As in the previous writeups, I will be using “aka” designations so readers who are only familiar with the English names from Star Blazers will be able to understand who I am talking about.
At the beginning of this episode, we are introduced to a new Gamilan: General Domel (aka General Lysis). We see him and his troops in the middle of a battle, and Domel is told to return the homeworld so he can be rewarded with the Desler Cross, Special First Class. Melda’s father, Admiral Ditz, is the one giving him the message, and he also relays that this is a political performance, and that Desler (aka Desslok) has some idea in mind. Unfortunately, this is all we see of Domel and the Gamilans in this episode. So while Domel is introduced here, we don’t know a whole lot about him yet or what his role is going to be. Since I’ve seen the original Space Battleship Yamato, I have an idea of what his role could be, but since there’s already been some deviations from the original series, what I know from the original series may not be entirely accurate.
The main focus of Episode 11 is on Melda, who is currently a prisoner on the Yamato, and how she should be treated and on something she said in the previous episode. These two items end up being woven together over the course of the episode.
With the revelation that the Gamilas DNA is just like a human’s, and the fact that Melda rescued them in the previous episode, Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) argues that Melda shouldn’t be locked up like a prisoner. Sanada (aka Sandor) explains that locking Melda up protects her from those whose feelings toward the Gamilans could get out of hand. We see how inflamed passions are on board the ship when crew members keep insisting that Melda lied in the previous episode when she said this war started because the humans shot first. To me, it was so fascinating to see Susumu standing up for Melda, since in the original Space Battleship Yamato, he was the one who was against the Gamilan prisoner they had on board the ship. Yes, the two ultimately patched up their differences, but Susumu was the one who was the most antagonistic toward the Gamilan. In this version, that role ended up falling on the new character of Yamamoto.
Shima (aka Mark Venture) watches a propaganda film, and we learn that his father was board the ship that was destroyed when first contact was made with the Gamilans. It’s also revealed that Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) was in charge of the mission, and that Yamazaki was a member of Shima’s father’s crew. Through a flashback, we see that Okita was removed from command of the mission when he refused to follow Central Command’s order to fire on the Gamilans. The Military Director gives the order, and Shima’s father had no choice but to obey. Yamazaki, the sole survivor from Shima’s father’s ship, explains what happened to Shima, but he doesn’t want to believe it.
In the original Space Battleship Yamato, it was very black and white: the Gamilans were bad, and the humans were good. By the end of this episode, I was glad to see that this reboot was introducing shades of gray that the original lacked. And adding these shades of gray also add more layers of realism that was a little lacking in the original.
And near the end of the episode, there was a great section between Yamamoto and Melda, which helped to reinforce what we saw in Episode 10 (that not all the Gamilans are as bad as how they may appear).
The big theme in this episode appeared to be: “What is truth?” And from the preview for Episode 12, it appears this theme will be continuing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what new directions Space Battleship Yamato will continue to go in as the series progresses.