by Kathy Clarkson and Anton Mei Brandt
Episode 5: Emergency Order! Yamato, Shoot Iscandar!
The episode opens with a panorama of space that leads into a series of ancient narrative art images as a childlike voice begins a tale of the birth of a people.
“The sea of stars is dark and cold – a very scary place. A brave and wise king embarked on a trip aboard a magnificent ship. The ship glides, crossing the sea of stars. Among these stars are an ugly ice planet and a hot, soft planet.”
[AMB]: And we’re back for Chapter 2 of 2205, which starts off with another creditless opener. This sequence, both stylistically and musically, harkens back to the Clockwork Prisoner episode of 2199, as well as the story of the Jirel witches’ origins as related to us by Lerelai in Ark of the Stars. As in Lerelai’s example, the tale this time is that of a myth, revealing what led to the discovery of Garmillas by its aboriginal people: the Galmans!
[KC]: And here I would have been satisfied with just a little more backstory on Dessler and Talan!
[AMB]: This myth – which isn’t explicitly explained in the 2205 Complete Materials book – is vague enough to open up tons of theories, but succinct enough to reveal the most probable truths. It is narrated by Caroline Raiden’s voice actress, who will later voice the daughter of Starsha and Mamoru (Sasha, who – according to Yurisha – still has some of their sister’s soul in her) in the last episode of 2205. Given that the storybook images fade away to Sasha’s pod, we can likely infer that it is indeed Sasha who narrates the story of how a Goddess from Iscandar came to Galman, the whys of which we’ll find out in Episode 7.
During the long, long journey, a lot of retainers, women and children died. The king cried; ‘Why did I undertake this journey?’ He even forgot the way home. Then, the ship turned around and began to glide. There were twin planets where the ship was headed. The goddess offered one of them to the king and told him…
‘I shall bestow upon your people the name…Garmillas. If you stay by my side, you’ll grow and prosper forever.’
The blessings echoed through the sea of stars, and everyone lived happily.”
[AMB]: Interestingly enough, the story echoes back to the Shalbart pilgrims tale from Yamato III, just like Lerelai’s story did in Ark. In the third series, Yamato stumbles upon a group of religious refugees desperately searching for their Goddess Mother Shalbart’s home, traveling in an alien ark on a quest for spiritual calm and peace in the universe. Yamato successfully saves them from a Bolar attack and moves on with their journey. This classic era hint is definitely important to figure out the meaning of the Ruda/Mother Shalbart statue from the first episode of 2205. Allow me to elaborate…
Because we already have the singular image of Starsha to represent a “Goddess of Iscandar,” we immediately infer that this Goddess, who as we’ll find out in Episode 7 existed 1,000 years ago, must be Starsha. This is a clever red herring that hinges on the misconception that she’s been the planet’s custodian since time immemorial, something that’s never explicitly stated.
Personally, I believe that the statue the Galmans raised and still worship 1,000 years on, is Starsha’s far-off predecessor, Shalbart – the same religious icon Yamato III who had ALSO had existed for a millennia by the time the story begins. Shalbart then, either by intention or coincidence, sparked the creation of a new religion on Galman, where they worship her image as “Mother” Shalbart. It’s not a coincidence that the Goddess in the story, as well as the statue, both have their eyes closed/cut out.
Now, what of the King here? In the Garmillan history we know of since 2202, Garmillas used to be a feudal society with dukes and nobles ruling their own fiefdoms. Thanks to Abelt’s uncle Grand Duke Erik, the planet was completely united under one rule, under one monarchy: the Dessler family. This reign lasted for about a century, ending with Dessler’s supposed death in 2199.
This culture was likely brought with the Galman settlers guided by Iscandar, given that the Galman priest Keeling refers to Dessler as a “true King” in the first episode; one who can unite the people of Galman and Garmillas. The priestly garb worn by him and his ally look eerily similar, in their white and golden fashion, to those worn by the King and his followers in the myth presented to us.
Oh, and did I say Iscandar guided the Galmans? While some of you may think this is a bit of a stretch, there’s another deceitful connection in this story that links Galman history with Earth’s own! One day, without warning, Galman was given the capacity to travel through the cold blackness of space with a giant ship at a time of their need. The Galman we see in 2205 isn’t particularly advanced even by today’s standards, so surely they didn’t build the ship themselves a millennia ago! Rather, Iscandar likely “reached out a hand,” to help guide a select few Galmans to their new home of Garmillas. Unlike what Starsha did for the Earthlings however, their true aim was far more nefarious. And again, will be revealed in Episode 7.
[KC]: So…the twin planets are the ugly, frozen one and the hot, soft one, or are there four different planets appearing in this tale? Because I feel like I could make an argument for either.
[AMB]: On the journey from Galman to Iscandar, the ship passed by one particularly hot star, and one particularly cold. Any thoughts on what these stars might be? My bet’s on the cold one being planet Bolar, and the hot one being Balun.
[KC]: Interesting. Then I am going with the cold one being Iscandar and the hot one being Garmillas. A foreshadowing of the upcoming reveal that these two planets are not natural twins.
[AMB]: On a different note, there might be some hints as to where the Dark Nebulans originate from in the Toshio Masuda story draft for the original New Voyage. He proposed that Dezarium came from the distant Dark Nebula Volgazen, which was in the midst of a war with the White Nebula Shalbart. Whatever Iscandar has stored this time around might be the key to winning such a war with Shalbart or some other adversary in their timeline, in 2205 (the work, not the year).
The images disappear in a growing brightness, and then we see the containment pod that houses Sasha’s essence. Starsha stands before it, contemplating something, when Yurisha exclaims beside her, looking in another direction.
“Sister! It’s Yamato! Yamato has come!”
Starsha says nothing and turns away.
Meanwhile, captains Kodai, Sanada and Mori are burning through the atmosphere as they rush to Iscandar’s aid. That is when Starsha says, not necessarily in reply to Yurisha, “Yamato. That Earth ship and Iscandar share the same sin…” She looks back at the pod. “Did you call it to us…Sasha?”
[KC]: Not a stretch to presume that the “sin” being referred to here is warfare in general, or the specific use of a certain weapon of mass destruction.
[AMB]: Wave-Motion Energy is cursed beyond belief. Two episodes from now, we’ll find out what it truly takes to restore a planet to its natural, glorious state, and how unwittingly Yamato committed Iscandar’s millennia-old sin in order to save its own home. Let’s just say it follows the alchemical principles of equal exchange…
[KC]: Turns out aid from Starsha comes with A LOT of fine print.
[AMB]: And none of the legal enforcement!
Yamato and the other two ships rush in, guns firing. Kodai orders Yamato around for another pass. Yamazaki asks for assurances from none other than Yabu down in the Engine Room, who assures him that the engine sounds fantastic and it can be done. He calls to Tasuke, working with him.
On the bridge, Domon averts his eyes from the turmoil, until he’s chided by Kitano to pay attention, sternly asking him the rhetorical question of whether or not this was why he chose to come here (to the bridge). Domon reacts, clenching his teeth, but he does not close his eyes again.
Kodai orders all guns to start firing. Kitano repeats the order and the beams lash out at the surrounding Hyades ships. “Incredible,” Domon breathes, awed by the explosions blossoming across the sky as countless enemy vessels are destroyed. Sunlight streams down in bright rays, bathing Yamato in shafts of light as the opening title appears.
[AMB]: Another way to read Kitano’s line here is that he’s bolstering Domon’s courage, claiming that surely he came here to see things through properly, rather than avoiding responsibility. It’s a Yamato classic, as established since Episodes 7 and 13 of 2202.
[KC]: Now THAT is how you start a show!
[AMB]: At wits end, Yamato arrives to aid Dessler in his time of need. Classic New Voyage storybeat, check! Three generations of men helm the engine as one unit, in spite of their past misdeeds and tribulations. The last thing Tokugawa told Yamazaki in 2202 was that he was putting his trust in the man to educate and lead the next generation. Surely, wherever he is now, he’s smiling at seeing his most prized student Yabu given the chance to show off his more redeeming qualities.
[KC]: Let’s be honest; it’s not often that I cheer for the actual stars of this show, and this is definitely one of those times!
[AMB]: Even Kitano?
[KC]: He was…probably being supportive.
A cadre of Cosmo Pythons, led by Shinohara, continues to harry the enemy.
“Follow Yamato. Don’t give the enemy a break.”
That is the order of the day, and the squadron follows that order well, dodging fire from multiple directions. But heir torpedoes barely manage to expose the internals of a Hyades ship. After commenting on how tough the enemy ships are, a new tactic is attempted. Shinohara’s unit converges on a lone Hyades they previously punched a small hole in, firing off a barrage of laser fire that eventually takes it down.
Meanwhile, Akira’s unit of Cosmo Tiger II’s clash with the Caterpillars. Sakamoto is stunned by their maneuverability. “Can you really call that fluttering bastard a plane?” Yamamoto shuts the chatter down, claiming he’s one to talk with all his zip-zapping antics. Once the remaining Caterpillars are taken down, Akira orders the squadron to draw the enemy away from the migration fleet.
[AMB]: Battles like these are the best when it comes to pure entertainment value, the reason being the stakes. Dezarium’s ships are not like the Garmillans, nor the Akerian-aided Gatlanteans; these ships barely budge at laser fire, torpedoes or conventional fighter tactics, in spite of (for the most part) lacking Geschtam/Wave barrier shields. As far as setup goes for the upcoming REBEL 3199, this brief glimpse at what a small contingent of Dezarium ships can handle with but two commanders is both thrilling and frightening.
[KC]: They will certainly have their work cut out for them.
Hilde Shulz is on Iscandar with the migration fleet, tending to someone, when a cry goes up; one of the enemy vessels is on a collision course with them! Suddenly, a wave barrier missile spreads out a force field above the migrant fleet, destroying the enemy vessel and protecting the refugees on the surface.
In tandem with the aforementioned missile, the Space Cavalry prepares to drop in their fancy new landing boats, led by Nagakura and her protege Raiden. Their priority is to save as many people in the ocean as possible, using their new exoskeleton infantry suits. “Let’s do it!” Raiden shouts.
[AMB]: The battlefield this time around is quite dynamic, isn’t it? Since part of the climactic battle in Ark of the Stars was based on The New Voyage, it makes sense that similar direction and music choices were applied here, too. Different fighters have different tasks as they try to save as many refugees as possible. Regardless of intent, collateral damage is practically unavoidable, and we see this when the Hyades-class ship Shinohara helped sink earlier plummets toward the migrant fleet. Thankfully, Asuka saved the day.
We also have some new mecha to talk about: the “Landing Craft / Cavalry Combat Boat / Type 5 Space Cavalry Combat Boat B2/CFV-05,” and the Type V mobile armor.
The landing boats were originally from Yamato 2, but were conspicuously absent from 2202. Due to the bulky, aggressive hard sci-fi design of Makoto Kobayashi’s Type II mobile armors – which were rugged, gritty and prototypical, rather than mass-produced “built explicitly for combat” mechs – the landing boats were rendered unnecessary for the Telezart landing operation. This time around, Mecha Designer Junichiro Tamamori refined the original image of the boats by incorporating design elements from contemporary real infantry fighting vehicles (APC’s: Armored Personnel Carriers), while also making sure the new mobile armors fit inside their compartments.
In the classic Yamato timeline, the space cavalry are completely missing in The New Voyage. In 2205, some of them still remain with Asuka, but Makoto Kobayashi’s no longer involved in the production, which likely presented the 2205 staff with a unique conundrum. Rather than forsake Kobayashi’s mobile armor design completely, they tasked Junichiro Tamamori to miniaturize and reinforce its basic design, as well as bring back the landing boats.
Data from the mecha guide:
The Mobile Armor Type V was developed by incorporating operational data of the Type 2 Mobile Space Armor to increase mobility of the armored spacesuits being developed by Technology Headquarters. It is positioned as an infantry weapon to handle anti-spaceship mobile weapons with an emphasis on trench warfare and maneuverability.
A momentum wheel on the back is used in conjunction with crawlers on the legs to improve mobility on land. During space maneuvering, the wheel’s high-speed rotation and the arm movements are used in tandem. It achieves high concealment by controlling its posture with mass balance.
Read more here.
Captain Yuki Mori receives a status update on the shield being projected for the refugees; deterioration at 35%. Depletion in 150 seconds. The captain gives the order to ready the next shot, but her Chief Tactical Officer Nanbu warns her that if they remain in the resonant wave much longer, the ship will be damaged.
“Yamato and Hyuga will protect us,” Captain Mori assures him.
Yamato continues to obliterate Dezarium ships as Abelt Dessler watches from his bridge, supported by Talan.
“Ranhart’s ship,” Dessler says before collapsing, Talan frantically trying to get him to respond.
[KC]: We talked about this in last episode’s commentary, didn’t we? You said it was the untreated wound from when Miru gave him that gut shot in 2202 acting up again? Because I have to presume that the loss of Garmillas would be making Talan sick as well, but a Dessler passing out from his own drama totally tracks.
[AMB]: Abelt recalling the image of his nephew Ranhart makes that theory a certainty. Not only is his physical wound from Miru acting up, but his heart is giving in. Yamato and Kodai helped save Ranhart from making the choice to kill his uncle in 2202, stopping Dessler’s plan to exit the stage play that was his life. This desire to simply die in penance for your sins will soon be expressed by Kodai as well, revealing that the bond between him and Abelt is stronger than they are yet aware of.
Also, seeing Talan holding up his leader’s body with his own is a surprisingly tender moment. Prior to this, Dessler never allows anyone to touch him, nor probe his mind. It’s a testament to the trust he now places in Talan, likely informed by the man’s insistence to not let Dessler kill himself in the reckless defense of Garmillas back in Episode 3.
[KC]: They removed Talan’s only really big moment from Yamato 2 and in turn we’re getting a bunch of subtler moments that add up to the same thing. No one is more loyal.
[AMB]: For the sake of posterity, I do have to briefly mention that said prison escape was still in 2202. Just… with the roles reversed. Unless you’re referring to his dashing bridge rescue at the end of the second series, of which we receive a less than subtle homage to in Episode 8 of this series.
[KC]: True, he does save his boss twice.
[AMB]: On another note, the BGM here is a variation of the Yamato theme called Endless Voyage. It was originally scored for The New Voyage, but was ultimately left out of the movie. It would later be featured prominently in Yamato III..
On Yamato, Lieutenant Saijo reports that the enemy fleet above the north pole is still holding position. The bridge crew looks up in awe, curiosity, trepidation and, in Shima’s case, anger.
“After this much damage, and they’re still just watching,” he frowns.
“Nishina, how about sending them our greetings?” Captain Kodai asks.
“It’s a huge ship,” Nishina responds. “Let me take some extra steps.”
His fingers fly over the console in front of him, and several blasts strike hard on Deda’s ship. He rises from his chair angrily as Meldars tells him to calm down.
“Your emotions will worsen the noise,” he explains. “Remember our objective. Bring back Iscandar as soon as possible. This abominable planet. Bring it to our home.”
[AMB]: Nishina’s long-distance trick here is informed by his rivalry with Hyuga’s Chief Tactical Officer Sakamaki, as explored in the character guides. The latter holds a long-distance Dreadnought firing record from the war with Gatlantis, which likely has spurred on Nishina, the “Tactical Demon,” to beat it. Cute.
Kodai’s comment is directly borrowed from Ryu Hijikata, who back in Episode 9 of 2202 expressed that he “failed to give the Gatlanteans his business card on the 11th planet” (where his command was defeated by said enemy), and that he would show the King of Gatlantis a lesson in human perseverance. He says this shortly before firing the Wave-Motion Gun at planet Stravaze to save Kodai and Yuki from the devil’s choice imposed by Zordar. Deep-pocketed callbacks.
[KC]: So these folks like listening to old records, showing off their muscles, and if they don’t like a planet they will kidnap it and bring it home. I can’t wait to see what this is all about.
[AMB]: They traveled far and wide, presumably across timelines/dimensions to get here, just to snatch Iscandar. But it appears that getting lost in human emotions like the thrill of battle, or the anger of being done a disservice, will only help make ‘the noise’ worse. I hold onto my theory that the noise they play on their old records helps inform them of how badly their timeline is doing, and that Yamato’s actions which helped “correct the path to the future,” as Teresa put it in 2202, have inadvertently screwed over the Dezarium and their “incorrect path.” As we’ll see, not only here but going forward, is that Yamato itself happens to be the greatest source of noise-making, a ship completely wiped from Dezarium’s records.
[KC]: Perhaps history is not always written by the winners.
[AMB]: What a novel concept!
The Analyzers on Hyuga report that the enemy is retreating and suggest pursuit, jovially claiming that they’re weaklings. Captain Sanada orders them to wait, checking his Tactical Intelligence Situation Board and reviewing a file from the Garmillas Deep Space Task Fleet Strategic Database. It displays an object speeding through the universe.
Back on one of the refugee ships, Fomto Berger orders hot soup for everyone, elderly and children first. Officer Raiden hugs two Garmillas children, commending them for how well they did during the attack.
“Now you’re safe,” she tells them tearfully as Lieutenant Commander Berger looks on respectfully. “Now you’re safe.”
Berger turns away to see Second Lieutenant Melda Dietz, who salutes him in Garmillan fashion. Smiling, he responds with his own salute as Yamato comes in for a landing, its graceful shape bathing in the sunlight, mesmerizing Berger.
[AMB]: The object on Sanada’s tactical display will be explored shortly. For now, let’s bask in the afterglow of seeing so many disparate elements of reboot Yamato coming together in this moment of solidarity.
We’ve come a long way since 2199. I believe this is the first time Berger ever meets Dietz’ daughter, isn’t it? It’s like seeing two worlds meet! And to see Berger – who in the past thought Earthlings held zero regard for Garmillans – witnessing the tearful, heartwarming embrace of an Earthling defender and two Garmillan children is cathartic.
“So we meet again,” Berger says at the sight of Yamato. We jump ahead and he is shaking hands with Captain Kodai, who apologizes for being late.
“From here on,” Berger assures him, “we’ll take the fight to them, side by side with Yamato.” Kodai hangs his head and unceremoniously walks away ast Captain Mori, who makes a small sound of concern as she watches him go. Berger’s left unsure of what to say.
[KC]: I don’t really have anything to say here other than it’s a heartwarming scene and an opportunity for us to reference Ark of the Stars yet again. This is, I believe, the first time Berger is seeing Kodai again face to face since they met in that Star Trek/Twilight Zone episode posing as an outstanding Yamato movie.
[AMB]: It sure is. He briefly had the opportunity to aid Earth and Yamato in 2202, but his presence was never made apparent to Yamato’s busy-saving-the-universe crew. And it’s funny to hear Ark referred to as a Star Trek/Twilight Zone episode, because a lot of the elements from that movie are mostly borrowed from Yamato III and Be Forever Yamato. Incredibly fitting for the direction we’re heading into.
What’s of particular note here though, is that Okita’s wish to fight side by side with Garmillas is directly paid homage by Berger in speech, but Kodai doesn’t seem to reciprocate his excitement. In fact, to fight and kill the enemy hasn’t been on Kodai’s radar since his confrontation with Zordar at the end of 2202. He certainly is here to help the refugees, and hopefully to protect Iscandar, but he has no intention to fight unless absolutely necessary. Since Berger has yet to hear about Kodai’s confrontation with the King of Gatlantis, it’s perfectly in character for him to act nonplussed.
[KC]: Before the Earthlings showed up, combat was Berger’s whole life. I’m looking forward to how military people re-embrace their war-happy leader now, although this kinder, gentler Abelt doesn’t seem adverse to fighting when the situation calls for it.
[AMB]: After over two decades of constant wartime, their servicemen deserve some respite. Sadly, the Bolar conflict and impending racial tensions on Galman will likely not lend them such a blessing.
[KC]: Well it works for the fan art, but having Abelt & Co. in civvies all the time would be weird.
Everyone eventually makes their way to the Tactical Room with the projection floor. Captains Kodai, Sanada and Mori have some news to break to Wolf Frakken, his XO Hainy, and Fomto Berger. By Sanada’s side stands Niimi. By Kodai’s side stand Shima and Yuki. Opposite to their trio are the Tactical Chiefs Sakamaki, Nanbu and Domon, the two Pilot Commanders Akira Yamamoto and Shinohara, and Space Cavalry Commander Nagakura.
“Now I want everyone here to take a look,” says Captain Sanada. An image appears before them of Garmillas as it is about to detonate. Frakken, Hainy and Berger react and Lieutenant Niimi apologizes, urging them to look closer.
[AMB]: And Kitano is nowhere to be seen… poor guy, shafted once again in his own movie. And talk about lacking sensitivity! Sanada may have begun giving his heart more time to show on his sleeve, but not even warning his Garmillan equals that they’d be forced to witness the destruction of their home once more was not his most thoughtful moment. In a way, it makes perfect sense for his ‘computer human’ side to remain.
[KC]: Niimi is there to smooth things over for him. A hint, perhaps, as to how their relationship works.
[AMB]: Someone has to fill in Mamoru’s spot as his poem.
The BGM playing in this scene was composed for Yamato 2, for the scene following Andromeda’s fall to the White Comet. Its melody is based on Yamato Meditation from the original New Voyage, another track featured in 2205. In a curious twist of fate, its reasonable inclusion in the reboot’s take on the classic work makes perfect sense.
“Iscandar should have suffered catastrophic damage,” she explains. “But the shattered pieces of the destroyed planet turned into dust, and its energy…” Niimi trails off as the images of Garmillas’ destruction continue. Berger wonders aloud if the energy has vanished, but Captain Sanada corrects him.
“Not quite. It was most likely transferred. These spiky objects seem to be some kind of transfer machine.” Sanada shows them a picture of the Dezarium Hammers that so recently devastated Garmillas. “After destroying a planet, they amass and converge the energy to a single location.”
[AMB]: We briefly touched on the purpose of the Dezarium Hammers, and here’s the full story: they were sent to sap all the usable remaining planetary energy from Garmillas, which inevitably led to the forced warp of Iscandar. Curiously, Yamato’s data logs classifies the Dezarium Hammer as a “Device / Enemy “BELEMNOID” object.” Belemnoids are an extinct group of marine cephalopods, closely related to modern day cuttlefish, bearing more than a slight resemblance to squids. The connection is definitely there, just like it can be seen in the Autoplanet Goruba.
Dezarium aren’t the only faction to fashion their mecha after marine life.
[KC]: It is a “Sea” of stars, after all…
More images and data flash by on the floor.
“I can see why our enemy’s come here,” says Commander Shima. “We’re in the Bolzon system, and its sun is getting old and bloated.”
Another image comes up, the same one Sanada was pondering earlier. Shima continues.
“This is the state of the first planet Garmario as it’s been pulled by the gravity of the expanding sun. Right now, it’s…”
The next image is of countless Dezarium Hammers gathered around the planet. An audio report comes in from Sakamoto.
“There’re too many of them. The equator is like a field of spikes. Total number is unknown.”
“The planet is dying, just like Garmillas,” Sanada says as the others in the room look on in dismay. “That means it’s easy to destroy. They remove and warp planets as if they’re playing space billiards.”
[AMB]: In the Episode 4 commentary, we briefly mentioned the origin of the Bolzon system (romanized on the digital floor as Vorzon) in the first Yamato novelization. Garmario, however, remains unaddressed. In the first Yamato series, Domel goes over various potential locations to face Yamato in, eventually settling on the Rainbow Star Cluster. Among the proposed battlefields was the Garmario triple star system, originally rejected because it contained a “strong radiation storm.” It has now in the reboot universe been married with the Bolzon system for narrative expedience and maximum deep cuts!
[KC]: Sanada is pretty calm and logical in general. Maybe it’s my bias, but I definitely hear the disgust in his voice here on behalf of Garmillas.
[AMB]: For sure. At the same time, he can’t help but be scientifically curious about such mind-blowing technology. To warp a planet is no small feat, a piece of technology that could be very helpful if applied correctly.
[KC]: If anyone can come up with an alternative means of propulsion, it’s Sanada.
“So, that’s how Dezarium does it, huh?” Berger asks.
“In order to warp Iscandar, our planet, Garmillas, was…” Frakken can’t finish the thought.
“Dezarium is going to use its cue stick again,” Sanada warns. “Garmario is about the same size as Jupiter. That’ll allow them an even longer warp.”
“We must stop them now, no matter what,” Berger snarls.
“But we lost half our fleet,” Frakken points out. “The condition of the Deusula III is obvious, and I heard His Excellency Dessler was badly hurt. We also have to come up with a way to save 100,000 of our fellow citizens of the migrant fleet.” As he speaks, images flash by of the migrant fleet doing their best to get by with essentials provided by Yamato’s aid. Vance sneaks a glance at Hilde helping his own race, unsure of how to respond.
[KC]: Badly hurt three years ago, maybe. You’ve come a long way, Abelt, but know that the Dessler with no first name wasn’t a fainter.
[AMB]: To be fair, Frakken and Berger are as unaware of Dessler’s wartime injuries from 2202 as they are Kodai’s psychological injuries from meeting Zordar. The wording of “I heard he was badly hurt” is definitely deliberate. Any thoughts about Vance looking at Hilde? It will be addressed in the next episode, but still a worthwhile topic to explore. Hint to the audience: hidden regrets about the legacy of war.
[KC]: Another subtlety that I apparently missed!
[AMB]: Speaking of Frakken, it appears we’ve left a curious mystery from the first episode unaddressed: his voice actor was changed for 2205. This is odd, because his 2199 and 2202 voice actor Jouji (George) Nakata is still very active. For 2205, Frakken was voiced by Akimitsu Takase, a relatively unknown actor who lent his voice to Minoru Gōda in Yamato Resurrection.
As for why Nakata didn’t reprise his role, Yamato’s production team hasn’t said anything. Fans initially took to Twitter to ask about his absence, but received no response from either sound director Yoshida, nor Nakata himself. Some might feel inclined to infer that there’s some behind-the-scenes drama going on, but it’s most likely that Nakata was busy with other work. This isn’t new for the Yamato saga, where two examples come to mind:
(1) Across the original saga, Dessler voice actor Masato Ibu consistently voiced Commander Todo for all but Episode 6 of Yamato 2, where the current 2202~2205 voice actor for Todo (Toshihiko Kojima) stepped in for Ibu. Kojima took over the role of Todo in 2202 as a consequence of his 2199 voice actor, Shinji Ogawa, passing away between the two productions.
(2) As with Ibu and his Todo role, actor Shūsei Nakamura consistently voiced Shima Daisuke across the original saga, with one exception: Final Yamato. In this movie, his role was supplanted by Isao Sasaki, who was and still is no stranger to cameo roles. Nakamura was ill at the time, but led a happy life until 2014.
[KC]: I never would have known.
“Plus Starsha and her sister, too,” adds Domon. The room turns to look at him.
“That’s a given,” Frakken says, crossing his arms and looking away. “But how are we going to fight?”
”With the Wave-Motion Gun,” Kodai says, to his crewmates’ surprise. “We’ll destroy the planet with the Wave-Motion Gun. Garmario will be destroyed by simultaneous shots from Yamato and Hyuga before Dezarium can use it.”
“Kodai,” Shima says with grave concern, coming to stand before his captain and friend. “Captain, have you considered every alternative?”
“That’s the most effective measure with our current strength.”
“How about the impact of the planet’s destruction on Iscandar?” Shima continues.
“Iscandar’s still in motion,” Kodai points out. “We have to carry out the operation before it enters the danger zone.”
“That’s too hasty,” Shima says angrily.
“I said we have no time,” Kodai says abruptly.
[KC]: This is going to keep coming up as we continue with this episode. I don’t get the hostility. Garmario is deserted. Why is there still a moral issue surrounding the use of the WMG?
[AMB]: Okita made a promise on the basis of learning that offensive Wave-Motion Energy weapons essentially sucks out the life force of the universe in order to destroy even more life in a display of power. As Yuki will put it, the one thing they promised Starsha never to do will be committed in front of her by Kodai, the man who respects the departed Okita and his promise more than anyone else.
[KC]: So both morally and scientifically problematic, then. Great.
[AMB]: As we’ll soon learn, even the dastardly Dezarium forces have ethical problems with Wave-Motion Energy for reasons that will likely elude us until 3199 begins.
[KC]: I liked the idea that Earth started the war with Garmillas, because I’m partial to the Garmillans and to defying conventional genre tropes. But I don’t think I like the idea of Dezarium getting to take the high ground against us.
[AMB]: As it pertains to the Garmario crisis, it too has likely roots in Toshio Masuda’s original New Voyage story draft. Before Dessler’s fleet (and later Yamato) warp to pursue Iscandar, they end up in the Sargasso Sea of Space, where “Spideria,” a giant vine-like asteroid, approaches Iscandar and wraps its vines around the planet like an octopus (think back to the Dezarium Hammers).
Yamato tries to destroy Spideria before it can succeed in its destructive plan, but realize they can’t fire the Wave-Motion Gun due to the risk of destroying Iscandar. That fact will be important for the end of this episode. They then warp toward a giant red star alongside Iscandar, which in the reboot became Bolzon. This sequence was actually animated for the original New Voyage, but was cut due to the strained production schedule. Now it’s back in full force!
Captain Mori calls out sharply from Kodai’s other side.
“You’re going to use the Wave-Motion Gun in front of Starsha of Iscandar to destroy a planet, as well as our enemy, if the situation calls for it, right?”
“Correct. I’ll take full responsibility for this.”
Captain Mori looks surprised and upset as Kodai steps forward.
“Regardless of the enemy’s purpose, they destroyed Garmillas without hesitation. We’re allowed to take any countermeasures in light of the universe’s common sense.”
[KC]: Damn right, we are. Kodai’s righteous fury for Garmillas is wonderful to see.
[AMB]: I’m not sure Kodai fully believes the words he’s speaking here. He looks tired and downtrodden, which we already inferred from his brief reunion with Berger. Mindless belief and adherence to the concept of full-on retributive justice is what helped forge the chain of retaliation that binds our planet to fight endless wars and conflicts – on both the macro- and micro scales – rather than forgive and forget, or talk things through. Preferably, as we’ll soon see, Kodai would much rather do the latter with Dezarium, even after everything they’ve done, whether or not that’s the “correct” choice, he certainly believes it’s the “right” choice.
What Kodai’s doing here is what he was incapable of in 2202: take full, individual responsibility for firing the Wave-Motion Gun in order to appease the war dead. At the end of the episode, we’ll find out he’s essentially pulling off a steel man / Superman act as an excuse to unlock the opportune moment for him to commit another sin and kill himself for it.
Yuki recognizes that his words don’t match what the crew learned in Episode 13 of 2202, that when they fire the WMG, they ALL take responsibility for what comes of it – not just Kodai. This of course mirrors his attempted suicide in Episode 9 of 2202, which itself harkened back to Final Yamato, where he sought to end his life as penance for not measuring up to the revived Okita.
[KC]: Traditionally, leadership does involve shouldering burdens for others, but a good leader also knows how and when to rely on their people.
[AMB]: I second this.
Hainy chuckles. “That planet is dead with no life on it. Whether it be Starsha, or even God, we will surely be forgiven. Probably.” He chuckles again. Domon looks distressed.
[KC]: See? Hainy knows what I’m talking about.
[AMB]: I have to once again stress that, like Kodai, Hainy doesn’t sound too happy about this arrangement, either. His voice sounds dejected, almost miserably discontent with the cruel irony of destroying an innocent (albeit mostly dead) planet in order to avenge another innocent (albeit mostly dead) planet. Because to the Dezarium, this is how they reason as well. Under different circumstances, Yamato might even have been tasked with trying to save Garmario.
[KC]: In keeping with Yamato’s position as one of the most anti-military military space operas out there. And no, that is not a criticism.
[AMB]: Even so, what must be done must be done.
Elsewhere, presumably later, new Medical Officer Miyako Kyozuka reacts to the news about this plan during a meal break with Heiji Bando, Ryusuke Domon and Tasuke Tokugawa.
“If we’re lucky, we can wipe out the enemy fleet,” Bando explains as he munches on a rice cake.
“That’s a big decision for Captain Kodai,” Tokugawa smiles.
“But we just made first contact with those aliens,” Kyozuka says. “Is it okay for us to be doing this?”
[AMB]: Indeed. Unlike Dessler, Yamato hasn’t even had the chance to speak with Meldarz, nor hear what little they have to say about what’s going on and why. Clearly, Dezarium is still in the absolute wrong for the genocide they just committed, but for Yamato’s crew there’s a lot of blanks to be filled before they can pass true judgement. If, for example, a ceasefire could be agreed upon, nobody else would have to die.
And while Miyako’s questions are fair and sound, she is completely unaware of our theories about Dezarium, and how they’re essentially future humans from a different timeline where the Time Fault was propagated in order to beat Gatlantis. It’s very likely that whatever humanity there once was in Dezarium’s people might be truly gone for good. Though I doubt it.
[KC]: No way they’ve lost all humanity if they’re still listening to our scratchy, olde-timey recorded music.
[AMB]: I’d say! They would do good to find something more jovial though. Maybe Elvis or an ABBA record.
[KC]: Well now I’m seeing Deda bopping around to Dancing Queen and I can’t unsee it.
Tokugawa and Bando exchange looks, suddenly unsure. Domon speaks.
“The fight has already begun. With 100,000 civilians to worry about, any other means for resolving this conflict are out of our hands. Or so the reasoning goes. But I thought Yamato, or rather, the man named Kodai Susumu, would reject such rationales.”
Kodai walks alone down a corridor, likely nowhere that he can overhear this conversation.
[AMB]: Domon repeats my own interpretation of Kodai here. The man he knew to be a war hero worthy of sacrificing the Time Fault for, is now using the rationale of retributive justice against aliens he’s never even spoken to. Under the pretense of an impending suicide attempt, his deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy and soul-crushing lack of hope for the future is weighing him down anchor and all, and he refuses to talk to anyone about it. In a sense, Domon sees his own misguided self from Chapter 1 in Kodai, and hopes he can find a way out of his current predicament without destroying his own heart or body.
[KC]: This whole show is trying to shame me for wanting Dezarium to pay for what they just did to Garmillas.
[AMB]: At the risk of sounding contrarian, I’m not sure about that, either. If Kodai truly believed in the course of action he’s about to commit, I don’t believe there’d be an issue. But because he’s using it as an excuse for self-immolation, the ethics behind the decision are called into question. Regardless of how it’s to be done, Dezarium does need to be brought to justice. Anything else would be an affront to the common sense of the universe, as Kodai puts it.
[KC]: He’s not wrong.
We return to Iscandar, where Yurisha and Starsha stare out at the dark sky. The cosmic winter storm has abated, no refugees left squirming in the cold ocean without aid.
“You heard Melda’s report, right?” Yurisha asks her older sister. “Yamato will do what’s necessary. What should we do?”
Starsha opens her mouth as if to respond, but eventually decides against it.
[AMB]: The phrase Yurisha uses here is なすべきをなす (nasubeki wo nasu), which can be transliterated into “doing that which must be done.” It’s the exact same Japanese phrase used by Dessler in 2202’s 15th episode when he confronts Teresa with a gun, decrying how both his and Yamato’s actions (as those summoned by Teresa) were all guided to fulfilling their duty according to what must be done (なすべきをなす), all in service of “the right future.” Doing what must be done (or is supposed to be done) is a mantra Yamato, Dessler and Iscandar all follow, regardless of what personal grievances may result. For very different reasons, of course.
[KC]: This is a theme, I think, that is prevalent in Japanese culture as well as space opera in general; the hero’s journey is rarely taken on with glee.
We cut to Meldarz and his “noise.” He sits on a menacing black dais, lit by a red glow and covered with spiky protrusions. Around him on the walls are what appear to be many round pods studding the surface. His head is down and he looks contemplative.
Meldarz speaks: “We don’t have any record of an encounter with them. It must be a part of the ‘Great Loss.’ Who are they? Why are they trying to save the lives of others by staking their own lives?”
As he speaks, we see Yamato, Asuka and Hyuga moving through space. Fighter pilots soar into the midst of the Dezarium ships and Deda looks up in surprise if not outright alarm, not expecting to be caught unawares.
[KC]: Okay, seriously though. Who’s in charge of the Dezarium aesthetic, the Sith?
[AMB]: Their current aesthetic might be surprising to some, but the fifth New Voyage story draft by Hideaki Yamamoto pined for the same black / white morality some of us associate with the Sith. Here’s a quote from a Meldarz that never was, named Gabochin: “Evil is justice. Talk of peace and love are laughable. We shall make the entire universe a world of vice.”
This aesthetic hides many wonders, not least of which is its true purpose. There’s a lot to unpack in this short, first glimpse at Meldarz’ throne inside Goruba, so let’s dig in. First off, the music in the air (Reverie [Dream]) was composed by impressionist pianist and poet Claude Debussy. Because we’ve already discussed 2205’s usage of classical music in previous episodes, we’ll refrain from repetition.
On top of the throne hangs a large crest, or emblem. In The New Voyage, a much larger version of this existed inside Goruba, from which Meldarz could speak directly to the Dezarium emperor Skaldart. We’ll see something similar soon enough.
The various circular ports surrounding the throne lead you to first believe they’re Goruba’s missile ports from the original, but given their close proximity and the fact that Goruba is now 10km tall, this seems unlikely. They’re probably futuristic hard drive data storage, or autonomous computers that control the Hyades and Pleiades ships swarming around Goruba. Which leads me to the aesthetic.
The slick, symmetrical look of this architectural beauty of a command hub has two primary colors: chromed grayish-black steel, and deep flowing crimson. Dezarium has the same aesthetic as a modern network security computer room, the red lights being pure data flowing through prim, symmetrical hardware.
The spikes and the necessity for a lavish throne? Perhaps a fashion statement inherited from Akerius, as similar design elements can be found in the Ark of Destruction from 2202. The ‘Great Loss’ spoken about here? Most likely a data storage apocalypse prior to the year 3199, causing the sophisticated humanoid Dezarium to lose much of its history it had presumed would always remain safe on its futuristic hard drives. Take note all of you fellow data hoarders out there!
Meldarz’ pose is a reference to the iconic Thinker statue, itself a reference to its inclusion in Be Forever Yamato. Arriving at Dezarium in the movie, Yamato’s crew is greeted by a red carpet procession with classical music in the air. The Great Emperor reveals the Dark Nebula Empire’s supposedly true origins as humans of the future. Yamato crew member Tasuke Tokugawa discovers an odd discrepancy in the DNE’s museum of history: a replica of The Thinker, but mirrored. He makes a rough sketch – that in itself is inaccurate – then later presents it to Kodai while the ship is under attack. Their conclusion? The Great Emperor lied! They’re impostors!
For those of you with keen eyes, however, it’s apparent that Meldarz isn’t doing the pose right either. In the original sculpture, the thinker’s right hand supports the chin. The right and left arms both rest on the left thigh. In the Dezarium copy from Be Forever, the statue’s pose completely mirrors the original Thinker. Left hand supports the chin. Left and right arms rest on the right leg. Here, Meldarz’ pose completely mirrors Tokugawa’s sketch from Be Forever. Left hand supports the chin. Left arm rests on the left leg. Right arm rests on the right leg.
[KC]: This is what happens when you haven’t seen all of the source material! While I definitely recognized the pose, I had no idea about the reference!
[AMB]: The more you know! Speaking of knowing, these goons don’t seem to have any data on Yamato. Odd that. I’m sure their “Great Loss” didn’t involve any thematic congruence where the memory of Yamato’s various sacrifices in service of Earth was forgotten by the changing times or anything. What does Dr. Sado from episode 2 of 2202 have to say?
Sado: “Captain Okita, look at those colorful cities. The battle against Garmillas feels like a dream / Nobody looks back at Yamato, which housed the Cosmo Reverse. Okita… looks like we’re the only ones who remember that battle.”
[KC]: That is a pretty disturbing literal take, but we do know that we’re going to be dealing with time travel in 3199? All this time I’ve just been thinking about this “Great Loss” as Dezarium choosing to erase Earth and Yamato from their recorded history, not history itself!
As Yamato’s fighters retreat and the Dezarium fleet fires back at them, another volley strikes at the enemy from a different direction. Deda stands and turns toward the action. It is the Garmillas, led by Berger’s Lambea, and Deda’s fleet begins to pursue them.
On Yamato, Lieutenant Saijo reports that Dezarium’s course is within predictions. In 800 seconds they will enter the kill zone.
“They took the bait,” Chief Gunner Haruo Nishina observes gleefully.
“Come here already,” Kitano says, looking determined and impatient, his finger on the trigger. “The shockwave from Garmario’s destruction will wipe you out.”
[AMB]: The sound of Debussy’s piano looming in the air only helps spike the already brooding tension. Given this strange turn of events, some of you New Voyage fans may already start to notice that 2205’s second chapter is taking a fresh detour here, but it’s not as original as one might expect. As mentioned in the original New Voyage commentary, there’s a deleted scene where suspicious manipulation pulls Iscandar into a gravitational orbit, leading to an extended chase sequence that mostly serves as a digression.
Of note beyond that, it’s perfectly within character here for Domon to perk up at Kitano’s comment. it’s also sort of cute to see Saijo casting a worried glance at Kitano, since the character guides lightly suggests they have a “thing” happening off-hours.
[KC]: Does every potential romance that isn’t our star couple get relegated to a brief mention in the supplemental materials?
[AMB]: Our special blue dictator friend must be the one and only big exception to that rule.
[KC]: I can’t believe I entertained the notion that he might wind up with Starsha this time around.
[AMB]: As did me and my friends…
“Prepare to fire the Wave-Motion Gun,” Kodai intones. They begin to run through the steps.
Inside the invisible Goruba, there is an abrupt silence as Meldarz’ eyes flash open: the sound of the music from the scratchy recording has abruptly ceased.
“This noise,” Meldas says with stark alarm.
[KC]: Oh, yeah. He knows what’s coming.
[AMB]: Wave-Motion Energy seems to have an incredibly strong effect on Dezarium’s future odds of success. Perhaps even their future itself. The very moment Yamato’s Wave-Motion Gun’s final safety is released, the Debussy record scratches to a complete halt, as if forced off whatever machine affords its playback. This turn of events informs the actions Goruba takes in the next scene.
Something begins to happen to Iscandar; a ripple of light spreads over the planet’s surface. In the night sky, the stars spin rapidly.
“The planet,” Yurisha says in alarm. She turns to Starsha. “Sister?”
But Starsha still refuses to respond, her eyes glimmering with hidden feelings.
“Iscandar changed course?!” Captain Mori cries, rising from her chair.
“Unknown type of energy detected at the poles,” Officer Mikage Kiryu tells her. “Iscandar’s turning around and accelerating. It’ll enter the kill zone soon at breakneck speed. At this rate, Garmario’s shockwave will directly-”
Yamato finishes charging the Wave-Motion Gun as Iscandar moves into position right in front of Garmario.
[AMB]: Goruba has begun towing Iscandar with its mighty gravity field, intending to shield Deda’s fleet. In the original work, Deda simply placed his fleet in front of the planet to handicap Yamato’s potential to fire its Wave-Motion Gun, but Meldarz is actively working to keep Deda safe. It’s… surprisingly wholesome. What’s surprising to both Starsha and the audience here is the technological prowess of Dezarium! And curiously, it appears Starsha has seen this before…
[KC]: Curiouser and curiouser. I would not attribute Meldarz’ actions regarding Deda here as wholesome as much as a strategy; the most efficient way of maintaining an asset.
[AMB]: That’s probably it!
In this scene, Yamato’s distance from Garmario can be seen on the panels, depicting huge numbers. According to SF consultant Shinya Ogura, these values were precisely calculated, even going so far as to account for camera placement:
“Yamato‘s style is to never neglect anything, even if it is only displayed for a moment. In the scene of destroying Planet Garmario (Episode 5), the value ‘3,311,697km’ momentarily displayed in the target scope is not an exaggeration. The size of Garmario is estimated from the line “Jupiter size” (short diameter: 140,000 km / long diameter: 210,000 km). The distance from Yamato was based on the size of Garmario in the sighting device shown in Director Yasuda’s storyboard. This calculation was based on the assumption that the image is seen through a 36mm wide-angle lens. For a 50mm lens, the distance would be 4,605,677km.”
Read more here.
“The line of fire is getting blocked,” Kitano says in distress.
“They’re using Iscandar as a shield,” Shima states.
Kodai looks horrified and frustrated. Then a signal comes in from Iscandar.
“Those above us, can you hear me?” Yurisha appears on Yamato’s main screen. “This is Yurisha of Iscandar speaking. I’m going to inform you of my sister Starsha’s intentions. Iscandar…please shoot it.”
[AMB]: Back when they released the first half of this episode as a teaser on YouTube, it ended with this line. To keep Yamato fans guessing and intrigued is a Yamato staple.
Asuka and Hyuga immediately split off from Yamato as Yurisha continues: “Iscandar has a vast underground space called Sanctel. Its energy lines are laid throughout the planet like a web. Aim at a node and that should do it. I’ll let you know the coordinates and penetration power. Even though the planet’s covered with the enemy’s momentum control field, a significant shock is expected.”
Yuki and Sanada’s ships position themselves to fire on Iscandar.
“In order to protect the people of the Garmillas migrant fleet, please raise a shield in sync with your firing.”
[AMB]: What Starsha feared earlier wasn’t impending doom or havoc and destruction, but rather the fact that Sanctel would have to be exposed in order to save Iscandar from its current predicament. A classic bait and switch! The reason this matters will be explained in Episode 7.
For fans of the more technical side of things, Aihara’s computer console is worth paying attention to. It’s completely in English, displaying various trivia including whose credentials were used to log into the console (Aihara’s), where Iscandar’s equator is, and where [capital city] Isk San Aria is precisely located. The 2205 staff tweeted about this panel back during the time of chapter 2’s release, very proud of their work.
[KC]: As well they should be!
Hyuga receives and confirms the coordinates. On Yamato, Kodai sits on the bridge, arms folded, while the other two Captains fire. Asuka launches its Wave Barrier missile to shield the refugees, and Sanada launches two Wave-Motion Excavation missiles, digging them deep into the planet’s crust.
From their vantage point, Starsha and Yurisha watch the missiles streak down. The shield goes up. The missiles, their warheads affixed with drills, impact on the surface. There is a huge explosion. Yurisha tries to shield herself behind a wall and calls out to her sister, but Starsha just stays there, eyes closed, hair whipping out behind her as if embracing whatever may come. There is a dazzling light display, admired by Hilde and Vance.
[AMB]: Last time we saw these Wave-Motion Excavation missiles was back in 2202, when Sanada personally landed with a similar bomb on the imported planetary crusts used to encase Telezart. It’s very fitting that such a tool, originally used for exploration and dislodging space debris, is carried by Hyuga.
Starsha’s gesture here gives off a very distinct Japanese sense of beauty (美学 / bigaku), called 物の哀れ (mono no aware) in Japanese, or ‘the pathos/empathy of things.’ Before explaining its intricacies, it’s important to note that, traditionally speaking, Western art has been invested with an objective sense of beauty. Japanese art and fiction has been interested in the subjective feelings attained through appreciating beauty.
In traditional Japanese culture, beauty lies not only in the blooming of cherry blossoms, but even more so in their wilting death. Women such as Starsha have been written as tragic, beautiful, wilting-flower heroines for centuries in Japan, because it’s through these stories that we not only see their true heart on full display, but their capacity to overcome their trials, even if happiness isn’t always waiting for them by the end.
The importance of understanding aware for this scene is spurred by the establishing shot of the field of Azure Crystal flowers. As we remember, Yurisha took Yuki to see them in 2199. These flowers and their names, as she explained, means “hidden emotion,” and are infused with planetary Wave-Motion Energy – or memories – from a planet’s history.
Japanese language treasures ma [empty spaces]. Within these, hidden meanings are found and interpreted by the listener, who takes joy in reading between the lines. Haiku (poems with a pattern of 5-7-5 syllables) must be composed in few words, but the deeper meaning of such verse is to be found in the ma between those words. In short, ma is full of meaning and fundamental to Japanese art and fiction, as seen through the many scenes of characters like Starsha and Dessler allowing for most of their true feelings to remain hidden.
“Aware” is thus connected to feelings of regret for things losing their beauty, and paradoxically finding beauty in their opposite. This is, of course, very different from western traditional thinking about beauty, which is defined in particular by the logic of conventional beauty and how to attain/portray this through measured skill sets aimed at recreating beauty at its peak, rather than to display its sadness and regret.
[KC]: Thank you for this rich interpretation!
[AMB]: Don’t mention it!
In the original New Voyage, this light show emanating from within Sanctel was neither planned nor desired, but simply a natural disaster occurring as a consequence of Deda’s fleet pummeling Iscandar too hard with their weaponry. When he believes himself to be safe, using the planet as his shield, it starts being pushed away by the sheer force of the magma escaping its newly-opened crust cavity, exposing Deda to Yamato’s WMG.
On Asuka, Kiryu announces that Iscandar has begun accelerating and is leaving the kill zone.
We see Iscandar begin to pull away and cut to the Goruba. Meldarz stands and turns to face the source of a great excess of energy, emanating from Iscandar’s Sanctel.
On Yamato, Kodai is informed that Starsha’s plan seems to be working. Something similar to Wave-Motion energy is gushing out, although it is weakening.
[KC]: Iscandar is basically doing the sci-fi story equivalent of venting a spacesuit.
[AMB]: Indeed. Within Sanctel there’s a great storage of energy and memories, ‘hidden’ from all who walk the surface. Through Meldarz’ reaction, we can infer that Sanctel is indeed the treasure Dezarium wishes to claim from Iscandar, with its seemingly limitless, vibrant source of power. Without getting too bogged down in details, let’s just say Yurisha’s talk with Yuki in 2199 about flowers called “hidden emotion” holds many of the keys necessary to unlock the mystery of Sanctel. It’s a vault of planetary memories in more ways than one, capable of affording to Yamato the capacity to restore the dying planet Earth.
[KC]: This show has always been about sacrifice, but damn.
Whispering Starsha’s name in reverence, Kodai stands and orders the bridge crew to resume the countdown for the Wave-Motion Gun, recalibrated for single-shot use since they are unable to regroup with the other two ships.
“Aim at the ideal point for target destruction,” Kodai tells the crew as Yamato begins to take fire from Deda’s fleet, now fully in pursuit.
“Your interference ends here!” Deda growls.
[AMB]: Before issuing the order, Kodai has to mentally beg Starsha for forgiveness once more, clearly not feeling too keen on perpetrating what’s about to be unleashed. Yamato’s crew promised to fire the Wave-Motion Gun as one at all times, but here Kodai again stands mostly alone, disconnected from Yuki’s affections and Sanada’s brilliant brain. This wasn’t how the plan was supposed to go.
Meanwhile, Deda displays genuine investment in ensuring their Iscandar kidnapping plan is a success, going so far as to attack Yamato head-on in a furious advancement. Admirable, to some extent I’d say.
[KC]: In the past, Yamato’s adversaries have acted out of arrogance. I would say that while Dezarium may act with supreme confidence, it is based on calculations rather than an overwhelming sense of self-importance. Again, the theme of doing what one must.
[AMB]: This time around, Yamato’s tasked with doing what needs to be done. Their enemies, meanwhile, fight for what they want to be done. A curious juxtaposition.
Yamato’s Chief Radar Operator informs them that the enemy fleet is in their line of fire.
“They came back already?” Chief Gunner Nishina growls.
“Ignore them!” Kodai orders. “Kitano, is the firing line clear?”
“Iscandar will be hit,” Kitano tells him. “I need 250 seconds!”
On Asuka, Chief Tactical Officer Nanbu informs his captain that Yamato can’t use their Wave-Motion Shield while energizing the Wave-Motion Gun. She won’t last two minutes! The ships rush back to Yamato, but they have to navigate around the kill zone. The shortest time is 300 seconds.
On Hyuga, Captain Sanada worries for his friend.
[AMB]: What Nishina’s referring to here is the diversion Berger carried out. It worked as intended, but it appears Deda and Meldarz are connected in ways normal spacewave communication can’t compete with. It’s important to remember that Defense Fleet 65 has yet to hear a single word from Dezarium’s commanders, meaning they have no clue who or what they’re supposed to be. Had Dessler been in better health during the previous meeting, he would no doubt have imparted his negative impressions of his first meeting with Meldarz, back in Episode 4.
Alone on the other side of the kill zone, Yamato is coming under heavy fire, but nothing is hitting the ship; a fact that infuriates Deda, who is told it is due to Iscandar’s gravitational inclination. The speed is fluctuating, so they cannot lock onto the correct modification factor.
“Then get closer!” Deda snarls. His ship alone races forward, engines burning.
“Blood-curdling, is that what this is called?” Deda, in a passionate flurry, admires his shaky hand, a ferocious grip tightening it into a ball. “Dezarium’s thousand year dream. It’s just within my grasp. Of that I am sure.”
[KC]: Oh, Deda. Deda, Deda, Deda. Why’d you have to go and say it with such certainty like that? Now this is going to be great, but I don’t think you’re going to like it very much.
[AMB]: This comes off to me as clever dialogue obfuscating what’s really going on, by means of employing narrative tropes as a disguise. We see him express the typical villain claim that their victory is at hand, but what he means by the Dezarium millennium dream being within his grasp likely alludes to something more profound; within his literal grasp in this moment is the feeling of being alive, a blood-curdling desire to retaliate against Yamato.
When we first saw Deda, he was naked and motionless in his throne, all by his lonesome. Now, just like the Gatlantean children of 2202, Yamato’s mere presence helps awaken all too familiar human emotions within him, and he can’t help but want more. Therefore, I posit here that the Dezarium millennium dream is to become human again. This is where I’ll return my speculation that this Dezarium represents an alternative future of humanity, so bear with me…
I this Dezarium’s timeline, the war with Gatlantis likely dragged on for years without Yamato, as the Time Fault pumped out ship after ship to repeatedly pummel a crippled White Comet. It would have been crippled in the Battle of Saturn, when Yamato successfully fired its self-destructive Transit Wave-Motion Gun, at its own expense. This calls to mind three Ginga-related lines which seem to set the stage for this alternate Dezarium timeline:
“Man-made lifeforms should be able to mechanize themselves for more efficiency.” (Ichinose, Episode 18).
“We’re very close to realizing the construction of an unmanned fleet! The Ginga and the Black Birds are proof of this. The creation of artificial human soldiers is becoming real thanks to the data sampled from Gatlantean soldiers.” (Saki, Episode 19).
“Ichinose: I wish I could replace these useless hands. I’ve heard the production of some high-performance prosthetic arms has begun in the Time Fault. They’re meant for the injured, but if I volunteer…” (Ichinose, Episode 20).
With hindsight, it appears 2202 may have tipped its hand to us. The creation of artificial humanoid soldiers. The indistinguishable nature of humans and humanoids. Unmanned fleets guided by A.I.. The Black Bird A.I. automated fighter planes only needing one autonomous human to guide them all, through machine learning and pattern recognition.
And of course, the most damning, direct evidence, Ichinose’s desire to get prosthetic robot hands to calm her blood-curdling nerves and afford better steering skills. It’s the complete opposite of what Deda craves, who’s now completely infatuated with his own emotions driving him to greater metaphysical heights! And what’s currently failing the Great Pleiades? Its automated targeting system.
[KC]: I am certainly not going to dispute any of this. We talk about common tropes for the genre, but the heart of space opera seems far more often than not to center on humanity, even when none of the characters are human. I suppose that is a conceit stemming from the fact that it’s humans creating the fiction. I can’t say that I’ve read any AI-generated space opera.
[AMB]: Not yet, you mean, given the current writer’s strike kicking up a fuss in Hollywood [in May 2023]. Funny you should mention it though, because the next episode will hint at Dezarium sticking closer to what you speak of than we might have initially believed.
The uncontrolled firing at Yamato continues. Domon asks to speak freely and implores Kodai to abort due to the enemy’s rising firing accuracy. The bridge crew glares at him.
“Now that the enemy knows our objective, we’ll have no second chance,” Kodai points out.
Domon starts to push back, but Chief Engineer Yamazaki cuts in to let the Captain know that if they use their energy reserves allocated for restart they can use the Wave-Motion Shield for thirty seconds. But they won’t be able to restart the engine. They will be stuck after firing the gun.
Kodai is fine with it, which causes Domon to have another outburst.
“We can’t waste Iscandar’s sacrifice and let this chance go!” Kodai tells him. Domon looks terrified. Then Kodai repeats himself vehemently as the bridge crew stare grimly from their stations. “We can’t… We can’t waste their trust… and sacrifice. Yamato can’t.”
“Yamato isn’t just yours,” Domon mutters to himself as he returns to his station.
The shield goes up as Yamato prepares to fire. Everyone puts on their goggles. Captains Mori and Sanada stare worriedly as they approach.
[AMB]: At this point, Kodai’s about to completely lose it. Because he witnessed his sister-in-law sacrificing unprecedented amounts of energy (likely connected to the future well-being of Iscandar) in order to give Yamato this opportunity, Kodai feels it’s his duty to sacrifice as much as possible. Last time they made a promise to Starsha, it was broken beyond repair. This time, they’ve promised to save Iscandar with the Wave-Motion Gun, no matter the cost. Yamato can’t break another promise twice to their one and only savior, no matter the cost.
And Domon is completely right here: Kodai is treating the ship as if it were his own cross, ready to hang everyone onboard by the same noose in a vain attempt to repent for sins that aren’t truly his own. In times like these, it’s important to have your mental pillar of support at the ready (as Dessler said in 2202 Episode 16). To hammer home Kodai’s continued spiral, and his similarity to Dessler, a followup sentence comes to mind: “But my support… (is far away).”
Yuki, unlike Starsha, doesn’t believe it’s best for their men to cope with anguish at their own pace. Instead, she does what Starsha never really did for Dessler; she’s on her way to reach out to save Kodai’s heart, just like she did in 2202’s finale.
[KC]: As you explained earlier, based on where Starsha’s at with regard to the Japanese concept of beauty, she really can’t show up for Dessler the way Yuki can for Kodai.
[AMB]: Within Kodai’s name lies clever wordplay about moving forward (Susumu) from/with the past (Kodai). Starsha is the quintessential Japanese fair but cursed lady, and Dessler the stubbornly unyielding samurai forged in flame. Sadly for them, they’re forced to play the cautionary lover’s tale for Kodai to learn a lesson by the end.
Iscandar finally gets clear and Kodai gives the order to fire. The beam lances out, utterly destroying the Dezarium fleet. Deda disintegrates in a cry of impotent rage. The beam continues on to strike Garmario and it, too, is destroyed, along with all the Dezarium Hammers and their planetary energy.
Trapped in the aftermath of the blast, Yamato is pummeled with debris. The shockwave hits them full force, but according to Miki Saijo, the impact follows an irregular pattern. Shima suggests cranking up the sub engine to get away, but the Chief Engineer reminds him that it’s impossible. They’ve used up all their energy. And a very large meteor is on a collision course for the bridge.
[AMB]: Disintegrating deaths is no stranger to the Yamato franchise, but this one in particular is worth discussing. For one, the direction and visual presentation of Deda’s untimely demise fully harkens back to his death in the original New Voyage. Beyond that, it also reveals more about his physiognomy. Before the beam fully hits his bridge, Deda struggles against the impact force, his skin not quite keeping up with his willing muscles, pulled back like a flimsy film layer. His blue eyes roll back, his pupils vanishing.
It’s also here that we get a better look at his Elvish looking ears, reminding us of the Jirel space witches and Sabera from Zemulia. According to Lerelai and Berger in Ark of the Stars, Jirel is the closest descendant of Akerius that still exists. It might just be that Dezarium, whoever they are, tried to mimic this visual design when constructing their new humanoid bodies. Just like in Be Forever, it appears there’s something strange going on with their skin.
As Deda’s body disintegrates, there’s no blood, no organs and nothing that looks truly fleshy on display. It’s almost as if his body is but an empty shell.
Kodai lowers his head and quietly states that he bears responsibility for this, before Yuki’s voice comes loudly over the comms: “You mean we all bear it, right?”
Kodai gasps as the meteor shatters before it can strike. Above Yamato is Asuka, spreading a concentrated Wave-Motion barrier to shield Yamato and itself.
[AMB]: Kodai’s world literally came crashing down on him in the form of a meteor, a natural consequence he likely considered a sign of karma, until Yuki’s Wave-Motion barrier missile intercepted it, saving her fiance. The shield metaphorically reaches out from her heart to his own, soothing his desire for self-immolation. Quite poetic, I dare say.
[KC]: Quite so. There is a lot of devotion paid to this couple, both by the makers and their fans. Ordinarily, I would say that after getting them together another show might put the romantic focus elsewhere, but the love that Susumu and Yuki have for one another is a big aspect of the series. With apologies to Sanada and Niimi and others.
[AMB]: Given that most of their trials and tribulations are resolved by the end of 2205, one can hope that a swift marriage (as teased by Fukui to almost certainly happen in 3199) will afford other couple the spotlight. Then again, the man who almost stole her heart in Be Forever Yamato (Lieutenant Alphon) is confirmed to appear in the next work, so at worst we can expect their relationship to be tried and tested as they’re forced to stay apart, just like in Be Forever.
Now that I think about it, exploring this over the course of 26 episodes doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. Maybe Kodai and select crew members manage to escape to Asteroid Base Icarus, pick up Yamato and head to Dezarium’s timeline/dimension, at the cost of leaving Yuki stuck on Earth in the current timeline to help EDF high command fend off the Dezarium invasion.
[KC]: Interesting that they are adding Lt. Alphon when Keyman was supposed to be somewhat of a callback to the original Alphon. The new character design does a great job of making him look like an updated version of the original without reminding me of Keyman.
[AMB]: Who knows? Maybe this time Alphon will be a different Keyman from the future, and instead of wooing Yuki, he aims for Akira Yamamoto. Now THAT would be a twist to the tale! Even if he isn’t the same Keyman she fell for, what if she has the chance build a relationship she never had with his image?
[KC]: Oh, I would not mind that at all!
Yuki chastises Kodai soundly. “The responsibility isn’t yours alone! It’s ours, isn’t it?”
“Pull back!” Kodai tells her.
“No way! Even though we’re on different ships-…”
“Pull back!” He interrupts here again. “No more sacrifices!”
“- We’re all in this together!” She finishes her sentence in a forceful retort, surprising him. “That’s what all of us decided that day! So why are you trying to shoulder this all by yourself? Don’t be arrogant, Susumu Kodai!”
[AMB]: “That day” refers to 2202 Episode 13, when all Yamato crew members decided to back up Kodai on Keyman’s suggestion. Not to let the one man who felt most affected by the broken promise to Starsha fire the Wave-Motion Gun all by himself at thinking, breathing, feeling humanoid enemies. Kodai swore to abide by the crew’s decision back then, but now he’s forsaken one promise to uphold another.
Or is it just like he said in Episode 7 of 2202, that this situation is another example of Kodai tricking himself into believing he’s doing what’s right to better cope with the reality of his actions? To me, that’s clearly what’s going on here.
When Kodai yells at Yuki that there shall be no more sacrifices, he’s probably thinking about the last time she jumped in front of another one of his poor decisions in Episode 8 of 2202: Zordar’s devil’s choice at Stravaze. No matter where Kodai goes, Yuki will always be there to save him from making the worst choices in desperate attempts to appease his heavy conscience. She swore as such in 2202’s second episode, that she’d always be there for him, to appreciate the sacrifices he makes when no one else is looking.
It’s not often she calls Kodai by his full name, either. Off the top of my head, the only two moments that come to mind are the car ride in 2202 Episode 2, and her callback to said car ride in Episode 26. It’s safe to assume each time she calls him by his full name, she’s purposefully trying to evoke the image of those two moments in time.
There’s a cute reference here to Yamato Resurrection, if you squint hard enough. In Yuki’s one and only appearance in that movie, her ship is heavily damaged by an enemy fleet, with their barrage tearing apart her Captain’s uniform and blowing her cap off. Last time we saw Yuki she still had her cap on, meaning her rise from her chair must have caused it to fly off. Again, very cute.
The BGM here is Yamato Meditation, a track that melds together the leitmotifs of Great Love and the main Yamato theme. It was also included in a scene between Kodai and Yuki in Episode 1 at Hero’s Hill. It wasn’t picked just because it sounds good, but rather because a different variation of this theme (serendipitously introduced back in 2199) was played in the scene of Yuki’s resurrection. Their love, no matter what trials it faces, will always prevail.
[KC]: Probably one of the most well-known romances in all of science fiction. Granted we’re biased, but I have known strangers to the show who still recognize their image.
[AMB]: It’s heartwarming to see Kodai being manhandled by Yuki. Yes, I said it. The only one who truly knows how to wrap him around their finger is her, and for good reason. As it pertains to family, they are the only family members they both truly have (other than Starsha, of course).
Also, Domon’s reaction here encapsulates not only what this moment must feel like for a completely new viewer, but also how Yamato’s journey and what helped shape its crew isn’t something that’s easily replicated through textbooks and hearsay. You have to be there to experience it in order to truly comprehend why Yamato is the way it is. Without love, it cannot be seen.
Kodai hangs his head, ashamed. Domon takes particular note of this odd scenario, the topic lost on him as a rookie. The main engine’s flywheel starts up again, the resonant wave from Asuka having restarted it.
A second shockwave comes in, but they still need twenty more seconds they don’t have. Without warning, a twin volley of laser fire eliminates all the debris in Yamato’s path; from Dessler’s Deusura III, and Sanada’s Hyuga.
[KC]: Woo-hoo! Abelt to the rescue!
[AMB]: And Sanada! Don’t forget Sanada! Good thing Dessler picked himself up. Without him here, Yamato and Asuka would have been toast! Pays well to have good friends in former enemies.
[KC]: Yes, Sanada as well! Abelt seems to be allowing his Dessler Cannon to hold him up to some extent, but with Talan nowhere in sight, Dear Leader seems to have rallied.
“Just in time,” says a relieved Abelt, standing at his Dessler Cannon. Then he notices the shape of the Autoplanet Goruba next to Iscandar, its cloak fading away as Meldarz begins to speak.
“A detestable planet is defended by detestable people after all. You have no idea what your accursed power will bring forth.”
[AMB]: A detestable planet defended by detestable people, huh? Meldarz doesn’t distinguish between Garmillan or Earthling, though that could just be because he doesn’t care to. The scene where we witness Goruba’s true form for the first time harkens directly back to the original, applying the same direction. It’s a massive and impressive squid-like fortress, revoltingly alien, yet distinctively familiar. Any idea what Meldarz’ grim proclamation is all about?
[KC]: I am going to agree with your assessment that Dezarium does not distinguish between people, but not because he doesn’t care. Or perhaps more specifically because he doesn’t care about details like planet of origin. As far as Dezarium is concerned, Garmillas and Earth have enough in common. Not only do they share an ancestral heritage, but more importantly they both use Wave-Motion Energy offensively. It’s what I believe Meldarz is referring to when he talks about “accursed power,” so I’m guessing this is the “sin” that has already been hinted at. Which is about to be committed again.
[AMB]: The biggest, most curious difference between the Earthlings and Garmillans here comes from Meldarz’ statement in the last episode that Garmillans left no mark in history. In this episode, he made a note of how Yamato and its people aren’t even in their historical/data records. Personally, I believe the “Great Loss” mentioned earlier was an intentional act of sabotage on behalf of his A.I. overlords to delete Yamato and its accomplishments using the WMG from their version of history. But I could be wrong! Any final thoughts on the episode?
[KC]: Not exactly sure what the word is that I’m looking for, but it’s not quite “pacing.” There was a “cadence” to the episode that I enjoyed. It had plenty of fist-pumping moments, but there’s something dark lurking underneath it all, because we haven’t quite reached the end of the story. And of course, not nearly enough Dessler and Talan!
[AMB]: There can never be enough of those two! If 3199 gives us some extended focus on the establishment of Galman-Garmillas, we are sure to be blessed with all you crave.
When measured against all the other episodes we’ve seen so far, this has definitely been the most action-packed, for good and for worse. It covered approximately 12 minutes from The New Voyage. It also took some nuggets of inspiration from Yamato III. Out of The New Voyage’s runtime, 66 of 95 minutes have been covered. At first, I wasn’t sure how much discussion we could wring out of this one, but it ended up being a surprisingly dense episode. For all its extra screen time (when measured against the original) it still leaves you wanting more.
Theatrical release: Space Battleship Yamato 2205, The The New Voyage Chapter 2: STARSHA contained episodes 5-8. It premiered in Japanese theaters February 4, 2022.
Japanese video: Theater-exclusive Blu-ray February 4, 2022. Standard Blu-ray & DVD March 29, 2022.
Writer: Harutoshi Fukui
Scriptwriter: Hideki Oka
Director: Kenji Yasuda, Satelight Studio
Character Design: Nobuteru Yuuki
Guest Character Design: Chiziru Kobayashi, Takahiro Kishida, Kiyoshi Tateishi
Mecha Design: Junichiro Tamamori, Yasushi Ishizu, Mika Akitaka
Prop Design: Kio Edamatsu
Art Directors: Hiroshi Aroku, Yusuke Ikeda, Kenichi Tateto
Color Designer: Kumiko Nakayama
Director of Photography: Shinya Matsui
CG Animation Director: Hiroyuki Goto
Editing: Ryoko Kaneshige
Music: Akira Miyagawa, Hiroshi Miyagawa
Sound Director: Tomohiro Yoshida
Executive Producer: Shoji Nishizaki
Production: Yamato 2205 Production Committee
Seeing the Asuka and Hyuga in action alongside Yamato was just awesome to watch! Especially for those who were disappointed that the OG Yamato 2 series carrier battle was cut out from Yamato 2202. But aside from the similarities of that particular OG series callback, the battle still feel like its own thing as the Asuka’s useful gimmicks make her own ship character shine along with the Garmillans and Cosmo Pythons thrown in the mix. And boy did I smiled so hard to see Berger and Kodai finally reunite after their first meet up back in 2199 during the event of the Ark of the Stars… Been a long time waiting for that moment and damn was it worth it. Despite the tragic circumstances that have brought them together once more.
The only gripe I have with the battle is that the armor of the Denzerium ships are kind of inconsistent and disappointing. The escort ships seem to be able to take punishment from missile and bomb hits (albeit in a limited capacity) but are unable to withstand a single volley of either positron or shock cannon fire.
Even the iconic Pleiades-class battleships in both standard and the Great Pleiades-refit form has their famous shock cannon proof armor nerfed. With the latter only be able to withstand at least four to five shots before the armor gave in. Although its still a tad more durable than the Garmillas’ Zoelluguts. It’s a far cry from the OG days where the original Pleidaes was able to easily shrug off Yamato’s shock cannon volleys in the original A New Voyage.
Which is the only contradiction I have with the very strong theories that Dezarium is an altered future Earth. Because if these ships are indeed from an altered future, their durability and firepower that is displayed here isn’t really a massive technological and time leap compared to the contemporary Earth battleships of this period. Aka both the Yamato and AAA-class. In fact I would dare say a single Andromeda-class ship could go toe to toe with a single Great Pleiades and just destroy it single handily with its rapid fire shock cannon turrets in less than five minutes.
A great shame as I was hoping of these remake Dark Nebula capital ships to be like the Empire’s Star Destroyers or DS9 Dominion’s super battleship. But at least they’re an improvement over the much lamented portrayal of the Calaklum-class of Yamato 2202.
Also to add on, it didn’t came to my mind that the scratchy music recordings used by Deda and Meldarz were actually used to test whether how badly their timeline was altered until this commentary pointed it out. Now that I think about it, it does kind of give similar vibes from other time traveling plots from other sci-fi shows like the TVA from Loki which were monitoring dangerous branches in the multiverse, Star Trek Voyager’s Krenim Imperium from the episode ‘A Year in Hell’, and even the first Back to the Future with Marty McFly’s fading family portrait due to his accidental changes in the past. Damn I should have picked that up… XD