All Things Andromeda

Andromeda is second only to Yamato herself in popularity among ships in the Yamato saga. To some, she eclipses even the titular vessel. Her twin wave-motion guns and sleek lines had many a Yamato fan around the world in awe, regardless of when they first saw her. There was undoubtedly many a slack-jawed Star Blazers viewer the first time she appeared on screen, and many would have been terribly disappointed at how little she was used in the series.

Space Battleship Yamato 2202 rectified that by bringing her into the thick of battle in the very first episode, expanding her weapons, and fulfilling the promise of multiple ships in her class, including an aircraft carrier version. Here we dig deep into history to examine every major off-screen appearance of this legendary ship (with variations) right up to the early days of 2202. There will certainly be more to come.

Final production design, early 1978

Andromeda’s very first appearance on Earth was, of course, known only to the animation staff of Farewell to Yamato. Virtually nothing has been published about the design development, but it was evident from these production pieces that the name wasn’t yet invented when they were finalized. “Earth Battleship” is the only name given.

It wouldn’t be long before these images were omnipresent, though. Products and print media made the most of these gorgeous drawings, making them every bit as prominent as the title vessel.

Animage #1, June 1978

The inaugural issue of Tokuma Shoten’s Animage was the first place anyone outside Office Academy or Toei Studio got a look at what was coming. But even here, no name was given. Either it was being concealed (unlikely) or literally hadn’t been settled on until the last moment. This issue came out shortly before the voice actors recorded their parts, so the script didn’t necessarily have to be finalized when this material was assembled for publication.

Click here to see Animage #1’s complete coverage.

First appearance of the name

In fact, the first place the name appeared in print was in the program book for the Space Battleship Yamato Symphonic Concert, a series of ten performances held in July, 1978. This was the first time anyone could hear Hiroshi Miyagawa’s Andromeda theme, even before the arrival of the film and soundtrack.

See the full program book here.

As for the origin of the name, it comes from the Greek heroine of myth and has graced no less than eight vessels of England’s Royal Navy from 1777 to 1967. Read more about them here.

Farewell to Yamato Precise Illustrated Edition, September 1978

The finest images to be found of Andromeda while Farewell was still in theaters was in a set of “blueprints” published by Asahi Sonorama. It was a set of 16 single-sided images that folded out to 18” x 13.5” and two of them provided artwork seen nowhere else.

This cutaway in particular was a singular image of its time, only appearing rarely in other Sonorama publications and never again after the production years ended. It did, however, serve as the basis for a few 3D products that will appear farther down the page.

Nomura Toy Co. products

Precise dates are hazy, but the first emergence of the ship into the 3D world may have been in rubber miniature form from the Nomura company, which was a sponsor for Yamato 2 when it made its broadcast debut in October.

It is a little-known fact that two Andromeda model kits were released by Nomura in November 1978. They predated the Bandai versions, and were never reissued once Bandai took the reigns for all Yamato models from 1979 onward.

The larger version used clear parts in various places. The bow, the bridge and the turrets all had different parts using predetermined colored plastic that attributed to the excellent quality of the model kit. The small model (above left) sold for 500 yen, and the large model (above right) was 1000 yen. Today, unbuilt versions of these kits easily sell for ten times their original price.

Read about all the Nomura model kits here.

Bandai Mecha Collection model, January 1979

Bandai’s first Andromeda came hot on the heels of Nomura’s releases. It was number 4 out of the first eight, all released at once.

Nomura diecast miniature, March 1979

At just under 4 inches (smaller than the photo shown here), this version was about an inch shorter than Bandai’s Mecha Collection model, and was a tiny companion piece to a 4” Yamato.

1/700 EDF Flagship Andromeda, August 1979

Debuting a year after Farewell opened, this Bandai model kit reset the standard. Over 15 inches long, it required almost no painting and came with lights for the engine that could be activated by the sliding Kodai-and-Yuki-shaped switch on the stand.

The model remained steadily in production for many years afterward, but was reissued with new box art for the release of Yamato Resurrection in December 2009. The art was by Kia Asamiya, who would go on to create box art for the Yamato 2202 line.

Continue to Part 2: Legacy Years products

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