Well, now, that’s more LIKE it. You have to go all the way back to the premiere of 2202 Chapter 7 (March 2019) to find a month as busy as June 2021. That’s what a long-awaited movie premiere will do for you. Age of Yamato finally opened and 2205 news poured in with it, making June an amazing month to be a fan.
We’ll start with a step back to something we missed…
April 25: Departing Ship: a Baritone’s Collection of Hiroshi Miyagawa Songs
Yamato music can be found in unexpected places. This CD features solo performances of no less than 12 classic Yamato songs by Baritone Tetsuro Kitamura (with piano accompaniment). It’s a masterful performance for a very select audience, and is thus not available through mainstream sources. It is independently published by BKM Records and can be ordered here (ships only to Japanese addresses).
Hear Tetsuro Kitamura’s rendition of The Scarlet Scarf here.
June 2: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 123
The first Andromeda parts of the month were unsexy internal components for the forward lighting. But, of course, it was only the 13th volume out of 60.
See Hachette’s instruction video here
See an unboxing video here
See a modeler’s blog here
June 4: Age of Yamato ticket stub campaign announced
Buying two tickets to see Age of Yamato at two different times in a theater would qualify you for a special prize. From June 11 to July 8, submitting a photo of your tickets through the official 2202 website would qualify you to win the art print shown above, created by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno. 2,202 winners would be selected from all the applicants.
The story behind the illustration was not disclosed at the time, but it was learned afterward that it related to a novella that would be released as a bonus item with the Age of Yamato Blu-ray (keep reading for more).
June 4: Official interview
Back when it still seemed like Age of Yamato was going to be released in January, a spate of promo interviews was published online (find them in Report 55), but naturally they tapered off when it was decided to postpone. One week before the actual premiere, the engine started up again and the first new interview appeared on the official website.
It reunited Writer Harutoshi Fukui with Dessler voice Koichi Yamadera, and it would be one of several to appear over the subsequent week. Read it here.
June 4: Promotional Meeting of 2021, Part 1
Always a welcome part of a Yamato premiere, the first on-camera group interview appeared on this day with two more to follow. The 17-minute discussion brought together MC Eriko Nakamura, Writer Harutoshi Fukui, Scriptwriter Hideki Oka, and Age of Yamato Director Atsuki Sato, all separated by glass panels and wearing custom-made T-shirts with the word “Age” on them.
Among the topics they covered was the difficulty of choosing definitive dates for the Yamato timeline (they’re inconsistent, so compromises had to be made), working under pandemic restrictions, and deciding how to structure the film. They also said that individual film strips would be given away to moviegoers. 3,000 specific images had been chosen for them by the staff.
See the video on Youtube here.
June 4: Isao Sasaki 60th anniversary concert report
Back on April 9, Isao Sasaki performed his first live-streaming concert to mark the occasion of his 60th anniversary as a performer. On June 4, Yomiuri online published a firsthand account of someone who was in the limited audience. There was no byline on the article, but the author speaks for all of us.
Power in full swing! Isao Sasaki’s 60th anniversary live
See the original article here
I went to a live concert to celebrate the 60th anniversary Isao Sasaki’s debut, an anison singer known for the Space Battleship Yamato theme song. Since the concert was held during the Corona pandemic, there were thorough safety measures such as temperature checks and alcohol disinfection. Of course, the audience had to wear masks (as did the band and chorus on stage when they weren’t singing or playing), and the only cheering was applause. It was the first time in a long while that I was intoxicated by live sound.
The opening song was of course the Yamato theme, sung by Sasaki with accompaniment on wind instruments, which made my tears suddenly well up. The story of Yamato, which set off into space in search of a radiation removal device to save Earth from near extinction, overlapped with the current difficult situation of the present day world, and I was deeply moved.
When I listened to the theme song of Galaxy Express 999, which was performed next, I had a completely different impression from when I watched the anime. The emotional voice of Sasaki is soothing to my heart, which is tired from a year of grappling with Corona. On the other hand, robot songs such as UFO Robo Grendaizer are powerful enough to inspire and encourage us to look forward to the future.
In addition to anison [anime songs], Sasaki made his debut as a “Japanese Elvis” and sang in a wide range of genres over his sixty years of performing. What I found amazing was not just live performance of old hit songs; he also sang an insert song for this year’s super sentai series, Machine Squadron Zenkaiger, in a duet with Ms. Michiko Horie, who came in as a guest. She is still going strong in her 60th year as a singer. What surprised me even more was when Sasaki said, “I am 79 years old” with a laugh.
He sang 24 songs, including the encore. Given the luster and power of his voice and the way he moved to the rhythm, it is hard to believe that he will be 80 years old in just one year. His voice is the same as it was in the past, and those of us in the audience were able to enjoy the happiness of sharing the same space as adults.
At the end, they sang the theme song of Superhuman Machine Metalder. My tears flowed again when I heard the lyrics of the song, “Is your youth shining?” It was exactly the song and words I needed to hear right now. As I watched Isao singing, I thought to myself, “I will live my life with no shame about the songs I listen to.” I also thought that no matter how difficult the world is, looking forward and doing our best is what we have been taught by hero songs.
To prevent infection, there were no congratulatory flowers or loud cheering at the concert. However, the sparkle of Isao’s songs definitely lit up the hearts of the audience and those who participated via streaming. It was such a miraculous night.
June 5: Family Theater reruns
Right on time to support Age of Yamato, the Family Theater satellite network commenced reruns of both Yamato 2199 (starting this day) and 2202 (starting June 19), which allowed anyone to dash home from the theater and see the full-length version of the story all over again.
June 6-11: Interview week
This was a week to keep your eyes online as one interview after another popped up during the final countdown to the premiere. Writer Harutoshi Fukui, Scriptwriter Yuka Minakawa, Director Atsuki Sato, Composer Akira Miyagawa, Sanada voice Houchu Otsuka, Kodai voice Daisuke Ono and Dessler voice Koichi Yamadera all appeared individually and in combinations. Read them at these links:
June 8: Radio show
A long-standing silence was broken on this day when Writer Harutoshi Fukui appeared on the TBS program Hikaru Ijuin’s Radio Talk to promote Age of Yamato and FINALLY deliver the first word on Yamato 2205: it would be released in theaters in October.
Of course, he had plenty more to say. Following is a summary contributed by friend-of-the-website Minoru Itgaki:
Fukui was asked to work on the rebooted Yamato after his then-current Gundam project. He thought he couldn’t miss the opportunity to participate, so he did. If you remove the eye-like cameras and fragile antennae from Gundam to make it more realistic, it wouldn’t be Gundam any more. The same goes for Yamato; if you change the design, it becomes something different. It’s not made to be realistic on a scientific level, but resonant as a human drama.
He was inspired by the work of Kaoru Takamura to become a writer, saying he felt ecstasy from the feeling of “walking through someone else’s thoughts.” While working at a security company, he felt a sense of urgency to find something he could be passionate about, and started on his path to becoming a writer. He submitted a book to Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, who pronounced it 10.5% good and 8.5% not good, then hired him to novelize Turn A Gundam. “Respectable writers” don’t do novelizations, but he took the job because he knew it would never happen again.
Fukui went on to describe Tomino as a deranged loudmouth (paraphrasing), but said that’s what allows him to make interesting anime, and few people over 30 get angry at him.
June 9: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 124
A recognizable external part turned up this week, the lateral bulge that sits just behind the Wave-Motion Guns. And since no part is insignificant, this one is engineered to accommodate a future gimmick.
See Hachette’s instruction video here
See an unboxing video here
See a modeler’s blog here
June 10: Kia Asamiya on Twitter
Let’s pause and devote a moment of recognition to this message from Mr. Asamiya, whose association with the saga goes all the way back to doing animation for Final Yamato in 1983…
Tomorrow is finally the day that Age of Yamato will be released in theaters! This is my last work as an animator, and I am deeply moved by the fact that I was able to be in charge of storyboarding, layout, original art, and various checks for Yamato, which was the reason I entered this world! Thank you all for your support.
Read an interview about his work on the film here
Read a career-spanning interview here
See a gallery of his Yamato art here
Photo posted on Twitter by gigagiga100000
June 11: Age of Yamato premiere
After a 6-month pandemic-motivated delay, The Age of Space Battleship Yamato, the Choices of 2202AD, premiered in 36 Japanese theaters for a 4-week run. Later in the month, five theaters would decide to hold it over for an additional week.
With a running time of two hours, it does the seemingly impossible: summarizes Yamato 2199 and Yamato 2202 AND sets up both of them with nearly ten minutes of new footage that begins with the Apollo 11 launch in 1969. From there, it “rockets” through subsequent space history, a commemorative restoration of the Battleship Yamato (in 2145), and major events leading up to the war with Garmillas. Rather than a straight-up compilation, it is framed as a documentary from the future. Shiro Sanada serves as its on-camera “commentator,” cleverly continuing his role as Yamato‘s spokesman from the end of 2202.
Photos by yumikikuta and Minoru Itgaki
Those who saw the film on opening day received free filmstrips as a thank-you gift. Over 3,000 different versions were chosen and given away in theaters until supplies ran out.
As we all know by now, the arrival of a new film always brings us much more than the film itself. So here we go…
June 11: Age of Yamato program book
The program book was a gorgeous 40-page affair that had been printed for the January release and held in storage rather than being reprinted. Instead, the production committee decided to insert an errata sheet that updated various tidbits. Most strikingly, a spread (above right) that gave June 11 as the originally-planned premiere date for Yamato 2205! So, in another world, that film would have arrived in theaters on this very calendar day. Screw you, Covid.
The rest of the book had artwork, interviews, and making-of material. See it from cover to cover here.
Living in the Age of Yamato
by Harutoshi Fukui (composition and supervision)
The Age of Space Battleship Yamato. I was afraid that title might be mistaken for a true story like “The Men Who Made Yamato.” But from the moment I came up with the concept of taking a look at the world of the remakes from zero, I had no choice but to use that title.
What is the Age of Yamato? To put it bluntly, it is a time when new aliens invade the Earth every year. It is a time when the human race, which had no idea that there were other humans, is now facing a new era. The common sense that they had developed over their history was completely destroyed. It is a time when we are forced to adapt in order to survive.
I tried to expand the resolution of the old series, which to some extent was made for children, and rework it so that it could be appreciated by adults. The result is an incredibly desperate scenario. After the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy, the Lost Decade, 9/11, the War on Terror, the Great Recession, and the 3/11 earthquake, unprecedented yearly climate disasters, and the Corona Pandemic, we are now living in a time where we can’t just laugh off the despair of the past.
We are living in a future that is clearly different from what was envisioned when the original Yamato was created. I once wrote in a program book for 2202 that the overall situation is much more serious than it was then.
Yes, Age of Yamato is a reflection of the present. The worst things that we thought to be impossible are now happening so often that we don’t know what to believe anymore. This is a mirror image of the current era, where it is so difficult to do just that. This conviction led me to choose the title for this film.
“Victory or…” In post-war Japan, where war is a taboo subject, such words made people rethink war as a personal matter, and the original Yamato gave a message to the audience at that time.
Thus, it seems inevitable that a Yamato remake, which set sail after the Tohoku Earthquake, has taken in the atmosphere of the times. However, in contrast to the original, which objectified the past war and presented a chance to rethink the present, the remake series confronts the present, the ongoing era. Conventional words do not resonate with us.
This is the story of an innocent and simple young man named Susumu Kodai, who faces cruel reality and almost loses his mind, but still chooses to continue living. Ultimately, it is up to each person to decide what to pick up from the story that is summed up in that one sentence.
But if I may say one thing, Susumu Kodai did not come back to this world by accepting reality. It was the people he loved and the “future” he had not yet seen that gave him the strength to fight against reality. He was able to look forward again. We are adults. Instead of dwelling on the past, we know that we have to adapt to the new environment as quickly as possible. But still, I don’t want us to forget that we don’t live to adapt, we live to be happy.
The word “new” should be used for things that bring more comfort to people and society, not for things that keep people apart and take away their freedom. Even if the only future that exists is one where we keep pulling the trigger, we should not give up. We need to have a solid heart that pursues ideals and happiness as a human being.
Susumu Kodai’s story, which questions the meaning and significance of what it means for a person to be human, has become “our story” even more than when I finished telling it in 2202. This film is a rumination on that, not a story of the future, which is needed now. That is the role of 2205, which follows.
However, when you look back on this story from the Yamato world, which has been connected to the real world through the journey that began with real space development, I believe that everyone’s perception of Age of Yamato will be slightly different. Susumu Kodai’s hope is now gently tucked away in your own hearts.
Please look around you. This may be a world where everyone hides their true face behind a mask, or it may not. What you feel when you see it is up to you. But please don’t use the word “inevitable” to shut yourself away, and please don’t let go of your feelings. Even now, it may happen tomorrow.
As Sanada says, the future arises only in the turmoil of the heart that hopes for a better tomorrow. According to one side of logic, only those who keep changing with the environment will survive. In fact, that is exactly what awaits us in 2205. I look forward to the day when I can see you all again, and believe that everyone will naturally be able to smile at each other.
June 11: Age of Yamato limited edition Blu-ray
The theater-exclusive Blu-ray could be bought on-site by ticket holders. It contained the film and bonus features: trailers, commercials, audio commentary, and a 24-page booklet.
One particular highlight of the booklet is a full reveal of the teaser image released late in 2020 and slowly expanded as the original premiere date closed in. Painted by the great Naoyuki Katoh, it includes ships seen only in the new movie footage.
See the booklet here
The bonuses that made this an exclusive edition were three items that came bundled with the Blu-ray: a 5″ x 6″ art card by Character Designer Nobuteru Yuuki, a 196-page script & storyboard book, and a 96-page novella.
The script/storyboard collection is a flip book, meaning the script reads from one end (148 pages) and the storyboards read from the other (48 pages). It comes with the English title Star Blazers Chronicle 2202, which appears nowhere else.
This information made it possible to create a transcript for both the opening and the epilogue of the film, which can be read (with stills) here.
The novella is titled That My Heart Should Be This Way and is written by 2202 novelist Yuka Minakawa. Nobuteru Yuuki illustrated the cover, and interior art consists of three pieces by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno.
Friend-of-the-website Minoru Itgaki reports that, “It is a later story of Yamato 2202. Saki Todo receives a report of a ‘ghost’ from her crew, a man asking for a meeting with Shiro Sanada. Ginga returns to Earth for routine maintenance, where Saki learns more about Sanada from Kaoru Niimi.”
Naturally, this would be ideal for translation here, but Cosmo DNA policy is to hold off on such things until they are no longer a source of revenue for anyone.
The standard issue Blu-ray (without the books) will be available through regular channels on August 27. And no, it will not include English subtitles. At this point, it’s a safe bet that we won’t be seeing any more of those.
June 11: Age of Yamato theater goods
Products sold in theater gift shops weren’t as extensive as previous outings (it was the same for the 2199 compilation film), and they continued to fill out categories we’ve seen before. At right we have a pin set and a multi-clip set.
There’s usually at least one surprise in the bunch, and this pair of clear files was it. Referred to as the A set, it featured a new image of Sanada by Kia Asamiya. This was far and away the most popular item, selling out at almost every theater on day one.
The B set took the unusual step of placing Sanada into Star Blazers Lambda, drinking a cup of coffee with Alexei and looking surprised to be there.
The C set was more in keeping with imagery in the film. In fact, the art of Yamato at left was created for a shot at the end of the movie.
Next up, a pen light, two sets of trading cards, and a pack of ten postcards…
…and finally, more from Under Armour in their continuing role as a Yamato sponsor: waist pack, backpack, and two caps. There is undoubtedly much more to come in October with 2205.
June 11: Nikkei Sports newspaper
Bandai/Namco, makers of the Age of Yamato Blu-ray, took an unusual approach to their full-page ad in the June 11 edition of Nikkei Sports: an Age of Yamato board game that follows the narrative of the story up to the end of 2202. A fan with the Twitter name Sousui was nice enough to post a photo of the whole thing, so let’s just enjoy it here:
June 11: Promotional Meeting of 2021, Part 2
For the second episode of this video presentation, Director Atsuki Sato was replaced by Kia Asamiya in an extremely rare on-camera appearance to discuss the process of evolving storyboards into finished shots. Dessler voice actor Koichi Yamadera also checked in with a few comments.
See it on Youtube here
Photo posted on Twitter by the Yamato Production Committee
June 11: Age of Yamato commemorative online promotional meeting
Bandai sponsored a live-streaming Yamato talk show on the evening of June 11, after the superfans presumably saw the movie already. By now, the participants were familiar: MC Eriko Nakamura, Writer Harutoshi Fukui, Director Atsuki Sato, and Scriptwriter Hideki Oka. This time, they were seated with sheets of transparent plastic suspended between them for virus protection.
Whereas the previous online videos were recorded over a week earlier, this was the first to come out after the premiere, which opened up more topics of conversation. And it was substantially longer, almost an hour twenty. A week earlier, a call had gone out on Twitter for fans to post their personal Yamato story with a specific hashtag so they could be read on this program. The making of the film was also discussed and the theater merch was examined.
See the video on Youtube (while it lasts) here
June 11: Yamato 2205 announcements
Then there was the OTHER big news for premiere day: the full-up reveal of Yamato 2205, The New Voyage. The first physical product anyone could get was this flyer, given away free in theaters. If all goes to plan, Chapter 1 TAKE OFF, will arrive in 36 theaters on October 8.
Advance tickets went on sale that same day, and preorders for the standard-edition Blu-ray were opened up online. It is scheduled for release November 26, and the preorder deadline within Japan is August 19. There will also be a limited edition theater version, and if you act RIGHT NOW you can reserve one through CD Japan’s proxy service. Click here to make it happen. (And in case it’s not clear yet, do not expect it to be subtitled.)
The most substantial information available on that day was to be found on the official website, and it was just the beginning of the 2205 news we’ve all been waiting for. In fact, there was enough to fill up a whole report of its own. (Linked at the end of this report, which is only half over. Told ya, June was a big month!)
June 11: Star Blazers Lambda Chapter 14
Back in the world of Space Battleship Yamato Next, the new chapter of Star Blazers Lambda gave fans one more thing to do with their day. In this interlude chapter, life is returning to normal for the Topness pilots and we get a look at how Laine invited Yu into the Star Sailor game that brought him here. But it isn’t long before his terrifying dreams come back to haunt him…and we finally learn what they mean.
See the chapter with description here
The biggest day of the month was over, but there was still more than half a month left with a LOT more on the agenda.
Continue to Part 2