Yamato 2202 Chapter 5, Purgatory Chapter, opened in 35 theaters on May 25, 2018 where it would play for three weeks, with four of those theaters holding it over for a fourth week. Since it opened on a Friday rather than the customary Saturday, the “big” stage presentation with voice actors took place the next morning (read about it here).
Instead, a smaller presentation was held at the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater on Friday morning featuring three familiar faces: Director Nobuyoshi Habara, Writer Harutoshi Fukui, and Sound Director Tomohiro Yoshida. This report was published at the Official 2202 website on June 13…
(Note: in all cases, the interviewer was regular Yamato MC Osamu Kobayashi.)
Event report: Chapter 5 Purgatory Chapter first day stage greeting
Yamato 2202 Chapter 5 premiered Friday, May 25, and a commemorative stage greeting was held at the Shinjuku Piccadilly Theater. Though it wasn’t scheduled, Sound Director Tomohiro Yoshida, Writer Harutoshi Fukui, and Director Nobuyoshi Habara rushed onto the stage.
When asked how it felt on this first day, Mr. Habara said, “I was wondering if I would be able to see it with fresh eyes,” and when he asked the viewers if they were satisfied, a big round of applause filled the theater.
After that, Mr. Fukui greeted them with a laugh that could be called masochistic. “It’s the cruelest ending I’ve ever done. When we did Chapter 2 I thought that was it, but this time it’s much worse. When you see the teaser for Chapter 6 a new guy appears, doesn’t he? In industry terminology, that’s a Billbine. (Laughs) Is Yamato finally changing? How could that happen? Isn’t it more fun than ever?”
(Translator’s note: Billbine was the replacement robot for the title mecha in Aura Battler Dunbine, a 1983 anime series from Sunrise.)
Mr. Yoshida said a little about the current circumstances in his greeting, which demonstrated that we are finally in the second half of this long series. “It’s a really long journey. It’s already more than a year since Chapter 1. Actually, I just mixed Episode 19 yesterday…oh, I don’t think I should say that. (Laugh) It’s just that we’ve finally come to this…the city empire at last.”
We spoke with Mr. Yoshida and the others, hearing stories mainly about the music and cast. Let’s introduce some of them here.
L to R: Tomohiro Yoshida, Nobuyoshi Habara, Harutoshi Fukui
On the music of Chapter 5
Interviewer: There were quite a few musical pieces used for the first time in Chapter 5.
Yoshida: Of course, we recorded them before the series began. I wanted [Composer] Akira Miyagawa to understand the overall world view, so I first had him record music that would be necessary in the second half. It’s been sleeping so far and it has aged, so we’re trying to use it before it rots. So the Galaxy theme could finally be used in the teaser.
Interviewer: For example, a piece used in Chapter 5 for the first time was for the scene of Kato and Touko in her cell. What kind of Zordar did you want there?
Yoshida: It was also used in Chapter 1. It connects to Tsubasa ~ Fading Life, the music for parents and children, Kato and his son Tsubasa. This time, Kato is tempted to the dark side and falls. Akira gave the explanation in that excellent piece. It’s great music, isn’t it?
Fukui: It’s as if I composed the music and put it together with a picture. It’s wonderful.
Habara: Of course, when I listened to the music, I thought it was great. As for Yoshida’s music selection…when I heard it with the picture for the first time in dubbing, I was surprised by how perfect it was for the scene.
Interviewer: There are many other scenes that seem like they were scored as a film. [Translator’s note: the interviewer makes this distinction because BGM is not typically written for specific scenes, instead functioning as a library for general use.]
Yoshida: It feels like it’s in my blood…I take into account the flow of the music whenever possible. If the composer and performer were to shorten a given piece, what would they cut? Basically, I’d like to place [a cut] to be unnoticeable. In Chapter 5, the balance of old and new music was very painstaking. It was hard to decide how to drop it in.
Fukui: I wanted to ask you, when the city empire Gatchakon! sound effect came out, what is that? (Laughs) I’ve been interested in it since I watched Farewell to Yamato in the old days. What sound is it?
Yoshida: What do you mean?
Fukui: In the original, something flashed and it went Gatchakon! Is that sound made by the city empire? (Laughs) Because it’s there this time. It has a terrible feeling of, “This is it!”
Yoshida: For that effect, Mr. Nishimura said, “As for how to use it, I’ll leave it to you. I have it, so I’ll hand it over.” He threw it around irresponsibly. (Laughs)
Habara: It’s perfect.
Interviewer: How does the director interpret it?
Habara: Ehh…oh, just put it in. (Laughs) That series of scenes was set to music in the mix. Then it was cut because it felt a little different from what I was expecting. Conversely, I edit to match the flow of music.
Yoshida: I was impressed by watching the preview.
Interviewer: In Chapter 4, the music that was used in the “Everyone shoots together” scene was also used in Chapter 5 when Kiman releases Kodai from captivity. It seems like you use this in scenes where everyone’s feelings come together as one.
Yoshida: In that place, it’s a cool Kiman theme. Actually, I try not to think about it too much. When I aim for something, it usually lands off center.
Habara: It’s a victory of sensibilities, isn’t it?
Fukui: It’s what the music demands. In that case, I guess the music was like, “I want Kiman to go in.”
Yoshida: It becomes the music of Ranhart Dessler, doesn’t it?
The new cast of Chapter 5
Interviewer: Please tell me about the voices of the Dessler family who appear at the beginning of Chapter 5.
Yoshida: Before the series began, Mr. Habara issued a request for those parts. “How about this guy?” If there were no scheduling problems, it would be adopted. When it comes to people who can bring a presence to such a short scene, you want some veterans.
Habara: Otherwise, emotions would only be conveyed by crying.
Interviewer: There are also two new characters on the Earth side in the latter half. Did you request those cast members?
Habara: I made the request for Saki Todo, and the voice of Mina Ichinose was recommended by Mr. Yoshida.
Interviewer: How was the voice recording?
Habara: Both Ayahi Takagaki (Todo) and Tomoyo Kurosawa (Ichinose) fervently asked about not only “What was it like in the past?” but also how you want to perform because of what you’ve gathered inside of you.
Fukui: On the topic of the role, there was a lot to sink my teeth into.
Interviewer: And we must not forget about someone else. Isao Sasaki.
Habara: He is Captain Yasuda of Apollo Norm. I talked with him in an interview or a recording, and at the time he said something like, “I want to do it if I can be a captain.” And so we did it! It was a feeling like, “There you go.” (Laughs)
Interviewer: Speaking of ideas from the director, I also heard that you proposed the Gatlantis baby.
Habara: That’s right. Because a member of the staff had a child around the end of last year. (Laughs) I said, “There’s about three months until we record that voice, so record a little cry.”
Fukui: That was a good recording, wasn’t it?
Yoshida: The sound quality was surprisingly good.
Habara: It was OK without a single retake. Since I made the offer properly, Mr. Fukui paid for it with a diaper. (Laughs) It felt like there was some fate at work. A Gatlantis baby was important in the script, so I thought a real voice was better than what was available (library sounds). It was very lucky.
Fukui: Good timing.
Habara: Actually, the mouth movement was matched to the cry as closely as possible.
At the end of the stage greeting, a photo session was held and everyone gave a message to the audience.
Sound Supervisor Tomohiro Yoshida: What will happen with the Galaxy theme after this? How does it lead to Chapter 6 and the finale in Chapter 7? I want to do my best to the end, so please take care.
Fukui: Volume 3 of the novelization by Yuka Minagawa was published today, so please get it. Plamodels have been waiting for the TV announcement to be given, so it has been decided that many kinds will come out at the end of the year. Thank you for that. Also, there will be more content later on the drama CD, and I think you’ll like listening to it so please look forward to that as well. Thank you for today.
Habara: I will keep you waiting for Chapter 6 Regeneration Chapter for about six months, and we’re working hard to make something that will meet your expectations. Thank you for today.
To kick off its second week in theaters, more stage greetings were held for Chapter 5 in the Kyushu area. The following report was published on the Official 2202 website on July 5…
L to R: MC Osamu Kobayashi, Shoji Nishizaki, Eriko Nakamura, Harutoshi Fukui
Event Report: Chapter 5 Purgatory Chapter Kyushu area stage greeting
As you know, with every chapter of Yamato 2202 stage greetings are held in theaters outside the Tokyo suburbs. For Chapter 5, three cities in Kyushu were visited over two days, Friday June 1 and Saturday June 2: T-Joy Hakata and T-Joy Riverwalk in Kitakyushu, and Toho Cinema Forest Light in Kumamoto. The participants were Writer Harutoshi Fukui, Mikage Kiryu’s voice actor Eriko Nakamura, and Executive Producer Shoji Nishizaki, who went to high school in Kitakyushu.
In this report, we pick up dialogues with Shoji Nishizaki.
The job of an Executive Producer
Nishizaki: I don’t think “Executive Producer” has a definition. [Translator’s note: the literal Japanese equivalent of the term is “Overall Production Command.”] However, I think the role is to develop a certain project, make the plan, and procure the budget once the project is decided.
The next part is the most important, the so-called staffing. First the writer, then the director. Then the main staff is appointed, including the art director. The biggest and most important job is to find people who have the mind for this sort of work. Next, I will oversee the whole and manage the production schedule to some extent. And we always deliver the data on time. I think that’s it…
Interviewer: Since you do the staffing of jobs, then you are Mr. Fukui’s employer.
Fukui: That’s right. So it wouldn’t be good to hear, “This guy is useless.”
Nakamura: Has that ever been said about you?
Fukui: Not yet, fortunately.
Interviewer: So if there is a slip of the tongue today…
Fukui: That’s why I’m nervous. (Laughs)
L: on stage at T-Joy in Hakata. R: on stage at Toho Cinema in Kumamoto
Mr. Fukui’s appointment and Mr. Nishizaki’s impression
Interviewer: How was Mr. Fukui appointed?
Nishizaki: I’ve been paying attention to Mr. Fukui for a long time. Gundam UC in particular was a big hit, and I thought it was enviable. So I decided to ask concerned parties for an introduction. Just one time was enough…since he’s such a big author, he acted very pompous. (Laughs) In any case, he seemed to hear what I had to say.
Fukui: I don’t remember being pompous at all. (Laughs)
Nishizaki: It wouldn’t be interesting if I didn’t build it up a little. (Laughs) The second time we met, it was very pleasant. In my personal opinion, a story is still the most important thing in a visual work. If it doesn’t create an impression to some extent, the direction of the work becomes very vague. We can’t compete there. I have a responsibility to collect the money to cover expenses, so it was good that I met a really amazing guy.
Interviewer: That’s high praise.
Fukui: I’m sweating now. (Laughs)
Interviewer: What was your first impression when you met Mr. Nishizaki?
Fukui: I meet a lot of people in this line of work. However, even if it’s a publishing company or a visual production company, it’s still a Japanese company and a similar tone appears in all of them because it takes a certain kind of person to advance in a salaryman society.
But in the case of Mr. Nishizaki, he came up without passing through this process. I was nervous because he is, so to speak, someone who got this far by his own hand. You can’t do that without skill. He isn’t the type of entrepreneur who only finds value in meeting economic principles…which means he’s a so-called troublemaker. (Laughs) I have my own aesthetics, beliefs, and philosophies, and I don’t give my OK unless they are satisfied to some extent. That’s what I needed to determine.
Fukui and Nakamura with a Naoyuki Katoh mural, Toho Cinema in Kumamoto
Nishizaki: When I received the proposal from Mr. Fukui, I decided to meet with him and about ten staff members. At that time, he put the proposal on the desk and talked through it with gestures. Doing that, he had such an amazing presence that I wondered, “Maybe this guy should be in a different line of work.” (Laughs) I was very impressed and said, “Let’s do it!”
Fukui: I remember it now. It was in a conference room at Bandai Namco Arts.
Nishizaki: That’s right.
Fukui: There’s a sign in the air when you’re doing a planning meeting. Everyone thinks, “I wonder what this is” and you can’t see a decisive factor. Whenever I made a face like, “Well, I don’t really have a picture of that in my mind,” Director Habara said, “Okay, let me show you.” (Laughs)
At the beginning of Episode 1, I did a one-man show for everyone starting with the White Comet. “The Earth fleet warps out here and the Garmillas fleet comes from here. Will they fight? No, they won’t. They expand and begin to move in the same direction and then there’s a caption: The Earth/Garmillas Combined Fleet.” Not just the lines but I also did the movement of the ships with my hands. “Gyuuuun.” I did everything up to where Yamato fires its guns at the end.
Nishizaki: It was accompanied by sound effects.
Nakamura: He’s a storyteller.
Nishizaki: It’s at a level that couldn’t be captured if it was recorded and played back later on YouTube. (Laughs) The people who were there, about ten of them, gave a standing ovation at the end. It was ten times more amazing than a presentation made by a major agency.
Impressions and response to 2202
Nishizaki: First, as Mr. Fukui has said, by all means I want those who watched Farewell to see it. I think many of those who watched it in those days were around junior high age. I want such young children of today to see it, too. So I told Mr. Fukui that although it is Farewell, I wanted him to change the point of view and make it a new story. I think it has now become an excellent picture.
Interviewer: What are your impressions of Chapter 5?
Nishizaki: It’s a climax. Various characters finally take various actions, and it progresses through various feelings. I also think the fleet battle was well done. Kato chooses his child and suffers for not choosing Yamato and Earth. I think this emotional drama is Mr. Fukui’s real truth. I was also impressed by the scene in Gatlantis where Zordar looks at his subordinates holding a baby and says, “Why are they smiling?” I thought those scenes condensed the drama of love declared in 2202.
Interviewer: How do you feel about the 2202 series?
Nishizaki: Every time a chapter arrives, the numbers that indicate admiration gradually rise. I think we can expect to get higher numbers as we go further.
Fukui: Compared to current anime, the anime I always participate in tends to start with some distance. “Doesn’t it seem quiet?” or “It seems heavy.” It gradually begins to rise with the number of episodes, and it’s born at a certain moment. I’m expecting that moment to be the TV broadcast this fall.
Welcome sign at Toho Cinema in Kumamoto.
All photos originally posted on the Yamato 2202 Production Committee’s Twitter page.
About the ending theme songs
Interviewer: Another thing. I’ve heard that part of Mr. Nishizaki’s work is to produce the ending theme songs.
Nishizaki: Music is one of the most important elements in this work. It has a very influential role in amplifying emotions like determination or anger. I entrust the music of the story to Akira Miyagawa, and that leaves the endings. The ending is the finish of the movie, and it’s important to amplify the lingering mood with a feeling that is engraved into your memory. I think melody is the most important part of music, and someone who has remarkable singing ability, whether they’re famous or not. I think if you have that, everyone will be comfortable with the sound that is born out of it. This time I was blessed with S.E.N.S. Project as a composing team. The musicians involved in the work are very passionate and skillful.
Fukui: There have been a lot of rhythm-based songs recently, too. You can remember a song by S.E.N.S. after you hear it only twice. It remains in the ear. This is very important, and it has helped each time. By the way, Chapter 5 has such a severe ending, it’s good to be comforted by a lullaby, isn’t it? I had them make it with that theme. We have to calm down a little after it’s over.
In closing, we summarize Mr. Fukui’s words at the end of the stage greeting at T-Joy in Hakata.
Fukui: This was the longest 30 minutes of the last ten years. (Laughs) Right or wrong, I asked the producer to tell a good story from the past. I totally forgot about it, so I’ll just speak instead. I think the urgent feeling of “In this time, a human being is neither money nor power, it’s all about whether you truly love something” is at the root of the story in 2202. A person like that is made to wait farthest in back, but I’m glad I could tell you all about it today.