Nobuyoshi Habara Interview

From the Yamato 2202 Chapter 1 Blu-ray booklet, February 25, 2017

I try to make visuals that give priority to anime cool over accuracy

Interviewer: Why do you think Space Battleship Yamato continues to be loved by so many people?

Habara: I think Yamato has something attractive for everyone. Mecha, characters, story, and music…I think it’s the overall balance that is so good. It’s the same with the first one and also with Farewell to Yamato. There are some “gaps” in a good sense, and many elements that are fun for all. Plus, there is a little bit of an adult atmosphere, which I think gives it some charm. For example, when a plane launches from a carrier, doesn’t it take a dip? I hadn’t seen that before in an SF anime. I heard many war stories from my grandfather, who fought in the war, and when I watched Yamato I felt the reality of those stories. It wasn’t like a fantasy of a distant world, but you could say that it felt familiar to me. Also, I have an attachment to it because I was born in Fukuyama, in Hiroshima Prefecture, and Yamato was built in Kure which is also there.

Interviewer: What did it feel like to join the staff of Yamato Resurrection?

Habara: It was wonderful. But I got ahead of myself. I drew image boards, which are rough sketches drawn in pencil. I drew a lot of them. I did one of a scene where Captain Okita’s hat is found in Yamato after it is raised, and Sanada hands it to Kodai. I got a little too ahead of myself, and had some clashes with Director Yoshinobu Nishizaki. (Laughs)

Interviewer: This time you’re doing teamwork with assistant director Makoto Kobayashi and the series writer Harutoshi Fukui.

Habara: Mr. Kobayashi has been very helpful. His visuals are attractive enough to make you imagine the parts that are not visible, which gives it an appeal that pulls you in. Even now, I keep his jacket illustration from Yamato Resurrection at my desk, the image of Yamato being rebuilt and it has the flavor of going on a trip when I look at it. I think only a genius has such power.

Mr. Fukui has calculated and written the entire background of the worldview, and it’s just amazing. In addition to Mr. Fukui, we’re also working with Hideki Oka. I had previously suggested him before Mr. Fukui formally joined up. Although he mainly works in live action, I worked with him before and knew that we have many hobbies in common. Of course, Mr. Oka is a big Yamato fan, too. Mr. Fukui wrote the rough story and Mr. Oka writes the script, and work proceeds as Mr. Fukui makes corrections. With Mr. Oka coming in, it injects new life into the work.

Interviewer: This is a combination of people who don’t just write anime scripts.

Habara: I forget whether it was Mr. Fukui or Mr. Oka, but in the Andromeda launching ceremony in Episode 2, Garmillas Ambassador to Earth Varel says, “Garmillas also has the word ‘suspicious’.” I thought this was really good. In this way, there is a subtle sense of distance between Earth and Garmillas in the lines. That’s how we express their societies in this work. The engine of the air car on Earth is technology provided by Garmillas. It extends into the background concepts. In fact, the air car Kodai and Yuki ride in Episode 2 is based on Domel’s limousine in 2199.

Interviewer: What parts in 2202 are you particular about?

Habara: The 3DCG, for example. I studied various techniques and know-how when I worked on Zoids, Botkonbok, Saru Getchu On Air, and Fafner Exodus. Based on that, I think that the CG will have slightly different seasoning than in 2199.

Interviewer: It was impressive that the action scene of the Cosmo Tiger II in Episode 2 had a taste of classic drawing.

Habara: Concerning the Cosmo Tiger II, we have two CG models of it this time. There’s the normal model and another one with the feeling that the nose and wings are lower, called the Version K. I think all the real fans will understand the initial K. (Laughs) It’s for Yoshinori Kaneda. My favorite Cosmo Tiger II’s (in Farewell) were drawn by him and Kazuhide Tomonaga. I’m trying to make use of both these models. Also, we stretch and contract the body as necessary.

Interviewer: Is this CG meant to have the taste of hand-drawn anime?

Habara: That’s right. Originally, CG wasn’t very good at exaggeration, but Taichi Kimura and the CG team at Sublimation do their best. As for the making of visuals, I aim to prioritize “cool layout over accurate layout.” First, we think about what we want to express, and it doesn’t matter if the sense of distance between the characters on the layout might be a little different from reality. Even with size. For example, in the scene where Andromeda and Kodai fly past each other, I wanted to give Andromeda a huge feeling, so for contrast it grows bigger than it actually would be. It could double in size. If it’s actual size, it may go by too quickly. We want to spend as much time as possible on them passing each other, so it’s a lot bigger than it actually is. (Laughs)

Interviewer: That sense of exaggeration is one of the good points that animation originally had, isn’t it?

Habara: It’s a lie, but it’s a well-told lie. I think so. Because it’s anime, I want to make it something important.

See Mr. Habara’s profile on Anime News Network here.

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