March 19: Newspaper ad
Fans who read the Yomiuri Shimbun morning edition got a nice surprise today when this full-page ad greeted them, showing the entire 2199 home video lineup with Ark of the Stars at the bottom.
Click here to see a larger “clean” version.
March 20: Character sleeves announced
Clear files with character images have been a common collectible item for years in Japan, but some may not be unaware that a scaled-down version also exists to protect your trading cards, credit cards, swipe cards, etc. Referred to as “character sleeves,” they measure about 2.6″ x 3.6″ and feature custom images. On March 20, the Ensky company announced this set featuring the Yamato Girls, with metallic colors and sold in packs of 65, to go on sale May 27.
Click here to see enlargements.
March 20-22: Anime Japan 2015
Despite the current lack of new Yamato 2199 anime, Yamato still had a presence at Anime Japan in three specific ways. First, fans were greeted by a big Ark of the Stars banner (sponsored by Bandai Visual) in the entryway to Tokyo Big Site where the event was held.
Second, Production IG had a booth that was split between 2199 and its other big-name series, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. The 2199 side had Ark video ads and the Oculus Rift 3-D Yamato tour, which could be seen in ten-minute sessions and had long lines throughout the weekend.
The third sighting was a real surprise. The Sankyo game company teased a brand new pachinko game titled Fever Space Battleship Yamato, promoting it with banners and a free shopping bag. The rollout of new pachinko games is never a surprise, but to get another one based on the classic series in the era of 2199 was certainly unexpected.
Flyers demonstrating the flow of gameplay were also distributed. Every time one of these games appears it is accompanied by loads of new art and animation, so this is definitely something to keep an eye on. Sankyo knows what it’s talking about with their new slogan: Everyone longs for that time, with mighty Yamato!
Visit the Anime Japan website here.
March 22: Yamato Lecture 9
Hosted once again by anime writer Osamu Kobayashi, fans and pros alike convened for this ongoing Yamato discussion, held at a night club named Loft Plus One in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The guests this time were professional modeler Yasuhiro Takeshita, artist and game writer Yoshihiro, and voice actress Hitomi Nase.
This was the first gathering since Ark of the Stars and Concert 2015, so both were prominent topics along with speculation about what is to come next, and the individual expertise of the speakers.
Hitomi Nase posted these photos on Twitter of her fingernails, custom-painted for the event.
As usual, the club adopted a Yamato-themed menu for the event. On offer were the following items:
Nanbu’s sealed-up shot (bloody mary), Trials of warship Lambea (violet cocktail), and Witch of Jirel (blue cocktail).
Kaoru Niimi’s school days (pink juice), Yuki’s bad coffee, A Coke break to remember, and Barbarian drink (soda)
Exploding planet dumpling, Domel’s chest, Main guns macaroni salad, Dry Earth, and Saburo & Makoto’s wedding. (Your guess is as good as any on some of those.)
YRA Radio Yamato Talk Part complete CD
Tablier Communications, TBZR-0419/0420
The four previous YRA discs were numbered by volume and contained only the drama portions of the 37 episodes heard on internet radio station Onsen. By popular demand, this 2-disc set collects all the other content, referred to as the “talk part,” featuring voice actors Cho (Analyzer), Aya Uchida (Yuria Misaki) and Eriko Nakamura (Mikage Kiryu).
Disc 1 is an hour of special interviews with such VIPs as Director Yutaka Izubuchi, manga artist Michio Murakawa (who did the cover art this time), painter Naoyuki Katoh, singer Aira Yuuki, and others. Disc 2 is an archival DVD containing MP3 files of all 37 episodes. Their lengths vary from half an hour to a full hour owing to the removal of “drama parts.”
March 25: Art canvases
TC Entertainment gave fans four new ways to brighten their homes with these canvases by artist Kia Asamiya. Measuring about 12″ square, the cotton canvases are stretched over a synthetic pine frame and can be wall-hung or table-mounted as need be.
Each piece has its own title: (A) The Battleship that runs through space. (B) Sound of the demon from deep space. (C) Launch! Alpha 2. (D) Escape from the floating continent.
See clean enlargements of the art here.
Order them from Amazon.co.jp here!
The four new canvases complement this set of two by Asamiya that was previous released by the curiously-named “Neutral Corporation” in November 2014.
March 25: Hobby magazines, May issues
With less to report on, the coverage this month was just one page per magazine; Hobby Japan at left and Dengeki Hobby at right. The prominent news items were the 1/8 Akira Yamamoto figure version 2, the next Mecha Collection mini-kits (Murasame, Galunt with drill missile, and Schderg carrier), the Cosmo Fleet Special UX-01 (no release date yet), and teaser shots of the next 1/8 Yuki Mori figure, in Iscandar dress.
March 28: Mecha Collection model #15
The UN Cosmo Navy Murasame-type cruiser became the 15th addition to the Mecha Collection lineup. Contrary to the colors indicated on the box cover, the kit is molded in the white/red configuration. But parts are separated by color, so modelers can easily achieve the yellow/white/red or grey/white/red combinations with simple painting.
See a gallery of finished models here.
See more product photos here.
March 28: 1/8 Yurisha Iscandar figure
Everyone’s favorite Iscandarian waif finally appeared in three-dimensional form when Megahouse released her in their Yamato Girls Collection.
Unlike her predecessors, Yurisha did not include option parts or accessories, but figures purchased via the Yamato Crew website came with this character brochure.
See more photos of Yurisha at the Megahouse website here.
Also spotted in March:
Everyone’s favorite Iscandarian waif was also a subject of interest for artist Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno, who posted these portraits of her (among others) on Twitter in preparation for his first Yamato 2199 art doujinshi.
Click here for a comprehensive gallery of Umeno’s Yamato art.
Nobuteru Yuuki postcards
Character designer Nobuteru Yuuki turned heads this month when another run of his late 2014 doujinshi Yamato 2199 Rough Design Works reappeared with two bonus postcards as extra items. Never previously published, they were bundled with the book after its premiere at the 2014 Winter Comiket.
Phoenix Darts Collaboration
Previously covered in Report 42, Pacific Amusements launched a 2199 collaboration that made IC cards available to players of this video darts game. In March, they revealed these custom 2199 screen graphics that would appear when those cards are used. March 31 was the last day their 2199 cards were sold.
Last days of the Sankei tours
Going by photos and info posted on Twitter by Yamato fans, it appears the Sankei Tour collaborations that began last summer all were retired at the end of March. But a few snapshots were captured before the end. Above is the Yamato-wrapped tour bus at Amanohashidate. Below left is a handmade sign from the same location, featuring local mascots in Yamato uniforms.
Above right, Yamato 2199 display panels bathe in the sunlight of the Matsushima tourism office on March 21. Revisit our overview of the Sankei Tour collaboration in Report 34 here.
Somehow, Japanese fans keep finding new directions to take their favorite mecha. See a gallery of new finds here.
Ark of the Stars digipack
The Yamato 2199 Production Committee posted these photos on Twitter in late March to give everyone a look at the exclusive “digipack” being offered at Amazon.co.jp with their top-priced edition of Ark of the Stars on Blu-ray.
Coupled with its own slipcase, it is decorated with art by Kia Asamiya and can store the entire set of seven 2199 discs along with both movies – if you’re willing to separate them from their original packaging, that is.
Revisit Report 42 for data on the different editions and links for pre-orders.
Another interesting thing that popped up in March was a connection between Ark of the Stars and a Japanese monster movie. Above left is the poster for Space Monster Dogora (Toho, 1964), about a tentacled creature from space that consumes carbon for energy. A still of the creature is shown top right.
Beneath that is a scene from Ark in which a tentacled creature from space called a Medula attacks Yamato to drain its energy like a vampire. Not identical, of course, but certainly close enough to be inspired.
Space Battleship Sayako 2525: Ark of the Stars
The next installment of the saga kicked off on April 1st! Didn’t you hear about it? That’s because it didn’t happen, except as an April Fool’s joke, perpetrated by Twitter user kuniQ216, who is busy with a LOT of other personal Yamato projects. Check ’em out here.