Or: Ion Cannon Do Not Work in Hyperspace

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This should have been about Girls und Panzer, but then Space Battleship Yamato 2199 came and blew it out of the water.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is a space opera of grand proportions. A remake of Leiji Matsumoto’s 1974 series Space Battleship Yamato, it follows the eponymous ship on a desperate voyage across three galaxies to save our beseiged planet.

As a series, Yamato is evocative of a good many science fiction television series you may have watched on television when younger. It has a decidedly solid plot, delightfully enjoyable space battles, and memorable characters.

Not unexpectedly, it is full of grand moments. One of these being the final battle between the Yamato herself and a fellow styled General Domel in episodes nineteen and twenty. This battle is more of a memorable moment, to me, than the others in the series because of its scale and captains.

With much of the enemy either destroyed or too far away, General Domel’s fleet is reduced to four carriers, a ‘submarine’, and his own flagship. Further balancing the playing field is the setting – an ion storm; which apparently proves really rather troublesome to spaceships. So the battle is fair, but what of it?

A fair battle largely means that success is down to the captains themselves, and indeed, Yamato does not disappoint. Admiral Okita, Yamato’s captain, has proven intelligent and honourable throughout the series. General Domel is proven similarly so. General Domel is not a comic-book villain, nor is he yet another foolish commander for the Yamato to brush aside on their way to Albert Desler and Iscandar.

His death, and those of his loyal men, is a subdued moment. Yes, there is an explosion, but it goes unheard, and the ensuing end to episode twenty a sombre affair. This is an episode with emotional weight; an episode that invites appreciation of the enemy.

It is these qualities that allow the elevation of science fiction to something more interesting than funny ships and pretty fights. It is this battle, within a very good series, that makes today’s Moment.

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