Harutoshi Fukui Interview, February 2018

The fourth chapter is the latest part in the seven-part series!

Yamato 2202 Chapter 4 Destiny Chapter, Harutoshi Fukui special interview

Published by V-Storage on February 23, 2018. See the original post here.

Written by Harutoshi Fukui, directed by Nobuyoshi Habara, and created by a extravagant staff that exceeds the original, Chapter 4 Destiny Chapter is the latest work in the Yamato 2202 series. We await the development of even more breathtaking shocks. This time we approached Harutoshi Fukui directly to discuss various feelings and expectations for the characters, and heard concerning stories about Chapter 5, Purgatory Chapter.

Everyone’s image of Dessler remains unbroken, the concept of adding new elements becomes the motivator

Interviewer: Chapter 4, Destiny Chapter, was a story of how the emotions and intentions of various characters jumbled together. First of all, how about Dessler?

Fukui: As for the voice, Koichi Yamadera continues in the role after Yamato 2199. Since he is very familiar with the original Space Battleship Yamato, we didn’t offer him any particular performance plan. We were confident that it would be OK if he’d just do it as is, and that was actually right.

Dessler is already a complete character, and since everyone’s image of Dessler remains unbroken, the concept of adding new elements becomes the motivator. I was careful of the balance between what part to protect and what part to dig into. Dessler is an extreme character with a keren flavor, so I imagined that was how he would speak. Therefore, I was rarely at a loss for how to depict his lines. This time it was just a degree of appearance, but in Chapter 5 Purgatory Chapter, a part from the original comes out and we’ll see everything go over the top.

Interviewer: How about Kiman?

Fukui: His character is also a point in Chapter 5. The lay of the land is gradually coming out, and various things will become clear in the next one. I want you to look forward to it.

Interviewer: How about Touko Katsuragi?

Fukui: One part of her is depicted in Chapter 4, but I don’t think we know yet what else is there. I think it is properly conveyed that there seem to be very deep feelings between her, Zordar, and Sabera. But rather than watching this and wondering about what will happen in the future, I hope you can accept their story just as it is for now.

The desire to portray a view of life and death in just the right way for today’s generation

Interviewer: How about Teresa?

Fukui: Teresa was described as a so-called anti-matter being in the original, but it’s different from the start this time since she is a higher-dimensional life form. In other words, this may be a glimpse into a future world. That’s why she speaks to people in this dimension through the medium of people who have passed away.

When you get to the age that includes me and all the older fans, “death” is not unfamiliar. Death begins to increase around us, and we can start to see the distance to death. It’s obvious that people will die in a war story like Space Battleship Yamato. That’s why it runs into the eternal mystery of, “What happens to a person when they die?” and it touches the foundation depicted in this story. There is the desire to portray a view of life and death in just the right way for today’s generation.

Interviewer: How about Zordar?

Fukui: It’s still a mystery what he thinks and why he takes certain actions. The first glimpse comes out this time through his linkage with Touko Katsuragi. It’s the same as the original, in which he showed his power while laughing confidently, but I think the motive of this Zordar seems very different.

Interviewer: How about the relationship of Goland and Nol, which looked like a parent and child?

Fukui: This is simple, and I understand the feelings of a parent because I have a child myself. I think it would be a very moving pattern to see that scene as a child. It’s very easy to see a parent taking an action like that. Since a majority of the viewers are already parents, I think this is a point they can identify with.

In the case of Gatlantis, it’s not a parent and a child, but a copy. Unlike the common clone concept, they’re not suddenly born as an adult, and it’s necessary to raise them properly from childhood. It’s a mechanism in which one grows old and is replaced when their clone comes of age, one after another. That’s the same as a parent and child. When that happens, it is said that intelligent creatures with human form will take on the same behaviors.

In Chapter 3, Zordar says, “Clones are not born from love. Because we are outside of love, we can observe love. Therefore, we can build our own utopia.” But you can see that it’s wrong. I don’t think the example of Goland and Nol is a special case.

Kodai aspires to an ideal form for Earth, and wants to keep the promise to Starsha as a proper human being

Interviewer: Please tell us about the scene of the Wave-Motion Gun, which becomes a big highlight of Chapter 4.

Fukui: In the previous work 2199, there is the premise that the Wave-Motion Gun is sealed up for being dangerous, but this time we break through the problem. Kodai aspires to an ideal form for Earth, and wants to keep the promise to Starsha as a proper human being. How do you drop yourself in when the situation is that society does not allow for the norm? This is more or less the problem everyone faces as long as we live. And I don’t think there are any solutions depicted here. You can substitute yourself into it as you watch.

Interviewer: Why did you choose the subtitle of Destiny Chapter for Chapter 4?

Fukui: One meaning is for a heavenly life, since Teresa is a being from the next world. Destiny is like fate that is given to someone. Dessler and Kodai both shoulder a destiny they cannot escape, and because they have to break through that I chose Destiny Chapter to include such a meaning.

Love is a beautiful thing, but it is fraught with danger

Interviewer: Next, I’ll ask you about Chapter 5, Purgatory Chapter. This story crossed the turning point, and the destiny of Yamato‘s crew became clear. What kind of challenges await Yamato in Chapter 5?

Fukui: Chapter 5 is divided down the middle with an A side and a B side. The first half is the story of Dessler, and the second half is of Earth. It’s the point where the decisive battle will finally start.

Interviewer: Why was the subtitle of Purgatory Chapter chosen for Chapter 5?

Fukui: Purgatory is a temporary place for Christians who cannot go either to heaven or to hell. I chose Purgatory Chapter to include the meaning of being one step away from the world of hell. In other words, we are going to hell. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Love can be a strength if you unite, but can be a weakness if you become attached to others. What form of love will be depicted in Chapter 5?

Fukui: In Chapter 4, Goland is killed as a result of the unity of love. In other words, there are two sides. From the side about unity, it’s a beautiful story, but the result is irreversible. There was love over there on the other side, but it was smashed. Love is a beautiful thing, but it is fraught with danger. In Chapter 3, love was good and caused a miracle that saved everyone’s life. In Chapter 5, I think the reverse pattern will be depicted in contrast to Chapter 3.

Interviewer: The history and thoughts of Dessler are revealed in Chapter 5. What sort of character are you trying to depict with him in this series?

Fukui: In the previous work 2199, there were many voices who didn’t understand why Dessler took his actions, so I’ve tried to solve it. I’m sure it was something meaningful to him. That part is strongly depicted. For that reason, I’m doing big things like shaking the Garmillas concept at its core. I hope you’ll see what happens next.

Interviewer: Finally, please give a message to the Yamato fans.

Fukui: The feeling is that the calorie consumption is doubling and redoubling many times over, so it’s very hard for us on the production side. But as the 21st century version of Farewell to Yamato from 40 years ago, we’ve been prepared for this since the planning stage. We aim to present it with the latest production technology and penetrate modern times with the theme. I hope you will witness this challenge.

Introduction from Chapter 4 program book, January 31, 2018

Break through the Gatlantis station!! Arrival at the legendary planet Telezart!!

Has the spell been lifted?

Harutoshi Fukui, Series Composition

Sorry, there are spoilers again this time. Please read this after you see Chapter 4.

The issue of Yamato‘s Wave-Motion gun has reached a major turning point, making this chapter the turning point of the whole story. It is not solved or settled…but in terms of Kodai’s spiritual journey, it can be said to be resolved.

The problem of the Wave-Motion Gun is derived from the previous work, Yamato 2199, and a lot of different opinions came out in script meetings. Since the promise to Starsha was only verbal, some do not treat it so heavily. In this case, Yamato sealed its Wave-Motion Gun, and some wanted to differentiate it from Wave-Motion Gun ships such as Andromeda. As Yurisha mentioned in the story, there is the danger that space will be torn by the use of a Wave-Motion Gun, and some said it wouldn’t be possible to solve the problem by replacing the Wave-Motion Gun with a new technological development.

As the person responsible for the story and the success of the project, first of all there was no choice but to outfit Yamato with the Wave-Motion Gun again. Rather, it is necessary to fire it off as soon as possible. To explain why, I’ll skip over Kodai’s conflict and suffering and speak frankly; it’s because “blowing away a mighty enemy with the Wave-Motion Gun” is at the root of Yamato‘s cathartic image.

Neither Gundam nor Star Wars nor Star Trek have this. It is literally a weapon that is only found in Yamato‘s content. But it is not a fixture like Ultraman’s Specium Rays that gets used every time. In terms of aesthetics, it’s a “reservoir” that we save up to build tension, and it becomes an absolute catharsis equal to the attack in a chivalrous Ken Takakura movie. If this was taken away from Yamato, this writer would have no confidence in the success of 2202.

At the same time, as a writer I could see that how we dealt with this problem would be something to measure from the start of the planning. Yes, one way of thinking is to use the Wave-Motion Gun as a metaphor for the nuclear power plant after the [March 2011] earthquake. This could be a tool to modernize the content that was created 40 years ago, but if we made one mistake it could result in rejection, so it was a point we had to tackle carefully.

It is already seven years since Japan’s Great Tohoku Earthquake. Acceptance of nuclear power is simply a matter of how many people do. Certainly, the sense of aversion to nuclear power plants is significantly lower compared to the beginning of the disaster. It was said that the country was on the verge of falling, and it seemed unlikely seven years ago, after experiencing something like Yamato on the ground, that the tolerance for nuclear power plants would restart in the minds of the Japanese people.

It’s like the old saying says about how vows made in storms are forgotten in calms. That’s the source of forgetfulness in people, isn’t it? If you have a child and were asked if you were prepared to hand something over to that child that would pose a risk to them, the answer would be no. It’s not that we forget, but that we’ve grown to accept it. Consciously or unconsciously, we accept reality and have “dealt with it.”

The modern world is overflowing with things we cannot solve; the issue of North Korea and our constitutional problems, the “ideals Japan held after World War II.” If we return to individuals, everyone has had the experience of an ideal becoming twisted in reality, and now that the national reform cultivated by postwar Japan is eroding, we are being forced to change. We can no longer be safe as people who live the ideals of Japan after the war. As Kodai and others see their ideals come into conflict with reality, they must become “adults.”

There is no miracle solution. In order to survive this reality, there is no choice but to shoulder the contradictions that cannot be solved. Post-disaster, most Japanese accepted that, but that was acceding to reality, and it doesn’t give us the right to sneer at them for it. While living through a situation like this, does it bring meaning and value to one’s ideals? If you give up your ideals, the meaning and wisdom given to human beings will be lost. How would we explain that to the next generation?

By everyone shouldering it together, the spell Kodai hung upon himself by carrying it alone may have been lifted. But no matter how many tears are shed over the Goland “father and son” (It’s not actually that, but how else can that relationship be expressed?), the sin of instantly erasing several thousand lives will not vanish.

Because people are people. For the sake of ideals, for the sake of love, we live burdened with sins — we accept it in ourselves because we have to live.

Only half of Yamato‘s pilgrimage has been digested. More still lies in wait ahead…

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