I will make an out-and-out admission. Space Battleship Yamato 2199 was the first Yamato series I’ve watched from beginning to end. I’ve seen bits and pieces of previous Yamatos and of course, watched the Americanized Star Blazers when I was a kid. I know bits of lore mainly from friends and summaries. So let’s see how this works out shall we? Also, tried to make em short, but I think I failed.
Disclaimer: Yes, I know the series titlecard has it as “Soldiers of Love”, I’m going via what the wikis are saying. And even then the image filenames will still be wol###e## because too lazy.
Episode 1: The Year is 2202 – Resurrection of the Space Battleship Yamato
In a far off system, a white comet is headed towards a shrine world. Gatlantis ships head forth and assault the lone island, effortlessly killing the monks within who never stood a chance (including the elderly and children). The Gatlantis emperor talks to the entity, Teresa, who he tells her is lonely. Teresa claims things are predetermined, but there is more to it, and sends a prayer to the soldiers of a distant planet.
Elsewhere in the Galaxy, an Earth Defense Force Fleet enters battle stations while facing off against a large-scale Garmillas fleet, but rather than shoot each other, they form up into a combined fleet. The combined fleet is off to recapture a floating continent held by Gatlantis forces. The plan is for Garmillas to serve as the hammer to defeat the Gatlantis forces, while the Earth Defense Forces will secure the floating continent.
On one of those ships, the battleship Yuunagi, Susumu Kodai chastises Aihara Yoshikazu on scanning the Zoellugut-class super dreadnought, reminding him that Earth and Garmillas is at peace with each other. Back on Earth, Yuki Mori is one of the combat controllers alongside Mikage Kiryuu overseeing the operation, with Earth and Garmillas brass watching.
The battle starts with both sides trading blows. As one of the Zoellugut-class vessels are destroyed by repeated hits from the Flame Strike Guns of the Gatlantis Medaulsa-class Heavy Battleship. Kodai’s Yuunagi makes a showing of itself by disabling and destroying several ships including one of the Medaulsas. The Gatlantis forces are a match for the combined fleet, but inexplicably veer off. A new player comes forth, a cruciform-shaped asteroid that quickly sheds its disguise to reveal itself to be a massive Gatlantis Calakmul-class super dreadnought.
Deploying beam emitters, it utterly annihilates part of the Garmillas-Earth fleet and heavily damages the remainder. Back on Earth, General Serizawa convinces Chief Todo that it was time they pursued Plan A. Plan A reveals itself to be the Earth Defense Force ship Andromeda, the lead ship of her class, and it’s powerful dual wave motion gun that utterly obliterates the Gatlantis fleet and disabling the massive Calakmul super dreadnought.
For the original Yamato crew, namely with Yuki, Kodai, Aihara and Yasuo Nanbu (chief gunnery officer for the Yuunagi), such a revelation that they’ve betrayed Captain Okita’s promise to Starsha of Iscandar leads to shock and anger, not relief. Following the Andromeda into the remnants of the planet, the seemingly dead Calakmul reactivated. It shrugs off the futile shots from the Andromeda and almost collides with the Yuunagi before it warps out, following the warp-out paths of the Defiant and Saratoga, which had earlier asked to return due to battle damage.
In the Sol system, the Calakmul warps out right behind the two damaged EDF ships, ramming them and destroying them, before it goes through the defense satellites in orbit around Luna. With the EDF HQ as the projected point of impact, General Serizawa is shocked into silence, but Yuki, Mikage, and Todo start coordinating civilian evacuation efforts, for all the good it will do em.
As the burnt hulk makes it suicide run to Earth, Yuunagi warps out and attempts to shoot it down. Failing that, it rams the ship in an effort to change course, also to no avail. Kodai gets a private comms hail from Yuki, who transfers him to Shiro Sanada. Asking for the trajectory data, Kodai gives it to him even though he doesn’t know if he could pull it off in such a short amount of time.
As the Yuunagi clears, the Yamato, under renovation in an underwater dock, breaks free of its restraints and starts its engines, with the Gatlantis ship nearing its target, Sanada gives the order and the Yamato fires its shock cannons, obliterating the Gatlantis ship and saving Earth once more.
All would breathe a sigh of relief, though Serizawa is a little ticked that a ship under renovation saved his bacon (again). At this moment, a telepathic message from Teresa reaches the former Yamato crewmembers, the messenger for Kodai being the late Captain Okita, who urges him to get aboard the Yamato.
Episode 2: Tense Infiltration into the Embassy on the Moon
Back in the EDF HQ’s science wing, Kaoru Nimi and other scientists marvel at the Gatlantis soldier they found alive in the wreckage. Noting the genetic modification done to the soldier, they wonder if the soldier is an artificial life form, a synth. Asked about any encounters she had of such beings while on the Yamato’s mission, Kaoru runs out of the room to grab some documents she had.
On Luna, in the Garmillas embassy, a Garmillas officer runs to confirm the news to his ambassador, Loren Burrel, that the Earth Forces had a surviving soldier in custody. He orders for them to be stopped, but is too late, as the soldier revives but also initiated a self-destruct sequence that blows a hole through the headquarters building. The aftermath is severe, with Kaoru waking up in bandages and Sanada waiting just outside the curtains.
Later, at the launching ceremony for the next four ships of the Andromeda-class (two battleship-types and two carrier types), General Serizawa and Chief Todo is confronted with the Garmillas Ambassador Burrel over their tight-lipped discovery of the Gatlantis soldier. All the while the President of the Earth Federation drones on in a speech for the crowds. He explains that Gatlantean soldiers will self-destruct if not treated periodically, a consequence of their creation.
Serizawa though counters that they wished they had known, and Ambassador Burrel is quick to ask if they’re blaming them. Todo tries to interject but Serizawa cuts him off by stating that Earth and Garmillas are now allies, and he believes they are equal partners. Todo explains that Earth’s current population is 1/3rd of what it used to be, and even with the post-Desler turmoil, Garmillas can invade Earth, thus underscoring the tensions.
Ambassador Burrel though responds that they have a similar word to ‘paranoia’, and they’re playing with fire by breaking their promise with Iscandar, their saviors. Serizawa counters that it was a verbal agreement by Okita made on his own, thus Earth or her government cannot abide by it as it was not done as part of a binding treaty. Burrel could only look on in frustration as the four Andromeda-class ships are launched and enter warp in-atmosphere to destinations beyond.
After the ceremony, the Ambassador informs his attaché, Klaus Kiman, that he believes the former Yamato crew might’ve heard Teresa but is unable to confirm, and he is aware the Earth government knows of it too. He wants to talk to them before news spreads to the Garmillas home planet. Stopping at the picture of Susumu Kodai, the attaché notes that he was the one that tried to stop the Gatlantis super dreadnaught with his smaller ship. Burrel notes that if Telezart is involved, it is a grave matter. All the while we see Kodai being interrogated for his actions regarding the super dreadnaught and the activation of the Yamato.
Leaving the hearing, Yuki picks him up and the two drive back to the city, where he is able to vent his frustration over being put his feet on the grills for attempting to save Earth. Yuki yells to the air on how he saved Earth again and how she was worried, prompting him to apologize, leading to a bit of laughter after a tense moment.
Back at a reconstructing city, it seems vibrant and clean, though an automated service droid is cleaning up anti-Garmillas graffiti. The happy couple is enjoying some coffee, with Yuki noting how it feels like they were back on Old Earth, though she still doesn’t remember much before the accident. Asking him if he feels okay with having a wife with only four years of memories, Kodai confidently tells her that those four years are all he needs. He goes to remember the messenger Okita, and goes on to talk about living those they left behind, to which Yuki stops him to say she’s already happy.
At the memorial outside of the city, Doctor Sado talks to Captain Okita’s grave, talking about the revitalized Earth, though one festooned with large colourful cities and battleships with wave motion guns. He loves the restoration, but not the direction, and he feels that he and Okita (and by extension, the Yamato crew) remember the journey it took to bring the Cosmo Reverser home. Other members of the Yamato crew arrives to memorialize Okita’s death day (December 8th), and they drink to old comrades.
Sanada apologizes to Kodai for making him assume the responsibility of the fallout over reactivating Yamato while she was under reconstruction. He continues though, to talk about a communications failure throughout the Solar System right after that event. He asks who Kodai saw that moment. Daisuke Shima saw his father, with others claiming that a deceased love one had all urged them to go back to the Yamato. Sanada includes the news that the military has started to investigate the phenomenon.
The group is starting to get agitated, with Nanbu speaking the sentiments of the group that the future the Yamato had brought back, one of fear and unrealistic recovery, was not what it was meant to bring back. Someone else points out it’s as if the Yamato herself isn’t pleased with the times and is calling the crew back. Yuki though tells Kodai that she saw no one in the shared vision. The Andromeda flies overhead, and is cussed out by an obviously upset Nanbu. Meanwhile, the Garmillas attaché, Klaus, watches from afar.
Back at the Earth Defense Force HQ building’s science wing, Sanada explains to Shima and Kodai that they’ve detected a quasar travelling towards them at near-light speed. Not a concern since it will not reach them for tens of thousands of years, but more importantly, the energy wave that was the source of the illusion came from that direction. Highly focused and accurate, it made the Yamato crew see people from their pasts. Sanada managed to extract the recording log on the Yamato before the military could take it, and playing the contents, it revealed Teresa asking for their help.
Kodai asks the others in the room if they saw it and foolishly almost falls into the holographic projector. Although Sanada and Shima are moved, they can’t agree to Kodai running off to help. He states that had the military been that flexible, he (Shima) wouldn’t have left, he tells him to just watch out for Yuki. Leaving the headquarters building, Kodai heads off to the underground cities, followed by someone else.
Stopping at the old Yamato plan control room, he looks around the covered consoles before hearing a noise. Hiding, several armed government men are looking for him. Another person, Klaus, motions for him to follow. Evading Kodai’s shadows, he explains that he and the rest of the Yamato crew has been put under surveillance.
Giving him a clue to who he was by selectively disabling the holographic projection to expose his true skin color, Klaus explains he isn’t asking him to forget the past, as he also lost people in the war, but Garmillas owes Yamato, and he wants to help pay off that debt. To that end, he invites Kodai to their embassy on the moon.
In Lunar space, Akira Yamamoto is putting new recruits through the ringer, though it seems it is temporary seeing that Kato had to leave in order to see his ailing child, suffering from planet bomb sickness. Makoto is blaming herself, and both parents can only look on as the facilities on the moon is caring for their child as best as it can.
Back at the locker rooms, Akira gets a message from Kodai. Later, in a voice over, Klaus explains that when the freighter he contracted approaches the moon, Kodai will fall alongside purged containers. The Garmillan embassy is protected by unmanned fighters. He needs to get past and talk to Ambassador Burrel concerning the message and the future of both their people.
As Kodai trips the automated defenses, Akira comes in, destroying them, and logging in a false report of accidentally straying into Garmillas embassy space and asking them to issue an apology. She covers for Kodai and directs him to a canyon, before saluting him and flying off. Kodai flies off to the first step in his journey.
Recalling the events of his assault on Telezart, Emperor Zwordar of the Gatlantis Empire is informed by Prime Minister Shifual Sebera that Teresa’s cosmo wave was directed at ‘those who allied with Garmillas’. With that revelation, Zwordar looks in happy surprise at the notion that Earth received the message and taking that as his will, Prime Minister Sebera orders the Gatlantis Empire forward.
“I’m fine with restoration, but I must doubt its direction”
-Dr. Sakezo Sado, December 8th, 2202
First off, it seems that on the surface for general consumption, the alliance between Earth and Garmillas is the crowning achievement of the human race. Nothing could be further from the truth, as elements of each nation’s politicians and self-serving military leaders (but I repeat myself) can only look in awe at Earth’s great gains in weaponry and deterrence.
I’m quite surprised that General Serizawa managed to maintain his leadership over the United Nations Cosmo Force/Earth Defense Forces, considering his attempts to hijack the Yamato and filled it with his crew and scrap the mission to carry on with the Izumo plan. Thankfully there was a silver lining to that. But it’s really no doubt that he isn’t alone. He was the firebrand who was the wartime leader that fought the Garmillas, and the one to push for rearmament and no doubt managed to ride the fears and paranoia of the surviving populace and military to present an unassailable position to any challenger, even allies.
His wanton dismissal of the word of an honourable captain to what is for all intents and purposes, a living deity of the Garmillas people rubs certain elements the wrong way, all the while sucking up to the pompous idiots in the high levels of Garmillas and Earth societies.
Which gets me to thinking, the Garmillas representatives in EDF HQ wore Earth-style business suits. Have we provided to Garmillas that most dreaded weapon of all, democracy and nation building? Or were they dressed as such because they were the civilian heads and were wanting to fit in. I want to see more of the internal political turmoil that Garmillas is undergoing, because Ambassador Burrel and Klaus Kiman were still dressed in the traditional militaristic garb. Has there been a change at the top levels? Is the revelation that Earth has built ships with many wave motion guns going to shake the rose-tinted glasses off of Garmillas military officers who had come to view Earthlings as honorable as the crew of the Yamato? Will this break the alliance or will it hold in spite of it?
I hope such questions are answered, because one thing I noticed when I watched 2199 is that they expanded more on the Garmillas themselves and showed them to be as multi-faceted as humanity.
Going back to the restoration of Earth and dubious nature of her rearmament and recovery, no doubt a not so subtle reminder of Japan’s own rearmament and growth, I wasn’t at all amazed that the Earth Defense Forces managed to obtain a fleet numbering in at least the low hundreds. This no doubt helped that the EDF utilized known and proven platforms and merely upgraded their weaponry and power plants to allow them the capability of warp travel and shock cannon armament.
Also, in 2199, the last fleet to really be an effective fighting force was the fleet based off Japan. This EDF fleet seems to be a multinational effort, as many storied names were found within the sides of the ships during the combat scenes. The current population of Earth stands at 7.5 billion, which allows for the estimation that in the Yamato universe, 2.5 billion humans are left alive after the restoration of our beautiful planet by the Cosmo Reverse system. That’s a lot of ships to crew, especially if by going by registration numbers, are in the 800s. And by many who remembered what aliens did to them. (Though it is debatable if there are 800 Kongo-class Battleships or 500 Murasame-class Cruisers or if they’re merely the 800th or 500th hull produced by the EDF.)
Such peaceful waves of alliance hide an ugly undercurrent, by both sides. And the Yamato crew has to sail on that to meet a new threat.
And what a threat it is, already we’re used to them with the movie that bridged these two series, but the Gatlantis Empire is no less bloodthirsty than the Garmillas under Desler. And without the cache of dissenters that helped bring about his downfall. If anything, Emperor Zwordar makes Desler look like a piker with the amount of plain evil he exudes and what he seems capable of allowing and doing.
Also, I knew Under Armour had something going on with Yamato 2202, but holy cow, even Akira’s new fighter is sporting the logo.
And now, for something completely different.
I come into this series with wide-eyed false nostalgia. Because I did not see Yamato in its original Japanese, nor did I see anything else but bits and pieces. I did see the live action remake and watched the entirety of the 2199 reboot. I did watch all of the original Americanized series (much like Voltes V to be honest) and I come into this as a bit of a fan wanting to flop down roots. I’ve been told how awesome Yamato is, and I knew enough from friends and reading materials and of various fansites that catered to both the US release and original Japanese source that I liked what I saw.
Seeing 2199 flopped me down in the ground. Celestial Ark ensured the hold was firm. 2202 seeks to open the door ever wider for me, and resparking an interest to hunt down the older series in the same manner that Gundam Unicorn did to entice me to go back and watch the various Gundam shows that I didn’t see.
On that note, I would like to thank the CosmoDNA folks for having a quick summary up before fansubbers managed to get their hands on the episodes, the wiki for quick references, and the group I used to watch it because they’ve done reputable work before on a series that will never make US release because hell. 110 episodes of a series that is kinda dated animation-wise and wouldn’t find much viewership except for us die-hards here.