As usual, I will be using aka designations the first time someone’s name appears, so readers who are only familiar with the English names from Star Blazers will be able to understand who I am talking about.
A big focus of this episode is on Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) and Shima (aka Mark Venture) and their difference of opinion regarding the Gamilans and who they believe started the war. Tempers flare at a staff meeting, which leads to Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) punishing them by putting them on cleaning duty. I remember the cleaning duty punishment appearing in the original Space Battleship Yamato, but it came about in a much different way. Also, instead of being part of the story for comedic reasons, Susumu and Shima’s punishment here actually plays an important role for their story.
Over the course of the cleaning duty, Susumu and Shima encounter characters who talk to them about their opinions. Tokugawa (aka Orion) gives Shima some thoughts to consider, and a conversation with Yamamoto makes Shima realize that he needs to patch up his differences with Susumu. Susumu, meanwhile, talks with both Yuki (aka Nova) and Captain Okita. While this whole situation put Susumu and Shima’s friendship to the test, I think that in the long run, their friendship will grow stronger after overcoming this obstacle.
At one point, Tokugawa is talking with Yamazaki and finding out that Yamazaki told Shima about what happened. Sukeharu (aka Sparks) overhears the conversation, and is later seen telling Science Officer Niimi what he overheard. Knowing that Yamazaki had a gag order placed on him about what really happened in the first confrontation with the Gamilans, I have a feeling that Niimi will use this information to somehow get Yamazaki into trouble. With the expression she had upon hearing Sukeharu’s report, as well as what we’ve seen and heard from her in the past, I feel she’s up to no good. But I have to say, once again, that I’m glad to see Sukeharu being utilized much more as a character in this reboot compared to how he was portrayed in the original Space Battleship Yamato.
We also get to see the Gamilans in this episode as well. First, we start to get hints that Desler (aka Desslok) is trying to set something in motion. This first starts by seeing him chatting away on a phone-like device with someone. We also see Desler and some of the other Gamilans looking up at the sky toward a nearby planet, and from the dialogue, it’s hinted that this planet could be Iscandar; we first see them looking up at the planet when Desler asks what the Yamato‘s destination is. We also start hearing hints of rogue elements within the empire.
Senior General Domel (aka Lysis) returns to Gamilas for his medal ceremony, and Desler asks him to take care of the Yamato. As a loyal soldier, Domel does not refuse his leader’s request. Even though he may be a soldier, we see that there’s more to Domel than his loyalty to his military duty. Before the ceremony, we see a little girl running up to his car in the motorcade in order to give him flowers. Armed soldiers run after her. Domel asks for the car to be stopped, motions for the armed guards to back off, and he accepts the flowers. We later see Domel going to a graveyard, where he encounters a woman at a grave. From this scene, it’s intimated that this woman is Domel’s wife or love interest, and that the grave they are at is for some children. Domel later sees Gamilan civilians being rounded up, and being told they are part of the rebel movement.
I am really appreciating just how much this reboot is going into the background of the Gamilan characters, as well as into the Gamilan society. That was something that was definitely lacking in the original Space Battleship Yamato. Originally, we never saw the regular citizens; all we ever saw were the military and high ranking officials of the Gamilan Empire. Also in the original, there was never any rebellion element included among the Gamilan people. These changes help to breathe new life into the Gamilans and their society, and it also makes the characters feel more like actual characters and giving them shades of grey. As I’m watching Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199, it really makes it clear just how “black and white” the original series was. The original Space Battleship Yamato was good for what it was, but this reboot shows just how much backstory was truly missing from the original.
Also of note in this episode, Misaki has a dream that involves Yuki and the mysterious female figure near the navigation room. A tech looking at the automatic navigation system also sees the nude female figure who bears a resemblance to Yuki. Dr. Sado just brushes off the tech’s vision as something conjured up by someone who is overworked. There’s obviously more to this than what we’ve seen up to this point, and I’m awaiting to see how this part of the story will play out.
I’m looking forward to seeing the next episode of Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 in order to find out how the story continues, as well as to see what other developments occur that will breathe new life into this story.