From the Yamato 2202 Chapter 2 program book, June 24, 2017.
Seeking the unknown planet Telezart, Yamato has departed again
by Harutoshi Fukui
To all of you who were ignited by the poster of Chapter 1, we’re sorry to have kept you waiting for Launch Chapter. You’ll certainly see the 2202 version of “Yamato launching out of the ocean.”
But why is Yamato launching again now? Here, I’d like to take up the history of the project regarding the circumstances that you will see in the main story. The story is famous that Yamato was not Yamato in the early planning stage. At that time, Yamato was built by hollowing out a huge rock “Asteroid Ship” (there is an intentional homage in Episode 3 of Chapter 2), and the idea to retrofit it into the motif of the real Battleship Yamato was an afterthought. The crew seemed to be made up of international members selected from around the world, and although we might like to see such a version, it didn’t turn out like that.
(Read the original Asteroid Ship proposal here.)
From here it becomes a story of my selfish imagination. Since the time I decided on the title for this Yamato, I have come to think the original production team was unconsciously taken into that spirit. In other words, the concept of “Grand scale SF roman” naturally occurs along with “fictional war”…which probably set the tone of the work.
At that time, thirty years had passed since World War II. The first postwar generation included impressionable boys who began to gain decision-making power at the center of society. The production team in those days got the spirit of the language of Yamato, which resulted in words that could only be said to the generation of that time: “I regret with my tears that I have become a destroyer.” I salute that sincerity from the figure of Susumu Kodai, which was the same as that of the makers.
Since the concept was of a grudge-laden battleship soundly defeating an enemy nation, wouldn’t there be hearty gratification and a raising of drinks if that enemy was completely annihilated? Instead, it was unusual for the hero to show regret and compassion as a criticism of a contemporary competitive society in which the cause of war was preserved in the rat race. Surely, the production team at the time marched onto Yamato along with Kodai and I think tears were shed. Thus, Yamato provoked a spirit that exceeded fiction.
As for the peace we obtained from the time of reconstruction to the present day, Farewell to Yamato supported the point that we may lose our humanity as one of the costs of development, which was Yamato‘s generalization of the first generation after the war. Those words stuck in the heart of those of us in the following generations. In a similar case, another work exists that objectifies war as trauma; Godzilla, which recently reappeared in Tokyo again.
Godzilla was created as a metaphor for the atomic bomb, and when the first film was made less than ten years after the end of the war, the term “air raid” was still in the chest of many viewers and the portrayal of urban destruction was very real. At that time the memories of war were beginning to lose their rawness, and there were probably also words that could only be understood by a specific generation. When we think about it, the revival of Godzilla and Yamato doesn’t seem to be accidental.
Memories of war have weathered, but rather than only seeing them through historical films, it is still only a short time since we experienced a national crisis with the great Tohoku earthquake (2011). Just as Shin Godzilla stands as a metaphor of the earthquake disaster, Yamato 2202 has an embedded keyword that synchronizes with Japan after the earthquake. Rather than just a gimmick, it was a natural part of the process in doing the homework left behind by 2199, a nest that lead to a circumstance beyond the speculation of the original maker.
A monster as the embodiment of a disaster, and the power of words that made Yamato into a strong memento. In those times they invoked words that could only speak to that generation. If so, we may also have been invited without being aware of it. Whether it’s possible to respond or not, it can only speak to those of us who witness in real time the difficulty of restoration after the earthquake. I want to believe that there’s a story in there to talk about.