October & November news
October 23: Yamatalk Night 3
Fans who could score a ticket for this event were treated to an evening of conversation between series director Yutaka Izubuchi and composer Akira Miyagawa, whose work would soon be appreciated in other ways. The evening started with a screening of Chapter 3 and the talk focused on music production with a particular focus on the new compositions for Episode 9. Miyagawa demonstrated discussion points on a portable keyboard and reminisced about the monumental work his father put into the original saga. In addition to their current collaberation on the remake, Izubuchi and Miyagawa also share some unique history–both made their first contributions to the Yamato saga very early in their careers when they worked on the design and music respectively for Yamato III.
As with the two previous Yamatalk events, friend-of-the-website Gwyn Campbell was in attendance and provides a detailed report here.
October 25: Hobby Japan & Dengeki Hobby December issues
Both of the major hobby magazines provided cover-feature articles on the model kits that were now just two days from release: the United Nations Cosmo Navy set. Extensive articles (16 pages apiece) offered photography and building tips, and plenty more Yamato-related material to boot.
Dengeki offered a glowing preview of the very special bonus feature to be bundled with the next issue, two short text pieces by people whose names should be well-known to you by now…
Is this the new age of the Mecha Collection? Watch for the Cosmo Falcon in the next issue!!
The Cosmo Falcon finally arrives with the next issue. Since I received a test shot earlier this month, I assembled it with gusto. I’m accustomed to colorful Bandai models, so when the parts are all molded in one color, I say, “Ah, it’s that kind of kit,” and get a happy sense of nostalgia probably due to my generation. (Laughs)
When completed, it is 10cm (4″) long, and the composition of parts is like a “Mecha Collection Revival.” Can’t we say that? The number of parts is small and easy to assemble…this is already Mecha Collection territory. I can legitimately say that this kit inherits the genes of the Mecha Collection. [Translator’s note: this refers to the Yamato mini-models that built the foundation of Bandai in the 1970s.] One reacts on a spiritual level at the moment they see the parts. That’s an honest first impression.
Looking closely at the surface of the kit, I admire the sharp mold. Furthermore, the line carving is concave rather than a simple V shape. This is evidence that a Cosmo Falcon with separate dark color tones is promised. Also, the canopy is the first transparent part among the Mecha Collection! This is the Mecha Collection of a new generation! I’m very glad!! It has to be painted, but since it follows the Mecha Collection specs of the old days, this is not a problem. Rather, it gives me a thankful feeling. Each modeler will do their own thing! I’ll do an article about something like that!
It’s no exaggeration to say that this model kit has been long-awaited by Yamato fans. As someone who has personally produced Mecha Collection-size debris for many years, the revival of a legitimate M.C.-size model is a supreme pleasure. Meanwhile, will everyone buy more than one next month?
Cosmo Falcon magazine bonus commemoration! A supporting message from Michio Murakawa!
When I have to draw the Cosmo Falcon in the serialized manga, I constantly consult design documents since its form is not contained in the head like a Cosmo Zero. That’s when I saw the old Black Tiger silhouette. It was the geneology and technical development that lead to the body of the Cosmo Tiger. Though I admire it, it’s a challenge to draw carefully without changing anything, and it’s a continuing struggle. (Laughs) I think this bonus Cosmo Falcon kit will become exactly the right reference material.
October 27: UN Space Navy Fleet Set 1
This was the second Yamato 2199 plamo [plastic model] release from Bandai’s hobby division, which includes Battleship Kirishima, Battle Cruiser Murasame, and Destroyer Yukikaze. Of course, Murasame is a new design for 2199, but fans of the original know that the other two go all the way back to the beginning of the original saga and have been available as both mini-plamo and garage kits for decades.
Other than some visual updating, the big difference between these new kits and their predecessors is their color construction; no more will modelers be required to mask and paint the red, yellow and white stripes, since the parts are now molded in those colors. As recounted from Model Graphix magazine (in Report 11), this made the kits more complex to manufacture, but it gives modelers an additional option; since some of the UN Space Navy ships have alternate colors, the configuration of parts allows for easy repainting.
Following through with the program started by the first Yamato 2199 kit, a bonus model was included with this set, an original Gamilas tri-deck carrier molded in purple with its own box art printed underneath. As of now, fans can build Domel’s complete task force of capital ships from the Rainbow Star Cluster battle.
Bandai’s next entry is scheduled for January 31, when a two-ship Gamilas set will join the lineup. Based on data collected at the fall hobby shows, a Cosmo Zero and other Gamilas vessels should be making waves in 2013. Meanwhile, get a closer look at this set here.
November 1: Hyper Hobby #171
The December issue of Hyper Hobby was light on 2199 content, featuring only the color spread shown here which rounded up recent news and artwork, but as you can see they’ve made an art form out of packing a lot of data into a small space.
November 7: Characters and mecha
New artwork was added to the official Yamato 2199 website in early November that gave us our first look at what is to come on the Gamilas side in Chapter 4, most likely elements surrounding the much-anticipated arrival of General Domel.
Above left we have Bem Haiderun, and at right we see Fomto Barger. Both officers were part of Domel’s task force in the original series, but now they have first names.
November 7: Yamato 2199 Original Soundtrack Volume 1
New music was one of the first things on fans’ minds when we all heard the initial announcements for Yamato 2199, and at long last it has arrived in style. This disc contains 46 tracks, a pretty even mixture of new and re-arranged music that totals about half of what Akira Miyagawa is said to have generated for the series. It can be ordered online from either Amazon.co.jp or CD Japan.
Here are the translated track titles, courtesy of superfan August Ragone:
2. Yamato Advances
3. Desperate Crisis
4. First Contact
5. The Lady of Iscandar
6. Yamato Pathetique (Strings)
7. The Galactic Route (BG)
8. The Infinite Universe
9. Sorrowful Yamato
10. The Recon Plane Takes Off
11. Yamato Sleeps Under the Setting Sun
12. Suspense B
13. Yamato Bolero
14. Sorrowful BG
15. Sorrowful Yamato
16. Theme of the Yamato Saga
17. Yamato Departs the Earth
18. May the Light of the Stars Shine Forever (Short Size)
19. Craters of the Moon (With Rhythm)
20. Sortie of The Enemy Spacecraft
21. Yamato Into the Vortex
22. The Scarf of Sorrow
24. Silence of the Cosmos
26. The Black Tigers
27. The Recon Plane Takes Off (B Type)
28. Craters of the Moon
29. Suspense (Sense of Distrust)
30. Fields of Green
31. Cosmo Tiger (Wan-dah-bah)
32. Enter Dessler
33. Sad Ending
34. Pioneering Yamato Theme
35. The Recon Plane
36. YRA: Radio Yamato Theme
37. The Galactic Route (With Vocals)
38. The Galactic Route (Without Vocals)
40. Gamilas Anthem: Praise Be Our Eternal Glory
41. Gamilas Anthem: Praise Be Our Eternal Glory
42. Suspense of the Crimson Star
43. Keep Watching the Stars
44. A Dictator’s Anguish
45. A Dictator’s Anguish (Strings)
46. For Those Who Know the Beautiful Earth
November 8: Maeda construction signs
Maeda is one of Japan’s ever-active construction firms, and became the first to use Yamato characters in the entirely new context of construction site signage. You might very well be asking how such a thing came about (and why), and here’s the translated text of a company press release to explain it all:
Beginning in November, signage used by Maeda Construction utilizing characters from Space Battleship Yamato 2199 will be adopted at construction sites in various parts of Kanto. [Translator’s note: this region of Japan encompasses several prefectures and includes Tokyo.] Yuki, Kodai, Shiro Sanada, and other popular characters who are the heroes of the film will appear on signs and temporary walls. The goal is for these images to increase attention toward construction sites. According to Maeda Construction, such signs don’t usually attract the attention of passersby. Therefore, utilizing a character for the “weekly work plan” is a better device to draw attention.
Furthermore, when taking children into account, a character on a sign for “construction vehicle entrance” may make a stronger impression. In this way, the transparency and safety around a construction area are improved. Maeda Construction has prior experience with signs that utilize characters. The company has made use of them in the management of previous construction sites, and uses design know-how to disseminate information. Additionally, the feedback that resulted from these trials lead to an improvement in understanding the usefulness of construction signage, and there is a view toward commercialization in the future. Signs using these characters will be posted in a number of areas in the Kanto region where Maeda participates in joint ventures.
Another collaberation between Maeda Construction and Yamato 2199 that attracted attention came through Maeda’s Fantasy Sales Department. In this project, the Fantasy Sales Department performed a technical examination of the work required to actually construct and launch Yamato as it appears in the film. Of course, it seems difficult for Yamato to really fly, but the technical possibility is an area of interest. The project can be read at the Maeda website. Original scenes are a highlight, such as still images of engineers in meetings, produced by the actual anime staff.
The “Fantasy Sales Department” project was first announced back in March, but what it was actually meant to accomplish didn’t become clear until mid-October when they published the first of four essays in which they fully scoped out the construction needs for Yamato‘s launch. Read the entire series here.
November 8: New Type Ace #15
This issue New Type Ace magazine (published by Kadokawa) ran its first announcement for Chapter 4 and their own blurb about Yamatalk Night 3. Chapter 9 of Michio Murakawa’s Yamato 2199 manga adaptation brought us to the ice fields of Enceladus for the discovery of the shipwrecked Yukikaze, and ended just before things get dicey in the latter half of Episode 4. With the anime already up to Episode 10, the manga will likely remain far behind for a long time to come, but this is not necessarily a strike against its continuation since New Type Ace includes other manga based on anime that has already run its course. As long as it remains popular, there is no reason the series should end prematurely.
See the pages from chapter 9 here.
November 11: Yamato Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012
Yamato music has been performed live on several occasions over the last few decades (with the most recent examples occurring mid-October in both Tokyo and Saitama), but the world hadn’t seen a dedicated Yamato concert since the Grand Symphony in 1984. The drought finally ended when this long-awaited event came to the Maihama Amphitheater, part of the Tokyo Disney complex in Chiba. A 120-piece orchestra was assembled by combining the Toke Civic Wind Orchestra with the Osaka Philharmonic, both of whom have worked extensively with Akira Miyagawa as a conductor. Together, they were renamed the Yamato Orchestra. There were two performances of the concert (afternoon and evening), both arranged as follows:
Part 1: the world of Yamato sound
11 instrumental pieces were performed from the original Series 1 soundtrack and 2199, including the new Gamilas national anthem. Female vocalist “Yucca” performed the Infinity of Space theme accompanied by Akira Miyagawa on piano; she first made her mark with it in the live-action Yamato movie and was brought in to reprise it for 2199. The Tokyo Mixed Voices Chorus provided more accompaniment when called for.
Akira Miyagawa gave a talk show in which he revealed previously-unknown trivia, such as Producer Nishizaki’s request that the Iscandar theme sound like Over the Rainbow. This factoid had already been known to Yamato music buffs, but Miyagawa surprised everyone with the revelation that the “fleet mobilization” music in the first TV series was inspired by the theme from Ben Hur. Check it for yourself: listen here and then here to compare.
Miyagawa also reiterated his statement from the February launch event that the essence of Yamato music is progressive rock rather than symphonic, giving an aural demonstration to back up his theory.
Part 2: Episode 11 preview screening
This was the first chance anyone got to watch part of the forthcoming Yamato 2199 Chapter 4, and fans were delighted to see the entry of General Domel into the story.
Part 3: the world of Yamato theme songs
In the third part, vocalists took the spotlight to perform various songs. Isao Sasaki (still robust at 70 years old) started with his own 4-song set: the Yamato theme and one song apiece from Farewell, The New Voyage, and Be Forever. Then the ladies took the stage. Yucca revived Love Supreme, the closing song from Final Yamato with Akira Miyagawa on piano. Next came the two end themes from 2199 Chapters 1 and 2, sung by Aira Yuki and Aki Misato. Between songs, Yuki revealed that Analyzer is her favorite character, and Misato shocked everyone by choosing Domel.
Sasaki returned to the stage for an emotional rendition of his classic Scarlet Scarf, then lead the house in a singalong of the Yamato theme (with Yucca performing the scat backing vocal). This brought the concert to a close after two and a half hours that must still have seemed like not enough to those in the audience.
There was merchandise to be had at the concert, but the only new items were a postcard and a clear file with the artwork of Akira Miyagawa created to promote the concert. However, events like this are always an opportunity to plug forthcoming products, and something new was unveiled among the various promo flyers: a set of Yamato 2199 pins that combine into a profile of the ship with internal parts. Keep reading for more info…
November 19: New Characters
These new characters were added to the Gamilas side of the character page at the official 2199 website: Valus Lang and Paren Nerge. Descriptions were not provided, since they only appeared in Episode 10. Visit the official site’s character page here. General Domel’s entry finally got a full text description around the same time; watch for it when the English-language 2199 character guide gets posted on this website in the near future.
November 20: 2013 Digest Calendar
Yamato calendars were a regular product during the production years of the original saga, mainly because one facet of Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s Office Academy was to produce anime merchandising for outside clients, and calendars became a popular item. So yet another thread from the past has been revitalized with this new product offered exclusively through the Yamato Crew website. Measuring about 11″ x 16″, it consists of 14 pages with images from the first ten episodes of the series.
November 21: YRA [Radio Yamato] Volume 1 CD
As of this writing, Radio Yamato is nearing its 20th episode on the Onsen internet radio network in Japan. As described in a previous report, it is a weekly variety show starring Aya Uchida, the voice actress for new 2199 character Yuria Misaki (pictured on the CD cover) with voice actor Cho as co-host (he provides the voice of Analyzer). Her fictional counterpart has the same job in Yamato 2199, entertaining the crew with a shipwide radio show that becomes part of the ongoing story in Chapter 3. The real-world YRA program has several features, one of which is an actual radio drama starring Yuria Misaki. This CD collects the first ten episodes, each running about 6 minutes, which follows her misadventures, escapades, capers, hijinks, and goof-ups on board the ship. Naturally, she occasionally runs into Analyzer, but most of the stories are told through her personal narrative or inner monologue.
This is, of course, difficult for a casual fan to get into since the language barrier is front and center with no visuals to aid the storytelling. But if you don’t mind hearing a squeaky-voiced youngster run around inside your favorite space battleship, it’s not a bad way to pass an hour. It’s also interesting to note that the title narration is a dead ringer for that of the various Yamato radio dramas of yesteryear.
November 22: Chapter 3 Video Release
The general-audience edition of 2199 Chapter 3 arrived on DVD and Blu-ray in the same form as the previous volumes with the Yamato Crew website offering its own edition with facsimile voice-recording scripts and a special trading card with art by director Nobuyoshi Habara (shown above right). Get a larger look at it on Mr. Habara’s Twitter feed here.
November 22: Super Dreadnought Pin Set
Set for release in March 2013, the pin set made its first appearance on the Premium Bandai website November 22 for pre-order. Yamato pin sets have been released before, but none quite like this: three big pins form the hull of Yamato measuring 20cm long when fitted together, and seven smaller pins display key emblems in the UN Cosmo Navy. The whole set comes with a custom frame measuring about 11″ x 8″. See more photos of it on the Premium Bandai site here.
November 23: Explosion Live! Music Concert
Akira Miyagawa is constantly on the move as a composer and conductor, so it should surprise no one that he would participate in a second Yamato concert during the month of November. He appeared at this event in Osaka with the Kanagawa Philharmonic Wind & String Orchestra (conducted by Seikyo Kimu) and vocalist Isao Sasaki to perform and talk about Yamato music and the career of his father, Hiroshi Miyagawa. The program was roughly divided into two parts with Yamato music in the first half hour and other Miyagawa compositions in the second.
The Yamato portion was quickly edited into a half-hour “Untitled Concert” special for TV Asahi’s Japanese Maestros series, and broadcast on the morning of November 25. Sasaki belted out the Yamato theme with typical bravura, but Akira Miyagawa was unquestionably the life of the party, describing his father’s Yamato compositions with humor, energy, and on-stage antics worth the price of admission.
November 24: Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby January issues
The major hobby magazines did their part to close out the month, but there was no question about which one did it better. Hobby Japan devoted just three page to 2199 news which included product and event updates along with new animation art for Chapter 4 (see the content here). Dengeki, on the other hand, gave more space to Yamato than in any previous issue–a whopping 25 page cover story. And no wonder–this was the issue that came with a brand new 2199 model kit as a bonus item!
Announced back in the summer hobby shows (and well-hyped in previous issues of Dengeki, as you’ve already seen), the kit was a mini-model of the new Cosmo Falcon. The 25-page article included directions on how to build it and lots of ideas for painting and customizing, probably assuming fans would buy multiple issues of the magazine to get more copies of the kit. Unlike the previous 2199 models, this one didn’t come pre-colored, but this isn’t necessarily the only edition of the kit that will ever be released. Meanwhile, third-party companies jumped on board to create custom decals for it that were also promoted in the article.
The article itself is full of other surprises that simply have to be seen to be believed. Click here to do that very thing.
So how does a model kit come bundled with a magazine? Dengeki has been doing this for years; bonus items are typically packaged in a flat box the same size as the magazine, so the content itself must be flat. In this case, it’s a single tree of parts (with a smaller transparent one for the canopy) that is actually much thinner than the 3/4″ box–which is itself a nice keepsake. Fair warning, however–this is not a kit for beginners. Whereas most anime-based models from Bandai are simple snap-together affairs with pre-colored plastic, this one is monotone and requires glue. Or, as most longtime anime fans call it, “normal.”
November 25: Mega Hobby Expo, Akihabara
Held in Akihabara, Tokyo, this event was smaller than the summer hobby shows covered in earlier reports, so the big Yamato booth didn’t make a comeback here. On the other hand, it was the site of a new product announcement that got fans buzzing. On display (at left) was the completed Yuki Mori figure from Megahouse, set for February release. (See a YouTube video of her on display here.) The announcement was for the second figure in Megahouse’s “Yamato Girls Collection”: Akira Yamamoto.
The new issue of Hobby Japan also carried the news, but the release date was not included.
November 27: Cosmo Falcon Garage Kit
Ascii Media, the publisher of Dengeki Hobby magazine, seems to have a “thing” for the Cosmo Falcon. This 1/72 resin garage kit, produced by a company named R.C. Berg, made its debut at the Chara Hobby convention in August as part of the Dengeki exhibit. Since then it has evidently sold well, and was added to the product lineup at the Yamato Crew website in late November. Garage kits are typically made in small numbers for hardcore modelers only, so the fact that this one earned official status via Yamato Crew says something about its quality.
A few other things crossed the 2199 radar screens during the breadth of this report: the first Yamato 2199 garage kit (a Yuki Mori figure) popped up at the “Treasure Fest” hobby show on October 28, and the forthcoming Chapter 4 movie was advertised on the back cover of Beat, Bandai Visual’s free monthly to home video releases. The December issue was published on November 7.
Fan-made projects go far beyond figures and doujinshi, as evidenced by these three tactical board games based on 2199. The first (above) was pictured in a previous report when it was published back in May. As the name attests, it is set seven years earlier and covers the beginning of the war with Gamilas.
Since then, two more games have appeared from the same maker: Operation K-Go seems to be set in the years before 2192, imagining the Mars campaign that is tantalizingly mentioned in the backstory of 2199. This was supposedly the campaign that earned Captain Okita his stripes and resulted in the devastation we see on Mars in Episode 1. We learn in Chapter 3 that one of the main characters in Yamato‘s crew was born on Mars, so this will presumably continue to be an undercurrent in the story.
Operation M-Go (below) is set within the storyline of the anime, since the second battle of Pluto happens in Episodes 5 & 6. (The first battle of Pluto, of course, is seen in Episode 1.) The name is a bit puzzling, however, since Operation M-Go was the name of the campaign in Episode 1; ‘M’ stood for ‘Megami,’ the Japanese word for ‘Goddess,’ in reference to the rendezvous with Sasha of Iscandar. The maker of this game probably had his own reasons for using the term here. If we’re lucky, we’ll all find out someday.