Space Battleship Yamato ‘Fancy Goods’
The term sounds a bit lightweight for merchandising from a hard-driving SF adventure story, so it may come as somewhat of a relief to learn that ‘Fancy Goods’ was actually inherited, not invented for Yamato. Anime and manga spinoff products first appeared in the 1960s, and by the early 70s there was a steady stream of what are now called ‘Character Goods.’ The best American example of this could be found in the Star Wars era, when massive licensing programs put Star Wars characters and logos on any number of everyday objects.
These days, such merchandising is endemic in Japan. If you have a favorite anime series, you can populate your home or office with any number of dedicated trinkets and tchochkes found at your local stores. Back in the 70s, the primary conduit for this stuff was mail order from girls’ magazines. Hence the term ‘Fancy Goods.’
Below are many of the Space Battleship Yamato products that fell into this category. There were plenty more to be found in stores (beginning in October 1977), but these had the distinction of being offered through the Yamato fan club at a discount to members. Those that survive to this day have become fodder for serious collectors, which means they are seldom used for their original purpose. (You wouldn’t seriously grind up a Yamato pencil just to write something, would you? Sacrilege!)
From the realm of apparel, we have three different styles of apron to keep the model glue off your clothes while building the newest Yamato kit. The apron shown above center is reversible, depending on whether or not you want to display the confused-looking Kodai and Yuki.
Two styles of pewter belt buckles. Because the last thing you need is for your pants to drop while standing in a movie line.
Multiple styles of cellophane-coated shopping bags to haul around your Yamato loot.
Yamato duffel bags in two colors, black or white. Remember, all duffels do not look alike.
Viva variety: you can also opt for the weather-proof vinyl bag or two styles of cloth shoulder bag.
Now you have no excuse to be bagless in a Yamato world.
Back to school or the office? Don’t forget your Yamato binder (left), file book pages (center) or the trusty Yamato clipboard (right).
Here’s another binder that carried the full English text synopsis of the movie, lifted from the program book. Such text was common for anime merchandise in the late 70s and early 80s; practically every series and film had English-language press kits for overseas sales, and using the text on products like this gave them an international mystique.
Got a message to send to that faroff crew member? There are Yamato greeting cards in all shapes and sizes
for every conceivable occasion. Let’s start with the simpler designs (at left) and move up the line…
Below, the standard short-message model to dash off quick “thinking-of-you” or “get- well-soon” notes.
Next are slightly bigger and more roomy versions for longer notes. Like a description of what happened to you on Titan today.
Then there are the all-color cards, just right for a decent love note.
Getting more elaborate, here are the A.D. 2199 Story Cards, which don’t tell much of a story
and don’t give you much room to write anything unless you continue on the back.
And closing out the line there is the oversize edition with a one-of-a-kind Starsha portrait.
Big enough and sentimental enough to pour out your deepest feelings in excruciating detail.
At last, Yamato can absorb sweat, tears, and nose-juice alike in each of these many handkerchiefs.
You can even pack one for each liquid.
How many times have you looked at that plain old t-shirt or gym bag and thought,
“if only I had a Yamato iron-on for this, my life would be perfect?”
Iron-ons were made in several shapes and sizes, even ganged up in multiples for the less picky fans.
The character art was unique to this set, and was never reprinted elsewhere.
You could take notes at Yamato club meetings with any of these custom notebooks, or the spiral-bound version
shown below right with its flip-cover: Kodai on one side and Yuki on the other.
More ephemera: postcards and a notepad, ready for service at a moment’s notice.
Pencil boards (or ‘Shitajiki’ in the native language) have been common in Japan for decades, less so in other countries. Their purpose was to provide a hard surface to slip between the sheets of a notepad that didn’t come with a hard backing. This was evidently a common problem if the abundance of pencil boards is any indication. Of course, any flat surface is fair game for an image, so the Yamato pencil boards were born. Naturally, most were durable enough to survive for decades and are just as useful today as they ever were.
Another trinket unique to Japan: a pocket-sized, accordian-style memo pad with metal plates for covers at opposite ends.
No notebook or binder to keep those papers together? No problem!
This set of industrial-strength Yamato paper clips was ready to serve.
The wristwatch shown above was sold as a Yamato product despite its total lack of any word or image that would tie it in.
The towels shown to the right made up for this with undeniable flair. The Starsha image was a redo of a Matsumoto painting.
Simple, elegant, and understated, this poster-sized wall clock was perfect for telling you how long you
still had to wait for the next episode.
And last but not least, we leave you with a set of 25 postcards that must have brightened up thousands of mailboxes. Naturally, Dessler’s card stands apart.