Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Report 17

As we’ve seen in past reports, news, product releases, and special events dial up in the weeks leading to a new chapter’s big-screen premiere. This time, everyone got a double dose during the month of March as the April 7 TV debut loomed ever closer. With that and the imminent arrival of Chapter 5 on April 13, it was a great time to be a fan.

February 25: Model Graphix #341

We’ll begin with a momentary step back into February; this issue of Model Graphix (April cover date) offered a three-page article on the Cosmo Zero models kits; Alpha-1 had just been released and Alpha-2 was hot on its heels.

The purpose of the text was to highlight their different color schemes and offer tips on how best to capture them with paint. Incidentally, the cover feature for this issue of the magazine was a huge article on Girls and Panzer, a new series about little girls learning to drive German tanks. That should tell you a lot about the state of TV anime these days.

March 1: Chapter 5 Trailer

The minute-long version of the new trailer rolled out in movie theaters on the first of March with a longer one to follow near the end of the month. Surprises abounded from the first frame, which placed the crew on Planet Beemera (with some real mecha along for the ride in the form of an exoskeleton for Analyzer), and culminated with some hair-raising scenes of Yamato facing off against Domel’s Dreadnought.

The trailer appeared in several online locations one week later. See it on YouTube here.

March 1: Hyper Hobby #175

The April issue of Hyper Hobby had the usual 2-page spread with recent news; new character and mecha art, a test shot of Megahouse’s upcoming Akira Yamamoto figure and Cosmofleet collection, along with music news. But the most welcome addition was the comeback of “26 Yamato Questions” to make you an expert. As before, they were answered by chief mechanical director Masanori Nishii and brought us up to date with Chapters 3 & 4. 13 questions were answered here with another 13 to follow in the next issue.

Question 1: What is the post of the female crewmember in the yellow-green uniform seen in Episode 7?

Nishii: She is in the navigation department. The inside story is that at first her uniform was the same color as Shima and Ota, but it felt wrong to apply that color to a female crewmember. (Laughs)

Question 2: In Episode 12, there was a bunk bed in Yuria’s room. Does everyone have a bunk bed?

Nishii: Not all of the rooms have bunks. A private room is given to people higher than third-class space officers. Since third-class and above have gold epaulets on their uniforms, everyone with a gold epaulet has a private room. Sanada is a Leiutenant Commander, and it came out in Episode 9 that he has a private room. People of first-class status and under have bunk beds, and it is assume that four are assigned to a single room.

Question 3: Yuria was wearing pajamas, so does the crew have plain clothes with them? I wouldn’t think it would be standard in the military to have plain clothes.

Nishii: I think the cosplay clothes seen in the border-crossing ceremony of Episode 7 were personal belongings brought on board.

Question 4: Is it possible that the cosplay clothes were made by the OMCS?

Nishii: OMCS is an abbreviation for Organic Material Cycle System. Because it’s a system that recycles the organic matter on the ship and prepares meals, it cannot make clothes.

Question 5: Yuria and Makoto share a room. What about the rest of the crew?

Nishii: Naturally, I think members of the crew share rooms, but I don’t assume that it will be shown on screen in the future. In Episode 12, Makoto comes back drunk, so she interacted with various people. (Laughs)

Question 6: Is the large communal bath shared by Yuki and Akira in Episode 11 on the port side of the ship, or the starboard?

Nishii: If you check the direction the stars are drifting in the background in Episode 11, you’ll understand that it’s the starboard side. It was decided at that time that the ladies’ bath was on the starboard side. Incidentally, it came out in Episode 7 that prefabricated bath units with showers are installed in private rooms.

Question 7: Did Yuria used to be a nurse?

Nishii: She appears as a nurse in Episode 12. That figure of Yuria appeared in a dream, so she wasn’t necessarily a nurse in the past.

Question 8: In Episode 13, why was Captain Okita’s surgery carried out under water?

Nishii: It was decided during development of the story in consultation with our medical consultant, Mr. Masahiro Chiba. Priority was given to an SF-style visual so the concept of a futuristic operation would be understood at a glance.

Question 9: What does Niimi say near the end of Episode 14? “You don’t hold back, do you”?

Nishii: That’s right. I suppose she was dreaming about the past, due to Mirenel’s illusions.

Question 10: How many Seagull containers are there? Is there other equipment?

Nishii: The inspiration for the Seagull was Thunderbird 2. We decided to make the containers replaceable according to their use. Though it is usually a container for personnel transport, it carried a sonobuoy in Episode 13. I think those used on the ground would have more variation, but they’re not all loaded onto Yamato.

Question 11: What are they doing about resupplying parts and such for the planes they have aboard?

Nishii: One of the two Seagulls was lost in Episode 4. Also, a Falcon was shot down in Episode 5 [in operation M2], and the one Akira flew in Episode 11 was damaged. However, since spare machines are basically stored in pieces, it’s possible to use some of them for repair. But since it’s impossible to manufacture type-3 munitions and such aboard the ship, I suppose there’s a limit on how many of those they can fire.

Question 12: What do the people in the rocket anchor control room usually do?

Nishii: Control rooms are located just behind the rocket anchors on the port and starboard sides, respectively. It’s not a place that is staffed all the time. I think they’re stationed there only when in use.

Question 13: In Episode 14, was the airplane that appeared in Susumu Kodai’s vision a passenger plane carrying Mamoru Kodai?

Nishii: That’s a heavy bomber on the Earth side. It was used to create a sense of anxiety, not necessarily something Mamoru was riding.

Original text by Tetsushige Akiyama.

March 1: Racing Team announcement

Just when you thought there was no unexplored territory left for promotional tie-ins, the Kygnus Sonoco racing team left their tire marks all over this false assumption. This team participates in the Asian circuit of Super Formula racing with three drivers and two cars, numbered 7 and 8. Japanese driver Ryo Hirakawa will take the wheel of Car 7 during the 2013 season (coincidentally starting April 13), which will sport Yamato 2199 sponsorship decals to “appeal to children by carrying the future of motor sports,” according to the team’s press release.

See the March 1 press conference on YouTube here. (Two of the drivers speak English.)

Visit driver Ryo Hirakawa’s website here. (Check out the photo album for more car pics.)

The racers picked up additional sponsorship from Le Mans and their website went live on Nico Nico (Japan’s Youtube) March 26 with a video clip showing car 7 (nicknamed Yamato-go) in all its glory. Visit the site here.

March 4: MBS website

MBS stands for Mainichi Broadcasting System, the Osaka-based affiliate of TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) and thus a hub for the TV broadcast of Yamato 2199. They took the lead in promotion for the series starting with this website featuring descriptive text and TV commercial clips, and of course there was much more to follow.

Visit the site here.

March 6: 2199 Mag Garden website

For all those waiting patiently for Yamato 2199 to follow its predecessors into the publishing world, the arrival of Mag Garden‘s Yamato 2199 Books website was welcome indeed. This didn’t happen by accident–Mag Garden is the publishing arm of Production I.G, the parent company of Xebec Studio where the actual production of 2199 takes place. This essentially puts Mag Garden in the same position as West Cape Corporation’s publishing office during the original production years, with direct access to studio materials.

To wit, they quickly announced two publications that would have fit right in during the West Cape years: the Yamato 2199 Official DVD Guidebook (for April 10) and the Yamato 2199 Official Setting Documents Collection (for May 31). “Setting” in this case is synonymous with “design,” which pegs this as a comprehensive book of animation model sheets. A page count hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be a hardcover with slipcase in the classic West Cape tradition. Both books will be sold through online vendors such as Amazon.co.jp.

Visit Mag Garden’s website here.

March 9: New Type Ace #19

This issue brought us the third 2199 poster in a row with the fantastic rendering of Akira Yamamoto shown above right, painted by manga artist Koichiro Yonemura.

The customary 2-page spread promoted Chapter 5 and the latest chapter in Michio Murakawa’s manga adaptation took us up to the first shot being fired at Pluto. See the manga pages and get a better look at the poster here.

Also included was Ryusuke Hikawa’s 10th essay on the making of the original Yamato, which can be read here.

March 13: Banpresto D-Fleet Set 01

Banpresto is the arm of Bandai that makes toy prizes for crane-arm arcade games in Japan, and their history of Yamato products goes back well over a decade. This set of miniatures, about 3.5 inches long, is the first mass market 2199 toy. D stands for Deform, which accounts for the squashed look of Yamato, Kirishima, two Cosmo Zeroes, and two Destrias.

D-Fleet Set 02 was announced for mid-April, to include Yukikaze and the Cosmo Falcon.

March 15: Great Mechanics DX #24

By now, every serious fan has come to rely on GMDX for the most in-depth Yamato coverage when it comes to mecha design, and this issue put the spotlight on designer Yasushi Ishizu, the mastermind of the Garmillas fleet. His interview was the subject of a ten-page article with insider tidbits and commentary on all the vessels that have appeared so far.

Read the interview here.

March 15: Project Yamato 2199 roster

The artists previously known as the Yamato All-Stars got a new name and a huge chorus line when the official 2199 website devoted a page to them on March 15. As reported last time, the group has been assembled to re-perform the opening theme for the TV broadcast of 2199.

The first three in the lineup were already known: JAM Project, Shoko Nakagawa, and the irreplaceable Isao Sasaki. The next two come from the same legendary stock; Ichiro “Aniking” Mizuki and Mitsuko Horie have been belting out anime theme songs for decades both live and in the studio. Horie (top row, fifth photo) brings her own Yamato cred to the table, having previously performed songs for Be Forever and Yamato III.

Additional singers were announced at a rate of one per day over three weeks, which included several voice actors from the series. The rollout halted just before the April 7 TV broadcast, and it was announced that the last four “surprise names” would be listed in the end credits. This is by far the largest number of vocalists ever assembled to render the theme, which will be released on CD May 1.

See the Project Yamato 2199 page on the official website here.

See the full roster on Anime News Network (with links to their other credits) here.

March 15: Voice Actor Comments

One more new thing to be found on the Yamato Crew website March 15 was this brief set of comments from two principal voice actors…

KENICHI SUZUMURA AND DAISUKE ONO OFFICIAL COMMENT

Beginning April 7, the TV broadcast on MBS•TBS will go nationwide every week at 5pm on Sunday. We received comments from two of the main crew, and wanted to publish them by all means.

Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai)

What is your impression of your character?

Kodai is serious, passionate, and sometimes natural, but he’s no priest. While playing him, I think about his unrefined side, and it makes him more endearing.

What is the atmosphere at the production scene?

At the center of the recording studio, there is Mr. Sugo in the role of Captain Okita and Mr. Otsuka in the role of Sanada. It really feels like the atmosphere of on Yamato.

Your word for all the fans.

Frankly, just watch it and it will “rise.” It gives hope to people young and old, and is a story that will make you feel passion. Fans of the original can watch the TV broadcast starting in April, but it will be even better if young people who haven’t seen it can be the start of a new generation. I think it’s really lucky that we can meet such a quality remake of Yamato for the first time. As a new Yamato 2199 generation, let’s hand this story down to future generations!

Kenichi Suzumura (Shima Daisuke)

What is your impression of your character?

Shima is a strong man who can bear the heavy responsibility of firmly steering Yamato. I think he’s a man someone could love. (But unlike Kodai, he apparently doesn’t seem to be very popular with women…)

What is the atmosphere at the production scene?

Without even having to point it out, the atmosphere at the recording matches the nature of the script every time, and it’s there’s a great sense of togetherness. There are young people, middle-agers, and veterans, and we meet the challenge in the same environment as on Yamato.

Your word for all the fans.

Anime “basics” are jam-packed in this world. It is a work that can certainly be enjoyed even if you haven’t seen the previous version at all. Of course, the SF action and the individual characters are really attractive, and I think you will also enjoy the deep “group story.” Additionally, seeing its cinematic quality on the TV screen is the real pleasure of this broadcast. Anyway, please watch the first episode. If you see one, I think you’ll want to see them all.

March 16: Cosmo Zero Alpha-2 model

Originally announced for March 31, the second Cosmo Zero model kit from Bandai was released two weeks early with this spectacular box art by Hidetaka Tenjin. The model is identical in every way to Alpha-1 except for its colors, substituting white for yellow, and of course it comes with miniatures of Akira Yamamoto.

See extensive photos of the Alpha-2 kit and packaging here.

See TV commercials for Bandai’s 2199 model kits here: Okita A | Okita B | Kodai A | Kodai B

March 18: Train advertising

The next stage in the TV promotion campaign put ads in front of the most captive audience possible in Tokyo: commuters on the JR Yamanote train line, which continuously circles the metro area. One press release estimated that train car containing an ad would pass through each of the line’s 16 stations approximately once per hour. The campaign ended April 2.

March 19: TV end theme announcement

In addition to a re-recorded opening theme, the TV broadcast will have its own end theme, different from those heard in theaters. The song title is Love Words, written by recording legend Miyuki Nakajima and sung by Mika Nakashima. It will be released on May 22 in two forms, standard CD and a CD+DVD 2-pack.

Visit the home page for Mika Nakashima here.

March 21-24: Tokyo International Anime Fair 2013

The Tokyo Anime Fair (TAF) brings the world to Japan’s doorstep every year to take in exhibits, see superstar creators, and applaud the winners of the Tokyo Anime Awards. The photos above are of the Yamato 2199 display in the Bandai booth. See more photos (contributed by Gwyn Campbell) here.

In a move that should warm the hearts of Yamato fans around the world, the selection committee for the 12th annual Tokyo Anime Awards followed the advice of writer Ryusuke Hikawa (the original Yamato superfan himself) and gave the 2013 Service Award (i.e. Lifetime Achievement) posthumously to director Noboru Ishiguro.

Visit the English version of the TAF website here. See a short video of the booth here.

March 24: Garmillas model kit announcements

TAF is always ground zero for new announcements, and Bandai used the opportunity to tell everyone what was coming next from the world of 1/1000 scale model kits. Above left is the Royal Guard color set, featuring (from left to right) the Destria, Kelkapia, and Kripitera-class ships molded in blue. Their color scheme appears at the beginning of Chapter 5 in a sequence that must be seen to be believed. (And you’ll get your chance if you keep reading.) Sharp-eyed fans will note that only the first two models were part of Garmillas Warships Set 1. This limited-edition set will be offered in April via the Premium Bandai website for shipping in June.

Above right is Garmillas Warships Set 2, featuring the Gaiderol-class battleship and two Kripiteras (in green). It is scheduled to be released on June 30. The ships in this set have ancestors in the original Yamato series, but have only ever been released as garage kits before now.

Visit the Premium Bandai Yamato page here.

March 25: Hobby Japan & Dengeki Hobby, May issues

The heavy hitters cleaned up with all the latest product news for March as usual. Hobby Japan had a three-page article with big test shots of Bandai’s Polmeria-class attack carrier (scheduled for May 31), Megahouse’s 1/8 Akira Yamamoto figure (scheduled for August), and stills for Chapter 5. There was even a new back-cover ad for Bandai models. See the pages here.

A Yamato cover on Dengeki always means juicy things inside, and this time they went all-out with 18 pages of coverage that, among other things, paid off the Yamato modeling contest they announced last fall. Only the winning entries were shown, but page after page of imaginative entries can be viewed at their website here.

The magazine article ran the gamut from Cosmo Zero Alpha-2 construction tips to a scratch-built Tsvualke to an intricate Garmillas diorama, to new product announcements including a first look at the theater goods for Chapter 5. See all the pages here.

March 25: Model Graphix #342

The next cycle in model news began here when the May issue of Model Graphix leapfrogged ahead of the competition to publish the first article on the upcoming UN Cosmo Fleet Set 2 from Bandai. Their five-page photo feature put both sets 1 and 2 together with exquisite detailing and a dramatic description of the Battle of Pluto.

See the pages and the text feature here.

March 26: Data broadcasting announcement

Yet another digital dimension was added to the 2199 viewing experience when MBS announced that a data simulcast would accompany the April 7 premiere of the series. Anyone with a Twitter account and compatible mobile device could sign up to view character and mecha data in real time, and save the download for later review.

Visit the MBS data broadcast web page here.

March 27: Otona Anime Vol. 28

Otona means ‘Adult’ in Japanese, but the title Adult Anime doesn’t have the same connotation there as it does here. It simply refers to anime for older viewers, which seems to include Girls and Panzer according to the cover. Nevertheless, this issue of the magazine also contained a 12-page article that reviews the basics of the story and includes an interview with mecha designer Junichiro Tamamori.

Read the interview here.

Incidentally, “Weapons in the Animation Part 1” was the tag for the cover story.

March 27: Chapter 5 full trailer

Finally, the full-length trailer for Chapter 5 rolled out online to provide a 2-minute glimpse into the next four episodes. It included all the scenes from the earlier version with additional hints of intrigue on both sides of the story. Watch it here.

March 27: Yamato 2199 Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012 CD

Columbia, COCX-37867

The wait for this live performance on CD–the first Yamato concert to be commercially released since 1980–finally ended four months after its November performance. “Classic” Yamato scores open the show with a four-part suite arranged by Akira Miyagawa (based on his father’s compositions) first published in 2002, which became a staple of his concerts with the Osaka symphony for the next ten years. Several recomposed pieces for 2199 follow, interspersed with live commentary by Miyagawa about the origins of Yamato music. Regrettably, of the seven songs that comprised the second half of the concert, only two made it to the disc, one of which is a cover of the seldom-heard Love Supreme from Final Yamato. The vocalist, Yucca, was previously heard as the female soprano on the live-action Yamato movie soundtrack. We can only hope the missing songs will be released in the future.

Those who bought the first pressing of the disc also received an exclusive CD-size card image, shown below right. The following text is the introduction from the CD booklet, written by Yamato Sound Almanac producer Masaru Hayakawa.

Space Battleship Yamato. A glorious history that always had great music.

When Yamato launched on a voyage of 148,000 light years in the first TV series in October 1974, the heart of a Yamato fan was filled with rich music.

Space Battleship Yamato was blessed with a perfect maestro named Hiroshi Miyagawa, the prolific lyricist Yu Aku and singer Isao Sasaki, and continued its journey with a variety of different musical expressions in every work that followed. Many plans and concerts were performed during the journey with music in the leading role, including the Yamato Festival in Budokan. Even during the time when Yamato was at rest, composer Hiroshi Miyagawa frequently took up its music in his concerts. There was also a piece called Symphonic Suite Yamato that was suitable for orchestral concerts, and Japanese orchestras naturally added Yamato to their repertoire.

A point which should not be overlooked is that the fans of genre films like animation and tokusatsu [live-action special effects films], as opposed to other types of fans, tend to exhaustively analyze every nook and cranny of a work, looking for significance. Therefore, Space Battleship Yamato didn’t remain just a theme song. Even instrumental records of background music that flowed through the story expanded sales and subsequently made history as soundtrack music.

It is interesting that at the same time, the soundtrack LP for Star Wars became an exceptional hit on the other side of the ocean as an album without songs. Afterward, the Boston Pops Orchestra, which was deeply involved with Star Wars composer John Williams went on a Japan tour in 1997 (conducted by the young Keith Lockhart). When they took up the Yamato theme during an encore, it was a symbolic event in the eyes of this writer.

At the close of the first decade of the 21st century, a new generation of staff regenerated the soul of the original work with the start of Space Battleship Yamato 2199. The music that fulfills the world of the story has been woven by Akira Miyagawa, who inherited it from his late father Hiroshi Miyagawa.

Also revived was the festival of music that was always part of the Yamato movement. The Yamato Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012 was held in the Maihama amphitheater on November 10, 2012. It was performed twice, during the daytime and in the evening. The performance was divided into three parts, starting with “The World of Yamato Sound,” a showcase of typically excellent Yamato music sprinkled with witty talk from Akira Miyagawa. The “Yamato Sound Orchestra” took charge of the performance, its membership drawn from the Toke Civic Wind Orchestra and the Osaka Orchestra, both of which have deep ties with Akira-san. The Yamato sound was played by Japanese musicians with a reputation for both expressiveness and a high level of technical expertise, and was also filled with a sense of dynamism that was just a little different from the soundtrack.

During intermission, Episode 11 of Yamato 2199 was screened, and the second half was titled “The World of Yamato Theme Songs,” in which singers Isao Sasaki, Aira Yuki, and Aki Misato showed off Yamato songs both old and new.

The amphitheater, which serves as the dedicated venue for Cirque du Soleil, was reborn as a multipurpose hall designed to harness the work of a company that fuses acrobatics and dancing to a high dimension, and more than achieves its function as an extraordinary festival space. For fans who rushed to this concert, for a while it played the role of a launch pad to propel their hearts on a once-in-a-lifetime journey into space.

The happy time that flowed through the event of that day is packed into this live album as a time capsule. For those who were lucky enough to attend as well as those who couldn’t, this time capsule can be opened in a favorite place to give you the satisfying experience of reflecting on the Yamato Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012.

– Masaru Hayakawa

March 27: Yamato Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012 Score Collection

On the same day as the CD release, the complete score for all the orchestral tracks was published by a company named Hustle Copy. So far, it only appears to be available from their own website here.

March 27: Chapter 4 end title CD single

Lantis, LACM-14068

The growing stack of 2199 CD singles got another entry with this one, the song performed by Akiko Yoshida (using her stage name KOKIA) titled Light of Memories. The disc contains versions with and without vocals, and a non-Yamato song titled Where To Go My Love.

Listen to the full version of Light of Memories on YouTube here.

Visit KOKIA’s website here.

March 27: United Nations Cosmo Fleet Set 2 models

Bandai did it again with this followup to Set 1, released back in October 2012. This time the Kirishima was eliminated to make room for color variants of the two smaller vessels (the Murasame type and Yukikaze type) so fans can fill out the ranks of the UN Cosmo Fleet at their preference.

Though it isn’t apparent in thes photos, the set comes with a couple extras. First, there’s an extensive sheet of decals that allow you to number the ships as you like in order to build out the entire fleet, along with some extra markings for the 1/1000 Yamato. Second, the long tradition of bonus kits continues with this one, which includes a mini-kit of the Cosmo Zero from the classic Mecha Collection.

See extensive photos of the kits and packaging here.

March 28: Chapter 5 Preview

The month closed out with what has become perhaps the most anticipated new tradition of 2199, the online release of a sneak preview. These always consist of the first half of the first episode in the new batch (Episode 15 in this case), and this one opens with an absolutely unforgettable sequence that demonstrates exactly why you should never piss off the Garmillas Empire.

The 9-minute preview was viewable at the online Bandai Channel (above left) and the Hikari TV site (above right) for a limited time.

Other March News

Yamato 2199 Emblem Pin Set

March came and went without this product appearing for sale at the Premium Bandai website. A preorder window was open from late November to mid December 2012 with shipping to follow in late March, but no further information has been released.

These two doujinshis (fanzines) turned up in online auctions, but with no hint as to their contents. A third ‘zine (below) appears to be an in-depth examination of the Garmillas Empire. At the moment, it can only be a partial one.

Space Barbarian Tactical Game

Something else from the world of fan publications was this intriguing wargame based on the opening of Episode 14 in which Domel fights off the “Space Barbarians,” also known as the Gatlantis fleet of the Comet Empire.

And finally, some random artwork to brighten your day.

Above left is a sketch of Kaoru Nimii by character designer Nobuteru Yuuki, which he posted on his Facebook page March 18. He hinted that it was an unused concept for the next storyboard book cover (the bonus item in the theater-exclusive blu-ray for Chapter 5).

At right is a limited-edition Yuria Misaki print by a pair of illustrators who collaberate under the name Koh Kawarajima, which was signed and distributed at the winter Comiket in late December. See more of the artists’ work here and visit their NSFW website here. Find their work on Amazon.com here.

What’s Next

The promotional ramp-up to the TV debut during the first week of April was taken right out of the Yoshinobu Nishizaki playbook.

Click here to read all about it in Report 18!

Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.

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