The making of The Bolar Wars Extended
part 5, continued

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10. Faith

script completed October 2012
art completed December 2013
    published January 15, 2014

Not included in the 52-episode plan

Here you’ll see an even bigger gap between script and art than with Chapter 9. That was due to the sudden and unexpected takeover of by the Japan office of Voyager Entertainment. It came quite by surprise in October 2012, shortly after the publication of chapter 9. Without explanation, the Japan office ordered all website activity to stop so that they could take over – in complete contradiction to assurances they’d made to me in person earlier in the year. There was no way I would allow a decade of my work to vanish, so I started up Cosmo DNA (going live December 1) and continued from there. It took a year to square it away and restart my work on the webcomic. So the script and rough layouts for chapter 10 sat idle for a looong time. Again, sorry about that. It wasn’t by choice.

The last update of and the launch of Cosmo DNA, late 2012

Original story notes:

Operation Kamiyo

General Gaidel of Galman attacks and subjugates the Earth while Yamato is dealing with other battles, aiding embattled EDF forces at Ross and Alpha Centauri.

Large emigration ships are being built in the underground cities near Tokyo (spaceship docks on the coast). When these ships launch from Earth, the Galmans use them as human shields. This is how to find them.

Bismarck: anime design and garage kit

The term “Kamiyo” has a couple of meanings. One is a period of Japanese mythology, the Age of the Gods. The other, much more relevant to this story, is a fighting technique meant to minimize casualties. We didn’t use the term in the comic, but it was a critical part of Frakken’s contribution to the story, so you better believe it was locked into place from the moment I first learned of it.

I won’t deny it, most of the process of making comics is extremely tedious. The early stages are great, because you experience the story for the first time, but after you work out the content you embark upon the stages that take the most time and are the most repetitive. You only get to experience something new again at the end, when you lay in the color and special effects. Then it’s on to the next chapter.

So, while you’re working on it, it isn’t as much fun as you wanted it to be. Sometimes you look ahead and there’s SO much of it still to do, you think you might never reach the end. But eventually you turn a corner and it’s payoff time. All the stuff you set up finally starts coming together, and the fun comes back with it. That phase began with this story, which was all about the light at the end of the tunnel.

One of the things I looked forward to the most was making the rest of the EDF part of the story again. The Star Force wouldn’t be alone any more, which meant I’d get to draw some new characters for a change. Since they were to originate from different nations on Earth, I could have fun designing alternate uniforms. Turns out that anchor emblem is pretty versatile.

The blue ship at the start of the chapter was originally going to be the Bismarck, as seen very briefly in the anime, but Cosmo DNA contributor Andrea Controzzi asked me to give it a different name, since he’s been working on his own Bismarck fanfic for a few years. When I asked Derek Wakefield to suggest a new name, he responded thus:

I suggest EDS Genoa for a name. It’s not the name of a famous ship. However, Italy was the third country Star Blazers aired in, and Genoa was/is a major seafaring port. It also adds to the international flavor of the EDF. (And when was the last time you saw an Italian-named ship in a Star Blazers tale?)

Then, of course, there was the long-awaited arrival of Arizona in the story. Originally designed by Yutaka Izubuchi (mecha designer on Yamato III and Final Yamato, and later the director of Yamato 2199), it’s been a fan favorite for decades for the same reason as Boba Fett – it looks incredibly cool and has a blank slate for whatever your imagination holds. Only one view of it had been drawn for Yamato III and there has never been a plastic model for it, but plenty of garage kits emerged over the years, and I’d managed to amass a nice batch of photos for drawing reference. At last, I could put them to work.

And since you’ve been patiently reading all these words, here’s a gallery. Enjoy.


Derek: My thought is that Arizona (along with Prince of Wales, Hood, Bismarck, Novik, etc.) were special “legacy ships.” I believe they might’ve been built as prototypes to determine the next generation of EDF battleships. But they were also special in that they were named after famous naval ships of the countries that built them (and painted in non-standard colors). Thus, I coined the term Legacy Ships, since they were built by individual states of the UFEG and named accordingly. Their crews were also probably predominantly from that state.

From Yamato III Episode 12: Prince of Wales and Arizona

Perhaps before the Sun Crisis erupted, once construction of the new standard model vessels began, each of the major states of the UFEG would have one of the new ships designated a Legacy Ship for them (and have it named accordingly). That would allow for the standard nomenclature of naming battleships and flight deck battleships after constellations and mythological figures, while permitting a select few of the ships to be named after historical vessels.

That said, I found it odd that the remains of the Arizona crewman found by Nova and Jetter wore a non-standard uniform. It was one of those things that bugged me for a long time because it didn’t make sense. With the Legacy Ship notion though, perhaps the EDF allowed their respective states to design a uniform for the crew of those ships. Okay…personally I don’t like the notion, but with Dynamic Do-All technology, it wouldn’t be that difficult to whip out a bunch of non-standard uniforms.

Also from Episode 12: Bismarck and Novik (for many years, some of us thought it was meant to be Norwich)

More from Derek:

The Arizona, Bismarck, Prince of Wales/Hood, and Novik were all built by different countries. My theory is they were intended to be prototypes for the new standard EDF battleship.

Bismarck looks like a tanker to me. My thought is it was one of a number of high speed fleet repair and replenishment ships (Nile class, named after rivers). They added vertical missile batteries that could be steadily replenished by the ship’s high-capacity Dynamic Do-Alls. The WMG was installed in a forward boat bay (normally used for operating boats in Vertical Replenishment operations). They believed this would be a quick way to rebuild the fleet using existing ships, even though we never saw them before. Some may have also been outfitted as Marine Amphibious Transports.

As suggested earlier, the Anglians opted to rebuild a Series 2 Main Battleship, which led to the Hood design. Their notion was to keep most of an existing design and make it more survivable by adding extra armor and a larger engine. The guns are probably larger (more powerful) than the old triples. Thus they felt justified in reducing total shock cannons from 9 to 8.

Novik: anime design and garage kit (which is a real beauty – see more pics here)

Fan art with a logo designed by Derek

The Novik (Soviet) may have been converted from a survey ship (it has features that resemble the space meteorology ship commanded by Dan Hammer). It appears to use spare gun turrets left over from both the Be Forever unmanned ships and some Series 2 ships. I keep thinking it looks like a ship built almost entirely of existing spare parts. Given its vertical launch platform, it may also have been intended as a last ditch defense vessel, only launched (but quickly) once the enemy was approaching Earth. This is the only decent drawing I’ve ever seen of the thing (the schematic site where I’ve found other illos doesn’t have a Novik…hmm). Obviously no WMG. This one differs from the Roman Album drawings, as all of its guns are the same type.

Go Soviets! (he writes while listening to the Soviet National Anthem)…

The little scene of Dr. Sane hailing the gods of Olympus may seem a bit out of left field, but there was some thinking behind it. In fact, it was contributed by Carol’s significant other, Mike Horne. Here’s the concept in his own words (April ’09):

Carol was telling me about the idea of having a Buddhist nun in the crew as a chaplain as well as a nurse. This got me thinking about how they could use the holography room (as seen in Series 1) to make a chapel for the various faiths of the crew.

I thought it might be a neat chance for Dr. Sane to get some more face time aside from the medical stuff. Most religions use wine of some sort, and he’s all about that, so it might be cool for him to be there when available to participate in ceremonies.

I had a further idea that the chaplain comes in after hours to find the room has been configured to resemble the mountaintop of Olympus. Sane’s there in chiton and laurels and when she asks, he mentions that while the Argo is built from the Yamato, her name comes from the ship that Jason and Herakles sailed on. Sane might not believe in the Olympians, but times are desperate. It’s a small gesture, but they need all the luck and divine favor they can get. Besides, this retsina stuff really knocks you off your feet!

I’m really glad that that made it in. Mike never read the comic; I think he might’ve been jealous and afraid. He’d made up his mind that he was a “has been” since the Star Wars RPG books he and I had written so long ago. Alan Moore is one of his heroes, and there were times he would wonder out loud what it would like to see something he wrote illustrated like Moore’s works. He couldn’t stop writing, he just couldn’t bring himself to try again professionally.

Before the stroke, he was writing for his Call of Cthulhu campaign. Not sourcebooks, but the story chronicle of the team he was GM-ing for. I’m glad he got to be immortalized one last time in something that he loved, and that he got to see it while he still had his health.

11. Maelstrom

script completed January 2014
part 1 art completed and published April 2014
part 2 art completed and published July 2014

Not included in the 52-episode plan

Original story notes:

Operation Kamiyo (continued)

Yamato and EDF ships wipe out Galman’s Pluto fleet to disrupt comm with Earth, rush to Saturn where Gaidel uses emigration ships as shields, then attack Gaidel’s ships.

Yamato itself is not able to attack; sends in fighters. Gunboats attack and damage EDF ships.

Big battle between EDF commander and Gaidel near Io. Galman dispersion guns destroy both fleets.

I wanted to try something fresh in this chapter; pick it up from the enemy’s point of view and see what it’s like to be outfoxed by Star Force strategy. We’ve only ever seen battles unfold from the bridge of the Argo. What must it have been like, say, from Desslok’s point of view in Series 2, where all you’ve got is a stream of information that tells you how badly you’ve already lost? That’s what I wanted to do here.

The lynchpin in the operation is the Dimensional Submarines, and the idea of giving one of their dimensional engines to the Star Force was an image that drove this chapter, specifically the idea of seeing the third bridge pop out of nowhere like a shark fin and do what we’ve always wanted – open up a can of Cosmo Whup-ass. The design for the clamshell missile launcher wasn’t just invented out of nowhere – it was an unused design from Final Yamato that Derek Wakefield pointed me toward. And boy, what a relief not to have to shave it off the ship any more. Of course, then I had to go and blow off the observation deck next…

Since I knew Sandor wanted to get on one of the dimensional subs, I was going to have Homer make faces at him while Von Feral reported in to Wildstar. Probably not something trained professional soldiers would do. Sometimes Tim saves me from myself.

Derek had other things to contribute to this chapter as well. One early concept was that the entire Earth fleet would be wiped out at Jupiter a la Series 2. This lead to the following exchange:

Derek: Well, damn…so much for my being able to claim of saying I saved the Arizona.

Tim: I suppose it doesn’t have to be destroyed, it could just be damaged along with the others. It was meant to be destroyed in the original story, which carries on the Andromeda tradition, so if we go against that I’d like a better reason than just “keep it around because it’s cool.”

Derek: Way back in the early days of the fandom, I had several people voice their opinion about being tired of the EDF lacking any other ship but the Argo capable of surviving a war. While it was the stock pattern of the show, there were a number of fans who felt it was getting old. As was said, the EDF fleet goes out, fires the WMGs and promptly gets their sixes kicked. Ya’d think that after a while there would be a move to have the SF vets put on the lecture circuit to teach the other fleet officers to throw away the book, look outside the box, and THINK.

The ship gets its starboard observation deck ripped off.
Imagine my surprise as I watched the port deck get torn off
Ark of the Stars a few months later…

It’s not necessarily a case of the ship looking cool. Moreso, wouldn’t it be cool to see at least one other EDF ship flying home into the sunset WITH the Argo? Sorta like how the Queen Emeraldas was always there to fly off into the sunset with the Arcadia (even if the Arcadia did most of the work). I figured the Arizona‘s role would be to help Desslok and Co. stave off the Bolars until they could fire the hyper-penultimate cannon into the sun.

Call it a sidekick (ala The Cisco Kid and Pancho, The Green Hornet and Kato, etc). Call it a wingman (a very important part of 3D combat since WWII). Someone who can help take up the slack. But it also proves the Star Force aren’t the only ones in the EDF who can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. By now, the lessons of the Star Force’s combat experience could have started to filter through the fleet.

Once again, bulletproof logic on Derek’s part convinced me to do what I already wanted to do, deep down: let Arizona live. It wasn’t the only time I decided to adopt the Leiji Matsumoto philosophy and spare the characters everyone loves. Jason and Flash would escape their TV fate for the same reason.

12. Promises

script completed August 2014
part 1 art completed and published May 2015
part 2 art completed and published June 2015

Based on eps 48-50 from the 52-episode plan:
Battle with Dessler (3)

Challenge from Dessler, fierce battle, Tomoko gives birth to a child, Dessler leaves.

Also based on eps 51, 52 from the 52-episode plan:
Shoot the Sun

Yamato heads to the sun and successfully shoots the control cannon.

Original story notes:

Operation Kamiyo (continued)

Zoenitz disapproves of Gaidel’s [Keeling’s] selfish actions. He and Yamato confront Gaidel at Mars base. Zoenitz challenges Gaidel to a duel in space: Gaidel’s giant flagship against small remnants of Zoenitz’ fleet. But the power of a good commander makes a ship stronger.

At the critical moment, Bemlayze’s armada appears. Gaidel and Zoenitz are both killed. Bemlayze demands that Yamato hand over Ruda. Bolar pursue Yamato. Dessler appears to make it a 3-way battle, aids Yamato against the Bolar.

Tomoko Yamagami

In a later battle, she calls out Sanada’s name when she goes into labor. He runs to her side and helps to deliver the baby under battle conditions. It is a boy. She names him Yamato Yamagami.

By the time we got to the finale, most of it was writing itself. It fit my theory that if you’ve done your job setting up all your plots properly, you don’t have to struggle at all with the wrap-up. It wasn’t a struggle at all to decide whether or not Von Feral would survive his duel with Keeling. That guy is too cool to die. I have to think the Yamato III writers would have come to the same realization and given him an “out” rather than go through all that heroism just to get steamrollered by Bemlayze. And we no longer had Ruda/Mariposa in play, so it had become necessary to give Bemlayze a different motivation to come after the Star Force. Hence the destruction of his fuel station.

“He…liked me” sounded like a good boing at the end, but more than likely Singleton got spared because Keeling was overtired. Oops.

Also thought the “Dentist” line was a great action movie thing to say after dispatching the big bad guy, but Von Feral isn’t really acting under Talan’s orders. Von Feral does look forward to coming home and telling him all about it, though.

As for Tomoko’s baby, it wouldn’t have made much sense for her to name him Yamato in a Star Blazers story, and Argo would have been even sillier. So we skipped the naming altogether. We also wanted to do better with Desslok; the original concept was for him to still be at odds with Yamato at this point, presumably about to deal a final blow, when the sound of a baby crying comes over the radio (?) and reminds him about the beauty of life and blah blah blah.

I would much rather the baby plot have more to do with Mariposa growing into her destiny than Tomoko’s baby somehow forcing Desslok to regain his senses. Desslok doesn’t make the same mistake twice. It seems cheap to his character that he has some kind of fight with Wildstar and fargin’ war is redeclared, only for him to do the same old stuff and nearly kill everyone until he sees a baby, remembers Starsha (Physical proof of The Friend Zone – She hangs over his head every day!), and his heart melts like the wizard from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. That’s fine for a kid’s show that’s just for kids. Lucas might do something like that since he likes to repeat ideas in his stories. I would prefer some other kind of resolution to the Milky Way Space War.

What do you do with a cosmic space baby? When we scripted this part, Tim wondered if the baby could be born with Gardiana’s jeweled circlet thingy. I wasn’t sure about going that way. He’s supposed to be a regular normal human Earth baby, so maybe he shouldn’t be born with inexplicable headgear. We considered that maybe the jeweled part could be a birthmark, something to reinforce that he was special, something that would give him confidence as he grows older to be whatever it is he will become. But also kind of subtle, so it wouldn’t hit you over the head. Tim decided he should have Mariposa’s gorgeous blue eyes — which is awesome, because everyone who survived to the end of the story will remember her, and she’ll live on that way — other than being our Sun. Personally though, I recommend either contact lenses or home schooling. And maybe some kind of hat until his hair grows in.

And we got Derek and Nova’s engagement! That’s all Tim, I had no idea that was coming, but it makes perfect sense, and it’s not in any of the films or series.


Tim: Jump forward to the last chapter. Huge battle, plots resolving left and right. The Argo is about to take its critical shot at the sun with the Hydro Cosmogen.

In the show, this was the big finish. Shoot a rainbow beam and the sun is OK. Magical gizmo to the rescue. Now I’m thinking that since everything else in the finale is going to be bigger, we ought to make this bigger as well. So howabout…

The Hydro Cosmogen fires and opens a dimensional portal. Planet Gardiana [Mariposa?] emerges and we see Mariposa’s face on it. The entire planet sinks into the sun. Mariposa changes it from within, cooling it down to normal conditions. In so doing, she sacrifices herself to “become” Earth’s sun.

This would also make it possible to add a twist to Jason and Flash’s deaths. I think they gotta go, for the sake of the larger continuity, but it would be a sweeter finish if their ghosts both floated toward the sun to take Mariposa’s hands again. A bit like the ghost ending in Be Forever with Sasha returning to Starsha. What do you think?

Carol: That’s good and bad, since she never made a choice between which of them she was gonna go for. To keep them as a polyamorous triangle to the end like that…I dunno, that’s kinda fanficky. Maybe save Jason, since he’s the plucky comedy relief? Flash could activate Jason’s ejector seat or something and yoink him out of death’s maw at the last minute. Originally, Jetter was supposed to be the new Wildstar with Wildstar as his mentor, right? We could go that way instead, unless you’re really sold on their sacrifice.

Since we’d set up Jason and Flash as rivals for Mariposa’s affections, they both had to share the same fate to keep the story in balance. In the anime they die from different causes, but only Flash unites with her in the end. Here, that wouldn’t have been the right ending. And if they both united with her in death, I think it would have been too easy.

Once again, Leiji Matsumoto’s philosophy won the day. DON’T KILL EVERYONE. And so they both survive in our version of the story, literally living on because of Mariposa’s love for them. I imagine Jason fulfilling his promise by becoming a caretaker of orphaned children and Flash inheriting what’s left of Contrail Industries and living a life of philanthropy.

There was one loose end that we didn’t exactly tie up: poor Smeardom, suffering for Desslok’s stinky temper. If you feel the story’s done. It’s done. If you need closure about Smeardom’s fate, please read below and pretend this is an epilogue:

After the curtain call the Galmans head for home and Desslok sends a message to Von Feral about a secret mission.
The rest would be told as a voice-over by Desslok as Von Feral returns home. The Emperor can get wordy, but to keep it short he apologizes to Von Feral for what happened to Smeardom. Since The Wolf has never been known to fail, he asks Von Feral to help in Smeardom’s re-education. Smeardom is released into his custody.

As a veteran, he has an upper middle class home and a few servants because he’s away all the time and can’t bother to clean.

He opens the door to see Smeardom sitting with a tutor who’s trying to reeducate him. Kindergarten stuff with holograms and CGI. “How much is this many?” “Point to the ball.”

As Von Feral opens the sliding door it distracts Smeardom. Smeardom jerks his head toward the door. There’s a tense moment as Smeardom narrows his brow in thought, straining at his friend’s face.

All these pens and more gave their lives for your entertainment.

Smeardom: “Lug…nar?”

Von Feral smiles, hopeful.

Von Feral: “That’s right. It’s good to see you, old friend.” He closes the door behind him.

The End

Lastly, the unasked question: does Final Yamato come next? Earth could definitely benefit from a thorough dousing of water from Aquarius after the oceans and ice caps are boiled off. But if you thought we’d be tempted to adapt that story after spending six years on this one, you’ve been dipping into the retsina.

I’m really happy to have had this opportunity to tell this story. I loved doing it and I’m going to miss it. Six years is a long time and this isn’t my real job. I know Tim has lots more stories to tell.

Continue to the last part: Unused story ideas

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