Koichi Yamadera Interviews, January 2018

Of the many popular voice actors who have graced Yamato over the years, few have a more interesting story than Koichi Yamadera. He first stepped into the role of Kodai for Bandai’s Playstation games and returned to the character years later for Yamato Resurrection. As if inheriting the lead wasn’t enough, he was recast as Dessler for Yamato 2199, probably making him the first voice actor in history to play both the main hero and the main villain in the same franchise.

His return to form as Dessler for Yamato 2202 was a major moment for the series, and his appearance in Chapter 4 was hyped by four separate interviews that appeared in the media just before the January 27 premiere. All four are presented here.

Koichi Yamadera: In Yamato 2202, the part of Dessler is “Difficult and fascinating”

January 21, Mantan Web (See the original post here.)

Yamato 2202 Chapter 4 Destiny Chapter will premiere in theaters on the 27th. The popular character Dessler is introduced in Chapter 4. We heard about highlights of Chapter 4 and the thoughts of Koichi Yamadera, who continues as Dessler’s voice actor from Yamato 2199.

”Very nervous” after a long absence from the Yamato site, and jealous of Keyman?

1978’s Farewell to Yamato is the motif for Yamato 2202. Yamato returned from Iscandar and Earth regained its former blue form by the Cosmo Reverse System. However, Earth began to walk the path of military expansion and the prayers of the legendary goddess Teresa informs Yamato’s crew of an impending crisis…

Dessler, who once ruled the Great Garmillas Empire, returns in Chapter 4 under the thrall of Zordar and seeks a rematch with Yamato. Mr. Yamadera, who participated in a Yamato voice recording for the first time since 2199 looked back at it as “very nervous.” In 2199, the voice actors on the Yamato side and Garmillas side recorded separately, but this time it is said that he recorded with the main characters Daisuko Ono as Kodai, Hiroshi Kamiya as Keyman, and others in 2202.

“Dessler appeared after a long absence,” Yamadera said with a smile, “but when everyone at the site was asked what they thought about the situation they said, ‘It’s not a big deal.’ (Laughs) It had been a while since 2202 started, and since I thought there was the possibility that Dessler wouldn’t appear at all, I was happy to finally come out.”

In 2202, the new character Klaus Keyman (Hiroshi Kamiya) appears as a military officer of the Garmillas Empire, and Yamadera admitted that he was “jealous” of Keyman’s success.

“In 2202 Garmillas has formed an alliance with Earth and both are fighting against Gatlantis,” Yamadera said. “In that situation, Keyman of Garmillas boards Yamato with Kodai and the others. The Earth people are grateful for all the information he gives out, and he’s too cool when he plays an active part at times of crisis. When I watch Keyman I involuntarily say ‘oooh’!”

“It’s a lot of pressure when you have to play someone with charisma,” he added.

Playing Dessler is “Difficult and fascinating”

One of the highlights of Chapter 4 is the appearance of Dessler.

“The way Dessler is depicted now is wonderful,” Yamadera said. “I somehow wanted to adopt the splendor of Masato Ibu (who played Dessler in the first TV series), but in thinking about what Dessler is like in this script, what he says and does is fascinating. Since it’s difficult and fascinating, I want to play that.”

About Dessler’s appeal, Yamadera said, “Various things are concealed behind that calm and ruthless face. Dessler’s past will be depicted, along with things that have never been shown before. There’s more going on with him than with Kodai.”

When talking about the appeal of playing Dessler, Yamadera said, “I never put it all on the table. When Chapter 4 starts, Dessler often talks with Miru, a young Gatlantis officer. The way he talks with Miru is always cool, so I try to say it from above, in a menacing tone. It’s an extreme form of politeness that becomes rude, and there are various implications in that. I go with my gut. ‘Shall I show it a little…no, don’t show it yet.’ It’s fun to play it with such a strategy.”

Yamadera closed with a meaningful question that expressed a highlight. “Now, everyone, which lines from Dessler in Chapter 4 do you think are the ‘truth’?”

Koichi Yamadera in the part of Dessler again in Space Battleship Yamato: “I don’t want to see
what’s written on the net.”

January 26, Oricon (See the original post here.)

Koichi Yamadera is said to have a voice of seven colors, performing and perfectly separating several characters. “I’m afraid to see what’s written on the net,” Yamadera says after playing Dessler in Yamato 2199 and the latest series, Yamato 2202.

In 1974, the original Dessler was played by Masato Ibu, who is still active as an actor.

“This is a character I inherited from a senior, and 2202 has a very good reputation,” Yamadera says. “If the viewers bid farewell after Dessler appears in Chapter 4 and don’t think it’s ‘good’ any more, it is absolutely my fault. I really think so.”

Yamato 2202 has been serialized in theaters since last February, and Chapter 4 Destiny Chapter will premiere on the 27th of this month for a limited time in 29 theaters nationwide. Dessler appears for the first time in Chapter 4, and the story enters a new phase.

In the past, Dessler was the man on the throne as the “Eternal President of the Great Garmillas Interstellar Empire.” They invaded and ruled every civilization in the large and small Magellanic clouds, and continued to expand the empire’s territory. However, they lost political power by the involvement of Space Battleship Yamato, which took a voyage to Iscandar. His wish for a “great integration of Garmillas and Iscandar” was not fulfilled, so he boarded his battleship Deusular to challenge Yamato in a final battle…and his life was scattered into sub-space.

But Dessler is still alive. By the grace of Gatlantis, and stands before Yamato again. As he holds much in his heart, what is reflected in his eyes?

About four years have passed since the last voice recording for Yamato 2199.

“I’ve been nervous about recording after such a long time, but I was glad I could appear at last. Besides, they’ve given me all these lines and the character design is also cool. The whole work is interesting, so if it gets a bad reputation, it’s my fault. I went into the voice recording with that conviction.”

This time, Yamadera says the “character he inherited” created a cloud of pressure, but his heart was roused by Hiroshi Kamiya in the role of Klaus Keyman and Sayaka Kanda as Teresa. Keyman is an original character who does not appear in Farewell to Yamato (1978), which is the motif for Yamato 2202. He appears in Chapter 1 and boards Yamato with Susumu Kodai and the others. Normally taciturn, he spits poison when he does open his mouth, and his skill as a pilot is top class.

“That’s Hiroshi Kamiya’s voice! It made me unbearably excited. Isn’t it amazing? I’m already jealous of Keyman’s popularity. (Laughs) Dessler has to have more presence and charisma than him, so it adds more and more pressure. The story will be whether or not the performance of the voice actor catches up with the script. I don’t want to see what’s written on the net.” (Laughs)

The presence of Teresa, who has been veiled up until now, also increase in Chapter 4. Yamadera is a big fan of Seiko Matsuda, Sayaka Kanda’s mother. So much so that even modest points in common are dear to him.

“I was born in 1961 and Seiko was born in early March 1962, so we were in the same grade. I also like Sayaka’s performance very much. My wife went into the studio ahead of me (Rie Tanaka, who plays Akira Yamamoto) and as soon as I heard Sayaka would be there, my head was filled with songs from Frozen. [Kanda played the lead role of Anna in the Japanese dub of the film.] When I saw her in the studio I was already flustered. (Laughs) But I realized that I had to go in and play it cool as Dessler, so I thought, well I guess I have to calm myself down.” (Laughs)

He tells interesting inside stories about the voice recordings. In addition to his “voice of seven colors,” even his natural voice is also top-class after starring as the main host of Oka Star (on TV Tokyo) for eighteen and a half years. His modesty is also touching. It’s been almost two years since he “graduated” into stardom. He also told me an inside story about that.

“My life has changed completely. At the time of the program’s graduation, I’d been a voice actor for about 30 years, and considering that I’d been on Oka Star for nearly 20 years, it’s not an exaggeration to say that my voice actor life was concurrent with Oka Star. It was a lifetime of getting up at 4am. I planned to keep on getting up early after graduation, but I stayed up late that night and having been living for nearly two years that way since then.” (Laughs)

Koichi Yamadera as Dessler!

He is “Very thankful” to participate in voice recording for the first time in four years on Yamato 2202 Chapter 4

January 26, published by Akiba Souken, Cinemas, Pash Plus, NicoNico, Nizista, Web Newtype, T-Site, and the official 2202 website

Yamato 2202 Chapter 4 Destiny Chapter premieres this weekend, Saturday January 27, and this long interview with Koichi Yamadera has arrived. Shoji Nishizaki is in charge of the overall production. The director is Nobuyoshi Habara (Fafner of the Heavens), the assistant director is Makoto Kobayashi (Yamato Resurrection) and the series is written by Harutoshi Fukui (Gundam Unicorn).

Interviewer: It’s been approximately four years since the end of Yamato 2199. What is your impression of playing Dessler after a long absence?

Yamadera: It’s exactly the same feeling written on the poster for Chapter 4: “It’s been a long time, gentlemen of Yamato.” In 2199 there were many people on both the Yamato side and the Garmillas side, so they didn’t have enough room in the studio for all of us. There were separate recordings and I didn’t get very many opportunities to record with others. This time, I did voice recordings in front of the Yamato crew for the first time on Chapter 3. I was very thankful, but it was tense.

Interviewer: In Chapter 3 you literally had the last word. That was a pretty long wait, wasn’t it?

Yamadera: The voice recording for one episode takes about 30 minutes each time. I haven’t been involved in 2202 at all up until now, but I heard from everyone about it and it had the feeling of studying happily while I was waiting. My wife (Rie Tanaka) has been in the role of Yamamoto all along, so I heard about things in general, but I wasn’t actually watching the anime. So it was like, “Why? What do you mean?” (Laughs)

I watched Space Battleship Yamato since I was a seventh grader, so as a Yamato fan I was worried about how different it would be from the past. I also wondered what original parts would change from 2199 to 2202. Because the previous work was wonderful and would serve as the basis for this one, my worries went away one by one.

A new Yamato has been born and is expanding quickly. There are various things on each side and each character is deeply depicted. That’s the case with everyone who appears. All the various parts are convincing. It’s very dense, isn’t it? Little by little, we’ve gotten glimpses of Chapter 4.

Interviewer: I’m also interested in Dessler’s viewpoint and state of mind.

Yamadera: Yes, Dessler is in there. I can understand the viewpoint from the previous situation and the words of Zordar, but I have no choice but to imagine the parts we haven’t seen yet. But it’s natural to have a gut feeling. Of course, in 2199 we were with the crew of Yamato, and this time there’s Gatlantis and Dessler. Now Garmillas is united with Earth, and the situation is that a Garmillan is riding on Yamato. Dessler’s standpoint is completely different from the original Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2.

Interviewer: At the end of Chapter 3, Zordar says, “Show me your passion.” Will that become a keyword that doesn’t end only with Yamato?

Yamadera: I can’t talk about the details. Since it’s different from the original in various ways, it’s deeper. Dessler…has a different purpose. Because Garmillas is united with Earth, there is the viewpoint that “It’s not a case of a personal grudge” since his war with Yamato is also against the Garmillas state, not done for personal greed. It’s very interesting to watch what Dessler is doing in 2202, isn’t it?

Interviewer: When you did your first voice recording for 2202, were there any requests from the sound director like, “the performance should go this way because of this development”?

Yamadera: Nothing like that. (Laughs) All I can say is because I play an active part, I have to read from a script. These days, It’s not possible to show any outsiders what Mr. Fukui has written, so I get memos like, “It’s going to be like this.” There are various things about Dessler that I learn for the first time there.

It’s like “Hurry up and tell me!” (Laughs) Maybe you can tell me a little during voice recording…but no, I got nothing. Director Habara has been helping me out ever since I made my debut. He helped me when I did Sonic Soldier Borgman and Heavenly War Chronicle Shurato, and since we’re both of the same generation working together, we have a lot of fun, and while I think we’ve talked about lots of stuff, nothing stands out especially.

I don’t know, maybe it would be better to know everything. But there’s a part of me that says, “I see..” every time I see a line in a script and things fall into place. So I imagine, “I guess that’s the case” and play it that way. There are a lot of good lines in Chapter 4.

Interviewer: Do you have a favorite line?

Yamadera: It’s a line that’s already been heard in the 60-second trailer, the famous line I also imitated as a child: “It’s been a long time, gentlemen of Yamato.” It’s used at the beginning there, but under what circumstances is it said in Chapter 4? Of course, I face Kodai and the others, but where it’s said and the feeling it’s said with is very important, isn’t it? I definitely want you to watch for that.

Wouldn’t it be great if Dessler smiles and says, “That ship hasn’t changed a bit”? I think it’s fascinating when Dessler says lines that you would say to yourself; nostalgia for finding them after a long time and a feeling that they have made no progress. You can imagine Dessler’s sentiment in various ways. A single word from Dessler has various implications, and since he doesn’t show his heart you can’t take anything from him at face value. I think you can also see that it even changes depending on who he says it to.

Interviewer: Miru of Gatlantis appears on Dessler’s side, doesn’t he?

Yamadera: The conversation with Miru is interesting. It’s not good to explain too much, but it’s effective to say something plain with a grin. Honestly, there isn’t much facial expression in the visuals so far, so the feeling is that I perform it while receiving support from the sound director.

Interviewer: Speaking of the 60-second trailer, I was surpised to see him firing the Dessler Gun.

Yamadera: All of a sudden. Since I appeared suddenly at the end of Chapter 3, I wondered if it would be too early to fire it in Chapter 4. Since it’s the Dessler Gun, things are likely to finish up soon. (Laughs) Sorry, the series is over…

However, if you’re looking forward to seeing more down the road, please be relieved. The work goes on. But maybe the title will change. “Yamato 2202, the story in which Dessler won.” (Laughs)

Interviewer: That’s too long. (Laughs)

Yamadera: Well, Space Battle Neu-Deusular, then. (Laughs)

Interviewer: It wasn’t shown in the trailer, but I heard there is a favorite cool line in the scene of firing the Dessler Gun.

Yamadera: It is a really good line. I can’t tell you about it before the premiere, but how should I explain…

Talking about it generally, whether or not it’s taken as something unique to Dessler, I think it can be understood by anyone. It seems like a keyword for us now, too. Though it can be said to be the most important, it cuts both ways, and you might lose everything. I’m saying it’s something like that.

It’s not only Dessler’s line, but the relationship between the characters appearing in 2202 is naturally connected to our present-day life. It’s good to identify with a part that’s like you. Even if it doesn’t overlap with you at all, I think you can understand if you change your point of view just a little and then you’ll see, “That’s it.”

When I was little, I was told the moral of, “put yourself in the other party’s position.” It might seem like, “Why do I have to put myself in the shoes of someone from Gatlantis?” but I think, “I wonder if the staff wanted to depict such a thing.” They seem to be a bunch of ridiculous savages with no feelings for others…but is that truly what you feel in your gut? I think that’s one of the wonderful things about this work called 2202 which connects from 2199. That’s a big thing in Chapter 4 and will go on in Chapter 5.

Interviewer: Last but not least, please give a message to Yamato fans and Dessler fans looking forward to Chapter 4.

Yamadera: Really, it’s been a long time. Dessler finally appears, and everyone can watch what he does. Of course, I think there are a lot of characters in 2202 to care about besides Dessler. In Chapter 4 there are parts where everyone’s mysteries unfold little by little. I’m also waiting for new developments. I hope you’ll enjoy yourself watching Chapter 4 in a theater by all means.

Koichi Yamadera talks about Yamato 2202 Destiny Chapter from his thoughts on Dessler to an inside story with Rie Tanaka!

January 26, Animate Times (See the original post here.)

The story has reached Chapter 4 at last. Although Dessler appeared only briefly in Chapter 3, his activity will certainly become a highlight in Destiny Chatper. Here we interview Koichi Yamadera, who plays Dessler. We talked about various matters including his thoughts on the important role of Dessler, surprising moments in the voice recording, and an inside story with Rie Tanaka.

Was he going to appear!?
And he’s jealous of Keyman?

Interviewer: How was it, participating in Yamato again after a long time?

Yamadera: I was very nervous. A lot has happened since Yamato 2202 started, and since I haven’t appeared in a long time I thought, “Am I going to come out at all?” (Laughs) At last, I finally appeared in Pure Love Chapter, but with only one word in the last scene.

In the case of Yamato 2199, the actors on the Garmillas side and the Yamato side were recorded separately, so I didn’t do any voice recording with Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai). But this time I suddenly appear after a long time and I got to say those words everyone wants to hear…it was delicious! (Laughs)

I wonder if everyone is selfishly paying attention. I thought about if I should act as if it was no big deal, and I remember feeling a lot of pressure. But I was glad to finally come out.

Interviewer: For us fans, it was shocking for Dessler to appear in the last scene [of Chapter 3] and only say one word. When I finished watching that, my whole body shook.

Yamadera: Is that so? I’m interested in what the viewers thought. It’s based on Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2, but there are various differences. It’s good that Dessler doesn’t come out the same way. I was waiting forever to get the word from the staff that I would appear. (Laughs) Those who know the old works might have thought, “They might just leave Dessler out of it” since Garmillas is united with Earth in 2202, and in this story it would be inconvenient for Dessler to show up. (Laughs)

I don’t receive a script until my turn comes up, so I was also surprised at various things like, “Who’s this Keyman guy?” (Laughs) “Why is he riding on Yamato?” I didn’t know what had developed already, so Keyman might have been in a position like Dessler.

Even if Keyman said, “I’ve only pretended to be friends with Earth so far. After Dessler died, I took charge and we’re going to fight again” that development wouldn’t be unexpected. So maybe Dessler didn’t need to appear. Therefore, I thought, “Oh good, I get to come out.” (Laughs)

Interviewer: I thought that might be possible.

Yamadera: The story might be able to proceed if there was a substitute for Dessler. Dangerous, dangerous. (Laughs) It’s dangerous. And everyone is happy with Hiroshi Kamiya, aren’t they? (Laughs) If Kamiya were to fight against Yamato, it wouldn’t be unexpected for him to be the new Dessler. (Laughs)

Wait a minute. What will I do if that happens…? I said it was dangerous, and now I’m getting scared. (Laughs) Now I’m a little worried about myself. (Laughs) But Chapter 4 is just fine for now. (Laughs)

Interviewer: (Laughs) Mr. Ono has been a fan of Yamato all this time too, and it was said that he’s sort of jealous of Keyman. “He got on Yamato!”

Yamadera: Yeah…that’s right. Jealous…? Yep. Some people think Dessler and Keyman might be related, since Keyman is so cool. (Laughs) From the moment he appears, he’s cool no matter what. Isn’t it great to have such a cool role? But he’s not as ruthless as Dessler. And the Earth people are thankful for all of his information. He comes in handy during a crisis.

Did you see how he got off his plane? He comes down on one foot and fluffs his hair. (Laughs) I thought the director was overding it. (Laughs) I thought, “This is a shampoo commercial!” (Laughs) Then I heard Mr. Kamiya’s voice and thought, “Keyman, that bastard!”

Plus, his name is Keyman [key man]. Amazing! His popularity is amazing right now, isn’t it? In that way, I’m completely jealous. It’s a pleasure now that Dessler has to come in with more charisma than Keyman. (Laughs)

People with love are now making a Yamato they want to express

Interviewer: What do you think about the attempt to reboot Yamato?

Yamadera: It became a social phenomenon, and I got absorbed in watching it. It’s very difficult to make such a revolutionary work again. It’s hard for rebooted works to get a fair shake. Meanwhile, as you know the evaluation of 2199 and 2202 is high among the old fans, and it’s also supported by people who are watching it for the first time, and I go along with it even as a participant.

There are parts that weren’t shown in the past works, and various questions spring up along the way. I think they’ve been solved wonderfully. Not just burying it, but digging deeper. But it doesn’t become a distraction. I think interest is rising in this new Yamato more and more.

Of course, there is a natural respect for the past works, and people who love Yamato now want to create a Yamato that they can express. It has received high praise. It’s a prime example of a reboot work! That’s why those of us on the acting side have to put so much into it, because there were so many great people who performed before us. Naturally, we’re going to be compared, so there’s a lot of pressure.

In talking about 2202, the Gatlantis side is also depicted by drawing on the thoughts of those terrible aliens committing all kinds of evil, and those characters are also well-depicted with their own backgrounds. I think it deepens the work even more.

Interviewer: The story on the Gatlantis side is also very interesting.

Yamadera: They’re trying to rule over everything, but it is not simple self-interest. It’s a major point in the new series that gradually becomes clear.

I loved the original too, so I wanted to know various things like, “What are the differences from the previous works?” But now I don’t worry about it so much any more. I have the feeling that a great new work is being made. The way Dessler is depicted this time is wonderful. What is Dessler thinking and talking about and doing? It’s more difficult to play, but I hope you’ll look forward to it.

The story of Rie Tanaka
and Sayaka Kanda…

Interviewer: I think it’s been a long time since your last Yamato voice recording. Did you talk with everyone in the cast?

Yamadera: I did. The Yamato site is interesting this time. Everyone records together. There were great individual seniors in the Garmillas army in 2199, and there are veterans in key positions in 2202 as well. That’s why the site is on such firm ground.

There are a lot of people with presence, such as Yoshitada Otsuka (Sanada), Mugihito (Tokugawa), and Hideaki Tezuka (Zordar). In addition, there are popular top-class voice actors in their 30s and 40s now. (Laughs) There are also young people who are now up and coming.

Meanwhile, during the course of this new series I was recently taught how to use a smartphone. (Laughs) In the old days we taught our seniors how to use a receiver (a machine to listen to original sounds during dubbing) and now the young men are teaching in various ways. (Laughs) When I ask a question, everyone checks it immediately.

Last time I said, “I’m thinking about getting into exercise. What are you doing? I’m interested in an exercise machine.” They checked it right away and said, “This is a good one!” Then at the next voice recording I was asked, “Did you get it?” I said, “No, I didn’t buy it,” and they said, “What are you talking about, we all got one.” (Laughs)

Since I hadn’t bought one, I ordered it on the spot. (Laughs) Oh, of course, I talk about work in various ways. Sayaka Kanda is playing Teresa this time. My wife (Rie Tanaka, who plays Akira Yamamoto) told me, “You might be together with Sayaka Kanda.” I said, “No, we won’t be there together.” And when I got to the studio…”It’s Sayaka Kanda!” (Laughs) At that moment, I heard the music from Frozen in my head.

I was very interested in how she would play her role. Actually, I’m a big fan of her mother (Seiko Matsuda), and we graduated in the same class. I bought her debut album by direct delivery and I’m a big fan, so I went to see her in concert.

Aside from that, I met Sayaka in the studio, and she’s really beautiful! Oh, the other women in the cast are beautiful, too. (Laughs) I thought, “Sayaka Kanda! We’re working together!” But I had to calm down in order to play Dessler. (Laughs) “Cool it, cool it, cool it! Let’s calm down!” When I got back home I told my wife, “Sayaka Kanda was beautiful! And her performance is wonderful!”

That said, I also recorded with my wife. We’ve worked together many times, but it had been a while with Yamato, so I was nervous in a different way. (Laughs) I’ve been told, “Don’t say anything unnecessary to anyone.” I think Akira Yamamoto is a cool role, and she’s my favorite. I wonder if Yamamoto will also be active in Chapter 4. (Laughs)

Yamadera is attracted to the “Theme of Yamato

Interviewer: What is the appeal of Dessler in your opinion?

Yamadera: Everyone thinks of Dessler as a cold-blooded man who is cool and calm in choosing how to accomplish his goal, but there are various things behind that. Actually, I learned a lot of things about Dessler recently. After Chapter 4, various things will be understood in Chapter 5. But I’ve been told that I shouldn’t say anything. (Laughs) I’m holding onto Dessler. (Laughs) I’m holding onto him more than Kodai. I’m sorry, I can’t say anything specific.

In Chapter 4, I often talk with a person on the Gatlantis side named Miru. Of course, it’s basically from above, and I speak gently, but strongly enough to threaten. The words are as polite as ever, but because he’s Dessler the extreme politeness becomes condescending. (Laughs)

It has various implications, but I don’t put everything on the table. Maybe I should show a little bit? But when I think about it, not yet. (Laughs) The strategy of performing is difficult, but it’s fascinating, isn’t it?

When you watch for what’s going on behind Dessler’s thinking, I think the story looks more interesting. It will lead to Chapter 5. Everyone will be surprised, because various things will come out that were not in the previous Yamato. Man, I wish I could say more. (Laughs) Anyway, 2202 is amazing.

Interviewer: The part is also different than when you played him in 2199.

Yamadera: Dessler is in a different position where Yamato is concerned, after all. But there’s also a thing that seems like, “I don’t care about such things.” There are glimpses of various things. The feeling of vengeance and a pride that does not forget.

Interviewer: What are you most attracted to in Yamato?

Yamadera: That’s a hard one. It’s different now than what I thought back in seventh grade because it’s been over forty years since then. My senses are different and the times are different. If I could say one thing, isn’t it the place where “What is love? What is a human being?” are concentrated in the theme? You could say that most entertainment works depict that.

To protect your planet, protect your life, protect the people who are important to you, all you need is love and courage. It’s regrettable that it’s become corny to be up front with that. What I’ve felt since my childhood is that since it’s Soldiers of Love, this is the ultimate work in which the main characters overcome a pinch in a desperate situation.

In any work, like a nice home drama for example, a family gets in a pinch, but it’s not quite the same pinch as in Yamato. From the beginning, it’s a crisis of the destruction of Earth! So the first time I saw it I thought, “I’ve never seen such a thing!” (Laughs) The scale was so big that a junior high student couldn’t hold onto it!

I want you to feel what’s behind
Dessler just a little

Interviewer: What sort of things are you conscious of when you play Dessler?

Yamadera: Everyone probably thinks of Dessler as a ruthless bad guy, but it isn’t just that. It can be seen even in 2199. When you watch his conversation with Starsha, I think you can feel it very much.

I don’t think his desires for self-interest or self-control are all just about power. He’s an overwhelming dictator and an absolute monarch who will kill an underling in the blink of an eye, but I think he does that because he has to.

What I try to suggest while playing him in both 2199 and 2202 is to give a hint that he carries fate on his back. But Dessler doesn’t say that out loud. He always says, “for my ideals.” That implies something, but I guess it doesn’t have to be understood.

Interviewer: How do you want the audience to perceive Dessler?

Yamadera: If he was just evil, nobody would like that, would they? Strength, sorrow, sadness, and a transient coldness. Dessler has all of that. There are some visual changes from 2199, and he’s gotten more sensual, hasn’t he?

Interviewer: After your version of Dessler, I think some people feel that villains are good, too.

Yamadera: I’m glad. It may be that Masato Ibu’s Dessler was the first character in Japanese anime that seemed so. I thought so. That’s why it’s difficult for a performer. Just doing it indifferently means nothing will be conveyed. I don’t want to put too much emotion into it, but I still have to make it persuasive and involving.

In Dessler there’s a place where he speaks sharply and conveys a lot of truth in very few words. I always play him while being very conscious of how the twisting of just one word can change the impression.

Interviewer: You play it as if a single word can be very important.

Yamadera: That’s right. I put a lot of thought into that, since it’s meaningless if it doesn’t get conveyed.

Interviewer: In the end, I think you’re able to do Dessler because you’re Yamadera.

Yamadera: No, no, no. I get a lot of good lines in Chapter 4 to express myself, and my only desire is to deliver it to everyone. It’s such a deep role, it’s up to me to feel it again.

Interviewer: I see. Thank you for today!

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