August was another banner month in 2199 world with a little bit of everything; public events continued and a healthy wave of new products emerged on all fronts. But the biggest news was a brand new trailer for Ark of the Stars that re-ignited the pre-release campaign and gave us our first look at what was in store. Here’s everything that kept fans talking during this exciting month.
August 1: Hyper Hobby #192
Hyper Hobby‘s standard 2-page spread encapsulated the events of July and promoted forthcoming products, mostly from Megahouse. At far left are all three of the Cosmo Fleet Special carrier miniatures, due out in November. To their right is the Petite Yamato Girl figure set.
The other items of interest are highlighted at right: the Cosmo Fleet Special Deusular II with removable core ship. It will measure about 6.3″ (longer than the Mecha Collection model kit) and is awaiting a release date. Below that are CAD images of the next three Mecha Collection models from Bandai: the Naska carrier (#8, September), Cosmo Zero (#9, October) and Kirishima (#10, October).
And in the better-late-than-forgotten department, Hyper Hobby finally published the last three of 26 questions answered by Chief Mechanical Director Masanori Nishii regarding 2199 Chapter 7:
What is the relationship between Garmilloids and Iscandroids?
Nishii: The basic technology is the same on both planets. Of course, Iscandar has much higher science. Unlike Garmilloids, Iscandroids are not intended for combat.
What kind of power does the mecha of the Cosmo Reverse System run on?
Nishii: The mecha of Iscandar is mysterious technology. The basic technology is the same as on Garmillas, but part of it is beyond human intellect. As Sanada says, “science that is sufficiently developed is indistinguishable from magic.”
Why is Iscandar seemingly going extinct? Doesn’t it leave a memory behind in an energy ball?
Nishii: The concept of it being on the verge of extinction follows the original work. They offer relief to other planets as atonement for past sins, so it’s hard to imagine the people of Iscandar using technology for their own survival.
August 1: Cosmo Fleet Special Domelaze III
On the same day you picked up the new Hyper Hobby, you could also get this new miniature, a far more wallet- and shelf-friendly version of the massive 1/1000 model kit Bandai released just a week earlier. As the second ship in Megahouse’s CFSP line, it is solidly built with exquisite detail.
Shown here at actual size, it is 6.75″ and comes with a to-scale Yamato at just 3″ long. (Annoyingly, Yamato‘s teeny-tiny gun turrets have to be surgically attached.) It also comes with two versions of the disc-shaped command ship, one with SMITE projectors and one without.
See more product photos here. (Note that these are photos of the prototype with rough surfaces. The final product is smooth as an infink’s bottom.)
August 1: 1/8 Kaoru Niimi figure
And speaking of smooth bottoms (ba-dumpsh!) this long-awaited figure finally finished off the prime-crew lineup of Yamato Girls. This was the second (after Harada) to be co-produced by Megahouse and Alpha X Omega. See the Alpha x Omega web page here.
Like her predecessors, Niimi comes with two pose options, arms down with a datapad and arms up to adjust her removable glasses.
The Yamato Crew website offers a special bonus to fans who buy the figures from the online store: a brochure spotlighting the character. Thanks to a generous Twitter user, we finally got a look at the inside of one of these brochures.
August 4: The Art of Nobuteru Yuki books announced
Depending on where you live, you might want to take a hit of some strong space java before you read this.
This-two volume set collects the original and modified animation layouts by character designer Nobuteru Yuuki. Almost all of his work on the series is contained in these books, which makes them HUGE. Volume 1 runs 392 pages and volume 2 runs 502. That tallies up to an incredible 894 pages of pure Yuuki. (His family name is more commonly romanized with two u’s, so we’ll stick with that.) Stacked on top of each other, they are 2.25″ thick.
The interior art is all black & white, but each book has foldout front and back covers with color art on both sides. Volume 1 covers episodes 3, 4, 7, 13, 15, 16, 18, and 19. Volume 2 covers fewer episodes (17, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, and the opening title) but is much thicker owing to Yuuki’s heavier output on those shows. The nature of animation layouts is as wide-ranging as the finished scenes. Some are wide shots, some are close-ups, some are just patches and fragments of bodies. In all cases, they are the foundation of character action, and there was no one more qualified than the character designer to draw them.
See our interview with Mr. Yuuki here.
Here comes the painful part. The set will be published in September by Mag Garden, but will not go to standard outlets. Instead, it will be sold at the Anime Style online shop (preorders opened August 22) and the Yamato Crew website (preorders opened August 8), to Japanese addresses only. A pre-release edition was sold at Comiket 86 in mid-August (covered later in this report).
Compounding the pain, there will be three separate bonus items, depending on where you buy the set. The Comiket edition came with a 12-page color booklet for episodes 7 and 20 (12 pages). The Anime Style edition will come with a different 12-page color booklet for Episode 26, and the Yamato Crew edition comes with a set of four art prints (A4 size).
Now finish that space java. Or something stronger if you wish.
August 6-10: Asagaya Tanabata Festival
Here’s some fun take your mind off what you just read.
According to Gotokyo.org, the Asagaya Tanabata Festival is known nationwide as one of the three greatest festivals of its kind in Japan. During the event, colorful bamboo decorations adorn the area in front of JR Asagaya Station. Quick input: Asagaya is a district on the outskirts of Tokyo, and “Tanabata” translates to “double seventh,” the 7th day of the 7th month. Read more about its history here.
Ten shopping streets around the station also feature papier-mâché ornaments and refreshment stalls, attracting a lively crowd each year. This was the 61st annual festival, and an eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted everyone’s favorite space battleship. What’s more, this was not the first time Yamato had a presence here. The Andromeda model shown at right appeared in 2011.
The rest of the festival is a riot of color and creativity that captures your attention no matter where you come from, since familiar cartoon characters from all over the world show up. See for yourself with a walk-through of the 2014 festival on Youtube here (3-minute version) or here (10-minute version).
Then visit the event’s official website and explore its photo yearbook to see what went on in previous years. You have to agree, any festival that would welcome Leader Desslok himself is worthy of your attention. (Photo above from 2013.)
August 8: Ark of the Stars trailer
No matter how great everything else is in Yamato world, nothing beats seeing new animation for the first time, as this trailer reminded us. As of this writing, Ark of the Stars is less than 90 days away, which makes it time for the promotion to get serious.
New key art (at right) appeared on Yamato Crew and the official 2199 website. Get an eye full of the 30-second trailer on Youtube here, which interestingly makes effective use of a rare cue from the Yamato 2 BGM.
The trailer was accompanied by a new official synopsis, translated for us by the good people at Macrossworld.com:
The year is 2199. After reaching its destination, Iscandar, and receiving the Cosmo Reverse System, Yamato prepares to leave the Large Magellanic Cloud.
But as they reach the outer edge of the cloud, they encounter a mysterious task force. The commander identifies himself as Goran Dagam of the Gutaba Expeditionary Rapid Assault Force, under supervision of the Great Capital City Gatlantis, and he commands Yamato to surrender.
Yamato wants to avoid the battle and hurry back to Earth, but Dagam’s onslaught increases as he unleashes a powerful beam weapon capable of transcending space. The name of his weapon is the Impact Flame Gun. It is the latest weapon of proud Gatlantis.
Yamato is saved in the nick of time by warping, but they wander into a different space bathed in a pale grey light. As if controlled by an outside will, Yamato‘s rudder turns and they are invited to a mysterious planet.
Kodai, Kiryu, Sawamura, Niimi and five of Aihara’s men descend to the planet to collect information. Once on the ground, they come across something that shouldn’t be there, an ancient warship.
Dagam warps after Yamato by following its space wake, reaching the grey-colored space. The planet shining in front of his eyes, to which Yamato was invited, is the very treasure planet he had been looking for.
Dagam heads for the planet with his Flame Gun in order to burn the annoying Yamato.
The synopsis was published online and on this flyer, which was available in theaters from August 9.
Read Anime News Network’s report on the trailer here.
August 10: 1/8 Yuki Mori
nurse figure announced
Remember when Yuki used to be a nurse? Of course you do. This limited-edition Yamato Girls Collection figure will revisit her in that role, updated to the 2199-era nurse uniform previously seen on Makoto Harada.
This is a variant of the first Megahouse figure, and will be sold exclusively through the Yamato Crew website with pre-orders opening in September. Only 1,000 will be made. The belt pack and hypo-gun are recycled from an earlier color variant also sold by Yamato Crew.
Preorders for this figure opened September 13 at Yamato Crew.
August 12: Cosmo Guardian campaign
The Yamato 2199 Cosmo Guardian game for iOS & Android has been going strong since its debut in May, and it gained an Ark of the Stars tie-in with a “level up” character card featuring Kodai and Mikage Kiryu (she appeared briefly in the series, but will play a larger role in the new film). All users got the card as a free download between August 12 and September 10.
Above right is a Cosmo Guardian handheld fan, given away at promotional events.
August 13: Art Exhibition, Niigata
Niigata is the capital city of Niigata Prefecture, located on the coast of Japan almost directly north of Tokyo. The Niigata Manga/Anime Museum was the first of its kind when it opened in April 2013. As recorded in Report 19 and Report 20, it hosted a Yamato 2199 exhibit for its first few months, and was personally visited by Cosmo DNA editor Daniel George in August (see his travelogue here).
The museum was ideally suited, therefore, as a stop on the nationwide tour of the Yamato 2199 Art Exhibition that opened in Tokyo April of this year. This was the exhibition’s longest stay in one place so far, expanding from two weeks to almost four.
The 1/100 Yamato model was on hand, and illustrator Kia Asamiya attended for an autograph session on August 30. Promotional postcards featuring an image by manga artist Michio Murakawa (above right) were handed out in Niigata during this time.
August 13: Animate store event, Osaka
Starting July 19, customers of Animate stores in the Osaka area could pick up tickets to a talk show starring Aya Uchida (voice actress of Yuria Misaki) by reserving a “Yamato goods set” for the price of 2199 yen. The set would contain pastries, a mascot strap, and a memo pad in a Yamato bag, and each one would be personally handed to the customer by Aya Uchida at her talk show. Signed pictures like the one shown above right were won in a raffle.
August 14-16: Yamato 2199 World, Osaka
For the second year in a row, a high-profile hotel in Japan played host to a Yamato 2199 public event. In 2013 it was the Yamato Summer Festival at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe (read about it here), and this year it was Yamato 2199 World at the Rihga Royal Hotel in Osaka.
This event was big enough to warrant an article of its own, which can be seen here.
Continue reading this report here