Final Yamato closed in theaters April 29, but this was only the end of the beginning; the next phase was to document the film in print media. This Time Machine series has fully examined Final Yamato‘s coverage in the monthly anime magazines, novels, manga, and a few other publications, but since the film didn’t finish production until literally the night before it opened, comprehensive books couldn’t be readied prior to the premiere.
Once those taps were opened, a nice collection of books appeared in April. But that was only a warmup for what followed in May: a total of nine different publications, four of which came from a single source, Tokuma Shoten. Here’s everything you could get in that exciting month, which also saw the very last of the regular magazine coverage.
OUT magazine, June issue
Minori Shobo, May 1, 1983
Fronted with an Aura Battler Dunbine cover by Tomonori Kogawa (animation director of Farewell to Yamato and Yamato Resurrection), this issue of OUT brought to a close the earliest and most important relationship between Yamato and any single magazine (described in detail here). This was a particularly mecha-heavy issue with lead stories on Dunbine, Xabungle, and Dougram, and it offered readers the first look at Super Dimension Century Orguss, which would succeed Macross in July.
There were three Yamato features in this last round: a four-page article that examined highlights of Final Yamato, a short manga story by a fan, and a single review of the film in the “Readers’ Voices” section.
Read all these features here.
Gakken, May 1, 1983
This was an excellent companion volume to the first one (from January), opening with substantial coverage of Final Yamato. After a character section with all names given in both Japanese and English, there was a handy timeline of Yamato‘s voyages from 1945 through 2203, a Final Yamato story guide with lots of rare production art, a black & white encyclopedia of characters and mecha, and a glossary of terms. The book concluded with a capsule history of the film that condensed material previously published in Animedia magazine. Augmenting this was a detailed description of the Yamato Grand Festival concert from March, which can be read here.
Tokuma Shoten, May 10, 1983
Sporting an Urashiman cover, this issue’s top feature was the fifth Anime Grand Prix, an annual survey of readers’ favorites. In the “best anime” category, Farewell to Yamato came in third after Cagliostro Castle and Mobile Suit Gundam. Susumu Kodai ranked as the number six favorite anime character (Gundam‘s Char Aznable was number one, natch) and Isao Sasaki took the number one spot for favorite male vocalist. Elsewhere in the issue, readers got sneak peeks at Orguss and Giant Gorg, a series to be directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko in 1984.
There was no full-color article on Final Yamato, but there were several pages of ads for high-profile products, a surprising news item about Nishizaki’s next project, and a collection of movie reviews – both pro and con – that gave fans the last word.
Animage had begun its coverage of Final Yamato in issue #49, published in June 1982. This one made it twelve consecutive issues totaling just over 70 pages of material, more than any other magazine. Fittingly, it was the last of them all.
See the pages here.
This is Animation The Select No. 4
Shogakukan, May 13, 1983
This was Shogakukan’s second This is Animation special devoted to Yamato; the first arrived in January ’83 and covered the entire saga up to that point. This volume was entirely focused on Final Yamato with original illustrations, a photostory, art gallery, and character & mecha model sheets. Dessler’s Story part 2 continued its investigation with a text feature that incorporated Final Yamato and a look at Gamilas history & culture. This was followed by an interview with Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, a “cosmic history”, and some production notes.
Final Yamato Encyclopedia, Part 2
Keibunsha No. 148
Kodansha, May 15, 1983
Part 1 of this digest-size compendium came out in February and was mainly a retrospective of the saga with comparatively little on Final Yamato (though it did leak the first half of the story). Part 2 made up for this with substantial coverage; the rest of the story was retold along with a section of fan messages, encyclopedic pages of characters and mecha, staff comments, and music notes. The first four Keibunsha Encyclopedias devoted to Yamato were reprinted for a box set in 1999, but the two Final Yamato volumes were not included.
Final Yamato All Mecha Big Collection
Asahi Sonorama, May 30, 1983
Published in the same format as the digest-size Keibunsha encyclopedia, this volume covered the mecha of the entire Yamato saga. A previous volume from 1980 did the same, but this time it was entirely presented in black and white stills rather than a mix of stills and artwork. It included a 32-page color photo story for Final Yamato.
Final Yamato drama album
Nippon Columbia, May 21
Like Be Forever, the drama album for Final Yamato was a three-record extravaganza that included soundtrack scores not heard on the symphonic LPs. It came with a 14-page color storybook and the photo of Yoshinobu Nishizaki on the front cover was yet another reminder that the Executive Producer of Yamato was nearly as famous as his creation.
Terebi Land Color Graph #31
Tokuma Shoten, May 30, 1983
Though light on page count, this spinoff of Tokuma Shoten’s Terebi Land magazine was vibrant and colorful, and could have served as an excellent theatrical program book had Westcape Corporation not already made one. Its montage style of stills and paintings presented the highlights of the film with brief text.
Space Battleship Yamato Big Collection
Terebi Land Special #53
Tokuma Shoten, May 30, 1983
This was a guidebook to the principal characters and mecha of the entire Yamato saga and included some coverage of the Bandai model kits. The section devoted to Final Yamato was in full color; all others were in limited color or monochrome.
Roman Album Extra #56
Tokuma Shoten, May 30, 1983
The last Yamato Roman Album, which was essentially the last book of the production years, carried Tokuma’s standard as high as it had always been, second only to the work of Office Academy/West Cape Corporation. The formula was well-worn by now; photostory, highlight scenes, art galleries, model sheets, and production notes. But the quality and completeness, not to mention the stunning cover image and a huge collection of Yoshinori Kanada’s concept sketches, made certain that the only Final Yamato book to surpass this one would be the Super Deluxe hardcover published by West Cape six months later. But over that stretch of time, Tokuma Shoten reigned supreme as the king of Yamato publishing.
Next Time Machine: nope, we’re still not done. Fans now had the limited-edition 70mm re-release to look forward to in November, which meant there was still a six month bridge to cross. That bridge was dotted with a few more treasures, which can be seen here.