Preproduction, March 1982
After Hideaki Yamamoto’s February 11 Meeting Memo, which was probably not the only document of its kind, the next step in the writing process was to expand the story outline into a detailed manuscript. This was not yet a screenplay, but was instead a story treatment with suggestions for dialogue and action to work out the mechanics of each sequence.
Four drafts of the manuscript were written throughout the month: the first draft on March 2, the second on March 9, the third on March 12, and the fourth on March 17. The individual drafts were never published, but the changes from one to the next were documented in the Final Yamato deluxe hardcover book published later by West Cape Corporation (the primary reference for these accounts). These notes represent what must have been intensive meetings between Exec Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and his writing team as they pushed forward, and this is where we see many concepts jettisoned while others were refined.
Note: none of the art shown below existed at the time these documents were written. It is used here for illustrative purposes. All the concept illustrations of Kodai and Yuki are by character designer Shinya Takahashi.
Changes in the first draft to fourth draft manuscripts
first and second drafts
Parts that changed
• Yamato receives damage while traveling toward the core solar systems after the galactic collision. (It was not damaged in the first draft.)
• The existence of Aquarius is reported to EDF headquarters. Yamato is ordered to return immediately, but Kodai goes to help people of Vulcan despite the order, landing in the water on Vulcan for immediate rescue. The part about informing Earth of Aquarius is changed so there is no defiance of orders in the second draft.
• The existence of Aquarius is perceived when approaching the Vulcan empire. It is changed so that Aquarius is perceived while returning toward Earth from the Galman empire.
• About the Vulcan boy: there is a physical examination of the boy in the first draft, and words from the boy’s own mouth hint at his descent from the people of ancient Sumer. Later, he appears to kill himself upon the death of his master when Yamato attacks the Vulcan city satellite. In the second draft, the boy is unconscious when rescued, and it is learned from his brain waves via EEG that he comes from a malicious race. It does not touch upon Sumerian people in particular, and he does not appear afterward to die.
• The appearance of the Queen of Aquarius is changed to that of an old and frail woman, then she changes into the beautiful figure of the queen in the last scene. The second draft does not include the queen’s appearance from the first draft, and there is no message or SOS either. Therefore, although it is learned from the queen’s communication in the first draft that someone controls Aquarius, this part is cut from the second draft. Instead, it is learned upon landing in Aquarius’ ocean that Aquarius and the enemy are separate.
• Kodai’s live revival: in the first draft, Kodai is revived for the purpose of questioning, then is blamed for faulty survey results by EDF headquarters. In the second draft, he is put into the machine solely to save his life.
• Kodai is disappointed after resigning as captain, and Yuki feels that he needs a warm home. She thinks the best way for Kodai to get over it is by building their happiness as a couple. Kodai can’t get used to Yuki’s docile feelings and it creates a wall between them. However, when Kodai is saved from disappointment by boarding Yamato again, Yuki criticizes him.
• In the first draft, Kodai volunteers to sortie as a pilot on a second mission, in which he is hit in battle and returns to Earth. In the second draft, he wants to volunteer to be a pilot, but Yuki makes him see that he needs to fight aboard Yamato, and makes him wait for Yamato to go into battle.
• The reunion of Okita and Kodai: in the first draft, he appears suddenly before Kodai and the crew, and everyone is surprised. Okita can’t sit still in the face of the threat to Earth, and secretly returns to Yamato. Even the commander is surprised. In the second draft, everyone on the crew except Kodai knows Okita is alive. Because of Earth’s crisis and because the captain of Yamato is appointed at headquarters, Kodai is assigned as combat group leader.
• In the second draft, the scene where the Vulcan leader persuades the Queen of Aquarius with a speech is replaced by a flashback scene of the escape from the land of their ancestors.
• Yamato performs a water landing on Aquarius. The scene where the Queen of Aquarius tells Kodai about the Vulcans’ history, and the scene where Kodai and the boy become entangled with the Vulcan leader are cut in the second draft. Kodai and others are caught, then rescued by a Cosmo Tiger flown by Yuki.
• The Vulcan leader was to be killed by an adjutant, but in the second draft it becomes the explosion of the large city satellite.
Parts newly added
• In the genesis of Earth sequence, specific examples are given of times when Aquarius inflicted trials on the Earth, such as continental glaciers in the Devonian period of the Paleozoic era.
• The Galman-Gamilas empire and the Bolar Federation are destroyed in the galactic collision
• When Aquarius passes quickly over dense clouds in the sky of planet Vulcan, the figure of a huge object briefly appears, launching from Vulcan.
• Yamato is thrown out of a black hole and receives considerable damage.
• Although the ultra-futuristic interior of the large Vulcan city satellite is similar to Megalopolis [Earth’s capital city], there are temples and statues of deities in the center that evoke ancient Earth civilizations. In response to the harsh investigation by EDF headquarters against him, Kodai shouts, “there is life in Yamato,” to emphasize the reliability of Yamato.
• Enemy planes attack the dock immediately before the relaunch of Yamato. Yamato returns fire with an incomplete turret and machine gun.
• Yamato takes off as a damaged destroyer returns. The crew is overjoyed at the sight of Yamato and follows it again afterward.
• Yamato recovers the dead bodies of the crew of the drifting destroyer and performs a burial in space with a gracious 21-gun funeral salute. They also salute Earth, since it may be their last time.
• While an intense battle is underway at the enemy headquarters, Earth’s time limit approaches as Aquarius closes in.
• Yamato waits for the column of water halfway between Aquarius and the moon.
• The suicidal explosion of Yamato disperses the column of water into space and blows away the city satellite. The leader dies.
• Yuki is about to reveal her body to Kodai. She is shy and hesitates, then makes a decision. She runs into the sea and takes off her clothes. Kodai follows her. Yuki’s theme music plays.
• The figure of Okita emerges from the bridge and begins to slowly walk out into space. Ahead of him is the figure of the elder woman of Aquarius. The figure reincarnates and becomes a beautiful queen. She reaches her hand out to Okita. He relents and goes to her.
Parts which changed the flow of a scene
• EDF headquarters has indeterminate news of Yamato and is concerned about its safety, and while Yamato comes out of warp on its way back to Earth, in the second draft we see the rising of the Vulcan city satellite and its interior, the raid on Aquarius, and the EDF in chaos as they detect Aquarius approaching Earth.
• The dead body of Kodai is moved to the federal central hospital to be placed in the life revival equipment. In the time before Kodai is revived, the emigration plan is developed to escape the crisis of Earth within 50 days.
Between the second and third drafts
Changes and new parts
• The Vulcan planet becomes Uruk.
• The name of the large city satellite becomes Dengil.
• Although the emperor of Uruk is a high priest, his name becomes Lugal. Planet Vulcan becomes Uruk.
• The EDF destroyers are given names: Fuyutsuki [Winter Moon], Suzutsuki [Clear Autumn Moon], Yukikaze [Snow Wind], Isokaze [Seaside Wind], Hamakaze [Wind on the Strand], Hatsushimo [First Frost], Asashimo [Morning Frost], and Sounkyo [Cloud], and a battle cruiser is named Yahagi. [Translator’s note: all these names were derived from the Imperial Japanese Navy.]
• A new armored enemy mecha appears, named Mecha Horse.
• The lifeboat that lands on planet Uruk to rescue the people becomes the Cosmo Hound.
New parts added
• Kodai is shocked to lose a large number of crew members at planet Uruk.
• The large city satellite Dengil of Uruk rises suddenly behind Aquarius.
• Because the missing Yamato appears but does not respond, escorts take off from Saturn and Mars stations to continue hailing it.
• There are 30 days left to the approach of Aquarius. Headquarters understands the real intention of the enemy. The enemy intends to annihilate the humans. There is no way to prevent it. The commander despairs.
• The enemy continues on its course to attack and destroy Earth. Okita offers to the commander to make a sortie in Yamato, and also to take Kodai. The commander is puzzled, but gives his consent.
• Yamato launches. The returned battle cruiser Yahagi accompanies it.
• Yuki boards Yamato in spite of Kodai’s objection. Okita has given permission.
• The process of Yamato‘s launch; repairs have not been completed and Yamato‘s launch does not go smoothly.
• An emergency buzzer goes off and a newly-repaired Cosmo Tiger launches.
• Kodai boards the Cosmo Zero and takes an active role like a fish in water. It is a chance for him to clear his disgrace. Cosmo Tigers are shot down by the enemy one by one. Earth’s destroyer fleet acts as a shield for Yamato and is destroyed. They ram the enemy fleet and explode. Kodai is heartbroken.
• In a strategy to intercept Yamato, Great Emperor Lugal orders a second sortie of the solar system in which his fleet attacks Earth’s emigration ships.
• Kodai wants to make up for his disgrace. He thanks Okita for the chance, but he also has confidence as a former captain, and is secretly eager to surpass Okita in battle command. This ambition becomes dogma and gets Yamato into a pinch. However, this is overcome at Okita’s direction and he gives Kodai an intense scolding.
Between the third and fourth draft
Changes and new parts
• Kodai pushes past opposition and decides to rescue people at Uruk.
• Hyper thermonuclear missiles are fired by the enemy fleet (a name is given to a laser shot).
• Spectral analysis is done with a radio telescope and data reveals that a celestial body with a huge mass of water is approaching.
• The body of Kodai in an apparent state of death is placed into a liquid oxygen tank with a blue tint and carried out.
• Pluto base receives a surprise attack from a fleet coming from within the solar system, not the vanguard of the Dengil fleet.
• Rather than the battle cruiser Yahagi, the destroyer Yukikaze accompanies Yamato on its launch. Yukikaze fights to the last, and the crew’s dead bodies are recovered and taken back to the moon. Yahagi is destroyed.
• Kodai stops Yuki from boarding Yamato, but learns that she asked Okita to take Kodai on board.
• A torture scene is deleted.
• Lugal’s death is changed from the explosion of the city satellite to falling in the ground war.
New parts added
• The Dengil corps deploys space mines and waits for Yamato. Hatsushimo blunders into them and explodes. An enemy ship fires Hyper thermonuclear missiles at Yamato, but since Sanada added defensive armor, they cannot penetrate. The enemy has no problem at all with having its own ships caught in the line of fire when they bombard Yamato. Kodai is dumbfounded.
• Only two ships remain, Yahagi and Yukikaze. The enemy watches as their crews are rescued. It’s an enemy tactic, and once they’re taken aboard, Yahagi is blown up by a small enemy vessel it’s holding.
• Kodai and others wonder if the enemy base ship is the big ship the Uruk boy told them about.
• Kodai trains hard in preparation for the expected attack of the enemy. He intensifies the crew’s training and gets one complaint after another. Okita understands how Kodai feels and ignores his action.
• Dengil fires a long-distance missile. A shell is fired from Yamato and the missile is shot down.
• The enemy releases space tanks and attacks the Cosmo Tigers of Kodai and others. Okita explodes with anger as one Cosmo Tiger after another is shot down. Kodai takes the big risk of charging the tanks with Kato’s support, and is scolded afterward by Okita.
• An enemy horde appears. Okita makes an error in judgement and Yamato is in a struggle. Kodai and Sanada barely manage to defeat the enemy and overcome the crisis.
• The crew members below Sanada and Shima feel doubts about Captain Okita’s ability and recommend that Kodai be made captain. Okita hears it from the shadows. Yuki catches sight of this.
• There are nine days left until Aquarius approaches Earth.
• Okita orders Kodai to take over as the new captain.
• Suddenly, a large stone rocket launches from Dengil and emits a neutron beam. Yamato will be roasted if it advances. The Wave-Motion Engine is desperately opened up to full reverse thrust. The Wave-Motion Energy acts as a screen that stops the beam in the nick of time.
• Yamato lands at Dengil. Kodai assembles a kamikaze squad.
• A robot horse cavalry charges the Cosmo Tiger party. Lugal is in the lead. All the Cosmo Tigers are destroyed by fire. Aihara dies.
• Kodai engages Lugal in single combat. Lugal falls into a dangerous place and Kodai helps him. Lugal is surprised, but is killed by a stray shot. His last words are “If I had been born on Earth…”
• In an exchange between Okita and Kodai, Okita encourages him to become a man who knows the beauty of love, and begs to be allowed to perform a certain job. Kodai has regained his confidence as a captain and feels affection for Okita like a parent, and says nothing regarding that job.
• Okita takes control of Yamato
Drama of Kodai and Yuki
• Yuki has feelings of heartbreak when Yamato‘s whereabouts are unknown. She is under extreme duress when she sees Kodai in suspended animation. She makes a heartfelt promise never to leave his side once he is revived. Although marriage is considered, after Kodai resigns as captain he falls into a deep depression and nothing can bring him out of it. Yuki schemes to get Kodai back onto Yamato again. She decides to go back aboard herself, determined to share Kodai’s fate. Okita, the commander, Sanada, and Dr. Sado understand her feelings and support her from the side.
Kodai returns to Yamato and also to Yuki. Kodai doesn’t understand Yuki’s not wanting to be separated from him for even an instant, and is disconcerted by her feelings.
In the decisive battle, Yuki is taken prisoner and Kodai charges manically to her rescue. When rescued, Yuki tells Kodai she wants to bear his child. Kodai is affected as a man rather than a soldier. Okita encourages him to “become a full-fledged man and love others. Together, two people can build the future”
• The two are united…
[Storyboard by Takeshi Shirato shown at right.]
While the process of refining the manuscript was at its approximate halfway point, another list of “supplemental concepts” was penned. Like the February 1 list, it was published with no author credited, but based on its content, it was most likely the work of Aritsune Toyota. If it was written in response to information in the manuscript, it paints an interesting picture of which concepts required deeper input between the second and third drafts.
March 11, 1982
• Thanatos Therapy (Revival Treatment)
Brain death of Kodai and Okita is prevented. A helmet is put on the head and continues to supply oxygen. Hands, feet, the chest, and organs can be reproduced by cloning. If killed in action, they are carried off Yamato and placed in a tank of liquid oxygen. Liquid oxygen has a bluish tint and is maintained at 183 degrees below freezing. The body dies of leukemia caused by radiation sickness. A thin piece of healthy tissue is cultivated for cloning and regenerated over a period of one or two weeks. In the meantime, Kodai’s neck is sutured closed in surgery, but we won’t show it since it would look cruel. He is plunged into a tub filled with ringer liquid and sewn up by a manipulator, but we won’t show the inside of it. It is sufficient to show that the manipulator is working during a computerized operation by Dr. Sado. However, we won’t know until the end whether or not Kodai’s consciousness will return. There is a strong possibility he could become a vegetable. (sketch at left)
• Hit and Damage of Yamato
The first shot is a normal missile that destroys the bridge. The second shot is a neutron missile. It destroys only the body tissue of the crew without affecting the hull. Anyone whose head is covered by a helmet will be unharmed. At that point, the Tachyon Wave-Motion that is the power of Yamato becomes a kind of barrier (shield) when released outside the ship. It can be called a Tachyon Shield or Wave-Motion Screen. It acts as a barrier.
• Yamato Encounters a Menace of Nature
In a neutron star (white dwarf), substances are broken down and compressed. Therefore, even something the size of a sugar cube can weigh more than 100 tons. It not only produces super-gravity, but it also radiates strong neutron beams into its surroundings. Yamato fully opens the Wave-Motion Engine. Wrapped in a glittering screen, Yamato breaks through between neutron stars. Wave-Motion Energy is the one thing that can stop a neutron beam.
• Physical Characteristics of a Vulcan Person (tentative secret)
People of Vulcan have the same origin as Earthlings. Therefore, there is no difference in surface appearance, but they have supernatural powers (psychokinesis, idea power, mind power). They can emit mind waves (psychic waves). Both ears may work like antennae. The color of their skin is copper (bronze).
• The Emigration Plan due to approach of Aquarius
There is no other method but to build space colonies between the orbits of Earth and Venus. Alternatively, Aquarius pours a lot of water onto red-hot Venus and the hope is that it will come to have the environment of a second Earth.
• Loading Heavy Water on Yamato
Supposing the bow could be blown off later, the injection of heavy water is limited to the stern. Heavy water is injected up to the first stern bulkhead – something like that.
• Galactic Collision
The diameter of the galaxy that collides with ours is assumed to be 100,000 light years or more. Rather than a black hole, Yamato should be swallowed by a white hole. Great explosions in asteroid belts. Planets left in the wake of the collision collide with fixed stars. Yamato advances through the burning embers of the galactic collision. Various masses of floating rocks.
• Speed of Aquarius
It originally traveled at sub-light speed. It is warped by the galactic collision. It performs a warp and ends up in a place suitable to the needs of the story. When it enters the solar system, the work done by Yamato to decelerate it succeeds and delays its arrival at Earth.
• The enemy uses hyper thermonuclear missiles, but it is their main armaments that tear through the armor of Earth ships.
• When Aquarius passes near a star, its speed is accelerated by gravitational attraction.
Lastly, late March was when the first preproduction art started to flow. Some of that art decorated previous segments in this series of articles. It represented the first trickle of the largest body of previz for any Yamato film.
Click here to continue to Part 10: April and May 1982 preproduction