Going into July 2015, it looked like very little was in store in terms of new activity. A new art book was promised for the end of the month, but there wasn’t much to bridge the gap. But as the month went on, things got progressively more interesting – and then a MASSIVE news flash made it a month we’d never forget.
We’ll get there as we always do, one day at a time.
July 1: Battlefield Infinity Game news
Of the many Yamato games available to smart phone users in Japan, Battlefield Infinity is the most active. As we’ve seen since its launch in December 2014, new campaigns and rewards appear on almost a monthly basis. This one was devised with summer in mind:
Yamamoto, Mori, and Misaki – three appear in swimsuits for a limited time!!
“Midsummer Swimsuit Operation” is a limited-time event. Survive this unprecedented mission and prove your capacity! In a new combat training program linked to this operation, the number of swimsuits you collect determines your ranking! As a reward from the Yamato Girls, Yuria Misaki is waiting for you in a swimsuit!
Take advantage of the high mobility of Yamamoto in the Cosmo Zero, and the first appearance in Battlefield Infinity of a carrier on the UN Space Forces side. Surely only a real commander knows how to cut down the enemy using a swimsuit!
Swimsuits aside, something else that’s been catching our eyes in these announcements is the addition of mecha from Series 2, retro-fitted into the Yamato 2199 narrative. Last month it was the Cosmo Tiger II. This month it’s an EDF carrier (named Souryu) that – interestingly – has its Wave-Motion Guns sealed up. Make of this what you will.
July 7: Susumu Kodai’s birthday
In the original Yamato saga, we only had a specific birthday for one character: Dessler. This was established in Yamato III, when the crew arrived at Planet Galman in time to celebrate that day (March 19). It wasn’t until the live-action movie in 2010 that a date was actually floated for Kodai’s birthday, which happened to be October 31.
Not so with Yamato 2199. Thanks to the occasional on-screen dossier, we know that his birthday was re-established as July 7. Fans marked the occasion on Twitter in all the usual ways: artwork, cosplay, cakes, greeting cards, and coffee foam. Because that’s what you do.
July 15: Stationery products
In Report 47, we got a look at a new product line coming from the Tanikawa company, sets of rubber stamps and stamping pens for personalizing your stationery. They went on sale July 15. The stamp pens above feature the ship, Yuki, and Yurisha. The marks they make can be custom-ordered with your monogram (if your name can be spelled in kanji, that is).
There are also larger monogram stamps in their own cases, more traditional rubber stamps with characters on them, and more. See all the Tanikawa products here.
July 15: Battlefield Infinity Game news
Halfway into the month, the Garmillas girls got the spotlight:
Melda, Celestella, and Mirenel – three appear in swimsuits for a limited time!!
The “Garmillas Empire Midsummer Swimsuit Operation” is a limited-time event. This Garmillas operation tries something new with dialogue between characters! Why are swimsuits scattered across space? The mystery is revealed! In addition, what secret relationship is there between the characters? The truth is revealed in the gameplay!
Rankings are determined by the number of swimsuits you collect. Your rewards are characters decorated in summer swimsuits! Moreover, these radical swimsuits cannot compare with those of the UN Space Forces. The charming Mirenel is waiting for you, clad in sexy swimwear!
The female pilot Melda and President Dessler’s aide Celestella make a rare appearance in conjunction with the Midsummer Swimsuit Operation. You’ll be captivated by these two in sexy swimsuits!
But their sex appeal is not all these women have to offer. Taking advantage of her fighter’s mobility, Melda can run through a battlefield and collect swimsuits faster than anyone, and maximize the power of a battleship to eliminate the enemy.
Take advantage of this rare opportunity to make full use of these female units to collect swimsuits!
July 18: Mecha Collection Garmillas Set
In the 1970s, Bandai set a nice tradition with some of their larger Yamato models by including bonus mini-kits with them. They were the sort of kits you’d expect to find in the miniature Mecha Collection line, but they were not packaged separately. The first round of 2199 models on the Garmillas side followed this tradition by bundling mini-kits that preceded the 2199 Mecha Collection and were not repackaged. Until now, anyway.
On July 18, the online-only Premium Bandai shop released another limited-edition 2199 exclusive, the Carrier-Based Aircraft Set ~ Battle of the Solar System. It contains all five of the bundled mini-kits in one package: (1) Recon Craft FG156 Sumaruhe, (2) Saruba S-VI Type Heavy Tank, (3) Strike Fighter DWG229 Melanka, (4) Space Combat Fighter DDG110 Zedora II, and (5) a trio of Reflector Satellites. In cases where VERY small 1/1000 versions were included with the larger kits, they’re included here, too.
See the product listing at Premium Bandai here. (Only ships to Japanese addresses.)
See the complete lineup of Garmillas mecha from the series here.
July 19: Yamato Lecture 11
The stunning art shown at left was the second poster done for the ongoing Yamato Lecture events by an accomplished artist named Yoshimiru. Its predecessor was an amazing Megaluda poster done for Lecture 10 in May, which also contained this sort-of English phrase:
Although it is was wearing a big separated as “Star Around Ark” series “Space Battleship Yamato 2199“, Not separator is attached to our feelings enjoyed it. “Yamato Course” is I enjoy still in the Yamato 2199“! (Laughs)
Ark of the Stars was the topic again this time, specifically its music. The guest was music writer Ryozu Fuwa, who contributed to the Concert 2015 program book and had much to say on the new compositions for the film. Osamu Kobayashi, the regular host, also welcomed voice actor Hitome Nase and singer Aira Yuuki, who performed the ending song for Chapter 1.
Based on subsequent announcements, it looks like this will be the last Yamato Lecture in Tokyo for a while, because the event will go on the road to other cities. The next two will take place in Ushiku (Sept 5) and Osaka (Sept 12) with artists lined up to speak – including 2199 manga scribe Michio Murakawa.
This is of limited interest to those of us who can’t go at all – or understand what’s being said even if we did make it – but each new Lecture brings a great round of artwork with it. See an art gallery from Yamato Lecture 11 here.
Lecture 11 once again took place at the Loft Plus One nightclub in Shinjuku, Tokyo and had a themed Ark of the Stars menu. Above left is the drinks lineup: (alcohol) Whisper of Jirel, Garmillas Dimensional Submarine, Flame Strike Gun, (non-alcohol) Sabera and Thin Grey Space. Above right is the first item on the food menu: Drum of Barbarians. Also on offer were Yamato Hotel Piano, Because I’m a Man, and Muss I Den. No clue what sort of food items they actually were.
July 25 & 26: Wonder Festival 2015 Summer
Wonder Fest is the biggest summer hobby event in Tokyo, and even when there isn’t a current Yamato anime, we can always count on seeing new Yamato products from either the big-name licensors or the garage kit community. This time we got both; Megahouse unveiled prototypes for a new Cosmo Fleet Special Megaluda and the next 1/6 Yuki Mori figure (due out in November), and interesting garage kits were right around the corner.
See what was on offer at Wonder Fest here.
See all the newest Megahouse products in one place here.
Visit the Wonder Festival home page here.
July 27: Ship’s Log magazine #11
The cover art on this issue of the Yamato Crew Premium fan club magazine was a real eye-grabber: the first official image of the Yamato 2199 Kodai and Yuki in the context of Series 2. It turned out to be the layout for a centerspread that left no doubt. The piece is titled “Happy Couple,” drawn by Yoichi Fukano (characters) and Junichiro Tamamori (mecha).
You may well ask what this image represents, and the answer is exactly what you’ve been waiting for – the first official news of the next big thing in the Yamato saga. At this point you’ll want to grab a drink, settle in, and click here to read all about it. (But don’t forget that you haven’t seen even half of this report yet.)
The rest of the issue was full of the usual fun: an extended interview with Chief Mecha Director Masanori Nishii, a feature on the art presented in Hyper Mechanical Detail Artworks, an extensive look at vintage Yamato pencil boards, the continuing Yoshinobu Nishizaki biography, art & photos from readers, and more.
July 28: Manga Chapter 37
Michio Murakawa rolled into the next big event in the story when he arrived at Episode 15 and brought Yamato nose to nose with General Domel for the first time in a 28-page segment that pins you to your seat from start to finish. It was featured at two online locations, Comic Walker and Nico Nico Ace.
See all the pages here.
July 29: Battlefield Infinity Game news
Not one, not two, but THREE campaign announcements this month…
“Force Enhancement Program” to be held! Do damage to the enemy and get the first public release! New units appear for a limited time in the UN Space Forces and Garmillas Army, along with four new characters!
A “Force Enhancement Program” starts at the same time for both the UN Space Forces and the Garmillas Army! The conditions for victory are different at every stage in this special program! Damage as many enemy units as you can during the ranking period. Your reward is the first public release of two units in both the UN Space Forces and the Garmillas Imperial Army. Make use of these various units in battle and earn more rewards by switching your forces around.
A total of four new characters appear for a limited time in this event: Kaoru Niimi and Daisuke Shima from the UN Space Forces, and Wolf Frakken and President Dessler from the Garmillas Empire. Because this event is based on a “damage number” competition, you can get “force enhancement” by raising your firepower!
In terms of new mecha, we get another look at the EDF Carrier Souryu at upper left, but there’s a whole new item on the right: an updated version of Sanada’s seamless plane, which we haven’t seen since the original series. It’s only intended for gameplay, but here’s hoping some additional documentation awaits us somewhere down the road.
July 30: Masanori Nishii interview
Another of the attractions at Wonder Festival was a day of live programming (Sunday, July 26) set up by Dengeki Hobby Web, the online entity formerly known as Dengeki Hobby magazine. The programs were anime or hobby-related talk shows, and the one that was made for us brought two Yamato luminaries together: professional modeler Nobuyuki Sakurai and Chief Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii. The topic was Nishii’s upcoming book, Hyper Mechanical Design Artworks, which gave them an opportunity to discuss the intricacies of 2199‘s on-screen mecha renderings in unprecedented detail.
Fortunately for all of us, their conversation was captured on video and can be seen on Youtube here (a half-hour segment starting at the 55 minute mark). It’s all in Japanese, of course, but the images from Nishii’s book are not to be missed.
This is mentioned in the July 30 slot because that’s the day Dengeki Hobby Web published an earlier interview between the same two men that covered the same content, probably as a warmup.
See the Hobby Web post here.
Read the translated interview here.
July 30: NTT side story, chapter 3
Telecommunications company NTT continued their side-story on the creation of Yamato‘s IT systems.
Revisit Chapter 2 here.
Before the Yamato Plan – information processing system supplemental case
On board the crew transport carrier bound for Yamato, Ryo Tanigawa spoke to Yu Sato, who was seated next to him.
“We can board Yamato!”
Yu Sato sat in silence, remembering the faces of his many friends who were victims of Garmillas. Many of the friends of a professional IT engineer who boarded warships of the UN Space Navy did not return from Operation M, which was a crushing defeat for Earth. In addition, the mentors who had conducted their own studies to find ways of restoring the global environment found that their efforts were nothing against the blow of a single planet bomb. Therefore…boarding Yamato felt more meaningful than usual.
When Yu Sato was approached by the UN Space Navy as a technician of information and communications, he was the first to volunteer to board Yamato.
When selected members were called to convene in an open square in front of UN Space Navy command headquarters, the young man had recklessly approached Admiral Okita after he revealed the scope of the Yamato Plan.
“Don’t take action out of violence and anger,” Okita had admonished. “The other crew members hate Garmillas, too.”
“Surely, the captain himself must have lost someone close in a Garmillas attack,” Yu Sato thought. He felt that he saw the figures of lost friends behind Admiral Okita. Among the 999 people who boarded Yamato, many must have lost family and friends to the Garmillas. Ryo Tanikawa and Yu Sato realized they weren’t the only ones who kept their anger inside…and carved it into their hearts.
The vehicle arrived at the base of the Battleship Yamato, which had sunk off the coast of Bogasaki. The two men climbed the boarding ramp to the belly of the ship where they stepped into the third bridge, finally setting foot inside Yamato. Uniforms with blue lines on a white background indicated the technology department. The mainframe and subframe groups were both present, dispersed deeply into the ship. Their locations were not known even to the crew.
To a crew, information usually moves naturally through the infrastructure of a ship’s communication network. It seems strange when it doesn’t work.
“But,” Ryo Tanigawa thought, “someone maintains every system, no matter how trivial. It’s natural that IT equipment would run normally. It’s just like a life-support system…maintaining its status is what we’ve boarded Yamato to do.”
Perhaps only information officer Niimi and executive officer Sanada could truly understand their feelings as information engineers. They thought it was good that they could serve under those two people. Yu and Ryo both had great respect for their calm and rational approach. It would take a balance of calm judgment and intense passion to save present-day Earth. Yu and Ryo believed this as engineers.
The Smart Connect Company had gained long experience with their goal of creating a fully stable IT information network infrastructure for Japan. The companies that had been officially asked to support Yamato amounted to 300 in the Far East District alone. In the area of space development, Yamato didn’t just carry the feelings of Japanese companies that supplied hardware, software, construction, shipbuilding, steel and food; it was also a symbol of Japanese technology.
Cold, alien eyes watched Earth from elsewhere in the solar system. These eyes had almost the same humanoid shape as those of an Earthling. They were Garmillas eyes.
“The sky of Pluto today is cold and dark…”
On Garmillas’ frontline Pluto base, Colonel Shulz could not determine what the Terron ship was going to do. At the galactic frontier far from Garmillas, Shulz had suppressed the Terron resistance, but he was not a ruthless tactician. He was a man who had earned the trust of his subordinates. But in his position as a second-class Garmillas citizen, he had a tendency to be overly cautious in his judgment.
“We’ll hit it from long range.”
On the hunch that Yamato might pose a future threat to Garmillas, Shulz decided on the use of an interplanetary ballistic missile.
To be continued
July 31: Mecha Collection model #18
Bandai’s release schedule has gone bi-monthly, which makes each new mini-model even sweeter when it arrives. This time it was the Deusular II Core Ship, previously released in 1/1000 scale.
There have been no announcements about a larger-scale version of the Deusular II itself, currently available only as a Mecha Collection kit and a Cosmo Fleet miniature, but stranger things have happened.
See more photos of the Mecha Collection Core Ship here
July 31: Hyper Mechanical Detail Artworks
The month finished in one of the best ways possible, with a brand new 2199 art book – and this one is something extra special. The literal translation of the title is a mouthful: Warship Precision Machinery Illustrations. But the English subtitle gives us what we really want to hear: Hyper Mechanical Detail Artworks. The promo strip ups the game with the phrase “God is in the details” (in both Japanese and English) and Chief Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii is credited for the text. Small wonder – this book is a treasure trove of the work he personally supervised for 2199.
Totaling 128 pages, it is filled with full color, large-format stills that isolate the most spectacular mecha images from the series. Characters, backgrounds, special effects, and camera cropping are eliminated to show off the exquisite work of the mecha team. As stated in one interview after another, any scene in which a ship was not moving received extra attention; a CG render became the foundation for highly enhanced, hand-drawn and digitally-painted works that are worthy of gallery exhibitions (as we saw last year).
One of the first 2199 art books (Re: Mechanics) covered similar territory, but stopped at the pencil-renders. This one picks up from there to showcase the fully finished pieces with nothing to distract from their astonishing precision. Half the book is devoted to Yamato itself, followed by 20 pages of Earth mecha with the balance given to Garmillas and text features.
If you’re waiting for a recommendation, consider it given three paragraphs ago. Order it from Amazon.co.jp here.
At right: a trading card that came with copies ordered from Yamato Crew.
Also spotted in July
New doujinshi sightings are slower than they were, but more are always coming. Here are three recent discoveries.
Twitter and Pixiv are great places to look for artwork by fans and pros alike. These two portraits of Yuki are by professional illustrator Koh Kawarajima. Visit his NSFW website here and see more of his work here.
Kancolle is a popular anime featuring cute girls with armor that turns into famous battleships. Kancolle/Yamato 2199 crossover art began to appear early on – and above left is one recent example using the space battleship. (Posted on Twitter July 20 by Madoka Mamika.)
The image above right is another kind of Kancolle crossover, an excited comic done in response to the news of the new series. (Posted on Twitter July 23 by Michiru Shiduki.)
Click on both of those names to see the original tweets at full size.
From the world of customized model kits comes these two entries. The concept of repainting a Cosmo Zero in Black Tiger colors is not a new one (they actually did it by accident once in the original series), but this is the first example of one in 2199 form. At right is another excellent repaint that turns a Darold battle carrier into a Mirangal.
See more photos of the Black Zero here.
See more photos of the Mirangal here.
Then there’s this, probably the ultimate in DIY Yamatos. Twitter user “Wu Niang” is an amazingly skilled modeler who builds everything from scratch, evidently using some very sophisticated tools. On May 15 he posted photos of his own CG Yamato, which he then proceeded to manufacture using a 3D printer to render the individual parts at 1/144 scale.
Since then, he has regularly posted photos of his progress, which is both substantial and fascinating. You can follow his continuing work at his Twitter page here. Meanwhile, get a look at a partial photo gallery here.
Akira Hio interview doujinshi announced
Akira Hio is a name that should be well-known to Yamato fandom. He holds the record for the most manga adaptations, having turned every one of the classic feature films into comics. In July, a doujinshi [fanzine] was announced titled Our SF Manga Adolescence, in which fellow manga artist Keiichi Tanaka interviews Hio at length about his career. It was announced for publication August 13 by Hyoron Books, and will certainly be reviewed here in the future. Meanwhile, we can add Hio’s rendition of the Yamato 2199 Girls (above left) to our list of things to smile about.
Twitter user “Poki” posted these photos from a visit to Production IG in the Musashino district of Tokyo, sketches and autographs on one wall of the studio’s first floor. The drawings are by mecha designer Junichiro Tamamori (left) and illustrator Naoyuki Katoh (right).
Also present is an autograph from the vocalist Yucca and several voice actors: Eriko Nakamura (Kiryu), Aya Uchida (Yuria), and the actors for Aihara, Hirata, and Ota.
Makoto Kobayashi art
Another name you should know by heart is Makoto Kobayashi, who was heavily involved in both Yamato Resurrection and 2199 as a designer of mecha and backgrounds. He announced that his next edition of Hyperweapon will be published in October, and posted a huge number of his Yamato designs on his Twitter page.
See an extensive gallery here.