"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Feature Films Will Bow Fall & Winter 2014


Main promo art for the upcoming all-new YAMATO: 2199 feature!

And the ship sailed on… As the credits faded out during the last episode of the hit series SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 aired on Japanese television this past year, a teaser promised an “All-New Feature Film” to be released in 2014. And while the production team, led by returning director Yutaka Izubuchi, have kept all of the details under tight lock and key, some surprising news came out of Tokyo, April 21st (Japan Time), during the “40th Anniversary Project Commencement Meeting” to open the “Space Battleship Yamato: 2199 Art Exhibition” at the Seibu Ikebukuro department store (which will run through May 7th). The capacity crowd were allowed to see over 100 pieces of original production art created for the YAMATO: 2199 series, as well as original lithographs by Nobuyuki Katoh and Kia Asamiya, the later of which were for purchase. But, that was just warming up the Wave Motion Engine…

The Yamato, Uchida, Sugo, and Nishizaki. Photo: Ryusuke Hikawa

In attendance at the press conference were Producer Shoji Nishizaki, the adopted son of the late maverick producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki (who created and produced the original 1974 YAMATO series), voice actors Aya Uchida (Yuria Misaki) and Takayuki Sugo (Captain Okita) appeared to announce the upcoming feature film, but then shocked everyone with the news that there will be two feature films, which will be released in October and December, respectively. The first, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 ~ VOYAGE OF RECOLLECTION (Uchu Senkan Yamato 2199 Tsuioku-no Kokai), will be a 26-episode condensation of the YAMATO: 2199 series, following in the tradition of the original, box office-smashing 1977 feature, a digest of the 1974 teleseries. YAMATO: 2199 alumni, head writer Shigeru Morita is structuring the condensation, while director Takao Kato is supervising the overall production.

Voice Actress Aya Uchida, who plays Yuria Misaki. My Navi News

While the VOYAGE OF RECOLLECTION is being created as both a refresher and cliff notes for new viewers (playing in select Japanese theaters on October 11, 2014), the crux of this press conference was to announce details concerning the eagerly-awaited all-new feature film, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199 ~ ARK OF THE STARS (Uchu Senkan Yamato 2199 Hoshi Meguru Hakubune), opening nationwide in Japanese theaters on December 6, 2014. While details on this all-new production are still being being kept secret, wild fan speculation has projected hopes for a “Comet Empire” storyline (as seen in the 1978 feature film and the second television series or second season of STAR BLAZERS), Director Izubuchi has vehemently denied this, emphasizing that since the title is “2199,” the narrative's backdrop will indeed be taking place within the one-year voyage to Iscandar and back.

Voice Actor Takayuki Sugo, who plays Captain Okita. My Navi News

Considered the centerpiece of Yamato's 40th Anniversary, ARK OF THE STARS will feature an all-new story and all-new animation, with the general assumption that this will be a "gaiden" or "side story," but with nothing else to go on, and anticipation running high, fans are going to have to tough it out until a plot synopsis is finally made public. Director Izubuchi and his staff, many carried over from the production of YAMATO: 2199, foster a deep love for the original and have vowed to carry their passions into this completely original feature film. “40 years… It will be 40 years to the month when we encounter the Yamato again. At the time, no one could’ve imagined, 40 years later, that those whom were so impacted by YAMATO would witness such a reunion. But, it has become reality. The promise, 'We will return!' (from the original series) has now become prophetic,” said Izubuchi.

Producer Shoji Nishizaki walks in his father's footsteps. My Navi News

Proudly and gloriously hovering behind producer Nishizaki and actors Uchida and Sugo, was the brand-new, and very impressive, 1/100 scale display model of the 2199 version Yamato, which captured the attention of the standing-room mob of reporters and photographers, alike at this pivotal press conference. Closing out the event, Takayuki Sugo got into character as Captain Juzo Okita to command, “Space Battleship Yamato: 2199, 40th Anniversary Project, cast off!"

3-meter display model of the 2199 Yamato. Photo: Ryusuke Hikawa

For further information on both of these exciting feature films, stay tuned to this blog and Our Star Blazers for news and updates!


Michael said...

I am curious why they condense the series that was broadcast on TV instead of producing all new adventures..it seems to me they are just retconning as well if they are telling the same stories they have told in previous series.

August Ragone said...

I'm not sure you've read this report correctly or throughly. I clearly state that there will be an all new adventure with an all new story and all new animation.

You may have become confused, because the first movie out in October, VOYAGE OF RECOLLECTION, is indeed a recap of Y2199 for those who haven't seen the full series — edited together from episodes of the series.

Meanwhile, the second theatrical release is the main production that was announced last year: THE ARK OF SPACE. This will feature an all new story with all new animation — set within the year 2199 — and will be released in December.

This is not unusual; this is something that has already gone on for decades in Japan, in the form of "side stories" such as MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080: WAR IN THE POCKET, etc. They aren't rehashing the events in the series — this will be something happening between the main narrative.

(BTW, YAMATO: 2199, itself, is already a remake of the 1974 series SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO.)


Daniel "Dax" Books said...

I'm curious if this is going to be a retelling of one of the Yamato stories or if it is a brand spanking new adventure. Either way I'm looking forward to seeing it

August Ragone said...

I think I was pretty explicit in relating that ARK OF THE STARS is an all-new production set within the year 2199. So, it is a new tale, not a rehash of the main narrative events that took place in YAMATO: 2199 (that's what VOYAGE OF RECOLLECTION is for). The Japanese call these "side stories."