Yamato Origins, Part 5 continued

Plan Book by Eiichi Yamamoto, Part 2

Back up to Part 1


Yamato‘s course from Earth (lower left) to Iscandar (upper right)

Next we will trace the voyage of Yamato from the first event and find out what happens to the crew.

Upon Yamato‘s departure, it will take 100 days if there are no obstacles lying in the path toward Iscandar. However, Yamato is substantially delayed by Rajendoran attacks and the mission plan must be radically modified. Admiral Kinmochi feels great frustration over this and it leads to discord between him and the more conservative Captain Izumi.

The delay exceeds 180 days. According to plan, they must arrive at Iscandar no later than the 150th day. Yamato is delayed more and more, and the plan enters the red zone (a dangerous period). As the Admiral’s impatience gives way to numbness, he reflects on the more mature qualities of the Captain. He then steps forward to personally lead the crew into battle and dies a heroic death.

Naturally, this shakes things up on Yamato. Staff Officer Kotake assumes the position of Admiral to get them out of danger, but this affects his relationship with First Mate Nishino. Prior to this, they were equals and close rivals. When Kotake advances, it only increases Nishino’s inferiority complex.

Over 200 days into the mission, Yamato still has not arrived at Iscandar. Kotake and Nishino oppose each other in a decisive moment; continue forward at risk of combat or play it safe and avoid taking damage? Captain Izumi steps in and sacrifices himself at a critical moment. Yamato advances at the cost of his life.

Nishino is promoted to Captain and now has command over Admiral Kotake. The ship is filled with panic over this young leader. Shimura, overcome by the madness of extreme despair, ejects himself into space and dies.

On day 253, Yamato finally arrives at Iscandar.

But there is a sad death; Shinoda, still caught up in his rivalry with Kotake over Masako, goes too far while trying to impress her, and he dies in battle. His death allows Yamato to break through the last obstacle in space and reach Iscandar.

On Iscandar, Human Robot Analyzer becomes blinded by greed over the material possessions of Equipment Leader Tazaki. He is seen committing an act of thievery and is executed.

On the return voyage, First Mate Nishino ignites a revolt when Yamato stops at a planet to replenish the food supplies. Stranding Kotake, Masako, and the rest of their faction there, Nishino’s group takes off in Yamato. However, they are all killed by toxic gas that emanates from the food they collected. Yamato drifts in space as a phantom ship, then finally returns to Kotake’s hands again.

Day 358. Only one week remains until the last day of mankind.

On the return voyage, a battle arises against the enemy Rajendorans at their home planet itself. Some of the remaining crew is lost here, including Masako.

At Iscandar, there was only time to obtain the blueprint for the radiation removal device. Therefore, it has been built during the return trip and is now almost complete. Knowing that the Rajendorans cannot survive in an environment with no radioactivity, she activated the unfinished device in the midst of battle. The atmosphere of Planet Rajendora is purified and the enemies dissolve into space dust.

The battle is over, but a tragedy occurred–Masako died, too. Fish cannot live in water that is too clear. It is the same case with humans and air. The purification of the Rajendoran atmosphere works too well, and Masako dissolves into the beautiful air like Ophelia floating on the water. With her death, the device obtains complete data for its proper use.

Day 360. Yamato descends into Earth’s atmosphere and is greeted with wild excitement. Only two crewmembers are left: Kotake steers the ship and Aihara runs the communicator. He is in critical condition.

When Earth previously lost communication with Yamato during the final battle with the Rajendorans, panic set in. Aihara restored communication after the fighting, and on a video screen he watched his mother get trampled and severely injured by a crowd. As her only son and family member, his mind was broken. Prior to that, his body was wounded in battle with the Rajendorans.

“We’re breaking through the atmosphere,” is his last communication. “Mother, please wait!”

Yamato lands hard in the sea. The shock throws Aihara face down to the floor and he does not rise again. Kotake holds his dead body. Though the long year of purgatory seemed like an eternity, now it is over. Before Kotake now lies only the future of mankind.

6. Yamato Concepts

Though the heroes of this story are Kotake and the other human characters, we want to emphasize that the battleship itself exists as a hero.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the image of Yamato will spell success or failure of this series as a business venture. Although we have touched on Yamato extensively above, we wish to summarize its features and functions here to aid in understanding.

The asteroid belt consists of 44,000 objects in orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Yamato is a huge interstellar spaceship that is built inside one of these asteroids. It usually looks like a lump of rock floating in space in roughly a cube shape, 2 km long, 1 km wide, and 500 meters in height. The upper surface is made of meteorites that look like mountains, hills, fields, lakes and a river (with no water), and other features. These are surrounded by steep cliffs.

At left: Asteroid Ship rock formations named by Eiichi Yamamoto. At right: Asteroid Ship engine by Kazuaki Saito.

The Light Wave Engine inside the ship was built by Earth scientists who modeled it on the engine found in the spaceship from Iscandar. It uses a proton convertor to change any and all materials into photons which become the fuel for a speed-of-light space drive. Because of the Doppler effect, Yamato is colored blue when approaching or red when flying away.

Because the hull is burned by friction when flying through an atmosphere, the ship cannot travel more than 1,000 km per hour. This is one weak point of Yamato.

It uses a warp (jump navigation) to navigate between stars. Yamato can travel a distance of 100 light years in one warp. Because this consumes a huge amount of energy, Yamato can perform only two warps per day and must immediately rest afterward. This is another weakness.

During a warp, the inside and outside of the ship shines blue.

The main weapons of Yamato are the nuclear missile guns attached to the bow and stern. Secondary guns are attached to the sides and belly. Because their barrels are hidden in caves and rock fissures, they don’t look like guns at all.


Concept for a Yamato fightercraft by Kazuaki Saito

When it becomes necessary, high speed attackers (battle boats) launch from inside and maneuver around the ship. They are lifted to the rocky surface and propelled from a launching device.

In fights against a powerful enemy, Yamato blows off its rocky shell to reveal its full appearance as a battleship. The splinters of stone form into a ring that rotates around the ship like the rings of Saturn. When the fight is over, the rocks return to their original positions.

During a battle, the ship is seen in two stages. In the first stage, only the top portion of the rocky shell is blown off but the large bow gun turret does not appear. In the second stage the rest of the shell is blown off and a huge turret rises from the deck. The big gun turret on the bow is exposed, along with an large amount of missile ordnance.

Yamato is a battleship, but it is not an aggressor. When attacked, it only returns fire when absolutely necesary. The ship will escape whenever possible for the sake of the mission. Therefore, Yamato has two devices for the purpose of strategic mimicry.

One is an Image Projector which projects a stereoscopic image into empty space. Yamato can use this to disguise itself or appear to be part of a convoy. The other is a Balloon Dummy. Because the Image Projector can be penetrated by radar, a variety of models are prepared which can be inflated with high-pressure gas at a moment’s notice. These range from the size of a Space Soldier to the size of Yamato itself. They are used to gain time by confusing the enemy.


Yamato has a total crew of 114 people, divided into the Space Navigators and the Space Soldiers.

The Navigators’ task is to drive the ship, and its highest officer is the Captain. The First Mate assists the captain, and beneath him are five sections: operations, communications, equipment, life support, and defense.

The Space Soldiers conduct combat in space and on planets, where they also collect data and materials. Their highest officer is the Admiral. The hero of our story is a staff officer in the Space Soldier unit. There are five space combat groups under the staff officer with ten people in each group.

Yamato is run by the cooperation of the Captain and the Admiral.

The director of the Asteroid Ship Planning Division runs the operations on Earth. For communication with Yamato, a special large antenna tower is built on a Himalayan mountaintop.

You can think of the Space Navigators as pilots flying an airplane or sailors running a ship, but here is some more information about the Space Soldiers:

Because of many incidents and accidents in space during the 21st Century, a Space Patrol is needed. The men of this group are called the Space Soldiers (or Asteroid Soldiers). On Earth, one country per year contributes people to the Space Soldier organization, and they are commanded by the United Nations Space Bureau.

Space Soldiers are the elites of the 21st Century. Young people are chosen for the Space Soldiers based on their physical strength and they receive special training. Their bodies can be further strengthened by surgical means, which is the case with Kotake who received special knowledge through an RNA factor operation.

The one-year journey to Iscandar comes during Japan’s tour of duty. This is why the battleship is named Yamato and only Japanese Space Soldiers are on the crew. The organization and all other Space Soldiers of the world are a backup system.


Next, let’s introduce some of the equipment they bring onto the ship…

Matter Transmitter:


Concept art for the matter transmitter, Kazuaki Saito

This transmits solid materials to distant places. It can trasmit people, too. It can weapons from Yamato down to soldiers on a planet, and its uses are limitless.

Gravity Step:

A handrail is attached to a round platform that can be ridden by one or two people. The underside produces an antigravity beam so it can rise and rotate freely.

Gravity Shoes:

These are attached to the feet to provide incredible jumping power via antigravity.

Space Scooter:

Used for quick travel in space, big enough for two people.

Mobile Rocket:

A backpack used to fly in space.

Heat Ray Gun:

Its destructive power can be adjusted. At the antipersonnel level it can stun a person. At the destruction level it can evaporate a person.

Laser Knife:

Can cut anything.

Earthquake-proof, Heat-proof Clothing:

Similar to a diving suit, one who wears this can remain calm if falling off a cliff or into a fire, but its lacks agility.

Muscular Reinforcement Capsule:

When a human steps into this robot-shaped capsule, his strength is multiplied ten times.

Micro Robot:

If caught by an enemy, you can release this 10cm-long robot to escape through a lattice and contact an ally.

Organic Robot:

This is made by shaping synthetic cells in a plastic mold. It can take any form including a double for a human, but its intelligence is low.


Concept art for the Sky Pool, Kazuaki Saito

Because the crew is under the pressure of constant duty, Yamato contains facilities for life support and entertainment to preserve their mental health. Let’s examine some of them…

Sky Swimming Pool:

In this playground, the gravity can be adjusted for ten minutes at a time. People can attach wings to themselves and fly. They can also play space sports here to their heart’s content.

Image Bed:

One can lie in this bed in a semi-hypnotic state and project any scene they like including dating or travel.

Cold Sleep (Frozen Hibernation):

This device can be used on anyone who has a nervous breakdown, literally giving them a cooling-off period.

Garden Lobby:

An area where real trees grow and flowers blossom. It can be used for various purposes such as a meeting area for the crew that calms the mind, or a party can be held to celebrate the Earth.

These features will all emphasize the flesh-and-blood drama of Yamato and help to entertain our audience.


Costume study, Kazuaki Saito


7. About the Production

Space Battleship Yamato will be produced as a work of animation.

At first it was envisioned as a Tokusatsu [live-action special effects] program, but this would probably be a setback in terms of the budget. It would be a constant problem considering all the weapons, the various planetary settings, Earth on the brink of extinction, underground cities, etc. Unless we have an astronomical budget and schedule, this approach would not succeed.

With animation, all these problems are solved at a stroke. Great creativity can be expected in the presentation of planets, space creatures, etc. Also, people will not look like they are on a stage and the Battleship Yamato will not look rough or flimsy. We want to appoint a highly-respected animation staff and pay heed to the budget, schedule, etc.

The animation staff has not yet been decided, but in the present world of anime Mushi Pro Studio surpasses all others in this industry. Because we wish to work with their staff, we will introduce some of them:

Executive Producer: Yoshinobu Nishizaki
Idea: Aritsune Toyota
Script: Keisuke Fujikawa
Art: Kenichi Matsuzaki and Kazuaki Saitou
Producer: Yoshihiro Nozaki
Director: Eiichi Yamamoto



Costume study, Kazuaki Saito

8. The Prospect for Success

In this last section, we will examine the prospects of success for the performance of this program.

The so-called Kaiju [Monster] Boom that is popular with children started from interest in the unknown. That interest evolved into kaiju battles that excite children very much, but the monster boom is now fading and they are turning their attention to robots. When the essence of this change is considered, children seem to have tired of the absurdity of kaiju.

We can point to an interest in mechanical things as the focal point. A simple example can be found in one who rides a bicycle and moves toward more complex vehicles such as motorcycles and racing cars. In fact, we find that children who began with simple kaiju have outgrown that phase to become interested in robots and stories with greater depth. The voyage of Space Battleship Yamato is planned to accurately capture this transition of children’s psychology. In that respect, we have the conviction that when this plan is made into a program it will received strong ratings support from children.

The brutal battles are not the only highlight of Yamato. It is essentially an action poem about human beings encountering the mysteries of space. Moreover, the combat and contacts with other planets are presented with a solid scientific basis.

Novels such as Japan Sinks have become a hot topic among adults, and have in fact also become popular with children. While this novel is science-fiction, it was received favorably by a Japanese audience that thinks every day about the rising reality of impending crises.

A trip to the Moon was once fiction and is now fact. The advancement of science rapidly encroaches upon the domain of fiction. SF is evolving away from stories of the fantastic into fictional stories with a factual basis. This age increasingly places demands on science to solve the problems of mankind.

The groundwork for Space Battleship Yamato has been completed. The backdrop is that of a polluted Earth, which gives it a sense of reality and will arouse the interest of children as well.

Finally, we will touch on the design. This story has another lead role besides that of the characters: it belongs to Space Battleship Yamato. We designed it both as a “warship” and as a “lump of rock.” Usually, an SF spaceship is very metallic and streamlined. In this case, we explored the joy of innovation that is the true hallmark for SF fans. This belief in streamlining is not limited to the world of fiction; it also drives competition in automotive and jet design. Streamlined design is symbolic of this age of economic growth and stimulates peoples’ appreciation of beauty.

But things were quite the opposite before the “streamline boom” replaced such heavy, slow-moving machines as the steam locomotive. Perhaps people began to forget this when the virtues of economic growth were expressed in streamlining. This became a social trend and revolutionized peoples’ sense of beauty. While taking advantage of the sleek side of SF, the design of Yamato is highly refined within the rugged rocky elements that surround it. This approach is consistent at all levels in this work in things such as the costume design.

Flying rocks conceal an iron warship. The existence of human beings in outer space would not interest children without an appealing design. Additionally, we touched on this in the “Character” section, but we plan to strongly negotiate with a first class manga magazine to serialize Space Battleship Yamato in parallel with the TV broadcast.

9. Appendix

APPENDIX 1: SYNOPSES

These are submitted as examples of cases in which Yamato has an encounter in space. Several have been collected here. This will aid in the understanding of this work and await your future examination.

A. An Earthling Slave on Planet Uru

Yamato parks in orbit around Planet Uru and an exploration ship drops to the surface for reconnaissance. The crew must wear masks and tails to pass for inhabitants of this planet. The civilization of Uru is in a developmental stage similar to ancient times on Earth, and one Earthling is sold in a slave market. Shinoda is unable to tolerate this and struggles against Shinobu, who detains him. In fact, this can lure in and trap Rajendorans who are waiting for Earthlings to appear.

B. Dimensional Rift from a Planet Bomb

An Asteroid Soldier travels down to a planet with binary suns and finds a planet bomb. Medieval-type people fear the bomb and sacrifice a princess to pray for their protection. Masako intervenes and the landing party falls into a dimensional rift. They have to fight huge monsters and ghostlike creatures who live there.

C. Graveyard of Planet Sargasso

Control of the ship is suddenly lost. It is pulled into an eerie region of space among the wreckage of hundreds of space ships. In mathematics, there is an equidistant point between two gravitational fields (in this case coming from fixed stars) called a LaGrange point which interferes with gravity. The wreckage of space ships, dust, and other material drifts into this graveyard of space. A spider-like creature that eats energy dwells here, waiting for victims.

D. The Girl of the Robot Planet

An Asteroid Soldier lands on a Robot Planet and discovers a girl there. She is an android; she has braved death and tragedy trying to escape from Rajendoran rule. Once again, the soldier witnesses proof of their brutality.

E. Invader from the Meteorite Group

The ship flies through a large group of meteorites but does not received severe damage. However, starship-shaped parasites which were attached to the meteorites grab onto the surface and get inside. They take possession of a soldier by attaching themselves to his back and attempt to take control of the ship.

F. Space Wanderer

Yamato encounters a space ship from Earth for the first time, but there are no survivors on board; only a female-type robot. This robot is a caretaker of children who were born on the ship and are now being held hostage by Rajendorans. The robot is a lure for the Asteroid Soldiers…

G. Red Giant Star SOS

The ship approaches a planet orbiting a huge red giant star which is expanding as it dies. The inhabitants of this solar system used to live on the fourth planet, but have taken refuge from the swelling sun on the fifth, sixth, and outer planets. They do not have the technology to escape the system by interstellar travel, so the Asteroid Soldiers move to help them escape.

As the red giant nears its point of explosion, a Rajendoran saucer suddenly appears. Should the soldiers return to Yamato and escape, or continue helping the citizens?

APPENDIX 2: SAMPLE SCRIPT

This script was written as study material to help the staff come to a mutual understanding of the work. Although this is a first draft that will be revised in the future, it is included here to demonstrate what has been recorded so far. It would take place after the fourth broadcast episode and was chosen to emphasize the relationship theme of the entire series.

Space Battleship Yamato (abbreviated script)
Space Sargasso Graveyard of Fear
Script by Keisuke Fujikawa

Summary: The ship approaches Jupiter’s orbit and is dragged into a crowded Sargasso Sea of space in the LaGrange point between Jupiter and the Sun. Kotake proposes salvaging the engines of other wrecked ships and using them to escape. Shinoda and others investigate this plan but are trapped by a Rajendoran disguised as a beautiful woman. The Rajendoran attack begins! Shinoda and the others help each other to escape this crisis and the attack is repulsed.

The End

Continue to Yamato Origins Part 6: Revised Story Outline by Leiji Matsumoto


Bonus

In April 2018, one of the extremely rare copies of Eiichi Yamamoto’s pitch book emerged from history in an online auction at Yahoo Japan. The winning bid (on April 22) was just over $8,000. These were the photos in the listing, posted by a seller named Kaitoricollector.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.