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New Attempt at Yamato Anime Project Announced

posted on by Egan Loo
Producer Nishizaki, director Masuda's newest space opera set 21 years later

Yoshinobu Nishizaki, the 73-year-old producer of the Space Battleship Yamato science-fiction anime franchise, has announced his newest attempt to revive the franchise on Thursday, over 25 years after the last theatrical film. He has announced the opening of "Yamato Studio" in Tokyo and said that the new Yamato project will be his last work, one which he hopes will "surpass director Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea." Nishizaki's 55-year-old son Shōji Nishizaki, 80-year-old veteran Yamato chief director Toshio Masuda, and 58-year-old chief animation director Tomonori Kogawa (Casshan: Robot Hunter, Densetsu Kyojin Ideon, Legend of the Galactic Heroes) will lead a staff of about 40 animators in the "Fukkatsu-hen" (Revival or Rebirth Chapter) project. The team is aiming to premiere the project next year.

The Uchuu Senkan Yamato Fukkatsu-hen project has been in the dormant stages as early as 1994. There was an earlier attempt announced in July of 2004, but it was abandoned due to copyright disputes. Nishizaki, co-creator Leiji Matsumoto, and film distributor Tohokushinsha Film Corporation have all claimed the right to make new Yamato anime at one time or another in the last two decades. This time, Nishizaki says that all rights have been cleared to restart the project.

The Yamato franchise began with the first Space Battleship Yamato television series in 1974. The story centered on the Yamato, a spaceship built from the remains of the World War II battleship of the same name. During the next nine years, the television anime spawned two television sequels and five films including the ironically named Final Yamato. These first projects were edited and rewritten as Star Blazers in English.

The first attempt to revive the franchise was 1994's Yamato 2520 video series, which featured a new Yamato ship designed by Syd Mead. Nishizaki and Matsumoto then fought for the rights to the franchise, until a legal ruling allowed each to create his own separate project. Matsumoto created the five-episode Dai Yamato Zero-go video series between 2004 and 2007.

Nishizaki's new project is set in 2220, or 21 years after the first Yamato story. An expanding black hole threatens Earth, so three hundred million people set forth into space as part of an emigration operation. The transport fleet is attacked, and the Yamato leads the counterstrike. 38-year-old Susumu Kodai, the hero of the first series, is now a space captain, and he has a daughter named Miyuki with his wife Yuki (the heroine of the first series).

Sources: Sports Nippon via Moon Phase

Update: Corrected class of World War II's Yamato. Thanks, snl67.

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