Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love brings more battles, more beef
by Bob Johnson
In many ways, Space Battleship Yamato is Japan’s answer to Star Trek. Though anime and the space age have gone together since the dawn of the industry (i.e., Astro Boy) – the 1974 Yamato series was a landmark that solidified science fiction anime into a cultural force and famously influenced the art team for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
As the 2010s, the age of the remake and the simuldub, dragged on, it was inevitable that the Yamato would rise again. Yet, every year between 2013 and 2017, Space Battleship Yamato 2199 was the go-to example of “Why isn’t there a dub for this?” — a major franchise that should have been snapped up for a licence above any number of moéshit school life clones. But that didn’t happen, at least, not right away. What do we have to thank for the dub? Why, the second season of the remake – Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love. When this follow-on was announced, Funimation finally fired up the wave motion cannon, dubbing both shows in back-to-back releases in 2017 and 2018.
In the year 2202, things are looking up for humanity. But even though Earth’s oceans are restored, and the planet has deployed a fleet of ships with the latest in wave-motion technology, a new threat appears in the form of Gatlantis, an evil empire with a deadly space fleet, threatening the far-off world of Telezart. Ordered to stay home by the powers that be, but haunted by strange dreams, the crew of the Yamato mutinies and takes her out for a new season of adventures in space, fighting for galactic love and peace.
Constantly threading the needle between a rapacious enemy on one side, and an Earth government on the brink of fascism on the other, Yamato‘s crew is often called upon to set the example. By necessity, they are required to compromise their high moral values, but in the end, still manage to save the galaxy without sacrificing all of their integrity.
The death of Captain Okita looms over the crew, leaving Kodai to command the Yamato. Whereas Okita was ever the chessmaster, ensuring the enemy fell into his plot, Kodai is decent enough in the Captain’s chair, but lacks confidence. Kodai also has relationship issues, particularly with Yuki. Actually, nearly *everyone* has interpersonal drama in this anime, most notably Lieutenant Keyman, a Garmilan pilot constantly getting into intrigues, and Kasturagi, a medtech who slips aboard Yamato and increasingly plays the role of femme fatale. How will they bring peace to the galaxy if they can’t get along with each other? Well, saving each others’ skins in battle goes a long way to rebuilding trust.
If you’ve never seen Space Battleship Yamato, it’s high time you saw 2199: it’s a well paced gauntlet run, where nearly every moment is desperate and vital to the future of humanity. 2202, while also quite solid, backs the stakes off a little. It lets other heroes take a bit of the limelight, and frees up the Yamato to dart back and forth between hotspots in a larger war. Both seasons deal with existential issues, not solely of survival in the face of the enemy, but also how to go about fighting, and what is and is not worth fighting for.
I will have to disagree with anyone who claims that the second go was able to wholly recapture the epic grandeur that was Space Battleship Yamato 2199 – but in all fairness, that is an *extremely* high metric. Space Battleship Yamato 2202, despite all of its spaghetti-wall character drama and sudden plot twists, is well within the halls of truly awesome anime.
Fuck Yeah, Look It Up:
Space Battleship Yamato 2202 (aka Star Blazers 2202)
Original concept by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto
Produced by Xebec, Licenced by Funimation