1977 Doujinshi Interviews

After you’ve been collecting something long enough to fill out the backlist, you reach a point where there’s not much left to hunt for, but your collector’s drive is still fully engaged. Despite decades of backlist, it is possible to reach that point with a Space Battleship Yamato collection. But just as music collectors have the underground world of bootlegs to turn to, Yamato fans have the underground world of doujinshi.

Doujinshi is the Japanese word for fanzine, and there’s a lot to be learned about Yamato doujinshi here. Suffice to say, doujinshi collecting can be a mixed bag, especially with the language barrier as the elephant in the room. It’s easy to judge visual quality, not quite so much when it comes to prose. Some doujins can be a cornucopia of art while others can turn out to be filled with impenetrable text, so you take your chances if you only have a cover image to go by.

The farther back in time you go the more primitive they become. Desktop publishing wasn’t even on the horizon in the 70s, so fans had to make do with very limited resources. Many didn’t even have the ability to generate text mechanically, and hand-wrote it instead. Some had access to animation production art, but others did not. A doujinshi from this era goes into a whole different DIY category, as can be seen in our extensive online gallery here.

Which brings us to this one from September 1977, simply titled Yamato. This is a true case of a deceiving outward appearance. If you saw it in a cover lineup, you’d almost certainly pass it by. But it’s the content that counts, and on that score it shines like a diamond.

Published a month after the premiere of first Space Battleship Yamato movie, its author Kaoru Saito somehow gained access to the inner circle – producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and most of the primary voice actors – and obtained interviews that would soon become the sole province of mainstream publishers. The text was not professionally polished, but the content is exceptional; here we see Nishizaki at his most unguarded, making statements far too candid for the public record. It was also the first time anyone had asked the voice actors about their Yamato experience. As we know, all that was about to change in a major way. (In fact, the change began around the time this doujinshi was published, and rising demand lead to a reprinting on October 28.)

That makes this issue of Yamato one for the history books, a permanent record of the first and only time a doujinshi writer made it all the way to Iscandar.

Special thanks to Yurika Dennis and Neil Nadelman for translation support.


Producer Nishizaki talks about Yamato

(August 2 at Office Academy)

This movie version of Yamato is in around six major cities in Japan. It would be bad if it was limited only to people in the fan club, because the promotional expenses are approximately 40 million yen. There was no plan in the early stage, but even if it became impossible for this year, it would surely happen someday. Anyway, it is happening now, and the heads of major theater companies are saying “please let me do it” with their heads bowed. Otherwise, we couldn’t expand it to two more screens on the 13th and 14th. It’s a world of difference from the old days.

As for whether or not there will be a sequel, I’m still wondering about the part that was eliminated. There were 13 episodes taken out…the part going from Planet Balan to Gamilas through the Small Megallanic Cloud…I think it’s very disappointing that that part was lost. And then Dessler died…there is a proposal to make both the place and the purpose completely different with new designs. Creating something new will be very difficult since it will have to be greater than last time. Since the last image has solidified, a sequel would have to transcend it.

Just now, I feel that I’m stuck for a plan. But if I do make it, I will do it right. I absolutely don’t want to do something that would be a step down. You know about Planet of the Apes. The first one was very popular, then Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the rest came one after another, but the content gradually deteriorated. I never want to do that with Yamato. The first 007 Napoleon Solo [Note: this was the title for Man from UNCLE in Japan] was a big hit, and the sequel was more elaborate, which entailed enormous cost. I intend to make a Yamato sequel carefully. I have to. I’m sure it can make it better than the previous one. Of course, I’ll have to get a staff together first.

Asteroid Ship was the first concept by Aritsune Toyota. It went as far as it could in planning, but it really didn’t work. If it appears on screen always hiding in a rock, the figure of a lump of rock flying through space isn’t attractive. But I think it’s very interesting as a proposal. I think it would work better as a novel.

Only Japanese people appear in Yamato since I think it wouldn’t be logical in various ways to put in a foreigner. Customs and lifestyles are sharply different between Japanese and foreigners. That would inevitably come out if there was a foreigner, and we wouldn’t have unity. It would become impossible to fully express what I want to represent with Yamato. The theme would deviate. Cooperation between people of different countries is important, but if that were expressed it would be a different work.

About [Captain] Harlock, I talked to the chairman and vice-chairman of the Harlock fan club the other day, and said that my Yamato and Leiji Matsumoto’s Yamato are different. Mixing them would be troublesome. As for me, I did not intend to use Harlock in the beginning. It was meant to be Mamoru Kodai to the end, and I didn’t want him to be connected to Mr. Matsumoto’s Harlock character. To be sure, the women drawn by Matsumoto are beautiful, and I love them. But the men, not so much.

Matsumoto-san is just one person out of many on the staff, and Yamato was made by the hands of many people. At first, it was said that the popularity of Yamato came from Mr. Matsumoto’s characters, but this is not the case at all. He was asked to make Danguard Ace resemble Yamato, and he hated that. It was something that just used the characters and mecha of Matsumoto. Once you see that, you understand that with Yamato, however good the picture may be, the content has to catch on. If that were not the case with Yamato, it would not have become this popular and that popularity would not have continued for three years, either. [Translator’s note: this reference is to the gestation period from 1974-77.] About this, I had a clear conviction.

Not many people know what a “producer” is. A “producer” is vital. In Hollywood, the opinion of a producer is absolute. This is common sense in foreign countries.

As for the character of Susumu Kodai, it was taken from Kuro the black dog in Wansa-kun. [A 1973 series produced by Nishizaki.] I liked him the most from Wansa-kun, and with Susumu Kodai, I wanted to make the black dog into a human being. In a lot of ways he had the feel of a human being, so therefore he’s hot-blooded and reckless. Kei Tomiyama did the voice of Kuro, too…so for example, if it was said that Mr. Hirokawa [the narrator] did Kodai, he would be a different Kodai. It would feel strange. Therefore, I chose Kei Tomiyama for Kodai.

About Dessler, he’s slightly mysterious and I thought he would become popular, but as for me I asked for something like a menacing beauty in him. I also wanted you to know that the enemy was a flesh-and-blood person, or he would have the image of another ugly villain. I don’t like that. Therefore, I wanted to convey beauty hidden in the menace. In that area, I think [the voice actor] Mr. Ibu did it well. I didn’t expect it to go that far. When I hear his voice from the beginning, it’s very different by the end. The menace comes out gradually. That’s good. He probably wouldn’t have grown that much if not for Mr. Ibu.

The color of his skin became blue suddenly because I wanted to get away from the war image of Japan and Germany. The similarities to World War II were becoming too much, and it was turning into an international war. I wanted to give it a more alien image, so we tried various things. I felt that changing the color to blue would be good, so I ordered that change.

As for anime I’ve seen before now, I think Gatchaman was good.

I can’t create something just to make money. In that respect, I may be disqualified as a producer. I’ve reflected on that. You can’t make something brilliant that way. In order to present the thing called roman[ce] throughout the story, the first six episodes or so become a prologue. Therefore, what I make is not for children. My works are generally said to have good music, partly because I used to be a music producer, and my music is said to be grand. More than half of what is considered to be the image is produced by music, and because I love music I say it grandly.


The brave warriors of Yamato saving the Earth

Combat Group Leader: Susumu Kodai

Hot blooded boy of space 〜 it is Susumu-kun

Although his reckless behavior is well-known, the authentic youthfulness of an 18-year-old was depicted there. His short temper may seem satirical, but isn’t that sort of rough-and-tumble spoiled child somewhere within most of us?

Voice: Kei Tomiyama

PROFILE

Affiliated with Blue Two Productions. Born October 31, 1958. Real name: Kunichika Tomiyama. Has a wife and daughters. His representative works are Tiger Mask, Samurai G, Grendaizer, Bucha, Candy Candy, etc.

(See a longer list of his credits here. NOTE: He was also the Japanese voice of Bugs Bunny!)

August 24 at Cinebeam

Interviewer: Kaoru Saito

Tomiyama: It’s a great story with good characters including Captain Okita, Susumu Kodai, and Daisuke Shima. They ride on Yamato through the grandeur of space and come back after having various adventures. Kodai is emotional and his blood boils quickly, while Shima is the calm and restrained one, staying in control…I really like the character of Kodai himself. It was nice to do. I think I should go and see it after summer vacation is over, and it’s not so crowded.

Interviewer: Did you perform for it again, to fix it up for the release?

Tomiyama: No, I didn’t. It was broadcast as 26 TV episodes. It was cut and re-edited for theaters. I just did some small changes for lines here and there. A few places. Did you see it yourself?

Interviewer: I saw it.

Tomiyama: Because you also saw it on TV.

Interviewer: Yes. (Laughs)

Tomiyama: (Laughs) How was it?

Interviewer: It was better on TV.

Tomiyama: TV was better…yeah, but it’s on a big screen, and the voices are more powerful in a theater.

Interviewer: Yeah…it was disappointing that the TV series had bad ratings.

Tomiyama: That’s right. For us, the audience rating is very troublesome. Ratings don’t just pop up right from the start. You’re supposed to watch it slowly and carefully to understand it, so you don’t get a true audience rating number until about six months in. Therefore, until your viewership stabilizes in half a year or later, I don’t think you know the true viewership. It’s regrettable when they immediately cancel something from bad ratings.

Interviewer: The ratings must be great now [from reruns].

Tomiyama: It’s ironic. Yes, very ironic. The producer side should reconsider why the audience rating is so good now. If they had done it perfectly during the first broadcast, it might have gone up. They could have done more advertising. That kind of thing. So we get the feeling that they should have tried harder. That’s how it looks from our side.

Interviewer: Is it fun doing afreco?

Tomiyama: Is it fun? For me, it’s fun every time. It was exciting when the narrator said “so many days left before Earth is extinct.” I had a great time every day. I said every day, but I went in to record once a week, and it was fun every week. Various actors came and went every week, probably coming in for various roles. Therefore, it was a lot of fun in that way.

Interviewer: How were the visitors?

Tomiyama: There were more and more visitors every week. About 30 people came for the last episode. I could only see them behind the mixer control room, but because it was a narrow space they couldn’t all come in. They went to a lot of trouble to come, so I was sorry they couldn’t all see. A lot of chairs were brought into the studio, and while I was standing at the mike there were about 30 chairs set up all the way to the back, so it was serious.

Tomiyama: Eh, I’m Kei Tomiyama. (Laughs) Space Battleship Yamato is…a lot of time has passed since it was broadcast, and I’m very pleased by its explosive popularity now. I haven’t gone to see it in a theater yet, but sometimes I se a rerun on TV and I feel very nostalgic.

The recording for Yamato at the time had some difficulties. It wasn’t particularly hard, but because there were problems with the film, it was just white when pictures weren’t available, and there were lines for when we had to speak our parts. It was a lot of work to figure out which line went where when they were interwoven, so that was difficult…very difficult. Therefore, when you watch it on TV, the lines deviate a bit from the lip-sync. You can see it everywhere, and it’s a little…in the end, it was technically well put together during the dubbing, but it was difficult. I think it was hard for the staff, and we actors prefer to keep the lines tight, but when I watch the completed show, I feel that it’s a bit disappointing when I see it deviate from the lip-sync.

[Translator’s note: the conditions of the production were such that some footage couldn’t be completed in time for the voice recording, which is done by the actors watching the scenes and speaking in sync. The Japanese term for this is “afreco,” which means “after recording.” When a scene was missing, colored lines would be drawn on the film to indicate the character’s line length. An actor would have to start and stop in time with that line. In terms of anime production, this is about as bad as it could get.]

But it wasn’t all about such difficulties. As for the work called Yamato itself, the battleship Yamato was sunk after barely playing an active part in the war…then it was remodeled into a spacecraft to save the Earth…it was a historic story to go and pick up a radioactivity removal device called the Cosmo Cleaner D.

Yeah…fans were excited to see the scenery of a real afreco. My voice came out in a rush during the test. Although it was harder to do it under those conditions, since the fans made the effort to come I thought at least one or two people should have fun watching. It was amazing. I was given bouquets of flowers for the last episode. (Laughs) Everyone got a present. I was really happy…how was the tone of my voice?

Interviewer: You’re asking me?

Tomiyama: Yes.

Interviewer: The first or second time it floated in, it was hard to hear and I didn’t understand it.

Tomiyama: So…when you saw it in the theater, how was the lip-syncing that I mentioned earlier?

Interviewer: I didn’t notice it very much.

Tomiyama: Ah…we’re always interested in things that we work on. I’m especially interested, after all. Yeah…I don’t like it when the audio recording isn’t acceptable when it goes on the air.

(interruption)

It’s been several years since I was in Yamato. I’ve forgotten some things.

Interviewer: What did you think of it when you got a script for the first time?

Tomiyama: Hmm, it wasn’t like something with robots or mecha. My first impression was that it was about human beings. When I got the script…the feeling was that it seemed like a drama about human love. It didn’t have a bad guy just coming out in a new mecha, and we defeat him with a new weapon and go home. The concept was…I thought the concept was very good. I thought it was interesting. Without a robot, or robot-like thing set up to protect the Earth, it had a different taste. It felt like an epic drama to me. The idea of taking the real wartime Yamato and turning it into a spaceship was fascinating. There weren’t many works like it. I think that’s the secret of its popularity. I certainly think adults enjoyed it, too.


Yamato Captain Juuzo Okita

Combat veteran, can be considered the last soldier. Yamato could not succeed without him, and Okita is Yamato itself. A person who carries a lonely shadow. His hat is his famous trademark. Actually, he takes it off in the Episode 1 hospital scene!!!

Voice: Goro Naya

PROFILE

Affiliated with Theater Echo. Born November 17, 1929. Regularly works on Mike Reamer, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Lupin III. A regular dub artist for Charlton Heston.

(See a longer list of his credits here. NOTE: his live-action voice over credits include Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy!)

1. Please tell me your impressions of Captain Okita and any struggle you may have had.

For someone like me from the war generation, he’s a popular person I can empathize with, so there was no particular struggle. Some of the film was finished late, so red and black lines were drawn on scenes with no people in them, and I often had to record to that. That was unpleasant.

2. What do you think of Captain Okita’s way of life?

Some people probably think it is natural for a person to experience war, and others think it’s dangerous. I am one of the former.

– Goro Naya

Doctor Sakezo Sado

Because he is a veterinarian…his victims (?) are innumerable! By operating on Okita on board Yamato and examining a Gamilas soldier…he transforms himself into a superior doctor(?). Although he drinks too much, he makes sharp points to Kodai from time to time.

Chief Engineer Hikozaemon Tokugawa

A stubborn person, but a good grandfather who is soft on his grandchild, Aiko. Captain Okita is probably the person who understands him best after their long association. The eldest (?) Yamato crew member.

Voice: Ichiro Nagai

PROFILE

Affiliated with Blue Two Productions. Born May 10, 1931. Regular works: Sazae-san, Pikorino, Wansa-kun, Rocky Chuck, etc. Ichiro is a man who always brings unique expectations to his characters! [Translator’s note: Nagai supplied the voice for both Sado and Tokugawa]

(See a longer list of his credits here. NOTE: as a voice-over artist for live action film, he has performed as both Yoda and Albus Dumbledore. Now THAT’S a resume!)

August 1 at Tohoko Shinsha

Nagai: Sado is…he’s…as I see it, if there was a world-famous doctor on Yamato other than him, I think it would be good to have him there as an assistant or in some other form. That must be why he was able to board Yamato, I guess. Originally…he was a veterinarian.

Interviewer: Yes. (Laughs)

Nagai: Anyway, the people around him are all higher-ups. Yamato’s crew was selected from the elite. Despite that, he’s the only one who’s a newbie. Don’t you think it would have been better to have just one other skilled doctor? To assist him or something. I just feel there should have been one brought on board. I feel sorry for them when they see that this is their primary doctor! (Laughs)

Interviewer: You could say that! (Laughs)

Nagai: But I think if he was just an assistant or something, his comedy elements might not have come out. And with Yamato…only Japanese people are on board. There are no foreigners.

Interviewer: Yes, that’s odd…

Nagai: I feel like I wanted to have more foreigners, such as black people, to do things in various ways. It’s okay that Japanese people save the Earth, but that seems limited to me.

Interviewer: In anime, Japanese people are both gentle and strong. (Laughs) So then…what was the direction for Mr. Tokugawa?

Nagai: Tokugawa was comparatively easy to do. Sado is a fish out of water among elites, so he was a bit tricky. Tokugawa is one of those elites. He’s entrusted with the engine room, so he has a position of responsibility. Therefore, he was easier to do than Sado.

Interviewer: What do you think of the story of Yamato?

Nagai: Isn’t it a good story? I get to fly off into space. I like the idea of me doing that.

Interviewer: Ah, so you like Yamato?

Nagai: Well, it’s business rather than love for me.

(Saying that, he and Michiko Harai exchanged a glance and laughed.)

Technical Chief Shiro Sanada

He is a genius with mecha. As a child, he was responsible for the death of his older sister, and he lost his arms and legs, and so became a cyborg. Mamoru Kodai was his best friend. He also has a shrewd side (?), like when he steals the idea of the reflection satellite from Gamilas. By his desperate actions, Yamato is as good as new even after combat. The Gamilas army is greatly troubled.

Voice: Takeshi Aono

PROFILE

Born June 15, 1936. Has a daughter in middle school. Mostly does dubbing for war movies, as well as roles of many jocular black people.

(See a list of his credits here, which includes roles in both Harry Potter and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

August 3, at Cinebeam

Aono: Hardships? No…I don’t struggle much with anime, and I feel comparatively stimulated by a role. I pretty much like that sort of thing. Well, I suppose you could say it suits me. It has a cold feeling to it, so it didn’t give me much trouble. Hey, recently, you know…there have been a lot of villain roles…

Interviewer: You’ve gotten a lot of roles like that in foreign films.

Aono: Hm, yes, yes. That’s been comparatively true…I like that sort of thing, so it wasn’t much trouble. As a voice actor, there are many such roles.

Interviewer: What do you think of the story of Yamato? The concept…

Aono: Hm, in the end it feels like a dream. I mean, even though I didn’t know about it at the time, I heard that over 200 fan clubs gradually formed across the country. About those fan clubs…I’d heard about them, and when I think about it now, I’m glad there was that dream. After that, how do I put it? I wouldn’t go that far. I think it’s good to have a dream. There is roman[ce]. A roman[ce] of men. Well, and women, too…

Interviewer: For Sanada, there was this one episode near the end, where he and Kodai go into the computer room. That was good.

Aono: Yes, that’s right. I think so, too. The episode where they’re caught, and even after his arms and legs are taken, he still tries his best…that’s my favorite one.

Interviewer: What did you think of the movie?

Aono: Ah, Space Battleship Yamato? I haven’t seen it yet, I don’t know anything about it.

Interviewer: Didn’t you have to go in and fix something for the movie?

Aono: Only part of it. Only the part that was different from the TV version, since it was mostly compiled from the TV series anyway. Just a few words. Only a few, not everything, just a small part. Then I said goodbye. I don’t know what happens. Therefore…Sanada isn’t in it much, only a little. From such a small turn, I don’t know very much. (Laughs)

Interviewer: But someone like Sanada is rare in anime.

Aono: Yes. There aren’t many like him. But I mainly do foreign films. Sometimes anime.

Interviewer: Do you like characters like Sanada?

Aono: Yes. I suppose I play a lot of roles like him. I like that. That sort…the way I’d put it is, he has that sort of shadow about him. There’s sort of a shadow…that past of his. That sort of thing. I like that.

Character descriptions


Gamilas, King of the Magellanic!!

Leader Dessler

Cold eyes. The tone of looking down on people. Elegant behavior is suitable for the emperor of space. Gamilas facing ruin and death is the basis for the invasion of Earth, and on this point he should not be blamed unilaterally, like a conventional villain. There is a rumor of him yearning for Starsha, but he has a wife and child, so that would be cheating. However, in the beginning, women were made to serve him drinks, so it seems there are many flirtations.

When Gamilas collapses, he of high pride forgets his position as the leader and runs a personal grudge, and he causes the city to fall himself. Even in the last, decisive battle, he throws away the remnants of the Gamilas army from the Magellanic clouds, and in his fervor he challenges Yamato alone. Was he in fact a hot-blooded person?

Voice: Masato Ibu

PROFILE: Affiliated with M3. Born March 28, 1949. Height: 175 cm. Weight: 67 kg. Married. Has a cat. A regular in the S.W.A.T. sniper team, on Maxim Page 1, etc.

(See a recent list of Ibu’s acting credits here.)

August 3 at Cinebeam

Ibu: It’s already been several years ago…

Interviewer: Around three years ago.

Ibu: Around three years ago…well, whatever it is, a record is soon to come out from Columbia…that’s a good thing…Yamato is everywhere now again…there was no viewership in those days. There was a strong program on a different channel. Which one was that?

Interviewer: Wasn’t it Heidi?

Ibu: Ah, yes, yes. That’s right. It was very strong. But there seemed to be something significant. You could call it atmosphere. Since viewership was not very good in the end, I think it was supposed to be longer, I don’t know.

Interviewer: Yes, there were originally 39 episodes…13 of them were dropped.

Ibu: Right…when the count was down to only a few days left…toward the end, it started to reverse. What…what was good? Was it the roman[ce]?

Interviewer: Yes, it had a great scale, and it was different from conventional anime.

Ibu: Animation, I don’t watch it very much.

Interviewer: Yes, more foreign films…

Ibu: Yes. I think it was my first animation, maybe…

Interviewer: Weren’t you a guest on Zero Tester before that? I’m certain I saw your name in the role of Gordon.

Ibu: Ah, really. That’s right. The truth is, I don’t do it much.

Interviewer: Your voice in S.W.A.T. seems very different from Dessler.

[Translator’s note: this is in reference to the dubbing of a 1970s police show imported from the US. Ibu dubbed a character named “Street.”]

Ibu: Hmm. Well. I don’t do it normally…I mean, I have a calm voice. The captain and I have that in common. I think it’s like that for Mr. [Goro] Naya. When we lower our voices we sound like older people.

Interviewer: Can you talk about any difficulties when you recorded Dessler’s voice?

Ibu: After all, the huge scale of this…it was difficult to portray such a grandiose character…as opposed to Street in S.W.A.T.,, who is simple-minded and headstrong. But Dessler was not very straight-forward. He had a somewhat skewed sense of his own emotions. He was full of complex emotions, and when he spoke he didn’t reveal 100% of what he had in mind.

For example, when his subordinate made a mistake, it would’ve been simpler if he just yelled, “You idiot!” But instead, he just had a smug expression on his face and let it go. I guess you could call him a person of great capacity. Playing such a character is difficult. So, under normal circumstances, he might have been happier if he died trusting…without casting any doubt or without getting angry. But toward the end, it felt like he was in a hurry to have closure or something.

It would have been nice if they took more time to develop Dessler’s character fully in the latter half…in a more satisfying way. It was difficult to portray [his character] back then. Besides, it was my first experience with an animated series, so I had no clue what I was doing. I couldn’t make it fit.

So, there is a line in the script. And I read it in a certain way…in the way I liked it. I’d say, “I am…such and such…I am going to do…such and such.” Then I look up only to find the lips still flapping away. That really stumped me. I wasn’t used to it. So I really struggled at the beginning. I was really nervous. Because…it was all new to me.

Early on, there were times when there was no picture [i.e. the animation was not done]. Of course the picture was ready at the time of broadcast. But [at the time of recording] a red line was for Dessler, while a black line was for Mamoru. How was I supposed to know? [Translator’s note: this is another reference to colored lines drawn on strips of film for timing purposes when there was no animation ready.]

Anyway, besides such issues, it was fun to portray that character. It’s so much fun to play a character who is not simple. I kind of get embarrassed when I portray an all-around handsome guy because I’m nothing like that. I need a drink every day when I have to portray a really handsome guy like Street. I even sound embarrassed. “Captain!” See?

Interviewer: (Overcome with laughter) Uh, uh, Yamato is about to be released.

Ibu: What? Oh, yes, that. I want to go and see it once. It’s the old favorite. I went to a pick-up session the other day. It seems the voices are slightly different after all. Compared to back then [when it was originally recorded]. My voice is different now that I’m 28 than it was when I was…24, 25. You can’t help it, you know. It will settle down when I reach 30, and there won’t be as much tension as when I was young.

The point is…voices can change more. There were about seven lines of retakes. Four lines came out easily…I said I wanted to adjust it a little for the other three. It’s the portion just before the speech. They’re chanting “Dessler, Dessler” and I come out and say “Shokun…” [Gentlemen…] After I heard the first four lines, I changed the last three. And then, I asked to listen to them. They were slightly different. So, I ended up re-recording them all from the top. I just couldn’t help it.


Text at the bottom of this page:
FROM THE YAMATO SIDE STORY ETERNAL JURA
Mera: wife of Dessler. She loves Dessler, but is avoided
because she is a mind-reading siren. She is gentle at heart, but
when she is torn between Earth people and her love for Dessler,
she takes her own life.
Jura: Dessler’s daughter. She lives on the siren planet
with her mother. Though rebuffed by her father, she adores him
deeply. After the battle, she becomes a wandering star in the
universe… [Note: this story can be read in full here.]

Interviewer: The voice seemed very cold at the time.

Ibu: Well, yes. I am conscious as much as possible when I speak, and attach as much intonation as possible.

Interviewer: When you dub foreign films, you mainly do men around 30. With a calm touch.

Ibu: Well, yes. These days I don’t get very many young roles. I don’t really like calm roles. Just a bit. But what can I say? I get roles that are gloomy like that, with a touch of crazy.

Interviewer: How is it doing “Fang of Naruto” in Dokaben?

Ibu: That was hard…almost scary. (Laughs) Yeah, it was…It has already come out. You saw it?

Interviewer: Yes…that “Fang of Naruto”…Tokushima [Prefecture] and Kochi [Prefecture] were representing South Shikoku [region]. So…

Ibu: Ah! I see. I see. (Laughs) That might have not been good. If you think about it…it wasn’t a good team as far as the local fans were concerned…

Interviewer: Eh? But…

Ibu: Is it not so?

Interviewer: Yes, there are a lot of fans. The “Fang of Naruto” person may be more popular than Yamada himself. People wait for him to appear.

Ibu: In my opinion…he had so much baggage…from his past. He was really lonely…I think. In other words, he could trust only himself. I may not have really thought about it. Because he was a high school student after all. Would you have liked it if he sounded a little warmer?

Interviewer: Eh? No. (Laughs) It’s good enough as it is now. By the way, what was the motivation to start your work?

Ibu: I started out on the stage. What can I say…to make a living…I’ll be in a play called [name unreadable]. We are all chipping in our own money. It costs about three million yen to do a show. So, what happens is that every cast member chips in. If we sell all the tickets, we break even. But usually…in the red. To cover three million yen, we need to sell 2000 tickets. So…

Interviewer: When did you start doing plays?

Ibu: I started in the theater around, uh, 17 or 18. Around 18.

Interviewer: Ten years ago…

Ibu: Yes, yes, that seems about right, There used to be a show called something like High School Days or Middle School Days or something like that. I became a regular in Nagoya. I was 17, in my high school days. Currently it is called Middle School Days. I was a regular in it.

Left side: Character descriptions. Right side: Starsha and Mamoru Kodai interviews.


People of the planet of love…

Starsha

In the battle of three planets on the verge of ruin, the courage of her one step is no less than that of Dessler or Okita. Also, her passion for Mamoru Kodai…but the confusion about love shows her as a human side, and reminds us that she is a woman.

Voice: Michiko Harai

PROFILE

Associated with Theater Echo. Born September 9, 1958. (A woman’s real age is not something you should announce.) A gentle older sister-type in such anime as Primitive Boy Ryu, Andersen Stories, and Magical Witch Sally.

(See a longer list of her credits here.)

August 1 at Tohoku Shinsha

Harai: Hmm…even if I thought it was difficult, it wasn’t a struggle. (Laughs) There wasn’t much interaction with other people…so I didn’t have a hard time. She’s the queen of another planet. Therefore, I sought to give her a sense of mystery, like the queen of a foreign country.

Interviewer: Overall, the voice was quite different.

Harai: (Laughs) Isn’t it? I was conscious of that as I did it.

Interviewer: What do you think of the Starsha character?

Harai: Eh, Starsha? I like her, but hmm…let me see, how do you like Starsha?

Interviewer: Starsha? She’s my favorite. Of course I like her!

Harai: Really!? (Smiles)

Interviewer: Yes, she’s popular with both men and women.

Harai: There should be reruns.

Interviewer: It started two days ago, on the 29th.

Harai: And not just TV, there’s a theatrical release, too.

Interviewer: It starts on August 6. (What!? Right here, the position of the interviewer is reversed!!)

Harai: I did retakes for my part the other day. The latter half of the movie is slightly different from TV. I had to do it differently.

Interviewer: Yes. I’ll certainly go to see the movie.

Harai: Yes. (Smiles again)

Mamoru Kodai

A comparatively nice, energetic young man who seems to have no dark side. He was supposed to become Captain Harlock, but he is considerably different from the Harlock of Leiji Matsumoto.

Voice: Taichiro Hirakawa

PROFILE

A freelancer. Born February 15, 1940. His wife is a very good cook. Lives with his wife and mother. A regular in Moomin, 100 Plundered Brides, and Dandies. [Translator’s note: the latter two were live-action TV shows.] Often serves as a presenter and DJ.

(See a longer list of his credits here. NOTE: as a voice-over artist, he regularly dubbed Eric Idle for the Japanese broadcast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.)

The story is the same as last time, but I’m not well-known. I think I only appear three times. But in any case, there is no question that Mamoru Kodai is not the subject of Yamato anyway. As far as him having fans, I think there are many parts of him that have worked their way into everyone’s feelings in various comprehensive ways. I did a special Yamato feature once. (Radio shows and the like…or is it Men’s Night!?) But in the end it was Mr. Nishizaki’s idea of course, with Leiji Matsumoto’s pictures, and the ingenuity of other people, and Mr. Miyagawa’s music…and the director on the spot…what’s the name of the director?

[Translator’s note: of course, he refers to Noboru Ishiguro.]

The voice director, my friend Mr. Tashiro, also worked very hard…well, at any rate, the point I’d like to make in regard to anime, I haven’t done much and don’t know much, but anime is basically, well, “something, something, AAAAHH!” Everyone cries out with one big voice, and that’s cool since the lead character roles were excellent, but I’m not in a leading role.


Fan essays

Regardless of whether it is an anime or not, it’s a good home story and each character has a good story, and their individuality comes out very clearly. For example, anime people don’t just say Susumu Kodai is great, but the captain is great and Sanada is great, and there are many others.

I only appear three times, so I wouldn’t think Mamoru Kodai should have a lot of fans, but judging from the level of enthusiasm that’s not the case, so I’ll just say that I have been chosen as a very important spokeperson for Yamato as a whole. Therefore, since that’s the case I’ll say that, although everyone considers him such an important character, he’s not supposed to make that impression, but I like the fact that he does.

However, although it has finished for now, it’s written in such a way that it could go back to that place. Therefore, in the meantime, Mamoru Kodai should take on a different form. And maybe in the second half he could come out in various ways as an older brother and I would play a cooler, more active part…I know how the foundation was laid in the previous episode, so it would connect to that image. For me personally, that’s all I can hope for.

A friend told me…during the last Yamato recording a rumor came out among the fans…something like “What happened?” (Laughs)

Sasha

By Hahisa Masaki

Sasha is one of the best, because she had the most important role in the story. Sasha brought Starsha’s message at the risk of her own life, and there was no other way to know about Iscandar’s radiation removal device. Is she not the benefactor of Earth? She didn’t speak a word, but respected everyone, and it is tragic that she died without being thanked.

Left side: movie endorsement. Right side: back cover


Foldout insert, side A


Foldout insert, side B. Far right: autograph of Starsha’s voice actress, Michiko Harai


The End

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