Legacy Years Discography

As all longtime fans know, the Yamato music library is wide and deep with all sorts of variations and eclectica. Periodically, it becomes necessary to gather them all up in a single place and that time has come again.

Of course, there are other discographies all over this site, and the simplest way to access them is through our album index here.

Click here for part 2 of the Legacy Years discography (2000-2010)

Click here for part 3 of the Legacy Years discography (2011-present)

Click here for a comprehensive collection of cover albums up to 2008

Click here for the Yamato 2199 Discography.

Click here for the Yamato 2202 Discography.

Note: some titles listed here may be out of print or unavailable; in these cases, links are provided for research purposes.

Part 1: 1983-1999

Since the Yamato saga ended just slightly before the advent of Compact Discs, it also served as a clean break from the vinyl era. As a nation of very limited real estate, Japan was an early adopter of this new format, since it allowed a big collection to be stored in a smaller space. Naturally, Yamato albums were among the first CDs to be released by Nippon Columbia, but it took over ten years for them to gain serious traction. Once they did, however, fans were finally treated to content that had been locked up in vaults from the earliest days–and even some brand new albums that carried on the legacy in style.

Grand Symphony Yamato

Live concert album, 9/21/1984
Nippon Columbia, LP: CF-7002 Cassette: CAR-502

The first album of the legacy years (or the last of the production years, depending on your preference) was composer Kentaro Haneda’s personal love letter to Yamato, in which he rearranged Hiroshi Miyagawa’s best themes and motifs into a cohesive 4-movement symphony in the best classical tradition. It was performed live by the NHK Symphony Orchestra in May 1984 and released later in the year. It was also recorded for broadcast on NHK (Japan’s PBS) and became the only live Yamato event ever to be released to home video.

Read a more detailed description of this album here.

Read about the home video releases here.

Music Video Series

Nippon Columbia Home Video, 1984-85

Nippon Columbia, long the home label for Yamato music, had expanded into the home video market as soon as it became feasible and became the first source for the Yamato movies on Laserdisc. This made them the natural choice to release the MV series, an innovative set of programs that combined re-edited footage with symphonic scores. One was produced for each of the five films (the Be Forever volume is not shown here), and since they have never been re-issued in any format they are now highly valued by collectors. Read more about the MV series here.

Odin: Photon Space Sailor Starlight

Music Collection albums, 1985
Nippon Columbia, CX-7234 & CX-7235

In his liner-note signoff for Final Yamato, Yoshinobu Nishizaki closed with this message: “One day I will put the 10-year history of Yamato behind me with heartfelt gratitude to all who supported me. Then I will look forward our next work with great pleasure.” That day wasn’t long in coming. In 1984 he got started on a new feature film and infused it with all the leftover Yamato magic. If Yamato was the Apollo space program, Odin was its Skylab. And not necessarily in the best sense of the word.

But regardless of the movie’s mixed reviews, the music was beyond reproach. Nishizaki’s best move was the most obvious one: to get the band back together. Hiroshi Miyagawa and Kentaro Haneda picked up right where they’d left off, now producing music for the Symphonic Orchestra Odin, which was again conducted by Naoto Ohtomo, who had joined the family in 1982. For all intents and purposes, this body of work can be tacked onto the end of the Yamato saga as a continuation of the tones and styles of Final Yamato. They have yet to be released on CD, which makes them rare collector’s items indeed.

Read more about Odin here.

The First CDs

The rest of the 1980s saw Yamato music released at a much slower pace, in part because by this time the anime world had virtually exploded with so many movies, TV shows, and OAVs that no fan could keep up with them all. Nevertheless, Nippon Columbia threw down the gauntlet with three CDs on one day in June 1985. Above from left to right, they were Symphonic Suite Yamato (32C35-7529), The Farewell to Yamato symphonic album (32C35-7530) and the Grand Symphony (33C35-7397).

Next up were two double-disc collections, shown below. Animage/Tokuma released both of their Final Yamato albums as the Final Yamato Best Collection in 1986 (27ATC-124~5) and Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s video distribution company JAVN released an extremely limited 2-disc set as a bonus item with the VHS box set of TV series 1. The first disc (JAC-97001-CD) was a reissue of the BGM Collection 1 from 1981 and the second (JAC-97002-CD) contained a newly-edited, 32-minute medley of symphonic tracks from across the saga.

Yamato 2520 CDs

These were the first Yamato albums released only to CD, all from Sony Records during the first attempt to make a Yamato sequel. In a complete break with tradition, Yoshinobu Nishizaki hired an American composer, David Mathews, to write and arrange the score with Kentaro Haneda as music director. Main title music was by Japanese rock group Tokio, who also released a 2520 music video. Read all about Yamato 2520 here.

Main Theme CD single by Tokio (above left)
SRDL 3962, released 12/12/1994

Laserdisc and VHS videos shown above center and right

Yamato 2520 Original Theme Music I

Symphonic album
Special Edition: SRCL 3118 (with slipcase and booklet) released 1/21/1995
Standard Edition: SRCL 3126 released 2/1/1995

Yamato 2520 Original Soundtrack

SRCL 3487 released 3/21/1996

The 1995 Reissues

Ten years after the arrival of the first three Yamato CDs, Nippon Columbia finally unleashed the entire catalog to tie in with the new Yamato 2520 series. That didn’t make it all the way to the end, but fans everywhere were grateful for its dividends–especially when Columbia cracked the vault and excavated four albums of previously-unheard BGM tracks. Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s previous companies, West Cape Corporation and JAVN, had both been dissolved by this time, so his new company name, Voyager Entertainment, appeared on these discs.

The Symphonic albums were the first out the door, all released on January 1. Top row: Symphonic Suite Yamato (COCC-12227), Farewell to Yamato (COCC-12228), The New Voyage (COCC-12229). Bottom row: Be Forever Yamato 2-disc set (COCC-12230~31), Yamato III Symphonic Suite (COCC-12232), Final Yamato 3-disc set (COCC-12233~35).

Though their original purpose had now been overtaken by home video, completeness was the name of the game…thus, all of the Drama albums were released on April 1. At left: Space Battleship Yamato (COCC-12477), Farewell to Yamato (COCC-12478~79), Yamato 2 (held back until November/COCC-13035~36), The New Voyage (COCC-12480~81). At right: Be Forever Yamato (COCC-12482~84), Yamato III (COCC-12485~86), Final Yamato (COCC-12487~89).

Five of the long-sought after concept albums were released on June 21. Top row: Mellow Guitar Yamato (COCC-12669), Fascinating Piano Yamato (COCC-12670), Romantic Violin Yamato (COCC-12668). Bottom row: Choral and Piano Suite (COCC-12671), Grand Symphony (COCC-12672) and the Yamato Song Collection (COCC-12875), which followed in September. Pictured below is the 2-disc Yamato Festival in Budokan Live 1980, released in November. Click here for details.

The last wave was the most welcome, as it began with both of Columbia’s 1981 BGM collections and continued on through the end of the saga, yielding four albums of previously unreleased material. All six arrived in stores on September 21. Top row: Yamato Part 1 (COCC-12869), Yamato Part 2 (COCC-12870), The New Voyage (COCC-12871). Bottom row: Be Forever Yamato (COCC-12872), Yamato III (COCC-12873), Final Yamato (COCC-12874).

Yamato Sound Fantasia Series

2-CD set, 3/21/1996
Nippon Columbia & Voyager Entertainment, COCC-13263~64

Voyager Entertainment was a new company set up by Yoshinobu Nishizaki in 1993 to produce the Yamato 2520 series and various other products. This was also when the US office of Voyager Entertainment was established, which now operates independently. When 2520 stalled out, Voyager’s Japan office returned to the original Yamato and produced two groundbreaking new products. The first was a 1996 calendar designed by Leiji Matsumoto, filled with cutting edge CG imagery. The second (which reused the calendar art) was this unique CD set.

Its purpose was to explore the other major facet of Yamato sound production, the sound effects themselves. Both discs in this series contained imaginative remixes of music and effects to create unique Yamato soundscapes. An entire suite of isolated sound effects was included as a series of bonus tracks. Additionally, the liner note booklet contained an exclusive interview with the sound engineers who built Yamato‘s effects library.

Click here to read the interview in full, accompanied by the CG calendar images.

Click here for a complete track listing.

At right: the Prelude to Final Yamato CD (COCC-13262) was released on the same day as Sound Fantasia, also under the Voyager Entertainment name.

ASHISUTO 25th Anniversary Concert Live

Kojima Recordings Inc., LMCD-1525

You can take the man out of Yamato, but you can’t take the Yamato out of the man. This was proven when maestro Hiroshi Miyagawa crossed paths with the Space Battleship once again in April 1997, when he conducted the Tokyo City Philharmonic in a concert that was later released to CD. It was mostly made up of pop and showtunes, but a Yamato suite appeared at the end. This marked the first new recording of Miyagawa conducting Yamato since the end of the production years, and set the stage for many more reunions to come.

Steel Suite: From Space With Love

CD single, 12/17/1997
Nippon Crown, CRCP-1005

Completely out of left field came this 17-minute EP by Japanese heavy metal group Concerto Moon. Despite all appearances, their hearts were definitely in it when they pushed the volume to 11 and cranked out a powerfully energetic rendition of Miyagawa’s original score. Listen to the disc in its entirety here.

Grand Symphonic Poem ‘Rail of Fantasy’

Live CDs, 1998 and 1999
Nippon Columbia, COCX-30110~11 and COCX-30654~55

Produced during Leiji Matsumoto’s tenure as Yamato‘s merchandising benefactor, both of these double-disc albums contain live concerts performed one year apart by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. The purpose was to explore the musical history of various Leiji Matsumoto productions, such as Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express. Yamato, of course, was front and center both times and brought the entire ‘old guard’ back for a magnificent reunion. Hiroshi Miyagawa arranged and lead the orchestra for most of the numbers and also described the origins of the Yamato Theme. Isao Sasaki and Kazuko Kawashima were also on hand to reprise their roles as Yamato‘s best-known vocalists. The inclusion of a gigantic pipe organ gave the lucky audiences a unique opportunity to feel the theme of the Comet Empire rattle their very bones.

The highlight of the first concert’s program book was an extended round-table interview with Leiji Matsumoto, Hiroshi Miyagawa, and lifetime Yamato fan Hideaki Anno. Click here to read that interview in full.

Vacation of Love

CD, 5/21/1999
U-Records, URCD-1201

This disc looks like something of an oddball unless you recognize the man at far left: Hiroshi Miyagawa. He was involved in a number of different bands and combos over his career, and this disc was recorded by a group he performed with in 1999. The full title of the disc was Vacation of Love: Hiroshi Miyagawa and his friends are relieved. It included some of the maestro’s early pop hits, lounge standards such as Fly Me to the Moon and–surpassing all expectations–a cover of the 1978 disco version of the Yamato theme from I Adore the Eternity of Love. The structure of the song is the same, but the rearrangement with non-disco instruments gives it a far longer shelf life.

The Music Encyclopedia of Leiji Matsumoto 1999

10-CD box set, 3/2000
Bandai Visual & Columbia Family Group, GES-31170~79

This deluxe collection was Matsumoto’s next major contribution to the late-90s revival. Two of the ten discs in the set were devoted to Yamato. The first contained BGM from the Series 1, which included many previously-unreleased tracks that would reappear six months later in the Eternal Edition series. What continues to makes this disc unique today is a complete set of every version of the Yamato Theme and The Scarlet Scarf created in 1974. (Read about the variations here.) The second disc spanned the rest of the saga with a grab-bag of songs and rarities favored by Matsumoto. It concluded with a previously-unreleased track called Theme of Yamato ’83, which is arguably the best instrumental version ever recorded outside of the first Symphonic Suite album. Prior to this, it had only been heard over the end titles of the 35mm version of Final Yamato.

The set was limited to 1999 copies and marketed by Bandai Visual exclusively through their LaLaBit online store. LaLaBit continues to offer limited-edition Yamato items today, such as a Cosmo Zero motorcycle helmet and a Dessler wine set, both sold in early 2008.

Continue to Part 2: 2000 to 2010

2 thoughts on “Legacy Years Discography

  1. Your link to the track list for Yamato the Best is broken. Do you have another source? I just got the album and I’m changing the file names to English, but the only English source I can find is kind of rough.

    • There’s no other source immediately at hand, but they’re all song titles. You can easily index them against the various discographies for the original productions. If you do so, I’d love to add the results to this article.

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