Zordar & Sabera: voice actor interview, May 2018

A shock waits at the ending of Yamato 2202 Chapter 5! Hideaki Tezuka X Yuko Kaida cast interview

Published by V-Storage on May 28, 2018. See the original article here

The long-awaited Chapter 5, Purgatory Chapter is the new work in the Yamato 2202 series, the latest part of the national SF anime presented in the turmoil of the 21st century. This time, we speak with Hideaki Tezuka, who plays Emperor Zordar, leader of the mighty enemy Gatlantis against Yamato, and Yuko Kaido, who plays the “silver priestess” Sabera, who is loyal to him.

We bring you this special interview containing a variety of stories, from impressions of the characters they play, to memorable scenes and lines, to the highlights of Chapter 5 which has just opened in theaters,

Kaida: It’s fun to play a villainess like Touko (Laugh)

Interviewer: Please tell us your honest impression when your appearance in Yamato 2202 was decided.

Kazue Komiya as the original Sabera, 1978

Kaida: First, there was the joy of being able to participate in a remake of the work everyone knows. With the impact of knowing I would inherit the role of Kazue Komiya, who played Sabera in Farewell to Yamato, I felt a duty to take it over. There was the same pressure as with everyone, thinking about how I could work hard to make a new Sabera.

Interviewer: I think I would want to create something new.

Tezuka: Zordar had a pretty important role in Farewell, but at first I didn’t realize it. There was pressure, of course, but after I looked at the script for the first episode, I had no choice but to do it. First of all, it begins with Zordar’s story. “Wow…what should I do?”

At first, I was asked for a narration. I didn’t know how much feeling I should put into it. It starts from a place where Zordar expresses his worldview, doesn’t it? I felt tense when I watched the finished version. There were expectations about how far it could be expanded, so from that point I took the engine more seriously.

Interviewer: What are you conscious of when playing your character?

Tezuka: I heard from Director Habara that I should speak with an arrogant and pompous atmosphere. I didn’t think I could say that from the gut, so I’ve done more work than I usually do by repeating my lines many times at home. Zordar has a huge presence in this work, and I worried about it being good if it came off as a bit vague. I practiced repeatedly to make a sound that was not emotional even thought I put feeling into it. After that I felt the atmosphere of everyone in the studio, and in spite of what I thought it seemed I was flowing with them.

Kaida: In Ark of the Stars I thought I was speaking in an antiquated way, but from the beginning on 2202, Mr. Habara and Mr. Fukui gave me a warning about Sabera. “She has a big past with multiple bodies, so it’s a tough but important role.” I couldn’t tell you the details. (Laughs)

I thought it was suspicious whenever I got a script, because I didn’t know the plan about Sabera and Touko Katsuragi. I tried to give meaningful expressions so the viewer could sense something there. Especially with Touko.

Interviewer: How do you perform both Sabera and Touko?

Kaida: They’re not different people, so I had no intention of performing them differently. Their appearance is different, so I played them based on what I felt from the visuals and the script. Sabera often gives orders from the top, and there are many scenes where Touko is trying to seduce a person when she talks.

It’s fun to play a villainess like Touko. (Laughs) She gives Keyman a mysterious invitation, and I try to antagonize Akira Yamamoto. I think it’s fascinating when I do it. So it’s fun to play Touko. (Laughs) However, since the scenes of them synchronizing shake them up and they resonate with complexity, I didn’t make them very different from each other.

Interviewer: There are many scenes where Zordar and Sabera are co-stars. Is there any discussion between the two of you?

Tezuka: There isn’t. We previously performed on Mobile Suit Gundam UC, and I trust her. We chat about the story, but there’s no serious discussion about acting.

Kaida: I take in the sound and the atmosphere we each give off and perform from that.

Tezuka: Zordar seems like a surprisingly clumsy person

Interviewer: Were there any moments in the voice recording that left an impression on you?

Kaida: The amazing number of people and the number of great veterans. A lot of older guys. (Laughs)

Tezuka: The number of people who gather together, many people who are truly leading figures. Usually it’s just one or two people at a site, but there are five or six of them on Yamato. Really amazing people come together. Just seeing their faces, I knew it would be a masterpiece. (Laughs)

Interviewer: What do you think Zordar thinks about “love,” which is the them of this work?

Tezuka: I have a thought, but I can’t convey it directly. He feels surprisingly clumsy, doesn’t he? Not just bad or gentle. I’m concerned about the gap between them. I make a show of strength, but there’s a place where I’m looking for answers myself. I definitely think something is going on now that we’re continuing into Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, and I feel like I’m expressing feelings in the lines without knowing what they are. It seems like I’m doubting it as I look for it. I feel like my thoughts are colliding.

Interviewer: How does Sabera think?

Kaida: Lines like “Love torments people” and “A game to test love” come out quite often. The lines of Sabera are made by Zordar, and I think when Sabera regains her memory she knows a somewhat different form of love. Zordar tries to prove that love torments people by manipulating their memories until they say, “Hey, what!” I thought Sabera should have scolded Zordar right away in the scene when she regains her memory. (Laughs)

Tezuka: My hesitation disappears when I study an episode, and I get the feeling that I’m doing it on my own

Interviewer: Have you been conscious of Sabera’s performance in the original?

Kaida: I was very conscious during Ark of the Stars. I watched Kazue Komiya’s scenes several times. I was surprised at how different it was for her, and I thought about how to embrace it myself. With 2202, I feel that the concept seems to have changed a lot, including her personality, so there are more things to think about within myself.

Osamu Kobayashi as the original Zordar, 1978

Interviewer: Did you talk with Ms. Komiya about the role?

Kaida: I was too scared for that. (Laughs) I’ve had a lot of opportunities both at work and in private. I’ll listen for it when we meet next time. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Mr. Tezuka, have you been conscious of Zordar’s performance in the original?

Tezuka: I couldn’t grasp the feeling of the image before I played it, so I watched [original voice actor] Osamu Kobayashi’s scenes as reference. However, I decided not to be too conscious of it, because I thought I might not push myself enough.

Kaida: One step toward better understanding Sabera and Touko, I was able to take two steps in the synchro scene of Chapter 4.

Interviewer: Please give your impression of the “Zordar Theme” composed by Akira Miyagawa, who is in charge of music, and the pipe organ piece played by Sabera.

Tezuka: There was no music at the time of the first recording, so I was shocked when I saw Chapter 1. Since the melody flowed through my head the next time we recorded, it was very helpful while performing. When I get up from the chair in the booth and head to the mic, that music flows through me. (Laughs)

Kaida: I get the impression that the Zordar theme is more feminine than the Gatlantis theme, so I felt the opposite. The pipe organ has a beautiful, solemn melody that has a religious atmosphere, and I like music where you can feel the strength of being able to destroy the enemy. When you hear that song is being played somewhere, I feel like, “Yes, it’s my turn!” (Laughs)

Interviewer: Please tell me if there are any scenes or lines with your characters that made an impression on you from Chapters 1 to 4.

Tezuka: It has to be the beginning of Chapter 1 with “The universe spreads into infinity.” When I got the script I wondered if it would begin with my words, and when I saw the footage my body tensed up like, “I have to do it.” It all started from there. Anyway, that made an impression.

Kaida: The synchro scene in Chapter 4. At first, I was surprised when Sabera began to talk a lot. (Laughs) At the same time, I thought it was very difficult. Because I could talk a lot, it was one step toward better understanding Sabera and Touko. In that scene I took two steps forward. I was hard to do, but it was fun.

Interviewer: Mr. Tezuka, is there a Sabera scene that left an impression on you?

Tezuka: When Zordar strangles her. (Laughs) The flow of that sequence was very impressive.

Interviewer: What did you think of that scene, Ms. Kaida?

Kaida: I wanted to do it. I wanted a different future to come next, because I repeat the same thing every time. After I’m resurrected as a copy, I think I’m somewhat sad to have to return to Sabera again.

Kaida: What do I get to do next? I’m excited to look at a script.

Interviewer: When you play your characters, how do you think they see the Yamato crew?

Tezuka: I’m not very conscious of it. I’m fascinated to know the results of what I’m orchestrating. I feel like I’m standing over them all, laughing at the feelings that I don’t have.

Kaida: I think it’s amazing how Touko calmly reads several steps ahead of everyone else. I can’t do such a thing myself. (Laughs) Yamato’s crew is putty in my hands. Even in Chapter 5 I make various suspicious moves. I wonder if something has changed after Keyman saved my life. After all, she’s a villainess. (Laughs) I’m enjoying watching how she’ll spread the hand of evil over the Yamato crew in the future.

Interviewer: What is the real thrill of playing a villainess?

Kaida: I can’t do anything that smart myself in real life, but since it’s written in the script I can act it as if I actually did it. It’s fun to experience the enjoyment of defeating another person in anime. I think all actresses like to do villainesses. I don’t usually dominate anyone, but it’s a good way to bring out those feelings that may be inside you. (Laughs)

I think someone performing as a woman who is worse than the heroine is full of life. If you view a heroine through the eyes of a woman, you think, “There are no such women, isn’t it a man’s ideal image of a woman?” and I feel that the hurdle of that role is too high for someone my age. It’s more fun to play a villainess. What do I get to do next? I’m excited to look at a script.

Interviewer: Which is easier to play, Mr. Tezuka, a hero or a villain?

Tezuka: In most cases, I play the villain. (Laughs) I don’t know what I’d do if I had to play a salary man [working stiff] on TV. I’d think it would be difficult to play an ordinary person. Villains are villains, and it’s hard to do difficult things, but I wouldn’t know what to do if I were to play an ordinary person. Sometimes I think I’d like to try a role like that, but the role of Zordar is built up with repeated expressions that fit the worldview of the work, and it’s fun to reflect on that while watching the actual picture.

Tezuka: Mr. Fukui’s scripts have plausible drama that is not sweet at the key points

Interviewer: In Chapter 5 there are important scenes that touch on the core of Gatlantis, such as the clone factory and the Sabera copy. What was your impression when you saw the script?

Kaida: We only had scripts for the second half.

Tezuka: I was surprised that it had become such a story. When I saw the whole thing, I felt that it became a lot heavier as the drama advanced with Dessler and Keyman. I thought it was really interesting.

Kaida: I like the story of the first half very much. This time I didn’t know the whole story until I saw it all completed, so it was a big thrill for me as a viewer. And the flashback scenes were drawn with a slightly different touch, which I liked very much. Dessler originally had a strange charm, and I think it has been deepened by adding this new concept. I wanted to know Dessler a little deeper. There’s a lot of new information. People who know the original Yamato can enjoy it. I think it deepens your understanding of the story.

Interviewer: Are there any highlights you want us to pay attention to in Chapter 5?

Tezuka: The Keyman and Dessler part.

Kaida: My favorite Touko line is, “Welcome to hell.” (Laughs) It was fun to say that line. Touko presses Kato for a decision the same way Zordar presses Kodai in Chapter 3. That is to make a choice for life.

Tezuka: That’s true. In Chapter 3, Zordar tells Kodai to “Choose the love you believe in!” That’s a good sequence with Touko and Kato. Being placed in that situation makes you think about your love. Mr. Fukui’s scripts have plausible drama that is not sweet at the key points. It feels darker in Chapter 5.

Interviewer: Finally, please give a message to Yamato fans.

Tezuka: Thank you for always supporting us. Please look forward to future developments. It’s definitely interesting. Thank you.

Kaida: Chapter 5 is really interesting from the beginning, so I enjoy it as a viewer, too. Every time I get a script, I’m interested in developments from the previous one. Koichi Yamadera gives an outstanding performance [as Dessler] this time. There’s a lot of expectation woven into the new battle in the second half, and when it’s over you’ll wonder if it’s really over. (Laughs) The climax of the first half and the new departure in the second half are not to be missed. Please see it on a big screen by all means.


Hideaki Tezuka

Born in 1954, from Tochigi Prefecture. Belongs to the Youth Theater Company, has appeared on stage and in TV dramas. His main appearances as a voice actor have been in Naruto and Mobile Suit Gundam UC. He dubs Samuel L. Jackson’s roles in foreign films.

See his credits on Anime News Network here.

Yuko Kaida

Born in 1980, from Kanagawa Prefecture. Belongs to Ken Productions, plays an active part in live theater and dubbing of foreign films. She has appeared in such anime works as Tiger & Bunny and Mobile Suit Gundam UC.

See her credits on Anime News Network here.

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