Voice actor conversation, July 2018

On June 26 2018, voice actors Eriko Nakamura (Mikage Kiryu) and Kenji Akabane (Yasuo Nanbu) participated in an online talk show called D Studio with host Hisanori Yoshida. Nakamura is usually a co-host, but she took the guest chair during the first half hour for a light-hearted conversation. Nico Nico News published a transcript of their discussion, which made this translation possible. See the original article here and watch the show (untranslated) on Youtube here.

Voice Actor Kenji Akabane talks about the role of Yasuo Nanbu in Space Battleship Yamato 2202.
“Susumu Kodai’s suffering is close to that of others.”

Nippon Broadcast announcer Hisanori Yoshida is the host of the Nico Nico Live program Hisanori Yoshida’s D Studio, with Voice Actor Eriko Nakamura as his assistant. This time, Kenji Akabane, the voice of Yasuo Nanbu in Yamato 2202, appeared as a guest. Yamato 2202‘s TV broadcast begins in the fall, and Chapter 6 will be released on November 2. Conversation developed about the story of Yamato 2202 and Akabane’s honest individuality.


Eriko Nakamura and Kenji Akabane

Kenji Akabane wanted to build up the image of an ordinary life

Yoshida: When I talk about Kenji Aakabane, out of the many roles you’ve played people have a strong image of Idol Master. You also appear in Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love?

Akabane: Yes, I appear in it.

Yoshida: What part do you play?

Akabane: The name is Yasuo Nanbu…

Yoshida: On the bridge? Are you on the bridge?

Akabane: That’s right. I’m on the bridge in charge of gunnery. It’s nostalgic. I’ve had that feeling since the audition.

Yoshida: This is the character design.

Nakamura: Don’t you think it looks like you?

Akabane: I didn’t really think about it.

Nakamura: Really? When I saw it on screen, I thought it might be the first time a character’s face looks so much like you.

Akabane: Well, I thought I wanted to play Susumu Kodai, so I tried hard and performed my audition for that part. (Laughs)

Yoshida: Sure, you did. After all, if you’re an actor you probably want to try for the main character in a masterpiece.

Akabane: I wanted to try for it. It’s nostalgic. I remember that when I see this.

Yoshida: With both Mr. Akabane and Ms. Nakamura here today, it almost feels like you’re newlyweds.

Both: Is that so?

Yoshida: After all, you’re the hero and heroine of a famous work. Ms. Nakamura is just starting out, so that feeling of there not being anything is incredible. Also, haven’t you met Mr. Akabane many times before? Whenever I see you, I think I’ve never met someone whose reactions to things are more reliable than yours.


Host Hisanori Yoshida

Akabane: Really?

Yoshida: See, isn’t that reliable?

Nakamura: That was a good example.

Akabane: Well then, how would you respond to that, Ms. Nakamura?

Nakamura: If it was that, then…

Yoshida: I don’t think Ms. Nakamura is reliable.

Nakamura: Hey!

Yoshida: See, just like that. It’s not a bad thing at all, I think it’s the conscience of a Japanese person.

Akabane: I certainly think that I want to live an ordinary life.

Yoshida: I think Mr. Akabane has reached the state where he wants to build the image of an ordinary life.

Akabane: I think so, for the time being.

Nakamura: I’m sorry I gave a little glimpse into something that isn’t reliable.

Akabane: Oh, maybe, but…

Nakamura: That is reliable!! It’s true! (Laughs)

Akabane: I think I need to be reliable when Ms. Nakamura is here watching.

Yoshida: After all, that’s what you think when you see her, right?

Akabane: (Laughs)

Yoshida: That’s because a lot of people see Ms. Nakamura being original, so conversely being reliable may be the most important personality, because we can’t have a work where reliable people don’t appear.

Nakamura: Certainly.

Akabane: There is that. As for me, since I appear in a lot of harem works, the main character is usually a reliable human being.

Nakamura: That’s how I met him, in a harem work seven years ago.

Akabane: You call that a harem? I’m scared to call it that. (Laughs)

[Translator’s note: “harem work” refers to a genre of anime involving one usually unremarkable male character who becomes inexplicably surrounded by several female love interests.]

Yoshida: If anything, it may be better to call yourself a victim. In terms of you being at the center, is that what you do in Yamato 2202? You did at one time, although you’re not currently playing an active role at the moment.

Akabane: That’s right. Unfortunately, I’m not playing an active part compared with Yamato 2199.

Nakamura: (Laughs)

Akabane: After all, I lost out to Kiman, didn’t I?

Yoshida: There are some who stand out in other ways. And we haven’t talked about Ms. Nakamura’s role yet, but I’d like her to appear in one episode after another.

Nakamura: I look forward to working with you. Sorry to interrupt.

Yoshida: I’m digressing, aren’t I? It’s very fresh for you to talk about your role.

Nakamura: Is it?

Yoshida: Yes. Mostly because it’s always interesting to hear about your adventures.

Nakamura: In Yamato 2202 I’m playing the part of Mikage Kiryu. This is the first time I’m seeing her in a while.

Yoshida: And what kind of feeling is there in this character’s position?

Nakamura: She’s a girl who belongs in the technical department for the movement of various spaceships. She’s in the department that takes care of Yamato‘s movement. At least, that’s her position in Yamato 2199. In Yamato 2202, she’s one of the characters who chooses not to get on Yamato and launch.

Yoshida: There has to be some people on the ground, otherwise it couldn’t launch.

Nakamura: That’s right.

Akabane: There was such a scene, yes. You dared to do that.

Nakamura: We did. After that I appeared on screen and did various things, so for now I’m separated from Nanbu.

Akabane: But that doesn’t mean there’s something going on between Kiryu and me. (Laughs)

Nakamura: There’s nothing. (Laughs) Nothing at all. (Laughs)

Akabane: There’s nothing going on behind the scenes. (Laughs)

Nakamura: Not in the slightest. (Laughs) And there’s nothing in the works. (Laughs)

Yoshida: Is it good to be colleagues on the job?

Akabane: That’s right. Especially because it’s Yamato‘s crew. I’m in a different place now, but I feel like I’m treated as one of Yamato‘s crew.

Nakamura: It’s like a family, isn’t it?

Chapter 5 is a shock!? “It feels like a time when everyone is suffering.”

Yoshida: Honestly, Mr. Akabane, I’d like to get a serious answer to my question. As you may have noticed, Ms. Nakamura and I basically talk about appropriate things.

Nakamura: Please don’t mix them together. (Laughs) Because I’m a guest today. (Laughs)

Akabane: I’m promoting Yamato 2202 appropriately, so I think I’ll raise my points and then leave.

Nakamura:(Laughs)

Yoshida: However, Nico Nico is said to be “serious.” “Serious, gentlemanly, serious seriousness.” So we’ll be serious about Yamato 2202 for a moment. The theater version that goes to Blu-ray is up to its fifth Chapter, isn’t it? And Chapter 6 is scheduled for release?

Akabane: That’s right. The Regeneration Chapter.

Yoshida: How many will there be?

Akabane: It goes to seven chapters.

Yoshida: So isn’t the climax starting at this point? At this point Yamato 2199, wasn’t Yamato starting toward Iscandar?

Nakamura: Yes, to get the Cosmo Reverse System, and after Earth was revived the hardships that happened afterward are depicted in Yamato 2202.

Akabane: That’s right. Now…it’s Gatlantis.

Nakamura: The enemy is coming.

Yoshida: Up to now there were two battles, and Yamato 2202 makes it three this time.

Akabane: In Chapter 5, everyone starts to suffer. There is an encounter between two people, and Kiman is troubled about where he should go. Then there is the reason that Sabera is kidnapped. At the same time, she is making moves on the Yamato side. She is called Sabera, right?

Nakamura: Touko.

Akabane: Ah. Touko. Because of everything she brings in, the fifth chapter is where everyone starts to suffer along with Kato because of his child.

Nakamura: It’s the child we saw a moment ago, who appeared along with the crying face of Mr. Hosoya’s character. [In reference to Kato shedding tears in the trailer.]

Akabane: I think Chapter 5 feels like a time when everyone is suffering. Kodai was suffering before that, but it feels close-up to the others by the end of Chapter 5.

TV broadcast in the fall, Chapter 6 releasing in November. “Enjoy it on TV and in the theater.”

Yoshida: The story is progressing quite well, and its essence is the magnificent story of the old Space Battleship Yamato. That’s because the present technique of [Writer] Harutoshi Fukui is like Nippon Broadcasting stations running the radio drama of Space Battleship Yamato, isn’t it?

Akabane: That’s right. That’s what’s being done.

Nakamura: He does the series composition and scripts.

Yoshida: I think people know about [his film] Another Country’s Aegis and he also writes a lot of Gundam series. In this script, a huge drama runs through the seven chapters released in theaters. We’re up to five and the next one is in November, although this time that won’t be all, I’ve heard.

Nakamura: Yes, that’s right. And the part that has already been shown since Chapter 1 will start on TV this fall.

Akabane: The theater edition hasn’t ended yet. The story is whether or not we’ll make it in time.

Yoshida: Isn’t [Director] Nobuyoshi Habara doing it in a state of near-death?

Nakamura: He’s fine, isn’t he?

Akabane: I think Mr. Habara is doing fine.

Nakamura: In terms of those who are involved in Yamato 2202, I think many people have regained their vitality from being involved in it.

Yoshida: Maybe so. The director and the generation working at the top of it right now are in between their 50s and 60s, and since anime is a very physical job, it seems like they’re doing it as their final work.

Nakamura: As one of the people themselves, there seem to be an awful lot of things they’re working on where they say, “This may be my last.”

Yoshida: People say that, but of course Hayao Miyazaki is up in his 60s or 70s. The initial inspiration for these people was Space Battleship Yamato, wasn’t it?

Nakamura: That’s right.

Yoshida: That feeling of putting everything you’ve got into making it is what makes this Yamato series so great on the screen this time.

Nakamura: Chapter 5 finishes in a serious place, and it’s about three months before the next chapter will be shown, following the start of the TV broadcast in the fall. In keeping with that timing, we can all enjoy seeing Yamato 2202 in the theater and on TV. The premiere is delayed until November 2, but Mr. Habara and Mr. Fukui have said it’s supposed to be amazing.

Yoshida: It’s amazing now. After all, Ms. Nakamura is outstandingly good at explaining it. (Laughs)

Nakamura: You say that to my face(Laughs)!?

Akabane: That’s because I’m the type who will make things go out of control no matter what I say.

Yoshida: That’s why you’re so reliable. Ms. Nakamura is unreliable. (Laughs)

Nakamura: (Laughs)

Akabane: Not at all. I’m trash, not reliable at all.(Laughs)

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