Review: Yamato Plan by Kadokawa

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Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:54 pm

  • Short summery: Much better than expected, well worth buying. Not *quite* a Roman Album-style book, with the flavor of the Newtype 100% collection style. Don't worry, if you have no idea what I'm saying, I'll do some explaining later on.

    ISBN 978-4-04-110597-9 2500 Yen (Japanese tax included), color dust jacket over card covers, appx. 11.6 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches (I believe that's called A4 size?) Heavy coated stock paper, glossy for the color pages, color about 80% of the book. All text in Japanese

    We fans of Yamato 2199 have been waiting for something decent in the publishing world to appear. Memories of the old days and the flood of publications (hereafter tagged 'mooks' as a generic, Mook meaning 'magazine style book' or what we in the west generally call a trade paperback) that erupted for most Yamato releases carry over like the smell of burning leaf in autumn, the memories of youth. Not including the theater programs, there's really only been the one, thin, rather useless 'preview book' produced by Mag Garden, an item much more geared to the native Japanese that may not have known that Yamato had been revived, so it was a teaser to get the public to watch the TV broadcast.

    The two Establishment model sheet books, also by Mag Garden, serve a very specific purpose and do an excellent job for that but if you want episode recaps, or frame grabs or anything along those lines, you're out of luck.

    Until this book. Or mook if you will. :)

    It basically breaks the series down into the same chunks as seen in the theaters, 7 'chapters' with episode numbers. We get a recap, some chara and mecha model sheets treated as 'key art' that are relevant to that episode, not much in the way of frame grabs.

    Scattered throughout, lots of two-page art. Somewhat cheesecake art. I recognize a number of the pieces so it's pre-existing promo art but I think there may be a couple of originals in there as well. Also, for the plamo otaku, a number of two-page illos using existing kits and a ton of photoshop to recreate some visuals from the series. It's surprisingly effective.

    There is a nice section discussing the various Yamato 2199 model kits, interviews with all manner of key staff, and a nice section (in black and white) filled with charts and graphs and timelines and tables of organization and tactical overview of battles. I think some are going to be very excited by this.

    It's not a perfect book. For some reason everybody seems to want to erase the line art of Yamamoto before she was granted pilot status. We don't get to see all the uniform changes for the characters.

    On a scale of 1-10, I'd put this a solid 9.

    ETA: OK, school time. :)

    When is a Roman Album not a Roman Album? When it's a Rapport Deluxe or a Newtype 100% Collection or a This is Animation Special or a SF Fantastic Animation Materials or a Gakken Mook or a Dengeki Selection or a...

    We in the U.S. really don't have an official, 'fan consensus' or 'borrowed and misapplied from Japanese fandom' name for this style of book. Personally I loath using a specific, copyrighted word as a generic- no '"go make a Xerox" or "get me a kleenex I'm gonna sneeze" for me, it's "Make a photocopy" and "hand me a tissue please".

    Now, the term 'art book' gets tossed about but it's not a comfortable fit. Art Book somewhat implies a collection of art. Illos of characters doing things. Yes, I speak of the dread spectre MOE. Art Books, what used to be called 'pinup' books appear to have exploded with the MOE boom, because pictures of girls doing things are much more easy to make and sell than putting depth and content into a show. Anyway, this is not meant to be an anti-MOE rant, we're trying to define a product. :)

    So what are we talking about? A book that consists of episode synopsis (usually with frame grabs from each episode), a collection of Establishment sheet illos combined with character and machinery details (even if many are of the 'This is Kodai's plane, he loves it' variety), interviews with voice actors and production staff, sometimes actual storyboards or pages from the AR script, lyrics for OP, ED and insert songs (sometimes with sheet music) and in the case of Yamato books, often some collection of 'speculation' data or encyclopedia culled from notes on model sheets and events within the show. There are other things that vary, such as original art, or bound-in posters. I would put forth that the Roman Album, produced by Tokuma Shoten, in particular the Yamato volumes from Arrivederci,Yamato onward, is the master template for this style of book.

    But we just can't call everything a Roman Album. That would be wrong. Not to mention that Tokuma Shoten doesn't seem interested in keeping the brand alive via continual new releases like they used to.

    (aside: It is COMPLETELY SHAMEFUL that Tokuma Shoten has abandoned Yamato, when, as with so much that is part of the anime industry, Yamato was the catalyst that helped them grow and thrive. See also all the relevant articles here on OurStarBlazers.com. You will be amazed)

    I'm at a loss. I sort of like the term 'Materials book' but that's clumsy as all get out. 'Mook' is better than 'art book' in my eyes but mook is also a slang term for a palooka. ;)

    I'm in favor of a catch-all term that can encompass products diverse ala Roman Albums, Entertainment Bibles, Keibunsha Dictionaries and those lovely, lovely books produced by Office Academy/West Cape Corp. Shall we discuss?
    Last edited by Steve H on Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Steve H
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Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:04 am

Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:06 am

  • It really is a cool book. It's nice to have such a resource for the show and I think it's great the way they split all the information up by the chapters. Makes it all so very convenient. Having those great 'Illustration Gallery' images is a nice plus as well. :D
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    YamatoGuru
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Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:43 am

  • I just wish the binding wasn't so tight. It's like it doesn't want to be open.
    JohnStanowski
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