The Yamato and her crew are finally underway on their mission of hope – braving the dangers of space and facing the enemy to save the Earth from certain doom.
Let’s hit the jump and see what happens this week!
I’m just going to run through the episode more-or-less in order, making notes as we go along…
The Yamato is departing Earth on her mission to Iscandar… But first, she encounters the battleship Kirishima, Earth’s sole surviving warship.
2199 has a strong naval influence in many spots… And this brief segment shows a very old Naval custom – rendering passing honors. There’s procedures as to who honors who first, but Kirishima and Capt Hijakata short circuit all that. Though one might argue that by having physical continuity to the original Yamato, the current ship has seniority… To them Yamato clearly deserves the senior honors (receiving honors before rendering them) by virtue of the importance of their mission.
This is also driven home by the message sent by blinker from Kirishima to Yamato. I wonder why they chose to use blinkers though. Are they under EMCON? Or is it just another of the many weird anachronisms that are sprinkled throughout the series?
Side story from my Navy days: I was part of the topside crew for entering and leaving port, but many times when we received or rendered honors I was facing the wrong way. Once, when we receiving honors from a cruise ship as we entered Port Lauderdale I got chewed out by a very new very junior officer for doing so. He, in turn, got chewed out by our skipper for chewing me out… Said officer had been trained in the theory, but had no experience in the practical. He hadn’t realized that I was watching the lines connecting us to the tugs. Once those lines are made fast, somebody is always watching them to making sure they aren’t under too much strain – and might snap and whip across the deck injuring the crew.
A brief historical note: The IJN Kirishima was lost in one of the last Big Gun battles in history… (By coincidence The 75th anniversary of that battle was just last week.) It’s curious that here she was the last survivor of Earth’s battle fleet. Historically, only IJN Nagato survived WWII.
For the first time we get what the characters in the story have never had – a good look at the alien antagonists and what they think of Terrans.
A few minutes later, we see this telling scene… Schultz, the commander of the local Gamilas garrison, is shown watching a hologram from his daughter.
In his review this week (linked below) Scott at Mech Anime Review talks about character development, and these two scenes are also an important part of that… The bad guys aren’t BEMs, and while they’re arrogant bastards, they also have a human side. These two scenes will be important later on.
Speaking of characters… we’re introduced to a new crew member this week: AU-09 “Analyzer”, the ship’s autonomous and artificially intelligent sub computer. Analyzer is kinda interesting, as he’s the first evidence the ship even has any kind of central computer. Many of the ship’s systems are shown as being manually operated with levers and buttons. (Though some, especially in engineering, have computer displays clearly inspired by Star Trek: The Next Generation and later shows.) 2199 has been updated in many ways, but here it betrays its 1970’s roots.
There’s also been an interesting change in characters from the 1970’s series… Mori Yuki (originally the ship’s nurse) has been promoted to senior bridge crew, and is no longer the only woman on board. (Scott has more on that.) However, as Nova Forrester, she was my first anime crush. (Not hurt by the fact that Derek Wildstar and I shared a name.)
The final segment of the episode… Yamato fires her Wave Motion Cannon in a bid to destroy an enemy base. Instead, it’s overwhelming power completely destroys the entire Floating Continent. The younger members of the crew are jubilant – here is a weapon that will allow Earth to fight Gamilas on even terms. The older, more experienced, members of the crew are less certain… And Capt Okita reminds them of their mission. Yamato isn’t going to war, she’s on a rescue mission and saving the Earth is their first and only priority. Later, in his cabin, he reflects on the moral questions that arise from possessing and using such overwhelming power.
This is also a chance to post one of my favorite fan videos of Yamato, though it uses footage from the movie rather than from the anime:
In the original series, it took five episodes to get to the point 2199 has covered in three. (And both series have 26 episodes.) The three-episode format has been the subject of a lot of angst in the Western anime community, but it works. They’ve introduced the set-up and the background. The main characters have been established and some hints given to their personalities… And now the central action of the series is underway.
Anyhow, as the title of the post says this a group effort:
Yamato 2199 group watch:
– Mechanical Anime Reviews: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 3 – Boom Shakalaka
Thanks for dropping by! Be sure and leave a comment with your thoughts!