Dessler’s War: the Greatest Yamato Story Never Told

The name alone conjures up an intriguing thought: an entirely separate side-story to the Space Battleship Yamato saga with Dessler [Desslok] center stage. What fan wouldn’t want to see this, especially if it had fulfilled the promise of its title? Unfortunately for all of us, it never got past the written word.

Largely forgotten by Japanese fans and practically unknown to the rest of the world, Dessler’s War I: Battleship Starsha was a real, going concern for Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki in the 1980s. Time and again, he would attend the bi-annual fan club meetings in January and August to update everyone on how the project was going. All of his words at these events were duly noted and reported in the pages of the Yamato fan club magazine. Unfortunately, those words are all that remains of the concept.

Here, for the benefit of all, is a complete transcript of that record. For the first time in English, you can track the rise and fall of the Greatest Yamato Story Never Told. (Note: the publishing dates given for the fan club magazines lag behind the actual dates they were released.)

The First Announcement

From fan club magazine #36 (October, 1983)

Note: the publication dates given for fan club magazines did not match reality; in this case, the magazine actually shipped to club members about six months later.

About Dessler’s War

As the title implies, this is a story about Emperor Dessler, the anti-hero of Yamato. Like Odin, this will be a space opera. The official title is Dessler’s War I: Battleship Starsha, and it grows out of Yamato.

In Series 1, Dessler attacked Earth and was shown as the villain, but over the course of the saga his popularity increased, finding a certain kinship with Kodai in Farewell and Series 2, then becoming an ally in The New Voyage. But it is not to be taken for granted, as indicated by the tension shown in Series 3. The qualities and leadership of Dessler earned great approval from fans and made him the favorite character for some.

The idea of a story with Dessler as the protagonist came before Yamato finished, and is now part of a 3-year plan for Dessler’s War. Though it comes out of the world of Yamato, it is a completely separate side story. It starts with the last scenes of Final Yamato. Captain Okita and Yamato have stopped the Aquarius flood and are about to sink. Kodai, Yuki, and the rest of the crew wave farewell and quietly return to Earth.

However, Dessler gazes out into the sea of space that has swallowed up Yamato. He saved Yamato by intercepting Lugal, and is unable to forget what he has witnessed. It is the only time he saw Captain Okita in person, and with Final Yamato they know each other for the first time. When he goes to recover Okita’s body from the bridge of Yamato, Dessler sees in him a great human being.

As everyone knows, Dessler built the Galman-Gamilas Empire in Series 3 but it was lost in a sudden catastrophe in Final Yamato. Dessler now has to face the future, as Okita would. What happens next? That is the theme of Dessler’s War.

It is very likely that Kodai and Yuki will appear. Of course, they have gotten married. One stage of love ended with Final Yamato and a new one began. Okita counseled them to marry and raise children, and now one has been born. Kodai patrols the solar system in a new ship built by Sanada. The link between Kodai and Dessler ties directly into this story and their future.

Dessler’s War will be greatly enjoyed by Dessler fans!

Followup Message from Nishizaki

From fan club magazine #38 (December, 1983)

The new world of Yamato!

We have finally decided that Yamato will rise again to fly into space with an energetic new concept!

We have already conveyed the big news about Dessler’s War I: Battleship Starsha, but there is more. We have determined that we want to make Yamato Part 2 Birth [hereafter called Resurrection] for 1987! This will be a completely new Yamato!

Yamato won great popularity over the last 10 years, concluding with Final Yamato. However, the passion for Yamato continues in the hearts of Japanese boys and girls. They were united in the mission to dedicate themselves with love to Earth and mankind, and that mission goes on.

I share the feeling of many that this work should continue, giving impressionable young people a connection to the future as Disney films have done in America.

Preparation has begun for the renewal. We still need time to make decisions about the story and characters, but our loyalty and faith will ensure that Yamato Resurrection overflows with charm.

The introduction of this story will be Battleship Starsha. We will do a series of six 1-hour videos starting next fall [1985] and release them bi-monthly over the course of a year to end in Autumn of 1986. Dessler’s War, the story of Battleship Starsha, begins with the last scene of Final Yamato. Yamato, Dessler’s War, and Yamato Resurrection will consistently share a magnificent scale.

Dessler pays his respects to the wreckage of Yamato and the body of Okita, then turns toward his home in the Large Magellanic Cloud. He gathers together his scattered fleet and they perform a space warp. However, others have brought the Large Magellanic Cloud under their control and are moving on the Small Magellanic Cloud. Dessler reorganizes his fleet to fight them, but their powerful military is equipped with new ships and weapons.

Where did they come from and why? Not fully understanding this, Dessler constructs Battleship Starsha, named after the one he loved. With this, Dessler throws himself back into war.

Of course, Kodai and Yuki and a new Yamato built by Americans will appear in the story. Leiji Matsumoto is already designing Battleship Starsha, and it may appear in our next issue.

The intention is to create a new story about Dessler. When all six videos are done, they will combine into a 6-hour masterpiece. This will become the bridge that links Yamato to Yamato Resurrection.

The strange aliens who control the Large Magellanic Cloud are yet to be created, but the son of General Dommel will appear. There will also be the introduction of many new noteworthy characters on Dessler’s side, and the mecha of the title, Battleship Starsha.

This 5th-generation vessel will be the size of a fortress, with all the scientific might of Galman-Gamilas poured into it, different from those that came before. Of course, it is named for Starsha, the woman Dessler loved. As all fans know, she was the only one for him.

It is constructed in the Small Magellanic Cloud to prepare for a grand battle in the Large Magellanic Cloud after Dessler loses his first fight with the new enemy. New weapons and strategies will become a hallmark for mecha and action fans alike, and Dessler will step out from Kodai’s shadow to become the new protagonist.

Below: the only mecha design that was ever published from this project appeared in the 2007 issue of Hyperweapon, a semi-annual magazine that showcases the work of designer Makoto Kobayashi. He joined the studio in the late 1980s to work on Yamato 2520 and evidently took his own stab at designing Battleship Starsha.

Report on the August 1984 Fan Club Meeting

From fan club magazine #39 (February, 1984)

The Content of Dessler’s War…

After Final Yamato, Yoshinobu Nishizaki announced that a new “Resurrection” story was on the way. Questions arose, such as, “why make a Resurrection story? Didn’t Yamato come to an end?”

When asked if they agreed with the idea, many hands went up. As for the opposition, they wanted to know what it would encompass. This came up when Mr. Nishizaki met with fans to get their feedback. The idea is to make it for next summer [1985] and find out if the audience would accept it or not.

One connection would be the birth of a child for Kodai and Yuki. It’s the dream of teenagers to find a partner to join them on the road of life, and such a new character would also provide a blood connection to the past. Over time, after all, Yamato increasingly became a story about how members of the human race are connected as a family. Following that concept into the next generation would be the driving force behind the Yamato Resurrection story.

After explaining this and the continuing role of Yamato as his life’s work, Nishizaki asked the crowd if they would like to hear about the content of his other idea, Dessler’s War. They responded in an enthusiastic uproar!

First tipped off in issue 36 of the fan club magazine (October, 1983), it was given the secondary title of Great Battleship Starsha. This vessel would have been constructed by Dessler for reasons of nostalgia, and one of the surprises would be an appearance by the son of General Dommel (Lysis).

In the original 39-episode plan for Series 1, one setting would have been a Gamilas advance base in the Small Magellanic Cloud, separate from the double-planet of Gamilas and Iscandar. What new connections would that have opened up? Even with the loss of Gamilas, the advance base in the Small Magellanic Cloud would be undamaged, simply because it was cut from the story.

This would be the premise and starting point of the new tale. After Dessler’s final rescue of Yamato and the death of Captain Okita in Final Yamato, we turn back to the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Naturally, a beautiful baby is born for Kodai and Yuki. Dessler wishes them well and stays in occasional contact. He abandons his previous flagship and builds the new Battleship Starsha as his castle. With it, he is absolutely unstoppable. If he can be said to have just one vulnerable point, it is his friendship with Kodai on Earth.

This is exploited by his enemies, who launch an attack on Earth and begin the war of the Magellanic Clouds. Out of loyalty to Kodai, Dessler points Battleship Starsha toward Earth…and the story goes forward from there.

“Though the story is all in my head,” Nishizaki told the crowd, “it was fun seeing your reactions to it.” He explained that it would be difficult to fit the entire concept into a feature film, so he was instead thinking of it as a 6-volume, bi-monthly video series to be released over the course of a year.

He promised a special fan club meeting and screening party to coincide with the premiere in October 1985, and to hold regular gatherings for the rollout of each subsequent volume. He spoke of wanting to take great care with it and get every word of dialogue exactly right, which indicated that this was not a firm debut date.

Fans were encouraged to watch the fan club magazine for news on this and share it with their friends. There would also be Photon Sailor Starlight [Odin] and the Yamato Resurrection Chapter to look forward to.

Round Table Discussion with the Fans

From fan club magazine #48 (August, 1985)

Expectations for Dessler’s War

We asked ten people to talk about their expectations for Dessler’s War. This included Mr. Takayama and Mr. Yamaki from the production side, and turned into a heated debate!

Yamaki: We have a rough story, and we’re discussing how it should unfold from there.

Fan #1: You’re deciding whether to release it in theatres or on video. When I look at a movie on video, there is a lot of detail lost in the picture.

Takayama: Yes, there is.

Fan #1: Then I think it would be better to make a theatrical version.

Takayama: We’re thinking of making it in four parts. Each would be self-contained. The enemy comes out in the third and fourth parts and because the conclusion would be a large-scale event, it would be best to show that in a theatre. Therefore, we would put more detail into it. In any case, we could re-edit videos into a feature-length version.

Yamaki: Chairman Nishizaki talked about the story idea at Toshima Public Hall. What did you think of that?

Fan #2: It was interesting, but I don’t know whether this character should take the leading role.

Fan #8: I’d be glad to see a story with Dessler, even unattached to Yamato.

Fan #1: I agree! We shouldn’t see Kodai on the bridge.

Fan #3: That’s what a side story should be.

Fan #4: I’d like to see Dessler just being Dessler. Of all the Yamato characters, he’s the one with the most personality. He’s everyone’s favorite.

Fan #10: If Dessler were to have a leading role, I think it would be appropriate to focus only on him.

Fan #5: You’re always watching Dessler to see what he thinks. It enhances the action. I want to see a movie with him in the spotlight, and see how a nation is built. We haven’t seen a movie like that yet.

Fan #1: As I fan, I wouldn’t want to see him age, gradually growing old and lonely.

Yamaki: What would you think of setting it in the time of an earlier story, like Farewell to Yamato?

Takayama: That would be very difficult. We would have to reassemble the designs from ten years ago and shape everything to match them.

Fan #1: I wouldn’t want you to make it that way. Dessler and Yamato together. The feeling of wanting to sever that connection is strong. But I think if you were to go that way it would be an interesting movie.

Fan #3: I want you to return Dessler to evil, because at that stage of the story he isn’t concerned about building an empire. He just follows his passion to accomplish his goal.

Takayama: I want to hear your impressions of Dessler and your expectations.

Fan #6: I think he perserveres and puts everything else aside to achieve his goal and build a nation, and then after the goal is achieved he would start to change, to become more gentle.

Fan #3: But he would never let emotion get in the way. He would always be the top leader.

Fan #5: Be careful not to put your own character into it. My only image of Dessler is as a hard man.

Fan #7: I’d welcome anything. I’d be glad to see Yamato in a new movie even if they don’t fight Dessler and return to their old image. I wouldn’t even mind if they’re all changed. Just make what you want and I’ll look forward to it.

Fan #8: We agree to make a movie, but would you want to see Dessler’s War if he didn’t get entangled with Yamato?

Fan #4: Like before, I would want the humanity to be the strongest part.

Fan #9: Having them in a fight that pushes their humanity into the forefront, which is what would make it a good movie.

Fan #2: I would want to understand the feelings and standpoint of Dessler before the attack on Earth and the relationship with Yamato.

Fan #10: I would want to see Dommel with Dessler, there would be an element of Samurai in that.

Fan #3: Would it have the same technical feeling as Yamato or Odin?

Takayama: Every new work has a different technical feel to it.

Fan #7: Would you introduce new kinds of special effects, and discard the old ones?

Takayama: I can’t say anything concrete about that now, but it’s usually the way we work. We always go on the idea of “base plus alpha,” meaning we start with what we know and add something new.

The expectations for the Dessler Story are growing, and we welcome your opinions.

Report on the January 1986 Fan Club Meeting

From fan club magazine #49 (October, 1985)

Transcript of Nishizaki’s speech:

I decided to make Yamato once again. And before that, a video work called Dessler’s War.

After the end of Final Yamato, there is a new war and we build a ship called Starsha. I am also thinking of a way for Kodai to become entangled in the story. I had a lot of ideas, but put them aside to work on Odin. So in order to refine them, I asked for the opinion of others.

Leiji Matsumoto had the idea of seeing Yamato fly again, with Kodai in the captain’s seat, now 48 years old. (Murmurs in the crowd)

Others thought the story should be based around a whole new generation, since anyone who knows the history of Yamato is now moving on. But there must be some connection with the earlier time.

Then there was the idea of designing a completely new Yamato, but I thought I might not empathize with it as much. Of course, according to the law of technological progress, there would be new mecha and computer systems that would bring a completely new weight and texture, so it might be good even if it doesn’t look like Yamato.

Maybe we could call it New Space Battleship Tanuki. [A shape-shifting Japanese raccoon] (Laughter) After we think all this through, somehow the figure of Yamato will be clear. We’ve decided to make it for 1987.

I wanted to make Dessler’s War for this year, but I regret that I had to cancel this plan because of the schedule. That’s why I want to spend more time refining Yamato for 1987.

I also think it might be a mistake to make a new work with the same sensibilities as the old one. Director Toshio Masuda and I and the others grew up in an earlier generation, and I want to adapt the new sensibilities of today’s writers and directors. I don’t want to abandon the tastes of the veterans, but the old methods would probably lead to a conventional product.

I feel that new SF ideas are not created this way. Yamato was fun to make, but it became increasingly difficult over the years, and now I feel I don’t want to use it just to peddle my own ideas.

Regarding Dessler’s War, a rough synopsis came together just 2 or 3 days ago. The two opposing planets called Gamilas and Iscandar were formed several billion years before Earth’s solar system. They separated when Gamilas became a planet of power and Iscandar became a planet of love, and both were placed on the road to ruin.

The story would begin before the first Yamato series. The original form of Gamilas and Iscandar was a peaceful planet called Gaia, and it was ruled by a king and queen who were like Dessler and Starsha. However, Gaia’s light is blown out by the wind of an attack by invaders from the darkness of space.

The Disruptors were born out of the darkness, and their bodies are composed of a radioactive substance, like uranium. Therefore, it’s not possible for any kind of living thing to coexist with them. This is what leads to the Gamilas making use of radioactivity as a weapon.

The people of Gaia send a distress message into the future. There is a legend that a soldier will appear in a time of great crisis, and over the flow of time it is Dessler who receives this message. He has to perform a time-warp to travel several billion years into the past, and that’s where the story beings.

Was it a good idea for me to say all that? (Laughter)

Anyway, since Gamilas and Iscandar were originally a single planet, would this be a conventional Yamato story? I think the setting would be more magnificent. You can count on that. (Applause)

As for myself, I think this synopsis is interesting. I think Dessler’s War will go in that direction. This concept flows into the history of Yamato in the cherished traditions of science-fiction. It will connect to the origin of the planet-bombing of Earth by Gamilas, which is the starting point of the first Yamato story.

In addition, if the story goes into the future, we can assume that a large space federation would come together. We’ll have to decide whether to focus on that or the next step in the story of Kodai and Yuki. I’m not sure which is better. I want to wait a while on that.

But as for the design of Yamato, it could still look the same even if the internal functions are changed. Mr. Matsumoto and Mr. Eichi Yamamoto [writer] are participating in brainstorming sessions with the new staff members. The staff veterans have a lot of production experience and top-notch creative power.

Meanwhile, the new younger staff members pour out a wealth of brilliant ideas. It’s my role to listen to both and blend them together. When we build the framework, both New Yamato and Dessler’s War will go into production. I’ll keep you up to date with new information.

Now we’ll do the usual question-and-answer part. (Laughter) Does anyone have a question?

Question: Will you hire Hiroshi Miyagawa and Kentaro Haneda to work on the new Yamato?

Nishizaki: I’d like to use a Miyagawa melody again. (Applause) But I would look forward to a new sensitivity in the music. His work is still great, isn’t it?

Question: You always do new things with anime, like the ‘warp dimension’ in Be Forever and the 70mm version of Final Yamato. What would you like to do with Dessler’s War and New Yamato? The image and sound is already good, what else can you do with it?

Nishizaki: It’s not possible to say so concretely right now. The Americans are at cutting edge of animation with the use of CG, as in the movie The Last Starfighter, produced by John Whitney Jr. I talked with him closely about it, and we were going to do the same thing with the Starlight in Odin. I want to use CG in New Yamato and Dessler’s War if we can make it fit without incongruity.

On the music side, I will have to think about it for a while to come up with a new idea.

We did use computer images for the first time on the bridge of the Starlight. I wanted it to have a certain technical feeling, and we’ll work harder on that in the next project.

Question: This time, will Yamato increase the enthusiasm for anime and make it more mainstream?

Nishizaki: Don’t you think you are already enthusiastic? You and those like you are all part of the mainstream.

Once again, Yamato will be fun to watch, not just meant for the maniacs. If we return to the origin of the first story it will be simple and straightforward. Plus, I have a lot of enthusiasm about making a fresh movie. I want to oversee the whole thing as an executive producer and appoint a younger producer so I can have fun. It’s a pleasure to see how the ‘old’ Yamato inspires new ideas in a young staff .

Animation is one method of expressing a dream, and it is such a dream that I present to everyone. If it provides a little joy and happiness, I am very glad.

From now on, as you pass from your 20s to your 30s and into your 40s, think of the thing called Yamato that you saw in your youth. See how it causes your dreams to expand and grow. Furthermore, always try to remember how it helped you to maintain a positive attitude.

Yamato is a record of my life, and I always want to do more with it.

Report on the August 1986 Fan Club Meeting

From fan club magazine #52 (June, 1986)

Partial transcript of Nishizaki’s speech:

I announced my plan to make both New Yamato and Dessler’s War but neither has gone forward yet. It’s not a problem of money or with booking theatres.

Three years ago I announced that we had a synopsis, and I wanted to make a new story without losing the basic shape. I still want to make that, and also an independent story about Dessler. However, we don’t yet have a script that I like. It was written on the basis of the idea I had three years ago, and now the ideas are advancing.

Also, times have changed and I want to make New Yamato by hand with a new staff of young people. At first I only thought about what would please me, and that’s not how it should be, especially in SF. I had to count on many others to help me make the first series, and I cannot do another one without empathy for others. If you try to make something just for yourself you can lose your way.

Once you have established a theme, it’s hard to change it. So it would be good if a younger staff can come along and give it a new feeling. As for me, lately I feel like I can’t empathize with anything other than Yamato, and perhaps I shouldn’t make any other projects. But I can’t make it again without the support of a young and energetic staff.

Yamato is still my life’s work, and it would be a good thing for it to be accepted by the next generation.

In the anime world today, it’s not a good idea to try and do everything yourself. Because a movie is a concentrated body of work by many different talents, a composite artform. That’s what made Yamato such a pleasure. Finding specialists in different areas–story, art, music–and gathering them together is what makes a good movie.

Therefore, there are increasingly few theatrical works that show the concentrated efforts of Farewell or Be Forever. People like me generally feel that if it isn’t worthy of a movie screen, it shouldn’t be made.

That’s definitely the case with Yamato. Anyway, that’s my meager message for today.

Question: Lately Original Anime Video (OAV) has been very successful. What do you think of that?

Nishizaki: It might be good as a test, but I’m not very enthused about it. Most are produced with a very low budget. But when it’s a short work of 25 or 30 minutes like Iczer-1, it appeals to the sensibilities of an animator. The thought is that anybody can make one.

Question: I hear what you say about the trouble of making a new Yamato that meets with your consent, but what if you were to do a remake of Part 1? When you compare it to Final Yamato, it is technically inferior. It would give a new staff the chance to participate and learn Yamato from the ground up so they could go on to make New Yamato. Lately we’ve become a minority. I get cold looks when I say I’m a Yamato fan.

Nishizaki: I understand. The mechanical design by Leiji Matsumoto in Part 1 would have to be updated to the style of the present day. If that part were solved, the story would be sufficient on its own to get some momentum going. Part 1 of Yamato is really the bible for us all, isn’t it?

Question: Can you do a remake with a new staff? I think the story would change.

Nishizaki: I think so, too. But, if we want to create a story for a new generation with a character who will grow up by overcoming problems one by one, probably it would be better to have a new protagonist. But if we want do describe the drama of a man’s whole life, probably it would be better to keep Kodai. I am still wondering which is better, but at this stage I’m in no hurry.

One more concern is that throughout Japan, from the past to present, I am the only producer who delayed the release dates of two movies in a row, Final Yamato and Odin. This happened because I was too obsessed with quality. It made me into a villain, or you could use other words…

I was told “Next time we will book you into a theater only after it’s finished!” (laughter)

Question: These days the number of feature-length anime is going down because of OAV’s. Just a few years ago, the heavy content of your stories needed several hours. Odin still seemed like it was only half-finished.

Nishizaki: Understood. Let’s make it to the end. I think you stated the matter perfectly well.

Nishizaki’s Message to the Fans

From fan club magazine #62 (December, 1987)

Chairman Nishizaki talks about a new Yamato in 1988! It will exceed previous works!

A happy new year to members of the fan club. The 10th anniversary makes me want to commemorate the fan club with the launch of a new Yamato.

Four and a half years have passed since the release of Final Yamato. I’ve thought of various forms for the new story to take, trying to convey the flow of human blood throughout history. I wrote several synopses, but they all sounded like imitators of the old Yamato.

For example, while trying to write Dessler’s War as a progressive story, I found that I could not separate it from the conventions of Yamato. I’ve talked about it in many meetings and restarted the story plan many times, but in the end it does not come together.

In addition, when I thought of Yamato rising up again from the seas of Aquarius, I wondered whether it should be rebuilt from debris or a fresh new design that exceeds the previous series. Trying to make a decision about this stopped everything in midstream. I want to continue making Yamato as an author and producer, but I cannot deny the feeling that we said it all in the previous saga.

There is great difficulty in creating a new Yamato in a form worthy to inherit the world of Kodai and Yuki, and the self-confidence to do this is not in me right now. Therefore, I thought about making an entirely new work for a fresh break from the past.

The two main facets of Yamato are the human relationships and the battleship itself. When Aritsune Toyota created the setting for the first series many years ago, it was fresh and new. That newness has faded somewhat, but the relationship of Kodai and Yuki and all those around them was well-established and still resonates.

The underlying theme of Final Yamato was that life had been born out of the sea and Yamato would return there for its final resting place. Humans, too, will return to the sea again and again, since they are connected to it in a fundamental way.

In other words, Final Yamato is the summation of all the stories that came before it. A new work must accomplish this and include these elements to live up to its potential. Those elements are as follows:

First, the story of human beings is founded on family relationships.

Second, we must decide how to redesign Yamato.

Third, we need new ideas for the SF setting.

Fourth, we need an opponent on a much greater scale.

I think if these elements are properly addressed in a way that appeals to the Japanese soul, we can start with a clean slate and it will be OK to break with the old Yamato.

These are the notes I gave to my staff, and they have responded with many synopses over the last four years. My ideas may be a little old-fashioned, but I think it is possible.

However, when I read a synopsis by writer Souji Yoshikawa, it reversed my thinking. His concept resonated with me very much; it was to break completely with the old Yamato and create something entirely new that would inherit the sensibilities of the predecessor, including the human drama.

Unfortunately, I can’t divulge much of his concept here, but I can describe it like recovering a piece of the sunken battleship Yamato that connects with our very blood in a way that will be revolutionary to SF.

Although I still want to revise some details, this synopsis solved my biggest problem of how to handle the old Yamato while also establishing a new one. At present, we are developing this story plan.

Ordering a Yamato Design from the US

The next problem is how to design the lead battleship and constitute the world in which it exists. Needless to say, animation is basically a world of pictures. The previous Yamato was built upon the classic design of the original battleship. As the new story goes forward, the design of the new Yamato must advance with it.

Previously, the look of Yamato was inextricably linked to the art style of its entire world, two sides of the same coin. A grey battleship flies through outer space, and when it is harmonized with music and emotion, a warmth emerges out of the cold to become the theme of the story.

When creating a new Yamato, it is necessary for it to harmonize with its new surroundings. In appointing a designer to take charge of this, it must be one who can capture the mind and spirit of the Japanese people.

I will go to America in mid-February [1988] to engage the services of a world-famous designer. New Space Battleship Yamato will launch soon. Please look forward to it!

Editor’s note: As we can tell from this text, the difficulty of wrestling Dessler’s War to the ground has pushed it to the back-burner in favor of the New Yamato concept. The American designer invoked in the last paragraph was Syd Mead, whose work lead to the creation of Yamato 2520 in the mid 1990s. Between those years, two live-action Yamato movies were conceived, one a live-action remake of the original and the other a New Yamato using the Mead design.

Dessler’s War wasn’t mentioned again until Nishizaki’s farewell message in the last issue of the fan club magazine (#83, June 1991):

I wanted to create the opportunity to create New Yamato and establish myself as an international producer. If I still have the chance to make it, I hope it is worthy of a fan club so that we can formally resume our activity. The exact timing of resumption will be decided after we produce Dessler’s War next year. Thereafter, the production schedule for New Space Battleship Yamato will be formally established. At that stage, we will consider restarting the fan club.

That constitutes the sum total of Dessler’s War as reported in the pages of the club magazine. The chances of it being resurrected have now gone the way of its deceased creator, but imagination lives forever.

2019 Addendum

An unexpected artifact from the days of Dessler’s War emerged into the light of day in the pages of Zenbu, the auction catalog of Japan’s Mandarake stores. Volume 95, published in October 2019, devoted over 100 pages to Yamato products from all corners of the franchise (see all the pages here). By far the most unusual auction item was a collection of 20 conceptual designs by Koichi Ohata. (In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, check out his anime resume here).

His art doesn’t give us any additional clues about the story, but they add a name to one of the factions: Mazerad Army. Based on the overall look, they appear to have been the villains. All 20 pieces are enlarged below.

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