SPECIAL REPORT: The Tenth anniversary of Yamato!
Toward The Final Chapter
Yamato 10 Years Party to encourage Producer Nishizaki
Big names from all walks of life came together at a party that was held to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Space Battleship Yamato and give encouragement to The Final Chapter.
The tenth anniversary of Space Battleship Yamato was celebrated at Tokyo’s Hotel Okura at a big party to encourage chairman Nishizaki, who was enthusiastic about The Final Chapter. More than 600 people participated. Many people gathered not only from the TV and anime world, but also publishing, music, and film. It was evident that Yamato has penetrated into various fields.
On the day, the entrance to the venue was decorated with a Yamato made of ice. On the front stage, Hiroshi Miyagawa conducted the orchestra in playing Yamato BGM, and it was an appropriate mood to commemorate Yamato’s tenth anniversary. Also, a three-sided screen was set up on the right side of the venue to project favorite scenes from Yamato’s ten-year history.
The first greeting was from Shigeru Okada, representative organizer and president of Toei.
“We are finally producing the last feature film of Space Battleship Yamato. It will be released simultaneously nationwide in March of next year. We’re very busy with production now. Nishizaki is the sort of person who gives the impression that he’d just show up one day with Yamato in his hands, to have it appear on TV and in the movies.”
He talked about meeting chairman Nishizaki and his memories of the first movie.
“To be frank, I wondered what a film re-edited from a TV series would be like, and it became a big hit. Young people sat outside movie theaters for as long as two days. I tried to get a good seat and was looking forward to the cel handout [translator’s note: free animation cels were handed out to firstcomers on premiere day]. That was an unusual occurrence. At the time, when you said anime, it was thought of as something only for children. However, Nishizaki’s Yamato broke through this shell.”
These were memories of the surprise Yamato brought to the anime community and the movie world.
More than 600 people from various fields – publishing, movies, music,
and of course the Yamato staff – encouraged Chairman Nishizaki.
The party was further primed when Yasuyoshi Tokuma, president of Tokuma Shoten [publishing] lead a toast. At the venue, with refreshment booths lined up with fish Chairman Nishizaki had caught while diving (his specialty), the atmosphere seemed poised for a climax.
Very popular was a portrait corner with all the main animators of The Final Chapter, and people crowded in to have their portrait done. Kazuhiko Udagawa, Tsuji Tadanao, Takeshi Shirato, Kenzo Koizumi, and Shinya Takahashi gave their best and drew each person’s face.
“Except for a business meeting, we’d hardly ever have everyone together like that,” one staff member said.
Also, familiar Yamato voice actors Kei Tomiyama [Kodai], Keiko Han [Sasha], and Kojo Yada gathered with Goro Naya [Okita]. Mr. Tomiyama in particular acted as a narrator for the ten years of Yamato history projected on the three screens.
Slides showed scenes from all the series of Yamato, the big fan events of Be Forever – such as the ocean voyage to Kawasaki and Miyazaki – and a number of publications that introduced the big footprint left by Yamato’s ten years in the anime world.
The party was in full swing when Isao Sasaki appeared on the stage. He sang the Yamato theme, of course with backing from the orchestra conducted by Hiroshi Miyagawa. It was exactly the dynamic theme of Yamato.
Chairman Nishizaki received flowers from a friend at the climax of the party. After this, the party spread out extravagantly.
Left: Chairman Nishizaki speaks. Center: Visitors come one after another. Right: All the animators at the portrait corner.
There were congratulatory greetings by the visitors from various fields afterward, including Shintaro Ishihara of the House of Representatives, and chairman Takami Shobouji of Columbia Japan.
As for the main staff of Yamato, Yu Aku gave a humorous talk with recollections of his first encounter ten years ago; “I was introduced as a close friend, but I’m bad company. I have never met a producer who spoke with such emotion,” he said, and then was introduced to Chairman Nishizaki, who at the time was betting it all on Yamato.
After lyricist Yu Aku came the old friend, composer Hiroshi Miyagawa. His association with chairman Nishizaki went back 30 years. After an introduction by MC Yasuhiro Saito, Mr. Nishizaki stood next to him and said “Hiroshi Miyagawa is my close personal friend.” Miyagawa brought the house down with laughter when he said, “Mr. Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s present day success is all thanks to me.”
The recollection of Mr. Miyagawa, who made wonderful music for ten years, was, “Music for anime can be up to three times that of a normal movie, and from Yamato I learned the difficulty of anime music in just ten seconds.”
The main staff was made up of people who were busy with the work of The Final Chapter, and as a prime example, Leiji Matsumoto was next. His greeting had great determination:
“It went by so fast, it’s unbelievable that ten years have passed. However, during that time I never doubted the passion that was applied to Mr. Nishizaki’s Yamato. When we look back on The Final Chapter ten years from now, let’s make it something we won’t regret.”
Chairman Nishizaki also gave his greetings to everyone who participated. He said that reflection on the past brought determination to The Final Chapter. Good luck, chairman Nishizaki!!
Chairman Nishizaki also gave his thanks from the stage for the encouraging words from everyone at the celebration.
“It was fortunate to have this work go out into the world. Also, I’m glad that it was completed by so many talented people – Toshio Masuda, Leiji Matsumoto, and all of the animators.”
He gave his thanks to everyone on the Yamato staff, and had this to say about the last ten years:
“However, after the first movie was a hit, I made the mistake of thinking that Yamato was mine alone to do with as I pleased. I think I must have appeared pretty boorish in everyone’s eyes.”
This was the reflection of Yamato and other works that chairman Nishizaki played an active part in for ten years. And it brought determination for next year.
“I regard The Final Chapter as a new step toward the next ten years.”
Chairman Nishizaki seemed to blush at the applause of the whole audience.
Left to right: Leiji Matsumoto’s greeting. A toast from the president of Tokuma. Chairman Nishizaki gives thanks.
The huge party venue. Representative Shintaro Ishihara also spoke.
The stage returned to a BGM performance again, and visitors wandered to and fro to chat. There was a group of voice actors, a group of animators, and wandering around between them was another group (?) that seemed like reporters. As a staff member from fan club headquarters, I was hanging around with a camera, and was asked to take a souvenir photo of the staff and voice actors “by all means.”
(Thanks for your hard work. – Mr. K.) (Unfortunately, the picture didn’t come out well. – K.)
Chairman Nishizaki mingled among the visitors shortly afterward and thanked each of them. It was also filled with celebrities, such as Toshiro Mifune, Aritsune Toyota, Akihiro Miwa, and Kazuko Komori. Also, a group of reporters from Fuji TV collected coverage with video cameras on their shoulders.
At this “meeting to encourage Producer Nishizaki” party, it was said that the first work of Space Battleship Yamato was considered an anime for children, and even if the BGM it brought to the youth was merely a bonus, at least it raised the appreciation level for music. Chairman Nishizaki appealed for a grand theme by saying that the end of ten years is simply the opening step into the next ten years, and it seemed that everyone who participated seemed to savor this decade.
Dividing these ten year periods, The Final Chapter incorporates all the charm of past Yamato, and is also being developed as a powerful, epic drama to be shown in 70mm on the big screen. Therefore, chairman Nishizaki takes command on the front line as the producer, and has to do his best. This was the wish of not only everyone who participated in the party, but all the fans as well.
Gradually, the party became a feast and people began to leave in twos and threes. Chairman Nishizaki lined up with the organizers at the exit, and impressively shook hands with everyone as they adjourned.
(Yamato Fan Club headquarters report)
These photos show the state of the party
in color. Everyone greatly encouraged
Yamato. Let’s look forward to
March of next year!
With the power of Chairman Nishizaki absorbed from the energy at this party, Space Battleship Yamato The Final Chapter should surely be a great work. Let’s wait for March.
Yamato on ice?
Dengil mecha design and story highlights
Ads for first Final Yamato symphonic album and 1983 calendar
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.