From Original Soundtrack Part 1
Yamato Music Statement
Akira Miyagawa and Yamato
Akira Miyagawa, the son of Hiroshi Miyagawa, was in charge of the music for Space Battleship Yamato 2199! While such a thing should be considered natural, the original Space Battleship Yamato was a heavy cross to bear for Akira Miyagawa and the entire Miyagawa family. The thick Space Battleship Yamato proposal book that he found in his father’s study during his middle school days was obviously for a TV anime; it proved to be a hit that would become a monumental part of anime history and a number of sequels were made in the series.
Akira Miyagawa, a Yamato boy
“I watched my father as he made hundreds of musical pieces while contending with the pressure of the work. While he wrote the music for Yamato, I remember it being a tense atmosphere and my mother warned me to ‘keep quiet.’ Could I undertake the music of such a work…? Was I ready to shoulder such a huge cross…? Of course, feelings are also strong in the work called Yamato, and I could say it was a big challenge for me. I was greatly troubled by it, and at the beginning when I expected I would be asked to do it, I intended to decline.”
One day, about thirty years since his father first made the music for Space Battleship Yamato, a meeting took place at the ANA hotel. This is where the formal offer was made from the Production Committee to make Yamato 2199. Already in place were General Director Yutaka Izubuchi, Sound Director Tomohiro Yoshida, and a producer from each of the various companies in the production committee. Even surrounded by a lot of other people, after talking with Mr. Izubuchi, Akira Miyagawa came to realize that the “will” of the production staff was identical to his own. Yamato 2199 would be based on the first 26 episode TV series (the Iscandar story), faithfully reproduced as a modern drama. That was the order described.
Akira Miyagawa had enjoyed Yamato even while his father suffered to write 73 pieces of music for it (73 pieces that would certainly be greatly enjoyed), and the Iscandar story was his favorite. In order to pay maximum tribute to the Iscandar story and all 73 tracks, the production staff was given a special mission to faithfully reproduce them in a modern way.
“Only I can do this,” Akira thought. “I don’t want anyone else to do it.” And the conclusion he came to was, “Thank you very much, I will accept.”
Facing his father in faithful reproduction, salvage, and “poetic sentiment.”
Although it was Akira Miyagawa who would take charge of the music for Yamato 2199, he received two instructions: to faithfully reproduce the previous work as a modern drama, and to compose new music to accompany the original.
He began with the first order, to faithfully reproduce the previous work.
“If they received such an order, many composers would begin by composing new music,” Miyagawa said. “But first I wanted to know the music that had come before.” In other words, he wanted to thoroughly know the music his father composed for the original before he took on the other mission to compose new music.
In order not to disturb Hiroshi Miyagawa’s world of sound, he was careful to echo it in the N numbers (codes used to indicate New tracks for the production). But even more important, the passion to surpass his father was necessary as the driving force needed to grapple with the work. However, the original score was handwritten, and overwritten many times, and many of the models had been lost. Back then, there wasn’t enough production time to gather up a large framework of sheet music as is customary today, and there weren’t many performance instructions in front of the band members at the recording location.
Although Akira anticipated it, he said “there should have been instructions on the spot, especially for the rhythm section, but only codenames had been written in the score.” Therefore, he needed to “ear-copy” the tracks, recreating the score by listening. However, it was a good opportunity for him to face his father. Though it was music he had listened to for 38 years, he said there were a lot of things he hadn’t noticed in it before.
Salvage was carried out. (This is the common industry term for a work that faithfully reproduces the original in modern form.) It wasn’t just copying the same music by ear, but was also a chance to analyze the music of Hiroshi Miyagawa. “It’s a 38-year-old textbook left by my father,” Akira joked, and he recalled that his father spoke to him of “poetic sentiment” many times; “Your arrangement isn’t bad, but there’s no poetic sentiment.”
“This sentiment became the theme of Akira Miyagawa, the theme of the Miyagawa family, and the theme music for Yamato.”
In the beginning, Akira intended for the N numbers to recapture the atmosphere of the original. However, while listening to the big themes left behind by Hiroshi Miyagawa, it became evident that the “poetic sentiment” of the Showa era, rife with dense, extended melodies, had a disconnect with the music young people listen to today.
As an aside, Hiroshi Miyagawa created music other than the kind filled with this “poetic sentiment.” Though it is not often talked about, at that time a composer of theatrical music had to be a “craftsman” as well as a “creator.” Dozens of pieces had to be written for each work and several works had to be handled each year, so a “craftsman’s ingenuity” was required. Surprisingly, Akira Miyagawa has mainly dealt with stage music, and hasn’t been involved in many anime works. Thus, he never had to manage as many different kinds of projects as his father, and never needed to become the same kind of “craftsman.”
Back to the subject, the composition of most music pieces that accompany a dramatic work are one minute to a minute-and-a-half long. Many are configured with an A melody and a B melody that both loop, designed to be heard over an extended period without getting tired. From the standpoint of the sound editing staff, these are easy to cut with. A variety of people have happily contributed their ingenuity to such devices as modulation. Desperation (track 3) is a good example of this. An attack of brass combined with a tremolo of strings creates very impressive music, especially when the strings take the lead and go up by a semitone for 11 seconds. The listener gets the impression that “something happened” from this modulation, and it’s easy for the sound editing staff to cut in anywhere.
The best example is The Universe Spreading into Infinity (track 8). Although the head is in G minor, after just 8 bars the sound modulates into F minor. There is a feeling of aspiration and excitement when it goes up by a semitone. This small change is one example of a craftsman’s painstaking writing technique to hold the interest of a listener.
This method of making expansive, user-friendly music is just one element required from a writer of theatrical music. This was a new discovery for Akira Miyagawa, who came from a music scene based on single pieces for staged events such as ballets and musicals.
N numbers and the unprecedented “rail” laid by Hiroshi Miyagawa
Although the new compositions (N numbers) for Yamato 2199 followed the “rail” spread by Hiroshi Miyagawa throughout Space Battleship Yamato, the desire was to make them something unprecedented. The feeling was that the opponent Akira had to face was not just his father, but also general director Yutaka Izubuchi and sound supervisor Tomohiro Yashida. The most impressive of Akira Miyagawa’s tracks is Ambition (track 23). Since there were not many pieces that evoked the “gradual process of young people growing up,” he wanted to focus on that for Yamato 2199. The question was, if the production team decided to add something that was not present in the original Yamato, what kind of melody would go with it? That was the challenge, and this track was composed with that feeling.
Yamato Maelstrom (track 21) was the result of an order to create a new variation of the main theme. The challenge here was to stand on the shoulders of the many Yamato theme variations left by Hiroshi Miyagawa. This ambitious track incorporates the slavic Sword Dance, which has its origins in Hungarian dance music.
Another new one is the “Dessler melody” heard in Enter Dessler (track 32) which, while it does not rely on a vivid melody, is felt to convey the authenticity of Dessler. Hence, because it was difficult to derive a melody from it, an order came from director Izubuchi to create Garmillas national anthem. Based on a combination of the Dessler melody with a music image from the director, the Garmillas melody took shape. The Garmillas national anthem is heard in Praise be our Eternal Glory (tracks 40 and 41) and A Dictator’s Anguish (tracks 44 and 45).
Two sensational pieces
The final goal for Akira Miyagawa was to re-introduce his father’s two most sensational songs out of the 73 pieces from the original work that could not be surpassed.
The first track was The Universe Spreading into Infinity (track 8), which was said at the time to have conveyed a “funeral in space.” It works equally well to communicate a soul at rest and the vast loneliness of space, and is thought of as a requiem. It was expanded from eight bars to 16 using the modulation technique described above. In this sensational piece, you can take in both the best theatrical music of Hiroshi Miyagawa and the deepest theme of Yamato simultaneously.
The other is Black Tiger (track 26). There is no theory of composition technique that is related to this track. As Akira says, it was simply music “handed down by God” to Hiroshi Miyagawa. He considers it “the most sensational music” of Hiroshi’s entire theatrical output.
After facing various challenges, Akira Miyagawa completed the original soundtrack to Space Battleship Yamato 2199. Please enjoy it.
The “N Numbers”
Listed here are tracks from the three CDs that comprise Akira Miyagawa’s new compositions (totaling about 57 minutes).
2. Yamato Advances
4. First Contact
7. The Galactic Route
21. Yamato Into the Vortex
29. Suspense (Sense of Distrust)
32. Enter Dessler
36. YRA: Radio Yamato Theme
37. The Galactic Route (With Vocals)
38. The Galactic Route (Without Vocals)
40. Gamilas Anthem: Praise Be Our Eternal Glory
41. Gamilas Anthem: Praise Be Our Eternal Glory
44. A Dictator’s Anguish
45. A Dictator’s Anguish (Strings)
2. The Clockwork Prisoner
5. Suspense (unrest)
6. Newsreel theme
7. Newsreel theme (strings)
8. Battle to a stalemate
9. Every day
12. Garmillas dimensional submarine
13. Garmillas dimensional submarine(timpani)
14. The witch whispers
15. The witch whispers (song)
16. The witch whispers (murmur)
19. Acting in the Garmillas shadows
23. Ambition (an ambitious youth)
18. Pride of Dessler
19. Imperial capital defense war
(“Yamato maelstrom” variation)
20. Second Balerus
21. Presidential Office – dying hope
22. Encounter in the void
23. Encounter in the void (short)
24. Blue crystal
28. Thoughts of sleep
Tracks derived from other Yamato scores
31. Cosmo Tiger (Wan-dah-bah)
Based on music from The New Voyage
4. White comet (Disco)
Based on music from Yamato 2
17. Dessler surprise attack
27. Great love (soul lead)
Based on music from Farewell to Yamato
30. Green Hills of Earth
(departure, return and hope for tomorrow)
Based on music from Symphonic Suite Yamato
From Original Soundtrack Part 2
Yamato Music Statement Part 2
Tomohiro Yoshida and Yamato
When talking about Space Battleship Yamato 2199, an important key person is sound director Tomohiro Yoshida. In anime, the post of sound supervisor is basically explained as the person in charge of production on the sound side. It is the position that directs all dimensions of sound for the film; not only the use of recorded voices, but also music and sound effects. In that sense, Yoshida is 2199’s sound supervisor. Why is that so? Yoshida himself says that historically it “seems to be manipulated by fate.”
Yoshida first encountered Space Battleship Yamato at the age of six, when he turned on his TV under the influence of the program he’d watched the week before. He was instantly attracted to it, just like all the other fans who were fascinated by Yamato.
“I brought my cassette recorder close to the TV speaker, and the voice of my mother can be heard on the tape calling me to dinner, and I remember being really mad about that.”
Much later, Yoshida became involved with the music of Yamato. He didn’t actually work on the music, but was in charge of transfers from LP to CD for Nippon Columbia in 1994 and ’95.
“At that time, my work began from grasping the huge number of musical pieces from Yamato and following instructions from producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki,” he says, looking back at those days. “He’d suddenly say, ‘get me that piece of music from such and such a time’.”
Afterward, he moved from music-centered duties to sound supervision. Many people are intimidated on the occasion of such turning points, but for someone who originally hoped to become an actor, it was a matter of necessity. In addition, he’d gotten a lot of experience from Yamato Sound Fantasia. (A 1996 double album that mixed music and sound effects.) He became independent after a period working as a sound director for Arts Pro, then became involved in the Yamato Resurrection Director’s Cut.
Major points of the sound side for Yamato 2199
Working on the Resurrection Director’s Cut (hereafter referred to as DC) had great meaning for Yoshida. Most significantly, it was a point of contact with Yamato’s original sound designer, Mitsuru Kashiwabara.
On the DC, Yoshida tackled the important issue of reusing original sound effects. They were not used in the first edition of Resurrection, and in frequent meetings with Kashiwabara to hear his thoughts, Yoshida came face to face with his passion. He incorporated the techniques from his earlier Sound Fantasia experience to apply the original sound effects to the DC. “I was an amateur with sound effects, and getting through the work was really tough,” he recalls.
“The major points on the sound side of Yamato 2199 were to revive Kashiwabara’s original effects and re-record the original music of Hiroshi Miyagawa with updated technology,” Yoshida says. “From the beginning stage, the staff shared general director Izubuchi’s intention to use it properly.”
“The work will lack something vital without this advantage,” said director Izubuchi, and it was Yoshida’s job to sufficiently bring this point forward from Yamato to Yamato 2199.
Since this is a commentary on a soundtrack, let’s return to talk about music. In the process of working on CDs, Yoshida had several points of contact with Hiroshi Miyagawa. For Yoshida, the image of Yamato had always come from the depth of its music, and he had strong feelings about preserving it. When thinking about the music of 2199, “it will become Yamato when that music is heard.”
However, the specifications hadn’t been completely boiled down in the initial startup planning, and re-recording was required for the possibility of doing the work in 5.1 ch. When the prospect was brought up of re-recording all that music, it was universally felt that “it has to be Akira Miyagawa.”
Since the booklet in Original Soundtrack Part 1 covered the flow of Izubuchi’s and Yoshida’s decision to bring in Akira Miyagawa, we’ll move on from there. However, regarding the feelings of Akira in newly challenging his father’s great achievement anew, Yoshida says, “In doing the music this time around, while of course the composition and recording equipment for recorded music nowadays is great, I’d get the feeling of, ‘yeah, Akira is hearing it this way’.”
For this reason, Yoshida might say that he was close by, listening to music which spanned two generations of the Miyagawa family.
Careful handling of the “N numbers”
Yoshida speaks enthusiastically about the new tracks, referred to as the “N numbers” (the term used among the production staff). “We found a lot of good places to put them in Chapters 3 to 5 (where they are mainly heard).”
General director Izubuchi and other members of the staff had detailed meetings with Akira Miyagawa to build up a good menu. The “N numbers” bring new pleasure and impact to Yamato 2199. “Our stance was to try and use as much of the music as possible.” As he says, they became entertaining when used in various ways. For example, multiple versions of The Witch Whispers (tracks 14-16) were recorded, finely divided into “music only” and “murmur only,” and dispersed throughout Episode 14 to help build an atmosphere of mystery into this new story.
Also, Garmillas Dimensional Submarine (track 12) was not only used at full length in Episode 13, but the tympani version (track 13) was added to the beginning of Episode 14 as a “chance opportunity” that felt right.
“There are so many tracks that I like, it’s hard to choose a favorite,” Yoshida begins, “but I especially like Ambitious Youth (track 23). It has the feeling of young people doing their best.”
“Manipulated by Fate” / “Fortunate problems”
Let’s return to the opening comment from Mr. Yoshida. Sound effects and music are the main points that concern Yoshida, and when he looks back on his own history, he says it “seems to have been manipulated by fate.” Certainly, he’s not the only staff member who can say that.
“Of course, it’s very difficult, even during the voice recording,” he laughs. “But the voice actors and the music I can choose from are very extravagant, so that balances it out.” As a sound supervisor, he talks about having “fortunate problems.”
“On the other hand, lines were recorded that were not used. Lines, sound effects, and music are arranged for a certain result, and sometimes it has to be thinned out.” In talking with directors, Mitsuru Kashiwabara, and other staff members, the work is really a series of “fortunate problems.” It’s all about how to enhance the best materials from each field.
“The sound team and the picture team have a lot of respect for each other,” Yoshida said with a smile from start to finish. “The relationship is very good. That’s how a work succeeds.” It’s the smile of a boy who grew up to become a successful sound supervisor who didn’t forget his 6-year old soul.
A whole new side to Yamato 2199 gradually emerges with Chapter 3. Please enjoy the music end of that in Original Soundtrack Part 2.
From Original Soundtrack Part 3
Yamato Music Statement Part 3
It was really good to make new score
The journey of Yamato reached a pause when official Premium Night screenings for Yamato 2199 Chapter 7 were held on August 23, 2013. Director Izubuchi wore a smile on that day as he said, “it was really good to make new score for this soundtrack.”
The original plan was to produce all the music in bulk before the series began production. In the final stage of deployment, it would be up to the sound supervisor to make up the menu and set the table, in consultation with the musician. Since the concept was to re-record older pieces of music this time, that was expected to be sufficient. When the final storyboard was done, it was director Izubuchi’s desire to simply create one new piece to accompany the last scene. That hope turned out to be useless. A soundtrack requires the recording of musical instruments. For Yamato in particular, the preparation was dense, requiring great time, effort and expense.
Leaving aside several details, some good luck occurred simultaneously; various situations came together and composer Akira Miyagawa readily agreed, “I will produce the soundtrack,” so the decision was made. It would not just be the final scene, but several pieces would be created to give depth and width to the story, and everyone who has seen the finished work could feel the effect.
“Even when obstacles were encountered during production, we shifted to a better direction and advanced without giving up. It was the same with the music. I gradually came to feel that there wasn’t enough, and when I approached the production committee with this, the flow to create new music unexpectedly went as smooth as possible. Now I think it was really good to make new score.”
Music is essential to Yamato 2199
From the beginning, director Izubuchi felt that he could only ask Akira Miyagawa. Miyagawa was conflicted about it, but as sound supervisor Tomohiro Yoshida said in the previous Music Statement, it seemed to be “manipulated by fate” when everyone’s thoughts turned out to be in sync. (In fact, it was the fact that Miyagawa had earned his first credits working on Yamato III that lead him to be considered.)
“Concerning the music and sound effects for this work, from the very beginning I thought they would be a major component, and we couldn’t treat it lightly.”
With that in mind, he wanted to work with Akira Miyagawa to such a degree that if he wasn’t present, there wouldn’t be a Yamato 2199. Those thoughts hardened into conviction as the film was completed.
“I thought it from the beginning, and I was able to confirm it. The involvement of Akira Miyagawa, who inherited the will of Hiroshi Miyagawa, was indispensable to the score of Yamato 2199.”
New ground was broken when Akira Miyagawa immersed himself in the original score and advanced its image. When original pieces began to take shape for 2199, the production team designated them as “N numbers.” Looking back, the director, too, says, “the music I asked him to imagine for pinpoint use in specific places not only followed the images, but exhibited an effect that went beyond them.”
“The Galactic Route and the Garmillas National Anthem (both on OST part 1) were particularly effective, and I think that the themes were able to be expressed by arranging and deriving music from the N numbers.”
The technique of harnessing the Space Battleship Yamato melody allowed new tracks to become more familiar and create depth.
“The goal was to make good use of new tracks along with the main body of the score, and I think it succeeded.”
The ability to unite music and picture
Director Izubuchi looks back at the last piece, Green Hills of Earth (track 30).
“Yamato arrives at the red Earth, and then it becomes the blue Earth. I wanted a lingering sound in that last scene. Rather than having the Earth suddenly turn blue like magic, there was the effort and drama of various people in the meantime, and I wanted to express that with music.”
The music order written by Izubuchi was thus: “Yamato returns to Earth and the red Earth regains its green and its blue sea. The tale starts quietly, but finishes as epic poetry. The image should be paired with Yamato launching from Earth.” Based on this, sound supervisor Yoshida met with Akira Miyagawa and referenced a musical piece from Space Battleship Yamato Symphonic Suite. The title of the composition was Hope for Tomorrow: Dream, Romance, Adventure.
“I think the impact of this music is perfect for the image of a grand finale,” Yoshida said to Miyagawa.
“Regarding this music,” Miyagawa says, “It has a feeling of possibility which my father left undone,” and he happily agreed to do the arrangement.
It expands Yamato Departs the Earth (from OST part 1) into a longer melody, evoking a great journey.
“Rather than fitting the music to the picture, the method was to unite the two. I think it was new this time to record music that produced such an effect.”
“Similarly, the last scene of Kodai and Yuki in Episode 23 (track 22, Encounter in the Void) was an image matched to music,” Izubuchi recalls. “I thought about the option of having a new song here, and it was possible to request one, but I thought more about the emotions here, and I felt it was ‘more in keeping with a film’ to have a musical piece when seeing two people floating free in front of Iscandar.”
The new score came out of very detailed meetings, since director Izubuchi gave precise descriptions of the last episode. Because the score for this so-called TV series was made before the exact flow of the overall image was basically decided, the versatility of the music increased. But after the careful flow of images was made for the film, there were many cases where music could be made that followed the flow. This is true film scoring. Precise description of emotional scenes, coupled with Izubuchi’s enthusiasm, resulted in the score that took shape for Yamato 2199 Chapter 7. There is no doubt that this was the source for the music to become “cinematic.”
Music delved into the drama
There is also music that deepened the drama by being used in a scene differently than first thought. One of those pieces was Clockwork Prisoner (on OST part 2) in Episode 9. Although conceived as music to represent the world of a fairy tale with Analyzer and a Gamiloid, it was also used in the scene of Celestella and Yuki Mori in Episode 22, and came to symbolize Celestella’s sad fate. She is colored by this music and is lead to an unusual fate.
There is an even more symbolic musical piece in the new score, Second Balerus (track 20). This music expresses the grandeur of the Second Balerus mobile space fortress, and it was scheduled to be heard there for the first and only time. But in the end, it was also used for Dessler’s last moment.
“Mr. Yoshida put it in, and it was very good. It had an image to it that was appropriate for Dessler.”
Since the staff did not take the music lightly, it was able to delve more deeply into the drama.
“Soundtrack music is not something attached to anime, it is part of the anime itself. I was able to newly appreciate this. For that reason, it’s really good that this score can be delivered into everyone’s hands on this CD. I’ll be glad if you can feel that I’ve completed this mission as well.”
Saying this, Director Izubuchi finished the interview. I suppose that was one ending. The story that showed us a terrific surge shows us another ending. Please enjoy OST Part 3, featuring the music centered on Chapters 6 and 7 of Yamato 2199.
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.