Early Yamato Fanzines

Anime fans in Japan today have it easy. Anime fans elsewhere have it relatively easy. For just about everything that gets released, there will be internet and magazine coverage, an art book of some kind, music and video, the works. Back in the early and mid-1970s, this was only a faroff dream. In those days, fans were lucky to get anything that allowed them to expand their knowledge of their favorite show. This was particularly true of Yamato, which was around for almost three long years before anything substantial appeared in print.

So if a dedicated fan wanted something more, they had to make it themselves. Fortunately for all of us, that’s exactly what they did.

Fanzines existed long before Yamato, of course, going all the way back to the first half of the 20th century when fantasy and science fiction fans banged off news, reviews and opinions on clattering, solid-state typewriters. Some of their ‘zines turned into real magazines, others provided springboards for writing careers. The fanzine phenomenon got a later start in Japan (described by the local term ‘doujinshi’), but when early anime fans got the creative itch, they caught up quickly. Doujinshis practically exploded in the 70s with each new anime series that caught someone’s interest. During the most pivotal period of this phenomenon, the lion’s share of them were dedicated to Yamato.

We’ve already seen what fans are doing with Space Battleship Yamato today, thanks to this article by doujinshi collector Carol Hutchings. The first generation of Yamato ‘zines was similar in terms of output, but their goals were very different. Their first task was simply to disseminate data in order to (A) reassure each other that they weren’t alone in their devotion, and (B) lay down a foundation that everyone could build on.

And build they did! It is difficult to determine exactly how many fanzines poured out of the first-generation fan clubs, so it’s impossible to guess what percentage is represented here. But this sampling, which roughly covers the years 1975 to 1980, is certainly enough to grasp the wide range of quality and creativity that was devoted to keeping Yamato alive.

Click here to visit the vintage archive and see complete doujinshis from cover to cover.

Negal No. 1

Negal No. 9

Plantmen 129

Plantmen 226

Negal was the newsletter of the Space Battleship Yamato Fan Club, a group that formed during the original broadcast. Issue 1 appeared in February 1975, making it the first known Yamato ‘zine. It contained staff interviews and production art, indicating that the group must have had studio access like the CBYL. Negal stopped in March 1976 with issue 9 and the club dissolved, but Yamato Fan Club II formed in its wake and resumed publishing with Neo Negal.

Plantmen, which ran for an undetermined number of issues, was the creation of Plant Men Club. It contained a serialized parody called Space Battleship Jamato, a good example of fandom’s playful side.

Iscandar Vol. 1

Iscandar Vol. 4

Iscandar Vol. 6

Yamato Cel Copy

Iscandar was the fanzine of Cosmo Battleship Yamato Connection (CBYC), which formed during the first reruns of the series in fall, 1975. It started small but gained popularity after being written up in the June 1977 OUT magazine. Through a combination of artwork, stills, storyboards, and scripts, it serialized the TV story over several issues. The staff added a dose of fun by casting themselves as Yamato crewmembers.

Yamato Cel Copy (above right) was a 32-page ‘zine from CBYC that contained production cel art.

Valelus Vol. 1 (March, 1978)

Yamato Essay

Star Cross

Yamato Data Collection Part II

Valelus was published by a club named Rajendora, and collected mecha design sheets by Leiji Matsumoto. Yamato Essay was a longform text analysis by Fantasy Creation Group. Star Cross was a one-shot with character and mecha designs, published by Yamato City. Data Collection was published by Nova Animation Books and contained model sheets obtained from Studio Nue.

Yamato Fan Alliance Vol. 1 (Aug ’77)

Yamato Fandom Vol. 1 (1977)

Shock Cannon Vol. 1 (1977)

Shock Cannon Vol. 4 (1978)

Yamato FC No. 1 (pre-1977)

Mother Town #2 (1978)

Titan Vol. 9 (1978)

FCC Yamato (1978)

Yamato FCM No. 3 (1978)

Space Battleship Musashi (parody manga, 1978)

Yamato Technical Manual (1978)

Great Caricature Production (1978)

Cosmo No. 1 (1978)

Diktator Vol. 4 (1978)

Ushichaman Vol. 2 (1978)

Zero No. 1 (1978)

Zero No. 2 (1978)

EGG Vol. 2 (1978)

Wave-Motion Gun Vol. 1 (1978)

Anitac Vol. 1 (1978)

Yamato Parody (1978)

Asteroid #1 (1978)

Phantom II (1979)

Telesa (1979)

Yamato Member Report

Legend of Yamato Vol. 1

Yamato Fan Union: Warp Vol. 6

Yamato Special Review No. 2

Magellan No. 3

Ana Stasia Vol. 1

Yamato Mystery of 99

The End

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