Animedia, January 1982 issue

Appeal of the Yamato Mechanic World!

From the days when the first Space Battleship Yamato series was broadcast in 1974, the appeal of mecha became a hot topic. We interviewed Mr. Tsuji Tadanao about the increasing appeal of the mecha concepts this time!

This mecha is divided between the Earth side and the Dengil sideā€¦

The illustration on the left is a design for a destroyer on the Earth side, designed by Katsumi Itabashi. The number 501 has been vividly drawn on the bow, but there other other numbers on ships of the same type. 333 is for Fuyuzuki, 324 is Isokaze, 117 is Hamakaze, and so on. As war history buffs know, these are the names of the escort ships who were tied to Yamato‘s suicide mission. Aside from that, this time each designer shared the enemies and allies.


I did designs for the enemy side and the overall summary. Yutaka Izubuchi also did a little on the enemy side. Also, Katsumi Itabashi was in charge of the Earth side. Doing it that way, certain characteristics will appear in each design. Mr. Itabashi’s Earth mecha gather up the feeling of the mecha that appeared in the past, and the history of the Earth fleet is told through those designs.

Anyway, the mecha are not specifically described in the script. For example, all it says about Uruk is that it has an “odd shape.” (Laughs) However, because of this we thought a lot about how to design it.

The struggle with the material for Uruk of Dengil


Because we had to do the design from such a description, we had to determine from the materials whether it was a fortress or a base, or we wouldn’t have a clear image to settle on. We needed help from the director or producer, so we designed it after discussing it with the staff. One of the discarded manuscripts said it was like a mountain. (Laughs)

The mecha collection shown here was born from such struggles, particularly the Dengil mecha. Both Gamilas and Gatlantis, which appeared previously in Yamato, also had a strange, quirky mood.


Yamato was another struggle. It wasn’t as hard as making up something original, but Yamato itself has a strong personality and a high degree of completeness. Even if the enemy mecha is destined to be destroyed, it can’t look too hazy and it also can’t look too strong.

In addition to the design work, Mr. Tadanao also does scene concepts.


There is an important relationship between scene concepts and mecha design. Even the best design must be suitable for a given scene, and the personality of the designer must be taken advantage of as much as possible. Since this has to be included in scene concepts, it’s a struggle to rush through the production. (Laughs)

What kind of highlights develop when the familiar Cosmo Zero appears?

How large is this mecha?

Incidentally, Yamato is 267m, the Earth battleship is about 300m,the giant battleship of Dengil is 500m, and the moving fortress is over 2,000m. This mecha plays an active role against the background of space.


Yamato is still a strong anime drama. For example, in Farewell to Yamato the enemy side was drawn with a feeling of life. Even the drama of Sabera and Zordar developed with a feeling of life. There was also the design of a city empire, which I think is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Mecha that can act, so to speak, is a function of the story and I like things like that. In that respect, since the life of the enemy side is likely to be depicted this time, it was a pleasure despite the struggling. (Laughs)

Are mecha and human beings united as a function of the story? The city empire in Farewell boosted the story. Furthermore, it had to expand its own story.


Now, I think mecha design has tended to separate a little from the story. If the staff works together a bit more to bring further depth to the mecha, I think a design can be made that is intimate with the story. It is still a profound thing.

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