June 2014 wasn’t quite as action-packed as the month of May, but things pushed ever forward in the key areas of merchandising, including a long-overdue art book, and a wide range of announcements told us what to expect throughout the summer. So without further ado…
June 9: Starblazers.com announcement
The first event of the month came from the American side of the operation when Voyager Entertainment announced its plans for the two major summer conventions, Anime Expo and Comic Con International. Like last summer, an episode would be screened at a Star Blazers 2199 panel event, but this time they would also show the trailers for the two 2199 movies coming in October and December.
What made it simultaneously interesting and confusing was the specific promo for the compilation film, Voyage of Remembrance. First, it was given the English title A Voyage to Remember. Second, the description about it was correct: “The theatrical compilation film of the hit 26-episode TV series, Starblazers 2199 [sic] (Japanese; Space Battleship Yamato 2199), that aired in Japan – A Voyage to Remember. Director: Takao Kato. Chief Writer: Shigeru Morita. Supervising Editor: Yutaka Izubuchi.”
The confusing part read, “October 11th (Saturday) Japanese Premiere, US Screening at Anime Expo ’14.” From that, it was implied that the movie would screen at Expo, which of course it could not. A few days later, Voyager announced a correction: Episode 10 of the series would be shown and a trailer for the film would accompany it.
The simplest explanation for this oversight was basic clumsiness, but it turned out that they were sitting on a major film-related announcement that took everyone by surprise at the July 5 event. A Voyage to Remember will get its own US premiere just two weeks after Japan when the film arrives at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles! This is the same location that broke the live-action movie in October 2013. Advance tickets for the full week of screenings can be purchased here.
As of this writing, no other screening dates have been announced, but based on the screenshot at left (photo by Mike Olivarez), the intention is to take it elsewhere. Information will likely be posted at starblazers.com when available.
June 10: Red-Eyed Ace manga collection
Now concluded in Comic Blade magazine, the first-ever professional Yamato manga by a female (Mayumi Azuma) arrived in paperback form sporting the English title Ace With Scarlet Eyes. Adapting the 2199 story from Akira Yamamoto’s POV, this collected edition is slightly enhanced from the original.
Excess text from the magazine serial has been removed. Chapter 1, originally cut short because the artist was ill at the time, has six restored pages and a handful of upgrades. Also included are several pages of character design sketches and a color foldout by Azuma that originally appeared as a poster in the magazine. The pages that originally appeared in color are reprinted in color. If there is only one complaint, it is that the story obviously finished prematurely.
Copies ordered from the Yamato Crew website came with a commemorative trading card, shown above right. The artist participated in a reservation-only autograph session in a Yokohama manga store on June 15.
June 12: Mecha Collection model kit news
Bandai’s prototypes for Mecha Collection kits 6 & 7 were previously shown in hobby magazines and displayed at the Shizuoka hobby show in May, and Yamato Crew opened up preorders on June 12 with the photos shown above.
Like the ships of the Garmillas fleet, the Gatlantis vessels are also getting their own nomenclature. In the days of Farewell to Yamato, three of Bandai’s Gatlantis kits were named after their commanding officers: Goland, Baruze, and Naska. Mixing that motif with the evident desire to invoke Earth history, the new names for these ships are Lascaux and Kukulkan (replacing “Goland” and “Destroyer” respectively). Both will be released in August.
Along these lines, the ship originally named Naska will keep that name when it follows in September, though revised nomenclature probably demands the spelling “Nazca.”
June 12-15: 53rd International Tokyo Toy Show 2014
Another month, another convention. Bandai displayed the newest Yamato models and a few that would be released later in June. What actually drew more eyeballs to the Bandai booth was the first chance to see prototypes for their new Star Wars products, to be released in spring 2015.
June 13: Miki Saijo figure preorders
Set for September release, second-shift radar operator Miki Saijo will join the 1/8 Yamato Girls figure lineup from Megahouse. This knock-kneed pose is labeled “shipboard version,” which raises the question of what else might be planned for the future (her only other on-screen wardrobe item was a swimsuit).
June 20: Mecha Collection model kit 4
The fourth entry in the Yamato 2199 “Mecha Colle” was a miniature version of the Guipellon-class carrier Lambea, the second Garmillas ship in the new lineup.
As veteran fans know, the three multi-deck carriers from the original series were simply color variants of a single design, but the only version released as a model was green. Therefore, it was up to you to repaint if you wanted all three. (An oversight that was finally rectified with reissues in 2012.) The version shown above right is a custom paint job for the Lambea‘s original counterpart.
That same kit is shown above left. Comparing old to new creates a strong appreciation for the craftsmanship of both the anime design and the model kit.
See more photos of the mini-Lambea here.
June 21: 1/500 Yamato Expansion kit
When the 1/1000 Yamato model came with extra parts and the 1/500 didn’t, fans were correct to wonder why. The answer came with this special expansion set that brought the larger version “up to code” by supplying wings, fightercraft, an internal hangar with storage for Cosmo Falcons, and extra catapult parts for Cosmo Zeroes.
1/500 Yamato etched metal parts
If you wanted to take your Yamato model even farther, online shop Premium Bandai offered a sheet of metal “etching parts” to replace chunkier plastic ones. This included the bow railings, Seagull bay, radar panels, hangar hatch, and rear catapults. Scheduled for general release in August, early sets went out in July to customers who pre-ordered from Premium Bandai
See a gallery of these parts on a 1/500 Yamato here.
June 21: 1/12 Analyzer model kit
The happiest Yamato model of them all arrived on June 21. And if you care to address AU-09 Analyzer by his full name on the box, it would be R-9 Type Autonomous Shipboard Analysis Unit.
Standing about 4.5″ tall, Analyzer comes with articulated joints, optional hands and maneuvering jets, and lighting capability for modelers adept with LEDs.
See a gallery of photos here, including pics of the original Analyzer.
June 24: Manga chapter 27
Michio Murakawa wrapped up his adaptation of Episode 11, sending Melda Dietz on her way and bringing Domel onstage for bigger events to come. This 18-page chapter appeared online at both Comic Walker and Nico Nico Ace, and concludes material that will be collected in paperback volume 5, published late July by Kadokawa.
See the pages here.
June 25: Event announcements
It will continue to be a busy year for fans as they run to catch up with the Yamato 2199 Art Exhibition at the following locations…
July 16 – 24: Yagihashi Cattleya Hall, Saitama Prefecture.
August 13 – September 7: Niigata Manga and Anime Center, Niigata
September 10 – 21: Daimaru Museum, Umeda, Osaka City
September 25 – October 8: Matsuzakaya dept store, Nagoya
The other Yamato 2199 Exhibition (the smaller one that opened April 5 at the Ishinomori Museum in Tome) moved into a museum at Shiroishi Castle in Miyagi Prefecture and opened from July 15 to August 31. (Promo image shown below right.)
But that’s not all! A Yamato 2199 science exhibition was announced for the Sci-Pia Science and Humanity Museum for the Future in Okayama from July 19 through November 9.
A similar event titled Yamato 2199 Voyage to the Large Magellanic Cloud will take place July 19 to September 15 at the Sendai Space Museum in Satsuma Sendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture. This one has the added attraction of being curated by 2199‘s astrophysics advisor, Professor Toshihiro Handa.
This is in addition to the Yamato 2199 World exhibition to take place August 14-16 at Osaka’s Rihga Royal Hotel (advertised in the photo above, which was posted on Twitter June 30). Click here to see what’s in store.
Finally, a Yamato 2199 modeling contest was announced at the official website with entries accepted from June 25 to September 30. The entries will be judged by representatives of both Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby magazines in the twin categories of Earth and Garmillas. The results will be published in November.
Speaking of which…
June 25: Hobby magazines, August issues
Yamato coverage was light this month, with one page from Model Graphix, 3 from Hobby Japan, and 6 from Dengeki Hobby. The forthcoming 1/1000 Domelus III was in the spotlight, and some new Megahouse products were teased in Hobby Japan: another 1/8 Yuki Mori figure (this one in pilot gear) and next few ships in the Cosmo Fleet Special lineup. They will be Garmillas carriers, to fill out the entire Domel fleet.
Looking ahead, Dengeki‘s second 2199 Modeling Guide will be published in August, and the next Hobby Japan is set to carry a major feature on the Domelus III model.
See all the pages from these issues here.
June 26: Star Blazers 2199 Volume 3
Episodes 9-12 got their US release on DVD and Blu-ray, which featured the key art from Japan’s Chapter 4 and still uses the “Gamilas” spelling rather than “Garmillas.” The disc contains episodes 9-12 and can be purchased here. Volume 4 is set for an August release.
A paper insert in this volume reproduced the same image posted to starblazers.com on June 9, though an e-mail followup to everyone who bought the disc issued an apology for faulty information about the time of the Anime Expo panel. (Not to keep picking on them, but accuracy continues to be a challenge.)
On the other hand, the postcards included in this package actually ARE postcards as opposed to the business-card-size inserts in previous volumes. Also, it was announced on the promo insert that Volume 6 (to be released in December) will include a collectible figure. The idea is intriguing, but it must be remembered that “figure” in Japan is a generic term for just about any sort of miniature, both character and mecha. We’ll just have to wait and see what they mean by it.
June 28: Science Lecture II
Professor Toshihiro Handa carried on his role as Yamato 2199‘s science advisor when he rolled out a new lecture titled The Astronomy and Physics of Yamato 2199 II at Kagoshima University. It was a free event limited to 100 people, and is thus far documented only by the photo above right.
His first lecture took place in August 2013 and can still be viewed in its entirety on Ustream here.
June 30: Naoyuki Katoh Artworks book
Every new book dedicated to Yamato 2199 is cause for celebration, and this one is particularly worth clearing some shelf space for. Of all the artists involved with the series, Naoyuki Katoh has the longest pedigree, having been a mecha designer on the original as a member of Studio Nue. In the time since, he has become one of Japan’s pre-eminent SF illustrators (get better acquainted with him here).
In his role as the premiere illustrator for 2199 package art, Katoh created some very striking and enduring images, all of which are collected in this new 80-page hardcover published by Mag Garden. It is divided by product categories: Blu-ray & DVD sleeves, movie program books, paperback covers, etc. Some of the art is shown in layers to better display its individual elements, and there is even a spread that covers Katoh’s three “live-painting” exhibitions. Best of all is a section of new pieces making their premiere in these pages.
The strong visuals inside the book are matched by a stroke of genius in the cover design; the red obi (wraparound banner) cuts exactly across Yamato‘s waterline.
The first fans who pre-ordered their copy from Yamato Crew got a special sketch and autograph on the inside front cover and a commemorative trading card featuring one of the paintings. Those outside Japan will just have to make do without.
The book can be ordered from the mighty Amazon.co.jp here.
The great Naoyuki Katoh himself appeared for a lecture and autograph session in connection with the book at the Shotaro Ishinomori Memorial Center in Miyagi on July 13.
June 30: Tango Collaboration
Tango is a transportation company in Kyoto Prefecture that has done business with Yamato before. The North Kinki Tango Railroad redecorated two of their trains with a 2199 tie-in last year, as seen in Report 25. This year, elements of the company that service the vacation-destination Amano-hashidate (widely touted as one of Japan’s three most beautiful sights) did the same on both land and sea. Tourist buses wrapped with 2199 regalia went into service on June 30, and a special tie-in with tourist boats began on July 5. (See the next report for more details.)
Also spotted in June
Tokyo MX reruns
As mentioned in Report 31, the TV version of 2199 is currently airing again on two networks, Tokyo MX and BS11. Thanks to Japanese viewers on Twitter, we have evidence that some new original images have been created for the end credits, evidently replacing the elaborate scrolling tapestries from the 2013 broadcast. So in case you were wondering if there’s still something beyond reach that we can only speculate about…yep.
These two new pieces were illustrated by Kia Asamiya, who was also responsible for the tapestries. Since they were not among the pieces he created for the recent Art Exhibition, it means the well is getting deeper.
1/1000 Pormelia model, Imperial Guard colors
Premium Bandai’s online shop offered this special version of the Pormelia carrier to Japanese addresses only. See additional pics here.
New fan art
As shown in the last report, some very interesting fan art has emerged from Japan. A Twitter user named “Shimokata” has been regularly posting images of imaginary cover art for imaginary Yamato 2199 novelizations, one per episode.
In Report 32, we saw the images for episodes 1-10 (see them again here) and these four pick up from those. Here’s hoping we get to see all 26 and then some. Keep up with Shimokata’s posts – and a lot more – at the #Yamato2199 Twitter page.
Justice League United #2 (DC Comics)
This report finishes with an unusual entry, one not likely to be repeated any time soon. For that matter, it relates more strongly to the original Yamato saga than 2199, but it’s worth plugging in before it can be forgotten.
Justice League United is a star-spanning series in DC’s “New 52” lineup that follows a team of interplanetary super-heroes (roughly akin to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) in their outer space adventures. Issue #2 (which went on sale June 18) was penciled by British artist Mike McKone, and featured this double-page flashback of a space battle. Some of the participants in this scene should catch the eye of Yamato fans. Let’s isolate them for a better look.
First (at right), here is the back end of a Gamilas multi-deck carrier taking a broadside. Detail-wise, it’s not a precise match for either the originals or the 2199 versions, but the contours are unmistakeable.
Next, we have a hybrid of two recognizable ships. The larger one is the drill missile bomber (named Galunt in Yamato 2199) with a wider wingspan and bigger tail fins.
Slung underneath is a red version of Dessler’s flagship from series 1 mashed together with the Gamilas drill missile.
The last one is the hardest to spot: a pair of Galman Dimensional Submarines from Yamato III with redesigned bows, lurking upside-down behind the largest object in the panel.
The thing that makes this possible is a 3D drawing app, such as Google Sketchup, which turns a CG model into line art to be manipulated and rendered at will. Like CG in mecha anime, it has become a time-saving device for comic book artists. With this tool, machinery and background elements can be “borrowed” rather than drawn by hand. The technique is easily recognizable by its precise linework, which often stands apart from character drawings. (Characters can be rendered with similar tools, but that’s another topic altogether.)
Whether or not this technique balances out as a positive is really up to the reader, but it does place the onus upon an artist to have some knowledge of source materials when choosing from a pre-fab library of CG models. In this case, the presence of multiple Yamato mecha with structural modifications indicates that the artist has some awareness of this. Regrettably, the artist did not respond to a request for comment.