Japan Tours Festival 2020 Report

Contributed by FoxyladyCPZ

The 6th edition of the Japan Tours Festival was held in France between February 28th and March 1st, 2020. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the upcoming french release of Yamato 2199, announced 3 years ago. The wait has been rather long, but totally worth it!

Director Nobuyoshi Habara was one of the guests of honor, along with Mamoru Yokota (DNA², Naruto Shippuden, Death Note, One Piece Stampede) and Hiroshi Shimizu (Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Jin-Roh, Sky Crawlers, Space Dandy, Megalobox, Lupin III, and more).

Japan Tours Festival set up an official exhibition to present the Space Battleship Yamato saga. Believe it or not, Yamato has, until now, remained quite unknown in France. French people grew up with Captain Harlock, but not with the Space Battleship.

The Webring Leiji Matsumoto & Yamato fan club set up a presentation of the Yamato 2199/2202 series (plus vintage anime such as Yamato 2520). The exhibition included theater bonuses, posters, a display shelf with a bunch of goodies, and fan creations like art and papercraft.

The second half of the exhibition was dedicated to Captain Harlock‘s 40th anniversary in France, and displayed vintage toys, Dimension Voyage and Jérôme Alquie’s Harlock comic, as well as two gigantic bronze Arcadias (the green one signed by Leiji Matsumoto) built by french sculptor Olivier Duhec.

Day 1: February 28

Nobuyoshi Habara introduced himself during a panel celebrating his 40-year career in Japanese animation and presented some of his really early works, along with pretty rare stuff.

Habara-san gave us the immense pleasure of sketching and signing autographs. Yamato was much preferred, especially Captain Okita, Yuki Mori, the ship itself, Andromeda, Analyzer and Klaus Keyman (gotcha!). Two other signing sessions were held on Saturday and Sunday. The fans were very pleased!

A private dinner with guests of honor and Yamato fans finished the day. It was an opportunity to taste regional dishes and wines, and to discuss Yamato 2202, the upcoming movie and the merchandising choices. Fans did their best to find rare, personalized gifts for their guests. Habara-san received a vintage french video tape of the anime Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos (for which he did character design).

Day 2: February 29

The second day started with a “meet and greet” for a few very happy attendees (you needed a precious VIP ticket for this) with Nobuyoshi Habara and Stanislas Brunet (currently working on Yamato 2205). Habara-san was kind enough to bring some Yamato Crew gifts for the fans (iphone case, bags, Under Armour shirts & caps, towels, etc.) and was given a few souvenirs in return (including a print of my Keyman & Akira painting – sorry not sorry XD).

As mentioned above, Yamato is quite unknown in France. And yet, festival-goers were pretty enthusiasts about Yamato 2199, which premiered here in a screening a few weeks before the official French release.

Panel: Space Battleship Yamato, finally in France!

Nobuyoshi Habara, Mamoru Yokota, and Ken Arto and Medhi Aouichahoui (both French animators on Yamato 2202 Episode 14) were invited to this panel introducing the Yamato saga. The panel was presented by Julien Pirou (French Leijiverse specialist – see his website here) and Olivier Fallaix (Crunchyroll).

Mamoru Yokota surprised everyone by singing the Yamato theme a capella. See it on Youtube (with some of the panel) here.

The Japan Tours Festival held their greatest live drawing event in six years: Mamoru Yokota, Hiroshi Shimizu and Nobuyoshi Habara all drew at the same time before the eyes of the amazed audience. Fantastic!

The finished works! Photo posted on Twitter by Gensodo

Day 3: March 1

Sunday was much quieter than the previous days due to Covid-19 restrictions (ticket sales were closed). Habara-san took the opportunity to visit the Webring Leiji Matsumoto & Yamato fan booth.

As a fan of Leiji Matsumoto’s works, Nobuyoshi Habara was quite enthusiastic about meeting Jerome Alquie, the French author of a comic reboot of Captain Harlock. Habara-san flipped his whole portfolio and Jérôme drew him a little souvenir.

Jerome’s Harlock manga is supervised by Leiji Matsumoto and titled Memories of the Arcadia. See his amazing work at these links:

Kana Editions (French publisher)

Art gallery at Kana Editions website

Letra Blanka (Spanish publisher)

Completed chapters in Japanese

The French collector’s edition of Yamato 2199 (vol 1) is scheduled for March/April 2020. It will contain several art books as bonuses:

• Earth (68 pages)
• Solar System (56 pages)
• Earth Fleet (72 pages)
• Yamato Technical manual Vol. 1 (72 pages)
• Yamato Crew (76 pages)

French fans can order it here.

Related links:

Japan Tours Festival website

Video footage from Japan Tours Festival on Youtube (relevant coverage starts at 11:40)

Yamato Universe French website

Webring Leiji Matsumoto website

Webring Leiji Matsumoto page on Facebook

Triple 9, the French Leijiverse website

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