In March, the high-end LalaBit Market division of Bandai released an unusual product indeed: a bottle of “Deslar Wine,” custom-packaged with its own stemware, two commemorative cards, and a high-quality reproduction of the Gamilas medal of honor. No report has yet surfaced about the wine itself, though it’s doubtful that any serious collector would dare to open it.
They followed this a month later with the super-cool Cosmo Zero motorcycle helmet as worn by Kodai himself. It came with a cloth bag, face shield, and bonus money clip. Both this helmet and the wine set were released by Lalabit Market, Bandai’s online boutique for high-end anime products. Browse their website here. Don’t forget your drool cup. The source of the Black Tiger windbreaker (below right) is currently a mystery, but it’s definitely a perfect pairing!
In December, Bandai broke ground again with the Space Battleship Yamato pedometer. In earlier times, this would have been a pre-fab gadget with an interchangeable sticker to tie it in with whatever was hot at the moment. But in the days of digital technology, all sorts of new custom options become possible. Part exercise moniter, part video game, the pedometer came with three preprogrammed elements: a progressive story mode in which events are revealed when a user reaches specific milestones, a health mode in which Dr. Sado delivers fitness advice, and a Warp mode in which the user physically interacts with a battle scene.
A backstory supplied with the pedometer goes as follows: In 2008, the Earth (your body) was attacked by mysterious alien planet bombs (health neglect, excessive drinking, gluttony, lack of exercise) from the Gamilas Empire and was on the verge of extinction. The body’s internal organs were polluted by fat and the human waited for slow extinction in the basement. However, information about an “internal organ fat removal device” (Metabo Cleaner) arrives from a distance of 148,000 light years. The state of the art Yamato is equipped with a new wave-motion walking engine to go the distance. The human will reach extinction in only 90 days…
Another added bonus was an interactive website to allow users to enhance their pedometer service. There are almost certainly a whole world of fans who could benefit!
Of course, the biggest Yamato event of 2009 was the theatrical release of Yamato Resurrection, the first new film in 26 years. Its first official products turned out to be textiles. The 13″ x 31″ bath towels shown above combine old artwork with a blurb for the new film at the bottom. The tote bag was a promotional giveaway at convenience stores in June, 2009. The number was limited to 30,000. Naturally, this was only the beginning of a massive new wave of merchandising. Our complete coverage of it begins here.
A real-world version of Dessler’s wine goblet was released in Japan, a co-production of two companies named Aoshima and Skynet. This was was a reproduction of a special prize given away at a pachinko rollout event earlier in the year.
Anime World Star, a specialty goods store in Japan, frequently makes original licensed products. In the past they’ve marketed Yamato pencil boards by Keisuke Masunaga, character designer of the Playstation games. On December 11 they added “Choco Pan” to the list; chocolate bread in a can. They have released other Yamato products in the past and continue to do so today. (In fact, another new AWS product is coming right up.)
Anime World Star released two sets of postcards (for a total of 8).
The Roman Temple company of Japan released a set of 6 “poster towels” late in December. This is a bit of a misnomer; they’re printed on a fabric that is much too thin to use as a towel, but they can definitely function as posters. Each measures about 18″ x 24.” The first four reproduce original movie posters, and the last two are from Yamato Resurrection.
The “Spaceship Pins Collection” was released as a co-production by Plex and Yamato Toys. Limited to 1,000 sets, it included 43 different pins with five spaceships from Yamato Resurrection. See an enlarged image here.
Organic Hobby Co. signed on as a major licensor of Yamato Resurrection products in 2009 and began a slow rollout of merchandise over the summer that exploded (along with everything else) in December. They released a new wave of goodies in February that commemorated the film but used older images from the original production years. This included two styles of childrens’ t-shirts (each in several trim colors) that marked the anniversary of Resurrection‘s production.
Organic’s t-shirts were derived from this larger set released at the same time by a company called President Japan.
Organic’s first release was actually the pair of towels from June 2009. Smaller versions of these came out in February 2010 along with matching washcloths.
Finally, Organic had these products for fans on the go, all of which were manufactured by President Japan: a set of five egg-shaped ballpoint pens with Yamato characters, an aluminum lunchbox, and a cooler bottle.
Bandai added some more Yamato apparel to the growing pile on February 1, issuing the T-shirts shown above left and center through their online Lalabit Market. They took this opportunity to reissue two previous T-shirt designs from 2005; a straight-up ship profile (above right)…
…and the truly inspired crew shirt above. One of these actually made international news when this photo from the International Space Station was released on April 10. That’s JAXA astronaut and ISS Expedition 23 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi, a veteran of Discovery’s STS-114 mission (see him on YouTube here). He arrived at the ISS in December 2009 on Soyuz TMA-17, which means (A) he probably got the T-shirt in 2005 and (B) he missed the premiere of Yamato Resurrection. Where were his priorities???
Incidentally, that’s JAXA astronaut Naoko Yamazaki on the right, who was a crewmember of STS-131 Discovery and a devout Yamato/Leiji Matsumoto fan from her childhood; she cited both as her inspiration for going off to outer space–for real.
After a delay of about two months, specialty shop Anime World Star released this unique set of seven keychain mascots individually designed to match the graphic style of Yamato and six individual characters.
The Yamato Crew website, established November 2009, continued its role as a source for news, archival information and exclusive products. Beginning May 27 and continuing into June, they issued a series of stationery/office goods decorated with Yamato Crew logos. This included three different high-end ballpoint pens, an all-purpose lanyard, and a mousepad. This followed on the heels of some new Yamato Resurrection products released on the site in March. (See them here)
The month of June saw Yamato break ground in two completely new ways. First, the world-famous Sanrio company announced a two-part “Yamato X Kitty Collaberation” campaign. Anyone who purchased advance tickets to the live-action Yamato movie on July 3 would receive a free strap mascot of either Hello Kitty or her friend Daniel in “Yamato battlesuit” costumes. Afterward, fans could plan to visit the Sanrio Puroland amusement park during the month of August for a live show in which Kitty and her friends celebrate Yamato on the stage. The connection is slightly more than skin deep here; Kitty was “born” in 1975, which makes her about the same age as Yamato.
This was officially the first collectible released in connection with the live-action movie, but tons more were on the way. Our complete coverage begins here.
The other new ground was broken in (of all places) the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu. Queen Elizabeth II is the commonwealth’s head of state, so it should surprise no one that she appears on their coins. But now, for a limited time only, Space Battleship Yamato shares that distinction. To mark the saga’s 35th anniversary, the Tuvalu government has issued full-color commemorative $5 silver coins and $100 gold coins (Cast by the Perth Mint Bureau of Western Australia), both of which are legal tender.
But wait, there’s more! To enhance the beauty of your coins, there is an heirloom-quality display case made of the finest wood with a music box that plays the Yamato theme at the turn of a switch. NOW how much would you pay? Imperial Enterprises Inc., the exclusive distributor of these coins on behalf of the Tuvalu government, offers the gold coin for a mere $2,750 (only 500 copies made) and the silver for the low, low price of $598 (only 2,000 copies made).
See the official website here.
Game company Taito has been a steady Yamato licensor since 2007, creating various products for the UFO Catcher-type arcade games in Taito arcades. In 2010, they moved into the realm of personal electronics starting with this 4.75″ 1Gb USB stick. The engine pulls off to reveal the key. The ship is a scaled-down version of Taito’s much larger Super Mechanics Yamato toy.
Taito’s next product was this Analyzer stereo speaker that could plug into a computer or MP3 player and broadcast sound through his large eye-meters. Standing just under six inches, the body sculpt is a very close match to the Liberty Planet toy released in 2006.
Space Battleship Yamato: The Origin was the name of this special presentation from network provider Softbank in which subscribers could, for a mere 840 yen, receive a 90-minute Flash animation clip on their cel phones every day for four weeks. Over time, it added up to a 40-minute version of the Yamato movie. Additionally, users received a mobile phone app with wallpaper, a day planner, pedometer, weather forecast, e-mail frames, and more goodies with a Yamato theme.
Training for the Star Force is a lifelong discipline, so the sooner it starts the better. Babies and toddlers could do so in Kodai’s uniform when Bandai released it as a onesie on August 20. The Yuki version followed a month later. And yes, both come with guns.
Bandai also released this Kodai-style boys’ t-shirt using the same design, making it possible to spend an entire childhood in Yamato gear.
Cospa is THE place to go in Japan for anime-oriented apparel. They constantly roll out custom-designed t-shirts, jackets, caps, personal accessories, and much more for anime titles new and old. This year Yamato costumes joined the lineup with Kodai and Dessler in September and Yuki following in late December.
See a photo gallery of these costumes here.
Captain Okita’s plaque from Farewell to Yamato has been modeled many times over the years, but this handsome version from high-end toy/model company Aoshima was one of the best and biggest, standing nearly 12″ tall and molded in highly-durable polystone
Taito struck again with this set of four stereo headphones, customized for Kodai, Yuki, Captain Okita, and Sanada.
The name “Imperial Enterprises” first showed up in relation to Yamato with their release of the coins issued by the nation of Tuvalu. The impressive “Cosmo Master” wristwatch marked them as a purveyor of high-end collectibles. Limited to just 3,500 pieces, it checks in north of $600 US.
See the official product website here.
With thousands of Yamato products already made, it takes a lot of innovation to come up with one nobody’s ever seen before. This Yamato-themed GPS navigator by RWC definitely fits into that category. The 5-inch wide color screen provides numerous features, the most basic of which is an interactive map featuring Yamato as your car’s icon and voice commands from Yuki and Analyzer, both of whom sound completely authentic.
Visit the official website here, which includes demo video clips.
Inspired by the re-imagined uniform jackets in the live-action Yamato movie, Dive Toy Co. created a polyster jersey that sits about halfway between the anime and film designs. When they were announced in early November, online orders poured in and the entire stock was sold out before the day of release.
The first two designs were for the Combat group and Black Tigers, which were followed in February 2011 by new versions for the Life group and Science group. The first two versions were re-released with them. In December, they had been limited to Japanese Medium and Large sizes (Small and Medium in the US) but as of February all were available in XL.
Taito released another speaker system for computers and MP3 players, this time accompanied by an almost 8-inch Yamato with a light-up Wave-Motion Gun. Like the USB stick released in July, it is a scaled-down version of Taito’s Super Mechanics toy.
Taito’s last Yamato release of the year was a trio of solar chargers, which store up power in an internal battery and transfer it to your cel phone via a USB cable. This is another one of those all-purpose products in terms of licensing; seemingly anything in Japan with a blank surface is fair game for licensed images. Had Taito plugged some custom sound effects into this one and figured out how to charge a cel phone to 120%, these would have truly stood out from the pack.
Trends from 2010 continued into 2011 and a steady patter of never-before-seen items reminded everyone that even a 37-year-old franchise could still deliver some surprises…
On April 1, a pre-release promotional campaign from 2010 finally paid off. House Foods, one of the licensing partners for the film, had held prize lotteries in convenience stores during the runup to the premiere. Fans who bought their Yamato curry or Yamato potato chips could enter to win prizes. The grand prize winners finally started receiving their loot in April.
500 of those winners received a Space Battleship Yamato “Memorial Clock,” a portable digital clock with a portrait and nameplate. The clock would play back lines from the movie in addition to the standard alarm tones. Curry is a common part of the Japanese diet, so Yamato Space Curry isn’t as weird as it sounds. This was another prize for lottery winners, custom packaged in a run of 5,000. Also, “Space Curry” isn’t just a gimmicky name; Japanese astronauts almost certainly introduced it to life on board the International Space Station.
The last of the 2010 prize lotteries came to fruition in late May when winners of the December campaign at Famima convenience stores received their prizes. 10 winners received HDTVs from Hitachi, 200 received Coolpix digital cameras in a custom Yamato carrying case (above left), and 20 received HP Mini Notebook computers with custom Yamato graphics on the outer shell.
Famima stores were THE place to go for fans during the campaign for the movie; new prizes were available every week throughout the month of November 2010. All the Famima prizes can be seen in Movie Report 5 here.
Though the source of these two remarkable pieces is unknown as of this writing, their value is clear. At left is a 24k gold Yamato with a price tag of 157,500 yen or about $2,000. At right is an Ag1000 silver Yamato priced at 31,500 yen or about $400. Both come with acrylic stands and are definitely for the collector who has everything. They both measure 150mm (5.9″) in length.
This one definitely belongs in the “what the” category, three different models of house-powering electrical batteries from Plan Co. Ltd. Unless they can charge Wave-Motion energy to 120%, there seems little reason for them to sport a Space Battleship Yamato logo, but they do anyway.
Ndopara Shop became the first maker of Yamato garage kits to form an alliance with the home office when the Yamato Crew website offered this box set of “Great Urup Alliance” garage kits at its online store. The lineup consists of 5 ships: SUS, Fridei, Beldel, and Etos capital ships and a Beldel fighter. See Yamato Crew’s product page here.
August 1, November 1
Tachibana Publishing embarked on a two-part campaign that offered snack foods in vintage-style packaging to customers who bought their books. From August 1 to October 31, a purchase of more than 1000 yen would get you a box of Yamato Pretz (pretzels) and from November 1 to January 31, 2012, it would get you a box of Yamato Pocky.
Watch this page for future updates!