Daisuke Ono & Houko Kuwashima interview

Anime Hack, February 20, 2017
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Daisuke Ono and Houko Kuwashima analyze Yamato 2202! Why does Yamato continue to be loved?

The first chapter of the seven-part work Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love, will be screened in theaters for two weeks starting February 25. In this new work, Earth pushes toward military expansion after being saved by Space Battleship Yamato’s long journey to Iscandar, and the threat of Gatlantis, which dominates space, approaches. We asked Daisuke Ono and Houko Kuwashima, who play the heroes Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori, about backstage stories and the appeal of the Yamato series.

As its Soldiers of Love subtitle implies, 2202 is based on the 1978 feature film Farewell to Yamato. Did Ono and Kuwashima do any research before they got involved with the voice recording?

“I think it’s different from the old work,” Ono said. “I didn’t watch the previous series at the time of 2199, because I was convinced that the results of our performance would be purely 2199.” But he did hear the rough story of Farewell to Yamato from Ms. Kuwashima.

“I heard that Kodai and Yuki would be in the spotlight for this work,” she said, “and I thought there would be some hint in Farewell to Yamato so I watched it. But their fate was incredibly harsh, and I was overwhelmed…”

However, rather than just reproducing the story of Farewell as is, this work presents a new Soldiers of Love that nobody knows.

“Love is talked about in Episode 1,” Ono says thoughtfully, “but I can’t say much about it in detail. It’s a line that feels passionate and romantic. I imagine this work will convey something very positive there.”

In fact, fans of the old series will find many new surprising developments in this work, and it is said that they are included from the earliest stage.

Looking forward to new things, Kuwashima said, “The writer Harutoshi Fukui said ‘I want to make a hopeful story,’ and I believe it!”

The new work picks up three years after Yamato 2199, and the characters have grown since then. In response to the question, “What were you conscious of when performing?” Ono revealingly said, “On the technical side, I’m not making Kodai sound older. I feel relief and a sense of accomplishment from the conclusion of 2199, so I play him with a peaceful feeling of living in relatively peaceful times.”

As for Kuwashima, “When I saw a ring glittering on Yuki’s finger, I thought, ‘oh my.’ (Laughs) In the first episode, I’m only worried about Kodai fighting in the battle. It should calm down in the second episode.“

According to Ono, the changes feel harmonious with 2199. “Unlike the life-risking battle in 2199, the first chapter has more of a sense of peace, but I’m afraid it feels like the calm before the storm.”

From the start of 2199’s deployment in 2012, a long relationship has begun with the Space Battleship Yamato series.

“Young men and women all know the Yamato theme song,” Ono says proudly. “I think it’s a Japanese tradition. The story of nobility and self-sacrifice is universal. And this time it’s about ‘love.’ The spirituality flowing through all Japanese is the root of the theme, so it never fades.”

Kuwashima nodded, adding, “The first Space Battleship Yamato was produced 42 years ago. I’m amazed at the enthusiasm for it all over Japan.” She continued, reaffirming why the Yamato series will continue to be loved for many generations. “People who encountered Yamato when they were young and impressionable want to get excited by it again. Now that its power is captured by current artistic techniques, won’t it also be spread around to young people?”

Finally, Kuwashima explained the appeal of 2202. “The catch phrase for this work is ‘This love will shake the cosmos…’ I’m looking forward to what kind of love will be depicted. Of course, please also pay attention to the state of Kodai and Yuki’s love.”

Ono called out to the fans for further support: “I’m glad to be able to ride Yamato again, and it feels inevitable. I think this journey will reconfirm everyone’s feelings for Yamato and it will advance even further. Please let the power of everyone’s love be a fair wind that propels Yamato on her course!”

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