Episode 26: Earth, Yamato is…
by Anton Mei Brandt, Kathy Clarkson and Tim Eldred
Ginga fades into view with Earth as its backdrop. The ship patrols “Area 550,” a space cluttered with debris from the Moon. In an effort to repair Luna, the ship’s here to help guide the fragments back, using Magnetron probes. After ejecting an initial volley, Chief Navigator Ichinose confirms their success.
“The meteor group in Area 550 has entered a trajectory to fall on the Moon. We will move on to clearing Area 551 next.”
As First Mate Kanzaki orders a reload of their magnetron probes, Captain Saki Todo lets out a sigh. “What a mess…”
A white Analyzer unit turns to the Captain, informing her of the moon’s current restoration progress: 7.5%.
The scope of the moon’s destruction is depicted, along with the constant rainfall of space junk crashing down on Earth.
A screen caption reads: Half a year after the Gatlantean War.
[TE]: Right off the bat, we are in completely uncharted territory. When Harutoshi Fukui was first invited to serve as the writer on 2202, his marching orders were to make an expanded version of Farewell to Yamato. His response was, “wasn’t that Yamato 2?” But the request was clear: NOT Yamato 2. Of course, plenty of elements from Yamato 2 ended up in the story (they had to), but this is the episode where the request truly culminates.
For anyone who wondered what might have happened to the survivors of Farewell, we now sort of have a idea. And since there is no precedent for this episode anywhere in the original saga, all the material is 100% informed by where we are now as a shared circle of creators and viewers.
My first viewing of this episode was on opening day of Chapter 7 in Tokyo. The three episodes that preceded it were a wild, unpredictable ride ending as the 1978 movie ended. The picture faded to black and then came back up, and nobody had the slightest idea what we were going to see next. For the first time in decades, Space Battleship Yamato was entirely new again. It was exactly what I (and several of my fellow travelers) were there to experience.
[AMB]: Rather than the standard opening title, we get a cold open on Earth and Ginga – reminiscent of 2199’s after credits scene – with no music at all. No Yamato, no Yamato opening. Ginga may be its successor, but it ultimately performs a thankless job. Before we reach the end, how about we share our thoughts on Ginga and its crew? Any musings you’d like to express on what role they might fulfill in the next work, 2205?
[KC]: We still don’t know much about this crew or their captain, but we do know that they should be able to focus more on being an exploration vessel again as opposed to Mankind’s Last Hope. I am pretty curious to see what role they will fulfill in the mashup that 2205 is shaping up to be.
[AMB]: Sanada’s already confirmed to be Captain of a new ship in 2205, but surprisingly enough it’s not Ginga. That ship and its crew are nowhere to be seen in any of the teasers either. Whatever role they play will be a surprise to be sure.
White Analyzer is again voiced by Cho, the voice of Analyzer and Black Analyzer. I wonder if we’ll see this emotionless copy learn from his predecessors in future works. Its white paint job is obviously symbolic of Ginga’s transition from dark pessimism to hopeful light. Also, this being Area 550 suggests they’ve cleaned up 500+ areas in the past 6 months. If 550 is 7.5% of the areas, then there’s 7,330 areas in total to clean up, with 6,820 remaining. At this rate the cleanup process will take at least 6 years.
We cut to Earth’s capital, bathed in sunset. Debris still falls from the sky as meteorites. A hunched Dr. Sado sits facing the horizon, drinking straight from a sake bottle at Hero’s Hill. He eyes three Mars Defense Front Dreadnoughts (accompanied by four escort frigates) towing the scorched husks of Gatlantean Calaklum ships from the sea. Obviously, we’re still well inside the recovery phase of the war.
After chugging a fair bit of the bottle’s contents, Sado turns his head to gaze upon Okita’s statue and the mourning figures facing his monument. A wreath has been placed on his epitaph. In front of it now rests an electronic epitaph, situated between two “eternal flames.” Names of those who have passed away scroll upward. The gathered group watches with the appropriate amount of sadness and anger.
[TE]: The storyboards for this episode had quite a different setup with each crewmember getting their own individual stones on either side of the Okita monument. While this idea matches what we saw in the post-Gatlantis memorial scene in The New Voyage, it would have created a staging problem, since the mourners would have been spread out rather than focused on a single “ticker.” And the “ticker” is a much better example of future technology anyway. It includes character names in both Japanese and English, following a common practice in Japan today.
[AMB]: This scene calls back to 2199’s final episode. Dr. Sado, who had just witnessed Okita’s death, stops himself from informing Yamato’s crew, once he sees Yuki’s miraculous return from the dead. He wore a complicated expression, not knowing whether he should rejoice or despair. Here, there’s no solace from the suffering. A lot of good people died, mostly young people. And Analyzer.
[KC]: Random artistic observation: that is one gorgeous sunset.
[AMB]: And one that harkens back to the second episode of 2202! And just as uncharacteristically as back then, Dr. Sado isn’t wearing his medical uniform. In both old and new works, he rarely wears anything else. The only exceptions have been Episodes 2 and 3 of 2202, where he wears traditional Japanese garb. Here, a suit and tie, befitting of the occasion. It adds a degree of realism to this new work, just like the salvaging operations in both the sea and space do. Perhaps he took this opportunity to say goodbye to Analyzer too?
Among those present at the memorial are the remaining Cosmo Marines from Saito’s regiment (including Nagakura, Kurata and Amagi), Yamazaki, Niimi, Nanbu, Sanada, Ohta, Aihara, Shinohara, Sawamura, Shima, and an appropriately dressed Makoto and Tsubasa. Interestingly, the boy has a bandage on the exact spot where his father’s scar was. When Tsubasa sees his father’s name scroll by, his lips tremble and his hands grab at Makoto’s dress.
When Shima sees Kodai’s name at the end, his left fist is clenched, frustration apparent. “You just had to go and become famous,” he blurts out under his breath.
[AMB]: Among the names we see scroll by on the electronic epitaph are Hikozaemon Tokugawa, Gen Furuhashi, Hajime Saito, Ryu Hijikata, Saburo Kato, Akira Yamamoto, Yuki Mori and Susumu Kodai. For some reason, Tokugawa’s family isn’t here to pay their respects. While I initially thought of this as odd, I can’t fault them for not coming. Why? Because this is the fourth anniversary of Okita’s death, December 8th. A year has officially passed since 2202’s story began, bringing us back to Hero’s Hill and that iconic winter sunset. The Tokugawa family wasn’t there then, they aren’t here now.
Why do Shima’s eyes burn with rage? His best friend and Captain tricked him, left him behind and never gave him the chance to properly say goodbye. The moment he spots Kodai’s posthumous promotion – a military custom for dead soldiers who rendered distinguished service – he can’t help but let his frustrations be known. It’s all right if you didn’t spot this in the English version, Funimation didn’t bother to translate his new rank as Commander.
A name that might be unfamiliar to viewers is Gen Furuhashi, a Cosmo Marine under Saito’s command. Back in Episode 6, he gave his life on the 11th planet, ensuring safe passage to the refugees. Lastly, in hindsight we all know that Yamamoto, Yuki and Kodai are alive and well. Here’s hoping that the epitaph can be reprogrammed.
[KC]: Poor Shima and his survivor’s guilt. If I were him those eyes might be burning with rage over the injustice of taking all of his Yamato 2 plot away.
[AMB]: Hopefully he’ll get to spend some quality time with his mother and little brother Jiro. Speaking of injustice, did you notice the absence of Analyzer’s name on the epitaph? It could just be that his name wasn’t shown in these shots, but I personally think he’s been left out because of his non-human nature. And on the subject of Shima’s rage, do you believe the focus on both Kodai and Yuki’s names is a coincidence? Or a subtle hint at a particular revelation from Final Yamato?
[KC]: Yeah, I’m not sure if Analyzer missing from the list means that we’ll see him in 2205 as well, or that the EDF doesn’t acknowledge that as a life lost. And I am REALLY HOPING that Shima is just upset that his good friend is gone and we won’t be revisiting that strange and unnecessary confession.
[AMB]: I doubt we will. Nanbu already has that secret crush on Yuki covered for Shima. AND he’s gotten over it.
The Time Fault, same day.
The Laboratory Prometheus Control vessel is caught off-guard. Just as five engineering mobile armors get ready to investigate a bright, golden pool of light coming from the Fault’s water barrier, Yamato suddenly bursts out from underneath! “It’s Yamato,” an engineer gasps.
[TE]: Yamato is suddenly back, boiling up from a multidimensional grave as if refusing to stay dead. The sound effect that announces it was not chosen randomly; it’s the same heavy, chilling foghorn we first heard at the end of Final Yamato. Back from the dead indeed.
We then cut to Earth’s capital, revealing that it’s now nighttime. Commander Todo is debriefing Sanada on the situation over the phone, entrusting him with the task of gathering the right people for the job of investigating the newly-emerged ship. “I want you to find out what’s going on. It’s hard to believe, but if it’s really Yamato…”
[AMB]: We’ve only briefly mentioned the Laboratory Prometheus vessel in the past. Now let’s explain why it matters. Since it isn’t possible to station management personnel inside the Time Fault (it’s an anti-gravity singularity with life-threatening side effects) this Dreadnought-class battleship, equipped with a new Wave-Motion Engine, was classified as a control machine inside the factory. In order to enable life support inside the fault, its dimensional inertia canceller uses warp acceleration to maintain the passage of standard Earth time on board. The bridge is expanded over the normal type with its windows blocked and external information displayed on screens. But why is the ship named Prometheus?
Prometheus was a titan from Greek mythology, also known as “the supreme trickster.” For brevity’s sake I’ll omit most of his tale. After Zeus was deceived by Prometheus, the God of Gods hid fire from us mortals. Prometheus stole it back from him, giving it to humanity, along with civilization. The apparent meaning behind Prometheus’ name is forethinker, and in the Greek dramatist Aeschylus’ tale Prometheus Bound, Prometheus is also the preserver of both flame and civilization, as well as the bringer of arts, sciences and the means of survival. In short, Laboratory Prometheus is the perfect name for a ship capable of surviving the harsh metaphorical fire of the Time Fault. And its introduction in Episode 17 was a good hint at mankind’s future punishment, at the Ark of Destruction’s hand.
With the series’ ending in mind, we do wonder what purpose this particular vessel will serve after the Time Fault’s deactivation. Leave any guesses in the comment section!
Some time later, Sanada’s crew approaches Yamato in a black Mars Defense Front Dreadnought, escorted by Laboratory Prometheus. The crew consists of Shima, Yamazaki and himself (and maybe more, but we don’t see them). Wearing large hazmat suits to stave off the Time Fault’s side effects, they force their way inside Yamato.
While Yamazaki investigates the engine room, Shima and Sanada blowtorch their way into the first bridge. “Kodai!” yells Shima, only to be met with disappointment. “Kodai…” The bridge is in tatters, no sign of life around.
[AMB]: In the original works, the only time we’ve ever seen Yamato’s first bridge in such disrepair was in Final Yamato. In that film, Todo likewise notifies some former Yamato crew of the ship’s return from unknown space, who then immediately investigate the ship. Yuki and Todo’s anguish are mirrored by this version’s Shima and Todo. Though not to Yuki’s extent; back then, she tried to end her life when she thought Kodai was dead. This link is explored in Episode 9.
Near the end of Final Yamato, the bridge has been battered to hell by Uruk’s forces. The crew finally get a look at that damage in the 2021 novel Aquarius Algorithm, which is the first link between Final and Resurrection.
Suddenly, they hear Yamazaki calling for them. He’s found a survivor!
When they reach the engine room, Sanada looks at the engine’s slowly-turning flywheels. “It lives,” he tells himself. Yamazaki snaps him out of it, motioning toward the person he’s found: Akira Yamamoto, in a deep sleep.
[AMB]: Sanada facing Yamato’s engine and professing that “it lives” is a character moment also taken from Final Yamato, spoken by Analyzer. Contrary to 2202, it happens near the start of the movie, before Yamato steers itself back to Earth after taking heavy damage, as if it’s alive. Then there’s Akira’s return. While looking dead as a brick, she’s simply unconscious. As mentioned earlier, Yuki similarly discovered Kodai’s unconscious body upon Yamato’s tattered return in Final Yamato, believing him to be dead. This time, no body was found on the bridge, still giving the impression that Kodai’s dead. The technicalities of Akira’s return were explained in last episode’s commentary, so no need for it here. She’ll comment on it soon enough.
Teresa’s dimension, time unknown.
Yuki, dressed in civilian attire, is seen running on a tiny beach, surrounded by water as far as the eye can see. Before reaching the edge, she spots Kodai, his arm cradled by a different Yuki. Unlike herself, this one’s wearing her yellow Yamato uniform. The pair both stare out at a bank of clouds, stars lighting up the night sky. When the uniformed Yuki hears the other approaching, she exclaims “there you are,” then turns, fades, and phases into the first Yuki. The two become one. Her expression reveals a hint of sadness. A collection of voices begins talking to her in unison.
Keyman: “Two sets of memories merge to become one.”
Katsuragi: “Anything can happen here.”
[AMB]: Behold, Teresa’s dimension! A world of metaphysical properties, where “anything can happen,” as Katsuragi’s spirit puts it. After the events of the last episode, Kodai and Yuki were taken to Teresa’s dimension. It’s been six months since the Ark was brought down, but the pair haven’t left her dimension yet. With that said, let’s get to the meat of things.
The first Yuki we see here is a spiritual manifestation of her memories; post-Yurisha car crash hemorrhage in 2198. It’s the Yuki we’ve come to know since 2199, all the way up to Episode 19 of 2202. It’s a mental apparition of the Yuki who Kodai fell in love with. Having only three years’ worth of memories, her mind immediately goes to a comfortable setting she can recall: A hot summer’s day with Kodai, as signified by the column clouds, her attire (from Episode 2), and the beach. True peace. More parallels to come.
The second Yuki is a manifestation of her original self and memories, both of which resurfaced in Episode 19, at the cost of her new memories with Kodai. Early on in 2202’s production, Head Writer Fukui knew he wanted to tackle Yuki’s memory issues. This is the endgame of 2202’s reverse-amnesia plot. To reconstruct Yuki by merging her past and current selves.
[KC]: I have watched the final episode a few times and I didn’t pick up on Yuki getting all of her memories back until now. In my defense, I spent the release of this series pretty anxious and wholly focused on whether Dessler and Talan were going to survive it.
[AMB]: Thankfully, they both did. And unfortunately, I don’t think you’re the only one who missed Yuki’s reconstruction. It’s all presented visually, with vague hints given by voices of the dead that drift in and out of this dimension.
Yuki, taking Keyman and Katsuragi’s words into account, runs up to Kodai. He’s unresponsive. Kato’s voice informs her that the Kodai she sees is but a projection. The real one is “over there.” Heeding his words, she turns. At the edge of this space, there’s a giant tree composed of long, blue strands of light.
[AMB]: After some intimate Director Habara-style shots of Kodai and Yuki, a few questions present themselves. What is the significance of the beach? And of Kodai’s unresponsiveness?
The beach is undeniably a visual borrowed from Final Yamato’s finale, where Yamato’s surviving crew all gathers on a beach to bask in the peace they’ve won. The song accompanying that scene, Rainbow to Tomorrow, has lyrics that hold some potential clues to help decipher this scene. (Read them here.) I’ll mostly delve into the last portion:
“Child, let’s all sing together again / Have a nice dream / When you catch up to tomorrow, time disappears from this world / We all know this / Tomorrow we’ll begin to run.”
Yuki’s old self catches up to her new self; to tomorrow. She runs up to Kodai, a man currently locked in his own bitter struggle, in his own dream-like world. What he sees is different from Yuki. And what he sees might lead him down a path which will endanger the flow of time itself, as we’ll soon find out.
Hero’s Hill, later.
A recovered Akira Yamamoto is paying her respects at the monument with ambassador Varel. Behind Okita’s statue stands a different epitaph, chiseled in stone. Names of the war dead are inscribed. Akira’s fingertips gently stroke a single name written in Japanese Katakana: Klaus Keyman.
She debriefs Varel on what she experienced in Teresa’s dimension.
“I saw a tree. A tree so great, I couldn’t see the roots or the tips of the branches. That’s how Teresa sees the flow of time, they said. Maybe it’s Teresa herself.”
[AMB]: Before we get to some Garmillas talk, allow me a final comment on the beach. While Final Yamato’s ending could be seen as an actual occurrence, it could also be a visual allegory. After fending off mother nature (Aquarius/water), to save mother nature (Earth/land), a celebration is held at the meeting point of water and land. If so, with Teresa’s connection to Akerius in mind, perhaps this imagery holds more water than we initially thought? More on that later. Puns excluded.
[KC]: A Garmillas ambassador, in uniform, on Hero’s Hill. Something I never thought I’d see outside of fan fiction. My petty nitpick? I wish it was his real Garmillan name. Yes, obviously I’m biased, but even if I were not, I’d be in favor of that slight change. People knowing that a Dessler died for Earth can’t be a bad thing.
[AMB]: Sadly, I believe using Klaus’ real name would create a political scandal. An exiled prince of the Dessler lineage infiltrating both Garmillas’ CIA and its Earth Embassy? Who sabotaged Yamato and endangered Earth’s prospects for survival, to quell a brewing rebellion on Garmillas? Detractors of Neu Garmillas’ democratic regime would rise in numbers, harming its already difficult healing process. It would permanently damage the legitimacy of Garmillas’ CIA and its Earth embassy, in the eyes of both the Earth Federation and Neu Garmillas. The current Garmillan regime is desperately trying to steer away from the former Dessler regime, in both name and policy.
[KC]: I mean, yes, that’s all technically true. Unfortunately I don’t get to decide where this show dumps its melodrama.
[AMB]: Then there’s another issue; Klaus never wanted to be recognized for his family name, nor did he pride himself as a Dessler. Klaus Keyman is the name of the hero who helped save Earth; who Akira Yamamoto fell for. He chose to leave his name behind and become his own man. And so, convenient as it is for Varel and the government he serves, Klaus shall be remembered as such. On the topic of Varel, do you think Hyss made a conscious decision to employ a high-ranking Garmillas CIA operative as an Earth ambassador? And his good intentions aside, does Earth know that Varel’s essentially a spy? I don’t believe we’ve discussed this yet.
[KC]: Right, but this journey was also about him making peace with that name and learning that his Uncle is not the monster he believed. Regardless, I am not seriously arguing that it should be changed. Just doing my part as the commentator with the pro-Garmillas bias.
[AMB]: Point taken!
[KC]: And you’re right, Varel is an angle that we’ve never really discussed. Probably because I’m not sure where I fall on this. Back in the day when Vice President (President now, I guess) Hyss was known as General Krypt here in the States he was a complete fool. He was played totally for comedy; the guy Dessler would call in to answer a question that His Majesty already knew the answer to. “Krypt…you’re an idiot.” Now? We’ll have to wait and see since there’s no significant setup for Hyss in 2202; his characterization in 2199 was meant to stand alone.
[AMB]: What little we have on Hyss in a post-2199 world is his 2202 character profile, and his fleeting appearances in Episodes 16 and 26. According to his profile, he’s currently acting as Secretary to the Interior Ministry. In Episode 16, we saw him directly associating with Varel, where the latter called him “Chief Hyss,” clueing us in on his direct involvement in the Dessler remnants investigation.
[KC]: What Hyss will be like and how cleverly he has been playing the game of thrones is anyone’s guess. I know that we see him in this episode as well as the 2205 trailer, but part of me is afraid that they’re bringing in the old New Voyage plot to clean up all these extra Garmillas that 2199 created. As far as Earth is concerned, no; I don’t think that any ordinary citizen or known character like Serizawa has any idea of the political machinations going on within Varel’s own government.
[AMB]: Duly noted! I suppose we could keep Hyss’ dissatisfaction and feeling of betrayal from 2199 in mind as well. His being abandoned and left to die by Abelt, along with his direct involvement into the Dessler remnants faction tells me that he’s no Dessler loyalist at least.
[KC]: We do know, however, that Dessler’s heart has changed. I hope that they continue where 2199 started in exploring politics and daily life for the people of Garmillas, but I don’t want there to be two separate groups of them going forward, and I don’t think that there will be. I would prefer that Dessler has a chance to save at least some of the folks who didn’t choose to follow Ghader Talan when he went looking for his boss.
[AMB]: Lastly, there’s the topic of Teresa. As we all know at this point, Teresa’s humanoid form is nothing more than a mirage, a form chosen by the collective of people who became Teresa. They reached the ultimate form, one closer to a God than a collective of men. At her core, she seems to actually be the tree we see, though that’s just speculation on Akira’s part. What I think she’s definitely right on is that Teresa is essentially the flow of time given shape. Allow me to explain…
Before a race of people reached the Teresa state of mind, it’s implied that the flow of time and evolution of bonds was simply a background process of the universe, hidden and obscured inside an upper dimension outside our reach. When a race of people reached this upper dimension, they became known as Teresa, by as recently as 1,000 years ago according to Garmillan historical records. This name was most likely not chosen by this entity, but rather given by worshippers like those we saw back in Episode 1.
The shape was chosen. Her name was most likely given. But having reached a state close to Godhood, Teresa chose – or was forced – to become a conscious spokesperson of what can only be described as fate itself; the flow of time. While she may not have been that tree as her former collective, her existence is certainly interlinked with it now.
Why did I bring up the “1,000 years ago” connection? Many things happened 1,000 years ago, according to both the old and new Yamato works. In 2199 Ep 8, 1,000 years of the Garmillas empire is celebrated. In 2202 Ep 3, Varel says that records of Teresa’s existence date back to 1,000 years. In 2202 Ep 20, Zordar and Gairen are shown to have discovered the Ark of Destruction, then promptly seized planet Zemulia, presumably ending its kind.
And there’s already more; in the August teaser for 2205 Part I, Dezarium Commander Deda – of the Dark Nebula Empire – converses with his commanding officer Meldaz. They collectively say that, for the sake of the Dezarium’s 1,000 year long dream, all they need is Iscandar.
Going back to original continuity, in Yamato III, the religious nation of Shalbart is said to have ruled the universe with an iron fist and deadly WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction) 1,000 years ago. This plot element was given to Iscandar in 2199, though no timeframe is given for when the Iscandarian Empire ruled the universe.
What 2199 and 2202 both depict and make clear, however, is that Iscandar and its kind have been deified by Dessler since 2189. Perhaps the transition from Godlessness to worship was accepted, simply because the Iscandarians had been worshipped in the distant past as well? Or perhaps a different nation, like Shalbart? In those same 2205 teasers, the Shalbart religion is more or less confirmed, found on the Garmillan people’s ancestral homeworld in the Milky Way galaxy. Any thoughts on all this? Can we extract any hints for the story’s future developments from this “1,000 years ago” connection?
[KC]: A thousand years is also known as a millennium (though it would make more sense for a million years to be called that, but let’s not digress too far here). In my fanfiction back when I was in grade school I used the Millennium Falcon to rescue Han, Luke and Leia when they had been captured by who? By Dessler of freaking Gamilas, that’s who. [INSERT DRAMATIC MUSIC HERE]
In all seriousness, I’m not sure where they’re going to go with the religious angle this time around, but I hope it’s not to the same place they did last time. Honestly, I would like them to really make a departure from the original work like they keep claiming, but that never seems to manifest. Now the Dark Nebula Empire is back. And don’t get me wrong, they look A LOT cooler. That mechanized cape that comes out of Commander Deda? 100% Badass. But what are they going to do, blow up all of the Garmillas loose ends and kill Starsha so Dessler can be sad and Yamato can take her half-Earthling baby? I hope not.
[AMB]: Seeing as both Harutoshi Fukui (Head Writer) and Hideki Oka (Script Writer) are penned to return, their reimagining of Farewell/Yamato 2 should say enough for 2205’s direction. There will be a mounting number of callbacks, references and borrowed story elements, but this voyage was always meant to be a new one. I share your wish for Garmillas and Starsha to come out of this new work with some life in them. But, as you say, a new voyage is by no means a guarantee for substantial change to the main story beats.
[KC]: There had better be something to all these millennium references and ancient technology floating around. Also, I would love an explanation for why Starsha and her sisters remain on Iscandar alone that isn’t just some sappy take on that being their home. Maybe their warfaring technology has to be monitored lest it put Garmillas at risk. Maybe they need very specific conditions, much like the Garmillas do. Maybe she loves Abelt. I don’t know, give me something!
[AMB]: Which brings to my mind your worries about a Shalbart story repeat in 2205. Even if they’d like to follow Yamato III beat for beat, 2199’s depiction of Iscandar and Starsha has already sucked that well dry. Every scene between Ruda and Ageha was given to Yuria and Hoshina, or Akira and Keyman. Yamato’s journey to Shalbart was completely adapted in 2199 Ep 24, including Shalbart’s troubled history as a warmongering empire, and Ruda’s role as WMD arbiter was given to Yurisha. What remains is Yamato’s successful defense of their home, which happens to be the only element I’d love to see return, for 2205’s depiction of Iscandar’s crisis.
Perhaps the Iscandarian empire that existed in the distant past did so a millennium ago? If so, could they have been Zemulia’s proper owners? If some of these Iscandarians escaped Sabera’s fog, then maybe they became the Dark Nebula Empire, creators of the Dezarium army? We could speculate to no end, so I’ll leave it at that.
[KC]: These races are definitely all connected by more than megalomaniacal intent. It was one of the things I was most excited to see in the Ark film. My memory of Yamato III is quite poor, and that is no accident. I didn’t actually know that 2199’s writers redistributed its plot throughout their own series to far better effect. I’ll just be happy to not see Dessler completely reverting back to type and doing things like inviting his friend Kodai to come watch his Fascist Birthday Parade, and shooting his own men in the back while delivering lines that would make me cringe even if they were coming out of Eddie Allen’s mouth.
When Varel asks if Akira spoke with Teresa herself, she rejects this notion, telling him that it could have been her brother Akio, her junior Tsurumi, or maybe even Klaus. “Who, or where… it’s all vague in that world.” But what she does recall is what the voices wanted her to pass on.
She turns to face Varel. “Those two could have returned if they wished, but they didn’t. So…” Varel slumps into quiet contemplation, then speaks of Klaus.
“He spent his life being toyed with by destiny, but by boarding Yamato, and by meeting you, Klaus found salvation.” Akira readjusts her arm sling, averting her gaze. Varel continues. “It’s not an easy path, but let’s do our best to make the message he left you a reality.” He smiles, raising Akira’s spirits.
[AMB]: As Akira explains, returning from Teresa’s dimension is a matter of will. That’s how she and Yamato came back. And Varel? He’s tacitly admitting where his own heart lies. He wants to grant Kodai the same salvation Klaus found aboard Yamato. Not by letting his soul rot away in Teresa’s dimension, but by aiding Akira and friends in their upcoming rescue plan.
What’s most interesting about Akira’s account here is her objectivity. While in Teresa’s dimension, it was difficult to make out where you were, or who spoke to you. Her account throws doubts on whether the spirits who have haunted Yamato’s crew are real, or if they’re just simulated by Teresa tapping into the universe’s memories. Did Teresa manipulate the hearts of Yamato’s crew? Or did she give them the closure they needed? Did she connect the souls of the dead, or did she puppeteer their likeness? Perhaps both?
[KC]: Do their spirits haunt Yamato or is it their memories, brought there and given some level of autonomy by Teresa? Is there really any difference?
[AMB]: A good question, perfectly open to interpretation!
Some time later, we see several images inside the Time Fault factory; Yamato in drydock, several BBB-class Andromeda ships being manufactured, and a dozen or so outdated Dreadnoughts parked in the bay. These images are being monitered from Captain Yamanami’s office, where Sanada has arranged for a meeting. (It isn’t stated, but at this point, Yamanami is probably the senior officer of the UNCF, which would make him an admiral.)
Sanada delivers his own theories about what happened to the Ark of Destruction at the end of the war, supported by Akira’s testimony.
“When the Ark was annihilated, an incredible amount of energy was released, but Earth itself suffered no damage. Teresa, who merged with Yamato, pushed the energy from the annihilation beyond the event horizon. If we think of it that way, it all fits together. The reaction from that pushed Yamato into a higher-dimensional space.”
Yamanami turns to the office’s viewscreen. A live view from Camera 74 in the Time Fault depicts several Dreadnoughts being churned out.
“The basis for your argument is weak,” he says, “coming from just one surviving pilot, after all.” A brief silence follows. “Nevertheless, I’m with you.”
Sanada’s shock is apparent, but his eyes contain warmth. “So many died,” says Yamanami, closing his eyes to the screen. “There aren’t enough people to board them anymore, but we keep spitting out more ships.” His eyes flash open. “Everyone’s realized. No matter where the Earth goes from here, there may be nothing good left at the end of this road.”
[AMB]: Something that’s no longer strange to longtime viewers is Sanada forsaking his logic, to instead speak from the heart. There may only be heart and hope to Sanada’s words, but perhaps that’s exactly what’s needed to steer Earth back on the “right” path, as Teresa wishes. On a meta level, Sanada gave a very pseudo-scientific explanation to what can only be called a miracle, reminiscent of the one Teresa gives Yamato in Farewell.
Then we have Yamanami. His moral reawakening has left an aching wound. It’s heard in his voice, seen in his mannerisms. He’s been granted salvation by Yamato’s hand, just like Klaus was. But it was a painful form of salvation. That’s what connects this scene to the last one, by the way. Yamanami’s experienced a lot of character development in 2202, going from unable to accept that his way is wrong (closing his eyes to the truth) to facing it in full force. Just like he closes his eyes to the Time Fault images here, only to then face them directly. Doesn’t matter if Akira’s testimony sounds strange and outlandish. He’d rather bet on Yamato’s soul than the Time Fault’s Pandora’s box.
At a military base, a meeting is held between eight individuals. On one side of a large table, we have Commander Todo, Vice Commander Serizawa, the Earth Federation President, and Ambassador Varel. On the other side, we have Sanada, Yamanami, Saki Todo, and Yamamoto. They’re here to make a proposition. Each person has their own digital data pad displaying details for a daring rescue plan. Sanada speaks first. “Inside the water barrier Yamato burst out of, a dimensional node was discovered.”
[TE]: Take note of the positioning in this sequence; authority characters (the court) in shadow, petitioners in full sunlight. This is not an arbitrary choice. The petitioners are fully “enlightened” of the situation, possessing all the information and resolve in the room. They’ve already agreed on their course of action. Those in shadow are still “in the dark,” not yet in alignment with them. Even if you didn’t consciously notice this, your subconscious did.
[AMB]: This facility, previously seen in Episode 2 for Kodai’s court martial, could harken back to a similar location in Yamato III. It was used for both governmental duties and to measure Earth’s weather patterns. It’s a military outpost that seems to be the Earth Federation president’s primary residence, in both old and new works. And while it can’t be seen yet, the ocean road leading to Earth’s capital isn’t too far off. While I appreciate most efforts to reference past Yamato works, I’m left grinding my teeth at the Earth Federation President’s lack of name. He had no name there, so he has no name here either. Of visual note is Varel’s data pad. We last saw him use it in Episode 2 when stalking Yamato’s crew.
Sanada talks about a dimensional node. In technical terms, a node is a meeting place for lines or systems. In layman’s terms, they’ve discovered a small entryway into Teresa’s dimension, located inside the Time Fault.
“Deep inside the Time Fault, there was yet another fault. We believe that inside that deeper fault, time has been so infinitely stretched that humans can’t measure it, and Yamato came back from that fault, leaving Captain Kodai and Chief Operations Officer Mori behind.”
“So what you’re saying is,” begins Serizawa, prompting Yamamoto to finish for him. “Yes, they’re both alive.” Hearing this, Todo lifts his head in surprise.
[AMB]: I usually find quick zooms in anime jarring, but here it really helps to convey Serizawa’s apparent interest in Yamato’s safe return. This will be further explored in equally subtle ways, like how Serizawa’s the only person at the table who’s hunched forward with cupped hands. He’s listening. He cares. As does Todo, who practically pops when he hears of Kodai and Yuki’s apparent survival.
In the background, a familiar painting of Mount Fuji can be seen. This same image was used to cap off the Chapter 6 ending song Great Sum. This iconic mountain is associated with many things, from its kanji meaning “good fortune” or “well-being” to its mere existence symbolizing “the quest for beauty and perfection that has shaped so much of Japanese culture, both secular and sacred,” according to author Edwin Bernbaum.
Yamamoto presses on, explaining that she came here to relay a message from the voices she heard in Teresa’s dimension. “We want you to come and get them. By doing that, the course of the future will return to normal.” With a stern gaze, Serizawa asks if what she’s suggesting is even possible. Then Todo goes deeper, earnestly asking a question that catches both Serizawa and the President off-guard; “Is it perhaps possible to retrace the route Yamato used to return?”
[AMB]: As Yamamoto speaks to the assembly, doubt or worry seems to overtake Yamanami. Maybe he could tell what kind of reaction Serizawa would have to Akira’s appeal, of setting “the course of the future” back on its normal path? His response to Akira is difficult to interpret. One could equally view it as a defensive reaction to something incomprehensible, to him actually considering the plan’s moral worth. Todo’s question to Serizawa seems to confound both him and the Earth Federation President. Perhaps they’re not used to Todo taking a proactive role? The myriad of ways to interpret these public officials is a result of the beautifully-drawn facial expressions in this episode, directly supervised by Character Designer Nobuteru Yuuki taking the role of Animation Director.
Sanada responds to Todo’s question, explaining the science. When descending from a higher dimension into our universe, there’s no need for energy. But ascending to reach Kodai and Yuki, who are stuck in Teresa’s higher plane of existence, requires a near infinite amount of energy. “Infinite,” mutters Todo, followed by a heavy exhale from the President, his eyes closed. Serizawa grunts, then gives the rescue plan another look. “Then is there even still room to consider it…?”
“There is a way,” Yamanami interjects, catching everyone’s attention. “If we have support from Ginga.” A smug look takes shape as he turns to Captain Saki Todo.
[AMB]: Commander Todo’s question is more of an epiphany, leading to Sanada elaborating on his previous scientific explanation rather than answering Todo as if he asked a question. Sanada’s explanation isn’t too difficult to understand, either. Reaching a higher plane is like reaching up from the ground (high energy), versus falling from the sky (low energy).
The President has little hope for this plan. Serizawa grows increasingly dejected, but still clings to the data pad as if he’s waiting for better news. At least Yamanami’s words bring hope to Todo’s eyes.
Saki relays her part of the plan. By using Ginga’s CRS (Cosmo Reverse System) Amplification System, they can compress the extra dimensions inside the Time Fault. But seeing as the CRS system suffered heavy damage in the war with Gatlantis, it can only be used once more, if at all.
“In other words,” continues Sanada, “we create a dimensional collapse inside the fault. We’ll use the energy from the collapse to launch the repaired Yamato, sending her into a higher dimension.”
Saki translates the science to layman’s terms. “The Time Fault will become like a balloon without air.” Yamanami snaps his fingers. “It will deflate and disappear.” He directs a smile at Serizawa, who jerks up from his seat in protest. “What is this nonsense?!”
[AMB]: The CRS gifted by Iscandar gave birth to the Time Fault, so Earth’s new CRS system will undo it. Sacrificing both the Time Fault and Ginga’s CRS to save Yamato… what greater symbolic strength could a story muster? That’s ultimately what 2202’s endgame and final episode is all about; if forced to choose, will mankind (in both this world and ours) embrace industry or idealism? Can both even coexist in the modern day? Science and religion, comfortable dreams and harsh realities, Yamato and the Time Fault… but more on this later. For now, feel free to relate to Serizawa’s negative gut reaction. No one will judge you harder than your heart will. Trust me, Serizawa knows what I’m talking about.
[KC]: Oh, the unfortunate Serizawa-san. Does no one understand how hard it is for him to be the only voice of practicality and conservative judgement in a space opera?
[AMB]: No kidding. And as we’ll soon come to know, he’s quite the unwilling force of reason. As comforting as it is to desire openly warm hearts from all public officials, it’s an impossible standard to meet for statesmen. So many candidates for government leadership in this world run on a compassionate platform, only to transmogrify into a grey-haired shell of their former self. Strong ideals can help guide the ambitions of those with youthful vigor, but without the wisdom to recognize the potential – and sometimes dangerous – consequences of bleeding hearts, people too often tend to choke on their own bloodless ideals. Think JFK in the US, or Olof Palme in my home country of Sweden.
Sanada and Saki have a post-meeting conversation at sunset. Saki affirms how crazy their proposal is, to sacrifice the Time Fault for Yuki and Kodai. Sanada agrees. “It’s hardly a fair trade. But on the political side, a miracle might occur thanks to Ambassador Varel’s efforts.” With that, we see a meeting between Varel and the EF President. Sanada continues. “This war caused a change on the political map, too. If we expose everything, then leave the rest to the people’s vote, then that craziness (as you called it) may become reality.”
[AMB]: Not only is Sanada’s proposal not a fair trade, it’s also not a guaranteed success. If his science is anything to go by, the plan is to compress the deepest depths of the Time Fault’s dimensions to potentially gain an energy close to infinite, which might still end with Yamato and its crew exploding along with the Time Fault.
But what did Teresa teach them in Episodes 15 and 16? What did Captain Okita’s spirit teach Kodai in Farewell? That if you try your hardest, while forsaking the odds and playing your cards close to your heart, you’ll somehow emerge victorious. When left with no other weapon, the last weapon you’ll always have is your own life. “The final weapon with which to go against tyranny.” Only when man musters the courage to rise to the challenge, against impossible odds, “only then will the impossible become possible.”
Ultimately, what decides whether or not Yamato reaches Kodai, is whether or not Kodai chooses to let them. To let them reach his heart. Just like when Yuki took that plunge into Stravaze. But as repetitive as this will sound…more on that later!
[KC]: That’s the second gorgeous sunset we’ve seen in this episode. Yes, I am keeping track for a reason.
[AMB]: Good catch! Sunset after sunset, setback after setback… will Earth’s people ever see the metaphorical sun rise on a new day again? Also, do you think Sanada’s talking about Varel threatening to expose the truth behind the Time Fault if a vote isn’t held? Or is he referencing the fact that exposing the truth of this matter, at the parliament, might bring about a miracle? He also mentioned that the political roadmap has changed dramatically since the war ended. The Time Fault is no longer a guarded secret, it’s public knowledge. Do you think the people of Earth were more horrified by the WMG fleet’s destructive power? Or positively amazed?
[KC]: I think that Sanada is referring to Varel using blackmail. Oh, and if the fictional People of Earth are anything like the actual People of Earth they almost certainly thought that Time Fault was awesome.
[AMB]: I’d like to believe otherwise. But I can’t deny the overwhelming possibility of the opposite ringing true.
Saki turns away from the sunset, facing Sanada. “The people’s vote?” she asks, prompting a response.
“Of course, the results can’t be manipulated. It’s still a bad bet, but by taking it, the future could end up returning to its original flow.”
Saki gasps, her eyes flaring. The two turn to face the sunset once more as Sanada finishes. “Perhaps we are being tested… Kodai… Right now, you’re…” The scene fades, bringing us to a starlit world. Right where Kodai is.
[AMB]: Saki’s rising hope is palpable. No matter the results, she wants to believe in the goodness of humanity again. She professed as such in Episode 22. And Sanada’s comment about “being tested”? He isn’t wrong. If mankind chooses the Time Fault this episode, Yuki and Kodai won’t be able to come back. If Kodai chooses to stay where he is, then Sanada’s group will perish in the Time Fault’s implosion.
Both parties have to take a plunge for each other, staking their lives with nothing but hope in their hearts. Faith over fate. And Sanada’s final comment? He’s just open-endedly asking about Kodai. The answers to where, what, or how he’s doing can only be left to Kodai, who has to make his own decision.
Teresa’s dimension. Kodai’s perspective.
In a space surrounded by distant twinkling stars, Kodai takes step upon step, leaving puddle-like footprints. Each print reveals what appears to be blue, cloud-filled skies. These marks don’t fade. Teresa speaks. “The stars only stay in their locations. Only you can give meaning to these entities… with the heart to admire their beauty.” Kodai simply hangs his head, staring at the footprints he makes.
[AMB]: Every step we take leaves a footprint in the universe. Some steps leave defective marks, some leave a path for others to follow. What Teresa’s explaining to Kodai here is that the hoshi (星 meaning both star/s and planet/s) are meaningless entities that simply exist. They are a consequence of cosmic coincidence. They are born and will one day die, as the famous Yamato opening narration says. But the human heart has the capacity to admire the 星 in spite of this. Like Earth.
“The heart weaves emotions, and emotions resonate with one another to form bonds.” Images from the war with Gatlantis flash through his mind, depicting battleships on all sides exchanging fire with one another. “These bonds intertwine, and weave what you people call time and space.” Kodai shakes his head in silence, closing his eyes. The images fade away. “But emotions that are too strong can, at times…” Teresa abruptly finishes, her visage locked on Kodai, now stopped in his tracks.
[AMB]: The images flashing by in Kodai’s mind are of Earth’s WMG-fleet, exchanging fire with Gatlantis in Episodes 17, 18, 19 and 21. His boundless empathy and his experiences in the war have made him lose his faith in both humanity and its love, just like what once happened to Zordar. Teresa’s dialogue here is taken directly from Episode 14. There, she elaborated on how bonds of the universe work, only to introduce Dessler as an example of a man whose strong emotions lead to great loss and suffering. For all parties involved.
Zordar, Dessler and Kodai are three men who were all saved by the bonds they made. But these same bonds likewise made them lose their way. Whether it’s the love and anguish they associate with Sabera, Yuki and Starsha as objects of love, or the unfulfilled promises made to mother Sabera, father Okita and brother Mattheus. The tree of time in Teresa’s dimension can both grow and wither as a result of how bonds like these progress or regress. Dessler and Zordar were led to uniquely personal kinds of salvation with Yamato’s intervention. Will the ship of harmony be able to do the same for Kodai?
“There is still a future that can be chosen.” Teresa’s visage fades, then expands proportionally. Her large eye stares intently at Kodai. “Now, open your eyes.”
As he does, a blue whirlpool swirls around him, exactly like the one in Episode 9. Recreated images from original Yamato and Farewell – works already adapted in the remake universe – rush at him. “Everything was possible.”
Kodai looks up and images from Be Forever, Final Yamato, Yamato 2520 and Yamato Resurrection come forth. “Everything is possible.”
The blue tunnel evaporates. “It is all decided by people’s desires. If you wish it, your ideal world will-” Before she can finish, Kodai interjects: “But I pulled the trigger.” With a bitter expression, he walks onward, no longer leaving any footprints. “I’ll keep pulling it, and keep losing the things precious to me.”
[AMB]: To explain what she means, Teresa uses imagery and concepts familiar to Kodai. The blue “tunnel of love” – a swirl of the same Wave-Motion Energy seen at planet Stravase’s core – is used as a conduit to flash images of past Yamato works. But how? Let’s begin with Yurisha’s explanation of Wave-Motion Energy from 2199:
When a planet bears life, its matter and the evolutionary memories of its life forms exist in a Wave-Motion state, beyond time and space. The planet’s “element,” matter that contains its emotions, releases those memories. Yurisha’s example of a planetary element are “Azure Crystals,” transparent flowers that turn blue as they absorb Wave-Motion Energy. (See the white petals swirling around?)
When Stravase fell apart in Episode 9, we witnessed its planetary element release the recorded Wave-Motion Energy. Memories that exist beyond time and space. Essentially, anything that’s happened in previous Yamato timelines has actually happened. These events remain recorded beyond time and space, observable by beings like Teresa and us, the audience. Teresa’s kind willed themselves into Godhood, at the cost of becoming the galaxy’s record keeper.
As a result of 2199 and 2202’s unique set of occurrences, some events from previous timelines can no longer happen in this one, while others definitely still can. Berger, who died in the original Yamato, is an example of a character whose bond with Yamato saved him from his previously predetermined fate. The people of planet Beemela, on the other hand, perished before 2199 even began.
(“Everything was possible.”) Images depict what was possible in this timeline:
Yamato leaves Earth (S1, Ep3 and original opening), Göer mind-controling Balanodon/Balanosaurus (S1, Ep17), Analyzer lifts Yuki’s skirt (S1, several times), Zordar’s amused reaction to Yamato (Farewell), Saito’s sacrifice (Farewell), Yamato being crippled (Farewell), Kodai and Sanada in the Magnetron Wave Satellite (S1, EP18), and Domel (S1, Ep22). The reason Göer and Analyzer’s moments can’t happen again is because they’re both dead at this point. But it was possible.
(“Everything is possible.”) Images depicting what could still happen in this timeline:
Yamato’s Be Forever design, Dark Nebula tripods (Be Forever), Yamato’s new warp system (Be Forever), Emperor Lugal on a mechanical horse (Final Yamato), Kodai in his Cosmo Zero and Cosmo Tigers in battle (Be Forever), Aihara holding a wine glass (Be Forever), The 18th Yamato, along with Nabu and Marcie (Yamato 2520) and the Blue Noah Flagship (Resurrection).
[KC]: I just want to geek out about this part for a minute because I have been geeking out about this particular scene since I first saw it. The Original Series animation being in there makes me think about alternate timelines. Marvel Studios has been enjoying tremendous success with the multiverse long ago established in Marvel Comics. And the idea of multiple universes existing in parallel is not new to space opera; Star Wars introduced the concept of alternate timelines in their popular animated series Rebels. I have written Star Wars and Yamato crossover fanfiction on and off since I was a kid, so the thought that these iconic scenes could happen many different times in many different ways is great fun. Also, this is a nice way of acknowledging that the original work is still valid.
[AMB]: Not only valid, it’s all practically confirmed to have happened. Teresa is a surrogate audience member, a record keeper of all things Yamato and whatever else lies beyond. As she explains, your desires/feelings are the only things standing in the way of realizing your ideal world.
Maybe Farewell’s Zordar never experienced losing Sabera. Maybe his rebellion against the Zemulians won out, giving him the idea that Gatlantis should rule the universe. In the reboot, events from 1,000 years ago dramatically changed the course of this timeline. Zordar’s experience with love and loss being one of them, as previously discussed.
This brings to mind an idea a friend once had about Gairen. He used to believe that he was not only the original Zordar of the reboot, but the original Zordar altogether, from Farewell. While unlikely, Teresa’s timeline talk does give the idea some modicum of credibility.
Finally, we have Kodai. Despite Teresa’s encouragement, he can’t bring himself to move on from what’s happened. Mankind’s path of perpetually pulling the trigger won’t ever end, even if he returns to our world. As his faith dissipates, so do the footprints he makes in the universe. The main character of this work, who’s saved Earth countless times in an endless collection of timelines, is fading away.
Our opinions aside, what does Director Habara have to say about this scene? “What was important about this scene was to acknowledge all of Yamato and give it a feeling of, ‘Everyone loves Yamato!’ Even if you just mention Yamato in passing, there’s a wide range of fans with passion for various works. It’s also important what age you were when you first encountered Yamato, and I think that can affect someone’s favorite accordingly. It was a declaration that there is a favorite Yamato for every generation. I was in the first generation and the Farewell generation, but when I consider the entire saga, I’m reminded of Yamato’s many charms.” Read the rest of that conversation here.
[TE]: When I first witnessed this phenomenal sequence, it struck me in a whole different and unique way. Those of you who read my fanfic webcomic Star Blazers Rebirth may remember that I did almost the exact same thing in Chapter 12. There, Teresa (TV version) was Kodai’s guide through the multiverse, showing him not only the events of Farewell but many other variations from eclectic corners of Yamato lore.
It was astonishing to me that the 2202 staff not only had the same idea, but chose to execute it in almost the same way. As if Teresa herself were guiding us down the same path at different times. It’s not just that we were drawing from the same well, we also adopted the same visual language. I’m as scientifically-minded as they come, but it’s hard for me to believe this was a coincidence. Nobuyoshi Habara was as amazed as I was when I revealed it to him. (Find our interview here.)
Speaking non-holistically, the origin for this was the simple fact that two versions of the Comet Empire story have existed side by side since 1978/79, and we’ve had a long time to ponder the notion of Farewell and Yamato 2 as alternate realities. Once you start thinking that way, the concept of a Yamato multiverse becomes the next logical step.
The actual artwork seen in the “history bubbles” was created by many different artists, asked by Nobuyoshi Habara to render an image of a favorite scene. There are also some blank bubbles, so it’s possible that not enough images came through to fill them all. As an aside, Habara regretted after the fact that he forgot to ask two specific artists to contribute: Michio Murakawa and me. That would have been pretty amazing, too. When I saw them flashing by in the theater, too quickly to make out, I foresaw this moment in which I’d screen-grab and write about them. I was hoping they’d be published in a book by this time, but we still haven’t seen them in their full clarity. Alas.
Earth’s Capital, night.
In response to Sanada’s rescue plan proposal, the EF government has set up a debate. The topic: Should Earth’s government sacrifice the Time Fault, in order to gain a slim chance at rescuing Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori? Speaking for the opposition is Kotetsu Serizawa, arguing against this proposition on behalf of the government. Speaking in favor is Shiro Sanada, arguing on behalf of Yamato’s crew.
Serizawa gets the first word. “Please bear witness… to the night view of our city that has recovered so much,” he walks up to a giant viewscreen, his gaze fixed on a live-feed of Earth’s capital.
[AMB]: Should Earth follow Kodai’s example, of taking a leap for the betterment of mankind’s future? Not for the sake of efficiency, but to save mankind’s soul? A national people’s vote will decide what’s right. A future with Kodai and Yuki is weighed against a future with the Time Fault. Which future is the right one for Earth’s peoples in 2203? And which future is best for mankind in our time and day? These are questions I wish to present to the audience.
There’s some subtle character work for Serizawa here. He has to face the reconstructed night city to remind himself of why he ultimately presents the Time Fault as Earth’s best bet. In Episode 2, Sado likewise presents the night city of a year ago to Okita’s statue as being the fruits of Earth’s labors, but it rings hollow. Serizawa won’t allow himself the same introspective luxury Sado had on Hero’s Hill.
“Energy, supplies, military power. We must not lack any of these in the time to come.” He turns to face the audience. “What supports them is the Time Fault.” The viewscreen changes, depicting the factory. “Think about what it would mean, were the Time Fault to vanish. Do not be swayed by hasty appeals to emotion. We must bear in mind Earth’s greater prosperity for the next hundred years as we make our decision.”
A round of applause follows, but not from Yamato’s crew, most of whom are present.
[AMB]: Take the soul-crushing fate proposed by the G-plan. Or the inhumanity of the Time Fault. In times of great peril, mankind smothers its ethics in order to survive. The heavy weight of bearing that foresight is carried by Serizawa, who’d rather choose the Time Fault over something like the G-plan. Least impressed of all is Nanbu, who lost his belief in brute force at the end of 2199.
[KC]: This f’ing guy. I mean, I know I have a low tolerance for him as a foil for Yamato but he is really not learning the lessons of this show. Maybe they should bring him along in 2205.
[AMB]: Oh, I think he’s definitely learned his lesson. Maybe even decades ago. If he gave his heart the freedom of choice, he’d side with Yamato any day. But someone has to be the voice of reason. Otherwise, mankind will just lose itself in idealized doctrines that helped rot previous systems of human governance, like the Soviet Union or Imperialist Japan. Once a nation or military begins to operate solely on the premise of “the greater good” or “salvation,” the state becomes a de facto religion.
This is what ultimately broke the Dessler regime. It also had the best of intentions, but its constant breeches of human rights sowed the seeds of rebellion. Men like Dietz for example, who never would have rebelled under normal circumstances, were given no other choice.
[KC]: Is that not the very conceit of the show? That Yamato can do the idealized thing and have it work out? Serizawa is the embodiment of their doubt. He certainly has not learned that lesson at all, and if he did I suspect he’d retire.
[AMB]: While I agree with the premise you present, I strongly disagree with your conclusion. But I respect it!
Noticing Shima getting up from his chair, Aihara and Ota ask if he won’t stay to hear Sanada’s speech. “We’ve still got work to do, right?” he responds before leaving. Nanbu follows Shima’s initiative, telling his friends to get a move on. Yuria follows suit and Hoshina joins her. Miki Saijo quietly leaves her chair with a smile. Yamazaki informs the crew that Yamato’s currently in hangar 3, then Kiryu assures everyone that the ship is ready to go. “Shall we go then?” muses Shinohara, the Cosmo Marines smiling at his remark.
[AMB]: As we hear the stirring Yamato March theme from Symphonic Suite Yamato, the crew leaves to prep for launch. Last time Yamato departed, Kiryu, Yamazaki, Hoshina and Yuria were forced to stay behind. This time, they are the most excited. But why leave before they’ve even heard the speech? Before the results of the vote are in? Because their hearts are already aligned with Sanada’s. They’ve already decided on their course of action, regardless of the outcome. And Nanbu is more than happy to disobey his government if push comes to shove. This isn’t their first time, after all.
Heading back to his seat, Serizawa moves closer to the approaching Sanada, close enough for an off-the-record remark. “I envy you people.” This catches Sanada off-guard. He turns to face Serizawa, their eyes meeting. The man’s expression is ambiguous, but after a moment he breaks eye contact, leaving the stage to Sanada.
[AMB]: Back when Chapter 7 was hyped up on social media, a staff member posted a peculiar image of Episode 26’s cast script. For reasons unknown at the time, it had an illustration of Serizawa of all characters. We now know why.
This moment, along with one more coming up, is what all of Serizawa’s development has been building up to. After being mostly propped up as nothing but Yamato’s ideological foil, he lets slip a very revealing remark. “I envy you people.”
He wishes he could reject his reason and statesmanship. He wishes he had the strength and support needed to speak from the heart, to take risky leaps for massive gains. He can never hope to accomplish what Yamato has as long as he remains steadfast. But someone has to be that voice of reason, that last holdout, that pain in the ass, that responsible parent. Because sometimes, rarely, they have a point. Sometimes their purpose is simply to make you work harder to find certainty. And while his mustache obscures his mouth, I like to believe a tiny smile is hidden underneath.
On both sides of the parliament, we see Earth and Garmillan officials alike, and a panel of four is lined up in front of the speaker. Varel Lorenz, Heikuro Todo, the Earth Federation President and Kotetsu Serizawa. The perspective shifts to the UNCF (United Nations Cosmo Force) Navy emblem, emblazoned on the speaker’s podium. After putting away his notes, Sanada starts speaking.
“Let me tell you about a certain man. He was an extremely ordinary man, the kind you’ll find anywhere. He loved people, believed in the society they created, and when the Earth was pushed to the precipice of ruin, he joined the great expedition to Iscandar. And after returning, like all of you, he worked himself to the bone for Earth’s restoration.”
[AMB]: While Sanada’s words here undoubtedly refer to Kodai, the focus on the old UNCF emblem gives them a double meaning. Kodai is not only a representative of Earth. He’s an ideological measuring stick for its current administration. And just like this speech references Kodai, it inadvertently references Serizawa, who acts as our focal point for insight into the military’s highs and lows in 2202.
[KC]: I love this Sanada and I love this speech he is about to give.
[AMB]: Same here. Fun fact, Head Writer Fukui didn’t actually write this speech. He wrote that he wanted a speech, made some notes and then handed the job over to Script Writer Hideki Oka. While worries persisted over its length, these were assuaged once the staff read Oka’s script for the speech. The rest is history. The series climax isn’t some final battle between good and evil, it’s an appeal to our hearts. What kind of future do we want to build?
We cut to various locations on Earth where Sanada’s speech is being broadcast.
“He wished for only one thing: To keep our promise to Iscandar. However, after the war, the position Earth found itself in did not allow that. Betrayal. That undoubtedly must have been what he felt. That’s why, when the signal came from Telezart, he left Earth prepared to commit treason, with a wish to be an Earthling who contributed to the universe’s peace. However, as a result, he pulled the trigger on the Wave-Motion Gun more than anyone.”
Todo shuts his eyes, hangs his head. The president doesn’t flinch. Serizawa listens intently.
[AMB]: The locations we see are the outside of Yuki and Kodai’s go-to café in Episode 2, as well as the home of a family which experienced the blackout in Episode 23. What Sanada’s directly referencing in his speech is the moment he shared with Kodai in Episode 7. There, Kodai breaks into tears over wanting to keep Okita’s promise to Iscandar, of wanting to be an Earthling who contributed to the universe’s peace. This moment permanently affected Sanada’s point of view.
[KC]: Varel has this tiny smile on his face. He gambled on Yamato and he won big.
[AMB]: What’s most interesting about the main panel of attendance is that Varel’s even part of it. I know he joined Todo and Serizawa for the Andromeda launching ceremony, but what does this say about Earth’s current governmental structure? Of Garmillas’ influence on it? And isn’t it sweet how the camera finds Varel just as Sanada talks about “a man whose wish it was to be an Earthling who contributed to the universe’s peace”? To me, that solidifies how indebted Varel feels to Yamato for saving Garmillas in 2199.
[KC]: I also interpreted that timing as an indication that Varel knew he chose correctly when he picked Kodai and the rest of Yamato’s crew as allies in a fight for Mankind over government protocols.
“To live, to protect. He went on betraying his own heart.”
We cut to Abelt Dessler’s fleet, cruising outside the Great Magellanic Cloud. Dessler and Talan step aboard the bridge of their new flagship.
“He felt hesitation, of course. He appealed for reconciliation at all times, and at times even put himself in front of an enemy’s gun, hoping he would be the only one to die.”
Approaches his new space-faring throne, Abelt makes his way through a line of familiar faces, all performing the Garmillas salute.
[AMB]: As you can probably tell, this portion of Sanada’s speech happens to directly correlate to Abelt’s journey, hammering home his similarities to Kodai. In order for Garmillas to survive, to protect Iscandar, Abelt neglected his own love for Starsha. This sometimes made him regret, made him hesitate, leading to his ultimate defeat in 2199.
In 2202, he tried his best to reconcile with his past mistakes, to redeem himself in his nephew Ranhart’s eyes. And in Episodes 22 and 23, he invited both Miru and Keyman to shoot him, wishing to be the last person to die for the sake of Garmillas’ survival.
[KC]: This shot was an unexpected treat for me, and is a beautiful way to draw the correlation between the two. It made me very excited for the possibility that we were going to get a revamped New Voyage long before there were any announcements about 2205.
[AMB]: Abelt’s fleet is composed of six blue (royal guard colors) Zoelguut-IIs, two red Gelvadez-class carriers, one blue Gelvadez-class carrying Abelt’s core ship, as well as one easy to miss UX-01 space submarine. One of these Gelvadez carriers will most likely be used as the base for the Deusura III in 2205.
Among the familiar faces we see are: Ghader Talan (former Vice Chief of General Staff), Fomto Berger and his crew of survivors from Ark, including Vance Baren (the Galunt drill missile ship pilot) and Neredia Rikke (sister of Berger’s deceased girlfriend, Meria). Wolf Frakken and his crew of submarine misfits, including Sukeji Yabu (former Yamato crew), Gol Hainy (Frakken’s XO), and at least five other submarine crew members from 2199. Now, who else can we spot among Dessler’s new supporters?
From 2199’s Dessler regime, we can spot Dahl Histenberger (Imperial HQ Strategy Director), Guerlain Mooren (Public Administration Minister), Mardo Vutter (Chief Cabinet Secretary), Merdom Narkin (Finance Minister), Zenis Dash (Imperial Bank Governor), Thol Toad (Labour Minister), a shaved Kazette (an officer who aided Keyman) and what looks to be the reboot’s version of Frausky from Yamato III. He unsurprisingly wears an Imperial Guard uniform. This assortment of allies is nothing to scoff at, as it makes up a majority of the former Dessler regime.
[KC]: The names on these guys. Are we certain that Thol Toad and Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark aren’t related in some way? Honestly, I am more curious than pleased to see His Majesty’s Fascist Roundtable here. This is not 2199. What are these officers going to think of Abelt “Why Couldn’t We Have Loved One Another” Dessler?
[AMB]: If they ever even had any love for the old state ideology. It seems more like Abelt managed to supersede the greatness of his Uncle Erik, the unifier of Great Garmillas. But we just don’t know their motivations as of yet. Men like Zoellick never had any love for the Desslers. Men like Gimleh had love for nation-building and utilitarianism. Men like Berger see strength in ideology, whilst Hyss just wants stability in government. Hopefully we’ll get to explore these characters in 2205.
Thol Toad and Medom Narkin were present for the Dessler remnants meeting in Episode 16, prior to Gimleh’s arrest. This means they either escaped from Garmillas following Varel’s CIA crackdown, were extradited, or were broken out by Abelt in the six months that have passed since the war with Gatlantis. The other figures at said meeting, such as Logue Moram (Justice Minister), Hidore Zarume (Annexation Administration Minister), Nerun Keeling (Chief of Staff) and Heydom Gimleh (Information Officer of the Imperial Guard) can’t be seen in the shot we get. This means their fates are left ambiguous for now. Oh, except for one of them…
We briefly see Iscandar, where Starsha and Melda visit Mamoru’s grave.
“However, it all worked against him,” Sanada continues, “and in the end, he even had to turn his own life into a weapon.”
On Garmillas, the Dietz faction are all present in Dessler’s former throne room, presumably listening to Sanada’s speech.
From left to right, the Dietz faction is composed of seven figures: Eliza Domel (Domel’s wife), Nerun Keeling (Dessler regime Chief of Staff), Doram Boshrem (Dessler regime Defense Secretary), Gul Dietz (Dessler regime Astro Fleet Supreme Commander), Redof Hyss (Dessler regime Vice-President, current Secretary of the Interior Ministry), Hilde Schulz (daughter of Zaltsian Pluto Commander Schultz) and Yurisha Iscandar (Iscandar’s Ambassador to Garmillas).
[AMB]: Nerun Keeling, part of the Dessler remnants in Episode 16, is now part of Dietz’ government. This has so many implications. Was he an insider agent who helped bring down the Dessler remnants? Or has he subjected himself to temporary dishonor, perhaps pretending to be on Dietz’ side to gather information for Abelt? Did he sell out Zarume, Moram and Gimleh? Perhaps he had a crisis of conscience, seeing as those three were in charge of annexing foreign nations (Zarume), enacting the cruel justice of the Dessler regime (Moram) and the questionable Imperial Guard (Gimleh)?
The answer might be more simple than that. He might just be a liaison between the two factions. Right now, perhaps they’re waiting for a visit from Abelt to discuss peace terms? So many questions!
[KC]: Plenty of fans trash the English-dubbed Bolar Wars series, myself included (“Sergeant Masterson?” REALLY?!?), but we got some great characters out of it. I don’t remember much about Keeling plot-wise from back then, but I do remember that he was as bald as a cucumber. My cousin made him a villain opposing Dessler in our fanfiction, which manifested years later in the glorious image of Talan punching a tooth right out of his traitorous head in Tim’s Bolar Wars Extended webcomic. Is it a coincidence that we find him here, now, with Dietz and Hyss when everyone else is back with Big D where they belong? I don’t trust him. And I bet that’s a wig he’s wearing.
[AMB]: There’s not much to remember. Keeling was the Chief of Staff and acted as the equivalent of a US (military) House Speaker. He was a stiffer Hyss. A bald, nameless figure who serves under Keeling in episode 8 of 2199 makes an appearance in this scene as well. Why mention him at all? Because he bears an uncannilly similar appearance to Bolar Wars’ depiction of Keeling.
This leaves few Garmillan officials unaccounted for. Velte Talan (Armaments minister), Miezela Celestella (Propaganda Minister), Dotem Geruhin (Food Production Management Director) and Herm Zoellik (Inspector-General of the Central Army) are all dead. Hidore Zarume (Annexation Minister), Logue Moram (Justice Minister) and Heydom Gimleh (Imperial Guard Chief) are likely imprisoned or hidden on the bridge. Banom Besh (Home Secretary) and Garis Noropp (Small Magellanic Galaxy Provincial Governor) haven’t been seen since 2199. Then there’s the two soldiers who rescued Melda in 2199, Lance Larkin and Orto Dolmen. They haven’t been seen since 2199’s penultimate episode.
While we have opted to regard Hidore, Logue, Garis and Banom as missing, there are four figures seen on Dessler’s bridge sporting their suits and hairstyles. But considering the apparent visual irregularities – such as Hidore and Logue missing their facial hair – and poor visibility, their potential appearance is difficult to confirm. If 2205 ends up substantiating their allegiance to Abelt, this note will be updated.
Before moving on, let’s briefly discuss the democratic regime leadership. The bonds depicted in this scene were forged at the end of 2199, in episode 23. Doram, Keeling and Hyss were all left behind on Baleras when Abelt tried – and failed – to drop a piece of the mechanical city New Baleras on Yamato. This near-death experience seems to have settled their allegiance. During the ensuing chaos, then-Vice President Hyss saved Hilde, presumably putting her in his custody. At the time, Hilde was 13 years old. Given that we’re reaching the end of 2203, we can accurately presume she’s 17-18 now. According to her Chapter 7 character profile, she currently works as Yurisha’s aide. This is seen in her garments, which are the same kind of clothes she wore when tasked with taking care of Yuki (who was believed to be Yurisha) and Celestella in 2199. Curiously enough, she’s also said to work as Dietz’ assistant.
Yurisha is still here to fulfill her duty as Iscandar’s ambassador to Garmillas. Which leaves us with Eliza Domel. In 2199 she’s depicted as an anti-authoritarian mother, who sadly lost her son, presumably due to Garmillas’ exerted war efforts of the past. She worked against these policies as part of an underground movement, helping refugees and political prisoners. Her actions, while noble, ended up causing trouble for her war hero husband – Elk Domel. At the end of the series, following her husband’s death, she allied with Dietz in an open act of rebellion against the Dessler regime. Any idea what position in this new government Eliza Domel fulfills? And correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t she bear some resemblance to Maetel from Galaxy Express in that getup? We also see Starsha and Melda in their first and only cameo for 2202! But no baby Sasha… yet.
[KC]: You’re right and I am going to say odds are good that is an intentional call back to Maetel. As for her position in the democratic government, perhaps she’s on the President’s cabinet? Her husband was a brilliant strategist and admired by most.
[AMB]: I doubt Garmillas even has an elected President yet. It’s more likely they have an interim leader. My bet’s on Dietz. And Eliza? Based on her track record as an underground freedom fighter, my best guess is that she’s the new Minister of Welfare.
Back to Sanada: “It saved Earth, but we can only say that in hindsight.” Makoto and Tsubasa watch Sanada’s speech intently.
“He, and Yuki Mori who loved him and shared his fate, were by no means heroes. He is you! Betrayed by his hopes and the future he dreamed of, and feeling that he was losing something every day. To live, to fulfill his duty, he got used to betraying himself, and lost sight of the real him.”
Sanada stretches out his right arm, then grasps his chest with it, where his heart is.
“That the selfishness of yesterday and the compromises of today would erode the future, and he himself, was something he predicted. But he kept walking the road, not knowing where it would lead.”
Sanada props himself up against the podium, his strength and composure wavering. An image of the Time Fault scrolls by.
[AMB]: What also saved Earth, but only in hindsight, was Kato’s decision to crash Yamato. This is why the camera focuses on Makoto and Tsubasa as Sanada brings it up. Sanada motions with his arms as passion grips his heart, revealing to the audience that he is no longer speaking from a script, but rather his soul.
Yuki and Kodai weren’t heroes, they are a microcosm of us. Of the greatest humanity has to offer. In this world, we so often push the responsibility of living and dying for our liberties and freedoms to “heroes.” When in reality, these heroes are just people like you and me. The further we drift away from spirituality, from morals and ethics, from recognizing the meaning of lives lost and taken, the further we lose sight of our true selves. We become computer humans, like Sanada himself once was.
[KC]: Hot damn, this speech is something else. Somebody get this man a billowing cape!
[AMB]: Unable to see any value in acting outside the realm of logic and reason, we no longer challenge the impossible. To reach the Moon. To create a world without war. To ensure the future is a better place than the present. Farewell to Yamato tried to convey this to Japanese audiences in 1978, to some success. But even so, events like Japan’s involvement in the Vietnam war and its lost decade (the 90’s) still came to pass. It still struggles with economic recovery, with rising mental health problems. Just like the rest of the world.
Kodai set an example, one we’d rather see as impossible to meet. But he’s not a superhero. He’s just a living, breathing human being with strong morals and even stronger resolve. We can do better. We can ensure that the sacrifices of the past aren’t forgotten, as was the case with Yamato‘s journey at the start of 2202. How can we find joy in a day’s work, when we have a factory like the Time Fault to do our job for us? What will our purpose be in a world without toil and trouble? It’s no coincidence that Sanada describes a future with the Time Fault as “eroded.” It’s part of the factory’s design.
The BGM that starts to play in this portion is an unreleased orchestral variant of Great Harmony from Ark of the Stars, directly tying the meaning of this speech back to that song. Read more about how this all comes together in Episode 16 and 25’s commentaries. While there is a version of this track on 2202 Vol. 2, it has jazzy elements added to it.
We see Yamato being repaired in the Time Fault.
“As one of the many nameless people living in this harsh era, he is you, and he is me. That’s why you shouldn’t feel obliged. To think that, since they’re heroes, it’s worth saving them no matter what the cost, is wrong.”
Sanada lowers his head one last time, he then straightens back up.
“If, by saving them, you can believe it will save you in some way, too… If, after making this foolish choice you believe we can retake the true future once more… then please, cast your vote to save the two of them. Don’t be swayed by voices appealing to numbers, convenience, or efficiency. Follow your own heart, because that is the only place where the future exists.”
[AMB]: Sanada, the computer human who so many complacent Japanese audience members can relate to, breaks his programming. Reject convenience, efficiency and what the majority concedes to. Become the change you want to see in the world. Vote with your hearts in elections, break common mental hysteria with pills of hope. As the government officials at the panel hear this, they all seem to smile warmly. Even Serizawa.
[KC]: *Standing Ovation*
[AMB]: Reaching the right future is very different from reaching a correct future. What’s correct is what’s agreed upon; what’s complacent. What’s right can only be decided by each and every individual, of their own accord. Too often I’ve seen complaints about 2202’s ending, clamoring about how ridiculous it would be to waste the efficiency of the Time Fault. It’s this kind of complacency with the current course of the future that aids in dehumanizing the human species; in abetting the moral decline of the common man, locked to a computer screen, scared of leaving their safe spaces both online and offline. Scared of going outside, of touching the grass.
If we won’t save Yuki and Kodai – people who represent the best humanity has to offer – then aren’t we rejecting the potential worth of moral goodness in humanity itself? It would be the last nail in our virtuous coffin, as far as Sanada’s concerned. And I don’t believe he’s wrong. We can love heroes and worship them, but should love ourselves too, in order to become the heroes who are capable of saving the world. But it’s not a choice that can be forced onto others. Only appealed to. Kodai’s path never guaranteed success, yet he still walked the walk.
[TE]: During my trip to Japan to see Chapter 7 in early 2019, I stayed for a full week after the premiere and had a lot of time to ponder the content of Sanada’s speech. I don’t speak nearly enough Japanese to follow it, and months would pass before I had a complete translation. While on a bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka, I watched the countryside flow past and asked myself what I would write in that speech.
First, I thought it was brilliant to take Sanada – the most clear-headed, logically-minded character in the story – and have him make an emotional appeal. It spoke volumes about how far he had evolved. If this guy could be convinced that love conquers all, nobody should be immune. I thought that’s what Fukui must have gone for, since he insisted on keeping Soldiers of Love in the title. Thinking it was an argument for love over logic, I would have had Sanada point out a simple fact: logic – represented by unlimited machinery and technology – failed to stop this great enemy. Therefore, continuing to cling to those things would be self-defeating. Kodai and Yuki finally triumphed with love. Therefore, love is what we should preserve.
This sentiment not only follows Okita’s philosophy that “the greatest weapon is a human life,” but also firmly echoes Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s sentiment of love being greater than cold, heartless science. It’s such an integral part of Yamato, I thought it must have been the basis of Sanada’s plea.
After working all that out in my head, I went to dinner with a bilingual friend (at Yakitori Yamato, of course) and laid it out for him. He said, “That’s cool, but it’s not what he said.” Oh, well. It still would have worked given the overall context. But the on-screen version was just fine. And it got close enough to my version by ending on the “follow your heart” line.
Unsurprisingly, someone else who really, REALLY liked that speech was Sanada’s voice actor, Houchu Otsuka. In an interview for Age of Yamato, he spoke glowingly of it: “Sanada may have lived his whole life to say those words” and “I’ve never done such a long monologue in an anime production before, and it was a dream come true for me as an actor.” Read that entire interview here.
Teresa’s dimension: Yuki witnesses the blue tree of light unraveling itself, a red infection spreading.
“This isn’t good. It’s branching too much. It won’t be long before it withers,” Keyman’s disembodied voice tells her. She questions what this means as the tree’s lower portion sinks into the ether. Tokugawa’s voice comes next. “There must still be enough power at work to sever the flow of time.” In disbelief, Yuki wonders how this could be, seeing as the Ark of Destruction was annihilated. “That’s not enough,” Saito tells her. Keyman elaborates: “The intelligence called humanity has a great role in the universe. The system, known as the heart, that they have been given, is complicated and easily broken. At times it nurtures nothing but despair, and ceases to walk forward.” Yuki calls out to Kodai – who’s revealed to be at the epicenter of the red core – and vanishes.
[AMB]: The tree’s neutral state is blue, like Wave-Motion Energy. Its ideal state is gold, like Yamato’s engine. When it’s red, an irreparable and irreplaceable bond – or branch – has begun to wither. Some people and their bonds are intrinsic parts of this world tree. Why? Because the bonds they’ve forged with countless others are so strong that if these people lose the one they’ve bonded with, their hearts might go as astray (as Zordar’s did). It’s highly likely that the tree was a bleeding red for most of 2202. Like Zordar, Kodai’s journey has led him to the point where he sees abundant emotion as harmful poison. He doesn’t want to hurt and be hurt any more, so he wishes to fade away in peace. Understanding this, Yuki manages to reach Kodai.
Hijikata and Okita speak to Kodai in unison, the latter berating him. “How long do you plan to stay like that?” Kodai doesn’t answer. Turning around, he hears Yuki calling out for him. After phasing into the red core, she reaches out for his hand, telling him to come with her. “Yuki, it’s no good. It’s just no good,” he replies. “No matter how I look, I can’t find it.” His expression grows weary, his voice devoid of energy. Yuki’s speechless. “I only see a future where I keep pulling the trigger and losing things,” Kodai says, hanging his head. “That’s all we have.”
Yuki rejects his stance, reaching out for him once more. A mighty, frosty wind exudes from Kodai’s back, pushing her away. “I don’t want to lose any more. I’ll stay like this.”
[AMB]: The red core we saw on the outside was Kodai. In this scene, he’s metaphysically giving Yuki the cold shoulder, depicting the difficulties of human connection in the modern era. His mentors no longer have any effect on him. He’s desperately searching for a path where mankind can live on – with love – without constantly pulling the metaphorical trigger on others to survive. But with Zordar’s help, he’s come to the conclusion that there is no such future for mankind. Acting as a microcosm of the NEET problem in Japan perhaps, he chooses to close off his heart in order to avoid engaging with others again. The loss weighs too heavily on him.
The BGM in this scene is Waving Goodbye, a variation of Great Love. It was previously heard at Stravase in Episode 9, when Yuki jumped. And now it plays in Teresa’s dimension, as she tries to save Kodai. What a beautiful way to connect these two scenes.
Despite being pushed away, Yuki reaches out once more. “I don’t want to lose anything, either!” Kodai drifts further and further away. “Kodai,” she cries out. Then regains her strength. “Susumu Kodai saved the Earth!” Kodai straightens his back. The red core shifts to a golden brilliance. “Up until now… and from now on! He’ll save it again and again!” With each sentence, Yuki’s body edges closer to Kodai’s. “Because no matter how worn down he gets…” Kodai turns to face her, causing tears to form in her eyes, “… Yuki Mori will always be with him!” A reluctant smile takes shape on Kodai’s face.
[AMB]: After risking his life to stop the Gatlantean Super Calaklum in Episode 1, Kodai faced a military tribunal in Episode 2. When Yuki picked him up, she could tell his insubordination was weighing heavily on him. To inspire him once more, she yelled out “Susumu Kodai saved the Earth! This is the second time! Be grateful!” In an effort to show Kodai that she’s the same Yuki he fell in love with, she reminds him of that blissful moment they shared.
Kodai’s countless sacrifices and efforts to save and protect others – in both this timeline and others – will always be remembered and appreciated, as long as Yuki Mori remains by his side. She knows it. He knows it. The audience knows it. Repaying Kodai’s plunge down to Stravase’s core to save her, she reaches back out to him. This stirs up his conscience, and the red core slowly shifts to its ideal gold state.
[TE]: I just want to observe an interesting creative choice here in the color; RED is Kodai’s key color, and GOLD is Yuki’s key color. In other words, the colors that signify them visually. In this moment, we shift from Kodai’s mindset (red background) to Yuki’s (gold background). Other colors could have been chosen, but they were not.
Kodai finally reaches out to Yuki, who struggles to reach him. Edging closer, he panics and pulls back, bit by bit. He shuts his eyes. Bites his lip. Then gives her the cold shoulder once more, relaxing his muscles and letting his arm fall to his side. Yuki’s heart seems to stop. Kodai looks resigned. Then something strange happens. A tiny hand grips his index finger. A brilliant light emanates from it. Upon seeing this, Yuki’s worries dissipate, a warmth enveloping her. Kodai’s unsure of how to react. Teresa speaks to him. “That is one of many different futures. But it’s the only one that awaits you.” Kodai is baffled. “The future,” he repeats to himself.
[TE]: A child. One of the things that can happen if Kodai chooses not to break this bond. A child reaching out to him from the future. You could feel the entire audience gasp when we first saw this scene in the theater. Then our fan brains all thought, “Miyuki! It’s Miyuki, from Resurrection!” But it doesn’t have to be. The word “Mirai” [future] is used so often and so specifically in this sequence, it makes me want Kodai and Yuki to name their child Mirai.
[AMB]: In Episode 20, the original Zordar (Gairen) referred to Miru as his “future.” In Episode 24 when Kodai told Zordar that “his future” taught him of the Type-Zordar’s apparent humanity, this was Zordar’s response: “That future… has died.” Kodai, unlike both Gairen and Zordar, hasn’t lost his future yet. It hasn’t even been born. Once his future is born – his child – he will know what it means to live on in spite of the sacrifices made to protect that future. Just like Kato did.
For your child, there will come times when you have to pull the metaphorical trigger to protect them. This is the case for any parent who loves their child. The future is dictated by bonds, and a bond strong enough to correct the future’s right path is found in Miyuki Kodai, the love child of Kodai and Yuki. At least that’s her name in Yamato Resurrection. This dedication on Kodai and Yuki’s part to become parents originally came from Final Yamato’s ending, where the resuscitated Captain Okita blessed their partnership as their spiritual father, hoping they could one day produce a beautiful child of their own. Then he commits to the same kind of trigger pulling as Kato and Kodai. To save his children.
The movie’s ending depicts a vivid marriage. And following this, the movie’s original cut depicts their first time making love, which results in the conception of Miyuki Kodai. According to Director Habara, the baby hand in 2202 is Miyuki. But she’s apparently only the first of TWO future children. Read more about this in the interview linked earlier.
Yuki gives Kodai a patient, affirmative nod. The baby’s light, still holding Kodai’s index finger, guides his hand to Yuki’s. Their fingers lock and intertwine, causing the small light source to brighten the surrounding space. They embrace and their hearts glow. Teresa’s tree is now neither blue nor red, it’s gold. And its core shines a bright purple. “The path to the future is restored,” says Miru’s voice. “A future that will eventually meet its destruction. Because when the universe has eventually used up all its energy, it will cool down and die.”
“But that’s not all (there’s to it).” responds Katsuragi.
[AMB]: The idea of the inevitable heat death of the universe is brought back up. But does it matter? Everyone lives, then dies. What matters is what we leave behind after we die, whether that be a better world, a child, or a positive effect on those we forged bonds with.
In Yamato III, Yuki and Kodai struggle to find ways to express their love onboard Yamato, seeing as they have to act professionally in front of their new recruits. According to a friend of the site, Minoru Itgaki, Yuki will be Captain of her own ship in 2205! Just like she was in Yamato Resurrection. This development could indicate that elements of a struggling romance could resurface. Be on the lookout!
And then, finally, Yamato bursts through a golden pool of water, entering Teresa’s dimension. It floats as effortlessly as the pair they’re here to rescue. Kodai and Yuki are overjoyed. The ship’s bridge comes into view. Most of their friends are there.
Miru: “Life, the intelligence called humanity, can recreate it… as long as we envision the universe in our souls…”
Katsuragi: “That’s the role of a heart that feels, carried by people who know love.”
Miru: “With a warmth that knows no end, they make this universe eternal.”
[AMB]: This breathtaking scene of Yamato bursting through the golden ocean marks the only time we hear the original Great Love BGM in 2202. In Final Yamato, the ship sank into the depths of the water planet Aquarius. While this scene is referenced in 2199’s fifth episode, it’s here that it’s thematically brought to fruition. The water in Teresa’s dimension could very well be the reboot’s version of Aquarius, making this scene a baptism of sorts for the ship. Rather than sinking, the ship rises, having earned the right to be made whole again. At the cost of the Time Fault.
Kodai has accepted Yuki, Miyuki, his future and Yamato. He accepted life itself, with all its inevitable heartbreak and trials. And by doing so, Yamato managed to reach Teresa’s dimension. As mentioned earlier, both parties took leaps for one another. Both were rewarded. This is what it means to connect to others. And it feels better than anything else.
Characters seen on Yamato’s bridge: Ota, Sanada, Niimi, Akira, Miki, Yuria, Hoshina, Kiryuu, Shima, Nanbu, Sawamura, Shinohara, Enomoto, Yamazaki, Nagakura, Aihara and Tetsuya Kitano. Dr. Sado and Makoto aren’t here. We’ll see why later. Sadly, while Tetsuya Kitano is seen in one smudged out shot, he’s the only person onboard who doesn’t get a closeup. They can’t keep getting away with this.
Kodai turns to face Yuki, informing her of his decision. “Let’s go home.” They gaze longingly at one another. Yuki nods in approval. A large, golden orb in the core of Teresa’s tree launches upward. Perhaps in response, what can only be described as tears of love start falling from the golden roof of her dimension. She repeats the words of wisdom she recently imparted to Kodai. “The stars only stay in their locations. Only you can give meaning to these entities… with the heart to admire their beauty.”
[AMB]: “Let’s go home.” They still have a home to return to. At the end of Gundam Unicorn (also written by Harutoshi Fukui), its main character Banagher Links is faced with a similar conundrum as Kodai’s. The heat death of the universe is inevitable. The universe is dark and cold. Even so, will you become a beast of possibility? Even so, will you fight for a better future? I won’t spoil Banagher’s answer. Just wanted to impart some knowledge on Fukui’s style of writing, in preparation for 2205.
Now, why do mortals see Teresa as a tree? Because just like bonds, it has branches. Bonds grow and change, forming new branches. Some branches connect to the greater whole in a harmonious way, like Yamato. Some branch out too far, threatening to destroy the fabric of the cosmos, like Zordar. Kodai almost brought about a similar crisis, but it has now been thwarted. With love.
And while thinking about the tree, I’ve concluded that it might have taken inspiration from Ark’s depiction of Yggdrasil, the world tree from Scandinavian Cosmology. Its roots connect to all Nine Worlds, existing all around us where we can’t see it. These roots became strands of bonds in 2202, with the Nine Worlds perhaps being the various Yamato timelines, as referenced by Teresa. It is said that Yggdrasil is the tree from which Norse God Odin hung himself, as a sacrifice. This in turn made the tree a sacred object. Whether it’s even a physical object or not isn’t known. Sounds like Teresa to me.
Yamato positions itself at the center of Teresa’s tree. The space surrounding it begins to transform. We get one final closeup of Yuki and Kodai.
[AMB]: Despite moving toward an uncertain future, despite the anguish they’ve both suffered as a result of sacrifices made and undertaken, Yuki and Kodai are undoubtedly happy. Who knows what will result from this decision. Mankind will keep pulling the trigger, but at least it will do so with love, for love, and because of love. Everything dies eventually. But that doesn’t make love any less valuable to us. We have the hearts to admire the beauty of space, the beauty of the unknown. To challenge it without reservations. Humans can cause great suffering, but also have the capacity to give meaning to otherwise meaningless things. No other beings can.
[TE]: All the best stories have an intrinsic moment. By that, I mean a moment where the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. A moment so unique that it cannot happen in any other story. Darth Vader saving Luke’s life is an intrinsic moment. Or Eowyn taking down the Nazgul King. Or Cap catching Thor’s hammer. You can’t help but cheer at those moments. They become iconic. For me, Yamato rising from the golden waters, more beautiful than we’ve ever seen her, along with the simple, sentimental notes of Great Love, is the intrinsic moment of 2202. Not a battle, not a WMG burst, not an explosion. A rescue. Not gonna lie, I ugly-cry every time I see it.
Intrinsic moments take an enormous amount of thought and work to achieve. They require supreme confidence and knowledge of a story’s internal mythology. They don’t create themselves, they have to be earned. They also require something from the viewer; patience, trust, and attention to detail. Everything in 2202 builds toward this moment. Every alternative to killing must be exhausted. Kodai must go through hell and lose it all – especially Yuki. Earth must throw everything imaginable at the enemy and be crushed in bitter defeat. Only after we endure all that can we feel transcendent joy when love claims victory.
This is why I shake my head with pity whenever I read or hear another complaint about the show. I can certainly accept that it won’t please everyone (nothing ever does), but the grievances I’ve seen are uniformly misguided. Gripes about the multiple plotlines or the expanded fleet war just sound ridiculous to me. Before 2202 came along, fans spent almost forty years wishing for exactly those things. But when they finally got here, some viewers rejected them, tragically missing the point.
When the story started, we had no idea how much was in store. As new layers were folded in, the story began to feel less like the original. It became troubling, challenging, at times even confusing. Anyone who accused the staff of blowing it – rather than recognizing their own impatience – cheated themselves out of the payoff. Anyone who stomped away mad over parts that “didn’t make sense” lost the opportunity to watch the brilliant sum of those parts emerge in the intrinsic moment. And they have my sympathy.
Farewell to Yamato was a story Japan needed in 1978. That’s why it became so explosively popular. I attest that 2202 is a story we all need right now, in a time when we feel increasingly cut adrift from each other and old structures no longer hold up to new challenges. What we need to survive is the knowledge that we aren’t alone. It took a lot of defeats to beat the spirit out of Susumu Kodai. When he was ready to surrender, the word finally got through to him. Life can throw horrible things at you, but you won’t have to face it alone. People love you and will lend you their strength. That’s the core of 2202, and it all washes over you in the intrinsic moment. The more times you watch it, the more you feel it. That’s the mark of a masterpiece. Here ends the lecture.
Yamato takes its place on the golden median gradient of Teresa’s dimension, prepared to make its exit.
[KC]: Congratulations, Yuki and Kodai. Your Hero’s Journey is complete.
[AMB]: But what comes next for the pair? Chronologically, nothing of note happens between them in New Voyage. In Be Forever they have their love drama, but that was incorporated and resolved here in 2202. In 2205 Yuki will be captain of her own ship. Perhaps this gives New Voyage a chance to put Yuki and Kodai’s romantic developments in stasis?
[KC]: Could this be why in the past the writers became willing to concede more of the story Dessler? A lot of elements make up a space opera, but the romantic angst between Kodai and Yuki is a pretty big backdrop to this franchise. At this point it has been resolved. It’s why new angles had to be found in the past, such as Dessler getting to be a hero for the woman he loves and Yuki getting nearly seduced by Alphon (the original Keyman). Personally, I’d prefer that 2205 stick that spotlight right on Abelt and the guy always standing just off to one side of him, but to be fair there are plenty of other great characters to focus on.
[TE]: There’s also still the matter of just how much of Yuki’s memory has been restored. We know she’s recovered herself at least back to the pre-2199 car crash, but what about the life she lived before that? Getting all that knowledge back could have a huge impact on who she becomes from this point forward. But we’ll have to wait and see if Fukui is thinking along those same lines.
From Yamato With Love comes up, the original 1978 version sung by Kenji Sawada. The first sunrise of 2204AD is depicted. The open hangar leading down to the Time Fault is blacked out. Various people on a roadway have left their cars to gaze at something in the sky, including Makoto and Tsubasa Kato. Dr. Sado is at home on his porch with his cat Mii-kun. He’s awestruck by a golden light. It stretches open, letting loose a flood of golden water. Out of it comes Yamato.
[AMB]: The Time Fault is gone. The meaning of From Yamato With Love has changed since 1978, and so has the median golden light that followed Yamato’s death back then. Now it’s a sunrise. Kenji Sawada sang of not wanting to let go of Yamato, to not have to say farewell. This time, he won’t have to. None of us will. This story element is sadly lost in translation. Not because of cultural differences mind you, but because Funimation didn’t bother translating the song.
[KC]: Yes, it’s no accident that we have only had sunsets in this episode up to this point.
[AMB]: You made a good call earlier. Also, according to Age of Yamato, the ship returns home on New Year’s Eve of the year 2203, placing this story’s final scene on the first day of 2204. Dr. Sado’s absence from Yamato’s bridge suggests that he’s opted for retirement. Losing Analyzer left a deep scar. Based on the latest 2205 trailers, he’ll have a change of heart within the next year. Maybe he wants to raise the three new Analyzers we’ve seen? Both the crowd shot in this sequence and the Makoto/Tsubasa keyframe are drawn by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno. Coincidence or not, one of the crowd members even looks like Yoshinobu Nishizaki.
Kathy, how do you feel about Makoto and Dr. Sado’s decisions to (presumably) retire?
[KC]: It makes complete sense to me, just as it makes sense that Sado would come out of retirement and Makoto would not. From fanservice to an emotional plot arc, Makoto was a fine addition to Yamato, but her story has been told. Come back to her when Tsubasa is old enough to be a pilot. Sado belongs on that ship.
[AMB]: Couldn’t have said it any better. Though I’d love to see Tokugawa’s grandchild (Aiko) help babysit Tsubasa. Doesn’t even have to be an animated sequence. All I want is for the Tokugawa and Kato families to help lick each other’s wounds, after the devastating losses they incurred from the war.
Yuki and Kodai, now aboard Yamato’s bridge, spot a greeting party. It’s Ginga, alongside four Murasame-class rescue ships. The bridge crew all display their happiness and relief, with Sanada’s content smile getting special notice. The Cosmo Marines (Nagakura, Kurata, Amagi and a third one) have gone down to see Earth from Yamato’s observation deck. Aboard Ginga, we see a smiling Captain Saki, a smug Yamanami, a nostalgic-looking Commander Todo and a crying Serizawa. When Todo sees this, a look of positive surprise spreads across his face. He raises his head, greeting Yamato with a smile.
[AMB]: For whatever reason, Commander Ozaki and his Kongo-class Watatsumi (Sea God) ship aren’t present. Perhaps they’re needed elsewhere? Sanada looks proud to see his baby – the Ginga – now ready to fulfill its intended duty and explore unknown space.
[KC]: Serizawa’s heart grew three sizes that day.
[AMB]: It sure did. This is the second moment of permanent character growth I hinted at earlier, where the only one seen to be crying is Serizawa. After having locked away his own heart for so long, his relief at seeing Yamato’s successful return made the sacrifices worth it. Ginga’s CRS. The Time Fault. All worth it. Todo, unsure of how to respond, tenderly pats him on the back, then nostalgically recalls Yamato’s return in 2199. The day Okita died.
Three Cosmo Tiger IIs (piloted by Shinohara, Sawamura and Yamamoto) leave Yamato to greet Ginga, each of them giving the ship a proper salute. We then get closeups of almost every crew member on Yamato, content in their feelings. Shima nods at Kodai, ready to enter Earth’s atmosphere. Kodai nods back, then gives Yuki a loving smile. Yamato slowly drifts toward Earth. The lyrics “Please don’t say farewell for now,” repeat as Earth and the Milky Way start fading away.
[AMB]: The couples Kodai/Yuki and Hoshina/Yuria broaden their smiles. Nagakura looks depressed, like she wishes Saito could have seen this. Aihara looks like he’s about to cry. Miki Saijou tucks her hair back again. Nanbu and Ota exchange friendly glances. Nanbu seems happy, but when he faces Earth his eyes well up like Aihara’s. Shima bears a relieved look, happy to be Yamato’s helmsman once more. No longer in doubt. Then we have Sanada’s proud expression. His labor of love – the Ginga – got to fulfill its duty by pushing Yamato into an unexplored higher dimension in order to save Kodai and Yuki. The future truly is back on the right path.
A familiar narration repeats, spoken in full by Zordar.
“The universe is infinitely vast. An endless expanse of silent light. Stars die and new stars are born. An eternal cycle of life. The heartbeat of this vast universe is passed on from one life to another… and it will never come to an end.”
The title appears one last time: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Soldiers of Love.
[AMB]: What began the whole Yamato series was this opening narration. For all works up to Final Yamato, this narration was never significantly altered, only ever expanded upon. 2202 adjusted it in a similar way as 2199, by letting a character seize it. Zordar. At the start of 2202, he began the narration as usual. But somewhere in the middle… it twisted into something else. That was our first indication that the “right course” of the reboot had been warped. And as Teresa later confirmed, it had. But now that we’ve reached the end, now that the future has been course-corrected, the narration repeats in full, without alterations.
Zordar aimed to snuff out the constant cycle of love in the universe, of humans being born only to die at the hands of others, for the sake of love. This status quo has been re-established, for better or worse. And it shows even in the recent trailers for 2205, where Dessler takes on the opening narration from the original New Voyage.
Any closing thoughts on the episode, or the work as a whole?
[KC]: This episode would have been anticlimactic for me if we hadn’t gotten that great scene of the other Yamato works being shown to Kodai, and Dessler’s procession to his makeshift throne room. But it is also true that 2199 and 2202 both made me care about the Earthlings more than I used to. Sanada’s speech here is incredibly moving. Overall, I really enjoyed 2202; it took away the most iconic thing in the franchise for me, but it gave me a lot more in return. Rewatching it for these commentaries has gotten me pretty fired up for 2205!
[AMB]: That iconic thing being the Dessler prison escape sequence from Yamato 2, I take it? With accompanying disco funk? While we did get a Dessler prison escape in 2202, I concede that the camp of Yamato 2’s depiction… remains unmatched. Wait, maybe you’re referring to Dessler and Talan’s final moment with Kodai in Yamato 2?
[KC]: Both, actually. Having Dessler in the position of the victim with his loyal and capable second and then having him make that speech left an incredible impression on me. But as Teresa showed us, all things are possible. This story does not negate the other. Now I have a Dessler with a family, including a Talan who searched for him for years AND a Dessler who pouts in a cell and throws his blankets around for a few hours, before practically strolling out to meet up with Talan and his inexplicably waiting car. I love them both.
I would also like to say that as much as I love this show, sometimes writing about it was harder than I imagined when I signed up, especially during a pandemic, and both you and Tim have been very helpful and accommodating. I also had a great time talking Yamato with you, so thank you for the opportunity. It is pretty cool to have the perspective of another fan who is from a completely different demographic. It was a pleasure working with you.
[AMB]: Writing about this show was a fun, meaningful, and rewarding experience, but at the same time an undeniably monumental task. And thank you, Kathy, for sticking with it all the way through! To think we’ve written these commentaries for almost as long as 2202 was in development… that’s quite something!
I’d like to end this commentary with some beautiful words from Director Nobuyoshi Habara, who best described the soul-sucking feeling of taking the reins on a big production like 2202:
“Captain Okita said, ‘Show your resolve’ and I took up that challenge. There is still work to be done at the time of this interview, but when everything is finished I don’t think any of my soul will be left. My intention was to ‘Put my soul into it,’ and I’ll be glad if everyone can accept my soul.”
The feeling is mutual, Habara-san.
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 22, 2019
American debut: April 20, 2019 (streaming) November 26, 2019 (home video)
Click here for a complete BGM collection for Episode 26.
Episode Director: Nobuyoshi Habara
Storyboard: Tetsuro Amino
Animation Director: Nobuteru Yuuki
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