Vintage Report 11: July 1978

The final month before the Farewell to Yamato premiere was a steady climb of excitement and anticipation as film production plowed through its final stages and publicity ratcheted up to maximum. One magazine after another gleefully published a new wave of art images and talking points released by Toei, while a live exhibition and a new concert series marked the final countdown.

Here’s what a full-blown case of Yamato Fever looked like…

July 1: Roadshow magazine, August issue

This issue contained Roadshow‘s first article on the film, a pre-release commentary by well-known film observer Kazukuni Kawahara.

Read it here.

There were other items of interest to be found in its pages as well, such as this sticker sheet bound into the first page…

…and a pair of ads to grab your attention. At left is a full-page promo for the first of two Roadshow books devoted to the movie. It indicates a publication date of July 28, but the book would be delayed to September 5. At right is a back cover ad for the film itself (placed by Toei) with the first appearance of what would become another enduring image.

July 1: Manga Shonen, August issue

A five-page article was built around the announcement of the Yamato Symphonic Concert series, which would soon give fans their first opportunity to hear a full-fledged live orchestral performance.

Read the article here.

July 1: Kinejun No. 738

If you could manage to pry your eyes off the cover of this issue of the biweekly Kinema Junpo magazine, you could find an account of the Farewell to Yamato press conference that took place on May 24.

Read it here.

July 1: ASCII magazine #13, July issue

The headline of this article read: The love and excitement of Yamato that microcomputer fans all over Japan have been waiting for!! Now, it comes back to life on a CRT screen!!

This unusual entry in the 1978 chronicles is one of the earliest crossovers between Yamato and home computing. We saw a previous encounter in January, but this one went a step farther, providing readers with coding to reproduce their own playable game derived from the battle with Goland, which had not yet been seen on a movie screen.

How did the ship fare against an 8-bit enemy? Read the article here.

July 3: Bouken Oh [Adventure King], August issue

As the home of Leiji Matsumoto’s serialized Farewell manga, you’d expect Bouken Oh to do something special, and they did. As soon as you opened the cover of this issue, you were greeted with a 2-sided foldout promoting the film.

Side A introduced Teresa, the crew, and the mecha of the EDF fleet

Side B did the same for the Comet Empire

On the other hand, Chapter 2 of the manga was extremely lethargic, taking 30 pages just to get Kodai’s escort ship down to Earth out of the path of Andromeda‘s test flight. This was most likely out of a desire not to give away excessive details before the film opened, but the pace would continue to be lethargic for more than a year.

At left is an ad for the collected paperback editions of both Yamato and Captain Harlock manga.

L to R: Kei Tomiyama (Kodai), Yoko Asagami (Yuki), Isao Sasaki (Saito)

July 3: Voice recordings begin

On this day, the original cast reunited for the first of four voice recording sessions. The followups would happen on the 6th, 8th and 9th. The main ingredient required for this was a reliable workprint of the film with all the dialogue scenes at least close to their final edit. It was the first time any of the actors saw their characters on screen since the dubbing of the original TV series, which must have been exhilarating.

OUT magazine had a reporter on the scene to capture their views for publication. Keep reading to see the result.

Click here for a photo collection of the first day.

July 5: Fan Club meeting, Nagoya

On this auspicious day, Yoshinobu Nishizaki made a personal appearance in Nagoya to meet with members of the official fan club. Of course, the main topic of conversation was the approaching film, and fans gave Nishizaki quite a different experience than the press.

Luckily, the whole thing was transcribed and published in the Farewell Roman Album in September. Read it here.

July 5: Symphonic Concert premiere, Nagoya

As it turns out, Nishizaki wasn’t in town just for the fan club meeting. He was also there to MC the first-ever live Yamato concert. It was the start of a series that would visit six cities, culminating in tokyo on July 30.

Regrettably, no recordings of these concerts have ever been released, but we know their content well: the first half was a live reproduction of the original Symphonic Suite Yamato, and the second half did the same with the Farewell symphonic album, which was actually recorded between concert dates – which made this a unique rehearsal process.

The performance dates were as follows: Hiroshima, July 7 / Kyushu, July 10 / Sapporo, July 14 / Fukuoka, July 17 / Osaka, July 18 / Tokyo, July 29 & 30. Fan club meetings were held in tandem at all locations except Tokyo.

Read much more about the concerts here.

Advertising from Shueisha, the publisher of Roadshow magazine. Right side: Symphonic Concert dates. Left side: books and novelizations coming in August and September.

July 8: Middle 1st Age, August issue

The student digest magazines were all over Yamato in July. This one (for 7th graders) carried a 7-page article with the story synopsis that had previously appeared in June publications and threw in some stills that hadn’t been seen yet. They also hit the main publicity points and listed the concert schedule for July.

See the article here.

July 10: Animage #2

With the movie premiere now less than a month away, Animage placed an easy bet by making Farewell to Yamato the cover story of their second issue, which appeared just over six weeks after their first (it would go monthly from here). The 16-page article was practically an art gallery with huge color stills, a brief report on the May press conference, and plenty of juicy story info.

Click here to see Animage #2’s complete coverage.

Meanwhile, back on the production side, voice recording for the movie ended just one day before this magazine was published and final editing sessions commenced the day after.

July 11: Middle 3rd Age, August issue

Another student digest (this one for 9th graders) picked up the extended story synopsis and combined it with production notes, some of which hadn’t been seen elsewhere yet.

See the 6-page article here.

July 13: Playcomic, July 27 issue

If you’d somehow missed the extended story synopsis that had appeared in multiple publications by this time, Playcomic gave you another opportunity. It was woven into a 5-page article that came with a bonus poster displaying Yasuhiko Yoshikazu’s painted Yamato from the main movie poster.

See the article here.

July 15: Rendezvous Comic #3

Since the editors of OUT were fans who turned pro practically overnight, it’s easy to imagine them as kids suddenly put in charge of a candy factory. This is as good an explanation as any for the rapid debut of their second and third publications, Rendezvous and Rendezvous Comic, a bi-monthly manga anthology that launched in the spring of ’78. Naturally, it carried a few Yamato articles as well. The third issue was released just before the OUT magazine shown above and contained a new interview with Yoshinobu Nishizaki.

Read it here.

July 15: Movie Information magazine

This tabloid-format magazine from Kokusaijohosha specialized in big photos on big pages, but only a single page was devoted to Farewell, probably on the assumption that they didn’t have a large anime readership. The text was split into a brief story synopsis and this commentary:

This is a sequel to last year’s big hit, Space Battleship Yamato. In Part 2, the entire universe faces an unprecedented crisis due to the appearance of a giant white comet. The story is about a group of young space soldiers, including Susumu Kodai, who fight a courageous battle on board Yamato in defiance of the Earth Federation.

The producers were determined to make a film that would be as good as Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The film takes on new challenges, including the use of a pipe organ for the villain’s theme. It features the work of popular lyricist Yu Aku and fashion designer Yukiko Hanai.

Yoshinobu Nishizaki is in charge of planning, original draft, screenplay, and general production. Leiji Matsumoto is the general director of designs. The film is directed Toshio Masuda with music by Hiroshi Miyagawa. The voice cast includes Kei Tomiyama as Kodai, Yoko Asagami, Hideo Nakamura, Goro Naya, and others from the previous film. The cast is expected to be joined by a big star in the role of a new character this time.

July 19-23: Sound editing

With voice and music recording now complete (in what must have been a killer schedule, given the intervening concert tour), the last step was to tie it all together with the visuals in a series of mixing sessions that took place over five days. The single most important component for this to happen is called a “locked picture.” That meant film editing was finished and no more timing changes would be made. It was still possible to shoot retakes during this period, but all revised scenes had to conform with what had been locked.

In the pre-digital era, all sound sources would have been on reel-to-reel tape and every cue had to be methodically arranged in their proper order, then blended into a single track. Most Japanese theaters were not equipped with stereo sound equipment yet, so the entire film was mixed down to mono. “Simulated stereo” mixes were later created for home video.

July 20-26: Yamato Exhibition, Osaka

On this day, a traveling Space Battleship Yamato exhibition opened at the Daimaru department store in Osaka. The “Cut Model” and the full-scale Analyzer were there, along with animation cels, production documents, screenings of TV episodes, plastic model dioramas, and the centerpiece shown above: a 4×5 meter bridge panorama featuring mannequins of Kodai, Yuki, and Shima. Admission and product sales brought in 1.5 million yen over the course of the tour.

The ad shown below right (from the most recent Manga Shonen magazine) listed the specifics of the event, which must have been a revelation for those lucky enough to see it in person:

1. Space Battleship Yamato scene collection (all 26 episodes of the TV series and the second work)
Original cels and stills from Yamato. A number of scenes from the first and second works will be displayed on large panels.

2. Precision cut model of Space Battleship Yamato
(Read more about it here)

3. Space panorama

4. Yamato first bridge deck diorama

5. Yamato battle diorama

6. Brave figure of Yamato diorama

7. Universal multipurpose robot [Analyzer]

8. Artifact display
Many valuable documents about the first and second works of Space Battleship Yamato

9. Super Anime Corner

a) Space Battleship Yamato TV screenings
Episodes 2, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

b) Screening of a Farewell to Yamato demonstration

Simultaneous event: Yamato product fair held by Office Academy Co. Ltd.

Osaka venue
July 20 (Thursday) to July 26 (Wednesday)
Daimaru dept. store, Shinsaibashi

Tokyo venue
July 28 (Friday) to August 2 (Wednesday)
Matsuya dept. store, Ginza

Nagoya venue
August 4 (Friday) to August 9 (Wednesday)
Mitsukoshi dept. store, Nagoya

Shizuoka venue
August 10 (Thursday) to August 15 (Tuesday)
Matsuzakaya dept. store, Shizuoka

July 21: Series 1 third rerun on Yomiuri

It was now a familiar story; originally a ratings failure due to circumstances beyond its control, Yamato scored new viewers and captured commanding numbers every time it reappeared. It had to be especially gratifying for Nishizaki and his staff to see it return to its home network, Yomiuri TV, from which the infamous decision came down to drop the episode count to 26. Now it was back again for a nightly rerun when popularity was at an all-time high. It would conclude on August 25 with a very healthy rating of 13.8%.

July 25: The Rival/Teresa Forever single

Following the lead of their last single (Starsha, Thoughts Among the Stars), lyricist Yu Aku and composer Hiroshi Miyagawa wrote two more “image songs” to accompany the new film. After the single was released, they would be featured in the Farewell radio drama, which was broadcast shortly before the August 4 movie premiere.

The Rival was sort of lost in time when its B side, Teresa Forever, rose to prominence as the end theme of Yamato 2, but once heard it is unforgettable. The song can be interpreted as Kodai’s dream-image of his nemesis, Dessler. Like The Scarlet Scarf, its meaning was clearer to older listeners. Teresa Forever took on a more personal viewpoint when transplanted to Yamato 2, where it came to symbolize her romance with Shima.

See translated lyrics here.

July 28: OUT magazine, September issue

Animage had the flashiest coverage, but all the hardcore otaku knew OUT was where they would find the articles they really wanted, written by fans for fans. After the Space Battleship Yamato issues put the magazine on the map in 1977, the inmates took over the asylum and pursued their hobby for all it was worth.

Their continuing love of all things Yamato was on full display here in more than 30 pages of articles containing mecha design art, product reviews, character guides, and interviews with the cast and crew.

Click here to see OUT‘s complete coverage.

Click below to read individual articles:
Fashion Designer Yukiko Hanai
Voice actor interviews
Producer’s message

July 28: Farewell staff screening

By all available accounts, production of the film was completed in time for a staff-only preview screening at Toei Studio in Oizumi, Tokyo. Seven months earlier, it only existed as words and sketches. Now it was a complete feature film that would endure for the rest of time.

The screening was not a press event, so it wasn’t covered in the media. However, it was the scene of a little-known battle of wills that had persisted for months with Yoshinobu Nishizaki on one side and Studio Nue’s Haruka Takachiho on the other. Takachiho would not tell the story of this battle until February 2022, but it is one for the history books.

Read it here.

July 29: TV Guide magazine

How do you REALLY get people to focus on Yamato? By broadcasting the first movie on TV the night before the second movie opens in theaters. TV Guide saluted this brilliant move with its first Yamato cover story, a 10-pager that brought it vividly back to life, buttoned with a glowing commentary by film critic Masako Suganama.

See the article here

July 31: Pretty Pretty magazine, July issue

As suggested by the title, this one was a standout from the crowd, a girls’ manga anthology with articles on popular anime productions. Farewell to Yamato got a whopping 20 pages of coverage in this issue, which included an account of the May press conference/fan club meeting, a revealing outline of the movie’s plot, and interesting production notes.

The truly distinguishing factor of this magazine’s coverage was its editorial style, which was aimed directly at girls and thus looked at the movie from a slightly different angle. “Even if you don’t like mecha” read the telling headline of one article, which examined the story from a feminine perspective.

Click here to see Pretty Pretty‘s complete coverage.

Click below to read individual articles:
Press conference report
Fan club meeting report
Story notes for Girls
Production notes

Trivia note: the publisher of Pretty Pretty was a company called Major Enterprise. This same company handled the publicity campaign for the 1977 Yamato movie.

Also spotted in July

Movie trailer

The exact date of the Farewell to Yamato trailer’s debut has yet to be unearthed, but it would certainly have been in theaters for the final month before the movie arrived. Additionally, it was preceded by two teasers, the first of which must have appeared sometime in the spring since it contained no animation from the film.

See both teasers and the full trailer on Youtube here

Theatrical flyers

Free flyers are still a common promotional item in Japanese movie theaters, typically showing up at the same time as a trailer. The back of the flyer read as follows:

* Yamato‘s final chapter has finally appeared!

Set in the vast and infinite universe, proclaiming a magnificent romance, Space Battleship Yamato was applauded by young people all over the country. One year later, it is welcomed back by the enthusiastic voice of fans. Under a new concept, the latest work Farewell to Yamato has finally been born to meet the challenge of even greater goals.

* Scale and thrills far surpassing the previous work!

Farewell surpasses its predecessor in both scale and content. In the year 2201, the peaceful Earth is once again in danger. Susumu Kodai and other young space warriors board Yamato, which was once decommissioned, to launch into their final battle. In addition to Kodai and his beautiful lover Yuki Mori, the crew includes familiar members such as Shima, Sanada, Tokugawa, new companions, and a new captain to replace Captain Okita. Furthermore, there is the sadness of Teresa, a beautiful girl imprisoned on the planet Telezart, Emperor Zordar, leader of the evil empire, and the reappearance of Dessler, who was thought to be dead. The story is filled with breathtaking battles and breathless fun.

* Appearance of the amazing enemy, the White Comet, and fascinating new mecha!

A giant white comet suddenly appears in the far reaches of space. It repeatedly expands and contracts, destroying and absorbing many stars with its supergravity. It will soon come close to destroying the Earth as well. Numerous new enemy battleships fly in, super-large aircraft carriers, large battleships, missile ships, a submarine lurking in the darkness of space, a large tank army awaiting on the planet Telezart…exciting mecha and characters appear one after another.

* Wonderful romance and emotion!

Can you die for the one you love? And when moving toward an ideal, can you risk your life to fight the evil that blocks it? With this theme, the main character Susumu Kodai proves it himself. While nurturing his love for Yuki Mori, he confronts a gigantic enemy. For love, for the purpose of saving the Earth, never giving up hope, Kodai challenges all possibilities. And in the end, seeing the love between these two people is sure to bring tears of joy and emotion to the hearts of all. The love depicted here ranges from the love between men and women to the love between friends, and a grand love for the universe. The film strongly emphasizes the importance of people living in harmony with each other.

* The power of a finale beyond imagination!

The white comet that Yamato is going to face is unprecedented, filled with ideas and tricks. What could possibly happen? For the last 30 minutes, you will be speechless in amazement. You will have to wait and see for yourself.

* A top-class staff gathers all their strength!

The film is produced by Yoshinobu Nishizaki, the creator of Yamato, who is well known to young fans. Directed by Toshio Masuda, design directed by Leiji Matsumoto, Composer Hiroshi Miyagawa continues from the previous work. Farewell to Yamato features lyricist Yu Aku and costume designer Yukiko Hanai, a successful fashion designer. It will be one of the most talked-about anime productions of all time.

The lower portion of the back was left blank for local screening information to be added later, as in these two examples.

Advance tickets

Thanks to the first Yamato movie, everyone in the movie business learned what happens when you underestimate demand. The answer to that was to sell more advance tickets. The tickets for Farewell are shown above left; the lower portions were torn off when the user entered the cinema. At right is the sleeve in which these tickets were issued.

Guerilla marketing

By far, the most valuable element of the first movie’s promo campaign was the fan base. Nishizaki turned their passion into action in a brilliant grass-roots movement to spread the word. Now that he had an official fan club as a nerve center, he put it to work again on Farewell. At some point, this document turned up in the mail boxes of club members all over the country.

It was a sort of handbook for how to reignite the movement in support of the new film. The interior was a comprehensive list of contact information for radio and TV stations. Fans were encouraged to write and call in, asking for Yamato airplay and TV reruns. It’s unclear how much this helped Farewell to succeed, but it certainly played a role.

Image model

In November 1977, it was called the “Deform Display Model.” Eight months later, Bandai reissued it in a new box with a new name, “Image Model.” Inside, it was exactly the same, a forced-perspective version that imitated the now-iconic image of the ship.

Yamato model with Teresa panel

The conventionally-shaped Yamato model kit was reissued in July as well. The previous version was the “gold” edition released in March. Now it was finally available in standard colors.

A new backing board was included, giving it the name “Teresa Panel.”

Terebi Animation Exciting Brass LP

Besides the Rival/Teresa Forever single, this was the only music release for July, a Nippon Columbia album featuring several classic anime themes rendered by a brass band. The Yamato theme and The Scarlet Scarf were joined by Gatchaman, Star of the Giants, Astro Boy, Triton of the Sea, Devilman, and others.

Children’s Light, August issue

One more entry into the July media catalog was this children’s magazine, a copy of which has yet to be obtained here at the Cosmo DNA nerve center.

All that’s known so far is what’s displayed in these photos: a healthy attitude toward TV anime in general and Yamato in particular. That’s really all you need sometimes.

Arcadia Special Issue doujinshi

Harlock was the provocative name of a doujinshi published by a private group calling themselves Space Battleship Yamato FC in an attempt to distinguish themselves from the official fan club. Arcadia Special Issue was a spinoff of Harlock containing a “digest parody,” 40 pages of illustrated fanfic with some manga on the side.

See it from cover to cover here

What’s Next

Theaters sold all the advance tickets they could, but it still didn’t stop the kids from showing up early and camping out. This was the scene outside movie theaters on the night of August 4, an enthusiastic replay of what happened a year earlier. In Vintage Report 12, we dive right into the premiere month and watch everything explode all over again! Read it here.

July context

Two other major SF anime titles were released in July. The Gatchaman feature film (July 15) was a compilation of the original TV series with a few minutes of new animation. Captain Harlock: The Mystery of the Arcadia was an episode of the Space Pirate TV series that had been reformatted for wide screen and expanded to 34 minutes. It was shown as part of a Toei Manga Matsuri [Festival] for children on July 22. In it, Harlock battles a revived Battleship Musashi, which looks AWFULLY familiar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *