Image source: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202製作委員会 on Twitter

Three years have past since the Space Battleship Yamato saved Earth and things have changed—though not necessarily for the better.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 was a grand experiment, taking a classic 70s anime, updating it with modern animation technology for modern audiences, and then releasing the full 26 episodes as seven films instead of on TV (though it was eventually broadcast there too).

As Yamato 2199 reenvisioned the original 1974 series, Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love seeks to do the same thing for 1978 series Space Battleship Yamato II.

Yamato 2202’s first film spends much of it’s time re-establishing its characters—showing where each has ended up during the three year gap between the series. All the crew have moved on: Kodai is the captain of his own ship; Mori is working at Earth Military command; Niimi is continuing her research into alien lifeforms and technology; and the Yamato itself sits in an underwater hanger, partially disassembled.

On the plus side, Earth and Gamilas are at peace—with life returning to the surface of our planet. On the minus, that peace has led to a strong military alliance—leaving Earth on the edge of becoming an expansionist power in the galaxy. Already the Earth-Gamilas forces are battling those of new enemy Gatlantis. But while the forces seem to be evenly matched for the most part, the arrival of a single Gatlantian Super Battleship can devastate an entire earth fleet.

Image source: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202製作委員会 on Twitter

To counter this, Earth has built the Andromeda and her sister ships—each one equipped with not one but two wave motion guns.

To explain why Earth mass producing wave motion guns is so terrible, perhaps it’s best to use a modern day example. Earth was basically given the tech to make the future equivalent of a nuclear reactor so they could build a ship to come pick up the device that could save the planet—a device that could not be made on Earth. Humanity then used that reactor technology to make nuclear weapons—or in Yamato’s case, the wave motion gun.

When the woman who sent Earth the reactor technology, Starsha Iscandar, learned of how humanity had perverted her gift, she agreed to give the the Yamato the Earth-saving device under the sole condition that the wave motion gun technology would never be used again. With the full authority of the Earth behind him, the Yamato’s captain promised that they wouldn’t.

Image source: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202製作委員会 on Twitter

But with Captain Okita three years dead, the Earth military has wasted no time in claiming it was a personal promise and not a binding one for the government—leading to the situation in Yamato 2202.

The Yamato crew are rightly appalled by the existence of the Andromeda and its sister ships, but the question is what, if anything, they can do. And it’s not like some members of the Gamilan people are any happier to see Starsha’s technology used in such a way.

This is further complicated by the discovery that the Yamato crew members all received a vision. Though different for each person, someone they loved and trusted appeared to them and told them to once again board the Yamato. Some see family members long dead. Kodai sees Captain Okita. But strangely, Mori alone sees nothing—leaving us to ponder why.

Image source: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202製作委員会 on Twitter

All in all, our first outing with Yamato 2202 is one of world building. While there is action—namely the reveal of the Galantians, the Andromeda, and the resulting fallout—this first film is mostly interested in catching us up on current events and reintroducing us to our heroes. It is a solid first step and one that should allow things to really get moving in the next film when it releases this June.

Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love – Starting Chapter was released in Japanese theaters on February 25, 2017. There is currently no word on a Western release.

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