Yamato 2199 Report 37, part 2

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October 11: A Voyage to Remember premiere day

There’s no bigger event for a Space Battleship Yamato fan than the premiere of a new movie. These days, no one expects A Voyage to Remember to penetrate Japan’s pop culture the way the 1977 feature film did, but the depth and breadth of everything around it definitely made October 11 a premiere to remember.

This page of this report focuses entirely on that day, starting with local news…


Photos taken at the Marunouchi Piccadilly theater, posted on Twitter

From Anime Anime:

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember October 11 premiere
Special edit of Yamato 2199 for theaters with all the highlights

Since its first appearance in 1974, Space Battleship Yamato has shone as a monumental work in the history of anime, and nationwide event screenings of Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember began October 11. This is in conjunction with a completely new feature film to premiere December 6, titled Ark of the Stars, which is big news.

A Voyage to Remember is the re-edited version of Yamato 2199, which showed in theaters from 2012 and developed into a TV broadcast. However, this work is not just a recap; the content incorporates a plus-alpha [over the top] for a high degree of satisfaction among Yamato fans. First, the compilation is introduced from the viewpoint of Susumu Kodai as he looks back on the journey of Yamato, and it includes new footage. In addition to new shots, a new narration was added. What’s new and what has changed? If you’re a fan, that’s what you’ll want to see.

In particular, you’ll want to focus on the end roll [credits]. At the end of the film, illustrations of the characters provide sequels for Kodai, Yuki, and others on the crew. These were drawn by Michio Murakawa, who is in charge of the Yamato 2199 manga and various display designs. There are a total of nine ending illustrations that can be enjoyed as unique to the movie. Out of these nine, two were published prior to the premiere: “Kodai & Yuki” and “The wedding of Kato and Harada.” You can see the other seven in theaters.

In addition, there is other fun to be had in theaters besides seeing the movie. Visitors will receive free Voyage to Remember Secret Files once per week. These were supervised by General Director Yutaka Izubuchi to summarize concepts that were not clarified before now.

These secret documents are divided into four parts (00-04), with 01 to 03 being given out once a week. Document 01 is Top secret information of Domel’s last battle supported by covert action. Document 02 is Salvation of the Garmillas race by Yamato‘s battle in the imperial capital. Document 03 is The steep but bright future of the Garmillas provisional government. Also, Document 00 is Underground activities of Dessler’s bodyguards, the Blue Shadow. You’ll want to check these bonus items.


These next few reports focus on the live stage greetings, which brought many new faces into the spotlight for the first time. Five new Yamato Girls made their public debut (different from those on the Nico Nico webcasts) and someone else turned up in the first-ever Starsha cosplay on a Yamato stage. As you’ll see, her “special features” threatened to steal the show.


Yuuri Morishita photo session at the Marunouchi Piccadilly

From Cinema Today:

Super sexy Space Battleship Yamato costume shows off Yuuri Morishita’s cleavage!

On October 11, Gravure idol Yuuri Morishita appeared at the opening day stage greeting of Space Battleship Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember in a sexy cosplay of Starsha, a popular character from the film, alongside Starsha’s voice actor Kikuko Inoue. Also appearing were Juuzo Okita’s voice actor Takayuki Sugo, scriptwriter Shigeru Morita, and director Takeo Kato.

The basis of the film was the TV series Space Battleship Yamato 2199, which was created by a new staff under director Yutaka Izubuchi. The series was re-edited into a special compilation with new shots and newly-recorded narration.

There are many enthusiastic fans for this work, and it seemed that director Kato had a very difficult time summarizing it into one movie. Looking back, he said, “This was done with the original work, but it was really hard. The plan was to show it only from the perspective of the Earth side, but director Izubuchi is full of love for Garmillas (the enemy). As long as they didn’t get flattened, I was allowed to carry out the editing boldly.


Backstage at the Piccadilly. Left: the new Yamato Girls stand with Yuuri Morishita (Starsha gown)
and voice actress Kikuko Inoue. Right: Writer Shigeru Morita endures the burden of fame.

Furthermore, director Kato added, “It’s an exaggeration to call them new shots, but there some new shots in the area of Episode 20. Mr. Izubuchi drew an enormous number of storyboards that went to waste, so we revived some of them with great effort. The use of background sounds has partly changed, too.”

Thinking about the difficulties of director Kato and Mr. Morita, Ms. Inoue said, “I can only imagine how hard it was to summarize 26 episodes into a single movie. Did you sing ‘If we don’t do it, someone must’ [from the theme song] while you worked on it?” At this, the audience was filled with laughter.

A special guest on that day was Yuuri Morishita, who arrived in sexy cosplay as Starsha. The audience was stirred by the sight of her boldly exposed cleavage in Starsha’s costume. Ms. Inoue was also excited by the cosplay.

“This is uncanny,” she said. “I’d like to combine my voice with the three-dimensional version.” She said “I am Starsha” and Ms. Morshita moved her mouth to create a scene that combined 2-D and 3-D with Inoue as her co-star.

“That gave me goosebumps,” Morishita said with a smile. “There’s nothing better than that.”

(reporter: Tomohiro Mibu)

See Cinema Today’s video coverage of the stage greeting here.


The on-stage celebs had a busy schedule to keep up with. They delivered two greetings at the Marunouchi Piccadilly theater in the morning and midday, then raced across town for an early afternoon show at the Yokohama Brook 13 theater. Somehow, they kept it all on schedule.

From Koepota:

Takayuki Sugo, Kikuko Inoue and others arrive to comment!
The opening day stage greeting of Space Battleship Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember

On Saturday October 11, nationwide events screenings were held for Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember, a special compilation film of the TV series. An opening day event was held at the Yurakucho Marion [theater], and guests arrived to give greetings and comments from the stage.

This included Captain Juuzo Okita’s voice actor Takayuki Sugo, Starsha’s voice actor Kikuko Inoue, Writer Shigeru Morita, and Director Takeo Kato. Special guest Yuuri Morishita joined the premiere celebration in super sexy “double planet cleavage” cosplay as Starsha, along with five Yamato girls.

During the event, Morishita stood in her sexy Starsha costume and lip-synced Ms. Inoue saying “I am Starsha” to reproduce a scene from the story, and the audience greatly enjoyed it. There was a peaceful atmosphere from start to finish, becoming an event full of love for Yamato from both the audience and the performers.

Comments from the stage greetings:

Takayuki Sugo, voice actor for Captain Juuzo Okita: They let me see a preview earlier, and I enjoyed the new discoveries very much. I’ll give away spoilers if I talk too much, but the battle scenes are the highlight! Captain Okita has a very active role, so please look forward to it. On Ms. Morishita’s costume: I have trouble figuring out where to look… On how to appeal to Ms. Morishita’s type: A date with tea and biscuits. Oh, a cheesecake biscuit! (Laughs)

Kikuko Inoue, voice actor for Starsha: Let me introduce myself. (silly voice) “I’m 17!” (stern voice) “Hey, hey!” [Translator’s note: this was an in-joke, since Ms. Inoue is said to look “forever 17.”] I made a promise, but there’s not much I can say before such a great work. (Laughs) I’ve been living a fantasy life for the past several years, and being fortunate enough to have the role of Starsha fills me with happiness. The beauty of Starsha’s image is wonderful, and makes me think it will be good to live long. I can only imagine how hard it was to summarize 26 episodes into a single movie. But in the Yamato theme there is the line, “If we don’t do it, someone must,” so I’m sure someone had to accomplish this. (Laughs)

Director Takeo Kato: I was in charge of the direction and composition this time. I was really happy to be involved with this great work and get to edit it. It was done with the original, but I was reminded that summarizing 26 episodes into a two-hour movie is very difficult. We’d intended to attack it from various angles in terms of composition, but that got flattened by Mr. Izubuchi’s love for the Garmillas…that got taken by Garmillas love. (Laughs)

While assembling the part around Episode 20, I took advantage of the storyboards drawn by Director Izubuchi. Also, we’ve added new sound effects unique to the movie with 5.1 channel audio, which I think expands the structure.


Kato and Morita at the Brook 13 theater

Writer Shigeru Morita: I was allowed to take charge of the configuration. I was full of anxiety with thoughts like, “We can’t have this scene without that scene.” I thought of different configurations at the beginning and when I showed them to the production committee, I told myself, “Don’t goof around.” (Laughs) Although I made an edit on my own PC to work out the composition, I said, “It’s impossible to do this in two hours…” but now it has been somehow completed!

StarshaCosplayer Yuuri Morishita: Congratulations on the 40th anniversary! I thought everyone in Japan knew Space Battleship Yamato, since my father was a big fan. Because I have two older brothers, I watched it as a child. When I go out to karaoke with my family, we sing it in a chorus! I was allowed to wear Starsha’s dress this time, and it’s a comfortable feeling with a very good fit. But if I bend over, it moves around and becomes a problem. (Laughs)

Her impression of the film: I’m 29 this year, and I was really impressed. I think women can identify with Starsha and Yuki. As for my favorite character…it’s Captain Okita. The other characters are too young. I like the 57-year-old captain. I think men get more charming after their 40s, and Captain Okita is unbearably tough! If I went on a date with Captain Okita, it would be a nice adult date on the top floor of a hotel with a moody view of the night. But he’d probably get angry with me if I used my sex appeal, so we’d have to work out our relationship as a couple with the help of a counselor. As for Yamato fans, of course I think people young and old can enjoy the TV series. I’d like everyone to love Yamato from now on.

From Sokoani:

“I want you to watch Yamato fight” – Space Battleship Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember event screening stage greeting report

On December 6, the 40th anniversary of Yamato will be commemorated by a completely new feature film titled Ark of the Stars. It was preceded by a special compilation movie on October 11 titled A Voyage to Remember that premiered with event screenings. New shots and narration were added to the 26-episode TV series, edited to look back at the journey of Yamato from the viewpoint of Susumu Kodai. In conjunction with the screenings, stage greetings were held at theaters in Tokyo.

Appearing on stage were Captain Juuzo Okita’s voice actor Takayuki Sugo, Starsha’s voice actor Kikuo Inoue, Writer Shigeru Morita, and Director Takeo Kato. In addition, pinup idol Yuuri Morishita appeared as a special guest in Starsha cosplay. Anime-loving entertainer Sankyu Tatsuo served as MC for the performers.

It seemed Mr. Morita and Director Kato had a very difficult time summarizing the 26-episode story into two hours. Mr. Morita experimented with summarizing the first half into 30 minutes and said, “I tried a little, and thought it would be impossible to get into two hours.”

No matter what was cut, it came to 3-4 hours. After contemplating how to cut it down from there, he “took the plunge.” Although he was able to squeeze it down to one hour forty minutes, scenes of the human relationships didn’t fare well because they passed too quickly. But by restoring scenes that seemed irrelevant to the story at first glance, the depth and understanding of the characters seemed to deepen.

Trimming the story decisively also simplified it. After seeing a preview, Mr. Sugo said, “There are new discoveries, and I was able to feel it moving straight forward.”

Ms. Morishita said that her family are all big fans of Yamato; “We do a big Yamato chorus when we all go to karaoke.”

Ms. Inoue said, “women are women, and can enjoy this from a different perspective than the men.”

With mutual understanding, Ms. Morishita said, “We can identify with Starsha and Yuki, and as for Captain Okita, he’s refined but tough.”

Some shots that were not used from General Director Yutaka Izubuchi’s storyboard were restored in the area around Episode 20, and an added highlight is the use of 5.1 ch sound to bring more depth to the music and sound effects.

In his comments, Mr. Sugo said, “I want you to watch Yamato fight.”

Finally, the director gave this message to the audience: “While I think most people will have already watched 2199 from the beginning, I ask that they please come back to enjoy these two hours and then judge it afterward.”

Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember is now open in theaters across the country. A bonus for attendees is a “Secret File” to be handed out each week which contains information from Director Yutaka Izubuchi. Also, a limited-edition theater blu-ray comes with a storyboard collection. The standard edition is scheduled for release November 21.


Now that you know who’s who and what they said, you’re better prepared to follow this opening day coverage on Youtube:

Part 1: Stage greetings at Marunouchi Piccadilly theater

Part 2: Starsha cosplayer on stage, live lip-sync with Kikuko Inoue, conclusion of stage greeting

Part 3: Starsha cosplayer press session

Program book

This full-color 48-page book lived right up to the standard we saw the first time around with liberal use of Kia Asamiya’s artwork along with stills, art, text features, and a LOT of product promotion. Anime commentator and original Yamato superfan Ryusuke Hikawa returned to write this insightful introduction:

Memories of 168,000 light years dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Yamato

Once again, Space Battleship Yamato leaves on a voyage to Iscandar, to save the Earth. Since its inception in 1974, Space Battleship Yamato became a monumental work that ignited a boom all across Japan. In commemoration of its 40th anniversary in 2014, a special compilation movie sweeps across the screen, based on the fully reborn TV series, Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

A journey has no end,
a round trip continues

In answer to the fundamental question, “What is the story” of Space Battleship Yamato, hints come from various sides and perspectives in this monumental work.

Thinking back to its first appearance in 1974, there are many “divergent views” on the myth of Yamato. In parallel with the TV broadcast, manga, novels, illustrated stories, records, and picture books all told “the voyage of Yamato” in different media. Early characters and original monsters appeared in the planning, with differences in mecha design concepts and Planet Gamilas. The main characters had different personalities and fates. The broadcast version was the favorite, and seemed to settle these points, but conversely you could feel a synergistic effect of increasing expectations.

First of all, occasional storytellers added myth and tradition to the arrangement. Because variant versions were made, the universal elements were extracted, and its strength as a story increased beyond time and space. It was fun to hear them clash with each other, and it was recognized that Yamato 2199 took us to the next stage of the “divergent views and variations of Yamato.”

When viewed in terms of the “mythical variation” premise of the Yamato production team, you notice interesting things. Various details are provided to invite the audience into the flow of the individual works. But when the branches are shaved off and the “trunk” of the storyline is extracted, the part that emerges is, “To save the Earth from destruction, we take an arduous journey beyond the Milky Way,” and we notice that it’s all the same story. When further details are shaved off, it becomes “a long and arduous journey to retrieve something important for the relief of people,” which provides recurring hints of Journey to the West. Of course, the properties of the story are different, and there are few direct similarities to Journey to the West, but it is important to confirm such a universal trunk.

Yamato 2199 is carefully based on the relationship between the trunk and the branches, and was expanded from the original with exquisite choices. Using the ample time of all 26 episodes to detail it up gave the impression of “it goes this way!” from the original base, and the wonderful variations won over the audience at first sight. Both surprise and satisfaction are felt in this “compilation film” of 2199, which provides another variation of the TV series.

One way to confirm as many times as you want that Space Battleship Yamato changed the history of anime is the fact of the feature film version that was released in 1977. That movie, which was re-edited with new additions, was an unprecedented hit that gave rise to the anime boom and the birth of anime magazines. 2199 follows the reverse route, bringing it back to theaters after the series was shown theatrically and on TV. It could be said that returning to the theater shows us a fateful overlapping of the “eternal journey” with a “round trip.”

In fact, the values of the choices made for this compilation film A Voyage to Remember give the same “it goes this way!” impression as the TV series. For example, the “rebellion on the ship” incident was planned for the 1974 version, but was not realized. Yamato‘s pitched battle against the Domelaze III and breakthrough of the enemy lines at Planet Balun got the blood pumping by amplifying the original many times during 2199‘s development. Its “2199-ness” carefully comes out there.

If it was composed to only follow the set-up of the original with all the elements in the same place, the “part that stirs the emotions” might have been hazy. But by picking it up boldly, it allows us to relive the “voyage of 2199” in darkness. The feelings evoked from that are very precious. While we anticipate the next new movie, Ark of the Stars, it is also good to take a reunion voyage with “previous Yamato” and bring those feelings back to life.

– Ryusuke Hikawa (anime and tokusatsu critic)

See the rest of the program book with translated content here.

Merchandising

Premiere days always bring with them a flood of merchandise for the theater gift shops, and this flood combined many new items with some seen before, including the Kia Asamiya postcards and clear files that were previously available only at the art exhibitions. These were quick to sell out, along with a mug designed after General Domel’s uniform.

Click here for a gallery of all the new stuff fans had to choose from.

Limited-edition Blu-ray

This edition, like those that came before it, was issued only to movie theaters and you had to buy a movie ticket to get one. It contained the movie with the “killer app” of English subtitles, a 24-page guidebook (see it from cover to cover here), and the item that makes it a true limited edition: the storyboard book.

The books that came with Chapters 1-7 only covered single episodes, but this one contains the entire 2-hour, 10-minute film with storyboards patched together from the series. That makes it a real beast, a full 1.5 inches thick.

The wraparound slipcase art is another piece by the great Naoyuki Katoh, seen for the first time anywhere.

Character designer Nobuteru Yuuki created the cover for the video sleeve and a new portrait of Melda Dietz for the storyboard book (at right).

The disc comes with numerous bonus features, none of which are subtitled – which was also the case on all the previous discs. The features consist of a staff audio commentary, a Yamatalk Night from May 2014 with director Kato and writer Morita, commercials and trailers, and three short video programs: Yamato mecha, the UN Cosmo Navy, and the Garmillas Empire.

The English subtitles follow the format and vocabulary that was set up in the Star Blazers 2199 discs released in the US. Yurisha’s name is rendered Ulyssia, Planet Bombs are called Meteor Bombs, Garmillas is back to Gamilas (with the citizens called Gamilans), and the Deusular is now the Deusura.

While we’re at it, this is the appropriate time to examine the actual content of the film as edited from the series. It opens cold (heh) with Yamato at Pluto, having skipped the first four episodes. From there, we see the opening title (same as it always was) and flash back to the end of Episode 1 with the first sighting of Yamato. Then a shortened version of Episode 2. By the time Yamato actually launches from Earth, we’re just 20 minutes in.

The first warp plays out as a warp from the edge of the solar system, and the ship comes out of it into the dimensional rift (Ep 10) for the meeting with Melda. The Wave-Motion Gun is used for the first time in the film to break free of the rift zone. Then we shift to the Gamilas side; Domel is assigned the task of taking down Yamato, Planet Ortaria [spelled Alteria in the series] is destroyed, and the assassination attempt is made on Dessler.

Next comes Yamato‘s first clash with Domel (Ep 15), followed by a brief version of the mutiny at Beemela (16). Domel’s trial leads to the epic battle at Balun and the takedown of Zoellik (18). The Battle of the Rainbow Star Cluster is next (20), where the bulk of the new footage can be found. Yuki is captured, and the time spent at Leptapoda is limited to creating the alliance with Admiral Dietz. (The subtitles spell the name “Ditz,” but let’s do them a favor and ignore that.)

From there, it’s on to the climax at Gamilas (23) and the arrival at Iscandar (24). As soon as Yamato launches from Iscandar, the credits roll. The last two episodes are absent, which has the effect of deleting most of the emotional weight from the story. On the other hand, the next “episode” to happen will be Ark of the Stars, so there is some logic in this choice.

The end credit illustrations flow through with Nana Mizuki’s new song, and we see the arrival at Earth with one alteration – Yuki is in her crew uniform at the end. See the entire end credits sequence for yourself on Youtube here.

Your feelings about the compilation will most likely be dictated by what you wanted to see in it. If you wanted to relive the last two episodes, you’ll need to go back to the series. Since there wasn’t time to do them justice here, it was probably deemed better not to try. Despite one particularly negative review at Kotaku.com, the movie accomplishes its primary goal of compressing the major beats of the story into one sitting. Interested viewers will be compelled to look deeper.

As they stated in one their program book interview, the writer and director felt their purpose was to fuel the continuation of the saga, and they took that responsibility very seriously. Preorder your copy from either Amazon.jp or CD Japan, and you’ll find out for yourself on or around November 21.

Secret Files 00 and 01

And now, finally, we come to the “Secret Files.” What are they? Freebies are common in Japanese cinema as incentives to pack the house on opening weekend. They’re usually something simple like a postcard (we saw several during the initial run of 2199). This time, the freebies are a series of four foldout cards with story information that might elude new viewers. The text was approved by Series Director Yutaka Izubuchi.

Secret File 00 came with the Blu-ray, and Secret File 01 came with a movie ticket on opening weekend while supplies lasted. Following this pattern, 02 and 03 were given away on the second and third weekends. So you had to see A Voyage to Remember three times to catch ’em all.

Here’s what they had to offer…

Secret Document 00

The blue shadow that cloaks Dessler – Underground activities of his bodyguards

Read the translated text here.

Secret Document 01

The top secret information that backed the covert operation during Domel’s last battle

Read the translated text here.

Ark of the Stars clear files

If you bought advance tickets for Ark of the Stars in the spring, they came with a set of mini-art prints. If you waited until summer, they came with a “cosmo clear” version of the Yamato mini-model. If you were strong enough to hold out until October 11, Yamato Crew found another way to weaken your resistance with these two new clear files illustrated by mecha designer Junichiro Tamamori.

At left is Yamato with its Wave-Motion plug in place, and at right is the new landing craft that will appear in the film. How’s your willpower holding up now, Earthling?

October 11 & 12: Kichijoji display

One more thing made October 11 a day to remember: the 5-meter Yamato model, originally built for Resurrection in 2009 and last seen at the Bandai Namco Anime Camp in September. It was spotted lurking through the back streets of Kichijoji (a Tokyo suburb) on Saturday morning, on its way to the JR train station.

No, it wasn’t headed out of town, it was being escorted to a plaza next to the station, directly in front of the Marui department store where it would remain on display for the weekend.

Twitter users posted these photos and described the crowd reactions. One young girl tried to duck the rope and take a ride, and a father took a moment to hum the theme song for his family.

Incidentally, when the backstreet photo was shared on the Cosmo DNA Facebook page, it quickly became the most popular post in the history of the community.


Click here to continue to part 3

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