Like with my previous write-ups, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters, so my readers who are more familiar with the English names from Star Blazers will be able to follow along and know who I am referring to.
The first several minutes of Episode 8 are devoted to focusing on Desler and the Gamilans. We are introduced to several in Desler’s inner circle, or their role is more embellished here. We met a high-ranking Gamilan female in a previous episode, and here, we learn that she is Miezela Celestra and that she serves as the Propaganda Minister. We are also introduced to two characters with the last name of Talan; one is the Armaments Minister, while the other is the Vice-Chief of the General Staff. I was familiar with the Talan who serves as the Vice-Chief of the General Staff from the original Yamato series, although he was General Talan in the original.
Vice Leader Hyss (aka General Krypt) makes a comment about this being the 103rd year of Desler’s (aka Desslok’s) reign. After learning this, two questions came to mine. Just how old is Desler, anyway? And what is the life expectancy of a Gamilan?
This opening scene finally spells out in black and white what a “second-class Gamilan” is: people from worlds that the Gamilans have conquered who submit to the empire. That makes sense, and perhaps I should have figured that out earlier. But at least it’s nice to finally have an official explanation!
Most of the episode focuses on a trap Desler has set for the Yamato, and it’s a familiar story for viewers familiar with the original Space Battleship Yamato. This episode also starts seeing Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) starting to show signs that the health issues hinted at in the early episodes are finally starting to affect him, but that he and Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane) are trying to hide this from the crew.
There was a scene that appeared while Desler and his men are watching a video feed of Desler’s trap that is such a throwback to the original series. In the original, one of Desler’s men starts laughing, and Desler becomes annoyed with him and opens up a trap door to get rid of him. In Star Blazers, Desler says he can’t stand a man who laughs at his own jokes. We get the same scene here, expect in the subtitles, Desler says, “Gamilas has no need of such disgusting men.” I found it funny that the reboot made sure that this particular scene made it in.
Desler’s plan has the disgraced Shultz and Ganz out on the front lines, so it turns out that Desler didn’t have them executed after all. But with how this battle ends, maybe that might have been a better fate. But, unlike in the original, we see Shultz thinking about his family, which helped to make him more of a character than he had been in the original version of the story.
This episode also saw Intelligence Officer Niimi talking with Captain Okita. She reports finding a planet that’s suitable for a human colonization plan and wants permission to put together an expedition to explore it. Okita tells her that there’s no time, and reminds her that the Izumo Plan was scrapped. It appears that Niimi is of the mindset that even though they’re on the mission to Iscandar, that they should still find somewhere for humanity to go just in case this mission fails. From something I saw in the previous episode, I suspect that there are some in Earth’s high command who feel the same way that Niimi does.
Near the end of the episode, the Gamilan high command get to see the Wave Motion Gun in action for the first time. One of them muses that it seemed similar to a prototype that Weapons Development is working on. This raises some interesting thoughts. Does Stasha (aka Starsha) have some kind of spy among the Gamilans? Did someone from Gamilas approach her with the data to send to Earth? Is it merely a coincidence? Definitely something to ponder going forward.
At this point, I’ve been enjoying seeing a story I’m familiar with, but injected with new elements that bring about new layers to it. And many of these new layers bring more of a sense of realism to the story. The original Space Battleship Yamato was very good for what it was, but there’s no denying that there are times when it seemed a little too idealistic. I continue to look forward to seeing how this reboot will play out each week, and I can’t wait to see what Episode Nine has in store.