Yamato 2202 Episode 17 commentary

Episode 17: Naval battle off Saturn’s shore – Assemble the Wave-Motion Gun fleet!

by Kathy Clarkson, Anton Mei Brandt and Daniel George

United Nations Cosmo Fleet Command Headquarters, present day. Three battleships take off into space as a strategy meeting takes place between the commanding officers of the Cosmo Navy: Heikuro Todo, executive officer Kotetsu Serizawa and three familiar Garmillan and Earth officials. Observing holographic data of the White Comet, Serizawa lays out that Gatlantis has been making curious military moves in the past days, engaging UNCF forces with hit and run attacks in the solar system. Pluto, Neptune and the asteroid belt are of particular note. “This is clearly a diversion,” Serizawa states with conviction, concluding that Gatlantis is preparing a large-scale invasion of Earth.

[AMB]: In the original Series 2, Pluto, Neptune and Uranus were where the EDF had their fleets stationed in the solar system. The “asteroid belt” mentioned refers to the large ring of asteroids orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. We saw the Jupiter portion of this asteroid belt very briefly back in Episodes 4 and 5 where Yamanami’s Andromeda fleet was engaging in training exercises.

To prove his Earth invasion theory, Serizawa lets the hologram show what it was intended to; the white comet warping. The three civilian officials are shocked, trembling as they question how an object the size of Jupiter can perform a warp, when it warped into the solar system and whether or not Gatlantis is willing to engage in diplomacy.

Citing witness accounts from the refugees of Planet 11 currently being kept on the Moon, Serizawa bluntly states that Gatlantis’ only goal is destruction and that the concept of conquering other nations to expand their power simply doesn’t exist in Gatlantean culture.

[AMB]: In just a second, Serizawa will start talking about uniting the public and private sector, something we’ve seen in both past and present history. Whether it was the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany in preparation for WWII or Edward Snowden’s reveal of the NSA (public) cooperating with tech companies (private) to close up cyber loopholes, it’s something that still goes on today both behind the scenes and very openly. It’s a tool which can bring about both disaster and blessings, usually at great economic costs. In this case, the cooperation will at least help stall for time.

[KC]: Serizawa is in Worst-Case-Scenario Mode as usual, but he happens to be absolutely correct.

The officials sigh in unison, realising what Serizawa is about to say; fighting is unavoidable. In preparation for the coming battle, the Time Fault is producing ships and armaments at max capacity, though it isn’t guaranteed that the numbers will be an even match for Gatlantis by the time the invasion begins. He asks them to temporarily unite the government and the people (meaning the public and private sectors) to help boost the Time Fault’s production quality and efficiency. As he speaks, an image of the UNCF reinforcement unit near the Moon is shown, which includes the Andromeda.

[AMB]: Pinch me if I’m reaching, but I just had a thought. As if purposefully making us think back on the Iraq war, head writer Fukui has Serizawa playing up a dire situation (such as 9/11) to gain the funds necessary (an allegorical Patriot act) to combat an intergalactic threat (Al-Qaida). It’s part of a narrative ruse where we’re meant to start thinking this man’s got a thing for military fascism and that he’s setting up a post-war world where the military’s on top. Episode 21 will clear this up by showing us how he’s just rational to a fault, a clever subversion of not only this cultural meme, but of Serizawa’s character in history.

[KC]: I am also reminded of the conspiracy theory regarding American Intelligence knowing about the planned Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and allowing it to proceed as a means of entering WWII. Of course, this show tends to remind me of WWII for a lot of reasons. And actual historians overwhelmingly reject the Pearl Harbor theory. And you were talking about the actual Serizawa.

[AMB]: Yes, historically, Serizawa was a large, boisterous man who was at one point in charge of the Shinsengumi, the military police after which many Yamato characters were named. He had an imposing figure, yelling and drinking a lot. But deep underneath he had a soft heart that gave him the ability to create surprisingly beautiful poetry and drawings for children.

In Yamato 2199, the staff clearly went for the superficial “Sonno-Joi” take of his historical counterpart (Sonno-joi meaning “Revere the Emperor/expel the foreigners”) which was at the core of historical Serizawa’s idealism. In 2202 however, they delve deeper into his more secretly soft parts in brief moments that hit harder when we’re forced to combat our own prejudiced ideas of the man after we saw him relaying orders from “the military” in 2199.

Serizawa cements the fact that the Wave-Motion Gun fleet has been subject to both internal and external criticism, but its true value will be tested at this critical juncture, words which prompt a grave reaction from Todo as he raises his head up high. “In the war with Garmillas,” he says, “we humans of Earth stood on the brink of extinction. Not this time around. Time is running out. We must take immediate action. Or this time, mankind will…” His voice trails off, his belief clear as day. If mankind won’t take a united stand, we will all collectively fall.

[AMB]: Both Todo and Serizawa get some stellar character work here. Formerly part of the same military bureaucracy which evoked the allegorical Sonno-Joi belief, the latter chooses to ask Earthlings and Garmillons alike for help with the war effort, to save all of mankind. Todo’s having trouble ascertaining Serizawa’s motives, but takes a leap of faith.

The understated arc these two characters share is slow, methodical and drenched in purpose. It gives Serizawa the perfect opportunity to show allies, enemies and audiences alike that he’s always had mankind’s survival as his primary goal, yet like Gimleh he’s rational to a fault. The military administration he was part of helped bring about the UNCF’s 8-year long war with Garmillas, and he won’t repeat the same folly. At the same time, Todo has a backup plan…

Before Serizawa can finish his sentence, we cut to the Time Fault. Inside a newly built Dreadnought-class ship called Laboratory Prometheus, we’re reunited with three of the Yamato veterans left behind on Earth: Kaoru Niimi, Mikage Kiryuu, and Shou Yamazaki. As we’ll later come to understand, work is underway connecting the “Cosmo Reverse Amplification System” to the new battleship BBY-003 Ginga [Galaxy].

This is done by refitting it with the ship’s Wave-Motion Reactor Core’s amplifier. As Yamazaki and Kiryu slave away in their anti-radiation suits, Niimi states that this system will be the foundation for mankind’s survival. In the Captain’s seat, we see Saki Todo, the soon-to-be-revealed daughter of Heikuro Todo. “We have to complete it,” she states, “before… they come.”

[AMB]: Seamlessly cutting from one faction’s bet on survival (Serizawa’s WMG fleet) to another’s (Todo’s Ginga crew) as Serizawa’s voice trails off, we see the foundation for what’s to become the largest moral quandary of the next chapter; Regeneration (Episodes 19 – 22). The Ginga crew teased here act as something of a failsafe for Earthling survival, but with details forthcoming I’ll keep this short.

What’s to come is to be a struggle between fighting to maintain our way of life at great risk (WMG fleet) versus running away to survive at a great cost (Ginga crew). Serizawa’s faction ironically mirrors Yamato’s actions in 2199 by attempting the former, and Todo’s faction mirrors the Izumo Plan by attempting the latter. Living versus surviving. And what needs to be completed before Gatlantis arrives? The Yamato-class Ginga, along with its CRS-based amplifier system.

Meanwhile, Yamato finishes warping just at the border where it’s possible to receive data from UNCF HQ on Earth. Ordered by Hijikata, Aihara patches the data through for analysis, seeing as the UNCF might have information on the White Comet’s current whereabouts. There will be three more days of warping for Yamato before they can talk live with HQ, so Hijikata orders Yuki to deliver all private messages sent by the crew’s family members. Yuki happily obliges as the bridge cheers with joy.

[AMB]: Technology may have advanced rapidly from the last series, but long-distance communication with Earth is still a hassle. Had this show been any longer, we might have gotten some extended insight on the messages sent to our crew by family and loved ones, though at the cost of pacing. A certain pilot does get a spotlight however…

An exhausted Tokugawa stares at the stable engine readings, but is nonetheless happy with the news. He tells Hijikata he’ll head down to check on the engine, dragging himself off the bridge. Shima sympathises with the old man, informing us that they’ve warped five times today in spite of the three-times-a-day limit. Ota adds that the Anti-Wave-Motion lattice is still infecting Yamato’s engine and is therefore a great source of stress for Tokugawa in particular.

According to Sanada, Klaus Keyman is cooperating with efforts to remove the lattice, but it ain’t easy. Kodai asks where he is, and Sanada tells him he willingly confined himself in solitary once he was done helping with the engine.

[KC]: Keyman is also cooperating with efforts to remove the stain on the name of Dessler by doubling down on noble gestures. Not only do I think this is an interesting angle for the character to take, it’s also a great callback to Dessler being incarcerated by Sabera in Yamato 2.

[AMB]: Bit by bit, he’s set to take most of Abelt’s spotlight moments from the original series, at a tremendous cost just like his uncle. First, he flipped the incarcerated role with Touko back in Episode 12/13 and now he’s joined her in confinement. Unlike her original counterpart, she’s chosen not to set up Keyman (our original Dessler stand in), since she’s much more interested in watching Kodai suffer.

Talking between the 1st and 2nd cells are a wounded Klaus and a very gloomy Katsuragi. Touko emphatically mentions how repeated warps affect the wounded more heavily, then goes on to lambast him for willingly staying locked up instead of seeking medical attention. She smiles, telling him it’s stupid.

“I’m a traitor,” he says.

“The one you betrayed was Dessler, wasn’t it?” she replies. He gasps, shocked by the fact that she knows this.

[AMB]: Saying one thing and meaning another, Touko’s like the worst-best mom one could ask for. We then follow up on a major plot thread between these two; Touko’s proclamation that Klaus would come to betray Yamato. But the boy proved her wrong, and that’s why she consoles him by mentioning that Abelt was the one he betrayed. And how does she know this? Because of her re-established Cosmowave communication with Miru, who was recently let out of his Akerian crystal prison. 

Touko asks why he didn’t leave with his uncle, telling him she knows all about Dessler. How “That man used to have a cold strength that didn’t recognise people as people, just as you do.” Lightly caressing her own hand, she continues. “It was a strength that would let him kill others, or himself, if necessary. It’s that part of you that I…,” she affectionately reaches out to the wall separating the two, but is cut off.

[AMB]: Self-sacrifice hits close at home for Touko emotionally, and we’ll find out why in a few episodes. In the past, Zordar sacrificed everything he had for the original Sabera, only to end up betrayed by the ones he bargained with. That love clearly left a mark on her as she died, passing on to her clones like Touko (who, for all intents and purposes, have completely become the original). In essence, Klaus used to remind her of young Zordar, as did Abelt.

Somewhere between Miru and Zordar lies Keyman, resembling both her child and her lover. Which only gets more complex if you subscribe to my theory that the current Gairen used to be the Zordar which Sabera loved. And the current Zordar is the result of a new clone Miru following the original Miru’s death in original Sabera’s hands, currently replacing Gairen as original Zordar. (Sorry if your eyes just crossed while reading that.)

[KC]: This time around, Sabera’s connection to Dessler is all second hand, unfortunately, so we get more expository dialogue than the two of them trying to out snark each other. But it also sets her up as a far, far more sympathetic character.

[AMB]: Her obsessive love for Zordar is definitely better handled here than in Yamato 2, that’s for sure.

“I heard my mother’s voice then… even though I haven’t dreamed of her for years now,” Klaus says warmly, sitting up from the bed with a smile. “But the one who was there wasn’t my mother, it was Akira Yamamoto of Yamato.” Responding cheekily in a motherly fashion, Touko asks if he was disappointed. But he wasn’t. Touko’s taken aback by this response as he continues. “For no good reason, I was happy. I thought this might be one of the bonds Teresa spoke of.”

Asking him what he means by bonds, Klaus explains: “That’s what she calls the ties between people, apparently. A connection… love… there are many names for it, but I feel like I’ve found it here on this ship.” Hearing this outside his cell is none other than Akira, lovingly clutching at her chest with a smile as she turns away. “How very human. That’s an irresponsible and selfish thing to say,” Touko adds, continuing. “When that love is the source of humanity’s misfortune.”

[AMB]: Children seek their loving parents in new partners, since loving parents once showed them unconditional love that they’ll be forever bound by even after their parents are gone. Klaus sees this as the work of bonds, connecting us to the best outcomes of the future like Akira is to him. But Touko sees this as a curse. A curse she herself is experiencing with Keyman, who she’s drawn to because he reminds her of both her son and former partner’s best qualities.

Irresponsible and irrational, humans let their love cloud their judgement as they submit to fate, or in this instance “bonds.” She also prefaces the beautiful tragedy of Keyman’s future sacrifice for Akira, one he wouldn’t have made had he not experienced love to the nth degree. It’s a sacrifice Akira will have to live with for the rest of her life.

We cut to the planet bomb syndrome treatment center on the Moon, as one of those tragedies caused by love starts to bloom. Having been taken to the highest peak at the center, Tsubasa Kato is suffering. His mother Makoto gently holds his tiny hand, telling him his Dad’s coming home soon. Tsubasa’s struggling to the point where he’s unresponsive. With tears in her eyes, Makoto tells him to make his dad carry him on his shoulders when he gets home. He’ll say “Boy, you’ve gotten so big! Surprise him,” she says, before bursting into tears.

On Yamato, Kato’s taking out his frustrations on a punching bag in the workout room. Sweat and tears fall down his body as he laments the cruelty of a 2-year old boy suffering such an illness, begging for some higher power to help his son. Listening in is Saito, acting as Zordar’s eyes and ears.

[KC]: This scene is pretty brutal, but the tremendous emotional impact is important for what’s to come later.

[AMB]: The fluidity of his punches hit harder than steel. One might wonder where this sudden anguish came from, but it’s an easy question to answer. Earlier, the crew received private messages from Earth in a batch. Instead of showing us Kato’s live reaction to his (from Makato), we see him breaking down after the fact. There’s only one way I can read the grieving parents’ reactions; Tsubasa is at the last stage of his untreatable illness, and they can only pray that Kato gets home in time to carry his son once more before he dies.

The White Comet howls through space. Zordar, Gairen and an aide float into the “birthing facility” on a pyramid, a red force field providing a safe atmosphere. They enter an area with red glowing crystals and lava, reminiscent of Stravase. On a platform below them stand several doctors alongside the late Goland’s predecessor, Zaizen.

[AMB]: The BG artwork here is rich in character and history, imagination and creativity. These birthing facilities (of all things) were given such care, conveying what the mystic technological arts of Akerius must have looked like; incomprehensible to the human eye, yet so natural. We’re given ample time to see what happens as a slower variation of the White Comet theme drones on, allowing us to take in these sights even without dialogue. Environmental storytelling at its best.

Due to Goland and Nol’s deaths, an emergency Nol clone has been produced, placed in Zaizen’s care “as per regulation” as Zordar’s aide says. Zordar coldly observes the Gatlanteans below, asking the aide why they’re all smiling. “It’s nothing more than a mechanical process. How can those people smile?” Taken aback, the aide ponders this for a second, only to inform the Emperor that he doesn’t know.

“It’s just, when they see a recently produced organism, they do for some reason. Sometimes, they cry for no reason.” Zordar’s eye narrows at this, complicated feelings enveloping him.

[AMB]: Another hint for what’s to come is hidden in plain sight. Zordar, a clone child himself, remembers being held by his father Gairen just like the new Nol. And just like Zaizen, Gairen lost his first son (Goland, in Zaizen’s case, and the first Miru in Gairen’s case) and had to produce a new clone (Nol 2.0 in Zaizen’s case and Miru 2.0 – who grew up to become current Zordar. Yes, it’s a lot to keep track of.) Yet, in spite of that loss, Zaizen still smiles at seeing a new life. It won’t come up again for another five episodes, but Zordar has ample reason to ask why they all smile.

[KC]: Here’s my problem. It’s always the same with these guys. I don’t think Zordar’s sad at all. I think he’s furious. He believes that his people should have no emotion, but they do. So he gets all up in his own feels about it, and then bad things happen.

[AMB]: That could definitely be the case, nice catch! Whether he’s angry or furious as you say, or empathic and upset like in my take, he’s obviously not in a good state of mind.

Traveling past what we’ll later learn is the base of the Ark of Destruction’s gravity well, Zordar and Gairen’s levitating platform passes into another chamber, the aide having departed. After some awkward silence, Gairen informs Zordar that he’s heard of Telezart vanishing again. “Earth is where Teresa sent her Cosmowave. But if Telezart has vanished…” Zordar interrupts him. “It’s simply invisible to us. Teresa is watching. We will invade Earth as planned.” And to ensure the success of that invasion, Gairen states that a new Silver Priestess has been prepared as requested.

[AMB]: This scene has so many things. An open exploration of the Ark of Destruction, insight into the Gatlantean cloning process, Father/Son angst hidden in plain sight and hints about Teresa. As discussed last time, Telezart was seized to make sure Teresa couldn’t affect what’s to come, but Zordar at least appears unconcerned with her vanishing act. As long as she bears witness to what he perceives to be the righteousness of his actions, he’ll still win.

Zordar and Gairen continue into another kind of birthing facility. This one is filled with large crystalline shapes. Each contains a Calaklum-class ship.

[DG]: Here we get an answer as to why the Calaklums can and do vary in size – they’re grown. We see “forests” of them in various sizes, but their shape is unmistakable. Maybe these are in different stages of production. Raises a lot of questions about how their technology actually works. It looks similar to a catapillar’s chrysalis while it morphs into a butterfly or moth. If a ship was allowed to grow for longer than the normal period, it could wind up the monstrous size we see back in the first episode.

Given that the ship design is uniquely cited in official materials as being the product of the “Gaizengan Weapons Group,” one can interpret this being stressed that as a new ship design, they are still in the experimental phase and under the control of this research group.

Going by this, one could assume that if they wanted to, they could make ships at the size we saw in Episode 1 or larger, with the sole purpose of using the Inferno Cannon formation as a planet destroyer, or a much larger number of smaller ones for the same cost, to act as an inferno cannon array. Such a formation could use similar tactics as the Dispersion Wave-Motion Guns of the Earth Fleet.

Within the Calaklum birthing chamber, Zordar and Gairen finish their journey in yet another kind of birthing facility, suspended beneath a gigantic diamond-shaped memory storage device. Gairen tells us a bit about Sabera as the device constructs a new clone. “Lady Sabera is not like we of Gatlantis. The Zemulians who created Gatlantis; she is a pure copy of one of them.” 

[AMB]: Now one wonders, are these devices exclusively for original humans (the seven races)? And in that case, do they all exclusively preserve specific individuals? If one of the pink ones is Shifal Sabera, which souls and minds resided in the rest? There were at least three of them shown after all. Perhaps they’re just empty vessels until they’re filled with a soul. In any case, the soul transfer ritual will be shown in a few episodes.

Zordar then bitterly states how efficient the Sabera clones are, seeing as they don’t require a lengthy raising cycle like the Gatlanteans do. But, Gairen continues, “To reproduce the body and soul of a single human, it takes memory equipment of this size.” Six smaller obelisks light up one after another to match the larger device, synchronising with the reproduced Sabera. Once they’re all matched, her eyelids open up and her body rises like a doll on strings. “The Silver Priestess,” Gairen announces. “It is a luxury that could not be allowed if she were not the last human.”

[AMB]: There’s that “last human” comment again. As discussed prior, it most likely refers to the privilege given to her (by Zordar) as “the last human” once the reseeding of humanity is done with, seeing as an original human will always be needed to control the Ark of Destruction.

Recalling the start of their conversation, Zordar says “As requested, you said?” Indeed, this Sabera is just as he requested, with extra restrictions placed on her memories. But before Gairen can finish speaking, Zordar impatiently asks if they’ve managed to suppress her emotions. “There is no issue with her assimilation of the limiter system, is there?” Gairen simply responds with “It’s perfect.”

Zordar crouches down to assess the new Sabera, turning her gaze toward him. He’s apprehensive, but impressed, likening her to a doll. Gairen caps off the conversation by confirming that there’s no risk for any resonance between this Sabera and the one captured by Yamato. “No suffering, either…” Zordar adds.

[AMB]: She’s insulated against Touko Katsuragi then, emotionally and telepathically.

[KC]: By the end of this scene I am getting a sympathetic vibe, but some of that could also be attributed to hindsight, because I have to say that this is about as menacing as Zordar gets for me. When it comes to villainy, I don’t get much out of his scene chewing and overcompensation, mostly because I far prefer Dessler for that sort of thing. And of course the original Zordar is just a walking trope with no backstory. But this is all pretty creepy.

[AMB]: If what I’ve gathered is correct, he’s not staring his former partner in the eye here, but rather his mother. No child wants a loving parent to suffer the knowledge of their own death, or the feelings associated with who they used to be. Just like he’s not her original child or lover, she’s not his original mother or partner. He only feels as if she is because the love of bonds passes from Gairen to him, a cold suffering with no end.

Meanwhile, Abelt Dessler’s fleet is on its way to Garmillas when they pick up a PSA announcement delivered by Garmillas CIA director Burrel on their national television station. Gathered on Abelt’s bridge are Talan, Miru and Abelt, who playfully takes out his stress by stirring his wine. Burrel’s message goes as follows:

“For many years, the Garmillas policy of colonialism continued to expand. With democratization, that is undergoing a radical change. However, within our country, there are those who wanted to turn back the clock to a time of dictatorship. The Garmillan State Police report that today, we have indicted all these traitors.”

[AMB]: This PSA has Garmillan subtitles for those who are hard of hearing, and the very basic G.N.K. logo used in 2199 (meaning “Garmillas Broadcasting Corporation), a play on N.H.K. the “Japan Broadcasting Corporation”) has been altered to Garmillan letters with a new graphic. 

[KC]: A quick scene, but another fantastic example of how this reboot adds dimension and realism to these people and their society. And because translating is not always an exact science, I am not going to dwell on the irony of some dude in a military uniform invoking the planetary state police in a speech about dismantling fascism. This hits a little too close to home.

[AMB]: “Boring political talk” (as some viewers of space opera would call it) always intrigues me, since it never loses its relevance. One uniform in this case replaces another, only thing different being the ideals he bears as he carries out his duties. It’s similar to the shift from “the secret police” during the Goldenbaum dynasty in Legend of the Galactic Heroes to a “National Security” organisation, albeit superficially. Only difference here is that Burrel believes in due process, and won’t execute or punish these supposed traitors without it as the former administration would have. Aspiring toward a moral high ground, he inspires real systematic change.

Inside the Dessler remnants HQ, we see Haidom Gimleh being cuffed and taken into custody by the new police force. “Do you have any idea what taking me prisoner is going to lead to? Do you people understand that? Only the Dessler regime guarantees our future.” He’s told to come along nice and quietly, but he keeps speaking. “If this keeps up, Garmillas will fall to ruin!” He’s told to shut up as he’s taken away.

Back on Abelt’s bridge, Miru steps out of the shadows, clearly amused by these events. “Averting their eyes from the larger problem, they democratize first, huh… the path to return to Garmillas is closed to you now.” The boy shrugs playfully as he states this, much to Talan’s dismay.

[KC]: Nobody told poor Miru how high this guy’s approval rating is among longtime viewers of the series. Dessler, I mean. Gimleh is 100% correct, except for the part where he assumes that taking him prisoner will hinder Dessler in any way.

[AMB]: Without Gimleh’s planned revolution, the “dictator who went mad” view would stand in the way of Abelt’s return. A fleet of a few dozen ships led by their former leader could not hope to enact such empire-spanning changes as would be needed to save Garmillas (the planet and people), especially when the one person who can vouch for Abelt’s credibility (were he to come out with Garmillas secrets) is a discredited imprisoned “traitor.” All the inside help and momentum has been squashed. On this topic I do have to ask, do you think Abelt knows about the Time Fault?

[KC]: Hmmm. That is a good question. I’m going to play it safe and just say that I certainly would not be surprised if they reveal later that he somehow got his hands on that intelligence. They’re always setting him up to know things he shouldn’t know, whether to menace our heroes initially or to rescue them at the last moment years later.

Certainly Gimleh was going to be the one to lay the groundwork here for Abelt, but I feel confident that this has all been orchestrated by the writers; for Gimleh to take the brunt of the blame for 2199 and for Dessler to be able to return at some future point. Bringing the answer to his people’s salvation right when things are most dire, and they gratefully take him back. Certainly this time around there will be more depth to the story, but you get the idea. Miru is trying to demoralize Abelt here, but even outside of fan popularity, good luck to anyone trying to break this guy when he’s determined.

[AMB]: I’ll only go so far as to agree that Gimleh’s written in to take on some of the narrative baggage Abelt has accrued from the last series, but your take is solid too! I maintain my personal stance that the recent episodes have washed his hands clean of ill intent on every level, giving his past actions nuance and re-contextualising his role into that of a somewhat tragic utilitarian pariah. Anyhow, speaking of approval ratings, Miru managed to get quite high up on the list of character favorites on the Gatlantis side. He ended up in the top 3 in a special issue of OUT magazine! 

[KC]: I am not surprised. He is WAY more than just a foil this time! And since I happen to have the magazine right here, #1 Gatlantis character favorite was Sabera herself, with the young Nol at #2. Poor Zordar doesn’t come in until #4. On the Garmillas side, of course, Abelt Dessler is in the #1 spot. (Where he will remain, under penalty of death. LOL!)

[AMB]: The man puts the whole damn universe at stake and doesn’t even get third place. Damn. Then again, my friend Gimleh only reached 8th place in the Garmillas ranking so…

Miru bows respectfully to Abelt, telling him that if he wishes it, ‘we’ can help return him to power on one condition. Talan senses danger in those words and barks, “Why, you!” as his Lord calmly sips his wine. Abelt assures the two that he has no intention of becoming a puppet for Gatlantis, and Miru bites back by reminding him that he still wishes to save Garmillas from its ruin. Impossible now without Gimleh’s inside help. This catches Abelt’s attention.

Confidently, Miru circles him to say that unlike his nephew Ranhart, Abelt’s a pragmatist. Noticing that something’s off with Miru, Dessler asks who speaks to him with those lips. The boy gives him a wicked smile and a chuckle, only to calmly inform Abelt that the condition for them saving Garmillas is Yamato’s defeat at his hand.

[AMB]: Is Miru in control? Or Zordar? Keen viewers who’ve caught on that Miru is a Zordar conduit for the first time would probably assume it’s Zordar, but based on events in Episode 23, it’s more likely that this entire charade was done at Miru’s behest. Having learned the intricacies of emotional manipulation from his stand-in father figure Abelt, he finds a way to use the man’s own information against him.

I’m of the firm belief that he’s willing to stay true to his word about saving Garmillas. Miru sees Abelt as a good sample for the next breed of humanity. It’s quite impressive, seeing the lad mimic everything from the sly devilish nature of Abelt with his real father Zordar’s mannerisms and aggressive eye movements. There’s also the element of him wanting to disprove the effectiveness of Ranhart’s love by having his uncle make the lad admit defeat – or maybe even murdering his nephew. Or, maybe Miru can tell that Abelt would rather have Ranhart kill him, setting up an entirely different “Devil’s Choice” come Episode 22. 

[KC]: I am going with the theory that while Miru is providing Zordar with a connection, he’s playing his own game here in an effort to make Zordar proud. Though I do acknowledge that Miru seems to have developed a grudging admiration for Abelt. I can certainly sympathize with the young clone there. And of course it is lovely to see Talan back in his old familiar role of standing around with Dessler and getting pissed at people who insult His Majesty.

[AMB]: Everything old is new again.

Back on Yamato, a meeting is being held in the strategy room where Sanada delivers a proposition: the Transit Wave-Motion Gun. By using the Anti-Wave-Motion Lattice as a booster, they’ll wrap the particles around the WMG. Or as Shima puts it, “If we can’t remove it, we burn it off, then?” Yuki asks what burning the lattice will do, to which Sanada replies that it will certainly rapidly increase the energy emitted by the WMG, albeit for one-time use since the particles will be burned away. A small graphic shows what he means, stunning the assembled group.

[AMB]: The whole “if we can’t remove it, burn it off” thing was first seen when Yamato encountered the space squids in Ark, making this another subtle nod. They couldn’t shake off those parasites, so they chose to enter warp to burn them off. Using the same principle, they’ll remove the Anti-Wave-Motion Lattice.

Shima asks if it’s dangerous to use this method, to which Sanada says yes. “But,” he continues, “We have the theory, and the equation for tying it to the WMG.” He turns to Kodai. “The wound brought about by Keyman’s betrayal will ultimately give us great strength.”

Kodai realises that this might be what “the power of bonds” which Teresa spoke of refers to. Nanbu thinks it’s way too convenient, and Kodai understands. Nevertheless, the TWMG (Transit WMG) may be the trump card they need for beating the White Comet. Then he turns to Sanada, reminding him of his previous concern as to why Zordar wanted to get his hands on Teresa. He now has a hypothesis to share.

“Teresa is a being that resides in a higher dimension. If she, who can see this world from its beginning to its end, were to appear in our universe… this universe may lose its mutability (variable nature), and petrify (become rigid).” This sends both Ota and Saito into utter confusion. But Kodai tells them that the reasoning isn’t important, only the result. Namely, “If the interference of a high-dimensional life form were to cause our dimension to lose the foundation of its existence, then…” Kodai stops, only for Hijikata to finish his sentence. “… the annihilation of the universe.” (would be the result).

[AMB]: In layman’s terms: In Teresa’s higher dimension, she sees time from beginning to end. But that which we refer to as “fate” (how time is meant to progress for us) changes with the actions of people who exercise their bonds. However, if Teresa is pulled out of her dimension, the most likely future she last saw as a result of the universe’s current bonds would come to be set in stone, unchangeable in nature.

In other words, if Gatlantis had the upper hand and their alterations of the world spelled disaster going forward, that future could be set in stone by simply bringing Teresa down to us from her seat in the upper dimension – “petrifying” mankind’s ability to change fate through their bonds. In the shortest of terms: Turning probabilities into absolutes, permanently setting the inhabitants of the universe on a linear path dictated by the most probable fate set by the time of Teresa’s descent.

[KC]: There is a lot of fiction out there dealing with this concept in different ways, but generally, forcing an interdimensional being fully into a finite set of dimensions is never, ever good.

Saito questions this, seeing as he and others in this room met Teresa without anything bad happening. But Sanada tells him that they were only given a glimpse of the world beyond where she resides through a window called the Telezarium. In other words, they only saw a projection. Shima then asks what Gatlantis’ purpose is, to which Kodai confidently states, “The elimination of all life, including themselves. That is Zordar’s goal.”

[AMB]: Shima’s question was a good one, seeing as Kodai, Saito and Sanada still haven’t debriefed the bridge crew on their encounter with Teresa. Kodai’s conclusion is solid, but not quite right. He’s conflated Zordar’s perceived solemn and life-weary demeanor with Teresa’s explanation of the Ark of Destruction, combining these to form his own personal conclusion. Here’s a reminder for future developments: Zordar does not wish for Gatlantis to perish with humanity. Zordar’s Gatlantis is to lead the new humanity.

At Saturn, the EDF’s Enceladus Garrison Force (about three dozen ships) makes first contact with the brunt of Gatlantis’ military might. 100-plus Calaklum-class ships warp in at incredible speed. “The time has come at last,” Captain of this garrison says, calling the UNCF’s main force waiting near the Moon. He reports large numbers of enemy ships sighted in Saturn’s orbit, requesting immediate reinforcements. As he tries to repeat his request, the signal is cut off. On Andromeda’s brige, Yamanami’s XO states that it is likely a result of interference from Gatlantis’ warps.

[DG]: At this point, ship production has reached a level where even Kongo-class ships are no longer individually named like those we saw back at the start of the series, they’re just branded with a unit identifier. In this case, E for Enceladus. The Enceladus flotilla appears to be a pair of patrol ships, over a dozen escort ships, at least ten Kongos, and two Dreadnoughts. At least, that’s what’s visible on screen at the start of this sequence.

[AMB]: Some interesting notes: The Enceladus Defense Force is Captained by Tetsutaro Ozaki, a fellow space defense university graduate alongside Shuntaro Yasuda (who we’ll see next episode) and Osamu Yamanami (Andromeda’s Captain). Then there’s a fighter that has “kill all enemies on sight” written on it (in Japanese kanji).

[KC]: Well we know how this show works, so everyone strap in for a harsh lesson.

[DG]: Just as the taxiing Cosmo Tiger II with “Kill enemies on sight” stencilled on it passes off screen, we can see a nearby Dreadnought in the background that has the letters “YF” painted on the side of the WMG muzzle. This two-letter code appears to identify the unit, and is reminiscent of the two-letter tail codes seen on the tailfins of US military aircraft (used to identify their home base). We will see many carrying this identification code in the next episode.

We also see both Antares and Apollo Norm completely filling their flight decks with fighters and support craft. Most of them are standard-variant Cosmo Tiger IIs, with several noteworthy exceptions. At the bow, at each end of the superstructure, there is a Cosmo Tiger I with another in the center of the deck. Just astern of the bow are a pair of Cosmo Seagulls.

At the very back of Antares‘ flight deck, on either side of center, we see one of the maroon-colored torpedo plane variants of the Cosmo Tiger II. In Yamato 2 Episode 20, these were within the carrier fleet surprise attack. Like their original generation counterparts, these have the ball turret behind the cockpit. All in all, there appear to be somewhere around 70-80 Cosmo Tiger IIs on Antares‘ flight deck as well as the other craft.

The view of the Cosmo Tiger IIs parked directly above the main deck launch bays suggest that at least those bays would be wide enough to launch Cosmo Tiger IIs, but each bay is actually two bays with doors that open out at the center. It may be less of a tight squeeze than the bays on the main hull, but still be too narrow to launch them from the carrier deck bays.

However, it makes me wonder how they’ll launch these planes en masse without getting the Cosmo Tiger IIs below deck to use the launch bays (there simply wouldn’t be time to do so once they warp out). There does not appear to be any launching mechanism on the flight deck, so presumably they’d just roll off before starting their engines. That method wouldn’t give them the benefit of catapults, so they would burn considerable fuel to get up to attack speed.

Logically, the animators did this to evoke the feel of a real-world 20th/21st Century aircraft carrier, where they are often depicted with surplus aircraft jammed tightly together on the flight deck.

Lastly, it’s interesting to know that they’ve not kept the Hayabusas in service, replacing them with Cosmo Tiger IIs. Given that the Cosmo Tiger IIs are most likely too big to be operable from the upper launch bays and almost certainly not so from the main hull bays, why not keep the Hayabusa in reserve, save for a lack of sufficient pilot numbers? All in all, the only flaw in my humble opinion of the Andromeda carrier variant is that the launch bays were designed to barely accommodate the Hayabusa without any thought to allowing room for future developments in fighter technology. Extremely short-sighted, especially given the Hayabusa was an atmospheric fighter that was converted to operate in space.

Considering Gatlantis’ tactics, Yamanami muses, “They intend to let numbers do the talking and break through the center. Just like the Ginga’s AI predicted, huh?” And with that, final replacements of shipborne planes with Cosmo Tiger IIs are completed across the fleet. Yamanami announces, “No change in plans! All ships, prepare for warp!”

All five Andromeda-class ships and their Dreadnought escorts do just that. As images flash by of Earth’s Capital City, of UNCF HQ with Todo and Serizawa, and of Yamanami onboard Andromeda, the Earth President delivers a speech. “Earlier today, the Earth Federation entered a state of war with Gatlantis. The forces of Earth today are much greater than those during the war with Garmillas. They will protect the lives, property, and territory of Earth’s citizens.” As the speech comes to a close, Yamanami quietly tells himself, “That is what the WMG Fleet is for.”

[AMB]: Before we even hear the name Ginga uttered by its crew, Yamanami casually throws it out like a mystery box. Strategic predictions and decisions are already being made by that unintroduced ship’s A.I., an A.I. that the UNCF are betting hard on. Based on his mannerisms here, Yamanami looks like he’s feeling replaced already, begrudgingly accepting his comparable inadequacy. This (his feeling replaced) will later turn out to be the case. His steadfast belief in the morality behind the WMG-fleet will be severely questioned as well.

As if purposefully displaying technological leaps in progress, we see how Earth TV looks compared to Garmillas TV from earlier. Obtrusive large fonts, no fancy graphics, two different languages on display with messages floating about like “Please tell your neighbors” and “Earth Federation Government Congress declares war against Gatlantis,” “Statement from E.F.G. President” and “Gathering of E.F. Cosmo Fleet Moon Orbit Camsat” (Camera Satellite). 

The WMG fleet warps away, leaving only a few radar-equipped patrol ships. The stunning display of hundreds of ships warping off is transmitted to Yamato’s bridge, urging Shima to say that they have no choice but to rely on the WMG-fleet for now, hurting Kodai’s pride. In the engine room with Tokugawa, Sanada thinks to himself of the possibility that they might be able to blow away the White Comet’s pressurized white gas using the TWMG. Wiping the sweat off his brow, he promises himself that they’ll make it work in time. 

[AMB]: Kodai’s sullen expression tells me he’s feeling both relief and guilt over his rebellious spirit taking Yamato from the front lines, leaving the Andromeda-class ships to defend Earth in their stead. He’s happy the UNCF has a mounted defense, but he’s not happy about… being happy about it. Rationality poisons his heart as Okita’s promise eats away at his pride. 

And although small, the scene with Sanada is a cute nod to Farewell to Yamato, mirroring how he was trying to finish a bomb meant to blow up the internal structure of Gatlantis. This time? It’s a weapon meant to purge the outside. Even his line delivery and demeanour is accurately recreated.

Back at Saturn, hostilities have officially commenced. The Enceladus Garrison Force is being hopelessly pummeled by the half-circle formations of the superior Calaklum-class battleships. Some UNCF ships manage to sneak in a WMG shot or two before being decimated, but any holes made in Gatlantis’ formation are filled in by new Calaklums warping in to replace those that have fallen.

At the end of their ropes, the Enceladus Force sees four Nazca-class battle carriers warping in alongside an entirely new class of ship: Admiral Baruze’s Apocalyx carrier. It’s a massive beast of a ship, dwarfing even the Nazca battle carriers at 1200 meters in length. (Historical note: it is believed that Baruze’s name was originally based on Halsey, as in William Halsey, fleet admiral of the US Navy during World War II. However, since the Japanese pronunciation is “Ba-ru-zay,” and “Balsey” can be misread as an adjective in English, we’re sticking with the “Baruze” spelling here. The English subtitles went with “Valsey” as a compromise.)

[DG]: These examples of the Kongo-class have been fitted with WMG’s in place of their centerline shock cannons (which the official materials still list for Yuunagi and Ticonderoga, and presumably the rest of the fleet at the time of the Battle of the 8th Floating Continent back in Episode 1). From a historical perspective, Fleet Admiral Halsey was in command of US forces at the Battle off Samar, the only time the real Yamato ever fired her main guns in combat.

[AMB]: The Calaklums seen here are smaller and less deadly than ones we’ve seen prior, indicating that Gatlantis’ MO in this battle is to break Earth’s spirit with sheer numbers rather than quality of firepower. They’re spread out in a thin net to counter the destructiveness of Earth’s WMG’s, filling holes wherever necessary to decrease losses and maintain a constant dragnet.

And the soundtrack? A loving recreation of Appearance and Attack from the Farewell to Yamato BGM, a White Comet theme variation. Sadly this is the only time it plays, but in its short tenure in the show it truly conveys the size and might of the Gatlantean military, symbiotically mixed with the visuals to create a serenade of dread.

[DG]: Thankfully we had the justification for the variation in size finally explained earlier in this very episode. If this was merely intended to be an animation effect to emphasize Apocalyx to the exclusion of everything else, it would have been too ridiculous. With the roughly Yamato-sized Nazca-class carriers here, we at least have a second benchmark for comparing the size of these Calaklums to the others we’ve seen througout the series.

Figuring the Apocalyx to be the enemy’s flagship, Captain Ozaki immediately orders a hit and run attack with all of the Cosmo Tiger II aerial units at his disposal. They efficiently take down its four Nazca-class escorts.

[DG]: We see 25 Cosmo Tiger IIs commence a divebombing modeled on the surprise air attack led by Yamato in Episode 20 of Yamato 2. Did these come from Enceladus’ base, or were some or all of them stationed aboard battleships? Given the Dreadnought’s size (about 3/4 of Yamato‘s length with a similar profile), realistically about a dozen or so fighters would be able to fit on board. With two Dreadnoughts in the flotilla, that should be enough capacity for the number of fighters we see.

Through the smoke emerges Baruze. He chuckles at the Earthlings’ efforts, ordering the Apocalyx to launch “the Eaters” and start turning “the catapult.” With arms locked, he bears witness to the Eater-class “swords” deployment; the upper and lower hulls of Apocalyx rotate to pitch them off. The Eaters are also new to the UNCF fleet, so they refer to them as “small combat units.” Around 80 of them are launched.

These flying swords have some interesting trivia attached to them. The name “Eater” was retro-fitted into the story from Gatlantis fighters first seen in Farewell, which were designated the “Eater II.” (Whoever named them was probably going for a deadlier-sounding English word like “predator,” but landed on this instead.) Thus, we now have the “Eater I.” Secondly, the concept for these was invented by Director Nobuyoshi Habara himself when he was drawing conceptual storyboards for Yamato Resurrection in 2008/09. He drew them into a battle against SUS ships, but they were not used in the film itself. Fortunately, along came another battle.

[AMB]: The sounds produced by Apocalyx are quite industrial, its size and atmosphere felt to the bone as the hulls rotate. Tomohiro Yoshida’s sound design at its finest. 

[KC]: It really does put you there, where things are getting very ugly.

[AMB]: I’d go so far as to say the Apocalyx is the most visually impressive ship of the franchise so far, a hulking beast with tons of details in every crevice. Studio Sublimation outdid themselves on this one.

The Eaters are long and thin, fast like arrows as they lunge deep into the bowels of the EDF ships on the scene. After penetrating the Wave-Motion Shields like a knife through butter, their rotational guns deliver the final blow, taking the enemy ship with them to the grave. Fighters do nothing to impede them, quickly dispatched with the use of their rotational guns.

Some UNCF ships are downed with several Eaters attacking at once, perhaps indicating that they’re tracker-based automatons like the Needleslaves. This ends up lowering the morale of the garrison force immensely, and with only six Kongo-class ships and eight escorts left, Ozaki is sweating bullets. From above, Calaklums swarm to deal a finishing blow. Ozaki comes to terms with his end.

[AMB]: The Eaters are built to be nimble, capable of penetrating Wave-Motion Shields and to impose fear on their enemy. The size difference between these beasts and the Cosmo Tigers is of particular note. Unlike the human pilots inside the Cosmo Tigers, the Gatlanteans don’t care about what life or resources they have to give up in order to take others.

[KC]: My morbid humor calls to mind the late 1980s ad slogan for Doritos chips; “Crunch all you want; we’ll make more!” 

[AMB]: When people say “things were so much better back then,” ads like that immediately come to mind. Then again, the “Edge of Glory” just might be on par and just as wildly relevant to the situation. “Now it’s got an edge of glory; that slices like magic!”

Suddenly, blue Wave-Motion beams burn through the cosmos, shredding the Calaklums and leaving nothing but smoke. Ozaki, unharmed, turns around to see Captain Yamanami’s WMG-fleet arriving just in time. Sneering, Admiral Baruze questions what Earth thinks they can achieve with such meager numbers, urging his fleet to push forward. But seeing Gatlantis’ response to his arrival doesn’t faze Yamanami.

“O fool, who has excessive confidence in numbers, know that power can be overwhelmed with even greater power.” Fleets of Dreadnoughts warp in near the Dagua, Bomi and Zemun directions according to Baruze’s XO, who adds that this has doubled the number of EDF ships since the Andromeda fleet’s warpout.

[AMB]: This moment will never not be jaw-dropping to me. The Combined Front BGM from Ark swells as hundreds of Dreadnoughts warp in from various locations and angles, swarming Baruze’s bridge screen. After the one-sided rout we just witnessed, Yamanami shines a literal light through the darkness and blindsides Gatlantis with Earth’s first trump card of this soon-to-be arduous war. We all know the resulting irony, but it’s still impressive. 

Baruze is stunned, openly questioning where Earth has amassed and hidden this large fleet. He’s cut off by an emergency bridge transmission from Zordar, who tells him that any stagnation on the front line won’t be tolerated. “You know what that means, I hope?” With a swift response and a prompt bow to the Emperor, the Admiral submits to Zordar’s authority.

Once the transmission is cut, Zordar chuckles to himself, amused at the developing events. “It looks like I’ll be able to enjoy this somewhat,” he says, narrowing his eyes as he re-establishes his telepathic connection with an emotionally distraught Touko. She is only able to utter a single word. “Emperor…”

[AMB]: For the first time in five episodes, Zordar hooks up to the living receiver called Touko. Her bewilderment is one of both sudden joy and anguish as Zordar tells her (off-screen) what devilish intentions he has – and what part he wants her to play in what’s coming. If the battle of Saturn is at a stalemate due to unforeseen circumstances, he’s willing to give Earth a fighting chance in both a show of strength (Battle of Saturn) and a battle of temptation and love (The next trial he’s set up for Yamato’s crew). As we’ll soon learn, time means nothing to Gatlantis. Since they’re capable of organically growing ships, Zordar has nothing to worry about. Until he finds out about the Time Fault, that is.

[KC]: Total reversal here from the original series. I remember Zordar as almost comical. Indulgent of Dessler, ignorant of Sabera’s duplicity, no legit motivation to destroy Earth. Meanwhile Sabera would make me teeth-grindingly, fist-clenchingly angry. Yes, there is my Dessler favoritism at play there. But here Abelt doesn’t figure in her plans at all. She is the victim in almost all instances, and this Zordar is just…awful.

[AMB]: In partial defense of original Zordar, I don’t believe he ever wanted to destroy Earth, just use it as a vacation retreat (in Yamato 2) and worker colony (in both original works). Yamato forces his hand, however, so he decides to punish their insolence. But back to 2202 Zordar; yes, he’s certainly a devil in most peoples eyes, but to himself he’s an angel of mercy. And from Episode 9 onward, all choices Touko makes are her own, even if this one is influenced by her desire to be useful to her beloved Emperor (who blocked communications with her for days or even weeks).

We cut to the onboard ship hangar on Yamato where a hardworking Kato relegates orders to engineers as he tweaks his Cosmo Tiger II. He yells at them that there’s only two warps until they’ll arrive on the battlefield, and if they want to be prepared for what’s to come then it’s do-or-die time. A resounding “Roger!” echoes through the Zero-G hangar, putting Kato at ease. After reclining in his pilot seat for barely a second, a message is patched through to his plane’s HUD (Heads Up Display). It reads: “There is a way to save your son. Contact Touko Katsuragi for details.” His eyes are strained as he reads this, alarm seemingly overtaking him.

[KC]: Already my stomach hurts.

[AMB]: After intuiting Tsubasa’s condition earlier, it hits even harder. Whatever kind of trade Touko has, Kato would inevitably agree to it as a grieving father in search of a miracle; emotional manipulation in the same way Zordar’s currently manipulating Touko. Emotions giving birth to tragedy.

Back to Saturn: the WMG fleet fires off a coordinated barrage at Baruze’s fleet, a sight which positively shellshocks the enemy admiral. He’s unable to avert his gaze from this overwhelming glare of death. The singular beams of the Dreadnoughts combined with the Andromeda-style double beams turn into dozens of destructive rays of light, pulverising a large chunk of Baruze’s fleet.

This infuriates him, so he orders what remains of his vanguard to assume the “Inferno Cannon” formation. 48 Calaklums divided into eight groups of six, becoming their own small pillars of doom. They line up in front of Apocalyx, mimicking the formation used to scorch the 11th planet. Charging up their beams, they aim at Yamanami’s fleet as the screen fades to black.

[AMB]: This part of the battle of Saturn seems to get a ton of flack from the western fanbase and I can’t quite see why. This episode establishes that these Calaklums are mass-produced, smaller and less powerful versions of the one we saw back in Episode 1. We will later see that this battle is just Zordar testing Earth’s resolve without knowledge of the Time Fault. So it’s clear to me that this opening engagement was just that. A test. Earth didn’t budge at the terrifying paper-tiger-might of Baruze’s fleet, and as we’ll come to see that’s only the tip of the iceberg. An invitation to soul-crushing defeat.

[DG]: This is simple resource optimization and fit-for-purpose manufacturing. Make smaller ships for anti-fleet levels of inferno cannon arrangements, use larger ones for planetary bombardment. Since these ships are destroyed by using the configuration, it makes sense that they only make them as big as they need to be.

[KC]: I am far more interested in the human elements of Yamato, so I don’t really pay attention to most of the internet chatter about ship specs and battle strategies. But I am a western fan, so I should chime in on this, I guess? I don’t see what the problem is, either. Of course, I usually look at everything that happens on the show through both a filter of “This Really Happened” and “What Is This Show Saying?”

[AMB]: Agreed. The human drama is the emotional centerpiece, whereas the battles are exciting set dressing. Doesn’t mean that they have to be confetti-filled strategically-unsound drags of course, but I can’t with confidence say this engagement was anything like that. It would be insulting to the tremendous effort and accomplishments of the animation directors who pulled off this spectacular episode.

Sadly, one of this episode’s prominent animation directors, Hiroki Takagi, tragically passed away in February of 2018, shortly after work had commenced on Chapter 5 (Episodes 15 – 18). He lent his incredible skills to this production, his work being some of the best when it came to detailed facial expressions accompanied by fluid animation. Together with Mitsuru Ishihara and Nobuteru Yuki himself (2199/2202 character designer), this trio served as the chief animation directors of Episode 17, their final collaboration before Takagi’s passing. I think I speak for everyone when I say thank you, Hiroki Takagi, for all your contributions to the Yamato franchise. (Dating back to 2199 and Ark of the Stars.)

Co-Director Makoto Kobayashi would later proclaim on social media that this show would be a posthumous work for Takagi. Nobuteru Yuki stated that “the hole that Takagi left was huge,” but that “everyone in the production would carry on in his stead.”

[AMB]: Any final words, Kathy?

[KC]: I am not going to lie; after the last few Dessler-centric episodes, this one winds up feeling like filler to me, even though significant things happen and it sets up a lot of amazing things to come. Only nine episodes to go!

[AMB]: Similar to episode 10 in structure, the bulk of this episode acts as a prelude for what’s to come. One packed with budding tragedies; anxious to enter full bloom. There’s no better way to end this episode than on Touko Katsuragi’s own words, summarising what to expect.

Epilogue: the door to Touko Katsuragi’s cell opens. Kato stands there without a word. She speaks only one sentence.

“Welcome…to hell.”


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 25, 2019

American debut: February 23, 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 17.

Episode credits
Episode Director: Shintaro Itogashi
Storyboard: Yuichi Nihei
Animation Directors: Nobuteru Yuuki, Hiroki Takagi, Mitsuru Ishihara, Satoshi Nagura

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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9 thoughts on “Yamato 2202 Episode 17 commentary

  1. I am a western fan of Yamato and when watching the episodes, I’m not looking at every angle, every word, and every scene they show here. The growing crystal caraklums are interesting but where only a foreground set dress to me. Likely others too. I found it odd when the ships had different sizes and I didn’t realise that they where literally grown. I mean, how cool is that!? Its likely peoples critiscisms come from this fact. You wouldn’t really notice they grow without seeing them in a big screen and since they weren’t shown on big screen in the west (or TV as well, I think. Well not the normal TV).
    Thats likely where people get their critiscisms for this episode.

    Another critiscism i can see is that it seems like the animation quality is less, but that’s likely from the sheer number of ships used. Its hard to see what’s going on from all the beams and lights. It can become quite a blur. Honestly… Still a great episode tho. Can’t wait for your thoughts for 18 next month.

  2. As a ‘western personality’ fan of SBY, yeah my reaction to the Battle of Saturn in Yamato 2202 was somewhat of letdown since it was THE BATTLE of the Yamato 2/Farewell and I wanted it to deliver the justice to the hype.
    But then again, every time the remake Yamato series tries to recreate the most iconic battle from each of the old Yamato series, it never seems to evoke enough emotion to give a lasting impression. The battle in which I’m talking about in 2199 is the Battle of the Rainbow Cluster. While yes it was a great battle with vast improvements over tactics and how it progressed from start to finish, I don’t know why but it never gave me the same strong impressions that the epic Episode 15 battle with Domel or even the Battle of Balun in Episode 18 gave me. Perhaps it’s just lighting in a bottle that can never be recaptured in a remake?
    I don’t know to be honest. But either way, there still a few moments from this particular remake of the Battle of Saturn that I’ll like to address. (Most of which will be for the next episode commentary)

    First of all, the decision to use massive fleets of Calaklum, while it’s a bit too much, makes actual sense. When you’re going up against a fleet that has energy shields and doomsday cannons that can kill fleets. You’ll probably be wanting thousands of your most durable front line capital ships rather than flimsy escort-type vessels like cruisers and destroyers to face such an opponent. Because even the smaller escort ships of the wave motion fleet such as the Kongo, Edinburgh and Fubuki (the latter two nicknames I gave to the patrol cruiser and escort frigate respectfully), can easily outgun and outperform it’s competitors just from having the wave motion tech. It’s clearly shown that it actually took some time for the Calaklums, which I might add was nice to see them using their main guns instead of their gimmick superweapon, to bring those smaller Earth ships down. So if the Gatlanteans had brought in a traditional fleet which included Lascaux-class cruisers and Kukulkan-class destroyers. They’ll be pretty much slaughtered by their Earth rivals without doing much impact in the battle.

    That being said however, I really wished that Medulusa-class heavy assault battleships could have taken part in this battle to make up for their shameful defeat in their “land tank” form at Telesrat. Yes, they’re considered obsolete especially in comparison with the Calaklum. But unlike the new breed of Gatlantean battleships, they at least have a superweapon that is reusable and don’t just blow up or burn up the entire vessel after firing just one shot. Could have saved nearly dozens of Calaklums later in the next episode. With Calaklums flanking on both sides of the Enceladus Garrison Force and Medulusas sniping in front of them with their firestorm direct strike cannon, Ozaki’s fleet would have probably been quickly decimated before Yamanammi’s massive fleet arrived. Then again, it’s probably the inner Yamato 2 fanboy in me that wants to see the Medulusa back in action in Saturn again…

    Speaking of Captain Ozaki, why did he ordered his Cosmo Tiger IIs to attack the Nasca-class carriers instead Admiral Baruze’s massive Apocalix which was clearly the bigger threat!? If they had dive bombed on the larger super carrier they would have destroyed a couple of Eater I sword ships (which I nickname it the Minecraft Sword Ship XD) and could have spared the destruction of most of his patrol fleet? Was it because he instinctively thought that it was battleship and not a carrier and wanted to gain air dominance by taking out the smaller better known Nascas? Either way, it was a huge blunder on his part despite his bravery in holding out against such a opposing enemy fleet.
    In addition, (this is for Daniel George) I’m pretty sure there were THREE Dreadnoughts in Ozaki’s fleet considering how his ships were spread out and arranged. It’s just the perspective shots in the scenes don’t show it.
    Also the remake Gatlantean supercarrier is just GORGEOUS! I might give flak for the the Calaklum-spam and how the Medulusa was horribly misused, but the Apocalix is just a MASTERPIECE! It’s like the SBY version of the titanic Executor-class super star destroyer of Star Wars fame! Heck, it’s even the same size of a Clone Wars era Venator-class star destroyer (with an air wing that is THREE TIMES BIGGER) and Dessler’s flagship in Yamato III/Bolar Wars! How epic is that!? Sure the rotating decks don’t really make sense, but damnnnnnn! That is one beautiful and aggressive hyper carrier! (imitates kiss on the said ship) They really delivered justice to Baruze’s flagship from Farewell and so much more!

    As for the Earth top brass duo of Serizawa and Todo… Yeah, as much as I wanted to hate the former after his actions in 2199, I can’t help but agree with his motivations and decisions on how he handled the upcoming Gatlantean invasion as they were mostly logically sound although they didn’t work all the time. I’ve to admit that Serizawa isn’t a villain, he’s just an top brass guy who is trying to do his job with genuine good intentions. Although to quote Alan Grant from JP3 “Some of the worst things imaginable have been done “with the best intentions”.”

    Interesting to suggest that Todo is spearheading the Ginga project after Sanada left with the Yamato. I always thought it would Serizawa that would behind it because I can’t imagine Todo or Sanada transform what was a nice looking Musashi-type ship into something so aesthetically unsettling inside and out… Perhaps it’s just my bias to that guy.
    Speaking of biasness… (Sigh) Oh Kodai… That conflicted look on his face when he saw the WMG fleet leave for Saturn really had me pissed. Look, I get that he’s not happy with promise with Starsha being broken and all, but his open opinions on just dissing the entire WMG fleet is not good for the rest of the Cosmo Navy’s fleet unity and moral. This kind of attitude will earn him and the entire crew of the Yamato plenty of grudges from some of the crews of the manned WMG ships who will not be happy or pleased with the former’s public comments. Especially since they finally get a chance to be like their heroes with ships of similar tech as Yamato only to be shamed by said heroes because they have the same tech and weaponry which is violation of a treaty that cannot work with an enemy like Gatlantis… Ugh… Hopefully Kodai would give them more respect and credit than he has been giving them by 2205 especially after Andromeda’s personal sacrifice to save Yamato later at the Battle of the Mars Defensive Zone. Or else something nasty will occur between the crew of Yamato and some other crew of the UNCF while working together that won’t be so forgiving like the Andromeda or Antares. It’s not like they all want to spam WMGs anyway and break the treaty so bluntly…

    • Also feel free to correct me regarding Kodai’s reaction of the Yamanami fleet warping to Saturn as I might need some enlightenment or further elaboration on that scene because it just didn’t sit well with me and I might be in the wrong here for all I know due to my wishes of seeing Yamato teaming up with a proper modern Cosmo Navy flotilla or task force in Yamato 2202 or 2205.

      • Oh, I don’t know, maybe imagine you’re stuck in a foreign country watching on TV as your country is under attack and your military is mobilizing against what you know to be a brutal, overwhelming enemy. How are you going to feel in that situation? Empathy is the key to understanding.

      • I see Kodai’s personal reaction as one of anger, guilt, frustration, and happiness. The whole wave motion gun fleet is literally what Starsha feared and he sees that. His guilt from his inability to change what has happened. He also knows that without it, the Earth would have quickly lost the war. Hence his happiness, his relief. Dont forget kodai isn’t so willing to use the Wave motion gun on the Yamato, it isn’t a Yamanami fleet only thing. He was actually willing and probably would have cut the wave motion gun circuit and disabling it if Sanada hadn’t interjected previously on why he wants Kodai as acting captain. Its this internal conflict that acts as this sense of horror to him.
        Also don’t forget that he is still a soldier, watching his fellow soldiers get killed and watching an invading force enter the solar system. He likely wants to be there as well, to defend the Earth.

  3. Thanks for the many great insights! I completely missed the Calaklum ships inside the crystals, and that they come in different sizes… is the one in the first episode larger than all others in the series?

    I might add, this whole Earth v Gatlantis fleet showdown reminds me a lot of Looney Tunes folks pulling out bigger and bigger weapons… ~:)

    • Interesting stuff indeed! Some things just hang in the background, fruits ripe to be picked by attentive viewers~

    • To me, the crystals Dessler used to neutralise Miru’s Cosmowave were the the spitting image of Episode 11’s space sausage debris. Since Episode 11 set up that the ancient Akerian subspace was canceling out Miru’s ability to communicate with Touko, my immediate impression was that he’d harvested some shards off-screen between Episodes 11 and 12.

      That said, the Akerian tech-aesthetic does seem to borrow lots of imagery from crystals, shapes, and ancient architecture. The blue crystals seem to cancel telepathy, whereas pink/red seems to be capable of transferring delicate matter; such as souls.

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