Last Episode – Memories of the Blue Planet
I have watched the 2199 finale. Twice. I have cried. Twice. I still have no dammed idea how to write about it.
But I guess I can no longer avoid it…
The final episode of 2199… Deceptively simple, but there’s a lot going on. I think the best way to approach it is to stick with breaking it down by thread, as that’s worked so well through the entire run.
I don’t think there’s going to be any screenshots, I can’t bear to watch the episode a third time.
Many of the crew are seeing a ghost, recalling Yurisha‘s early appearances onboard Yamato… But this ghost is human, and in the uniform of the Defense Force. We the viewers of course will recognize the ghost immediately – Kodai Mamoru, whose tale was told in episodes 17 and 24.
A good part of the episode covers the crew relaxing and celebrating as their mission nears a successful conclusion. Special attention is paid to Makato and Saburo’s upcoming marriage. At a celebration of the upcoming nuptials, Kodai is extraordinarily cheerful….
Yuuki and Susumu:
But that cheerfulness is a mask. Yuuki was badly wounded and is in a coma after being shot by Dessler’s guards in their final encounter. To even have the faintest hope of survival, she’s been entombed in the same life support system that once held Yurisha’s comatose body.
The ghost in the machine:
Sanada and Nimi spend most of the episode investigating the nature of the Cosmo Reverser. (In my head, I keep calling it the Cosmo DNA – because that’s what it was called in Star Blazers back in the 70’s….) Sanada concludes that Yamato has been converted into a giant neural net, one that contains the memories of Kodai Mamoru in order to enable it to restore the Earth.
And now the finale:
And where I start crying every time I watch the show. Where I can feel tears welling just writing about the events…
Yuuki briefly awakens, and wishes she could see Kodai again, and despite the best efforts of Dr Sado and Medic Harada she dies before he can reach her side. When he does, he cradles her body and recounts their history together and weeps because he never truly told her of the depths of his feelings for her.
Kodai Mamoru’s spirit sees this and makes a fateful decision. He uses the power of the Cosmo Reverser to restore Yuki to life – draining the Reverser and shutting it down.
Sanada and Nimi fall into despair, because it appears that Earth’s final hope has vanished. Worse yet, they don’t know why.
But the show is not done tearing out the viewer’s hearts and stomping them flat. Even as this is happening, as Yamato rounds the Moon and Earth comes into view… The saddest moment I’ve ever seen in any anime…
But hope is not lost. Even as Captain Okita dies – the Cosmo Reverser restarts and recharges. His iron will and dedication will see things through to the very end.
Out of the end of one life, a new hope is born.
Wow… This is my fifth time watching 2199 end-to-end, and for a fifth time I’m simply blown away. More than a simple SF-action story, 2199 is filled with twists, extensive background events, and deep characters. It’s so much more than simple retelling of the original story, it’s a compelling tale and well worth watching in its own right.
I hope that I’ve conveyed this over the past twenty plus weeks, and that you’ve enjoyed the ride. And that if you haven’t actually watched the show you understand why I love it so. (I hope you’ll go watch it before 2202 premieres sometime in the next few weeks.)
Thanks go out to the creators of both the original series and those who shepherded the amazing remake to its conclusion.
Thanks also to you, the reader, who’ve accompanied us on this journey.
And especial thanks to Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews for joining me on this project and providing any number of interesting insights and views on the episodes. I’m not going to lie, more than once his writings on an episode spurred or clarified my own thoughts and writings. (I often work best when I have someone to bounce off of.)
Yamato 2199 group watch:
– Mechanical Anime Reviews: Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 26 and Final Thoughts
You can see the all the postings in this series by visiting the Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 Group Watch category page. If you want to participate, this post has all the information you need.