Story research understood so far!!
March 1983 – the final journey of Yamato is about to begin. What kind of development will the story show? In this issue, story information progresses from the first half to the middle stage and the climax for The Final Chapter! We will examine the areas of concern one by one. With all the latest news on the mysterious enemy Dengil, Okita’s revival, defense against the Hyper-Radiation Missiles, the movement of Aquarius and more, the anticipation for Space Battleship Yamato The Final Chapter swells up this special feature!!
The surprising secret of Planet Dengil!
With Okita as captain, Yamato faces the approaching Dengil fleet in a launch that could be called tragic. Following behind it are a few light cruisers and destroyers, including Fuyuzuki. Still, if Dengil cannot be defeated, there is no future for the human race.
In Pluto airspace, Yamato and the destroyer fleet come into contact with the torpedo fleet lead by Lugal II! Battle erupts immediately. A crisis develops when Yamato and the Earth fleet are attacked by Hyper-Radiation Missiles. To protect Yamato, the destroyers rush in one after the other to block the missile group. By making themselves into shields, they protect the ship of hope for humanity.
With the activity of Kodai and Yuki, the Yamato side gains a slim victory. Flying in the Cosmo Zero, Kodai and Yuki discover the position of the torpedo boat mothership and Yamato smashes it with Wave Cartridges.
After this scene, the true nature of the Dengil people is revealed. Lugal II, who was defeated by Yamato, returns to his father Great Emperor Lugal, and learns the history of his race. In fact, the Dengil have the same ancestors as Earthlings – they are, so to speak, emigrants from Earth to another planet.
In ancient times, their lands were swallowed up in by the waters of Aquarius on a previous passage, and they are now the descendants of the few Earth people who survived. The Dengil people’s ancestors escaped the water on a high mountaintop from which they were rescued by benevolent aliens. However, they overthrew their saviors and took over both their civilization and the planet Dengil.
Out of this history, a terrible philosophy was born: the strong defeat the weak, and one finds happiness by destroying the happiness of others. This is why they know of the existence of a planet called Earth, and believe that the people of Dengil should make it their own through strength.
On the other hand, the Yamato side also learns of this secret. The Queen of Aquarius explains it after Yamato lands in the waters of Aquarius. Aquarius is not only the wellspring of life, it is also a planet that puts life on trial. Everyone must escape the fear of water on their own, and it can be considered as a god who imposes trials to force civilizations to develop into stronger forms of life. The Queen of Aquarius tells the secret of her own planet and reveals the true nature of the Dengil people to Yamato. But the people of Earth must survive by their own strength.
Hyper-Radiation Missile defense
The fight is the same as Earth people vs. water planet people. However, it could also be said that the Dengil people who drive the water planet are a race whose heart is completely different from Earthlings.
Lugal again commands Lugal II to defeat Yamato. Lugal II replenishes his torpedo boats with Hyper-Radiation Missiles and heads out for Yamato. There is a battle in the skies over the sparkling blue waters of Aquarius. This scene is going to be a major spectacle in the middle stage.
It seems as if Lugal II’s Hyper-Radiation Missiles will bury Yamato this time around. But thanks to Sanada’s research, a defensive system against this terrible weapon is finally completed. Yamato fires its Wave-Motion Gun at Lugal II’s fleet, and though Lugal II escapes from the incandescent hell, he is held accountable for his defeat and is atomized by a neutrino beam fired by Uruk.
Even the parent-child relationship is denied by the idealism of the Dengil people. This is a ruthless enemy we have not yet seen in Yamato. And since they are a race with the same ancestors as Yamato‘s crew, this is a setup in which you can feel the duality of the people concerned.
Lugal turns the same neutrino beam that killed his son toward Yamato. The beam approaches! Yamato cannot avoid it! However, the Wave-Motion energy that leaked out from Yamato becomes a defensive screen that stops the neutrino beam. Okita orders Yamato to counterattack. The strategy is a forced landing on fortress Uruk. The purpose of attacking the enemy stronghold is to stop the warp of Aquarius.
This story is fitting for The Final Chapter of Space Battleship Yamato!!
Yamato lands on fortress Uruk
The battle scene of Yamato vs. Uruk is considered a masterpiece. Yamato forces a landing on Uruk, which is a huge 62,000 ton vessel built into an asteroid, and a battle unfolds with Yamato‘s aircraft against Dengil robot horses on Uruk, and hand-to-hand combat on the deck of Yamato. This area will shine with the distinctive movements and techniques of animation director Yoshinori Kanada.
The landing of Yamato was a shock to even Lugal. He fires a thermonuclear beam from Uruk to hasten the warp of Aquarius. If this is not stopped, all life on Earth will be submerged in a vast amount of water, and evolution will have to begin over again from the start.
However, when Yamato landed on Uruk, its stern sank into the surface, and launch of the Cosmo Tigers became impossible. Kodai launches in the Cosmo Zero from the upper catapult to support Yamato while they attempt to open the hangar bay. This part will be reminiscent of Part 1 and Kodai taking command of the bridge in Farewell. Longtime fans of Yamato should feel irresistible nostalgia at this.
From the engine room, Tokugawa comes up with a means to open the hangar bay. The rocket anchors are driven into the rocky mountain of Uruk, and while reeling them in, the thrust of the sub-engines and compressed air from the exhaust port should push them up to hover in the air.
Yamato finally surfaces. A formation of Cosmo Tigers rushes toward the temple that seems to house the warp system for Aquarius. However, there is an injury at this time.
The true nature of the Dengil boy…!?
The Cosmo Zero and Cosmo Tigers land in front of the temple, and Kodai and the others charge inside. Sure enough, the warp system is there, and Great Emperor Lugal is waiting for Kodai.
To obtain a cease-fire, Kodai suggests that the Dengil people could emigrate to Earth. However, though they share the same ancestors, the Dengil have built their civilization only through power. No, to Lugal – conqueror of civilization – this sounds like words of the weak.
At that moment, the boy who Yamato saved from Dengil leaps in between Kodai and Lugal. This boy was Lugal II’s younger brother. In other words, the child of Lugal. While spending time with the crew of Yamato, the boy learned about compassion for others and now he wishes for peace with the people of Earth. The boy tries to persuade his father to stop the fight. But his father Lugal answers this with a gunshot.
“Are you still Earth people?”
Kodai shouts this toward Lugal as he holds the boy who was shot by his own father.
The death of the boy in The Final Chapter produces unbearable sorrow. However, the lines and feelings of this boy show that not all the people of Dengil are ruthless men who believe only in the theory of strength. Hidden somewhere in their hearts is a bud of emotion like that of Earth’s people. After killing his son, Lugal departs from Kodai, showing an expression of anguish for just an instant. It is only a small part, but it’s a revealing scene that should not be missed.
Lugal’s agony only lasts for a moment, then his heart returns to the fight with Yamato and aggression against Earth. Aquarius has finally entered its 20th warp. And Uruk…!
The life and death of Leader Dessler…
Here, let’s go to speculation about the unknown mysteries still left. One of the points of greatest concern is the hero of Yamato, Galman-Gamilas Emperor Dessler.
The great upheaval that happened suddenly caused Galman-Gamilas, and the hostile Bolar as well, to lose most of their territory. And Planet Galman-Gamilas has become a wasteland with no one left alive. But Dessler apparently seems to have escaped from this disaster.
However, news of Dessler was not included in the story information we obtained this time. How much of a fleet did he escape with, and in what direction did he escape? Also, he must have noticed the crisis that is now approaching Earth – all we can do is guess. If Dessler is alive, he wouldn’t overlook a crisis of Kodai, so we will just have to wait a little longer to see what kind of activity he has or what kind of scene he appears in. But he will certainly appear. It is likely to be a cameo-type scene.
Kodai and Yuki – the figure of the couple
In Yamato The Final Chapter, the figure of Kodai and Yuki’s love is depicted, too. In an excellent scene in the midst of the Pluto battle, Kodai is heading out to find Lugal II’s torpedo boat carrier. At this point, Kodai is going to take off alone. Then, Yuki gets into the Cosmo Zero’s navigator seat.
“Yuki Mori, to accompany you as navigator.”
Kodai and Yuki sit in the cockpit of the same Cosmo Zero and deploy in a space battle for the first time. And Kodai’s left shoulder is injured, causing him to pass out from loss of blood. Yuki supports Kodai and the Cosmo Zero returns to Yamato.
This is an interesting scene in which Yuki is depicted as a soldier, different from the life squad leader and radar hand seen so far. Progressing from the feeling of Yuki as the only female on Yamato, there is now the sense that she becomes a character with a presence equal to Kodai’s.
Also, if there is a scene that will show the consequences of this launch to their love for each other, it has not yet been announced for the screen.
Yamato recording scene
Kodai and Yamato sings the heart of Kodai. Love Supreme sings the heart of Yuki.
For the theme songs of The Final Chapter, Isao Sasaki sings Kodai and Yamato, Junko Yagami sings Love Supreme, and another song is sung by Tomoko Kuwai and Tranzam. Kodai and Yamato is about the forlorn feelings of Kodai in particular after he decides to leave Yamato, and represents his heart when he rejoins to take up the fight on board Yamato again. Love Supreme by Junko Yagami is a love song that was uncommon before now. It gently sings of Yuki’s love for Kodai from the heart of a young woman.
Kodai and Yamato was recorded at the Japan Columbia studio on December 20 of last year. Isao Sasaki, who has continued to sing the Yamato theme, sang the last Yamato theme with an unusually tense look.
On the other hand, Love Supreme was recorded on December 18. Junko Yagami’s mood perfectly overlapped with Yuki’s feelings to finish this sweet love song. It is scheduled to flow through the last scene. Let’s look forward to the song as well as the film. Kodai and Yamato will be released by Columbia and Love Supreme will be released by Discomate.
All Night Nippon Yamato Special
Let’s talk about All Night Nippon, yes! A four-hour radio drama. Space Battleship Yamato The Final Chapter was broadcast after midnight on January 15 (officially the 16th) from 1am to 5am, centered on the trio of Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki as a personality, Tsuka-tan Kurou [Takashi Tsukagoshi] as host, and Rinko Okamato.
The acting team was the complete Yamato voice cast: Kei Tomiyama, Yoko Asagami, Ichiro Nagai, and Masato Ibu. One slight disappointment was that Hideo Nakamura could not participate due to illness, but his pinch hitter was Isao Sasaki, who was an extravagant choice.
The broadcast went smoothly with drama and telephone requests, and the content was enriched by Producer Nishizaki’s Yamato anecdotes and talk about The Final Chapter. It was a sensation for the voice actors to hear Producer Nishizaki’s narration in the drama. There were thousands of telephone requests not only for BGM [music] but also memorable scenes and it was a lot of fun.
At 5am, the actors were a little sleepy, but 335 people dispersed into the still-dark city. Next up, the voice recording!!
The activity and end of each character is…!?
Shock!! Daisuke Shima dies
Here, we bring you “impossible” information. Shima Daisuke, who has been piloting Yamato since the ship’s first voyage, and is killed when he receives a chest wound after the forced landing operation on Uruk.
Shima was Kodai’s best friend and also his rival. Shima loved his younger brother and brought a hidden tenderness on board Yamato along with his strength. This is going to be a big shock for Shima fans.
Lugal attempts to self-destruct Uruk in order to bury Yamato. But Yamato‘s thrust has decreased and the ship cannot rise as it needs to. Hiding the wound to his chest, Shima desperately controls Yamato. On the advice of Okita, he breaks through the weakened surface of Uruk to escape, but then his energy finally gives out.
Shima collapses on the bridge, and Kodai, Yuki and Sanada rush over to him.
“Kodai, I won’t forgive you if you make Yuki unhappy…”
Shima closes his eyes and leaves this world forever. His last memory is the figure of Jiro, his younger brother who is waiting for him on Earth.
However, this is not the time to be lost in sorrow. Aquarius has already completed its last warp. Okita orders them to track Aquarius. A massive amount of water will drown all life on Earth. Will the ambition of Dengil still be realized? What way is left to Yamato? What will be the fate of Yamato, Kodai, and the others?
And, the last scene…?
So far, we’ve introduced about two-thirds of The Final Chapter. In other words, there is still the climax – a big spectacle scene that we’ve heard will be the highlight battle scene.
It is the battle between Yamato and Lugal for the fate of Earth. It will also be a battle with the supernatural Aquarius that showers Earth with a huge amount of water. Moreover, Dessler may come into play in that area. Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki has told us all about the great attractions in The Final Chapter so far, and it is expected that it will be impossible to take your eyes off the last 30 minutes.
Yamato The Final Chapter is the conclusion of the entire series, and the content has been described over and over to be divided into three points. ① The conclusion of the inherent theme of Yamato. ② The last voyage of Yamato itself. ③ The culmination of Kodai and Yuki’s love.
① Planet Aquarius has become a big factor. So far, Yamato has talked about the love between men and women and the love for humanity, for life, and for all of space, but Aquarius as the bringer of life is also a kind of love. It is the tough love of a trial, separate from warmth and kindness. When a life surpasses a great challenge, it moves on to the next stage of growth. That suffering is also a love for maturity.
The Queen of Aquarius explains to Kodai and the others that the people of Dengil did not face the ordeal of a trial, but instead escaped from it in a form of aggression. However, how would the people of Earth overcome this great trial?
The end of Yamato‘s last journey
② This is a part to really be anxious about. The picture at the beginning of this feature was the top announcement this time, but how does Yamato explode? It is unclear whether this really happens or if it is imagined by Okita or Kodai. If it is real, will Yamato be destroyed by Dengil? Then Earth and the life of its civilization will sink into the ocean to become a planet of exposed wasteland. But there is a fierce beauty in the end of Yamato. That means this scene should be at the heart of the story.
③ Everyone hopes for a happy ending. These two have loved each other from the bottom of their hearts while fighting in space for a long time. Many Yamato fans want them to be wed. This is just a guess, but even if it doesn’t get to a wedding ceremony, Kodai and Yuki will have a happy ending. Because they are shown to surpass a trial, and also because the end of Yamato means there is a peaceful world that no longer requires Yamato to fight, no two characters can symbolize it like Kodai and Yuki…!
Text in white box:
Space Battleship Yamato Final Cruise
To commemorate The Final Chapter, a final cruise will be carried out three times, from March 29 – 31, March 31 – April 2, and April 2 -4. It will be a sea cruise on a luxury ferry to be enjoyed with the staff and voice actors. There are five cost levels up to about 45800 yen. For further information, contact the Yamato clerk at Nippon Express Airlines.
URGENT Producer Nishizaki Press Conference
An urgent press conference was held on January 18 to talk about Space Battleship Yamato The Final Chapter. So, the contents–!?
Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki faced the press conference and talked about the important points in The Final Chapter, and showed image boards and design art that had previously been strictly confidential. It is published here!!
Confidential information and material made public!!
First, about the production, he said:
“Although the present conditions are severe since we’re aiming for a March premiere, things are working better. Since we’ll be working right up to the last minute before the premiere, there won’t be a preview this time.”
Still, there is concern about the fate of Yamato and Kodai, and some shocking things were said.
“I can now clearly say that Yamato will explode. But as to why and how, I can’t announce that yet. The platonic relationship of Kodai and Yuki will mature into an adult relationship. Here, the art of Shinya Takahashi will look really beautiful on the screen.”
Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki says Okita tells them that loving each other and making a child is another kind of battle. Furthermore, there is a shocking scene for the fans.
“Although it has been decided that not many characters will die this time, only Daisuke Shima will be killed. This happens in the battle scene between Uruk and Yamato, and since it is a necessity to the story, it was inevitable that Shima would be killed.”
Yamato explodes, Kodai and Yuki start anew, and Daisuke Shima’s death – real buzz for The Final Chapter.
Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki talks 10 years of Space Battleship Yamato and The Final Chapter!!
Don Ueno’s Mascomiland[Translator’s note: Don Ueno, whose real first name was Osamu, was the producer of All Night Nippon and other popular radio programs for Nippon Broadcasting. He was a strong booster of anime, and is credited with popularizing anime voice actors in the 1970s and 80s. “Mascomiland,” short for “Mass Communication Land” was a column he wrote for The Anime. He died in 2002.]
During the rush to prepare Yamato The Final Chapter for the big anime battle in March, pioneering Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki took time out of his busy schedule to visit me in Mascomiland.
Of course, we talked about The Final Chapter, but I also wanted to find the true image of Mr. Nishizaki as a person while looking back on ten years of Yamato with him. In particular, anime reporter Ms. Rinko Okamoto also participated and talk of Yamato expanded rapidly.[Translator’s note: both Don Ueno and Rinko Okamoto worked with Nishizaki on the January All Night Nippon radio special in January. This interview was conducted at the same time, but it is not clear from this text if it was part of the broadcast.]
Walking around, steadily shopping Yamato around, facing tough criticism was the toughest time
Don: Welcome to Mascomiland. As Space Battleship Yamato finally heads toward its final chapter, with the last push to make its March premiere, are things proceeding smoothly?
Nishizaki: No, no, it’s very difficult… (Laughs)
Don: It’s difficult every time.
Nishizaki: It’s both my good point and my bad point that I hold out to the last minute. So I can’t hold a preview before the premiere. But in the end, the question is if we’ll make it or not. I really wonder if we’ll make it… (Laughs)
Rinko: That’s a big problem. (Laughs)
Don: That aside, in order to think about what is called the decade of Yamato, I’d like to go back to the beginning and ask, what was your motive to work in anime on Yamato?
Nishizaki: That question is tough to answer, but I’d made Triton of the Sea and Wansa-kun earlier, and I thought I’d like to make a space opera.
I also thought the thing called anime was targeted at children of a younger age. So when considering the kind of drama they could understand that hadn’t been made as anime yet, I thought it would be space opera.
Don: Still, it cost money to make anime. Was the money there?
Nishizaki: There was none.
At that time, I’d made Triton of the Sea and Wansa-kan independently from Mushi Pro [Osamu Tezuka’s studio, where Nishizaki previously worked as a publicist], but Yamato was the first time I’d created something myself. I definitely had a hard time with the money.
I actually wanted to make a movie in the beginning. You could get money from a TV station if they accepted the proposal. So I realized I had to do it as a TV series.
Don: But low ratings put us in a hole.
Nishizaki: That’s right. I visited the bank every day to borrow money…even though four-fifths of the money was paid by the station, I had to come up with the rest myself. I struggled for six months to get the bank manager to understand animation, which seemed like a black market to him. I was very glad to at last get a loan of 20 million yen [about $200,000] – but because the TV series wasn’t a hit, it really wasn’t a shock. (Laughs) I had no talent for anime…
Don: It was cancelled.
Nishizaki: Although there were supposed to be 39 episodes, it was reduced to 26. I spent about half a year in shock. I thought I would quit anime. I decided to make a movie to keep it from going to waste, and my feeling was that it would be possible to sell it again if it was edited, so I started plugging away at editing. Since there was no money for editing, I sold the rerun rights.
Rinko: But wasn’t the reaction from the fans really good? The postcards and letters…
Nishizaki: Strangely, they never came at all. Over the two years of 1975 and ’76, not one Yamato fan letter came to me.
Don: They went to the TV station, didn’t they?
Nishizaki: It seemed that a lot came in at the stations and the magazine publishers, but because I didn’t know about them I didn’t go looking for them, so I put the film on my shoulder and carried it to America. However, I couldn’t sell it there, either. (Laughs) If you talk about anime in America, it is Disney. I came back dejectedly, and someone from a certain magazine asked, “Since there’s a reaction to Yamato, how about doing it at home?” But I didn’t believe it, and couldn’t stand suffering through another loss.
So, to bring it to a conclusion, I considered forming a “Nishizaki anthology” with a three-pronged Yamato, Triton, and Wansa-kun. I’d borrow an all-night theater somewhere in Shinjuku, and if I charged an admission of 100 or 150 yen per show, honor would be maintained. (Laughs)
However, if I said I wanted to borrow a theater, people in movie companies would think I was an idiot. “You can’t borrow a theater.” That’s when I learned for the first time that there is a thing called distribution to movie theaters, and it turned out that individuals couldn’t freely borrow them. And so I doggedly shopped it around, showing it to all sorts of people.
Don: Something like a peddler. (Laughs)
Nishizaki: It was awful, like I said. The most difficult time. I thought it was hopeless until Tokyu picked it up. Having been told, “We can give you 50 million yen” [about $500,000 US] and unsure if we could recoup all of that, we began. I did the manufacturing and distribution myself for four venues in the Tokyu Rex chain.
Don: How was your first day?
Nishizaki: I went early in the morning and stood in line at the top of the Masuzaka shrine in Shibuya [which lead down to the theater]. I never dreamed that everyone was there to see my movie, but I followed the line. Then I got down to the theater and there it was, Yamato.
Don: That sounds deeply inspiring.
Nishizaki: It was inspiring…once in a while, something good happens.
Don: Despite that, why don’t you think the show was a hit at the time?
Nishizaki: There were two reasons. One was that it started on the back of Heidi of the Alps. Heidi was a year-long story that had begun in January 1974, and Yamato started during its climax in October.
Rinko: It had an audience rating of 30% or more.
Nishizaki: Right. And the second reason was, the content of the story is not understood if you don’t see things three times. Each and every character on the crew has to stand out, and it’s the same for mecha; I had to explain the warp and the Wave-Motion Gun in each episode. We constructed it as a drama along those lines, to avoid confusion if you missed an episode along the way.
To bring drama to the story, character complications are presented
Don: Although I’d like to hear more about the content of Yamato, there is probably still no other work that is as rich in dramatic nature as Yamato. How did you think up the wonderful concepts and stories that can be called the origin of anime? There were a lot of people on the staff.
Nishizaki: It can be said that I was blessed with that staff. And it is also part of my methodology that one person can’t do everything alone. It centered on a writer in the SF genre named Aritsune Toyota, and from his brain came a number of basic SF concepts. However, although he could come up with concepts and talk about the story, he couldn’t do it all himself either, so in the places where development was necessary, I became the storyteller.
Don: I would guess that considerable discussions were carried out.
Nishizaki: I do that. And a lot of objections also came out. Me, Toyota, Eiichi Yamamoto. We went round and round in that area.
Rinko: A variety of characters are born from such a setting.
Nishizaki: And character complications are presented to bring drama to the story. Here, it’s not the meaning of so-called images, in building up the characteristics of the drama and the image of the people in it, Eiichi Yamamoto was indispensable.
Amidst this, we thought about it as much as we could. If you let your youth overlap for each character, Susumu Kodai comes out, and Okita comes out as the Japanese-style father figure…
Don: Which character is your favorite?
Nishizaki: I don’t think about it too much, but it’s Dessler. Even though he goes a bit against the way to live your life, which has essentially become Yamato‘s theme at this point.
Don: The way to live, huh? When Yamato came out, the student protest movement had died down, and the sense of purpose, the sense of justice, had dissipated a bit. To young children at the time, their older brothers seemed to lack manliness, and they had little reason to get that aspect from them.
Rinko: And Yuki Mori for women. What is her character?
Nishizaki: It’s as a first love, but it overlaps. From the first year of junior high school until I entered college, I thought only about those women. If that love had been fulfilled, it might not have been possible to make such a movie.
When you think, “If I could get a date here,” you imagine many things, and because there was such an impression, it was very easy to come up with lines for the story of Kodai and Yuki.
Therefore, I was not clearly conscious of it from the beginning, but as the story advanced, I came to write lines for Yuki myself.
Rinko: She has very few lines in the first TV series.
Nishizaki: There wasn’t much written about the love of two people. What has been written is Kodai’s way of living, constantly charging forward and chipping away. And therefore, the love of Yuki was sacrificed for that. I love her so much, but why doesn’t she understand? That’s how I feel, myself. (Laughs)
Don: All the same, in the first series, I’m moved to tears by the scene of, “goodbye, everyone on Earth.” Which one is that?
Nishizaki: That’s the “farewell to the solar system” episode. You wonder what’s going to happen to Yamato. It was all worked out what Kodai, Yuki, and Okita were leaving behind on Earth before it was ever put into a script. So, in “farewell to the solar system,” there’s a scene with real heart of Kodai bonding with Okita. I decided to make that a highlight in one episode, by all means.
From there, the vital component we needed to get them to Iscandar required making the form of navigation we called “warp.” And also, what kind of weapons they have. I wanted to set all that up in the first ten episodes.
Rinko: It’s fun to show mecha well.
Don: Right. That’s when the joy begins to come out.
Nishizaki: Before then, in previous anime they would just fire a pistol, which wasn’t very interesting. Because I like mecha, I don’t think it’s interesting unless you show the process of pulling the hammer and loading the bullet, and Leiji Matsumoto also agreed with me. With his knowledge of mecha, I could say it provides a better feeling of reality.
Don: Another thing was the unforgettable music. What was your connection to Mr. Miyagawa?
Nishizaki: I met him for the first time 25 years ago, when I was running a jazz café. He was working in a nightclub, barely surviving, and he came around to promote the band he was running, but it was a terrible band. (Laughs)
Among them, he was in charge of music for The Peanuts, and One Night in Tokyo won a record award. [Translator’s note: The Peanuts were a popular two-girl singing group that came to international fame as the twin faries in the Mothra movies. One Night in Tokyo was a major hit for them with music written by Hiroshi Miyagawa. It was a strong precursor to The Scarlet Scarf. Here it for yourself here.]
On the other hand, when you reach 30 years old, the buds don’t come out as often, and things had been dry for about ten years. So when he made the beautiful melodies of Wansa-kun, I realized no one else makes pop songs with enka ballads, and I thought it was a suitable animal for Yamato.
So, since Mr. Miyagawa is a great authority, I thought it would be useless to call him, but he said, “I get it. I’ll do it,” and I was thankful.
Don: Mr. Miyagawa has a great talent for writing a symphony with the melody line of a popular song.
Nishizaki: It appeals to the Japanese heart. Perhaps not to the typical person who holds that the basis of music is the melody.
Don: Plus, his method of coming together with a singer is amazing.
Rinko: What has been your criteria for selecting various singers?
Nishizaki: Basically, first you think of what kind of song you want, and order the lyrics. In Mr. Yu Aku’s case, words were added, and when it came time to add the music, a vital component for Mr. Aku was who he wanted to sing it. That, and Mr. Miyagawa and my thoughts on it.
Rinko: Junko Yagami is a lyricist and composer for The Final Chapter.
Nishizaki: That’s right. Ms. Yagami’s new song is very good. It’s impolite for me to say, but I didn’t expect that much. However, she is a person of rich sensibilities. Because they would go to so much trouble, I had them watch Yamato on video tape because I wanted them to taste its romanticism, so I took everyone on a trip in my boat for four days.
Rinko: It is a very good song.
Nishizaki: It was beautifully captured. I’m elevated when I listen to that song. I think, “She made a really terrific song.” She really gets it.
Because Yamato is a main character equivalent to a person,
I want to give it an appropriate ending.
Don: Well, I’d love to move on to The Final Chapter…
Nishizaki: My idea for a “water planet” has become a major pillar. Mr. Toyota named it “Aquarius,” and Eiichi Yamamoto created what we call the space myth…so, it became a collaboration by everyone.
Although we started on the script in January of last year , I studied various documents and did my homework for half a year.
Don: What I want to ask is, with every work you’ve done, you’ve always said, “I won’t make any more.” (Laughs)
Nishizaki: When making a movie, I come up with an image of the last scene. For example, with The Final Chapter, it’s like an elephant going off to the graveyard. The words and music come out and build toward it, which is my way of making drama and story development. And so, if I don’t believe there’s any point to the end scene, I don’t think a good story can be made. That’s how I did the first work, Farewell, and now The Final Chapter.
But I think I am misunderstood when it comes to Be Forever, since I have no memory of saying, “This is the last one.” Rather, I didn’t think it gave an ending to Yamato itself. After all, if I were to make a last one, it should have an ending for Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori, and that was not the purpose of the story in Be Forever. Maybe it was a result of the title, but I don’t think the fans took it that way. But this is not an excuse.
In any case, if Yamato sinks at the end of a decade, or explodes, or gets stored on ice, because it is a main character equivalent to a person, I want to give it an appropriate ending. I think that’s my duty as a producer.
Don: I see. So what can you tell us about The Final Chapter?
Nishizaki: I think it’s a work I wanted to make for myself. Of course, the sum total of voices of the fans and reactions to the first four films are inside me, and I want to make a story worthy to be the end of a work that won the heart of a generation. Just making an ending that you don’t regret is not a real intention.
There was a certain kind of boom for the works done after 1978 that created excitement and made them a treat, but those works were not final. Therefore, if a magnificent ending can be attached to those ten years, it will reward those who have supported Yamato in the true meaning of the word, and I think it will also be an ending for myself.
In that sense, it is equal to or greater than the first work, and that makes it very difficult.
Rinko: In the end, the theme running through Yamato is “love”?
Nishizaki: Yes…I think it’s a good thing for a creator to always keep in mind. But I think the word “love” has been featured a bit more than necessary, and I feel responsible for that.
If you say love conquers all, there are those who’ll say it doesn’t. Holding onto dreams, feeling romance and hopes, I think the starting point of that is wanting to carry on living with a positive attitude.
There aren’t enough words to express the diversity of “love.” There’s the love between men and women, and the love of space. It’s very difficult to show them specifically.
Rinko: What will we feel from The Final Chapter?
Nishizaki: On the ship called Yamato, the crew is depicted according to their social circumstances, and another thing is depicting romantic love. However, people get older…and just as there is a next life for Kodai and Yuki, the young people who previously watched Yamato are entering society, finding their mates, creating children, and seeking prosperity…they now look into the face of reality rather than living in dreams.
In order for us to describe this as the next battle, we absolutely needed someone to support Susumu Kodai, and that could only be Okita. That’s the biggest reason why we brought Okita back.
In the story of Yamato, Kodai matured from a boy to a young man under Okita. Therefore, the only one who can tell Kodai to go out into the world is Okita. I struggled to convince the staff of that.
Don: Because he died in the story and a bronze statue was made of him. (Laughs)
Nishizaki: There was some sensitivity there. So this time, the story we’re depicting with Yamato is, “Before long, you must all go out into society.” If you look at it that way, it can truly be said that this is the last one.
Don: I understand it well. Mr. Nishizaki and Ms. Rinko, thank you very much for your time today.
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.