Episode 25: Farewell, Space Battleship Yamato
by Kathy Clarkson and Anton Mei Brandt
The eldritch death rattle of a pipe organ resounds throughout space. The Ark of Destruction glows in purples and reds. Golem, the failsafe created by Zemulia as a last resort to exterminate the Gatlanteans in case of revolt, has been activated by Zordar’s sword. As he solemnly welcomes the death of his own kind from atop the throne, the Zemulian storyteller A.I.’s take turns describing the process.
“As soon as Golem is damaged, it begins to sing… the song of destruction which will kill all man-made cells… as it echoes throughout the universe.”
[AMB]: This was one moment where I didn’t want Chekhov’s gun to go off. Golem, introduced five episodes ago, has been activated. And it’s dreadful, both in its audio presentation and the imagery depicting Gatlantis’ self-genocide. The BGM here is a terrific new addition to Yamato’s musical history! Yet, it wasn’t included on the soundtracks, so I decided to ask a young friend in Japan (who’s familiar with the sound production portion of Yamato), about it. His answer? The sounds the Golem makes isn’t actually music. It’s pure sound design magic from Tomonori Yoshida. It’s all synthesised, but you can hardly tell the difference. Just like with Gatlantis.
The discordant melody is frightening for a curious reason. Imagine a siren on a firetruck or police car. Now, imagine it sped up, but played through a synthetic pipe organ. That’s what we’re hearing! This is fairly novel. The only other examples that come to mind are “The Below” (by Hideki Sakamoto) from the Angels of Death anime, and “Night Electricity theme” by Dean Hurley from Twin Peaks, The Return. Go give these a listen to hear what I mean.
An unanswered question remains: Does Golem kill all artificial humanoids in the universe, or is it just referring to the Gatlanteans? (implications for 2205 and the Dark Nebula Empire.)
[KC]: I am going to put my money on all man-made cells that were made by the Zemulians. If the Garmillas androids are biological, for example, which I don’t think they are any more, I don’t think they would be controlled by Golem directly. Of course, Golem is also a weapon that Zordar wants to turn on every living being, so could the narration could be to that?
[AMB]: A quick catchup about Golem: It was created by the Zemulians as a genocidal failsafe against their Gatlantean creations in case of revolt. To prevent them from shutting it down, they made sure that if the throne is damaged, it will begin to sing, annihilating the Gatlanteans. Zordar stole it during his revolt to keep it safe, which is why it’s also his throne. He can only really use Golem against his own kind.
Goenitz, as well as Baruze and his mighty Gatlantean fleet – postponing the subjugation of Earth to assist his Emperor – all collapse, their eyes dilating. Baruze’s fleet begins rapidly firing in all directions, any sense of control lost as his bridge is torched by the back engine of another Apocalix-class carrier. Ships crash violently into one another.
Witnessing this self-immolation is Ambassador Varel, unsure of how to react. His XO gives a chilling report: “Gatlantis fleet formation has been broken. Their communications have all gone silent. They’ve gone out of control!” Once assured of their bitter victory, Varel orders all ships to leave the battlefield. “So, finally…” he remarks.
[AMB]: Since Analyzer’s gone and the lines being delivered by the Zemulian A.I.’s are the exact same ones heard back in Episode 21, it’s safe to assume that their lines here are echoes meant for both Kodai – who’s witnessing this – and us in the audience. Since we last spoke of these spooky children, 2205’s production team have shared two trailers depicting a new group of three Analyzers. It would elate me to see Ririko Ikeshita & Souki Matsumoto (the Zemulian storytellers) return to voice two of them.
And let’s talk more about borrowed elements: Last episode, we mentioned how Garmillas forces aiding Earth was a story element borrowed from Final Yamato. And so is the aftermath. Since the enemy has been “killed” on their end, there’s nothing more for the Garmillas’ commander (OG: Dessler, 2202: Varel) to do but have faith in Yamato’s part on the sidelines.
Yet, a greater calamity awaits. In Final Yamato, it’s the water planet Aquarius. In 2202 it’s the Akerian Ark of Destruction. Also, from Yamato 2 we have a more grim take on Baruze’s death, yet the circumstances aren’t too different. There, Baruze’s done in by weather conditions in space. Here, while his death comes prematurely, his bridge and body are fried by similarly unlucky conditions. In Farewell we never see what happens to him after he gives Earth the surrender conditions. But what about Goenitz?
Garmillan ships of various classes (Meltorias, Gaiderols, Destorias, Kelkapias and one Neu Balgrey) depart from the ensuing chaos (some pierced by Eaters). Lightning bolts crackle around the Ark’s figurehead. The entire superstructure begins to fall apart. Conversely, inside the White Comet’s throne room there’s a stillness that overpowers the nightmarish, discordant sounds emitted from the Ark. Zordar gives one final look at his predecessor, lying still at his feet. The Emperor shows no emotion. He glances at Goenitz, whose artificial cells have been exterminated by Golem. A sadness overcomes him.
[AMB]: In Farewell, Goentiz, Razera, Sabera and Baruze’s deaths are never depicted, though all of them (except Baruze) were inside the White Comet when its outer shell was annihilated by Yamato’s WMG. In Yamato 2, Goenitz, Razera and Sabera are abandoned by Zordar when he realizes that their foolish vying for power had cost them Dessler’s participation as a powerful ally.
Though Goenitz’ screen time in 2202 was limited, it’s still been made apparent how highly his input and dedication were valued by Zordar. So much so that he spares the man a second thought after his death. According to the character profiles, Goenitz is Zordar’s oldest follower. It shows. And while what remains of the Garmillan fleet is interesting, we’ll get to it later.
After a brief pause, Zordar takes a long hard look at his gloved hand, his fingers twitching. “As I thought…” despair fills his lungs, his gaze striking. “The Gatlantean who has eaten the seed of wisdom is not allowed to go with the rest, I suppose.”
As he clenches his fist and closes his eyes, the Ark’s gravity well begins to power up, consuming tons of nearby debris at an alarming rate.
[AMB]: The Ark has already begun to recognize Zordar as a proper human successor, restructuring itself to meet his requirements. The Akerian material, while looking strong at a first glance, seems to be easily molded into new shapes, at least when faced with the mighty whirlpool of a planet-sized gravity well. Zordar couldn’t join his brethren in this mass suicide, nor could he prove to himself – or the humans of this universe – that their harmful path of love isn’t worth the eventual downsides; the consequences of perpetually pulling the metaphorical trigger disturbing the harmony of the universe; until it ceases to exist.
Something else we’ve forgotten to add before this point: The crystals that comprised the City Empire’s upper crust? That was never part of the original design. Instead, this is an element which 2202 borrowed from the heart of the Black Nebula Empire’s Dezarium construct. A large, pulsating orb with blue-purple spiky crystals, emitting a blue haze. Fittingly, this scene brings back the “Shambleau” BGM from Ark, a track that plays when Yamato discovers an ancient Akerian space cross in another dimension. It’s an Akira Miyagawa original, imbued with mystique, wonder and history. Like Black Nebula from Be Forever and most of the Uruk leitmotifs in Final Yamato! But what does “Shambleau” mean?
Shambleau is a short 1930s SF horror story by C.L. Moore. It’s about a gunman on Mars who befriends an attractive lady (called Shambleau) who turns out to have worm-like appendages for hair that sucks the life force out of living things. The protagonist speculates that the Greek tale of Perseus and Medusa was spun from an ancient extraterrestrial encounter with one of her kind. Instead of freezing you to stone with a mere look – like Medusa – she seduces you with her worm-like hair in an experience described as both ecstatic and nightmarish.
Nobody really knows what the name Shambleau means, but my best bets are (1) The english word “shambles” (with a french “eau” at the end to make it sound original) since the name’s bearer is said to put its victims in “shambles.” (2) Something that appears human, but is in fact alien. It acts human, but isn’t.
The “space cross” in Ark of the Stars takes our Western minds to the roman crucifixion crosses, in spite of its origin actually being Akerian. The Ark of Destruction’s purpose leans closer to “shambles,” since its purpose is to reduce humanity to just that; shambles. Zordar, however, is closer to the character Shambleau, understanding that he isn’t human in spite of his appearance being modeled after humanity. The twist? After 1000 years, the Ark of Destruction recognizes him as human.
A purple wave spreads out from what remains of the superstructure, causing the Ark’s building blocks to dislodge. Sanada (still aboard the crippled Yamato) calls Kodai from the bridge, urging him to withdraw his assault team ASAP.
“This isn’t just caused by Golem,” Sanada says, “something unknown is destroying the City Empire, absorbing everything around it; including its energy…” Turning away from his console, Sanada bears witness to the Ark remodeling itself. “Oh no… the Ark of Destruction is spontaneously consuming the City Empire…” Realizing something, he immediately calls for Keyman – who’s still outside in his Czvarke – to return. But Klaus objects, saying he has an idea (that he certainly intends to act on).
[KC]: His uncle knew something like this was going to happen.
[AMB]: That fighting Gatlantis would be a messy ordeal? Or that Ranhart would risk it all to save Yamato?
[KC]: Memory is a funny thing; when I wrote that I distinctly remember Abelt and his nephew having some exchange where Abelt insinuated that Ranhart would sacrifice everything for Yamato, but I’ve been all over their dialogue and all I can find is the pep talk Abelt gives Ranhart when Miru is trying to force the younger Dessler to choose to end his uncle’s life. Perhaps I am remembering fan speculation, or his dialogue with someone else. Regardless, the quote I did find is still applicable; “If you’re a man of the Dessler family, don’t hesitate. No matter what you must sacrifice, take what you need.”
From back in the throne room, Zordar’s voice is being transmitted throughout nearby space. “To destroy an evil species and fulfill the duty given by the creator… the Ark of Destruction always evolves to take the optimal shape.”
As he exposits on the Ark’s capabilities, it does just that – evolves. Large chunks of filigree-covered debris from the previous battle are crushed and recycled at their finest level, deconstructed and fed into the gravity well as energy for what’s to come. Turning into shambles.
[AMB]: As confirmed by Sanada and Zordar, Golem isn’t the main cause for this radical change; it’s the Ark. The city portion that once housed the Gatlanteans is being absorbed and reconstructed into a very different shape. This of course means that anything and anyone caught within its direct vicinity is bound to be lost in its vortex, so Sanada orders everyone back. The only thing Golem did was to confirm to both Zordar and the Ark that he’s human, giving him unrestricted access to the Ark.
Zordar continues: “Whether it houses dwellers like Gatlantis is not important. It only needs a judge who prompts the destruction…” he pauses, allowing his gaze to meet Kodai’s before letting their showdown come to a close. The Emperor’s facial features relax, his fists are balled and his eyes close. “…based on the will of a human.” His hands are raised to the open roof, embracing the end.
“Wait!” calls Kodai, but to no avail. Zordar makes a declaration: “I am HUMAN! I DEMAND the TRUE awakening of the Ark of Destruction!” The ruby at the hilt of his sword lights up, followed by an affirmative sound. The room is drenched in blood-red colors, the wind whipping Zordar’s cape as it absorbs every ounce of energy it can manage.
[AMB]: For those who’ve stuck with these commentaries from the very beginning, here’s a comprehensive exploration and explanation of current Zordar’s motives (kept as short as possible). Let’s go:
The first Zordar (Gairen) wanted nothing more than to live out his life as a soldier, a father to the first Miru and a husband of the original Sifar Sabera. But after his creators – the Zemulians – betrayed his humanoid slave kind by slaying most of his people (including Sabera and Miru) out of fear that they were becoming indistinguishable from “real” humans, he rebelled, stealing Golem and leaving his home to seek out the Ark of Destruction.
During the course of a long journey of over 100 years, Zordar grew old and fostered a new child – a new Miru. This Miru grew up to become the Zordar we know today, the one who was tasked with deciding what to do with the Ark. He chose to become humanity’s judge, using the reanimated body and soul of his human mother as a conduit to manage the Ark, which only responds to human desires. Zordar, Gairen and Sabera took the Ark back to Zemulia, enacting their vengeance and stealing their homeworld.
Gairen wanted what all fathers should want: For their child to become who they themselves want to be. After Zemulia was dealt with, Zordar wished for nothing more than an idealized existence for all of humanity, one without suffering at the hands of love. As someone who wasn’t human – but had the emotional capabilities of one as a result of the Type Zordar cloning process – he sought to act as mankind’s arbiter for mankind’s sake.
Not wanting his own clone family’s tragedy to repeat, he scavenged the universe for the best samples humanity had to offer, gathering planets with which to record the best aspects of humanity, for its next superior batch. After experiencing Yamato’s unique brand of love, Earth and its people were to be the last piece, replacing Zemulia in the Ark’s grasp. But just like his father Gairen had done for him, Zordar wished to give his own clone son (the now-deceased Miru) the chance to choose the next humanity’s future.
Miru was leased to Abelt Dessler to learn the trials and tribulations of love; how deeply love wounds people. But Miru ended up suing for peaceful coexistence after witnessing some of the miracles love created, how it went beyond reason and logic. Sadly for each party involved, he died as a result of happenstance and love.
With Miru dead and gone, Zordar took on his son’s mantle of responsibility, pursuing his old plan. But Yamato kept persevering, reaching all the way to his throne room, giving rise to the deaths of his cloned mother and his predecessor. Truly alone, his heart trembling at the misery in front of him, he chooses suicide by fire.
Kodai’s at a loss for words. He can’t move. He sees the Emperor smile cockily in eager anticipation of his role as mankind’s executioner. Coming to terms with his duty as a soldier, Kodai tries to ready his gun, but he’s unable to pull the trigger at Zordar. The dangerous vortex begins to lift Kodai from the ground, but a Mobile Armor’s firm mechanical grip pulls him down. It’s Saito, asking him if he’s all right.
Kodai barely registers the aid from his friend, his gaze still fixated on Zordar. The gun falls from his fingers. Gairen still lies motionlessly on the ground as his younger self begins to float upward, his triumphant laugh echoing throughout the throne room. A maniacal smile adorns his face, his gaze – like Kodai’s – fixed on his adversary.
[AMB]: Activating Golem, Zordar wishes to die by disproving Kodai’s notion that he and his kind were humans like him, or to extinguish the pain he’d caused the universe as a result of his very human tendencies for love. But just like he always knew, he was actually human, so he didn’t die. With no past, no future, no family and no love left to him, he surrenders to his base desire for humanity’s complete end. No renewal, just a final end. And that’s where his motivations currently lie.
That’s why the Ark responds to his genuine desire for mankind’s end. Kodai had one last chance to pull the trigger, to do what Zordar surmised he would to ensure his own species’ future. But he couldn’t, since that would only prove Zordar’s notion that humanity – as it is today – only brings harm to others at the hands of love.
This scene marks our final loud Zordar cackle of the series, one that’s incredibly well earned! In Farewell, Zordar’s last cackle is paired up with his final conversation with Kodai. But as we’ll soon see, Zordar’s voice will grow more subdued as we move toward the finale.
“Don’t do it, Zordar!” an yell from Kodai momentarily overpowers Zordar’s mania, but is quickly drowned out. The doll-like White Sabera is once again left behind, staring wordlessly at her lover from another life as he drifts away. “Don’t, Zordar!” After Saito tells them to leave, Kodai calls out to Zordar one last time. But it’s too late. His being has already been absorbed by the Ark.
Outside, the Ark is undergoing its radical transformation process, thousands of pieces of debris and Calaklums swirling around as they wait for their turn to help complete its new image.
When the human arbiter of the Ark of Destruction has completely lost faith in humanity and desires its widespread extermination, this is the shape it takes.
[KC]: This is a pretty dated reference, but I am reminded of Willow’s later plot arc in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then again, I suppose it was not a new idea even then; seeking an end to absolutely everything because of your personal grief.
[AMB]: Tell us more about it! I’d also like to hear what you think about White Sabera’s emotions here. Last episode, a horrified scream escaped her mute self as she saw Golem activate, causing her intense trauma. Could it perhaps be that Sabera’s despair in this moment helped open up the possibility for Zordar to be recognized as human by the Ark?
[KC]: Willow is reunited with her girlfriend Tara after a long time spent apart due to Willow becoming manipulative and untrustworthy in her dependence on magic. Their romantic time is cut tragically short by a stray bullet not meant for either of them. When Willow cannot use her magic to revive the woman she loves, she seeks to literally destroy the world in her grief and rage.
As for Sabera, I had not considered that, but it works very well. At the very least, she is there to give sound to the force that is driving Zordar now, and it is his ability to experience that force that makes him “human.”
[AMB]: As some readers might have noticed, Sabera’s screech at the end of the last episode was a mimicry of her original self’s reaction to the Ark of Destruction’s initial awakening. The intense sadness and despair of awakening her original memories of loss broke her back then, causing the Ark to reawaken. Perhaps Zordar – unbeknownst to himself – still needed her.
The Ark’s thick fog has begun clouding the surrounding space. A burning, smoking Yamato pathetically limps away as Aihara calls for Kodai’s Assault Team to withdraw. According to Aihara, Yamato’s engine has sustained enough damage to reach a dangerously critical point.
“I’ve never done this before,” Shima says, gritting his teeth. “I don’t know how long it will last.” Inside the engine room, Yamato’s Wave-Motion engine has cracked like an egg, its golden crevices pulsating. “Tokugawa… Yamato is…”
[AMB]: Apologizing to his senior and mentor Tokugawa, Shima points out the obvious without really saying it: Yamato is done for. It’s time to bid the ship farewell for good. Or will they…? I’ll delve deeper into what I mean later, but for now just keep Teresa’s prior lessons and words in mind; how the desire and willingness to overturn impossible odds while risking everything is crucial to ensuring the desired future comes to pass. A Yamato specialty. And again, pay attention to the engine. Something’s begun slipping through its cracks.
Varel’s fleet is still evacuating from this sector. His own Zoelguut-II ship has half a dozen Eater-I swords stuck in it hull. Varel’s XO recounts to him what we already know: More debris is getting sucked into the Ark’s gravity well and its energy is rapidly increasing. “So that’s… the Ark of Destruction,” he says with panic in his voice. Turning to face it, he is met with a towering, black-winged, organically metallic angel, its width surely double that of its previous form. It faces Earth, a tiny object in comparison.
[AMB]: The abundant wellspring of energy residing within the gravity well shines as bright as the sun, its circular purple waves slowly dissipating what remains of the fog in the area. The fog had previously taken on a sapphire tint, caused by light from the Ark’s gravity well. Since few ships made it out from the Garmillan navy’s devastating final stand, their victory lap ended up looking more like a grim rout.
From what I can tell, only one Neu Balgrey (Berger’s ship) made it out alive. Aside from it we only see a few Destoria, Kelkapia, Meltoria and Gaiderol-class ships alongside Varel’s command dreadnaught. This means that three of Berger’s talented compatriots – Captains aboard the other three CCC-class ships – have likely gone down with their ships. Their names were Ivan Hartman, Helman Vale and Gunter Kroitz (elder brother of Charis Kroitz from Domel’s fleet in 2199). If only we had a callback to Berger’s line in Ark: “It seems I failed to join you again Meria,” though such a scene would harm the atmosphere and diminish Berger’s character development in that movie.
[KC]: I absolutely love Berger’s backstory, but I want a Berger who wants to live.
Kodai’s Assault Team has successfully escaped the immediate danger of the Ark’s transformation sequence, the swelling gravity well receding behind them. From what we can see, only Kodai, Akira, Saito’s mech and Nagakura’s mech made it out, along with four other piloted craft. Saito and Nagakura hold onto Akira’s Cosmo Tiger I while Kodai’s in his trusty Cosmo Zero. He turns back to face the Ark, a deep concern enveloping him.
Sanada calls: “Kodai, the only way to stop this monster is to destroy its energy converter from the inside before it finishes its energy conversion.” Sweat forms around his brow, his eyes flaring up as he concludes. “That’s the only way…” Having just escaped its core, Kodai ponders how they could destroy it from the inside. That’s when Keyman flashes past him in his Czvarke.
[AMB]: Seeing as Kurata shows up in the final episode, it’s safe to assume he either joined one of the four pilots on the way back, or that his voice actor just did some walla for an unnamed – and now deceased – Cosmo Marine in the last episode. The harmonic imagery of Kodai’s Zero and Klaus’ Czvarke (with respective UNCF and Garmillan emblems emblazoned on their fins) flying past each other is emotionally fulfilling, but at the same time incredibly sad. Okita wished for the day to come when Earth and Garmillas could co-exist, to live and die together. But not like this. And for all you Melda fans out there, just know that the fate that will befall this young Prince could have very well been relegated to her, if she were in his shoes.
Keyman’s Czvarke dives toward the gravity well with zero hesitation, yet his voice betrays his bravery. “This is probably what you’d call (the results of) a bond, too.” The last of the Wave-Motion Excavator Warheads is mounted on his plane. Hearing this, Akira starts to lose her composure.
Keyman continues. “It (The Ark) is eating indiscriminately to feed a thousand years’ worth of hunger. If I do this now…” But before he can finish his sentence, Kodai interrupts him. “Wait, Keyman!” Yamato’s Captain turns his Zero around, speeding toward Abelt’s nephew. “Don’t just decide things on your own! I’ll take your place! Turn back, Keyman!” There’s a clear desperation in Kodai’s voice, but Klaus won’t listen.
[AMB]: Having been starved of love his entire life, Keyman seems to empathize with the Ark’s hunger. They’ve both been deprived of something intrinsic for them: love. And the desire to attain it will cause suffering as long as they exist. He intends to quell their shared hunger, dragging the Ark with him to the other side.
Now, what are these “Wave-Motion Excavator Warheads”? Going back to Episode 14, they were used to break up the Gatlantean shell around Telezart. Since Klaus was busy reprogramming the Satellite Cannon, it seems he never had the chance to deploy his own warhead on the rock bed. In short: Had he not been here right now, things would be different. Keep those words in mind.
About a dozen Needle Slaves come out of nowhere, locking onto Keyman. Readying his guns, he hears out Kodai. “Please! I don’t want to lose anyone else!” After pondering his words, Klaus decides to fire at the Needle Slaves. But while the plane got a bomb, there’s nothing left in the turrets. Keyman desperately maneuvers to dodge, but in a dense barrage of needles, two manage to pierce his cockpit and left wing.
He slams into his instrument board, cracking the entire right side of his helmet. As he braces for impact against three Needle slaves aiming to collide with him, Saito jumps to the rescue in his Mobile Armor, vanquishing them with ease. He makes an unsteady landing on the Czvarke.
[KC]: It is an emotional scene, but I just want to call special attention to the part where Kodai tells his best blue buddy he doesn’t want to lose anyone else, which gave me legit chest pains.
[AMB]: Kodai’s lost a lot of good people today, and in the past. Whether he wants to or not, Klaus won’t be able to make it back. And the Yamato Pathetique BGM, which originally played during the mass death scene on Yamato in Farewell, hints at this. Both Klaus and Saito are dead men walking.
“I’ll be coming with you, Gammy boy!,” Saito says with a thumbs up from his suit. Impressed, Klaus takes off his shattered helmet and asks the rest of the air force to bring “Captain Kodai” back to Yamato. “He still has things left to do…” Shinohara and Sawamura’s mugs show us reluctant admiration, but no objection.
Then Akira passionately bursts out at Klaus. “This is too sad!” A gentle pause allows Klaus and Saito to drift without any imminent threats in front of them. “You’re always like this. Living for others…” Keyman can’t help but hang his head as he hears Akira crying. “…unable to live for yourself… it’s just so…” But before she can finish, Saito cuts her off.
[KC]: Okay, I know what episode this is, I know what show I’m watching, but we are not quite halfway through and this is already brutal.
[AMB]: Years of unshed tears well up in Akira’s eyes before she can finish talking. I can’t recall her ever losing her composure like this, let alone crying. Like Keyman, she’s managed to make it on her own since her brother Akio (and Klaus’ mother Elsa) died. But now that she’s forged a strong bond of love with someone again, she refuses to let this tragedy unfold. But she can do little to stop it. And she’s not only talking about Keyman, but herself as well. This emotional bluntness of hers is a pinnacle of Fukui’s writing, only surfacing when his characters have been forced to their brink.
Saito’s voice is uncommonly soft and warm. “No, it’s not (sad). It’d be even more sad if you only lived for your own benefit, wouldn’t you say? Everyone lives, searching for something precious. If you think you’re going to end up losing it, of course you’d risk your own life (to prevent it). What else can I do, now that I’ve found that very thing?” He smiles to himself, revealing heavy black eye bags.
“Same here…” Kodai weighs in with gritted teeth, speeding up. But Nagakura jumps to his fighter plane’s back, begging him to reconsider. “Kodai, please let them go. Treat that man… as a human… until the end.” Kodai can’t argue, grunting helplessly. Nagakura signals for the fighters to retreat, which they do. Including Akira.
[AMB]: In Episode 22, Saito considered killing himself in space after realising that he was an enemy spy. But Nagakura, the love of his life, talked him out of it, telling him to live and die like a proud human being. In response, Kodai conveys his own desire to die for the greater good. But he’s not allowed to, because unlike Saito and Klaus, Kodai is still able to outlive this situation and use the life that remains within him for something greater. He shouldn’t waste it.
“Kodai!” Saito begins his final words to Kodai. “You’d better listen to my wifey!” Nagakura finally allows streams of tears to pour down her cheeks, closing her eyes. “… or you’ll get your ass kicked.” Then, in unison, Saito and Keyman deliver their final wish:
“Please, for our sake…” (Saito) “…seize the future with your own hands.” (Keyman)
Akira’s no longer slouched, her posture straight and orderly. Her face shows acceptance, yet her tears won’t stop falling.
[AMB]: Kodai’s heart, which both of these two characters have come to understand through many difficult trials, is what will be able to seize the future they can’t see. They’re simple, grizzled and reckless, something Kodai isn’t anymore. To remind him of this, they repeat Hijikata’s dying words. Whether it’s a coincidence or on purpose, that’s what they do. Conveying their earnest wish for Yamato – under Kodai – to seize the future.
The moment Keyman says those final words, Akira mentally falls apart, then straightens herself back up for their sake. The BGM here is Memory of Okita, another person who chose his time and place of death according to his own wishes. To give his life for the next generation, just like Mamoru gave up his soul to make his brother Susumu happy. These developments make me really curious to see what happens for Nagakura in 2205.
Standing in the reckless pair’s way is a new, huge swarm of Needle Slaves, all clustering up to force their way through Saito’s gatling gun. The man yells in both exhilaration and agony, slicing through the enemy blockade as if it were butter. They swarm and swirl to create a thicker wall against the two intruders, but it’s no use. Several needles hit Saito head-on, piercing his cockpit and resurrected body. Blood almost covers his visor. “Gammy boy, hurry, but be calm and precise!”
[AMB]: This, in all its gruesome glory, brings to mind a scene from the final Matrix movie in which the Sentinels (squid-like robots seeking to exterminate mankind) swarm on humanity’s last stronghold. But whether or not that’s a coincidence, this is definitely an homage to Sanada and Saito’s final moments in Farewell. In that movie, Kodai, Sanada and Saito infiltrate the White Comet’s core to plant bombs capable of bringing it down. After sending Kodai away, the other two stay behind to ensure the bombs go off as planned. Saito, carrying two machine guns and firing them Scarface-style, defends Sanada with his large body, takes many hits and dies standing. Saito’s lines – with exception to the words “Gammy boy” – are an exact reading from that scene. Keyman’s last spoken words will be the same as Sanada’s. (For reference: “Thank you… Commander.” Even the bomb trigger is the same!)
Having made it through the worst of the concentrated assault, Keyman begins contemplating the decisions that led him to this point, taking care to dodge when necessary, even at the cost of his own safety. As a result, not only is Saito pierced by needles, but so is the Czvarke. “Akira, I’ve never once thought of myself as sad.” We see a large red needle piercing his torso “Because if I’d never had anything, I’d never have to know the pain of loss.” we cut to Akira, still crying her heart out. “But I’m sad I can’t hear your voice now. I’m sad that I can’t see your face now.”
[AMB]: Keyman’s death not only alludes to Sanada’s, but also Lt. Alphon’s from Be Forever. There, Alphon muses on how much he desires the warmth of a loved one as Yuki cradles him in her lap. Like Klaus, his love turned out to be more maternal than romantic. But seeing as 2202 is a work about bonds, both his and Zordar’s unique fascinations could be viewed as an exploration of the Oedipus complex; how the relationships we build as children help inform what we desire in a partner as an adult.
[KC]: Killing me. This show is killing me.
[AMB]: As well as the cast, to the tune of some of Yamato’s best BGM pieces. The track playing here is one of the opening acts of Overture. Originally featured on the Yamato Symphonic Suite from 1977, it combined several classic Yamato leitmotifs to act as an overture for the album. It’s a more somber and soft rendition of The Universe Expands to Infinity, a classic from the original series.
In the original Farewell, Yamato 2 and 2202, each work begins with the White Comet theme. Then, after a dreadful sequence, this portion from Overture would play, fittingly called Mystery of Space on the Yamato 2 soundtrack. At the start of 2202, it had its scat portion intact. Here, we hear an altered version not found on any 2202 soundtrack, removing the scat to have it sound like it did in Farewell’s opener – though with vocals. For 2202, Akira Miyagawa both reorchestrated the original Overture AND made a NEW Overture for 2202! The latter is only featured on the soundtrack, barring the smallest exception: Episode 20’s “in the next episode” preview.
Saito keeps firing as Keyman continues. “It can’t be helped. The more you gain and feel happy, the greater the sadness people will bear.” At this point, Saito’s long since finished off any remaining Needle Slaves, but his hand is still on the trigger, even with all his rounds spent. Klaus looks out and above his cockpit at the Cosmo Marine, seeing his mobile armor’s visor broken open. Either from blood loss or lack of oxygen, the Commander has lost his life, but with a smile on his face.
Overseeing the final bombing preparations, Klaus steadies his thumb on the activation trigger. With a smile of his own, he addresses Saito. “Commander… thank you.” Closing his eyes, he activates it. The white Czvarke isn’t far from the gaping mouth of death that is the gravity well, hurtling toward it. His last words are inner thoughts, kept only to himself. “This kind of sadness… I love.”
[AMB]: This line is tricky to explain, and I’m afraid its true meaning will be difficult to grasp even with my explanation. But I’ll try.
This is the line: “そんな悲しさを… 俺は愛する” (Sonna Kanashi sa (w)o… ore wa aisuru). The words translate to “Such sadness” and “I love it.” But it doesn’t quite translate to English. So, Funimation chose to translate it as: “This sadness is something… I love.” Neat fix? Sort of. The sadness he refers to is actually what he described a bit earlier; the sadness that grows stronger as the happiness you gain with someone becomes.
That sadness is proof of your bond with that person. The sadness you feel when you give up something (like your life) to protect the person you love. Such immense sadness can only be – in Keyman’s eyes – a sadness worth dedicating your love to. A sadness worth loving. His love will be eternally proven through Akira’s survival due to his self-sacrifice. So, in actuality, he’s not saying that he “loves this sadness.” He’s saying that the sadness that will come as a result of his death, he’ll show it affection; embrace it (with love) for the sake of love. How would I translate it? With the prior context of this scene in mind, I’d translate it as such:
“(Though) such sadness (will result/pain me)… I’ll (lovingly) embrace it.”
[KC]: That is a great breakdown for the concept here, in a series whose final moments are only going to get more metaphysical and emotional.
[AMB]: Glad it was appreciated! And uh… we’ll get to the metaphysics soon. The explanations there will be even more comprehensive! I swear!
As Keyman and Saito vanish within the Gravity Well, the Wave-Motion excavator bomb goes off. A long, linear, blue light spreads out from the core, followed by a blue bubble of Wave-Motion energy neutralizing the built up energy within it. It seems to harmonize with its surroundings, cracking some pieces of the Ark’s structure as the shockwave reaches all the way to the escaping Air Force. It buffets several fighter craft and Yamato itself.
The turbulence is too much for Akira to handle and the rear of her fighter catches fire. It explodes, ejecting her cockpit away. “Yamamoto!” screams Kodai, unable to do anything to save her. The collapse of the gravity well sends a mighty shockwave throughout the Ark.
[AMB]: Some who have seen Episode 26 might be wondering what happens to Akira here. Did she get flung into Teresa’s dimension? Does she die and revive in the next episode? The answer is way simpler. Director Nobuyoshi Habara explained that her ejected cockpit’s automatic navigation system brought her back to the ship in a scene that was deleted for being too complex. This means that she’ll be unwittingly brought into Teresa’s dimension after somehow ending up in the fractured engine room (based on where we’ll see her in the next episode). Cockpit A.I.’s are quite something in the Yamato universe.
Which reminds me of a similar feat in 2199’s 25th episode, where Dessler’s bridge-portion ejected itself too! And while the Akira scene cut is unfortunate, it did allow for a recreation of Yamamoto’s death in the original works! There, he drifts off with a salute before crashing. No salute here though.
The Ark goes silent. Its lights, its ungodly sounds, its gravity well, all go silent. Yamato and its Air Force drift aimlessly in the stillness. Kodai chokes on his own sadness, unsuccessfully trying to hold back his grief and utter despair. “Saito… Keyman…” he says to himself, bowing his head in respect.
Then a cacophony of noise shakes the universe. The Ark is reactivating itself. The red lights on its figurehead light back up, signaled by its menacing activation sound. The remaining debris begin swirling toward the gravity well once more, rebuilding what was broken and feeding into its hungry belly.
[AMB]: One of my favorite short pieces of music from the Yamato catalogue makes its thunderous return! Titled Thunderous Noise on the 2nd soundtrack, it’s a reorchestration of the track that reveals Zordar’s giant battleship in Farewell. It sounds like a demonic mixture of the THX and 20th century fox logo motifs, drenched in a deathly haunting pipe organ. However, the version we hear in the show is different from the one on the CD.
The CD release featured a variation of the track used for one of the Chapter 7 trailers. It aimed to recapture the Yamato 2 version of the track that features heavier drums and a faster tempo. Sadly, the version used in this episode remains unreleased. But that didn’t stop me from recreating it using the CD version! As always, you can find this episode’s BGM mix in the coda at the bottom of the page, featuring several other recreations! And yes, this scene is an homage to Farewell. Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat.
[KC]: So at this point I am pretty sick to my stomach thinking that they just sacrificed themselves for nothing.
[AMB]: As were we all, just like in Farewell to Yamato. Thankfully, it won’t be for naught.
A large sea of debris forms a makeshift barrel at the bottom of the Ark and the prodigious leftover energy absorbed by the Ark is fired out. It’s a cosmic torrent of devastating energy. A deafening, thunderous noise carries it toward Earth’s Moon. Ambassador Varel bears witness to this ray of death with his own eyes, unable to avert his eyes. The beam connects with the Moon, tearing through about a third of it, including the inhabited parts. A rain of dust and ash radiates outward!
[AMB]: Thanks to Saito and Keyman, the devastating laser only phased the evacuated Moon. If it still had all the energy it needs – which it still hungers for – it would have likely taken Earth as well. Oh, and those chunks of Moon debris? Keep them in mind.
A short time later, Kodai returns to Yamato’s first bridge. The crew can only stare at him in silence after so many devastating events. In front of him on the bridge monitor, the Moon looks to have been torn almost in half, the situation getting worse by the minute. Zordar projects his words either to Kodai or to Yamato’s bridge: “I told you… it can no longer be stopped. You have – humanity has – already lost your future long ago.” Some of the chunks from the Moon are shown to have already smashed into Earth’s surface, devastating the environment and causing thunderstorms.
[AMB]: And now we know why Zordar chose to fire at the Moon: To inspire fear of the inevitable end. To leave the survivors with a taste of what’s to come once the Ark has refueled by absorbing what remains of Saturn. In Farewell, Zordar projects his final message to Kodai and crew after completely incinerating the Moon, asking them what they think they can do to stop him. How they intend to lay waste to his glory with a tiny battered ship. He laughs in Kodai’s face, then cuts off the connection. Here, there’s just a somber, creeping despair coming from the Emperor of Gatlantis. And Kodai isn’t sure what to do.
The Ark of Destruction has attained its ideal form, the image of a black angel of death. Leftover pieces and ships swarm around it in a circle. “Accept salvation. The only salvation that can end this suffering. Death.” We get one last montage of the bridge crew. Kodai faces the Ark, steady, yet anxious. “Farewell, warriors of Earth… you who will not pull the trigger.” Only Yamato is left standing between the Ark and Earth.
[AMB]: The Ark’s impromptu gun barrel alone appears large enough to dwarf Earth many times over, truly an optimal shape to ensure destruction. It seems to have borrowed said shape from lessons learned by Yamato; from its asteroid ship ring of Calaklums to creating its own WMG. Oh the irony… since Kodai refused to pull his trigger on Zordar, Earth is about to meet certain doom. At least that’s what we’re led to believe. Now, is the Ark supposed to resemble an angel of death? Or something closer to Christ on the cross? Or is it simply a bird of prey?
[KC]: I am nowhere near well-versed on how much anime taps into Judeo-Christian imagery, but I do know that this is not the first time. I was raised Catholic but am not a believer. First thing I thought of? The crow Eric Draven draws and ignites with lighter fluid in The Crow, a tale of a man returned from the dead to avenge of his murdered wife and unborn child.
[AMB]: Neither am I, but I can definitely see that! Oh, and do you think everyone hears Zordar in this instance? Or was he just projecting his voice to himself/the audience?
[KC]: Zordar likes to monologue as much as any of his peers, but since he has a history of taunting Kodai directly I am going to say that he can hear Zordar, even if no one else can.
Ota informs the crew that Gatlantis (The Ark) is heading toward Saturn. Sanada builds on this, deducing that the Ark intends to convert what remains of Saturn into raw energy. With this, it will strike Earth like it already has the Moon. Positioned against the monitor, Kodai sees few avenues to turn this around. “There is no way left to stop it now.”
On the bridge we see five empty seats, four left behind by crew members departing to the land of the dead. Captain Kodai delivers the final orders to his comrades. His friends. His family. “All hands, abandon ship.” Complete silence fills the scene. No one’s surprised, nor happy.
[AMB]: Going back to the cross talk, the way this shot frames Kodai staring at the Ark perfectly summarizes what kind of thoughts are brewing in his mind. This is his chance to give his life for the greater good. The empty seats are the Captain’s chair (Hijikata/Kodai), Chief Engineer (Tokugawa/Yamazaki), Tactical Chief (Kodai/Kitano), Ship Computer (Analyzer), Guest Crew Member (Keyman). Hijikata, Tokugawa, Analyzer and Keyman are gone. Yamazaki is currently on Ginga, as per Tokugawa’s request. But where is Kitano? Is he really slacking off at this important juncture? Was now REALLY a good time to visit the restroom?
[KC]: Not a good look for someone who dreams of captaining Yamato someday.
In the next scene, perhaps hours later, five Murasame-class ships (two of which are named Mercy and Intrepid) and one Kongo-class battleship have assembled to aid Yamato’s crew in their evacuation. Two Seagull transport ships ferry evacuees back and forth. While the scene takes place later, we hear Kodai’s final words to the bridge crew.
[AMB]: What proceeds is an homage to a speech Kodai delivers in Farewell, telling them to live on and ensure there’s a future for the next generation. In a way, he steps into Okita’s shoes, intending to follow his example in 2199. And the Kongo-class ship in this scene (named Watatsumi) used to be part of the Enceladus Defense Force from Episode 17, meaning it’s Captained by Tetsutaro Ozaki. He’ll be shown briefly, confirming that he survived the onslaught. At least one person in Yamanami’s graduation photo is still alive.
Susumu Kodai’s speech begins:
“In the next strike, Earth may cease to be a habitable planet. But… even so.” Faceless crew members all drag their tired bodies away to evacuate.
“As many humans as possible must live on…” Shima and Sanada walk down the halls, their expressions sad and cold.
“…for as long as possible.” Nagakura is carried out on a gurney, fast asleep.
“Even if such a choice is harder than dying.” Dr. Sado, assisted by a young man in blue, carries Analyzer’s broken head on a carriage, still gently holding his visor.
“People must live on.” All ships begin to depart, Yamato’s crew fully evacuated. Except for two people. As the rescue ships pass Yamato’s first bridge, Shima sees Kodai still on board, saluting their departure. He dashes forward, yelling to the others.
“For as long as there’s even a shred of a chance…” Shima runs to the back windows to catch one last glimpse at his best friend. Several astro engineers salute Kodai from the receding ships.
[AMB]: “Even so…” A Fukui favorite. Even so, mankind must persevere. Even so, Yamato mustn’t give in. Like in Episode 9 the BGM I Remember You is different from its CD release. The scat vocals have been stripped by Sound Director Yoshida to closely emulate its Farewell to Yamato counterpart, Eternal Life. Had the recording schedule been more lenient, perhaps they could have recorded a separate version altogether. But this demo version more than suffices.
Other things of note? Kodai’s words correspond to each frame in this scene, from Nagakura being forced to live in honor of Saito, to Dr. Sado having to live on in spite of losing his best friend Analyzer. When Shima runs he passes by Shigeru Hayashi, an O.G. character who made his first appearance in Ark of the Stars. At the end of his sprint, we see his shadowy contours grasping the windows. This element of the scene – not found in Farewell Yamato – comes from Final Yamato.
There, a previously believed to be dead (and newly recovered) Captain Okita, chooses to stop the calamitous planet Aquarius from flooding the Earth; departing alone with Yamato. He only tells Kodai and Yuki. Minutes later, evacuating crew members slowly come to notice his absence. Dozens of them sprint to their evacuation craft windows, yelling “we’ve left the Captain behind!”. All they see is his saluting visage fading from view, along with their ship, as tears stream down knowing crew members cheeks.
[KC]: This montage did make me feel a little bit better, with even Analyzer being removed from Yamato. C-3PO and R2-D2 are always getting wrecked and rebuilt in that other space opera franchise, so I’m not too broken up about them anymore.
[AMB]: The sequel trilogy was the last straw in that regard. Though if Analyzer’s brought back like nothing happened in 2205, I’ll have to give Yamato the boot as well. But given what we’re about to see… that won’t happen. And while our synopsis states that only two people have been left behind on Yamato, there’s a third one who no one really knows about yet (except us). And they won’t until six months later.
Back above Mars’ atmosphere, Ginga’s refit is almost finished. Kodai has chosen to contact Ginga’s Captain, Saki Todo. “I’ve heard about the G-plan. I want you to escape the solar system at once and find a new Earth.” Baffled, Captain Saki returns his call from Ginga‘s dome alongside First mate Kanzaki and Chief Navigator Ichinose. “Wait! Captain Kodai! What about you?” Saki sounds like a child, desperately pleading for a childhood hero to stay safe. Kodai coldly shuts off the monitor.
[AMB]: In this scene, Ginga’s surrounded by two escort ships, two patrol ships and one Kelkapia-class high speed astro cruiser from Garmillas. There are also five Mars Defense Front Dreadnoughts from the Time Fault. Hull pieces are being attached manually by Mobile Armor engineering suits. The gravity telescope room where Saki – and Sanada in Episode 19 – receives communications from allies is reminiscent of Yamato‘s third bridge in Resurrection: the ECI. Seeing as Ginga was supposed to be Yamato’s “regeneration,” this could have been inspired by that design.
[KC]: I like how this pairs with Dessler cutting off Talan a few episodes earlier. These men are, at least in some important ways, cut from the same cloth. I don’t think Kodai could really rock a cape like that, though.
[AMB]: There are many moments in 2202 where Kodai mirrors Abelt, the most notable being his sincere plea for Yuki to allow a majority to die so that she can live. This moment is similar, where Kodai has no clue how closely he plays his cards to Dessler’s.
Leaving Aihara’s communications equipment, Kodai faces Okita’s relief panel. Following a short silence he addresses the deceased Captain. “Okita. I will accept your rebuke on the other side.”
A door opens and someone else enters the bridge: Yuki. Kodai demands to know why she went against the evacuation order. “I will navigate,” she says to Kodai’s surprise. “You intend to crash Yamato into it, right?” Her head turns to face the Ark of Destruction.
[AMB]: When Kodai asks Okita’s sculpture for guidance at the end of Farewell, Okita’s spirit urges him to lay down his life for the greater good when no other tools are left for him. Instead of completely stealing the original’s thunder here, 2202 opts for a more nuanced take where Kodai knows that this version’s Okita wouldn’t pour oil on his burning desire to die. So he instead apologizes for the sacrilege he’s about to commit, not knowing that Okita willingly gave up his own soul at the end of 2199 in order to save Earth. A soldier follows orders, but he also knows when to follow his heart above his orders.
Attempting to admonish Yuki for going against her orders, he realizes how much he’s missed her and what a hypocrite he is for abandoning his own order. The “orders this, orders that” charade between Yuki and Kodai was a plot element borrowed from Farewell, one that was quickly resolved there but has taken several episodes here. But for good reason!
“Even throwing a near-critical Wave Motion Engine at it, we can’t sink something with that mass. But before the enemy finishes replenishing energy, if we can buy time, and let as many people escape from Earth as possible…” Yuki’s gaze is now firmly fixed on Kodai’s. “I… don’t remember you. But… I can still tell that’s what you’re thinking. Kodai, you can’t do it alone.” The pair stand underneath Okita’s figure, unmoving. Yamato begins limping toward its destination, engine burning as the music fades.
[AMB]: In Farewell, Kodai places Yuki’s dead body in a seat next to his, pronouncing to her that they will be wed under the stars; that “this” will be their wedding. This is conveyed through the direction, depicting the lovers as if they’re being pronounced husband and wife by “pastor Okita’s” sculpture. Which is awfully fitting, considering he practically does the same thing for the two lovers in Final Yamato.
Near the end of that movie, Okita conveys to the pair a wish, for his “two children” (Kodai and Yuki, though not by blood) to live happily ever after. And hopefully, they’ll come to know the joy of raising their own child – his grandchild – one day. Following his death, the two eventually marry, with Yuki giving birth to their daughter Miyuki. This girl makes a brief yet impactful appearance in the sequel, Yamato Resurrection. The inevitability of Miyuki’s existence will be heavily alluded to in 2202‘s final episode. And while Okita can’t be here physically, he’ll soon enter the stage in spirit, completing this callback. Now onto his sculpture.
Okita’s sculpture, like his Hero’s Hill statue it was molded in 3D and then printed for reference. Its immaculate details are uncannily real for this reason, lending a stronger degree of realism when utilising Yamato’s 3D environments.
The second half of this episode makes many allusions toward Episode 9. Back then, Yuki chose to plunge toward a dying planet to stop Kodai from making a terrible choice he’d definitely come to regret, disobeying his direct orders. And while she can’t remember Kodai anymore, she still understands in her heart why he matters to her – why he’s special. So the same BGM plays here as it did by the end of that episode, completing the couple’s vow to marry.
Back on Earth, evacuations are still proceeding accordingly. Hundreds of people stand gathered at a plaza in the underground city, watching Yamato’s departure live. Among them is Makoto, holding her sleeping son. At U.N.C.F. Military H.Q., Commanders Todo and Serizawa have both risen from their seats in awe at Yamato’s impending courage and doom, unable to avert their eyes.
“Yamato is… going.,” says Serizawa with a conflicted expression. Todo snaps back to reality, urging the both of them to not waste the opportunity Yamato’s given them: to speed up and carry out mankind’s evacuation from Earth. Before it’s too late.
[AMB]: Yet another moment borrowed, yet altered, from Farewell. Back then, Todo’s subordinates loudly exclaimed that Yamato was departing. Todo calmly raised his hand in a military salute, respecting Yamato’s sacrifice. In 2202 he feels a lot more comfortable with expressing his hope, opening up to his XO with an emotional performance.
Meanwhile, Serizawa has become more than the boisterous military official he was in the originals, delivering a subdued and sensitive affirmation of Yamato’s courage. Like many other scenes with him in 2202, this one is meant to help slowly build up toward the dam he’ll unleash in Episode 26. Let’s just say this: He truly does recognize the beauty behind Yamato’s idealism and what it can accomplish. But someone has to reign in the risk takers for the sake of stability and order. Someone has to be “the military man.” But more on that next episode!
Kathy, how would you describe Makoto’s feelings at this moment, considering that she probably has no idea that Saburo died in the line of duty? What thoughts lie hidden underneath her expression?
[KC]: I think she’s still torn. It’s complicated. There are practical concerns in there, for her husband and for the future, and of course she needs to be here now for her son, but she was also willing to give up everything once so that Yamato could save Earth, and I wonder if a small part of her doesn’t wish to be there.
[AMB]: If the end has come, Saburo should be by her side. But he promised he’d protect them. Maybe she still thinks he’s onboard. She can’t believe what’s happening though, that’s for sure.
Zordar’s voice echoes inside the Ark, addressing Sabera. “One thousand years ago, you awakened the Ark of Destruction. Do you know why you were able to do that?” Inside the Ark’s gravity well, a new Sabera has been crafted by the Akerian cloning device.
“Because you are human. Because you are human, you curse people… and so, try to destroy them. Because you are human, you love humans… and so, try to protect them.”
Yamato departs from earth toward the Ark. Kodai has taken the Captain’s chair, Yuki the navigation chair. She relays that the Wave-Motion Engine’s internal pressure has reached 250%. It’s near critical, but she surmises that they’ll still be able to reach the Ark of Destruction. A golden light is trying to crack the engine’s shell from within. The Sorrowful Yamato theme begins to play, signaling a repeat of Yamato history.
[AMB]: Zordar has concluded that love is an intrinsic part of the human experience, one that can’t be separated from the species. Out of love, the original Sabera gave her life in an attempt to save her child, Miru. Out of love, hatred toward humanity emerged, causing her pain to activate the Ark of Destruction. Out of love, her various incarnations have tried to desperately stop the Ark; to stop Zordar. Out of love, Yamato’s Captain and Navigator are both laying down their lives. And it’s precisely because of this paradoxical behavior that Zordar’s abandoned any precept of mankind having a future. So he’ll take everything with him to the grave. A salvation called death.
Yuki lays her hand atop Kodai’s, revealing that she’s put her engagement ring back on. Its reflection catches his attention, then so does Yuki. She smiles, moving to sit in his lap. She snuggles in close. “So warm…” she says. Kodai gives her a loving glance. They both repeat each other’s names, edging closer. As they kiss, the whole ship takes on a golden hue. The Sorrowful Yamato theme swells.
[AMB]: Despite the engine’s imminent explosion, Kodai is calmed by the knowledge that Yuki will be with him in the afterlife. At this moment in Farewell, Yuki is already dead. Kodai places her body in a seat next to his. Filled with regret over the lack of time they could have spent together, he promises that they’ll be married among the stars.
In 2202 Yuki’s still alive with no side-chair to sit in. In a way, the Yuki he knew is “dead” to him, but she still fell for him again. This sensitive, somber and melancholic Yuki is much closer to her original counterpart. The intimate Habara-style shots are back, but could they be inspired by a master craftsman from the past?
Recently, Yoshizaku Yasuhiko released a lengthy biography about his career, the Yamato chapter of which can be read here. There, he was asked which animated shot he was most proud of. He cited the scene where Kodai picks up Yuki and places her in the seat next to his. It’s directed like a live-action one-take, except it’s all animated. It’s a fluid and praiseworthy sequence that needed to be addressed in some regard in 2202. So here we are.
[KC]: It is indeed a powerful and iconic callback.
[AMB]: And in what could be another Final Yamato callback, the pair is allowed a kiss, the first one they’ve shared since 2199’s final episode. In the epilogue of Final, Yuki and Kodai share their only kiss in the original series. Whether or not this calls back to that, it definitely recalls the kiss from 2199 which cemented their love.
Radiating out from the engine’s cracks, golden light begin to envelop the entirety of Yamato’s frame. Watching from a departing evacuation craft, Sanada is shocked. “That light…” he begins.
Yuki and Kodai are equally baffled, timidly addressing the author of these developments: Teresa. As golden light takes the shape of a lotus – the telltale sign of her summoning – Teresa shares her wisdom with the pair.
[AMB]: As explained back in Episode 14, the lotus flower, a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth, is what “hatches” Teresa. The light surrounding Yamato emerges from her golden dimension through a crack in Yamato’s Wave-Motion Engine. It is this world’s take on the threads of life spun by the Greek Moirai, or Fates. The Moirai were three entities in Greek mythology, each tasked with ensuring that every being lived out their allotted destinies. One spins the threads of life on their spindle, another measures these threads and the third cuts them.
In this world, which is more in line with the Taoist idea of spiritual immortality being shared throughout the universe, these sisters are separated as well. We have Teresa, who measures life. We have the Ark of Destruction, which cuts it short. And we have humanity, spinning their own destinies as a result of the bonds they make.
And this is the scene where Captain Ozaki gets a small cameo.
“Memories are mere sediment. Emotions give birth to people, and weave bonds.” Yuki bows her head slightly in thought. Then a golden orb makes its way from Yamato, passing through the lotus circle to give form to Teresa’s praying, humanoid shape.
“Everything is the work of bonds. My bond with you brought me here.”
Yamato drifts toward her, watched by Sanada. As other crew members have trouble processing what’s going on, he picks up where he earlier left off.
“The Wave-Motion Engine melting down opened a hole leading into a higher dimension, bringing out Teresa. A one in a hundred million chance… no, was this inevitable?” His eyes water, emotion overwhelming him. Several pauses are required between sentences for him to finish.
“A vessel to bring Teresa into this universe… Yamato.” As his voice trails off, a new rendition of the Great Love BGM begins, aptly titled Last (orchestration) Piece.
[AMB]: The bonds of people, no matter how insignificant they may seem in the grand scheme of things, all helped bring Teresa here. The work of bonds, or how we work in accordance with our bonds, is ultimately what matters. As well as how we choose to perceive them. Sanada asks whether or not her actual, physical arrival in our dimension was an inevitability, or just pure chance. The answer? It’s up to you, the audience member.
Do you choose to live bound by rationalism, denouncing the miracles and cosmic reward for your bonds? Or do you accept the beauty of how they help move individuals to support one another, creating a positive feedback loop that will inevitably bring harmony to the universe?
The time fault, or Yamato? What’s realistic vs. What’s idealistic? Yamato chose the latter, its crew members and everyone they met giving every situation their all. Many died, from young Tsurumi to grizzled old Hijikata. But many have survived thanks to the bonds Yamato forged, from Nagakura to Abelt Dessler. From Fomto Berger to Makoto and Tsubasa. Their combined hard work pushed the engine to its limits, overcoming the fear of its imminent explosion, allowing Teresa to seep through.
Teresa chose Yamato and its crew for a reason. This much Varel realized all the way back in Episode 2. Then, in Episodes 14-16, Teresa explained why. Throughout Yamato’s journeys, its “great sum” (or harmony) helped forge better outcomes for the greater good and a more stable future. The ship’s interventions helped save people, redeem villains and convince different races who all originate from ancient Akerius to cooperate in harmony. Which is exactly the message Ark of the Stars was trying to convey; that different races can work together.
This message existed back before writers Harutoshi Fukui and Hideki Oka even touched the franchise. Yet they both saw the wellspring of beauty this great harmony held, given shape in the movie’s ending song of the same name. The bonds forged between Akira Miyagawa and Ayaka Hirahara’s fathers gave rise to their future collaboration on the song Great Harmony. And Yamato‘s Kanji can be read as “Great Harmony.” Return to Episode 16’s commentary for more along these lines.
For now, just keep Sanada’s character development in mind. It will severely impact his growth going forward. He’s finally cracked the riddles presented by Teresa, of why Yamato matters; why it’s a symbol of Great Harmony.
[KC]: Why don’t some people like this show, again? Am I being too confrontational? Are the folks who are down on 2202 even going to read this? Did they really only want a better-drawn version of the story they already got? Even back in the day there were different versions. If this one is just too “out there” for you, I’m sorry for your loss. I think it’s pretty great space opera.
This is without a doubt a great space opera. Maybe it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe the broader story diverges from the original. Perhaps that bothers some viewers. Or maybe this just isn’t what some ultimately wished for? It was never going to be a touched-up and idealized version of Star Blazers: The Comet Empire. It was never going to beat the childhood memories some had of growing up with the Argo.
But I think that’s for the best. The original stories still remain, in both their original Japanese form and their dubbed form. If 2202 did anything at all to disrespect this long franchise’s legacy, I’d raise as many pitchforks as the lot who do. But reading through our commentaries, constantly finding new hidden tidbits of fun to squeeze out of the show, reading the passionate interviews with creators who really do know what they’re talking about? I don’t see how anyone can say 2202 “isn’t Yamato.” Because it most definitely is. Is it dense, and tightly packed, requiring an attentive mind? Definitely. But that’s not evil, even if some broad strokes end up broader than some would have preferred.
Teresa begins speaking once again. “Strong emotions can sometimes change a destined future. To reverse this course, another (strong) emotion was needed.”
Golden-hued figures of Mamoru Kodai, Juuzo Okita and Ryu Hijikata manifest on the bridge, smiling. And as several more beloved crew members begin to manifest themselves, all turning to look at the living couple, Kodai and Yuki are overwhelmed with a great love.
[AMB]: The future had a “correct” path set for it until the start of 2202. A strong will is required to change such a predetermined fate. Zordar’s will, in this case. And how do we, as humans, reverse this change? With strong determination arisen from love, of course. As Teresa says this, three familiar figures who’ve changed the course of fate in the past show up: Mamoru, Okita and Hijikata.
Mamoru saved Okita, ensured that Operation M worked, and managed to get to Iscandar, where he convinced Starsha of humanity’s beauty; to grant the Earthlings the CRS. Okita gave his all, overcoming impossible odds and managed to save his homeworld, all while combating a life-threatening illness. Hijikata saved Kodai, both physically and mentally, several times this series, saved Saito’s crew in Ark, inspired Yamanami to live on, gave his life for this reckless Gatlantis insertion plan, and raised Yuki like his own daughter. These three men could have surrendered, abandoned their ideals, and taken the easy way out. Yet they didn’t.
[KC]: Finally, all those months that we speculated on how much like Farewell this retelling would be culminate in this emotional scene. I was pretty choked up during my rewatch for this commentary. Much as Kodai and Yuki, I am overwhelmed with a great love.
[AMB]: Appropriately, the BGM for this scene is Great Love, or rather a new variation titled Last Piece composed by Akira Miyagawa. It’s a very bold move to change the music for this iconic scene. The original track, sometimes referred to as Tears of Love, is and always will be my favorite piece of Yamato music. It’s what convinced me to finally dip into Yamato following a very emotional deep dive into the franchise’s music catalogue.
But we’ve been over this track in previous commentaries. What makes this variation stand out? It’s bold, brave and grande! Bursting with heroism, it no longer carries the melancholy of its previous incarnation. It’s the last piece of Yamato’s harmonic puzzle, as much a leitmotif for the ship as it is for Teresa. For bonds as well. But… What about the original Great Love? It only plays once in Farewell, so will we not be hearing it at all? Tune in for the next episode.
Deceased crew members continue filling the bridge. From 2199 we have the Engineers Iwata and Toyama, Security Chief Itou and the three pilots who died at the battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster (including Daikugahara). From 2202, we have Analyzer, Keyman, Saito, Toko, Tokugawa, Tsurumi and Kato.
“One missing person, and I wouldn’t be able to come here,” Teresa observes. “I also am part of the great harmony. Let us go together. For the sake of the future all life will weave.” She moves with Yamato as one, her golden blonde hair spreading across the cosmos to blanket the ship, which glows brighter than before. With all sadness vanished from their faces, Kodai grasps Yuki’s hand firmly, holding it close to his chest. They welcome what’s to come as Teresa’s warm light surrounds them.
[AMB]: Iwata and Toyama did their best to fend off Dessler’s androids in 2199’s 25th episode, ensuring Yamato’s engine wasn’t shut down. Shinya Itou showed Yurisha that even the humans that seem awful on the outside can have hearts of gold on the inside, inspiring her to aid Kodai in finding Iscandar and to convince her sister Starsha to grant them the CRS. The pilots who died at the Rainbow Star Cluster did so in order to protect humanity’s hope – Yamato – from certain destruction. Analyzer saved Yamato and its crew countless times, ensuring the Zemulian storytellers would be transferred to Yamato, then giving his life to save Dr. Sado. Keyman and Saito we’ve already explained in-depth. Tokugawa ensured the engine would last until now at the cost of his life, Tsurumi performed a dangerous insertion stunt at Telezart to infiltrate the rockbed, and Kato’s reckless decisions – for good and for worse – were the key to saving his family and set Yamato on the path toward this end point.
Their trials, their sacrifices, they were all necessary in order to bring Teresa into our world. And she bet the universe on this progression, without any certainty other than what was previously seen as a natural development. Gatlantis broke that fate, so Yamato has slowly moved to repair it, its destiny intertwined with the universe’s.
Gorgeous shots of Teresa harken back to Farewell, her golden mane coating Yamato just like it did in that story. Sayaka Kanda’s vocal performance reveals a previously unheard emotional side to 2202’s Teresa, sending shivers down my spine. Kodai grasps Yuki’s hand over his chest, moving in accordance with his original counterpart. Their actions may be mimicry of the past, but their intentions vary greatly. Teresa doesn’t intend to let Yamato blow itself up, she’s coating it so that the ship can bring the Ark with them to her dimension. Yuki’s dead body isn’t resuscitated next to Kodai, she’s alive and smiling, moving forward with hope and love in her heart. But the question is… what comes next for them?
The camera pans over the Captain’s chair. The music trails off into the cold blackness of space. The pair face the future with no remorse. Yamato heads into the purple-blue light of the Ark of Destruction. And then, an explosive burst fills the screen with white.
[AMB]: Farewell, Space Battleship Yamato is the name of this episode, fading in as everything goes white. This is how the original movie ended, with a large bang. However, that version also ended with a message from Exec Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki. And of course the song From Yamato With Love, sung by Kenji Sawada. But don’t worry, that’s coming next time! For this episode, we hear Koichi Yamadera’s Great Sum from Chapter 6. It’s a perfect fit for an episode that ends with an uplifting message about Yamato’s great harmony. Sadly, I have to confirm that Analyzer’s gone. His spirit wouldn’t have shown up on Yamato’s bridge otherwise. And yes, this does seem to indicate that robots like him can attain a spirit in this universe.
[KC]: An emotional roller coaster, this episode, but ultimately I’m left with a feeling of hope that I do not believe is simply due to knowing what’s coming.
[AMB]: In a time of global strife, political upheaval, droughts and uprisings, an uplifting story of hope is just what we need. A few months after the story ended in 2019, COVID-19 started creeping up on us, affecting every walk of life. Just as the pandemic begins to slow down, our journey with the 2202 commentaries is slowly coming to an end as well. It is my sincerest wish that these commentaries have helped lift the spirits of those of you reading at home, that our back-and-forths have granted you a reprieve and that the bubbling hype for the stories to come will fill ya’ll with excitement!
[KC]: Yeah, I’m not going to sugar coat it; there were times over the past two years when I found it very difficult to work on this commentary or summon up any interest for it or for much of anything else. But it has been a lot of fun, too. I’m really looking forward to the start of 2205 and increased activity on social media. I would say let the speculation begin, but it’s been going on for some time now. So thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with this project and leaving their own comments. I hope you’ve been entertained even if you didn’t always agree!
Theatrical release: Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love Chapter 7: New Star Chapter contained episodes 23-26. It premiered in Japanese theaters March 1, 2019.
Japanese video: Theater-exclusive Blu-ray March 1, 2019. Standard Blu-ray & DVD April 26, 2019
First Japanese TV broadcast: March 15, 2019
American debut: April 13, 2019 (streaming) November 26, 2019 (home video)
Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 25. (Including recreations of the unreleased tracks!)
Episode Director: Ryusei Koyano
Storyboard: Kia Asamiya
Chief Animation Director: Akihisa Maeda
Animation Directors: Mitsuru Ishihara, Masahiro Yamane, Yoshinori Nabana
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