Story Draft by Leiji Matsumoto
Following the October 1979 story meeting, Matsumoto took the lead in expanding the initial ideas into a story synopsis. He produced two drafts, completing the first on December 8 and the second on December 31. Presented here is his “B” draft, which was an expansion of the “A” draft and laid the foundation for the movie. Although “Be Forever Yamato” appears as a caption at the very end, it was not yet intended as the title of the story. Instead, this was a callback to the final episode title of TV Series 2.
The overall structure and core concepts in this draft remained intact in the finished film, but many details and almost all of the dialogue changed, leaving it a sort of “alternate universe” version of the story. Part synopsis, part script, it ran to a substantial length and used “XX” as a placeholder for names that had not yet been decided.
When this draft was published in Office Academy’s Be Forever Deluxe Book, some irrelevant details were omitted. Stills from the movie are included for illustrative purposes only, since of course they did not yet exist in December 1979.
Narration flows quietly over a dark screen:
The Mother of all who saw the beginning of eternity no longer exists in this universe. The one who will see the end may not exist yet either.
The flow of space-time that rules all of space is endless. The span of intelligent life that rose from the sea is fleetingly short, like the blink of starlight. During that time, humans experience great joy and sadness, suffer and fight for their beliefs, and then disappear. Vast outer space says nothing while its dark heart embraces everything…from the past to the future.
The screen begins to brighten during the narration; the sound of a machine gradually increases. We hear the voice of Captain Okita.
Okita: Ten seconds to Wave-Motion Engine ignition! Open energy conduction pipe!
Tokugawa: Roger, energy conduction valve released. Pressure increasing in the Wave-Motion Engine.”
Tokugawa: Flywheel connection at point 0.02.
Yuki: On course, no obstruction.
Okita: Yamato, launch!
The roar of the Wave Engine and the majestic Yamato theme swell at the same time…!
All the crew members are present. The dimensional compass glows orange.
Production credits flow over the scene. In the black sea of space, we see the white contrail of an approaching space fighter. The pilots wears a spacesuit. The face inside the helmet is Susumu Kodai’s.
Kodai: Drop point plus/minus zero; beginning dive!
The wings of Kodai’s fighter flutter as it drops into a dive. An artificial voice communication is heard.
Voice: Commencing high-velocity atmospheric test over point Galapagos, dive angle 90 degrees!
Kodai: Entering atmosphere in 5…4…3…
Suddenly, thousands of black spacecraft approach Kodai’s fighter like a strange dark veil. Kodai is shocked. Flashes of light surge from the flanks of the black ships; it is visible gunfire. Kodai twists his fighter and pulls up to evade it.
Voice: Dive angle shallowing. Maintain 90 degrees! Do not raise the nose!
Kodai’s fighter tilts upward and repels off the upper atmosphere. The dive has been reversed and he flies up over the black ships. His rudder and aileron are sheared off and the fighter receives substantial damage.
Kodai: This is Kodai, I’ve lost control! I’m ejecting!
Voice: Good luck!
Kodai’s fighter goes into a spin, and pieces are scattered. He presses the eject button. First the canopy, then the ejection seat are blown out into the sky. A passing Earth ship sees Kodai eject and the crew (Sanada) is surprised. Kodai’s parachute opens and he begins to descend.
Wounded, Kodai walks through an underground passage. Muttering voices are heard from around and behind him.
“This test should never have been approved.”
“The era of men flying spaceships is over.”
“Isn’t that the man who was on Yamato?”
“Today’s ships are so different from that antique. What does the EDF think?”
“The age of manned spaceflight has ended. Leave it to the machines!”
Kodai grits his teeth and endures the abuse, entering the locker room with a heavy heart. He shoves his flight suit violently into a locker, making a loud noise. His cosmogun falls out of its holster and drops to the floor with a clatter.
Kodai glares at himself in a mirror in the locker. In his reflection, he wears the uniform of a soldier with a black collar.
A woman’s hand picks up the cosmogun and holds it toward him silently. Kodai sees that she is about the same age as Yuki. Her name is Okita.
Okita: Don’t lose sleep over this, everyone experiences failure.
Kodai: I didn’t fail…
Okita: Are you on your way back to the hospital?
Okita: “I heard Yuki is not doing well.”
He seems very sad.
Panaromic view of the flight base with many people busily working. Kodai glances back at it in disappointment, then drops his shoulders and leaves.
Kodai climbs the stairs to a cheap apartment. He enters in the back and tosses his jacket into a room with a “Kodai” name card over the door. The house seems unfinished and off-kilter.
“Dr. Sado’s Clinic for Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals” is on a sign outside, along with the smaller words, “Humans Also Accepted.”
Hearing Kodai’s approaching footsteps, Sado appears and welcomes him with a broad smile.
Sado: What is it? What? Rejected by the atmosphere? Let’s have a drink.
Kodai: I’ll probably be fired after this.
Kodai: How is Yuki?
Sado: There’s no point in lying to you, she’s not well. I couldn’t help her here, so I moved her to the medical center. Sanada checked on her during your flight when you were out of communication. Well, drink up and don’t be down-hearted.
As Sado pours the liquor, the lights go out with a pop. At the same time, all the lights outside black out with a huge sparking sound that shakes the city. They flash on and off intermittently.
Sado: What the–? What’s the power company doing? This is miserable!
A taxi rushes through a travel tube to the medical center. Kodai and Sado get out, then descend in an elevator.
Sado: Without a compelling case, I don’t come here to the hospital very often.
Suddenly, they stop.
Sado: Do you remember this place?
Kodai: Yes, I do…
Kodai looks around the corridor, the same place where he met Yuki the first time.
Kodai: Shima and I met Yuki and you here.
Sado: And the story began…it feels like not very long ago.
Kodai stands in front of a hospital room. Sado silently pushes him inside.
Kodai gently opens a curtain around the bed to see Yuki’s pale, sleeping face.
Kodai: Didn’t you sleep?
Yuki: I heard yours and Dr. Sado’s footsteps. When someone’s time to die draws near, their senses become sharper.
Kodai: Don’t say such a stupid thing! Since when did you become such a coward?
Yuki: Kodai-kun…you look good in the black collar of the combat section.
The black collar on Yuki’s clothes hanging nearby is also from the combat section.
Kodai: The time we voyaged on Yamato seems like a dream.
Sanada enters quietly.
Sanada: I had an important experience during your dive test today, Kodai. I monitered it.
Kodai: Did you see it? That…black…
Sanada: Yes…it was a strange style.
Yuki: Sanada, are you all right?
Sanada: If I sit still, I heal fine.
Sado: My medical tools are all too old-fashioned and nearly useless. Can I ask you, Sanada?
Kodai: I’ll get someone.
Sanada: Wait. I’m not a doctor in a machine shop. An automatic medical machine will treat me.
Kodai suddenly gets a sad look.
Kodai: Even here…a machine rather than a human doctor.
Kodai, Sado, Sanada, and Mio Okita come to a plateau where thick grass grows. It was once the site of Hero’s Hill. The statue of Captain Okita became cracked and started to lean. The only remaining traces now are a pedestal and handrail.
Sanada: Maybe it was wrong to build these things. Maybe it was enough to keep the past in our hearts. As time goes on, people tend to forget the hopes of the past. Me too, no more battles.
As Sado pours liquor onto Okita’s pedestal, an unearthly roar is heard. They look up and see a flying object like a long train pass overhead, dropping through the night sky.
Sanada: It’s an automated carrier! It will fall!
Kodai: It will crash in the city!
Sanada: The safeguards aren’t working, the ones that are in all modern automated ships…
The ship crashes into the city center and a pillar of fire rises up. A cluster of high-rise buildings shakes, twists, and collapses.
Earth Defense Headquarters dominates the city center. Its windows reflect the burning city, which dyes it red. Mecha flashes by busily, and the headquarters is in an uproar. They react to points on large laser screens, one after the other.
Voice: Automated space transport fleet accident! At present 80% are still in flight! 680 vessels dropping into Earth’s atmosphere!
They go up in flames one by one as they re-enter the atmosphere. Furthermore, the larger ships that fall to the surface cause repeated explosions on land and sea.
The flight base is completely destroyed by a huge crashing ship. Kodai stands frozen in shock. A freeflight helicopter comes soaring in fast and furious.
Team leader: Headquarters helicopter!!
It lands, avoiding the wreckage. A gullwing door opens and a single man in a uniform appears.
Mamoru Kodai: Susumu, come with me!
Mamoru drags Kodai into the cramped helicopter without another word.
Mamoru: Wait, get farther back, there’s someone else coming.
Mio Okita jumps in. Kodai’s eyes pop when he sees her.
Kodai, Mamoru, and Mio rise into the grand headquarters building in an optical elevator. It resembles the old EDF headquarters, but is much bigger. The three enter the nerve center of the control system, the core mechanism of the Earth Defense Force.
Someone approaches them from behind: Sanada. The entire place is in an uproar. Images appear on large screens and we hear the voices of busy operators.
Voice: Current combat in area 18…the 8th fleet is engaged in battle 1.1 million space kilometers outside the solar system!
On the big screen, the 8th automated Earth fleet hurtles forward in a stately procession. Gun barrels turn and radar rotates, looking like knights of old.
Voice: The 8th automated Earth fleet complement is 8 battleships and 80 high speed cruisers, 100 assault ships and 360 torpedo boats. Commencing enemy contact!!
Voice: The 8th fleet chain of command has been destroyed! The flagship has exploded, this is an impossible battle!
A mechanical voice from the fleet is heard screaming (an android). Several Earth ships are captured and taken by the black fleet, which disappears so that its image quickly blurs out into space.
There are only four people in the command center of the headquarters.
Mamoru: Headquarters lent me this room and the machinery with good will.
Sanada: And I am needed here.
While saying so, Sanada holds up a piece of paper; it is a punchcard with holes in it.
Sanada: There is an unusual interval punch that occurred during the power failure last night.
Sanada inputs it into the computer. The computer starts blinking; dit-dit-dit-dit. A voice comes from the computer.
Sanada: This is a very simple form of communication from the old days called Morse Code. I’m not surprised, since the system automatically goes to Morse Code during a power outage.
Kodai: Then the other party is from Earth.
Okita: That black fleet is not a thing of Earth!
Mamoru: Listen Susumu, That was the last fleet of the Earth. Nothing more is left, not a single vessel.
Kodai: Nothing left….
Sanada: The federal parliament is holding an assembly now. So far, no one knows about the imminent situation. But after the fall of the fleet, they will begin to notice that some kind of accident has happened.
Kodai: The assembly?
Mamoru: It is likely to surrender…now that Earth is defenseless.
Sanada lets out a big sigh and speaks drastically.
Sanada: Kodai…will you come with me?
Kodai: Where to?
Sanada: To the ship of our heart, my friend.
Kodai: There’s no ship left on Earth that is still operated by humans!
Sanada: For some time, I’ve made contacts all over the net, looking for allies…men who haven’t forgotten the sea of stars…
Kodai: There’s no such ship…if only there was…if only there was one ship…
Sanada: Yamato…is what I want to say to you, Kodai.
Kodai, Sado, and Mio Okita are riding in a tube car. It stops at a hydrogen stand. They shout to a clerk sealed up inside the control room.
A rust-covered robot hears this from inside; it is the wreckage of Analyzer.
Analyzer: A genius like me stuck in a job like this….How discouraging and thankless!
He opens the window as he mutters, then jumps with surprise when he sees Kodai and Sado outside in the tube car.
Analyzer: Ko…Kodai-san! And great Dr. Sado!
Kodai: Doctor, I can’t believe Yamato is still around.
Analyzer overhears this with his super-hearing and his body stiffens.
Clerk: Focus on your job! He’s a very good customer, you malfunctioning robot!!
Analyzer is blamed and scolded by the clerk.
Kodai’s tube car finishes refueling and speeds away.
Analyzer: Yamato…Yamato is alive!
Yuki slips off her bed and crawls desperately across the floor toward her clothes.
Yuki: If Kodai goes…if everyone goes…I go, too…
Mamoru lifts Yuki up in his arms.
Mamoru: Please understand, Yuki…Susumu will surely return. When he met you…he was silent because the meeting was painful.
Tears fall from Yuki’s eyes.
Yuki: It will be more painful if there is no meeting.
Mamoru: Your body would not survive spaceflight now…you would surely die if you went with them.
Yuki: The only place I can die is by Kodai’s side…on board Yamato.
Mamoru: I wanted to go, too…please understand my feelings as an older brother. Your health is too delicate for you to go with Yamato…and I…as the head of the Earth Defense Force, I cannot leave here.
Yuki: Kodai-kun is gone! Yamato is gone!
Yuki goes into a frenzy. Mamoru holds onto her with gritted teeth.
Outside Earth’s atmosphere, the huge mysterious black army passes and destroys a surveillance satellite. A small ship launches and descends. A hatch opens in the side of the craft and armed soldiers jump out one after another wearing uniforms like black diving suits.
Commander: Beginning descent of the surprise attack unit over each capital. We will take control of Earth in 24 hours. The Earth Force is no match for us. You need not worry at all.
A grave voice is heard in the communication room.
Great Emperor: It is difficult work. Accomplish your duty without delay. I expect much of you!
The alien soldiers render a salute with their hands to their chests.
Comrades gather in the dark at the remnants of Hero’s Hill: Kodai, Dr. Sado, Sanada, and Shima Daisuke. Mio Okita and the other well-known members of the Yamato crew are there.
Kodai: I cannot believe Yamato is still around.
Sado: Even if it’s a dream, isn’t it a good dream?
Voice: Who are you?
Voice: A strange and impudent robot is barging in.
It is the rust-covered Analyzer.
Analyzer cries bitterly when Kodai embraces him.
The surprise attack unit invades Earth. They shoot at every person they see, regardless of age or gender; all are killed without restriction. Some of the soldiers raid the Earth Defense Command Headquarters, penetrating the interior through window balconies.
Mamoru: Close the barricades! Defend the control room, hold out as long as possible!
In a confused fight, the door to the nerve center is finally broken through and the attacking soldiers rush in. Earth soldiers challenge them in a hand-to-hand fight with swords and daggers, but many lose their fighting spirit and fall to the floor.
Mamoru: Five more minutes! Hold on for five more minutes!
Optical bullets fired by the attacking soldiers pierce Mamoru’s body. Mamoru and the captain of the invaders fight an all-out brawl. Intensive fire is concentrated on Mamoru as he plants his feet on the floor with his back to a control panel. His eyes widen as ugly burns spread across his body.
Mamoru: Susumu! I believe that you will return without fail!
Mamoru’s strength slowly ebbs away.
With that, his last breath goes out of him but he remains standing.
Sanada’s spaceship rises over a city in flames. Kodai is on board, but remains taciturn. Sparks of fighting can be seen scattered around both EDF headquarters and the distant medical center. On the screen, flowers of pandemonium are seen blooming all over the Earth.
Kodai: Should I…have tried to bring Yuki…?
Shima: This seems like abandoning the Earth and running away…
Mio Okita quietly turns to face the wall. Tears secretly flow in thin threads from her eyes. A warning buzzer sounds.
Sanada: Damn, they found us!
Sanada pulls on a lever as he says this. Sparks lash out all over the inside of the ship and everyone loses consciousness, including Sanada. They are apparently in a state of death.
Analyzer: I’m still all right! They’ll be dead at least half an hour.
A black battleship approaches and comes alongside and examines the craft.
Crew: There are no life signs on board.
Crew: Let’s destroy that eyesore.
Commander: Don’t waste your effort. The occupation of Earth is our first priority. Disregard an empty ship!!
The black ship drifts away and Analyzer flies the craft toward the asteroid belt.
The old crew of Yamato assembles in the hall of an astronomical observatory in the asteroids.
Sanada: We have a brotherhood and gather here as comrades again. Your faces are familiar to us all.
Everyone looks around at each other.
Kodai: I’d like everyone to resume their original post, Sanada.
Sanada: That’s good.
Kodai: And Yuki’s position…
Sanada: Ms. Okita can do it. She…I will introduce her…she is Captain Okita’s niece.
Shima: What a surprise, Captain Okita had a niece. I heard his relatives were wiped out in the Gamilas attack…
Kodai: Sanada, more importantly, where is Yamato?
Sanada slowly walks over to a black wall and pushes a switch. The black wall is a curtain of liquid that slowly rises up to the dome of the rock. It reveals Yamato overturned, its hull sunken into the rock. Its entire body is covered in rust and does not seem at all alive.
Kodai: Yamato…this is Yamato…
Sanada: Yes, Kodai, this is Space Battleship Yamato.