Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Eighteen – Over the Black Light
April 30, 2016 Leave a comment
Often an anime with an extensive cast can forget side characters, or individuals, who, while important, aren’t given as much screen time as the main characters that drive the series narrative. At times it feels as if such a series introduces apparently important characters, but then forgets about them until the convenient moment where their past, and abilities are important to the story. Yamato 2199 manages to largely avoid this, using individual episodes to flesh out named characters, and connect them to the rest of the crew through shared pasts, beliefs, and relationships. Episode Eighteen uses its first half to flesh out the character of Hiroki Shinohara, the long haired, easy going pilot who has a far deeper connection with Yamamoto and her older brother than we may have guessed.
The series does an excellent job of positioning his mission to scout the area around Ballun, the warp gates central hub in relation to his call sign, and its links with Yamamoto’s brother. It also does this while further reinforcing how small, even insignificant the Yamato, and earth as a planet are in the vast universe. We know that Ballun is the central warp gate hub, and is therefore highly significant to the Gamilas Empire, but seeing the Gamilas forces amassed there for Zeollik’s inspection further emphasises Gamilas’ power. It also demonstrates that despite the damage done to Earth by planet bombs, the forces in question were merely scouts when compared to the innumerable ships, fighters, and bombers on display. And yet, Okita decides to charge right into the valley of death, almost as if he were replicating the utterly disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. His gamble is clearly to catch the Gamilas forces unaware, sowing confusion amongst their ranks, and charging through to the Yamato’s eventual destination.
When watching a sci-fi anime like Yamato 2199, you are often required to suspend your disbelief, and simply revel in the audio-visual extravaganza on screen. It would appear impossible, even implausible for a ship like the Yamato to charge headfirst into a vastly superior force and emerge relatively unscathed. It may have the Wave Motion Canon, and shields, but the Yamato is hardly an invincible super-ship. In essence, the Yamato’s continued success is another example of the well meaning hero, the ship and her crew must succeed, and above all, they must succeed against overwhelming odds to demonstrate the just nature of the cause, and the damage that Gamilas as an empire have brought to the galaxy. Interestingly, Okita only decides to use the Wave Motion Canon – a weapon of such unparalleled destructive power that it could easily wipe out a large section of the Gamilas force – to overload Ballun’s core and prevent the force from following them through the warp gate. It is a calculated move that demonstrates his understanding of the power that the Yamato wields, and the horrors of war.