Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 3 – “Escape from the Jupiter Sphere”

I actually watched this episode earlier today, but shortly after I watched it, I needed to head out to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. I’m back from spending the day with family, and now I can sit down and share my thoughts on the third episode of Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

Like with the previous two write-ups, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters, since some of my readers may be more familiar with the English names the characters were given in the Star Blazers version of the series.

The Iconic Opening Theme Song

After not hearing the song the first two episodes, I was pumped to finally hear the opening theme song in this episode. While it’s obviously not the same recording of the theme that appeared in the original 1970’s series, it still packs the same punch. Hopefully the opening theme will continue to appear in future episodes of the series.

Characters

When the Yamato leaves Earth, we get to see another glimpse of Captain Hijikata (aka Captain Gideon) on board a ship in space, saluting to Captain Okita and the Yamato. I still appreciate how much this series is trying to utilize Hijikata at this point, since he will become important in Space Battleship 2202 (the film series reboot of the second Space Battleship Yamato series).

I was glad to see another new female introduced in the series. Episode three adds Niimi, who is an Engineering Intelligence Officer. In her first appearance, she explains how the Wave Motion Gun works. Not only was I impressed to get this explanation from a female character, I was pleased to get this kind of detailed explanation of the weapon. I don’t recall the explanation from the original series being quite as detailed as this was.

I keep forgetting to mention the nurse that works with Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane). I still don’t know what her name is, but she is another female we see around. I hope to see her get some more development as the series progresses.

With something that happens during this episode, it appears to be more evidence that I’m right about something in regards to Yuki Mori. Like last time, I’m not going to say anything further because this could be a MAJOR spoiler if I’m right.

We also learn that Analyzer (aka IQ0-9) has a “name” that is his number: AU09. It’s explained that the robot is the Yamato‘s autonomous sub-computer. However, the robot makes it clear that he hates being called bu his number because he feels he is a “free unit.” He insists that the crew refer to him as “Analyzer.” This is something I don’t remember from watching the first Space Battleship Yamato anime film, but I like this touch. This shows that Analyzer has some spunk to him, and that he’s not going to be your average robot.

Another thing I liked seeing is that Chief Tokugawa (aka Chief Orion) admitting that he doesn’t understand how either the Wave Motion Engine or the Wave Motion Gun work. Not only that, we also see him studying a manual before the ship tests the warp capability of the Wave Motion Engine. Personally, I thought this very realistic, since both the engine and the gun utilize new and untested technology. In some respects, while there was kind of a sense of not being sure about the technology in the 1970’s version of the series, I think this reboot has a more realistic portrayal of this uncertainty.

In the original series, the first Gamilas we see look Caucasian. This always struck me as odd, because all future Gamilas that are shown have blue skin. In this episode, we see Commander Shulz (who seems to be the main commander of the Gamilas forces in our solar system) and his comrade, Ganz, and they both look Caucasian. A little later, we see Larleta at the Floating Continent near Jupiter. While this Gamilas is also Caucasian, they have pointed ears instead of regular ears. I don’t remember any Gamilas in the original 1970’s Space Battleship Yamato having pointed ears.

One thing that was interesting to see is that in this series, Commander Shulz is seen looking at a holographic message from his younger daughter. In the original series, it was never depicted that the Gamilas had any family, so this was interesting for me to see. Maybe it was felt that there needed to be more dimensions added to the Gamilas characters, so there would be more to them than being two-dimensional soldiers?

Episode three is also the first time we truly get to see Sanada (aka Sandor) for any real length of time. I was caught off-guard by just how pronounced his sideburns are in this series. He may have had them in the original 1970’s series, but they definitely weren’t this noticeable or this pronounced.

Warp Test

An important element that happens in this episode is that the Yamato attempts to make its first space warp using the Wave Motion Engine. They’re supposed to arrive at Uranus, but instead end up at Jupiter and encounter the Floating Continent.

In the original 1970’s series, when the warp test was animated, it was given a rather trippy and psychedelic look. It was a very memorable sequence, that’s for sure! In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, this is depicted differently. One of the most notable things is that it utilizes Saburo Kato (aka Conroy) shooting darts at a dartboard. At the time of the warp is initiated, a dart is heading toward the dart board. During the warp, we see a bluish tint appear in the footage, and the dart starts going backward. At the same time, other people seem to be frozen in time. Once the ship comes out of the warp, we see the dart shoot back to the dartboard and hit the bulls-eye, and the people who were frozen in time reawaken.

It was great to see Dr. Sado drinking his sake as the warp is about to go underway. It was even more amusing later, when he’s diagnosing people with “warp sickness,” and describing it as being like a hangover. I think the good doctor is an expert on hangovers. LOL! And to make that even better, he makes this comment while drinking sake. Double LOL!

Testing the Wave Motion Gun

Both here and in the original series, it’s decided to test the Wave Motion Gun by aiming it at the Gamilas base on the floating continent.

It was interesting to see that more precautions were taken in this series before firing the weapon. In the original series, all we saw was the crew putting on their safety goggles. In this version, not only do the crew members wear goggles, precautions are also taken to darken the ship. It was also mentioned in this version that the ship has to go to backup power before the gun is fired. I honestly don’t remember that from the original series, and I think this much more realistic.

Unfortunately, in both instances, the power of the weapon was underestimated, because not only does it destroy the base, it destroys the entire continent. While the repercussions of this are kind of touched on in the original 1970’s version, it’s delved into a lot more in Space Battleship Yamato 2199. We even see Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) musing if perhaps, with the Wave Motion Gun, they have attained “the forbidden fire of Megiddo.”

In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the blast from the Wave Motion Gun is obviously done in CG… but it looks really cool.

Conclusion

I’m still very impressed with this reboot of Space Battleship Yamato. This episode continues to retain familiar elements, but has updated some aspects of the series to make it more realistic. The original series was good for what it was, but I’m more than willing to admit that the 1970’s series did gloss over some things, which in some respects, weakened the story somewhat.

I’m looking forward to watching Episode 4 to see what elements this reboot will retain, and what elements it might change or make stronger through its storytelling.

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