As I do with every one of these write-ups, I will be using “aka” designations for the characters, so readers who are only familiar with the English names from Star Blazers will be able to follow who I’m referring to.
This is an episode that focuses solely on the Yamato and her crew. The only thing from the original series to appear in this episode is the planet of Beemela, which was a planet that the crew visited in the original Space Battleship Yamato. Outside of this reference, this is absolutely no equivalent story from the original series.
The Yamato arrives at Beemela-4 in order to resupply, and a landing party that includes Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar), Misaki, and Analyzer (aka IQ-9) go down to the planet. Misaki starts acting strangely while they’re on the planet, but in this state, she is able to reveal some very important information about Iscandar. Some other discoveries are made as well that will have an impact on the series. I’m not saying anything further in order to avoid providing spoilers.
But the main focus of the episode is on a coup d’etat that takes place on the Yamato while the landing party is away. Niimi, along with the skeevy security guy (who is named Ito, by the way), are part of the Izumo Plan supporters who infiltrated the crew for this mission. I always knew from the first moment I saw Ito that he couldn’t be trusted.
Through her observations, Niimi determines that Beemela-4 could work as a second Earth and wants to abandon the Yamato plan in order to return to Earth and give information on this planet. When Sanada (aka Sandor), the acting officer, denies the request, Ito and his crew jump into action. I was a little disappointed to see that Shima (aka Mark Venture) was dragged into being involved with this plot as well, and I had strong feelings about this throughout the episode. Ito makes some interesting insinuations about Yuki, but what we saw a couple of episodes ago sees to contradict this insinuation. I have to hand it to the writers of this plot for how much they built up this coup. As a viewer, it got to the point where it felt like there was going to be no way out. I knew that something had to happen in order for the story of the series to continue, but I wasn’t sure what it would be. It turns out that someone else on board was included in the crew for a very specific purpose, and this coup makes them have to act out on their orders.
I have to say that I like how the writers of Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 have found a way to retain the essence of the original series, yet finally find their own path for the storytelling. This coup storyline was very compelling, and I found myself wrapped up in what was happening. The preview for the next episode makes it appear that we will see the Gamilans again, and that there will be some very important exposition revealed as well. I’m truly looking forward to seeing how this version of Space Battleship Yamato will continue to evolve.