Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 21 – “Prison Planet 17”

As usual, this write-up will include “aka” designations for the characters’ names, so readers who are more familiar with the English names from Star Blazers can follow who I’m talking about.

This episode opened with a solemn funeral for those who were killed during the fighting in the previous episode… including the second-class Gamilans who snuck onto the ship to kidnap Yuki (aka Nova). Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) handled this perfectly, and I was glad to see that no one openly objected to including the second-class Gamilans in this ceremony.

We see Yuki being taken to a Gamilan prison planet called Leptapoda. Bozen, the warden, is an absolute jerk. Fortunately, he’s not the one in charge of Yuki. This job has been given to Domel’s (aka Lysis’) wife, because she is the only one who knows the proper etiquette for interacting with an Iscandarian of noble birth. Yuki seems to understand that she has to play along and pretend to be Yurisha in order to make sure she stays alive. I appreciated seeing the object that Ito had used to try to claim that Yuki was actually an Iscandarian be referenced and play a role in this story.

Meanwhile, Niimi gives a report saying that there’s only one planet nearby that has the materials the Yamato will need in order to repair the ship and replenish supplies. When Niimi says she will see herself back to the brig, Okita tells her that’s not where she belongs. With this, Okita seems to have basically pardoned Niimi, thus bringing about a redemption for this character. I had a feeling that this is where this was going after how she helped out with the drill missile in the previous episode.

Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) is sent on a recon mission to explore the planet, and Yurisha suddenly appears in the cockpit. She asks if he wants to save Yuki, and he says he would if he knew where she was. Yurisha points out that the planet Susumu has been ordered to recon is Leptapoda. Before much more can happen, it’s discovered that Yabu (aka Sparks) and Ito are stowaways, and they try to take the two captive. Instead, a gun is accidentally fired at the controls, causing the Seagull to crash land on the planet.

Ah, so this is how Yabu’s mutiny story is being done. In the original series, he was the one who kidnapped Yuki and tried to stay on Iscandar. By the end of this episode, I think it’s safe to say that the original storyline on Iscandar will not be taking place in this series.

The rest of the episode sees Susumu, Yurisha, Ito, and Yabu being captured. But at the same time, a Gamilan resistance movement causes a jailbreak, which leads to a prison riot. In the confusion, Susumu and the others are separated. Yabu the coward gets some “just desserts” when some of the escaped convicts mistake him for being a fellow prisoner (he is freed from his handcuffs and has a gun thrust into this hands, with the prisoners saying he should fight with them). Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand their language, so who knows what actually happened afterward.

This episode tries to present a redemption arc for Ito, but to me, it just felt kind of forced. He does a sudden 180 as a character with no real explanation, and then something tragic happens to him. I had a hard time buying this attempt to try to redeem Ito. Up until that sudden 180, he still came across as a skeevy and terrible person.

Unfortunately, Susumu’s attempt to rescue Yuki ultimately fails, but an important revelation is made right at the end of the episode. Even though it’s a revelation that carries over from the original Space Battleship Yamato anime, I’m still not going to put it here in order to avoid providing a spoiler to audiences who are not familiar with the original series.

But by the end of this episode, it’s clear that at least the next couple of episodes will be focusing on Gamilas and Iscandar. But it’ll be interesting to see how the events and details compare with the original series.

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