Final Yamato Brainstorming summary

From This is Animation The Select No. 2
Shogakukan, January 10, 1983

Yoshinobu Nishizaki Producer Note

Basic concept materials for The Final Chapter

Before the production of Space Battleship Yamato, the main staff always carries out brainstorming. Among other things, the threat and the enemy, and the circumstances of Yamato and Kodai are considered to set the bare bones of the story. This is a record from May 13, 1981, one of many brainstorming sessions for Yamato The Final Chapter. From the work of just one product, you can well understand how many ideas are necessary.

[Translator’s note: though only one date is mentioned in this intro, the content here was actually culled from multiple brainstorming sessions. Read a more complete account here. The participants in these conversations were Yoshinobu Nishizaki and three of the core writers: Eiichi Yamamoto, Aritsune Toyota, and Kazuo Kasahara. Blue text indicates an observation by the Shogakukan editorial staff.]

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Let’s follow the brainstorming until we find the basic configuration of Space Battleship Yamato The Final Chapter!


What is the image of The Final Chapter!?

The first brainstorming took place on May 31, 1981. At the time, The Final Chapter was considered the commemoration of ten years.

Nishizaki (hereafter, N): I’ve been thinking about how to bring Yamato to a successful conclusion now. Along with that, I want to clearly set out a conclusion for Kodai and Yuki.

C: Is the end of Yamato to drift off into infinite space?

B: I think it would fit a more Japanese-style feeling to sink down to the seabed.

A: I agree with that opinion.

B: Even if Yamato disappears, it is meaningful for its spirit to survive in the Yamato crew.

A: Many images of Space have become too gloomy recently. I’d also like to add the brightness of the original work.

First, the discussion was about Yamato‘s last moment, and the last scene of The Final Chapter. Although it is unknown what kind of scene it will be until the film’s premiere, the image of “Yamato departing” has already been established. Next was the concept for the captain.

B: The point of Captain Okita correcting an injustice was satisfying. However, when young Kodai was made into a captain he became a fuddy-duddy, which was pitiful. (Laughs)

A: What about the commander of the Earth Defense Forces?

B: I want the image of a “Man of the Sea.”

N: Hm. I want the image of a “Man of the Sea” by all means.

Yamato is what’s called a battleship–

At this point, the idea of the revival of Okita has not yet appeared. However, the term “man of the sea” seems to be the basis of the idea for his revival.

A: I want a concept that is sure to overcome stereotypes. If we specify that space is the sea, then an actual sea voyage and sea war must be performed. Also, we could have a setup where Yamato can’t fly. I don’t think that would be strange, do you?

N: However, there is basically a large fleet attack and Earth is invaded. I don’t want to change the straight line of Yamato‘s launch.

C: This time I wonder if we should show the main body of the enemy from the beginning.

N: I also want to give a complete portrait of Dessler.

The idea of naval warfare seems a likely connection to the image of the water planet Aquarius.

N: I’d like to reaffirm once again that Yamato goes to battle as a “battleship.”

B: In a battle, the buildup phase is most interesting and raises the drama.

C: In a simple battle, the ability of a battleship becomes self-evident. Also, as in the first series for example, I think setting a battle against something like the Rainbow Star Cluster or Planet Gamilas makes it more attractive. I want to show that process.

B: And not just show a battle, but also hit on the true human feelings in the battle…

A: Meaning that as creators we need to wipe out negligence from force of habit, as soon as possible.

N: I want to make a story with a deep impression that clears away all the familiar trends and stands on the origin of the original work. It has to be a story that leaves you crying as the screen dims. (Laughs)

The basics of battle scenes and a production attitude were talked about here. It turns out the staff considered The Final Chapter as a work of ten years that returns to the origin.

A: Will an out-of-this-world woman appear this time?

N: It’s a matter of whether there is a necessity. I’m not particularly assuming it now…

B: It would be a great help to make a beautiful picture amidst a battle scene.

As of May last year [1981], the Queen of Aquarius had not been established yet.

The enemy is not yet a natural phenomenon!

After the production attitude of returning to the origin was proposed, more detailed concepts were discussed. The presence of the “enemy” is particularly large in Yamato.

N: In The New Voyage and Be Forever, the Dark Nebula Empire was confronted. What other threat could there be?

A: The Dark Nebula coming toward the sun? There could be an enemy there, moving the nebula.

N: What happens to the Earth if it gets wrapped up in it?

A: At first glance it’s a natural phenomenon, but it actually prevents the use of the Wave-Motion Gun.

B: It’s interesting, but it’s merely a natural phenomenon. I don’t think it would live up to Yamato and the Earth side. In the end, I think there needs to be a deliberate evil.

N: The premise is always that Yamato saves the Earth. I absolutely don’t want to break that.

C: There are strong people and weak people, and great pleasure comes from someone helping the weak. The concept of coming to defeat the Earth could be good once again.

Here, the existence of an enemy was decided. As for what kind of enemy it would be, ideas came out one after another.

A: How about if the enemy of human beings is robots, and the real enemy is the ship itself? It could be an amoeba-like organism.

C: An organism is a good idea. It would be an interesting visual.

B: I think the image of something that is unlike mecha emerging from space would be very scary.

About the enemy in particular, the brainstorming goes off in many directions.

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Yamato The Final Chapter becomes more specific through brainstorming. Enemy, Queen, Yamato…!

Yamato is gravely damaged once

As a result of several brainstorming sessions, a supernatural phenomenon on the scale of space involves the Earth and causes a great enemy to appear. The collision of galaxies is already introduced, and the appearance of Aquarius is efficiently employed as a Dengil attack.

N: Of course, the enemy’s opponent is not Yamato, but Earth itself. The threat is, “I will crush the Earth…”

A: The problem is that space people are humanoid types…

N: It’s all right if the people of the space federation are humanoid. In that case, maybe Earth is some kind of disgrace. Yamato‘s mission could be to redeem this disgrace.

C: Escaped convicts from space could invade Earth.

B: I think an escaped prisoner’s emotions would be inclined toward an enemy.

N: In a Yamato story, It’s better to have empathy for the opponent.

C: Rather than an enemy being 100% evil, it would be more interesting if you could feel sorry for them at some level.

And Yamato‘s approach to battle was discussed.

N: I want to think about how Yamato would fight this time.

A: I’d like to make the last fight a one-on-one naval battle between Yamato and an enemy ship. That is, there is a fleet battle in space, and another one on Earth, in the sea…

C: In Yamato up to now, there was no mistake in the strategy. Before the decisive battle this time, it could be damaged once…

N: That’s fine. Let’s do so.

In the prologue of The Final Chapter, Yamato returns from Galman-Gamilas, and Kodai and the others are attacked by a mystery fleet.

N: For the concept of Yamato‘s enemy, what kind of enemy should it be?

A: A woman is good. And a moral code thought to be superior to Earth’s

N: We need a supernatural image, but I think the enemy fighting Yamato would be a man’s warship. A woman would be no use in that role, because a woman doesn’t exude fear.

C: Could there be a queen, with a battleship bringing her under control?

N: I don’t want to go that way.

A supernatural symbol — the queen that serves as the image of Yamato was set as the Queen of Aquarius this time. The Queen of Aquarius is still a character of hidden mysteries.

The enemy is not just organic mecha

The climax of Yamato is a battle scene and the figure of Kodai and Yuki’s love. In particular, it is necessary for a battle scene to decide beforehand where the fight takes place.

N: Basically, I don’t want the stronghold of the enemy to come close to Earth. So where does Yamato go to fight? The story is more interesting if Yamato has to go out alone and break through the enemy’s defense line. But in that case, I’d employ a goddess like in the previous three works, and have Yamato launch because of a crisis of the Earth.

C: You don’t want the enemy to approach Earth?

A: If an attack is coming, it’s simple to go on a mission.

B: In any case, the overall direction becomes the story of a large confrontation.

C: As a premise in this case, the enemy also admires Yamato.

B: The enemy also wants to defeat Yamato precisely because this is recognized.

A: I’d like it if the confrontation is like the battle off the Philippines in World War II.

B: Indeed, it would surely be interesting to present the details of an actual naval battle.

C: I think Yamato should go first into the enemy base and get heavily damaged.

A: And it returns to Earth in tatters, driven into a corner as a waste of taxes. (Laughs)

From such opinions, the main point of The Final Chapter was finally decided. Opinions about the last moments of Yamato were particularly passionate. However, the identity of the enemy is still undecided.

A: How about organic mecha?

C: Even if you blow a hole in it with the Wave-Motion Gun, it has the ability to self-propagate.

N: It’s all right at first. Sanada finds its weakness and finishes it. However, I want the last battle with the enemy who is behind it to be in a more normal form.

B: I like the notion of it being a sea battle based on the actual battleship Yamato.

N: I think the last mecha of the enemy is not an organism. Mecha isn’t realistic if there’s no one running it.

Yamato‘s last moment is the beginning of peace

To summarize the opinions here up to now:

(1) Yamato is defeated in combat once.

(2) Rather than monsters or organic mecha, the enemy from space are people who control mecha.

(3) The Queen appears as a supernatural symbol.

(4) The last battle is an orthodox fight between Yamato and an opponent.

(5) A supernatural threat and a huge enemy approaching Earth cause the crisis.

(6) Go back to the days of the first work, do not forget the origin of Yamato, and make it to eliminate the routine.

Over and above this, the chief characteristic is that this is the end of the Yamato series. Therefore, many examinations were made of the familiar characters.

C: Finally, we have to decide what to do with Kodai and Yuki.

A: How about a confrontation between Yuki and the queen? I that Yuki would convey the Earth’s sense of values, including love with Kodai. It would be no use for Kodai to say it.

N: A high point for Yuki is certainly needed.

C: How about, every part of the first bridge is blown away in the first battle, and Yuki falls into the hands of the enemy at that time? Because Yamato is not destroyed there, it returns to Earth with nothing on the top deck, and we would also see the ferocity of the enemy.

Although the idea of the first bridge being blown off in the beginning was not adopted, the scene in which Yamato is beaten in an unprecedented defeat was preserved. It also expressed the might of the enemy.

N: We could somehow exterminate the Galman Empire and set Dessler off to wander.

C: There are as many ideas as one likes. The problem is reality. The size of the enemy will be the problem this time…

In the main story, it was decided to destroy Galman-Gamilas by the galactic collision. And what happens to Yamato?

B: If the sinking of Battleship Yamato was the beginning of peace at the end of World War II, then the end of Space Battleship Yamato must bring an end to wars in space.

N: The time comes when Yamato is no longer needed.

How does Yamato disappear before our eyes? You must wait for the release of the movie.

The End

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