The lead feature of Star Blazers/Yamato fan club magazine Vol. 7 (published May 2020) was a pair of interviews with the Yamato SF and scientific research staff, which brought a new level of insight into their work on the series. The second of those interviews is presented below; click here tor read the first.
SF & Science Research Special Roundtable Discussion
The Close Relationship Between Yamato and Science
Space beyond Yamato as seen by the science boys
The Yamato series is a monumental achievement of SF anime about space. This is an indispensable part of its appeal. SF & science research serves as a bridge between fantasy and reality. However, few people know exactly what the work of SF & science research is like. Toshihiro Handa (of Kagoshima University) was in charge of science research for Yamato 2199. Shinya Ogura is currently in charge of science research for Yamato 2205. Hitoshi Yamaoka (of the National Astronomical Observatory) says he was greatly influenced by the Yamato series. Together with Satoshi Hosoda (in charge of Hayabusa 2 development for JAXA), they talk about SF & science research for Yamato, and the close link between Yamato and science.
Everyone who participated in the discussion
Graduate of the School of Science and Engineering (Kagoshima University), Director of the Milky Way Galaxy Research Center, faculty member of the science department physics program. Born January 13, 1959 in Haneda, Ota-ku, Tokyo. Graduate of the Waseda University science and engineering department in the subject of physics, completed an astronomy course at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science. Ph.D. in science. Former vice-president of the Japan Astronomical Society. Using radio wave observation, he is studying the relationship between the state of interstellar matter and the structure of the Milky Way and other galaxies. In addition to research, he is actively involved in the dissemination of astronomical works.
Associate professor and director of public relations office at the Astronomical Information Center of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Born in Ehime Prefecture, 1965. He studied at the astronomy departments of University of Tokyo and the Graduate School of Science in Hakudo. He assumed his current position after working as an assistant professor at Kyushu University’s Graduate School of Science. His field of specialization is theoretical and observational research on sudden celestial phenomenae such as supernova explosions. He also has a great interest in the educational spread of astronomy, and has written many lectures, articles, and books. He is the director of the Japan Astronomical Society (in charge of astronomy education) and has also conducted outreach to the International Astronomical Union.
Currently affiliated with JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 Project. Born in 1973. Earned a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Tokyo in 2003. After working as a researcher at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, he joined JAXA. He was inspired to pursue space engineering by the anime Gunbuster. He participated in the asteroid exploration programs Hayabusa and Hayabusa 2, and is responsible for the development and operation of Hayabusa 2’s ion engine. Also actively participates in scientific outreach and wants to make a warp engine someday.
Conceptual researcher and designer. Born in 1965. Freelancer. His representative works in anime are Planetes (2003), Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (2013), Expelled from Paradise (2014), Yamato 2202 (2017-2019), and Gundam NT (2018). He is greatly experienced with anime visuals, original artwork, and conceptual design.
Yamato was the first anime to jump out of the solar system
Interviewer: First, I would like to ask you how you became interested in space.
Handa: It can be said that it was natural for my generation, born in 1959, to be interested in space. In the latter half of the 60s, most of the TV programs were space SF things. At the time, I liked Space Patrol Hopper and Spaceman Pipi.
In the real world, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin successfully made his first space flight on Vostok 1. The Mercury Program began nearly parallel to that in the United States, which would lead to the Apollo Program. In a way, it was weird NOT to be interested in space.
Mankind’s first manned space flights to the moon (the Apollo
Program) began in 1961. It inspired not only the science boys,
but people all over the world. Pictured is the Saturn V rocket
with Apollo 11 crew members heading to the Moon. ©NASA
Ogura: It was reported in the news, of course. I’m six years younger than Mr. Handa, exactly right for Space Battleship Yamato in 1974. I think that was the first thing that interested me in space.
Yamaoka: I’m also a little younger than Mr. Handa, and I think the first time I became conscious of space was watching Ultra Seven. Aliens appeared one after another, and the idea of “a world other than Earth” made a strong impression on me.
Hosoda: I’m the youngest member here. I was born in 1973, so I didn’t watch Yamato in real time. In terms of generations, mine is Mobile Suit Gundam. Actually, the reason I aimed to join JAXA was inspiration from anime works made by Hideaki Anno. It can be said that I learned about Yamato indirectly. I saw a lot of spaceships in works like Wings of Honneamise, Gunbuster, and Nadia, and it gave me a sense of mission. “I have to study this myself!”
Yamaoka: I saw the original Space Battleship Yamato when I was in the upper grades of elementary school. At that time, Yamato‘s novelty was that it was set in space. There weren’t many other anime works set in space.
Ogura: There were many works where the enemy was an alien. Earth was being attacked by someone almost every time. That was also the case with Yamato, where Gamilas was invading Earth at the beginning, but I think it was the first time for SF anime in Japan where we were shown going into deep space ourselves.
Yamaoka: That’s right. Finding the body of Sasha at the Mars observation post was a development we didn’t see in previous works. It depicted a wide range of human activities. It was also novel that Iscandar appeared at the same time, not just the enemy Gamilas.
Handa: When you look at the TV shows that came before Yamato, space-type programs were interrupted. In the 1960s, Ultra Seven was broadcast weekly with the singular theme of various aliens invading the Earth. In terms of anime, Rainbow Sentai Robin was an alien invasion story too, wasn’t it? That almost disappeared in the 70s in favor of things rooted in sports.
Ogura: Star of the Giants was broadcast just before Yamato in the same time slot, wasn’t it?
Handa: After that situation, SF anime set in space was suddenly back on for the first time in about ten years. The setting was also outside the solar system. That’s the impression I got from Yamato. It was said that “before that, most of the works were set on Earth,” but even if they did go to space most of them stayed in the solar system. Hopper was a rare exception, a 1965 anime set outside the solar system from start to finish. As far as I know, Yamato was the first anime in the world that went outside the Milky Way galaxy.
Was frustration among SF fans the driving force for Yamato’s launch?
Interviewer: What was happening in astronomy when Yamato was broadcast in 1974?
Yamaoka: There were various new discoveries in the world of astronomy in the late 60s. The anime that digested that came out in the 70s, so there was a little time lag. You might also think that after the 70s attention shifted outside the solar system.
Hosoda: Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon in 1969, and I think it was in the early 70s that space became a place where people could go to, and the atmosphere became more exciting.
Yamaoka: What would be next after the Apollo Program ended in 1973? Maybe there would be some momentum.
Hosoda: And Yamato started in 1974, right?
Ogura: Indeed, and when creating space SF, you could now link it to real space incidents. However, space as depicted in Yamato was something else. If anything, I think it swung toward roman [adventure] rather than reality. Speaking of anime that was influenced by space development, it was actually Gundam moreso than Yamato.
Hosoda: That may be so.
Ogura: Director Yoshiyuki Tomino had rocket mania. He was trying to compete with Yamato, which was a big hit because of its magnificent space opera scale, he brought the image of space development into robot anime, using satellites inside the orbit of the moon.
On the other hand, the best thing about Yamato when viewed as another space SF story was how it overflowed with originality, because of the ambitious creators Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Aritsune Toyota trying to incorporate the essence of space SF. It meshed just right with the gears of the times, and it matched the space boom.
Handa: I think that’s right. The frustration of SF fans would have built up after the lineage of space SF TV programs was cut off. (Laughs)
How do Yamato fans interpret the eternal question of how the Wave-Motion Engine works?
Interviewer: Mr. Hosoda, you research and develop real rocket engines at JAXA. Have you ever been inspired by Yamato or other SF works?
Hosoda: At JAXA, particularly in the space lab, we want to go farther and farther, and problems of propulsion, power, and communication are always standing in the way. When thinking about breakthroughs for such problems, we may be inspired by SF works. I still think Yamato‘s Wave-Motion Engine is especially cool. The idea of that shape is genius, isn’t it? It isn’t in a shape that’s an extension of a rocket. It’s closer to an aerospike engine.
Interviewer: What kind of engine is that?
Hosoda: The usual rocket engine has a bell shape, but the aerospike engine realizes the bell-shaped structure in a different way. It could be said that it looks like a Wave-Motion Engine.
The aerospike engine mentioned by Mr. Hosoda (used at NASA’s Dryden Research Center in March, 2004).
The shape of the nozzle certainly resembles that of Yamato‘s engine. © NASA
Ogura: There is usually fuel in a rocket’s propulsion system, and it is burned to promote an explosive reaction. The question is, how much fuel can we load? Yamato‘s Wave-Motion Engine gets its energy from space, doesn’t it? That’s why it can travel such long distances. There is a 1986 workby Arthur C. Clarke called The Songs of Distant Earth where a technology called the Quantum Drive appears.
A Quantum Drive is a system that extracts energy from quantum fluctuations in a neutral vacuum. That would be an infinite energy as long as you’re in space. Tsukaso Kano, who was my predecessor (in SF research for Yamato 2199) applied this to the Wave-Motion Engine, and included the theory of the Quantum Drive in the background of 2199. So, during the time of the remakes, the concept for the Wave-Motion Engine is that it has “the power to obtain energy from space.”
Hosoda: That’s right, isn’t it?
Ogura: It seems to lean toward “perpetual motion,” but is it theoretically possible to collect such an energy source? It sort of falls apart at that point. There is the Bussard Ram Scoop, but that’s a little more primitive. When the speed of a spaceship reaches about 30% the speed of light, gasses that are common in space such as hydrogen atoms start to resist and become obstacles. Since they’re in the way, there is the concept of taking them in and releasing them out the back. Of course, you can’t do this without a certain amount of speed.
Hosoda: Even so, it would take quite a long time to reach Pluto’s orbit. And we’d need about fifty years to get to the next star. (Laughs) That’s why you have to warp after all. I think warp navigation is one of Yamato‘s original genius ideas.
Handa: The Bussard Ramp Scoop was mentioned, and I imagine the concept for Yamato was to extract vacuum energy. It is named “Wave-Motion Engine” because in physics we associate “wave” with the wave functions of quantum mechanics.
Conceptual image of a spaceship using a Bussard Ram Scoop.
Why warp navigation is essential for Yamato‘s mission
Interviewer: How would you extract vacuum energy? SF fans often talk about that problem.
Handa: Aside from the problem of an energy source, a different mechanism is necessary for faster-than-light travel.
Yamaoka: In Yamato, warp navigation “bends space-time,” which creates a different theory from the advancement of a spaceship body. I think that’s the right direction.
Handa: In fact, warping has appeared before Yamato in SF other than on TV. I Japan, I think warp navigation was first presented to the public in Fujiko F. Fujio’s 21 Emon [21st Century Boy], a manga published in Weekly Shonen Sunday starting in 1968. An explanation for warping appears in the work.
When the main character asks another character to describe a warp, he writes an O and an X at diagonal ends of a piece of paper and asks the main character to connect them at the shortest distance. Of course, the main character connects them with a straight line, but the other character explains, “If you fold the paper, the O and X will overlap and the distance will be zero. That’s a warp.” That was the genius of Fujiko F. Fujio.
Hosoda: That scene was in the Doraemon movie, The Records of Nobita, Space Blazer.
Handa: It was certainly Yamato that spread the word “warp” around to the Japanese, but the concept itself has been around for a long time because you can’t have a story with interstellar travel without warping. If you’re a crew member on a spaceship, it is possible to move at sub-light speed in a short time due to the Urashima effect [time dilation] but time passes normally for people on every planet. If you’re traveling 160,000 light years, it would take 320,000 years for the round trip.
Yamaoka: So Yamato couldn’t make it back in one year. (Laughs)
Handa: Not only would you not be able to make it home, there is also the question of how to communicate with Earth. Even from just 15 light years away, if you’re using radio waves it would take 30 years to get a reply. No strategy could work that way! That’s why super-speed navigation, which incorporates super-speed communication and warping, becomes an essential item for SF set outside the solar system. Actually, it may also be essential within the solar system. It takes more than a few minutes to get a response, so Hayabusa is also remotely-controlled from Earth, isn’t it?
Hosoda: Right. If warping was possible, I wouldn’t need Hayabusa. (Laughs) Speaking of Fujiko Fujio, the “Anywhere Door” is an SF tool with the same idea as a warp.
What’s the difference between “SF Research” and “Scientific Research”?
Interviewer: Mr. Hosoda and Mr. Yamaoka, did you know there was a job in anime called “SF Research” and “Scientific Research”?
Hosoda: I did know that. I’ve interacted with people connected to Hideaki Anno, and of course I already knew of Mr. Handa and Mr. Ogura.
Yamaoka: I was aware that some have been involved with film works in the area of “research,” but I didn’t know specifically what kind of work that entailed. For example, I’d like to know the difference between “SF Research” and “Scientific Research.”
Handa: In the case of Yamato 2199, Tsukaso Kano did “SF Research” and I did “Scientific Research.” SF research is to “advise on concepts based on past SF works.” Mr. Kano seemed to be doing that job. Scientific research, on the other hand, is to “advise on concepts and depictions based on real scientific facts.” The relationship is similar to historical research for live-action dramas.
Yamaoka: I see.
Handa: In fact, the first scientific research I did was for 2199. The first two questions I got from the general director Mr. Izubuchi was “where will each planet in the solar system be in 2199?” and “what would the Large Magellanic Galaxy look like when seen from Yamato?” Fortunately, I could answer both questions with astronomical confidence, so I answered immediately.
Interviewer: How was your advice used?
Handa: I don’t know exactly because it wasn’t explained to me, but I think it probably had an influence on Episode 4. In that episode, Kodai and Shima are at odds about what route to take to answer the distress signal from Saturn. The key to that is the placement of each planet. In Episode 1 when Sasha flies toward Mars she passes Neptune. In January 2199, Neptune will be located on the other side of the sun as seen from Earth, so chances are good it was used there.
What is the most important point in SF & Science Research?
Interviewer: Mr. Hosoda and Mr. Yamaoka, is there anything you’d like to ask about research for anime since you both conduct research yourselves?
Hosoda: Actually, it doesn’t appear in the credits, but how are movement and action applied at the anime production site? You’ve been consulted on concepts for principles and structures. Of course, you leave the final movement to be applied by the professional animators, but what kind of stance is involved in your research?
Handa: It is necessary to be aware that Yamato and other things are entertainment works, not scientific commentaries. So I try not to give strong criticisms that would break the story. From the standpoint of scientific research, it’s appropriate to give advice on the level of, “This is the range of knowledge in natural science, can you produce it based on that?” The director takes it from there. I’m also conscious that if something may be scientifically wrong I’ll say, “please consider this” or the story may not hold up. That may be where we turn toward SF research.
Ogura: Scientific research like that of Mr. Handa is centered on supporting scientific proof that becomes the axis of making a story. On the other hand, since I participate in the position of SF research, the main task is to organize and propose information for specific visualization.
I’ve been participating in Yamato since 2202, and since the staff changed after 2199, there was a lot of work to bridge things into 2202 while inheriting Mr. Kano’s research. 2199 had some fairly rigorous scientific study, and it was difficult for the new staff to understand. The materials shown in my interview were drawn at the time. It’s hard to understand scientific explanations with words alone, so I made an effort to explain with illustrations.
Handa: This is the first time I’m seeing the diagram “on higher dimensions.” [Shown at right] It’s an explanation for visualizing 10-dimensional space. It’s more like a scientific commentary than a concept document for SF. I think it could also be used to illustrate scientific commentary. It must have been drawn with the idea of how to convey your scientific knowledge to an anime production site.
Ogura: As expected, my senior understands it well. (Laughs)
Handa: According to Director Izubuchi, an animator is all about movement, but without much sense of why it works that way. They don’t seem to be too concerned about that. For example, Saturn’s moon Enceladus has less gravity than the moon, so you could never run on it the way it was depicted in 2199. He said that when an animator drew the movement, the reason why it was wrong couldn’t be communicated well in words.
On the other hand, when it comes to movement on the surface of the moon (as shown in the prologue of Ark of the Stars), there is live-action film of the Apollo spaceship, so when you show it and say “This is what it’s like on the moon” they can easily draw such visuals. In light of this, now I think I should have made a video to explain the weakness of Enceladus’ gravity (0.7% of the moon’s gravity) to the animators.
Yamaoka: It’s really hard to visualize and communicate in a way that’s easy to understand.
Handa: My stance is, “While directing, please change as much as possible the phenomena that clearly violates physical laws of reality.” Therefore, I think Mr. Ogura had a tough job. It seemed that Mr. Kano and Mr. Izubuchi also studied a lot since I have no memories of thinking, “Isn’t this really wrong?” Warping is another thing. (Laughs) However, credibility is necessary even in SF, and questioning the purpose of something is necessary. Whenever a scientifically-questionable phenomenon came up with no explanation in the story, my note was, “An explanation is necessary here.”
Researching things that don’t rise to the surface is the key to bringing out the fun of Yamato
Interviewer: What specific parts were those?
Handa: This wasn’t a specific scene, but as a starting point of the story, there are scenes where Yamato rises from the surface of the Earth, right? That scene at the beginning of the opening title. There is no pretext for that. There’s no depiction of how it rises up into the sky. From the point of view of people who know physics like Mr. Hosoda, spaceships can’t be launched that way.
Hosoda: Yes, that’s right.
Handa: You really have to think about the logic behind raising it up. An explanation comes up in the main story that artificial gravity (interial control) is being used, so if you put that into a scene, it completes the picture. I think it’s necessary to at least make viewers think, “They must be doing that.”
Ogura: There was also a line from Kato in the aircraft hangar that touched on “inertial control.”
Handa: There are no known real-world physics for performing a warp. But if the story says warp is possible, some logic is necessary if it hasn’t been proven. I call it SF logic. I feel deprived if this is left out. How much SF theory lines up with academic knowledge? If you go up to the limit when you’re making it, viewers can be convinced and think, “I can forgive it since the logic from here on is not yet known.” I think that subtle balance of SF and scientific research shows the skill of a director.
Yamaoka: It’s important to come up with concepts that don’t stick out like a sore thumb, isn’t it?
Handa: That’s right.
Ogura: How much you do is a problem. No matter how many concepts you come up with, if they’re not shared at the production site it’s like they don’t exist.
Yamaoka: Thee are a lot of people involved in anime production. I guess it would be necessary to share the visual materials that Mr. Ogura creates.
There was a common denominator in the work of research and the researcher’s budget request
Interviewer: I’ve heard that you also work on scientific research, Mr. Yamaoka.
Yamaoka: It’s been published in Oishi Hibi’s manga series Planet Girl in Monthly! Spirits (Shokakukan). Before the series started, I responded to questions like, “I want to put this in the story, but what is the actual reality?” The title of “researcher” or “supervisor” was a little presumptuous, so I’m credited for “concept cooperation.”
Hosoda: How do you give advice?
Yamaoka: It’s sort of like, “You need astronomical backgrounds, but you don’t have to draw them all. If you get stuck in a corner we can come up something consistent that will be a good fit.” With a manga, it’s OK to share with the author and the editor, but I’ve learned that there’s a big difference with anime because there’s a lot of staff to work with.
Ogura: I also talk with Katsuya Takashima (author of Aquarius Algorithm) who does a lot of SF research, so visual explanatory material is not limited to anime, and it’s best if the contents can be seen at a glance on a single sheet of paper. This is because the staff is always so busy that they can’t take the time to read complicated text. The time lag between reading specialized content and creating visuals is deadly to a production. If you make it understandable at a glance that “you can draw it like this,” it makes our suggestions easier to pass around.
Handa: I’m not confident that I can draw as beautifully as Mr. Ogura, but to make things easy to understand on a single sheet of paper, it’s necessary for us researchers to issue budget requests and study proposals. (Laughs)
Yamaoka: When writing press releases for the National Astronomical Observatory, a lot of researchers write long expalanations and add graph-like illustrations. (Laughs) After all, it’s the best kind of material to submit with a 1-page PR document.
How much can anime contribute to understanding scientific research?
Interviewer: Going forward, I think there will be more opportunities for collaboration between research institutes and anime production sites. What potential do you see as a researcher?
Hosoda: I love anime and SF, so I entered the world of research and I always think about giving something back someday. However, there is more fantasy anime these days, and I get the impression that space SF things are decreasing. Does that mean there’s not enough input of the latest information from researchers to creators? That’s what I’m feeling…
Handa: If we think about it from the researcher’s side, I think it’s all about actively promoting science. It’s important to have an environment where anime producers can easily consult and ask questions of researchers. If the production side doesn’t have access, there’s nothing you can do about it. We also want to convey our research results to society as a whole. It’s not good to limit the appeal to the anime industry. I think it’s important for research institutes to widely publicize to the world.
Hosoda: I see.
Handa: I think if you take such a chance, people who are thinking about creating SF anime will access it voluntarily. Mr. Yamaoka is in the PR department of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, right? As a researcher, his results are not limited to mass media. I agree with the idea that it’s important to provide presentation methods that are easily understood by anyone who wants the information.
As a result, it leads to greater public understanding and support for science. “If you’re a researcher doing something interesting like this, we have to increase the budget,” and so on. I wonder if anime work is a route we can “use” for that, though that’s a bad word for it. When a good work is made, we can enjoy it as viewers. I think it’s important to establish such a route. The number of people who are aware of this is gradually increasing, even at the International Astronomical Union.
Ogura: In that respect, it’s a pity that we’ve lost JAXA’s Marunouchi Information Center.
Handa: Can a similar facility be created at the National Observatory?
Yamaoka: Exhibitions at a real place are tough to build and maintain, so it’s quite difficult. However, there is a movement to build more and more special sites with VR functions.
Ogura: The introduction of VR functions is likely to attract the interest of young astronomical fans in the future, isn’t it? You can experience space in VR.
Yamaoka: That’s a good environment. But the National Astronomical Observatory is in Mitaka, which is a place you can’t visit easily. (Laughs)
Hosoda: A kind of cross-organizational coalition to support scientific research is being born. I hope I can get involved there.
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka campus
Yamato may be the last bastion of space SF anime
Yamaoka: I have a question for Mr. Handa and Mr. Ogura. Mr. Hosoda worries about seeing a decline in SF anime. To be honest, I wonder if there is such a need for hard SF right now. I’m also thinking it might be good for fans to start with fantasy and everyday stories. So it’s somewhat in the middle, but if you think about a viewpoint for anime, if you’re planning a work related to astronomy is it better to do a hard work or a soft one?
Ogura: That’s a tough question! In my opinion, young anime staffers are losing interest in space SF. I think that’s the biggest problem. When I was involved in works other than Yamato, the younger staff members at the site would say, “Is SF stuff like this interesting to old people?” (Laughs)
Yamaoka: I see. At the National Observatory I cooperated with an anime called Asteroid in Love. It’s also good to become familiar with astronomy through such soft works.
Handa: There’s a big difference in the taste of the viewers as to what kind of work will be popular, so I think it’s important to have a lot of variety rather than just squeezing it in somewhere. The trendy word for it is “diversity.” Since anime is an industy, it’s necessary to be aware of demand, but that’s not all there is to it. Taste is like liquid. Some people in SF want scientific support for their concepts, but there are certainly people who don’t want to do that. You don’t have to make just one or the other. I think they should both be mastered. Personally, I think the best approach is, “it looks soft, but it’s actually hard inside.”
Ogura: Handling space SF burns up a lot of calories, including technical matters. But there is also the fact that it’s almost lost from the anime industry today. In that respect, for the sake of Mr. Yamaoka and Mr. Hosoda, the current Yamato series may be an important bastion of SF anime dealing with space.
NASA’s map of 4000 known exoplanets; read more about it here.
What do you want from the latest work 2205 and the future of Yamato?
Interviewer: Finally, please tell us what you expect from the Yamato series in the future.
Handa: It’s been less than half a century since the original aired, and knowledge of astronomy and the understanding of space has changed a lot in that time. For example, the center of the Milky Way or all the exoplanets we’ve discovered. I hope they can be put to good use in new stories. When you think about Yamato‘s achievements in the Japanese SF world, I still expect that.
They don’t ultimately have to be involved in the main story. A lot of strange planets have been found, such as planets of burning gas. Because it’s a story that travels all over the Milky Way galaxy, I hope they can be included along the way. It’s an opportunity for viewers to say, “What in the world is that on the screen?” and dig deep into the anime concepts. I think it’s a point of entry into scientific research.
Yamaoka: From my standpoint, I’d like it to include more astronomical elements. (Laughs) From the standpoint of pure Yamato fans, life and civilization could be born in a variety of diverse environments, and it would be nice to see that in a unique way you wouldn’t expect from anime. Like the different life forms that appeared in the live-action version.
Hayabusa 2 in action
Hosoda: As I said earlier, anime works such as Yamato gave me the opportunity to start my current job. Therefore, if I can participate in roundtable discussions like this and give back from here on, my feelings get stronger. I hope to contribute to Yamato‘s world through technical backing as an engineer by providing information on technologies that aren’t yet known. By the way, there are a lot of Yamato fans in my office. When answering questions about the Hayabusa 2 sample return mission, I sometimes say, “This is Yamato.” (Laughs) There’s nothing more convincing than that word.
Ogura: My position is to participate in SF research for the next work, 2205, and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to hear opinions from the professionals. From an SF point of view, 2205 goes beyond 2202 and I think more space SF elements can be incorporated into it. As Mr. Handa said, even if it’s difficult to bring them to the main part of the story, I’m always thinking of ideas that will satisfy all the SF fans, so I hope you’ll look forward to it!