October 2013 was less busy than the climactic months of August and September, but the arrival of Chapter 7 on home video – the final round of the entire 2199 anime campaign – made for a fantastic wave of products at the end of the month in the area that needed it most: publishing.
But first, let’s take a step back and cover some leftovers from September…
September 5: Monthly Star Navi, October issue
The first leftover was an article from this astronomy magazine (Navi is short for Navigator) written by Yamato 2199‘s astrophysics advisor, Professor Toshihiro Handa. In addition to advising the writing and design teams, he has also conducted planetarium shows that present the real science behind the series, and this article summed up many of his talking points.
Read the article here.
Visit the publisher’s website here.
September 23: Double R Mechanics Volume 3
Published by a company named Model Art, this quarterly magazine is a showcase for model kits of classic anime mecha, primarily from the 70s and 80s. (Double R stands for “Real Robot.”) The first and second issues were devoted to hero and villain robots respectively, and both gave passing nods to Yamato kits. This one took a big step forward, filling up almost a third of the magazine (37 pages) with Yamato spaceship and fighter models, both new and old.
Visit Model Art’s home page here.
September 23: Asahi Shimbun article
Space Battleship Yamato for the first time
The romantic dream of taking off again in a giant warship
The Space Battleship Yamato anime began in 1974, and even now a new work is still broadcast. Although it tragically sank, the thought of Japan’s ideals made the giant warship rise again.
“Farewell Earth…” In April, that classic song came back to TV after an interval of 33 years. The latest series, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, was broadcast on MBS/TBS on Sunday at 5pm. Ms. Shoko Nakagawa and Ms. Nana Mizuki joined the choir with the song’s original singer, Isao Sasaki.
Not only that song, but the story, too, was a remake of the first series from 1974. Earth was in a crisis of destruction by the interstellar nation Garmillas. The voyage of Yamato to the unknown planet Iscandar to save the human race was recreated with new images and the latest technology.
The format of the story, in which Yamato represents Earth in a fight against invaders from space, was a prototype carried over into the continuing second and third TV series, and the movies.
As a single ship going into space, Yamato‘s trump card is the Wave-Motion Gun. It uses the Wave-Motion Engine brought from Iscandar as a weapon. “Target scope, open!” “Anti-shock, anti-flash protection!” Following those customary lines, it fires from the muzzle in the bow.
Although the impression is that it was fired every time as the special hero move, it was only fired five times in the first 26 episodes. Surprisingly few. I understand why when I review the anime. The first test-firing is against an enemy base in Episode 5. The crew is surprised by the destructive power that destroys the floating continent. “We did something forbidden,” it is said. “We’ll need to take careful precautions in the future,” Captain Okita admonishes. A “forbidden tactic” was used.
2199 follows the same pattern, firing it five times as well. “We didn’t want to shoot the Wave-Motion Gun recklessly,” said director Yutaka Izubuchi. “We wanted Yamato to overcome a crisis with wisdom and courage, as in the original. The purpose of Yamato is to arrive at Iscandar, not to win a war. The original staff thought that, too,” he explained.
Yamato gave birth to related products, such as books and records. It is said to have pioneered the anime boom that lifted up the anime industry from TV Manga, which was for children.
Where did Yamato‘s popularity come from? Film critic Tomohiro Michiyama calls it “idealized nationalism.”
“Nationalism is comfortable as it is understood at the Olympics. However, World War II doesn’t make for exciting entertainment because Japan is a defeated nation. Then Yamato, the battleship of the Imperial Navy, stars in a story in which the world is saved from Nazi-like invaders,” he explains. “This is a loophole that justifies nationalism.”
Regarding 2199, he points out that “Yamato is positioned as a Japanese battleship of the United Nations space forces. That makes it more real and legitimate. The staff understands that point well.”
Crew members that died do revive, and Yamato which sank also revives. The opportunism of the past in the making of sequels turned some fans away. Yamato has now returned to its starting point. What kind of trip will it take next?
(Hiroshi Hoshika Toru)
DOOR OF CULTURE
voice actor Koichi Yamadera
A real epic story
The first series came out back when I was in my first year of middle school. I watched every episode without fail. The feeling of tension over the impending doom of Earth was awesome. “There are only so many days left until human extinction,” I told my friends, “how will it turn out?”
I imitated Kei Tomiyama in the role of Susumu Kodai. While I’m not sure if I was even changing my voice or not, when I shouted “Yuki! YUKI!” I thought I sounded a lot like him. I liked doing impersonations.
Of course, I also imitated Dessler, who I perform in 2199. But there’s no one as good as Mr. Masato Ibu. [Imitating] “Yamato no shokun…” [“Gentlemen of Yamato…”] I love his voice, and I listened to The Snakeman Show, of which he was a member, in realtime. Later, when I told him, “You did the best voice for Dessler, even in my mind,” he was like, “I see.”
The appeal is that the crew chooses to keep fighting for the fate of Earth. As Ultraman or Kamen Rider, I might fight to protect human beings. It feels more real. The story is epic, and has a roman[tic] feeling. You could say it’s space roman[ce]. I think it’s the first work of its kind.
Translator’s note: The Snakeman Show was a comedy act that grew out of a 1970s pop band named Yellow Magic Orchestra. Masato Ibu and others performed sketches on YMO albums, and eventually they grew into their own phenom. Find their work on Youtube here and here, and be sure to watch this clip, which is subtitled. Ibu plays the part of “Critic #1,” and the satire in this sketch hasn’t lost any of its bite since the day it was recorded.
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.
See Koichi Yamadera’s impressive list of acting credits here.
October 1: Hyper Hobby #182
The November issue of Hyper Hobby lead the month as usual, providing us with a nice big look at the prototype for Megahouse’s Captain Okita figure. Also shown was the company’s custom version of Akira Yamamoto, available for pre-order only from the Yamato Crew website.
Other eye-catching items in this 2-page spread were a papercraft model of the first bridge, to be released by hobby company Plex in November, and shots of the Yamato Girls figures displayed at the September 1 Chara Hobby show. Banpresto is scheduled to release these in early 2014 as prize items in crane arm games, but such things are often available for separate purchase.
Two more pages took the coverage a bit further. The page above right rounded up the latest toy and model news while the page above left contained a sendoff to 2199; this “cartoon commentary” on various characters and episodes was a regular feature in several previous issues, and this installment offered up the cartoonist’s thoughts on the story’s conclusion. (He evidently wanted to see the asteroid ring, too.)
October 1: iPhone cases
About 50 zillion Yamato iPhone cases have been ground out over the last four years, but a company named Gourmandise decided that was still not enough. The artistic quality was of these was a nice step up.
October 3: Train trip
The official Yamato 2199 website published this brief report of a ride on North Kinki Tango Railroad (KTR)’s Yamato 2199-wrapped train the day before it was discontinued.
From October 2010, KTR Supporters Club and Kyoto CMEX 2012 Official Business in a joint plan with Go-Tan, operated a Space Battleship Yamato 2199-wrapped train on two lines of the North Kinki Tango Railroad: the Miyazu line (Nishi Maizaru station to Toyouka station) and the Miyafuku line (Miyazu station to Fukuchiyama station). Its final day was Saturday, September 28. On the 27th, in coordination with White Thread brewery, we took a ride on the wrapped train.
The notice on the wrapping was about the TV broadcast. Over the last year of operation, the interior decor had been changed four times. On the last train, brand new images promoted the decisive battle of episodes 19 and 20.
There was elaborate attention to detail. For example, when pulling out the rotary table from its storage nook, Domel, Okita and various characters appear.
Furthermore, on the small drinks table next to the window was the vulgar man who enjoyed wine.
The view from the car window was wonderful. The Yura River bridge (below left) excited a traveler’s heart. Of course, the superb view of Amanohashidate (below right) is one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan.
For a Yamato fan, the port city of Maizuru, once the home of the Maizuru naval station, might also be worth a look.
The wrapped train of the North Kinki Tango Railroad, which got a favorable reception from everyone, is finished for the time being. We thank everyone very much for their efforts.
Finally, not only by train, but by other means of transportation as well, our trip ended like a dream.
On the way home, I stopped by White Thread Brewery (in Miyazu City), which helped to coordinate this coverage. There was a bottle of Italian Beauty, relabeled Great Garmillas Wine by White Thread Brewery for Yamato 2199 (at left). Other liquor with various anime tie-ins was also displayed.
See the original post here.
October 10: Beat magazine cover
Bandai Visual, the video arm of the many-tentacled Bandai group, circulates this free monthly promotional magazine to stores in Japan. They have occasionally put Yamato 2199 on the cover, and the approach of Chapter 7 was a worthy enough cause to do it again with new art.
Click on the image below to see an enlargement of the interior spread.
See the online version of Beat magazine here.
October 10: Chapter 7
Fans who saw the film in Japanese theaters were given pre-order information for the blu-ray, which was not ready in time for on-site sales for reasons thoroughly explained in Report 23. Flyers were handed out with individual code numbers that could be registered online, and a blu-ray that measured up to all the previous standards would be delivered C.O.D. when it was ready. October 10 was the first day of shipping, and it’s safe to say no one was disappointed when their copy finally arrived.
Get a closer look at all the packaging here.
October 10: Figure news
Megahouse had previously exhibited their 1/8 Captain Okita figure at Chara Hobby on August 31, and on October 10 they formally announced that it would be released February 2014 as the first in the “Yamato Guys” line. Later in the month, they announced a “renewal” version of their Yuki Mori figure in a new pose, to be released in December (clipping above right from Hobby Japan).
Get a better look at the good captain here.
October 11-13: New York Comic Con Exhibit
Bandai’s booth at NYCC displayed the forthcoming Soul of Chogokin Yamato die-cast toy outside Japan for the first time. Bandai is schedule to release it in the US in Star Blazers packaging March 2014. Also on display was the full lineup of 1/1000 model kits, though none were available for sale.
Prior to the event, it was announced that there would be a screening of the dubbed version of Episode 1 (previously shown during the summer at Comic Con International and elsewhere), but it failed to appear for reasons unknown.
Special thanks to Facebook community members Lloyd Coricelli, Mark Kinsey, and Todd DuBois for these photos!
October 12 & 13: 53rd All Japan Model Hobby Show
Yamato 2199 makes a bigger splash every time one of Japan’s major hobby shows rolls around, and this was the biggest yet with Bandai’s unveiling of the upcoming 1/500 model, a huge diorama by superstar modeler “Wild River” (a regular contributor to Dengeki Hobby magazine), the latest prototypes of unreleased kits, and the first post-series Yamatalk session with director Yutaka Izubuchi, chief mechanical director Masanori Nishii, CG director Takashi Imanishi, and Bandai model developer Hirofumi Kishiyama.
Friend-of-the-website Antibiotictab was there, and reported that MC Osamu Kobayashi started the session by saying, “We’re not going to talk about what you want to hear most in this conversation” (meaning the 2014 movie). Instead, they discussed the origins of the 2199 model kits and the ins and outs of working with CG data.
One topic that did get special attention was the fate of the larger-than-average Domelus III and Deusula II dreadnought models. Kishiyama said that their expansive size at 1/1000 scale (about two feet long) made them too big for the average house or apartment and therefore they would not be released. Izubuchi took the opportunity to ask who in the crowd would buy one, and many people raised their hands. Kishiyama called his boss directly from the stage to report this news, but no followup announcements have been made.
See photos on the event’s official site here.
See photos of the Yamato products and displays here.
October 17-23: Wild River’s World Exhibition
“Wild River” is a literal translation of the name Naoto Arakawa, a professional modeler whose intricate dioramas of Yamato 2199 kits have appeared regularly in the pages of Dengeki Hobby magazine. A week-long exhibition of these and many of his other masterpieces took place at Kotobukiya hobby store in Akihabara, Tokyo. The flyer for the event is shown above.
Visit the Wild River World website here.
See video coverage by friend-of-the-website Antibiotictab here.
October 18: Smart Phone Game update
Fans who downloaded the Yamato 2199 “Smaho” game that rolled out for iPhone in September got news of new character and mecha elements to enhance gameplay, as this virtual card-game version of the story approached the edge of the solar system.
A version of the game for Android phones became available on October 31. The iPhone version can be downloaded from iTunes, but appears not to be fully compatible with the American OS.