Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Twenty Three – One Man’s War
June 4, 2016 Leave a comment
One Man’s War is a rather interesting title for this episode, although ‘Desler’s Madness’ might be more apt, because the vast Gamilas Empire and its attempts to conquer all within reach was ultimately the wish of a single man. It was conquest based on the twisted ideals of Desler and his single-minded love for Starsha that appears to have created a fascist state where even the most minor of infractions could lead to incarceration. While there have been moments throughout the series that point to relatively good underlying reasons behind Desler’s lust for conquest, this episode shows us how they have been twisted and mutated over the course of his rule. While he clearly loves Starsha, he is also willing to destroy his own citizens in order to achieve his goals, thus representing a true heartlessness and complete disregard for human life. Ultimately, despite his calm demeanour and intelligence, Desler is clearly as mad as a hatter, and truly believes that only through absolute conquest can he succeed in achieving Starsha’s goals of a free and prosperous universe.
His willingness to drop part of a floating city on Gamilas’ capital, and even fire a Wave Motion Gun at Gamilas, knowing full well that such actions would destroy the planet and its population are particularly interesting. Through these actions we see his subordinates, individuals who have been loyal to him throughout the series, finally understand that they have been doing the bidding of a mad man. That the Yamato, the ship they have spent the entire series trying to destroy without ever quite understanding why, ultimately saves Gamilas further complicates an already bizarre relationship. Furthermore, by using a weapon capable of destroying an entire planet to save Gamilas, the planet that until that point had been their enemy, captain Okita and the Yamato demonstrate to Yurisha their good intentions. In this they also make a distinction between their use of force, and Deslers, although we must not forget that such a weapon must have been conceived with destruction in mind, and that only through Okita’s guidance has the Yamato managed to make it so far without destroying multiple planets along the way.
With this episode the Yamato has finally arrived at its destination, beating Desler (not Gamilas), building alliances, and at least for now, getting one step closer to their eventual goal of saving earth from the ravages of the Gamilas attack. What I find particularly interesting about this episode in particular are how the Yamato’s crew react to their current situation, and their willingness to use their main canon, not to destroy Gamilas, but to save it. If this were near the beginning of the series, numerous individuals on the bridge would have immediately objected, and their time wasting may have resulted in near, or absolute destruction. This is not say that they have forgiven Gamilas for what was perpetrated on earth, but rather that they have come to understand how complex the inter-galactic situation truly is. It also highlights one of Yamato 2199’s strengths, the gradual, but often unseen character and story progression. These characters change, not through large, earth-shattering events, but through a gradual process over the course of the series.