Hiroshi Kamiya interview, February 2019

From Animage vol. 489 (Tokuma Shoten) February 10, 2019

Last Choice

Young people grow over time, and the bonds that have been nurtured direct a choice to be made in the final chapter of a long voyage – where will Klaus Keyman’s choice lead Yamato?

Gatlantis officer Miru, the spokesman for Zordar, forces a devil’s choice upon Keyman: to kill Dessler. He promises that if that is done, he will spare both Earth and Gatlantis.

After his growth during Yamato’s journey, finding both friends and loved ones, and with the coexistence of both Garmillas and Earth at hand, Keyman faces a crossroads in which he must decide on a path to choose. What is Keyman’s answer; to go toward his friend and ally Susumu Kodai, or toward Dessler who made him who he is?

Chapter 7, New Star Chapter, opens with Klaus Keyman’s decision. As his name suggests, Keyman is “the man who holds the key” to Yamato 2202, a new interpretation of Farewell to Yamato. His conflict and growth did not appear in Farewell, so it is a source of heavy drama that is unique to 2202. And now that we have reached the final chapter, his drama also reaches an end.

The choices of Kodai, Keyman, and Yamato’s soldiers of love are all depicted in the last chapter – and the screen is blurred by tears at that moment!

The trump card of a decisive battle?

There is a “safety device” that will stop the activity of the artificial soldiers of Gatlantis, which were originally made by the people of Zemuria. That device, called Golem, lies at the heart of the Gatlantis Empire, in the throne of Zordar…

The man who believes in love

Despite his despair over Yuki losing her memory of him, Kodai does not break his stride. Isn’t it true that Zordar hates love so much because he actually has a deep knowledge of it? Thinking this, Kodai wants a dialogue with Zordar…

A man’s decision

Is Yamato’s movement detected by Zordar because of a spy on board? And when Saito, captain of the Space Cavalry, realizes the possibility that he himself may be the “eyes” of Zordar, does it give him a certain determination…?

Red memories

Yuki regained her original memories at the cost of her memories as a Yamato crew member. And now as she watches the behavior of this “strange young man” Susumu Kodai, she begins to feel something…

What is Keyman’s Choice?

Will the time spent on Yamato change Keyman’s fate?

Interviewer: How do you feel after recording the final chapter of Yamato 2202?

Kamiya: It’s been a long one. It took about two years to record a 26-episode TV series, so it feels like a long journey has finally ended safely. On a normal 26-episode series, I associate with a character for about half a year, so I was able to have a long-term association with Keyman, more than two years. I think it was a big plus for me.

Interviewer: Your understanding of Keyman deepened over a long time. Did that also deepen your attachment?

Kamiya: Of course it did. I become attached to every character I perform, but the thing about Keyman is that the period in which I performed him was very long. It’s also a very big thing that I got to do the “untold stories behind Yamato” drama CDs written by Harutoshi Fukui (bonuses included with DVDs and Blu-rays from Amazon.co.jp). They’re comical episodes about “this was actually happening at the same time as the main story” and we played them seriously. It was a lot of fun to perform, and my feeling about the content is, “Actually, isn’t this an important episode for Keyman?”

Interviewer: The drama CDs show an aspect of Keyman that isn’t felt in the main story.

Kamiya: When doing character output, you can often show only one aspect, but through input on a different aspect, it can smooth out my approach when I perform the visible side. It’s very easy to understand the “cool” side of Keyman as a stereotype that simplifies the character. But that’s not all there is to him, and when we don’t play up to the stereotype, I play him as more “human.”

In the same way, I show everyone only one aspect of myself in these interviews, but I think I have to show you many different aspects to make myself fully “human.” I was relieved to know that Keyman is the same. “There’s also this side to him.” “I also think this way.” And that deepened my interest in Keyman. There’s a part in this chapter where we make that approach in a line of dialogue.

Interviewer: Keyman is superficially very cool and doesn’t have many emotional displays, but his emotions are actually very turbulent. He’s a character that sparks your imagination, and he changed a lot in the story.

Kamiya: Yes, I’ll be glad if everyone gets that.

Interviewer: Looking back at the beginning of the series, please tell me how you used to see Keyman.

Kamiya: Now that his mission is behind him and he’s taken his identity back, I can tell you that I heard from the beginning that he was a blood relative of Dessler. At first, he appeared as a resident ambassador of Garmillas and he drove Yamato forward with a pinch from behind, but there was also the suggestion that the pinch saved them. It wasn’t known whether he was friend or not. That was the correct way to see it.

By boarding Yamato on the sly, he actually took on a mission to look for the ringleader of the Dessler-return faction. In that sense, he gave the impression of a very unbalanced character. He had to accomplish his mission while also riding on Yamato and grappling with its mission, overcoming one attack crisis after another.

Interviewer: He wasn’t completely an ally at that point. He had to face Yamato’s crises in order to survive and fulfill his mission. That’s difficult to manage, isn’t it?

Kamiya: He had the duty to be faithful to his mission no matter what, but he was shaken by various factors, such as facing the specific situation of his own coming of age and the crises of Yamato. It was a challenge for me as an actor to bring out his conflicting emotions.

In particular, when he came face to face with Dessler and the mastermind of the Dessler faction was revealed, once his mission was fulfilled, more options opened up to him. For both him and to some extent for me it was, “I can take this road over here, or choose this way.” I tested it out in the performance and entrusted it to the directors to confirm that the work I put forward matched the content they wanted to express. As you can expect, that’s a lot of fun for an actor.

Interviewer: After that conflict, Keyman chose the right path, but immediately after that he had to face a tough choice…and that’s where Chapter 6 ended.

Kamiya: What choice will he make after those feelings he had in the last scene? Because I immerse myself to teach myself, I had to understand Keyman’s feelings, but it will be interesting to see how everyone else sees it. Keyman is also influenced by human emotions; there are people who need him, and there’s a person who he himself needs. It has a great influence on his emotional movements…well, that target is Akira Yamamoto. Has everyone perceived the value of Keyman’s relationship with Akira? I’m very interested.

Interviewer: Even in the latter half of Chapter 6, Burrel says, “Did you fall in love?” He looked sort of innocently embarrassed.

Kamiya: Yeah, that was a cute face, wasn’t it? (Laughs) “Wha–?” By the way, the drama CD for Chapter 6 starts right from that scene. With that cute face saying “Wha–?” It’s a story of Keyman and Akira by Mr. Fukui, and there are some good exchanges after that. (Laughs)

Interviewer: What are your impressions when you look back over the whole story, up to Chapter 6?

Kamiya: Crisis always comes to the battleship called Yamato, and how do you evade it? Whether or not you use the Wave-Motion Gun, the impression is that you always have to go through conflict. The Wave-Motion Gun was sealed up in the previous work, Yamato 2199, and how do you justify the compromise of opening up that seal?

Interviewer: When you get to Chapter 6, the big theme that emerges is “there’s no correct answer or mistake,” there’s a “choice” to be made in “justifying the compromise.”

Kamiya: This work has the subtitle of “Soldiers of Love” and also contains the number “2.” In other words, it depicts the same phenomena as Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2 and diverges from them both. I think everyone is interested in which ending we’ll arrive at. In Chapter 7, Mr. Fukui has prepared an ending that gives one answer, and that’s the point I want you to see by all means.

What kind of answer does Yamato’s crew find to the conflict of the Wave-Motion Gun? At the very least, everyone who has followed Yamato 2202 so far should find that answer convincing. “Ah, that’s it.”

Interviewer: I’m also interested in Keyman’s future.

Kamiya: Keyman himself has cultivated human relationships on the ship called Yamato, and the way his time spent as a crew member of Yamato influences his choices is also a highlight. As a result, please go to the theater to see which destiny Keyman follows.

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