Daisuke Ono & Harutoshi Fukui interview, Oct 2017

What is the meaning of Pure Love Chapter, the subtitle of Yamato 2202 Chapter 3!?

Published October 12, 2017 by Akiba Souken.
Republished Oct 13-16 by Cinema Cafe, Pash Plus, T-Site, and the official 2202 website.

Chapter 3 of Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love will open in theaters this weekend. We spoke about it with Writer Harutoshi Fukui, and with Daisuke Ono, who plays the hero Susumu Kodai.

Interviewer: Chapter 2 finished with Yamato in a pinch, so how does Chapter 3 develop?

Fukui: As you saw in the trailer for Pure Love Chapter, a horde of Gatlantis reinforcement ships appears above Yamato, forcing the decision of whether or not to use the Wave-Motion Gun against them. For Kodai, the act of firing the Wave-Motion Gun becomes a betrayal of his soul. To his soul, to Okita’s soul, and also to Starsha, the savior of Earth. What will convince him to either pull the trigger or not…I think that will be the first highlight.

Ono: Kodai has been forced to make many choices, and Chapter 3 is especially painful in the way of “Kodai, choose!” As a performer and an individual, I can’t help feeling sorry for him, and I really think Mr. Fukui is a terrible person. (Laughs)

Daisuke Ono (Kodai)

Interviewer: Can you tell me about any of the episodes that took place in the voice recording?

Ono: Hiroshia Kamiya was impressive in the role of Klaus Keyman. In a word, Keyman seems like a “you know everything that’s going on, don’t you?” kind of person. So I don’t think you could play that role if you didn’t understand everything. It’s impressive how Kamiya so eagerly questions Mr. Fukui. He was asking questions until he left the recording booth, with an “I want to know” attitude that’s just like Keyman’s role. It raises morale on the site.

Houko Kuwashima is interesting in the role of Yuki Mori. There was a period where we didn’t see Yuki in the story for a while, so Ms. Kuwashima was absent from the voice recording during that time. So during a test recording, I put in an ad lib to Yuki like, “I haven’t seen you for two months.” (Laughs) I thought if that got in the show, she should have a peevish answer like, “Oh, I’ve been on a long journey that seems like a role. It was wonderful and amazing.”

Fukui: In simple words, Kodai does plenty of “crying” this time. But even when it says to cry, it’s a performance that can’t stand on emotional expression alone. Anime is pictures, after all, and you avoid following one person in long takes, instead moving the story bit by bit as you change shots. But with the animation techniques we have now, we get a feeling that pushes deeper into it. There are such scenes in the 7th and 9th episodes.

Ono: There’s a scene in Episode 7 where Kodai has lost, where he’s at the limit of hesitation and uneasiness, and in a way he’s clinging to the soul of Captain Okita. Can Kodai lose his confidence here? At the recording session, Mr. Fukui said, “You can be at a loss, you can be ashamed,” which was when the shackles came off. I wondered whether Kodai could cry that much, but then I remembered that he cried unbelievably at the end of 2199, didn’t he? When his mentality gives way to impulsiveness, there are parts where he loses all his inhibition.

Harutoshi Fukui

Interviewer: There was the feeling with Chapter 2 that all the characters were present. Whose movements should we focus on in Chapter 3?

Fukui: Needless to say with Kodai, I think he understands with Keyman, “What is he?” from the start?”

Ono: Because Keyman is watching the crew from a bird’s-eye view, there were many convincing lines. I would say to the people on Yamato something like, “Just push Kodai to be responsible” or “This guy isn’t just a bad guy.” (Laughs) There are a lot of things pushing at Kodai, and I thought this would be important to those who are close to Yamato.

Fukui: For example, the kind of problem you’d have with someone coming in from an affiliated company as opposed to someone on the inside. Even if you understand something, you have to decide if you will say it or not. Keyman gets to say it. It’s confusing for someone in that position, but he’s a loving person with human empathy. And in addition to Keyman, Zordar is also paying attention. We come to understand what kind of enemy Gatlantis is. Is it an overwhelmingly powerful enemy that’s a threat to humanity? This will come into view. They have a completely different existence from humans and Garmillas. They look at “love” from the outside, and though they despise it, they can talk about it simply because they’re observing it.

Interviewer: What is the meaning of Chapter 3’s subtitle, Pure Love Chapter?

Fukui: There’s the glorious part, meaning “love will save the Earth.” On other other hand, scary things are included. If you look around the world, various events are happening that are certainly done for love.

It was said in Farewell to Yamato that “It’s not that. Aren’t people good because of what they do for those they love?” But if it’s all for those I love, doesn’t it turn into ego in the end? Pure Love Chapter depicts the glorious part of love, but the dark side of love will come out from here on. It’s important to depict both sides of it. Zordar understands the problem very well, and will continue to be depicted that way in the future. In fact, since Chapter 3 expresses that, the title is a bit ironic.

Ono: Because it depicts a different kind of love, making the Pure Love Chapter at this point was as painful for me as it was for Kodai. (Laughs) However, I can identify with his expression and compassion. I don’t think it’s reasonable for people to simply think that they like something and then retro-fit a reason for it. I think it’s also necessary to question it from a bird’s-eye view without just sticking out your chest and saying, “I like it.”

Fukui: Kodai has been presented as a certain kind of hero in Yamato so far, but the Kodai of 2202 is a human being. This “human Susumu Kodai” isn’t so much decisive as carrying a huge burden due to his instant reactions. It’s more “This is what human beings do in the moment.” To put it another way, I think it’s a matter of “Are you ready to accept the consequences when people do these things?” That part is deeply depicted. I feel that Yamato was originally an anime that could reach the deepest part of people.

Ono: It’s interesting, but (Kodai) is harsh. (Laughs) It’s a reflection of the times. I think it’s big because that’s how Mr. Fukui depicts it.

Interviewer: Finally, please tell me the best highlights of Chapter 3.

Fukui: In this chapter it’s “performance.” It depends very closely on the actor’s performances. In fact, there were considerable retakes for the visuals, reworking them to preserve the passion that was put in. Of course, the action and spectacle of Yamato’s mecha is also there. I hope you’ll see how closely you can examine animation. As for the story, you’ll see the direction. Through Chapter 2, 2202 might have been a continuation of 2199, or maybe Farewell, and it maybe Yamato 2. How would we cross the complex paths of those three elements? Part of it was tailored to answer that. That became clear, but where are we going from Chapter 3 onward? This is the first place where that part will be clarified a little bit.

Ono: Mr. Fukui just said “performance,” and I was actually thinking about that too. I was thrilled to see the visuals just before completion. I felt those raw emotions in there. Yamato is SF anime, but it has an image that seems to be alive. I want you to feel that raw life. The animation staff also has techniques to jam-pack it with “thoughts” and “feelings,” and hope you will feel it as well.

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