Best of Best: Isao Sasaki CD
Columbia COCX-39013, April 1
Columbia is very good at keeping classic anime themes in print through tribute albums like this one, which pulls together all the favorites rendered by vocalist Isao Sasaki (other legendary singers got their own volumes). Best known for the original Yamato theme and The Scarlet Scarf, his other credits run deep into both anime and live-action. This 25-track CD brings them all to life again.
Isao Sasaki 55th Anniversary Concert Birthday Live
Sasaki celebrated his 55th year as a professional singer with a concert in Tokyo filled with thirty songs including his best-known anime hits (Yamato chief among them) and some Elvis tunes. The event also served as a birthday party. At 73, he told reporters that he keeps fit through weekly aerobics and assured them that his hair is still his own. His frequent collaborator Mitsuko “Queen of Anison” Horie appeared with him as a special guest.
Other guests helped present a career history slideshow, including Leiji Matsumoto and the original voice of Yuki herself, Yoko Asagami.
This is all I want to know: 50 Anime Songs
Columbia COCX-39272, September 23
50 years, 50 songs. That’s the shortest way to sum up this massive 2-CD compendium of Columbia’s most popular anime theme singles starting with Jungle Emperor [Kimba] in 1965. It’s a lot to get through if you only want the original Yamato theme, but if you’re looking for an instant collection of classics it can’t be beat.
Yamato Sound Almanac 1974-1983: Yamato Music Addendum
Columbia COCX-39257~9, October 28
In terms of the pure Yamato sound, this was the single biggest release of the year, a triple-disc treasure trove that followed in the wake of the 30-CD Sound Almanac series. It may be hard to imagine that anything had been left out, but the well goes deeper than even the production supervisor thought, as described in his liner notes.
In case you’re wondering if they finally dug up the original source for the Bee People festival in Series 1, that still remains sadly elusive. And truthfully, there’s nothing completely new here, but completists love diving into alternate takes and remixes that liven up the old favorites.
Highlights include alternate takes from the Yamato radio dramas, tracks from the Anime Piano ~ Yamato/Gundam album, The instrumental-only version of Prelude to Final Yamato, a “refresh collection” of BGM remixes from Yamato 2 through Final Yamato, and a handful of songs that didn’t fit on previous releases.
Read the extensive liner notes and a complete track listing here.
Yamato Sound Arrange Project CD series
Off to the side is a special series of discs that has been flying under the radar for a while, but finally emerged in 2015. Y.S.A.P. is the brainchild a fan circle called Brightness. They combine their musical talents to create rich, inventive cover versions of Yamato music from across the entire saga and 2199.
As of this writing, Brightness has released five full-length albums of Yamato music. They typically premiered at the Winter Comiket, culminating with Volume 5 in December 2014. At present, you can only get their works by asking a Japanese friend to order them online. Short of that, you can click on the following links to hear samples from each album:
IJN Yamato revival
Elsewhere in the world of homemade CG comes this image, first tweeted by a user named Zozi. The building with the green roof is the Battleship Yamato museum in Kure city. And parked in the water, more or less where the original was built, is a resurrected Battleship Yamato. It was added to the photo with CG, of course, inviting us to imagine a different flow of history. Incidentally, the flat area directly below Yamato is a walkway upon which half of the forward deck has been reproduced at 1/1 scale in tiles.
See what the museum looks like from the ground here.
An early Yamato knockoff model, revealed
Posted by PMF Miya-P on March 19
Yomiuri Shimbun profile on beloved actor Masato Ibu credits him in the first line as Dessler from Space Battleship Yamato
Posted by “Aoi” on April 6
An unusual Yamato sighting in the Hiroshima countryside. The sign (and presumably the model) was erected by the Hiura Corporation (a civil engineering company) and says “Road Safety.”
Posted by “Kendama567” on April 9
See a video walkaround of the model on Youtube here.
Left: Photo-stop outside the Battleship Yamato Museum in Kure
Posted by “Honey-Hasamari” on June 1
Right: Yamato and Andromeda take flight
Posted by “Asuka” on August 14
Imaginary “Andromeda Museum” custom model
Spotted at Wonder Festival 2015 summer, July 25
A beautifully-detailed homemade CG Andromeda
Posted by “Mirror MK” on September 7
Classic Yamato cels from Series 1 spotted at a Mandarake store auction case
Posted by “Uraniwamoviecom” on November 19
Magazine photo depicting the filming of a vintage Yamato model kit commercial
Posted by “Toshiro Ifukube” on December 5
(visit our Links page to find many, many more)
Right: Stunning violin accompaniment with Yamato theme, June 18. View it here.
Left: The Scarlet Scarf, blisteringly covered by Ninomiya Band, October 9. View it here.
Right: Fully symphonic anime theme concert at Shizuoka Hobby Show, May 16 (Yamato starts at 8:22). View it here.
Left: One-of-a-kind, all-bass Yamato theme by Panda Wind Orchestra, May 17. View it here.
Right: Yamato theme deftly covered by pianist Fabrizio Spaggiari, September 26. View it here.
Left: Yamato theme endearingly performed by KaiMana Family, November 14. View it here.
Bonus: The Scarlet Scarf performed by KaiMana Family, November 14. View it here.
Right: Elaborate multimedia performance of Yamato themes by the SDF orchestra, November 15. View it here.
A fan named Tetsuya Maruyama emerged in March to share two of his exquisite sculptures with the world, one based on Starsha and another on Yuki Mori, which was pictured in Model Graphix magazine.
A blogger/modeler named “Deep Space Pat” gave everyone a look at his kit conversion of a mecha-scale Yamato into the infamous Dai Yamato Zero-Go. Have a look at his work here.
Voice actor Chikao Ohtsuka, January 16
This section is where we bid farewell to Yamato luminaries who departed in the last year, and though the number is very low this time it doesn’t make the news any more welcome. But here goes: icy-voiced Chikao Ohtsuka played the small but memorable role of Baruze, the Comet Empire officer from Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2 who commanded the solar system invasion fleet. (In Yamato 2, he commanded from the Manga-Flame ship Medaluza).
This was just one of Ohtsuka’s many memorable parts that included Goemon in Lupin III, Jagi and Ryuken in Fist of the North Star, TaoPaiPai in Dragonball, Moriarty in Sherlock Hound, Pailsen in Armored Trooper Votoms, Gold Roger in One Piece, Arthur Hellsing in Hellsing Ultimate, and many more.
See an extensive list of his credits at Anime News Network here.
Voice actor Patrick W. Lohn, February 2
It’s always a huge thrill when another Star Blazers voice actor emerges from the fog of history. It’s always a tragedy when we learn that name too late. Such is the case with Patrick W. Lohn, the voice of the one and only Christopher Eager.
It wasn’t a big part. Eager never got the spotlight the way other characters did. He almost never had good news for anyone, and he never actually got to show his mettle as the “assistant pilot” of the ship. It would have been easy for him to go unnoticed if not for Patrick’s voice. Eager’s unique Texas drawl added a level of character that was not only absent from the original Japanese casting, it made Eager unforgettable. Either the Star Blazers writers went out of their way to give him an outsized personality, or Patrick did it all by himself to perk up what could have been a very bland role. Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
Patrick’s brief obituary was published in the Suffolk Times, and actually included a mention of Star Blazers (see it here). This fact alone tells us the show was important enough to him and his family to record it as part of his legacy. Let’s all say a silent word of thanks for his remarkable contribution.
Special thanks to friend-of-the-website Brian Lombard for this find.