From Yamato Crew Premium fan club magazine Ship’s Log #13, published March 28, 2016.
Twice before, the Producer Speaks Special Report was featured in this magazine, giving inside information about the new series in progress, which got a great response but seemed too good to be true. Now that the veil of mystery is lifted, all the information is proven real and the meaning of the words “the countdown has begun” is clear – they pointed toward the “X-day” moment when this issue arrived in your hands.
Interviewer: The new series has finally been announced. All the fans have been waiting patiently for the new work to be revealed, and we’re very pleased that the official announcement will be made in Ship’s Log and the website.
Nishizaki: That’s right. I wanted to tell all the fans sooner, but I had to make them wait for the best time to make the announcement. But I think all the fans will be pleased about it.
Interviewer: To be honest, it took place at the Producer’s Premium Meeting and the Yamato Big Year-End Party at the end of the year . You were flooded with questions about the new series. Did you regret that you couldn’t answer questions in detail or talk about the staffing until the official announcement?
Nishizaki: It was hard. But now the title and staff have been given and we can talk about what we want to do with Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love. So what shall we talk about? Now I think you can understand the true meaning of things I couldn’t talk about before. If you go back and read the previous coverage after hearing this announcement, I think what we wanted to say will be clearer. It should also answer some of the riddles about things that were said at the producer meeting.
Interviewer: That’s right. I went back and re-read it, and I was able to understand, “Ah, the announcement was referring to what was written here!” I’d like everyone to go back and read the two Producer Speaks interviews again.
Furukawa: Now I think you understand what I meant last time when I said, “X-day has been determined and the countdown has already begun.” It seems a lot of people didn’t believe it, but it was all moving in conjunction with the date for this issue of Ship’s Log.
Nishizaki: Now that we’re finally able to announce the title, what’s your impression of Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love?
Interviewer: It’s a great title. I think the Yamato Crew Premium members will take the announcement with great surprise and joy.
Nishizaki: As we’ve talked about here before, this time I’d like to speak boldly about “love.” Just asking people about “love” straight out is embarrassing, isn’t it? But I will dare to. Human beings are embarrassing creatures by nature, so I want to tell people that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Because this is a time of such stagnation, shouldn’t the writer Mr. Fukui accentuate it? We fully agree on that point.
Interviewer: Agreed. I heard the story the other day when I went to interview Mr. Fukui, and though you concealed the core part of it over the last half-year, I understood the meaning behind it.
Nishizaki: Will Mr. Fukui’s interview be published this time? I think it can be understood if you read his story. He talks about a variety of decisions, why including the subtitle Soldiers of Love was chosen.
Furukawa: There were a lot of changes made to the logo up until very recently when we decided on the shape that was shown in the announcement. I can also announce that the production committee has been formed, so this is the full-scale startup.
Interviewer: The shape of the characters for Yamato in the logo is familiar this time, isn’t it?
Nishizaki: Mr. Habara was particular about that. The characters used for Yamato 2199 were only used in the original Yamato TV series, but this time we have the long-remembered vertical characters that were used all the way up to Yamato Resurrection. I think this is the kind of the thing Yamato Crew Premium members will notice right away. (Laughs)
Interviewer: The English notation is also changed from Space Battleship to Star Blazers this time.
Furukawa: This is because we’re conscious of further overseas expansion. When the event screenings for Yamato 2199 were going on in Japan, the overseas release of the package was still in an early stage. It didn’t have the same timing as Japan, but it will continue to develop for a while as a follow-up. With Christopher McQuarrie’s Hollywood version of Star Blazers, we’d like to speed things up and move them forward.
Interviewer: How was the international reaction to Yamato 2199?
Furukawa: It was very good. There are quite a lot of potential Yamato fans in other countries. They’re just as passionate as Japanese fans, so there is considerable demand for Yamato 2199.
Nishizaki: It’s amazing to have fans abroad. We can even take it to Germany and Italy. When we announced Yamato 2199 they welcomed it by saying “we’ve been waiting for new Yamato,” and when we announce Yamato 2202 I think the word will spread around the world in no time.
Furukawa: However, the deployment of Yamato 2199 was more limited. Since the environment has developed over the last year, we’d like to prepare for full-fledged overseas expansion.
Interviewer: It’s been known as Yamato in Europe until now, but will it be unified as Star Blazers even outside North America?
Nishizaki: That’s right. As Skydance Productions says, “There are the 3 S’s…Star Wars, Star Trek, and Star Blazers.”
Furukawa: They recognize it as a big title worldwide in their positioning of the Hollywood version. Since Skydance Productions was previously involved with Star Trek Into Darkness, they’ll take charge of two of the three S’s by making Star Blazers, right? (Laughs)
Interviewer: Now that the title and main staff have been announced, please tell me about your encounter with Mr. Fukui.
Nishizaki: It was about four years ago, when Chapter 1 of Yamato 2199 was still showing in theaters. I was introduced to Mr. Fukui through another person and we had a dinner for three.
Furukawa: The script is the most important point at first. We were looking for a “writer” who was up to the challenge. As I got to know Mr. Fukui four years ago, he was also a Yamato fan, so I believed he was qualified. But he had other works in progress at the time, so we just made small talk and finished our meal.
Interviewer: What kind of impression did you have of Mr. Fukui when you met him?
Nishizaki: His handling of chopsticks was superb. (Laughs) We had grilled fish, and my intuition was, “This guy can handle it!” It was a delicious meal. That sort of thing is important to me.
Furukawa: We met Mr. Fukui again later during the production of Ark of the Stars. At that time, we invited him to visit the company (Voyager Holdings) and we conveyed to him the meat of our intentions from this side. Afterward, he brought us a proposal he had written. On the analytical strength of what was written there, the world view and – above all else – the themes were clear, defining by what measure the story should be told. That lead to our official request for him to join the next work.
Magazine centerspread art: “Heroes Hill” by Yoichi Fukano
Nishizaki: I’d already been looking for a competent person. The new Yamato series could only be accomplished by a “talent.” I read Mr. Fukui’s proposal and had many discussions with him, and that’s when I noticed the “talent” was right in front of me. Therefore, we decided to ask him to write the series composition and scripts, the core part of the story.
Interviewer: What was your impression when you read the script?
Nishizaki: First, it’s fascinating! That’s very important. It has a sense of stability, and with a feeling of speed and of tempo. I think that’s how it has to be depicted in contrast to Yamato 2199. The point is that a scene lingers even after reading the script. I think writers who can accomplish that are extremely rare. Mr. Fukui is a “professional writer” in the best way.
His knowledge of animation is deep as well. And a love for Yamato is welcome, but going to the “otaku degree” is too strong. A pursuit of consistency and reality in the settings is a priority, or the essential story gets too thin. I’ve always been concerned about that in a script, and had been looking for a “talent” for a long time. Now I finally found that “talent.” It feels like many years of wishing came true.
Furukawa: The setting and the world view have come together very well. It’s completely new, while staying consistent with Yamato 2199. However, we’re satisfied that we’ve written a script that preserves the atmosphere of the original.
Interviewer: The director of Yamato 2202 will be Mr. Nobuyoshi Habara.
Nishizaki: He previously directed on Yamato Resurrection, the Resurrection Director’s Cut, and Yamato 2199, and after watching his previous performance, I thought he was qualified to visualize Mr. Fukui’s script. The new Yamato needs his sensibility.
Furukawa: Mr. Habara loves Farewell to Yamato. He had the intention of even doing it himself, so there’s a lot of self-confidence there. I think that will be obvious if you read his comment in issue 0 of Ship’s Log. It was as if he was saying he wanted to advance to Yamato 2202 even in his early days with the company.
Nishizaki at the year-end party
Translator’s note: read that comment here.
This time, Mr. Habara is announced as the Supervising Director of Yamato 2202 with Mr. Fukui doing series composition and script, and a key visual teaser will be presented. Other staff names, information, and such things as mecha designs will be announced afterward, so keep watching the website and Ship’s Log.
Nishizaki: Anyway, we hope everyone will be thrilled by this work, and they’ll cry and be impressed and go on to live for tomorrow…I’d like this to be a work that can energize tomorrow. Everyone on the staff shares that sentiment.
Interviewer: Thank you very much. Now, to change the topic, how was the Yamato Big Year-end Party? It was learned afterward that a secret new year’s party was held, organized by fans. (Laughs)
Nishizaki: Anyway, the Yamato Crew members have been very kind, so after I long absence I brought the “Cut Model” from the president’s office to display it a little. The year-end party was held to thank everyone for their service over the last year. In the end, we decided that all those who had entered would be selected. It might have been a little tough, but everyone was really nice about it. I think they were sympathetic, under the circumstances. Makoto Kobayashi also joined us at the last minute, so I was very happy about that. At the beginning I joked about calling in Mr. Fukui and Mr. Habara, too since it was “still early,” but I wised up before that. (Laughs)
Interviewer: I think some fans were hoping for a banquet with you there. How about that?
The “Cut Model” on display
Nishizaki: I’d like to do it. But it could be a problem now, because I’m suddenly getting busy. We’ll need to look at future plans for the next time it could be held and take a little time to consider the schedule. I think it’s important to have exchanges with everyone, but I have to take it one step at a time now, and I want to think about how to do something good for the Earth. For example, maybe we could hold a small event to sell some products and use the proceeds for “tree planting”…I’d like to promote such activities. Because Yamato is a symbol for “protecting the Earth,” this could also apply to prevention of global warming, and I’d like to use some of the profits for that. I can’t currently get more specific than that, but this is one example and I think it would be good for all the Yamato fans to contribute to society.
Interviewer: Instead of just a banquet, it might be better to meet in a conference room somewhere, like a symposium. It would be wonderful to discuss the global environment and consider what kind of community service everyone could engage in.
Nishizaki: Doesn’t Farewell to Yamato say that Kodai goes off not for himself but for “the peace of the entire universe”? I want to do something for society on the occasion of Yamato 2202’s voyage. It doesn’t need to be anything grandiose or exaggerated. Space Battleship Yamato is not a trivial thing, and I’d like it to contribute to society. Ultimately, we’d all like to do something “fruitful.” Then we’ll have a drinking party afterward. (Laughs)
Interviewer: I’ll ask for everyone in Yamato Crew Premium for their opinion. When an opinion is given and a plan is adopted, I’d like some souvenirs. (Laughs)
In response to Producer Nishizaki’s proposal, I’d like everyone to think about social contributions that can be made by Yamato fans. Global environment, disaster relief, aging and welfare, child care…it can be for anything. What kind of activity can we carry out? How can we be “fruitful”? First, let’s share our opinions. It doesn’t need to be audacious. First let’s just talk about ideas. What is something you can do? Please start by telling us what you think. Email your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “PPC係” (PPC manager). We look forward to your many opinions.