Fukui & Kuwashima Interview, October 2017

Just before the premiere of Yamato 2202 Chapter 3!

Interview with Series Writer Harutoshi Fukui and Yuki Mori’s Voice Actor Houko Kuwashima

by Eiichi Shitara

Published by Animate Times, October 13, 2017. See the original article here.

Chapter 3 of Yamato 2202, titled Pure Love Chapter, debuts in theaters October 14, 2017! It continues Yamato 2199, the remake of the original Space Battleship Yamato. This remake of the feature film Farewell to Yamato and the TV anime Yamato 2 attracts the attention of both fans of the original and new fans from 2199. Classic scenes from Farewell appeared abundantly in Chapters 1 and 2, and “an unknown voyage” finally begins in Chapter 3.

This time we asked Harutoshi Fukui and Houko Kuwashima for their thoughts and tried to hit on a number of hints! Please read this interview before you see it at the theater and reread it afterward! Surely, there will be new “that’s what they meant” discoveries.

This is the only way we could do it,
so how’s this?

Interviewer: Please tell me about the highlights of Chapter 3.

Fukui: Until now, the feeling has been of sailing between the three reefs of a 2199 sequel, Farewell, and Yamato 2, so our course was decided upon. After having passed through there, this is the first chapter that shows a glimpse of our destination. I think you can look forward to it.

Interviewer: How’s the response on the completion?

Fukui: There’s always a response. But in the case of how we’re making a drama like this now, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn episodes 6 and 7 were like this, too, but I don’t know. I could definitely do it as planned, but when I ask “Is this all right” after it is shown and various voices are heard, there is the part that gradually becomes known. Now, if I had to say it, all I could say is, “This is the only way we could do it, so how’s this?”

Interviewer: The space fireflies episode will be a highlight for old Yamato fans, won’t it?

Fukui: I’m planning to adapt impressive scenes from the original series, and the space fireflies are the first entry from Yamato 2. Two or three more are being prepped for the future.

Interviewer: Ms. Kuwashima, what are your impressions after seeing Chapter 3?

Kuwashima: When I perform there’s the feeling in the script of playing it desperately for visuals that aren’t completed yet, so when I see the finished work there are always surprises. “Ah, it’s like this!” Also, prior to the theatrical premiere we get to see what was put together into the chapter, so there are some parts that I’m understanding for the first time. “This is the Chapter 3 story!”

I was surprised the first time I heard the title for Chapter 3 would be Pure Love. “Oh, is it going to be such a story?” I was puzzled. “Why is it the Pure Love Chapter?” As I watched, I realized, “This is the chapter that includes Kodai and Yuki’s story in Episode 9.” But as the premiere approached and started to receive coverage, I heard Mr. Fukui mention as an aside that “Pure love is scary.” (Laughs) There is the feeling that it’s not just beautiful, it gradually leaves a strong impression.

But regardless of this, it’s the one where Yuki is finally unveiled, so it’s a chapter I’ve been waiting for since I can finally show up. I feel like we kept you waiting. The incubation period was unexpectedly long.

Fukui: (Laughs)

Kuwashima: Whenever a recording is finished after some trial and error, I have the fresh impression each time that, “This is a great work.” I hope the customers share the same feeling.

Interviewer: While there are various forms of love, I think Yuki is in charge of pure love. Is the warm, affectionate form of love depicted this time?

Kuwashima: Yes. It’s a pleasure that women will get to see “that scene” and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a scene that involves both Yuki and Kodai, and I’d like everyone to see them together as a couple by all means.

I make it so that not everything is understood at the moment

Interviewer: While watching “that scene,” I thought 2202 would flow toward Yamato 2 instead of Farewell.

Fukui: I see.

Kuwashima: Great deduction!

Interviewer: Also, Klaus Keyman casually plays an important role every time, and there’s a scene that gives a big hint about him, isn’t there?

Fukui: There is.

Interviewer: And the very enigmatic woman Touko Katsuragi appears. It is said that she has the same voice as Sabera.

Fukui: The same face, too, right?

Interviewer: It can be thought of as a spiritual connection. Furthermore, Zordar says something meaningful about it that isn’t understood.

Fukui: That’s true. I make it so that not everything is understood at the moment.

Interviewer: Compared to chapters 1 and 2, Chapter 3 sets up a lot of foreshadowing. Don’t you get impatient when you watch it?

Kuwashima: They don’t tell us anything about the Keyman and Katsuragi area, either. Which means Chapter 4 should be amazing! We’re also surprised by it; “Huh!?”

Interviewer: In the theater, a teaser for Chapter 4 is at the end. Immediately before that, there was something with great impact.

Kuwashima: It was there. I was surprised.

Interviewer: Since the mecha is drawn with CG, the physical quantity is overwhelming. I was also surprised to see the scene of Andromeda’s sister ships in a row, and when all the giant Gatlantis battleships appeared.

Fukui: There are a lot of them, aren’t there? The scale of the White Comet Empire this time is something we discussed in the early stages of the project. At that time, Assistant Director Makoto Kobayashi said, “I want it to be gigantic,” and I completely agreed.

There was a “Yuki” in the script from the beginning

Interviewer: Please tell us about when you were chosen for the role of Yuki Mori.

Kuwashima: Like everyone else, I auditioned for various roles, and I was really surprised when I heard that I was chosen. When a Madonna-like woman shows up in an anime, the recording director will say “Like Yuki Mori,” so Yuki Mori is a heroine image that everyone knows. There are many senior voice actors who passionately told me, “I saw Yamato and became a voice actor!” They’d say “Thanks for doing this” with eyes twinkling like a young boy, so I felt that much is expected of me. After that, when they heard that 2202 was starting, my seniors would tell me, “I’d like to appear in that,” but then would say “I’m not sure that I could…” (Laughs)

However, since 40 years have passed since the original work, I feel like I can meet such expectations without much pressure. The viewers also see it as a new thing, and I think a saving grace is that their generation doesn’t know Yamato. Is it OK to do Yuki Mori my own way? It was strange, but when I faced the script there was a “Yuki” in it from the beginning. Even if no one says whether to play it this way or that, it will be natural when you stand in front of the mic in the field. There is the feeling that whatever comes out of you will become “Yuki,” and I’m grateful that the staff entrusts me with it.

Interviewer: By the way, did you see Farewell to Yamato?

Kuwashima: I watched it before starting on 2202. It was hard. (Laughs) At the end they say, “Let’s get married in the sea of stars,” and it was shocking. I thought, “It’s better for Mr. Ono not to see it.” But Mr. Fukui said from the beginning that “there is hope,” so I will also say there is hope. (Laughs)

Interviewer: With that development, did the question, “I wonder if I will die at the end of 2202…?” ever cross your mind?

Kuwashima: Maybe…but I don’t think I will die. (Laughs)

Interviewer: If it flows toward the end of Yamato 2 you can survive.

Kuwashima: That’s not important! (Laughs)

Fukui: I’ll tell you one thing, I was asked to “please do a remake of Farewell.”

Kuwashima: Waaaaa! Then…when we get to the end…

Fukui: But it’s more like inheritance. If you asked me if it will be a remake that traces life and death in the same way, I’d say it isn’t. However, getting “that feeling” is what I’m working toward.

Interviewer: Where do you feel a change in Yuki Mori from 2199 to 2202?

Kuwashima: It’s three years later, and the character design became more mature. And as a woman who believes in Kodai, I think the “unwavering Yuki-chan” is getting stronger. However, I don’t think I can be strong all the time. I feel like I’m being shaken by the hands of Mr. Fukui. (Laughs)

Interviewer: How did you like the scene of the “Yamato women’s department” when it came up?

Kuwashima: I was very happy. There’s a scene with Akira Yamamoto, and it is well understood that it’s possible for Yuki and Kodai to be there because of everyone’s support. Because of their solidarity as a group of people that has undergone a long journey, I think they support Kodai and Yuki.

Fukui: Akira now respects Yuki, doesn’t she? She liked Kodai too, so if you’re with Kodai now she might have thought that she couldn’t support him as well as Yuki.

The love of Yamato

Interviewer: What do you both think about “love”?

Fukui: After you see the main story, the catchphrase in the advertising visuals may sound very ironic. “Is that…really OK?” But that’s fine. I can’t condemn Kodai’s “choice.” As a matter of fact, any human being would go that way. This time you can really see a divide between men and women. A woman is calmer. Kodai makes his decision from the standpoint of a man. In the state of “Whichever choice I make, that’s the end,” there’s no way you can do it. To a certain degree, Yuki ends up being trampled underfoot, doesn’t she? Such romanticism is strong.

Interviewer: The woman is calm there. Finally there’s the “foolish” scene in the cockpit. Yuki doesn’t even know at that time that Kodai didn’t make a choice.

Kuwashima: Ah! That’s right!

Fukui: Maybe she’ll find out later and say, “What have you done??” (Laughs) Love is an indispensable part of life. I think it’s the driving force. It’s also possible for it to become a deadly weapon of tremendous violence for other human beings. This is a time when suicide bombings are frequently committed for the love of God. It’s a fairly acute story, but I think there is actually a duality in love. After all, creatures cannot live without love.

In depicting this duality, this time it’s more goal-oriented, although I think what we’ll be depicting from here on is what develops when things don’t work out. Can I still affirm love after showing both sides of it? Since this is the crux of the story, love is certainly the theme of this work. About 40 years have passed since Farewell, and by no means has the world at large developed in only happy ways, but if we’re to talk once again within that context, if we’re to vicariously experience what we felt at that time, it will be done this way. For me, it’s become a plan to once again question anew the time that I’ve lived.

Kuwashima: I think everyone who sees this will have no choice but to think about love. I don’t usually think about it this much.

Fukui: It’s too obvious, huh?

Kuwashima: There are so many different kinds of love for people and things, and it makes me think that I am made up of it. I think this is a work that reminds us of the depths of human art.

Fukui: I’ll do my best to make it such a work.

Kuwashima: So everyone please go see it in the theater!

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