Like with my previous posts, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters, to help readers who are only familiar with the characters’ English names from Star Blazers to follow who’s being talked about.
This episode finally gives us much more of an answer as to why Commander Shulz, Ganz, and their crew on the Pluto base have different-colored skin from the other Gamilas. During a conversation with Commander Goer, Goer says, “Then this is a splendid chance for your inferior race, of differently colored skin, to demonstrate your loyalty to Gamilas.” Shulz responds with, “We’re every bit as loyal to the Empire as pure-blooded Gamilans!” So then the question remains: Are Shulz and his crew from a different race, or are they part Gamilas (hence the “pure-blooded Gamilas” comment). While there might still be questions, at least Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is trying to address why the crew of the Pluto base has different colored skin than the other Gamilas.
We also get to see how a Planet Bomb is created by the base on Pluto. What I found interesting is the use of satellites and a beam, which Shulz ultimately decides to use as a weapon against the Yamato later in the episode. There was a similar concept with the satellite weapon, but it appeared later in the story, was used by a different character, and as I recall, had nothing to do with Planet Bombs. With this knowledge, I wonder how some of the Yamato’s journey a little later on will go, since this concept is already being used at this point in the story.
This episode also sees Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) telling Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) he is in charge of the fighter squadron. We never saw this happen in the original series. In the original, Susumu was inexplicably piloting a fighter with the fighter squadron in addition to his bridge duties. It was nice to see this being explained to the audience ahead of time.
We also get to see Nanba (aka Dash) a lot more in this episode. In the original series, he was depicted as being rather level-headed. But in Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Nanba is being depicted as a hot-head and a bit of a jerk. This change in personality will definitely take some getting used to for me, but I do think that this will work well, since there really wasn’t a character with this type of personality in the original series. This adds a new dimension to his character.
And speaking of adding dimensions to a character, it’s been revealed over the past couple of episodes that Shima’s (aka Mark Venture) father was a “sailor” (the term used for those who go into space) and that his father was killed when the Gamilas first attacked. This was not an element in the original series, but I think it helps add something to Shima’s character.
We also finally learn the name of the white-haired girl who wanted to be a pilot: Akira Yamamoto. Apparently, the kanji in her first name can also be read as “Rei,” so it’s a nickname that she goes under.
It also appears that Yuki (aka Nova) has warmed up to Susumu quite a bit after what happened to them on Enceladus. After a meeting, when Yuki sees Susumu talking with Rei from a distance, she hides to watch them. Are we seeing signs of jealousy here?
We also see Rei officially become a fighter pilot in this episode, and working alongisde Susumu. Will this be an element to add more fuel to Yuki’s potential jealousy?
The concept of Wave Motion Shields, which can only offer protection for the Yamato for 20 minutes, is also introduced in this episode. I honesrly don’t have any memory of Wave Motion Shields in the original version of Space Battleship Yamato.
This episode actually ends with a major cliffhanger, and I think this is the first episode I can say that has truly done this. From the preview, it looks like the next episode will focus on reacting to what happened in the cliffhanger.
While more deviations are starting to appear from the original story of Space Battleship Yamato, I still feel that the changes are only helping to strengthen the story. Also, the changes have helped to explain some elements from the original that the audience was just simply expected to accept without really questioning why those elements were the way they were. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this new version of Space Battleship Yamato has to offer.