Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 2 – “Toward a Sea of Stars”

It looks like Crunchyroll will be adding new episodes of Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato to its site on Thursdays, and that the episodes will be available to me in the morning in my time zone. I was eating my breakfast and watching the second episode, when it hit me that this was a lot like watching Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid. The station that aired Star Blazers when I first saw it while living in Hawaii, actually ended up airing the show six days a week. The episodes aired Monday-Friday afternoons, and when the show was doing so well, the station added a Saturday morning airing. But when the Saturday morning airing began, they started at the beginning of the series. So I was lucky as a kid, getting the chance to see Star Blazers six days a week. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I ate my breakfast while watching the Saturday morning airing. 🙂

Enough of my rambling, though. Like last time, I will be using the Japanese names and adding an “aka” in parentheses for my readers who are only familiar with the names the characters were given in Star Blazers.

Episode Two has some similarities to its original counterpart, but there are also some notable differences that I discovered.

Political Climate

In the original 1970’s version, the impression was given that the Earth was united under one government and that the world was peaceful. In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, this is not the case. At one point in headquarters, we see Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) and the high-ranking members of the military talking with various world leaders in different parts of the world.

Also, in the original, the crew of the Yamato were treated like heroes, and given a ticker tape parade as they reported for duty at the ship. In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the march toward the ship is much more somber. Not only that, but Susumu Kodai (aka Derek Wildstar) sees news coverage before he heads out of riots and protests that are taking place in reaction to the Yamato Plan.

While I wish the world in 2199 would be more like what was depicted in the 1970’s version, I sadly have to admit that the depiction in Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is probably going to be more accurate.

Iscandarians

We learn in this episode that Queen Stasha (aka Starsha) of Iscandar actually has two sisters: Sasha (aka Astra) and Yurisha. I’ll explain more about Yurisha in the next section below.

But a note to the translators: In the subtitles, you have put Stasha’s name as “Starsha.” However, if you listen to the dialogue, you can clearly hear “Stasha.” Remember, this is Space Battleship Yamato, so you’re using the original Japanese names, not the English names that were given to the characters in Star Blazers. Thank you.

Izumo Plan and Yamato Plan

Episode Two clearly identifies the Izumo Plan and the Yamato Plan when Captain Okita addresses the crew the day before they report for duty. This explanation makes what’s going on make even more sense.

The Izumo Plan was to have the people board a ship and leave the Earth forever. Yurisha had arrived before the beginning of the series, with information on how to retrofit a ship to achieve interstellar travel (the Dimensional Wave Motion Engine).

The Izumo Plan becomes the Yamato Plan after the capsule is retrieved from Sasha’s crashed pod on Mars. The capsule itself is the Wave Motion Core, the activation unit for the Wave Motion Engine. Along with this core, Stasha sends hope with information that she has a system on Iscandar that can cleanse and heal the Earth. The Yamato Plan calls for the crew of the Yamato to travel to Iscandar, get the system, and bring it back to Earth.

Characters

It turns out Analyzer (aka IQ-9) is in the series after all. He makes his first appearance in Episode Two, when he suddenly activates on the bridge of the Yamato. We don’t get to see much of his personality yet, so I can’t say whether or not he’ll still be the goofy comedic character from the original series or not. I’ll have to keep watching to find out.

We also see Dr. Sado’s (aka Dr. Sane) cat, Mi-kun (aka Mimi). In the original series, Mi-kun accompanied Dr. Sado on the journey on the Yamato. But in Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Dr. Sado comments that he has to leave the cat behind on Earth.

Another note to the translators: Dr. Sado clearly refers to the cat as Mi-kun, yet you put “Mew” in the subtitles. I’m sorry, but this is Space Battleship Yamato 2199, NOT Pokemon!

A new character is introduced in this episode. I don’t know her name yet, but she has white hair and will be a member of the crew. From dialogue, we learn her brother was killed in the recent battle, and that she wants to be a fighter pilot like him. Right now, she’s told that she will only be an accountant on the mission. We also see her cut her long hair, which I’m sure must be significant. I’m looking forward to learning more about her. While I may not know much about her yet, I’m happy to see another prominent female character added to the crew. That was definitely one of the major problems of the original series: Yuki Mori (aka Nova) was basically the token female of the crew. Sometimes, you might have seen a random female nurse or two in the background, but Yuki was the only prominent female character for the Yamato crew.

And speaking of Yuki, it looks like she has a secret. I don’t want to elaborate any more than this, because if what I’m thinking is right, it would be a MAJOR spoiler…

Captain Okita’s health issues are already alluded to in this episode, through a conversation he has with Captain Hijikata (aka Captain Gideon). In the original 1970’s version of the story, nothing is known about the captain’s health until he collapses on the bridge during the voyage. I appreciate having this alluded to this early on, because I think it helps add another layer to both Okita’s character and to the story.

Speaking of Okita, we see him lying to the top brass when he is asked about casualties from the recent battle affecting the candidates for section leaders. Okita claims that there were no casualties among those candidates. When Susumu Kodai (aka Derek Wildstar) feels he isn’t able to accept the role of tactical officer, he goes to talk to Captain Okita. During the conversation, he learns that his brother, Mamoru Kodai (aka Alex Wildstar) was supposed to be the tactical officer. However, Okita assures Susumu that he looked over his records and feels he is qualified to take his brother’s place. It’s also revealed during this conversation that all of the candidates for section leaders were killed during the battle at Pluto. Lying to the top brass is not something I would have expected from Captain Okita as he was presented in the original 1970’s version.

We also get to see some of the crew members interacting with loved ones before leaving. Daisuke Shima (aka Mark Venture) still has the encounter with his little brother, Jiro (aka Jordy), as he’s about to board the Yamato. However, Daisuke and Jiro’s interaction in this version is more on the somber side when compared to this same interaction from the 1970’s version. We also get to see Chief Tokugawa (aka Chief Orion) interacting with his children and his little granddaughter before leaving. In the 1970’s version, I don’t remember seeing Tokugawa’s family until the crew members make their last communications to their loved ones at Earth right before leaving our solar system. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if the final communications with families and loved ones is ultimately cut from Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

The Launching of the Yamato

The actual launching of the Yamato, including shooting down the Gamilas missile, is pretty similar to its original 1970’s counterpart. However, I felt that this particular scene was just as exhilarating, if not even more so, than when it happened in the original series.

So far, I am really liking Space Battleship Yamato 2199. While there are some changes compared to the original, the changes make a lot of sense and I think possibly even help make the story a little bit stronger. Even with these changes, there’s still enough from the original to make it recognizable to viewers who know and love the original Space Battleship Yamato. I’m really looking forward to Episode Three to find out how this new version of the story will progress.

Additional posts about Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato:

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