Yamato 2199: Before the Chapter 3 Premiere ~ Our Yamato Special 3
This was the third TV special, broadcast on October 6, 2012. Like the first two, it featured production staff members from various branches reporting on upcoming events, mainly the premiere of Chapter 3. This was the last special of its kind, and was not included on any disc.
Yamato 2199 Official DVD Guidebook
This magazine-size book was published by Mag Garden on April 10, 2013 to coincide with the TV broadcast debut. It was created as a 24-page primer for those who hadn’t yet been introduced to the series. Focused entirely on the setup for Episode 1, it provides an introduction to characters, mecha, and basic concepts using what has become standard artwork for each.
The DVD Guidebook title comes from its unique bonus feature, a Region 2 DVD containing on-camera interviews with the voice actors for Kodai and Shima, the first half of the first episode, and the 2012 promo trailer for the series. Naturally, a book like this for each episode would have been a welcome addition to the publishing lineup, but although DVD-based periodicals are common in Japan, no further volumes appeared.
Yamato 2199 MV (Music Video)
Columbia Blu-ray: COCX-1062, DVD: COBC-6481. July 24, 2013
One of the best parts of the whole 2199 experience is watching elements of the past revived for the present, confirming that these things were remembered despite (or perhaps because of) their fleeting presence.
The original Yamato MVs were produced after the saga ended in 1983. Five of them were released in ’84 and ’85, one for each movie, and they provided a kind of epilogue with symphonic music artfully combined with footage chosen for its visual impact. The result was an elegant memoir freed up from the structural demands of a narrative. The series was only available for a brief time on VHS and LD, then vanished. (Read much more about it here.)
The Yamato 2199 MV fits perfectly into the style of its predecessors, 45 minutes of music and footage from the first half of the series that allow you to take in the artistry of both without dialogue or sound effects to override either.
Yamato 2199 MV (Music Video) Part 2
Columbia Blu-ray: COCX-1073, DVD: COBC-6541. February 26, 2014
This one picks up where the first left off, specifically with Episode 14, and continues all the way to the end of the series in another 45-minute montage. More than half of the total run time is devoted to Chapter 7 (the last four episodes) where all the deepest drama can be found.
Yamato 2199: Star of Love MV (Music Video)
Yamato Crew exclusive, CD13102. October 25, 2013
In order to entice fans to purchase a storage box for all seven chapters, Yamato Crew threw in this “extra” MV, a 5-minute montage of anime footage set to Star of Love, the end theme for Chapter 7 sung by Nana Mizuki. It was only issued on Region 2 DVD.
Yamato Crew script storage box
The Yamato Crew editions of the DVDs and Blu-rays each came with facsimiles of the recordings scripts for their requisite episodes. Along with Chapter 3 in October 2012, Yamato Crew offered this storage box for all 26 volumes.
Yamato Crew video storage box
Another Yamato Crew exclusive was this box, available in both Blu-ray and DVD sizes. It quickly sold out via preorders and shipped out on October 25, after which it became highly prized on the second-hand collector’s market. This is the product that came with the Star of Love music video described above.
MBS/TBS Blu-ray box
As the first TV run came to a close in September 2013, broadcaster MBS/TBS offered this box to those who purchased Chapters 1-7 from their website as they came out. Despite the differences between the home video and TV edits, these were the same videos released by Bandai Emotion.
The wraparound was a beautiful piece of art by Kia Asamiya (above), who also designed the end credit rolls for the TV broadcast. Also included was a postcard (at left) with one of Naoyuki Katoh’s live-painted murals.
Like the storage box offered by Yamato Crew, this one sold out quickly, but the home page for it can still be seen here.
YRA [Radio Yamato] Best Lottery DVD
Banpresto, BP-12308. February 13, 2014
The “Best Lottery” is a prize campaign run by Banpresto, a toy branch of Bandai, with tickets purchased at convenience stores in Japan. Other anime spinoff products have been offered in past lotteries, and Jan/Feb 2014 was the first time for Space Battleship Yamato. This DVD was one of several items offered (see them all here).
With a running length of 11:41, this program re-uses footage from the series in montage form. The plot is simple: Yuria Misaki reports to the YRA broadcast booth to announce the contestants of the “Miss Yamato” contest. The script and voice acting are new, applied to pre-existing scenes of Yuria at the mike. As she describes each contestant (in glowing terms) a montage of scenes is shown. The program ends when Yuria introduces herself as the final contestant, overloading the microphone with excitement and knocking Radio Yamato off the air.
See the content of this DVD on Youtube here
Star Blazers 2199 Volume 1
Bandai Emotion Blu-ray & DVD. February 27, 2014
This is the first volume of the much-anticipated US release of the series, sold online via starblazers.com and Rightstuf.com. It contains the first four episodes with the same English subtitles found on the original Japanese blu-rays, plus new subtitles in Spanish. The only name change is that of the series itself.
Bonus items included three character cards and (if ordered from starblazers.com) a 12-page magazine-size poster book. Volumes 1-4 of Star Blazers 2199 were released from February through August, 2014. Starblazers.com then suspended its online ordering service before volumes 5 and 6 appeared.
A Voyage to Remember Limited-edition Blu-ray
October 11, 2014
This edition, like those that came before it, was issued only to movie theaters and you had to buy a movie ticket to get one. It contained the movie with the “killer app” of English subtitles, a 24-page guidebook (see it from cover to cover here), and the item that makes it a true limited edition: the storyboard book.
The books that came with Chapters 1-7 only covered single episodes, but this one contains the entire 2-hour, 10-minute film with storyboards patched together from the series. That makes it a real beast, a full 1.5 inches thick.
The wraparound slipcase art is another piece by the great Naoyuki Katoh, seen for the first time anywhere.
Character designer Nobuteru Yuuki created the cover for the video sleeve and a new portrait of Melda Dietz for the storyboard book (at right).
The disc comes with numerous bonus features, none of which are subtitled – which was also the case on all the previous discs. The features consist of a staff audio commentary, a Yamatalk Night from May 2014 with director Kato and writer Morita, commercials and trailers, and three short video programs: Yamato mecha, the UN Cosmo Navy, and the Garmillas Empire.
The English subtitles follow the format and vocabulary that was set up in the Star Blazers 2199 discs released in the US. Yurisha’s name is rendered Ulyssia, Planet Bombs are called Meteor Bombs, Garmillas is back to Gamilas (with the citizens called Gamilans), and the Deusular is now the Deusura.
Read all about the release of the film and this blu-ray here. The standard edition was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan November 21, 2014.
Ark of the Stars home video
May 27, 2015
Whereas all previous releases could be bought at theaters during the screening period, Ark was the exception. Each edition came out at once, nearly six months later, but fans were given plenty to choose from depending on the depth of their devotion.
Packaging followed the same high standard of the previous 2199 discs: English subtitles on the movie, an outer sleeve (exclusive to the first pressing) with wraparound art by the great Naoyuki Katoh, jacket art by Character Designer Nobuteru Yuuki, and a full-color 24 page booklet.
See the booklet from cover to cover here, including a new interview with General Director Yutaka Izubuchi.
Then there’s the storyboard book, well over an inch thick with new cover art by Nobuteru Yuuki. It covers the movie from end to end and comes bundled with the 2-disc Blu-ray edition.
For psycho-fans, the must-have version was the Amazon.co.jp exclusive, a 2-disc Blu-ray which came with a foldout digipack big enough to store the entire 2199 series (plus movies) – if you can bring yourself to divide them from their original packaging. It is graced all around by background art, Kia Asamiya paintings and the following quote from Yutaka Izubuchi:
I feel the end of a long journey at last. Such good memories. [Captain Okita quote] Thanks for supporting us!
Amazon digipack, exterior
Amazon digipack, interior
The specs for the 2-disc edition are as follows:
Sleeve art by Nobuteru Yuuki
Slipcase art by Naoyuki Katoh (first pressing only)
Complete storyboard book, cover art by Nobuteru Yuuki (at right)
Disc 1: 159 minutes
Movie (111 min.) with optional English subtitles, enhanced and upgraded from theatrical version
Opening day (December 6) stage greeting event
Ark of the Stars Launch TV special
Trailers and TV commercials
Disc 2: 229 minutes
December 14 stage greeting event
Ark of the Stars Big Hit Voyage TV special
Yamatalk Night events: music and art discussions
YRA Radio Yamato final live event
Music recording documentary
Yamato 2199 Hit Prayer event video
Picture Drama by Michio Murakawa
The picture drama was produced exclusively for the Blu-ray by manga artist Michio Murakawa. It’s a set of three slideshow-style vignettes featuring the crew filling the hours in light-hearted ways while Yamato is sidelined over Planet Shambleau. The total running time is only about five minutes, but it was an occasion to bring the voice actors back for a new round, and it worked out beautifully.
Yamato Crew’s own special edition came with a trading card and a two-volume facsimile of the voice-recording script for the entire movie. They also threw in a sheet of emblem stickers. This extra incentive item also came with copies ordered from CD Japan.
Last but not least, the English subtitles do a fine job of conveying the story, but fall a bit short in the area of consistency. Some of the terminology doesn’t match what we became accustomed to in the series, some was inherited from the aborted Star Blazers 2199 edition, and some could have used a rethink.
The biggest example of this is the use of the title itself. As we know, the official English title of the film is Odyssey of the Celestial Ark. Aesthetics aside, it is not an accurate translation of Hoshimeguru Hakobune, which contains no corresponding word to “odyssey.” (It literally translates to Ark Over Stars.) This becomes painfully apparent when the title is used in the following line of dialogue: “Odyssey of the celestial ark, awaken from your slumber.” This is one reason cooler heads prevail with the use of Ark of the Stars, Stellar Ark, or even Celestial Ark. Of course, everyone is free to call it what they like, but it’s always helpful to know the roots.
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.
Star Blazers 2199 in Italy
First Collection: October 26, 2016
It’s easy to forget that there is occasional 2199 activity outside Japan – until it happens, that is.
Italy became the first country outside Japan to get the full run of 2199 on home video, a distinction that evaded the US when the release was cut short before finishing. The first of two box sets arrived on DVD and Blu-ray October 26 through a company called Dynit.
Box 1 contains episodes 1-13 (on 3 discs) with an Italian language track and a Japanese track with Italian subtitles. There are no video bonus features, but a 32-page booklet is included. Box 1 can be ordered here.
Second Collection: December 15, 2016
Less than two months later, the second Star Blazers 2199 DVD/Blu-ray box sets were released by Dynit in Italy, containing the latter half of the series with both an Italian dub and the original Japanese track with Italian subtitles.
Box 2 can be ordered from the Dynit website here.