When writing this post, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters, to help readers who may only be familiar with the English dub of Star Blazers to figure out who I am referring to in this writeup.
This episode finally reveals the leader of the Gamilas… Dessler (aka Desslok). In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, he has much more of a “bishonen” (“beautiful boy”) design to him compared to the original series. It was kind of weird getting used to this change, but I think this actually works in the long run. The design fits the character well. He is definitely haughty and acts like the stereotypical dictator. We also meet Vice Leader Hiss (aka General Krypt) as well.
I was impressed to see a Gamilas woman named Celestra among the higher ups in Space Battleship Yamato 2199. In the original series, women were only ever depicted as servants… a woman was never shown among the Gamilas high command. It’s nice to see that even the Gamilas are being a little more inclusive of women in this reboot. Sure, we also saw a couple of servant girls with Dessler near the end of the episode, but at least Celestra’s appearance earlier in the episode made it clear that women are able to have a role other than that in the Gamilas culture.
We also learn here just how unimportant Dessler considered those stationed at the Pluto Base. Dessler had no idea who Shulz even was when he was told about him wanting to make a report directly to their leader. After learning he was at the Pluto Base, Dessler realized he was a second-class Gamilan. We also see Hiss become upset at Shulz for violating protocol with this communication, but Dessler just sweeps Hiss’ concerns away. We also see how at this point, Dessler doesn’t see the Yamato as any real threat, and is rather dismissive of Shulz’s report on the destruction of the ship.
After showing the cliffhanger from the previous episode, the beginning of the episode focused on the Gamilans, and spent several minutes on them before returning to the Yamato. Yes, it went down into the water, and there is chaos going on, but they obviously survived. If the Yamato were to be destroyed now, the series would obviously end… and we can’t have that. It’s explained that what we saw in the cliffhanger was an explosive camouflage to make the Gamilans think that the Yamato had been destroyed.
The episode focuses on Susumu Kodai (aka Derek Wildstar), Yamamoto, Kato (aka Conroy), and the rest of the fighter squadron members trying to locate the base on Pluto. Kato and his group find a location that turns out to be an Environmental Modification Plant, while Kodai and Yamamoto stumble onto the actual base. Thanks to the destruction of the base’s concealment field, they are able to determine where the laser launcher is located and destroy it. The base is also destroyed, forcing Shulz and Ganz to flee from Pluto. They manage to warp back to the homeworld, but from what Dessler says at the end, the two will likely be executed. When Dessler learns that Shulz and Ganz were wrong in their report, and abandoned the base to retreat from the front lines, Dessler says that the word “retreat” is not in the Gamilas dictionary. Then, he adds, “Victory… if not victory, death.” Considering there was not a victory at the Pluto base, I think death through execution will be in their future.
Back in the write-up for Episode Two, I was thinking that with some of the character development we saw before the crew left the Earth, that perhaps the episode where they call home as they’re leaving the solar system wouldn’t be included. But I was happy to see in the preview for Episode Seven that we will be getting a story with the last calls to Earth. I’m looking forward to this, because I think there is the potential to provide more character development for the characters who haven’t really received any yet. We’ve seen a number of crew members now, but only have any real character development or background information on only a small handful of them. There’s definitely potential for the character development here, and I’m hoping that the potential will be realized in Episode Seven.
Additional posts about Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato: