October 2014 was one the busiest months in Yamato history, primarily due to the buildup for A Voyage to Remember, the first part of the 1-2 punch to be completed with Ark of the Stars in December. Movie promotion in Japan usually stops with a premiere, but this one simply changed gears and kept moving forward. As a result, October had something new for a Yamato fan almost every day. Not bad for a franchise that turned 40 years old this month.
October 1: Hyper Hobby #194
Hyper Hobby kicked off the month with its customary Yamato spread. The right side promotes the movies (A Voyage to Remember up top, Ark of the Stars down below), and the left side hits the latest product news. From far left: 1/8 Yuki Mori “Pilot Suit” figure from Megahouse, 1/1000 models from Bandai (Cosmo Reverse Yamato in November, Nazca carrier in December), two Mecha Collection models from Bandai (Domelaze III in November, Cosmo Falcon in December), and the limited edition Yuki Mori nurse figure from Megahouse – sold exclusively through the Yamato Crew website.
October 1: Matsushima guide map
2199 manga artist Michio Murakawa recently celebrated his 50th birthday, and reported on his blog that he’s never been busier with art assignments. In fact, he initially turned down the offer to create the end title images for A Voyage to Remember, but agreed to take them on after another artist fell through. Another of his assignments is shown above, a brochure for Matsushima, one of the “Japan Sankei” tour sites. See a PDF of the front and back here. (Click the links under the picture)
The brochure also promoted the tour cruises at Matsushima (blurb shown at right), which are narrated by 2199 voice actors.
On the 25th, a Twitter user posted this photo of the embarkation point at Matsushima Pier, lined with 2199 display panels.
October 1: TV reruns in Saitama
Another rerun began on “Teletama,” a network serving the Saitama Prefecture, which is in central Japan just north of Tokyo. This one had an unusual broadcast schedule with three episodes shown per week on Wednesday nights through December 3, perfectly timed as a warmup for Ark of the Stars. The content is identical to the Tokyo MX broadcast from earlier in the year.
See Teletama’s Yamato 2199 page here.
October 2: 2015 calendars
The Tokyo MX broadcast mentioned above was the first to include the exquisite end title paintings by Kia Asamiya, which we’ve seen in previous reports. Since then, they’ve been repurposed for other things, a list which now includes two calendars from Yamato Crew. The first is a wall version with one image per two months. See all six pages at the Yamato Crew website here.
This smaller desktop calendar has an image for each month. See them all at Yamato Crew here.
October 2: A Voyage to Remember
With the movie now just nine days away, the official 2199 website began promoting it in earnest, posting a list of “Must-see points” for everyone to consider in their moviegoing choices. They were as follows:
1. Lots of new scenes! The power of action scenes signicantly UP! See 25 new scenes on this page.
2. New narration, Susumu Kodai looks back on the journey of Yamato! With this newly recorded narration, you can find new charm in Yamato 2199! [see voice actor Daisuke Ono’s comment on this in Report 36.]
3. End credit illustrations! Nine new illustrations depict subsequent character scenes with Kodai, Yuki, and others. [See artist Michio Murakawa’s comments on these in Report 36.]
4. New end song by Nana Mizuki! There is a new song for the end credits, titled BLUE. You can hear a passage from it here.
5. For the first time, hear Yamato 2199 in 5.1ch surround sound! Experience A Voyage to Remember in powerful theatrical sound!
6. Blu-ray and DVD are packed with bonuses! Many new features, such as an introduction and commentary on the mecha of Space Battleship Yamato and organizational charges for both Earth and Garmillas. See samples here.
October 2: Yamato art in 60 minutes Twitter feed
Leave it to the fans to come up with new angles on an old favorite. On this day, a new Twitter feed was founded by an artist with the online handle “Umegrafix.” The concept is simple: Yamato fan art drawn in 60 minutes or less. Many have taken up the challenge, and their remarkable work is continuously accumulating here.
October 3: Ark of the Stars
This was the first official Ark of the Stars product to be announced, a novelization by Takumi Toyota to be published when the movie opens on December 6. Toyota also wrote the 2199 novelizations, and this one will also be graced with a cover painting by the great Naoyuki Katoh. Based on the promo image, it will almost certainly be another wraparound.
October 4: Animate store event
Animate is a major chain of stores that sells all manner of anime goods. The branch in Nihonbashi, Osaka opened up a dedicated “2199 product fair” from the 4th through the 19th. Here, fans could browse display panels, buy products, and score advance tickets for Ark of the Stars.
Bonus items were also available: postcards for every 1000yen purchase and bags for every 2000yen purchase. And starting on the 11th, the first 600 people who brought in a ticket stub for A Voyage to Remember from the local theater would get a free Yamato coaster.
These photos of the display area were posted on Twitter.
October 4: Froovie products
Froovie is a company that specializes in movie and anime tie-in products, most of which are sold in theater gift shops. They handled all the original releases of Yamato 2199, and announced their Voyage to Remember lineup on October 4, a week before the premiere.
The standouts in this round were the Garmillas-themed character mugs shown above. See the rest of the Froovie items here, or keep reading for a gallery of everything that accompanied the film.
October 4: 1-minute promo video 1
In order to spread the word on why everyone needed to go and see A Voyage to Remember, members of the production staff got on camera for a series of seven Youtube videos, one published each day leading up to the premiere. The first was hosted by Producer Mikio Gunji, who talked about the movie’s 25 new shots.
See the video here.
October 5: 1-minute promo video 2
Video 2 featured Assistant Producer Hirotsugu Ohse, who talked about the new end-credit illustrations by Michio Murakawa. See the video here.
October 6: 1-minute promo video 3
In video 3, Producer Shinobu Suzuki extolled the virtues of 5.1ch surround sound. See the video here.
October 6: The 40th anniversary
With so much being done to mark the 40th anniversary year, it was probably too much to ask for the 2199 Production Committee to mark the day itself with something special. However, fans did a stellar job of it on Twitter with all sorts of deep-digs into the past. See their contributions here.
One of the Mandarake stores in Osaka did their part by showcasing all the Yamato and Leiji Matsumoto products they had on hand.
October 6: Bandai Channel preview
Bandai’s online streaming service set up a nice tradition of releasing the first 11 minutes (or so) of each new Yamato 2199 chapter for free before its theatrical premiere, and they did the same with A Voyage to Remember for a limited time, from the 6th to the 17th. The entire movie could be streamed on a pay-per-view basis from October 11. (And as you can see from this screenshot, chapters 1-7 are still there as well.)
October 7: Yamato 2199 Complete Works announcement
Since the first information about this extraordinary product appeared in Ship’s Log #8, fans have been hungry for more, and on this day Yamato Crew followed up with some real news. But first, some background: a 3-book hardcover set was originally published in 1978 that covered Yamato series 1 in such spectacular detail (read more about it here) that it set a whole new standard for anime publishing. Now that standard will be reset by a Yamato 2199 version titled Complete Works.
To be published December 6, it will be a limited edition box set by Mag Garden. Volumes 1 and 2 will be sold together with the storage box for the price of 21990 yen (a bit over $200 US). Volume 3 and a script book will follow in February 2015 for the additional price of 12990 yen (about $120).
The books will contain designs, story material, animation art and text features in unprecedented detail. Books 1 and 2 (over 300 pages each) will cover the series while book 3 covers the movies. At this time, they are only planned to be sold through Yamato Crew and movie theaters in Japan. It remains to be seen if they will be offered from other sources.
Meanwhile, take a peek at several sample pages at Yamato Crew here.
October 7: 1/8 Miki Saijo figure
After some delay, Yuki Mori was finally relieved at the first bridge’s radar station when her second-shift backup arrived. The latest Yamato Girl to be released from Megahouse, she comes with her own datapad, but does not include optional pose arms.
October 7: 1-minute promo video 4
In this video, Publicity Manager Maiko Hata gave everyone another reason to see Voyage to Remember: the new end title song BLUE by Nana Mizuki. See the video here.
October 8: 1-minute promo video 5
In video 5, Publicity Manager Hiroki Goto talked about the film’s newly-recorded narration by Kodai (with additional lines delivered by Yuki), along with a brief sample. See the video here.
October 8: Blu-ray & DVD commercial
In an absolutely inspired move, Bandai Visual enlisted voice actor Norio Wakamoto to reprise his role for a TV commercial in which phlegmatic Admiral Herm Zoellik himself practically ORDERS you to buy A Voyage to Remember on Blu-ray and DVD when it comes out November 21. It’s your patriotic duty to the Garmillas nation, after all.
See the ad on Youtube here.
October 8: Art Exhibition closes in Nagoya
Twitter users caught these last few shots of the 1/100 Yamato model before it headed back to Tokyo, where it would soon be seen again at a certain movie premiere.
After a short hiatus, the art exhibition is scheduled to open again December 27 for a 10-day stay in Fukuoka. Visit the event website here.
October 9: Ark of the Stars trailer
With the release of this trailer and a new poster image to go with it, fans were gobsmacked by new surprises and mysteries. A tidbit was added to the story description as well: when Yamato is thrown into unknown space after its encounter with Gatlantis commander Dagarm, they not only find a planet with a very unexpected sight in store, they also run into a previous enemy; Commander Fomto Barger and his carrier were trapped here after they disappeared from the Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster. When Dagarm arrives, Kodai’s landing party not only has to deal with the [Phantom?] planet itself, but also a three-way battle to escape.
And is that a white comet lurking in the background of the poster art? That would be crazy…
See the trailer here.
October 9: “Hit prayer” event
When you’ve done everything else you possibly can to promote your movie, you turn to the gods. That’s what Producer Shoji Nishizaki did, traveling all the way from Tokyo to Hiroshima to pray for success. And he couldn’t have picked a better place to do it.
Here’s how it was described by online news sources:
Japan Sankei X Yamato 2199 tie-in plan! Hit prayer event for two feature film releases is held at Itsukushima Shrine!
On September 25, a hit prayer event was held at Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima Prefecture for two consecutive feature films, Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember, and Yamato 2199 Ark of the Stars. Planning Producer Shoji Nishizaki, a Yamato girl (Yuki Mori cosplayer), and others participated. The hit prayer was held in a solemn atmosphere in the main shrine.
Akiba souken [research institute]
Prayer at Itsukushima Shrine for the Yamato 2199 movie version to be a hit! Yuki Mori cosplayer also participates
Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember opens in theaters October 11, and a hit prayer event was held at the world heritage site of Itsukushima Shrine.
In 2012, the first Yamato 2199 TV series was made by a new staff and became a big hit. Now, a new work titled Yamato 2199 Ark of the Stars will premiere on December 6. Prior to that, a special compilation film of chapters 1-7 titled Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember will premiere in an event screening on October 11, and a big surge is expected. In addition, there is also a goal for Hollywood to make a live-action film version of Star Blazers (working title) which will go into full-scale production for 2017 or 2018.
This hit prayer event was planned in connection with Yamato‘s Sankei collaboration, which was explained previously. The atmosphere was solemn in the main shrine when Mr. Shoji Nishizaki (planning/producer) participated in a prayer ceremony with a Yuki Mori cosplayer and others. A photo session was conducted afterward with the symbolic Torii gate in the background. In addition, the hit prayer event was also broadcast on the news & lifestyle TV show Imanama on October 10.
Shoji Nishizaki comment:
In a sacred atmosphere, I prayed for the Yamato 2199 movie to be a hit. Since Hiroshima and Kure are places with a Yamato connection, the TV broadcasts here got good ratings, so we are visiting Hiroshima. I was thrilled to do this at the world heritage site of Itsukushima Shrine. We hope many people will make it to the movie theater, thank you.[Translator’s note: the “Yamato connection” Nishizaki mentioned is historical. The IJN battleship Yamato was originally built at the naval yards in Kure (now the sight of the Yamato museum), which is only a few miles from Hiroshima.]
October 9-12: New York Comic Con display
Members of the Cosmo DNA community on Facebook reported that the Bandai booth displayed the full lineup of Yamato 2199 model kits, which were – for the second year running – inexplicably not for sale at the Bandai booth.
On the other hand, news coverage of NYCC generated a nice surprise when a Yuki Mori cosplayer got some press. The cosplayer was Cici James, owner of an SF/fantasy bookstore named Singularity & Co., and she can be seen on video in full uniform here and here. She even made the cover of the free daily newspaper Metro (above right).
October 9: 1-minute promo video 6
This time, Publicity Producer Hiroshi Kawashima confirmed a bonus item for A Voyage to Remember that had previously been mentioned online: the Yamato 2199 “Secret Files.” See the video here.
October 9: Yamato Crew movie products
In addition to the Froovie products, plenty more items would be sold at movie theater gift shops and from the Yamato Crew online store. See them all here, or keep reading for a full product gallery.
October 10: Koichi Yamadera interviews
Koichi Yamadera holds a singular position in the hierarchy of Yamato voice actors, having played the top two characters at different times: Kodai in the Playstation games and Yamato Resurrection, and Dessler in Yamato 2199. This makes him an interesting guy to talk to, and two online news sources did just that.
Read the interviews here.
October 10: 1-minute promo video 7
In the last of these videos, Publicity Producer Katsuki Aoyama delivered one of the best reasons to see A Voyage to Remember: the theater-exclusive Blu-ray disc with its huge storyboard booklet. This video incorporated the TV commercial narrated by Herm Zoellik
See the video here.
October 10: Premium Night
And at last, the veil was lifted. Yamato Crew premium fan club members in Tokyo and Osaka had the opportunity once again to see a new film the night before its official premiere with first grabs of all the new merch. This included a special package containing the program book and exclusive Blu-ray disc, along with the first two Secret File documents. Director Takeo Kato and Writer Shigeru Morita were on hand to give the first public stage greeting for the movie, which would be followed by several more the next day.
Also on hand were some new flyers, starting with this one for Ark of the Stars – updated to follow the new trailer.
This one from Megahouse plugged the Cosmo Fleet Special miniatures on one side and Yamato Girls figures on the other. Of the CFSP miniatures, the first three have been released. That lineup will double when the carriers are released simultaneously in late November, and the Deusular II will follow in January. The “Pilot Suit” Yuki figure is coming in December. The Yurisha Iscandar is promised for February, but Mikage Kiryu does not yet have a release date.
Lastly, this flyer from Mag Garden featured its entire Yamato 2199 book library, promoting the Ark of the Stars novelization above right.
Click here to continue to part 2: Premiere day!