After the gigantic month of January, there was ample momentum with Chapter 4 in theaters for most of the month leading right up to the home video release. Many live events and new product releases made it a month to remember. Here’s everything that went down…
February 2: Promotional Meeting of Love video part 5
Chapter 4 had been playing in theaters for almost a week as of this day, so the fifth and final installment of this series was a 20-minute deep-dive into the four new episodes with spoilers aplenty. The program finished with footage of Isao Sasaki singing the Yamato theme live on stage at the January 18 Teach-in event.
See this video on Youtube here.
February 2: RIP Hiroki Takagi
Hiroki Takagi was one of those workhorse animators whose name is practically unknown outside Japan, but almost every anime fan has seen his work on the screen. As a lifelong Yamato fan, he worked as an animation director on both Yamato 2199 and 2202. His prodigious credits also include Akira, Project A-ko, Maison Ikkoku, Nadia, Evangelion, Patlabor, Bleach, and many more. (See a longer list at Anime News Network here.)
He died of influenza on February 2. Yamato character designer Nobuteru Yuuki attended his funeral on February 8 and posted the sketch above on Twitter with the message: “Hiroki Takagi’s funeral is over. I feel like this. Yamato is still in the middle of the road and the hole left by Mr. Takagi is huge, but everyone will carry on. I will take over.”
Read more here.
February 2&3: Stage greetings
Despite the loss of Mr. Takagai, Director Nobuyoshi Habara and Writer Harutoshi Fukui soldiered on into the second weekend of Chapter 4’s run in theaters. They appeared at three screenings in southern Japan: Osaka on Friday, then Kobe and Kyoto on Saturday. Several photos appeared on Twitter, and – for the first time – a transcription of their Q&A with the Osaka audience was published at the official 2202 website.
Read it and see more photos of their weekend adventure here.
February 3: Theater cards, set 2
Theaters had a new set of replica genga [original art] to give away for the second weekend. The image of the Andromeda bridge (top right) is an artifact from 1978.
February 8: Yamatalk night
Fresh from their weekend trip (and the just-held funeral for Hiroki Takagi), Habara and Fukui were reunited with scriptwriter Hideki Oka for another Yamatalk event at the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater. Joining them for his first 2202 appearance was novelizer Yuka Minagawa. There was no transcript for this one, but you can read an interview with Minagawa here.
February 10: Sanuki Film Festival
This was an event that sort of didn’t happen. Writer Harutoshi Fukui and voice actor Eriko Nakamura were scheduled to attend a screening in the city of Ayagawa (in southern Japan) but found themselves stranded in an airport due to bad weather. This photo was posted on the 2202 Production Committee’s Twitter page with an apology to everyone that the best they could do was Skype their conversation to the audience.
February 10: Newtype, March 2018 issue
This became the third issue of Newtype to feature a Yamato 2202 side story in text form, created by Harutoshi Fukui and written by novelizer Yuka Minagawa.
As before, it also included a full-spread illustration by manga artist Michio Murakawa. Newtype and the 2202 novelizations are both published by Kadokawa, so it all belongs to the same body of work.
February 10: Theater cards, set 3
The third and final set of replica genga was an all-character pack featuring Teresa, Shima, and a classic early design for Sabera (1978).
February 15: Yamatalk night
The third Yamatalk night of the month took place as Chapter 4 neared the end of its third week in theaters. Some would discontinue it at that point, but others kept it going for a fourth week. On stage this time were Fukui, Habara, and scriptwriter Hideki Oka.
February 17: Yuki Mori Armor Girl Figure
This unusual and much-anticipated figure was released by Bandai’s Tamashii Nations division, combining a remodeled Figuarts Yuki Mori with mecha elements from Yamato itself to give users a wide range of configurations. To get an idea of how wide that range can go, visit the Tamashii Nations blog here, or take a look at this photo gallery.
February 18: Yamato Lecture 18
This ongoing fan event returned to the Loft Plus One nightclub/bar in Tokyo for a new session that brought together three experts on the topic of Yamato music to discuss the soundtrack for 2202. Fans could get three different coasters (above left) and purchase a pair of doujinshi. One contained promo illustrations from past lectures and the other was an encyclopedia of music from the original TV series.
February 18: Akira Miyagawa Festival concert
2199/2202 composer Akira Miyagawa conducted a live performance of his many popular pieces at the ACT City concert hall in Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Prefecture). Longtime Yamato fan Aoi2199 attended and posted these photos on Twitter, noting that this same venue was the site of Hiroshi Miyagawa’s memorial concert in 2007. A poster from that event containing multiple autographs was displayed in the lobby.
February 18: Wonderfest 2018 Winter
Wonder Festival kicked off a new year of hobby show events with plenty of Yamato 2202 products to arrest the eyeballs. Bandai grabbed everyone’s attention with a display case containing 2202 model kits and a previously-unrevealed set of one-of-a-kind 3D printed reference models used by Director Nobuyoshi Habara for drawing reference.
Naturally, fans flooded Twitter with photos. See a gallery here, along with other Yamato goodies from the event.
February 20: Products announced
On this day, the Yamato Crew website opened preorders for five new leather goods coming from Bandai, wallets and cases in multiple sizes for personal objects. They are scheduled for release in mid-June.
February 23: Chapter 4 home video
Chapter 4 ran for four weeks in some Japanese theaters, meaning that its final day on the big screen coincided perfectly with its release on home video. Those who purchased it from Yamato Crew would receive voice-recording scripts for each episode, and those who ordered from Amazon received the fourth exclusive drama CD, written by Harutoshi Fukui and performed by the original cast.
Titled First time only! Ship-wide ultra quiz, it runs almost the same length as an anime episode (22 minutes) and subjects several characters to a game show-type quiz run by the ship’s computer. Needless to say, this isn’t part of the main story.
February 23: V Storage interview
Bandai Visual’s promotional website/magazine published a new interview with Writer Harutoshi Fukui on this day, all about the developments in Chapter 4 and some new hints about Chapter 5.
Read it here.
February 23: Yamato Crew video boxes
Yamato Crew delighted fans everywhere when they released these 2202 video storage boxes with a wraparound illustration by mecha designer Junichiro Tamamori. As with all products sold through the site, they are shipped to Japanese addresses only. But if you have a Japanese friend, give it a shot.
See the listings here.
February 24: Mecha Collection model kit 02
Yamato became the second new kit in the mini-lineup, following Andromeda. Like the title ship itself, this is not identical to the 2199 version, featuring the same design adjustments seen in the anime.
Get a good look at it in a photo gallery here.
At this same time, the next several Mecha Collection models were announced: a Kalaklum in April (single and double sets), an Apollo Norm in May, and a recolored Cosmo Falcon in June.
February 25: Hobby Japan #586
This month’s Hobby Japan magazine ran a generous 7-page article featuring a big-scale custom-built Kalaklum and a few other original works that made use of the newest Bandai models. See all the pages from this article here.
February 26: Akira Yamamoto figure
Megahouse’s newest addition to the 1/8 Yamato Girls Collection was this striking “pilot suit version” of Akira Yamamoto. Standing about 9” tall, she is imagined on a hanger deck about to take flight.
February 27: Dengeki Hobby Web announcement
Dengeki was the first to announce the next release in the 1/2000 “Shining Ships” metal miniatures lineup from Bandai: the Earth Federation Battleship Dreadnought. Following Andromeda and Yamato, this 2-ship set will have the same intricate craftsmanship with pre-painted hulls, moving gun turrets, and internal lighting.
They also come with an optional mirrored display stand for full viewing. The set is scheduled to be released in July.
Visit the official site for the “Shining Ships” line here.
Also spotted in February
Makoto Kobayashi on Twitter
Every month, Assistant Director Makoto Kobayashi uploads a bigger collection of photos from his workshop where he builds prototype models and customizes them to a degree seen nowhere else. See a gallery of his February projects here.
Character and mecha modeling took a big uptick in February as well. See all the latest Twitter finds here.
Adjacent to the modeling world, Twitter user Pancyooo assembled an interesting set of objects at 1/2000 scale: the “Shining Ship” miniatures of Yamato and Andromeda, and another of Tokyo Tower.
Paper modeling has been a national pastime in Japan forever, so it should come as no surprise that a paper Yamato could look as polished as a plastic one. This photo was posted on Twitter by Namanini, who works for papercraft company Etsutan. They don’t yet have a license to sell Yamato vessels, but there are plenty of them on display at their website here.
Japanese cosplayer Haruyuki Akiyama (who goes by the online handle Harunosuk) returned to form by tweeting these pics of herself as Yuki Mori…
…and these of the lesser-known crewmember Itano, which is a truly deep dive into the roster. And speaking of deep dives…
Twitter user Calci shared this vintage photo of himself and other fans waiting overnight to see the first Yamato movie at a Shibuya, Tokyo theater in 1977. He added this note: “Since I am wearing a Yamato uniform, the concept of cosplay was already there.”
Twitter user Sergeant Kujira shared this tidbit from the instruction manual for the 1/1000 Aldebaran model kit. Although we haven’t yet seen him in the anime, there is a captain for this ship, and according to the information here his name is Kouzou Tani.
“Sergeant Kujira” also has a Yamato-heavy blog that’s worth a regular visit. Find it here.
Yamato theme on metal disc
Yamato fan Aoi2199 shared this interesting find on Twitter, direct from the Hamanako Music Box Museum, which specializes in automatic musical instruments. This metal disc predates LP records and was designed to play on a music box called a Polyphon which dates back to 1870. This particular disc, for reasons that defy explanation, contains the Yamato theme.
Apollo Norm sighting
Twitter user Yurikonekoneko visited a theater in Kobe and spotted a 1/1000 Apollo Norm model kit on display in the lobby. The kit is due out at the end of March.
In related news, Kia Asamiya generously shared his box art for the 1/1000 model kit on Twitter shortly before this report was published. Visit his Twitter page here.
An ongoing bit of merchandising that doesn’t often get covered here is the “print bromide” series that runs concurrent with movie releases. Managed by Banpresto, the division of Bandai that specializes in prize campaign swag, these are similar to trading cards, though they fill a sheet of paper. You win them in by lottery and get them printed out for you on the spot. Here’s a selection of available images from Chapter 4.
Legendary voice actor Akira Kamiya, who played Kato in the original series, has a Twitter page at which he posted these vintage photos of himself with the even more legendary Kei Tomiyama (Kodai). The caption read: “I found another photo with Mr. Tomiyama, my senior who I loved. He was loved by everyone.”