After a completely silent month of August, a full-throated trumpeting in early September finally brought Yamato 2202 out of the shadows and into public view with the first in what we can expect to be a long line of live events. These were always a highlight of the Yamato 2199 experience, so we can expect many more. There’s a little bit of backlog to cover first, and then we’ll dive into every detail.
July 22: Hyperweapon 2016
Artist/modeler/designer Makoto Kobayashi graced us with his annual art book again this summer. Yamato content was minimal in this edition, but still significant. Two pages apiece were devoted to Yamato 2199 and Yamato 2202, containing concept sketches seen nowhere else.
Order your copy of Hyperweapon 2016 (always highly recommended) here.
August 12-14: First doujinshi at Comiket
There’s nothing official about doujinshis (fanzines), but this is officially the first known doujinshi to focus entirely on Yamato 2202. It looks like something you’d find in a Japanese bookstore, but instead it was found at Comiket 90. It’s 32 pages of fan speculation, and will make for interesting comparisons down the road. (Photos found in an online auction.)
August 30: Event announcement
We were told in the producer interview from Ship’s Log #14 to expect major news in September, and the first word of it arrived at the end of August. On Monday, September 5, a Production Presentation event would be held with live streaming to Nicovideo and Bandai Channel. As it turned out, this also started a countdown to a major update for the official 2202 website, so this was our final glimpse at the teaser version.
The amount of fan art posted to Twitter since our last check-in has grown at a steady pace, and will probably become a regular addition to these reports. Catch up on the newest discoveries here.
The rest of this report is entirely devoted to September 5. As you’ll see, this 5th of September was one to remember…
Official site updated
Yamato 2202.net got a complete makeover with lots of new features and the first teaser trailer of the series. Handsome new key art graced the left side and a foreboding new slogan ran down the right:
This “Love” Will Shatter the Cosmos…
The 1-minute teaser trailer was right on top, so let’s start there. (Or on Youtube here.)
Eerie music. Major production credits. Our first look at Teresa – the Farewell to Yamato version, sending her prayer for peace out into the universe. Then a shadowy image of Okita with the words “Kodai…board Yamato!”
Quick flashes of Kodai and Yuki in their current costumes (Kodai wearing a hat for the first time in this continuity AND the first time since Yamato Resurrection)…
The full-up title image (Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers 2202, Soldiers of Love) followed by a release date: February 25, 2017. Blu-ray and digital sales to begin simultaneously.
Clicking on the navigation menu opens up several options, the first being News. As of day one, it offered a link to stream Yamato 2199 from Bandai Channel (within Japan only), and on September 6 new info was added about home video.
The first actual Yamato 2199 Blu-ray box set will be released January 27; all the original discs with their respective bonus features for 35000Y, or about $350US – basically the same as the seven volumes cost on their own. Amazon.co.jp brings that down to a little over $280US, which is the best price you can expect, so get your preorder in here. The actual box art has yet to be revealed.
The Introduction page is where we start to get some real meat. The upper portion is all basic info about the theatrical, video, and digital releases for Chapter 1. February 25 will see it premiere at 15 theaters (with special-edition Blu-rays available to ticket holders) and on multiple streaming services. For the first time, the limited-edition Blu-ray will also be sold online through Bandai Video Club (to Japan only) while supplies last and ship a week after the movie opens. Digital rental begins March 11 and the regular Blu-ray and DVD editions will be released March 24. As with 2199, Chapter 1 will consist of the first two of 26 episodes.
Of course, the first question on everyone’s lips is “what about English subtitles”? The specs don’t mention them yet, but the same was true when Chapter 1 of 2199 was first announced. Subtitles were added to the specs only a few weeks before the premiere, and the same could be true this time. For now, it’s a good idea to get your Chapter 1 preorder in at either Amazon.co.jp or CD Japan and stand by for further developments.
On a related note, you may be wondering if the arrival of Yamato 2202 means a revival of Farewell to Yamato and the Yamato 2 series. The movie arrived on Blu-ray April 2013, so that’s about as far as it can go short of a theatrical appearance (which would be pretty epic). Yamato 2’s last release was a 2001 DVD box with nothing but occasional satellite TV reruns since then. When Series 1 came to Blu-ray in July 2012 it was natural to expect a followup, and while it could still happen we should keep in mind that since Yamato 2 was shot on 16mm film there won’t be a great deal of improvement in HD. Still, let’s hope for the best.
Anyway, back to the Introduction page. Below the release information is some new text worth your attention…
The timeless masterpiece of animation Space Battleship Yamato was remade as Yamato 2199, which unfolded through theater screenings and TV broadcasts across the country from 2012 to 2014.
In 2017, the latest series Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love becomes the sequel fans have anticipated, showing in theaters! Nobuyoshi Habara, animation director of the Yamato Resurrection Director’s Cut is the series director and Harutoshi Fukui of Mobile Suit Gundam UC has been appointed as the head scriptwriter. Akira Miyagawa, who inherited the Yamato genes, is in charge of the music.
The motif is the 1978 feature film Farewell to Yamato, Soldiers of Love, which entranced all of Japan. Its sublime story is being revived with a new interpretation and modern day trappings. With the appearance of “love” for this day and age, Space Battleship Yamato goes off on a journey again!!
Message from Executive Producer Shoji Nishizaki
After such a long time has passed, we rely on the spirited writer Harutoshi Fukui to write a story with a new interpretation of the message in Farewell to Yamato. With his intense love of Yamato, Nobuyoshi Habara brings life to the characters and directs with “love” and strength.
That person of first love that you want to meet again…how will they be changed after a long absence? What will you think when you meet your first love again?
Do not worry! Because Yamato is being remade with love by people who it impressed, you will not be disappointed. Making the continuation of Yamato 2199 is a serious thing.
Message from Composer Akira Miyagawa
(The same message that was previously published on the website; see it in Report 2.)
Message from Anime Commentator Ryusuke Hikawa
Once upon a time, a single movie changed the status of animation
On Earth, three years after Yamato 2199…the human race faces its greatest crisis!
One movie changed everything at once. It can be said that the rise of anime in Japan began with one turning point, the premiere of Farewell to Yamato in 1978. It drew an audience of four million and more than doubled the box office figure of the previous year’s hit, the Space Battleship Yamato feature film. It was the biggest hit of the entire Yamato series, and the fresh air it breathed hasn’t stopped since then.
It was the second most popular Japanese movie of the year (with Wild Proof being the first), and achieved the magnificent ranking of fourth place in Japanese film history. It was widely reported in newspapers and magazines, and completely changed the social recognition of anime, pioneering new business development.
It was the cover and main feature in the first issue of Animage (from Tokuma Shoten). It worked to change the term “TV manga” into “anime” and established junior high and senior high students as the main audience. It was a hot topic that the film was not merely re-edited from a TV version, but a completely new sequel.
Yamato’s crew fell one by one in a pitched battle against a new enemy, the White Comet Empire. The climax depicted Susumu Kodai sacrificing himself by flying Yamato directly into the enemy’s gigantic battleship, a secret that was protected until the premiere. Combined with this impact, it was a work that made new Yamato fans.
As a result, the recognition of anime expanded with works appearing one by one for all-new audiences. Above all, the original SF works Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), Super Dimensional Space Fortress Macross (1982) and New Century Evangelion (1995) were direct descendants of the passion for Yamato and formed the core of anime culture over the long term.
It was Farewell to Yamato that lead to such prosperity. Afterward, Kodai was depicted as surviving in Space Battleship Yamato 2, the TV series version which went on to create a parallel Yamato world.
Space Battleship Yamato 2199 went back to the starting point to modernize its world and visuals, and by comprehensively re-arranging it to include Gatlantis, it went beyond the limits of a remake with a successful freshness. Based on Yamato 2199 and the role that Yamato achieved in the 1970s, Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love meets hit-maker Harutoshi Fukui and launches again. How will it face up to modern times and what kind of story will be shown? And how will the ending be depicted? Anticipation only increases.
Next, a fresh description on the Story page:
This “Love” Will Shatter the Cosmos…
It is the year 2202.
Space Battleship Yamato has returned from its magnificent journey of 168,000 light years to Iscandar, and three years have already passed…
Earth has regained its former blue figure thanks to the Cosmo Reverse System and a peace treaty has been signed with the Garmillas Empire.
Besides the reconstruction, the development of a new fleet including the state-of-the-art battleship Andromeda has been promoted for defense. The wishes of Starsha of Iscandar were in vain, since Earth has embarked on the road to military expansion.
As expected, Yamato accomplished its goal in the end through many irreplaceable sacrifices, but is it a true peace? A prayer of the goddess Teresa, who wishes for peace in the universe, calls Yamato to a new voyage.
Now, the menace of Gatlantis, which sweeps across space like a storm, is approaching the Earth…
(Translator’s note: the text keeps the original spelling for “Gamilas.” We’ll continue to use “Garmillas” based on the consistency of that spelling in Yamato 2199. If it officially shifts back, we’ll follow suit.)
The Character & Mechanic page gives us some artwork to feast on. The Mechanic section repeats artwork we saw before, but the Character section gives us something new, namely text descriptions! Here’s what they tell us, as translated by Neil Nadelman:
SUSUMU KODAI (CV: Daisuke Ono)
Former Yamato tactical officer, head of the tactical section. After returning from the great voyage to Iscandar, he is currently serving as captain of the destroyer Yuunagi in the Earth Defense Forces – Frontier Defense Task Force 38, a mixed Earth-Garmillas fleet. Leery of Earth’s dash towards rearmament, he carries out his duties while bearing almost unbearable feelings.
YUKI MORI (CV: Houko Kuwashima)
Former Yamato operations chief, now serving as navigation chief in Earth headquarters, central command. Grew to love Kodai during the voyage to Iscandar and became publicly engaged to him after their return to Earth. Currently awaiting their marriage.
But that’s not all! There are these three other character entries that are currently in text form only:
Space Marines (lit. Space Cavalry) 5th regiment, commanding officer. Rank: space master sergeant. Assigned to Far East sector underground city security, lunar garrison, he is currently stationed on planet 11. He thought he was doomed to spend his days free from battle, but…
Based on his personal belief that he must be the supreme ruler of space, he is the great emperor of the battle nation known as the Imperial Planet Gatlantis. He has captured the planet Telezart in order to gain Teresa’s power. In addition, he has dispatched soldiers to Earth, the world to which Teresa has sent a cosmo wave.
A goddess who continues to pray for universal peace. Releasing a powerful “prayer” in the form of a psychic energy wave (a “cosmo wave”) from the planet Telezart, she warns the former Yamato crew of the danger to space. It is said that whosoever should gain this power may have any desire granted.
We now have new images for Saito and Teresa, but the closest we’ve come to a new Zordar is the sketch above right, posted to Twitter by character designer Nobuteru Yuuki on May 27, 2015. His caption read:
“Yamato 2199 Ark of the Stars was released today [on video]. It’s allowed to show these people. Please be kind to me. (The drawing of Sabera is a rough sketch.)”
Does that mean the Zordar image is NOT a rough? We’ll see.
The Staff & Cast page provides a resting place for the previous key art image by Makoto Kobayashi. The staff names are those we’re already aware of, but this was the first confirmation that the principle voice actors would return to their roles: Daisuke Ono as Kodai and Houko Kawashima as Yuki. Both would have something to say about it later on September 5.
On the official Yamato 2199 website, the Special section was usually a place to find text features. This one leads off with a conversation between Yamato 2202’s primary creators.
SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Screenwriter Harutoshi Fukui X Series director Nobuyoshi Habara
Interviewer: When Farewell to Yamato was released, Mr. Fukui was 10 years old. Were you 15, Mr. Habara?
Habara: I went on the first day. Everyone was crying at the end of the movie, and I didn’t even try to stand up. That was my first experience.
Fukui: I was not able to see it in real time. I saw the original Yamato movie on TV just before Farewell opened, and that was my first Yamato experience.
Habara: Then Mr. Fukui and I both experienced it in different years. I saw the first TV series in real time when I was 10 years old.
Fukui: I saw Farewell to Yamato on TV in 1980, and I remember shedding a lot of tears on that first viewing. I had already seen Yamato 2 and The New Voyage earlier. (Laughs)
Interviewer: How do you think about a remake of Farewell now?
Fukui: My impression of Farewell changes whenever I see it. I watched it again on Blu-ray in advance of this project and saw things I hadn’t noticed before. If it was simply about defending the Earth, it would just be a movie that glorifies suicide, but that’s not it. The theme of this work is represented by the word “love,” so I see it as a problem of humanism.
I’d previously thought of it as a message of its time, corresponding to when humanism faced the crisis of a mass-consumption society (at the end of the 1970s). How do you resist a loss of diversity? Gatlantis was there as a symbol of the irresistible power of the time. If I were to fight against it as a human being, it might just be worth staking my life on it. Humans can resist. That’s what it depicted. How is this to be done now?
I thought that there would be a significance in making Farewell to Yamato now precisely because what we were warned about at that time has become a reality.
Habara: What impressed me about the movie was the feeling one person could have for another, and the relationship of mutual trust that goes beyond male and female. That was the point that made me cry. Particularly the scene where Kodai sits next to the body of Yuki and faces the enemy. The look from his friends was very gentle, and it really touched my heart. The famous theme Great Love was very good and got me crying intensely.
Fukui: Only Yamato could popularize the word “love” and cause so many tears to be shed. Therefore, if I were to bring back Yamato, I thought we would have to step into that.
Habara: “Love” is listed as a “subject” in Mr. Fukui’s proposal. When I read this guy’s pitch, I was surprised.
Interviewer: Mr. Habara, in your comment that was published on the web, you said you would “put your soul” into it. Is that your true intention?
Habara: Not only that, it’s all I can do. If I don’t put my soul into it, Farewell won’t be pure and the characters will not live. I’m a man of pictures, so my thought is that I want to put my feelings into the words of Mr. Fukui with pictures. It’s a wonderful script. It’s strongly founded in this day and age.
Fukui: The content has evolved from something like a “liquid diet” into what you could call “porridge.” I’ve always wanted to make a proper work with solid bone and muscle. In that sense, this Yamato is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Habara: Reading the script, there are lots of places where you think about how this links to that. It’s nothing but surprises. Now, when fans watch this to the end, they will all feel as though they’ve been shoved down to the very bottom… (Laughs)
Fukui: No, no. Because it pushes them down and then brings them back up. (Laughs)
Habara: When making the visuals, I want to surprise Mr. Fukui. If I can’t surprise the person who built the story and earn his enthusiasm, I don’t think it will convince any of the Yamato fans.
Fukui: I think of Soldiers of Love as a bewildering subtitle. But when you see the end of it, you’ll definitely think of it as a story about Soldiers of Love. I think the word “love” represents humanity, and there is a pride in depicting humans as properly as in any live-action film. I think you can look at it like that.
Nobuyoshi Habara was born in 1963 in Hiroshima. He is a director and animator. He participated in Yamato Resurrection as a mechanic director and became an animation director on the Director’s Cut version. He participated in Yamato 2199 by directing and creating the storyboards for Episodes 9 and 19. He also directed Fafner and Fafner Exodus.
Harutoshi Fukui was born in 1968 in Tokyo. He is a novelist. In recent years, many of his works have been adapted in both animation and live-action, and his activities have focused on writing original stories and screenplays for animation. His works include Twelve Y.O., Another Country’s Aegis, Lorelai at the End of the War, Mobile Suit Gundam UC(Unicorn) and Human Capital.
The Goods page gives us our first glimpse of products currently in development, all three coming from Bandai.
1/1000 Andromeda 2202 model kit from Bandai Hobby Division, due in Spring 2017.
Yuki Mori poseable figure from S.H.Figuarts/Bandai Collectors Division/Tamashi Nations, due in 2017
Yamato Girls Collection figure, Yuki Mori in ship’s uniform from Megahouse, due in 2017.
Good to know Bandai has some more Yuki figures on the way. We don’t have nearly enough yet.
The last two pages are devoted to Theaters and License. The theater page is simply a list of venues, but the licensing page is a bit more interesting; an open call to any company wishing to hop on board the Yamato 2202 bandwagon. It’s self-evident that the 2202 Production Committee is big enough to get the show on the road, but additional partners are always needed.
Speaking of which, there’s already an elephant in the room that opens up a new road in terms of anime merchandising. Yamato 2202’s first major sponsor is Under Armour, the globally-known maker of sports apparel. A link to the company’s Japanese website was provided at the bottom of the 2202 home page, and an announcement could be found there that gave us what amounted to another new character description.
Advisory contract concluded with Akira Yamamoto of Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love
As part of a collaboration plan with the anime movie Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love which will premiere February 25, 2017, Under Armour has concluded an advisory contract with Akira Yamamoto, a character in the story. We will work as partners to enlighten lifestyles with training in the future.
Akira Yamamoto is an officer in the tactical division of Space Battleship Yamato. After playing an active role in the flying corps with an outstanding operation technique, she is depicted in 2202 as training a younger generation in the air corps. To become a leader, she prepares for emergencies every day with harsh personal training. She has a high awareness of physical fitness that influences many of her comrades.
Along with the strong and intelligent Akira Yamamoto, Under Armour works to enlighten and educate lifestyles with sports activities.
Message from Akira Yamamoto:
Today I’m thankful to have signed this advisory contract with Under Armour. Throughout the voyage to Iscandar in 2199, I felt that “you can better protect when you become stronger,” and I worked on training afterward. I prepare for the day when Earth is threatened anew, and with innovative Under Armour wear, I’ll strive toward further training and discipline every day.
Akira Yamamoto Profile:
Born on Mars, Arcadia City. Air corps ace with outstanding operation technique. In the voyage to Iscandar and the battle with Garmillas in 2199, she saved Yamato from countless crises. Though she is now occupied in a mission to raise the next generation, she imposes strict training on herself every day to prepare for emergencies.
That takes care of all the online activity from September 5, but it’s just the beginning of what the day had in store. The first physical presence of a new production comes in the humble form of flyers in movie theaters. The first 2202 teaser flyer extracted key information from website content and took up a position that will probably be held for at least the next two years as chapters come and go.