Dmenu News, February 14, 2017
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The recording was full of anxiety!?
Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, Soldiers of Love, the feature film that sparked a big boom in 1978, is now being revived in a new interpretation in which a youthful alien Garmillas character becomes a talked-about character. Hiroshi Kamiya, the voice actor cast as Keyman, talked about the appeal of this new work along with Daisuke Ono who played the main character Susumu Kodai in the previous work.
Winning the hearts of the real-time generation as well as the younger generation with a “universal story”
Interviewer: What kind of response did you get when Yamato 2199 was shown in theaters and on TV?
Ono: It’s a monumental achievement in Japanese SF anime, and because I play the hero in the remake of Space Battleship Yamato, which is a universal work that everyone knows, I felt pressure from every direction. But when the fans watched it in theaters and on TV, many people told me, “I love Yamato.” Those who liked Yamato from the Showa era said, “It’s fascinating!” The younger generation, who didn’t know the original, had a very good response. “Yamato is great!” “I learned about Yamato from this work!” We created a new Yamato with modern techniques, and I wanted to tell the story to the next generation, so I was very happy as a performer when Yamato 2199 took off.
Interviewer: What part of Yamato 2199 seems to have captured the hearts of the younger generation?
Ono: It may be paradoxical with what I just said, but I think it depicts the universal bonds of love and friendship. So, it’s not so much that it’s accepted “by” young people, but rather that young people accept it “as well.” For example, I think a baby born this year will want to watch it when they reach the age to watch anime. I think it’s a work that everyone can enjoy regardless of whether they’re young or old. Young people would enjoy seeing it even now.
Like Momotaro, Space Battleship Yamato has become “a story everyone knows”
Interviewer: It may be universal in the same sense as Shakespeare or a Greek tragedy.
Ono: Even if the depiction has changed, you never forget Yamato‘s soul and spirituality. I think Yamato will last forever.
Interviewer: Mr. Kamiya, what was your impression when you heard Yamato would come back as 2199?
Kamiya: As Mr. Ono said, Yamato is the first name that comes up when you talk about Japanese anime, and I think it’s certainly a title everyone knows. And now I think an overwhelming number of people who “never saw it” are getting used to hearing about it. Even if you haven’t properly read the tale of Momotaro, doesn’t everyone know references like, “Would you take a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant on a monster hunt?” Yamato has reached such a place, hasn’t it? If you know the chorus line of the Yamato theme, you understand the main subject of the work. In that sense, throughout the 60-70 year history of Japanese animation, perhaps Yamato has reached the status of a classic or a legend.
A “Key man” as suggested by the name of the original character
Interviewer: Mr. Kamiya, you play the original character Keyman, an enigmatic young alien Garmillas. What kind of spirit did you bring to the role?
Kamiya: Keyman appears from the second episode, and I came to the recording with no idea what kind of person he is. I thought I could get it from the director at the site, since recording usually begins with things like, “…he’s a liar.” (Laughs) After that, I got an explanation from the director Nobuyoshi Habara and the writer Harutoshi Fukui and I thought, “I can play it with this kind of interpretation.” The character is a key man as the name suggests, I had the expectation of becoming a key man to the story when I got there, but when I didn’t get such an explanation at the beginning…I felt some anxiety. (Laughs) But I did hear that he holds the key to the story somewhere down the line and I got the feeling that this would work out.
Interviewer: Please give a message to the fans who will see 2202.
Ono: From the fans who continue to love the original Yamato to those of the new generation who will learn about Yamato from this work, I think you can all enjoy the universal theme in it. Various kinds of “love” are depicted in Yamato, and I think it can all be summarized into the term “Yamato love.” The staff and cast all poured their “Yamato love” into Yamato 2202. I think it would be nice if it becomes a work that will connect the ship called Yamato on its voyage from the old days to a new generation, and I think this “love” will make it possible. I’ll be glad if everyone can feel “Yamato love.” Please board this ship together!
Kamiya: There are many reasons I want you to watch this work. Even though there are serious hurdles in making it, “Still, it will done!” The staff has made up their minds, and it will be impossible for it to fall short. So I will borrow Keyman’s line to finish this interview. “Watch it anyway, because it’s good!”
Interviewer: Mika Nakamura of Sunkleio Tsubasa