Daisuke Ono & Kenichi Suzumura Interview

PASH! PLUS, February 22, 2017. See the original post here

Daisuke Ono and Kenichi Suzumura talk Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love

Three years after the previous work, the sequel to 2199 begins with Farewell to Yamato as its motif

It has been about five years since the first theatrical screening of Chapter 1 of the previous work, Space Battleship Yamato 2199. The new work, Yamato 2202, finally premieres in theaters on Saturday, February 25, 2017. This time, PASH! PLUS interviews Daisuke Ono who plays the main character Susumu Kodai and Kenichi Suzumura who plays the role of his friend Daisuke Shima. They talk about their passion for the work and their characters. For Yamato fans and those who will get to know Yamato now, this is a must-read!

“The relationship between these two has become emotional.” (Ono)

“Kodai and Shima are two people who become one character.” (Suzumura)

Interviewer: First of all, please tell me how you feel about starting on Yamato for the first time in two years.

Ono: Well, in the previous work, Yamato 2199, I had a feeling of satisfaction that was like having finished a trip. So when Yamato 2202 started, frankly speaking I had a strange feeling of, “What am I traveling for…?” Questions came up like, “What am I fighting for this time? What am I boarding the ship for?” But I was very happy that Yamato was beginning again, so it was a really mysterious feeling.

Suzumura: It’s finally here…that’s how I felt, frankly. Ever since 2199 started, Yamato fans around me have been asking, “When are you going to do Farewell to Yamato?” “But we only just started 2199!!” (Laughs) At that time, I realized how high the attention and expectations were, so it was nice when I could finally just say, “It has begun.”

Interviewer: Mr. Ono plays Susumu Kodai and Mr. Suzumura plays Daisuke Shima. Please tell me about the appeal of each other’s character.

Ono: Shima is the chief navigator, so in both practical and spiritual terms, the ship does not advance without him. He closely watches his surroundings and he’s a person who is on his best behavior at any given time. He sees the big picture, so when considering the viewpoints on board the ship, it’s a relief to have Shima there.

Suzumura: Kodai has an extremely strong sense of justice, doesn’t he? When he decides something, he carries it out himself to the end. He has such strength, and I think he’s a tremendous hero. But when Shima clashes with Kodai, things go out of balance. If you put Shima and Kodai together, I think you’d have an ideal human being, wouldn’t you? Kodai’s ability to break through and Shima’s ability to adapt…they symbolize Yamato, so to speak. It’s like “two people who form one character,” isn’t it? If Shima was the main character, I think it would come too close to reality and it would be an entirely different story. (Laughs) In that sense, Kodai is unprecedented. His determination is properly reflected as a hero in the present world, and he’s just right as the main character.

I think the biggest thing is that Kodai is a reliable person for Shima to be around. Shima can be indecisive, and decisiveness is something he admires in others. I think everyone’s like that. People always idealize the thing that they wish they were themselves. Also, if you live, then while you may get the opportunity to take a stand, there are many who simply are unable to do so. In that sense, Shima is a very ordinary and mediocre person. Therefore, he greatly admires a person like Kodai, who lives a heroic life, and I think he might be envious that he’ll never turn out that way.

Kenichi Suzumura (voice of Daisuke Shima)

Ono: In Episode 2, the latter half of Chapter 1, there’s a scene where Shima admonishes Kodai. It’s been three years since the events of the previous work, but you get the feeling that the relationship between these two hasn’t changed. There’s a real sense of, “Yep, that sure is Shima and Kodai,” and I can’t wait for that scene in Episode 2 to come, too. They really are the best of friends.

Suzumura: The fact that Shima can say that indicates a considerably close relationship. When I saw that scene, I thought again that they have a very good relationship. But since Farewell to Yamato is being boldly rearranged this time, there is the possibility of Shima not boarding the ship.

Ono: Oh, is that right…? (Laughs)

Suzumura: I think this is the part of the interview where I should say, “Shima, get on board!” (Laughs) I would think in terms of the production setup, “Since Suzumura is on board, Shima should be, too.” But I think if he were not to get on board, something quite amazing could happen. For example, I’d like to see, “From today on, I am Garmillan!” (Laughs)

Ono: (Laughs) Get on, get on, get on board, Shima!

Suzumura: Well, I guess I’ll get on board. (Laughs) But I think we’ll pay attention to how he gets on! But if I don’t get on…I’ll get a big laugh from reading this article later. (Laughs)

“I want to convey Yamato to the next generation” (Ono)

“I’m convinced that ‘I’ll be completely safe’ this time” (Suzumura)

Interviewer: Was there pressure in participating in Yamato again?

Ono: Actually, there wasn’t any pressure when I was chosen for 2202. There’s not as much pressure this time to shoulder the legacy. Rather, we have to express a new Yamato to the next generation. The sense of duty is greater. At the time of 2199, the pressure was huge… (Laughs)

Suzumura: It was expected that there would be some pressure. With 2199 there was public opinion to consider. Honestly, I had a lot of anxiety. “Is it all right to be doing a remake of Yamato…?” But I also thought, “Just you wait…!!” Even now, I remember how that assessment changed completely and was overturned after the premiere. And because of that, this time I am thinking, “It’s absolutely fine.”

Ono: Yes, that’s right. As I said before, the feeling of excitement is big. “What will they show, and how will they show it?” It’s like when genuinely tackling a new anime, it’s a strong feeling of “Let’s make a fascinating Yamato.”

Suzumura: It’s also very relaxed on-site. I think this is due to the work flow. On 2199, it was a great feeling – being at the studio was just like riding on Yamato. We really got the illusion that we were on a trip to save Earth, and the mood was charged with a mission. So now I should think the Earth is safe and relaxed, but on the contrary I feel emptiness or anxiety. 2202 isn’t going as expected, and the reality is suddenly thrust upon Kodai that “the Earth still hasn’t been saved.” There is something in that story that connects with present society, and I think empathy is high. It feels strongly of Yamatoism, and I think that’s one of the highlights of this work.

Ono: The fact that Earth is not a monolith seems to cause some unrest. Besides, we have an alliance with Garmillas, which was unthinkable before now! When you consider that voyage, you think, “How the hell…?!” And Gatlantis seems to be very strong. In Ark of the Stars, Goran Dagarm of Gatlantis, voiced by Ryuzaburo Otomo, was extremely strong. There was a moment when I complained to sound supervisor Tomohiro Yoshida, “This seems like we won’t be able to win.” (Laughs) Gatlantis also has strong beliefs, with “love” as a keyword, which is really hardcore, isn’t it?

Earth is kind of a mess right now, and when the battleship Andromeda comes out and fires the Wave-Motion Gun, I’m very confused. I know where this is going…it’s a fun scene, and you can feel the excitement pounding. The younger members of the cast really enjoy doing it and they have a lot of fun. Everyone likes Yamato. They come in and talk about it. “I bought a model kit.” They’re all new to Yamato, and I think they feel more pressure than us. But they say, “Yamato is fun” and change it into a positive. Young people are comfortable sharing a studio and we all have fun. On the other hand, the veterans just do it without getting worked up.

Suzumura: Yeah, right? It’s still wonderful to stand in front of a mic. Shigeru Chiba, who plays Dr. Sado, keeps a straight face and performs wonderfully.

Ono: Really. I think the balance of the cast is great.

Daisuke Ono (voice of Susumu Kodai)

What do Mr. Ono and Mr. Suzumura wish for Shima this time…?

Interviewer: There were various romances scattered through 2199, like Kodai and Yuki of course. What will happen in this work?

Ono: It’s going to be…love. Love.

Suzumura: Saying “love” is always so easy for you! (Laughs) But the reality increases when such an element is added, doesn’t it? If it’s a war and there are some politics involved, there should definitely be a backbone of showing what people live for. Thinking about it that way, if I borrow Ono’s words, when you associate with someone you care for, the thing called “love” is born. For example, there is friendship. When love is depicted, it reveals character. It was casually depicted in 2199, and I think that’s the appeal of the Yamato series. But Kodai was too popular in the previous work.

Ono: More popular than Shima! (Laughs)

Suzumura: Yeah, I’m not satisfied with that. It’s time for Shima to get some romance going. (Laughs)

Ono: Truthfully, I want it to happen, too. I sincerely hope for it. (Laughs)

Suzumura: Anyway, when you talk about human beings whose motivation is to live for a mission, I think it should be for someone else, and of course for yourself. I think it’s even inevitable that you get the feeling of wanting to be with someone. Ono has the convincing ability to put it into one word, “love.” All I can say is, what a great guy. (Laughs)

Ono: What, have I earned some praise? Thanks for translating my words. (Laughs) In any case, while we may be dealing with each other as aliens, we’re able to understand each other. There was such a line in 2199, when Kodai reached an understanding with an anti-Earth diplomat. And it was quite forceful. “Love” is a loaded word, and can imply “understanding.” Even with an alien. There was also love on the enemy Garmillas side in the previous work. The bond between a leader and his subordinates and the bond between friends were all shown. Since the title this time is Soldiers of Love, I think various kinds of love with be depicted, and I believe in the end it will be “we can understand each other.”

Profound human drama, engaging characters, “reluctant boyfriend”…even people who don’t know Yamato can certainly enjoy it!

Interviewer: Please tell me something about this work that can be enjoyed even by those who don’t know Yamato yet.

Suzumura: For women in particular, it’s usually the love of “character,” isn’t it? Even so, the visuals just look cool and beautiful. What’s important is the backbone that the characters bring and seeing how they live. That’s why we love the characters. For example, all six children in Osomatsu-san have the same face (Laughs), but because they all have different characteristics, they’re all lovable. If you think about it, Yamato is a very deep group drama, and the script shows you how they live so you come to like their nature and character.

Ono: Definitely. I think the Earth side and Garmillas side, and Gatlantis side as well, all have cool and attractive characters. I’ve already started to think of Zordar as cool because of how Hideaki Tezuka plays him. This time again I’ve already told the sound director Mr. Yoshida, “I don’t think we’re likely to win.” (Laughs) Some “reluctant boyfriend” type characters have appeared, and some “older uncle” types too. Please also look at the officers in the headquarters on the Earth side.

Interviewer: Finally, please give your message to the fans.

Suzumura: When you see Chapter 1 of 2202, which is the Yamato series that started from 2199, it will not disappoint the expectations of anyone, neither the older fans nor the fans of 2199. I think it will build up into a fascinating work. The human relationships become more complex than in 2199, and it’s a drama that connects to the future. If you’re wondering what will become of all these people, you will surely be interested. Also, if those who don’t know Yamato start watching with 2202, you won’t have any problems at all. You can enjoy a solid human drama for the modern age. When you watch this movie, the script mentions developments and events from the past. Besides, we live in times when DVD and Blu-ray are available, and we’ll greatly appreciate it if you take an interest. You’ve heard it from my own mouth!

Ono: Rather than just retelling Farewell to Yamato as is, it’s a new story with that as a motif. I heard from Director Habara that the big number 2 at the end of 2202 in the title shows that it’s a legitimate sequel to 2199. As a contemporary Yamato, it incorporates things into the story that are appropriate to our time and it’s being made anew. It was like that since 2199, but I think that future generations will refer to us as the “Yamato Generation,” who made Yamato the core of our being and who are sustained by our overflowing Yamato love. After all, I feel Yamato has become something really interesting, and it can be said to be universal. Regardless of your age or gender, it can shake your soul. It’s a very passionate story. I want to get on board this ship in order to convey that passion to the next generation, and I’ll be glad if everyone can get on board together.

Return to the index

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *