When it comes to the characters, I will be using “aka” designations, so readers who are only familiar with the English names from Star Blazers will be able to follow who I’m talking about.
The story starts at the 11th planet in the solar system, which is never named. We see that Commander Hijikata (aka Captain Gideon) has been reassigned here after speaking up on behalf of the crew of the Yamato. We are also shown the Space Marines (at least, this is what they were referred to in Star Blazers; they haven’t been given a name here yet). Among this group is Hajime Saito (aka Sergeant Knox), who is helping to put together a Christmas celebration for the Earthlings and Gamilans who co-exist there. Unfortunately, by the end of the episode, their Christmas celebration is ruined by a Gatlantean attack.
The major focus of the episode, though, is on Susumu Kodai (aka Derek Wildstar) learning about the myth of Teresa (aka Trelaina) and planet Terezart (aka Telezart). Kodai is also shown a highly classified area known as the time fault, which was an unintended side effect that was created by the Cosmo Reverse; in the time it takes for one day to pass outside, ten days’ time passes in the time fault. The Earth has taken advantage of this in order to speed up the development and completion of the Andromeda class ships. This angers Susumu, because this is being used to go against the promise that Captain Okita (aka Captain Avatar) made to Stasha (aka Starsha) when she gave them the Cosmo Reverse.
While this is going on, Yuki (aka Nova) goes to see Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane). It really hit me how in the original Space Battleship Yamato franchise, he was basically a comic relief character who would act goofy, especially after drinking all his sake. While the good doctor still drinks a bit of sake in this version of the story, he’s definitely not a comic relief character. He is a character that the others are able to go to for help and advice. I think this was a great choice for the reboot.
But back to Susumu and the Yamato crew. When Susumu goes to the brass to ask for permission for a survey mission to Terezart, he is told no. They’re also quite angry to discover that he learned about the existence of the time fault. Unfortunately, this leads to the upper brass ordering the Yamato crew to disband and head off to new assignments. But Susumu isn’t going to take this lying down, and with the support of Sanada (aka Sandor), it’s decided they’re going to defy the upper brass’ orders and take the Yamato on the mission. While we don’t see Shima (aka Mark Venture) outright say it, we can see on his face that he’s not on board with this mutiny plan.
However, Susumu wants Yuki to stay on Earth. She becomes noticeably upset, and asks if it’s because she’s the only one who didn’t get a message from Teresa. He tells her he wants her safe on Earth, and doesn’t want her getting involved with the mutiny plan. Yuki says something about how maybe they don’t truly understand each other, and runs off, leaving something in Susumu’s hand… her wedding ring. Oh no, she didn’t!
At the end of this episode, I was blown away by just how much darker this version of this story is compared to the one in the original Space Battleship Yamato franchise. While there was always some political tension in the original, this version takes that political tension and bumps it up by several notches at least. And having that added secret of the time fault… dang. In the original version, one of the guys in the upper brass had been portrayed as being sympathetic to the Yamato crew… but he certainly isn’t being portrayed that way here. Honestly, this portrayal is probably more realistic. At this point, I can’t say that I like anybody in the upper brass, and I’m definitely rooting even more for the Yamato crew here than I did in the original story.
It looks like the next episode is going to depict Susumu and the Yamato crew launching their mutiny plan, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this event is depicted, and how it compares with the depiction of the same event in the original.
Additional posts about Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato: