Chapter 6 rushes toward the series climax! Yamato 2202 Ayahi Takagaki interview
Published by V Storage, October 28, 2018
Space Battleship Yamato 2202 is the newest work in the national SF anime series in the 21st century, the century of turmoil. Fans have long anticipated Chapter 6, Regeneration Chapter, which opens in theaters November 2! This time, a new ship inherits Yamato’s will, the Yamato-class ship Ginga. We did a direct hit on Ayahi Takagaki, who plays the ship’s captain Saki Todo. She shared various stories in our interview, including her impression of the character she plays and the highlights of Chapter 6.
Seeing a picture of the character, I was shocked and said, “I’m wearing a military uniform…” (Laughs)
Interviewer: How did you feel when your appearance in Yamato 2202 was decided?
Takagaki: I knew that the series was continuing from Yamato 2199, but I never thought I would be involved. When I heard she was the daughter of Heikuro Todo, I wondered if it was the kind of role where she would appear from time to time, but when I got the script and saw a picture of the character, I was shocked and said, “I’m wearing a military uniform…” (Laughs) I had the image of a daughter who was waiting at home, so I never thought it was someone who would go out into the battlefield.
At the time of the first recording, I got an explanation from Director Habara and the Writer Mr. Fukui of what they thought about her upbringing and Ginga’s mission. I honestly didn’t think it would be such an important role. After I finished the recording and I was walking home, I could think of only one word when I thought about future developments and the magnitude of the work: “Yamato.” I understood that this was a huge role, and felt great pressure at that moment. At the same time, my body was shaking from the sense of mission that I had to serve since I’d been entrusted with such a role, and it was the first time I sensed the excitement of what it must be like to be a warrior.
Interviewer: What kind of image did you have of Space Battleship Yamato?
Takagaki: Yamato is always featured as a Showa-era anime TV program with great scenes, and the image of the song is so strong, I think there must be only a few people who have never heard it. I had not properly watched it, but of course I knew the form of the song and the battleship.
When I saw Chapter 5 at a preview, the sound pressure of the pipe organ was really impressive, and when it came to the stage greeting I talked about wanting to investigate the “White Comet theme.” I discovered that the pipe organ used in Farewell to Yamato was at my alma mater [Musashino Academy]. When I think about it being played on that pipe organ that I was familiar with in school, it felt like I had an illicit connection with Yamato. (Laughs) I felt the tension rise a lot from that trivial relationship. (Laughs)
Interviewer: What kind of person is Saki Todo, the new character who appears in Chapter 5? And how do you feel about playing a character who didn’t appear in the original?
Takagaki: Saki has complicated feelings about her upbringing, but she was appointed captain of the Ginga at a young age. Since the image of a serving captain is usually that of an older man, how much hardship would a young woman experience in getting to that position? I imagined what I would think and what I’d have to do. That’s why I think I must be centered in a dignified way while encouraging myself. Ginga is similar to Yamato in shape, but the inside is completely different. Yamato’s crew is solid and passionate, Ginga’s crew is logical and does not debate the means for the ends. When I heard the story from Mr. Habara and Mr. Fukui, I thought I should cut off my emotions when I got there, but as we recorded Chapter 6 I understood that she has humanity. I was moved at the same time she was moved, and I feel that there’s a part where we have similar viewpoints.
I started to participate in the middle of a continuing Yamato series among strong senior [actors], my own pressure of having this important role as a captain, and the weight of the mission Saki is entrusted with. My stance is to firmly resist that pressure, and though there is a place of immaturity in there somewhere, it’s still close to who I am and I’m going to persevere. My feeling now is that I’m stretching myself and trying to become part of the work called Yamato, and it’s good for me to bring that tension to the mic for my role.
When watching Chapter 6, I feel that everything comes back to the word “love.”
Interviewer: How is the atmosphere of the voice recording? Also, please tell me if there are some moments that made an impression on you while recording.
Takagaki: When I entered the studio for Chapter 6, Daisuke Ono [Kodai] said, “Are you a captain now?” I was glad that he said it as if he was my big brother, and it was deeply impressive. (Laughs) I had seen it from Chapter 1, but there were a lot of things I didn’t know yet, and everyone was kind to me. Mr. Ono was very concerned for me and helped me through a lot of it.
After the recording was over, we had the opportunity to talk as we left to go home. I passed through the ticket gate at the station, but he said, “My train isn’t here yet.” (Laughs) He didn’t have to go into the station himself, but he came along specifically to talk to a newbie about Yamato, and I was very grateful.
Aihara meets Akiko Todo in Yamato III, Episode 3
When I think about being part of this new 2202 series, it came across to me that everyone is carrying a big thing on their back with this work called Yamato, and I was also able to have nice reunions with my seniors, who were glad to see me. Kazuko Sugiyama was cast as Saki’s mother, and she played Todo’s granddaughter Akiko, in the past Yamato [Series 3]. I was quite moved by the respect and playfulness of that.
Interviewer: What highlights should we pay attention to in Chapter 6?
Takagaki: Ginga was shown in Chapter 5, but it was not revealed what kind of battleship it is. Its role and purpose are revealed in Chapter 6, so I’d definitely like you to pay attention to that. There’s also a scene depicting Zordar’s past that I didn’t expect. When watching Chapter 6, I feel that everything comes back to the word “love.” Ginga has a presence that questions the nature of humans. In the present day when many things are mechanized we’re less likely to feel the warmth of people, and Chapter 6 becomes a work where you can fully taste the charisma of Yamato with solid affection. There’s good and evil, and both enemies and allies seem to be divided, and it’s fun to wonder what kind of feelings each person will have on the battlefield.
At the stage greeting for Chapter 5, May 26, 2018
Interviewer: What was your impression of doing a stage greeting with the other cast members for Chapter 5?
Takagaki: It was my first time doing a stage greeting, and the day was dyed in Yamato colors. I wondered if everyone would accept this battleship called Ginga and this young character named Saki appearing in the series, and what would happen if I made a slip of the tongue, so it was full of tension, but when the audience greeted me with a warm welcome my worry changed into a feeling of security.
I think everyone will be attracted by the passion of Yamato’s crew, centered around Kodai
Interviewer: Have you had any conversation with your co-stars on the Ginga crew? If you don’t mind, could you share what you talked about?
Takagaki: I got the explanation for Ginga and my character together with Tomoyo Kurosawa [Mina Ichinose], and when we parted that day we said, “It’s a battleship with a great mission, so let’s do our best together!” Saki is still young, so Megumi Kanzaki accompanies her as something like a guardian. I had no choice but to imagine what kind of conversations they’d have outside the battlefield. I think she could achieve her position at such a young age because everyone on the crew supported her. Megumi Hayashibara [Kanzaki’s voice actor] is a personal acquaintance, and we’ve worked together before, and since she plays the role of someone I trust, it gave me a sense of security. I’m glad she has the role of Kanzaki.
Interviewer: When you participate in Space Battleship Yamato, what do you feel is the appeal of the work?
Takagaki: I’m not familiar with battleships, but when I hear Yamato, it stirs something inside me. Various characters appear, and I can’t help but admire the humanity of Yamato’s crew. If you think about it rationally, you’d never take their actions, but Yamato’s crew risks everything to protect just one life. You can trust your friends. It may be risky to make that choice, but you can’t survive on a battlefield by affection alone. You understand the logical argument, but there are all sorts of ties at work here that can’t be ignored.
I think everyone will be attracted to the passion of Yamato’s crew, centered around Kodai, as they break through them. There’s a moment in Chapter 6 where Saki’s heart is moved, and it made me think the existence of Yamato is an absolute.
Interviewer: Finally, please give a message to those looking forward to Chapter 6.
Takagaki: There were a lot of mysteries in Chapter 5, but all the mysteries of Ginga are solved in Chapter 6, and I’d like you to pay attention to what kind of mission this ship has. Everyone thinks about what makes them human, and I think I’ve been worried about my own weaknesses, but it unfolds in a way that brings all that together, so please watch. Be sure to see it in a theater where you can be drawn in by the power of the sound and visuals and the human drama. Speaking as a newbie, I don’t think the threshold of Chapter 6 is too high, so I’d like as many people as possible to see it.
Ayahi Takagaki Profile
From Tokyo, born October 25. Her major roles have been Feldt Grace in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Noe Isurugi in True Tears, Chris Yukine in Symphogear, and Lisbeth in Sword Art Online. Besides voice acting, she is also active as a singer and stage actress.
See a much longer list of her credits here.