August 24: Premium Poster Book
This publication from Mag Garden was promoted like crazy throughout the summer, and with good reason – its unusual format and high production value makes it one for the history books. First of all, it’s BIG. Measuring roughly 12×17″ it just manages to edge out the previous record holder, DeAgostini’s Yamato Mechanical Illustrations coffee table book. But this is just the first impression.
When you open it up, several components unfold before your eyes. First, the outer portion is just a slipcase. The book itself pulls out and opens to its full 24×17″ expanse. There’s a big cardboard insert inside this that functions as a spacer, and when it slides free you see that this is literally a book of posters.
The title page shows images of all ten posters inside, some vertical and some horizontal. This page is permanently attached to the book, but the posters are loosely bound like note paper, and will probably pull free in your first or second perusal. Don’t sweat it – the whole purpose of this elaborate package is to keep them contained and protected.
Most of these images have been seen before in magazines or other merchandising, but three are completely new; the Yuki Mori cover image, another of Hilde Shulz, and an original Yamato painting (above right). If there’s one downside to the packaging, it’s that all the posters are curled in the middle to fit inside. The only way to get rid of that curl is to have them professionally mounted and framed.
The last page shows each image with art credits, information that normally never gets out with a poster release, so this is welcome data. Finally, the internal portion of the book behind all the pages has some nice graphics of its own.
This is definitely a specialty item for the fan who wants something extravagant in their collection (for what it’s worth, the hollow interior created by the spacer is big enough to contain other large-format items), and at only 2980 yen (a bit over $30 US) it delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
August 24: Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby, October issues
Between the freshly-released Cosmo Falcon and Gelvades, the upcoming Garmillas Warships set 3 and Soul of Chogokin Yamato, and a slew of other product announcements, the hobby magazines had a lot to chew on. Hobby Japan filled up 7 pages with model kit photos and news, and was the first place anywhere to reveal prototype photos of Megahouse’s 1/8 Captain Okita figure (to be released sometime next year).
See the pages here.
Dengeki outdid themselves with a whopping 28 pages, starting with extensive Garmillas model photo-features, a wartorn Yamato from the Rainbow Star Cluster battle, a couple of amazing scratch-built figures, and a huge wave of product announcements – including an ad for their Yamato 2199 Photo Collection book, coming September 30.
See the pages with translated text features here.
August 24: Model Graphix #347
Model Graphix only devoted two pages to Yamato this time; a page of Cosmo Zero design sketches, and a page on new and upcoming models. See an enlargement of the sketches here.
August 25: TV Episode 21
The Nico Nico simulcast opened with three of the Yamato girls one day after their personal appearance at the premiere of Chapter 7 at the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater. Sayako Toujo (as Yuria Misaki) and Ryo Nanase (as Kaoru Niimi) were finally rejoined by Shiki Aoki (as Akira Yamamoto) and there were two big announcements to be made.
First, despite the approaching end of the TV broadcast, the Nico Nico program would continue for at least another six months. Along with Bandai’s recent model kit announcements into early 2014, this was solid evidence that the franchise would not be allowed to fade away.
Second, it had just been decided that all five Yamato Girls would be featured in an upcoming TV commercial for the Yamato Crew website and fan club, but details would follow.
Among the other regular features in this two-hour program, these two backstage photos were shown from the day before. At left the entire team of Yamato Girls sits with series director Yutaka Izubuchi, and at right they surround their designer himself, Nobuteru Yuuki. One has to wonder if he ever imagined it would come to this one day.
Anyone who was curious about Shiki Aoki’s model-building progress was treated to a behind-the-scenes video of her continuing construction on her Cosmo Zero kit, which was interrupted by an impromptu visit from Toujo (also out of uniform) who did her best to sneak off with some parts, but was thwarted by her co-host. Finally, everyone was wowed by the finished product.
There were also a couple of TV-exclusive changes to Episode 21 itself; a slightly re-edited opening title with shots from Chapter 7 (still set to the Fight for Liberty opening song), and the third end-credit scroll montage, which can be seen in its entirety here.
See the broadcast version on Youtube here, accompanied by the as-yet unreleased ending song Distance.
August 26: Team Le Mans apparel
With the 2013 Super Formula season in full swing and Team Le Mans’ Yamato 2199 racer in the thick of it, an extensive line of appealing team support gear was released in late August, including t-shirts, towels, a cap, and a parka.
See them all here.
August 27: manga at Nico Nico Ace
The Yamato 2199 manga adaptation by Michio Murakawa is now continuing online at Nico Nico Ace, and it’s accessible to all. Click here to find it. If you don’t have an account yet, you’ll be prompted to register; red button for a premium account at 525 yen per month, grey button for a free account. When this is done, you’ll see a starter image for Nico Nico Ace #95 (above left). Click on the arrow icon to bring up the “magazine” in a larger format.
Wait for it to load, then when the cover comes up click on the far left arrow at the bottom. This brings up a contents page. Yamato 2199 is the first item in the left column – click it to see all 24 pages of chapter 17, which continues the “goodbye Earth” storyline from Episode 7. After the final page, you’ll see an image of the cover for the first collected paperback. Click on it to see the entire volume.
Or just look through the whole chapter here.
August 29: Soul of Chogokin promotion
Set for release in January 2014, this all-new “ultimate reproduction” Yamato toy was first unveiled in mid-June at the Tokyo Toy Show. Bandai has released two previous versions, but this is the first to be reproduced from the CG data created for the anime itself, which gives it the same authenticity as the model kits. The difference is that this one comes preassembled with numerous diecast parts and special gimmicks such as lighting and sound effects.
The promotional website for the GX-64 Yamato was upgraded on August 29 to include new images (look for popup CAD illustrations throughout) and the news that preorders would open September 9.
August 30: Chapter 7 trailer
Better late than never? Chapter 7 had been in Japanese theaters for almost a week when the 2-minute trailer finally appeared online. With the premiere already a part of history, this was utterly unnecessary, but if we’ve learned one thing about the Yamato 2199 production team, it’s that they don’t like to leave things unfinished.
August 30: Collector’s video boxes
There is as yet no sign of a Yamato 2199 box set on the horizon, and the unfortunate news for anyone who has been holding out for one is that it will certainly not be discounted if and when it does arrive, but the Yamato Crew website added the box itself to their online store for preorders. Storage boxes scaled for both DVD and Blu-ray will be available from the site when Chapter 7 finally goes into general release. The boxes will be sold with Chapter 7 and also separately.
August 30: Episode title postcards
The “Yamato Premium Shop” at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Shinjuku, Tokyo has opened and closed periodically in time with the last few movies, each time offering exclusive merchandise. One of these was an ongoing series of postcards featuring the final shot of each episode, which usually include the title captions. They finally sealed the deal with this last set of four, giving fans outside Japan a tantalizing glimpse of what to expect in Chapter 7. (And lest you believe these to be spoilers, the last shot of Episode 26 exactly matches that of the original series, so no need to fret.)
August 30: Comic Blade
The October issue of Mag Garden’s Comic Blade published the second chapter of the Red-Eyed Ace manga by Mayumi Azuma, a 12-page installment featuring Akira Yamamoto’s pivotal rescue of Kodai and Yuki on Enceladus. The art is significantly more detailed than in the first chapter, which was compromised by the artist’s health issues and its long page count. The standard of quality set by this segment easily makes up for it.
See the pages here.
August 31: Chara Hobby 2013
This year’s Chara Hobby raised the bar yet again for both the number and quality of Yamato 2199 models and figures from manufacturers large and small. Click here to see a gallery of the displays.
August 31: Producer Interview
Mantan Web is an entertainment site run by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, devoted to a range of pop culture topics from anime to manga to games and more. On the last day of August, they published yet another interview with Producer Mikio Gunji of Production IG, probably to help boost Chapter 7’s visibility for its final week. (Mr. Gunji is pictured at left from a summer 2012 event with Director Yutaka Izubuchi.)
See the original post of this interview here
Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Maintaining the exquisite balance
of old and new
In Anime Questionnaire, we ask creators about the topic of anime’s appeal. This time, its is Space Battleship Yamato 2199. We talked about the appeal of the work with Production IG’s Mikio Gunji.
Interviewer: How would you summarize the appeal of this work?
Gunji: Yamato 2199 is a remake of Space Battleship Yamato, which was broadcast in 1974. In fact, the work called Space Battleship Yamato is a universal road movie. Friends set out on a journey, encounter different people in the midst of that journey, and solve it with wisdom and courage in the face of difficulty. An encounter with a foreign culture is depicted, and I think things like love and friendship provide the appeal. It’s a “space battleship” that is traveling in space, so you might momentarily think it is a mecha work, but what’s depicted here is a human drama.
Mr. Gunji (far right) at work with his staff at Production IG
Interviewer: What did you keep in mind while making the anime?
Gunji: When you ask that of the staff, such as General Director Yutaka Izubuchi or Chief Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii, they try to keep in mind not only pleasing the fans of the original, but also cultivating new fans. Actually, there is no successful example of a remake of a past masterpiece. If it is made as a completely new thing, fans of the original won’t watch it at all, and conversely you can’t catch new fans if you make the original fans the only target. Yamato 2199 has attracted the original fans and gained new fans alike. I think it’s a work that maintains an exquisite balance of old and new.
Because it is a remake, there’s a certain story it must follow. In other words, it is a work born with certain “restrictions,” but I think that arrangement was carried out very well. Instead of adhering only to the original, completely new interpretations were added, and its biggest attraction is being a work that was revived for modern times. When I analyze the viewership now, a considerable number of children have been watching who did not know the original Yamato at all. From the time we launched the broadcast during Golden Week [early April] sales of plastic models seem to have increased tenfold. I feel the number of new fans has also increased.
On the day this interview was published, Director Yutaka Izubuchi and Voice
Actor Takayuki Sugo (Caption Okita) were on a whirlwind tour of personal
appearances at theaters in Osaka and Kyoto to kick off the final week of
Chapter 7’s run.
By the way, speaking of the TV broadcast version on MBS, we’ve attached a prologue to the beginning for those who are seeing it for the first time. We added captions to introduce the main cast for the broadcast.
Interviewer: That’s good news, but conversely were there any adversities in the making of the work?
Gunji: In terms of the viewership, we’re glad that “Yamato business” is expanding. At the time the original Yamato was broadcast, national clients became anime sponsors, but now you have to support a broadcast framework only with companies connected to the anime business. What I mean by this is that a sponsor undertakes a great risk to broadcast anime on TV. If the related business is not successful, you can’t recover the costs. Yamato 2199‘s business development continues to expand, so I think we’ve been able to repay the kindness of everyone who took a risk on this work.
I said before that “children are watching,” and in another interview here with Tetsuya Kinoshita, the producer of Attack on Titan for Pony Canyon, he said he was collecting the flyers for Yamato 2199. When asked why, he said “my 5-year-old-son is watching it intently.” It seems he says, “Wave-Motion Gun, fire!” (Laughs) My employee’s 4-year old nursery-school daughter is also absorbed in Yamato, and proudly brags to her friends, “my mama works on Yamato!” I really like such reactions from children.
A welcome signboard to Izubuchi and Sugo’s personal appearance at the Namba Parks Cinema in Osaka
Free handout pack given to moviegoers for the
second week of Chapter 7: metallic sticker, Yuki
postcards and a foldout flyer from Bandai.
Interviewer: Please tell me about an upcoming highlight.
Gunji: The last part, Chapter 7, has been showing in theaters since August 24. There was a one-hour TV broadcast special of episodes 18 and 19 on August 4, and the Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster, said to be the greatest highlight of the original, was also shown in the same month, on the 18th. The TV broadcast and the theater screenings overlap and flow into the finale. I’d like you to pay attention to the changes in the character of Susumu Kodai in particular. How does his character change over the 26 episodes, especially when he finds himself in love with Yuki? I think drawing the maximum attention to the ensemble story is the point.
During the voice recording of the last episode, Daisuke Ono in the part of Kodai said, “Ah, that was fun!” It was impressive to say that after coming back. I think the impression is that cast’s performance is equal to the task of Yamato 2199.
Interviewer: Please say a word to the fans.
Gunji: Since it is being broadcast across the entire country, I want you to watch it by all means on TV at 5pm Sunday. I think the biggest attraction of the TV broadcast is simply that “it can be seen on TV.” Although we’re at a point where it’s really intense, I encourage the maximum number of people to watch. Thank you for your support.
Click here to continue to Report 24.
Bonus: Art Exchange
Akemi Takada is a name every serious anime fan should recognize; primarily a manga artist, she is best known outside Japan as the character designer for Magical Angel Creamy Mami and Mobile Police Patlabor. She is also a fan of Nobuteru Yuuki’s character design for 2199, and has made a habit of sketching Yamato characters for her blog; see the thread here.
The admiration appears to be mutual; Yuuki contributed an image (above left) to commemorate Creamy Mami‘s 30th anniversary, which Takada posted to her blog on July 8. He posted another image (above right) on his Facebook page the day before.