Since the big premiere in early April, each month has been highlighted by either a movie or video release…until August. When Yamato 2199 Chapter 3 was announced for October (with video to follow in November) a two-month gap stretched open to be filled by something else. Naturally this lead to a slowdown in activity, but certainly not a stoppage. In this report we examine everything that went on during the month of August, which will probably be remembered as a warmup for things to come.
Cospa is a chain of Japanese stores that specializes in apparel and other personal items for anime fans of all stripes. They haven’t done much with Yamato yet; prior to this year, their only items were Halloween costumes of Kodai, Yuki, and Dessler in fall 2010. The T-shirts shown here became their second Yamato product at the start of August, hopefully heralding more to come. The initials stand for United Nations Cosmo Fleet with the number 2199, and they are easy to picture as standard-issue in the space navy.
August 1: Hyper Hobby #168
Since its June issue (published in May) Hyper Hobby has made a regular place for Yamato 2199 in its pages, and this month the featured attraction was a new question-and-answer column dedicated to Chapter 2.
You’ll Understand if you read this!!
26 Secrets and Mysteries of Yamato
The screening event of the second Yamato 2199 movie was a great success! We asked Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii questions about the story! If you read this, you’ll get the local view. Please enjoy the second part of Yamato 2199 in this magazine!
Q01: Where did the explanation for the warp take place?
Nishii: In the original, it appeared in the central strategy room. It is narrower than in the old days, but the room is now a more correct size ratio. In Episode 3 we only used the floor as a moniter. In Episode 5 the wall was used as well.
Q02: Why was Sanada able to stand there calmly while everybody else was staggered?
Nishii: That just indicates that he’s a reliable person. It has visual appeal to show that Sanada is not shaken by an unexpected situation. It is what it is. (Laughs)
Q03: Is Saleluya Ratera, the commander of the floating continent commander, a transvestite? Or is it a woman?
Nishii: That’s an Onee-Chara. [Translator’s note: literally translated as “Sis-character,” this unusual term refers either to a homosexual or a man who has the heart of a woman.] It is a character equal to the handsome male commander in the original, not a woman. The cat in that scene is a creature of their home planet Zalts. The tail is divided in two.
Q04: Is the floating continent a part of Planet Gamilas? Do plants like that grow on Gamilas?
Nishii: The floating continent is part of the crust of Planet Gamilas. There are a lot of empty holes on the surface of Gamilas. The crust was cut out as the material for Gamilasforming That’s the interpretation for the floating continent. Would a thick jungle grow there? Because Balera, which appeared in Chapter 2, is an inner city, there are not many plants. But when you look at the entirety of Gamilas, the surface is green. The interpretation is that the floating continent is covered by the same jungle as the surface of Gamilas.
Nishii: It’s different from both Gamilas and Zalts because it is within the environment of Jupiter. Analyzer calculated that the floating continent has its own original environment and atmospheric composition. That’s the difference between the green jungle and the reddish Gamilas plants that are eroding the underground cities of Earth. You can think of them as autumn colors, so to speak.
Q06: How does Yamato float when it berths in the mines of Enceladus?
Nishii: That is a normal state of gravity control. In fact, the storyboards depicted the rocket anchor being driven into the cliff. We changed this because the rocket anchor had previously been shown in Episode 3. Although the Earth Defense Force ships seen in Chapter 1 were shown with zero-G, both Kirishima and Yukikaze have gravity control, too. The technology was not introduced by Yamato.
Q07: Why did Niimi call Sanada “sensei”? Was she his student?
Nishii: Niimi and Sanada were junior and senior students in college. She calls him “sensei” out of respect.
Q08: What’s on the menu of Yamato‘s cafeteria?
Nishii: Asteroid donburi and synthetic sanma [Pacific saury] kabayaki and stuff like that. Everyone on the staff thought up names for the menu, including solar-wind-burned fried rice and so on. There are many more, so please look it up on the Blu-ray. The recommendation on Fridays is the space navy curry set, named after the original navy curry. Because you can lose track of the days while on the sea, curry is a basic item on the menu every Friday. In today’s Marine Self Defense Force, it has become a custom to eat curry rice every Friday.
Q09: What does the abbreviation “OMCS” [Omshis] stand for?
Nishii: It may be better not to know. O.M.C.S. stands for Organic Material Cycle System. Like the current space station, Yamato is a closed environment. You have to circulate recyclable resources. As Sanada said, there was no need to make up letters for it. (Laughs)
Q10: Does Sanada eat nutritionally-balanced food to avoid an Omshis meal?
Nishii: He eats nutritionally-balanced food because he’s a rational leader. So, rather than avoiding an unpleasant Omshis meal, he just eats what is sufficient.
Q11: Why did Yuria’s cheeks blush when she talked with Yuki in the cafeteria?
Nishii: She’s a young apprentice officer, so it means she admires Yuki. She was nervous to have a conversation with such a person. People from the first bridge are very carefully selected.
Q12: Yamato‘s cafeteria was shown this time, but when will the bath appear?
Nishii: It wasn’t decided upon based on the bath of the original, since that was never shown. The bottom half of the scenic domes on the sides of the ship contain large communal baths. It’s divided between men and women on the right and the left. It’s a fun thing that is scheduled to appear in the future. (Laughs)
Q13: Did Yamamoto try to get Kato to ask Kodai for a transfer?
Nishii: Yes. He rejected Yamamoto’s direct request since she was assigned to the accounting office department and he didn’t want her to get killed in action like her older brother. Makoto saw that and decided to help her out as a thanks to the flight corps.
Q14: What is the method of deck landing for the Cosmo Falcon and Cosmo Zero?
Nishii: The Falcon’s method is to return to the underside hatch. I’d like to show this in a future episode. Something like a tractor beam comes out of the open hatch. I think it goes back up to sequential storage in the palatte. The door of the Zero opens under the third main gun battery to the right and left, so I think its storage is carried out with a hook and wire attachment.
Nishii: Gamilas expands its influence over the scale of space. Although it employs the citizens it conquers, like Shulz, they aren’t sufficient to work across the entire front, so androids are also used. They aren’t the main constituent of Shulz’ brigade, but the concept is that he uses things like that as well.
Q16: Doesn’t the satellite of the reflection satellite gun work like a mirror?
Nishii: It produces a field just in front of the mirror for reflection. There’s a white glow just before the positron energy strikes it, but that’s a field being emitted. Although, I think, “in that case, even if you don’t change the angle of the mirrors…” (Laughs) In any case, I wanted to give the visual impression of it changing the beam’s angle.
Q17: Why was the Command Information Center [CIC] moved to the second bridge deck?
Nishii: In the original, the second bridge was a big room used by the navigation group. In this production, about 1/5 of the front of the bridge is taken up by 6 windows in front of the helm, so we said that the CIC feature should be put farther back because the walls are stronger there. It becomes an armored bridge deck to be used at strategic times when danger is foreseen.
Q18: Are there different paint schemes on the body of the Cosmo Falcon?
Nishii: Only Kato and Shinohara have custom paint jobs on their planes. Kato’s has the character for “Sincerity” on its tail, and Shinohara’s has a sharkmouth on its nose. All of Yamato‘s other planes are the same.
Q19: Why did Yamato conduct submarine action on Pluto?
Nishii: The concept in the story is that the bottom of the ship has the thickest armor. This was done to counter the reflection satellite gun. In fact, there was an illustration by [mecha designer] Junichiro Tamamori where the ship was turned over with the third bridge on top, and it looked really good. I brought in a plastic model and inverted it, and Mr. Izubuchi said, “yeah, it looks cool, like a submarine!” (Laughs) That’s how we saw the opportunity to have Yamato act like a submarine.
Q20: What is the Wave-Motion Barrier? How much of a range does it cover? Do Gamilas ships also have it?
Nishii: The Wave-Motion Barrier is original equipment on Yamato that Gamilas ships don’t have, like the Wave-Motion Gun. Sanada developed it from the technology of the Wave Engine provided by Iscandar. The idea of the barrier was invented by Mr. Izubuchi to make a convincing argument that Yamato could fight a Gamilas fleet, so we established a system that could defend Yamato even from hits by [energy] beams.
But a Wave-Motion barrier is not what you would actually call a “barrier.” It’s a system that creates a magnetic field on the surface of the ship to protect from attacks by positronic beams and live cartridges. In the first scene where it’s hit by the reflection satellite gun in Episode 5, the Wave-Motion Barrier helps deflect it. When you look carefully, you see blue light scattering across the hull. That’s the signal that the Wave-Motion Barrier is operating.
But the output of the reflection satellite gun was much greater than the normal positronic beam of a Gamilas warship. This was more than it could bear, so it produced the effect over the entire hull. Also, it’s possible to use it against an attack on the upper part of the ship. It’s possible to concentrate the output over one section, such as the bow, and increase its effectiveness.
There is the depiction of a beam from the Earth fleet bouncing off a Gamilas warship in Episode 1. That is not a Wave-Motion Barrier. The concept is that there is a different theoretical coating on the armor of the Gamilas warship. Because the Earth vessels were very primitive from the Gamilas point of view, they didn’t think they needed a defense like a Wave-Motion Barrier.
Nishii: No, they can’t. Because there is a hangar under the turrets, there is no room for a pool of live ammunition cartridges. Basically, the bullets are charged and lifted up from under the gun turrets, so there’s no space for it in the rear.
Q22: Why is the image of Geru so big? Where is he communicating from?
Nishii: Geru is on Planet Balan. The production intention for his size is for him to look down on Shulz as a second-class subject. There is a communication scene with Geru at the beginning of Episode 4, and we wanted to surprise people who were seeing it for the first time; “are Gamilas people that big?” Geru is sort of a stock bad guy, like the evil magistrate you’d see on Mitokoumon. [Translator’s note: this is a long-running historical drama on Japanese TV.] I think he’s the sort that the viewer looks forward to seeing and then thinks, “Ah! Here he is! Here he is!”
Q23: Dessler’s hot springs have large and small pools. Does he change locations by the day?
Nishii: (Laughs) Maybe. It’s like the entertainment of a common bath house. I can’t decide between an electric bath or bubble bath or mineral bath. Because there are so many, I just soak in my favorite spot. (Laughs) A luxurious Roman bath is suitable for the leader of an interstellar empire.
Q24: Are names like Teron and Zupist from Gamilas [language]?
Nishii: Those names were chosen by Gamilas. In the solar system, Earth is Teron, Jupiter is Zupist, Saturn is Zedan, and Pluto is Plato. What we had in mind is that they analyzed the names from the Earth side and pronounced them in their own way.
Q25: Do the Geshtam jump and the warp work on the same principles?
Nishii: The basic principle is that they both use a Wave-Motion Engine, and the Gamilas call it a Geshtam Drive. Even though they use the same kind of engine, they may use slightly different methods. In Episode 6, we show a moment of Geshtam-in, and in Episode 8 we show a Gaiderol perform a Geshtam-out. The in and out each have a different expression than Yamato, so watch closely.
Q26: If no more planet bombs fall on Earth, does it change the one year remaining before human extinction?
Nishii: Well, the the expectation of one year is based on the scientific prospect at the time Yamato launches. It would not be very different if the number of planet bombs increased from 10 to 20. Speaking within the context of the story, the attacks launched by Gamilas to block their progress won’t have a great effect on that countdown, either.
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.
Above right: another page from Hyper Hobby, promoting new and forthcoming products
Also featured was a half-page event report (at left), a transcript of the opening-day introduction to Chapter 2 at the Shinjuku Picadilly Theater, at which Yutaka Izubuchi was joined on stage by three of the voice actors:
On June 30, the premiere day stage greeting for Yamato 2199 Chapter 2 was held at the Shinjuku Picadilly. General Director Yutaka Izubuchi appeared along with voice actor Kenji Akabane as Yasuo Nanbu [Dash], Masato Kokobun as Yoshikazu Aihara [Homer], and Yuuki Chiba as Kenjiro Ota [Eager], and had a pleasant talk.
Izubuchi: The crew of the first bridge gathers today. The first bridge is almost Yamato‘s main stage for drama. There are Kodai, Shima, Yuki, and Okita in the lead roles, and Nanbu, Aihara, and Ota are their direct subordinates. Because we use the same shift operations as a normal naval fleet, sometimes the crew is replaced, but these are the three basic people.
MC: Even compared to the original work, there is the feeling that these characters stand out considerably.
Izubuchi: The image of Ota gives the feeling of a moodmaker. Whether or not he is a moodmaker, he makes a remark in Chapter 2 that might possibility make him a perv. (laughs)
Chiba: I see Yuria, the backup for Yuki, and I’m told, “stop staring.”
Izubuchi: Conversely, Aihara has a gentle touch, and has the feeling of being a bit delicate. Ota is spirited, and Nanbu is a little stiff. Ota is cheery while Nanbu has, how should I put this, a bit of an attitude. You could say his image is that of someone young and pampered, but who is still a bit of a delinquent.
Kokobun: Anyway, these three people have lines with many kanjis. [Translator’s note: this refers to specific characters in the Japanese alphabet used for complex terminology.] I get rattled when I look at the script and see lines full of kanjis, like, “Near the south pole of Enceladus.”
Izubuchi: Enceladus is in katakana. [An alphabet composed of simpler characters that are pronounced phonetically; used for foreign or apocryphal words.]
Kokobun: Oh, that’s true. (Laughs)
Akabane: There are only four kanjis in that. (Laughs)
Chiba: I pinpoint the base of the enemy, and the script says the direction will come up the next day. (Laughs)
Izubuchi: I’m sorry, I write like that on the day before. That’s a group scene, and originally there were other exchanges and there are places where we have to put in sound effects. To give it a feeling of density, I write it and send it the day before a recording.
Akabane: Oh, the director wrote it. And when I got it I thought, “Wow, there’s a lot to get through today. What are we going to do?” And then everyone puts their heads together. (Laughs)
Izubuchi: Nanbu takes charge of the countdown for the Wave-Motion Gun since he is the chief gunner.
Akabane: I was very glad to be allowed to do the countdown, though [Kodai’s voice actor Daisuke] One said, “I wanted to say it!” (Laughs)
Izubuchi: Ota usually has a lot of group lines. [Translator’s note: this refers to random lines heard in the background of a scene. The American term is “walla.”] I give careful thought to direction and distance and think, “what number should I put in?” Even if it can’t be heard in many cases. (Laughs)
MC: Everyone please tell me a point that you’re looking forward to.
Kokobun: Personally, I am concerned about the warp. Although I think many male viewers in particular will be paying attention to this [scene] for a variety of reasons.
Akabane: [Shima’s voice actor Kenichi] Suzumura said the word “warp” over and over again.
Kokobun: Oh, I’m talking about things on a much shallower level. [i.e. Yuki’s nude scene] (Laughs)
Akabane: For me, it is Dessler after all. I didn’t know who would be cast until the last minute. Would that person’s schedule match up? I went over things again and again. (Laughs)
Izubuchi: Koichi Yamadera plays the role of Dessler this time, but in Yamato Resurrection he played Kodai. (Laughs)
Chiba: It’s good when the reflection satellite gun is fired and its light bounces off a mirror. Yamato is hit, and it falls and flips over so as not to sink. When I saw that sequence I thought, “already, cool!”
Izubuchi: I think many people noticed this, but I used the sound from Final Yamato when Yamato sinks into Aquarius.
MC: The number of female characters has increased considerably. Who do you all like personally, and who would you want to be on duty with?
Kokobun: For me, it’s Yamamoto. That “cool beauty” feeling is good. If I was always around her, I think I’d start depending on her. Maybe getting a little lovestruck.
Akabane: Aihara is likely to get the jitters around Yamamoto. (Laughs)
Kokobun: As Aihara, my choice would be Yuria. I think Yuria would be civil enough to Aihara. But there wouldn’t be any feelings there. And then, of his own accord, he’d get all nervous around her and keep trying his hardest. Because Aihara is a serious, yet a kind sort’a guy. But in the end, the girl would say “Aihara, you’re so sweet” and that’s as far as he would get.
MC: From what I’ve heard, during YRA (Yamato Radio) that’s currently ongoing, the voice actress for Yuria, [Aya] Uchida apparently said that she “liked” Aihara.
Kokobun: That doesn’t mean it’s mutual affection. (Laughs)
MC: What’s the pulse of the director on this?
Izubuchi: But…the script’s already finished.
MC: How about Mr. Chiba?
Chiba: As for me, both I and my role like Yuria-chan.
Izubuchi: Well, you were told to stop staring.
Chiba: But maybe, as far as Ota is concerned, I get the feeling that anyone is OK. (Laughter). He says “she’s cute!” about every girl that comes along.
Akabane: For Nanbu, Yuki is the only choice. He just can’t stop looking at her. She’d say “Cut that out, that’s enough.” (Laughs) But for me personally, I like Niimi. In this chapter she finally speaks. When the voice of [Aya] Hisakawa comes in, it is sexy. Well, that and the glasses. (Laughs)
MC: Even though the scripts will not be changed now, there are possibilities for these three people.
Izubuchi: Well, not for Ota.
Chiba: Oh, that’s not good. I’m disappointed. (Laughs)
Special thanks to Gwyn Campbell for translation support
August 10: New Type Ace #12
The 6th chapter of the Yamato 2199 manga by Michio Murakawa continued his adaptation of Episode 3, spotlighting the dramatic warp to Jupiter. He expanded the story content with new character scenes and evoked the spirit of the original TV series’ space warp in classic psychedelic fashion. Also featured was Ryusuke Hikawa’s third column on the making of the original series, which can be read here.
See all the manga pages for chapter 6 here.
August 11 & 12: Comiket 82
Comiket is the street name for Comic Market, the single largest event of its type in the world. Held in Tokyo twice a year, it is almost entirely fan-driven with doujinshi (fanzines) for sale in every conceivable niche. The output of Yamato fan clubs was instrumental in starting the event back in the 1970s, and Yamato ‘zines still turn up regularly. This was the first time fans could lavish their attention on Yamato 2199, so the selection was rich.
Shown here is cover art for several doujinshi dedicated entirely to 2199 with fan-made comics and cartoons. Even professionals get in on the act, as seen here: shown above are a collection of animation layout illustrations by Keiji Hashimoto (second from right) and a booklet of gag manga by Michio Murakawa and friends (far right).
August 24: Chapter 3 Trailer
Much earlier than expected, a 2-minute trailer for the third movie was released online nearly two months before the film premiere. It opens with crewmember Yuria Misaki addressing the ship as a radio announcer, mimicking her voice actor’s real-life role as the cohost of Yamato Radio, a weekly program on internet radio station Onsen (which only streams in Japan, sorry). Then we are treated to a dramatic montage set to Isao Sasaki’s new heartfelt rendition of The Scarlet Scarf, which will be heard as the end title song in the upcoming film. If your eyes are still dry when you get to Kodai and Yuki saying goodbye to Earth, you need to spend more time in the world of Yamato. Incidentally, the number of theaters carrying the next film is expanding from 10 to 12. Definitely a good sign.
Watch the trailer now on YouTube here.
August 25: Dengeki Hobby and Hobby Japan, October issues
After the lavish 2199 extravaganzas in their previous issues, the hobby mags took it a little easier this time with 4 and 3 pages respectively. The focus was mainly on upcoming products and events, such as the Cosmo Falcon mini-kit (to be bundled with Dengeki‘s January issue), new Gamilas info, an upcoming concert in November, the 3-ship EDF model kit set for October, and the Yuki figure from Megahouse which still doesn’t have a release date.
See the pages from both magazines here.
August 25 & 26: Chara Hobby 2012
The month ended with the big bang of Chara Hobby, one of Japan’s major summer hobby conventions, held in Chiba. The 2199 booth that made its public debut at July’s Wonder Festival was rebuilt for the occasion, once again centering around the 15-foot Yamato model and featuring the return of the Yamato girls. (Though some were wearing the uniform for the first time.) Director Yutaka Izubuchi was there to do a panel discussion with famed filmmaker/anime auteur Shinji Higuchi of Studio Gainax (below right) who storyboarded Episode 3.
See a photo gallery of the booth and various products on display here.
But the true highlight of the event was the live painting exhibition by the great Naoyuki Katoh. He spent the weekend as Yamato‘s artist-in-residence as he painted a giant mural of the ship over the course of two days. It wasn’t his first time doing such a thing; his live paintings at other conventions resulted in life-size murals of a Starship Troopers powered suit and a character from Guin Saga (for which Katoh paints book covers). His canvas is the same size each time; 1.6 x 5 meters (5.2 x 16.4 feet) and with this event he set the record for the largest Yamato artwork ever produced.
See a gallery of start-to-finish photos here.
Read our tribute to Katoh here.