As usual, 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.
This episode starts off with General Domel (aka Lysis) arriving at the Gamilan base on planet Balun. He comes with a message for Goer: Desler has appointed Domel as the Milky Way Theatre Operations Commander, and Goer will serve as his second-in-command. With a scene we see later, it’s being made pretty clear that Domel and Goer are going to be clashing with each other, which is likely not going to work out for them in the long run. In that scene, we learn about Domel getting permission from Admiral Ditz to send a submarine capable of traveling between dimensions, along with its captain, Flaken, to attack the Yamato.
When we see Flaken, his character design definitely makes him look like a pirate, and a bit like a wolf. In some respects, he kind of makes me think of a blue-skinned Gol D. Roger from One Piece.
Meanwhile, as the Yamato is trying to hide within a protostar’s interstellar medium, Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) collapses on the bridge. After being examined by Doctor Sado (aka Doctor Sane), it is determined that Okita is in need of an operation. With Okita unable to serve, Sanada (aka Sandor) has been appointed to lead the crew until Okita is able to return to duty.
When it appears that the sub is retreating, Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) believes that they’re playing a trick. Niimi suggests sending a sonar ping across the dimensional boundary layer to find the sub, Susumu argues this would reveal their position. Instead, Susumu suggests using the Seagull, their new hyperspace buoy, to patrol for hostiles. This leads to a heated argument between Niimi and Susumu, and in the end, Sanada decides to go with Niimi’s plan. Even though Sanada has made his decision, the audience can tell that Susumu is not satisfied with it. When he sees Okita in the recovery room, Susumu remembers what Okita told him in a recent episode after learning that Okita had disobeyed orders when humans first made contact with the Gamilans: “You need the courage to disobey an order you believe is wrong, to remain true to yourself.” Of course, after seeing that flashback, the audience knows exactly what Susumu is going to do.
I wanted to bring up a couple of animation sequences that caught my attention early on in the episode. When Domel’s fleet first arrives at Balun, I appreciated the various shots of the ships approaching the planet. This gave the audience a good feel for what the planet looks like, as well as the type of setting the Balun base will be. I also liked the first scene of torpedoes being fired from the sub, because the camera was following right along with the torpedoes, and makes the audience feel as if they were traveling with the projectiles.
I also wanted to bring up Captain Okita’s operation for a minute. In the original series, Doctor Sado was using primarily traditional methods, such as using a scalpel, for the operation. In this reboot, though, the writers utilized the improvements in technology over the past 30-40 years, such as nanobots and virtual reality. This improved technology helps to make this reboot feel a little more futuristic than the original series.
Overall, this was a good “cat and mouse” episode between the Yamato and the interdimensional submarine. We also got to see Niimi play more of a major role in this episode, which was nice to see. I expect we’ll be seeing more of Flaken in future episodes of the series. I have to admit that the preview for the next episode looks a little strange, but I’m hoping the episode will be a lot better than the preview makes it look.
Additional posts about Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato: