Check-in Station: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 ep1 (my body is ready)
Now, I have no business picking up any new anime right now. I’m currently covering six newly airing Spring anime episodes a week. I have several very popular series to finish like Kamisama Dolls, Chu2koi, Binbougami-ga! and BTOOOM. And I have upcoming side projects in the works, too. So why am I picking this series up out of the blue? Because I’m ready to, because of diverse and outstanding word of mouth, and because this first episode just blew me away!
The animation is righteous. This is top of the shelf stuff! The character designs are a delicious and easy to digest mix old and new styles! The music swells! And the whole production just has an air of importance and sweeping grandeur. And after having some of the back story explained to me, I’m primed to see this story through and to see some vengeance.
The back story is that there’s a mysterious alien race encroaching on the human race in an incredibly aggressive manner. Conveniently, they fight in a very similar fashion to humans in space. But unfortunately, as the opening battle of this episode demonstrates, they are woefully underpowered for the task of even being a diversion.
And speaking of diversions, the opening battle was just that. It was to distract the bad aliens from something that looked like an golden alien ship crashing on Mars… well I thought it was Mars. Two pilots, one whose brother was the dying captain on the last ship in the opening space battle/diversion pick up a mysterious object from a beautiful woman who has recently crash landed on Earth. The alien woman is dead, but the cargo she brought is apparently what’s really important. It’s the key to something special.
Now through some nice exposition that manages not to be an info dump, we learn that the planet I thought was Mars is not Mars. It’s actually Earth. And what’s worse, it was made to look this way in only eight years! The aliens are not only trying to just wipe out humanity, they’re trying to take the planet from them and make in uninhabitable. It’s probably a good guess by the characters in the show that the aliens are trying to terraform the planet to make it suitable to their own living conditions. So not only is Earth a bombed out husk of its former self, with all its rich plant and animal life destroyed, the atmosphere is quickly being made poisonous to humans. Humans are merely able to survive in underground cities, that won’t last much longer than a year at the rate that humanity is digressing.
It’s all a very dour situation. Which helps explain the willingness of some characters to die. When one ship stays behind during the opening battle to protect the one ship that survives, the crew start singing a rousing song as they make a suicidal attempt to tackle the alien fleet. I first thought they did so for courage, but perhaps they did it as a way of saying goodbye to a dying world that has nothing left for them?
With the show starting with humanity on the absolute edge of extinction, I’m interested to see how uses this lone leap in technology to climb its way back off the endangered species list.
Can the debut of the Yamato stave off human extinction before the year 2200 arrives? Is there even anything worth saving with Earth and all its native wildlife dead? Or perhaps the Yamato’s goal won’t be to save Earth, but just to save what’s left of humanity? The tone of a series can only tell you so much, but I’m looking forward to finding out the answers to any and all questions. I’m ready to follow Space Battleship Yamato 2199 for the long haul.