Writer’s Summit Day 3
After all the headway made in the first two sessions, Yoshinobu Nishizaki and the writing team began the last one from the beginning of the story and talked through as much of it as they could in the time remaining. Though it differed in a few key points from the movie that would eventually emerge from their efforts, the outline was essentially in place. It’s worth noting that Susumu Kodai had a steeper character arc in this version, and the year of the story was still assumed to be 2205, which would have better preserved continuity with Series 3.
Translation by Tim Eldred with support from Neil Nadelman.
The 3rd Day, January 30, 1982
Eiichi: Aquarius is the origin of water on Earth, but that’s not the only planet on the solar system with water. It is assumed that water was the origin of life and human beings.
Kasahara: It was the periodic approach of Aquarius. It passed by many times regardless of the Earth, but it was 4 billion years ago that it approached Earth for the first time.
Eiichi: Right. And from time to time thereafter. Life developed 3.5 billion years ago, but since we got the bacteria which were the source of life 4 billion years ago, we could omit mentioning the development of life.
Kasahara: But living things were born because water was produced. They became fish and they became dinosaurs. It might be plausible to establish that it’s been three times.
Nishizaki: Aquarius comes in a 4 billion year cycle. Although it circled around after that, the people of 2205 believe it has a cycle of 4 billion years. By the way, bearing the flood of Noah in mind, there was the ice age 100 million years ago.
Eiichi: But the most recent ice age ended 10,000 years ago.
Kasahara: Aquarius goes around in its orbit, but how large is it?
Eiichi: It’s supposed to be a little larger than Earth, so it’s probably about 1.5 times bigger. It becomes a wandering planet, unlike others in the galaxy.
Kasahara: It is composed only of water. What attracts the water to earth when it approaches?
Eiichi: Mr. Toyota called it a gravitational influence. It is the influence point of gravity.
Kasahara: How close does it come to Earth?
Nishizaki: Shall we call it several hundred thousand kilometers?
Eiichi: The planet that brought water to Earth 4 billion years ago is approaching again. It is the year 2205…that would be the prologue.
Kasahara: Or Mr. Nishizaki’s face appears and says, “This is the end. I’m not lying this time.” That would be good. [Everyone laughs]
Nishizaki: Then the main staff credits appear.
Kasahara: Considering we’re talking about the depths of space and since we’re making it come from outside the Milky Way, maybe it would be better to say there was an abnormal fluctuation in a distant galaxy far from Earth.
Eiichi: In the year 2205, a major accident suddenly happened to the galaxy. It intersected with another galaxy that appeared from a different dimension, and though it disappeared into another dimensional fault, a lot of stars collided during the intersection. The core solar systems especially suffered from great damage, and Yamato launched for an investigation.
Nishizaki: In the spot where it says there was a major accident we’ll show the galaxies colliding and the explanation just given by Mr. Yamamoto will come in. Dessler orders an SOS to be sent to his friends on Earth–the great Galman-Gamilas Empire is in a crisis of destruction.
Kasahara: Where in the movie does Yamato see the collapse of Gamilas? When will Vulcan be flooded by Aquarius?
Eiichi: The first destination is Dessler.
Kasahara: The fall of Dessler is seen, then they come across the flooding of Vulcan on the way back.
Masuda: Yamato is called by Dessler’s SOS and goes out to witness the disappearance. The story of Vulcan doesn’t come out yet. It’s just about Dessler now.
Kasahara: As I said before, the abnormal phenomenon is seen when we part and withdraw from Dessler. It seems that certain planets were hit by water, and we say that it sounds like the legend of what once happened to Earth.
Yamato appears near Planet Vulcan with a boom. A great picture with tempo
Nishizaki: That would work for the sequence of events, but we need to be clear that the water planet is a special case. Earth had enjoyed prosperity without knowing it. On the other hand, Yamato learns of the unusual events in the core systems after launching to the galactic center in response to the SOS. The damage to the core from the collision is serious, and Dessler’s palace lies in ruins, particularly close to the situation. Yamato confirms it.
Masuda: When it does so, we don’t know whether Dessler is alive or dead.
Nishizaki: We won’t know until the end. But it’s probably better if we think he’s dead.
Kasahara: Kodai is the captain at this time.
Nishizaki: That’s right. The crew members are Sanada, Shima, Aihara, Nanbu, Yamazaki, etc. Yuki is not on board. Yamato sends a message to Earth. The collision caused great damage to the center of the galaxy. The other galaxy has disappeared into a dimensional slip. If we show the right amount of intensity, it’s possible to explain the cause that significantly changed the course of the water planet.
They send the message to Earth and receive a command to further investigate. Along the way, they get an order to return to Earth, which has learned about the approach of Aquarius. Yamato starts to return, but they get an SOS from Vulcan and rush to the rescue. Or the return order could be given in the middle of this. Anyway, they come to know about the flooding influence of Aquarius and return with the Vulcan boy.
Kasahara: Let’s make it a violation of service regs to disobey an order if we can. Yamato is damaged somewhere and has to go back because it’s becoming more dangerous for the ship in space. However, they risk a lot of danger going to Planet Vulcan. We establish that later, then relieve Kodai of command.
Nishizaki: Regardless of whether it is a command or a violation of service, we go to confirm whether Dessler is dead or alive and Yamato is hit by the supernatural phenomenon of the collision’s aftermath. The other galaxy passes by. A dimensional fault forms and a black hole is made, too. Yamato is pulled toward it, and comes out with a bang near the Planet Vulcan. Then the violation of orders is carried out.
Kasahara: It is better to be blown away by the enigmatic nature of space. Since this is the opening part, it will be like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Nishizaki: Shall we have an asteroid or something the size of a planet chase after Yamato? It’d be good to have it appear and they could lose consciousness for a time. Yamato could appear with a bang near the Planet Vulcan. It would be a great picture with tempo.
Kasahara: It’s after the leader has already fled on a spaceship and the Vulcan child is floating on the waves. If we do that, we don’t need to show it, do we? We could just talk about wondering what happened before. Is it necessary to show the escape of the leader from Vulcan? If so, it would have to come before.
Masuda: It will be shown later, so it’s not necessary before. Therefore, they report to Earth that a major thing is happening at Galman-Gamilas. Earth headquarters orders them to return because of the abnormal situation. When Yamato tries to return, it encounters a black hole and we’ll show Aquarius at the same time. Yamato appears as Aquarius is involved with Vulcan. Vulcan is flooded and the place where Yamato came out is submerged. Yamato witnesses it.
Humanism doesn’t necessarily produce good results in all cases
Nishizaki: The results of the galactic collision are shown with scenes of Yamato, Aquarius, and also Vulcan.
Eiichi: Cutaways will let us assume it’s all happening simultaneously.
Kasahara: Then there is the violation of orders. If they return and explain why they disobeyed, it will be hard to show it as violation.
Masuda: Still, even if we establish that distance, it wouldn’t be strange for them to investigate what flooded it, right? When they have to return, they’ll have to go there…
Kasahara: The reason they have to return is that the serious situation affects Earth, and not coming back would make it more serious.
Masuda: But it’s natural to investigate the flooding of Vulcan. Why would that be rebuked, and why would it be at fault?
Kasahara: If they don’t return immediately, the ship and the life of the crew would be endangered, but they take a daring risk by helping the Vulcan boy, and doing that is a service violation.
Masuda: If there’s a big attack in the middle of their return trip and everyone is knocked out, that’s some fairly major action. So I don’t think violation of service would become a problem.
Kasahara: Then, because they helped the Vulcan boy, Earth headquarters thinks that Yamato ran the risk of encountering the enemy, and decides it was a serious violation.
Eiichi: I don’t think the service violation idea is persuasive.
Kasahara: When Yamato gets close to Aquarius, should they see Aquarius? Or has it already passed and they just see its influence? Which is it?
Eiichi: When Yamato sees Vulcan, however we get them to it, when Aquarius gets within Yamato‘s detection range, they’ll learn that Aquarius is advancing in the direction of Earth, and report it HQ, won’t they? (at right)
Nishizaki: So, they spot it, and when they see they have no return, head for Vulcan. When they do, we can have a lot of people die. We’ll make rescuing them very dangerous work.
Eiichi: There are heavy clouds over Vulcan and lots and lots of rainfall. The continent is already submerged, and only the top of a mountain is visible. Yamato saves the boy alone in the midst of this erratic weather and gets away.
Masuda: That will be a great scene!!
Kasahara: It would be even better if some of the Yamato crew dies.
Masuda: Which would lead them to say, “What was the point in just picking up this one boy?!”
Kasahara: It’s a service violation, not disobeying orders.
Masuda: I get that.
Nishizaki: Humanism doesn’t necessarily lead to good results. Maybe Kodai loses his command because his good intentions override his cool-headedness and he doesn’t do his duty as captain.
Eiichi: Yamato doesn’t go because there’s a child there, they go there and find him by chance.
Nishizaki: It would be good if not only a child but also a significant number of people gets swept away. They try a rescue operation but are only able to save one person after all. If that happens, the captain is responsible for his own judgment. They’d say Okita wouldn’t have done such a thing.
Eiichi: Where does the enemy attack?
Nishizaki: At that time, the Vulcan people will use Aquarius and plan to attack Earth.
Masuda: It would be better to have them report on Aquarius before they get to Vulcan. Considering the detection ability of Yamato which escaped from the black hole, they would know about planets being deluged by water. They would also know the path of the water mass from the planets that were flooded. So it is reported.
Nishizaki: The unusual water mass is a mystery and the hostile fleet on the return trip is a mystery. We’ve got mystery, mystery, mystery. It may be better not to have Sanada on the first mission if it goes that way, because Sanada is an excellent detective. Earth Defense Force headquarters receives Yamato‘s report and studies it, but don’t understand its meaning yet. But they begin to feel this could be the water mass from 4 billion years ago.
The decks and bridge are down, and Yamato lands automatically, as if alive
Masuda: Mysteries are all well and good, but the mystery has to connect somewhere. I want to go back to a question about the Vulcan boy. It comes out that his skin color and agility are different. The boy would say, “Rain fell and everyone was killed in a flood, and the big battleship went away.” Then it seems that there’s someone who escaped, so the audience imagines…just maybe it’s the battleship that attacked.
Kasahara: That’s good.
Eiichi: Although Aquarius is headed for the solar system when Yamato reports in to Earth, they say it’s a little off course from Earth. So if the Earth side investigates it, it differs Yamato‘s report for some reason. They come after Kodai, demanding to know what he did. In addition, they recognize that Vulcan is in control of it.
Nishizaki: Yamato is attacked by a large space fleet.
Masuda: Then everyone is knocked out. Kodai gets hit particularly hard.
Eiichi: Kodai dies from a mind-stopping wave bomb.
Nishizaki: Kodai takes a direct hit, the others just pass out.
Kasahara: Yamato escapes by fighting on its own with Analyzer and automatic devices.
Nishizaki: The switch comes from some kind of shock with a bang, and Yamato gains a personality. The method is that we show Yamato moving automatically in some way through the eyes of Analyzer. Analyzer is surprised and says, “Yamato is alive!”
Kasahara: Music comes in there. This is what we’ll call the prologue and intro. Where do we go next?
Hideaki: To headquarters first of all. The message from Yamato is being investigated and analyzed.
Kasahara: Yamato‘s report is contradicted somehow. Kodai’s lying unconscious inside the resuscitation device.
Nishizaki: Before Yamato returns to Earth, it defeats the enemy automatically. Earth is now waiting for the return of Yamato. They wonder if Yamato is lost, and then it comes back in tatters. I definitely want to show that scene.
Hideaki: Yamato‘s communication is cut off, and they don’t know its whereabouts. That’ll be the part where the missing Yamato returns.
Eiichi: Yamato will need to fly itself into a warp along the way. The enemy attacks and it carries out a warp as it’s about to crash into a planet.
Nishizaki: Analyzer collapses while saying, “There is life in Yamato, warp!” So the stage moves back to Earth and zoom, Yamato comes out of the distance from the horizon.
Hideaki: A warp opens at the last moment?
Eiichi: It arrives at the edge of the solar system. Pluto base reports it. “Yamato has appeared!!”
Kasahara: An investigation team rushes into Yamato and comes back out coughing up smoke.
Nishizaki: The decks and bridge are down, and Yamato lands automatically, as if alive. Kodai is dead and the crew is lying passed out. Yuki runs in and cries, “Kodai-kun!!”
Kasahara: What would happen next?
Masuda: Roughly speaking, Earth goes into a panic over the water planet.
Eiichi: Exploration satellites investigate and the first data differs from Yamato‘s report. Therefore, to obtain correct information, emergency surgery is needed to resuscitate Kodai. On the other hand, the collision findings about Aquarius cause panic and escape measures urgently start.
Kasahara: Panic hasn’t set in yet, but defense headquarters is considerably anxious.
Masuda: Could we show a picture of the powerful enemy that marches in and occupies the palace, seen at first with a shock through the eyes of Yamato? If we don’t show that, there’s no other way than for the queen to communicate it.
Nishizaki: I think we could show that to the audience, not Yamato. But also, so far the audience knows the larger situation that Yamato doesn’t know, which is why we’re watching how Yamato discovers and reports on things. We could have a section of the story showing the mechanisms and glamour of the great enemy itself. If we don’t, the movie will start to drag.
Masuda: I think there’s some timing in showing everything suddenly with a bang. It’s good to partially show Evil, just not enough to ruin the surprise of the whole thing later.
The water planet is covered with mysterious elements, such as a statue image of the queen
Kasahara: When Earth headquarters revives Kodai, and Sanada does his examination, they understand that the advanced orbit of Aquarius is somehow genuine. Then bang, the screen changes and strange scenery appears.
Nishizaki: Please look at this picture.
Eiichi: If we show the powerful enemy like that, we should start with the Earth flooding operation and the launch of the enemy ships to head off any escape from the planet.
Nishizaki: At that stage, we may want to show their Yamato. Should we show the figure of the space carrier that controls Aquarius?
Eiichi: Let’s show the start of the war and the beginning of the Earth invasion.
Kasahara: The leader should step out clearly and state their objectives in a snap.
Eiichi: Information leaks out somewhere on Earth that a large natural disaster is coming, and there’s a great clamor.
Nishizaki: However, they don’t know the total picture. That Aquarius and Vulcan are separate.
Kasahara: Then the appearance of Vulcan! In all its grandeur with its ultimate leader.
Nishizaki: Their common origin with human beings should be held back. Earth people or space people will learn about it as the story develops.
Masuda: Will we show the queen at that point? She is probably imprisoned.
Nishizaki: That would be good when Vulcan conquers Aquarius. How about writing their conversation to include the course for Earth in the same breath? Since Yamato is in tatters, other fleets go to investigate the enemy and discover that they are on course toward Earth as their target. They report that the army of Aquarius and Vulcan are the same, and they’re wiped out.
Kasahara: The audience will know the two are different. Earth gets it wrong. At this point, we should show a bit of the procedure as they press for answers. At this stage, the enemy approaches with Aquarius and starts an attack on the solar system, but it is known that their true target is Earth. Then would the queen come out?
Nishizaki: She could also be confined, but we can also have it that she’s been stashed away for protection by a very few people.
Hideaki: I wonder if we should reveal everything about the queen.
Kasahara: The Vulcan probe ship checks out Aquarius. We show beautiful scenery. There are only women. That way, it becomes a simple matter. We should show beautiful women in a beautiful utopia. We won’t show the queen yet.
Nishizaki: I think it would be fantastic if the water planet is covered with mysterious elements somewhere, such as a statue image of the queen. Something that hints at the queen’s existence.
Eiichi: When they took over, the enemy giant aircraft carrier will be necessary, but we have to show the drilling here. They dig a hole and heavy water is ejected to change course.
Nishizaki: In terms of how we show Vulcan, I’m more interested in making it attractive to kids. The hyper-thermonuclear missiles and the attack operation with Aquarius. The enemy’s mechanisms. They try combining a test of the hypers with the drilling.
Masuda: It should be folded in with the invasion, takeover, change of course, and the start of the attack.
Kasahara: We’ll show the scientific and military power of Vulcan with the drilling. The course change would succeed by jets of heavy water. At the same time, Kodai is asleep in the revival device.
Earth is in a panic from the enemy attack, and Okita boards Yamato for his mission
Nishizaki: I wonder where and how we’ll encounter Okita.
Kasahara: It would be good for him to appear on Yamato.
Eiichi: Kodai is revived and demoted. The decline of Kodai and the repair of Yamato happen at the same time.
Kasahara: Kodai is removed from duty. To simply remove a captain who fought so hard would be a strange story from the perspective of the audience.
Nishizaki: No, I think it would be natural to receive punishment, and a person like him would resign. He would resign his duty as the ship’s captain and return to his standing in the general crew.
Eiichi: Kodai thinks that he did the right thing. It’s because there hadn’t yet been a change of course when he reported in.
Nishizaki: But he feels responsible for many lives lost. That troubles him. Why is he the one who survived?
Eiichi: Is the human race’s escape from Earth a point yet? The ships that fled and the ships of the EDF are wiped out, so would that trigger the restart of Yamato?
Nishizaki: The emigration plan of the defense forces would come first. They hear that the Earth will overflow with ice, and plan to raise people to satellite orbit.
Eiichi: But the information leaks out and leads to a state of panicked escape?
Nishizaki: The real panic is triggered by the enemy fleet’s attack on Earth.
Eiichi: We should do it quickly here. It’s assumed that Yamato will go out on a mission and Okita will get on board.
Kasahara: Earth is in a great uproar and the enemy’s first attack comes. There’s a drama between Kodai and headquarters over resigning or not resigning, and the enemy invasion comes on suddenly. That would be powerful.
Masuda: But the attack probably wouldn’t start with buildings. First the vanguard fleet would attack the escaping colonists.
Kasahara: There are the people who come to investigate. And then they become the Earth side’s resistance.
Eiichi: How about the first attack comes to an Earth colony on Pluto or Mars?
Kasahara: I think it’s better just to focus on Earth. Considering the flow of the picture, if a lot of history comes up with planets other than Aquarius and Vulcan, I think it will get confusing.
Masuda: I think so.
Nishizaki: A dejected Kodai expresses his feelings while he flies a fighter out to the battlefield. He’s separated from Earth and the first battle takes place either near Pluto or Planet 11. At that time, Aquarius is a few weeks away from Earth. The Earth fleet is completely destroyed in the decisive battle and Earth is on the verge.
Yamato launches and ten destroyers follow. The enemy breaks through the line at Pluto or Planet 11 and attacks steadily. The emigration fleet is hit in a second battle and nearly wiped out, and that’s when Okita appears.
Kasahara: Kodai breaks off from the escort ships and they’re destroyed before his eyes. I think Kodai’s hard feelings about defeat would become very severe.
Eiichi: The emigration fleet is defeated. In terms of the “introduction, development, twist, conclusion” structure of the film, I think this would be the “introduction” part. Therefore, we should have a fast tempo. Okita appears while Kodai’s story is in progress.
Nishizaki: So we’re up to one hour [of screen time]. The action process of Yamato going out and fighting the enemy will be about 30 minutes, the story between Aquarius and Vulcan about 10 minutes, and I’m thinking the last part will be about 40 minutes.
Eiichi: Anyway, the tempo should go up with Yamato‘s re-launch.
In the final stage, Okita opts for the suicidal explosion of Yamato. Only Sado knows it
Masuda: Between his revival and interrogation, there are various steps for Kodai. Pluto and Planet 11 are both defeated in a cutaway. Kodai becomes a complete dropout. However, just as his health is restored, Earth falls into in a state of panic and the emigration begins. He boards an escort ship and participates in the war. And then they get the stuffing beaten out of them. We could have the ones attacking Earth wipe out the emigration group that’s leaving.
Kasahara: Going back to our previous talk, does Kodai resign or is he dismissed?
Nishizaki: We should play up his responsibility as a captain by having him resign. That gets connected to Kodai’s loss of confidence.
Eiichi: If Yamato won in the previous engagement, he’d continue to take command. That wasn’t stated. In that regard, he has a strong sense of responsibility. He becomes an enlisted man [busts himself down to a private] and sorties to recover lost ground.
Kasahara: The emigration fleet is wiped out, and finally a giant spaceship with an escort fleet appears. Then Kodai also leaves.
Nishizaki: Yamato can’t be used at that time, so Shima, Nanbu and the others also go on a mission. It would be best to get Yuki into the mix before that.
Kasahara: Yuki tries to hold him back.
Nishizaki: Which Kodai shakes off. It’s becoming properly youthful.
Eiichi: Since they’re bound together in the last scene, we should have him refuse her once.
Kasahara: This story is about the drama of rescuing the Vulcan boy and Kodai’s resignation, his making the resolute determination to once again go back into the battle, and then it becomes a drama about all of the main cast. I think this is a good way to go. The big spaceship launch, the escort party, Kodai joins them, Yuki’s story. The spaceships fall one after the other. Kodai fails to lay down his life again and returns to Earth.
Eiichi: It’s better for Yamato to launch early. Earth will get more desperate if it doesn’t. Yamato has no other way but to launch.
Nishizaki: The SOS of the woman of Aquarius is heard while Yamato is on its way out. The signal comes by telepathy, or maybe a musical scale.
Kasahara: That’s right. Next is the appearance of Okita. And what is the purpose of Yamato‘s launch and mission?
Masuda: The enemy attack that defeats the Earth fleet comes first. The breakthrough scene of Aquarius comes next. And Vulcan with it.
Kasahara: There’s a communication from the queen. Then Yamato realizes Aquarius is not the enemy, and it is under someone’s control. At that point, their purpose is to go to Aquarius and meet the queen. I think the purpose would change to attacking the enemy headquarters once they know about it. Rather than striking the enemy first, they rescue the queen.
Nishizaki: Anyway, the enemy headquarters has to be defeated. Then the big question is how to change the course of Aquarius. At the same time, since the enemy siege was removed, we push the emigration ships up from the Earth side. Yamato considers many ideas for a possible course change using technology or the Wave-Motion Gun. They know that Vulcan and the Queen of Aquarius are different, and that the orbit has been artificially changed.
They get back on course and hit the enemy, and Yamato‘s mission to save the people of Aquarius gets going. Meanwhile, there are some enemy attacks and the story of the Vulcan boy. They must destroy the Vulcan carrier and the control device for Aquarius. I think it’s necessary to consider the setup of the Vulcan carrier and digging a hole to change the trajectory of the planet. The Vulcans made adjustments, but could it collide with Earth?
Eiichi: We should let it pass by.
Kasahara: The enemy’s big battleship should be separate from the control of Aquarius.
Nishizaki: It’s not really the Vulcan carrier that controls the trajectory. It is on Aquarius. It’s a construct of the Vulcans’ scientific power. The interlocking movements of both Vulcan and Aquarius are always important.
Eiichi: They only have to inject a little sideways course correction and after that it goes on automatically. Because it’s a planet of water, the orbit can be adjusted easily. So if Kodai figures out that it can be modified and tries to make a move, Vulcan prevents it.
Nishizaki: But then in that case, in the end we change the story into being about stopping the flow of water. Unless we make that scale of a modification, unless we have it be the result of Vulcan science, we risk shrinking the scale of the story.
Kasahara: The idea of changing the flow by accumulating heavy water could be suggested by the queen or done on Yamato‘s initiative.
Nishizaki: It is Okita. Would they bring in heavy water from Earth, or bring it in from somewhere nearby?
Eiichi: From Aquarius.
Nishizaki: But is there time to load heavy water from Aquarius at that point?
Eiichi: The loading up of heavy water causes tears, but there’s no time for anything else. There is no other way but for Yamato to self-destruct.
Kasahara: Yes, in the last stage Okita decides on a suicidal explosion. If the idea pops up in the beginning, there’s no impact.
Masuda: Also, they’re fighting against a time limit, since the mission is a race against time. It’s a good way to build up the tension.
Nishizaki: If we do that, then Aquarius must be the tomb of Yamato. The time limit will be in how many days and hours they begin loading the heavy water. That’s all there is.
Kasahara: The more time it takes to load up the heavy water, the more forceful it will appear.
Nishizaki: At that time, only Okita knows about the decision to self-destruct. There’s no abandoning ship yet. However, Sado knows about it.
Kasahara: They should come up with a term that makes it sounds like it will be used for another purpose. Then what will the Queen of Aquarius do? If she doesn’t do something good, I don’t think we’ll have much of a story for the main female…
Nishizaki: Let’s think about it carefully.