After the publication of the first two novelizations in December, along with other materials released through the official fan club, the first big chunk of the Final Yamato storyline was fully revealed up to the ship’s launch from Earth. It’s unthinkable in today’s entertainment world for such a substantial portion to be known in advance, but Exec Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki always played by his own rulebook.
The four monthly anime magazines jumped on this material, each giving it their own spotlight and analyzing it to the best of their ability. But even if you were a fan who had to absorb everything you could get your hands on, there was still plenty to wonder about. Yamato‘s launch happened only a third of the way into the film, and now all the speculation shifted to what would happen next.
In the rest of the anime world, all was quiet in theaters but two new SF/action anime series premiered on TV: Future Police Urashiman and Srungle (see their opening titles here and here). Both would run for a year, and Srungle would later be coupled with Goshogun and imported to the US as Macron 1.
Both of these new shows got covered, but the magazines were much more concerned with titles that were already running or soon to appear, Final Yamato among them.
Animedia, February issue
Gakken Marketing, January 10, 1983
The magazine was Gakken’s second contribution to Yamato publishing this month, the first being the Total Collection special released January 1. It was advertised in this issue, which definitely scored over its competitors for most Yamato-friendly cover image.
The top story was a poll revealing readers’ top 20 favorite lines spoken in the previous year’s anime with Godmars earning the most votes and My Youth in Arcadia coming in second. Macross (now about 15 episodes in) got continuing coverage, along with Minky Momo, Xabungle, and others. Only You, Crusher Joe, and Harmagedon were coming up soon in the movie schedule.
Final Yamato got a three-page article that included a word from Isao Sasaki and an interview with beleaguered animation director Kazuhiko Udagawa. Read the article here.
The Anime magazine #39
Kindai Movie Co., January 10, 1983
The Anime gave readers a Final Yamato pinup poster and an ambitious 7-page dissection of what was known about the story so far, along with some sharp-eyed speculation on what would follow. Read the article here.
The rest of this busy issue offered hefty previews of Crusher Joe, Only You, and Harmagedon. An article oddly titled How to Attack Anime Gal examined the wide and ever-growing range of popular female characters. 1980’s Toward the Terra feature film got an “animemorial” retrospective. Final Yamato character designer Shinya Takahashi provided illos for a fantasy series pitch called Waum, which never made it to anime.
My Anime, February issue
Akita Shoten, January 10, 1983
This issue delivered the second Crusher Joe cover of the month, which fronted for a 23-page bound-in booklet on the film. Harmagedon, Only You, Urashiman, Srungle, Macross, and all the other current shows got their due. An 8-page booklet promoted Aura Battler Dunbine (coming in February).
Final Yamato got a huge 10-page article that compiled everything known about the film so far with running comments by Yoshinobu Nishizaki. He also wrote a brief message and a word about the upcoming radio drama. The article finished with a collection of notes and rumors, which included one very big spoiler. Read the article here.
Animage magazine #56
Tokuma Shoten, January 10, 1983
The first thing that greeted readers in this issue was a real surprise: a bound-in booklet on Famous Detective Holmes (known outside Japan as Sherlock Hound), a Hayao Miyazaki-designed TV series co-produced in Europe that would not reach Japanese airwaves until late ’84. After that came an extensive review of ’82 anime and a discussion about where ’83 might go. There were previews of all the same titles seen in the other magazines, including a “supercar” TV series called Mad Machine that was promoted for April, but then mysteriously disappeared from anime history.
Final Yamato got only three pages, but they were the most interesting of the entire month. Strong ripples were still spreading from the “concerned fan letter” published in the previous issue, and another staff response formed the basis of this article. Read it here.
The rest of the January events happened on the audio side of the spectrum. The last of the fondly-remembered Yamato radio dramas took place January 15 on All Night Nippon, running from 1am to 5am. Since it happened after all the monthly magazines were published, coverage would have to wait for February.
More significantly, January ’83 was the first month in which the enormous body of Final Yamato music began to roll out. Like the novelizations, it was carefully paced. The first two albums and singles came before the premiere with the rest following shortly afterward.
Tokuma Shoten and Nippon Columbia each rolled out an album on the same day, January 21. Not only was this the first time two music publishers shared licensing on a Yamato film, these albums actually had three tracks in common. Some of the content was descended from the Prelude to Final Yamato album that had come out in May ’82, and now fans could hear it in its completed form.
Tokuma also had a lock on the first two (of six) singles, which had gotten a lot of promotion in print. On January 25, fans could finally hear what all the fuss was about when the singles for Love of Two (sung from Yuki’s point of view) and Rainbow to Tomorrow (from the epilogue) both arrived January 25.
Lastly, there were two more places to look for your Yamato fix in January 1983. Fukutake Publishing released Frontline People: Leiji Matsumoto, part of a series of books about various individuals at the “frontline” of Japanese culture. It included several interviews with Matsumoto on a variety of subjects, covered much of his personal history, and entertained readers with a light-hearted look at how manga and anime are made.
Across the ocean came one of the earliest documentations of US fandom with the first issue of Trelaina, the Space Battleship Yamato Fan Club APA (the cover to issue 3 is shown above). Think of it as the caveman version of social media, and you won’t be far off. Read more about US APAs and fanzines here and the people who made them here.
Next time: In the last month before the premiere, Nishizaki doubles down on spoilers, OUT magazine re-enters the fray, Akira Hio’s first manga volume appears, and the final countdown to March 19 begins! Read it here.