Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 9 – “Clockwork Prisoner”

As with the previous write-ups, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters, to help readers who are only familiar with the English names from Star Blazers to understand who I am referring to.

This episode opens with Misaki on the Yamato radio station, reading a story that was requested by Sanada (aka Sandor). The story is titled, “The Heart of Observer #9,” and the reading bits and pieces of the story runs throughout the episode. As the episode progresses, it becomes plainly clear that the story being read serves as a parallel to the story that is taking place in the episode. I thought this was a really neat idea, and a great device to help punctuate what was happening in the episode.

The focus of the episode is on Analyzer (aka IQ-9), as he works at analyzing the Gamilan android (which is referred to as a Gamiroid) that was captured on Enceladus. After Analyzer reboots the Gamiroid and begins communicating with it, Analyzer decides to name it Alter, since it is an altered version of the original Gamiroid. Throughout this episode, we see Analyzer starting to act more human that he had in the previous episodes. In this episode, he shows joy and happiness when he gets to talk with Alter, shame when he gets in trouble, and sadness in the climax. We also see that Analyzer tells Alter that he is a friend, and this plays an important role during the climax of the episode.

During the episode, Alter starts patching in to the Yamato‘s computer, and he sees a female as he communicates with it. Alter refers to this vision as the goddess of the ship. After communication between Alter and Analyzer causes problems for re-docking a fighter plane, Sanada tells Analyzer he can no longer see Alter or communicate via network. This causes Alter to feel lonely, and he escapes and tries to find the goddess.

The ending of this episode was full of feels, which I wouldn’t have expected from a story focusing on two AIs. But that is a testament to how strong the writing in Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is. I freely admit that I was almost in tears at the end of this episode.

While there may not have been much action taking place over the course of “Clockwork Prisoner,” it was still very compelling to watch. And sometimes, you just need an episode that’s more of a character-driven story to give the audience a chance to catch a breather between action heavy episodes.

This is one of the first episodes where I can truly say there wasn’t an actual counterpart in the original series. The closest there would have been would be the episode where Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) ended up befriending a captured Gamilan soldier. But even then, the similarity is a stretch. It’ll be interesting to see going forward how much more this reboot will diverge from the original Space Battleship Yamato. Even with the changes that have happened so far, I’m still very excited about Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199, and I look forward every week to seeing the next episode.

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