The Encore Final Roadshow
Fans who waited patiently through the summer of 1983 for the return of Final Yamato in all its upgraded, 70mm glory got their wish at last on November 5. Fans in the Tokyo area, that is. We still don’t know what the original re-release plan was meant to be, but in the end only one print of the 70mm edition was made and it was screened in only one Tokyo theater during the week of November 5-13. Afterward, it was shown for the week of February 11-17 at a single theater in Osaka, and then it resided forever into the bold new world of home video.
(Glossary note: “Roadshow” is still the Japanese term for general release.)
As promised, the 70mm edition was a substantial upgrade. Many scenes were redrawn or revised, special effects were enhanced throughout, and the sound was expanded to state-of-the-art theatrical standards with multi-track stereo that is unavailable to us even on Blu-ray. It still wasn’t perfect, however. Captions that clarified on-screen visuals were removed and occasional problematic shots were left alone for undisclosed reasons. But it was undoubtedly the very best way to see the movie, and today we can only imagine what it must have been like in its full grandeur.
To learn exactly how the 70mm version differed from the original, see a complete rundown here.
Its first known US screening took place at Seattle’s Norwescon in March 1984. It must have been the 35mm version on VHS or Beta (from April ’83) since the 70mm version did not arrive on home video until June ’84. (See the film’s complete videography here.)
Program Book 2nd Edition
West Cape Corporation
November 5, 1983
The original program book from the March premiere was slightly reworked and reissued for the re-release. Page count and overall content were the same, but a previously blank page was filled with a primer on 70mm film, an interior foldout image was moved to the front cover and replaced with stills of new shots, and the back cover image was revised.
Final Yamato Super Deluxe Hardcover Book
West Cape Corporation
December 10, 1983
West Cape’s masterful series of hardcover books, which started with the legendary Series 1 silver set in 1978, culminated with the biggest of them all – a massive, 248-page full color 10.5″ x 14.5″ tome that was truly the last word on the movie, containing material found nowhere else.
Here is where all the Final Yamato coverage on this website comes full circle. The earliest content in our “making of” articles came from this book, and though some could also be found in the fan club magazines, the vast majority of it was sourced from Final Yamato Super Deluxe. If that makes you feel like starting all over again, part 1 can be found here.
See what else the book had to offer here.
2-sided flyer distributed to the fan club, late 1983
After the finale
The Space Battleship Yamato production years were now over, and the period we at Cosmo DNA call the “Legacy Years” had just begun. Yoshinobu Nishizaki was free to pursue new projects, and his agenda was an ambitious one. So, to properly cap off our Final Yamato coverage, let’s take the first step into this period as the last echoes of the movie began to fade.
Fan club magazine 36/37 (double issue)
West Cape Corporation, Spring 1984
The publication date on this magazine reads October 1983, but like several previous issues it was conflicted by the content. According to interior info, issue 36 ran so late that it was combined with 37, and the information inside went all the way to May 1984. Despite its lateness, it was one of the most interesting and important of the entire run, definitively marking the turning point into the legacy years.
Fully half of the issue was filled up with an extensive essay from Nishizaki explaining what he’d been up to since the 70mm Final Yamato was released in November ’83. In that time frame, he contracted a major illness and used his downtime to start conceiving new projects. They were all outlined here, beginning with Starship, a project we would eventually come to know as Odin – Photon Space Sailor Starlight.
He also had new Yamato projects in mind, which he revealed here for the very first time, and expressed his desire for the fan club to evolve and embrace his upcoming projects. Something else that kept him busy was preparing the Yamato Grand Symphony, an orchestral concert composed by Kentaro Haneda. It was performed May 4, 1984 and became the last new Yamato music project for many years to come.
Read the essay from this issue here.
Read all about the Grand Symphony here.
Cannes Film Festival, May 1984
Yamato had been to Cannes once before, when Yoshinobu Nishizaki took the English-dubbed Space Cruiser Yamato there in 1976 (subsequently selling it to Europe and America), but this was a new day; he now had Japan’s first domestically-produced 70mm feature film to offer.
He signed on with a Japanese company named Modern Programs Inc. to market the entire Yamato saga for the first time. They lead the charge with Final Yamato, assembling a promo kit and a new batch of flyers to attract international attention. It didn’t result in a sale, unfortunately, but it added an interesting collection of artifacts to Yamato history.
See them all here.
Fan club magazines 38 & 39
West Cape Corporation, Summer 1984
These issues were dated December ’83 and February ’84, but by now this was merely wishful thinking. They were full of summer news, from the Starship brainstorming sessions to a fan club meeting held in August. (Which happened to coincide with the very first Yamato Party, held the same month.)
The reason these two issues are included in the Final Yamato aftermath is that they contained the very last mention of the film in a pair of articles about special effects techniques. Read them here.
Since it is here that the Legacy Years begin, there’s no better time to read about what went on for the rest of the 1980s (not to mention the Final Yamato LD game, which added new animation to what had appeared on the big screen).
The journey continues here: