Animage #55, January 1982 issue

Uplifting drama anime to surpass E.T. [3]

“Dear sir and Yamato staff,
I intend to wait.”

Two-way letter between Associate Producer Eiichi Yamamoto and a reader

A letter entitled “My thoughts on Yamato” was written by Minato Fuyuko (17 years old). Out of the letters that were received in response to the callout in last month’s issue, her opinions were chosen to focus upon this month. Our impression was that she is an appropriate spokesman for the feelings of Yamato fans.

Footnote: although it was announced last issue that a Yamato “special talk” would appear, our plans had to change. Please understand.


To all of those involved with Yamato.

I stood in line with average people between young children in third grade and high school students in eleventh grade. Of course, they differed in their height, voice, appearance, and body type. I showed them a card on which I wrote the word “love.” Children and adolescents react to this word with completely different feelings. It is the result of their internal growth. The makers of Yamato should be aware of this point.

Speaking of Yamato, former fans accepted unconditionally that it was the best and this goes on forever, even if you create a work that makes them “uneasy.” Creators must always be driven to a state of unease. “Complacency” and “hubris” are almost synonymous.

[Translator’s note: in this context, the word “complacency” is synonymous with “peace of mind”.]

It cannot be overstated that “motion” is the life of animation. And, of course, the image is important if it is animation. However, though Yamato is made with “motion” and “image,” it is not a work of art lasting just 5 or 10 minutes. “Motion” and “image” are firmly rooted in “story” at the core. This is such an anime. Though it can be said that the image in Part 1 was by no means beautiful, Part 1 met this condition by maintaining deeply-rooted popularity among the fans from the very beginning.

Story and performance. This is the life of a “movie.” In the point of performance outside the image, the voices are outstanding. However, the story. With each new story, it is the creators’ “complacency” that emerges.

In part 1 (TV), we were able to delve pretty deeply into each of the characters, but after that there were a lot of characters, like the new crew members and such, who ended up being only lightly developed. You didn’t get a sense of the characters spreading out in the background as “people” (especially the villains, aside from Dessler). All the characters became standardized (especially in how everyone was young and yet way too good to be true) with little variety, and now maturing viewers get tired of seeing it.

The romance of Shima and Teresa on TV in Yamato 2 had the same pattern as Ageha and Ruda in Yamato III. The same eternal pattern of “emotion” and “tears” shows the confidence of the creators here as well (Mamoru and Starsha had also already performed this pattern in Part 1). Even after ten years, do you intend to still do the same thing?

The shiver-inducing intensity of Dessler, which had established him as such a strong personality, was destroyed in the service of the “feel-good” story of his being in love with Starsha. Dessler lived as Dessler only in Part 1 and Farewell to Yamato. I wonder if we will see the genuine Dessler in Final.

White headline on left side of page:
Final Chapter Information [1] Main character color specifications decided

Text continues:

A “straight connection” is important for story. Think carefully about it when making a sequel. Characters appeared in The New Voyage, Be Forever, and even Yamato III who have been stuck in my mind because they weren’t touched upon at all (characters in the semi-leading role class). About six months later, when I asked Leiji Matsumoto about the removal of two characters, he replied wryly, “Those characters just didn’t have any of me in them, so I cut them out.” The creative staff can’t seem to do a “straight connection” very well, and it will not help the story, either.

Mr. Noboru Ishiguro, one of the founding fathers of Yamato, wrote about this in his book.

“Heidiā€˜s ratings were overwhelming in those days. We weren’t trying to appeal to the same audience; it was a show for mothers and daughters. But a lot of girls in junior and senior high watched the beginning of our broadcast and it really threw Mr. Nishizaki for a loop.”

I wonder if Mr. Yoshinobu Nishizaki understands it even now. Why did girls in middle school and high school support Yamato, a man’s animation?

TOP: The depiction of Shima
and Teresa’s romance is
a pattern?

BOTTOM: Where is Tetsu
Kitano from
The New Voyage?

What pierces through all of Yamato is not love or even justice, it is “sentimentality.” “Sentimentality” and “the mysteries of space” are connected to a girl’s sympathy (very similar to the feelings girls get from When You Wish Upon a Star). This wasn’t something the staff intended. When contemplating Mr. Nishizaki’s “Yamato,” Hiroshi Miyagawa’s “overture” and Leiji Matsumoto’s “Starsha,” the three feelings they have in common are “sentimentality.”

I’m a person who entered the world of anime through music. The “sadness” of the overture was what brought me to Yamato. There is no “sentimentality” in Gundam. Rather, Gundam rejects it. Yamato does not even hesitate. Yamato does not have the grand scale of Galaxy Express 999 or Ideon. Therefore, for a girl, large scale doesn’t matter. I think a sentimental work easily matches the emotions of adolescence.

I wonder what the true ideology of Yamato is. Is it “man’s animation?” Is it “SF”? Is it “love”? Perhaps it confuses “love” with “sentimentality.” The ideology of the work and the theme should be firmly expressed in Final. I want the staff to hit this with all their might to make a satifactory work.

I intend to wait for as long as it takes. No matter how long, whether it is released next spring or summer, I’ll wait for a true Space Battleship Yamato to be made. Until the day Space Battleship Yamato takes its real journey. Until then, I will watch Yamato sleep at the dock, waiting for its crew.

November 13, 1982
My thoughts on Yamato
Fuyuko Minato (17 years old)

I have a sense of admiration for the intricate letter you sent.

White headline on bottom half of page:
Final Chapter Information [2], Mecha color specification decided

“The producer’s job is to be the one who most keeps the production’s objectives in sight,” says Eiichi Yamamoto on Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki.

He is also the associate producer (collaborator) on The Final Chapter.

Mr. Yamamoto wrote a reply to Ms. Minato. How would you respond to this reply!?


To Ms. Fuyuko Minato:

First, I’m happy to introduce myself. I’m a member who participated in the planning of what is called Part 1, the Space Battleship Yamato TV series. I wrote several scripts and was responsible for overall supervision. Afterward, I became a sort of consultant for Producer Nishizaki. As one of those who produced Yamato, I thank you for sending your letter. I cannot help but feel admiration for your deep and intricate view of Yamato

The Yamato Part 1 TV series is very interesting, and I agree with you that different feelings follow the later parts. Just a few days ago, a reporter from another magazine put out by Animage‘s publisher, Tokuma Shoten, asked me for my thoughts on Yamato ten years on, and that was the answer I gave.

However, speaking for the honor of Mr. Nishizaki and the original staff, the “complacency” as you put it wasn’t what was unsatisfactory.

As you know, the story of Yamato concludes in Part 1. There was nothing more to add to it. However, Yamato became a hit. What lead to the second work and others was not creativity, but the nature of commerce. For something already complete, no matter how talented the people working on it, I doubt it could surpass the original. Moreover, while many on the staff have long careers under their belts, overall the world of Japanese anime is still at a fairly young stage.

Should the second work not have been made if it was not purely creative? I don’t think so.

Green text: song lyrics for Love Supreme

I believe Yamato is a work that endures in the history of Japanese anime. Yamato was the first to show the people of the world that anime was a profitable enterprise, wasn’t it? In fact, the anime industry in Japan views it as the flowering stage in terms of business. If Yamato didn’t have so much quantity, it probably would not have happened.

And it is said that quantity has a quality all its own. While great things made in small quantities are to be treasured, the not-so-great things made in mass quantities shape culture by dint of the mass they exert as they accumulate. I think the results we’re seeing in the past 20 years of TV anime, which were derided at first as electronic kamishibai [picture story show], bear this out.

Please include the second and later works of Yamato in the young anime industry of Japan and support it while gazing warmly into the future.

Finally, a little bit about the theme of Yamato.

When the editor of a program book or a journalist for a magazine writes about the theme of a work, they don’t include what the creator talks about beyond the work. it’s up to the work to speak for itself. If the audience takes in the theme and interprets it differently from the creator’s intention, we don’t mind at all.

You feel the sentimentality of Yamato. Well, that’s fine, isn’t it? However, I’ll just say one thing: I get the feeling you don’t hold sentimentality in high regard, but in the same way as love and ideology, sentimentality is also important for human beings, and I think a film that expresses it earnestly can be evaluated wonderfully.

I wrote the Animage Library novelization of
Yamato, The Final Chapter. Best regards!!

SF writer Keigo Masaki

First, a comment about character analysis.

Susumu Kodai. He’s a stand in for the youth of today. When a lot of the crew is lost, he takes responsibility for it and resigns as the captain. By running away from difficulty, he resembles a modern youth. (Like me!!)

Yuki Mori. She is modest and supports her man. Nevertheless, she is strong. She is a reflection of Japanese women. (It’s a little different from my preference, though. I like women who are a little dumber.)

That is why when I wrote for these two in the first volume of Final Yamato, I wanted to let their characterization shine brightly. Anyway, I didn’t want to make them stereotypes.

A postcard from Hiroko Fujiwara of Osaka (20 years old).

On the other hand, the second volume is centered around action. It has the form of the tempo rising early on and rushing to the end. In addition to the first part, please also read the latter part, which is planned to be published next March.

Finally, a self-introduction.

I was born December 30, 1954, and I’m 27 years old. I’m a type-O Capricorn. After graduating from the Kokugakuin University Law Department, I became a copywriter and then an SF writer. My favorite author is Richard Brautigan. My favorite musicians are Led Zeppelin (I play guitar for a rock group), Yumin, and Tatsushiro Yamashita. My favorite manga artist is Ako Mutsu. That’s all.

Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.

Return to the Final Yamato Time Machine


Related content from this issue

Triton of the Sea foldout poster by Yutaka Izubuchi

Cassette labels with Final Yamato song lyrics on the reverse

Final Yamato Music Collection Part 1 ad from Nippon Columbia

Ads for forthcoming books

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