Yamato 2205 Designer Discussion, Feb 2020

From issue 6 of the Star Blazers/Yamato Premium fan club magazine, published February 2020: the three primary designers of Yamato 2205 gathered to compare the depths of their Yamato fandom, revisit their days working on 2199, and look forward to what’s in store on their next voyage. This spirited and thoughtful conversation was the result.

Special three-way talk: Nobuteru Yuuki × Junichiro Tamamori × Yasushi Ishizu

Start Again ~ Our Yamato ~

The core design team for the current production of Space Battleship Yamato 2205, The New Voyage consists of Nobuteru Yuuki (character designs), Yasushi Ishizu, and Junichiro Tamamoro (both mechanical design). Not only have they been involved with the new productions since the launch of 2199, they are also valuable staff members who experienced the original series in real time. As the “target generation” that loved the original, what are their thoughts as they participate in the new series, and what are they trying to pursue in their work? They spoke openly about moments from 2199 and their hopes for 2205.

If you ask ten people, there will be ten Yamatos

Yuuki: I wanted to talk to you two again as designers who came in together on Yamato 2199. Mr. Tamamori, when I was wavering about participating in Yamato 2205, you gave me a push when you said, “If we’re going to make a new Yamato, let’s make it in the same spirit as 2199.”

Tamamori: I don’t know what’s going to happen until we finish it. (Laughs)

Ishizu: Looking back, it’s already more than ten years since we started 2199.

Yuuki: That’s why I want 2205 to start with a fresh feeling, like returning to the start of 2199. Mr. Tamamori lives in Okinawa, so he didn’t start at the very beginning. The initial 2199 meetings began with scriptwriters Hiroshi Onoki and Shigeru Morita, and SF researcher Tsukasa Kano. We sat down together in a circle and talked about anything we wanted. Everyone talked about the Yamato they saw and shared their ideas. I want to preserve that same enthusiasm with us.

Ishizu: Did you spend a lot of time talking about how to launch the 1974 Yamato in a modern style?

Yuuki: What surprised me the most was how the Yamato I watched was slightly different from the Yamato everyone else watched. (Laughs)

Ishizu: (Laughs) That could be so.

Tamamori: It is a little different, isn’t it?

Yuuki: It was valuable to come together and have that realization. By recognizing our differences, it gave us some direction in how to bring it together in a modern form. We talked about the drawing patterns and even the design problems of Takeshi Shirato (art director), Toyoo Ashida (animator), or Nobuhiro Okaseko (initial character designer). Up until that time, I thought everyone liked Mr. Ashida’s Yamato art. (Laughs)

Our original Yamato experience

Ishizu: When did you start watching Yamato?

Yuuki: Right from the first broadcast in 1974.

Ishizu: That’s great.

Yuuki: I watched it from Episode 1. I also bought Monthly Adventure King, which published the manga version. (November 1974 issue shown above left)

Ishizu: Oh! Really?

Yuuki: That reminds me, there was a woman named Ms. Morita who was an artist on 2199 and 2202. There was an appendix to Adventure King back then with an original poster by Toyoo Ashida, and she gave me a copy.

Ishizu: Is that so?

Yuuki: I was surprised. “Wow! This is the same poster I stuck on my bedroom wall!!” Back then it wasn’t customary for animators to draw copyrighted illustrations, so it was something different, and it looked like a record jacket.

[Translator’s note: evidence is elusive, but the image above right by Toyoo Ashida is the correct vintage to have been on the poster mentioned here.]

Ishizu: It certainly had a different impression from what we saw on TV.

Yuuki: But the poster in Adventure King looked like the anime characters. It was an anime painting!

Ishizu: Bingo! It felt like a perfect match.

Yuuki: Bingo! Right.

Ishizu: I watched the broadcast of Heidi in the same time slot back in those days. (Laughs) Yamato was rerun in January 1976, the year after the first broadcast ended. What about the movie version in 1977?

Yuuki: Of course I saw that. I stood in line all night at the Toei theater in Ikebukuro and got a cel of Gantz yelling. (Laughs)

Ishizu: Ganz! (Laughs)

Yuuki: Just a great shot of Ganz screaming like mad!

(All laugh)

Ishizu: It’s rather valuable now.

Tamamori: Since I was living in Okinawa, I saw Yamato in 1975, a year after the main broadcast in Honshu. It felt like an interesting anime had started, and it was going to be an adventure. It was at the time of the floating continent, and things accumulated until the Balanodon space monster appeared. I really liked elements like the commemorative photo Kodai and Yuki took on the rear observation deck.

Ishizu: How old were you at the time?

Tamamori: I was an eight-year-old in second grade back then. I really liked the romantic parts, like the scene where Mamoru Kodai runs down the ramp and hugs Starsha at Iscandar.

Yuuki: That’s a bit unusual for an eight-year old. (Laughs)

Tamamori: I bought the Keibunsha Encyclopedia for Farewell to Yamato, which had a lot of pages on the mecha. That experience drew me into the appeal of mecha design.

Yuuki: That was the trigger!

Tamamori: Home video wasn’t around yet, so you could only see the mecha of the first series on TV. Thanks to that book, I was able to see the mecha from Farewell in detail.

Yuuki: That’s true. The impression is that book-related things became very fulfilling in that area.

Ishizu: There was a lot of good mecha in the first Roman Album, wasn’t there? A whole lot.

Tamamori: There was also the Complete Record Collection [silver book] set, but it was too expensive for a child. Because the official company and various publishers put the design models in books in those days, we were able to get information from them and dig deeper into the work. But there weren’t any books about Yamato at all in the 90s. So when the story of the remakes began, I thought I should take a role in leaving documents for the next generation.

The new world of Yamato was born from Toward the Terra

Ishizu: Mr. Yuuki and I participated in Toward the Terra, which started April 7 2007, and 2199 started on April 7 2013. If I’m not mistaken, stories about a remake were flowing around when we were making Toward the Terra.

Yuuki: Right. If not for the staff on Toward the Terra, 2199 would not exist. The inside story is that Yutaka Izubuchi (2199 director) got the offer for Terra from Director Osamu Yamasaki (of anime production company Minamimachi Bugyosho), but he didn’t seem to be very motivated.

Ishizu: Is that so?

Yuuki: He was just going to turn it down and introduce me to them. But in the end, he got involved in the show, and I think it was an interesting one. I was a big fan of the original, and since it was a remake of the old anime, I saw it with rose-colored glasses. As a result, the remake created an opportunity for the younger generation to rediscover the original. I loved Toward the Terra, and I was very happy that it would reach young kids. That’s why I decided to get involved with the new Yamato.

Ishizu: And the trigger for Mr. Tamamori to join the 2199 staff was a conversation between you and Mr. Izubuchi.

Yuuki: That’s right. The story first came to me from Osamu Tsuruyama of the Minamimachi office. He said, “There’s a plan to remake Yamato, are you interested?” I asked who the director was, but he said it hadn’t been decided yet. I said they should ask Mr. Izubuchi, since he really loved Yamato. But I think Mr. Tsuruyama was sort of thinking of directing it himself at the time.

Tamamori: Masanori Niishi (2199’s chief mechanical director) worked for the Minamimachi office in those days, didn’t he?

Yuuki: Yes, he worked there and we had developed a relationship. After various things happened, Mr. Izubuchi and Yukinao Shimoji of Xebec studio finally got involved with the Yamato remake. Therefore, I was invited in by Izubuchi and decided to participate. Would Izubuchi do the mecha design? I heard that there were people doing interesting things online, and that’s when I was shown Mr. Tamamori’s artwork.

Tamamori: It seems Mr. Ishizu saw my website [Yamato Mechanics] and told Mr. Izubuchi about it.

Ishizu: I found it by accident around the spring of 2004, when I did a net search for Space Battleship Yamato.

Yuuki: Really? This may be the first time I’ve heard about that.

Ishizu: When I told Mr. Izubuchi about it, he said, “Tell me the address!”

Yuuki: Huh. A lot of things just happened by chance, didn’t they? That wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t involved.

In the original series, the method of storing the Cosmo Zero and moving it to the catapult was a mystery. This was interpreted in one of the new designs for 2199. The Cosmo Zero had a complex shape, so it was considered to be solely flown by Kodai. Since the mecha in 2199 was rendered in 3DCG, there were two models; a1 for Kodai and a2 for Yamamoto.

The “weight” of a remake could only be understood by the target generation

Tamamori: Back in 2005, Michio Murakawa (2199 manga artist) said that he was going to make a Yamato doujinshi and he invited a few people in, including me and Mr. Izubuchi. I met with Mr. Izubuchi a few times after the launch and he told me, “I want to remake Yamato.”

Ishizu: Speaking of which, about a year after I gave him the address for your website, I remember him saying, “I met with Mr. Tamamori.” 2199 still had no shape or form.

Yuuki: Mr. Tamamori’s contribution to that doujinshi was an important factor for the birth of the new Yamato, wasn’t it?

Ishizu: The existence of the doujinshi itself was big, too. Which issue had Mr. Izubuchi’s drawing of the dive bomber in it?

Tamamori: It was the second or third issue.

Yuuki: Right. The feeling of Mr. Izubuchi’s illustration already looked like a model for 2199, didn’t it?

Tamamori: that’s right.

Ishizu: At that point, I thought the fighter design had changed a lot.

Michio Murukawa’s doujinshis, 2005-2009. Yutaka Izubuchi’s art at right.

Yuuki: Certainly, ever since Mr. Izubuchi was first touched by Yamato as a boy, he constantly continued to pursue his ideal Yamato.

Ishizu: Right.

Yuuki: It’s the same for us. We all noisily expressed our opinions from the time when the plan and designs for 2199 were still undecided.

Ishizu: The overall image of the work was vague at first.

Yuuki: Therefore, since not everything had been decided, an interesting idea was usually adopted when it came up in conversation.

Tamamori: When I began to participate, Mr. Izubuchi was already going on the work he’d cherished since his childhood. He seemed to be very shy about delivering it to the younger generation today. “I wonder if this is right. Will this be OK?” I was impressed by what he was concerned about. We couldn’t just give the old Yamato to a younger generation as is, so how would we change it? Mr. Yuuki and Shigeru Morita (scriptwriter) came up with ideas while they thought about that, and I guess they created the overall image of the work.

Ishizu: Of course they did.

Yuuki: There’s no such thing as an equation that can give an accurate answer when you’re creating a work, so it came down to our impressions of the original Yamato, and I think our generation is in their early 50s. I’m sure that if young people watched Space Battleship Yamato, they wouldn’t get the same impression. It would be immediately compared with current anime, so it had to be modified to stand up scrutiny.

Tamamori: Right.

Yuuki: Only the people like us who experienced Yamato in real time can understand that feeling. Nevertheless, if you make it now there are definitely parts that you have to change. I didn’t really want to change it, but we had to. When you do a remake, I think it’s important to know the weight of what it means “to change it.”

Was Macross lurking inside the Yamato ship!?

Ishizu: At a certain production company, I told the young people, “We can’t make a story like Yamato where space has an up and a down.” I’m convinced that people today can’t conceive of having that special feeling.

In the old days, fans called it a “fourth-dimensional pocket.”
In 2199, to solve the problem of the fighter hangar, the
Wave-Motion Engine became a center axis and more planes
could be added by attaching them to both sides of palates
attached to a turret ring.

Yuuki: If you start from criticism, it’s impossible.

Tamamori: You get the feeling that real robot anime is from an era that’s been left behind by the trends.

Yuuki: As a matter of course, it’s necessary to judge what we can change and what we can’t. But while discussing 2199 from that point of view, quite a few new ideas emerged.

Ishizu: There were a lot, weren’t there?

Yuuki: For example, the storage area for the Cosmo Falcons inside the ship. Izubuchi said, “The hangar isn’t wide enough, but I’ll miss the fighters if we don’t have them.” I was worried that, “Oh, there’s the Wave-Motion Engine in the center.” From that, I suggested the idea that we could manage it if it was made into a cylinder. I wasn’t thinking of it as a turret at first, but an image that was a complete cylinder and they were fired from there, but not at high speed. Like in the Macross movie where the Valkyrie was lowered down and fired its engine. I thought it was really cool for them to move forward realistically, like cherry blossoms. Or like when you drop cargo supplies.

Ishizu: I had the impression that everyone was particular about sticking to the old hatchway. I thought it should open on both sides to get out quickly. But that wouldn’t be Yamato then, would it?

Yuuki: That’s true. (Laughs)

Yukikaze, the third Isokaze-type destroyer commanded by Mamoru Kodai, is a very popular mecha from the original
Space Battleship Yamato. The name is rendered in Hiragana on the hull, in a style similar to the former
Japanese navy and the Maritime Self-Defense Force. As mentioned in the text, details rendered by the hand of
Mr. Tamamori appear in a closeup during Operation M, and the scene is finished with realism. Also, whereas Kodai
originally found the crashed ship on Saturn’s 6th moon Titan, it was changed to the 2nd moon Enceladus in
Yukikaze fans were surprised to see its landing legs depicted in Episode 17.

The question is, how far do you go?

Ishizu: The production situation was completely different between 2199 and 2202. We couldn’t be as extravagant as 2199.

Yuuki: Nobuyoshi Habara (2202 director) said that the style of 2199‘s production put too much of a burden on the studio, so he wanted to skip the trouble there. For example, on 2199 Masanori Niishi (chief mechanical designer) looked through all the layouts himself. If you do that, the on-site work comes to a stop.

Ishizu: That’s right. Mr. Niishi’s checks were amazing. Even the lines on the rank badges were different.

Yuuki: There were a lot of rank mistakes, and only Mr. Niishi noticed.

Tamamori: But it wasn’t his fault that work stopped. He was trying to make something very complicated. We all were. For example, wasn’t it the case that none of the people from Earth had ever seen Garmillas mecha up close?

Ishizu: I drew them with an abnormal amount of detail. (Laughs) I can’t do that any more now.

Yuuki: But you want the viewers to have that kind of catharsis.

Ishizu: That’s right. But at the time of 2199, we were all crazy.

(All laugh)

Tamamori: That was around the time of the [March 2011] earthquake, wasn’t it? At that time, I had a strong feeling that I had to make this work. My work started with the opening shot of Yukikaze at the beginning. I didn’t know how far I should take it. Mr. Niishi told me to draw it as detailed as possible. No matter what, he kept calling for “more.” I was worried about it myself, but if this was going to be something that would cheer up all of Japan, I thought it was best to put a lot of effort into it.

Ishizu: Afterward, I told Mr. Niishi, “I could have done more. I should have done more!”

(All laugh)

Designing a world 200 years from now

Yuuki: In both 2199 and 2202, there were a lot of places where design evolved significantly under the new concepts, like Analyzer’s powered suit on Planet Beemela.

Tamamori: That was designed by Hitoshi Fukuchi. In Yamato‘s world view, is it OK to put in robots other than Analyzer? There seems to be the idea that powered suits have already begun to appear in the real world, so wouldn’t they be around 200 years later? I think we can make that judgment. But it’s not a complete robot, since Analyzer attaches to it to make use of it. I think that was a great way to approach it.

Ishizu: There isn’t much of a sense in the work of it being 200 years later, so there were some rather difficult spots, weren’t there?

Yuuki: To begin with, if you seriously look at the world in 200 years, I think you’re likely to miss things unless you’re a very talented designer. That’s why at the start I talked about aiming for just a little beyond our current scientific power. Analyzer’s powered suit was also an extension of existing weapons, wasn’t it?

Tamamori: That’s right.

In the original work, Analyzer was mainly recognized as the comic relief, but in 2199 more emphasis was placed on his
mechanical nature and he was not used in gag scenes. In the original, he lifted a Gamilas tank with Herculean strength
and his hands and feet had the ability to extend. On the planet Beemela 4 in
2199 Episode 16, he was attached to an
exclusive powered unit (AU99-PU), used for exploration and supply missions.
This gave a stronger feeling to Analyzer’s position as a support mecha for
Yamato‘s crew.

Yuuki: The concepts of mecha and culture level were taken very seriously on the Earth side. On the other hand, we wanted to show a huge gap between that and the hyper technology on the Garmillas and Iscandar side. In the original Yamato, Earth clothes are like space clothes, which seems strange for a suit, doesn’t it? But I don’t think suits are going to be very different 200 years from now, because they haven’t changed for more than 100 years.

Ishizu & Tamamori: Ah, I see!

Yuuki: Suits haven’t changed despite the ebb and flow of fashion design, and I think once something is established it doesn’t disappear. Even now, whenever I return to that part, I extrapolate it from the present.

There seemed to be some consideration about the onboard uniforms for Yuki Mori and the other female crewmembers.
Keeping the design as is would drag in the sci-fi feeling of the 70s, but if they had the same uniforms as the men,
it might lose that
Yamato identity. As a solution, a body-based space suit being researched by NASA and M.I.T. Professor
Dava Newman and others was referenced for the design. (See an interview with Ms. Newman here.)
Yuki wears plain clothes in the second episode of 2202, based on the date clothes designed by Yukiko Hanai
Farewell to Yamato. Her nurse uniform in Episode 8 is also based on the one from Farewell.

There’s a reason for Yuki Mori’s skin-tight suit!?

Ishizu: You pack fine details into your clothing, don’t you?

Yuuki: I think Yamato‘s onboard clothing should be simple space clothes. It’s been said that skin-tight suits are common in science-fiction, but not possible in reality. But recently, someone is America has been seriously developing it, and when I saw it I thought it was cool. When you actually go out into space, it seems that constant air pressure is necessary, and in order to pressurize your suit there’s wiring in the fabric with tube-like mechanisms that press against the skin. That’s what I thought about when I first designed the suits for 2199.

Tamamori: NASA is also developing a slim-type space suit. It should feel like a body as much as possible.

Yuuki: That gets adopted in the end. You designed the suit for outboard work, which has a subtle image. It looks like something from a science-fiction movie, space clothes with a logical feeling. But that’s hard to draw in anime, so I thought about something between clothes and space clothes.

Tamamori: In my personal head canon, the skin-tight uniforms of the women are like training wear. Yuki Mori prefers it, but she actually has the same onboard uniform as the men. In the original work, there were some girls wearing the yellow skin-tight suit during the solar system farewell party, weren’t there? They stand out because they’re wearing training wear. But surely they usually wear the same uniform as the men.

Yuuki & Ishizu: Ah.

Tamamori: It’s just my own head canon, but the women don’t have to wear tight uniforms, it’s just a good option.

Ishizu: That said, Yuki Mori’s suit is an element that can’t be left out of the work called Yamato.

Yuuki: You can’t leave out the suit itself, I just wanted to find some logic for that form in the end.

Tamamori: Did we think about it before we started to make it? This is what comes up when you think about doing a remake of Yamato.

Yuuki: That’s how we are, aren’t we? Aren’t we like that? It’s a feeling of groping around and choosing an idea, isn’t it?

Tamamori: It really was groping.

The unavoidable pursuit of reality

Yuuki: Scientific reality is also in a different situation than it was then. When I watched it as a kid, Yamato left Earth and went on to Mars and Jupiter. Wasn’t it going to outer space while protecting the solar system? I really felt the adventure there. I thought it was great that the enemy was attacking from a faraway galaxy while it was hard for human beings just to get out of the solar system.

Tamamori: There was a caption whenever you passed a planet. It followed in the sequels after that. If I’m not mistaken, when there was a caption for Jupiter in Be Forever Yamato, the ring of Jupiter that had just been discovered was depicted. I was surprised at the time to see the latest information properly incorporated.

Ishizu: But the positions of the planets was absurd at the time, wasn’t it?

Yuuki: That subject came up during the first brainstorming. They wouldn’t just line up to give us short distances, would they? So when we receive a rescue signal from Enceladus, we should go to the rescue! No, it would be a detour! The story was born from there.

Ishizu: Did you give the proper positions of the planets in 2199?

Tamamori: I saw it in the meeting notes. I think Tsukasa Kano (SF researcher) provided it. “The positions of the planets in the year 2199 will be like so.”

Yuuki: Mr. Kano single-handedly took on the realistic parts of the story. So at first I wondered if he was a science expert like Professor Toshihiro Handa. As I thought about it, I started wondering about space clothes, the temperature of space, how long a human could withstand being in vacuum. I was able to ask a lot of questions. I don’t think Mr. Kano liked me. (Laughs)

Tamamori: But isn’t it important to answer those questions? Passing through that got us to where we are now.

The Domel fleet, led by General Domel in 2199 Episode 15, centers on the fighting power of Destria and Gaiderol-class ships to drive their target, but at the Rainbow Cluster the strategy is mainly based around the use of an air force. In Episode 18, the Garmillas army is stranded beyond the gate of Balan and Domel’s unit is forced to face Yamato. The interpretation is that everyone other than the Domel fleet that showed such force in Episode 15 was stranded at the naval review participation.

“Filling in the gaps” of Yamato

Ishizu: The same goes for the military elements, doesn’t it? Questions from the original included the formation of the Domel fleet in the Rainbow Cluster battle. Three aircraft carriers, a disk-shaped flagship, and a battle carrier was too small a fleet for a decisive battle. I was really into it at the time of the broadcast. (Laughs)

Yuuki: To explain it in the story, we put the main fleet at Planet Balan. The Domel fleet was a big deal in the original work, but Izubuchi thought it was strange even back then that so few ships would go to the Rainbow Cluster. In 2199 the theory is that the main fleet was sort of stranded at the Balan naval review ceremony. Also, Domel was only given four carriers as a penalty for his alleged treason. It’s pretty complex, but I think incorporating that into the story gave it more depth. Obsessing over those parts is a bit superficial, but that’s what classic SF is like.

Tamamori: The same is true of mecha design. When you think of how a mecha is used, there is a logic behind it, and a certain way of thinking is applied if it’s meant to be used by the military. There are also technical issues for what you can and can’t do. Do you want to use it? Can you successfully incorporate it into the story? I want to continue paying attention to these subjects in future designs.

Neu Deusula, Dessler’s command ship, uses a core ship that escaped from the demise of Deusula II.
Like the original Dessler ship, it was resurrected after being captured by Gatlantis.
Like Dessler’s ship in
Farewell to Yamato, instant matter teleport machines are mounted on the bow.
The design was created by Mr. Ishizu with markings added by Deputy Director Makoto Kobayashi.

Will the Neu Deusula finally appear in 2205?

Yuuki: Mr. Ishizu, you really liked drawing the Deusula in 2199 and 2202, didn’t you? But if it’s 2205, Dessler’s ship will become the battle carrier again. What do you think about that?

Ishizu: At the time of 2202, I thought Dessler’s ship would be a battle carrier. So when he returned in the Deusula, I thought it felt surprisingly different. The order was to give it the feeling that it was half-made with Gatlantis technology.

Tamamori: The Deusular that appeared at the end of 2202 was bigger, wasn’t it?

Ishizu: The Neu Deusula? It was 768 meters long. About 800 meters. Although the core ship could fit onto the Gelvades-class battle carrier, it seemed to become more than twice as long before I knew it.

Tamamori: That’s what I saw.

Ishizu: I didn’t hear anything about it needing to be that much bigger. Dessler’s battle carrier is scheduled to appear in 2205, so we’ll launch a new one.

Yuuki: The original Deusula in 2199 was built as a monument, stored in the Garmillas presidential office building. In Yamato III and beyond, Dessler’s ship felt like his castle. But wouldn’t that look a bit beneath the president of Great Garmillas? So it became the Deusula. More volume.

Ishizu: That’s right. Eventually.

Yuuki: The thing is, it’s an upgrade of the Dessler ship, since that was originally his command ship. Isn’t the Deusula a battle carrier? That’s my question.

Ishizu: Ah, I see.

Yuuki: Dessler was on a battle carrier in The New Voyage, so are you talking about making a new battle carrier? Is it a new Dessler ship like the one in Yamato III? Then the battle carrier becomes a secondary, and the Deusula would still be his command ship.

Ishizu: That’s one way to think about it.

Yuuki: The Deusula is cool, so why would you change it? That’s what I think. Does a more advanced Deusula appear? The Neu Neu Deusula?

(All laugh)

Ishizu: the final Deusula ship that came out in the old series was close to 1400 meters. (1350 to be exact.)

Tamamori: Katsumi Itabashi’s design? It was that big?

Ishizu: Bandai told me that if it’s that size in the remake, they can’t make a plastic model of it. (Laughs)

Yuuki: The original Dessler ship needed to ram Yamato in battle, so it was the same size as Yamato. It’s strange that it gets bigger and bigger. (Laughs)

Ishizu: In the beginning, Shulz’ ship (the Gaiderol-class Space Battleship) was designed to be smaller than Yamato. It seems that at the CG site, Mr. Izubuchi said, “Wouldn’t it be cool for it to be a little bigger?” and later he said, “I’m making this bigger.” (Laughs) Actually, I wanted to make the Garmillas ships a little smaller overall. For some reason they got bigger and bigger.

Yuuki: To make them feel stronger.

Ishizu: I wanted to do that with their outward appearance. But they were unlikely to be in line with the ships of Earth.

Yuuki: But by giving the Domelaze more volume, I think it’s really good that it looks like Yamato is going to lose in the scene where they’re about to collide.

Ishizu: I’m sure there’s a lot to say about it. Its size was determined by the size of the disk portion in the original series.

Yuuki: I see, I see.

Ishizu: That’s really why it became that big.

Yuuki: I will expect it of the Deusula in the future.

Ishizu: I’ve designed all of Dessler’s ships up until now. It’s a strange relationship.

Yuuki: That’s why you won’t allow Dessler to end up with only a battle carrier. (Laughs)

And now we’re on to a “New Voyage”…

Tamamori: In 2202, the story was more philosophical than science-fiction. It turned in a literary direction, didn’t it? I think it was a great challenge. I think 2202 finished with the feeling that the bones of the story’s theme were properly resolved. When we move on to 2205, it no longer has to be based on Farewell to Yamato, and can return to a new daily life. It’s a story that begins with the daily life of Earth rebuilding from the Gatlantis invasion. In light of that, by talking with you like this, it’s like going back to the launch of 2199. I think it’s good to look back at the thoughts of those days.

Yuuki: I’m glad to hear you say that.

Tamamori: We’re returning to the starting point again, and I want to create a new masterpiece. 2205 will have a new director and the studio will change. My ambition for this next project is to reconnect with the spirit of 2199 while we make it.

Ishizu: I agree with you. However, for 2205 I’m focused on how the work in front of me will fit into it, so I guess I’m not particularly ambitious at the moment. (Laughs) You can’t tell whether or not the viewer likes your work unless you actually open the lid. It’s the same as with any other work.

Tamamori: As Mr. Yuuki first said, the way you perceive Yamato is different from others’ perception of Yamato. For example, Mr. Izubuchi heard that some view Yamato as a war story. When I first heard that, I looked back at 2199 again and I certainly felt that the idea of armed forces in war was firmly depicted. I think such a commitment may also be inherited as one of the elements in the future.

Ishizu: I agree. Director Noboru Ishiguro and the others also referenced war movies in the original 1974 work, so couldn’t it be successfully included in anime? I always thought we were doing that. Yamato may have been born as an extension of Tora Tora Tora! or Retreat from Kiska.

Yuuki: I must have gotten that feeling from it when it was broadcast. But if anything, since it was on the cutting edge of existing space SF, I took it as a realistic space adventure.

Ishizu: Naturally, after taking everything into account, I think Ishiguro and his colleagues were conscious of war movies. When I first met Kazutaka Miyatake, who did the first mecha design, he said, “Yamato is not SF.” Why on Earth would he say that? It’s been on my mind ever since. Well, I’m sure there was a fad at the time that worked that way.

Yuuki: But in the space SF that came out afterward, space was not likened to the sea. If you think of realistic science-fiction, people like Mr. Miyatake may have the impression that this is more of a fantasy work.

Ishizu: Maybe, I don’t know.

This mecha visual image from 2205 was shown briefly in the film concert, and now
the entire image is shown only in this magazine! (This is not the final version)

Tamamori: The word “roman” is often used in the Yamato theme songs. It says “burning roman” in the opening and you also hear “roman” in the ending. I think that expresses the Yamato quality the most. Whether it’s old or new, that feeling is the core part that shapes Yamato. [Translator’s note: “roman” is the Japanese interpretation of “romance,” which in this case is synonymous with “adventure.”]

Yuuki: It’s true that the roman part is important for the work called Yamato.

Ishizu: There was a feeling in the original of going far off into space. I think that feeling was mysteriously strong.

Yuuki: The feeling of challenging the unknown was directly transmitted into children’s minds. So for me it was more of an adventure story than a war story.

Tamamori: Even in the mecha design, there is a waterline to imply up and down in space. I want to keep that kind of commitment in the future. When I’m drawing, I’m always thinking that in this world, there is an up and down in space, and there is a horizon.

Ishizu: When we were making 2199, I wondered, did the people who made the first Yamato have such feelings? I enjoyed the feeling of going forward one episode at a time, and I want to preserve that feeling in 2205.

Yuuki: Absolutely. I feel refreshed after hearing the story again. Thank you for making time for this while we’re all busy with work!

Junichiro Tamamori

Born in 1967 under the American administration in Okinawa. Graduated from university as an industrial designer and a design educator. While working as a web engineer, he published Yamato-related images online. After attracting the attention of those involved with anime, he was invited by Yutaka Izubuchi to participate in Yamato 2199. He is currently working as a freelance mecha designer. (Enter his name in the search bar above to find many more interviews with him.)

Yasushi Ishizu

Born in Chiba Prefecture. In 1983, he debuted as a mecha designer on Super Dimension Century Orguss alongside Kazutaka Miyatake, Masahiro Chiba and others. As a member of Studio Nue until 1988, he worked on the Macross movie and Dirty Pair (TV series and OVA). Since then, he has been active as a freelance mecha designer.

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