Like in previous write-ups, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters to help readers familiar with the English names from Star Blazers understand who I am referring to.
The entire focus of this episode is on the crew making calls to their families on Earth, and on a line-crossing ceremony as they leave the solar system. Both of these events help provide backstory building moments for several characters.
Unlike in the original version of the story, we see how the idea to make one final call to Earth before leaving the solar system comes about. A skeevy security guard on board the ship is really hitting on Lieutenant Niimi, the woman in the science department, who apparently is now also serving as a counselor for the crew (basically think of Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation, minus the empath abilities). He makes an off-hand comment about giving the crew members one more chance to talk to their families before they pass through the heliopause and can no longer contact Earth. She passes the suggestion along to Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar), and he authorizes it.
But, back to the the backstory aspect of the episode. The character to get the most backstory is Yamamoto. Her red eyes have always stood out, and we learn that this is a sign that she is a Marsnoid (someone who was born on Mars). We also find out about the Second Inner Planet War that occurred right around the time she was born, and how her family was forced to move to Earth. I thought this was some fantastic information to learn about, because it begins to give the viewer an understanding of the world that Space Battleship Yamato is set in. In the original series, we never heard anything about the history of any events that helped to shape the world of the story prior to the Planet Bombs falling on Earth. It’s also revealed that both Yamamoto and Susumu Kodai (aka Derek Wildstar) had lost their families from the Planet Bombs, and how they both lost a brother in the battle against the Gamilans.
Another character who gets some important character development is Nanbu (aka Dash). In his conversation with his parents, we learn that his father is the head of a company, and that his father is a strict authoritarian who demands that Nanbu take over the company. Not only that, his mother is trying to find a wife for him. After the conversation, we learn that Nanbu has no desire to take over the company, and already has someone in mind that he wants for his wife. We later see him at the party, eyeing Yuki (aka Nova).
Hoo boy. It looks like a potential “love triangle” (more like a “love web”) is being set up here. It’s obvious that Yuki has developed feelings for Susumu, this episode hints that Yamamoto have also have an interest in Susumu, and Nanbu is interested in Yuki. This could get interesting… or complicated.
Earlier in the series, I had a theory about Yuki, which I refuse to elaborate on because it could be a major spoiler if I’m right. With a couple of comments made during this episode, I believe now more than ever that my theory is on the right track.
We also get to see Tokugawa (aka Orion) and Daisuke Shima (aka Mark Venture) talk with their families. With Tokugawa, it’s clear that conditions are starting to get worse on Earth… there are now food shortages, and food has to be obtained through the black market. Again, this adds a layer of realism that wasn’t part of the original series. This reboot has definitely done a fantastic job of making the situation feel more realistic. The idealized version of the world that was in the original series is nice, but it’s certainly not realistic.
Another nice thing to see is that the character of Yabu (aka Sparks) is actually a visible member of the crew much earlier on in the series in comparison to the original. He showed up briefly in the background a little later in the series, but really wasn’t anyone important in the original series until they reached Iscandar. I appreciate seeing his character being visible and getting some development much earlier in the series.
Another revelation in this episode: Susumu plays the harmonica!
Right at the end of the episode, one of the new female crew members (Yuria Misaki), launches the first edition of YRA Radio Yamato. The song she plays as they cross the line is a new recording of “The Scarlet Scarf,” an iconic song from the original Space Battleship Yamato series. Not only that, this new recording of “The Scarlet Scarf” is used for the ending credits instead of the song that had been used in the previous six episodes. I appreciated this throwback to the original series.
Now that the Yamato has left the solar system, I’m excited to see how their adventures going forward will compare with the events of the original Space Battleship Yamato series.
Additional posts about Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato: