I’m writing this after I had a little journey of my own. Last week, I went on a road trip with my dad from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest. After being away from college for a couple years, it’s time to go back and finish my master’s degree. It wasn’t that hard of a journey either because dad and I took turns driving and we bounce off each other very well. I mean I love my dad and we have a similar yet different personalities that seem to click. I left graduate school because my mind wasn’t in the right place to go through with school. I’ve lost a lot of important family members in a short amount of time and it mentally hurt me to the point to where I couldn’t go on with it anymore. I’m back now and I know that I am ready to finish this long-delayed journey.
I find it little strange yet well timed that this month’s OWL post is centered around the concept that it is. You all know why. I don’t think that it’s as going on into space in order to save humanity, but we are grading on a curve, right? Well, at least I am. Both the Yamato’s journey and my journey have the same importance to me, but what do I know? Before I go on more about that, let’s talk a little more about OWLS. That group is the reason why I am typing this in the first place.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, what is OWLS you might ask. Well, that’s an easy question to answer. OWLS, also known as Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group of otaku bloggers who promote the acceptance of all individuals. This is all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religions, race, and disability. All about humanity for humanities sake. Each Month, our members are given a topic to write about and each of us approaches that through our own personal views. If you want to know more, please click here and look at the OWL’S Blog Page.
As I’ve already said, August’s prompt is Journey. It was suggested by the awesome Mel from MelInAnimeLand and formed together by our great Chief Creative Officer: LynLyn. To be more specific with this prompt:
We have all heard this saying in some shape or form: “Life is a journey.” We travel down a path in hope that we reach a goal or destination, but the travel in getting there isn’t always easy. Along the way, we encounter some personal struggles. It is in those moments where we must overcome an adversity to complete our journey or take a different route or path instead. In this month’s OWLS post, we will be discussing the personal journeys of pop culture creators, icons, and characters. We will explore the journeys that these characters went through, discuss the process and experiences they had on their journeys, what they discover about themselves, or share our own personal journeys.
One Ok Rock
(The reason why I am emphasizing 2199 compared to the original Yamato of the differences in the story. On paper, the journey of both Yamatos are almost the same. The length of galactic distance for the journey are the same, the villains are the same race in each version, and so on. I mean, 2199 is a remake of the other. That’s going to happen. 2199 is a remake that focuses on more dynamic character growth for not only the heroes on the Yamato, but also the Gamilas villains.)
Just like the original series, Yamato 2199 starts off with the Earth being in the worst possible position that it can possibly be. After only exploring and colonizing our own solar system, the Earth is attacked by the first aliens we meet called the Gamilians. Since the Gamilas Empire is a huge, intergalactic empire, our Earth space navy doesn’t have a chance against them. Their technology is far more advance then ours. Planet by planet, we lose ground in our solar system all while the Gamilians planet Bomb our earth. Those bombs aren’t just asteroids, they carry a poison to them that ruins the Earth’s atmosphere and kills all plant and animal life on the ground. Why? We don’t figure out that reason until later in the series. I don’t want to spoil that for you guys. The citizens of the Earth are forced to create entire cities in underground bunkers to survive as long as possible. At the beginning of both Yamato series, humanity has only one year to live.
Even with all that bleakness, there is hope. While a last-ditch battle happens around Pluto lead by our soon to be Captain Okita, our main character Kodai and his best friend Shima uncover their hope on Mars. It’s a dead Iscandarian, designs for an engine and power source to allow humanity travel faster then light, and a designation to go to that help them find a way to fix the Earth. It’s a ship designed to look like the long lost Yamato from World War 2. This is where the plot begins.
Gamilas Character Development
Before I jump into this post further, I want to talk about the enemy race the Gamilas. They aren’t just an enemy force that is an obstacle, they are people who have their own personalities, character development, and lives. Some of are negative like Desler, the Gamilas Leader, becoming highly delusional and insane by the end of the series. Insane in a way that he wanted to destroy his home planet. I mean, the guy had an assassination attempt on his life. Something like that is going to have some kind of effect on his psyche. Nothing good could come from that and you see that in the show.
My Personal favorite Gamilas character is Admiral Domel. The guy is a respectable soldier and a great commander. It doesn’t matter if you are a third rate Gamilas member, if you show loyalty you are in his game. Also, he lost his son which seems to make Domel want to stay away from his homeworld as much as possible. All he wants to do is obtain victory for the Gamilas kind and his journey is filled with political forces behind him trying to ruin his chances and make him look bad. He was able to survive all of that, but he did meet his down fall by being too egotistical and taking on the Yamato himself. Poor guy. I wish he stayed around longer.
One Journey with Many Different Journeys
So here we are with the Yamato’s journey to Iscander. A journey to a planet that is only around a mere 133,600 light years outside of the Milky Way. Something that the Yamato has to make twice in a single year. The way to Iscander is a little harder because it’s filled tons of open space that the Yamato has never been before along with enemies that can attack the Yamato at any point of time from any direction. Before all of that, there is the whole maintaining a ship and crew for a whole year in deep space problem to handle too. The weapons and rocket fuel for the fighters needs to be mentioned too. It’s a lot of stuff to stuff into a space ship. All of that is from a logical stand point so let’s talk from a personal stand point.
Can any of you imagine what it would be like to stuck with the same group of people in a small space for an extended amount of time? I know that people like DerekL would because he was in the navy, but I doubt many other people reading this could. I’m surprised that the crew of the Yamato didn’t die from stabbing each other in the back part of the way through. Beyond, we got some fun characterization throughout the show. While the main cast or Kodai and whoever the show wants to highlight for that episode gets the focus, there are so many background events or little scenes to help characterize the rest of the cast. Some people get their angry management issues solved, others form couples with one getting married at the end of the show, and so many other things along with that which makes living on the Yamato feel realistic. I just wanted to say that before I talked about our main protagonist, Susumu Kodai.
At the beginning of the series, Susumu Kodai filled all the requirements of a standard space opera protagonist. He was young, somewhat angsty and angry, awkward around women, and was meant for his older brother. That position being leading the Yamato’s weapons and tactical department. He was an Ensign or an enlisted man who was taking the place of an officer. The very fact that the surface of the Earth was destroyed in war and everybody in Susumu’s family besides his brother Mamoru who died in the battle before Yamato lifted off, doesn’t help with a person’s psyche. All of that emotion that wasn’t put anywhere and then being put into position where he is in charge of firing weapons against the alien race that killed them all when he might not be fully qualified is a very good reason to be angsty. That awkwardness thing toward females is an added character flaw which isn’t helped with all that angst and emotional trauma. At the beginning of Yamato 2199, Susumu Kodai is a complete mess.
Character Development through Space Adventures
I don’t know about any of you guys, but I think hoping from one weird space adventure to the next might help with some personal issues. Under the watchful eye of the ever bombastic and awesome Captain Okita, Susumu Kodai becomes very adept as the tactical officer. He learns to keep his calm and make the right decisions for when and where the Yamato should fire his gun. He even handled the Wave Motion Canon well. That’s definitely a key thing here because if you mess up when fire a canon that has the potential to destroy entire galaxies, you are doing something wrong.
Then there are his many encounters with Yuki Mori. Oh man, that was hard to watch at first. Kodai was always stoned faced and forceful at the beginning, so he didn’t know how to interact with her. Then there are the numerous amounts of times where Yuki and Kodai are thrown into a small seagull (something like a shuttlecraft) to check out something in which they were forced to interact each other. That’s when Kodai started to loosen up and the possibility of a Ykki and Kodai relationship became a thing. I mean, they did become a couple at the end of 2199 so something worked out. I should also mention that Kodai did not win her, Yuki is very independent and a bad ass. The two came together naturally and I love it.
Encountering the Gamilas
The biggest thing that changed Susumu, in my point of view, is encountering the Gamilians in person. Until they came onboard, the Yamato crew always imagined the Gamilas people as space monsters. Can you blame them? I can see why they would be shocked when humans with blue skin appeared on the Yamato. Kodai was the one that was designated to interrogate Melda Ditz, a prisoner they picked after encountering the Gamilas in a sticky situation. By questioning her, Susumu learned to respect for Melda and the Gamilas race. They are a group of individuals that have their own perceptions and beliefs just like them, not monsters. Maybe they have some evil leaders in their empire, but that shouldn’t characterize the rest of them. Susumu feeds off that concept the best that a person could.
In Conclusion/To Be Continued?
Ok, I am not going to lie to any of you. Susumu Kodai had some fantasy character development in Yamato 2199, but he is dealing with a lot of things in Yamato 2202. Things that I will not get into, because that’s a post for another day and this one is already too long. Just know that nothing Kodai learned from Yamato 2199 was wasted. Susumu became such a wonderful, relatable human character that is having his emotions challenged in Yamato 2202. Just like how the Yamato series is still going, his development is still on going. People don’t just live through one series and stop. They grow continually, and this new Yamato series seems to know that. It’s so good guys, I’m not even lying.
Thank you for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed this. If you want to read more, please read Marth’s post from yesterday and read Mels’s post that comes tomorrow. To read more posts, please look at our blog tour right here for more.