It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping 2199, the 26-episode space journey felt as such, but the rewards were there for us and as such it didn’t feel like a chore to stay on the Star Blazers bandwagon. Unfortunately, for 2022, it takes a journey to get through half as many episodes to get that same payoff.
This iteration of the popular franchise takes place three years after Star Blazers 2199 and it follows the Yamato crew as they have to embark on a journey told to them subconsciously. And while we really don’t get to the end in the Funimation Simuldub adaptation, we do get some closure by defeating waves of enemies that try to stop us on our that are presented early enough to make a substantiative stake in giving a shit, but the overall reason why we take part in a second space journey is not nearly as strong as it was in 2199.
That’s not to say that a lot of the features that make 2199 attractive aren’t showcased in the sequel series. The space battles, when they actually happen, are still a marvel to behold. A lot of the imagery showcased at the onset of the series when we’re introduced to Planet Earth is simply breath-taking and I wish we got to spend more time on Earth before we headed off back to the blackness of space.
What I was looking for in 2022, was less of a continuation or a rerun of what went down in 2199, and instead, embark on something completely different and exciting that could’ve complemented what the franchise had done thus far all the while trying something new. That doesn’t happen here. Instead, 2022 almost gives us what makes Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended up being of which South Park expertly labeled as a Happy Days reunion special, and I couldn’t help but get the exact same feeling with 2022. The show spends a LOT of time hearkening back to the same highlights that 2199 already mastered instead of building something for itself.
Fortunately, 2022, isn’t all bad. By the time we get to the end, the last few episodes offer enough payoff to want you to keep watching. Betrayal, deceit, and the technical brilliance that is in the DNA of Star Blazers is all here and is definitely recommended. Unfortunately, the sequel series can’t stand by itself and requires you watch 2199 so that you get a sense of why Kodai and crew opt to go on this wild goose chase at all. It’s not always a smooth ride there, but it’s a pretty one.