General Interest Books with Yamato content
The Art of Japanese Animation Vol. I and II
25 Years of Television Cartoons: 192 pages, Tokuma Shoten, December 1988
70 Years of Theatrical Films: 168 pages, Tokuma Shoten, January 1989
This two-volume set is indispensable for any serious fan of Japanese animation, collecting every single production in both formats into a concise, comprehensive index. Naturally, they include the entire Yamato catalog. OAVs (Original Anime Videos) were still relatively new when these were published, so there is no corresponding volume for them.
Studio Nue Mechanic Design Books
Bandai Entertainment Bibles 6 & 9
194 pages each, Bandai, Oct. 1989 & March 1990
Following the successful 1985 launch of B-Club magazine, Bandai started another publication called the “Entertainment Bible” series which dedicated each volume to a specific topic. These books ranged across anime and live action and packed an incredible amount of art and data into a small package.
These two volumes compiled works by the famous Studio Nue, who participated in early Yamato mecha design and moved on to many other well-known titles. The first volume contains robots, air & ground craft, and special illustrations. The second is filled with spaceships. There have been other books published about Studio Nue, but these are the only ones with Yamato content.
Read an interview with Nue designer Kazutaka Miyatake here.
Suddenly the Last Inning
The Last Scenes of Manga Masterpieces Vol. 4
221 pages, JICC Publishing, Feb. 1992
This is part of a 6-volume retrospective on famous manga with a special focus on their climactic endings. Volume 4 covers the first Yamato manga by Leiji Matsumoto.
Gojira, Yamato, and our Democracy
by Kenji sato (hardcover)
312 pages, Bungei Shunju, Oct. 1992
This was the first book to analyze Yamato (and other Japanese entertainment) from a sociological standpoint. The first chapter was titled Yamato and Nationalism. Also explored were Nausicaa, Gojira [Godzilla], Ultraman, and others. Primarily text with minimal black & white images.
SF Anime Astronomy
154 pages, Japan Critique Co., Dec. 1993
Science fiction anime has visualized an enormous amount of astronomical phenomenae over the decades, and this book by Jun Fukue separated fact from fiction using various anime as examples to investigate the realities of space and space travel. Alongside worthy candidates such as Gundam and Gunbuster, Yamato got a chapter to itself which was chiefly concerned with travel across huge distances.
Comix Climax Super Anthology
274 pages, Take Shobo, Feb. 1996
Similar in concept to Suddenly the Last Inning, this is a collection of significant chapters from various manga series, presented with overviews and commentary. The Warp/Wave-Motion Gun chapter of Leiji Matsumoto’s Yamato manga was included.
Introductory studies of the history of Japanese Anime
208 pages, Yahata shoten, Feb. 1998
Mostly text with occasional stills, this book encapsulates forty years of anime history from its mainstream beginnings in 1958 up to the publication date of 1998. Of course, Yamato is mentioned prominently.
How to Operate Super Mecha
224 pages, Guache, April 1998
This unusual book examined the mecha of SF and fantasy from around the world, speculating on exactly how it works and the ramifications of its technology. Chapter 1 was devoted to Yamato with others exploring the Enterprise, the Mach 5, spacecraft from Star Wars, and many more.
Illustrated TV Anime Complete Works
409 pages, Hara Shobo, June 1999
Another book examining the history and techniques of producing anime for the large and small screens. It included a detailed interview with Yamato director Noboru Ishiguro. Read about it here.
The Hot Feelings Once Again
Keisuke Fujikawa Masterpiece TV Scripts Collection
244 pages, Fujin Co., March 1999
This was a collection of scripts from classic episodes of various anime TV series, all written by Keisuke Fujikawa. Episodes 2 and 26 of the first Yamato series were included, along with such titles as Mazinger Z, UFO Robo Grandaizer, and Galaxy Express 999. Mostly text with minimal black & white stills.
This is Manga!
240 pages, Media Factory, Nov. 1999
A retrospective of classic manga, this book was the first to reprint a little-known picture story Leiji Matsumoto illustrated for Shogakukan’s 5th Grader magazine while the first Yamato TV series was on the air.
Read all about it here.
Super Mecha Illustration
126 pages, Graphic Co., Oct. 2000
This art book showcased the work of a popular studio run by painter Koizumi Kazuaki, a former assistant to Leiji Matsumoto. He now specializes in high-end mecha illustration for posters and product packaging. 8 pages were dedicated to Matsumoto spaceships, and Koizumi wrote with special pride about his rendering of Yamato, which was used on several contemporary products.
Fantasy Science Guides
Various volumes, Media Factory, 2002-present
Since 2002, Media Factory has periodically published continuing volumes of this paperback series with the laudable mission of applying real science to works of Japanese SF (anime and live-action) and examine how real physics stack up to those of fantasy. The author is Rikao Yanagida, who founded the Institute of Fantasy Science, also known as “Kusolab.”
Several of these volumes include chapters on Yamato, at least one of which made it into an Italian edition titled Anime University. See cartoon samples from it here.
Study of Anime Culture from Yamato to Gundam
by Inoue Sizuka
240 pages, Shakai Hihyo Co., Jan. 2004
This was a revised and updated edition of Sizuka’s 1997 book The Time and Ideology of Space Battleship Yamato with more attention given to other SF titles from Yamato‘s production years. As before, it was all text with no pictures.
The World of Anime Novelize
224 pages, Yosen Co., July 2006
For obvious reasons having to do with the language barrier, Japanese novels are rarely translated into English, and as this book indicated, the number of novelizations based on anime productions is vast and widespread. The writers examined hundreds of them in detail, offering noteworthy trivia and reviews.
Toshihiro Kawamoto Artworks
The Illusives Vol. II
152 pages, Softbank Creative, Sept. 2006
Kawamoto is one of those anime designers with such a long resume that it’s practically guaranteed that you’ve seen his work on a poster, book cover, or video jacket. Best known as the character designer for Gundam 0083 and Cowboy Bebop, he is also the unsung hero who modernized the Leiji Matsumoto aesthetic for such projects as The Cockpit . This book (part of a 2-volume set) brought all his major works together, including his Matsumoto-esque artwork for the 1998 Yamato video releases. Highly recommended.
It’s Wonderful to be Young
by Hiroshi Miyagawa
256 pages, Sankei Shimbun, March 2007
This was composer Hiroshi Miyagawa’s autobiography, a highly entertaining set of essays that covered his entire career.
Read the Yamato segments here.
Bandai Character Plastic Model Chronicle
by Satoshi Kato & Hideki Kakinuma
178 pages, Gakken, April 2007
This book tracked the amazing history of Bandai’s rise from obscurity into the world’s leading manufacturer of plastic models. Yamato kits played a major role in Bandai’s advancement during the 70s, positioning them to take full advantage of the anime explosion of the 80s.
Read the Yamato chapter here.
Bandai Box Art Collection
120 pages, Toys’ Works, Nov. 2008
Shigeru Komatsuzaki’s name is commonly offered by other accomplished artists (including Leiji Matsumoto himself) when asked for their favorite influences. His dynamic action paintings graced many a book cover until the early 1970s when he became the go-to artist for an up-and-coming plastic modelmaker named Bandai. His box art sold kits as briskly as his cover art previously sold books and magazines, including that of the earliest Yamato models from 1974.
In recognition of his genius, a division of Gakken Publishing Co. named Toy’s Works curated an exhibition of Komatsuzaki’s paintings in early 2008, then followed up with this book, which was packed from cover to cover with high-octane imagery that inspired generations of Japanese boys. Highly recommended.
Prohibited Broadcast Works
242 pages, Sansai Books, June 2011
An examination (mostly text) of controversial images and media topics, including photos from the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake. A chapter on Anime and Tokusatsu includes a rundown of Yamato‘s history with a focus on the editorial changes in Star Blazers. Mostly text, for completists only.
Secret Perfection DX
True Secrets of Movies/Live-Action & Manga/Anime & Tokusatsu
Core Comics #265
394 pages, Core Magazine, November 2011
A highly sensationalized compendium of gossip and scandal from the many worlds of pop culture. A Yamato chapter breezes through the basic politics of the franchise, accompanied by a lurid 12-page manga depicting the business dealings of Yoshinobu Nishizaki.
Laws of Anime Hit Movies
256 pages, Knowledge Fore, November 2012
Film journalist Morihiko Saitoh wrote this detailed look at the business and marketing of anime feature films, with a chapter devoted to the pivotal 1977 Space Battleship Yamato movie.
Read it here.
Captain Legend: A Book for the Space Age
184 pages, Ichijinsa Publishing, January 2013
Written by Keisuke Hirota, this intriguing paperback brings together the words and comportment of characters from Yamato, Gundam, Macross and other titles – a total of 24 anime captains – for the purposes of inspiration. The book is mostly text and lightly illustrated. The Yamato captains are Okita, Hijikata, the Andromeda captain from Farewell to Yamato, both Kodai brothers, and Yamanami.