I’ll be using “aka” designations for the characters’ names, since some of my readers may only be familiar with the English names from Star Blazers.
The episode begins with the Gatlantians attacking the 11th planet, and how the space marines are trying to help as many civilian survivors as they can. Hijikata (aka Captain Gideon), who is stationed here, tries to negotiate a surrender with the Gatlantians. Unfortunately, the concept of surrender is unknown to this alien race, and it appears Hijikata is killed when the building he is in is bombed.
The space marines send a female member of their platoon in a ship to warp out and find a ship to help them. She is picked up by the Yamato, and a debate rages between the Gamilan on board and the Earthlings on whether or not to take the detour from their course and go rescue any survivors. The Gamilan argues they shouldn’t, because there likely won’t be anyone left alive and that it takes them too far out of their way from getting to Terezart (aka Telezart) and answering Teresa’s (aka Trelaina’s) message. It doesn’t help that the Earth government seems to be on the Gamilans’ side on this issue. But Akira’s impassioned argument about their mission being to rescue others and answer Teresa’s message seems to sway Susumu (aka Derek Wildstar) to disobey the Earth government and launch a rescue mission to the 11th planet.
The Gamilan is obviously not happy about this development, but he decides to go along with it (even though the tone of his dialogue makes it clear that he doesn’t truly believe that this rescue mission is even necessary). I know I said this last week, but the actions of this Gamilan still make me think that there’s something more to the Gamilans’ interest in Teresa than what we see on the surface. They are very insistent on this mission, so there must be something that will benefit them about this. I don’t know what that could be yet, but I expect to discover that the Gamilans aren’t helping out the Yamato simply out of the goodness of their hearts.
It had already been established earlier in this series that the Earth government and the Gamilan officials don’t entirely trust each other, and it appears there’s at least some of this sentiment among the crew of the Yamato as well. It was kind of subtle, but Kato (aka Conroy) had a line of dialogue about having one of the “Gammies” aboard their ship. That phrasing really made me think of other shortened names that are meant to be derogatory (such as “commies”), and it’s clear that there’s not even 100% trust of the Gamilans with the Yamato‘s crew. But this is realistic. Kato spent a lot of time fighting Gamilans in his fighter plane, and well, there’s likely to be some subconscious distrust of their new allies.
With this episode, it was wonderful to able to see the attack that decimates the 11th planet. In the story that was used in the original Space Battleship Yamato franchise, the Yamato didn’t show up until after the fighting, and the only people who were left were some of the Space Marines. Here, not only does the Yamato rescue the marines, they also manage to rescue some civilians as well (both Earthlings and Gamilans, since both races had settled on the 11th planet).
But the end of this episode. Holy cliffhanger, Batman! I can’t wait to see how the next episode continues the story from the point where this one ended.
Additional posts about Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato: