Report 3 took us into the beginning of September with full-up launch of the official 2202 website and the live production presentation. The rest of that month went quiet, but more news arrived in early October and the “Road to Yamato 2202” promotional campaign got rolling in the latter half of November. Here are the collected events of that period, all the way into early December.
September 5: press sheet
This large-format promotional piece was handed out at the production presentation, and then later sent to all Premium Fan Club members with Ship’s Log #15 later in the month. Its text is identical to what was found on the official website when it expanded on September 5th, combined with striking graphics that gave an overview of the series.
The full-open size of about 12″ X 33″ gives it the same widescreen presence as the classic press sheets of the original production years.
Along with the flyer distributed to movie theaters on the same day, it became the first keepsake of the new series.
September 27: Ship’s Log issue 15
As the cover implies, this issue of the Premium Fan Club magazine put 2202 front and center. Leading with a report of the September 5 production presentation, it included then-current character designs for Kodai and Yuki, mechanical drawings of both Yamato and Andromeda, and a lengthy interview with director/designer Makoto Kobayashi (which can be read here.) The rest of the magazine was occupied by news of fan activities, product news, and editorial tidbits. The next issue is scheduled for late December.
October: V-Storage Magazine #7
V-Storage is a free monthly promotional magazine from Bandai Visual, the home-video branch of Bandai. They’ve been the custodian of Yamato since the 90s and have handled everything since. Issue 7 was the first to contain 2202 promotion in the spread shown here; a basic announcement and the first video news. 2202 Chapter 1 will be released March 24.
See V-Storage #7 from cover to cover here.
October 28: Official site update
You had to dig to find it, but on this day the official 2202 website was updated to include the same mechanical drawings seen in Ship’s Log. They were added to the Character and Mechanic page along with new text descriptions as follows.
The Space Battleship that accomplished the great voyage to Iscandar and saved the Earth. After the war, it was enshrined as the spiritual bearer of the Cosmo Reverse System, but the new policy of the Earth government is to return it to the battle line. It has been greatly remodeled and is awaiting launch time.
A new ship that was built based on the policy of the Earth government. Sporting twin Wave-Motion Guns, its equipment and performance greatly surpasses Yamato. It was built within a short period after the war to a mysterious degree of completion, and there are still many unknowns about its origin.
November 11: Chapter 1 Blu-ray info
We still don’t know if the 2202 Blu-rays will come with English subtitles, but we do know that Yamato Crew is already gearing up to sell their own special edition. 2199 Blu-Rays ordered from the Yamato Crew online shop came with trading cards and voice-recording scripts, and this will be the case again. Booklets are shown here for episodes 1 and 2 with the titles intentionally blurred out.
November 18: Advance ticket sales begin
A host of announcements was made on this day, the first in what would become a string of ”Yamato Fridays.”
Starting November 18, Yamato Crew Premium fan club members could pre-purchase the entire run of 2202 movie tickets (chapters 1-7 in one go) for about $140. Scheduled to ship out in early February, they will come in a tear-off sheet featuring a brand new image by painter Kia Asamiya. It gave us our first glimpse of a famous scene we’re all anticipating, and proved that the new Andromeda will be MUCH bigger than our beloved Yamato.
Asamiya’s many 2199 paintings appeared in several places and formats, so odds are we’ll see an unobstructed version of this one somewhere down the line.
Because fans will do anything, an alternate version of the new Asamiya painting promptly showed up on Twitter. This photo includes two differently-scaled model kits (a 1/1000 Yamato and a 1/700 Andromeda) and the proportions look just about right. It was posted by Our Earth Defense Fleet on November 19.
November 18: the Road to 2202 opens
News bulletins from Yamato Crew laid out the Road to 2202 leading up to the February 25 premiere. A preview screening of 2202 Chapter 1 was announced for February 6, hosted by director Nobuyoshi Habara and writer Harutoshi Fukui. Advance tickets for regular screenings would go on sale December 17 with a bonus poster to be revealed later.
Another element in the mix would be a new series of Yamatalks to accompany a limited return of Yamato 2199 to the big screen. Starting December 6, all seven chapters and Ark of the Stars could be seen once a week at the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater with special guests on stage. They were scheduled for Tuesday nights all the way to January 31 with the 2202 preview screening right on their tail. Look for coverage of these in our continuing Yamato 2199 reports.
November 18: Second teaser trailer
The best part of this first “Yamato Friday” was the arrival of new moving pictures to get the blood flowing. Right from our first look at Emperor Zordar, it delivered intriguing images. See it on Youtube here or at the official site’s movie page here.
See Anime News Network’s report on it here.
November 25: Official site update
On the second ”Yamato Friday,” the official site added some long-awaited data to its character page, expanding it to seven entries with all-new color art for each. This provides us with the foundation for our own translated 2202 character guide, which can be seen here.
This was also the launch day for Yamatrivia Swamp, a new series of talkshow videos for fans new and old, hosted by Ryusuke Hikawa (the original superfan), Aya Uchida (Yuria Misaki’s voice actor) and Nobuyoshi Habara (2202 supervising director). Since these originate from the Yamato 2199 side of the coin, they will be covered in our 2199 reports, starting here.
In addition to the above, the Mechanic page was stripped of all previous black and white art in favor of these two new color renderings.
The previous drawings were moved to the “art” section of the site, and can also be seen in 2202 Report 2. The text attached to these two color images was unchanged from the earlier content.
December 2: Poster calendars
On the third ”Yamato Friday,” Yamato Crew added these to the online store – a pair of poster calendars featuring the first two key art images that we have now seen many times. Printed on synthetic water-resistant “Yupo” paper, they cover the first two months of 2017 (with the 2/25 premiere date helpfully indicated).
Traditionally, a Yamato calendar covering the upcoming year would have gone on sale by this time, so we can probably assume there won’t be one – though it’s likely that a calendar of some kind will be part of the Chapter 1 movie merchandise. Fortunately for us, 1978 calendars become reusable in 2017, and you can find a nice one here.
December 5: V-Storage Magazine #8
This issue of V-Storage grabbed the eyeballs instantly with a brand new Yamato 2199 image on the cover that fronted for a 4-page article inside. Two pages were spent on this new interview with Harutoshi Fukui.
Harutoshi Fukui Interview
At last, Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love is the long-awaited series Yamato fans have been looking forward to. This time, we directly hit Harutoshi Fukui, who is in charge of the series composition and screenplay. We asked him various questions about how he intends to revive the heroic masterpiece Farewell to Yamato, Soldiers of Love for the present day.
Aiming for viewers of this work to think of it as they do Soldiers of Love
Interviewer: First, please tell us about how you first encountered Space Battleship Yamato. What was the first Yamato work you saw?
Fukui: The movie version of Space Battleship Yamato (1977). My first encounter with Yamato was seeing that on TV. When the TV series was broadcast (1974) I was just 6 years old, so I didn’t see it in real time. I think you’d understand if you could see the staff for this work, but I was surprised to find out that even at 48 years old I’m in the younger category. This is rare! (Laughs) Wherever I go, I usually at the upper end, but now I’m on the lower end. (Laughs) In that sense, I think I’m generationally a bit younger than those in the main generation that we’re asking to see this movie.
Interviewer: The motif for this work is Farewell to Yamato, Soldiers of Love (1978). When did you see that for the first time?
Fukui: I first saw Farewell when it was broadcast on TV, like the first movie. If I’m not mistaken, the first movie was broadcast just when Farewell opened in theaters. In my first brush with Yamato, I was shocked to see such a serious work. Because the premiere of Farewell became a big topic at the time, I asked my parents to take me to the theater. But my father said, “That’s no good” and refused. Instead, I went to see Kita Fox Story (1978 documentary). It was very good, but a far cry from my desire to see Farewell. Kita Fox Story couldn’t even fill 1 millimeter of that. (Laughs)
I think Yamato‘s boom happened in my generation, since The New Voyage (1979) was broadcast after Farewell and it seemed to reach its peak with Be Forever Yamato (1980). I think I saw Farewell on TV before Be Forever opened.
Interviewer: What were your impressions when you finally got to see it?
Fukui: Well, it was after I saw Yamato 2 (1978-79), so I felt like I’d already seen the ending, but even so I still shed tears in front of the TV. I remember being surprised after that by what animation could achieve.
Interviewer: What have you been particularly conscious of in your responsibility for the series composition and script?
Fukui: First of all, I thought reflexively about the subtitle Soldiers of Love. The theme of 2202 is a bit weak on its own, but a lot of things will probably change based on the shape of 2199. Potentially, there should be more fans of Yamato. When I thought about it I wanted to make it for them. Thinking of those who watched 2199 as the core audience, I wondered how we could expand beyond that, and what parts would be necessary for that expansion.
You might wonder who exactly the “soldiers of love” are these days, but at the very least I think those who saw Farewell already understand that movie is about nothing but “soldiers of love.” So, for those who watch this work too, I have to leave them thinking, “Ah, I get it! These are definitely ‘soldiers of love’!” and that’s the homework I’m working on first and foremost. On that point, I’m 100% certain they’ll respond to that.
Interviewer: In the production presentation, it was striking when you said, “I wouldn’t make a hopeless story.” What are your thoughts about creating a work with “love” as a universal theme?
Fukui: I think it’s a theme you can deal with any time simply because it is universal. But in Soldiers of Love, both “soldier” and “love” are intertwined. In terms of this era, I think it’s very regrettable that those two words evoke suicide bombers. It’s also related to the ending of Farewell, so the proposition of how to reconstruct that story in such a world is a real challenge, but also conversely very rewarding.
Of course, the content of the work is what it is, but some tough places naturally come out, and when it gets a modern update it may create a more intense image. But, in comparing and contrasting that with the real world, incorporating into the work how just about anything and everything contains the same concentration of tragedy, and portraying a “hope” that we in realistic society can’t hang onto, I considered to what extent we could portray that in the Yamato world. I suppose it’s because we’re at the age where we’ve had enough. (Laughs) The entire staff is facing up to this work with the same feeling, to make a finite lifetime meaningful.
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.
The other two pages of the article focused on Yamato 2199 (to promote the forthcoming Blu-ray box set) with series highlights described by the always-insightful Ryusuke Hikawa.
Copies of V-Storage are distributed free to train stations in Tokyo and elsewhere, and they disappear quickly. Luckily, the online version is unlimited. See issue 8 from cover to cover here.
December 6: Road to 2202, Yamatalk 1
The weekly screenings of Yamato 2199 started with chapters 1 and 2 (Episodes 1-6) and an on-stage conversation with composer Akira Miyagawa, which will be covered in our next Yamato 2199 report. Two elements specific to 2202 are shown above: a marquee display at the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater, and a special keepsake for fans. Twitter user Kendama567 posted the photo above right, a tally card for tickets to all seven of the screenings.
December 7: Poster revealed
Advance tickets for Chapter 1 could be pre-purchased from Yamato Crew starting on this day, which meant it was time to reveal the poster that would be included as a bonus item. To no one’s surprise, it’s a recreation of the famed 1978 image painted by Yasuhiko Yoshikazu for Farewell to Yamato.
(Amusingly, Yamato Crew unveiled its own portmanteau of Saraba Yamato as SaraYama – surely to catch on any day now.)
This lead to various online articles that quoted the voice actors.
Daisuke Ono, voice actor for Susumu Kodai:
I’m very glad to board this ship again. There are bonds that were cultivated by 2199, and I am really looking forward to the new bonds and “love” that I think will be born out of 2202. The whole staff and cast has a positive feeling of, “let’s continue with this ship again. I’ll be very happy if everyone can board Yamato together.
Houko Kawashima, voice actor for Yuki Mori:
With everyone in the cast, there is a sense of, “Ah, Yamato has been brought back to life.” There is a good kind of pressure, and I’m very thankful for the presence of veterans such as Takayuki Sugo in the part of Captain Okita. It’s amazing to be involved in this work again, and we’re all savoring the joy of continuing this journey together.
For comparison: the 1978 “Yas” poster and the 2202 “homage” version. The slogan on the new poster reads This “Love” Will Shake the Cosmos.
This is not the first time the famous floating heads have been rendered by others. Leiji Matsumoto did his own version in 1978 (above left), which in turn was mimicked by Toshihiro Kawamoto for a 1998 Laserdisc jacket for the movie.
Hiroyuki Kitazumi did a version for promotional purposes that was used on a Yamato fan club magazine cover in 1988 (above left). Finally, Keisuke Masunaga painted them for the Farewell to Yamato Playstation game in 2000.
Two consecutive issues of Hobby Japan (570 in September & 571 in October) each devoted a page to 2202 news, keeping pace with new content at the official website. See enlargements of these pages here.
Akira Miyagawa on Twitter
You know things are getting real when we start to see pics like these. At left is a photo from the composer’s studio, 2202 scores piled up and ready for use (note the Andromeda image, probably for inspiration). The photo at right and the one below were posted November 29.
Both depict Miyagawa on the third day of recording, in which the orchestra worked through some of his original compositions (as opposed to those recreated from his father’s score). A word of advice: it took seven months for a soundtrack CD to appear after the start of 2199, so be prepared to be patient.
Visit Akira Miyagawa’s Twitter page here.
Makoto Kobayashi on Twitter
If you’re one who enjoys unexpected surprises, bookmark the Twitter page of director/designer Makoto Kobayashi. He is evidently one of the very few 2202 staff members who has permission to release snapshots of his current projects and they come up with more regularity than you might expect. His captions are intentionally opaque, but there’s no mistaking the image above, which was posted December 7.
Click here to see a roundup of his recent 2202 images.
Fan art on Twitter