Fukui and Kuwashima interview, Oct 2017

The miracle made by pure love

Space Battleship Yamato launched on a new voyage toward the distant planet Telezart, but the menace of Gatlantis, which shakes all of space, finally strikes at Yamato. In the midst of this desperate situation, what ultimate decision must Kodai and Yuki confront? In the third chapter of this harsh journey, “pure love” is presented as the theme. We talk about the highlights with Houko Kuwashima in the part of Yuki Mori, and Series Writer Harutoshi Fukui.

Interview by Hiroyuki Kawai
From Newtype magazine, October 10, 2017

The fear of “pure love,” which is not just about beauty

Interviewer: What kind of character is Yuki Mori, as depicted in Space Battleship Yamato 2202, for you both?

Fukui: First of all, there is a concept that 2202 depicts the story of a man named Susumu Kodai. In the previous work, 2199, the direction was designed to thoroughly show the world, but this time the camera sticks to Susumu Kodai. In the pursuit of that concept, the presence of Yuki Mori is inseparable. Yuki is one and the same as Kodai, a yin to his yang, a bright light shining on him. You could even say Yuki is not even aware that she dominates the story.

Kuwashima: Well, no pressure there. (Laughs) Three years have passed since the previous work, Ark of the Stars, and it was a peaceful time to deepen the relationship between Kodai and Yuki. However, in the midst of the Gatlantis threat, being confronted with the choice of “Will you get on board Yamato or not” becomes a big turning point for Yuki. But she’s not flustered at all. She has consistent strength because she truly loves Kodai. Rather than her own growth, I feel this is a continuation of 2199.

Fukui: They have a kind of codependent relationship. Kodai has lost his relatives and is all alone in the world, and on the other hand Yuki only has a memory of the last four years. That’s why they have a strong bond. But after the long journey to Iscandar and the return to Earth they’ve arrived at the prospect of “We can live if we have each other,” and then the Gatlantis invasion begins. Kodai shows his selfishness by saying “I mustn’t live by relying on Yuki” and refuses to let her on board Yamato.

Interviewer: There is a part that lets you feel the weakness of Kodai as a human being.

Fukui: He is a little weak, and I think “That’s what people are like.” In the world of “TV manga” [early anime], only heroes and superhuman characters existed prior to Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam. These works demonstrated that “There are people, too.” When I took over this title, it would have been meaningless if we didn’t depict them as human beings, so that’s why the relationship between these two is shown so sharply in Chapter 3.

Interviewer: There’s also a strong impression from the subtitle, Pure Love Chapter. The relationship between Kodai and Yuki is depicted as a very deep place.

Kuwashima: When I finally appeared, I was suddenly thrust into a very serious scene (Laughs). It’s been boiling from the moment I stepped on Yamato, and the feeling was that I’d be sure to like it. When it comes to this work, I enjoy these surprising developments.

Fukui: Although the title is Pure Love Chapter, the stance is that “pure love” is not all positive. A certain choice is thrust upon Kodai in the story…no, maybe it’s better to call it a reflection. Kodai may take action that lets you feel beauty, but actually there is also a fear in the pit of your stomach that it could all go cold from one misstep. The implication is that “pure love” is not a simple, beautiful thing.

Interviewer: In the third chapter, Kodai confronts the responsibility of being captain, especially where his love of Yuki is concerned, and he’s very troubled.

Fukui: Well, even so, they’re still young people in their early twenties. Maybe the situation he’s standing up against is something not even Captain Okita experienced. It’s natural for him to be worried and to fail and not make decisions easily.

Interviewer: The relationship between Kodai and Yuki feels stronger than the last time we saw them.

Fukui: For our generation, the relationship of Kodai and Yuki was definitely a strong image from the original work. Don’t they give the impression of “two idealistic people tied together by a very strong bond”? That image persists even in 2202, and I think you can feel the trusting relationship of a couple who have been together for many years. In the story it feels like codependence, but from the history of the title we’ve known about their relationship for over 40 years. That time is a factor that helps you feel their mature relationship of mutual trust.

Interviewer: That’s why you can go to the depths of “pure love” even in the third chapter, which is at the early stage.

Fukui: Since it’s a work that has a long history, there is an aspect of the generation that fans have married and married couples have built a relationship. If you want to depict a relationship between a man and a woman that resonates with these fans, I have to show it on a level where I’m asking “Do you mind if I step in?” That’s another reason I wanted to call it Soldiers of Love.

Kuwashima: It’s wonderful to see such a sense of understanding in it. It’s not so easy to find something like that. Personally, the surrounding support for Kodai and Yuki’s relationship touched my heart. I get the impression that Shima, Dr. Sado, and the Yamato girls are being very careful with it. From the start of that scene to the finish, I feel “those two are supported by Yamato’s crew.”

Interviewer: Based on the impression Kodai and Yuki’s behavior had on Zordar, it seems that it will have an affect on the future.

Fukui: I think Zordar has probably destroyed many civilizations before now. Zordar says the innocent love Kodai and Yuki demonstrated in this chapter was “very vain,” but he can’t hide the surprise in his heart. It makes him think, “These guys may be slightly different.” How will that feeling affect Zordar’s actions in the future? Actually, the game with Zordar has already begun in Chapter 3. This is finally the start of the full-scale battle with Gatlantis.

Interviewer: Chapter 3 will be released soon.

Kuwashima: It feels like the story content has really begun to move. I’m interested in the impressions of the fans who have seen Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. I think the game is on now with 2202, so please share your impressions.

Fukui: A novelization of 2202 is also out, so I’d definitely like you to also read it for the main part of the story. Because of the scale, there are parts that couldn’t easily be shown that expand certain scenes. There will certainly be new discoveries.

Sidebar text

These two discuss Chapter 3, Pure Love Chapter:

“The ones to worry about in Chapter 3 are Hijikata and Zordar. Hijikata is Yuki’s benefactor, and I’m very worried about his physical condition. I hope he doesn’t overdo it. Zordar is interesting, and he’s certainly different from humans. I think these are the highlights of Chapter 3.” – Houko Kuwashima

“To young people, Space Battleship Yamato may feel like a title that doesn’t have much to do with them, but it’s at the cutting edge of anime. You can easily see Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 via net distribution, and when you get to chapter 7 I definitely want you to feel the kind of catharthis you seldom experience.” – Harutoshi Fukui

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