Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Six – The Sun Sets on Pluto
February 6, 2016 Leave a comment
This episode picked up where the last one left off, with the apparent sinking of the Yamato on the seas of Pluto. But, we are finally given our first glimpse of Gamilas’ leader, Aberdt Desler, the absolute ruler of the Gamilas Empire, and a very relaxed dictator who views reports on the progress of his conquest to be a simple amusement. With his introduction we have finally seen the face of Gamilas, an autocratic empire that also seems to have a deep connection to Iscander since Desler can see the planet from his palace. This episode was also a continuation of the tactical form of warfare that have seen so far, with the Yamato sunk and upside down, biding its time until its attack craft can discover the whereabouts of the Gamilas base. The tension is palpable, with medical teams attending to the wounded, engineers patching holes and making sure all necessary systems are working, and bulkheads closing to seal off incoming water. As with so many aspects of battle in Yamato 2199, this once again reminds me of WWII films – Das Boot for example, or Run Silent, Run Deep – films that show some of the issues that need to be dealt with when under attack and damaged. Crewmembers have to do their bit to keep their boat safe, regardless of the hardships they must endure, at the same time they have to rely on luck, hoping that their enemy wont suspect a trap and try to finish them off.
The combat is once again very dynamic, with changes in camera angle, perspective, and movement – this coupled with the sense of danger as both sides try to destroy the other first really increase the tension as the episode reaches its climax. The destruction of Pluto’s base was inevitable; it could not be allowed to survive given its position, and particularly as the origin of Planet Bombs. But the episode does an excellent job of suggesting that its destruction is not a forgone conclusion, and that the Yamato must work its hardest to achieve that goal. In particular the wealth of experience that Okita brings to bear is highlighted in the episode, as he uses what he has learned, reacting to the situation and putting a plan in motion, regardless of the outcomes.
Finally, there is an interesting scene at the end of the episode as the Gamilas troops attempt to flee their now destroyed base the Yamato mercilessly fires its main canons, blowing ship after ship to smithereens. In a last ditch effort to save his commander, one of the Gamilas lieutenants charges his ship at the Yamato – this scene parallels Mamoru Kodai’s act of bravery, heroism (or stupidity depending on the view point), as he charges at the clearly superior Gamilas fleet in order to allow Okita to escape. It is an interesting little moment that serves to highlight how easily the tables can be turned, and how easily the Yamato and her crew could become the aggressors in this conflict. It also adds a human element to the Gamilas troops, they may be different from humans, but they share many similarities. In this one scene the series stops being a case of the little ship battling a mighty, evil, faceless empire, and becomes a case of a complicated war with a powerful enemy that is made up of many different individuals who may well be very similar to the crew of the Yamato.