Fan Club Magazine #5 was published August 25th, 1978. After months of agonized anticipation, Farewell to Yamato had finally been released in movie theatres, and the fans were going wild for it. This issue commenced with an account of the premiere and moved forward from there to examine what else was happening or about to happen in this pivotal time period.
Here you can access fan club magazine #4 from cover to cover. Remember that all pages read right to left, as is the case with most Japanese publications. English headlines in red were added to help identify the subject of an article.
Click here to see the entire magazine.
Featured below is translated text for all the major articles. Translation by Earnest and Sumiko Migaki, edited by Tim Eldred.
Yamato Launches! The Voices of the Fans are Heard
In the early morning hours of August 5th, this summer’s main event, Farewell to Yamato, Soldiers of Love, premiered in 133 theaters around the country. On the day before, fans lined up at theaters overnight to join in the Yamato Boom. As a result, in an unprecedented move, five theaters in Tokyo and the four in Yokohama opened their doors at 4 AM and began showing the movie at 4:30 AM.
Premiere Day of the Unexpected
A year after Space Battleship Yamato became a smash hit, the second movie, Farewell to Yamato took off in the middle of this year’s summer vacation. Long lines were seen at all the theaters around the nation as fans waited overnight to see this movie, their passion burning hotter than the sultry summer nights.
The Tokyu Rex Theater in Shibuya, Tokyo, had roughly 3,000 people lined up around the building, surrounding it at a time during the night when few people were around. On the following night, Sunday [August 6], there was another line of people waiting to be one of the lucky 100 to win an original cel from the movie, since they missed the opportunity on the premiere day.
The Shibuya Pantheon Theater, catering to the needs of the fans as their numbers surpassed the first Yamato movie, opened at 4 AM to begin showing the film at 4:30. The Tokyu Rex and other theaters did this as well, so by the time their regular features began (about 10 AM) they had already screened Farewell to Yamato twice. The two-and-a-half-hour movie was such a popular hit that in Tokyo and Osaka, 500 promotional items (cels, posters, books, records and plastic models) that had been prepared for each city were gone within minutes.
Tokyo’s Shinjuku Toei Palace also had a long line of fans that camped out overnight. A neighboring theatre decided to show the movie as well in an unprecedented special engagement. In the end, theaters in Marunouchi and Yokohama also began running the early morning shows to follow the examples set in Shibuya and Shinjuku.
Applause for the Last Scene
The very same die-hard fans that had lined up for the first Yamato movie were also here for this premiere. As one fan put it, “It gives me a great feeling to see all the passionate fans of Yamato filling up the theater, since the premiere day was dedicated to us.”
Although the mecha was great, the visuals were stunning, and the colors were vivid, what brought the audience to tears were the individual deaths of each main character, like Hijikita, Sado, Sanada, Kato, Yamamoto, and then Yuki Mori. As Yamato departs with Kodai and Yuki, to the tune of From Yamato with Love, the audience burst into a wave of applause that filled the theater. As the lights came up, they remained in their seats, still mesmerized.
Producer Nishizaki appeared on the radio show All Night Nippon on the eve of the premiere, then went to the various theaters around Tokyo to see how the audience reacted to the last scene. He said it brought him to tears. When the audience spotted Nishizaki outside the theater, they crowded around him to shake his hand and get his autograph. Undoubtedly, this movie will remain with the fans for a long time to come.
We Saw, We Heard the Voices of the Fans
We interviewed the fans on their views of Farewell to Yamato when it premiered on August 5th.
“It was Great! I’m speechless!”
The mecha was more elaborate than the previous work. I think I liked the story more than the mecha, though–especially the last scene.
-Junior year High School boy, Shinjuku
In a word, it was fabulous! I was impressed by the minute details that went into this production compared to the first movie.
-Freshman year High School girl, Shinjuku
I loved the battle scenes. The last scene was very sad.
-5th grade Elementary School boy, Shibuya
“The Production Values were very high”
Usually sequels never live up to the original film, but Farewell was different. It displayed very high production value, because it didn’t make the typical “Good vs. Evil” cliche into a black and white issue. Dessler had a reason for fighting, and Zordar wasn’t the typical bad guy, either. That may be one of the reasons why people were so moved by the story. And the final scene, where the ghosts of the dead crew members turned back toward the audience, was the best part.
-Junior year High School girl, Shibuya
The movie sent shivers down my spine. It taught me the importance of joining in a group and focusing on one main point when tackling a major problem. It’s sad to hear a third feature won’t be made, so I’ll just have to hope for the best from the Yamato 2 TV series.
-Junior year High School boy, Shibuya
The way each soldier died in battle was honorable. This is the first time I have seen such a thing.
-Junior year High School boy, Shibuya
“It was worth camping overnight to see it”
I had high expectations, but this movie went way beyond them. I can’t say what was the best part, because I just finished watching it, but in the end I was reduced to tears. It sure was worth camping overnight to see it. It was better than I expected for a feature film. If I could have them change one thing, however, I’d ask the staff to put some different expressions on the crew when they are lined up, standing at attention. They all looked so wooden with the same stony faces.
-Junior year High School boy, Ikebukuro
I didn’t want them to make a second feature, but after watching the movie, I no longer feel this way. I want them to make a third film now, and I want them to give it a happy ending. However, I can’t think of how they could change the ending after that last scene.
-Junior year High School boy, Ikebukuro
I cried at the end. The others in the audience were smirking at me, but it was worth getting up early to see this movie.
-Junior High Sophomore girl, Ikebukuro
(Text in the dotted-line box) I think the kids feel the same way we do in these modern times. Elementary school kids have to go to prep school just to get into a decent school these days. I think it’s quite difficult for them to have dreams under these circumstances. That’s why I find this movie so wonderful, since it inspires kids to dream for better things once again.
-Kazuko Komori, movie critic
Kenji Sawada: Singing the Heart of Yamato
When I was asked to sing From Yamato With Love, the most important thing to me was that I didn’t ruin the image of Yamato. This is why I felt it was best to hold the song until after Yamato had gone to her final destination. Singing the song was very difficult, because they wanted me to do it like a narrative. But once I got started, I was moved by the words and melody.
Although I do like SF and Anime, I’m not an expert on either of them. So while we were in the studio recording, Producer Nishizaki explained the storyline to me in detail. Something about the theme really touched my heart, so I hope that when you all have a chance to hear it, you will be moved as well.
Fan Club Plaza
The Members Around the Country that Yamato Brought Together
In April, Farewell to Yamato was headed toward its premiere at a frantic pace. As the leader of the staff that worked day and night to get this movie completed, Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki recently had a new idea.
Since he didn’t want to make the second Yamato feature just for the sake of making another movie, his idea was to create a discussion forum to hear directly from his fans before the movie was released. He did, after all, say that it was the fans around the country that brought Yamato to life.
The first Fan Club Forum took place on May 24th, at the Tokyo Imperial Hotel. Thereafter, he held other forums throughout the country. Each event had a relaxed feel to it, with Nishizaki answering questions from the audience. Then Isao Sasaki sang songs from Yamato and finally there was an autograph session. The fanatically-devoted fans showed their true colors with their knowledge about all things Yamato. They targeted Nishizaki with their well-aimed questions designed to gain some information on the fates of Kodai, Yuki and Yamato. The Producer somehow managed to deftly parry the onslaught of questions, despite the occasional hint that he might just give in and leak some answers to the expectant crowd. None was forthcoming, however.
After the fans actually saw the last scene, their questions were answered. No doubt, the last scene from this movie will live long in their memories.
Yamato Symphonic Concert: Nationwide Tour Makes Headlines
The All Night Nippon radio show helped sponsor the nationwide concert tour for the music of Space Battleship Yamato. The first part included selected scenes from the first movie shown on a large screen. The second part had scenes from Farewell. Hiroshi Miyagawa composed and conducted the orchestra, with songs sung by Isao Sasaki and Kazuko Kawashima. With Producer Nishizaki entertaining the audience as Master of Ceremonies, the live concert was a hit with all the Yamato fans.
[Read more about this and other concerts here.]
Yamato: the Eternal Drama
Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki Answers Questions from Fans
Fans across Japan got together for a Q&A session with Producer Nishizaki, to ask him about Yamato and Animation…
Q: Although this is a vague question, what are your thoughts on what animation is? (a girl from Osaka)
A: I don’t know if this will answer your question, but around the time I was born in 1934, Walt Disney made a masterpiece of animation called Fantasia. I believe that it was the highest quality animation
created by that time. Nothing has surpassed it so far, and I seriously doubt that any work will do so in the future. Fantasia was the perfect vehicle to blend animation and music together.
When I began making Yamato, I wanted to create something that wasn’t based on manga, but rather a work that focused on drama instead. In other words, we considered what would be the best way to dramatically present Yamato. Our solution was to use the animation medium, because there no other format gave us the freedom to show the fantastic worlds that would come about some 200 years from now. We also wanted to research a method of combining animation and music like they did in Fantasia.
This is roughly the answer to your question, since it’s not that simple for me to explain.
Q: Why doesn’t Kodai become the captain in this movie? (a boy from Osaka)
A: As part of the plot development, Kodai became a deputy captain out of necessity in the first story because of Captain Okita’s illness. However, if Kodai became captain for good, it would be difficult to justify him leading the Cosmo Tiger Squadron, or to lead a force into battle. A captain must lead, but he must also be in command of the others, so he cannot just recklessly jump into the middle of the action. He has a responsibility for the safety of the crew as well.
There are other reasons why Kodai won’t be captain, but you’ll just have to wait and see for yourself why this is so. As for the TV series [Yamato 2], we’ll have Hijikita as the captain of the Andromeda, and Kodai as the captain of Yamato, as they support each other in the protection of the earth.
Q: Kenji Sawada sings From Yamato with Love. Can you tell us why you chose him for this song? (a girl from Nagoya)
A: I’ll try to explain the reason why he was chosen to sing the main theme for this movie.
From Yamato with Love culminates from the many trials the crew faces during this movie, and I wanted a song for the ending when the ship disappears into space. For you to be able to dream of wonderful things, you first have to be able to love the ones around you. I’m not talking just about love for a friend or a lover, but the kind of love that makes you able to sacrifice everything to protect your loved ones. This movie focuses on that, and the theme is embodied in the song.
I decided to use Kenji Sawada because I felt he had the right qualities to convey the theme of the song, due to the emotion in his past hits. Some wondered why I didn’t use Isao Sasaki for the song. Well, simply put, Mr. Sawada fit this movie’s theme song better than anybody else. Mr. Sasaki, on the other hand, focused on The Scarlet Scarf and other songs that required more power. In other words, we always try to match the right person with the right song.
Q: I noticed the design of the [Comet Empire] base ship resembles the mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (a boy from Fukushima)
A: Having a bowl-shaped object with a city on it floating in the air is hardly a new concept. In fact, this has been around for a long time in the realm of SF. In Close Encounters, I’m sure you realized that the lights on the mothership weren’t just a chandelier; it’s actually an entire city. We went to Hawaii and watched it for ourselves. Needless to say, we were stunned to see the resemblance of our designs to the mothership in their movie. But in SF situations, some similarities are bound to happen.
The main point should be the drama of the movie. I don’t think it’s good to focus one’s attention too closely on who had what idea first. Although our pre-production illustrations happen to look similar to those in Close Encounters, we didn’t set out to copy that design. Once you watch the movie, I’m sure you’ll see the difference.
See this entire magazine (with untranslated pages) here