Yoshinobu Nishizaki producer’s message, June 1983

From the Yamato Fan Club magazine #35, June 1983

Toward the Yamato 70mm release

With no time to rest after the spring release of The Final Chapter, production began on The Final Chapter 70mm Edition, to be released November 5. Chairman Nishizaki passionately comments on it for the fan club…

Everyone in the Space Battleship Yamato fan club, The Final Chapter 70mm Edition is finally completed and will be shown November 5 at the Shibuya Pantheon theater in Tokyo. I originally promised to deliver the film in 70mm with 6-channel stereo when it premiered in March, and I’m very sorry that could not be realized due to various circumstances. At the time of the production announcement of The Final Chapter, I said “The last Yamato will be in 70mm on a big, spacious screen, and I want you to see it with the powerful sound of 6-channel stereo,” but in the end I was unable to achieve this with Yamato. Therefore, with a budget of 100 million yen that was made after the spring premiere, we have been working on this production. Despite only being able to open it in Tokyo at first, I’d like to inform you that it can be shown in 70mm.

Let’s talk a little more specifically about what it means to do Yamato in 70mm/6ch. First of all, until now, a full-fledged animation feature in full-scale 70mm has not been made in Japan. In the past, there have been movies that were blown up (expanded) from 35mm to 70mm, but no works have been calculated for the big screen from the beginning in terms of the drawing and sufficient sound effects.

Moreover, 6-channel stereo dubbing has never been done in Japan. So far, the only such recordings have been done in England and America. In that respect, in addition to The Final Chapter being the first to be produced for 70mm, because all the dubbing was done in Japan, it is the first purely domestic 70mm animated film made in Japan (and that includes live-action).

Once, Walt Disney reached the world’s highest peak in the genre of animation movies and music. Yamato added a new element of “drama” to create a new format of anime. For me, the fact that it now becomes 70mm/6ch is an inevitable step forward for the animation industry. And after having made it, I can promise you that it looks and feels like a completely different movie.

Earlier, I said that a mere 35mm blow-up was not a true 70mm work. What it means to truly make something for 70mm is that it must be commensurate with the screen configuration. Technically speaking, it’s a problem of considering scenes and layouts. Movies, unlike TV, are projected onto a big screen in a cinema, so the technique naturally comes through.

For example, putting in a wide shot explains the overall situation of a scene so that the drama can advance while being clearly understood, so the length of time and the angle of such a shot must be carefully calculated. On TV, however, it isn’t always necessary to do that. Since it is a small screen, such a shot can sometimes stop the flow.

Unfortunately, recent anime works made for the theater use the techniques of TV anime, so it’s easy to see things in it which are puzzling. Who, where, and what should be properly expressed in both movies and TV. Because The Final Chapter was calculated and made for 70mm from the beginning, these points do not cause any trouble.

That said, because it was shown with a Vista-Vision size picture in March, considerable time was spent remaking the shots to renew them. In addition, to support the large 70mm screen, they must cover every corner of the screen. So The Final Chapter used cels that were double the usual size, and intricate drawing was done on a large quantity of these oversize cels. I think you’ll be able to see this at a glance in the upcoming movie. However, I didn’t think it would be fully finished until some parts of it were improved.

I said before that you would notice the difference between 35mm and 70mm, but 70mm is not only a matter of image. Needless to say, the sound must have a three-dimensional composition as well. In other words, you can’t express big-screen with the sound that comes from just one speaker. 35mm only goes up to 4-channel, but 70mm film goes up to 6-channel. Naturally, there are the sound effects, but that’s only part of it. It must be balanced with other sound materials such as music. Yamato is very luxurious in this regard. As you know, the music of Yamato was recorded by a full orchestra of Japan’s top musicians.

On the other hand, the effects have all been reworked for 6-channel by the wonderful staff of Mr. Mitsuru Kashiwabara. The sound effects he made are revitalized by 6-ch. Because the element of music was always a big part of Yamato, good sound quality is important to the overall quality of the work. There were technical problems in the final mix (dubbing) of the movie in March, and I was not satisfied with the sound. Because those problems could be closely examined this time, we were able to remake the sound into something we can play with confidence. I feel that its beauty is a sound that could only be made in Japan. I’m proud that we could be the first to do it.

The above point should be considered the core of The Final Chapter 70mm/6ch Edition, but what I’d like to emphasize the most are the parts where we made various improvements. Of course, as you know, we could restore the scene of Jiro Shima, and we could significantly change the last scene. It’s also necessary to touch on the special effects in relation to 70mm.

Although Scanimate was used considerably on the previous version of The Final Chapter, we couldn’t do enough of it partly because we ran out of time. Therefore, Scanimate has now been newly-applied to more than 100 shots for a more fantastic on-screen image. [Translator’s note: “Scanimate” was the technique of adding video effects to film. Whenever you see mist or clouds flowing over a scene in Final Yamato, that’s “Scanimation.”] In particular, I think the realism of the water scenes has dramatically increased. We also experimented this time by applying solarization to the Neutrino Beam scene to give the picture a more eerie atmosphere. We built up images by mixing an electronic picture with a true animation picture in an experimental technique that looks toward the future of visual effects.

When you look at 70mm in this way, it is a lot of work, and I think you’ll understand what a luxury it is. We made many discoveries during our work, and in that respect I think it made for a very good study.

Quote at top of page (above right):

The 70mm edition isn’t simply an enlargement of 35mm. In addition to the large-format cels and fine artwork, music and sound effects demonstrate their power for the first time in 70mm. The Final Chapter 70mm Edition is the first full-scale domestic 70mm film in the history of Japan!!

It could be said that Yamato was originally suitable material for 70mm. The figure of Yamato flying through space alone is able to support a 70mm screen, and it can be said that the density of its music and drama give you the sense of seeing it in 70mm.

Thank you very much everyone for a long time. I now have no regrets. I think it was really good to make Yamato for ten years.

As a token of our thanks to the fans who supported Yamato, we’ve pulled Yamato products from the last three years out of our warehouse to present them to all visitors. And for the benefit of those in need, we intend to hand them out in the form of a charity. I’m thinking about other methods for areas where the film will not be shown.

Please tell your friends about the upcoming movie. I’d like many people to see the brave figure of Yamato in 70mm together.

– Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki
To everyone in the Yamato fan club

At this time, a theatrical showing has only been confirmed for those in the Tokyo Kanto district. We hope its success allows us to take it to theaters in other areas.

About the page above left: this was the announcement of a charity auction for merchandise from the West Cape Corporation vault. The dominant item was the 6.5 foot long “Precision Cut Model,” two of which were built for promotional events. The asking price was a whopping 8 million yen (think $80,000), so there was no winning bid. (And it is not known whether both were offered, or just one.)

Afterward, one model stayed in the custody of West Cape and the other was turned over to Leiji Matsumoto. Both still exist today and continue to fulfill their original purpose.

Read a more detailed history of these models here.

See photos of the West Cape version here and the Matsumoto version here.

The visuals become more detailed and beautiful for the 70mm edtion!

The End

Return to the Final Yamato Time Machine

Continue to the next article: round table discussion with fans

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