.” No matter what he does to make up for his sins going forward, he’s a dead man walking. The man probably wants to die.
[KC]: Oh yeah. We’re talking about Starsha.
[AMB]: And oh, does it hurt. Imagine having the person you love (Starsha) being tacitly complicit to the immoral actions you’ve taken (Abelt) to ensure peace in the universe. Then, the moment Abelt finds a suitable planet in order to fulfill his blood-bound duty of saving his people, Starsha suddenly decides to enforce her higher-than-thou morality complex on him (and his decades-long plan) by helping the one world he needs.
He can’t object or complain the way she does, and it inevitably leads to the invalidation of every harsh action he’s ever taken to unify the galaxy (for Starsha, according to him) and save his people. What was once just one or two vague phone calls with Starsha in 2199 becomes incredibly more interesting to rewatch, because we now know how Abelt felt back then – having to hold back his issues with her helping the Earthlings.
[KC]: Starsha has always intrigued me. Positioned as the benevolent goddess figure, she is clearly a human woman with her own motivations and flaws. I hope future series will give us a more in-depth look at her and Iscandar as they have with Abelt and Garmillas.
[AMB]: Her ideals are solid, but her execution has been questioned more than once for good reason. There’s no doubt she will come to the forefront in 2205. Maybe we’ll even get some more lore cleared up in the 2202 recap movie? We see Ranhart clearly sympathising with Abelt here, partially closing his eyes as if holding back tears. It seems like the “losing your emotional support” speech is getting to him. Whether he feels anguish over having lost his link to Yamato or his mother, he knows what this is like.
Ranhart makes reference to the Cosmo Reverse, but Dessler tells him that it is not all-powerful. Abelt shares his theory that it would be useless as a viable solution, since Garmillas is destined to die. He regrettably explains that he sought a new frontier, and with a slumped back states the obvious. Ranhart already knows how that turned out.
[AMB]: We also get some interesting CRS lore here! According to Abelt, the CRS can only “restore,” not “recreate.” True to its name, it merely restores the planet to a certain point, but that’s not a long-term solution. Earth was capable of being restored to its former glory, but that’s because it was artificially wounded by war. Garmillas’ death could be natural and inevitable, impossible to fix. This fact about the CRS may have been divulged to him in secret by Starsha when he was supposedly going to negotiate for it. As we all know, he’s had to come to terms with the fact that life is never that easy.
So, to avoid putting Starsha and Iscandar in harm’s way (as Gimleh outlined earlier), Abelt opted to walk the thorny path of galactic conquest to find a needle in a haystack; a new home. Carefully balancing between justice, peace, idealism and utilitarianism, he gave it everything only to lose it all. We never see the supreme leader’s strength falter as much as we do in this scene, where he can barely keep his back straight while his voice trails off into regret and despair.
We see a short flashback of him from 2199 where he rationalises to himself why he needed to fire the Dessler gun at Baleras. “At that time…what was I trying to destroy?”
[AMB]: Now THIS is what I’ve been waiting for! This moment back in 2199’s 23rd episode has been a big open secret for so many years. In case some of you don’t recall, it was at this moment that Welte Talan entered the bridge of the Deusuler II to ask what madness had caused Abelt’s desire to fire the Dessler gun at Yamato (at the cost of Baleras). This scene mirrored Hyss questioning Dessler at the end of original Yamato.
In 2199 he says, ”This is a rite of passage. Baleras and Yamato will be annihilated together. And this noble sacrifice will give rise to the rebirth of Garmillas.” He goes on to declare that they’ll land on Iscandar and that Second Baleras will become the new Baleras. “This new Baleras will be a bridge between Iscandar and Garmillas!”
The gun charges up. “Focus the energy so that it strikes Yamato alone.”
Welte begs him to consider the lives of his people as the countdown begins. But he calmly, with a saddened expression states, ”That’s why I must do it myself. I must be the one to commit the sin, of sacrificing the noble Garmillan lives for the future of Great Garmillas. I shall live with that sin forever.” This is the flashback we see when Abelt questions what he was trying to destroy. It’s a question that not only plagued the audience but surely Harutoshi Fukui as well based on the interviews we linked in last episode’s commentary.
My take? While Gimleh’s Baleras Tower story is sure to be true, he couldn’t know Abelt’s motivation in the moment this happened. And it seems Abelt doesn’t either. Burdened with Garmillas’ fate since he was young, he now realizes that he wasn’t trying to destroy Yamato on that fateful day, but instead the burden he’d carried on his back. Yamato was only a result of the injustices committed by Garmillas. What tortured Abelt the most was how his own people and blood and planet kept him from living the life he wanted.
In other words, he was trying to destroy his responsibilities in a mercy kill, taking out his frustrations at the phallic symbol of Baleras Tower which he’d had to outmaneuver to protect Starsha his entire life. He knew deep down that he’d never be allowed to meet Starsha afterward, but he also knew Yamato would win this conflict if he didn’t interfere. Two birds, one stone. All at the cost of his own future and that of his people. That’s what he was trying to destroy.
The music swells behind him. It’s as if Ranhart can hear it and has become as moved as us, for he speaks his uncle’s family name and title in a soft voice, almost reverently. But Abelt (back turned) is not interested in his reverence or his sympathy. He goes on to say that whatever his reasons, he still got a large number of Garmillas citizens caught up in it; a sin that he can never atone for, no matter how hard he tries.
[KC]: Oh, Abelt … Okay, so maybe he didn’t wax poetically about his unrequited love, but we got more cellos, we got angst. I’m real, real happy with the way this retcon is going.
[AMB]: Just to reiterate, I personally still don’t see it as a retcon. Nothing’s changed, details have just been added to events in 2199, case in point being Abelt’s reflection on why he did what he did. Whether it’s the original saga or the reboot saga, Dessler inevitably goes through the process of remorse, this time without a clear answer. His admittance of fault and how nothing will restore the lives lost is a mature take that does nothing to defy canon.
[KC]: I have no issue with folks viewing this as a continuation of the same story; I only use the term because it has been established that this wasn’t the original intent. The writers of 2199 did not intend for all of Dessler’s callous disregard for his people to really be his discovery and thwarting of a secret plot against the woman he loves, so in that way what is being revealed here fits the definition of a retcon pretty well.
[AMB]: The secret plot thing is still up for debate. What we do know from 2199 is that Abelt had some grand plan for the relocation of Garmillas to Iscandar, that he used Gimleh to unearth all potential dissenters (violent and non-violent, like Zoellick and Deitz) and that he loved Starsha and fought to bring her “peace to all the planets.” Nothing in 2202 retcons these facts established in the past, since Abelt’s motives (his love for Starsha aside) weren’t really delved into – until now. The Baleras Tower plot point adds to the narrative. It doesn’t change the narrative, since Abelt’s reasons were ambiguous to start with.
Dessler turns to look at his nephew and tells him that if the people of Garmillas want a Dessler again in the future, it will be Ranhart. The boy is shocked, then troubled, and begs his uncle’s forgiveness as he rushes back to his ship.
[AMB]: Impeccable BGM timing, stellar voice performances and a curious conundrum brought to the forefront; this scene exemplifies all the things 2202 is best at. Carefully peeling off the layers of new and old characters alike, using both the past and present sagas as a backbone, it asks questions and leaves things up to us until at least the next installment. On its own, it explains Abelt’s reaction to Gimleh’s armed insurrection plot, showing us that he feels he’s already used his chance to do right.
He doesn’t want to take more of his people’s lives, so if his nephew feels he can do a better job he has the chance to step up. But only if the people want him. He stares the young boy down without flinching, making him feel the pressure of being a dictator who aimed to do good. And Klaus crumbles. Watching Ranhart’s back, Abelt sees the boy choosing to not follow the family tradition – a choice Abelt was never able to make. This scene is why I don’t like the speculation floating around in the western fanbase of Dessler just returning home in 2205 and being greeted with fanfare. It won’t happen, he doesn’t even want it.
[KC]: Well, in the original New Voyage there is no one left on Gamilas. He returns home for a last look at the planet and finds someone strip-mining it. And in Series 3 he rescues his ancestral people from another evil empire. But here and now, Garmillas seems to be doing okay. Aside from having a handful of decades left before it’s incapable of sustaining life, anyway. So while I do think that the people might be grateful enough to let him stay in charge should he find a solution, he is not even going back until he finds a solution.
[AMB]: On that we are in full agreement!
Dessler watches Ranhart go, his expression unreadable, when Teresa abruptly speaks up behind him.
“In your heart there is always someone other than you,” she informs him. ”You continue to treasure that someone more than yourself.” As she speaks, brightly colored flowers of many different varieties spring to life around them. “For as long as you have that feeling, you are qualified to lead your people.”
Dessler turns back to look at the glowing orb, his hands on his hips. Then he lets slip a throaty laugh, commenting that she has a lot to say about things no one’s asked her. With a toss of his cape he exits the chamber as well, flower petals fluttering at the cape’s gust of wind, suspending themselves in the Telezarium.
[AMB]: That someone else isn’t Ranhart, it’s Starsha. As long as that love guides his decisions, he’ll always be qualified to lead his people.
[KC]: And just like that we got The Real Dessler back and all was right in the universe.
[AMB]: We sure did! His love for Starsha is strong enough to create new life, flowers and light. Finally rejecting easy solutions like firing the Dessler gun at his own people or using Teresa as a bargaining chip against Gatlantis, he departs knowing full well what Klaus has decided to do. At first rejecting this metaphorical God, he now just laughs at the irony of how things might just work out if you follow your heart in the first place. Defeatist pessimism defeated.
We see Yamato and Yuki working in the Med Bay as Teresa muses aloud; “It seems all the bonds are in place.” Yuki turns with a start, having finally heard Teresa’s voice.
[AMB]: It’s a small moment, but one worth dwelling on. Having felt excluded earlier in the story since no dead spirit came to tell her to board Yamato through Teresa, (not even Norran) she finally hears the Goddess’ voice herself. The inception for Yamato’s journey this time came from Teresa’s message, but Yuki went of her own accord for Kodai and for what was the right thing to do. This makes her brand of love exceptional, even aboard this ship, and that love has now been acknowledged by Teresa.
At the Garmillas Embassy on Earth’s moon, Ambassador Varel is telling Secretary Hyss they have received word from “Lieutenant Keyman” that the man plotting to reinstate the Dessler regime is Haidom Gimleh, former Director-General of the Imperial Guard. Hyss is just as surprised as anyone that Gimleh still lives, and Varel swears on the honor of the Security and Intelligence Bureau that Gimleh will be arrested.
[AMB]: The Security and Intelligence Bureau is in many ways the successor of Gimleh’s Imperial Guard, so I can definitely see the personal motivation Varel feels for bringing Gimleh down. Worth noting is that Hyss’ full title is “Secretary of the Internal Ministry.” According to the character profiles, he’s currently a lead figure in Garmillas’ continued expansionist policy, which could potentially pit him politically against the nation’s democrats.
[KC]: Thank you, Gimleh, for giving up any possible likeability as a character so that all the truly heinous, fascist stuff that happened in 2199 can be blamed on you, or this retcon plot you outlined earlier. Your noble sacrifice so that Dessler can eventually become friends with Kodai will not be forgotten.
[AMB]: To me, his earlier expository moment makes him (and Abelt) a lot more likeable than in 2199. Because keep in mind, Hyss and Varel don’t know the why’s of what happened the same way Ranhart does, and Varel won’t find out until… seven more episodes. Gimleh was essentially outed as being a utilitarian who took Abelt’s sins on his own back for the sake of Garmillas’ future, having maintained the blood oath secret since Abelt disappeared. That takes some guts (others’ guts, mostly).
Gimleh won’t actually be arrested for the war crimes of the past. For all we know, he’s currently being apprehended for his planned uprising, seeing as that goes against Garmillan democracy. Even if he was tried for war crimes, everyone in the cabinet who served under Dessler’s orders would have to go, from Hyss to Deitz to Elisa Domel. Yet they’re all still in government, (as we’ll see later) despite having been complicit with the great Garmillas Empire’s intergalactic policies. It would be hypocritical for both Abelt and the democratic cabinet to pin all sins on one man (who was just a self-aware tool) and just move on, as political parties do to avoid mutual responsibility.
[KC]: Much like his predecessor, Abelt seems pretty willing to shoulder that responsibility himself.
In the cockpit of his white Czvarke, Klaus/Ranhart again holds the device that can activate or deactivate the Wave-Motion Engine. He remembers what Teresa told him about following his emotions and thumbs the device on. We see Tokugawa on Yamato move back in surprise as the engine suddenly springs to life again. Then we see a Garmilloid fall to the ground. electricity coursing through it, as Klaus frees his friends from Abelt’s jail.
[AMB]: From plot twists to political drama to exhilarating spy thriller, this episode has quite the dramatic curve! And as if harkening back to that moment in Episode 13 where Keyman urged Yamato’s crew to fire the WMG as one, they play the same BGM (Dogfight) for the second and last time this series, musically telling us he’s accepting his bond with Yamato. Again, he proves that the success of this journey would have been impossible without him.
Saito immediately lunges for Keyman, asking him what he thinks he’s doing. Kodai intervenes, asking Klaus what he – or rather they – should believe. Klaus tells him to believe nothing, there being no truth to the words of an undercover operative. He takes the guard’s gun, explaining to Kodai and the others that he has been working for Garmillas Intelligence as an Internal Investigations Officer. They are going back to Yamato and if they’re going to kill him they should do it later.
[AMB]: Before Klaus can sacrifice good people for personal vendettas or political motivations (just like his uncle did in the past), he frees them all at the potential cost of his life – definitely at the cost of his career – by dropping his cover. This reveal has been discussed between us before, so the only thing left to add is that in this moment Saito is as much Zordar as he is himself. In spite of everything, Kodai doesn’t want to start a fight, showing us how following emotions can be blessings in disguise.
On Telezart, Talan informs Dessler that “Master Ranhart” released all the Earthlings back on the Neu Deusuler while they were down here. “Let him do as he pleases,” Dessler tells him. “Yamato, too.”
Tokugawa is reporting to Captain Hijikata that the engines are somehow simply back on line. He still doesn’t know how or why and he doesn’t necessarily think it’s a good thing, suggesting that perhaps they abandon ship. Hijikata says no and orders Shima to prepare for launch. Shima is a bit shaken, asking Tokugawa for guidance. The old man, frustrated, yells at Shima to do as he wishes and he smiles, grabbing the steering wheel.
[AMB]: I love the implication here that Abelt came down to the Telezarium with Talan, leaving him in the metaphorical car. Small details like that and the fact that he already calls Ranhart “Master” (sama = meaning someone of higher stature) is very sweet.
[KC]: “Released all the Earthlings,” heh. Like they’re a cage full of hamsters.
[AMB]: I don’t think we have to harp on about why Abelt lets Klaus leave with Yamato and its crew after the last scene, so I’ll just say it makes me happy to hear him openly letting them go. Abelt’s vocal performance tells me he’s smiling as he says this, but the camera angle doesn’t show it. Cheeky directors. For those who wonder why Abelt didn’t seize Yamato’s bridge, your answer was given in his talk with Klaus. He always intended to let every party involved make their own choices, for the obvious reason that he never had a fair chance of doing so himself in the past.
As the Yamato gang makes their way through Neu Deusuler, Klaus explains how Ambassador Varel has a history in the Intelligence department and favors a democratic government for Garmillas. Klaus had been working for him to unmask the mastermind responsible for plotting and scheming in the shadows to bring back the Dessler regime.
“But you’re from the Dessler family,” Kodai points out as they exchange fire with Garmilloid soldiers. Klaus explains that is exactly why; he wants Garmillas to become a true democracy. This is the least he can do as the next heir to a family of dictators.
[AMB]: I’d never thought too deeply about it, but it makes sense that Varel has been active in his department for a long time. Meaning he’s been active during Gimleh’s time as leader of the Imperial Guard, giving off the implication that there might be more than just bad blood politically between the two.
[KC]: Now, now, KLAUS. We all saw how quickly you warmed up to The Caped Charisma. Let’s not be too hasty.
[AMB]: Hasty about rejecting his right of leadership you mean? While true, it’s a scary thought to have the future of your galaxy resting on your shoulders. As Abelt said, should the people want a Dessler, it should be Ranhart. Not necessarily because he has a right to lead, but because of the people’s choice. And his own.
[KC]: Hasty about condemning his uncle, who I am now fond of. Plenty of my commentary is inserted while my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek.
[AMB]: I see! Also, on a completely different note Fukui (as mentioned before) wrote the original Gundam Unicorn novels. In that story, the grandchild of a family of dictators (Mineva Zabi) tries to right the wrongs of her family of dictators by pushing for pacifism and democracy. Sound familiar? This story takes that concept in a very different direction with Ranhalt, though it did throw me for a loop once I came to this realisation.
Kodai follows the logic of the reason why Klaus came aboard and led them toward Telezart, but Klaus finishes his sentence for him, confirming it; to win the trust of the Dessler remnants and get close to their hidden mastermind. Klaus tells them that he succeeded, but did not expect to also run into Dessler himself. Kodai asks why Klaus doesn’t go with him, considering the fate of Garmillas. Klaus tells him “Oh, yes. That was an option, too.” And after a brief pause, he shares with them what the Goddess Teresa told him with a smile; “Don’t think. Do what you feel.”
[AMB]: The rational path would be to sacrifice the few for the many, or even to sacrifice many others for the sake of the few that remain of his own race. But that feels wrong, so he pushes against it and chooses to remain on Yamato, the ship that gathers people under the banner of great harmony. The temptation was strong, but he rejected the simple solution. He even acknowledges Teresa as a “Goddess” here, perhaps alluding to his becoming religious after such a… well, religious experience. Or maybe he was religious to start with, seeing as Garmillas worship Iscandar as a holy land? In any case, he’s open to the idea of the existence of God/s.
Aihara on Yamato’s bridge receives a call from Sanada, saying they’re all safe. With Saito and Nagakura providing cover, Sanada and Kodai take command of a shuttle craft and are guided out of the hangar bay by Klaus. Kodai salutes him and Klaus responds with both the Garmillas salute and then the Yamato version. (Awww, yeah!) Then he climbs into his own cockpit to leave – but is shot by Miru.
[AMB]: As if the point wasn’t hammered home yet, Klaus is now at heart with both Yamato and Garmillas. A sweet gesture. Just like this young man made his own choice, we see Miru choose the path of pulling the trigger, a concept we’ll return to in a few episodes where Klaus will be put in the same situation. Clear emphasis is put on Miru’s Gatlantis gun at the moment, making repeat viewings that much more fun when dissecting the series as a whole once you consider the revelations of episodes 22 and 23.
Yamato takes off while Miru monologues at a gravely injured Keyman, telling him “You also chose to do something quite unexpected,” and how “That impulsiveness and emotionality [of his unexpected choice] will destroy the universe.” Klaus cites that following his emotions is what gives him certain opportunities, then sets off explosions in the hangar that catch Miru off guard, screaming “Damn you!” (or “kisama,” a word we discussed last episode as having different meanings depending on which generation uses it.)
[AMB]: For obvious reasons, Miru shot him close to the heart. A striking revolt against Teresa’s principle of following your heart – your feelings. The heirs of Zordar and Abelt have a clash of ideals and morality, one choosing to shoot before it’s too late and the other choosing to give less seemingly viable options (like following your heart) a chance. As we all know, both Abelt and Zordar were hurt immensely by following their heart. Now it leads to people choosing to save the few for the sake of the many. Miru argues that Abelt’s choice was unexpected, as was Keyman’s, because they’re infected with the poison called emotion. And yet… It’s because of emotion that Miru shoots Keyman. Keep this in mind going forward.
En route back to Neu Deusuler, Talan nervously asks a rather serene looking Dessler if he’s fine with the hangar bay erupting in explosions. Moments later, Keyman’s Czvarke comes flying out, Klaus clearly wounded but determined.
[KC]: This poor Talan probably hasn’t been back with Dessler a week and already his blood pressure is spiking.
[AMB]: Japanese Snickers collaboration with Talan when? Jokes aside, it’s a lovely moment.
Kodai contacts Aihara to let him know that they’ve lost track of Keyman’s plane and need Yamato to trace it. The bridge informs them that Klaus performed a sudden dive and his signal was lost to them as well, but Yamamoto is en route to investigate.
[AMB]: Keen viewers will have noticed by now that the sky of Telezart has been a completely static background for the past two episodes. A beautiful background, but static nonetheless. It’s another visual hint at the planet’s phantom nature.
As he lands heavily on the surface of the ocean, Klaus wonders if this is the end for him. “I was alone,” he thinks to himself. “Alone, I could do anything.” He leaves a trail of blood as he climbs out of the cockpit of his sinking plane. “But now … ” He has a vision of his mother and calls out to her as he sinks below the waves. “One more time.”
[AMB]: This is a most fitting moment to play the Akira Miyagawa’s original BGM Lonely Dessler. Having been alone (without love) since the death of his mother, he tells her that he’ll see her once again very soon. Significantly, the flashback of his mother looks almost exactly like Akira Yamamoto.
“I’ll save him. No matter what!” Yamamoto affirms to herself in the cockpit of her Cosmo Tiger I. Then she spots him and flies in close, the plane twisting like origami and stopping so she can pull him from the ocean. She radios ahead to Yamato that she has him and to have a medical team on standby.
[KC]: I referenced this in an earlier commentary and here we are; not that I really want to dwell on how much Yamamoto looks like Keyman’s mom, but it’s clearly a thing.
[AMB]: Whoops, I already did… In that case, this lonely Dessler isn’t so alone anymore. Because he acted with his feelings rather than only on what seems rational, he was shot and is currently bleeding out as he sinks. But because he did, he’s gained love and trust from others who are on their way to save him, rewarding his love with more love. It can be scary to rely on others, but also oh so rewarding.
At that moment, a burst of energy comes from the Telezarium, encompassing the planet as it dissipates. Shima asks what’s going on, and as Yuki walks onto the bridge she gasps, clearly experiencing something as she speaks Teresa’s name aloud. Hijikata asks her what’s wrong and she tells him that she heard Teresa say, “Don’t forget.”
[AMB]: Don’t forget – or “never forget” in this context, what it means to feel rather than think; what it means to act on your feelings aboard the ship of great harmony which will help correct the course of this universe. Given what’s coming up in terms of Yuki’s own memories, Teresa could also be telling her personally that she shouldn’t forget what she’s felt aboard Yamato.
In the glowing orb below them, Teresa appears once again in prayer. “Farewell, everyone,” she says. “I will return to where I belong, and I will continue to pray. However, I do not pray for any particular planet, or particular people.”
Back on his bridge, Dessler lowers his head and smiles, accepting that Teresa was not something that he could hold onto as a bargaining chip even if he wanted to; an unobtainable power. Then we see Miru, sitting in a hallway, clearly in extreme distress as the message of Teresa is broadcast to him as well.
[AMB]: Teresa’s image retreats to her dimension via the Telezarium, taking the living image of Telezart with her. She said what needed to be said to the people she called, and did what needed to be done. Dessler seems amused at how she says she won’t be praying for any particular person, something he knows through harsh experience.
“Planet and planet. Time and time. And, person and person. The field of life held together with bonds.”
Kodai and the others return to Yamato and are greeted by a delighted Yuki, who hasn’t looked this happy in a long time, much to Kodai’s surprise.
[AMB]: Love is what ultimately saved both Klaus and Kodai, Nagakura and Saito. Yuki no longer feels insecure about her former lack of connection to Teresa and life’s generally good. Seeing Kodai’s surprised expression warms the heart, doesn’t it?
Yamamoto helps Keyman off her plane and toward a stretcher as the group from Telezart and some of the other pilots look on.
“The power that supports this universe,” Teresa continues. Miru, standing now, staggers down the hallway, appearing on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
“What is this?” He asks, and we realize that Teresa is showing him the bonds between Yamato’s crew, forcing him to experience the emotion between them. “This is – ” He sees another vision of the group, turning as if to look at him, and he backs against the wall, barely holding it together. “This is Teresa’s …” He begins a thought, but does not finish it as Teresa continues.
“Entrusting my wishes to the ship of great harmony, I will continue to pray.”
[AMB]: Miru, affected by both Teresa’s cosmo wave and the adrenaline rush of having survived Keyman’s explosive escape, sees something via his cosmo wave; feels it directly. He feels the Yamato crew’s joy of reciprocating love, but he also sees through the eyes of Saito, the ship’s Gatlantean puppet. The thought he’s trying to finish must be “This is Teresa’s voice,” or “cosmo wave,” and hearing it will have a profound effect on him a few episodes down the line.
Klaus looks so relived at not being instantly murdered by the people he’d betrayed. It’s very wholesome. At this stage during the first viewing, we didn’t know quite what was happening between Zordar and Saito, but scrutinizing this sequence made it evident that Miru was seeing through someone else’s eyes, either Saito or Nagakura. That’s when we began to suspect the awful truth. Confirmation would still be several episodes away.
As Yamato sails off, Telezart vanishes. On the bridge, Kodai and Yuki clasp hands, Yuki wearing her engagement ring again. “Bonds. The love of the universe, huh?” Kodai says. In the Medical Bay, Yamamoto sits at Keyman’s bedside.
In space, Dessler and his fleet begin to head out toward the Large Magellanic Cloud, back to Garmillas. Dessler sees Yamato departing in the opposite direction and smiles to himself. “This is fine, too,” he says, presuming himself to be alone. Behind him, in the doorway, Miru looks on with a bitter expression.
[AMB]: Goodbye planet Phantom- I mean, Telezart. Despite the image of Telezart itself vanishing, we can still see a small gap in the universe where Telezart can presumably emerge from whenever necessary. This is partially confirmed in the next episode, where Zordar states that Telezart is still there, just invisible to them.
[KC]: Well, they did it, Your Majesty. They made you adorable. I’ll be eating leftover crow for ages.
[AMB]: Yes! Though it would do him good to put a lid on his sentimentality, especially in front of his second successor Miru. Then we have Yuki and Kodai’s relationship finally mended! Having thought about it, giving him her biggest smile, she once again decided to commit and believe in them by wearing her engagement ring. At the end of the day, Teresa shows us what can happen when we do as she does, praying that things will turn out all right even if the odds are against us. And so that’s what Yamato will do.
Returning to Yamato’s bridge, Hijikata addresses the crew with dreadful gravitas. “We were entrusted with a prayer. We must stop Gatlantis. For all life in this universe. Reverse course. Full speed on both sides. Yamato, take off for Earth!”
[AMB]: What a splendid conclusion, yet tinged with severity for what’s to come. The mental strain of having to comprehend the great duty Yamato now has, not only as a representative of Earth but as the guardians of the universe… you can tell Hijikata’s trying his best not to panic with that closeup shot of his strained closed eyes. But they flash open, completely determined to see the truth of the world! Any closing thoughts, Kathy?
[KC]: Making Dessler into a sympathetic character was something they saved for the final reveal in the original series. Now that they have played that card I am very interested to see where else they’re going with this story!
Theatrical release: Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love Chapter 5: Purgatory Chapter contained episodes 15-18. It premiered in Japanese theaters May 25, 2018.
Japanese video: Theater-exclusive Blu-ray May 25, 2018. Standard Blu-ray & DVD June 22, 2018
First Japanese TV broadcast: January 18, 2019
American debut: February 16, 2019 (streaming) November 26, 2019 (home video)
The end title Youranka [Lullaby] is performed by Arima Shino.
Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 16.
Episode Director: Yutaka Kawasaki
Storyboard: Noboru Jitsuhara
Animation Directors: Akitoshi Maeda, Masahiro Yamane
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