Space Battleship Yamato
Lessons from the Past

A series by Anime Commentator Ryusuke Hikawa

If Space Battleship Yamato fandom (and anime fandom by extension) can be said to have a founding member, it would have to be Ryusuke Hikawa. His relationship with Yamato began during the broadcast of the first series in 1974, when he became a frequent visitor to the production studio and was rewarded with a huge collection of unique artifacts. This became the backbone of the fanzine publishing that got fan clubs started and propelled Mr. Hikawa into a lifelong career as an author, curator, and commentator on the art and culture of anime in Japan.

This is a series of columns he wrote for New Type Ace magazine, as a supporting feature for the 2199 manga adaptation by Michio Murakawa. Looking back from the vantage point of the 21st century, Hikawa examines the indelible impact of the original Space Battleship Yamato on the craft of creating anime with unparalleled depth and insight.

His entire series of columns will eventually be posted here, so keep an eye on this page as more are added.

1. The Impact of Special Effects

Born in the year 1974, Space Battleship Yamato became a milestone that shines brilliantly in the history of SF anime in Japan. Yamato 2199, which goes far beyond the category of
a remake, shows one way SF anime could progress in 2012. Anime critic Ryusuke Hikawa reveals the nature of the “passionate soul” that was inherited between the two works!!

From New Type Ace #9, May 2012
Posted to Cosmo DNA January 2013

2. Picture Magic That Manipulates Light

“There is a ‘scent’ to a well-made film.” Mr. Noboru Ishiguro, who served as the director of Space Battleship Yamato, said that while watching Episode 1. What is that “scent”? Does Yamato 2199, the remake being made after nearly 40 years, use any methods to express that “scent”? Anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa unravels the truth!!

From New Type Ace #10, June 2012
Posted to Cosmo DNA February 2013

3. The Other World that intersects with compositing and multiple exposure

In the world of animation, which is composed of flat material such as cels and background paintings, “atmosphere” basically doesn’t exist. However, it is a principal factor that greatly influences a sense of realism in the film world. Centering on photographic techniques like “ripple glass,” the wonder of elaborate direction drew in the consciousness of the audience in the original Space Battleship Yamato. Anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa explains foresights in the rise of the technology that attracts attention to modern animation!

From New Type Ace #12, August 2012
Posted to Cosmo DNA March 2013

4. Manipulating Light with Animation Technology

In the field of digital video production these days, information processing of pixel units is a matter of course, but why is it that a bright picture in the original Space Battleship Yamato made with analog techniques does not fade? Based on the invaluable testimony of Mr. Noboru Ishiguro and lots of other information, anime critic Ryusuke Hikawa approaches the essence of its appeal!

From New Type Ace #13, September 2012
Posted to Cosmo DNA June 2013

5. Breaking past limits! The sense of wonder of light

“Although Yamato was difficult, it was really interesting,” said the late Noboru Ishiguro. What are the thoughts of the man who transformed Space Battleship Yamato into a full-blown work of SF? By introducing the precious storyboards of the first episode, anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa recreates the on-site atmosphere at the time and answers questions about visual expression in animation!

From New Type Ace #14, October 2012
Posted to Cosmo DNA September 2013

6. Empathy evoked by handmade images

Images are like music. When images are gradually lined up and combined with sound, they form a certain “flow” that resonates and takes their power to a higher level. “Music” is an indispensable gateway when talking about Yamato. Anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa takes this into consideration with “inheritance” as the main theme of this series.

From New Type Ace #16, December 2012
Posted to Cosmo DNA November 2013

7. The texture of an explosion finger-painted by the director

Why is it essentially that people end up ascribing real feelings to an animation world that is inherently fake? Many stories are told about the subject and theme of “constructing reality in the film world,” and anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa discusses this through the key of how the late Noboru Ishiguro, chief director of the original series, depicted explosions!

From New Type Ace #17, January 2013
Posted to Cosmo DNA January 2014

8. Dynamism of the image centering on explosions

The portrayal of “explosions” is a major highlight in film. The extraordinary technology and effort poured into Space Battleship Yamato have been previously discussed. How was the portrayal of explosions as depicted in Japanese entertainment established? Anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa examines the history and essence based on his own experience!

From New Type Ace #18, February 2013
Posted to Cosmo DNA March 2014

9. A chain of attack and defense produces suspense

The history of Japanese animation changed completely with the appeal of this innovative Space Battleship Yamato series that involved “development” and “succession.” Anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa talks about the half-century of progress of anime TV series in Japan, and the late Noboru Ishiguro, who was its embodiment!

From New Type Ace #20, April 2013
Posted to Cosmo DNA May 2014

10. Depiction of effects with awareness of physical phenomena

The TV broadcast of Space Battleship Yamato sparked a bigger reaction than expected. As a writer who embraced and experienced the real-time broadcast of the original, anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa talks about the new possibilities for animation starting from the significance of the 2199 broadcast!

From New Type Ace #21, May 2013
Posted to Cosmo DNA July 2014

11. The unique sizzle feeling aroused by explosions

The theatrical premiere of Yamato 2199 Chapter 6 is finally approaching. It will feature the battle between Yamato and
the Domel fleet in the Rainbow Star Cluster, the same big climax as the original series – an episode in which you could thoroughly enjoy the essence of Mr. Noboru Ishiguro’s
effects. Using valuable sketches, anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa approaches a depiction of effects that
is still vivid even now!

From New Type Ace #22, June 2013
Posted to Cosmo DNA September 2014

12. Like a wave from the ocean, breaking on the shore and then retreating…

With Chapter 7, And the Ship Sailed On, the curtain closes on the voyage of Space Battleship Yamato 2199. We wonder what this work is, which makes a clear distinction from a “remake” that only retraces the past. Through the effect of a “wave” from Noboru Ishiguro, who directed the original series, anime commentator Ryusuke Hikawa approaches its true character!

From New Type Ace #23, July 2013
Posted to Cosmo DNA February 2015

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