Shinjuku Piccadilly theater, February 24
Wave-Motion Engine at 100%!! Yamato 2202, LAUNCH! Chapter 1, titled Beginning Chapter arrived as promised on February 25, 2017 amidst an avalanche of media coverage and other fanfare. Ever since the Resurrection in 2009, Yamato premieres have delivered a consistent dose of power and energy into the fan community, and the fans happily respond. Here we pick up from Report 6 to cover the rest of February.
The countdown begins at T minus two weeks to launch…
February 10: Magazine coverage
Three magazines arrived in one day to begin a rush of media that would only intensify over the following two weeks. The March issues of Animedia, Newtype, and PASH! Each contained a new interview; Houko Kuwashima (Yuki), Harutoshi Fukui (writer), and Daisuke Ono & Kenichi Suzumura (Shima) respectively.
This began a record-setting two weeks of media coverage, the most intense in Yamato history, which we begin to unravel here.
Newtype went a step farther to begin a serialized 2202 side story. Written by Yuka Minagawa, based on a story by Harutoshi Fukui, the opening segment (3 text pages) is titled Side Story 1: Hail Garmillas and focuses on Varel and Kiman. Since it is the policy of this website not to translate such works until they’ve run their course, the project will be put aside for a later time. But it will definitely remain on the radar.
February 12: Collaboration Café opens
“Otaku bars” are a fixture in the Tokyo fan scene, some of which occasionally take on temporary décor as a tie-in to high-visibility projects. Such was the case with Newtype Shinjuku, a café/bar dedicated to anime, manga, cosplay, et al.
From February 12 to 28, they aligned themselves with Yamato 2202, adopting a custom menu and loading up the place with appropriate memorabilia. Over the first few days, servers in Yamato uniforms invited fans via Twitter to visit the restaurant and enjoy. Find their photos on the restaurant’s Twitter page here.
The collaboration menu offered the following items: (row 1) Space Navy Curry, Sea Emperor Pasta, Synthetic Sanma of Kabayaki. (Row 2) Andromeda ~ Diffusion Wave-Motion Gun, Cosmo Tiger ~ Version K, Emperor Zordar, Hero’s Hill. (Row 3) Teresa’s Prayer and Time for Lovers.
Those who ordered from the special menu received a postcard for each item, and those who came in on Valentine’s Day got these specially-themed postcards with all-new art.
Also on offer were a vending machine for character buttons and a printing machine to get your name on a Yamato sticker. The Yamatour 2017 adventure team patronized Newtype Shinjuku the night before the 2202 premiere, so you can see more of it here.
February 14: Bandai Hobby Site
Bandai’s Yamato trumpet blared anew when a homepage was established for all the treasures to come, starting with the first two 1/1000 releases: the “movie effect” Andromeda and the three-part Earth Defense Fleet set.
Via Twitter, the great Kia Asamiya shared his amazing box art for the first two releases on March 8.
February 14: Weekly Asahi
When marketing began for Yamato 2199, the promo team’s policy was to go where their core audience (people in their 40s and 50s who grew up on the original) would see them. Thus, rather than anime magazines for kids and teenagers, they leaned toward lifestyle magazines, business magazines, etc. That policy continues here, in a weekly news publication from the Asahi Shimbun [newspaper]. This was the second mainstream magazine to put out a Yamato cover story (see Report 6 for the first) and the first to put entirely new artwork up front.
Inside were 13 pages devoted to 2202 featuring a retrospective on Farewell to Yamato, new mecha and character designs, a dual interview with Harutoshi Fukui (writer) and Daisuke Ono (Kodai), and two pages of trivia.
See all the pages here.
February 14/15: Online coverage
Two new interviews appeared on the 14th and 15th. Dmenu News talked with Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Hiroshi Kamiya (Kiman) while Dengeki Hobbyweb went a round with writer Harutoshi Fukui.
Find both of these interviews here.
February 15: Magazine coverage
Two more magazines got in line to be part of 2202 history. TV Life talked with Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and TV Station upped the stakes by publishing a dual interview with Ono and Kenichi Suzumura (Shima).
February 15: WCDA single
As covered in the last report, Will Cinderella Dance Again released a new 2-track single titled White Comet. Get it on iTunes now!
February 17: Official website update
“Yamato Friday” came around again with a nice fat update at the official website. The latest news item was that there would be a Yamato 2202 stage talk at Anime Japan 2017 to take place on March 26 featuring Daisuke Ono (Kodai), Harutoshi Fukui (writer), and Nobuyoshi Habara (director). Tickets to be won by lottery.
Second, a promo message for the limited edition Panasonic “Creator Q” electric fan, 2202 collaboration model edition (shown above). As described in Report 6, it’s a futuristic fan that blows air in multiple directions while also creating indirect lighting. This particular edition is limited to 333 units. Preorders will be taken through April 20 for a May release. See Panasonic’s product page here.
But the best part of this “Yamato Friday” was new additions to the character lineup (see our updated character guide here) and a fully-fleshed out mecha lineup presenting everything we see in Chapter 1.
This allowed for the creation of an English version, which can be seen here.
Finally, they did a big favor for all the truly obsessive Yamato fans by publishing complete lists of all the media appearances leading up to the premiere, whether in print, broadcast or digital. These lists were extremely valuable in the research for this report, so here’s hoping it becomes a habit.
February 17: 1/100 model on display
The now familiar 11-foot display model, previously seen at the preview event, appeared again in public when it returned to temporary residence at the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater. First built in 2014 for the touring art exhibition in advance of Ark of the Stars, it has now been updated with its 2202 modifications. Displayed all the way through February 28, it was a popular target for photographers, including the Yamatour 2017 adventure team.
See a photo gallery here.
February 18: Chapter 1 TV special
For those of us outside Japan, the best moments during the initial run of Yamato 2199 came when episode footage dropped on Youtube as a theatrical release approached. It became common practice for the first half of the opening episode to be shown in a TV special or live event and then immediately go global. If you wondered if that would be done again, you got your answer on this day.
A half-hour promo on Chapter 1 titled 2/25 Launch Memorial, Special Program of Love made its debut on Tokyo MX, to be followed three days later on BS11. Opening with on-stage footage from the February 6 preview event, it was split into three parts: a 2199 retrospective narrated by Eriko Nakamura (Mikage Kiryu), the first half of 2202 Episode 1, and on-camera comments by actors Houko Kuwashima (Yuki), Daisuke Ono (Kodai), Kenichi Suzumura (Shima), Hiroshi Kamiya (Kiman) and Sayaka Kanda (Teresa).
Once the TV special opened the gate, the first half of Episode 1 was released on Youtube. It was pulled by Bandai after Chapter 1 ended its theatrical run, but it’s been preserved here and here (for now).
See an interview clip (on a Twitter fan page for Daisuke Ono) here.
February 19: Wonder Festival 2017 Winter
The twice-yearly Wonder Festival is always a great place to look for forthcoming Yamato products and new items from the garage kit world, and this one got the job done.
See a photo gallery here.
February 19/20: Online coverage
Another round of interviews was added to the growing pile when Cinemas talked with Sayaka Kanda (Teresa), and both Animate Times and Anime Hack talked with Daisuke Ono & Houko Kuwashima (Kodai & Yuki).
Find all three of these interviews here.
February 20: Chapter 2 key art revealed
On this day, the official 2202 website announced that advance ticket sales for Chapter 2 would begin on February 25, the premiere date of Chapter 1. Those who purchased these tickets at participating theaters or from the Yamato Crew website would get a free poster of the new “Yamato in the hangar” key art.
This continued a nice tradition of reviving classic 1978 images in a new interpretation. This one mimics scenes from both Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2. We would later learn the release date for Chapter 2: June 24, 2017.
February 20: Magazine coverage
Entermix magazine added two more interviews to the growing list, one each with Sayaka Kanda (Teresa) and Daisuke Ono (Kodai). Read them here.
February 20: FMV commercial
FMV (Fujitsu Multimedia Vision) is a division of Fujitsu that focuses on personal computers, which sort of provides a connection into the high-tech digital world of Yamato. (A connection that wouldn’t have synced very well with the solid-state world depicted in the original saga.)
This was enough to form a promotional alliance, the result of which is Captain Okita pitching FMV products in the “Present of Love Campaign.” Amusingly, it opens with the line, “Kodai, board FMV!”
See the commercial on Youtube here.
February 20: Theater display in Hakata, Kyushu
One of the most remote of the 15 theaters showing Chapter 1 was the T-Joy in Hakata city, located in Kyushu at the far southern end of the country. Local fans carried the banner loud and proud when they loaned their vintage collectibles to the theater for a display. These photos were posted to Twitter by Yyboueki.
February 20: Promotion Meeting of Love, part 1 – What is Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love?
Similar to the Yamatrivia Swamp Youtube series that essentially closed out the 2199 experience in January, this one was entirely focused on 2202 with one episode per day being released up to the premiere of Chapter 1.
Hosted by anime commentator Osamu Kobayashi, the guests in each program were writer Harutoshi Fukui and director Nobuyoshi Habara. Together, the three talked for approximately an hour spread out over six episodes. It started with a basic introduction to the concept of Yamato 2202. Also featured was a short interview clip with Sayaka Kanda (Teresa).
February 21: Promotion Meeting of Love, part 2 – The story
This episode presented an overview of the story as inherited from both the original saga and Yamato 2199. Many of the points are also found in the various interviews cited elsewhere in this report, but it’s always good to see who’s making them. Also featured was a trailer and interview clip with Hiroshi Kamiya (Kiman).
See it on Youtube here.
February 21/22: Online coverage
Another wave of online articles hit over these two days from multiple sources. Dengeki Hobbyweb published a new online interview with series director Nobuyoshi Habara which can be found here.
Elsewhere, Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Harutoshi Fukui (writer) were interviewed by Dot Asahi, Kenichi Suzumura (Shima) was interviewed by Animate Times, and Ono and Suzumura were interviewed as a pair by Cinema Café and Pash Plus. Click on the links to read the interviews.
February 22: Promotion Meeting of Love, part 3 – Animation production
This episode visited Xebec Studio for a behind the scenes look at the various steps of the animation process from storyboards to key frames to digital coloring. Watch as Yamato 2202 comes to life through the skilled hands of the artists. Also features an interview clip with Kenichi Suzumura (Shima).
See it on Youtube here.
February 22/23: Magazine coverage
More print interviews rolled out as the Chapter 1 premiere loomed ever closer. An issue of PIA Movie Special talked with Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Hiroshi Kamiya (Kiman) while Junon magazine put the spotlight on Kamiya alone.
This coverage will be featured in a future update.
February 23: Promotion Meeting of Love, part 4 – Music
This episode focused on the work of composer Akira Miyagawa, continuing the task of updating his father’s legendary musical score for the original series. He is seen leading a recording of the Andromeda theme and performing the White Comet theme on pipe organ. Includes an interview clip with Houko Kuwashima (Yuki).
See it on Youtube here.
February 23: Yamato 2199 Promotional Video narrated by Eriko Nakamura
One more look back? Sure, why not! This 6-minute video contains key highlights of Yamato 2199, much like the digest videos that came as extras on the 2199 Blu-rays. The narrator Eriko Nakamura supplied the voice of Mikage Kiryu, but she performs out of character for this project.
See it on Youtube here.
February 23: Online coverage
More words rolled out with two days to go until the premiere. (If this is making you dizzy, imagine trying to keep up with it in real time!) Today, Sayaka Kanda (Teresa) took the spotlight with interviews on three different entertainment sites: Animate Times, OK Wave, and The Television.
Click on each name to read the interview.
See a video interview with Sayaka Kanda published on the same day here.
February 24: Promotion Meeting of Love, part 5 – Afreco [After Recording]
The topic this time was a look at the process of recording dialogue for animation. Watch as the voice actors deliver their contributions to the episode. Some images show raw animation, before the full visuals have been composited. Includes an interview clip with Daisuke Ono (Kodai).
See it on Youtube here.
The sixth episode was published a week later. You’ll find it near the end of this report.
February 24: Under Armour promotion
The Under Armour sponsorship came to fruition when Yamato merchandise went on sale in select movie theaters, hub stores, and their online shop. They also went where no sponsor has gone before when they commissioned a 90-second promotional video with custom animation that did NOT appear in Chapter 1.
Watch Ace Pilot Akira Yamamoto fly her mighty Cosmo Tiger I, clad in her Under Armour flight suit, as she launches to rescue Susumu Kodai from Garmillas security drones and a massive Gatlantean battleship. Elements from Episode 2 are combined with new shots for an enjoyable teaser of Chapter 1, with plenty of not-so-subtle product placement.
It is region-blocked on Youtube, but UA’s Twitter feed came to our rescue. See it here.
The video was part of a full-up display that was revealed in Under Armour’s Shibuya, Tokyo store on February 25 featuring the one-of-a-kind Akira Yamamoto flight suit (previously seen at the February 6 preview event). This was another stop on the Yamatour 2017 itinerary. See a photo gallery here.
The product lineup:
T-shirts: Yamato, Battleship, First Bridge
Compression T-shirts: Navigation, Combat, Pilot. Far right: towel
See these products in the Japanese online store here.
February 24: Yamato 2202 Beginners ~ 3-dimensional Yamato Girls dreaming of the rainbow
One of the more unusual – and memorable – side projects from 2199 was a weekly Nico Nico video webcast featuring the “Yamato girls,” cosplayers chosen to review Yamato news, watch the latest episode on TV, and look for every possible opportunity to enjoy themselves. Their program became a fan favorite and could be seen around the world for the low cost of a monthly Nico Nico membership.
This new 10-minute program picks up where that one left off. There has been no announcement yet of it becoming a series, but it’s got higher production values and one of its five real-life Yamato girls comes directly from the 2199 program: Sayako Toujo as Yuria Misaki. Joining her are Yumi Agawa as Niimi, Mari Ayoda as Harada, Wakana Hagiwara as Yuki, and Mizuki Tokuyama as Yamamoto. (Click on the names to visit their Twitter pages.)
The program can be watched without a Nico Nico membership here. It consists of a sitcom-style wraparound with a 2202 trailer, a 2199 clip, and various related shenanigans. They’ve indicated that more programs could follow if response is favorable, so let’s hope we get to see more of them!
Find more photos of the new Yamato Girls here.
February 24: Final pre-release coverage
With just one more day to go, we got two more interviews. Gigazine (digital) spoke with Harutoshi Fukui (writer) while TV Guide (print) spoke with both Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Hiroshi Kamiya (Kiman).
February 24: Yamato 2202 Newspaper
The biggest thing to happen on the last countdown day was a newspaper dedicated entirely to Yamato 2202. Sold at newsstands right along with all the standard dailies was this 32-page Yamato 2202 Newspaper from Sanspo (Sankei Sports).
Measuring out at a generous 11″ x 16″, it was the largest-format 2202 publication thus far, featuring story and character data, a report “from the year 2202” on the launch of the new Andromeda-type ships, a scientific piece on space warps, a 2-sided poster, staff & cast interviews (including an ultra-rare talk with Akira Yamamoto’s voice actress), and a look back at the original Farewell to Yamato.
Read the “launch report” here.
Read the Rie Tanaka interview here.
Read the Nobuyoshi Habara interview here.
Other translated text features will appear in a future update. Meanwhile, see it from cover to cover here.
February 24: Newspaper ads
Full page ads trumpeted the impending arrival in all the major papers and a significant number of magazines as well. At T-minus 24 hours and counting, Yamato fever was in the air.