What They Say:
Following Kodai’s fated encounter with Teresa, Gatlantis’s past is revealed, and the Yamato’s crew is enlivened with renewed purpose. Meanwhile, the White Comet Empire advances toward Earth, and the Wave Motion Gun Fleet is all that stands between Zworder and humanity’s annihilation. Even with Teresa and the Time fault on their side, humankind must find answers, from within themselves, if they’re to have any hope against such deep-seated hatred.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language dub is done in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show works a good range of material here with lots of action that has both big and small pieces, some good dialogue where it’s quietly intense or just a lot of yelling and everything in between, and a lot of good ambient sounds to help build the atmosphere for some of the more tense sequences. The mix is originally designed in stereo so it works across the forward soundstage very well while the 5.1 mix expands on that, giving it a bit more volume if not clarity and throwing a few more things to the rear channels to up the situations, primarily in terms of action. Dialogue itself throughout is clean and clear with no problems to be had with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2018, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes for this set are spread across two discs in a seven/six format with all of the extras on the second set. Animated by Xebec, the series has a striking look in all the right ways as it adapts the original style in a modern sense – which helps it to stand out against the sea of similarity of today’s designers. The costume design looks great with rich colors while the ships look really slick whether we get more traditional moments or the CG designs. Similar can be said of world design with disturbing ruins, cities underground, and alien worlds that all feel distinct and unique. The encoding brings it to life really well here with vibrant colors, strong darker colors, and no problems with noise or banding going on. It’s a smooth, solid, and absolutely delightful series to watch with how it’s presented here.
The second half of this season fits snugly inside the limited edition box of the first and that makes for a really nice set against the first as well. This set has a thick Blu-ray case that has an o-card included with it that uses different artwork from the case. The o-card has a familiar split piece with some good character visuals across it that will be key to longtime fans memories. The case itself goes with a beautiful illustration piece of the Yamato barreling toward the enemy with a lot of purple hues that really stand out in a fantastic way here. Add in a little anime style character artwork to it along the bottom and it all ties together well. The back covers are the same in layout and details, covering everything well from extras to the summary as well as the shots from the show, but the background images differ slightly. The o-card is a richer blue as it has more of a calm space movement while the case one deals with the fallout from the front, giving it more purple and a sense of tragedy about it. No show related inserts are included but we do get a look at more of the Japanese covers with each panel bringing something different to the table.
The menu design for this release keeps things simple with it being a full-screen experience that has clips playing throughout it. It’s a good mix of character pieces and some world and ship elements so that you get a good taste for the overall design of it. The logo only stays on briefly at the start while the navigation itself is kept to the lower left with a mostly see-through background of white along with the text for the selections visible, allowing you to see through to the animation nicely both as the main menu design and as the pop-up menu during playback. Selections are quick and easy to hit and setup is a breeze since it’s one or the other and no mixing of subtitles.
The extras for this release aren’t too big overall but there are some good things to be had here, primarily for dub fans. While we do get the clean opening and closing, dub fans also get the twenty-third episode commentary with the dub cast as well as a larger overall piece with the cast as a video extra conversation that talks about their connections or pre-knowledge of the show.
The 2202 series of the Yamato property is one that took a bit of getting into with the first half of it that came before with its thirteen episodes. I can’t say exactly why but it was that rare time where I got what I wanted, a forward jump, a change in characters situations, but it took several episodes to warm up to the story itself. That ended up being a bit of a repeat with the back half of it here as it landed some eight months after the first set, which meant I had forgotte much of what went on then (and I ended up remembering more of 2199 than 2202!). Again, it took a bit to really get back into the groove of it, especially as the first half of it is generally the part of a two-cour series where it’s a bit looser and less defined than in a tighter show.
With the previous set bringing us to Telezart, the push to get through Gatlantis is the main initial thrust of events and this set does open on some good action pieces that draws you in quickly and does what it can to help you reconnect to the last set. The action side of the show is one that always appeals to me because it does go old school where while we might have some high-motion sequences at times, they tend to pull back and big-picture the moment more than anything else when it comes to the destruction. And hell, these are the creative types that damn well enjoy dropping asteroids around in order to cause damage and that just tickles the really old school fan in me in a huge way. Thankfully, what forces remained on Telezart from Gatlantis were minimal overall, enough to be a problem though, and once that’s done it’s just dealing with events there for a while.
There’s some interesting material at this point but the one that really drew me in, both in story and design, was with Teresa going through Desslers mind. This is given a really interesting look with the color and layout, often with a black and white feeling at times but with black and yellows/golds, that gave it a very rich look. Spending some time looking through his past and how far it goes back helps to flesh him out as a character and what his motivations are. This comes as the others are all recovering from their own battles and events, giving us a very worn and weary crew. When presented across the landscape that we do get here for it, it creates a really good mood to watch the characters through as they cope with so many questions and emotions. If you watch both sets together, it’s the needed downtime after the big action and events and the reveals we get through Desslers mind-dive. If you just watch this set, well, it’s a little awkward to barrel through big stuff and come to an abrupt stop, more or less.
When things pick up again on the larger scale it comes with Gatlantis ready to throw its might against Terra with another invasion force, this time situated out at Saturn. This gives us a lot of really great large-scale sequences to deal with as the rockets and beam weapons fire everywhere and even a little time with the Wave Motion Gun. The Yamato is always great to watch in these battles because of how effective it is at running the board but it’s also really engaging when it takes a serious hit, as it does here, and ends up being pulled into the White Comet abyss itself. That’s a chilling sequence, as was seeing the Ginga working alongside the Yamato, and having as much go wrong as it does.
The season does go for a strong ending to things once it works through some events on the world that’ s within the White Comet. It takes time and repairs, but when everything gets back to a more straightforward battle of the sides, the show is just damn effective because of the pacing and the quality of the animation. It knows it has to go big here considering the scale of the forces that they fight and I love that it uses unconventional elements, such as things from Dessler, in order to take it all to the next level. The human ingenuity angle isn’t an unfamiliar one but it plays out incredibly well here, especially with how a couple from the Yamato crew are able to really use the ship as a fantastic and unexpected weapon. The epilogue may be a little hokey at times because of the maneuver that was pulled off to end the war but it resonates well and has that inspirational tone that this Yamato series can manage well.
As with the previous sets, Funimation has done right by this property in my mind. The home video releases have looked great, had some good original extras included, and had some solid and weighty first half limited editions to help bind it all together with. With a really strong encode working some beautiful visuals, some strong performances on both sides of the coin with the cast, and an engaging story that expands upon everything, 2202 advances everything forward. Having missed out and been unable to connect with the original incarnations over the years, this is an incarnation that worked for me and made me a fan, so I’m very pleased by it overall.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Conversation with the Cast, Episode 23 Commentary,, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: November 26th, 2019
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.