The Producer Speaks, June 2016

The leading source of news on Space Battleship Yamato 2202 is Ship’s Log, the Yamato Crew Premium Fan Club magazine. (Available by subscription to Japanese addresses only.) Issue 14, published on June 30, contained the fourth installment in this series of interviews with Executive Producer Shoji Nishizaki and Producer Hirotaka Furukawa. Translation follows.

(See the previous interviews here.)

Ship’s Log #14, cover art by 2202 Director Nobuyoshi Habara

On March 31, the production decision was announced for Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love. The news quickly spread across the whole country and all Yamato fans danced for joy that the rumors of Yamato 2202 would become reality. Since then, there have been groundless “rumors” about staff participation, and fans have been at the mercy of information tossed around on the internet. This time, we hear words free of disinformation directly from the mouth of Producer Nishizaki…

Interviewer: What has been the fan reaction since Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love was officially announced in the last Ship’s Log? I imagine it has reached you both by various means.

Furukawa: The response has been great, but there are a lot of requests for further information. Some came by mail, but personal conversations have become lively, too.

Interviewer: What kind of questions usually come up?

Furukawa: Mainly “Who’s in charge of character design?” and “What’s going on with the music?” I think all of the fans were relieved when they were announced this month on the teaser site. There were unfounded “rumors” flowing on the internet about whether Mr. Yuuki would participate and it seemed many people were disappointed, but thanks to the timing of the announcement, no one has to wait and be confused by unreliable information any more.

Nishizaki: When Mr. Miyagawa’s participation is announced in this magazine, all the fans will be delighted. [Translator’s note: this issue of Ship’s Log contained the same Akira Miyagawa message published on the website.]

Furukawa: Mr. Yuuki’s participation was requested long ago, but he joined the staff a little later than others because of his schedule. That’s why his participation announcement was off-tempo. Because of that, we wanted to tell everyone about it with a new sketch.

Nishizaki: As for Mr. Miyagawa, the final decision about his participation was made relatively recently. Since last year I said to him, “We need to talk in the near future.” We couldn’t get together easily because of our schedules, but I bothered him at home the other day to make the formal request and he consented.

Interviewer: You went to ask him directly?

Nishizaki: Mr. Furukawa and I and a few other staff members asked him at his home.

Interviewer: What was it like at the time?

Nishizaki: He looked a little surprised at first. It seemed he had heard a rumor in the wind that we were going to ask a different musician and said, “I didn’t think you would come to talk to me.” By my impression, the feeling was more, “It’s about time!” He said that if Yamato 2202 was made, he wanted to write a lot of new melodies for it.

He said, “I made music to my own taste for Ark of the Stars, so the ‘training’ is finally over. For the next work I wanted to make something with more originality that built on the good points…and at the time I heard the rumor, I felt disappointed that I couldn’t be in charge. I’m very happy to get this formal request, and I will do my very best.”

Interviewer: Has Mr. Miyagawa already read the script for Yamato 2202?

Nishizaki: He’s reading it now. The feeling I got was an impression of, “With this, we can wrap things up.”

Interviewer: Have you given specific requests at this stage?

Nishizaki: Because the music of Yamato is a very important factor to me, I want to do it with a raw orchestra this time without using electronic instruments such as synthesizers. I want the interaction of an orchestra, recorded in a big studio, and he said, “I had the same idea, I don’t like synthesizers either.” (Laughs)

Furukawa: I think we’ll hear Mr. Miyagawa himself perform on the pipe organ that all the fans like so much. Since Mr. Fukui (writer) and Mr. Habara (director) were eager for Mr. Miyagawa to participate, I think it will increase the on-site voltage. There was an unfounded rumor on the internet about Mr. Miyagawa’s participation, and because we were able to announce it formally I think all the fans feel relieved.

Interviewer: What kind of feeling is there about progress of the production?

Furukawa: It’s proceeding smoothly. The design-related staff hasn’t all been announced yet, but pictures have gone up one by one for those already decided. Everyone is pleased with the mecha and character designs that have appeared. Storyboards are currently in supervision checking, and getting close to OK after reworking. From there the real practical work can begin, so when storyboards are approved we’ll begin full-scale animation work.

Nishizaki: Mr. Fukui understands very well how to make a story. The tempo is good and it fits together satisfyingly. When I read the script, there were places where I thought, “huh?” but as the story progressed I thought, “Oh, that’s it” and I was convinced. Anyway, it’s good. It builds into what I would call a “sturdy” drama. What’s left is for Mr. Fukui to get the tears flowing in the part to be written after. If Mr. Fukui gets fans’ tears to flow, it will be “victory!” I guess I want to cry more and more. (Laughs)

I think the key to success for Yamato 2202 will be “crying” and “camera work.” I want Director Habara to make pictures with bold camera angles.

Centerspread: “Three years later” by Yoichi Fukano

Furukawa: There are plans to make an official announcement in September, so we should be able to say something significant. Chapter 1 is expected to be completed later this year, so we’ll hold various events to liven things up.

Interviewer: That reminds me, there seems to have been an off-line event for fans at Yakitori Yamato [restaurant] the other day.

Nishizaki: Yes, I popped in for a little of it. It may be impossible for a while because I’ll be busy from now on.

Interviewer: Was Director Habara there, too?

Nishizaki: I practically had to drag him out for it, but he signed a ton of autographs and talked to the fans.

Furukawa: Fans asked him a lot of questions of various quality about Yamato 2202, but he kept quiet. Both Mr. Fukui and Mr. Habara want you to enjoy being surprised in the theater, so we’re all keeping specific things as secret as possible until the screenings.

Interviewer: How about the Hollywood version of Yamato?

Furukawa: I went to America for a meeting in March with the president of Skydance Productions. The script is done, and there should be a large-scale announcement next summer, including the staff and cast. As for the overseas development of Star Blazers 2199, we’ll syndicate it in Italy, Germany, France, and America. We’re talking with a distributor and we want to deploy Star Blazers 2202 along with 2199. If all goes well, we’ll make an effort to deliver a new work of Yamato to international fans with very early timing.

Interviewer: What about the contributions to society that you asked for last time?

Back cover quote: “A new menace dominates space…”

Nishizaki: It hasn’t been very active. Last time I talked about wanting to “plant trees,” and I think everyone thought I wanted them all to plant a tree. It might be hard to understand it from the term “tree planting,” but what I have in mind is at the level of making a forest. To be exact, it’s “reforestation.” Currently it’s a vague dream before the concept stage, but I think it can become realistic if we can get the cooperation of charity organizations, and first we have to look for land for “forestation.” I’m talking to some partners, but land is not easy to find. I’ll continue looking tenaciously.

Afterword: To those of you who read Ship’s Log, since it will be easier to obtain such information if you happen to work for a local public organization, we ask you to please contact us for discussion. Thanks very much, everyone!

Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support.

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