Space Battleship Yamato 2205 Report 20

In February the pace picked up slightly thanks to online activity and a long-awaited concert, but of course the biggest Yamato news of the month was also the saddest with the passing of the great Leiji Matsumoto himself. Nevertheless, Yamato world continued to spin…

February 1: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 202

The first Hyuga volume for February continued work on the main and sub engines with lots of fiber optics to plug in. The end result was a nearly complete assembly of the entire nozzle array.

See Hachette’s instruction video here

See an unboxing video here

See a modeler’s blog here

February 2: Yamato 2202 Blu-ray box commercial

A new edition of of Yamato 2202 is on the way, loaded with bonus features for those who want everything this series has to offer. A 40-second commercial for it was released on this day, narrated by Analyzer himself.

See it on Youtube here.

February 4: Chiko Miyagawa on Twitter

If her name doesn’t ring a bell, then be aware that she represents a third generation of Miyagawa family members associated with Yamato music. Her grandfather Hiroshi composed the original score, her father Akira took up the mantle for the remakes, and she now performs in concert with him.

In early February, she was rehearsing hard for a very demanding concert coming up later in the month that required her to learn the complex piano parts for Kentaro Haneda’s Yamato Grand Symphony. She posted a video clip on Twitter with the message: “Kentaro Haneda’s way of playing that fuses pop music and classical music is exciting and I love it, but it’s difficult. 19 days left. Make effort.”

See the clip here.

February 6: Dream-Science Laboratory column

Author/researcher Rikao Yanagita is back with another scientific examination into the world of Yamato. One of the most striking moments in Yamato 2 was the destruction of Earth’s moon by Emperor Zordar. Mr. Yanagita asks, just how much energy would it take to achieve that horrific feat, and what would be its impact on Earth?

Click here to find out!

February 8: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 203

The general flow of Hyuga assembly began with the bow and made its way backward. Then it jumped to the rear engine array and began working forward. The parts in this volume sit on the port side just forward of the engines, consisting of a hull panel and a distributor box for lighting.

See Hachette’s instruction video here

See an unboxing video here

See a modeler’s blog here

February 9: Yamato 2202 Blu-ray box promo

A week after the commercial, all the information about the new 2202 box set was revealed. First off, it’s a match for the 2199 box set released in January 2017 with a new exterior image by the great Naoyuki Katoh. In addition to the extras that were on the original Blu-rays (commercials, trailers, and commentaries), all the stage greetings and Yamatalk Night events are included.

This is also another one of those “chase” items that have become so common. Different bonus gifts can be obtained depending on where you purchase the set. The A-on store offers an acrylic panel with the exterior box illustration (above left). Yamato Crew offers a set of 30 postcards with story scenes and movie poster images (above right).

Bic Camera, Sofmap, and Animega offer three different acrylic stands. Yodobashi offers an illustration board with a crew image by Kia Asamiya. Rakuten Books offers a different illustration board with the ending scene. Amazon offers a bonus blu-ray with all the Promotional Meeting of Love video talk shows.

Many other retailers offer a set of three postcards. The set is scheduled for release in Japan on March 24. Order it from here. (Sorry, no English subtitles.)

February 11: Original art auction

A little-known but significant piece of early Yamato history changed hands on this day when the original artwork for the cover of the first Yamato novelization, painted by Munihiro Minowa, was sold on Yahoo Japan Auctions. It closed for about $800 US. (Regrettably, the ceiling here at the Cosmo DNA nerve center was $500.)

If you haven’t experienced the original novelization yet, it takes a very different course from the TV series, based on an earlier (and darker) story concept by Aritsune Toyota. Read the entire thing in English here.

February 12: Live-action movie on TV

The BS12 network aired the 2010 live-action Yamato movie in its Sunday Anime Theater slot for two consecutive weeks, starting today. Two days earlier, the Animage Plus website gave it this glowing writeup:

This film is based on the story of the first Yamato series while incorporating concepts, famous scenes, and memorable situations from the sequels, Farewell to Yamato and Final Yamato, so that the essence of the series can be fully enjoyed. Another notable feature is the modern update to the world of Yamato. For example, the heroine Yuki Mori, played by Meisa Kuroki, is an ace pilot of the Black Tiger squadron and has a winning personality, playing an active role on the battlefield alongside the male crew members.

The composition of the crew has also been changed to be more modern, with Reiko Takashima playing Dr. Sado of the medical team and Maiko Aihara playing the head of the communications team. The arrow-shaped uniforms worn by the crew have been rearranged to be more realistic and stylish while maintaining the design concept, and such attention to detail shows a strong respect for the film’s origins.

The film’s flavor is also determined by Takuya Kimura’s portrayal of the main character, Susumu Kodai. The character had a major setback in his past that is not present in the Kodai of the anime, who had an unhappy upbringing but was still a young man in the process of growing up. This film depicts Kodai as an adult who has already matured to a certain extent and is fighting for the future, overcoming his tragic past.

Furthermore, Kimura’s unique lightheartedness and cheerfulness create a positive and appealing character that is not overly serious and drives the dramatic storyline even more powerfully. Kimura, who was a fan of the original anime, may have put his heart and soul into this film, and his presence, which at the time was transforming him into an adult actor in his 40s, gives a certain reality to Kodai’s story.

Director Takashi Yamazaki’s ability to present an emotional story with VFX and 3DCG visuals is also on full display, and the rich drama with a splendid cast is a profound experience. The film is noteworthy for its pursuit of the kind of entertainment that only a full-fledged science-fiction blockbuster can provide, which is rare in recent Japanese cinema, including the use of 3DCG for the mecha and fast-paced battle scenes.

The world of Yamato is eternally loved, and a new anime series Be Forever Yamato Rebel 3199 is currently in production. We hope this broadcast will allow viewers to enjoy the fresh appeal that only a live-action film can offer.

Bonus item: on the day the movie was broadcast, Twitter user Gattemu Takeuchi posted this interesting sighting, presumably from the original release in 2010. It’s a hand-painted poster done in the style of a Showa-era feature film from the 60s or 70s. Where it was displayed or why it was made are questions that will probably never be answered.

February 12: Wonder Festival 2023 Winter

It’s been a while since Bandai announced any new Yamato model kits, and hopes that they might use this bi-annual hobby festival to announce the next one were dashed, but we can always rely on garage kit manufacturers to fill in the gaps.

See a gallery of what they had to offer here.

February 13: Isao Sasaki interview

The entertainment site Zakzak sat down with the one and only Isao Sasaki for an interview which they published in five parts. Now 80 years old, he talked about his singing and voice acting career and said that he plans to put in at least one more year before taking his well-earned retirement. Here’s what he had to say about his Yamato experience…

Isao Sasaki, the “Great King of Anime Songs”

“I was told to learn the theme song for Space Battleship Yamato in three days, but when I went to record it, the score was wrong!”

Exceptional feeling for singing a hero song

Space Battleship Yamato aired from October 1974. Its theme song has now become a milestone in anime songs. However, Isao Sasaki (80) reveals there was quite a mess during the recording process.

“After a few people had sung the song, I was approached to do it. But it was terrible. They sent me a score, asking me to learn it in three days, but it was wrong. They had transposed a D minor song into C minor, but there was no flat symbol on it. There was no karaoke or anything like that back then, so I had to rely on sheet music and the piano. I thought it was a strange song, but I didn’t have time to point it out…”

“On the day of recording, I sang the song in the studio and was told, ‘Mr. Sasaki, that’s not right.’ I had to learn it all over again on the spot. I had practiced so much that my voice became hoarse. But the director said it was better to be melancholy. It was strange, but it turned out OK.”

Singing hero songs is something he feels very passionate about.

“Hero songs are cool, aren’t they? I always want the A-sides to have that coolness. For Yamato, I was told by Composer Hiroshi Miyagawa, ‘Don’t worry about anything, just sing cheerfully.’ But Yamato finished airing earlier than planned at first. It wasn’t until about two years later that it became popular.”

“At that time, there was no karaoke yet, and when I went out on sales trips, I had to pack open reel tapes in my bag and carry them with me. Ichiro Mizuki and I used to go around together. At that time, the speakers were not so good, and we sang on top of beer cases. Mizuki told me that he was even forced to sing over a bullhorn.”

“Then came the unprecedented anime boom. When I performed at an event on the rooftop of Isetan [department store], there were about 500 female students in the audience screaming ‘Joe’ and so on. [For Condor Joe, his role in Gatchaman.] They were all anime fans. No one said ‘Sasaki-saaaaan,’ but I didn’t feel bad. I thought this boom would last for two or three years, but it’s already been 50 years. It’s amazing.”

The Scarlet Scarf is full of mood and emotion. I want to enjoy each song as I sing it.

Space Battleship Yamato has become a representative song for Isao Sasaki, but it is not only the theme song that has touched the hearts of fans. The moody ending song The Scarlet Scarf is also very popular.

“On the first day of recording, my voice got hoarse from practicing too much. I had to record the B-side song (Scarlet Scarf) the next day. As a result, I didn’t have much of a voice, but that was fine because it fit the song.”

“The composer, Hiroshi Miyagawa, had certain thoughts in mind. He wrote it in the image of The Peanuts’ Una Sera Di Tokyo (one of his earlier hits). He entrusted me with the idea of making this kind of sexy song popular once again. It’s already a mood song, isn’t it? When I first heard it, I thought it was a perfect anime song.”

The emotional quality of Sasaki’s singing can be said to be his true calling card.

“I like emotional songs. That’s why I tend to focus on the B-side songs. The A-side songs of anime are very brave. The author’s emotions are more in the B-side songs. Mitsuko Horie told once told me, ‘You’re a B-side singer.’ She and I did a duet on the theme song for Secret Sentai Goranger. The first time I worked with composer Watanabe Hiroaki was on Goranger. It was a Latin-style song, so I sang it like Elvis. The B-side song was also quite lively.”

Sasaki, who has walked the high road of anime songs, will turn 81 this year.

“As expected, I won’t be able to do as many things anymore. That’s why I want to enjoy each song as I sing it. When I turned 80, I thought I would stop working. But the tension of going to work keeps me healthy. I am now thinking that I would like to continue singing for another year or so.”

See the original articles here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

February 13: RIP, Leiji Matsumoto

There’s no good way to say it. This was the day we lost the beloved, accomplished, iconoclastic creator of so many things we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Leiji Matsumoto (85) died of heart failure on February 13, 2023 after an unparalleled career that began when he was just a teenager.

The world heard nothing about this for the next seven days, a customary procedure in Japan to allow the family time and privacy for bereavement. So…more to come.

February 14: Yamatalk reunion

Four familiar faces reconvened on Valentine’s Day to record a conversation looking back at Yamato 2202 in commemoration of the forthcoming Blu-ray box set. Left to right: Scriptwriter Hideki Oka, Writer Harutoshi Fukui, Voice Actor/MC Eriko Nakamura, and Director Nobuyoshi Habara. A recording of the conversation was released by the Yamato Production Committee, and will very likely be offered as a bonus CD by

Had they known what transpired the day before, they would certainly have devoted part of the conversation to it. But time makes its own decisions.

February 15: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 204

Hyuga‘s third volume for February added more bits the hull panel from in Vol. 203, including a segment that fills the rectangular gap to eventually become an elevator up to the flight deck.

See Hachette’s instruction video here

See an unboxing video here

See a modeler’s blog here

February 15: RIP Voice Actor Shozo Iizuka

Heart failure claimed a second Yamato veteran this month, this time from the ranks of the voice repertoire. Shozo Iizuka was heard more than once over the course of the original saga, from Goland in Yamato 2 to Balcom in Yamato III to Barlsman in Yamato Resurrection. He was even called upon for a small role in Yamato 2520.

But this was only the tiniest tip of his career iceberg, which goes all the way back to the original 1963 Astro Boy. Since then, he has filled literally hundreds of roles, appearing as countless villains and becoming known as “the man who plotted to take over the Earth for 50 years.” But he had time for the occasional hero as well, with significant parts in the original Gundam, Fist of the North Star, Sherlock Hound, and many more.

See his incredible credit list at Anime News Network here.

February 20: Leiji Matsumoto’s passing announced

It started with a humble message from his daughter, and the news rippled outward like a tidal wave that wrapped around the globe in only a few hours. The next day, Japanese and world media alike picked up the news with tributes and condolences in many languages.

See some of the English-language coverage here:
Variety | BBC | US News | Financial Times

Of course, Cosmo DNA was there as well. A large collection of news articles translated from Japanese sources went live on February 22 and can be found here

Additional thoughts were shared by our Yamato 2205 commentors, Kathy Clarkson and Anton Mei Brandt. Here’s what they had to say…

[KC]: I want to acknowledge the recent passing of Leiji Matsumoto, without whom none of this would exist. His contribution to the genre as an artist has been profound and he leaves behind an incredible legacy.

[AMB]: The news came as a great shock. Most of us were plenty aware of his widely reported health issues from 2021 (not to mention his age) but it still feels like it was too soon. The tragedy of his passing was big enough to warrant one of the biggest Swedish newspapers, Expressen, to cover it.

[KC]: He’s the reason we’re here, covering the destruction of Garmillas (in Episode 3). Anton, did you want to speak at all about the poetry of that, or your personal thoughts on the loss of Matsumoto-san?

[AMB]: 2205 does portray vivid depictions of sudden loss and despair in this way, doesn’t it? As sad as it is to say, everyone has to reach those pearly gates at some point. To paraphrase Dessler from the original New Voyage: “Leiji is gone… even though his end was destined… I didn’t think that I would see it with my own eyes.”

Last episode, I mentioned my own childhood experiences with Matsumoto’s works, namely Galaxy Express 999 and Starzinger, the latter of which remains a fairly unknown Matsumoto work in the west. As with Yamato, Isao Sasaki performed the opening song, and plenty of iconic imagery, music, and storylines remain fresh in my mind two decades later. Leiji’s work in animation may have evoked some bewilderment in his target audience at times, but no one can claim his contributions to the industry weren’t memorable, enticing, or revolutionary.

In that sense, he holds a similar position in the industry as heavyweight Yoshikazu Yasuhiko does: some works are lauded, others are ridiculed. But nobody can put these men down when measured against the legacy they’ve built. What are your experiences with Matsumoto-san, Kathy?

[KC]: While it’s true that my love for his work is heavily centered on Yamato, I am far too much a lover of romanticized piracy to not at least mention Captain Harlock, especially since I vaguely recall that Matsumoto-san did flirt at one time with having Harlock turn out to be none other than Mamoru Kodai. I had already been exposed to Japanese animation from other artists, but Matsumoto-san set the standard for what anime should look like to me. Yes, he lived a long, full life, but I still regret his passing.

February 22: 1/350 Diecast Gimmick Model Vol. 205

The last Hyuga volume of the month jumped over to the starboard side to begin work on the hull panel opposite the last one. And that’s 35 volumes down, 45 to go.

See an unboxing video here

See a modeler’s blog here

February 23: Junichiro Tamamori on Facebook

In the last week of February, Mecha Designer Junichiro Tamamori traveled from his home in Okinawa to the Yamato production studio in Tokyo. He had the following to say on Twitter…

In the building of the studio that once made Gundam, there is now a studio that makes Yamato. Walking between Kami-igusa and Iogi, I greeted another studio. Beyond that is Shimoigusa, apparently Studio Nue’s territory.

There was news of the installation of a floral tribute stand at another sanctuary, Mr. Matsumoto’s base, Oizumi-Gakuen. I would have visited during my stay, but I should have greeted him when he was in Okinawa a few years ago. This trip was like tilling a field, catching insects, and watering the plants.

I went to Yokohama with the manga artist Michio Murakawa. On the way back from a visit to the [1/1] Gundam, I was admiring the elegance of the Hikawa Maru moored in Yamashita Park (photo above). The life of a ship is comparable to the life of a person. From a prewar passenger ship, to a hospital ship during the war, to a return to service after the war, to its retirement and mooring.

From Yamato to Gundam, the creators of the time were inspired to create new works. I believe that the remakes that I am involved in should be an effort to connect the generations by paying attention to the activities of our great predecessors. I am also working on a new worldview. I hope to leave something behind like this ship, something that will still bring a sigh of relief 100 years from now.

Photo at right posted on Twitter by Michiko Hayashi

February 23: Yamato Meets Classics concert

After more than a year’s delay due to some stupid pandemic, this monumental concert finally made its debut at the lavish Fukuoka Symphony Hall featuring four principal artists: Conductor Akira Miyagawa, Violinist Fuminori Shinozaki, Pianist Chiko Miyagawa, and Vocalist Michiko Hayashi.

Unlike the various “remake concerts” that have dominated recent years, this one went back to original works by the two Yamato music maestros Hiroshi Miyagawa and Kentaro Haneda. After an introductory talk show, Miyagawa’s 5-part Yamato suite was performed, followed by Haneda’s historic Grand Symphony. It’s hard to imagine a better combination than that.

Photos posted on Twitter by Aoi 2199 and Yamato Music FE

On sale in the lobby were score books and Yamato CDs, along with copies of Akira Miyagawa’s autobiography. The concert is scheduled for a redux on March 12 in Himeji, after which maybe we can look forward to a recording. If we’re lucky.

See a TV commercial for the concert here

See a promo video with Akira and Chiko Miyagawa here

See a February 23 group rehearsal clip here

See another rehearsal video by Chiko Miyagawa here.

February 24: Akiba Souken poll

Another Yamato-themed poll closed on this day and gave us the response to this burning question: who’s your favorite character from Final Yamato? Since these polls are run by fans and answered by fans, the results tend to be unusual.

Find out who made the cut here

February 27: Dream-Science Laboratory column

Two visits from Rikao Yanagita in one month! We leave February behind with a look at how artificial gravity could be created in the Yamato universe, and Rikao Yanagita also shares a personal memory about Leiji Matsumoto.

Read it here.

Also spotted in February

Fan art

February gave us the two things we like best: quantity and quality! See a character gallery here and a mecha gallery here.

Fan models

Weird takes? Unusual choices? Strange mashups? Check, check, and check! See a gallery of the latest works here.

Ahoy there

On February 3, the website of the Kobe Shimbun posted these photos of a local children’s play facility named Kobekko Land. Does anything about it look familiar?

How about now?

How about NOW?

Cardboard Yamato sighting

Twice before, this enormous handmade model has graced these pages, most recently in March 2022. It resides in a grocery store called Okabayashi Shoten, decorated with other elaborate cardboard models.

These particular photos were posted on the store’s Twitter page on February 20 with the following caption:

Farewell, Earth. The ship that sets sail is Space Battleship Yamato. It was a special anime for me. Mr Leiji Matsumoto, thank you very much for giving me so much fun since I was little. Rest in peace.

The Twitter bio reads: A fruit and vegetable store where you can enjoy cardboard art. Right now I’m addicted to Demon Slayer. A web article introduced us on Yahoo News in September 2019. Please take a look if you like.

Space Battletruck

This photo raises a big question: how could such a magnificent beast exist without being photographed by anyone before now? The answer is, it’s not a photo.

In fact, this is the work of a CG artist who goes by the Twitter handle Hitomi110531. (Many more images await inspection at that link.)

The captions read “In mourning…I loved Space Battleship Yamato” and “In remembrance…thank you for your hard work.

Fan Artist Profile

Time to meet another of the talented and dedicated Yamato fans who delivers some of the amazing artwork we see here in the mecha galleries month after month. (Hot tip: enter the words “character fan art” or “mecha fan art” in the search bar to bring all the galleries to the top.)

RX78 2202

1. What was your first Yamato experience?

The first time I saw Yamato was in a commercial for Resurrection that was airing at the time. I began with Yamato 2199 then started watching the whole series in earnest. I was strongly attracted by the composition Yamato Sleeps in the Setting Sun.

2. What is your favorite aspect of Yamato?

My favorite part of Yamato is the story of the crew risking everything to save the human race from extinction by following the message from Iscandar.

3. Are you a Yamato collector?

I collect plastic models of the Yamato 2199 and 2202 series, and it is very fun to recreate the fleet in the movie by arranging them in 1/1000 scale.

4. What is your most treasured Yamato item?

I bought my first 1/1000 scale Space Battleship Yamato 2199 when I was 13 years old, and I never threw it away.

5. What are your favorite drawing tools?

It’s just an ordinary mechanical pencil and a piece of drawing paper. I’ve been using it almost exclusively since I started drawing, so it’s very comfortable in my hand.

6. Where can your work be seen?

You can find me mainly on Twitter and Pixiv. Although there are more works on Twitter, the quality on Pixiv is better.

7. Does your family share your hobby?

This may not be the same as sharing, but I was influenced by my father’s love of Yamato.

8. Please tell us something about your life outside your art.

I have always loved vehicles. When I was a child, I was interested in trains and other vehicles, and my interest in ships and airplanes expanded after Yamato. Perhaps because of this influence, I’m now working for a company that manufactures aircraft parts. Maybe some of the parts I made are used in the jets that you fly?

9. Are you involved in Yamato activities with other fans?

I’m mainly influenced by my followers on Twitter. I have not been directly involved in any activities yet, but I would like to do so someday.

10. What do you hope to see in a future Yamato anime?

I hope that my work will reach more people in the future, with 3199 and other projects coming up. And I hope that Yamato will always be loved.

11. What is your favorite anime after Yamato?

My next favorite anime is Evangelion. I actually started watching it before Yamato, and I feel a strange connection with the director Hideaki Anno, who is a big Yamato fan. In Shin Eva, there is also a giant battleship that is conscious of Yamato (laughs).

12. What would you like to say to Yamato fans around the world?

I’m very happy that the content that started with Yamato, one of Japan’s most famous battleships, is now accepted around the world as Star Blazers! Let’s keep Yamato exciting together!

13. What should everyone know about Japan and its people?

There are not many bright topics in Japan today, and the social atmosphere is a bit pessimistic. The world’s view of us may have become a little harsher since the Corona pandemic. I believe what is needed in the future is interaction with people from all over the world. I hope we can continue our exchanges without being bound by preconceived notions, transcending national and regional boundaries. Thank you for your continued support for Japan!

Yamatunes for February

Infinite Universe theme cover by Yucca
Click here
Infinite Universe theme cover by May J
Click here

Yamato/Galaxy Express medley by Sarah Alainn
Click here
Yamato themes performed live by Kure Maritime SDF Band
Click here

Yamato theme performed on tongue drum
Click here
Yamato theme duet on keyboard and otamatone
Click here

Piano solo: Yamato and Galaxy Express 999 themes
Click here
Dessler theme, piano performance
Click here

Yamato theme, public piano performance
Click here
Yamato Big River theme, public piano performance
Click here

Be Forever Yamato/New Galaxy, public piano performance
Click here
Yamato theme on Electone organ
Click here

Yamato theme by trombone quartet “Throw Line”
Click here
Yamato theme performed in all-clarinet orchestra
Click here

100 Songs of Anime medley concert by Akihabara Municipal Orchestra, Dec 2022 (60 min.) Click here

What’s Next

Leiji Matsumoto continued to be honored as February turned into March, accompanied by a new Yamatalk with the first sneak peek at 3199, two more concerts, the next chapter of the 2199 manga, and plenty more. See them all in next month’s report, and follow our Facebook page for daily posts and breaking news!

Meanwhile, click here to leap back in time to 1978, where Vintage Report #10 will take you up to the middle of Yamato‘s biggest year ever!

Cosmo DNA writer/editor Tim Eldred here, inviting you to a party that’s just one click away. If you’ve enjoyed this website and my various Star Blazers comics, it’s my duty to tell you that they represent only a fraction of a career that spans more than 40 years. ARTVALT is where I open my archives and roll out all sorts of weird and cool things ranging from unknown to world famous! New updates happen on the first of every month! Click here to join the fun!

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