With the premiere day for Ark of the Stars in the rear view mirror, things slowed down somewhat for the rest of the month; December 7-31 saw roughly the same activity as the first five days. But even by itself, that would still count as an above-average month.
And now, the rest of December:
December 7: Battlefield Infinity update
Just six days after its launch, this mobile phone strategy game announced a special campaign that tied in with Ark of the Stars. (It actually began December 1, but for some reason the Yamato Crew website didn’t announce it until the 7th.) From December 1 to January 6, players had access to special “available units” (fightercraft) and the ability to customize them in three separate campaigns against the Gatlantis fleet: “Hit Gatlantis” from the 1st to the 13th, “Crash Gatlantis” from the 13th to the 25th, and “Decisive Battle with Gatlantis” from the 25th through January 6.
The promotional images above were posted on Twitter.
December 7: Day 2 stage greetings
Opening weekend was a very busy one for voice actor Eriko Nakamura. After two stage greetings (in Tokyo and Sendai) on Saturday, she flew all the way to Fukuoka at the southern end of Japan to visit two theaters Sunday morning – and a third in Hiroshima Sunday afternoon. Her Twitter photos told the story.
December 9: Understanding Astronomy in Space Battleship Yamato 2199
Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is infused with the latest theories of space and astronomy!
As the astronomer in charge of scientific research, Professor Toshihiro Handa talks about the latest depictions of space in Yamato. Yamato follows a route from Earth to Iscandar, and as it passes through the solar system and encounters other worlds, it approaches essential astronomy and the latest in space findings. Also included is commentary on what fans care about, such as the Warp and the Wave-Motion Gun. The new feature film Ark of the Stars is also introduced!
So reads the blurb inside the dust jacket for this remarkable paperback from Seibundo-Shinkosha. In 192 full color pages, Professor Handa tracks the entire voyage to Iscandar and back with concise 2-page or 4-page entries for each topic. The text is all in Japanese, of course, but it’s a visual feast from start to finish.
Order your copy from Amazon.co.jp here.
December 9: Commemorative Coin
If you pick a company name like Imperial Enterprise International, you don’t think small. And the thinking behind this product is pretty big; to commemorate Yamato‘s 40th anniversary, IEI teamed up with the Yamato Production Committee to mint this silver coin, which is cast at the Myers Mint in Germany and is legal tender in the Commonwealth of the Cook Islands. The display stand includes a 3D relief sculpture.
Get a better look at the product’s official website here.
December 10: Voice Actor Grand Prix
The January 2015 of this magazine (published by the Shufunotomo Co.) featured a one-page interview with voice actor Aya Uchida (Yuria Misaki) in which she talked about Ark of the Stars, her involvement with YRA Radio Yamato, and the special episode that ties into the 40th Anniversary Best Track Image Album.
Read the article here.
December 11: Yomiuri Shimbun article
Director Yutaka Izubuchi popped up again in a single-page article (with an ad promoting Ark of the Stars as a “Big Hit Release!!”) in which he shared his thoughts about the relationship of human beings and outer space.
Read the article here.
December 11: New character listings
With fewer spoilers to worry about, the official 2199 website added two new entries to their Ark of the Stars character page: Lerelai Leru and Melia Rikke. Both have been added to our own character guide with text translations here.
See the official site’s character page here.
December 12: New stills released
Hot on the heels of the new character data, the official site revealed a collection of 29 new Ark stills, which can be seen here.
December 13: Secret File 02
As Ark of the Stars began its second week in theaters, Secret File 01 was replaced by 02 in the free handout pack. The text inside was titled Embers of the Izumo Plan, Ki 8-type prototype airboat.
Read it (and all the other Secret Files) here.
December 13 & 14: Week 2 Stage Greetings
When A Voyage to Remember came out in October, it set a new precedent when voice actors made personal appearances not only the first weekend, but also the second. That gauntlet was picked up this month on the 13th when Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Eriko Nakamura (Mikage Kiryu) turned up at Namba Parks Cinema (home of the chocolate Yamato). The photo above was posted on the Yamato Production Committee’s Twitter feed that day. Nakamura was nursing a sore throat, and communicated by written notes.
Their stage greeting on the 14th was a larger affair. Ono and Nakamura traveled back to Tokyo and were joined on stage at the Marunouchi Piccadilly Theater for the first time by voice actor Junichi Suwabe (Fomto Berger) and Production IG Producer Mikio Gunji.
The event was publicized in a Shochiku press release and picked up by internet news sites…
Big hit!! Thank-you stage greeting
Voice actors share their feelings about the new Yamato 2199
The new feature film Yamato 2199 Ark of the Stars premiered Saturday, December 6. On Sunday December 14, Voice actors Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai), Junichi Suwabe (Fomto Berger) and Eriko Nakamura (Mikage Kiryu) were joined on stage by Producer Mikio Gunji to deliver a big hit thank-you stage greeting at the Marunouchi Piccadilly Theater in Yurakucho, Tokyo.
Each cast member announced their favorite character, talked passionately, and revealed new production stories. Eriko Nakamura had a sore throat, so she mainly communicated by written notes that were amusingly read by Junichi Suwabe. The venue swelled with excitement from beginning to end.
Daisuke Ono’s comments:
Being able to board Yamato once more filled me with emotion. I realized when I came up here and saw this audience that I’ve traveled with many companions so far, and Yamato’s journey was extremely difficult. Thank you very much. I think the first impression of Kodai might have seemed strange at the beginning, because he’s more introspective, and he might not be Kodai to someone who watched the original work. But after the matter of his older brother Mamoru, he grew up thanks to his friends on Yamato.
There are a lot of a influential figures in the voice cast, and the sight of all those energetic young voice actors left me dumbfounded. I’ve been told that the characters in Yamato tend to be foolish, and I think “foolish” is a great keyword. (Note from Nakamura: Made foolish by love.)
Other than Yuki, my favorite female character is Niimi. She’s earnest about Mamoru, and the marriage of her intellectual side with her impulsive side is a good one. It’s a moe [fetish] gap.
I’m self-conscious about speaking on stage, so this makes me nervous, but it’s fun to talk about Yamato in a stage greeting, which I think is an equal sign of love. I think everyone who watches this from now on will be filled with love, including the older fans. Yamato’s journey is not over. Let’s all continue the journey together! Thanks for today.
Junichi Suwabe’s comments:
(Imitating Dessler) “Gentlemen of Terron…” that’s not my line. (Laughs)
(On seeing the finished film) I’m filled with emotion. I think anyone who watched the TV series understands, I thought Berger was completely dead… (Laughs) but after the series was over, Director Izubuchi said, “Berger is not dead.” I wondered if it was a cheat. But I’m glad to have finally appeared in such a form.
I’ve liked the plamodels since I was in kindergarten, and when I went to the neighborhood store with my parents, I begged them many times to buy one. “This is the request of a lifetime!” I liked Andromeda back then, and now I think Yamato is cool. I’m sorry I didn’t get that as a kid. (Laughs)
The cause of the wound on Berger’s cheek is revealed in this movie. There were various stories behind that in the past, but he was easier to play when I learned he wasn’t merely a bad guy.
(Regarding the suit he was wearing on stage) Today I voted in an election at an elementary school looking like this. (Note from Nakamura: Like a serious host.)
I thought about how a fleet battle would be shown with present-day mecha action, and my heart was pounding…I was really excited!
(Favorite character) Every girl is cute, but it’s Kiryu.
I think the day we get to fight again in the world of Yamato, it should be elaborate. It has become an important work.
Eriko Nakamura comments:
I’m very happy to see you in person for the second week of release. My favorite character in Yamato is Berger. He looks yummy. (Laughs)
(Favorite character) I like Daisuke Shima. Only Shima doesn’t get any romance…I’m worried about him living the single life.
In the movie I played both Melia and Mikage Kiryu. Recently when I asked everyone, “How was it?” and I was really glad to get a warm round of applause. I’ll be happy from now on if I can share such times with everyone on the Yamato crew.
Producer Mikio Gunji’s comments:
I’m Gunji from Production IG. The movie is finished and it’s good…but I really don’t think we need to give it up.
This time, the Wave-Motion Gun is sealed up and it features an appealing battle of conventional weapons. When we were in script meetings, we talked about how it’s interesting to fight with conventional weapons using wisdom and courage. In the last battle scene with Yamato and the enemy battleship, we made it a big highlight when they fought a gun battle and drew the enemy in using the rocket anchor. Isn’t the image of two battleships fighting in single combat like a gunman in a western?
I think you can understand from the end credit roll that the production of a movie is crystalized from the sweat and effort of many people. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Yamato 2199 is not complete until you’ve seen this movie. If you can come back to the theater many times, I’ll be very happy.
December 14: Kodai and Yuki pen set
Hang in there, true believer. You haven’t seen everything yet. Premium Bandai, the high-end, online-only shop, announced this handsome (his and hers?) Kodai and Yuki pen set to help you remember that Space Battleship Yamato is 40 years old. As seen here, the outer box is foil-stamped and the pens have precise detailing from tip to tip. (Notice the little Wave-Motion Gun end on Kodai’s.)
The pens are made of aluminum and iron with the characters’ names spelled in English on brass bands around the middle. Kodai’s pen has blue, red, and black ink options, while Yuki has red and black. The set is scheduled to ship in April.
See Premium Bandai’s product page for the pens here.
December 15: Great Mechanics DX #31
A new issue of this quarterly magazine is always a welcome sight for fans of anime mecha, and this one devoted six pages to Ark of the Stars. Two of the movie’s producers were interviewed, and it featured the first of four interviews that would appear this month with mecha designer Junichiro Tamamori. (The other three were still to come.)
Read the article here.
December 16: Final movie trailer
This isn’t as weird as it sounds. The last trailer for Yamato 2199 Chapter 7 appeared several days after the movie came out, and this one followed Ark of the Stars by a mere ten days. This is actually a good thing, because the scene choices dive deeper into the film and show much more than the November trailer. It also codified a slogan that had been heard several times in recent days: “You haven’t seen all of Yamato 2199 until you see this!”
See it on Youtube here.
December 18: Yamato 2199 Complete Works Volume 3 announcement
Today, Yamato Crew published the first specific information about the concluding volume in this book series. The 320-page Volume 3 will cover TV episodes 23-26, characters and mecha for Iscandar and Gatlantis, and both movies. Staff and cast comments will also be included. A companion book will contain all the TV and movie scripts, and both are scheduled to ship together on April 30.
See the announcement at the Yamato Crew website (with more sample images) here.
December 18/19: Music news
Yamatalks returned to the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater on December 18 when Composer/conductor Akira Miyagawa and sound supervisor Tomohiro Yoshida appeared on stage. A forthcoming concert had already been announced in the Ark of the Stars program book. Although Miyagawa has conducted 2199 tracks at several public performances, this will be the first dedicated 2199 music event since November 2012.
Yamato Crew released the first official information the next day, accompanied by the key art shown above left. (If the concert gets a CD release, that art should make a darn nice cover.) There will be three performances at Maihama Ampitheater: two on February 28 and one on March 1. Fans who buy the top-price tickets will be entered into a special prize lottery to receive limited-edition CD singles of an “insert song” from Ark of the Stars titled Wakare [Separation]. (It’s a German folk song, which can be heard sung in Japanese here.)
The information at Yamato Crew indicates the CD will include three versions of the song (with lyrics, without lyrics, and BGM version) and will ONLY be available in this prize lottery. Despite the exquisite agony that sentence just sent through the hearts of Yamato music collectors outside Japan, we can probably look forward to a CD of the concert itself at some point in 2015.
December 20: Official site update
“Santa Yuki” had been standing vigil in the lower lobby of the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater since late November (collecting an autograph from her voice actor Houko Kuwashima at some point), but on December 20 she was finally added to the home page of the official 2199 website, where she stayed up through the holiday.
December 20: Secret File 03
As week 2 gave way to week 3 in theaters, Secret File 02 was replaced by 03 in the free handout pack. The text inside was titled Pilgrimage of the Jirellians, Legacy of Akerius.
Read it (and all the other Secret Files) here.
December 21: Ark of the Stars Big Hit Voyage TV special
One TV special would have been enough; two was just pure luxury. Assembled to celebrate the movie’s success, it consisted mainly of footage – huge, generous chunks of footage – that borders on spoiler level. Aya Uchida and Eriko Nakamura gave a new intro and signoff, and other segments included the December 6 stage greeting and Q&A with composer Akira Miyagawa.
The program was posted on Youtube December 23rd. Watch it here (if you dare).
December 22: Yamatalk event
An unusual Yamatalk took place at the Shinjuku Piccadilly on the evening of the 22nd. The subject was Yamato art, and the guests were unique qualified: painters Naoyuki Katoh and Kia Asamiya. As longtime fans know, Katoh’s work goes all the way back to mecha design on the original series and continues today with his numerous paintings for book and video covers. Asamiya’s resume is also impressive with a long history of manga and anime projects (see his credits here). More recently, he produced the stunning end-title art for 2199‘s TV reruns, which has since been seen on other products.
Both painters brought recent works with them that demonstrated their elite gifts. Asamiya’s painting from the cover of Yamato 2199 Pia was there, which has the name Demon Symphony of Deep Space. Katoh’s piece, which was seen tonight for the first time, is a 2-meter tall stunner titled Shifual Sabera of Silver. After this, both paintings were sent to join the final opening of the 2199 Art Exhibition. (Keep reading.)