1978 Time Machine: Manga Shonen magazine

As seen in the 1977 Time Machine, Monthly Manga Shonen was one of the early adopters of anime journalism, responding to the readership’s desire for news on Space Battleship Yamato as the first game-changing feature film approached and then exploded.

Among other things, it laid the path for a regular monthly feature called Animation World, which turned its spotlight on a new subject every month, and related articles that charted the growth of anime on TV and in theaters. This collection brings together all of Manga Shonen‘s Yamato coverage for the pivotal year of 1978, when everything leveled up.

February 1978 issue

Yamato‘s first 1978 appearance in the magazine wasn’t in an article at all. It was as a cameo in one of the regular manga: Hachya-Mechya [Topsy Turvy] Lab, a comedy strip by Mitsutoshi Furuya. In this episode, the professor character and his assistant test out an invention called the M13 Image Machine, which allows them to transmit a picture from their brains directly to a screen, out of which pops a solid image.

The assistant decides to make Yamato, but only makes a crude version. The professor does slightly better, producing something that could be called Yamato in shape only. When their robot asks to give it a try, his photographic memory produces a picture-perfect Yamato and a few other things.

The professor and his assistant get more than they bargained for when Godzilla shows up, and after all the chaos is over, the robot uses the machine to produce his own mother to tuck him in.

July 1978 issue

The exact publishing dates for Manga Shonen are not entirely clear, but based on context the July issue must have gone on sale in early June. Fans were counting the days until the August 5 premiere of Farewell to Yamato, and this article gave them an exclusive interview that not even Animage could score. (See 1978 coverage from Animage and other magazines here.)

Animation World Part 9

In response to the desire of Yamato fans after previous magazines, Yamato Part 2 is published!

Nearing completion!

Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, Soldiers of Love

The date was September 5, 2200. Space Battleship Yamato returned to Earth after fierce battle against Gamilas on a long and heroic journey. Earth was brought back from the verge of extinction by the radiation remover brought back from Planet Iscandar, saved by the Cosmo Cleaner D.

On Earth, new life has begun to breathe again. One year has passed, and it is now 2201. The reconstruction of the planet is almost accomplished. Development of resources has proceeded at fever pitch, spreading across the planets of the solar system.

Yamato, which saved Earth and brought peace, has been decommissioned and passes the time quietly in a submarine dock. The ultra-state-of-the-art battleship Andromeda now flies through space in place of Yamato.

The story begins against the backdrop of such an Earth…

Red box: A mighty, ferocious enemy
Orange box: Fight! Yamato!!

In the depths of infinite space, mysterious gravity waves destroy one planet after another. What is happening in space?

The former crew of Yamato, including Susumu Kodai, is now attached to escort missions for the resource transport ships.

One one such mission, Kodai detects unusual gravity waves from distant space and captures a mysterious radio wave from an unknown world. Part of this message reveals that some sort of accident occurred, and a woman’s voice asks for help.

Kodai reports the incident to the Earth Federal Government at once, but it is dismissed now that times have become peaceful. But is Earth truly at peace…?

Kodai rises to the task of helping the planet. Yamato’s engine starts. The young soldiers are condemned as rebels, but seek love and adventure. Once again, they fly off into distant space!

The mystery unfolds before Yamato. A huge white comet suddenly appears, the cause of the gravity waves that constantly expand and contract. And within this comet is a formidable empire…!!

Text on page at right:


Among the costumes that appear in Soldiers of Love is this one for Yuki Mori, by a professional designer. It comes from the hand of the popular designer Yukiko Hanai. The involvement of a high-end fashion designer for an animation movie is unprecedented! In addition, here are other special fashion colors for the screen.

Centering around Executive Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, Leiji Matsumoto worked on the story and concepts, Toshio Masuda is the writer and director, Keisuke Fujikawa writes the screenplay, and SF concepts are provided by Hideaki Yamamoto and Aritsune Toyota. The producer is Itaru Yoshida.

Feverish meetings were held day and night, and now Yamato II approaches completion as a feature-length, 2-hour and 10-minute anime masterpiece. It surpasses the previous work with rich new ideas. The visuals will bring great power to the big screen in movie theaters.

In this article, we hear the concentrated enthusiasm of the people involved with the production!

Animation production of Soldiers of Love now in progress!!

Late last month, our Animation World crew visited Toei Animation Studio during the final stage of production on Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, Soldiers of Love to attempt a report with pictures and direct interviews. Spirits were high when we arrived a iittle past 1:00pm. The studio was on a lunch break, and the yard was full of staff members playing catch and badminton.

Since the ending of this Yamato story is hidden, the production work of the animation has proceeded in secrecy since the press conference that was held a few months ago. This interview coverage is highly unique! We are grateful for the courtesy of [Office] Academy.

Indeed, when we climbed the stairs to the Yamato staff room, we couldn’t miss seeing the paper reading “Authorized personnel only” (see photo) came into view. We could actually feel that we were under strict vigilance. Then we finally entered the room and got a direct look! But…instead of people, all we saw were lights shining over each desk. It was completely empty.

Our guide cocked his head to one side and said, “That’s funny…” We waited until 1:30. Work had already begun in other departments. Had the ladies and gentlemen of the staff warped to escape from us?

We started our report by taking pictures of the background painting and animation work areas, and after about 30 minutes we ran into Mr. Katsumata, the animation director! We found out that entire Yamato staff had done an all-nighter, and had gone out for a meal later than the other people at the studio.

Now they were back! Right! To the staff room…

Entering, we met Mr. Katsumata (2nd from left in the photo) entered with art director Mr. Kogawa (3rd from left), assistant director Tanahashi (2nd from right) and technical director Mr. Ishiguro (at far right). It was the entire principal staff who were making Yamato Part 2. We suddenly decided to change our plan and open up a round-table discussion.

Interviewer: I’m sorry this is so sudden, but we only have a little time. I’d like to ask everyone about the enthusiasm that is going into Part 2. Thank you in advance.

Katsumata: Some of us didn’t participate in the previous Yamato TV series or feature film, and we’re working on it for the first time. It’s different when we take over for those who worked on the original, and it brings a fresh feeling to Yamato.

Top: space shipyard (Earth)
Middle: Staff room entrance at Toei animation
Bottom: The whole staff, a mini round-table discussion for this magazine!

A closer look at the “space shipyard,” a rarely-reproduced production design.

We Bring Together Cosmic Love!

(cont. from previous page)

Because the enthusiasm for the original work gave it such a great image, we want this one to be a labor of love that lives up to it! We can’t make something shabby. At the same time, I never dreamed that I would be responsible for Yamato.

Interviewer: Indeed. In the past, when we held a discussion on Dangard A for The World of TV Anime in this magazine, you talked about Yamato like you were a stranger to it.

Katsumata: That’s right. I think it must have been Space Love that drew me in. (Laughs)

Interviewer: How about you, Mr. Ishiguro?

Ishiguro: Yes, it does feel like coming back to a lover. (Laughs) You do it with a painful reluctance. Like you want to make up for past mistakes…I’m full of feelings that are hard to explain now.

When I was in charge of Part 1 (as the supervising director) I said I wanted to make it the best SF animation, and I gave it everything I had. I thought it would be the last.

Interviewer: The last?

Ishiguro: Yes. I thought it would be the last chance to make an SF milestone in animation. I didn’t think I would get to do it again. The story this time is more solid than the previous work. For that we had to meet the broadcast deadline once a week. Inevitably, there were a lot of things in it I had to let go. But this time there is only one deadline. In other words, were not in a game where we can just say “there’s nothing we can do about it,” so we have to raise the voltage of the energy. It’s tough. I feel fear every time I see more of the publicity. (Laughs)

Interviewer:Yamato 2” feels like a continuation of the previous work for you.

Ishiguro: No, it’s something completely new. Well, this time around, my job is to just do whatever I want. The tough stuff gets pushed off onto Mr. Katsumata. (Laughs)

Interviewer: How about you, Mr. Kogawa? Is this your first time on Yamato?

Kogawa: Yes, it’s totally my first time. We were up all night last night, and we’re now entering the homestretch toward the premiere in August. In other words, it’s getting even harder. To be honest, I’d have to say it’s downright painful…

Top: Mr. Tomoharu Katsumata
Middle: Tracing
Bottom: Mr. Noboru Ishiguro

Katsumata: This time, on top of being the key animation director and having to wrangle all the key animators, Mr. Kogawa and I have to unify all 2,300 shots. It’s a serious workload. There are a lot of spectacle scenes in which electrifying mecha appear.

Interviewer: What about you, Mr. Tanahashi…?

Tanahashi: I was engaged with the Yamato TV series from the beginning, working with Mr. Ishiguro. This time the drama is really amped up from the previous work. But there’s not much time, so it’s physically difficult. From today, we have about one month for the homestretch, and it’s thanks to the power of Toei Animation that we can maintain the quality.

Ishiguro: I’m not exaggerating when I say that it wouldn’t be possible to make Part 2 without the mobility of Toei animation, Unlike the age of TV, there is absolutely no garbage on the cels, and we can make effective visuals by using an aerial composite camera. Not only is there a fax for tracing, which we call the trace machine, but there’s a large Xerox we can use to reduce and enlarge. When Yamato zoomed up it fell apart because it was drawn by hand. But we can make it smoother this time since we can do it mechanically with the Xerox. This is a big improvement, isn’t it?

Upper left: Storyboards
Upper right: Tomonori Kogawa
Middle: Kazunori Tanahashi
Lower left: Production is smooth! The staff room heats up

When talking about the appeal of this story, as well as the mobility, I think the appearance of a character called Hijikata is an interesting contrast to Okita.

(Hijikata is the captain of Yuunagi, which is destroyed by the White Comet Empire and helped by Yamato. Since he is Kodai’s instructor, he becomes the new captain of Yamato.)

Interviewer: Finally, please tell me about the highlights of this work.

Katsumata: Since this is longform animation, we can smooth out the movement by going from 12 to 24 frames a second, and in the case of this production we can really intensify the frame-drop technique commonly used in TV to bring out a sense of speed. And of course, the weight of the visuals goes up with high-density animation images. Also, there are about 700 explosion scenes, which are a sight to see…in any case, this is why we’re working to complete it in the homestretch and make it a magnificent drama of love and adventure.

Interviewer: Thank you very much. I’m really looking forward to it. Good luck.

Please look forward to it!!

Master Leiji Matsumoto is very busy in this breakneck schedule, but occasionally makes time to get out of his newly-built workroom for quick visits to Toei Animation Studio. We managed to catch him as he stepped out of the action-packed studio! He said a few words about Yamato.

“I’ll be glad if you look forward to this next Yamato with great expectations. In a normal movie I can’t get too involved, but with Yamato Part 2 I was involved from the script stage and I was extremely careful with the writing to make it a strong drama. It’s tough to do in the presence of Star Wars, but the point is that Yamato is an original work.”

Top: Drawing animation
Middle: Leiji Matsumoto
Lower left: City empire

Producer Message: Yoshinobu Nishizaki

In response to the desire of young people across the country for this work, an animated feature film with magnificent romance is produced by the effort and originality of everyone on the staff.

– – – –

In order to achieve the goal of saving the Earth, don’t give up hope until the very end. It is a man’s way of life to consider all possibilities in accomplishing your actions. It is depicted as infinite romance.

The first Yamato enjoyed a huge success by depicting the lives of men who never gave up hope, considered all possibilities, and turned thought into romantic action. It also presented the drama of growing up through the main character, Susumu Kodai. What is next, after the boy grows up, faces his enemy, and finds love with Yuki Mori?

After defeating the Gamilas Empire and achieving his goal, Kodai had doubts that he should have fought at all, and even felt that he should have avoided fighting and sought love instead. The enemy is also human, they might have had a justifiable reason to fight. For the first time, Kodai became conscious of love, and the first work of Yamato ended with his realization. So, to be precise, what is the nature of the love he found? From here, we need to explore this issue.

Now the second work of Yamato appears, keeping this most important point as the theme. Therefore, Kodai must throw himself into intense new ordeals. He has not fully matured yet, and does not have any choice but to continue fighting, to repeat both trials and errors while gradually advancing toward a greater goal.

Would you die for your beloved? Would you protect your beloved even at the risk of your own life? Moreover, would you give your life to fight a great evil, in defense of an idea?

While exploring these issues in detail, the drama will have more power and force, further enlarging its perspective. Kodai never turns aside, even when he faces the ultimate test. This must give hope and courage to those who insist on their own way of life, against the restrictions of other peoples’ rules. While as entertainment this film is a magnificent SF action story, what appeals more to me are the various forms of love; the love of mankind, the love between a man and a woman, the love of a family, the love between friends, and where their fight will take them.

August 1978 issue

This issue hit newsstands and bookstores in early July, when Yamato fever was growing fast. There was no merchandising to speak of ahead of the August 5 premiere of Farewell, so magazine coverage like this was the only way for fans to find relief. Live events were on the way, such as the Symphonic Concert series, and this issue was the first to break the news.

Animation World Part 10

Summer Theatrical Anime Magazine Roadshow!!

A swollen, towering thunderhead. The sparkle of the surging sea. The railway extends across the plateau like an infinite band of white light.

Summer comes around again, and Yamato returns with that heat. To embark on a romantic voyage from which it will never return.

Summer is youth. However, the sparkle of the sea cannot be held in your palm. White clouds fly off in the wind. It is difficult to hold onto the form of youth.

But when wrapped in the intersection of light, shadow and sound in Yamato, your heart can burn with passionate empathy for youth even in the blackness of space.

And with that, everyone can depart on an unending voyage with Yamato!

Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, the topical feature-length epic, finally nears completion at the end of this month, and the last spurt has begun.

It is now one more month until the nationwide premiere on August 5. If you wait a little longer, the bold figure of Yamato will appear right in front of Yamato fans!

In last month’s issue of this magazine, we went on a special visit to the “Yamato staff room” at Toei Animation Studio. Now, the enthusiasm of the staff continues with part 2 in which we introduce the latest color stills. The climax of the story is still a closely-guarded secret, but it is indicated that we’ll be overwhelmed by it.

Furthermore, there is a symphony that Hiroshi Miyagawa has newly written for Yamato, and there is news of live concert performances all over the country, so those who are interested should not overlook this!

There is one month left until the release of Yamato…can you wait until then?

Text on right side:

The Yamato sound courses from the north to the south!

In Part 2 of Space Battleship Yamato, which started the phenomenal anime boom last year, a new vision and a powerful new enemy appear, but the overall story has not been made clear. Producer Nishizaki says that the theme of “love” that was partially depicted in Part 1 will be shown satisfactorily in Part 2, and the finished visuals will be filled with this energy.

This feature continues from last month’s issue, but with the risk of turning “ahh” into “aww,” we must say we cannot reveal any of the story, or even introduce the mecha. What we can do instead will lift the feet of Yamato music fans off the ground with the announcement of a big event.

It is called the All Night Nippon Symphonic Concert, Space Battleship Yamato romance of picture and sound!

Hiroshi Miyagawa, who wrote the music of Yamato with majestic power and scale and composed the Symphonic Suite Yamato for Part 1, will lead an orchestra across the country to six major cities! This is a live performance Yamato fans will talk about!

Instead of an event that just jumps on the bandwagon, it will show you the splendor of film music performed by a first-class orchestra, the culmination of Japanese anime history that has been in the works since the start of Japanese film history. From July 5 to July 30 the Yamato Sound will course through Japan from end to end with ten performances in the six major cities of Nagoya, Hiroshima, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka, and Tokyo!

(Read a detailed description of the Symphonic Concert series here.)

Text on left side:

Now, it is just one month until the premiere of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, Soldiers of Love. It’s been a long wait, but a lot of passionate letters have reached this magazine from Yamato fans across the country. We’ll introduce and share some of them here.

“I saw it last year on opening day. I traveled to Tokyo from Kagoshima Prefecture! Of course, this year I’ll go to the first screening on August 5 to get close to Susumu Kodai’s face and voice! What I’m worried about the most is what will happen to the love of Kodai and Yuki???”

(Keiko Kato, Yamato maniac from Izumi City, Kagoshima. High school, 2nd year.)

In this Yamato, the story begins three days before the wedding ceremony of Kodai and Yuki Mori. There is a scene in the script where they go shopping for household furnishings as a couple for their new home. But it isn’t clear at this stage if their love is resolved. Keiko in Izumi, please watch for it and enjoy yourself!

“I am excited about the latest mecha that will appear in the next Yamato.”

(Takashi Sawada, Miyagi Prefecture. Middle school, 3rd year)

Takashi, you and all the fans nationwide can expect that it will be great.

Roadshow release
special commemorative event

Space Battleship Yamato Exhibition

1. Space Battleship Yamato scene collection
  (all 26 episodes of the TV series and the second work)
  Original cels and stills from Yamato. A number of scenes
  from the first and second works will be displayed on
  large panels.

2. Precision cut model of Space Battleship Yamato
3. Space panorama
4. Yamato first bridge deck diorama
5. Yamato battle diorama
6. Brave figure of Yamato diorama
7. Universal multipurpose robot [Analyzer] 8. Artifact display
  Many valuable documents about the first and second works
Space Battleship Yamato.
9. Super Anime Corner
  1) Space Battleship Yamato TV screenings
  (Episodes 2, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26)
  2) Screening of a Farewell to Yamato demonstration

Simultaneous event: Yamato product fair held by Office Academy Co. Ltd.

Osaka venue
July 20 (Thursday) to July 26 (Wednesday)
Daimaru dept. store, Shinsaibashi

Tokyo venue
July 28 (Friday) to August 2 (Wednesday)
Matsuya dept. store, Ginza

Nagoya venue
August 4 (Friday) to August 9 (Wednesday)
Mitsukoshi dept. store, Nagoya

Shizuoka venue
August 10 (Thursday) to August 15 (Tuesday)
Matsuzakaya dept. store, Shizuoka

(See more on this exhibit here.)

October 1978 issue

Once Farewell to Yamato was in theaters, Manga Shonen stepped back from further coverage, but the magazine’s publisher Asahi Sonorama had plenty of other irons in the fire. The October issue (on sale in early September) included an ad for multiple Asahi Sonorama publications. A blueprint set and volume 1 of a novelization and a manga were already on sale. Followup volumes would soon follow.

November 1978 issue

The last of Manga Shonen‘s 1978 Yamato coverage was tucked into another state-of-anime article that gave fans the spotlight.

Animation World Part 13

Reader’s Choice Best Animation

We received 6,129 entries!! Whereas last month we presented the “Best Animation” as chosen by professionals, this month we planned to let readers choose their “Best Animation.”

It was a very short application period, less than ten days from the request in last month’s issue to the deadline, but we still received a total of 6,129 postcards. Since everyone could fill in their choices for best three, the total number of votes was 18,387. Here are the overall results:

1. Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato
2. Space Battleship Yamato (TV)
3. Future Boy Conan
4. Triton of the Sea
5. Horus, Prince of the Sun
6. Cyborg 009 (TV)
7. Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
8. Space Pirate Captain Harlock
9. Tomorrow’s Joe
10. Puss in Boots
Runner up: Lupin III (original)

Yamato Part 2, overwhelming popularity!

The story in Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato had appealing depth.

“I feel some of the visuals at the end were rushed and a little sloppy, but there was no help for it. It was the most impressive film I’ve seen so far (including live-action).”

(Toru Miyoshi, Hiroshima City)

“The appeal from the producer’s side came through clearly in Farewell. In addition, the theme of a great space love met its challenge, and seeing it was like watching a dream unfold.”

(Minako Iwasawa, Suginami, Tokyo)

Farewell had a high degree of completion, and you could tell they had a hard time. It was very good. I have the feeling that technique and music have taken a leap forward. Anyway, it is my best 1.”

(Kyoko Matsuda, Suginami, Tokyo)

“I feel that Farewell might be better than the previous work. It’s hard to put it into words, but the ending was very peaceful and very impressive.”

(Naomi Akiyoshi, Chiba City)

“I like Farewell to Yamato, Space Battleship Yamato (TV series) and Future Boy Conan because I feel that they ooze with human kindness. The line of people who appear one by one have a gravitas, and you meet them with a feeling like you’re drinking them in. For my part, I doubt I’d have gone for it if it was just a matter of the meter being amazing or catch-phrase things like “cosmic love” and “There’s romance.” Of course, I think that they have meaning. For me, the most familiar feelings are human gentleness, harshness, ugliness, and weakness, and I’m attracted to things where all the sides of human beings are depicted.”

(Azusa Ishizaka, Nerima, Tokyo)

“I think the great mecha of Space Battleship Yamato (TV) is precise, and moved up the needle on the meter one by one. The women are beautiful. It’s compelling and none of it is childish.”

(Amiko Okada, Gifu Prefecture)

For Yamato, while the art and story details showed a roughness in places, on the whole I think it was well-made. It had a lot of depth for a TV anime and never got tired. Other TV anime has been unbearably boring after I saw Yamato.”

(Nobuko Watanabe, Fukuoka)

Yamato gives a dream to those with a small heart.”

(Tsutomu Uesugi, Hiroshima)

Yamato launches into space to save Earth, which is one year from extinction. Could anything else ever be made that surpasses such grand scale?”

(Yoshihiko-kun, Saitama, Fukushima)

Manga Shonen SF & Fantasy Manga Collection

Finally, we end our visit to 1978 with a laugh. This special issue of Manga Shonen (published in October) ended with a set of parody movie posters, which included this one for Farewell. The central pun is based on the fact that Toyama Prefecture is the hub of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry.

By a scheme of Dessler, a virus of space leprosy was scattered over the Earth
To cure this, we have no choice but to rely on Toyama’s medicine!

Carrying the hope of all mankind
A space battleship
Not flying off into space, but going to Toyama!

Across the galaxy and beyond, Kitskandar! (literal meaning: “go and hold it”)

Arama (“oh, no”)

Space Epilepsy TOYAMA

Soldiers of the Attack

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