We didn’t get the burst of activity we were hoping for due to Age of Yamato premiere being postponed, but January still pulled up equal to December anyway. The arrival of the new Symphonic Suite was definitely the highlight of the month, but there was plenty more to keep the fires lit.
January 1-3: Mantan Web interviews
During the first week of January, everything was still on track for Age of Yamato‘s premiere on the 15th, so the promo machine was in motion. Mantan Web published interviews over three consecutive days to talk about the film. First up was Dessler’s voice actor Koichi Yamader and writer Harutoshi Fukui.
Next came Sanada’s voice actor Houchu Otsuka and Composer Akira Miyagawa, both of whom had much to say. Read all three interviews here.
January 3: Tokyo MX weekly broadcast
The original Yamato series aired weekly on Sunday nights, so it was fitting that Tokyo MX began a commemorative Sunday night broadcast to promote the movie. It wouldn’t be a complete run, however; Age of Yamato Director Atsunori Sato “curated” key episodes from both 2199 and 2202 to be shown over three months. Naturally, his opening salvo was Yamato 2199 Episode 1. Episode 2 followed on the 17th and Episode 10 on the 24th.
January 4: Blood donation campaign
“Blood donation – It’s a light of hope that saves lives”
On this day it was announced that the Kyoto Red Cross Blood Center would set up a collaboration campaign for donors, from January 15 to the end of February. Voluntary blood donors would receive a Yamato clear file, and anyone who retweeted the collaboration announcement would get a free poster.
Since this was tied into the premiere of Age of Yamato, it is likely that it lost some steam with the delay, but there have been no announcements of cancellation so hopefully some of the red stuff was still harvested for future needs.
January 5: Book news
Not all of the January news came from Japan! A new book was soon to arrive for English-speaking fans, a collection of essays on the legendary Leiji Matsumoto. Editor Helen McCarthy sat down for a two-hour video interview with Leijiverse to talk all about it. Spending two hours with Helen is guaranteed to make you both happier and smarter. Click here and enjoy!
January 6: Family Theater reruns
The Family Theater satellite channel gave everyone a chance to see Yamato 2202 again when a rerun was launched on this day. And it wouldn’t take six months this time, since they ran two episodes in a single block every week. It would continue through March 31.
January 6: Judge John Hodgman podcast
Episode 499 of Judge John Hodgman opened with a followup to the writer/comedian’s prior admission that he was capable of singing the Star Blazers theme after watching the show as a teenager. Did he do it this time? Listen and find out!
January 8: Screw you, Coronavirus!
Today, the official word was given:
Notice of Postponement of The Age of Space Battleship Yamato Screenings and Various Releases
In light of the spread of the new coronavirus infection in Japan and the declaration of a state of emergency by the Japanese government, we have decided to refrain from screening the film from January 15 and postpone it. We sincerely apologize to all those who have been looking forward to the screening of the film.
In accordance with the postponement, the Blu-ray special limited edition and the digital sale version will also be postponed. The schedule for future release dates will be announced at the Yamato 2202 official website as soon as they are determined.
Please keep your advance tickets in a safe place, as they can be used for the postponed screenings. The stage greetings will also be cancelled. Customers who purchased tickets through the Yamato Crew Premium Lottery will receive a refund.
We apologize for the inconvenience this situation may cause to those who are planning to see the film.
– Space Battleship Yamato 2202 Production Committee
January 8: Star Blazers Lambda Chapter 9
This intriguing chapter of the Space Battleship Yamato NEXT manga by Ryuko Azuma expands the world we’ve seen so far by bringing a controversial new AI fleet from Earth to fight the Seireness aliens at Jupiter. As the characters experience mixed reactions to this unexpected turn, a new attack erupts with results no one could have predicted.
See it all with description here.
January 10: Tokyo MX TV special
A commemorative half-hour Age of Yamato TV special had been assembled for broadcast on Tokyo MX prior to the postponement, and it was decided to air it despite the lack of a movie on theaters. Director Atsunori Sato sat down to discuss it with voice actor/host Eriko Nakamura. Also presented were interviews with Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Koichi Yamadera (Dessler).
Unfortunately, the program is unavailable online as of this writing, so all we have are fleeting screenshots. These were posted on Twitter by Raptor Koba.
Photos posted on Twitter by hanamaru916
January 13: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 103
Since an extra volume was released in December, Hachette took a week off and then resumed on this day. The amazing model is now unmistakably in its homestretch, signaled by this bundle of stern parts.
See Hachette’s instruction video here
See an unboxing video here
See a modeler’s blog here
January 15: Symphonic Suite Yamato 2202
You can close movie theaters, but you CAN’T. STOP. THE MUSIC. The arrival of a new Yamato CD always lifts the mood, but this one truly is something special. Akira Miyagawa had long been thinking about eventually creating his own Symphonic Suite to plant a flag next to his father’s famous original, and on this day it finally arrived. What’s more, we may actually have Covid-19 to thank for it, since the pandemic wiped out Miyagawa’s 2020 performance schedule and gave him all the time he needed to write. He discussed the process at length in an extended interview that can be read here.
The album is bright, lively, and inventive with a roughly even mix of classic and modern compositions. It explores a range of styles, delivering unexpected twists and turns that keep you surprised and riveted all the way through. (Yes, this is a shameless and unqualified endorsement.)
Hear samples at the Japanese music site e-onkyo here.
Commemorative clear file, a bonus item at participating stores
By Yoshie Terunari, Lantis
Here is a summary of this album’s track titles and the songs included. Please consider it a supplement to the main part of the music and the interview with Akira Miyagawa.
Chapter 1 / Earth
This is not an introduction, but the first chapter. It is already a part of the story. It includes The Galaxy’s Embryonic Movement ~ Overture to Birth, Silent First Movement of the Universe, The Abandoned City, Salute to Yamato, and Yamato 2202: New Overture. It is a glimpse into the drama of a devastated Earth and its people. After Andromeda comes Yamato Launch and Original Yamato Theme. We can see Yamato flying away from the earth, carrying with it various conflicts and human dramas.
Chapter 2 / Teresa
Starting with From Teresa to the Humans, we move into Battle to Stalemate and Teresa’s Theme. The postscript is from Cosmo Wave. This song was taken from an older composition at the time of production and was tentatively titled Teresa’s Theme when it was produced.
Chapter 3 / White Comet
The Genealogy of the White Comet (dedicated to Keith Emerson). When Akira Miyagawa made this album, he felt a great influence from Keith Emerson while connecting the White Comet theme with Roma folk music to create the Traveler’s Theme for the 2019 Close To You Tonight concert.
He wanted to share the musical lineage of Keith Emerson, his father Hiroshi Miyagawa, and the descendents who performed with him in this work. It is probably not a coincidence that we feel the main theme of Gatlantis, which creates successive generations through cloning. An organ plays a leading role in the melody leading to Great Emperor Zordar, although it is not a pipe organ.
Art card by Nobuteru Yuuki, bonus for preorders (approx. 5″ x 5”)
Chapter 4 / Darkness
A Dictator’s Anguish (Dessler) is the same as Berger’s Sorrow. When First Contact connects with Yamato U Boat Style, it becomes “someone who submerges.”
Chapter 5 / Tsubasa ~ Always Here
Sorrowful Yamato is connected to Tsubasa ~ Fading Life. The melody for Tsubasa was a theme in 2202 from the beginning, an impressive original melody by Akira Miyagawa. It was inspired by a similar arrangement of notes in his B melody in Space Battleship Yamato.
Chapter 6 / The Power to Fight
In this chapter, the score is divided into several parts, and the recording was done in several sessions. Wings of Determination (Dogfight) is a new name based on a connection from the previous chapter. You may remember many scenes as you hear Attack on Gatlantis, Encounter in the Void, The Ark Awakens (Shambleau), and The Endless War. Then comes Yamato Into the Maelstrom. Yamato‘s brave figure is there, fighting through various obstacles.
Chapter 7 / Love
First Embryonic Movement of the Galaxy is back again with Great Love. Where this theme should be played in 2202 is an important point. We feel again that it is really important to have this song at the end, not in the battle. And then we come to Final Song. There is a vast universe that accepts everything and expands infinitely.
This chapter from Scarlet Scarf is complete fan service [a fresh remake from the 1977 Symphonic Suite]. It was only after all the other recordings were finished that Akira Miyagawa said he wanted to record it. This song was composed and recorded in between the BGM work of Yamato 2205. That’s why we didn’t reveal the title, and wanted it to be a surprise for first-timers.
This chapter is one of the most important aspects of Yamato‘s music by Akira Miyagawa. Even if there was no mention of Disney, Quintet, or Matsuken Samba II, it is a fact that Yamato is supported by music and the power of his god-given talent to make people smile.
January 15: All Night Nippon radio special
All Night Nippon and Space Battleship Yamato go all the way back to 1977, when the popular radio show became a hub for exclusive Yamato features including live cast/staff interviews and audio dramas that accompanied movie premieres. The program’s name has since evolved to All Night Nippon Gold, and Yamato returned to its airwaves for the first time in 38 years on what SHOULD HAVE BEEN the premiere day for Age of Yamato. (No, I’m still not over it.)
Inside the studio; photo posted on Twitter by the Yamato Production Committee
Fortunately, fandom doesn’t need a premiere as an excuse to bathe in Yamato love. Announcer Masahiko Ueyanagi, a lifetime fan, was joined by co-host Eriko Nakamura for two hours. Also on hand (from a separate studio) were Writer Harutoshi Fukui and Composer Akira Miyagawa, now fully recovered from his bout with Covid back in December.
Fukui was on hand for the first hour, which introduced the reboot productions. The opening audio portion of Age of Yamato was featured with his verbal description. Miyagawa added plenty to the second half of the show since he had the new Symphonic Suite CD to talk about. It was explained that he is scoring Yamato 2205 to picture (like a movie) rather than generating a library of BGM tracks.
A job well done; photo posted on Twitter by the Yamato Production Committee
Listeners had been invited to submit their own “Yamato and me” testimonials by Email for reading on the program. The show was unavailable outside Japan, so we’ll just have to hope a recording eventually emerges.
January 17: Leiji Matsumoto: Essays on the Manga and Anime Legend published
How many times have you wished all those books on Leiji Matsumoto were in English so you could finally read about his life and times? As of now, that wish has come true. Clocking in at close to 250 pages, this book examines Matsumoto in English like never before. Whereas Cosmo DNA mainly sticks to his Yamato work, the contributors to Leiji Matsumoto Essays spread out over the vast field of his career and brought back the goods. Here is the official description to remove all doubt:
Leiji Matsumoto is one of Japan’s most influential myth creators. Yet the huge scope of his work, spanning past, present and future in a constantly connecting multiverse, is largely unknown outside Japan. Matsumoto was the major creative force on Star Blazers, America’s gateway drug for TV anime, and created Captain Harlock, a TV phenomenon in Europe. As well as space operas, he made manga on musicians from Bowie to Tchaikovsky, wrote the manga version of American cowboy show Laramie, and created dozens of girls’ comics. He is a respected manga scholar, an expert on Japanese swords, a frustrated engineer and pilot who still wants to be a spaceman in his eighties.
This collection of new essays–the first book on Matsumoto in English–covers his seven decades of comic creation, drawing on contemporary scholarship, artistic practice and fan studies to map Matsumoto’s vast universe. The contributors–artists, creators, translators and scholars–mirror the range of his work and experience. From the bildungsroman to the importance of textual analysis for costume and performance, from early days in poverty to honors around the world, this volume offers previously unexplored biographical and bibliographic detail from a life story as thrilling as anything he created.
Order it from Amazon (and see several preview pages) here.
Read an early review here.
Full disclosure and horn-tooting: the same person who wrote these words (Tim Eldred) also contributed an essay that takes a deep dive into Matsumoto’s manga techniques. Happy reading!
January 20: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 104
Every new volume was now filled with “decisive” components that brought builders to conclusive steps. This one contained all the remaining stern parts, allowing everyone to fill the interior compartments and wire them up for lighting along with the engines.
Photo posted on Twitter by Take Channel 36
See Hachette’s instruction video here
See an unboxing video here
See a modeler’s blog here
January 20: 1/350 Andromeda news
Something no Hachette modeler could fail to notice was a flyer included in Volume 104 to promote the forthcoming 1/350 Andromeda model. As previously announced, it will follow as a weekly series after Yamato ends with Volume 110. It will also stretch to a massive 50″ long when completed. But the flyer offered some new information that adjusts some expectations.
First, Andromeda will commence with Volume 111 rather than restarting from a Volume 1. This is probably for the sake of publishing convenience, since launching a completely new title adds complexity to promotion and distribution. The most surprising aspect is that despite its enormous size the model will require far fewer volumes; only 60 compared to Yamato‘s 110. There is no ready explanation for this, so all we can assume is that it will have fewer internal parts like motors and gears. It is being supervised by Mecha Designer Junichiro Tamamori, so it’s sure to be as authentic as possible.
Have another look at the promotional video here and try to find a place in your house where this monster would even fit.
January 23: HOBAS model exhibition
Hobby shows are still off the calendar due to the dirty rotten pandemic, but independent fan groups are doing what they can to fill the gap. For the second year in a row, a group called HOBAS (Hokkaido BBY-01 Association) set up their own exhibition of Yamato models in an underground walkway in the city of Sapporo. Numerous photos were posted on Twitter by organizer SNK22, who proudly mentioned the quality of lighting and the compliments from onlookers.
See a photo gallery here.
Edakio on Twitter
Anime layout artist Kio (Edakio) Edamatsu shared more of his work on Twitter, this time focusing on Yamato‘s engine room in 2199. His comments follow.
In 2199, I helped with the layout of Yamato‘s engine room. Perhaps because it is a key part of the Yamato, it was a place where the cameras often came in for something other than warps, such as the cleaning punishment duty in Episode 12, the phantom attack in Episode 14, and the battle against the Garmilloids in Episode 25.
The Wave-Motion Engine runs through the center of the ship, and there is a monitor room at the top, which is the same as in the 1974 version, but the engine room in 2199 has no floor, and is made up of multiple scaffolds passing through midair. It’s very cool, but it’s a tough design to draw, because it’s hard to nail down the horizontal and vertical references.
In the very early days of the series, the job was to modify and adjust what the animators had drawn based on the model sheets, but it must have been very difficult, and soon the process evolved to drawing the layout based on CG output from angles that matched the scenes.
In the engine room scene, there were many shots of people from a reverse angle, and the drawing paper was large because of the amount of information needed. Even though the focus was on the people, the details had to be drawn well enough to make the picture convincing. It was like a never-ending battle!
In 2202, the work assignments were completely changed, and I didn’t get to draw the engine room, probably because returning to a section I’d worked on before was not a factor in the decision. I felt a mixture of relief and sadness that this [engine room] battle was over, kind of like Yamato‘s crew at the beginning of the series.
He had more to say when he posted this image on January 31:
In Yamato 2199 Episode 13, I assisted in the mechanical drawing of the scene where Domel lands on planet Balan. Mr. Ishizu, who designed everything from the exterior to the interior of the bridge, did the tremendous detail-up drawings for the bottom and landing legs of the Domelaze III.
Since the Domelaze III is a huge ship with a length of 730m, the design for its landing legs has a density that suggests how huge they are and how they operate to absorb the impact of landing. But still, when I zoomed in to the angles and sizes shown in the storyboard, there were parts that looked like “nothing.”
In 2199, there were no standard anime “cheats” like avoiding such angles, or showing people close up so that the mechanics behind them are not as visible. The designer himself used a very extravagant method of drawing detailed designs for each shot to fill up the “empty” areas.
However, in the 21st century, where there are no time faults, it is impossible for a designer to work on all the shots, so there are often cases where another artist works on a scene. The image shown here was drawn by referring to the detailed-up drawings of the surrounding shots (shown below).
It was such a subtle difference in angle that I felt we could have used the same material, but the slight difference increased the tension in the finished image. It was very hard, but the experience of working on something that would definitely be improved if done right gave me the strength to keep going when I felt like giving up.
Aside from that, there were the leisurely movements of the CG, the contrast with other ships, the dashing appearance of the ship in the shockwave that overwhelmed Goeru and the others, and the details of the mechanics. Everything on the screen seems to convey the magnitude of what Domel is carrying and the charisma that overwhelms those around him, making this my favorite scene.
Visit Edakio’s Twitter page here
Photos posted on Twitter by hanamaru916
January 27: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 105
The month closed out with a true milestone; this volume delivered parts for the very last hull section, allowing builders to construct the large piece that magnetically attaches to the stern and covers the interior compartments. This left only five volumes until the finish line.
See Hachette’s instruction video here
See an unboxing video here
See a modeler’s blog here
Also spotted in January
Yamato Crew products
January was a month when you could really feel the pain of Yamato Crew’s policy to only ship stuff to Japanese addresses. What self-respecting fan wouldn’t want to wear their Yamato pride on their own face? Earth, Garmillas, and Gatlantis all got equal billing with these oh-so-timely fashions.
On top of that, they’re finally making that Cosmo Navy flight jacket we always wanted. Naturally, the first run sold out almost instantly. Photos posted on Twitter by Yakitori Yamato restaurant.
After all these years of describing fan art in this reports, it’s hard to keep finding superlatives. Suffice to say, if there was a type of game above “A game,” then that’s what everyone brought in January. (The image on the left with a masked Yamato says, “DAMN CORONA.”)
Hime37Olive took the spotlight when she posted these photos on Twitter, bringing a 2202-era Yamamoto to vivid life. Visit her Twitter page here.
Harutoshi Fukui sighting
2202 writer Harutoshi Fukui evidently makes regular stops at this café in Tokyo, which displays an Age of Yamato poster in its front window.
On an earlier visit (November 20) he’d stopped in to hand-write a greeting on the poster inviting everyone to see the new movie.
The cafe staff posted these photos on Twitter of a visit he made on January 9, the day after the delay was announced. This time he signed a notice of the delay and appended the poster with it, asking the fans to wait just a little longer. Oh, we know how to wait, Fukui-san. We’ve had a lot of practice…
Elsewhere in Tokyo, the big photo-op poster in the Shinjuku Piccadilly lobby has a similar notice pasted over the 1/15 release date.
On the other hand, the 3-meter Yamato model is still on display there. Suspended in warp, waiting for arrival, but still there. (Photos posted on Twitter by CamilleNoah.)
And finally, a roadway view from Twitter user Kaoru Hayakawa. Their caption: “Three-deck Carrier (LOL)”