Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Episode 20 – “Gatlantis, the Cursed Children”

Most of this episode focuses on the cast members who were on the Yamato when it was suddenly transported to another planet. We see that Yuki has lost her memories of the past four years, but has regained the memories that she had lost in the accident she had been in prior to the beginning of Space Battleship Yamato 2199. It was kind of heartbreaking to see Yuki watching various things in the viewing room so she could see what she had been through during Space Battleship Yamato 2199. I was especially sad for Susumu, because he has to go through another heartbreak in regards to Yuki.

But while scouting the planet, Analyzer is “possessed” (for lack of a better term) by a couple of consciousnesses on the planet that have been instructed to pass on the history of the planet to beings who are determined to be worthy. Through this possession, history of the planet (called Zemuria), Zworder, and Sabara is revealed. In a lot of respects, this episode is a backstory about the Gatlanteans. This makes a lot of sense, though, considering the title of the episode. While we had seen hints of some of this backstory previously, I appreciated finally getting to see the whole picture and how the pieces we had seen before fit together.

There are also a couple of scenes of the Earth and Gamilan forces preparing for battle against Zworder and the Gatlanteans. During this, though, there was a scene where the pilot of the Ginga makes a comment that’s kind of disturbing (and seeing Sanada’s reaction, I think he even thought it was kind of disturbing). In the time space fault where the Earth’s government has been mass producing Andromeda-class ships at extraordinary speed, they are also developing prosthetics that would allow a person’s limbs to be “perfect.” While these are intended for soldiers wounded in battle, you can apparently also volunteer to get them (which is said by the pilot in question). To volunteer to have your hands cut off so you can get these prosthetics that will allow your hands to work “perfectly” ranks on the disturbing side.

The episode ends with Zworder just starting to launch his offensive. Between this, the Yamato needing to escape from Zemuria and rejoining the Earth forces, and whatever Desler is doing, there should be enough here to last for six more episodes. With each episode of this series, I appreciate just how much depth it’s added to the story, and how much it has diverged from the original. I just hope that Teresa doesn’t somehow end up being the “deus ex machina” to the extent that she was in the original version of this story. But with some of the things that Teresa said to Keyman at one point, I think that kind of interference wouldn’t be as likely. I’m very curious to see how this version of the story will end compared with the original.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Episode 19 – “Heir to the Yamato, Her Name is Ginga”

The episode begins with Captain Hijikata ordering the crew to abandon ship, since the Yamato is unable to maneuver and is closer to crashing into the White Comet. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to evacuate, and we spend most of the episode not knowing what has happened to these characters and to the ship.

A lot of the episode focuses on the crew that escaped being brought on board the Ginga, which is a Yamato class ship that Sanada helped develop for exploration purposes. Unfortunately, it’s now become a military vessel. The other differentiating thing is that the Ginga is run by the AI (another Analyzer-like robot, expect this one is black instead of red). Outside of the crew members of the Yamato, everyone else on board the ship (including the captain) are very unemotional and just do what the AI recommends. There’s a certain sense of “coldness” aboard the Ginga‘s bridge. We also learn during this section that the captain of the Ginga is the daughter of one of the high-ranking military officials.

Kato also gets some focus here. When he awakens aboard the Ginga, the first thing he does is grab and gun and point it at his head. Fortunately, other crew members nearby grab him and take the gun away. One of Zworder’s representatives contacts the Earth’s government, and they learn about what Kato did and how they have a cure for the children who have acquired illnesses that are connected to what had happened in the aftermath of the Gamilans’ planet bombs. The government is furious that Kato sold out his ship in order to save his child, and he’s thrown in the brig. Later, when an opportunity for a pilot to take on a suicide mission comes up, Kato takes it in order to atone for what he has done. But in the end, he somehow survives the suicide mission. He’s so distraught over what he’s done and wants to die, and he becomes frustrated when he avoids death yet again. The last scene we see of him, he looks up to the sky and asks something to the effect of, “Why won’t you let me die?”

Right near the end of the episode, we see what happened to the Yamato and the crew members who were still on board. It appears they somehow ended up on a planet somewhere else and didn’t crash into the White Comet. But something strange happens, and it appears Yuki has lost her memory. Poor Yuki seems to keep having issues with losing her memory.

At this point, the Space Battleship Yamato 2202 story is so drastically different from the original telling. However, I think I’m enjoying this version much more. I feel there’s a lot more “meat” here, and much more character development and plot twists. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story will progress in the next episode.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Episode 18 – “Yamato in Crisis – The Devil’s Alternative Once More”

A big focus of this episode is on continuing the battle that’s taking place at Saturn between the Gatlanteans and the Earth forces’ Andromeda class ships. For a while, it looks like the Earth forces have the upper hand, but when Zworder warps the White Comet to the battlefield, the situation starts changing. While the Earth forces are able to blast away the white comet covering away from Zworder’s fortress, the fortress’ power is much too great for the Earth forces. It turns out being able to create all those ships with that time rift wasn’t the advantage the government thought it was going to be.

Kato also gets his subplot in this episode. After accepting Sabera’s offer in the last episode, we discover that she’s developed a cure for the illness that Kato’s son, Tsubasa, has. But, she’s obviously not giving him this information for free or with good intentions. She makes it clear in some dialogue that this is simply a game to her, nothing more. And at the end of the episode, we see Kato do something that proves once and for all that he’s bade a bargain with the devil. The execution of this scene with Kato, though, was heartbreaking. The flashbacks with Tsubasa, hearing his wife’s words, and then Kato’s line of, “Daddy’s going to hell.” When this was being intercut with the Yamato preparing to fire the Anti-Wave Motion Lattice, and realizing what Kato was holding in his hands, you knew what Kato was going to do. How is Kato going to atone for this betrayal?

While the battle at Saturn was important and kind of interesting, the main thing I took away from this episode was Kato’s final scene. The deaths of all the Earth forces in the Andromeda class ships is important and was still shocking, but Kato’s final scene brings in the emotional side to the events taking place in this episode.

I’m curious to see what’s going to happen next, and how this story will continue to progress over the last few episodes. While there are slight similarities when compared to the original version of this story, enough elements have been added or changed that I can’t even begin to predict anymore what’s going to happen. But that’s not a bad thing, though. In fact, I think I prefer it this way, because this gives me something to look forward to as I watch each episode as it comes out.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Episode 17 – “Battle off the Coast of Saturn – Gather the Wave Motion Gun Fleet!”

A big focus of this episode is on Earth, and the government’s reaction to the Gatlateans coming ever closer. After learning that their intent is to destroy the Earth, not take it over, it’s decided to rely on the fleet of ships that we saw earlier in the series that were being built in that factory that distorts time. An battle begins at Saturn, when the Gatlatean fleet grows in number. At first, it looks like the ships that are already there are going to be completely wiped out, but when the Wave Motion Gun Fleet shows up, the tide starts to turn. But the battle is still ongoing at the end of the episode, so we’ll have to see how it ultimately goes.

We also get to see a scene of Keyman, who has put himself back into solitary confinement after he does what he can to try to fix the Wave Motion Engine. Unfortunately, some of the anti-wave motion lattice is still there, but Sanada thinks he can find a way to use it one time as a weapon against the White Comet. But, back to Keyman, who is solitary confinement. In the cell next to him is Sabera (the original White Priestess who goes by a different name), and the two have a conversation. Sabera tries to deride Keyman for his emotions, but this doesn’t deter him. In fact, he seems to admit that perhaps he has feelings for Yamamoto (which she happens to overhear). It’ll be interesting to see whether or not this develops into anything more.

Meanwhile, we see that Kato’s son isn’t doing well. Near the end of the episode, Sabera somehow sends Kato a message to his fighter plane, telling him she knows a way to save his son. Right at the end of the episode, he goes to see her… and her final line of dialogue is very foreboding. This already had me concerned, but after seeing the preview, I’m even more concerned that Kato could end up doing something really stupid. I’m afraid Sabera is trying to pull something to try to prove that emotions will be the undoing of the human race.

Oh, and speaking of Sabera, a new White Priestess is brought forth. Zworder is told that this one’s emotions should be blocked and won’t resonate with the Sabera aboard the Yamato, but a scene during the episode seems to show otherwise.

Some interesting developments here, to be sure. I can’t wait to see the next episode to find out what’s going to happen next.

Anime Spotlight: Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers (Updated)

Space Battleship Yamato, which is better known to American audiences as Star Blazers, started out as an anime series in Japan in 1974. The series was conceived by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and directed by Leiji Matsumoto. When the series first aired on Japanese television, it didn’t perform very well in the ratings.

The original 26 episodes were then condensed into a theatrical film that screened in Japanese theaters in 1977. The film version of the first series performed so well in theaters, that a second Space Battleship Yamato film, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, was produced. This film was originally intended to end the story, but the film performed so well that a second Space Battleship Yamato television anime series was produced. While the series used some of the elements from the second film, the television series drastically changed the tone of the story.

A television movie, Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage, and another theatrical film, Be Forever Yamato, followed. A third season of Space Battleship Yamato aired on Japanese television in 1980, and 1983 saw the release of the theatrical film, Final Yamato.

About Space Battleship Yamato

The story begins in the year 2199, when an alien race called the Gamilas unleash radioactive meteorites on Earth. The surface of the planet becomes unlivable, so humanity retreats into deep underground cities. Unfortunately, the radioactivity is seeping underground, and it is predicted that mankind will become extinct within one year.

During the first episode, Earth’s space fleet fights a desperate battle against the Gamilas out in space. Earth’s fleet is losing and all seems lost until a mysterious spaceship zips past and crash lands on Mars. Two recruits stationed on the planet, Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima, find a woman clutching a message capsule. The woman is deceased, but the recruits take the capsule back to Earth.

It turns out the capsule is a message from Stasha, the queen of a planet called Iscandar. Included in the capsule are the blueprints for a faster-than-light engine, so the Earthlings can make it to Iscandar to get a device called the Cosmo-Cleaner D that can cleanse the radiation damage on Earth and be able to return to their home planet in one year.

A spaceship is built inside the ruins of the Yamato, a Japanese battleship that sunk during World War II. Captain Okita, along with the crew of the Yamato, undertake the mission to Iscandar. On the way, they have encounters with the Gamilas, who try to destroy the Yamato.

Space Battleship Yamato in North America

In 1979, Westchester Corporation bought the rights to the first two seasons of Space Battleship Yamato to be dubbed and edited for the American audience. These became known as the “Quest for Iscandar” and “The Comet Empire” episodes, respectively. These two seasons originally aired on American television in 1979 and 1980.

When the dub was produced, it was decided to change the name of the ship from the Yamato to the Argo. Changing the name of the ship meant that the title of the series would have to be changed. For the English dub, the series was re-titled to Star Blazers. The Gamilas were changed to become Gamilons. In addition, the character’s names were all changed to be more “Western”: Captain Okita became Captain Avatar, Susumu Kodai became Derek Wildstar, Daisuke Shima became Mark Venture, etc.

When the rights for the third Space Battleship Yamato series became available, Peter Fernandez grabbed the rights to produce an English dub of it. When Fernandez acquired the rights, he brought in different voice actors to provide the voices for the characters. This third season, which is known as “The Bolar Wars,” was only aired to a small test market at the time. This series wasn’t widely seen until it was released on VHS and DVD.

Space Battleship Yamato and Its Future

In the mid-1990s, Yoshinobu Nishizaki attempted to create a sequel to Yamato, called Yamato 2520. This series was supposed to follow the adventures of the 18th starship to bear the Yamato name. Unfortunately, this series never got very far. Nishizaki’s company, Office Academy, went bankrupt, and there were legal disputes with Leiji Matsumoto over the ownership of the Yamato copyrights. Only four episodes of this series were produced.

In March of 2002, it was ruled that Nishizaki legally owns the Yamato copyrights. After a settlement, Nishizaki was able to begin work on the Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection film, which was released to Japanese theaters in 2009.

A live-action Space Battleship Yamato film was released in Japan in 2010, and it debuted at number one at the Japanese box-office.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is a remake of the first Space Battleship Yamato television anime series that began being screened a few episodes at a time in Japanese theaters prior to its release on home video. The series began airing on Japanese television on April 7, 2013. A compilation film, Space Battleship Yamato 2199: A Voyage to Remember, was released in Japan in October 2014. In December 2014, a film titled Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark was released to Japanese theaters in December 2014. This film focuses on the Yamato’s return to Earth from Iscandar. Voyager Entertainment originally held the North American distribution license for the series, but the company quite releasing the series on home video before all of the episodes had been released. FUNimation Entertainment acquired the North American license for the Space Battleship Yamato 2199 anime series in 2017 and began streaming the series. As of this writing, the company does not have the license for either the compilation film or Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark.

Space Battleship Yamato 2202 is a remake of the second Space Battleship Yamato television anime series that began being screened in Japanese theaters in February 2017. It also began streaming on Japanese streaming services at the same time. As of this writing, six of the seven films for this series have screened in Japanese theaters. FUNimation Entertainment has acquired the North American license for the Space Battleship Yamato 2202 anime series.

My Impressions

I was first exposed to this franchise through seeing Star Blazers on television in the early 1980s. Since I had lived in Japan as a young child prior to that, I could tell that it was something that originally came from Japan. Even though I was a kid, I fell in love with the story and the storytelling. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to see the original Japanese version of the series to be able to tell what differences there are between the Japanese and American versions of the series.

The closest I have come to that is seeing the first two Space Battleship Yamato films, since the first is a condensed version of the first series and the second film is a drastically different version of the second series. I have also seen the English dub of the third series, as well as Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage, Be Forever Yamato, Final Yamato, and the Japanese live-action Space Battleship Yamato film.

Since I had grown up seeing the first two Star Blazers series, it was a bit of a shock and adjustment to see the other Space Battleship Yamato productions, especially anything after the second series. On the one hand, I was happy to have more stories with these characters that I had loved so much growing up. On the other, though, it was quite an adjustment to get used to these stories and what happened to these characters in these productions.

I haven’t had the chance to see Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection, so I am unable to comment on that film. I hope that at such a point that I’m able to see it, that I will enjoy it.

Even though Space Battleship Yamato may not have been very popular when it was first released on Japanese television in 1974, it went on to become a landmark anime franchise in Japan. It has endured enough that over 40 years later, there are still new films and series being produced and released.

While Star Blazers may not have the same kind of “landmark” status in America as Space Battleship Yamato has in Japan, it holds a strong place of nostalgia in the hearts of anime fans in America who first saw the series when it aired on television during their childhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Episode 16 – “Farewell, Teresa! Flowers for Two Deslers”

This episode focused heavily on Keyman. At first, we see him activate the device he planted in the Wave Motion Engine in an earlier episode, and it comes across that he is a double agent working for the Deslerists. But it turns out the truth is more complicated than that, and I appreciated seeing him turning to Teresa in order to try to get some kind of clue as to what direction he should be going in.

The identity of the person leading the Deslerists is also revealed in this episode, and it turns out to be someone that was thought to be dead by many, including the audience. Knowing this character’s personality from Space Battleship Yamato 2199, it wasn’t surprising that it would be this character. What was more surprising was the fact that this character was still alive.

We also saw Mil, the Gatlantean who has been with Desler, for the first time in a while. He plays an important role right near the end of the episode, and it looks like he may be going through a change that puts him at odds with Zworder’s philosophy of being unemotional. There could be some possibilities with this character if this detail is followed through on.

Desler continues to become a more interesting character with more going on than what we saw on the surface back in Space Battleship Yamato 2199. I’m really curious to see how his character arc will continue to progress over the remainder of this series.

From the order given at the end of the episode, it appears the Yamato will be heading back to Earth, now that their business with Teresa is done. I’m curious to see how the story will progress from here in comparison with the original Comet Empire story, especially with all the new and different elements that have been included in the Space Battleship Yamato 2202 telling.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Episode 15 – “O Teresa, Cry for Desler!”

Right at the beginning of this episode, we get some backstory for Desler. And this backstory is quite a game changer. By the end of this episode, Desler becomes a more sympathetic character, because we learn the truth behind his tyrannical ways. And this backstory is also important because it connects with a secret that is revealed about Lieutenant Keyman.

Teresa plays a role early on in the episode, but is gone by the middle of it. But I have to give this being credit for the fact that when Desler is pointing a gun at her, she just continues calmly giving her explanations. She’s not the least bit intimidated by Desler’s action. It probably helps that she’s a supernatural being that lives between our world and the spirit world, so any physical harm that’s threatened to her probably can’t really hurt her at all.

There’s also a battle between the Yamato and Desler’s forces, for those of you who may be worried that there might be no action in this episode. The episode ends with a cliffhanger moment.

I’m glad to see that the reason given for the Gamilans sending the planet bombs to Earth in the original Space Battleship Yamato anime is finally revealed in Space Battleship Yamato 2202. It’s never once mentioned in Space Battleship 2199, so Desler’s actions just felt like he was being a tyrant, instead of doing what he could to try to save his people before his home planet can be destroyed. In this telling, there’s still about another 50 years before the end of Gamilas, but I find this to be more realistic.

It’s been hinted throughout this series that Keyman will somehow betray the Yamato. However, I never expected his betrayal to happen in this manner and the reasoning for his betrayal. But I love how his secret adds a whole new layer to this version of the story.

The preview for the next episode looks very promising, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this story will progress.