Space Battleship Yamato 2202 Report 44

February 2020 was surprisingly busy with events for Japanese fans from the beginning of the month all the way to the end. Then there was the completely unexpected announcement of an entirely new Yamato spinoff. Here’s what your calendar would have looked like if you were lucky enough to see it all…

February 3: Concert film in Tokyo

Close To You Tonight, the Yamato 2202 concert from last October, returned to the public eye when the footage shot for Blu-ray (coming March 27) was shown at a once-only event screening at the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater in Tokyo. On stage for a live presentation were Composer/conductor Akira Miyagawa, Exec Producer Shoji Nishizaki, Series Writer Harutoshi Fukui, and Voice actor/MC Eriko Nakamura. Attendees received a postcard image of Miyagawa (shown below).

The presentation was covered by numerous news sites and the official 2202 site, which told us the following…

After the screening, Eriko Nakamura talked about her flute performance at the concert, in which she performed a solo during Crossing the Beautiful Ocean. Akira Miyagawa was aware that Ms. Nakamura had a music career since she belonged to a brass band for about a year, and surprised her with the offer to join the ensemble. “I didn’t think I would ever have such an opportunity,” she said. Rather than allowing self-doubt to restrain her, she decided to trust Miyagawa’s instincts.

Another voice actor who crossed the line and performed as a singer was Koichi Yamadera (Dessler) who sang a scat version of Great Love. He was not on stage to discuss it, but it was a second example of Akira Miyagawa’s desire to find collaborative opportunities with actors.

Miyagawa himself explained that the challenge he took with Close To You Tonight was to break away from the traditional symphonic sound and re-interpret Yamato music for a smaller ensemble of less than ten musicians. He drew upon his ballet experience to accomplish it, saying, “It’s easy to think of a ballet needing an orchestra, but in the rehearsal hall I would simply play piano. I learned the importance of performing along with the dancers’ breathing. I also once did a performance of an original ballet with only four musicians, so I thought it would possible this time.”

Shoji Nishizaki thanked Miyagawa for his work with the ensemble and praised his gift for stage conversation in addition to his musical prowess. Nishizaki explained that the name Close To You Tonight reflected a desire to lower the barrier between the audience and performers to better convey the on-stage teamwork. “I want you to feel what they feel through the music. Kodai is never alone, he has Yuki and many other friends who all face difficulty together, sharing sadness and joy. Under the direction of Mr. Miyagawa, I wanted to convey this sense of unity to everyone.”


Left to right: Akira Miyagawa, Eriko Nakamura, Shoji Nishizaki, Harutoshi Fukui

Harutoshi Fukui took the opportunity to reveal some exclusive news about the forthcoming Yamato 2202 compilation movie (which has been promised for 2020 but still does not have a release date). The official title is The Age of Space Battleship Yamato ~ Selections from 2202. It will be presented in a documentary style, narrated by Shiro Sanada and starting from the year 1945. He stated, “It is not just a compilation because new footage will also be used.” The official 2202 website announced (on this same day) that the project would be directed by Atsuki Sato with production handled by Studio Mother. Sato is a CG supervisor and trailer editor whose production credits include both 2199 and 2202.

A 20-second presentation video was shown with design work for Yamato 2205, The New Voyage. Fukui ambiguously described it as “a short term decisive battle” and said fans would have to ponder what that meant. (Thanks a lot.)

Finally, Nishizaki said that Akira Miyagawa would be returning to Bunkamura Orchard Hall (where the October concert took place) for a performance of the Yamato Symphony Suite and invited everyone to attend.

Miyagawa wrapped it up by saying, “I’m ready for a new voyage, so please look forward to it. Let’s have fun together!”

There would be additional screenings of the concert film in Nagoya and Osaka on February 21. An online talk show about the concert is scheduled for release on March 20.

In related news, the official 2202 site reported the results of a Twitter poll taken over the New Year holidays, asking fans to name their favorite piece of the Yamato music. The results were: (1) Endless Battle, (2) Fate, (3) Dog Fight, (4) Love Theme, (5) Infinity of Space, (6) Death and Prayer, (7) Great Emperor Zordar. Akira Miyagawa announced that he would consider these choices for the Yamato 2202 Symphonic Suite he plans to write this year.

February 4: Yamato Crew news

On this day, Nobuteru Yuuki’s latest art book Yamato 2202 Retouch a Picture Collection went on sale at the Yamato Crew web store. Clocking in at 112 pages, it contains intricate character layouts Yuuki personally drew for the latter part of the series, from Episode 17 to the end. As the character designer, his work becomes the definitive representation of the characters. Those who buy the book from Yamato Crew receive a limited edition postcard (above right).

You know the drill by now: Yamato Crew doesn’t ship to addresses outside Japan, so if you want to order a copy you’ll need a Japanese friend to handle it for you.

February 5: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 54

The giant Hachette Yamato model continued to roll out with a very identifiable hull segment for the port side. With this part, construction of the midship area begins. Photo above right posted on Twitter by Take Channel 36.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a builder’s blog here.

February 6: 1/1000 Dimensional Submarine set

Giving modelers the opportunity to recreate the dramatic incursion into Gatlantis, Bandai released this set of submarines, a group reissue of the earlier single-sub kit from 2199. Three subs are shown on Kia Asamiya’s box art, but four are included in the set.

See a gallery of finished kits here.

February 6: Movie news

At the end of Report 43, we learned about a fresh new comedy film titled Maeda Construction Fantasy Marketing Department, which belongs on the radar of every anime fan this year. SPOILER: After the main characters complete their attempt to build Mazinger Z’s launch facility, the film ends with the appearance of a “mysterious” caped figure who tells them he has another project in mind. The “mysterious” figure is revealed as Emperor Dessler (of course) in the end credit roll, attributed to actor Kensei Mikami (above right). The film is still in theaters as of this writing, but should be on Blu-ray in a matter of months.

Meanwhile, visit the official website here, see some promo here, and see the end credits here.

February 7: Aquarius Algorithm, free chapter

In November 2019, the classic Yamato saga expanded for the first time in ten years when a serialized story titled Aquarius Algorithm debuted in the pages of Star Blazers/Yamato Premium Fan Club magazine Vol. 5. Written by Katsuya Takashima, it takes place in 2215 and bridges the gap between Final Yamato and Resurrection.

It is Cosmo DNA policy NOT to translate such material until it is out of print and no longer a source of revenue for the franchise (otherwise it would constitute piracy). However, the Yamato Crew website created an exception to this policy when it featured the entire opening episode as a free introduction to all readers. Therefore, it is proudly presented here for your enjoyment.

February 9: Wonderfest 2020 Winter

Before Covid19 came along and started ruining everyone’s fun, the month of February saw a surprising number of public events for Yamato fans, starting with the concert film on the 3rd. Next up was the first hobby show of the year, where fans could find a few garage kit offerings. See a short photo gallery here.

February 12: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 55

This volume contained the hull plate that fits directly below the last one, featuring the port side missile launchers. The internal mechanism for its hatches came in a previous volume and could be temporarily attached. See the opening/closing action in a video clip on Twitter here. Photo above right posted on Twitter by Take Channel 36. It’s worth noting that as of this volume, the ship is now halfway to the finish line!

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a builder’s blog here.

February 15 & 16: Yokohama Modelers Club exhibition

Modelbuilders in Yokohama assembled for a festive weekend to display their treasures, and Yamato was well-represented. See a photo gallery here.

February 15-27: Leiji Matsumoto Cosmoworld

For about two weeks, a bubble emerged in the stream of time that seemingly gave direct access to the year 1979. Inexplicably, a “popup shop” titled Leiji Matsumoto Cosmoworld appeared on the 7th floor of the Tokyu Hands department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. By all accounts, it was a true time capsule.

Fans posting about it on Twitter were amazed to see a wealth of vintage products that were everywhere back in the day, but now reside only in online auctions or second-hand shops like Mandarake. Some described it as a sight they’d previously only dreamt about, or seen in black and white photos.

There were several aisles of Yamato/Harlock/Galaxy Express/etc. products, all looking brand new and selling for their original yen prices (plus tax). The exceptions were original animation cells and higher-end boutique products from recent years.

The origin of Cosmoworld was a true mystery; no company emerged to take credit, so we’re left to speculate on where all this treasure came from and why it was offered for such comparatively low prices. (Not even Leiji Matsumoto’s official site mentioned it.) If it was a private collector emptying their personal archive, Cosmo DNA salutes them. If it was a company that discovered some deadstock in a warehouse somewhere, Cosmo DNA salutes them. If it was a literal time capsule from 1979, Cosmo DNA wants to live there.

Fortunately for all of us who couldn’t see it in person, there were loads of photos on Twitter. See a gallery here.

February 19: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 56

This week, modelers flipped over the hull panels from the previous two volumes to install fiber optics for lighting. Photo above right posted on Twitter by Take Channel 36.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a builder’s blog here.

February 20: Galaxy Express 999 Ultimate Journey manga

This one takes a bit of explaining. In recent years, we’ve seen new versions of Leiji Matsumoto’s classic manga, drawn for the first time by other artists: Gun Frontier, Captain Harlock Dimension Voyage, and now Galaxy Express 999 Ultimate Journey, delightfully drawn by Yuzuru Shimazaki. Of the three, only Dimension Voyage has made it to the English-speaking world. Selected images from that series have appeared in previous reports, since Yamato artifacts occasionally found their way into the story. That continues in Ultimate Journey, which brings together many other Matsumoto characters for the first time.

In volume 1, Tetsuro is riding on the Galaxy Express 999 and encounters a fleet from Earth. Looking closely, we see that the ship designs all come from Final Yamato

A few pages later, we learn that the fleet’s flagship is none other than Great Yamato, easily distinguished by extra hull details and gun turrets.

All the members of Great Yamato‘s bridge crew are darkened silhouettes except for two: Yoshikazu Aihara and Susumu Kodai! In volume 2, after Tetsuro teams up with the Starzinger team, we find the “Goddess of Valhalla” striking a very familiar pose.

In volume 4 (the latest release as of this writing), Captain Harlock greets his old friend Sanada. Yep, for reals.

Elsewhere in the same volume, there’s an unmistakable spaceship being built in a factory supervised by Sanada.

If you’ve been paying occasional attention to various legal tussles over the last couple decades, you’re probably wondering what mechanism allows all this to happen, and there is a legit explanation. When Leiji Matsumoto and Yoshinobu Nishizaki settled their ownership dispute in the early 00s, Nishizaki walked away with Yamato story rights and Matsumoto was granted limited visual rights to the elements that he personally created.

Therefore, he can reuse those elements in manga stories like this one as long as he doesn’t claim they are from the Yamato universe we all know. However, this is the first time we’ve seen specific Yamato crew members in addition to mecha. We might be tempted to speculate that Matsumoto is pushing some boundaries to see what he can get away with…but that would be irresponsible without more intimate knowledge of those boundaries.

Regardless, four volumes of Ultimate Journey are currently available. They’re not translated, but they are a must-see for any dedicated fan of the Leijiverse. Order them now from Amazon Japan:

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4

February 23: Yakitori Yamato screening

Further fulfilling its promise, Yakitori Yamato restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo became the impromptu host of a small fan event on this day. It was a screening of Be Forever Yamato attended by fans of everyone’s favorite space teen, Sasha.

Yamato fans fwks7841 and Warpdimension posted these photos on Twitter, stating that 18 participants turned out for a meal and a screening under the banner “17-year-old girl admiration party.”

February 24: Star Blazers/Yamato fan club magazine #6

This issue was chockablock with features, primarily interviews with Character Designer Nobuteru Yuuki and the mecha design team, plus Chapter 2 of Aquarius Algorithm. The interviews are in line for future Cosmo DNA updates, but for now we’ll cover the highlights. Above right is the single page devoted to Yamato 2205, which gave us a look at new characters (most likely cadets). Text is translated below.

The latest information

Scheduled for Winter release

Some of the rough artwork shown at the film concert on February 3 is revealed exclusively in Yamato magazine! Keep an eye on future information to be revealed bit by bit!!

Production studio has also been decided!!

Production will be handled by Satelight, who also worked on Genesis of Aquarion and the Macross series! Please look forward to the powerful images to come from this talented studio!!

See Satelight’s official website here.

Read Satelite’s Wikipedia page (with many more credits) here.

Then came this double-page spread with some VERY unexpected news…

Urgent Bulletin: Completely new original Yamato launch!

Comic series scheduled to start at the end of May

A completely new story appears in the Space Battleship Yamato series. The working title is Space Battleship Yamato Next: Star Blazers Lambda, a completely original story with new characters and a new worldview. It’s a spirited story created and drawn by up-and-coming SF manga artist Ryuko Azuma, populated by new characters, new mecha designs, and a depth of Star Blazers, so please pay attention by all means!

Footnote: Character designs and manga scenes are works in progress. Please note that they differ from the finished version.

(Get a better look at the designs at the end of this report.)

[STORY]

In 2099, the human race is suddenly attacked by Silenes [Sai-le-ness], unknown giant life forms that emerge from space and kill more than a billion people. Five years later, a boy named Yu who lost his mother Maya to the Silenes turns 12 years old and aims for the frontline base at Jupiter as a cadet for the Star Blazers, who oppose the Silenes fleet. Can he clear the Star Blazers launch test? Can he defeat the enemy who claimed his mother? In the midst of this, Silenes launches an attack after five years of silence. People are horrified by their beautiful but ugly appearance…

Headlines on left side:

The author is the spirited up-and-coming manga artist Ryuko Azuma!

Mecha design by the familiar Junichiro Tamamori of the Yamato series!

The enemies approaching Yamato are the mysterious giant life forms Silenes!

And the main character who takes on Yamato…is an elementary schoolkid!?!?

Ryuko Azuma profile

Manga artist and photographer from Iwate Prefecture. Debut work: Strong Arm Adam (four volumes from Shonen Jump Comics). His deep SF worldview attracts attention. Lives with his cat near Koshoji Temple.

Serialization is expected to begin at the end of May at Kadokawa’s webcomic site Comic NewType. More details to be announced in the next issue of Yamato magazine. Don’t miss it!

Follow Ryuko Azuma on Twitter here.

See links and images on Google here.

See the first chapter of Strongarm Adam here.

Find Ryuko Azuma publications on Amazon Japan here.

Finally, the interview with Nobuteru Yuuki was accompanied by the following text:

The Yamato 2205 production staff speaks…what is the appeal of Nobuteru Yuuki?

Many generations have now seen Mr. Yuuki’s work (I also bought his manga!), so I was nervous at our first meeting. However, despite having a unique worldview in terms of original art, the series demands that characters from the previous works appear, so the feeling is that a delicate balance must be taken with the character images for longtime fans, and it’s very encouraging to have him involved. At the same time, how can you take a character from the lineup and breathe life into them for the story? Every time I look at the character lineup, I feel both joy and pressure. The characters in this lineup are really alive!

– Director Kenji Yasuda

I’ve been blessed with the chance to work with a lot of artists before now, and there is no such thing as a 100% genius. I can’t count up the geniuses even with the fingers of both hands, but Mr. Yuuki is definitely one of them.

– Series Writer Harutoshi Fukui

People drawn by Mr. Yuuki are warm, aren’t they? It’s not overt, but the contours and weaknesses of human nature are deeply transmitted. At the character meeting for 2205, I saw his hand-drawn images for the first time and it was breathtaking. The delicacy and warmth of a single stroke overflows on A4 paper. I thought it was amazing. Again, I felt the that the the “individuality of Nobuteru Yuuki’s images” is the same as human nature; delicate, stubborn, and warm.

Mr. Yuuki really likes the culture of anime. He values a variety of things aside from work. It has a mania side, but something important I must say is that his artwork always brings out “positive waves,” and I think that may be supported by the large collection of cels I keep at home. (Laughs) He’s like a favorite older brother with a lot of qualities I can respect.

– Scriptwriter Hideki Oka

Character design in anime is the same as casting actors in a movie. Therefore, the quality of the work greatly depends on the quality of character design. Therefore, Mr. Yuuki’s art is one of the major pillars that support Yamato. For me, both living humans and anime characters are the same, and I think I can understand that person by looking at them. Mr. Yuuki’s characters have a core that doesn’t budge when you gaze at them. He probably has that same core, too. That’s why when I see an appealing character I can also believe in the person who created them.

– Production Director/Executive Producer Shoji Nishizaki

February 26: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 57

The last volume for February was the simplest of the entire run so far; two pieces fitted together to become the motor for the second main gun turret (which doesn’t yet have a mount). Twitter user (and CG wizard) Haru0425 posted this photo to summarize all of the model’s progress for the month.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a builder’s blog here.

February 29: Yamato Lecture 20

This ongoing fan event returned for a new round of conversation, this time at the Loft 9 club in Shibuya, Tokyo. The title of this one was Making my 1/144 Yamato, and the topic was DIY modeling. The guest of honor was a modeler named Wu Niang and the panel consisted of host Osamu Kobayashi, voice actors Mei Ueda and Yuuko Toba, and pro modeler Yasuhiro Takeshita of Max Factory.

The talk centered on the production process of Wu Niang’s homemade, one-of-a-kind 3D printed 1/144 Yamato, which has been underway for years and is still a work in progress. The model is a wonder to behold, and plenty of attendees made sure we all got a chance to do just that. See their photos in a substantial gallery here.

Visit the Yamato Lecture website here.

February 29: Japan Tours Festival

Wrapping up the month of February, we take off from Japan and land in France for the 6th edition of the Japan Tours Festival. That’s exactly what 2202 Director Nobuyoshi Habara did, and there was a cadre of French Yamato fans ready to give him a hero’s welcome.

So we now turn over the microphone to Yamato superfan FoxyladyCPZ, whose dazzling artwork has graced our fan art section for many months. She brings us a detailed report direct from the ground, which you can read right now right here!


Also spotted in February

Hero’s Record promo art

The mobile game Hero’s Record gave us another colorful month of artwork for their overflowing catalog. (Let’s hope there’s a book collection somewhere in the future.) See the latest images here.

More game art

The lesser-known mobile game Yamato 2202: A Distant Journey offers up its own promotional art, but much more sporadically than Hero’s Record. What they lack in quantity, they definitely make up for in quality.

Fan art

February was a great month for fan art from all corners of the Yamato universe. See a character gallery here and a HUGE mecha gallery here.

Fan models

February was an even greater month for modeling, with so many new builds to stare at they couldn’t fit into a single gallery. So click here for part 1 and click here for part 2.

Iconography

When you’ve been a Yamato fan long enough, your eye catches things others don’t even think about. Longtime fan aoi2199 reminded us of this with these photos, posted on Twitter upon returning to Tokyo station from the film concert screening in Nagoya. This is supposed to be promotion for GranSta, an underground shopping mall. But we all know what it really is.

What’s Next

Despite the encroaching specter of Coronavirus, yet another fan event christened the arrival of March: Yamaket 19. Read about it in our next report, along with the arrival of a new model kit, the Close To You Tonight Concert on Blu-Ray, and everything else that happens. Until then, follow our Facebook page for daily posts and breaking news!

Editor’s note

Hi, everyone! Tim Eldred here, stepping out from behind the editorial curtain to thank you for your continuing attention to Cosmo DNA. Many of you followed my Star Blazers webcomics over the years, and after I finished The Bolar Wars Extended in the summer of 2015 I launched into an original project that made its online debut April, 2016. It’s an SF story titled PITSBERG and it’s unlike anything I’ve done – or seen – before. The most recent chapter was added (free of charge) on January 4.

Click here to see this experimental tapestry of art, music and animation for yourself. I hope you like it!

Images above and below found on Ryuko Azuma’s Twitter page

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