The Drowning of Dengil
Yamato passes by planet Dengil, home of an offshoot of humanity. The planet’s being swallowed by a large body of water, passed on from the ancient planet Aquarius. To survive, the main body of Dengil’s society – the floating fortress Uruk – departs, leaving most of its people behind. Kodai orders a daring refugee rescue mission, costing the lives of many crew members. He only manages to save one young boy. When attempting to leave the scene, they’re attacked by Uruk’s forces. A deadly radiation missile knocks out Yamato and its bridge crew. But somehow… the ship moves on its own. “Yamato lives?” asks Analyzer before collapsing.
When Yamato returns on its own to Earth, Todo notifies some former Yamato crew of the ship’s return from unknown space, who then immediately investigate the ship. Yuki and Todo’s anguish at seeing the ship in such a state of disrepair is heartbreaking. Yuki tries to end her life when she sees Kodai’s unconscious body, believing him to be dead. But Sanada, also aboard and very much alive, stops her.
Building on setup from 2199, 2202 depicted this scene in stages. Instead of Dengil, Yamato encounters the 11th planet. Keyman’s against a rescue operation, but Akira retorts, asking if it’s in Yamato’s spirit to “leave drowning people to die.” Kodai makes the final decision to go in. While there, they risk it all on Kodai’s reckless order, managing to save a few dozen people only to be buried underground by Zordar’s forces. Among the refugees is a Garmillan girl, an allegory to the Dengil Boy. But the meatier parallel to Final Yamato here is Toko Katsuragi, a Gatlantean spy who slowly learns the values and beauty of Yamato and mankind’s spirit during her tenure aboard.
The 2199 setup? During Yamato’s battle with Frakken, Sanada commits to an order that ends up losing more lives than if he’d taken the more dangerous risk proposed by Kodai. A reverse of the Final Yamato problem. Which is why he gives Kodai the role of Captain in 2202, leading to his handling of the refugee rescue.
That leaves us with Uruk’s departure and Yamato being “alive.” The former element was visually and thematically referenced, when Lugal’s allegorical substitute in 2202 – the original Zordar – departs from Zemulia with his own floating fortress, in an effort to find the Ark of Destruction. He took what people he could and left the rest behind. At the end of 2202, Yamato returns from Teresa’s dimension on its own. Yuki and Todo’s anguish is transferred to Shima and Todo.
The engine hums and the ship travels with no crew or machines to man it, very different from Final Yamato. When Shima, Sanada and Yamazaki head to investigate it, Sanada takes note of the clearly running engine, stating “It lives…” Then, like Yuki in Final Yamato, the trio find an alive and well Akira Yamamoto. No suicide attempt this time; Yuki already tried that at Stravase in 2202. More on that in the Be Forever Yamato story elements section.
In 2205, Dessler takes Kodai’s role as the one who desperately wants to save the drowning people of his own homeworld, rather than Uruk. “Just one more… if I can save at least one more person…” In Final Yamato, Shima stops Kodai after the conditions get too dangerous. In 2205, this role is given to Talan.
Assemble the WMG fleet! Shima and his brother say their goodbyes
Once Uruk and its capability of warping Aquarius have been confirmed, the EDF launches all the ships they have – against a dimming sky – to meet Lugal De Zahl in battle at Saturn. This all happens while Shima and his kid brother Jiro play kickball. Jiro asks why Shima has to leave. He puts a hand on Jiro’s shoulder, promising to return. Later in the movie, he writes what would be his final letter to him. Shima never comes home. At this point in the movie, the EDF fleet has been utterly devastated. Only eight ships survive, leaving Uruk’s forces free to take Earth’s capital. They raid its shipyards, bombing everything of military importance. The EDF has lost all hope. Then Yamato shows up.
2199 decided to bake in Jiro’s parts from Yamato 2 and Final Yamato in one go. Before departing with Yamato, Shima promises to return. In Ep 7, he sends Jiro a video message, telling the kid it might be his last. Thankfully, Shima survives.
2202 adapted the WMG fleet, its departure, the destruction of Earth’s shipyards, and Yamato’s eventual last-minute return. Shima survives this outing as well.
Meeting with the Queen of Aquarius
After landing on Aquarius, witnessing its beautiful floating continents and ancient architecture that speaks of a long gone civilization, Yamato settles in its waters. They’re greeted by the spirit of the planet: the Queen of Aquarius. She speaks of the origins of mankind, the origin of Uruk’s people, of how dangerous Uruk’s ambitions are, the means to stop Lugal, and of Yamato’s purpose.
“Trials can take the form of a blessing, as well as love. Love is never just gentle and sweet. It brings pain and suffering… and even fear.”
She then speaks of how Uruk is manipulating and hastening the set course of fate, destroying the balance of the universe in the process. She bids them farewell, vanishing.
2202 took this scene’s architecture, narrative importance and story, then merged these aspects with Kodai, Sanada and Saito’s meeting with Teresa in Eps 14, 15 and 16. The content, while poetically reworded, remains the same. Civilizations, bonds, Gatlantis’ and Zordar disturbing the balance of the cosmos, the Gatlanteans’ humanity and Yamato’s purpose… Love bringing pain, suffering… and even fear? That became one of Teresa’s most iconic lines from 2202: “Bonds grow. Sometimes together with pain…” And in Ep 16, her farewell came with the complete vanishing of Telezart itself, rather than just her spirit.
The “blue field” sequence
After doubting his own skills as Yamato’s previous Captain, being confronted by the revived Captain Okita and losing his role on the ship, Kodai makes the reckless decision to head out and face Uruk’s supply outpost, alone, in his dinky fighter. But Yuki won’t let him. “I’ll navigate for you.” After incurring wounds in previous battles, both spiritual and physical, Kodai can’t find it in him to argue. They depart, manage to locate the best spot for Yamato to fire at, and risk their lives in the process.
Okita preps the WMG, accepts the potential consequence of Yuki and Kodai’s death, and fires. In the aftermath, their plane drifts, having gotten out unscathed. Kodai falls into a deep sleep, exhausted. Yuki watches over him. Recounting their countless ups and downs, she smiles, still in love with him. After passing through a beautiful field of blue, Yamato finds and picks them up.
2202 tackled this moment and its buildup with style. Throughout the first half of Yamato’s journey, Kodai doubts his skills and morals as Captain, constantly asking Okita’s spirit what to do and where to go. Sometimes, but not often, answers simply don’t present themselves, since Okita’s dead. Kodai’s mental and physical exhaustion reaches its breaking point in Eps 8 & 9 at Stravase, where he’s forced to make a devil’s choice: sacrifice two ships of refugees to allow Yuki’s ship to survive.
Yuki jumps into Stravase’s collapsing core to prevent Kodai from making a choice he’ll regret. Kodai recklessly dashes after her, in a dinky fighter, ending up in its blue wave-motion field. Hijikata fills Okita’s role precisely here, even asking the deceased Captain to forgive him for using the WMG without his strict permission. Knowing that Yuki and Kodai might die, it’s a choice that has to be made. To save them. This moment becomes instrumental in Hijikata’s decision to accept the position as Yamato’s next Captain, whereas this moment was instrumental for Kodai in Final Yamato to accept Okita’s return as Captain.
The blue field in Final Yamato where Yuki and Kodai rediscover their love? When Yuki lovingly watches over him in the cockpit? It’s adapted at Stravase. Kodai’s reckless and lonely charge, too. But it has a follow-up. In 2202 Ep 25, Kodai attempts to once more go down alone. With Yamato. Without telling anyone. That’s when Yuki reveals her presence. She chose to stay behind. He argues that she shouldn’t have disobeyed his evacuation order. All she can say is this: “I’ll navigate for you.” Of course, just like in Final Yamato, the pair survives, picked up by Yamato just as they were at Stravase. Only six months later. Which brings me to the Captain going down with his ship…
Yamato Evacuation: the Captain goes down with his ship
In what many would consider an homage to Farewell, Captain Okita decides to go down with his ship. After returning to the land of the living, he can’t see a world where the continued existence of an old war dog like him and an old war horse like Yamato can help maintain the peace. By leaving this world and the next generation with the means to build a better world, without war and warships, he can properly bid Yuki and Kodai farewell. He sees them as his own children, whom he wishes to have beautiful grandchildren of their own. After a fatherly hug, the pair departs.
We see images of the crew bidding their stations farewell, dragging their feet, and survivors from the torn-up ship. Captain Mizutani supervises this evacuation. But when Shiro Kato notices Okita’s solitary figure still on Yamato’s bridge, crew members like Yamazaki and Aihara freak out. Everyone screams for the ship to turn around, to pick him up. Okita then reflects on his life, his service and his ultimate duty. Then carries it out, losing his life and Yamato in the process. Saving Earth.
2202 decided to merge Farewell‘s evacuation and sacrifice with that of Final Yamato’s, giving Okita’s duty to Kodai. This time, it’s Kodai who can’t see a positive future where weapons and warships are permitted to exist. A future with the Time Fault, war and endless exchanges of trigger pulling. He feels it’s his duty to do what Okita once did. He seeks guidance from Okita’s epitaph, but doesn’t receive it.
The evacuation is carried out EXACTLY like in Final Yamato. Except this time, we’re given a face for wounded survivors in Nagakura and a personal connection between Shima and Kodai – the former of which spots Kodai still on the bridge. The fatherly hug becomes spiritual, as Yuki and Kodai place themselves in position under the allegorical reverend Okita, who blesses them with no words. Captain Ozaki fills Mizutani’s shoes, something I touch on in the Characters section. The sacrifice portion then shifts closer to Farewell‘s depiction.
As an aside, let’s jump over to the live-action Yamato movie for a moment and compare a couple of shots. Remember, the first preceded the second by a good nine years.
After Credits: Beach, Marriage, Conception and Bonds
For Final Yamato’s credits, two pieces of music are used. In the 35mm version, there’s Isao Sasaki’s Space Battleship Yamato (the ’83 version was heard in theaters, but the ’74 version replaced it on home video). In the 70mm upgrade and subsequent home media releases, there’s the Pioneering Yamato BGM. After the credits, we’re treated to Yamato’s first and only post-credits sequence from the classic works.
Yamato’s crew gather on a wide beach as the insert song Rainbow to Tomorrow plays. They gaze into the sunset until only Yuki and Kodai remain. A symbolic marriage is depicted. And following this, the movie’s original cut depicts their first time making love, which results in the conception of Miyuki Kodai.
Ark of the Stars seemingly paid tribute to this. Since Ark was Yutaka Izubuchi’s last foray into Yamato, perhaps he felt it necessary to have two credits sequences. Conscious decision or not, the first sequence even chose a militaristic theme, leaving the second with something more emotional, just like in Final Yamato.
In 2202, the beach was carried over to Teresa’s dimension, whereas the sunset observation was given to Makoto, Dr. Sado and others who witnessed Yamato’s stunning return from Teresa’s world. Inside this world, Teresa confirms that the bond shared between Yuki and Kodai could lead to the conception of their first child, who according to 2202’s director – Nobuyoshi Habara – IS Miyuki Kodai. But she’s only the first of two children, apparently.
What about Yuki and Kodai’s marriage? While it hasn’t happened yet, it’s been given some speculative pre-viz illustrations by Character Designer Nobuteru Yuuki for at least two occasions: The 2202 Chapter 7 video release and the Yamato Crew New Years privilege gift for 2020.