When we left off in October 2010, it was beginning to look like Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection had run its course. The merchandising campaign culminated with the release of the “Complete Box” (reviewed in our last report) and the live-action Yamato movie was ascending to take the spotlight. When Exec Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki passed away in November of that year, Enagio Studio stated that they intended to carry on his legacy, but offered no specific details.
But as it turned out, the Resurrection would not be stopped. News trickled out via the personal blog of designer/director Makoto Kobayashi that a Director’s Cut of the film, an idea first proposed by Nishizaki in early 2010, was a go. Throughout the spring of 2011, he released tantalizing hints about new animation and a revamped soundtrack. The project was declared complete in July, but without any announcement of a release date.
Since then, this too has been rectified. But since other things were also happening with Resurrection during the course of 2011, we’ll take a look at them first.
For reasons still unexplained nearly two years after the fact, Bandai utterly failed to create a new line of model kits for Yamato Resurrection, choosing instead to simply reissue older ones to accompany the movie release. Limited-run garage kit makers stepped in to fill the gap as best they could, starting with two companies named Ndopara Shop and Team Strike. Another garage kit turned up at a hobby show in January, 2011: the EDF Super Andromeda, released by MRD (shown above). They followed up with a 1/1000 Blue Noah later in the year.
See a gallery of MRD’s Yamato garage kits here.
Also spotted in early 2011: Ndopara’s second kit, the EDF Dreadnought battleship. Well known for their prodigious line of Yamato kits, Ndopara’s next entry would come in July (shown farther down the page).
See more garage kits from these companies here.
May 13, Gree Co. Ltd.
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” became available periodically for download from the official website. Encompassing both the original series and Resurrection, it was announced in May and its homepage went live on July 8.
June 23, Model Art Co.
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.
Miniature “Great Urup Alliance” garage kits
July 24, Ndopara shop
Ndopara became the first maker of Yamato garage kits to form an alliance with the home office when the Yamato Crew website offered this box set at its online store. The lineup consists of 5 ships: SUS, Fridei, Beldel, and Etos capital ships and a Beldel fighter.
Yamato Resurrection Fever Pachinko Game
December 4, Sankyo
Pachinko games based on anime hits have been big in Japan for years, some on a scale that has provided funding for new anime projects. Space Battleship Yamato entered this arena in 2007 with the first of three games from the Fuji Company, all covered elsewhere on this website. Another company named Yamasa got into it with their own Yamato game in 2010, and Sankyo joined the fray on December 4, 2011 with the rollout of a new game called Yamato Resurrection Fever. (They previously engineered games based on Dai Yamato Zero-Go, but that’s another story.)
Modern pachinko games are bewildering and often incomprehensible to non-English speakers, but still a feast for the eyes with dense graphics and high-end animation that usually rivals that of their source material. The Resurrection game is loaded with battle footage both lifted from the film and newly-created to match it. Some of the character animation is done in full CG, which is a first for a Yamato game.
You’d have to watch someone play the game in Japan to get the whole picture, but Sankyo’s promotional website for Resurrection Fever (which went live on October 20) offers plenty all by itself. Click here to visit the site and see it for yourself. At the top you’ll find two rows of buttons that break down as follows…
TOPICS: A site index showing you all the different features (just as we’re doing now).
MACHINE: An overview of all the different components of the gameplay. Some pages in this section include short animation clips.
STORY & CHARACTER: Your interactive guide to the story, characters, and mecha from the movie. The mecha section offers an interesting size comparison of all the various ships.
TWITTER FEED: Self-explanatory. And entirely in Japanese text.
MAIL MAGAZINE: A connection point for direct email notices about the game. Four of these were sent out to subscribers between October 27 and December 9, but have since been discontinued.
Click here to see a gallery of all four Mail Magazines.
ANIME MOVIE: Beginning October 24, this section of the site offered something unprecedented: complete Yamato movies, streaming for free. Two movies at a time could be watched in their entirety over a two-week period, at which point they were swapped out for the next two. This included Resurrection itself, and ended on December 18. Now the page offers three shorter clips: two promos for the game (one of which shows off its mechanical gimmicks) and the trailer for the Resurrection Director’s Cut.
YAMATO QUIZ: A great place to test your knowledge of all things Yamato, if you can read Japanese.
CUTSCENE THEATER: This is where you can see the best of what the game has to offer. You can compare six segments of original movie footage with the versions newly created for the game. Naturally, the CG character animation puts a different spin on things, but it’s always fascinating to see Yamato reinterpreted through different media.
DOWNLOAD: A great source for digital wallpaper to liven up your computer screen.
A nice bonus for Yamato collectors whenever one of these pachinko games appears is a new set of promotional goods to chase after. In the case of the Fuji games, these were ultra-deluxe press kits with lavishly-illustrated books and extras. (Again, these can be seen in full elsewhere on this site.) Sankyo put most of its promotional muscle into the website instead, but there were still a few trinkets to hunt down.
The first was a combo music CD and a 16-page small-format guidebook. See the guidebook from cover to cover here.
The CD contained the two songs recorded for the film by rock group The Alfee; the main theme and the closing song, Dedicate My Love. Shown above is the insert art for the CD.
There was also a large-format foldout flyer, about 10″ x 14″ printed in full color on both sides. Click here. to see larger versions of these pages.
Finally, a poster, a Zippo, and a set of disposable lighters (below) rounded out the collectibles package. Yamato lighters have been very common since the late 90s, so this was entirely in keeping with tradition.
The Director’s Cut
November 10, 2011 proved once again that this is a particularly good time to be a Space Battleship Yamato fan when news was officially released about Yamato 2199, the TV remake for 2012. (See our first report about it here.) This was only the first punch in a one-two knockout; after all the hints dropped earlier in the year, The Yamato Resurrection Director’s Cut was officially announced on November 14.
Those who purchased the Resurrection “Complete Box” were especially anxious to hear this announcement, since it came with a letter stating that when the Director’s Cut was ready, they would receive free tickets to an early screening. This was honored over two weekends in January 2012; three screenings took place at the Akihabara UDX theater in Tokyo on the 14th, and more were held at the Yamato-themed Cafe Crew restaurant (shown at right) on the 15th, 21st, and 22nd.
The public release of the film took place over just one week, January 28 to February 3, at two theaters: Cinemart Shinjuku in Tokyo and Cinemart Shinsaibashi in Osaka. Contributors to this website were there to see it in person, and provide their eyewitness account here. In an interesting echo of early Yamato history, it played only once a day as a late show. This is exactly what Yoshinobu Nishizaki planned for the first movie back in 1977 if he couldn’t find a film distributor to release it.
The trailer, which was released online in two locations (the Yamato Crew website and the pachinko game website), nicely encapsulates the changes made to the movie; a handful of new scenes were added, the soundtrack was re-engineered to use all the classic effects, the alternate ending was dropped in (which was originally announced as an extra on the first video release), and–most surprisingly–14 minutes were trimmed out to quicken the overall pace. That gives it an even running time of two hours.
A montage of finished footage was released on the Yamato Crew site January 9 to showcase the re-engineered soundtrack, and compared with the original the differences are significant. It also gave everyone a look at the long-awaited alternate ending. It was originally screened for fans in November 2009 and voted upon for inclusion in the movie. Obviously, it lost out to the “happy ending” (and we’re all free to speculate on the true intention behind it) but it is most definitely the ending for the Director’s Cut.
See the footage on Yamato Crew here.
With impressive swiftness, plans for the Director’s Cut on home video were revealed a few days after the initial announcement. Bandai Visual set a release date of March 23 for both DVD and Blu-ray, and the Yamato Crew website offered its own version with additional extras. These will be examined in full in our next update.
Yamato Resurrection Art Calendar 2012
January 10, Yamato Crew
Yamato calendars were a regular product back in the production years, then disappeared for decades. They made a roaring comeback in late 2009 when three new ones were published for 2010. There were none for 2011, but things got back to normal when the Yamato Crew website announced one (in the fall) for 2012 by mecha designer Makoto Kobayashi. Development art appeared on the site and those who placed pre-orders were offered a page for download on November 28 (shown below). The calendar contained the six pages shown above and shipped on January 10.
Click here for a detailed overview of the Director’s Cut and the home video releases.