Examining all the books devoted to the first TV series (and the 1977 movie version) provides the broadest glimpse at the evolution of anime publishing from a children’s medium into one for all ages and interests. The demand for Yamato in print form, something that would preserve the viewing experience in the days before home video, created a publishing model for every other anime production to follow. That model is still healthy and robust today, and Yamato is still a part of it, with new books appearing as recently as 2008.
Not included in this bibliography are manga titles, novels, and special publications from Office Academy. Links for all of them can be found at the end of this page.
Terebi [TV] Land Magazine
7.25″ x 10″ (B5)
Tokuma Shoten, Sept. 1, 1974
Terebi Land was one of the very first to promote the Yamato TV series. The other was Shogakukan’s manga weekly Shonen Sunday, which can be seen here. Though neither company would put their names on a proper Yamato book until 1977 and ’78 respectively, they could at least claim to be at the front of the line in terms of magazine coverage. Furthermore, Terebi Land was the home of a dimly-remembered Yamato manga by artist Yuki Hijiri, creator of Locke the Superman. It commenced with the November ’74 issue and was never reprinted until it was unearthed and translated for this website. Read it here.
See a collection of original paintings from the magazine in our Quest for Iscandar gallery here.
Space Battleship Yamato Family Picture Story Show
Approx. 10.25″ x 7.75″
Epoch Co., October 1974
Based on looks alone, this may be the first dedicated Yamato publication of any kind, though strictly speaking it was not a book. It was instead a card and record set containing 16 story cards and a flexi-disc “radio play” to narrate them. From the first glance, it’s obvious that this must have been produced before the TV series went on the air, since the artist must have been working with incomplete animation designs. That said, this is a true museum piece; the “radio play” uses none of the voice actors, music, or sound effects from the series and the presentation style comes from an earlier era of anime products.
“Picture Story Show,” or “Kamishibai” in Japanese, is a now-defunct form of public performance art involving images on paper [Kami] presented in a live stage show [Shibai] with dramatic flair. Kamishibai was eventually replaced by television, but Epoch preserved it for a while with this plastic screen that the story cards would fit into. Basically, it stood about halfway between classic Kamishibai and TV anime, and must have lasted for some time since Space Battleship Yamato was volume 102 in a series. This series, too, is now extinct but remains an interesting artifact in the evolution of home entertainment.
And now, for the first time since 1974, you can have the complete experience of the “Family Picture Story Show” right here. Just start up the audio files above, open a duplicate of this web page, and browse through the card images here. (The first image in the set will be the box cover; scroll down to the first card when music begins, then continue when you hear the chime.) Special thanks to superfan Dave Merrill for capturing the audio magic!
Space Battleship Yamato
16 pages, approx. 7.5″ x 10.5″ (B5)
Asahi Sonorama, Oct. 1974
“Sonosheet” was Sonorama’s term for a 45rpm flexi-disc that came with each volume in this series of books. The children’s storybook that contained it was printed on thick card stock and was released on the same day as Sonorama’s EP single. Either version marked the first time the Yamato theme could be purchased, on October 31 1974, between the broadcasts of TV episodes 4 and 5. The content bears a strong resemblance to Epoch’s “Family Picture Story Show,” and could easily be the work of the same artist. See it from cover to cover here.
Space Battleship Yamato
Big Picture Book
36 pages, approx. 7.25″ x 10.5″ (B5)
Asahi Sonorama, Dec. 20, 1974
This one-of-a-kind volume was the first true Yamato art book, a combination of stills from the series and original illustrations by mecha design house Studio Nue. The high quality of the artwork represented a turning point away from misinterpretations by publishers without first-hand knowledge. Thus, this book is now highly prized by collectors and extremely rare. See it from cover to cover here.
Adventure King Magazine, 29″ x 10″
Akita Shoten, Feb. 1975
This was a free insert in Adventure King, the monthly magazine that published Leiji Matsumoto’s manga version of the first series. The show was still on the air at the time, heading into its last two months. There wasn’t yet a strong system of quality control, which made strange, cobbled-together images like this one fairly common. That still doesn’t explain the inclusion of two completely made-up crewmembers, one of whom is about to be clobbered by Dr. Sane.
Fantoche Magazine No. 2
48 pages, 8.25″ x 11.75″ (A4)
Fantoche was the pet project of artist Yoshikazu Hirose, who had served as a color designer on the first Yamato
TV series. Thanks to this connection, it
was the first magazine to ever carry a Yamato cover story, which fronted for
an interview with Leiji Matsumoto (which can be read in full here). Its extensive coverage of foreign films is the only disqualifier against Fantoche being the
first anime specialty magazine.
Monthly OUT Magazine
Approx. 6″ x 9.5″
Minori Shobo, April 1977
This was the pivot point for practically
the entire Yamato saga, the culmination
of two years of fan club activity and the beginning of a pop-culture phenomenon. The members of theYamato Association
fan club contributed a groundbreaking
60 pages of coverage to the TV series that
made the magazine an instant collector’s item and ignited the coming explosion
of the Yamato movie. Read the whole
story and see all the coverage here.
Manga No Hoshi No. 1
42 pages, 7.25″ x 10″ (B5)
Nippon Manga Fan, July 1977
This early ‘zine landed just ahead of the Yamato movie’s 1977 premiere and was devoted entirely to manga with Matsumoto as a headliner. Despite the Yamato image on the cover, the article itself was an overview of his other titles with a reprint of his pivotal 1969 SF manga Dafuin, which was the first to use the term “Space Wave-Motion Theory.”
Approx. 7″ x 10″ (B5)
Akita Shoten, Aug. 1977
Pivoting off the name Playboy, Playcomic was a weekly manga magazine for mature readers, though erotic content took a backseat to humor and SF such as Leiji Matsumoto’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock, which would be animated the following year. It was also noteworthy for publishing Eternal Story of Jura in the summer of 1976, a Yamato spinoff written and drawn by Matsumoto (read it here). This 1977 issue was published shortly after the movie premiere and included a bound-in “Cinema Poster.” It marked only the third time Yamato made a magazine cover.
Space Battleship Yamato Roman Album
88 pages, 8.25″ x 11.75″ (A4)
Tokuma Shoten, Sept. 1977
TOP TEN PICK
Roman Album #1 was another reason Yamato changed everything in the anime world in 1977. Like the Symphonic Suite LP and the numerous other innovative products, it essentially rebooted anime publishing out of the notion that children were the only consumers. The turning point could be found within the pages of the book itself, which started with the basic design of a kid’s book (large art images with minimal text) and evolved into a mature fan’s dream, page after page of pristine model sheets and broadcast data.
The cue for this was obviously taken from OUT magazine’s historic 2nd issue (published in April) which showed exactly what fans wanted to see – because they themselves had created it. And Tokuma Shoten was handsomely rewarded for paying attention; Roman Album #1 went through six printings in its first month alone. What started out as a one-shot spinoff of Tokuma’s Terebi [TV] Land magazine became their signature creation as subsequent volumes set new standards for years to come.
See the opening color pages here.
Space Battleship Yamato
Terebi Magazine Special
80 pages, 8.25″ x 10″ (A4 trimmed)
Akita Shoten, Dec. 1977
Terebi [TV] Magazine was another monthly publication that gave considerable attention to Yamato, which included this “TV Mook,” a contraction of “Magazine” and “Book.” In fact, it is very probable that it was the first publication anywhere to use that term, which has since become a catchall. It was an excellent full-color guidebook to the TV series, organized by subject with half the page count devoted to Yamato and Earth, roughly a quarter going to Gamilas and Iscandar, and the balance devoted to a retelling of the story. In deference to the movie, there was no episodic breakdown of the series. Three more Terebi Magazine specials were produced after this one, ending with Be Forever.
Space Battleship Yamato
Illust Fantasy: Starsha Space Love
16 pages, approx. 12″ x 18″
Bandai Joy us Books, Feb. 1978
This oversize children’s book is the record-holder for largest page format, which opens to an enormous 18 X 24″ spread. It was a highly simplified storybook consisting of 7 gigantic paintings that focused entirely on Starsha’s role in the first series. These paintings were credited to artists Tenkou Fukuta and animation staffer Kenzo Koizumi, and have never been reprinted elsewhere. Click here to see this book from cover to cover.
World of TV Anime
Aireview Special: All SF Spacecraft
126 pages, approx. 7.25″ x 10″ (B5)
Published just a month later, this volume rounded up both real world and SF spacecraft into a compendium reaching all the way back to 1908. Yamato was the only anime title listed among such live-action fare as 2001, Star Wars, and the James Bond series.
Akita Shoten, Dec. 1977
This was Akita Shoten’s magazine for entertainment on TV, which ran this colorful article (with a foldout poster) after the release of the Yamato movie. Such posters were common, and Yamato commanded the lion’s share of them in the late ’70s.
No publishing data available
Most likely a trade magazine for shops and collectors, this publication featured the Space Battleship Yamato drama LP on its cover. Learn more about the LP here.
5.75″ x 8.25″ (A5)
Your eyes do not deceive you; Japan had its own version of America’s most widely-read magazine and Space Battleship Yamato got its own cover story (with foldout poster) for the last week of July in 1978. This was to mark the movie’s debut on Fuji TV, the night before Farewell to Yamato opened in movie theatres.
Space Battleship Yamato
Space Battleship Yamato vol. 1 & 2
Anime Cartoon Masterpiece series #5 & 6
40 pages each, approx. 7.5″ x 8″
Shogakukan, Dec. 1978 & Jan. 1979
This all color, two-volume retelling of the TV series was formatted with minimal text and color stills. Many episodes were not covered, but there was still material that was cut from the feature film. Shogakukan utilized this format for many other children’s books based on movies and TV shows, including both anime and live-action. There were a total of 7 Yamato volumes up to and including The New Voyage.
Space Battleship Yamato Encyclopedia: Keibunsha No. 31
324 pages, 4″ x 5.75″ (A6)
Keibunsha is a well-known imprint of Japan’s biggest publisher, Kodansha, which produced unique Yamato products such as a panel book and a papercraft book. But the name is most often associated with a line of thick, sub-compact paperbacks (similar to Whitman’s famed Big Little Books) called Encyclopedias. These are still being published today, now numbering well over a thousand, with each volume devoted to some form of entertainment. There were already 30 of them when the first Yamato Encyclopedia appeared, which was a grab-bag of
TV Anime Complete Works
320 pages, approx. 4″ x 6″ (A6)
Published in the same format as Kodansha’s popular Keibunsha line, this thick volume offered a whirlwind tour of TV anime programs from 1963 to 1978. Naturally, this included the first Yamato TV series. Subsequent volumes carried on this format, concluding with volume 5 in 1986.
Space Battleship Yamato Postcard Book
20 pages, approx. 12″ x 12″ Japan Business Company/Children’s Pocket Encyclopedia, Jan. 1980
This book brought together images from the first series and Farewell to Yamato, along with basic story information for each. The character art on the cover previously appeared in Office Academy’s Yamato calendar for 1980 (published in fall ’79).
Space Battleship Yamato Anime Comics 1 & 2
160 pages each, 5″ x 7.25″ (B6)
Akita Shoten, March & May 1981
This 2-volume set from the Champion Graphic division of Akita Shoten retold the story of the film in anime comic form, color stills with word balloons for dialogue. Other volumes were published for Farewell to Yamato and Be Forever. Read more about anime comics here.
Space Battleship Yamato Big Encyclopedia
Rapport Deluxe Special
160 pages, approx. 7″ x 10″ (B5)
Rapport KK, May 1983
TOP TEN PICK
This was one of the best books of the production years, a fantastic grab-bag of data on the Yamato saga in general and series 1 in particular. Rapport KK was also the publisher of Animec, a hardcore otaku magazine if there ever was one, the editor of which was a former member of Yamato Association, the original fan club. The passion of the staff for their subject matter was obvious in the breadth and depth of their coverage. Highlights included sample storyboards from each TV episode, a timeline of events and trivia from the production years, and a round-table discussion with members of the original Yamato fan clubs (which can be read here.)
Below: a promotional poster for the book.
Monthly Comic Noizy
8.25″ x 11.75″ (A4)
This manga/hobby periodical was the first to break an almost five-year absence of magazine coverage with a “Space Cruiser Yamato Graphic Memorial,” which consisted of a 4-page photostory that retold the Battle of Pluto with text and model photography. Click here to see pages from two consecutive issues.
The Hot Feelings Once Again
Space Battleship Yamato Perfect Collection Laserdisc set Guidebook
100 pages, approx. 11.75″ x 8.25″ (A4 horizontal)
Bandai Media, July 1990
This lavishly-formatted book came with the LD box set for series 1 and offered gorgeous coverage in full color. The first portion offered a complete cover-to-cover reproduction of the original 16-page pitch book from 1974, which was produced for prospective licensors and has never been reprinted elsewhere. Following that was an episode guide and a few pages of original artwork. The entire second half of the book was devoted to model sheets.
The Space Battleship Yamato Legacy
By Leo Anzai
248 pages, approx. 6″ x 8.25″ (A5)
Footwork, July 1999
This book focused on the making of the first TV series rather than the intricacies of its story. It was text-heavy, but with a decent amount of artwork as well, including some color stills and a large collection of animators’ model sheets. It’s worth seeking out if you don’t happen to have some of the vintage 70s or 80s books in your collection. This was the first book published after Leiji Matsumoto took temporary possession of the Yamato copyright. It included interviews with both Matsumoto and vocalist Isao Sasaki. (Click on each to read their interview in full.)
Space Battleship Yamato: The Faraway Planet Iscandar Comic Anthology
212 pages, approx. 6″ x 8.25″ (A5)
Studio DNA Media Books, May 2000
The talented artists of Studio DNA, in addition to being top-notch animators and game designers, are also formidable manga artists, and this book is what happened when they were asked to turn their passion for Yamato into comics. Doubtless many of them grew up on the anime (just as many of us grew up on Star Blazers), and it showed in the seven chapters that comprised this book. Each was an adaptation of a key TV episode, and each artist interpreted the story in their own fashion while also remaining loyal to the original. Viewers of Star Blazers will have no trouble keeping up, and it’s a genuine treat to sample the individual flavors each artist brings to the table. This book was published as a tie-in to the Yamato Playstation Games, which are covered here.
This is Manga!
240 pages, 5″ x 7.25″ (B6)
A retrospective of classic manga, this book was the first to reprint a little-known picture story Matsumoto illustrated for Shogakukan’s 5th Grader magazine while the first Yamato TV series was on the air. Read all about it here.
Space Battleship Yamato
Space Battleship Yamato Guidebook
20 pages, 8.25″ x 11.25″ (A4)
This full-color pamphlet was an insert from Dengeki Hobby magazine, published to commemorate the 2008 DVD box set for the first TV series, which included a new 1/700 Yamato kit. 6 pages were dedicated to the model with an episode guide filling the balance. View the entire magazine from cover to cover here.
Space Battleship Yamato DVD Memorial Box Preservation File
64 pages, approx. 5.5″ x 7.5″
Bandai Visual, July 2000
Compiled and written by longtime Yamato fan Hideaki Ito, this amazing volume came packaged with the DVD Memorial Box for the first TV series and covered a wealth of topics in incredible detail, from the making of the anime to its many forms of merchandising. This book and its companion volumes have provided valuable research for this website, and are highly recommended for serious collectors.
Space Battleship Yamato DVD Box Record File
28 pages, approx. 5.5″ x 7.5″
Bandai Visual, Feb. 2008
This booklet is a condensed version of the earlier edition, focusing only on the making of the anime. It was also compiled by Hideaki Ito, who participated in the entire production of the special 2008 DVD remaster and the accompanying 1/700 Yamato model kit. Read all about them here.