Kyoto, Japan, Earth
|Service/branch||United Nations Cosmo Force|
|Unit||Yamato BBY-01 science and technology division|
|Battles/wars||Second Battle of Pluto, Battle of the Protoplanetary System, Yamato Mutiny, Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster, Battle of the Galactic Theater Gate|
|Portrayed by||Aya Hisakawa (2012-)|
Lieutenant Kaoru Niimi is a United Nations Cosmo Force officer serving in the space battleship Yamato's science and technology division. During the ship's voyage to the planet Iscandar, Niimi conspires to launch a mutiny to end the mission and return to Earth.
In 2192, in the early days of the Garmillas-Earth War, Niimi worked as an assistant in the laboratory of Shiro Sanada, while both of them were enrolled in the National Space Defense Academy. She learned from Sanada, and over the next seven years, she became an accomplished scientist in her own right, earning a doctorate in psychology and developing her knowledge of physics. During this period, she met Sanada's friend and academy classmate, Mamoru Kodai, and entered into a romantic relationship with him. The two separated in late 2198, before Kodai's departure for Operation M ("Escape from the Jupiter Sphere", "Out of the Forest of Memory").
Like Sanada and Kodai, Niimi joined the UNCF as Earth suffered under unstoppable enemy attacks. She was brought into Project Izumo, a plan to evacuate survivors through a major interstellar relocation initiative. When Izumo was scrapped in favor of the riskier Yamato Plan, Niimi was transferred to the battleship Yamato, and she personally recruited Warrant Officer Mikage Kiryu for the science and technology division. However, Niimi remained skeptical about the Yamato Plan's chances for success, and she quietly gave her support to General Kotetsu Serizawa's goal of re-activating Izumo ("Point of No Return", "A Choice for the Future", Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark).
2199: Voyage to IscandarEditNiimi operates as Sanada's immediate subordinate aboard Yamato, responsible for intelligence and for technical and tactical analysis. She also operates in a secondary role as a psychological counselor for the crew. Soon after departing from Earth, Niimi describes the functioning of the ship's wave motion gun for the senior staff ("Escape from the Jupiter Sphere"). She provides support on the ship's second bridge during combat with Garmillas forces at Pluto and in the debris field of a protoplanetary system. In the latter battle, when Sanada offers a dangerous plan for locating the lone Garmillas ship that is attacking Yamato, Niimi voices her concerns, convincing him to modify his plan ("The Trap on All Sides", "The Sun Sets on Pluto", "The Wolf from Another Dimension").
On several occasions during the voyage, Niimi works with the robot crew member Analyzer. They and Sanada spend time studying a captured Garmilloid robot that comes to be called "Alter" ("The Trap on All Sides", "Clockwork Prisoner"). Their understanding of Alter's software allows them to design a computer virus that is successfully deployed months later against Garmilloid forces invading the ship ("The Forever War"). During the Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster, she and Analyzer access a massive Garmillan drill missile that lodges itself inside Yamato's wave motion gun; the two stop its countdown to detonation and reprogram it to operate in reverse and extract itself ("Under a Rainbow Sun").
Niimi's duties on the return trip from Iscandar include regularly monitoring and studying the Cosmo Reverse System given to the crew of Yamato to restore Earth's ruined biosphere ("The Forever War", "Memories of the Blue Planet"). A month after departing Iscandar, Niimi joins a landing party exploring the planet Shambleau as lead science officer, flying down to the surface in a Ki-8 prototype air boat secretly stored aboard Yamato for use in Project Izumo. Along with several other officers, she becomes trapped inside a telepathic re-creation of a vintage Earth hotel. Niimi provides emotional support and a sounding board for the team leader, Lieutenant Susumu Kodai. The two speak about Susumu's elder brother, Mamoru, and maintaining peace with Garmillas soldiers who are trapped with them in the hotel (Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark).
Mutiny and ForgivenessEditBefore Yamato leaves the solar system, Niimi makes contact with security chief Shinya Itou, a loyal follower of General Serizawa, but the Izumo conspiracy does not get underway until Serizawa orders Niimi to proceed, in a secret transmission made as the ship crosses into interstellar space ("Farewell to the Solar System"). She first tries persuasion and urges Admiral Juzo Okita to explore a habitable world orbiting Gliese 581. The recommendation is turned down without further discussion ("Wish Upon a Star"). Another opportunity offers itself more than a month later when Yamato's food processing system temporarily fails, just as the ship enters the vicinity of the planet Beemela 4. Niimi approaches the ship's navigator, Daisuke Shima, and begins flirting with him in order to secure his future support ("Point of No Return").
En route to Beemela 4 for a brief resupply stop, Sanada takes command after Okita falls ill, and Niimi finds her best chance ever to win higher-level support. However, her intentions are exposed prematurely when she excitedly comments on Beemela's potential to become an ideal second home for humanity. With the crew still reeling from an enemy attack that nearly destroyed the ship, Niimi pleads with Sanada in private to see that the vast intergalactic distance separating them from the Large Magellanic Cloud and the fact that they do not know the exact location of Iscandar would make accomplishing the mission impossible. She begs him to instead return to Earth and begin ferrying survivors to Beemela, but despite his respect for her, Sanada refuses. At that moment, Itou enters the room and Sanada orders him to place Niimi under arrest--but Itou aims his weapon at Sanada, igniting the mutiny. Niimi meets with Shima one more time to determine where he stands.
Niimi accompanies Shima, Itou, and an armed security team onto the bridge as they take control, while mutineers elsewhere secure other sections. She announces throughout the ship that Shima will serve as captain in Okita's absence, but she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the lies and the threats that are necessary to sustain the uprising. Itou's eventual decision to dispose of Okita and Sanada and invent cover stories for their deaths angers her, and when Itou puts a gun to Shima's head after the navigator refuses to strand a landing party on Beemela, Niimi demands that he stop. She tackles him before he can pull the trigger, injuring her shoulder but saving Shima. Itou moves to kill her but is stopped by the intervention of a junior security officer who had been secretly working against him ("A Choice for the Future").
With the uprising put down across the ship, Niimi's injury is treated and she is placed into an isolation cell in the ship's brig ("Out of the Forest of Memory"). She remains there until the Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster, when she is called upon to work with Analyzer to defuse the Garmillas drill missile ("Under a Rainbow Sun"). She later joins a briefing on repairs to the heavily damaged Yamato, but before she can return to the brig, Okita tacitly forgives her and welcomes her back to duty, which she gratefully accepts under the smiling gaze of Sanada ("Prison Planet 17").
PersonalityEditAs Niimi advances in her career, she becomes a confident professional who is not afraid to voice skepticism, a trait that serves her well as a scientist and as a military officer ("Wish Upon a Star", "The Wolf from Another Dimension", "Out of the Forest of Memory"). Her professionalism also allows her to easily brush off Itou's sexual harassment ("Farewell to the Solar System"). However, her doubts prevent her from fully supporting Yamato's attempt to reach Iscandar, leading to her involvement in the Izumo conspiracy ("A Choice for the Future"). Following the failure of the mutiny, Niimi becomes somewhat more modest and withdrawn in her everyday behavior ("Under a Rainbow Sun", Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark).
After her relationship with Mamoru Kodai ends, Niimi continues to have feelings for him. She breaks down in tears upon learning that Kodai had survived Operation M and had been brought to Iscandar, only to die before Yamato arrived ("The Distant Promised Land").
- Kaoru Niimi's name is similar to that of Niimi Nishiki, a member of Serizawa Kamo's rogue faction of the nineteenth century Japanese Shinsengumi special police force.
- Official website information on Shiro Sanada indicates that he was enrolled in the National Space Defense Academy before joining the United Nations Cosmo Force. Niimi wore the same uniform as Sanada and Mamoru Kodai in flashback scenes in "Out of the Forest of Memory."
- The shade of blue in Niimi's skirt uniform (and those of several other female officers) prior to the launch of Yamato is different from that of the typical pant uniform worn by both women and men in the United Nations Cosmo Navy. It is unclear what the different shade signifies, and by extension whether Niimi belongs to the Cosmo Navy or another branch of the overall Cosmo Force.