Great Mechanics DX Magazine #23

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 continues the voyage to Iscandar from Chapter 3. In the fourth segment, the enemy Gamilas will finally appear in earnest. Therefore, after summarizing what we know about Gamilas so far, we speak with Mr. Satoshi Koizumi, who develops detailed concepts and presents some of them for you.

While the Gamilas battleships that appear in Yamato 2199 inherit their designs from the original Space Battleship Yamato, it is not an exaggeration to say that they are redesigned to the standards of the 21st Century. Of course, even if the recently-published Gaiperon-class multi-deck spacecraft carrier observes the three-tiered design of the original, it has become more modern, and this modernization is also a feature of the Domelus II and Domelus III.

In addition, there are many similar types of Gamilas battleship, mostly categorized as “second class armored space ships.” On the Earth side, Gamilas battleships are merely distinguished as destroyers and cruisers, but in fact Gamilas does not have such classifications, and there seems to be a purpose in this. Such points reveal the worldbuilding itself, and the plan for 2199 can be grasped from this.

On the other hand, the original work’s essence of Gamilas as “Germany during World War II” seems more pronounced in 2199. It has clearly emerged in the form of executive officers and mecha such as the Dimensional Submarine. This might be a sign of careful planning by Director Yutaka Izubuchi and the staff, which is no longer concealed. We need to pay close attention to how Gamilas is presented in the future.

Mecha Concept Coordinator Satoru Koizumi

The Man Who Makes 2199‘s Mecha Concepts

One of the pleasures of 2199 is the detailed mecha concepts. Though it is done with respect for the original, with the desire for as few discrepancies as possible in the image and designs, the work of compiling an overall outline is also carried out. This time we talk with Mr. Satoshi Koizumi about creating such concepts.

How many fightercraft are stored inside Yamato?

Interviewer: You’ve been involved from the early stages of Yamato 2199.

Koizumi: Starting about four years ago, Director Izubuchi often called me to a bar. “Storyboards are being done,” or “I want to show you [Kazutaka] Miyatake’s designs.” So I gradually became involved. (Laughs) Toward the end of 2011, I officially got the order to board Yamato and start organizing the designs.

I first met Director Izubuchi more than 20 years ago, when I belonged to the development company called Artmic. We were both military buffs and agreed that we would probably work together someday.

[Translator’s note: Artmic–a Japanese combo of the words “Art” and “Atomic”–was one of the true powerhouses of 1980s, specializing in design work for SF anime for such titles as Mospeada, Megazone 23, Gall Force, Bubblegum Crisis, and many more. Shown at left is a photo of Koizumi from his Artmic days, circa 1987.]

Interviewer: How does the process of selecting mecha concepts work?

Koizumi: My job starts after we have a variety of designs, and while talking with Director Izubuchi, I ask questions about the mecha, like, “what sort of equipment would go here?” While considering things like that and hearing the intentions of designers such as Junichiro Tamamori, I turn the concepts into text. Director Izubuchi seems to be pleased with my involvement in this process, and I also think about writing things that fans can understand and get a smile out of.

Interviewer: One of the highlights of the work is the detail in the descriptions.

Koizumi: That’s right. My first surprise when I started was that a Gamilas language had been created. (Laughs) It was like, “we’re going that far?”

Interviewer: This might seem slightly obsessive, but do you also consider fine points in the mecha concepts that haven’t been dealt with before, like how many fighters Yamato can carry?

Koizumi: At first we said it was “around 30 planes,” but I considered the makeup of an air corps and put the number at 36. Two leaders and eight formations with two planes apiece make for an 18-piece air corps, and I thought Yamato would have two air corps for a total of 36 planes. However, since the CG model has 16 palettes holding 32 planes, that was four too many. (Laughs)

Interviewer: But since aircraft carriers in the Japanese military carried parts for spare machines, that may not be a problem.

Koizumi: That’s right. So it could be said that spare machines can be put together from disassembled parts.

Caption at right: At the beginning of Episode 11, Domel is shown fighting against this hostile enemy fleet, identical to the missile ships and destroyers of Gatlantis, the White Comet Empire of Farewell to Yamato! Though we don’t know the details at the moment, they should be in the same world and this could be an appearance of the White Comet Empire. We should conclude that it is a “service scene” from the staff, but we can expect it.

Only Episode 1 presents the settings of the Earth fleet in complete detail

Interviewer: When you got involved, what mecha was the first to be discussed?

Koizumi: It was the battleships and fightercraft of the Earth fleet that appeared in the battle of Pluto. Junichiro Tamamori’s design images came from an industrial design direction, which was different from the previous approach of designing mecha as characters, and I thought it was very interesting.

There were a lot of notes written on them, and since this was the source of the design, I wanted to make as much use of it as possible. For example, in the case of Kirishima, “the battleship hull uses many curved surfaces, having the same sex appeal as the old Imperial Navy warships.” I’m the type who reacts to written details like that. (Laughs)

Interviewer: How was it summarized in the concept notes?

Koizumi: “The battleship hull is constructed with elegant, flowing, curved surfaces that harken back to ancient warships.” I like that expression. Also, “repairs were done repeatedly while incorporating Gamilas technology.”

From that note, Kirishima is probably in a final form after armor was attached to it in various ways. It might have had a different form in Operation K2 [the second battle of Mars]. Since there is only one Kirishima model kit from Bandai, I was asked if there was any plan for variation. Then I consulted with Director Izubuchi about whether or not there were other ships of the same type as Kirishima.

I asked him to give me eight ship names. We decided there were three ships at the time of Operation K2, but the others were sunk, so only Kirishima is left. Thus, that’s how it’s set up. So I said, “let’s try to make the Kongo and the Haruna the same type of ships, as you would a plastic model kit.”

Originally, names and numbers were attached to the ships that participated in Operation M [the battle of Pluto], but only one was referred to in dialogue, saying, “Kurama is withdrawing from the battle.” Thus, it was necessary for me to decide on a new hull number for the model kit’s decals. I chose CAS-854 to represent the elevation of Mr. Kurama. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Kurama is a Murasame-type cruiser, and in the old Imperial Navy first class cruisers were named for mountains. Is it named after an escort ship of the modern Marine Self Defense Force, by any chance?

Koizumi: According to Director Izubuchi, the naming is a mix of old Imperial Navy vessels and those of the Self-Defense Force. As far as names go, Director Izubuchi said that Kirishima and Kongo-class may be a bit too straightforward, and he seemed to have a moment of inspiration and wanted to make it the Fusou-class. But I insisted that it had to be the Kongo-class, and overcame his opposition.

Interviewer: Originally, the IJN Kongo-type battle cruiser was named after mountains. Because battleships were named after old countries, there is the opinion that this should be added, too. But the ships that took the most active role in the Pacific War was the Kongo type, so the name of the ship evokes the imagination in various ways.

Koizumi: I’m glad that you can get a smile out of such an intricate part. For example, I think the fact that the bow is equipped with a positronic shock cannon in Operation M should create some interest in the audience about the past. Director Izubuchi talks about the deployment in Operation K2, when Okita makes full use of the positronic cannon to somehow stop the invasion of Gamilas…even though the series is not over yet, he says we’ll show this in an OVA by all means (Laughs) and that feeling spreads rapidly.

Concepts begin to spin off from the film

Interviewer: I think such a spreading out is also enjoyed by the fans. The anticipation itself is enjoyable.

Koizumi: It grows out of the pictures and the words presented on screen. Why can only the Yukikaze‘s torpedo destroy a Gamilas ship in Episode 1? We say that Yukikaze is the only advance ship that was equipped with a special torpedo that was finally completed…and thus applied.

The torpedo analyzes the armor plates collected from the wreckage of Gamilas ships, and it’s a double warhead that scatters across reflective material on the surface in Operation M, and the thought was that after its effectiveness was confirmed, it was installed on Yamato. If we didn’t have this flow, the question would come up about why Yamato‘s torpedoes suddenly become effective against Gamilas ships.

Interviewer: What other things were you involved in, in relation to the Earth fleet?

Koizumi: Numerical values, such as the caliber of the positronic gun, or the significance of the Kirishima‘s bridge being part of the turret rotation. In order for it to fire quickly without waiting for range data, the turret and the bridge were directly linked. Before this renovation, I think it had a fixed bridge like the Murasame. I think it would be interesting to modify the plastic model to see what it used to look like.

Interviewer: This makes it possible to fire a second earlier. That’s interesting.

Koizumi: Director Izubuchi also said it was a good idea.

Interviewer: Does the size of each ship come into consideration in various ways?

Koizumi: I know if you look at the size comparison diagram of the ships, Yukikaze is fairly small. It was conceived as an extension of the space thunder boat and assumed to have tremendous mobility. In the first episode, we show agile maneuvers like those of a high speed torpedo boat.

The secret of Gamilas’ strength!?

Interviewer: What about the ships on the Gamilas side?

Koizumi: At first I asked Director Izubuchi where its armaments were. There are a lot of details, and I posed this question because I wasn’t sure what was a thruster or a torpedo tube.

Interviewer: What about the eyeball portion of the bow?

Koizumi: A conclusion has not been reached about this yet. (Laughs)

Interviewer: The carriers coming up in the future will not have it.

Koizumi: We will have to attach a reason to it in the future; why it doesn’t appear on the Dimensional Submarine, or the carrier, whether they are eyes that take something in…since the color changes when the main guns are fired, I think we’ll have to decide soon about the mechanism of that area. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Even with the addition of new elements in 2199, the direction of mecha from the original Yamato is considered first.

Koizumi: I can say this is already the concencus of the series staff. The basis is that it’s essential to preserve what was presented in the original. We do it this way because it was done that way in the original. That’s the firm policy of the plan and I’m committed to not drift away from it.

Interviewer: What about the reflective armor of the Gamilas ships?

Koizumi: It’s not just the thickness of the armor that allows it to repel the beams from the Earth side in Episode 1, there must also be some kind of coating. It’s not the [anti-magnetic] zimmerit coating of German tanks, so we had to think of a name for it, and Migobueza Coating was born. The name comes from Migobuia, the Gamilas term for the reflection satellite.

Interviewer: You also include elements from real weapons.

Koizumi: The Dessler-type torpedo that appeared in Episode 8 is abbreviated as [Ng„ɪFi-01(d)] in the way of German ammunition. The intention is that the Gamilas word for prototype torpedo is “Nahdengio fiese.” The (d) at the end is for Dessler. For weapons of the German military, the indicator (p) stood for Dr. Porsche. We borrowed that method.

Interviewer: What’s the reaction of Director Izubuchi?

Koizumi: He was happy, and gave the impression that he’d been waiting for this.

Interviewer: A carrier and its fightercraft appear in Chapter 4. I think it’s an interesting interpretation of how mecha was presented in the first Yamato.

Koizumi: That setup has room for improvement. There were many things to decide, like why a flight deck is needed in space.

Interviewer: In the original, an aircraft would drop down a little after it left the deck. There was no reason for it, since it’s not a ship-based plane from World War II, but it was a cool scene. I’d like to see it again in 2199, but would you provide an explanation for it, if it appears?

Koizumi: How it happens? We’ll have to give it some kind of explanation if it is shown on the screen. I have to go think about it. (Laughs) Since new mecha such as the drill missile and heavy bombs will also appear, I’ll have to come up with some future concepts in that area. Currently, we’re working on ideas for the Dimensional Submarine. We’re scratching our heads over what terms like “blow dimensional tanks” might mean. (Laughs)

Anxiety over the secret mania for the Type 3 shell set

Interviewer: What kind of concepts did you come up with for Yamato?

Koizumi: In the program book for Chapter 3, the internal structure of Yamato was summarized, such as the location of each facility. It’s easier for the audience if they understand the spatial relationships inside Yamato. We worked out the names of things based on asking Mr. Tamamori, “What’s in this space?” and working under his supervision.

Mr. Tamamori reasoned out careful explanations for a lot of things, like the circumference of the smokestack missile, the equipment for the Wave-Motion Barrier system, or how the bridge is equipped with relays for the Wave Barrier. It was very instructive.

Interviewer: It certainly sounds convincing that there would be barrier equipment for the weak points.

Koizumi: There are also defensive shutters for the transparent material on the captain’s cabin. Director Izubuchi said something that struck me, that the bridge would have a range finder for the Wave-Motion Gun. In addition, Yamato‘s hull is bigger this time, and if the caliber of the main guns stayed at 46cm, it would feel small. There were some documents that set it at 48cm, so I settled on that diameter.

Interviewer: I was surprised to the see the set of three fusion bullets fire from the main gun. Speaking of the Type 3 shell set, it was also the name for the antiaircraft shells on the old battleship Yamato. I have to ask why this formula was used for 2199.

Koizumi: Oh, there just seemed to be a nice ring to it. (Laughs) So we just made it so the chemical explosive rounds were classed as Type 1 or Type 2 based on their being equipped with a time-delay fuse or not.

A gunpowder-type cannon is very primitive, but conversely, it was surprising to the Gamilas. Originally, the Reflection Satellite Gun was for the acceleration of planet bombs rather than a weapon, but that connection might not have been made if it had fired solid rounds. Converting the Reflection Satellite Gun into an anti-Yamato gun was like General Rommel using the 88mm antiaircraft gun as an antitank gun. I hear that it’s an homage to shout “Gare [Hail] Izubuchi!” and I feel like shouting it. (Laughs)

Interviewer: I can really understand the desire to name it Type 3.

Koizumi: Reasons and explanations are required for the things that appear on the screen. For example, in the scene where Kodai and Yuki ride the elevator in the main trunk of the bridge, they push the button for the 10th floor to reach the first bridge.

Interviewer: There’s a school of thought that you don’t explain everything that shows up on the screen. 2199 doesn’t do that, though.

Koizumi: Even for a scene that only appears once, the posture is that it must be properly reasoned out.

Interviewer: You’ve shown the internal structure so far, but I’d like to see it as a figure cut into round slices so I can see each hierarchy.

Koizumi: It will be in a mook, by all means. (Laughs) [Translator’s note: “mook” is an abbreviated term for magazine/book.] But I think the attitude of such concern is an important point supporting this work. You may be surprised to hear about how such intricate parts are presented, but it’s fun to expand your imagination from there.

Things in 2199 that bring a smile only to those who notice

Koizumi: Aside from Yamato, regarding the Cosmo Zero, it was designated as the Type 52. I thought about what the 52 meant.

Interviewer: Because it is a new-style machine, speaking in terms of a Zero fighter plane, part of me wants the coloring style along with appending 11 and 21 to it, but it’s been the Type 52 since the old show.

Koizumi: Yeah. I thought about Type 52 referring to the model of engine. The engine of the plane Kodai and Shima flew in Episode 1 was type 5, model 1, thus it was a Type 51. Since the engine wasn’t running well, it had been mounted on a 2-seater test plane and was parked on the runway apron. The improved version of the engine was put into production as the Type 5, model 2. The thing is, since it looks the same from the outside, Kato, referred to it as a “Type 52 Cosmo Zero.” At least, that’s how I justify it in my head. I want to reflect on that in a mook someday. (Laughs)

Interviewer: There is an axial-flow type cosmo engine “Comet Type 5 no. 2.” (Early jet engines were either axial-flow types or centrifugal types; the axial-flow type continued to develop into the current jet engine.)

Koizumi: Mr. Tamamori came up with the axial-flow type, and the name “Comet” came from Director Izubuchi. Then the Cosmo Falcon engine? I requested a name from Mr. Tamamori and he called it the compound-style-type Cosmo Engine (“Meteor” Type 35).

Interviewer: Both the name of the engine and the name of the plane are from the old Imperial Navy. Along with the Type-3 shell set, it’s a magnificent generational play on words.

Koizumi: Yeah, it’s fun. Only the people who notice will get a smile out of it. But not only for that. Due to this one name, the world of the show expands, giving it more of a feeling of depth. Cosmo Falcon is affiliated with a lunar base, and some might people might remember a certain work with UFOs. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Mr. Tamamori’s designs contain a large amount of information, and I would think it was hard to make selections.

Koizumi: The choice for that would first go to Director Izubuchi, who’d make the decision on what he wanted and didn’t want. From there, any questions to Mr. Tamamori would be answered, I’d work them into the script, and then finalize everything under the supervision of both Mr. Tamamori and Director Izubuchi.

Interviewer: Is there also the work of expanding the concepts after the picture is completed?

Koizumi: In accordance with the plastic models, there were many requests for side stories from modeling magazines. Although this is still a future project, there are plans to establish fleets that came from countries other than Japan. Experts in SF and scientific investigation are already involved, and a scientific concept called “operating Space Battleship Yamato‘s main engine” exists, too.

To steal a line from Chief Engineer Tokugawa, “I have no idea.” (Strained laugh) And so, bearing that in mind, for my part I plan to go on using the terminology and designs that will bring a smile to the faces of military fans out there.

Interviewer: What message do you have for the fans who are looking forward to Chapter 4?

Koizumi: I’m currently working on the concepts for the Dimensional Submarine, and I think there will be many highlights among its equipment and function. I’m also looking forward to how its rudder, periscope, and other things will be depicted. Everyone please expand your imagination in various ways, and please enjoy 2199 too.

The End

Wave Engine manual

Shown at right is text from the Wave Engine manual. It was created since it is used in the story. Although it is not the official setting, it was written in accordance with previous concepts. The diagram of the ship itself was produced in reference to such concepts.

Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation assistance.

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