Yamato Year 2011

Back up to 2010

Since 2010 was declared the “Year of Yamato” in observance of the live-action movie, activity naturally declined somewhat in 2011, down to roughly half when measured by the length of our history timelines. But half of a heckuva lot is still a lot. Despite the lack of a new movie after a two-year streak, the year did not disappoint.

Previous year-in-review articles have presented everything chronologically. Just to keep things interesting, we’ll break this one down by category.

MUSIC

No new Yamato albums came out in 2011, but there was a smattering of tributes that added some new colors to the rainbow…

Best Selection! Cinema Soundtracks: Space Battleship Yamato~Hawaii (Audio City)

January 21

This two-track album was released exclusively as an MP3 and is available for download from iTunes. It delivers a Yamato theme arranged for ukelele, one track with Japanese lyrics and one instrumental. It may seem silly on the surface, but it is remarkably well-produced and further proves the versatility of Hiroshi Miyagawa’s composition.

Zoku Animentine by “Clementine” (Sony Music)

March 9

This CD features 13 tracks, all anime themes rendered in an easy-listening style with French lyrics. The album leads with Yamato and includes themes from Evangelion, Dr. Slump, Galaxy Express, City Hunter, and more. They would not be at all out of place in the background of a French cafe.

Queen of the Night by Yucca (Edoya Corporation)

July 20

Yucca is the vocalist who performed the signature “Infinity of Space” theme for the live-action movie soundtrack. Queen of the Night contains 11 tracks that combine her wide-ranging operatic voice with progressive rock beats. Her rendering of the theme from Yamato is a new one produced specifically for this release and fits beautifully into a lineup that includes Ave Maria and other internationally-recognized tunes. Visit Yucca’s official website here. Her discography page provides access to a sample of each track on Queen of the Night.

See a live performance of the theme by Yucca on YouTube here.

Animetal USA (Sony Music Japan)

October 12

Animetal has been a Japanese heavy-metal institution for years, famous for their ear-splitting mega-marathons of anime themes. They’ve covered Yamato and many others in their time. This album stands apart because of its band members, all of whom are American metal-vets: “Metal Rider” is singer Mike Vescera (formerly of Loudness), “Speed King” is lead guitarist Chris Impellitteri (named by Guitar World magazine as one of the fastest guitarists of all time), “Storm Bringer” is bass guitarist Rudy Sarzo (played with Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and more), and “Tank” is drummer Scott Travis (of Judas Priest and Racer X).

The disc consists of 11 tracks that start with Yamato and include Gatchaman, Mazinger Z, Fist of the North Star, Saint Seiya, and more. Whereas many anime themes have predominantly Japanese lyrics with a few words in English, these go the other way. For example, here are the Yamato lyrics as re-written by Mike Vescera, which are actually a pretty faithful translation of the original:

Goodbye Earth, this parting ship
Goodbye all, from all aboard
Uchu Senkan Yamato
To a faraway star, Isucandaru-e
It’s departing on our way, on our way with destiny
We will certainly come back, we said with a smile
To those who are waving, and those we’ve left waiting
Leaving the galaxy, Isucandaru-e
A long voyage to the stars
Uchu Senkan Yamato
Goodbye Earth, to those we love
Goodbye all, we shall return
Uchu Senkan Yamato
On a mission to save Earth, on a mission for you all
Fighting men, standing tall with burning romance
Someone has to do this now, oh it is our destiny
If it is us that everyone, expects us to have the mission won
Leaving the galaxy, Isucandaru-e
A long voyage to the stars
Uchu Senkan Yamato

See a music video of Animetal USA performing the theme here

See a live performance of the theme here


PUBLISHING

The publishing side saw some nice variety in 2011, with the glaring exception of anything related to the live-action movie…

Hobby Japan magazine #501 (Hobby Japan Press)

January 25

Hobby Japan will roll out a Yamato cover feature roughly once a year, and this one was obviously timed to capitalize on the live-action movie blitz. The interior article ran to a very substantial 35 pages which covered the new 1/500 Yamato kit and several scratch-built Gamilas ships

Space Battleship Yamato Model Anthology (Hobby Japan Press)

March 10

Despite running Yamato articles for years, Hobby Japan had never previously collected them into a dedicated volume – an oversight which was finally corrected with this one. Its 154 full-color pages collected articles dating back at least to 2007 when the 1/350 model was released.

Otaku USA Magazine Vol 4, No 6 (Sovereign Media)

June issue, published in March

This issue of America’s premiere anime magazine ran its first-ever interview with Leiji Matsumoto, a continuation of one conducted by correspondents of this website in December 2010. Read the first part here, then run right out and find the magazine to get the rest, which includes Matsumoto’s thoughts on the live-action movie.

Prohibited Broadcast Works (Sansai Books)

June 1

B&W, 242 pages: an examination (mostly text) of controversial images and media topics, including photos from the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake. A chapter on Anime and Tokusatsu includes a rundown of Yamato‘s history with a focus on the editorial changes in Star Blazers. For completists only.

Words of Life Taught by Leiji Matsumoto by Soichiro Miyakawa (Quen Publications)

June 10

B&W, 174 pages: this book examines scenes from Matsumoto’s most popular manga for the wisdom of their philosophy. Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express, Oidon Man, and The Cockpit are included. The scene chosen from Yamato is from the opening chapter, Okita’s battleship at Pluto.

Hyperweapon 2011 (Model Art Co.)

June 23

This lavishly-illustrated semi-annual magazine collects the works of designer/director Makoto Kobayashi, who was the major mecha contributor to Yamato Resurrection and is now working on Yamato 2199. This volume (Full color, oversize format, 64 pages) picked up where the 2009 issue left off with 21 pages on the Director’s Cut and an artistic exploration of EDF ships in the post-Resurrection timeframe, including a hypothetical sister ship named Musashi. Kobayashi’s designs for the Last Exile movie provide the other major feature.

Weekly Yamato Fact File magazine (DeAgostini)

Final issue published August 23

Yamato Fact File will probably be the king of all Yamato publications forever, weighing in with 81 issues totaling 2,640 pages of detailed exploration into the Yamato universe. It did not cover the live-action movie and ended too early to incorporate Yamato 2199, but life’s not over yet.

Read our overview of the Fact File series here.

Space Battleship Yamato Modeling Guide “Full Version” (Mediaworks)

September 28

Mediaworks publishes Dengeki Hobby magazine, a rival to Hobby Japan, which has run its own Yamato articles for many years. They were collected in a previous edition of this book in 2007 to mark release of the 1/350 model kit. The “Full Version” combines all 110 pages of the first edition with new material published in the interim for a total of 174 pages in full color.

Yamato Resurrection art calendar 2012 (Yamato Crew)

Announced in October

Yamato calendars were a regular product back in the production years, then disappeared for decades to make a roaring comeback in 2009 when three new ones were published for 2010. There was no calendar for 2011, but things got back to normal when the Yamato Crew website announced one for 2012 by mecha designer Makoto Kobayashi. Development art appeared on the site and those who placed pre-orders were offered a special page for download on November 28. The calendar itself shipped in mid-January 2012.

Yamato Mechanical Illustration book & poster (DeAgostini)

December 25

A massive amount of original art was generated for Yamato Fact File magazine, presumably at no small cost, so it was only natural that DeAgostini would want to give it some more shelf life. They found two ways to accomplish their mission.

The first was Yamato Mechanical Illustrations, a large-format hardcover book (16″ x 11″!) containing a mecha painting from every issue–and three new ones–with comments from the artists. Released with a custom slipcase, this is the largest Yamato book published since the Final Yamato Deluxe hardcover from 1983 and earns our HIGHEST recommendation. It is currently available from Amazon.co.jp.

The second was a huge 40″ x 28″ double-sided poster gathering some of the isometric art for size comparison. The poster was only offered through the DeAgostini website and (like the book) had a limited print run of 5,000.

PRODUCTS

Trends from 2010 continued into 2011 and a steady patter of never-before-seen items reminded everyone that even a 37-year-old franchise could still deliver some surprises…

Yamato crew jerseys (Dive Toy Warehouse)

February

Inspired by the re-imagined uniform jackets in the live-action Yamato movie, Dive Toy Co. created a polyester jersey that sits about halfway between the anime and film designs. When they were announced in early November 2010, online orders poured in and the entire stock was sold out before the day of release. The first two designs were for the Combat group and Black Tigers, which were followed in February 2011 by new versions for the Life group and Science group.

1/625 GX-58 Andromeda “Soul of Chogokin” toy (Bandai)

February 5

Following their GX-57 “Soul of Chogokin [Super Metal]” Yamato by two months, Bandai finally gave us the Andromeda we always wished for, a sturdy plastic & diecast metal desktop toy over 17″ long with all sorts of built-in gimmicks. The turrets rotate, the previously-unknown hangar hatch opens, and a remote control activates lights and sound effects for the Wave-Motion Guns and the engines. It also sets off cannon sounds and a few music tracks. The price tag is substantial, but it’s highly doubtful a better version will ever be made.

See a profile on YouTube here.

See a detailed review on Collection DX here

See it in action here

Soft vinyl Yamato toy (Plex/Dive Toy Warehouse)

February 25

Measuring 30cm (11.8″) this is the first soft vinyl Yamato toy made since 1975, a “Super-Deformed” sculpt which for reasons still unknown was marketed as a “normal” version. But the origin of the Plex company is no mystery; they are the manufacturer formerly known as Popy, and still a toymaking branch of Bandai.

1/665 “Super Mechanics” toy special edition (Taito/DeAgostini)

March

Four years after Taito’s first edition of this toy, this version was released as a prize for readers of Yamato Fact File magazine from DeAgostini. Those who collected the first 60 issues could send in proof-of-purchase markers and receive this special edition Super Mechanics Yamato as a reward. In addition to a metallic paint job and a custom stand, the bow was resculpted to smooth out some of the inaccuracies of the previous releases. Its length is a generous 15.75″.

Live-action Yamato “Space Curry” and “Memorial Clock” (House Foods)

April 1

On April 1, a pre-release promotional campaign from 2010 finally paid off. House Foods, one of the licensing partners for the film, had held prize lotteries in convenience stores during the runup to the premiere. Fans who bought their Yamato curry or Yamato potato chips could enter to win prizes. The grand prize winners finally started receiving their loot in April.

500 of those winners received a Space Battleship Yamato “Memorial Clock,” a portable digital clock with a portrait and nameplate. The clock would play back lines from the movie in addition to the standard alarm tones. Curry is a common part of the Japanese diet, so Yamato Space Curry isn’t as weird as it sounds. This was another prize for lottery winners, custom packaged in a run of 5,000. Also, “Space Curry” isn’t just a gimmicky name; Japanese astronauts almost certainly introduced it to life on board the International Space Station.

Yamato Battlecard game (Gree Co. Ltd.)

May 13

This was the latest in a growing number of virtual Yamato products, a downloadable game played on a cel phone, probably similar to other collectible card games, but with a Yamato twist. New game-expanding “cards” become available periodically for download from the official website. Encompassing both the original series and Resurrection, it was announced in May and went live on July 8. (The website is no longer online, so it has probably been discontinued since then.)

Live-action Yamato Campaign Prizes (Famima)

May 29

The last of the 2010 prize lotteries came to fruition in late May when winners of the December campaign at Famima convenience stores received their prizes. 10 winners received HDTVs from Hitachi, 200 received Coolpix digital cameras in a custom Yamato carrying case (above left), and 20 received HP Mini Notebook computers with custom Yamato graphics on the outer shell.

Famima stores were THE place to go for fans during the campaign for the movie; new prizes were available every week throughout the month of November 2010. All the Famima prizes can be seen in Movie Report 5 here.

24k Gold, Ag1000 Silver Yamato figures

June 21

Though the source of these two remarkable pieces is unknown as of this writing, their value is clear. At left is a 24k gold Yamato with a price tag of 157,500 yen or about $2,000. At right is an Ag1000 silver Yamato priced at 31,500 yen or about $400. Both come with acrylic stands and are definitely for the collector who has everything. They both measure 150mm (5.9″) in length.

Live-action Yamato movie on DVD & Blu-ray (TC Entertainment)

June 24

Six long months of anticipation finally exploded when fans outside Japan got the opportunity to see the live-action movie for the first time on home video. There were three separate editions to appease casual and psycho-fans alike, all of which are reviewed in detail here. International editions began to appear at a steady pace in following months, and one with English subtitles finally became available from Australia’s Madman Entertainment in December. See their ordering information here.

Yamato-themed home electrical storage systems (Plan Co. Ltd.)

July 12

This one definitely belongs in the “what the” category, three different models of house-powering electrical batteries. Unless they can charge Wave-Motion energy to 120%, there seems little reason for them to sport a Space Battleship Yamato logo, but they do anyway.

Yamato Resurrection garage kits (Ndopara shop)

July 24

For reasons still unexplained nearly two years later, Bandai utterly failed to create a new line of model kits for Yamato Resurrection, choosing instead to reissue some older ones. Limited-run garage kit makers stepped in to fill the gap as best they could, and Ndopara moved to the head of the pack when they formed an alliance with the Yamato Crew website to sell them online. The lineup consists of 5 ships: SUS, Fridei, Beldel, and Etos capital ships and a Beldel fighter. See Yamato Crew’s listing here.

Special Food Products (Tachibana Publishing)

August 1, November 1

Tachibana embarked on a two-part campaign that offered snack foods in vintage-style packaging to customers who bought their books. From August 1 to October 31, a purchase of more than 1000 yen would get you a box of Yamato Pretz (pretzels) and from November 1 to January 31, 2012, it would get you a box of Yamato Pocky.

Leiji Matsumoto Mechanical Universe model kits (Finemolds)

September 30

Announced all the way back in February, Finemolds turned many heads with these models, both of which were unmistakably familiar to Yamato fans, rebranded for the benefit of Mr. Leiji Matsumoto. Captain Okita’s flagship was simply renamed “Flagship” and Mamoru Kodai’s Yukikaze was renamed “Missile Ship.” Of course, this fooled no one, and Yamato fans were delighted to finally have larger kits of both vessels. Scaled at 1/500, they measure 7.2″ and 5.4″ respectively.

Throughout Yamato history, a handful of products were announced that did not make it to market for whatever arcane reasons consign such things into nonexistence. 2011’s version of this was the very promising “trading figure” set shown here, individual stations and figures that together would build a tabletop model of the first bridge.

Promoted as the “Yamato Bridge Collection,” it was developed by Megahouse and was designed to include all the main characters, including Dr. Sado and Analyzer. All the prototype photos shown here were published in 2010 issues of Hobby Japan, so when 2010 came to a close and nothing turned up, it was generally assumed that the release had been moved to 2011. The rest is non-history.

A moment of silence, please, for what would have been a truly amazing product…

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