Stepping over the threshold from 1982 to 1983 must have been sobering for Yamato fans and staff members alike. Now they were actually IN the year Space Battleship Yamato would end. And whereas fans probably thought March 19 couldn’t come soon enough, the staff almost certainly felt the opposite. Like all previous Yamato productions, this one was perpetually behind schedule and far more demanding than they expected.
Stories have since come out about how frantic the final months were on the production side, but fans knew little of this at the time. All they had to go on was what they read in the media, and January had a record-setting amount (which is why this particular Time Machine visit is split in half).
Space Battleship Yamato
Total Collection Special
Gakken Publishing, January 1
This comprehensive book was a spinoff of Gakken’s Animedia magazine, and was the first publication of the final year of the saga. It opened with a comprehensive overview, spent a few pages on the development of the first TV series, then went into an encyclopedia and a unique section on the mechanical intricacies of the ship and the protocols of being a crew member.
Those looking for Final Yamato news found it in the form of a new interview with Yoshinobu Nishizaki that summarized the character themes of the story. Read that interview here.
Space Battleship Yamato Perfect Manuals
Tokuma Shoten, January 5 & 30
With Final Yamato now fast approaching, Tokuma Shoten had limited chances left to ride the Yamato bandwagon, and the Perfect Manuals were absolutely their best efforts. The first volume was a welcome do-over of the first three Yamato Roman Albums (Series 1, Farewell, and Yamato 2), each of which was still special in their own right but no longer lived up to the standards of 1983. Perfect Manual 2 picked up from there with unprecedented coverage of The New Voyage, Be Forever, and Yamato III. There was no Final Yamato material in either of these books, but they certainly came at just the right time to reignite Yamato fever.
Space Battleship Yamato Total Collection
This is Animation The Select No. 2
Shogakukan, January 10
Shogakukan’s answer to Tokuma Shoten’s highly successful Roman Albums was the This is Animation series, books that either examined anime as a general phenomenon or, in the case of the “Select” imprint, focused on a single topic. This was the first of two Yamato volumes, which provided a retrospective of the saga along with some fresh new art by prominent members of the production staff.
The book concluded with an overview of the early Final Yamato brainstorming sessions in which the initial story ideas were hashed out. Transcripts of those sessions had already been published in the Yamato Fan Club magazine (read them here), but this version did a good job of summarizing them for comparison with what was currently known about the film.
Read the article here.
Yamato Fan Club Magazine #32
Westcape Corporation, January 10
As impressive as the other publications were, there was no substitute for Final Yamato news direct from the home office. It filled half of this issue with a New Year’s message from Yoshinobu Nishizaki, reports on song recording sessions, and five pages of storyboards and animation layouts with plot excerpts from the first half of the movie. This material has never been reprinted elsewhere.
Look inside this issue here.
Anime TV Idol Poster Exciting Book
Obunsha, January 1983
This was the first month Final Yamato promotion kicked off in mainstream entertainment magazines, and this particular piece shows how the film’s huge scale factored into its promotion. Bound into Juniorhood, a magazine for junior high students, it folded out to a huge 21″x30″ two-sided poster.
Generously filled with text and images, promotional goodies like this gave fans even more to dig for as March 19 approached.