Space Battleship Yamato 2202 Report 46

The combination of COVID-19 and related malaise slowed Yamato activity to a trickle in April. But just as everyone’s legs are long enough to reach the ground, there is always enough news to fill up a monthly report. Here’s everything that kept fans going through the mounting crisis…

April 1: Concerts cancelled

Let’s dispense with the bad news right up front; fans in Japan lost out on two opportunities to hear Yamato music performed live in April. A film music concert by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (April 4) and the much-anticipated Yamato Meets Classics (April 29) both became early casualties of the Covid wars.

The second of those two was definitely the greater loss, with a chance to see Akira Miyagawa conduct a pair of Yamato suites with his own daughter Chiko on piano for the first time. She issued condolences to everyone on Twitter, saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t help this situation. I hope to play in front of you someday.” She offered a mini-performance that can be seen here.

April 1: Radio news

And now on to brighter things. On April 1, Clover Media announced its third annual Radio Suite Space Battleship Yamato special, appropriately titled The New Voyage. For three years running, they’ve revived the classic four-hour Yamato radio shows of yesteryear to talk about the rich vault of Yamato music and share it with listeners. This year’s special guest was Isao Sasaki.

Of course, it’s already happened by the time you’re reading these words. This is why it’s a good idea to keep up with breaking news at our Facebook page.

April 1: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model, Vol. 62

This was another of the simpler, less-flashy volumes in which an internal motor had to be assembled. It only took a minute or so, but the payoff will last for life.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a modeler’s blog here.

April 8: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model, Vol. 63

Returning to the exterior, modelers were given the flank missile launcher plate for the starboard side of the hull. The metal tab below it is a magnet for wing attachment. Photo above right posted on Twitter by Dragon, father of two.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a modeler’s blog here.

April 11: Nana Mizuki on Twitter

Today we got to have some fun. Pop music megastar Nana Mizuki reprised her wonderful Star of Love end title song from Yamato 2199 Chapter 7. This in itself was nothing new, since she’s recorded it more than once, but this time she posted an acapella version on Twitter. Within a few hours, fans reposted it with their own musical accompaniment (all recorded in quarantine), and the results were nothing short of amazing. No two responses were exactly alike, and everyone found something new to do with the arrangement. Each runs about a minute-thirty, so settle in and enjoy.

Other music made at home

As long as we’re on this topic, here are a few other worthy performances recorded on lockdown during April:

April 12: RIP Keiji Fujiwara

It’s never a pleasure to report the passing of anyone involved with Yamato no matter how deeply involved they were. Keiji Fujiwara provided the voice of Isami Enomoto in Yamato 2199, but his full credit list is vast (as seen here), including roles in Attack on Titan and Fullmetal Alchemist. He was also the Japanese voice of Tony Stark in MCU films and other projects. He succumbed to a multi-year battle with cancer at the age of 55.

Yamato character designer Nobuteru Yuuki posted a tribute to him on Twitter (above right) with Enomoto and another Fujiwara character from Heat Guy J. (See the original post here.)

April 15: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model, Vol. 64

Another week, another non-flashy internal part that required almost only one-step assembly. But every week is one closer to completion.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a modeler’s blog here.

April 16: Showa 40 Man magazine special

We’ve covered Showa 40 Man several times in the past; aimed at Japanese men born in 1965 (and their contemporaries), it devotes itself to the culture moires of the 70s and 80s. Since Yamato was a staple of that time, it has been discussed multiple times.

In April, Crete Publishing released a special omnibus edition of Showa 40 Man with the title Our Future Depicted by Showa. Among other heady topics, it collects several of the Yamato articles from previous issues, all of which have been translated here at Cosmo DNA. These articles span 28 pages, originating from issues 18, 41, and 49. Oddly, material from issues 42, 46, and 51 was left out (but can be seen in full with a click).

The magazine also collects articles on the occult, space programs, SF art and more. The capper is a creative year-by-year timeline of anime, film, manga, etc. that takes place in the future, providing a broad mosaic of speculative fiction from 1965 to the 40th century. It’s a sobering reminder that we’ve already passed the years of The Terminator, Patlabor, Fist of the North Star, 2001, Astro Boy, Macross, and Blade Runner, among others.

Order it from here or from CD Japan here.

April 17: Monthly Anime Business article

These unusual times dictate that we take a break from Yamato news for a moment and focus on the broader picture of how the Corona virus is affecting the anime industry in Japan. We have yet to hear definitive word on the release schedule for the 2202 compilation film and Yamato 2205, though it is likely both will be discussed in the next fan club magazine (due out in late May).

For now, here is an enlightening snapshot of where things were in mid-April.

“Novel Corona” and the “now” and “future” of the anime industry

By Naoshi Sudo, Monthly Anime Business.
See the original post here.

Expansion of the Novel Corona Virus infection (COVID-19) was confirmed in China late last year, and has affected society, economies, and culture on a global scale. There is no exception for the Japanese anime industry. The range is expanding, beginning with the cancellation of related events from February, the postponement of movie releases, temporary closures of studios, and delays in the broadcast of TV anime.

China’s urban lockdown had a not-unexpected effect

So far the impact of and response to Corona on the domestic anime industry has progressed in three main stages. First, a major outbreak in China centered on Wuhan. From the end of January to the first half of February, anxiety increased beyond domestic concerns over the lockdown of Chinese cities leading to delays in anime production.

Anime production of a single TV series or film involves hundreds to thousands of people, far exceeding live-action movies and TV shows. A global infrastructure has been established to support this. Original art for key animation and in-betweens, in addition to background art, is outsourced overseas with China as a representative case.

However, China’s influence is actually limited. While some work continued during the lockdown with severe restrictions on people’s interaction, the response was to transfer more material electronically. The situation is currently on its way to recovery, and is in fact becoming a place where production advancement is possible.

Serious impact on live events and box office performance

The second stage took place in late February, when there was growing concern over the spread of infection in Japan. In order to avoid large crowds, event cancellations were announced in succession for March, including AnimeJapan 2020, Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2020, and various song concerts and voice actor events. The trend continues with the cancellation of Comic Market 98. The same is true overseas with many anime conventions in the US, the France Japan Expo, and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (in France). It is now impossible to hold a large anime-related event worldwide.

Cinema box office performance has also been greatly affected. Business hours were shorted in the beginning, but when an emergency declaration was declared on April 7 in Tokyo’s seven prefectures, the third stage began and the number of business suspensions increased rapidly. Movie releases have been postponed one after another.

Animation production changed drastically after the emergency declaration

Nevertheless, animation production was advancing considerably until the second stage. Studios responded with sterilization and social distancing, lowering the density by shifting days and times for work to be done. When I interviewed several anime studios in the first week of April, it was often said that production could continue despite a decrease in volume unless there was a so-called city lockdown.

However, the situation changed drastically after the emergency declaration. It’s not a lockdown, but it brings many city functions to a standstill, and the movement to temporarily close most of the production studios is increasing in response to the official request to leave home as little as possible.

Self-restraint is also being practiced by broadcast stations, publishing, and the music and movie industries to prevent the spread of infection. The entertainment industry is highly dependent on talent and active communications. The anime industry is no exception. In fact, there have already been reports of infections among CG studios and voice actors. The judgment is that stronger self-restraint is necessary.

So will animation production stop completely? Not everything will stop. Originally, many freelancers did the work of drawing keys and in-betweens, so it is possible to work at home or in a remote workshop. Online meetings are less efficient, but they are possible.

However, there are some bottlenecks that stop the production process. For example, delivery of hand-drawn original art. People have to gather in small spaces to do voice recording work. This causes production delays. Since the second week of April, there have been postponements of new TV broadcasts of popular titles.

Anxiety over decreased production and corporate stamina

When broadcasts are postponed, their time slots free up. Some say reruns should fill that slot. Certainly, in recent years there has been more anime than can be watched in one season, so it would be a good opportunity to see an overlooked masterpiece. If it is a series, it’s also possible to maintain fan enthusiasm with a rerun of previous seasons. Past masterpieces and popular works are also good.

There is the additional problem of finance. Production committees in the area of late-night anime directly purchase broadcast windows for many new works. When an original title is broadcast, the purchase of a new window occurs. What should be done about the additional cost?

The problem of added cost is the same in a production studio. Animation schedules have been tight in recent years, and this seems to be a chance to extend deadlines and produce it with more leeway. However, if a production period is prolonged, the maintenance costs and personnel expenses of a studio go up. This becomes a problem of maintaining corporate stamina.

Because there are no new works during the postponement period, it is easy to overlook the fact that new anime planning and preproduction will disappear. Works currently in progress will be shown later, but the number of new productions and plans will go down when schedules are reorganized.

Take the number of movies to be released in 2020 as an example. In 2018, there were 74 anime films. Compared to this, if the movie box office stops for two months, demand for 12 or 13 films will disappear. That’s the number of projects that would have been made in the future. The longer box offices remain closed, the more that number will go up. This is true of TV anime and direct-to-video as well. Major companies such as Bandai Namco Arts and Aniplex have announced delays in release schedules for DVDs and Blu-rays.

It is expected that if corporate stamina is lost, it will lead to a decrease in the number of productions. This can be directly linked to the future income of production staff.

How will the anime industry change after Corona?

Because it is not known when the Corona virus will end, it is difficult to forecast the future situation. There is no doubt that some big changes are in store. For one thing, the anime industry’s prime marketing method of gathering lots of fans to boost excitement is likely to be avoided.

CG studios have shown strength while production delays continue. Servers, a mechanism for sharing information on computers, are easily applied to remote work. Of course, there are issues such as the performance of a home computer and restricted access to a server, but there are solutions to this.

In fact, many studios in Europe and North America continue to produce animation. Digital production is progressing, and many of the jobs can be done online. The digitalization of domestic Japanese animation production, which has lagged behind other countries, will be considered now more than ever. Many staff members are resistant to digital devices, but it is possible that the adoption of digital drawing, considered in Japan to be very difficult, could make unexpected strides.

Voice recording, which is considered unique in Japan for gathering several voice actors in one place, is also being reviewed, and it may become more common to do separate recordings. Even now, separate recordings are done for theatrical movie talent and busy voice actors, so the know-how does exist.

I don’t know if these changes will actually happen. There may be more changes. Novel Corona has delivered such a huge shock that it could change the culture and business spirit of Japanese anime.

Journalist Naoshi Sudo was born in Mexico and raised in Yokohama. He conducts interviews, reporting, and writing on animation in Japan and overseas, also researching the anime business. His information site Anime! Anime! was established in 2004, and he became an independent journalist in July 2016.

Photo posted on Twitter by Take Channel36

April 22: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model, Vol. 65

The intensity went up significantly with this volume, filled with all the parts for the missile-launching mechanism on the starboard flank. (The same mechanism for the port side came in an earlier volume.)

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a modeler’s blog here.

April 23: Model news

Bandai surprised everyone with the announcement of yet another Mecha Collection mini-model, the automated “Black Berserker Battalion” version of Andromeda that flung itself at Gatlantis in droves.

Preorders opened on April 23 for release in September 2020.

April 28: Yamato Crew products

Yamato Crew stepped up to offer a new round of “lifestyle merch” from their online store, all scheduled to ship out mid to late May. First, a pair of “eco bags” with a newly-styled logo graphic.

Next, three different wireless phone chargers (you charge your phone just by laying it on top of them).

And last, five hotel-style key fobs color-coded to ship divisions with all-English text for the first time anywhere.

This is where we have to swallow the reminder that Yamato Crew only ships to Japanese addresses, so you’ll need a friend in Japan to buy these for you.

April 29: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model, Vol. 66

The last volume for April contained the lower hull plate for the starboard flank, allowing this chunk of the ship to be completed.

See Hachette’s instruction video here.

See an unboxing video here.

See a modeler’s blog here.

April 30: Product news

Noel Corporation is a new name in the world of Yamato, and a fairly new toy company going back to just 2018. They specialize in toy trains, particularly reproductions of cutting-edge linear mag-lev trains in Japan. One of their newest products is a “floating model” that literally hovers above its base.

From there, it’s a short jump to their forthcoming floating model of the Galaxy Express 999, scheduled for release in July. And from there, it’s just another short jump to the rest of Leiji Matsumoto’s famous spaceships, including Yamato. So this is a company to watch.

Visit Noel’s homepage here.

Also spotted in April

Hero’s Record promo art

Over and above the usual monthly round of promo art for mobile game campaigns, Hero’s Record revealed some interesting prizes on their Twitter page in April, new sets of acrylic figures using super-slick art from the game.

See these and the April promo art here.

Family Theater reruns

Satellite channel Family Theater brought a continuing gift to those on lockdown with four classic saga reruns through the month: Series 1 on April 2, Series 2 on April 21, and Series 3 on April 25. As a bonus, Be Forever Yamato was broadcast April 12. More was to come in May.

Fan art

New and delightful fan art flowed through the Twittersphere throughout the month. See a character gallery here and a mecha gallery here.

Fan models

Limited contact with the outside world? That’s just another day in the life of a modelbuilder. And they took full advantage of it, sharing enough photos to fill two galleries. See the first one here and the second here.

Aquarius Algorithm fan art

Yumatahazuki still carries the banner of the only fan artist doing his own character design for the ongoing Aquarius Algorithm serial novel from the fan club magazine. See larger versions of these new images here.

Boat Race Omura prize

The last echo of Yamato’s tie-in with Boat Race Omura arrived in the form of prizes in the mail. Said prizes were a collection of all ten commemorative 2202 phone cards in a keepsake folder. Photos posted on Twitter by PikKa and Duke Oshima.

Live-action movie images

Half the fun of trawling through Twitter is finding artifacts you never expected to see. In this case, fan modeler Hearyhat shared the unusual discovery of CG model images from the 2010 live-action movie.

No source was indicated, but these are by far the clearest shots of Captain Okita’s battleship and Yukikaze we’ve seen so far.

See them at full size in the original post here.

Cosmo Tiger vs Corona

Twitter user Rimomusume showed some fighting spirit by posting these photos of a Yamato 2202 towel taking up a defensive role. The caption read, “It’s time to use this towel.”

Continue to Report 47

4 thoughts on “Space Battleship Yamato 2202 Report 46

  1. Thanks for tightening up the PITSBERG editor’s note. The project is in its final stages as far as the story (up until the close) goes, apparently.

  2. As a challenge for the loyal fanbase, maybe some of the staffers, devotees and otherwise who work on this website can find safe ways to disclose their identities, and receive and distribute help (e.g. volunteering, supplies, monetary donations and whatnot) with surviving these times we find ourselves in. This should be done on a case by case basis, of course.
    I hope everyone who visits this site can be encouraged to give generously to any legitimate organizations who request help. Yamato has always been a way to compel us to look at the human condition. This viral disease should be a call to action. The ‘aliens’ this time are not truly alien, but we as loyal crew should be able to help in any way possible.

    • Your consideration is much appreciated, but no financial contributions are needed. As for “staffers,” I pretty much gather/translate/write/edit/post everything as a one-man band except for the 2202 commentaries. And I get occasional translation help if I hit a wall. Monetary donations are not required. That said, I applaud any and all spirits of giving in these strange days.

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