Space Battleship Yamato (Uchuu Senkan Yamato) Episode 14: In Which Kodai Can’t Find His “Strait” Without a Spaceship and Both Hands or, The Rice At the End of the Tunnel

Episode 14: “Ordeal in the Galaxy! First launch of 2200!”

(Episode 13 review is here. )

Technobabble! A cluster of eight young stars is the most dangerous place in the galaxy, the gravity and particle flow between them creating lots of instabilities and (okay) wind turbulence. We can safely assume the Yamato’s going to be smack in the middle of it any time now. Yup, the narrator informs us they’re stuck and have lost more than three weeks so far.

The crew are hanging around in the mess, a couple of deeply sad looking trees and one tiny picture providing the only decoration. Shima and Kodai are playing Go while others look on: Life before the Internet. How did we manage? Because we’re talking about Shima and Kodai here, thirty seconds later Kodai’s kicked over the table and they’re punching each other. Their playful alpha-male tussling is broken up by a call for a command staff meeting.

The crew are reevaluating their flight path and estimating their budgeted time left. Allowing a mere 30 days for combat and accidents (yikes), and 30 days to spend on Iskandar itself to get the radiation purifier (really?), the ship is more than 60 days behind where they should be, even with¬† punching holes in solar prominences! Shima explains they would lose 40 days going around the Octopus cluster, and it would be faster to go directly through them. Aaand the discussion turns into another bro-fight as Kodai pokes “Chief Navigator” about imaginary straits through the storm (hmmmm) and that he shouldn’t treat Yamato’s flight like a Go game: these aren’t moves you can take back. Shima yells back that it’s Kodai who’s always trying to take back moves… (hmmmmm)

So Kodai takes off in the middle of all this turbulence¬† to go look for Shima’s ‘strait’. (That’s what she said!) Aaaand, because of the horrid wind shear (okay) crashes back to the Yamato 15 seconds later, horribly. I mean, really horribly. Twisted wreckage horribly. Miraculously, he walks out without a scratch, but he might wish he were dead once Okita starts laying into him. Kodai and Kato both get told to clean out the hangar – Kodai because he was dumb, Kato because he laughed at Kodai for being dumb. When they get there, a huge section of the crew are already at work. Kodai is Kind of a Dick about it.

Yuki is adorable, and wants to make New Year’s mochi for the crew to ease the tensions on board, but Okita refuses; they only have 2 months left worth of food, and who knows how long they’ll be stuck in the storm? They’re not quite to Donner Party levels yet, but it’s going to get there soon. Okita asks Yuki not to tell the crew, as it will only stress them out more.

Yabu, magically losing weight between shots, asks Tokugawa why he’s polishing the engine (hmmm) in the middle of the night. There’s nothing for the crew to do but sleep, so the Chief Engineer explains he can’t sleep. (You could always try shooting the vortex with the Wave Motion Gun, guys? Maybe?) Morale is plummeting all over the ship, and Yabu suggests Tokugawa talk to the captain about turning around and, instead of going to Iskandar, looking for a new Earth to migrate people to before the end.

Shima privately confesses he’s not sure if the strait exists or not, but Yuki simply notes they should go around if he’s not confident about it. After talking to her, Shima convinces himself it does exist. (hmm)

Oh yeah, audience? Just in case you managed to forget last week’s traumatic onscreen death of Kodai’s parents, we get to see it again, in the form of Kodai having nightmares about getting a meteor bomb to the face while his parents vainly try to run away from the blast. He wakes up screaming for his mom, while alarms blare overhead.

Turns out there IS a strait down the middle of the Octopus cluster – and yeah, there’s a Gamilas ship sitting smack dab in the middle of the clearance, like a spider nesting at the center of a web. A bit confusing on the angles here – it looks like the Gamilas ship flies out of the cluster, but that’s actually not what happens; the ship is actually going deeper into the ‘strait’, which explains the Yamato’s staff wondering where the heck the ship went. Kodai is dispatched to follow the Gamilas ship. Why the whole Yamato doesn’t follow I’m not sure.

Kodai does not crash in .15 seconds this time. “I found a strait-like opening. I’m entering now.” (hmmm) Kodai promptly flies through a pulsating dark red and black opening in space. Either he’s going to come out the other side of the Looney Tunes tunnel, or, well… hmmmmm. The soundtrack turns snarky and plays 70’s wah-wah disco porn theme as he returns to the Yamato; yeah, I think Kodai just deflowered a eight-star cluster. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

The following dialogue has to be presented without comment:
“Shima, I found it! We can go through it!”
“How big is it?”
“How big? Uhm…”

“Hey, didn’t you make sure we could go through it?”
“Then we don’t know if it’s the strait or not!”

Everyone is disappointed by Kodai’s failure to perform.

For no reason, Okita changes his mind about the food, and decides to let Yuki make the New Year’s mochi. “Once we’re through the strait it’ll be New Year’s, so get ready.”

Kodai pulls Shima aside as everyone gets into battle positions (hmm) for manuevering through the strait, and then abruptly drops THIS bomb on Shima: “My sloppy investigation might make the Yamato crash; I don’t care what’s gonna happen, I’m gonna beat the crap out of you!” Wow, Kodai. Issues, much? Shima says he will ‘guide the Yamato through the strait safely.” At this point any pretense that this isn’t Space Battleship Yamato: The Dick Waving Episode goes right out the window. Shima and Kodai roll around and punch the crap out of each other. The only ACTUAL (adorable) strait-bearing human on the ship shows up to yell at both of them.

Are those space ovaries?

A special wackawacka-flavored version of the Yamato theme plays as the ship enters the strait. Space Battleship Porn-ato! Shima is required to switch to manual controls. Various bits of swirling white “substance” in the strait flaps around and slap against the ship.

I laugh so hard I have to pause the episode.

It takes both Shima and Kodai pulling on the steering levers with both hands to keep the ship from, uhm, going astray. When they successfully make it through, they fall all over each other laughing and congratulating themselves. Pretty much brohugging time! Okita is either stoic, or asleep; who can tell?

Yuki sums it all up, adorably: “I envy men’s friendships.”

Humanity will be extinct in 280 days.