The official Space Battleship Yamato fan club was founded by Office Academy at the end of 1977 in the wake of the tremendous success of the first movie. By this time, hundreds of private clubs had formed all over Japan, and the official club was established to provide them with an information conduit directly from the head office. These magazines were passionately devoured by Yamato fans throughout the history of the saga, and today they provide a fascinating snapshot of the times.
Fan Club magazine #4 was published in June, 1978. At this time, the theatrical premiere of Farewell to Yamato was only two months away, and fans’ excitement had reached feverish proportions. Here you can access fan club magazine #4 from cover to cover. Remember that all pages read right to left, as is the case with most Japanese publications. English headlines in red were added to help identify the subject of an article.
Click here to see the entire magazine.
Featured below is translated text for all the major articles. Translation by Earnest and Sumiko Migaki, edited by Tim Eldred.
Yamato Launches, to the Far Reaches of Space; Yamato Brings Back Eternal Love and Peace
Press Conference at the Imperial Hotel, May 24, 1978
On May 24th, 1978, the production staff held an interview event at Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel to discuss with an eager audience the upcoming nationwide release of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, Soldiers of Love on August 5th. After the press conference, Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, Leiji Matsumoto, and others participated in a meeting of the Kanto fan club.
The Pioneers of the SF Boom
When the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind became a big hit and Star Wars took the spotlight for six months, they led the way to this summer’s SF Boom, which is currently taking the country by storm. However, five years before these two films came to the box office, Space Battleship Yamato was already a hit with SF and Anime fans around the country, who showed just as much appreciation for the anime as they now do for the American films. Yamato was also the pioneer of the grand scale epic, since it predated the current SF Boom.
“Considering where we were a year ago, this is like a dream,” said Producer Nishizaki as he began his speech. No doubt these are truly the words of the man who pioneered the genre of Space Anime.
The Passion of the Event
As the press and other media crowded the scene, setting off a blinding series of camera flashes, various members of the staff including Producer Nishizaki, Directors Toshio Masuda and Leiji Matsumoto, Composer Hiroshi Miyagawa, Toei PresidentShigeru Okada, Animation Director Tomoharu Katsumata and singer Isao Sasaki were in attendance. There were also over 250 members from the Kanto fan club. Fans with tape recorders and cameras gathered around the panels displaying the new battleships, tanks, costumes and character designs.
DJ Yasuhiro Ando of Nippon Broadcasting brought a measured air of relaxation to the event with his light humor. Producer Nishizaki went on to explain some of the details of the new production, then Isao Sasaki sang the Yamato theme and The Scarlet Scarf, among others. He also performed a new song, Starsha, Thoughts Among the Stars as well. [Editor’s note: this was an “image song” derived from the first movie, which was released as a single two and a half weeks after this event.]
During the Q&A session, Producer Nishizaki, Leiji Matsumoto and Mr. Miyagawa went through a whirlwind of different topics. Mr. Matsumoto had to really hustle during the Q&A session. When he nearly revealed secrets about the movie, Producer Nishizaki was hard-pressed to stop him before he gave away too much.
Secrets of Yamato leaked to the public?
“I really wish I could say more,” said Mr. Matsumoto, earning laughter from the crowd. Actually, he prefers the easy-going atmosphere of talking with fans, since they offer a more relaxed environment than formal interviews.
The time flew by quickly, and when the autograph session ended, the event was over. We believe the attendees recieved their greatest gift by knowing that Yamato would rise up once again to defend our beloved Earth from the threats of outer space.
Message From the Producer
As Kodai brought the great Gamilas Empire to its knees, I often wondered if his actions were justified. Should he have fought them, or attempted to parley for a more peaceful solution? And perhaps the enemy had their own reasons for attacking the earth. By the end of Yamato, Kodai begins to understand the true implications of love. Love becomes one of the main themes for Yamato Part II, and Kodai must undergo even harsher situations because of his newly found understanding.
Could you die for your loved ones? In the face of an enemy, could you throw down your life to protect the someone you love? This is the situation Kodai is about to confront.
Beyond the entertainment aspects of the epic SF Action drama, I wanted to focus on the love of humanity, the love between men and women, the love of family and the myriad paths these themes travel.
New Fashion Design
Trendy fashion designer Yukiko Hanai created costume designs for Yuki Mori. This was a first for the anime movie industry. Her designs could actually be worn by a real person.
The Pipe Organ was used for the Theme of Evil
A pipe organ was used in the orchestra for the “Ultimate Evil” of Gatlantis’ Great Emperor Zordar. This was unique for a movie soundtrack. Although the pipe organ is typically used for religious music, it gave the theme a dynamic impact.
Lots of Powerful Mecha
A great many mecha were created for this production, ranging from the White Comet Empire’s spaceships to an Android Army. The new battleship Andromeda was the focus for the Earth forces. Because this is SF, we wanted to keep coming up with new mecha designs.
Checking and Rechecking the Production Work
The script and storyboard took four months to complete. Day in and day out we continually had meetings late into the night. We also went to Hawaii to see the American SF movies, Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to add to our research. No other animation staff went to such lengths to prepare a production.
The Yamato Part II Q&A Session By the Kanto Fan Club
We wanted to know more about Yamato, Kodai the mecha, etc. Producer Nishizaki answered our questions, causing us to forget the passage of time…
Q: How did the people of Earth react to the crew of Yamato after they destroyed Gamilas? Were they understanding of Yamato‘s situation, or were they unsympathetic towards them?
Nishizaki: If we, as the production staff, believe that Earth people should solve problems with only love and understanding, then Yamato‘s actions would be considered a mistake. But in the real world, if we are to protect those we love from those who would threaten us, there comes a time when we must confront the enemy and do whatever it takes to defend ourselves. That is the theme for this movie.
Q: Are there any differences between the new mecha and the previous production?
Nishizaki: There are no major physical changes to Yamato, nor any upgrades in her weaponry. Basically, we wanted to pit the old Yamato against the technology of the enemy. This is the core attribute, or spirit, of Yamato. Merely fighting new weaponry with even newer weaponry is not what Yamato is about.
Q: Dessler makes an appearance again. What is his role this time with regards to the Earth?
Nishizaki: Dessler is under a female commander in Emperor Zordar’s Empire. However, his bravery is more like that of Earth’s people than Zordar’s people. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal anything else at this time.
Q: In the previous production there were many things that strayed from reality, like Jupiter having only nine moons, or the Greater Magellanic Cloud being farther from the Earth than the Smaller Magellanic Cloud. Also, the explosions in space weren’t realistic. How is the current production dealing with these issues?
Matsumoto: You’re right about the moons of Jupiter. Regarding the Magellanic Clouds, well, we knew the facts, but the illustrator of that scene gave a different impression. We also knew that explosions in space are different from what we showed, but if things were made too close to reality, we felt it wouldn’t be dramatic enough. We had done a lot of research on the first production, but for the most part you can say that the explosions are still fairly similar to what you’d see on Earth.
Q: Why aren’t there any plastic models available for the cool mecha? The last production didn’t have any either! (laughs)
Nishizaki: The production staff has been saying the same thing, but so far we haven’t been able to make them available. At the same time, we wanted to make sure that when the models did become available, they weren’t focused only on Yamato. Dessler has some good mecha on his side, and we also wanted to make available the technically superior mecha of Gatlantis as well.
Q: Will you be using the same voice actors this time? Who will be doing the voices for the new characters?
Nishizaki: The previous actors will remain the same. We’re currently casting the voices for the newer characters.
Q: We really liked Kazuko Kawashima’s vocal. [the solo female voice heard in the Infinity of Space theme.] What will she be doing for this production?
Miyagawa: I liked it, too! I suppose it wouldn’t work at the beginning of this movie, though.
Nishizaki: Some of the movie will use music from the previous production. We want the theme and image of Yamato to remain the same, since it is an important and integral part of the production.
Producer Nishizaki Speaks; Yamato is the Theme for My Life
The countdown to Farewell to Yamato is on. We talked with Producer Nishizaki at the music recording studio during hectic rehearsals…
Question 1: Previously, it was called Space Battleship Yamato, but this time it’s called Farewell. Will this be the end? Won’t there be any more after this?
-Michiro Izawa, 14 yrs old
Question 2: The previous Yamato was turned into a movie from the TV series. Are there any plans to make a TV series from this movie? And if this is the case, will there be more to the story?
-Nobuko Adachi, 18 yrs old
Answer: The final scene of the movie will make the Farewell in the title clear for everyone to see. I regret to say that even you fan club members will just have to wait and see the movie, since I’m not going to reveal anything else right now. Having said that, just because the title says Farewell doesn’t mean a permanent parting of ways.
Why a Third Movie Won’t be Made
Let me explain why a third movie won’t be made. In the first movie, the theme of love ended rather abstractly, and as the Producer, I couldn’t let it go like that. So, when we began making this second feature, I wanted to solidify the themes of both love and life. Having done this in this movie, I’m really not sure where to take it from here.
If another feature were to be made, I suppose the world would be an idealized one where conflicts are resolved through love and understanding. That would be so removed from our current reality that it wouldn’t make for a good drama. For example, how would we depict action scenes in such a society? I just feel that it isn’t necessary to make another feature.
TV Broadcast Starts October 7th
The TV version basically follows the same storyline as the movie. For the film, you only have 2.5 hours to show the entire story. In the TV version, however, the drama can unfold in greater detail, whether it’s a love story or an action scene.
Another disadvantage with movies is you cannot have action, climax, and resolution repeat over and over again in the given time frame. In a TV series, on the other hand, you can focus on one theme per episode and have a climax and resolution that ultimately leads to the next episode. The chance to offer storylines with much greater detail has great appeal. We’re doing much more than splitting the movie up into 26 TV episodes. There are many differences between the two mediums that should offer plenty to enjoy when watching them.
We’ll be starting the TV series on October 7th , every Saturday at 7pm. I said 26 episodes a moment ago, but it really depends on how the story comes out, it may be expanded to 39 episodes should it prove necessary. At any rate, we’re certain that there will be plenty of things in the TV version to please the fans and meet their high expectations.
This comic strip was reprinted from a fanzine called Arcadia. The title reads “Sukebe [pervert] Robot Analyzer.” Tired of having her skirt constantly yanked up by Analyzer, Yuki asks Sandor for some technical help…
See this entire magazine (with non-translated pages)here