Since Chapter 5 opened the last weekend of May, the accompanying festivities spread all the way through the month of June with stage greetings, products, announcements and live events to accompany the film, culminating in its home video release the day after it closed in theaters. It was a big month with big news emerging from multiple fronts. Here’s everything that went down…
Shoji Nishizaki and Harutoshi Fukui at T-Joy Cinema in Hakata, June 1
June 1 & 2: Chapter 5 week 2 stage greetings
Since this was the first chapter to premiere on a Friday instead of a Saturday, the first weekend featured stage greetings in Tokyo on both the 25th and 26th. The second weekend followed suit with similar greetings at theaters in other cities, and a different lineup.
On Friday June 1, the T-Joy Cinema in Hakata was visited by Writer Harutoshi Fukui and MC Osamu Kobayashi, both of whom have been regulars since the start. But something that made this event unique was the appearance of Executive Producer Shoji Nishizaki, who hadn’t stepped onto a stage since the initial production announcement back in September 2016.
Shoji Nishizaki, Eriko Nakamura, and Harutoshi Fukui at T-Joy Riverwalk in Kitakyushu, June 2
It continued the next day with appearances in the cities of Kitakyushu and Kumamoto. There, Fukui, Kobayashi, and Nishizaki were joined by Kyushu’s own voice actor Eriko Nakamura, a familiar face at Yamato events since 2014.
MC Osamu Kobayashi, Eriko Nakamura, and Harutoshi Fukui at Toho Cinema Forest Light in Kumamoto
Fukui and Nakamura with one of Naoyuki Katoh’s live-painted murals, Toho Cinema in Kumamoto
June 1: 1/1000 Galaxy prototype model revealed
After Chapter 5’s first week in theaters, it was time to reveal Bandai’s 1/1000 prototype model for the Space Battleship Galaxy, which appeared briefly in the teaser for Chapter 6. It had first appeared in Bandai’s booth at the Shizuoka Hobby Show on May 10 with a box over it marked “Top Secret.”
On May 23 it turned up again in a theater lobby at Namba Parks Cinema in Osaka. Fans posted blurry photos on Twitter until June 1 when the box finally came off. Oddly, the engine nozzle was initially upside-down until someone fixed it. The model was on display at least until June 14, when the last Twitter photo was posted.
See a photo gallery here.
June 1: Official site update
Talk about coordination; on the same day the box was lifted in Osaka, the mecha page at the Official 2202 website was updated with several new entries, including one for Galaxy.
These entries have been added to our translated mecha guide; see it here.
June 1: Promotional Meeting of Love, Episode 5
With the movie starting its second week in theaters, detailed discussion could begin in this new episode of the continuing video series. Titled Everyone’s love is needed for Chapter 5 to be a hit, the topic was Garmillas, past and present. See it on Youtube here.
June 2: Week 2 theater handout
The second handout pack given away in theaters featured three new art images in a facsimile production folder: two layouts from Chapter 5 and the classic Cosmo Tiger II model sheet from 1978.
June 7: Yamatalk night
Director Nobuyoshi Habara and Writer Harutoshi Fukui were joined on stage at the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater by artist extraordinaire Kia Asamiya for a conversation about his many contributions to Yamato 2202.
L to R: Fukui, Asamiya, Habara
No transcript has yet emerged for the rest of us, but Asamiya did mention on his Twitter page that he will be doing the box art for Bandai’s forthcoming Space Battleship Galaxy model kit, and he will be storyboarding the penultimate episode 25.
June 8: Promotional Meeting of Love, Episode 6
Chapter 5’s third week kicked off with the last episode in this run, the second part of Everyone’s love is needed for Chapter 5 to be a hit. The group was happy to finally dig into real spoiler territory with a conversation about the fleet battle, the reveals of Gatlantis and the Galaxy, and more. See it on Youtube here.
June 8: Week 3 theater handout
The last of the handout packs for Chapter 5 contained key poses of Dessler and Keyman with a classic 1978 model sheet (of Miru) thrown in from 1978.
June 9: Animage Vol. 481
With Farewell to Yamato hitting its 40th anniversary this summer, the world of anime journalism as we know it today celebrates the same milestone. Animage magazine launched in June 1978, and since Yamato graced the cover of issue 1, the magazine commemorated it with a foldout poster of the image, updated to mark Yamato 2202. (The pinup is above left, original cover at right.)
There was also a 2-page article with a brief Habara interview to be translated in a future update.
June 13: Chapter 5 premiere report
Nearly three weeks after the premiere, the Official 2202 website published a transcript of the opening day stage greeting with Habara, Fukui, and Sound Supervisor Tomohiro Yoshida. Read it here.
June 13: 1/1000 Space Battleship Galaxy model revealed
On this day, the Official 2202 website was the first to reveal CG prototype images of Bandai’s forthcoming Galaxy model, which is scheduled for release in September. It will include mini Cosmo Tigers and a Cosmo Zero, and an LED unit to light the dome and engine. See the website’s info here.
Preorders for the kit opened on June 20. See more photos on Bandai Hobby Site here.
L to R: Harutoshi Fukui, Shinya Ogura, MC Osamu Kobayashi
June 14: Yamatalk Night
This was the last night for Chapter 5 in 31 theaters, with four more holding it over another week to close on June 21. This time, Harutoshi Fukui was joined by Shinya Ogura to talk about his work as an SF designer. In addition to 2202, his long list of credits includes Gundam UC, Gundam Evolve, Planetes, Transformers, Eureka Seven, and Code Geass.
Visit his Twitter page here.
June 18: Yamato Crew Premium Fan Club news
On this day, Yamato Crew announced an exciting step forward for the fan club magazine. After 21 issues, Ship’s Log is being re-engineered with a new name and a new premiere issue. It will now be called Space Battleship Yamato Star Blazers Magazine, with the alternate English title Star Blazers Yamato Magazine.
Set to ship out to fan club members at the end of July, it will more than triple in size to over 100 pages with expanded content. The first issue will include a new interview with Earth Mecha Designer Junichiro Tamamori, comments from Harutoshi Fukui and Nobuyoshi Habara, a “special album” of character illustrations, a feature on the new Space Battleship Galaxy, a 2199 retrospective, and a full set of production materials on 2202 Episode 2 such as a script, storyboards, and model sheets.
In order to boost fan club membership, this issue was offered to everyone who signed up by July 5 (Japanese addresses only, of course). It is unknown at this point if the magazine will consistently include this page count, but if so it will become the largest single source of 2202 publishing until we get some books.
June 20: 1/350 Yamato Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 001
And now for the most unexpected and exciting entry of the month. It came with no prior announcement and may end up being the most remarkable 2202 product of them all. It takes a fair amount of explaining, so get comfortable.
Hachette is an international publishing company with offices all over the world, including Japan. One of their specialties is “collections” sold in periodical form. DVDs, for example; an entire TV or movie series can be had by subscribing to a magazine that delivers a new disc in each issue. High-end model kits are another example; each “volume” brings you a new model part, and collecting them all results in an intricate, big-scale model that might be prohibitively expensive as a single item. This is the category we’re stepping into.
The premise of this “Diecast Gimmick Model” is simply breathtaking. Split up into 110 volumes, new parts will be released WEEKLY. The result will be a VERY large model built up over about two years. Scaled at 1/350, it will stretch to an enormous 37.5” when completed. The only commercially-available Yamato to beat that was a 1-meter vinyl version released by Liberty Planet in 1998 and 2008. (See it, along with others in this size range, here.) Of course, Bandai released a 1/350 Yamato back in 2007, but that one was based on the original length of 265m, before the specs were rebooted to 333m. Regardless, if this model goes to full term it will score over all previous Yamatos in every meaningful way.
Actual promotion for this model has yet to occur. As of this writing (early July) it is in a test market phase with parts available only by direct subscription or in a handful of stores. However, other Hachette products of this nature are available from Amazon.co.jp and since they are classified as periodicals rather than hobby items, they can be shipped outside Japan. If and when this Yamato is picked up by Amazon, access could open to anyone able to place an order.
The next thing to be aware of is price. Volume 001 is bargain-priced at only 299Y. Subsequent volumes will be higher at 1799Y, a bit under $18. The full, finished price is estimated at 197,000Y, which approaches $2,000.
Photos posted on Twitter by Hachi Kuji
Volume 002 arrived on July 4 (two weeks after 001) and kicked off weekly publication. The first four volumes have been announced, and there is almost certainly much more news to come. The first volume by itself is a busy package with a bound-in magazine, a “startup” DVD, and the first model parts. Let’s give it a full looksee here.
June 20: 1/2000 “Shining Ship” Apollo Norm announced
Apollo Norm will be the next to join the 1/2000 metal miniature lineup from Premium Bandai. Set for release in November, it will include the same fine detail as its predecessors.
June 21: Lawson clear files
After being announced in the spring, two original clear files shipped out to those who preordered them at Lawson convenience stores. The first features original Yuki Mori artwork. The blue uniform has nothing to do with her position in the series, it’s simply the signature Lawson blue.
The other clear file sports mecha art featuring Yamato in its close pass with Andromeda. Both clear files were made by a company called Loppi, which recently announced other 2202 products in cooperation with Lawson. (See last report).
June 22: Chapter 5 on home video
The standard edition of Chapter 5 arrived on Blu-ray and DVD the day after the film closed in theaters. As usual, it is identical to the theater-exclusive version without the bonus booklets.
The deluxe Amazon edition comes with the fifth audio drama CD in the series, written by Harutoshi Fukui and featuring members of the anime voice cast. This 22-minute disc contains two comedy-themed tracks. The first is titled Dessler & Little Dessler: Keyman, stop Yamato (a conversation about the culture – and pop culture – of Earth people). Hear a sample on Nico Nico here.
The second track is a story-within-the-story focused on a Sailor Moon-type character named Pretty Girl Fighter Ichigo Kakigori. The name loosely translates to “Strawberry-flavored shaved ice,” and the character was designed by Nobuyoshi Habara.
While this is yet another first in the world of Yamato (until now, we’ve had no evidence of any in-universe pop culture other than the literature featured in 2199), there is no reason as yet to assume it will figure into the anime. It did make some waves in Yamato fandom, however. At left is a photo tweeted by Ichigo’s voice actor Aya Yamane, who brought flowers to her manager to commemorate the disc release. (See her Twitter page here.)
At right is the first fan art of Ichigo, posted on Twitter by Edakio.
Finally, here is Chapter 5 in its natural habitat – Kinokuniya bookstore in Shinjuku, Tokyo – posted on Twitter by Karapon 2199.
June 22: Mecha Collection model 05
This reissue of the Cosmo Falcon from Yamato 2199 joined the lineup of 2202 mini-models, molded in green plastic with decals that assign it to Apollo Norm.
Model builders were quick to assemble and photograph their kits. See a gallery here.
June 25: Hobby Japan #590
This issue continued the cover design change that started with the 50th anniversary and devoted a single page to Yamato news (which you already know, having read this far).
June 26: Online talkshow special
Hisanori Yoshida is a popular actor in Japan with his own online talkshow titled d Studio (the d is for his sponsor, docomo). Webcast on Nico Nico, d Studio devoted a chunk of its 49th episode to Yamato 2202, featuring two Yamato voice actors: Kenji Akabane (Yasuo Nanbu) and Eriko Nakamura (Mikage Kiryu).
Fortunately for the rest of us, the Yamato discussion was transcribed by Nico Nico News on July 4, which gave us access to the conversation. Read it here.
June 29: Hero’s Record clear files awarded
Last month, the Yamato 2202 mobile game Hero’s Record started up a contest in which fans who retweeted a news announcement would be eligible to win custom clear files autographed by voice actors. The lucky winners tweeted their victories as soon as the spoils showed up in their mailboxes. One by one, we have…
June 30: Shinjuku Piccadilly 10th anniversary display
To celebrate their 10th anniversary, the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater (ground zero for Yamato movie premieres) brought out their archive of autograph boards, scrawled over the years by those who have appeared at live stage greetings.
Eagle-eyed Yamato fan Mat Hama spotted these two and posted them on Twitter for all to see: Anime Auteur Hideaki Anno (from Yamato 2199 Chapter 4) and Storyboard Artist Shinji Higuchi (2199 Chapter 7).
Also spotted in June
Makoto Kobayashi on Twitter
It was a lighter than usual month for Kobayashi, whose only new images were related to another article he produced for Scale Aviation magazine. We’ll catch up with that in our next report.
Fan art in June was also lighter than usual, perhaps as a result of the traumatic cliffhanger ending, but there were still lots of new images to process the experience. See a character gallery here and a mecha gallery here.
Fans really put the “mod” back to “modeling” in June, inspired by the onscreen debut of a gigantic Earth Defense Fleet. See their new contributions to the cause here.