November 2014 wasn’t as dense with activity as October, at least until the latter half of the month when the promotion machine for Ark of the Stars went nuclear. Announcements that would normally come well in advance were held back until A Voyage to Remember arrived on home video, and a rush of products gave us the clear signal that Yamato fever was back.
Meanwhile, Voyage finished its initial run in 32 theaters, but its closing on October 31 was only the beginning of its life as a film. It began its second run throughout the month of November; 14 screens on the 1st, 28 on the 8th, four on the 15th, and eight on the 29th – finishing on December 5, the eve of the Ark of the Stars premiere.
(Note: This report was posted earlier than usual, on December 1 rather than December 15. If you haven’t read the previous report yet, check it out here.)
Here’s the month of November from top to bottom:
November 1: Hyper Hobby #195
The right side of Hyper Hobby‘s 2-page Yamato spread tried to sum up the October news (but only scratched the surface, as Report 37 demonstrated), but the left side gave us some new product pics. The top half is all Megahouse; prototype 1/8 Yamato Girl figures including Mikage Kiryu, Yurisha Iscandar, a previously-unseen Akira Yamamoto (release dates to come), a bikini-clad Yuki Mori (March) and the “warp style” Cosmo Fleet Yamato miniature. Among the products at bottom left are upcoming Bandai models and Cospa’s Okita jacket.
November 2: Yamato Lecture 8
The Yamato Lecture series has been covered in past reports; it’s a fan-run talk show in which guests from different segments of the entertainment business (mainly anime-related) chat about the generational impact of Space Battleship Yamato, sometimes in cultural terms and sometimes with tongues in cheeks.
This one fell into the latter category with a two-part presentation. The first was titled Romance of Yamato 2199, view from the game system. The lecturer was illustrator and game writer Yoshimiru, who created the game-style graphics shown here.
The second part was titled Yamato Plamodel 2199, delivered by two contributors to Model Graphix magazine: modeler Takeshita Yasuhiro and Yamato editor Iwao Sekiguchi.
Yamato Lecture 8 was moderated by MC Osamu Kobayashi (who has become Yamato 2199‘s regular MC at theatrical events) and held at the Loft Plus One club in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The bar offered an exclusive menu of items with Yamato names like Imperial Balerus Rice, Cosmo Reverse Snack and Shima Yukemuri buns.
See photos aplenty at the Yamato Lecture Twitter page here.
Visit the Yamato Lecture homepage here. The bottom text line in each event window takes you to an illustration gallery.
November 4: Modeling contest
A Yamato 2199 modeling contest was announced a few months ago, and photos of the winning entries were posted at the official 2199 website on the 4th. Click here to browse the galleries: Earth (on the left) and Garmillas (right). They were published in both Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby magazines later in the month.
November 4: 1/8 Yurisha Iscandar figure photos
Megahouse released the first photos of their finished, fully-painted Yurisha Iscandar figure, to be released February 2015. There’s actually a coloring error here; her only exposed flesh in the anime is her face and hands. The actual product may or may not take this into account. Preorders for the figure opened November 7.
November 6: Boxer pants
Fandom got the giggles when the Yamato Crew website published these photos of men’s shorts in four different styles.
Though they look like denim, they are all patterns printed on stretchable poly/nylon bike shorts.
It’s a safe bet that the designers knew exactly what they were doing. (Note the tiny crew member standing inside the Wave-Motion Gun.)
Get a better look at all four here.
November 6: Nana Mizuki interview
Japanese entertainment website Mynavi published this interview with pop superstar/voice actress Nana Mizuki about her new song BLUE, the end title track for A Voyage to Remember:
Mizuki watched Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and gave a starting point for her dream.
“The Iscandar I’m aiming for is a concert at Koshien and a concert at age 77.”
The gallantry of Yuki Mori in accomplishing her mission has a power I love that puts men to shame.
By Kiri Nakazato
Yamato 2199 A Voyage to Remember was produced to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the anime TV series Space Battleship Yamato. It was released in event screenings on October 11 after the earlier theatrical release of all seven chapters, adding new shots and newly-recorded narration to the 26-episode TV series first broadcast from April to September 2013. It was the first compilation film with 5.1ch, composed to look back at the journey to Iscandar from the viewpoint of the hero, Susumu Kodai.
BLUE, the ending theme of A Voyage to Remember, was created by the active voice actor and singer Nana Mizuki. She also created Star of Love, the ending theme of Yamato 2199 Chapter 7. We talked with her about the two songs and asked about her dreams and origin.
Born January 21, 1980 in Ehime Prefecture. She made her voice acting debut as Chisato Kadokura in the Playstation game NOeL: La Neige in 1997. She made her singing debut with the single Feelings in 2000. She became an active voice actor and singer afterward, also participating in the 60th and 61st NHK Kohaku Song Contest.
See an extensive list of her credits at Anime News Network here.
Interviewer: First, please tell us your image of the work called Space Battleship Yamato.
Mizuki: I feel that it’s a great work that has not faded even after 40 years. One of its biggest themes is to save the Earth. The human force of the characters woven into a variety of drama is overwhelming. Before you’re aware of it, you’re strongly drawn into the story until you feel like you’re also a member of Yamato‘s crew. You share their passion and concerns and you shed tears with them. Familiar drama is drawn into a magnificent story, and I think it’s a really fascinating work that makes me realize a lot of important things. I’d like a wide generation of people to see it.
Space Battleship Yamato was made before I was born, and Yamato 2199 provided an opportunity again to touch upon the other works of Yamato. I thought, what a waste it was not to have watched it before now. (Laughs) I also really want to take advantage of this opportunity to see the original version. The women on the crew increased in Yamato 2199, and since it is depicted from the women’s perspective, I’d like women to watch it by all means.
Interviewer: Which character in Yamato 2199 do you empathize with?
Mizuki: Although every character is attractive and I like them all…if I had to pick just one it would be Yuki. She’s a woman, but the bravery with which she fulfills her mission as a member of the crew is powerful enough to put men to shame.
Interviewer: A new work titled Yamato 2199 Ark of the Stars will premiere in December.
Mizuki: As a completely original story, I have no choice but to be intrigued! Since Captain Okita is on the poster, does it happen a little before the “return to Earth”? I’m hopeful, but I don’t know any details, so I’m looking forward to it the same as everyone else.
Interviewer: How did you feel when you got the offer to do the ending theme for A Voyage to Remember?
Mizuki: I was very honored, but felt a lot of pressure at the same time. The basic ending is the same for both stories, and in the situation of making a ballad, could I make new music for the same ending scene? It was a big struggle with myself. It couldn’t resemble the previous song Star of Love too much, but it also couldn’t change too much. The moment I heard the intro piano melody on a demo for BLUE, I intuitively thought, “This is it,” and it progressed smoothly from there.
I wanted to make a musical piece that could be understood by all the fans who have continued loving Space Battleship Yamato for 40 years, and if it also contained the will of the young generation from the new elements that were added to the story in Yamato 2199…that’s what I felt while I worked on it. I was really nervous. (Laughs)
Interviewer: What specifically are the new points, and the new charms?
Mizuki: When I read the script for Yamato 2199 and imagined the ending, it spoke warmly with a sound like a gentle piano, and there was an image in the music of quietly nestling up to a loved one. The female crew increased, and love patterns are also depicted…this is a place with some new points, and I think the human story expands more.
Interviewer: What did you think when you heard the finished song in the theater?
Mizuki: I was insanely impressed…! In fact, I went to a theater to watch Chapter 7 of Yamato 2199. Since it was a weeknight, there more more people from the generation that supported the original Yamato, so nobody left until the ending finished flowing, and they all applauded at the end. That experience was a real treasure. I was very fortunate to be involved in such a beloved work, and I want to sneak out and see A Voyage to Remember at some point!
Interviewer: The title is BLUE. What kind of thought did you put into the lyrics?
Mizuki: The theme of Yamato is “love.” I thought about how love could be conveyed to everyone in words. Because the stage is outer space, if it’s depicted normally, the scale will inevitably be huge. I wanted to bring it to a place where you can feel the warmth of a body. In Yamato 2199 there’s Kodai and Yuki, Starsha and Mamoru Kodai, and Dessler…the form of love becomes complicated and intertwined with human drama, and it’s depicted as a driving force moved forward by peoples’ feelings. Even the smallest connections with people have a power that can cause miracles, and I think that is love’s handiwork.
As for the title, when I listened to the lyric, “Yamato will surely return to Earth,” the image of “the blue Earth beautifully restored” floated through my mind. Both Iscandar and Earth are blue planets, and in order to represent the irreplaceable beauty of the sea and sky, I wanted the title BLUE. The beautiful color of the Earth.
Interviewer: There is Western language in your music, and a lot of expression assigned to the phonetic reading of Japanese. Although BLUE has the impression of putting feelings into simple words, were you conscious of the wide age range of the audience this time?
Mizuki: I love coined words and the original phonetic words in fantasy, but I wanted to write in straight language this time. While nestling up to the world in the story, I wanted to depict everyday things, and spell out the important feelings of everyday life. It has a lot of feelings of love and gratitude that cannot usually be spoken with ease.
Interviewer: Where do you feel such important feelings?
Mizuki: A place with a feeling of “love” is what is most alive for me. When I had to cancel a live performance this year because of a throat condition, I was really supported by deep love from everyone. I was able to meet wonderful new friends, and every day felt like a continuing miracle. These feelings of “love” synchronized with Yamato 2199, and I was dutifully able to spell it out in words.
Interviewer: I’d like to ask you about the relationship and the differences between singing BLUE and Star of Love.
Mizuki: Star of Love is from when Yamato returns to Earth, and the image is like singing toward the Earth with open arms. BLUE is like singing toward the crew, a ballad of warmth that closes the distance. Star of Love has a broad range, but BLUE is concentrated in the higher range. These two songs are related like sisters. The older sister (Star of Love) has various thoughts taking in a wide view, and the younger sister (BLUE) is innocently happy! And sad! It hits straight on these feelings…in BLUE there is the comfort of casually snuggling up to someone, and I think when I finish singing it, I just naturally smile.
Interviewer: Yamato 2199 is a story of flying across the universe to Iscandar and returning to Earth. If you were to fly off to some ideal place one day, please tell me the origin point you would return to.
Mizuki: I haven’t decided where I’m getting off of this ride. I think I want to keep going as far as I can. The Iscandar in my various dreams and goals…is to be live in Koshien Stadium. (Laughs) As a Hanshin fan, I long to stand in that place someday. [Translator’s note: this refers to a baseball stadium.] And since I intend to keep performing until I’m 77, maybe the Iscandar I’d warp time and space to reach is to perform a concert at that age.
In the end, the place I would return to someday is Ehime [Prefecture], where I was born and raised. Ehime is a place where a lot of people like music, and there is a festival or recital every week. I think being born in Ehime was a big part of my dream to become a singer. Someday an anison [anime song] fest should be held in Ehime, and local people will gather and children will attend! I’d like to make an event like that.
Interviewer: You were born and raised in a place of music, and soon you will appear as a guest on the NHK anison singing contest.
Mizuki: It has the feeling of supporting and cheering for the participants from behind. There’s a lot of tension in something like a singing contest – I know it extremely well! (Laughs) So, when they cheer me on with all their strength, as if they were family, sharing the tension, sharing the pleasure, I think it helps bring the event to a climax.
Interviewer: If you could have a live performance in space, what kind of performance would it be…?
Mizuki: If it was at a place like Iscandar, where I’d be able to sing without a space suit…it would be wonderful to sing at a place like Starsha’s castle! But what would happen if I tried to jump in space? (Laughs) I think there would be a variety of unique things you could do in space, so I look forward to a future where I could do that while I’m still alive. (Laughs)
Interviewer: Finally, please tell me again what Yamato 2199, Star of Love, and BLUE mean to you.
Mizuki: I’m really happy that I was fortunate enough to participate in Yamato 2199 and produce two songs that are special to me. In fact, last year there was a big cheer when I called out the title Star of Love in my first live concert in Taiwan. Also, in the fan vote in Taiwan this year, Star of Love was chosen as #1 out of more than 200 songs…I’m really glad to have so much love from across the sea. I’ll continue to honor that as I sing with love!
Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.
November 7: Yamato Mechanics 2199
Model Graphix finally joined Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby when it collected its 2199 coverage into this full-color 112-page book. They consistently publish the finest quality photo-features of exquisitely customized models with realistic lighting, as seen in our monthly roundup of hobby magazine coverage.
The title is based on the now-legendary website of mecha designer Junichiro Tamamori, who pioneered his own updated Yamato visual world and eventually got hired to redesign the Earth mecha for 2199. The book’s major text feature is reprinted from issue #352 of the magazine, which can be read in full here.
November 7: Best Lottery announcement
The Ichiban Kuji [Number 1 Best] lottery is a seasonal prize campaign run by Banpresto, a toy branch of Bandai. In February 2014, they rolled out a whole new line of Yamato 2199 products to be won by customers who purchased tickets at convenience stores. See that product lineup here.
This month, Banpresto announced a few more of these items, which will be sold in theaters from December 6 as a tie-in with Ark of the Stars. They will consist of an art print, a set of nine mecha drawings, and a metallic-colored version of their previous Yuki Mori figure (only 30 to be made and won in a “double chance” lottery).
November 7: 1/8 Yuki Mori bikini figure preorders open
Among the other Yamato Girls figures still to come from Megahouse will be this newly-announced Yuki Mori in two differently-colored bikinis. One might ask why she doesn’t appear in the actual swimwear seen on Iscandar, but one would probably not get an answer.
November 9: Michio Murakawa exhibition at Comitia
Hokkaido Comitia is a 30-year old doujinshi event along the lines of Comiket, which was held November 9 at a hotel in Sapporo. A fan circle named Elysian Office worked with Kadokawa Publishing and the Yamato Production Committee to curate an exhibit of Michio Murakawa’s 2199 manga art, displaying it in various stages. Above left is a postcard they distributed prior to the event. Above right is the image displayed on Elysian’s website.
Visit Elysian’s blog here.
See the Comitia website here.
November 10: Yamato 2199 Complete Works announcement
Yamato Crew and Mag Garden released the first photos of the finished Complete Works books that will debut with Ark of the Stars on December 6. They follow the format of the first deluxe Yamato hardcovers from 1976 and will contain an unprecedented amount of 2199 production materials.
Volumes 1 and 2 will be sold with the storage box, 336 pages and 352 pages respectively that cover the 2199 TV series. They will be sold in theaters and online to Japanese addresses. Volume 3, coming in early 2015, will cover the movies, and a fourth volume will contain the scripts. There is no information yet about a wider release.
See extensive sample pages at the Mag Garden website here.
November 10: Compact safety signs set 3
The Tsukushi Company announced another set of 2199 safety signs to be released in December. They read as follows…
Yuki: Reception counter is here / Okita: Be cautious…routine work can injure you / Yuria: Stop and look both ways / Kodai: Take a breather.
Sanada: Check your work before distributing it! / Makoto: Cheerfulness is always refreshing / Kodai & Shima: Call out to each other to avoid injury / Yamamoto: Temporarily away.
Visit Tsukushi’s home page for all the sets here.
November 10: Children’s Science, December issue
Published by Seibundo-Shinkosha, the full Japanese name of this magazine is Kodomo no Kagaku, which they shorten to KoKa (which could roughly translate to “KidSci”). Yamato 2199 got one of the cover stories for this issue, an article about the science behind making anime, with Production IG Producer Mikio Gunji.
Read the article here.
November 12: Beat Magazine
This is the free monthly promo magazine from Bandai Visual, the home-video branch of Bandai. It’s been a while since Yamato 2199 nabbed the cover spot, but the 1-2 punch of A Voyage to Remember and Ark of the Stars put it up front again.
November 12: Yamato Crew Premium Fan Club renewal kit
It’s been a bit over two years since the Premium Fan Club first went into operation, and each fall brings a drive for renewals. The incentive this year was a 2199 photo frame and a “welcome back” letter from the UNCF.
Fan club members receive a subscription to the quarterly Ship’s Log magazine and offers for tickets and special events. Naturally, you need a Japanese address to qualify.
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