March 2014 saw a slight decrease in overall activity, owing mainly to Bandai taking a “skip month” and not releasing any new model kits. But based on the number of new product announcements, they’ll more than make up for it in the near future. Other than that, a new wave of familiar products brought us more of what we know and love.
March 1: Hyper Hobby #187
Yamato 2199 products got their usual 2-page spread in the April issue of Hyper Hobby with the new Balgray carrier (released in February) and the upcoming Domelus III Cosmo Fleet Special miniature prominently featured. Space was also given to the 1/500 Yamato expansion parts (June), the fast-approaching Mecha Collection mini-kits (April), and the 1/12 Analyzer model (June), along with Alpha-Omega’s 1/8 Kaoru Niimi figure (July).
The new round of “26 Secrets and mysteries of Yamato” continued with five more questions answered by Chief Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii.
Question 15: What was the original use of the special rock-drilling cartridge that was converted into a weapon? [The drill missile]
Nishii: It was originally used in constructions sites and civil engineering operations. It was an object for planetary development of consumer products. It is unknown whether or not this was its original form. Maybe the rear part provided a foundation for the current shield machine.
Question 16: Is there something like a flag stretching from the mast of the Balgray?
Nishii: Since it was a special angle, I arranged to have Yasushi Ishizu draw it. As for the flag, Junichiro Tamamori put a signal flag on the mast of Kirishima at the time of Episode 1. Since the CG model doesn’t have a flag, however, it could turn out that it only appeared in one shot, so I eliminated it at that point. But with the flow and momentum of the second half, it was said, “it may look more like there’s an atmosphere if we have a flapping flag,” so Mr. Ishizu drew it. But think of it more as a panel than a flag. Since it doesn’t flutter, it’s a little stiffer.
Question 17: Why are there different shapes at the tips of the aircraft carriers?
Nishii: Even if you put the same type of warship together, it is common for them to have slightly different specifications. It wouldn’t be as interesting if they only differed by their color, and Mr. Ishizu suggested that there could be other differentiation. It was decided that the concept was the notches were a retrofit.
Question 18: Please talk about the role of the angled deck. Why doesn’t the Shuderg have one?
Nishii: The reason we didn’t add it to the Shuderg is because the torpedo bomber is the largest aircraft, and there wouldn’t be enough room for it to launch off a short, angled deck. Of course, if you really think about it, it really doesn’t matter if a ship’s deck is long or short when you’re in space. (Laughs)
Question 19: About the 442nd Special Operations platoon. Do Zalts soldiers often fight together with Garmillas soldiers?
Nishii: Well, because Zalts is completely merged into Garmillas, they fight together on all the front lines. Shulz was also treated as such, and military units of Zalts should also exist.
March 9: Mr. Color set
Gunze Sangyo added another notch to their Yamato belt with custom paints for the Garmillas carrier model kits: Garmillas Purple, Garmillas Green, and Garmillas Grey. See the whole lineup of custom Yamato 2199 model paint here.
March 9: Nico Nico Webcast #34
Momoko Miyauchi (cosplaying as Makoto Harada) opened this two-hour show by herself, vamped for a bit, and was rescued from a solo effort when Sayako Toujo (cosplaying as Yuria Misaki) popped up from under the table to get things moving for real.
After catching up, the Yamato News segment began with the one and only announcement that could be made about the forthcoming 2199 movie: it would be released in late autumn. The card above left describes “late autumn” in four different ways, which in the English-speaking world is called “padding.” The card at right says “We believe [director] Yutaka Izubuchi is doing his best, so from the Yamato Girls a word of encouragement…good luck!”
Later in the show came a pair of special product announcements for the Yamato Crew website. First: For a limited time, fans who ordered the 1/8 Yamato Girls figures of Makoto Harada or Yuria Misaki would be entered into a lottery to win autographed photos of Momoko and Sayako.
Second: autograph cards with signatures of all the Yamato Girls would accompany sets of tissue boxes purchased from Yamato Crew. Asking how many cards they would have to autograph, Sayako was told “50” for the first time, at which she screamed, “FIFTY???”
Signing of those cards began on the spot with a couple of breaks to shoot the photos. Sayako attempted to match the pose of the 1/8 Yuria Misaki figure, and got it just about right.
The other Yamato Girls added their signatures to the cards a few days later, as pictured here.
The Nico Nico webcasts seem to have settled into a monthly cycle, with #35 going out on April 6.
March 10: Yamato 2199 Art Exhibition tickets
Previously announced in February, the Yamato 2199 Gengaten [Art Exhibition] opens April 22 at Seibu department store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Tickets to this one-of-a-kind gallery show went on sale March 10, and early customers could win a set of three buttons as shown below.
Also of note was the “40th Anniversary” logo introduced in February, which will hopefully get more use before the year is out.
In addition to art displays of various kinds, another highlight of the event will be autograph sessions and Yamatalk sessions. These will be covered in upcoming reports as information becomes available. The event is organized by a company called Traffic Promotion, which previously put together an impressive 2012 Macross exhibition in the same space. See photos here.
Promotional flyer and entry ticket. Visit the event’s website here. A new product line was added to the site on April 12 and will be profiled in our next report.
March 13: Hobby Japan special
As shown in just about every previous 2199 report, Hobby Japan has consistently delivered high-quality photo coverage of model kits and other products. This coverage occasionally gets collected and reprinted into dedicated books. The last such Yamato book was published in March 2011, so it was high time to get caught up.
The Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Fleet Model Collection is a full-color, 96-page “best of” compendium containing reprinted articles on all the Bandai model kits through the beginning of 2014, a few scratch-builds, and some additional product info. Since coverage continues in every issue of Hobby Japan, another such special could easily follow this one.
March 17: Yamato theme scores
The Space Battleship Yamato theme is practically a national anthem in Japan, and has been published countless times in sheet music form – but never quite like this. The “Music Eight” company released what they call a “gentle instrumental music” score for the following instruments: recorder, harmonica, xylophone, glockenspiel, bass, piano, drum, cymbal, and tambourine. Curious to know what such a version would sound like? Music Eight was nice enough to post a recording of it on Youtube here.
As it turns out, that just scratches the surface. They’ve also got a winds version, brass version, marching version, small winds version, and even a recorder ensemble version, all of which are worth hearing.
March 18: Cosmo Guardian pre-registration
Yamato-themed smart phone apps have been popping up regularly since the 2009 Resurrection, but based on promotion alone, this one from Bandai Namco looks like something special. Due to be released later this year for iOS and Android, Yamato 2199 Cosmo Guardian is described as a “Space Defense Search RPG.” It places you in the role of a cadet in Earth’s Cosmo Navy, participating on a ship in missions against the Garmillas, presumably along with other players since it is also described as a social networking game. An additional story mode places you on Yamato for the voyage to Iscandar.
Previous apps have required a Japanese-based OS to work, and this one will probably be the same, but there’s plenty of dazzle to be seen at the official Cosmo Guardian website here.
March 19: Secret History
Noriyoshi Ohrai is a very accomplished SF/fantasy painter whose work has graced posters and book covers for decades. He had a major gallery show this year, which was accompanied by all manner of publicity. In this case, an article was published in the Miyazaki Daily Newspaper (and subsequently shared on Twitter) in which he revealed that he was once commissioned to create a painting for Farewell to Yamato in 1978. The blurb reads as follows:
In describing this painting of a battleship in his lifework, Mr. Ohrai did the illustration for the anime Space Battleship Yamato. However, because he used the dimensions of the real battleship Yamato from World War II, it did not meet the demands of the client. Compared with the anime Yamato, the length of the hull is shorter and the muzzle is also smaller. Conversely, it is closer to the actual size of the Yamato that has appeared in a recent TV series.
Assuming that last line refers to Yamato 2199, it wasn’t very carefully researched, but the crossing of paths between the series and one of Japan’s greatest SF artists was a previously unknown bit of trivia.
See a blog dedicated to Mr. Ohrai’s work here.
March 21: “Best Lottery” Yuki Mori figure
Banpresto’s Yamato 2199 “Best Lottery” campaign wrapped up when the final item shipped out to some very lucky prizewinners. This was the 7″ Yuki Mori figure in “warp colors,” of which only 100 were made. Time has yet to tell if this and the other “Best Lottery” products will be reissued.
March 23: Yamatalk event
Once a year, the gigantic Tokyo Bigsight in Odaiba, Tokyo hosts Anime Japan, a convention/trade show that is the largest of its kind. Similar to Comic Con International, it’s a place for everyone at every level to promote their product, and such was the case this year with Bandai Namco and Yamato 2199. They held another Yamatalk on Sunday March 23, as described on the official 2199 website:
Lots of Yamatalk ~ Introduction, Anime Japan version
Aya Uchida, Eriko Nakamura, and Yamato 2199 report
On March 23 (Sunday) at Tokyo Bigsight, “Lots of Yamatalk ~ Intoduction” was held as part of Anime Japan. Rather than the usual staff members, the lovely Aya Uchida [Yuria Misaki’s voice actress], Eriko Nakamura [Mikage Kiryu’s voice actress] and Production IG Producer Mikio Gunji participated as “special guests.” Since Ms. Nakamura was a Yamato 2199 newbie, Ms. Uchida undertook the mission of introducing the appeal of the work, and conversation developed from there.
“What is Yamato?” was the fundamental question. Ms. Uchida introduced main characters and her favorite episodes, gesturing as she provided user-friendly descriptions. Producer Gunji offered fine points wherever he could, and excitement swelled in the crowd.
Finally, Ms. Uchida was presented with a figure of Yuria Misaki upon completing her mission, and the event ended with a whoop of joy.
Also spotted at Anime Japan 2014: a promo banner in a causeway leading to Big Sight, advertising TV reruns to begin April 8. At right, a hand-drawn illustration by manga artist Michio Murakawa on display at the booth for Kadokawa Publishing, to commemorate the imminent debut of the 2199 manga at the Comic Walker website. (Keep reading.)
March 25: Hobby magazines, May issues
Without a new Bandai release to report, Yamato 2199 coverage was comparatively light in the magazines this month, but it was nicely packed with new product announcements. Between them, Model Graphix and Hobby Japan had just four pages, but Dengeki Hobby delivered 14, the highlights of which were a conversion of the famed 1/350 Yamato to 2199 specs, a beautifully scratch-built Cosmo Seagull, and a kit mod of a two-seater Cosmo Falcon designed by Junichiro Tamamori himself.
See all the pages from these issues here.
March 25: Manga chapter 24
The next installment of Michio Murakawa’s 2199 manga was a 28-page chapter that appeared in the online Nico Nico Ace magazine #125. It continued his adaptation of Episode 10 with a heartbreaking flashback and the first gesture across enemy lines within dimensional subspace.
See the pages here.
With this chapter, a second online source opened up at a website called Comic Walker. To find it there, just enter “2199” in the search field at the top of the home page. You’ll also notice the word “English” at the upper right – a gateway to free translated manga direct from Japan. Yamato 2199 isn’t offered on the English side yet, but we can hope.
(Note: In case you’re wondering, Nico Nico Ace and Comic Walker are both operated by Kadokawa publishing.)
March 28: Comic Blade, May issue
The Red-Eyed Ace manga by Mayumi Azuma continued with its 9th chapter, a brief installment that began her adaptation of the incredible Episode 18.
See the pages here.
March 28: Premium Bandai announcements
Premium Bandai, the online-only source for limited-edition products, opened up pre-orders for two new items: a blue Imperial Guard version of the 1/1000 Pormelia carrier, and special etched-metal upgrade parts for the 1/500 Yamato model. Both will ship in June to Japanese customers, and will probably not be offered in stores.
See all of the 2199 products currently offered at Premium Bandai here.
March 29: Makoto Harada figure
Some time after Megahouse debuted the 1/8 Yamato Girls collection, it was announced that some of the figures would be released under the “Alpha X Omega” label, which represents a coalition of Megahouse and another figure manufacturer named Alter. The first of these rolled out during the last weekend of March: nurse Makoto Harada.
Caught in an awkward zero-G moment, Harada has two posing options: struggling to get control of an errant saki bottle, or struggling to maintain her modesty. All the previous figures also had two posing options, but this one was significant enough to split Makoto across her midsection and require two separate upper bodies.
See her product page at the Alpha X Omega website here.
March 30: Melda Dietz figure
Megahouse made it a true Yamato Girls weekend when they released their next 1/8 figure, a leggy interpretation of Garmillas pilot Melda Dietz.
Here the dual poses depict Melda either sitting with her sleekly-sculpted helmet or reacting to a taste of Magellanic parfait.
March 31: Official website redesign
The home page of the official Yamato 2199 website got a new facelift at the end of the month to more prominently feature the key art for the upcoming feature film. As before, the only info given about the film itself is that it will be released to theaters in the fall.
Visit the site here.
Also spotted in March
You know that dream you’ve had of one day being a Yamato Girl? It came one step closer to reality this month when an independent cosplay shop called Cosnology offered these three different premade uniforms.
Photo Puchi Yamato
“Puchi” is a localized Japanese word for “petite,” and the “photo” part is provided by your smart phone. This is another new Yamato-themed app for iPhones and iPads that allows you to add super-deformed style Yamato characters to your selfies. See it promoted in comic strip form at the Yamato Crew website here.
So massive was the avalanche of 2199 fanzines at the December 2013 Winter Comiket that they’re still popping up four months later, and many of them are still delightfully weird. Get a look at some recent discoveries here.
Continue to Report 31