This is the first of seven Development Memos written by Yoshinobu Nishizaki during the world-building phase that lead to the 2004 proposal. Together, they present what is essentially one side of a conversation. Other documents were passed around for consideration, including at least one premise written by Eiichi Yamamoto, which is referenced here.
Eiichi Yamamoto had been one of Nishizaki’s writing partners since the very beginning when the first series was developed in 1973, so he definitely brought the right pedigree to the project.
Note that at this point the character names were not yet finalized (often labeled “tentative”), and the names “Balbard” and “Barbalbard” both appear in the original text. (Obviously, they refer to the same thing.)
Space Battleship Yamato Development Memo 2/5/2004
• An ordinary life on earth (high-rise buildings of the same design poke into the heavens. And please forgive me for wanting tube trains going through them).
The main character, Ryuji Mochizuki (tentative) and his best friend Masato Kariyazaki (tentative) are students in the officer candidate reserve. One day, when they are walking along the side of the spaceport, They find a very old cargo ship in a corner.
Ryuji: It seems to be Yamato.
Masato: It’s a worn-out ship.
Ryuji: Wasn’t there a Yamato long ago?
Masato: I heard it was a battleship that sank in the sea of space. It has nothing to do with us.
Ryuji: Yeah, right. Even so, I wouldn’t want to be only the captain of such a ragged ship.
They both laugh.
Go to the inside of a car stuck in a nearby traffic jam.
Frederick: Shall I let those guys have it, captain?
Kodai: It’s a special privilege of youth to ignore the past. Let it go.
Now, former hero Susumu Kodai is the captain of an old cargo ship.
• An encounter between Ryuji and Misaki D. Helza (tentative).
They pass each other just for a moment. There are short depictions of other characters, too.
• The invasion of the Balbard Empire (tentative) begins.
“A chain scorched-Earth strategy.” There is a giant ring with a diameter of several kilometers. (Think of it as a long-running train.) Ru Sak Gar (tentative) appears in Earth orbit, and countless attack craft overwhelm the ground from there. Most of the Earth forces are destroyed without being able to stage a resistance.
• People run around trying to escape. Both Ryuji and Masato are caught. The are reunited with Misaki at a camp (?).
• Separation of Kodai and Yuki (by communication).
Kodai: Tell Kaoru. (daughter, tentative)
Kodai: I’ll definitely come to pick you up. In Yamato.
Yuki: I understand.
Kodai and Frederick plan to escape Earth in the old cargo ship Yamato (they suddenly warp from the ground).
• At the camp, Ryuji tries to protect Misaki, “Don’t be stupid,” Misaki laughs at him, nose to nose. She is able to fight, too. The three people try to escape, but fail.
They are determined to live, but they are rounded up with other young people of their generation into a crowded cargo carrier (inferior, like a slave ship) to be taken to the Balbard empire.
• The ship shifts (their warp) to a near-Earth area. Yamato plunges toward the ship. What is this old cargo ship trying to do? But Yamato has gained a huge beam cannon, and stops the ship with a single blow. (However, Yamato‘s hull cracks in reaction as well.)
• Ryuji is helped
Ryuji: Thank you very much.
Kodai: How does it feel to be helped by the captain of a ragged ship?
Kodai returns the cargo carrier to them.
Kodai: There is not room for you on Yamato. And you’d have to endure dozens of warps.
Ryuji: Where are you going?
Kodai: To Yamato. I’m going to raise Yamato.
Ryuji: That’s absurd.
Kodai: It’s reckless, but it must be done. If Yamato does not rise, Earth will be destroyed.
• Depiction of the Balbard Empire.
Earth suppression director General Baharuk Gau and Lieutenant Granaha (tentative). Earth Federation President Elizabet is in front of them.
Baharuk Gau: It’s no use. Sign the surrender.
Granaha: Please consider how quickly we can overwhelm the Earth.
Baharuk Gau: So why don’t we get this over with?
Elizabet signs the surrender document with a trembling hand.
Elizabet: Earth is on its knees before you. But I have not yet abandoned hope. Earth has Yamato.
Baharuk Gau: Yamato?
Granaha: It is the battleship which sank in the sea of Aquarius.
Baharuk Gau: Foolish. Are the people of Earth so stupid they would entrust their fate to a sunken ship?
He waves his right hand lightly. Elizabet is shot dead.
• Cargo ship Yamato repeats several warps. (Since it can only fly on automatic, the crew is suspended in a protective liquid.) It lands in the sea of Aquarius just before the engine burns out. Kodai and the others arrive at Yamato‘s salvage base. The cargo ship sinks, having run out of energy.
Frederick: It was a good ship, Kodai.
They are reunited with Sanada, who is engaged in Yamato‘s salvage.
• Conversation of young people. They discuss the future. Some want to free the Earth, but others insist on escaping.
Ryuji: If we only save ourselves, what good is that?
They may not be able to do anything with just one ship, Yamato. But they have to do something. Even if they go down fighting, it could bring the light of hope to the people of Earth. That alone may be enough. A second or third Yamato could be born. To run away now would be to crush even the light of hope.
• Kodai descends in a dimensional submarine to see Yamato. The feeling of many emotions leaves a strong impression.
• Yamato‘s salvage begins. Ryuji also helps with the work, but there are considerable differences between the young generation and the older generation of Kodai and Sanada. Clashes between them become common.
• Granaha is contacted by Baharuk Gau.
Baharuk Gau: Granaha-kun, I’ve thought about Yamato, and it must be completely destroyed. Then these stupid Earthlings need not be burdened with the worthless idea of hope.
A Yamato destruction unit embarks on this mission.
• Yamato is raised. But it has been partially destroyed, and the stern is lost. Kodai and Sanada go up to the bridge.
Sanada: A dead ship is a pitiful thing.
Kodai: No, it’s alive. Like this.
Kodai pushes a switch, and a single light glows.
Kodai: Yamato is alive.
• The Yamato destruction unit of Barbalbard attacks. The Yamato salvage base is struck, too, and the staff begins to evacuate.
• Ryuji runs onto the bridge.
Ryuji: Kodai, please escape!
Kodai: I came at just the right moment. Destroy the stern balloon.
Ryuji: Are you sinking it to keep it out of enemy hands?
Kodai: No. Yamato will never be sunk as long as I live.
The stern balloon is destroyed, and the bow rises. The main force of the Yamato destruction unit approaches.
Kodai: Yamato, show me your power!
All the consoles light up.
Kodai: Target scope open. All personnel don anti-shock, anti-flash protection.
Ryuji: You said all personnel, there are only two of us.
Kodai: Don’t worry about it. Old habit.
The Wave-Motion Gun fires, and the main force of the Yamato destruction unit is blown away in an instant. The remaining forces flee. But Yamato is exhausted, and tilts over sharply.
As it starts to sink back into the sea, an anchor missile fires in and pulls Yamato up. The missile was fired…from Yamato-class battleship Bikay of Gamilas.
What happens after the first two episodes greatly depends on how many Yamatos we will have. What is assumed so far is a Gamilas Yamato, a newly-built Earth Yamato (on a trial voyage), a carrier Yamato (with a flight deck at its stern), and a Yamato equipped with a powerful Wave-Motion Gun, like a latter-day gunboat (a Bolar Yamato?). This Yamato fleet goes to liberate Earth.
Below are some random story concepts.
• A single gunboat uses a moon-class satellite as a shield. It is hidden until the moment that the satellite is blown away by the Wave-Motion Gun, then it fires precisely into the muzzle of Yamato. The wave engine is greatly damaged.
• A search for submerged enemy ships lurking in dimensional subspace. The mood is like The Enemy Below.
• A fleet war somewhere in the sea of stars. There could be flights close to ground, but either way there is an object in the vicinity.
• A tank battle inside Yamato. Barbalbard tanks invade Yamato and try to destroy it from the inside.
• A strategy using multiple black holes.
• An episode featuring Ryuji and Misaki on a surveillance flight.
• Warp beam. There is a beam gun that pierces through warp space, making it impossible for the Yamato fleet to engage in a warp. If they try to warp, it will target them.
• An episode in which Ryuji is captured by Barbalbard battleship. An escape story.
• An episode about contact with the earth. Everyone shares their thoughts.
• Just before the last decisive battle, there is a meeting with Baharuk Gau and Kodai. Baharuk Gau talks about the might of the Babalbard empire and recommends surrender. Kodai recommends that they negotiate a peace.
• Near the climax, Yamato vs. Yamato. (The Barbalbard Empire side could use a Yamato brought from a parallel reality.)
• Yuki is used for a hostage.
• As Baharuk Gau thinks about it further and changes the “chain operation of scorched-Earth” to a “chain operation of death.” Ru Sak Gar will render planet Earth completely uninhabitable.
Ryuji Mochizuki (14 years old)
The main character of the story. A hot-blooded type. Enthusiastic about saving Earth. Always thinking about his family, who he left on Earth. Yamato combat group leader, in charge of the main guns.
Masato Kariyazaki (14 years old)
A calm type, in contrast with Ryuji. Wants to save Earth. Doesn’t think it’s right to rush in blindly. Yamato‘s chief navigator.
Misaki D. Helza (17 years old)
Yamato‘s second-in-command. Better than Ryuji in fighting. Although she wants to save Earth, she is really a daughter spy of the Barbalbard empire (a so-called ninja in the grass). (It would be best to make her half-Earthling, half Empire, but this would be difficult if the SF concepts are not properly built up.) She becomes involved in the kindness of Earthlings and wants to be with them. The closer we get to Earth, the stronger her anguish becomes.
Victor Doumidof (15 years old)
A clever rather than a cool type. Captain of the Black Shark (not Black Tiger) squadron.
Yurika Yamamoto (14 years old)
A hot-blooded type of woman. Has strong feelings for humanity. Captain of the Silver Shark squadron.
Kora Vashral (14 years old)
A little larger, wears glasses. In charge of organization.
Steven Murphy (16 years old)
A traffic controller. Serves as the radar officer.
Erlich von Daideritz (18 years old)
A traffic control officer. Reports the situation on board the ship.
Beyond the main people on the bridge, it will be necessary for each Yamato to have an equivalent number of people. Also, we need some people who are friends with Ryuji from the beginning. These are the only characters considered at this stage.
• Points that differ from Mr. Yamamoto’s memo
Instead of Yamato launching from Earth and rising through the clouds, it takes off from the sea of Aquarius and goes to Earth. Consider it the reverse configuration of the first TV series. In World War II terms, it is a story like French exiles going to Paris to liberate the French people.
Also, Earth will not be saved at the stage of around Episode 6, as in Mr. Yamamoto’s memo. It is only a fight to ensure the security of Earth afterward. It would be best to save Earth in the last round. But it’s a nice idea to protect the Earth.
I’d also prefer to remove the ring around Earth in the last episode of the TV series. Is it easy to understand as a picture? I think it will be.
• When I think about the current generation of fans, it would be a disadvantage for the enemy empire to be greatly different from human beings of Earth. This is because fans of enemy characters are deeply-rooted. In consideration of that, a strange race would be disadvantageous. But I don’t mind if there are strange people among the enemy.
For example, there is elitism in the Barbalbard empire (though we won’t use the word itself) that comes from intensely modifying their genetic structure, but only one out of ten becomes a proper man. This ten percent rules over the remaining people. The remaining 90% look strange, and are treated like a tribal fighting race.
If we do that, we could develop a story in which Baharuk Gau, the leader of the Ministry of Earth Control, hides the fact that his brother is in the fighting race. Of course, there can be several tribal groups among them. The central characters must be attractive.
• Although I think that the world of Dark matter is very interesting, it is often used in anime and SF stories these days. 35% of the mass said to be dark matter may be white dwarfs, and this theory presents quite a complicated aspect. Instead of this space, I’d prefer to treat the invading army as coming from “another universe,” so they can be described simply.
Also, there was the phrase “a different type of light” in the memo. Does this mean it would be in a different wavelength? If so, it is possible to see it from the human side. To them it would be a world of darkness or vice-versa. It could be a very interesting situation. However, I think it could be very difficult to understand in production.
• In the TV series, I do not intend to depict the empire of the enemy. Even if the Ministry of Earth Control is an enemy and talks about their nation in their own language, we won’t show pictures. I think it would be better to show their home nation in the movie.
End of document
Some of the concepts in this memo already point to key elements in the proposal: the Balbard Empire’s suppression of Earth using Ru Sak Gar, the personalities of the two young male characters (obvious stand-ins for young Kodai and young Shima), and the idea of multiple Yamatos all seem to have been decided early on, though they evidently decided to reduce the number of Yamatos listed here.
The character of Frederick is a strong matchup for Kosaku Omura, Kodai’s XO from Yamato Resurrection, and indeed the two fly a cargo ship in this story as well. Kodai and Yuki’s daughter Miyuki in Resurrection is also presaged here.
Given the time frame, it’s also interesting to note that Nishizaki’s ongoing incarceration was probably a significant influence on the concept for Ru Sak Gar. Living for years in a cell probably had something to do with the idea of the enemy building a cage around the Earth.