Return to Earth, revisiting Hero’s Hill
After a brief return to Dessler’s side of things, The New Voyage treats us with Yamato returning to Earth after the war with Gatlantis. Since most of the crew had been checked into the hospital after their evacuation at the end of Yamato 2, they’re picked up by Kodai and Yuki. The crew then pay their respects to Okita’s monument at Hero’s Hill, now upgraded to include epitaphs for fallen Yamato veterans. 2202 chose to adapt this portion of The New Voyage backward, with most of Yamato’s crew paying their respects to Okita on the anniversary of his death, only for Yamato to later emerge from Teresa’s dimension at the end of the Episode. Instead of mourning the death of Teresa, Shima is furious at Kodai for abandoning him. The only crew member who had to make a hospital visit off-screen is Akira, who returned from Teresa’s dimension with a broken arm.
Rebuilding Earth, reconciling with former enemies and what it means to be human
The New Voyage dips its toes into the topic of forgiving the enemy and empathizing with them. It asks us where we want to develop as a nation after a tumultuous time of war. And what does progress actually look like? Since 2199 and Ark of the Stars already settled most of the open and initial disputes between Earth and Garmillas, 2202 had to start addressing the political and philosophical directions Earth and Garmillas were heading toward, and where Dessler wants to go.
Kodai and Dessler put their differences aside and learn to understand each other. In The New Voyage, his anger is aimed at the Dark Nebula Empire and its forces, who ended up destroying Garmillas. In Ark, Berger aims this anger at Yamato for killing Domel. Sanada questions Earth’s development – just like in Final Yamato and Yamato 2 – but is pleasantly surprised with the rate of Earth’s (spiritual) recovery at the very end of the series. The material recovery is instead espoused by Serizawa in the series finale.
Garmillas Emigration Plan and Military Expansion
Planet Garmillas is dying. Its people desperately need a new home before the planet perishes. This is what begins the war with Garmillas in both the classic timeline and the reboot, hinted at in 2199 and confirmed in 2202. After Garmillas is lost in The New Voyage, Dessler searches for a new home. After finding his ancestral homeworld of Galman, he establishes his new empire that will span the entire universe.
2199 adapts this in a different way. Instead of waiting until Garmillas falls, Dessler and Gimleh create the military expansionist project as a guise to search for a new homeworld. The empire was never the goal in the reboot. The reason why Garmillas’ impending doom was kept a strict secret among the royal families of Garmillas noble class… was because of the panic that would spread if people knew.
At the end of 2202, Abelt promises his nephew Ranhart to find a new homeworld for Garmillas, one that knows the futility of war and acts with peaceful intentions. The Garmillan Empire inspired by the Yamato III storyline has already begun to crack under democratization. But that’s not to say Dessler won’t abandon his promises under pressure once more. At the start of 2205, Dessler has recently found Galman.
And here’s a fun fact for you: Planet Garmillas is positioned in the “Sanzar” system in the original series. In 2199, Director Yutaka Izubuchi changed this to be the “Salezar/Sulzer” system.
Dessler’s love for Starsha
After the war with Gatlantis in Yamato 2, Dessler does some soul searching and comes to the conclusion that he loves Starsha of Iscandar. To rediscover his purpose in life, he sets out on a voyage with what remains of his people, to bid farewell to Garmillas and to re-establish contact with Iscandar’s fair princess. He reminisces about the pains Garmillas has incurred since the war with Earth and how much he loves Starsha. She’s already found a lover in Mamoru Kodai, but Dessler still tries his best to defend and protect her from foreign invaders. He ultimately fails as a result of Starsha’s compassion, where she trades her life for Dessler’s.
In 2199, Dessler’s love for Starsha is made clear at every opportunity. Her calls mean a great deal to him, he’s openly physical and affectionate with her, he wants her love and appreciation for the tremendous effort he puts into establishing the peace she yearns for. And in 2202, more details have come forth. He truly loves her more than anything, according to Teresa and himself.
In 2205, visual homages are paid to Dessler’s flashback sequence in The New Voyage. In the year 2180, he visited Starsha for the first time, falling for her even as a boy. Promising to establish peace in the universe, he sets out to unite all planets under one rule. A mural is chiseled, depicting him and Starsha, two leaders and two peoples united. He deifies Starsha and her planet, turning it into a religious icon of significance similar to Mother Shalbart in Yamato III. Will he be able to save Starsha this time around – in 2205? We’ll find out soon enough!
Dessler and Kodai’s Farewells
Following the destruction of Iscandar and the Goruba space fortress, Dessler and Kodai prepare to say their goodbyes. Their ships sit side by side, each heading in its own direction. With no mask or protective suit, Dessler stands on the hull of his ship, his cape flowing in the winds of space (or, less poetically, whatever invisible life support bubble has been activated around him). They each confer their desires. Kodai will return to Earth to protect it. Dessler will search for a new homeworld for his people. They promise to meet again one day. Later in Yamato III, a reunion is had. Dessler’s rebuilt his empire with an iron fist, much to Kodai’s dismay. He urges the autocrat to allow his empire to seek out more peaceful methods, without unnecessary war and conflict.
2202 had a striking callback to the first scene in its fourth ending song sequence, then decided to recast it with Dessler and his nephew Ranhart in Ep 23. It proceeds just as it does in The New Voyage, except this time Abelt vows to find a planet that knows the values of peace, rather than focusing on building a new empire. Iscandar, Garmillas and Starsha still live at this point, so his heartbreak is shifted to his unnecessary wars with Earth and Yamato, while also mourning the tragic demise of Zordar’s clone son, Miru. Conversely, this means that Kodai’s wish from Yamato III might be granted.