December 24: Yuki Mori’s birthday
Few in-story character birthdays are known, but this is one of them thanks to on-screen information in Episode 15.
Battlefield Infinity players were reminded of this when new Yuki artwork was featured on bonus downloads (shared on Twitter by “Momotaro Samurai.”)
December 24: Concert videos
When 2015 started, it looked like the only new Yamato we’d see on home video was Ark of the Stars. That changed in late August when we received the welcome news about the two Yamato 2199 concerts arriving at the end of the year. To understand the historical significance of that, it has happened only once before. Despite the enormous number of Yamato concerts that have been held since 1978, only the 1984 Yamato Grand Symphony made it beyond album format. And now that number has been tripled in one shot.
Both concerts are available individually on DVD and Blu-ray (from CD Japan or Amazon.co.jp). There are no English subtitles, but they’re hardly necessary in this case. But for serious collectors, the go-to edition is the Concert Special Box which contains the two Blu-rays and four bonus items.
First, program books from both concerts. The 2012 program is a single folded card with the play list and singalong lyrics to the Yamato theme. The 2015 program is the full 20-page pamphlet as seen cover to cover here.
The other two items are sheet music books reproduced directly from Akira Miyagawa’s handwritten compositions: a 4-part Yamato suite and Decisive Battle from Ark of the Stars. Each is fully arranged for orchestral performances. Then, of course, there’s the handsome box they’re all packed into, which is a substantial 8.5” x 12” (A4) and just right for your Yamato shelf.
The videos themselves also contain some bonuses, described below.
Yamato Music Team Big Ceremony 2012
Concert run time: 85 minutes
Bonus features: 8-page text booklet, audio commentary, Yamatalk Night 3 featuring Akira Miyagawa (see our report on that event here).
The concert consists of two parts: The World of Yamato Sound and The World of Yamato Theme Songs. Part 1 is made up of 11 pieces with on-stage talks by Miyagawa. Part 2 consists of 6 songs, four of which did not appear on the CD. There were three additional songs performed live, but they didn’t make it to any commercial recording for undisclosed reasons.
For completists, the full song list consisted of the following:
Yamato theme (video only)
Teresa Forever (live performance only)
Yamato!! The New Voyage (live performance only)
Be Forever Yamato (live performance only)
Love Supreme (video & CD)
May the Light of the Stars Shine Forever (video only)
You Who Know the Beautiful Earth (video only)
Scarlet Scarf (video only)
Yamato theme reprise (video & CD)
By Ryozo Fuwa
(translated from the video booklet)
The Yamato Music Group Big Ceremony 2012 is a concert event that was performed twice, day and night, on November 10, 2012 at Maihama amphitheater. A previous large-scale Yamato 2199 event called Yamato 2199 Launch ~ Our Yamato Special was held at Yomiuri Hall on February 18 of that year. Old and new Yamato theme songs were performed one after another in a concert format that fans had long anticipated.
In this concert, the conductor was Akira Miyagawa, the son of Yamato music creato Hiroshi Miyagawa, who took charge of the score for Yamato 2199. The performance was by the Osaka City Symphony Orchestra (now Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra) and the Toke Civic Wind Orchestra. In addition, well-known studio musicians participated in the rhythm section. Unlike previous Yamato concerts, this one did not contain a section of string instruments such as violin, instead centering on wind instruments as the focal point. Akira Miyagawa was the artistic director of the Osaka Orchestra at the time, and assembled a total of 120 musicians around it to perform the newly-arranged music that day. Collectively, they were the Yamato Music Group, a big, proud name for a big concert.
In the “world of Yamato sound,” the melody of the titular theme song Space Battleship Yamato emerges out of a heavy, solemn overture, a familiar opening from the Yamato concerts of the Hiroshi Miyagawa era, which leads into a performance of BGM configured into the format of a suite. After this, conductor Akira Miyagawa, who is directly responsible for the progression, takes the mic to describe how the music relates to 1974, the time when the first Yamato was produced:
“Aren’t we all certain that Yamato is classical music? No, flowing through the roots of Yamato music is the soul of rock!”
This impassioned declaration about the new approach to 2199’s music is demonstrated in the subsequent performance, bringing the format of a lecture concert to the stage.
The fourth Chapter of Yamato 2199 would premiere January 12, 2013, and a preview screening of Episode 11 was shown during the concert’s intermission. It was this episode that paved the way to the feature film Ark of the Stars, offering fans a breathtaking look at a third force, the Gatlantis Empire in its first on-screen appearance in 2199.
Next came The World of Yamato Theme Songs in which Isao Sasaki performed The Scarlet Scarf and, of course, the familiar Yamato theme. May the Light of the Stars Shine Forever, the ending song from Chapter 1, was performed by Aira Yuki, and Aki Misato followed with You Who Know the Beautiful Earth, the ending song from Chapter 2. An unexpected surprise was Love Supreme [from Final Yamato], which had been prepared to showcase the vocal performance of Yucca with piano accompaniment from Akira Miyagawa. The finale was a combined chorus of Space Battleship Yamato between the stage and the audience.
The generation that longed for the former Yamato gathered together under one roof with the generation that knows Yamato anew to listen to the same music and combine their voices, enjoying the revival of Yamato 2199…an unforgettable day worthy of the name Big Ceremony.
Yamato 2199 Concert 2015
Concert run time: 116 minutes
Bonus features: 8-page text booklet, audio commentary, on-stage talk sessions (7 minutes).
This is the third release of Concert 2015, following CD and Blu-ray audio, and the musical content of each is identical. The presentation is divided into two parts, A Voyage to Remember and Ark of the Stars, accompanied by sporadic anime footage that encompasses the entire story.
By Ryozo Fuwa
(translated from the video booklet)
Yamato 2199 Concert 2015 was performed three times at Maihama amphitheater: twice on February 28, 2015, and again on March 1. It was the first 2199 concert to follow Big Ceremony 2012 and the theatrical premiere of Ark of the Stars on December 6, 2014. This long-awaited concert summarized the music of the 2199 series and was quickly released on Blu-ray audio February 25th.
Of course, the conductor was Akira Miyagawa, who was in charge of the music for 2199, but rather than his usual witty banter between songs, there was instead narration that looked back at 2199 (newly recorded for this concert by Yuki Mori’s voice actor Houko Kuwashima), inserted to advance the story.
A Voyage to Remember recounted the outward trip in 2199, beginning with the launch from Earth and progressing through many battles on the way to Iscandar, all spelled out through narration and familiar BGM. Old favorites such as The Universe Spreading into Infinity, Yamato Big River Theme, and Black Tiger blended with new pieces such as Praise Be Our Eternal Glory, Yamato Maelstrom, and Encounter in the Void to reproduce the atmosphere of the story and provide a rare overview of the 2199 music world in a single stretch.
In Ark of the Stars, the second half of the concert, many new BGM pieces made their concert debut along with the story of the film. The songs progressed almost exactly in their sequential order from the film, tracing the dynamic and subtle moments of the story just like musical theater.
The huge Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus appeared to participate in the climax, The Ark Returns to the Sea of Stars. Because of the size of this organization, they had to be recorded separately for the film score and overdubbed onto the BGM. This moment was the first time all the voices and instruments joined together on one stage.
Finally, Akira Miyagawa presented Great Harmony ~ For Yamato 2199, the ending theme he composed and arranged himself for Ark of the Stars, playing a special version with double vocals from Yucca and Kazuko Hashimoto. In an encore described by Miyagawa as “karaoke meets great live performance,” the entire audience joined the choir for Scarlet Scarf, Galactic Route, and Space Battleship Yamato for an emotional grand finale.
The visual presentation of this performance permitted the “BGM recording site” to be precisely reproduced on the stage, overturning the traditional methods of a Yamato concert. Therefore, rather than re-arranging the music for an orchestral formation, it was played by the same studio musicians who participated in the BGM recording – the “real players” who were responsible for the music in Yamato 2199 and Ark of the Stars. The thrilling, lifelike sharpness of their performance is firmly engraved onto this disc.
The history of Yamato concerts, which has been built over nearly 40 years since the era of Hiroshi Miyagawa, has surely entered a new phase in this performance. Hearing a live version of the “same sound” you’re familiar with from the film has a power and even a “rush” that defy description. That rush exceeds logic, and I’d like to you to relive it again and again on this disc by all means.
December 27: Game news
This entry is a bit of a mystery. The image appeared on the Battlefield Infinity Twitter feed, but the only text information was as follows:
A total of 13 new units appear for rare and normal buildup! Get a new unit and organize a new fleet! More information in news.
This is where the trail ran dry, since no accompanying news item could be found on the game’s official website. But they made up for it the next day…
December 28: Game news
Battlefield Infinity offers extravagant rewards! Memory of the Voyage is held!
During the Memory of the Voyage event, the popular “search stage” is revived! Three search stage events appear in each period.
In Bride of War, the brides Harada and Elisa fight in the whirlpool of the battlefield again!
In Beyond the minefield, lots of mines block the way and two strategists clash: Okita and Dessler!
In Big Midsummer Operation, swimsuit beauties appear as the hot sun blazes down on the blue sea! Yamamoto and Melda!
Your fleet can make a sortie in the search stage in between time and obtain a reward of extravagant “Reality” units for both the UN Cosmo Navy and the Imperial Garmillas Army!
Bride of War
December 28 – 31
Hatsuyuki (Makoto Harada) bride version
Polmeria (Elisa Domel) bride version
Beyond the Minefield
January 1 – 4
Yukikaze (Okita) limited version
Deusular I (Dessler) limited version
Big Midsummer Operation
January 5 & 6
Cosmo Zero (Akira Yamamoto) swimsuit version
Czvarke (Melda Dietz) swimsuit version
Battlefield Infinity journeys into exciting new voyages and delivers content everyone can enjoy. Don’t miss it!!
December 28: Manga chapter 42
This generous 28-page installment by Michio Murakawa continued his adaptation of Episode 16 with parallel events unfolding as Yamato nears Planet Beemela: the Izumo mutiny, political developments on Garmillas, and the expeditionary mission – which includes a few extra characters and a Garmillas booby trap.
See the pages here.
December 29-31: Comiket 89
Yamato cosplay and doujinshi appeared in smaller numbers this time, but still made a very respectable showing.
Nobuteru Yuuki Facebook post
2199 character designer Nobuteru Yuuki gave us another glimpse at Yamato characters in what has become his annual Happy New Year cartoon, this one commemorating the year of the monkey with Kato, Shinohara and a thoroughly embarassed Yamamoto.
Yamamoto is muttering,
“I can’t show my figure to Kodai-san.”
Kato: “I can’t show my figure to my wife, either.”
In his accompanying message, Yuuki apologized for not posting as much as in previous years and not responding to birthday greetings. Nevertheless, he thanked everyone for their continued attention to his work.
December 31: Super New Year’s Eve concert
Akira Miyagawa returned to the stage for this annual event to ring in 2016 at the Sumida Triphony Hall. The program is always a refreshing mix of concert standards and pop culture favorites. The highlights this time were Mission Impossible, the Thunderbirds theme, a suite from Fantasia, and – of course – the Yamato theme. For a year that began with a history-making Yamato concert, this was a fitting way for it to go out.
Also spotted in December
2016 calendars by “Zenseava.”
In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, it belongs to a Japanese artist specializing in speculative Yamato mecha on a website called Lighthouse Mechanics. Every year he makes a new calendar image featuring his personal creations. Visit his website (and take a look around at his other mindboggling ships) here.
UX-01 miniature announced
After some unexplained stops and stars, the Cosmo Fleet Special UX-01 is back on Megahouse’s release list for March 31. As indicated in the pics, it can split apart at the waterline to be displayed in “surfacing” mode. It will be accompanied by a miniature of the Cosmo Seagull, since both appeared in the same 2199 episode.
See photos at the Megahouse website here.
It was another good month for Zero and Falcon repaints, and we got an interesting version of a Yuki figure as a bonus. See a photo gallery here.
A nice selection of art by Yamato fans found its way to us via the Twitterverse. See a gallery here.
Not all of the Yamato cosplay for December was limited to Comiket. See some additional contributions here.
Custom smart watch
Yamato fans are an inspired bunch with some interesting overlaps in their hobbies. One such fan goes by the online name “UT,” and he’s a fan of modern smart watches. On December 11, he posted an entry on his blog UT Design showing how he customized a Time Round watch (made by Pebble) to utilize Yamato radar graphics captured from 2199 anime footage. See the watch in action here.
In the same blog entry, UT mentioned an earlier project in which he customized another Pebble watch (named simply “Time”) with different Yamato graphics. See that entry here.
If you happen to share UT’s interests, see an introduction to Pebble’s Time Round here.