Our “Time Machine” articles elsewhere on this website collect and reproduce vintage media coverage of Space Battleship Yamato during the production years. Each one allows you to relive the public unveiling of a new project as a Japanese fan might have experienced it in real time.
With the Yamato 2 TV series, coverage was hard to come by, since it had been overshadowed by Farewell to Yamato and there was an increasing amount of competition every month on the airwaves. Prior to that time, OUT was the only magazine around that covered anime in detail (read about it in detail here). Tokuma Shoten’s Animage joined the game in the summer of 1978, and became the first (and only) mainstream publication to cover Yamato 2 from start to finish. Its entire series of articles is presented here.
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman and Sword Takeda for translation support.
Magazine pages read in Japanese format, right to left. Click here to see all the pages in a larger format.
October 1978 Issue, published September 10 (one month before the series premiere)
New Fall Program HOT Information: Space Battleship Yamato 2 Launch Preparation is Complete!!
The movie Farewell to Yamato becomes a TV series. This publication hastily applied for an interview with Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and asked him to speak about the overall project. The following is our report!!
There is a fundamentally different method of expression between a movie and TV!
Interviewer: I’d like to hear your reason for doing Yamato for TV.
Nishizaki: There is a fundamentally different method of expression between a movie and TV. I think each has their own merit. In the case of a movie, quite a lot of time is spent on one theme and it can be dramatically composed. But it’s different for TV; even though there is slightly less than 20 minutes for each story, there are still 26 episodes.
For example, we can present a story about a supporting character who revolves around the hero. In other words, we can examine friendship in addition to love for family. We can show variations of love rather than be limited to the love of Kodai and Yuki as in the movie.
Also, where mecha is concerned, one of the characteristics of Yamato was the involvement of humans and mecha, and that can be delved into more. Because we can expand the base of the story, that’s why I thought to try and do it for TV.
Interviewer: Does it change in terms of the theme?
Nishizaki: The theme that love is the most important thing for human beings does not change. But the settings will naturally change because the method of expression is different.
There are places where the movie and TV series will differ!!
Interviewer: Can you be more specific?
Nishizaki: There are two points which are very different. Hijikata becomes the captain of Andromeda and there is a point when Dessler appears in command of a race.
Interviewer: Why would Hijikata take over Andromeda?
Nishizaki: In the movie, Andromeda was presented as a symbol of the revived Earth, but I intend to present it more specifically in the TV series. So naturally, the role of its captain became more important. If we can express it more clearly by contrasting the psychology of Andromeda‘s captain with Kodai and Yamato, the story will be more interesting. That’s why we made Hijikata the captain.
Interviewer: Then, the captain of Yamato…?
Nishizaki: A portrait of the deceased Okita becomes the captain.
Interviewer: What’s the reason for Desslok to lead a race?
Nishizaki: His purpose in life is not just to get revenge on Yamato. Another big reason is the reconstruction of his nation. It’s because I want to push all the images forward at the same time.
Interviewer: Your last message to our readers!
Nishizaki: We’re making something really interesting, so please look forward to it!!
Production of Yamato 2 for TV is proceeding smoothly at a new studio!
To begin production of Yamato 2 for TV, Office Academy established a new studio on July 19 near the Seibu line in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. The building has four floors, and the 2nd through 4th floors have become a studio. On the second floor there is a reference library, a production office, and a work room. The entire production is controlled on this floor. Direction, animation, and a special effects room are on the third floor. Producer Nishizaki’s office, a meeting room, and a drawing room are on the fourth floor.
Animation of the first three episodes is already advancing smoothly. The staff is aiming for a national broadcast on October 14, and with the hustle inside this building every day, all the heat and excitement will surely give birth to a wonderful work.
It is our desire to make the most of Yamato 2!
Noboru Ishiguro Chief Director
We’ll bring three-dimensional battle scenes into this Yamato, and our goal is to make real SF. As a bonus, there will be a robot to compete with Analyzer, so don’t miss it! [Editor’s note: at the time he was speaking of the nurse robot in Dr. Sado’s hospital, which did not get a major role after all.]
Keisuke Fujikawa Scriptwriter
Our conversations are boiling down to more talk about stories like Beemera in Part 1. We’re not merely changing a movie into a TV series!!
Yasuhiko Yoshikazu Storyboard Artist
I think of the Yamato movie as an interim report. Therefore, the TV version intends to become the final report. I’m thinking about trying to present Farewell more thoroughly.
Kenzo Koizumi Chief Animation Director
First, we’re adding more presence to the characters on the Comet Empire side. Second is to give more weight to their mecha. Third, the composition of the picture unfolds differently from the movie. In addition to that, there’s a whole lot we want to do.
Report of “Wild Enthusiasm” on the Eve of the 8/5 Release
Farewell to Yamato was released in eight Tokyo theaters on August 5, but the real uproar came from the all-night lines of young people. Junior and senior high students began to line up from July 30 in front of the Tokyu Rex in Shibuya, and around the time of the last train on August 4, there were about 3,000 people.
High school freshman Kazuto Suzuki from Nakano, and high school senior Katsuya Miyama, who were first to arrive, printed up numbered tickets on their own. These were distributed to everyone, and while they were somehow able to keep things from breaking down into total chaos, it was still amazing how popular it was.
In cases of unusual popularity, the policy of Tokyu Rex, “in order to avoid an emergency or accident,” is to move up a showtime from 8:30am to an early morning performance at 4:00 am. It was a night of Yamato Fever in the summer of 1978 that exceeded even that of last year.
At right: Producer Nishizaki appeared at the Toei Palace in Marunouchi, Tokyo at 12:30am.
November 1978 Issue, published October 10 (four days before the TV premiere)
In a Quest of Love and Romance, Space Battleship Yamato Departs Anew!!
Launch is Saturday, October 14 at 7pm on the Yomiuri TV Network!!
The vast expanse of outer space overflows with various forms of life. Stars die and other stars are born, and the workings of the universe are passed on from life to life. It carries on eternally. The war between Earth and Gamilas was but a fleeting moment in the vast, timeless realms of space. And now time goes on…
(from the Episode 1 script)
The Space Battleship Yamato remodeling plan is here!! It is huge news. Yamato is being remodeled. In the editorial department, we applied immediately for an interview with Leiji Matsumoto.
Interviewer: I am surprised to hear that Yamato is being remodeled…
Matsumoto: Well, even if you call it remodeling, there is no change in the [outward] appearance. It is the interior. First, there is the installation of the “time radar” that can see the past and future of space. Second is the extension of the main gun battery range. And in addition to the Cosmo Tiger II, a “medium-sized torpedo boat” will be mounted on both sides.
Interviewer: It must have been difficult to think about various ways…
Matsumoto: Because the design of Yamato itself was pre-set from the beginning, it wasn’t that much of a struggle. But my design goal was to “finish what we started.”
Interviewer: When creating a mecha, how is it made?
Matsumoto: That’s a difficult question for me, since there is no reality in a fictitious thing. We begin by studying the real workings of actual mecha. For example, the gear of a bicycle or the back of a TV. The appearance of the object becomes a hint.
Interviewer: By the way, what are your overall thoughts about Yamato on TV?
Matsumoto: Overall, it will be an extension of the previous work of Yamato. In other words, in the previous series Captain Okita told Mamoru Kodai, “we fight to protect the Earth from destruction! We must endure the humiliation of today for the sake of tomorrow! That is the way of a true man!” The drama will come from how the members of Yamato try to make a life around those words.
Interviewer: Can you be more specific?
Matsumoto: I would like to do a story that focuses on the characters we didn’t see much in the movie. Not just Kodai and Yuki, but Hijikata, Teresa, Shima, and the others. I intend to present lively new characters, including one working under Sanada.
Be ready for anything, readers!
The final page of this article featured a large flow chart of the entire Comet Empire organization. This also appeared in Office Academy’s hardcover book for Farewell to Yamato, and a translation can be viewed here.
In the lower right was a separate flow chart never reprinted elsewhere: the hierarchy of the Earth forces at the beginning of the TV series, only a small part of which was ever seen on screen. Below is a translation of this unique artifact.
December 1978 Issue, published November 10 (as episode 5 was on the air)
The main photo on the first page was taken at a press conference for Yamato 2. Shown from left to right are Yoshinobu Nishizaki, Leiji Matsumoto, and Moto Fukuo of Yomiuri TV.
Yamato 2 Was Made by Combining All Our Power
On Monday, October 9, a press conference for the TV series Yamato 2 was held near Japan TV (Tokyo). Both Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto were there for a warm exchange with the press corps in which they talked non-stop about the appeal of Yamato.
Nishizaki: The theme that love is the most important thing for human beings is unchanged this time. But regarding the specific content of the series, since Mr. Matsumoto is supervising it, it will be completely different from the movie, so please ask him.
Matsumoto: This time, the parts we weren’t able to finish for the movie or were never able to do for the movie will be under my supervision, because I was very interested in them. Therefore, since I wanted to carry out Yamato from there for complete fulfillment, I became motivated once again.
Interviewer: What sort of thing were you not able to finish?
Matsumoto: For example, the presentation of people. The movie ends the way that it does, but I thought we should have portrayed a different message, that “it’s wrong for young people to die.” Because this is my fundamental belief, I want to depict young people who do whatever it takes to live on at the end of the TV series.
Interviewer: What do you think of that, Mr. Nishizaki?
Nishizaki: Basically, I intend to have Mr. Matsumoto do what he wants. To tell the truth about the last movie, Mr. Matsumoto was opposed to that ending from the beginning. But at that time I was thinking about the best way to convey the theme in a movie’s mode of expression, and I thought that form was the best. However, if the same theme can be conveyed without death, I’m all in favor of it.
The Man Who Holds the Key to Yamato 2 Must be Dessler
In Yamato, the one who attracts the most passion from fans just might be Dessler. This is because fans across the country shed more tears in the movie theater for the “death” of Dessler than any other scene. Dessler has revived again for TV. His purpose in life is revenge on Yamato and the restoration of his race. The creation of his new “evil” aesthetic holds the key to Yamato. We asked each of the staff members about the new appeal of Dessler.
THE NEW APPEAL OF DESSLER
Leiji Matsumoto Supervisor/Total Setting/Original Concept
His greatest appeal is how he is a great leader of his whole species (Not simply a race), and I wanted to push that point this time around. The human strength that sets out to accomplish something. I want to express his single-minded intention.
Noboru Ishiguro Chief Director
Kazunori Tanahashi Assistant Director
Part of the appeal of Dessler is that he represents a race that has fallen into ruin, so I think it cannot help but compel him to move forward. Because we’re more acquainted with him than Zordar, I want him to be cooler.
Kenzo Koizumi Animation Director
A man who goes into battle knowing that his people are dying–although it’s very difficult to express that in a picture, I want to accomplish it somehow. I feel he’s accelerating down the path to destruction faster than he did before…
January 1979 Issue, published December 10
(after episode 9 aired)
Two People at the Center Speak Confidentially
What will happen to the love of this couple, Kodai and Yuki? What Yamato fans are most concerned about right now is how the love of Susumu and Yuki is proceeding. It’s already been five years since we met them, and the ones who may know them best are [voice actors] Kei Tomiyama and Yoko Asagami. Therefore, we asked these two to talk about the anxious state of love.
Tomiyama: It was on Yamato that I met Ms. Asagami for the first time.
Asagami: Yes, that’s right.
Tomiyama: In those days, I thought, what a pretty girl! (Laughs)
Asagami: Yes, and how about now?
Tomiyama: Oh, of course (laughs), now I feel you’ve really grown as a woman. Not just Yuki, but also you yourself. (laughs)
Asagami: Thank you. (laughs)
Tomiyama: By the way, Ms. Asagami, what do you think of Kodai?
Asagami: Well, maybe he’s “the man who can do the job” or “the one with the strong sense of responsibility.” But he isn’t a cold man.
Tomiyama: Well, he is a gentle man. For example, he will notice the futility of battle when he is on a voyage with Yamato. So what’s important to him isn’t just what benefits them alone. He is growing into a human being who thinks of the happiness of others.
Asagami: Of course, he’d never betray Yuki… (Laughs) Maybe he’s also a man whom others find attractive, too?
Tomiyama: That’s right. He became so through various experiences. Kodai will become a pure boy. Like me. (Laughs)
Asagami: Let’s leave you out of this, Mr. Tomiyama. (Laughs) But Yuki has a lot of appeal, doesn’t she?
Tomiyama: Yes, Yuki is very feminine because she is a girl with a lot of compassion.
Asagami: Still, I think she’s just a normal girl. Smart, to be sure, but even if there’s a place where she seems like a super lady, I never forget that she is a normal girl.
Close to Tears at the Last Scene of the Movie
Tomiyama: What do you think will happen to these two from here?
Asagami: I could die, a little bit like in the movie…
Tomiyama: When I had to speak in the scene from the movie where Yuki dies, I’m ashamed that I almost burst into tears.
Asagami: But not me, since I was already dead. (laughs)
Tomiyama: (Laughs) Well, no matter what the drama, I like to be sure of the love they both share.
Asagami: Here’s a question from me, now. When you’re playing Susumu, what sort of feelings of love do you have for Yuki?
Tomiyama: Of course I have feelings of love, and I put that into the “voice.” (Clears throat)
Asagami: You’re teasing me, Mr. Tomiyama. (Laughs)
Tomiyama: You shouldn’t have asked. (Laughs)
Asagami: By the way, in this Yamato, is there any place where you are especially conscious of changing?
Tomiyama: I’m playing it a little more adult. Probably since Kodai is growing up.
Asagami: Hm, in my case I am still on the ground. How do I put it? Yuki is close to my actual age…for instance, when I play Chico on Magical Girl Tickle, I adjust my voice to sound like a school child. By that reckoning, I think playing it as I am is all right.
Tomiyama: If you’re saying you should play it as yourself, I’m just the same. Susumu’s kind of shy and can be really dumb at times. Just like me. (laughs) Yamato is a job where I can have fun.
Asagami: I can really empathize with Yuki a lot.
Tomiyama: Yeah, me too. Well, let’s be more empathetic from now on. (Laughs)
Asagami: Wow, you’re really teasing me rotten today, aren’t you, Mr. Tomiyama! (Laughs)