Animedia Magazine, October 1982 issue

Only Okita is the captain of Yamato!!

Captain Okita’s revival is a critical element in The Final Chapter

Yamato is the young Kodai’s growth story, which is the story of Yamato itself. While watching the first episode of the first series, we talked with Yoshinobu Nishizaki about Okita and the theme of The Final Chapter.

Interviewer: When I look back on the ten-year history of Yamato, it can still be said that Part 1 is the starting point of the work.

Nishizaki: That’s right. Though one finale was made in Farewell to Yamato, five years passed and another finale is being made. This is the finale for Susumu Kodai, and becomes the finale of Yamato itself.

For this final chapter, if it was necessary to portray these two things, when you think of Yamato, a sunken ship that’s been resurrected, it became clear to me that the most obvious thing to do was for the resurrected Okita to see through Yamato‘s end.

On the other hand, with respect to Kodai, a 16-year old boy filled with personal hatred was trained to become a man from a higher vantage point, and when you see Part 1, this becomes Okita’s purpose.

There is a nobler mission than one’s own desires, and even if some are killed one must stretch oneself for the sake of the mission. Okita personally teaches this to Kodai.

Yamato is Kodai’s growth story, which is the story of Yamato itself. Therefore, Juuzo Okita’s presence is indispensable for The Final Chapter.

I want you to think of it this way.

Without Juuzo Okita, it is not possible to depict Kodai’s growth story

The Final Chapter is Kodai’s growth story, and Okita is Kodai’s substitute father. In addition, he’s the captain who teaches him what is called a sense of duty.

Nishizaki: It may be a little extreme, but it can be said that Juuzo Okita’s own actions are the theme that flows consistently through Yamato. I think that’s a good way to put it.

Therefore, when depicting the end of Yamato and an ending for Kodai in The Final Chapter, if Juuzo Okita had not existed as the captain of Yamato, the story itself would not materialize.

Commentary in green box:

The encounter with Captain Juzo Okita…

“Why didn’t you come back with my older brother!?”

This is the line Susumu Kodai asks when he encounters Captain Juuzo Okita in the corridor leading to Earth’s underground city.

At the end of the 22nd century, Earth’s solar system was invaded by a mysterious space fleet. The Earth Defense Force fired back, but the fight brought them to the brink of destruction. The difference in the enemy’s scientific power was made clear. Susumu’s older brother was engaged in combat in the vicinity of Pluto, and the warship of Mamoru Kodai was sunk by the concentrated fire of enemy Gamilas ships.

Okita gives no excuse to Susumu, simply says “I’m sorry,” and walks away. Susumu clenches his teeth and fights back tears.

“My brother is dead!”

Distrust of Okita fills Susumu’s heart.

Analyzing each of Yamato‘s former captains

Earth’s savior is the hero Juuzo Okita. He becomes Yamato‘s first captain, disposed toward looking for hope in the slightest possibility, with an indomitable spirit that perserveres to the end.

Okita is defeated by the Gamilas forces and loses his beloved family, and is also unable to save his trusted subordinate, Mamoru Kodai. Okita suffers a deep wound to the heart, but in order to save humanity he nonetheless sets out on a journey from which he might not return.

Nishizaki: The driving force behind Okita is the sense of mission for the great love of humanity.

As captain, in order to ensure the safety of the ship during the great round-trip voyage of 296,000 light years, Okita sometimes ruthlessly disciplines the young crew, including Kodai, and he watches them warmly as they grow up step by step.

Nishizaki: Okita is the captain, and his primary purpose is to protect the ship and ensure the safety of the voyage. However, in addition to that, Okita is the parent who raises the young people who will lead the future of the human race. That is the greatest gift to mankind one can devote their life to. At least, that’s what I think.

Captain Ryu Hijikata

A contemporary of Okita. Principal during Kodai and Shima’s time in the space soldier academy. After the war with Gamilas, he appeared at the front as captain of the patrol ship Yuunagi. Although he loses his ship to an attack by the Gatlantis army, he is helped by Susumu Kodai, and becomes captain of Yamato to find redemption. (Farewell to Yamato)

Captain Yamanami

In charge of Yamato‘s remodeling on Icarus. As a junior officer under Okita and Hijikata, he was principal of the space soldier academy for Kato, Nishio, and Higashida. As a veteran space soldier, he did not give Kodai special treatment. (Be Forever Yamato)

Captain Susumu Kodai

Although consumed by hatred after his parents and older brother were killed by Gamilas forces, he was affected by Juuzo Okita and grew into a strong space warrior. He was appointed captain in Yamato III. He gained a cool and calm demeanor. (Yamato III)

Commentary in green box:

Love that grew amid the battle…

Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima had been appointed to Mars base in a special mission from the space academy, and were assigned to investigate an unidentified rocket. The woman on board (Sasha) was already dead, but they brought a communication capsule back to Earth by hand. In an amazing encounter in the hospital area of headquarters, they met Yuki Mori, who looked exactly like Sasha.

Later, Yuki Mori boards Yamato and plays an active role as the life group leader. During the difficult voyage, Yuki is seen to soften tensions among the crew, and Susumu gradually becomes fascinated by the inner strength of the beautiful Yuki.

Despite repeated failures, Yuki is also impressed by Susumu as he grows into a full-fledged soldier and begins to feel love.

Planet Dengil and Lugal Parent and Child

Characters appear named Lugal and Lugal II. Does this parent and child have a setup like Okita and Kodai?

Nishizaki: Lugal governs the planet called Dengil, and his way of life comes out of his personality and ethnic identity. Such things were set up in order to clearly define the parent-child relationship, and it wasn’t necessarily conscious of Okita and Kodai.

Parents and children in the real world often have different values and ways of life in many cases. Because there is also a generational difference in the world of Lugal and Lugal II, it becomes easy to depict such factors as good and evil. Then it becomes easier to represent all of planet Dengil with the depiction of these two people.

Lugal II’s age also matches those of the main characters in the story, in order to give such implications.

It would be impossible to entangle main characters like Kodai and Yuki with just one Lugal.

It is also being done in a way to show the differences between Dengil and Earth and the difference in feelings or ideas between young people. This is because I wanted to depict those parts clearly.

Queen Aquarius and Life Philosophy

In The Final Chapter, Queen Aquarius appears as the symbol of the water planet Aquarius.

Nishizaki: This flowed through the foundation of Yamato for ten years. It is the “life philosophy” part that touches the core of Yamato. Therefore, in presenting a finale of Yamato, it is something that absolutely had to appear.

For me, when I consider the origin of life, I think it is very much related to water. Water gathers and becomes a sea, life is born from the sea, and continues to the present day.

Thinking about such a thing, when giving Yamato a finale after ten years, the need really comes out to depict the birth of life.

So, to help the appearance of planet Aquarius, the Queen of Aquarius is its symbol. Because Queen Aquarius provides the origin of life, she is a symbolic, idealized, God-like presence, and a big element that joins Kodai and Yuki together. This presence becomes a point.

The “Masculinity” that flowed through the root of Yamato
over 10 years is also present in The Final Chapter

Looking back on ten years of Yamato, there is still one big theme from Part 1, “the way of life of a man.” That part cannot be forgotten.

Nishizaki: This theme also flows naturally in The Final Chapter, the way of life of a man as exemplified by Okita in Part 1, the attitude of, “It is a precious thing to risk one’s life for others, but don’t give up even at the end. Survival is also important.” This has been the backbone of growth for Kodai. From a boy of 16 years old to a man who grew up in the battlefield, Kodai and the others grew up being lead by Okita in Part 1, after all.

As captain, Okita educated them to become independent members of society, and moreover as a father and a man, he taught them that “love” is what the human race needs as a living organism in space.

In The Final Chapter, for Kodai, Yuki and others who spent their youth in battle, a rough life on the sea may be waiting on Yamato, but there is also a new journey and a new fight to begin…

I considered including these things to show the growing up of not only a man, but also the human race as well.

Commentary in green box:

Encounter with Space Battleship Yamato

In speaking of a warship, it is connected to the captain. Although Susumu Kodai is also deeply connected to Yamato, it is Juuzo Okita who revived the Battleship Yamato which sank into the seabed during the Pacific War.

“We did not revive this Yamato to fight. It is a messenger of peace entrusted with the future of humanity. If there is a fight, think of it as a courageous persuasion toward those who disturb the peace!!”

Even while being ravaged by a space disease, Okita took on a severe journey for the future of the human race. But it is not self-sacrifice. If there is even one possibility in ten thousand, don’t give up until the very end. Okita personally teaches experience to the young people who will carry the next generation. This is life on the warship called Yamato

Anime Couple Best 10

Reader’s Choice of 20,000 People

The summer has gone, leaving behind the glare of the sun that burned skin. Autumn has arrived and it’s just a little romantic. In such a season, we’re slightly envious of the anime couple best 10!

Given the manners and customs of relationships between men and women, Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori are a very Japanese couple. In other words, “the man is firm and resolute, and the modest woman supports him from behind for a scene that is both strong and gently feminine on the surface.” It could be said that it is the ideal male and female image of “a samurai and his wife,” but this is slightly difficult in practice.

Kodai and Yuki have just that feeling. However, Yuki is more proactive than traditional women and Kodai has progressed far beyond maile chauvanism, although he is a youth who would spare nothing for her love, even his own life. In any case, girls in every age yearn for a man like Susumu Kodai, strong but gentle, with a deep appreciation for friendship. When you see how many female readers seem to think “a woman like Yuki, who’s normally very reserved but steadfast in a clutch is perfect for him,” you get the feeling that modern women are secretly pretty old-fashioned.

Translator’s note: in this poll, 2075 readers voted for Kodai and Yuki. The breakdown of those voters was 29% male to 71% female.

Original Author Leiji Matsumoto

I’m very happy that the characters I created eight years ago are loved by everyone.

For myself, I think of my characters as my children or siblings, and I’d like you to remember them as friends for as long as possible. Advancing is the manly thing to do, but it has its drawbacks. Perhaps I just have an affection for them.

I don’t want Kodai and Yuki to die. I want them to become a happy couple. But I’m also somewhat sorry to let Yuki get married off.

The End

Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.

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Return to the Final Yamato Time Machine

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