Suzumura & Kamiya interview, June 2017

“Learning from veterans and our peers. It’s a happy site.”

Published by Anime Anime, June 22, 2017. See the original post here.

Those who brought home the Cosmo Reverse System that regenerated the Earth are enticed by a mysterious message and depart on another voyage. Yamato 2202 Chapter 2, Launch Chapter, premieres in theaters on June 24. To seek out the distant planet Telezart, will Susumu Kodai and the crew of Yamato still get on board? And what can we expect from the Garmillas Empire, now allied with Earth? Together with Yamato, the story launches now.

Kenichi Suzumura continues his role from Yamato 2199 as Yamato’s chief navigator Daisuke Shima, sworn friend of Susumu Kodai. Hiroshi Kamiya appears as the new character Klaus Keyman, a Garmillas military officer in residence on Earth, who watches Yamato and shares its fate. Synchronized as voice actors, these two talked about the comfort of riding on the great ship in Yamato 2202.

Interview by Tomoko Omagari

“I thought the role was created for Hiroshi Kamiya” – Suzumura

Interviewer: Yamato finally goes off on a voyage again. Please give us your overall impressions of Chapter 2.

Kamiya: I had the impression that it is carefully made. Whereas Chapter 1 consisted of two episodes, Chapter 2 has four. Since the time spent on production is doubled, my impression was that every single episode is carefully depicted leading up to Yamato’s launch.

Suzumura: I thought, finally it launched. That part was really well depicted, wasn’t it? Of course, there was the feeling that Chapter 1 was also a beginning, but I thought Chapter 2 strengthened it and I thought it was a really exciting chapter.

Interviewer: Please tell us your impressions of the characters you perform. I felt like I could see a little bit inside Keyman, played by Mr. Kamiya…

Kamiya: But I don’t think you can ignore the impression that I’m just doing what I was told by my boss, Varel. I don’t think I made a mistake with that. I think his own will will come into view in the future, but for now I’m just doing as Varel told me. But there is one place where he seems strong-willed, so I want you to pay attention to that.

Interviewer: As for Daisuke Shima, played by Mr. Suzumura, he is motivated by his heart.

Suzumura: I thought from the time of Chapter 1 that Shima would finally get on board Yamato. If he didn’t, I would have been angry at the scriptwriter, Mr. Fukui. (Laughs) In the end, Shima gets on Yamato again, and I want you to see the process in the theater by all means.

Interviewer: By the way, what do you think about each others’ character?

Suzumura: Keyman is very mysterious. I don’t want to overstate it, but I think Hiroshi Kamiya was born to do this character, and I think it’s very fitting. When I first heard Keyman’s voice, I really thought the role was created for Mr. Kamiya. He incorporates that enigmatic part, making you wonder what he’s holding.

As the name suggests, he really is a key man. The proof comes out in his voice. You can look at anime from various viewpoints, and of course I want you to focus on the work and the characters. As another backbone, I think people consider it meaningful for Hiroshi Kamiya to do this. I thought it was truly inspired casting.

Interviewer: Mr. Kamiya, how do you feel about Daisuke Shima, played by Mr. Suzumura?

Kamiya: I wondered whether Shima would be moved like the rest of Yamato’s crew, since he shows calm. I really like that calm place in Shima, don’t you? His presence is absolutely necessary on the ship called Yamato. More than just to say, “Warp!” (Laughs) 

Suzumura: He’s warpman. Also known as…warpman. 

Kamiya: It may seem like, “he only talks when it’s time for a warp.” (Laughs) But you can see his strong will and deliberation in Chapter 2. The character of Shima is a human being, three dimensional. I think the episode is handed down to everyone. Kenichi plays it solidly. At any rate, that’s because he’s a person who has a stupid amount of love for Yamato, including the old productions. Taking that into account, Daisuke Shima is, from my point of view, an adorable character. His place of conflict is human. Compared to that, Kodai is shouldering too great a load.

Suzumura: Because Kodai is heroic.

Kamiya: That’s right. Kodai is always cornered. He’s worried because there’s no margin for error on this and he’s wondering if it’ll be all right.

Suzumura: There is a place where he’s trying to be a hero all by himself. 

Kamiya: Shima is said to loosen his position and give his support to Kodai. Since Shima is an important person, I think he’s a character to keep an eye on. 

“When it comes to Keyman, ‘I don’t understand him’.” – Kamiya

Interviewer: As someone who played Shima for a long time, how do you see his changes?

Suzumura: The start of Yamato’s journey in 2202 is absurd, isn’t it? A distress call came from Telezart, so let’s go help. That’s all. In the previous work, 2199, the story was that they started the voyage as a ray of hope in desperate circumstances. Because we were helped at that time, we go into space again to help others who are seeking relief. Shima is very rational inside, the type who leads with thought. Shima would say, “I understand the feeling, but consider reality.” He declared his intention by not getting on board Yamato, though he understood the shared message of Teresa. I think having him on board Yamato again will be a tremendous asset.

Interviewer: When you hear that, you can say Shima is a tough person.

Suzumura: I agree. He doesn’t have a father, and is leaving his brother Jiro behind on Earth.

Interviewer: Shima has strong bonds with Yamato and Kodai, and the result is that he commits to getting on board.

Suzumura: I guess it won out. There are some things you can’t work out in your head. That’s why Shima’s choice to get on board is a breakthrough. I will devote myself to making this a successful journey. A lot of people are saying absurd things, and I stand in a position to straighten them out. I want Yamato’s crew to say, “I’m glad Shima’s on board, aren’t you?” 

Interviewer: Shima’s realistic viewpoint is an important point of view for the audience. Even in the sense of understanding that we’re going on an absurd journey.

Suzumura: I think everyone wonders, “what’s the reason to go flying off?” It cannot readily be understood logically. 

Kamiya: Ah, I understand this point of view of 2202. Shima’s eye is neutral, isn’t it? But ultimately he takes in everyone’s opinion and they all move in one direction by the will of Yamato. 

Suzumura: Yeah, right? 

Kamiya: I think that’s the understanding of those who know the whole story of Yamato, such as fans of the original. But the person who doesn’t know this may not understand. Because I look through Keyman’s eyes, In fact I see it as, “I don’t get this.” But in fact, there is this line in Chapter 2: “There is no reason. Just because it’s Yamato.”

Suzumura: Ah, right! 

Kamiya: When I hear this line, I can understand those who know the spirit of the past works. But conversely, if you don’t come in with that, perhaps you should look at 2202 through Keyman’s eyes. In short, if you don’t know what drives Kodai to get on Yamato again, it might be correct to judge it by Keyman’s view. I thought of that just now. I think Keyman will literally be the key man in the future. How will he be influenced by the feelings of people on Yamato’s crew? I think that will be a highlight of the work. 

Suzumura: Whether or not Keyman will be influenced by Yamato’s crew is also a viewer’s perspective. 

Kamiya: Yes, I may be the one in that position. 

Suzumura: This is a good interview! (Laughs) Maybe that’s the purpose of the “Because it’s Yamato” line. It’s true to say that Shima wants to put matters in order, and it’s usually a story about stopping the voyage. 

Interviewer: Most of the crew will get on board without hesitation. But there are some people like Shima who say, “Wait a moment…”

Kamiya: I explained the message from Teresa to them, and those who didn’t receive the message don’t understand at all. But if you’re a viewer who knows Yamato’s past work, you can absolutely sympathize. 

Suzumura: Also, those who watched 2199 will think, “That’s good enough to start the trip.” 

Interviewer: Maybe that’s why the character named Keyman appeared?

Kamiya: It may be so. I think it would be good if Keyman could be a link for the feelings of those in the audience. I don’t know whether this expectation is correct or not. (Laughs) 

“I don’t feel out of sync” – Kamiya

“It’s a mechanism for mutual checking” – Suzumura

Interviewer: Shima and Keyman meet in Chapter 2, don’t they?

Suzumura: They don’t tangle much yet. (Laughs) There is still some distance between Keyman and the Yamato side, so that’s the nature of his relationship with Shima. I think there’s also a part where Shima is looking Keyman over, too. I don’t know if Keyman is concerned about that, since he comes on board a bit flatly. 

Interviewer: What’s the atmosphere of the voice recording?

Suzumura: When we finish, we go out for delicious gyoza. 

Kamiya: Before we start I say, “Can we go get gyoza today?” 

Suzumura: There’s a great gyoza shop near the studio. (Laughs) That raises our motivation and gets us to do our best. 

Interviewer: You’re both in sync as voice actors. Have you made any new discoveries by co-starring in Yamato?

Kamiya: Co-starring in this is a lot of fun. I’m glad to be continuing my work. 

Suzumura: Yeah, I feel an understanding. 

Kamiya: It’s not a bad problem to have, is it? 

Suzumura: We’ve been doing it since we were young. When we were young, we’d wrack our brains wondering what to do, then scrape together our limited resources and then dive in like daredevils. Of course, while we still aim to have that sort of feeling, we’ve worked in this business for nearly 20 years, and we’ve worked together on productions like this, so there’s a part of us that enjoys not having to choose the words and not misunderstand. I can’t really call that confidence, though. (Laughs)

Kamiya: You’re still desperate.

Suzumura: Yes, still desperate. But compared to the old days, I think there’s a part of me that feels a bit like this is playing, in a good way, and wants it to go on for a long time. I think it’s a good thing to feel both at the same site.

Kamiya: There are newcomers and veterans alike, and we occupy a middle ground in the 2202 studio. There are a lot of veterans there. Seeing all the veterans lined up at all the mics even gives us a thrill. (Laughs) It’s a joy being in a place that makes us think “This place gives us chills!” In the past it was just tension, and I didn’t even have enough room to feel, “I’ll steal something from these people.” I’m thankful to now be in a studio with that kind of ambition.

Interviewer: It’s a site where the feelings return, isn’t it?

Kamiya: And while this may not be that good a thing, I think there are times we’re a little lazy, as a result of age and having established our positions. As our careers have progressed, we both have defining works. So we end up thinking, “Is this person’s performance right?” But then it’s only natural to also think, “Isn’t this performance now a bit off?” Neither of us should overlook those moments. So having someone my age like Kenichi here means I can ask, “Am I being lazy in this now?” On top of that, you can also ask the staff “Excuse me, but was I being lazy just now?”

Suzumura: It works as a checking mechanism. (Laughs) We all provide a monitoring system. 

Kamiya: No matter how lazy you might be, you can still overlook it.
Even if nobody says anything, you can’t help but wonder “Do people think I’m just phoning it in now?” There are juniors and seniors, and I’m very happy to be in a work environment where we can sync with each other.

Suzumura: I’ve been thinking of it that way since 2199. It’s not easy to find such a happy site. Now that the industry is getting younger, there are times when I’m the oldest one at a site. In such times, a good site has a balance of elders and youngsters. It’s impossible if you don’t have a work like this one. As an actor, I’m really glad Shima is on Yamato. (Laughs) I still want to stay in this field.

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