Just as Series 3 follows Series 2 in sequence, the video releases for Series 3 precisely followed the template of Series 2, beginning with the production of a compilation TV special titled Yamato III: Destruction of the Solar System (named after episode 1). As before, the editing was supervised by scriptwriter Eiichi Yamamoto, and the 93-minute program premiered on Japanese television December 28, 1983. It would later be renamed the “Summary Edition.”
Yamato III Compilation Movie
VHS tape from Toei and Nippon Columbia
January 1985 (also released on Beta)
It could often be found on the air in coupled broadcasts with the Yamato 2 TV special throughout the 1980s and 90s, with its most recent known airing in May 2002. But unlike Yamato 2, the series itself saw a pair of rebroadcasts in 2003 (coincidentally the same year of its DVD release in the US from Voyager Entertainment). Beyond that, a review of other events in 2003 reveals no specific tie-in or anniversary event. Japanese fans were just very lucky, as they had been 13 years earlier when Yamato III made its home video debut.
5-Volume VHS set
Yamato III made its first complete and proper appearance under the wing of Bandai, who by this time had acquired the entire Yamato catalog for home video release and already rolled out their landmark LD box set of the movies. All three of the TV series would emerge from Bandai’s Emotion division throughout 1990, which must have been welcome relief for fans who had been waiting patiently since Yamato III had disappeared from TV when its first run ended 9 years earlier. From the get-go, Emotion’s packaging showed creative flair with an interesting “triptych” design by artist Yutaka Izubuchi, a single image that spread across all 5 volumes (shown below). A veteran of many anime productions, Izubuchi’s prolific career in mecha design includes such credits as Xabungle, various Gundam projects, and Gasaraki. A book of his works titled Yutaki Izubuchi Design Works I was published in September, 2000.
Click here to see enlargements of each sleeve in this set.
7-Disc “Perfect Collection” Laserdisc box set
Emotion, January 1994
The next release of Yamato III spread the series across 7 laserdiscs with a 16-page book of liner notes, stills, a history of Yamato publishing, and “sneak peek” art for the forthcoming Yamato 2520. Emotion’s previous “Perfect Collections” had all included bonus material, and this one was no different, featuring all of the deleted scenes from The New Voyage. But as with the Yamato 2 box, the real showpiece was the amazing sleeve art by Toshiyuki Kubooka.
Click here to see a complete gallery of Kubooka’s sleeve art.
Above: promotional flyers, 1993.
Yamato III Compilation Movie
Laserdisc and VHS
Sobi Entertainment, 1994
By no coincidence whatsoever, the TV Special surfaced again in a definitive edition manufactured by West Cape Corporation and distributed by Sobi. This was to be its last release in these formats.
7-Volume VHS set (above) and LD set (below)
Emotion, November 1998
With Yamato‘s 25th anniversary approaching, Emotion threw all its muscle into a complete reissue of the entire video catalog, in which the Kubooka sleeve art for Yamato III was revived. The tapes were expanded from 5 volumes to 7 and all seven laserdiscs were now available individually rather than in a box set. This was the last time Series 3 would be released in these forms, since a completely new format was just over the horizon.
5-Disc “Memorial Box” Region 2 DVD Box Set
Emotion, May 2001
Two years after the 25th anniversary blitz, Emotion struck again when Series 3 arrived on DVD in two forms: a deluxe box set (above) and individual rental-only discs (sleeve art shown below). The box set was a worthy successor to the 1994 “Perfect Collection” LD box and, in righteous DVD style, took the bonus features to a whole new level. With the Yamato copyright now administered by Leiji Matsumoto and Bandai Visual, all the stops were pulled out to make this set into a real keepsake. Arresting new art was commissioned from Hirotoshi Sano, already well-known for his unique visual take on another Bandai staple, Mobile Suit Gundam. The compilation movie was included, along with several TV commercials for 1980 Yamato merchandise. But the real treasure in this set was the 48-page booklet, which explored the making and marketing of Series 3 in unprecedented detail. (This very website has benefited enormously from the Bandai DVD booklets, for which we will be eternally grateful!)
Click here to see a gallery of the package art created for this set.
5-Disc Region 3 DVD set
Emotion/PW (year unknown)
With the DVD ground broken, Emotion teamed up with Asian distributor PW to send Yamato into Region 3 countries (except China, which is designated Region 6). Bereft of bonus features, each disc in this set contained 5 episodes.
This, of course, is not the first time Series 3 was commercially available in other countries. Click here for a complete record of the Star Blazers version.