Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Episode 21-22

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Recap: The Yamato’s crew recovers from its wounds and prepares to advance further into Gamilan territory. However a sudden reveal throws the entire mission into uncertainty.

Gee’s Thoughts: The last two episodes drop some narrative bombs on us. In episode 21, the Yamato’s crew licks its wounds and pays its respect to the lives lost on both sides of the previous battle. The battle took its toll on the Yamato and they desperately need to supply. Meanwhile, Yuki is taken to a prison planet awaiting transfer to Gamillas itself. Coincidentally, Kodai is sent to the same planet to perform recon as it’s the only one nearby with the environment and supplies needed to repair the battered Yamato. In addition, we find out where Domel’s wife has been the whole time. As if to make the whole episode even more complex, Squinty and Fatty have escaped the brig in the ensuring chaos of the previous battle and a rebellion on the prison planet is brewing underneath it all. In the end, while the prison rebellion succeeds and Admiral Ditz is freed thanks to his daughter’s efforts, Kodai is unable to rescue Yuki who is spirited to The Hound’s ship at the last second. To say a lot had happened this episode would be an understatement.

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We get to see more of the Gamillans, in another episode effectively portraying the Gamillans as a civilization as varied and unique as humanity itself, filled with its fair share of rogues, bastards, and heroes. However, the biggest plot development is Yurisha’s reveal that Iscandar and Gamillas are in fact twin planets, living within proximity of each other this entire time. Why Iscandar has forced humanity to undergo such trials while placing itself right behind humanity’s greatest enemy is a mystery, and one I am curious to see solved. The more and more I learn of the Iscandarians, the more I’m skeptical of their lofty and supposedly altruistic goals. Yurisha may be a nice enough girl (if a little odd), but the true aims of her people remain an enigma.

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In episode 22, we are given a much needed reprieve from the tension of the last few episodes. The Yamato crew makes its final preparations before they enter Gamillan space in their attempt to break through to Iscandar. Okita’s speech is a rousing and relevant one. Even if Iscandar has deceived humanity, it’s too late to turn back now. If nothing else, they’re going to make sure the Gamillans know what happens when you screw with the human race. Melda, our resident cute blue-skinned space babe officially joins the Yamato crew as a Gamillan liaison. Alas, Admiral Ditz and Captain Okita cannot overcome their differing goals and go their separate ways. Still, with the assistance of the Gamillan rebels, it looks like the Yamato is standing a sure better chance than it was when this all started. At least I’d say that if the end of this episode didn’t feature a Gamillan super weapon about to blow the Yamato out of the sky.

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Overall, the past two episodes continue to keep the consistent quality of Yamato 2199, though admittedly, there seemed to be some quality issues in episode 22. Being a breather episode, it’s understandable to try and save budget for the big battles ahead, but it’s still somewhat noticeable at times, especially after watching 21 episodes of high quality animation. Episode 21 as a wonderful episode, establishing a perfect balance between its various plotlines and revealing the relevant information we needed. Between Squinty’s last second sacrifice, Melda’s rescue, Yuki’s quick improvising, and Kodai’s anguish, we’re treated to a literal feast of emotions and narrative themes. If even 10% of anime could simultaneously juggle so many plot points as well as Yamato 2199 without becoming overwhelming, I’d be ecstatic.

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As for episode 22, we got some much needed breathing room. As much as I love the constant tension, it’s refreshing to have a little brevity. And being Yamato 2199, it strikes a balance between the lighthearted moments and the narrative development needed to prevent the episode from feeling like filler. Specific shout out to Melda insisting on her fighter be painted red.

We find out that not only are most Gamillans drinking the Lord Dessler brand Kool-Aid, many of them genuinely believe in his cause. While the man may be a smug bastard willing to capitalize on the deaths of loyal soldiers, kidnap enemy personnel for political gain, and kill birds…for some reason, he has earned the undying loyalty of his people. Point is that the Gamillans will not be easy to break. Even with the majority of their fleet missing and their best generals dead, they have a fervent loyalty to their nation.

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In addition, Captain Okita is not well and whatever terminal disease he’s suffering from, it’s winning. Here’s a man who’s literally fueled by willpower and his unbreakable determination to save the planet Earth. I fear the man may not return home with his current health, but it looks like no matter what happens, he’s going to fight to the bitter end. However things go down, I eagerly await the final clash that will decide the fate of the Yamato and humanity itself.

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