The first Final Yamato home video flyers, VAP (March and April ’83)
As the month of April began, Final Yamato was still in its first theatrical run, to close on the 29th. The release of the film opened new publishing floodgates and plenty of things poured out to cushion the blow of the saga’s conclusion. Fans who worried about what their post-Yamato life had in store could put that concern aside for a bit longer.
They could also drown their sorrows with ample SF anime on TV; the last episode of Endless Road SSX aired at the end of March, but Macross, Space Cobra, Urashiman, and Dunbine were now joined by the hardest of hardcore “real robot” shows, Armored Trooper Votoms, which debuted on April 1. What’s more, the first wave of Yamato movies on home video would hit the world later in the month and move the saga into its next life.
OUT magazine, May issue
Minori Shobo, April 1, 1983
The cover feature for this issue was an overview of spring anime in theaters (which included Crusher Joe and Harmagedon but not Yamato) and on TV. Fairy Princess Minky Momo graced the cover (her show had passed the one year mark and was still going) and Macross also made a respectable showing as it approached its climactic 24th episode in mid-April. (And its phenomenal ratings had already earned it an extension beyond that point.)
Despite the lack of a full-fledged Final Yamato article, there was an interesting essay in the Reader’s Voices section that mistakenly credited Leiji Matsumoto as the “author” of Yamato. Proceeding from that assumption, the writer was critical of the saga’s direction after Series 1 and questioned the motives behind Final Yamato. Nevertheless, it presented a thoughtful perspective that can be read here.
Tokuma Shoten, April 10, 1983
These Time Machine retrospectives are mainly concerned with vintage SF anime, but there was a huge number of non-SF shows starting up in spring ’83. The top story in this issue gave them a looksee (Nine, Miyuki, Stop!! Hibari-kun, and more) followed by healthy coverage of Macross, Dunbine, Urashiman, and others. Sherlock Hound was only being broadcast in Europe and would not come to Japanese airwaves for over a year and a half, but it still got a photo-feature of its pilot episode.
There was no dedicated article on Final Yamato, but it was part of the big story from March, the triple-threat theatrical opening that pitted it against Crusher Joe and Harmagedon. This was the topic of an 8-page bound-in booklet by two writers who saw all three and gave their reviews. There was also a short article about how the films performed on opening day, the only hard data ever published on the subject.
Read the articles here.
Animedia, May issue
Gakken Marketing, April 10, 1983
Despite a cover story on the comedy series Patalliro, the lead feature was about the three spring movies with color coverage for each. Macross got a huge 10-page overview as it was heating up for its epic Episode 24. The new super robot series Sasuraiger got a bound-in booklet. An omnibus article titled Anime Hotline previewed all the new programs that would lead into the summer along with early looks at the Golgo-13 movie and two compilation films based on the recently-finished Dougram and Xabungle.
Four pages were devoted to Final Yamato in which fans were asked to comment on the film during opening weekend and vote for their favorite scene. Other than Animage, this was the only published source for information about the premiere. It was also Animedia‘s last article on Final Yamato.
Read it here.
Scramble Photo magazine #3
New English Publishing Co., April 10, 1983
As you can tell at first glance, this one is an oddball in the context of Yamato. It was a gossip magazine devoted to international showbiz, politics, and social commentary. In a short, poorly-informed screed, Yoshinobu Nishizaki was savaged by one of the editors (the text is unsigned) who clearly had an axe to grind. The piece contributes little to the body of Yamato knowledge, but is presented here for historical purposes.
Photo caption above text: It’s Nishisagi, not Nishizaki
Nishisagi business style
The man who gets fat on trickery and militarism
[Translator’s note: “Nishisagi” is wordplay. “Sagi” is the Japanese word for fraud or swindle.]
I wonder if this person is aware of what sort of an object he serves as.
If I knew, I’d have no choice but to call him a “master criminal.” Many people may not know the name Yoshinobu Nishizaki, but would you understand it if I called him the producer of the anime movie Space Battleship Yamato? From the beginning, the main theme of Yamato has consistently been “love.” But while this man appeals to young people with “love,” he is a complete fraud who only thinks of Yamato as a means to make money. I saw the title that was just released, and it is obvious at a glance.
Space Battleship Yamato was the first work in 1977, followed by Farewell, Be Forever, and The Final Chapter. After Farewell was said, he made Be Forever, and then went on to make Final. Of course, the sales pitch of two of those items was to brazenly sell a phony bill of goods about them being “the last Yamato,”
However, Mr. Nishizaki says, “There are a lot of people who say it basically ended in Farewell, and the hero definitely died, but it was not the conclusion of Yamato itself. I don’t just think about how to attract attention with the title, but anyway, this is the last time I will settle on an ending for Yamato.” Without a doubt, his explanation is not at all convincing.
The attendance [for Farewell to Yamato] totaled 8.6 million people, and the distribution income was approximately 5 billion yen. Looking at those earnings, it’s not unreasonable to criticize this as a cynical cash grab.
“This is the last Yamato.” “This time is the last.” Young people who bought that pitch stood in line all night, but when you know the cunning of such a producer, there is no doubt that he no longer believes in “love and romance.”
Using Yamato, a symbol of the militaristic Nippon to draft people into the cinema again, our General Nishizaki continues the war by replacing the Pacific Ocean with space, and that’s what I really want to clarify once and for all.
Fan Club Magazine #34
Westcape Corporation, April 25, 1983
Unlike issue 33, there was nothing in this one that contradicted the publication date. Regardless of when it actually appeared, it was a real treat for fans during the afterglow of Final Yamato. It opened with a 4-page message from Nishizaki about the making of the movie and featured the first published announcement about the 70mm version. He also shared his initial thoughts about what he wanted to do after Yamato was laid to rest.
This was followed by six pages of animation and storyboard art with short articles about fan reactions and more news of the 70mm upgrade. The rest of the issue (about half) was filled with fan art and chatter.
Read the articles here.
Fanfan Library Edition, volume 2
By Kiyoshi Miura
Shueisha, April 10
All four novelizations of the movie wrapped up in April, starting with this one for younger readers. It opened with 32 pages of color stills and featured black and white illustrations and animator’s drawings throughout.
Yamato sinks into the sea of space
A terrible sound grew toward Earth from Aquarius, but the huge pillar of water was cut off at its root by the great explosion of Yamato. Some of it poured down on the Earth, but most drifted into space to form a huge sea.
From the observation dome of Fuyuzuki, which had stopped in space, it looked like Yamato was surrounded by a flash of light, and everyone who watched that light wonderfully block the course of Aquarius’ water was shocked.
“Captain! Captain Okita!”
“Yamato, thank you!”
They called out with trembling voices, and most of them raised a manly cry.
From the control room of the Earth Defense Forces, which was jammed with command staff, a voice reported the event.
“Yamato is…the current of Aquarius stretched out toward Yamato and Earth, but a large explosion created by the fusion of Wave-Motion energy and Tritium saved the Earth from being flooded as Yamato sacrificed itself.”
After nodding at the report, the commander and his staff looked toward the headquarters video panel, where Yamato appeared and disappeared in the waves of this huge sea in space. They quickly straightened and saluted.
Aquarius left this huge sea behind and gradually drifted off into space. Kodai saw Yamato tossed about in the sea’s rough waves and it began to sink slowly. He leaned his hand against the window in Fuyuzuki‘s observation room and watched patiently.
Earth was rescued thanks to you, Captain Okita. Earth had been saved from flooding by the precious sacrifice of you and Yamato. We will not let our captain’s accomplishment be in vain.
As Kodai spoke these words from the heart, tears overflowed from his eyes in a rush. The dear first bridge upon which Kodai grew up, rose slightly out of the waves on the surface of the sea.
Dessler stood on the deck of his ship, which had stopped in space near Fuyuzuki. As his cape fluttered, he watched the sinking Yamato through tears. Soon, the first bridge disappeared into the waves.
Yuki leaned her face into Kodai’s shoulder, drenched with tears.
Yamato‘s bow, which was thought have sunk, burst out of the waves with a crash and rose from the sea surface. Then it slowly and quietly sank back down again. Yamato finally disappeared into the waters, leaving a small column of water behind, and slowly sank into the center of the sea in space.
Before long, Dessler’s ship said its farewells and sailed off. Fuyuzuki moved toward Earth with Yamato‘s crew. As Aquarius gradually drifted away, the black clouds that had covered Earth parted, and sunlight illuminated every corner of the planet.
The Yamato crew disembarked from Fuyuzuki, which was assigned to an Earth space station, and rushed out onto a beach to watch the morning sunrise, which scattered its dazzling light across the ocean. They lined up along the beach where waves lapped at the shore and were moved as they watched the gentle nature of the Earth.
Gathered around Kodai and Yuki, Sanada, Yamazaki, Aihara, Nanbu, Ota, Kato and others were warmed by the morning sun rising from the horizon. Okita’s sacrifice was too great. But by his grace, Earth had safely regained peace. His image rose in their hearts as they stood on the beach, and it floated warmly through their minds. The morning sun was now fully in the air.
Earth was saved from flooding by your grace, Captain Okita. Thank you very much. Please sleep peacefully…
Kodai called out to Okita from his heart in this way.
After everyone leaft the beach, Kodai and Yuki remained to continue watching the waves. Before long, they turned to each other, stepped forward quietly and took each other’s hands.
Yuki, I’m sorry. I fought for Earth for a long time. There was no time for us to talk calmly. Now, for Captain Okita and for Shima who were both lost, let’s build our happiness.
Kodai’s staring eyes spoke to Yuki in this way.
From now on, we can be happier…
Yuki’s eyes were full of joy as she wrapped her arms around Kodai and hugged him tightly.
As Aquarius drifted away, Queen Aquarius appeared in space. Blessing the happiness of Kodai and Yuki, she watched them with a gentle expression, then gradually shimmered and faded away. Flying after her, Yamato appeared in the memory of Kodai and Yuki. It began to sail far away to the ends of space.
AM Juju novelization, volume 2
By Keigo Masaki, illustrations by Yoshinori Kanada
Tokuma Shoten/Animage Paperbacks, April 15
The second novelization to start (on December 31) was the last to finish, highlighted by both color and black & white Kanada illustrations. Based a description published in 2006 (read it here), it was an interesting read with many anecdotal additions by the writer.
Besides being published in the same month, both of these volume 2’s made an interesting change to the script, moving Emperor Lugal’s final attack to the end of the story as Captain Okita is alone on Yamato. Dessler intervenes as in the movie, but the AM Juju edition presents a different outcome.
From the captain’s seat, Captain Okita stared in the direction of Earth.
“Earth, take care of them. Well, Yamato. We go to our final mission.”
To Yamato‘s rear, Aquarius steadily came closer. As it approached Earth, the surface of its ocean was raging like a storm. It grew more intense as it loomed toward Earth. On the other hand, thick clouds began to cover Earth’s skies, winds blew, and a torrential downpour fell.
Yamato waited patiently over Aquarius, enduring the gravitational pull. Captain Okita looked out the window at the sea on its surface. His hand tightly gripped the trigger of the Wave-Motion Gun. Aquarius finally began its closest approach to Earth. It was only a matter of time before a water column would reach out.
Suddenly, the ancient disc-shaped spaceship of Lugal appeared out of nowhere in space near Earth and Aquarius. On its antique bridge, Lugal drew himself up to his full height.
“Yamato, cursed Yamato,” he shouted hysterically, “Now I’ll bury you! Prepare to fire!”
Somehow, he had escaped Dessler’s attack and came here. All the guns on the old ship turned toward Yamato.
Captain Okita hadn’t noticed the old disc-ship approaching from behind. All of his senses were turned toward the surface of Aquarius. His expression was tense. The sea level of Aquarius’ ocean came alive, rising like a mountain. It was a spectacular view. At the same time, the ground was torn on Earth as a huge earthquake began. The attraction of the two planets was beginning to have an impact.
Lugal’s disc-ship had Yamato directly in its sights as it came closer.
Lugal’s face was a rictus of insanity, and he seemed to be laughing. Suddenly, a shout came from the radar officer.
“Enemy battleship coming in from the stern!”
Lugal saw it on the video panel – Dessler’s battleship!
“Ram it at full speed!” Dessler shouted, smiling. Lugal was struck silent for a moment, but then rushed out an order.
“Evade the hostile craft and open fire on Yamato!”
“No good, we can’t avoid it!” cried the radar officer.
Dessler’s battleship smashed into Lugal’s old spaceship from underneath, a direct hit. Dessler’s ship was ablaze as it ripped into the disc’s hull.
Dessler was knocked to the floor from his command chair. His ship was immediately consumed by a massive explosion. The old disc-ship couldn’t fire a shot. It turned like a leaf from the force of Dessler’s ship exploding.
A giant column of water grew like a creature from the ocean of Aquarius. Captain Okita’s hand whitened as it grasped the trigger. The column extended out, attracted to Earth.
Lugal crawled across his bridge deck on his hands and knees, approaching the instrument panel to grab the trigger of his own beam gun. An animal noise escaped his throat as his finger closed on the trigger. However, his ship was swallowed up by the huge water column from Aquarius, which now loomed toward Yamato.
Okita opened his mouth and both his eyes as he pulled the trigger of the Wave-Motion Gun.
Immediately, an unimaginable flash of light engulfed Yamato. A cross-shaped explosion burst out of the ship, and Yamato vanished in an instant in the massive burst. A second stage of light erupted from the first and expanded rapidly, breaking and scattering the water column. It had been interrupted by the enormous outpouring of energy and sprayed outward into space.
From the observation deck of Fuyuzuki, Susumu held his breath at this unimaginable scene. An explosive ball of white light stood between Earth and Aquarius, illuminating everything around it.
Its intensity bathed the faces of Susumu and the others who watched it through squinted eyes. There was no longer a trace of Yamato, nor of Dessler’s ship or Lugal’s ancient disc-ship. All had vanished in an instant in the explosion. The sphere of light was visible for nearly five minutes before it weakened and gradually disappeared. Afterward there was only a mass of water drifting around in space.
Susumu saw a vision there. The figure of Yamato with Captain Okita lying in the captain’s seat, as if asleep. The illusion of Yamato slowly sank into a sea in space. But, of course, there was no sea and no Yamato. But he could clearly see its ghost in his eyes, and it was visible to the others as well. Susumu raised his right palm in a salute. Each of the others began to salute as well.
“Goodbye, Captain Okita…goodbye, Yamato…”
Soon, the water planet Aquarius slowly drifted away from Earth. Susumu saw the form of the queen clearly on its surface, as if on a movie screen. Her ghost eventually faded and became the face of Okita. It vanished too, and the figure of Yamato appeared once more.
“Captain Okita and Yamato are leaving with Aquarius,” Kodai said.
“Kodai-kun,” Yuki answered, huddled against him. Her face was streaked with tears. But he did not shed any more tears. He only wrapped his arms around her trembling body and hugged her with all his strength.
Final Yamato Theme Music Collection II
Tokuma/Animage, April 1, 1983
This was the second of two albums released by Tokuma Shoten that contained music from the film and variations. Like the AM Juju novels (from the same company) it included a contribution by superstar animator Yoshinori Kanada, in this case an exclusive color poster.
Final Yamato Music Collection Part 2
Nippon Columbia, April 21, 1983
This was the second of three symphonic albums from Columbia. Like the Tokuma albums, they were a mix of film score and variations. This one stood out by concluding with Kentaro Haneda’s personal masterpiece, the Symphony of Aquarius.
See the full Final Yamato discography here.
See a complete Final Yamato music index here.
Space Battleship Yamato The Final Chapter
VHS & Beta tapes, VAP
April 21, 1983
The Time Machine articles on this website go all the way back to Farewell to Yamato in 1978, but this is the first one to include home video in the chronology. What makes this tape really interesting is that it arrived while Final Yamato was still in theaters. This was the only video release of the 35mm version, complete with its original epilogue. At 22,500 yen, it was also incredibly expensive even by the standards of Japan, where video software regularly retails at two or three times the standard US price. Highly sought-after by collectors today, it remains the only means of viewing the first version of the movie, warts and all.
Space Battleship Yamato Movies
VHS & Beta tapes, Toei
April 21, 1983
On the same day VAP released Final Yamato, Toei rolled out the four previous movies to drive fans crazy. They had all been broadcast on TV by this time, but since one of the selling points was that these editions were uncut, it’s probable that broadcast versions were not. At 19,800 yen each, they were priced for rental (unless you were quite wealthy) and their spines formed an image of the ship from the finale.
Space Battleship Yamato Movies
VHD discs, Japan Victor
April 21, 1983
Higher-end home video users had this format, which offered better and longer-lasting picture quality than tape. However, they still relied on analog technology (which would be replaced later by laserdiscs) so there was still a physical needle touching a physical groove that would wear down over time. They also took up a lot of space, each film divided into two volumes in slipcases measuring over 10″ x 13″ – so committing to this format had considerable storage considerations. Of course, VHD is an antique in the 21st century, but it means something that Yamato movies were among the first anime titles offered.
Only the first three movies were offered in April 1983; The New Voyage and Final Yamato would follow in 1985.
See the complete Final Yamato videography here.
See a videography for the entire saga here.
Final Yamato Visual Big Compendium
The Anime magazine special
68 pages, approx. 10″ x 14.5″ (B4)
Kindai Movie Co., April 25, 1983
This tabloid-format special edition of The Anime magazine opened with large-scale highlight scenes and moved through a photostory of the film. Also included were model sheets in color and monochrome, a look at the original concepts for Yamato, and sheet music for the songs from Final Yamato. This publication was equal in page size to West Cape’s deluxe hardcover book, but was of course much thinner.
Roadshow magazine special
112 pages, approx. 8.25″ x 10″ (A4 trimmed)
Shueisha, April 30, 1983
Shueisha’s fifth and final Roadshow special for the Yamato series was one of their finest. It contained a section of double-page highlight scenes, a character guide, photostory, song lyrics, the complete screenplay, model sheets, and a full-color retrospective of the entire saga.
See the full Final Yamato bibliography here.
Next Time Machine: The last of the monthly magazine coverage gives way to serious book publishing, including the glorious Final Yamato Roman Album. Click here.