Tasuku Hatanaka interviews, October 2021

As a focal-point character for Yamato 2205, a lot rides on new crew member Ryusuke Domon – and by extension his young voice actor, Tasuku Hatanaka. During the premiere of Part 1 and thereafter, he was the subject of more media attention than even his elite predecessors. Here are six interviews, each of which offers something of its own.

See Hatanaka’s credit list at Anime News Network here.

Tasuku Hatanaka: Passion for Space Battleship Yamato and Ryusuke Domon in 2205

Published October 7 by Mantan Web (see the original article here)

In Yamato 2205, the new crew member Ryusuke Domon, who holds the key to the story, will be played by popular voice actor Tasuku Hatanaka. Hatanaka, who is in his twenties, was not familiar with Yamato until now, but was touched by the passion of the work and played Ryusuke Domon with enthusiasm. We asked Hatanaka about his passion for Yamato.

Yamato moved me to tears

The first Yamato TV anime was aired in 1974. Yamato 2199, a remake of the first film, was shown in 2012-14, and Yamato 2202, a sequel to 2199, was shown in theaters and broadcast on TV from 2017-19. Yamato 2205 is directed by Kenji Yasuda, with Harutoshi Fukui in charge of series composition and script.

Hatanaka, a young voice actor, is not a member of the so-called Yamato generation. He didn’t know much about Yamato until now.

“I’m not from that generation, but I knew the song, and the sound director I was working with told me about Yamato. It was not far from my mind. I felt the magnitude of Yamato‘s influence. However, I wondered if it was okay for a beginner to join in. I sort of felt like I didn’t have permission. But what is portrayed is a universal theme that is familiar to all ages. What is the right choice to make as a human being? I was able to be involved in this project, and it made me think. Its human drama is deep, and I felt the heat to the point of tears. I really like it.”

As Hatanaka felt, the underlying theme of Yamato is a universal one that reached him in his twenties.

“At the core, it asks, what do you do for people who have lost their loved ones? It depicts very important things, such as issues between nations and the choice between life and death. To be honest, we in our twenties don’t have many opportunities to think about such things. Watching this film is an experience that we can gain, and it makes us think, ‘What choice would I make?’ Watching Kodai’s back, I couldn’t stop crying at times. We don’t have drinking parties at the moment because of the Corona pandemic, but when one of my seniors used to say, ‘Let’s go for a drink!’ I had doubts. But I found what they had to say was very interesting, and it made my heart beat faster. This may be similar to that experience.”

Putting your feelings into it

Ryusuke Domon, played by Mr. Hatanaka, is a character who originally appeared in Yamato III. In 2205, he sees Yamato and Susumu Kodai with his own eyes while dealing with a painful event in his past. The concepts of 2205 may have changed, but Hatanaka’s thought toward Ryusuke Domon was, “Don’t push too hard.”

“It was a tough role and I felt the weight of what he was going through. It was a challenge and a pleasure. Domon is a sensitive character. He’s quiet but has strong passions in his roots. The more I read the script, the more I thought about his doubts and worries. His emotional turmoil is in some ways similar to what I’m going through now. I haven’t lost someone important to me like Domon has, and I still don’t know the answers to some of the questions. There are some scenes where I just let out my feelings of not knowing the answer. That’s why I’ve become closer to Domon. This recording was done with a small group of people because of Corona. It was sad to not be able to record with such a great group of seniors, but it also reminded me of Domon’s loneliness.”

There are two chapters for 2205, and Ryusuke Domon’s journey will continue.

“As a new crew member, I’m nervous about a lot of things, but I’m determined to inject my passion into this work and create it together with everyone! I’m really excited. It was a small group this time, but I’m sure I’ll be very nervous in the future if I’m with my seniors. I’m sure there will be a lot of tension. I’ll be happy if I can have a dialogue with my seniors in the future.”

The story of Ryusuke Domon will be a major axis of 2205, and Hatanaka’s passionate thoughts will surely shake your heart.

Tasuku Hatanaka interview: “Kodai’s line got my heart racing!”

Published October 10 by Animage Plus (see the original article here)

Yamato 2205 Part 1, which began screening on October 8, is the latest in the new generation that began with Yamato 2199. Yamato is caught up in a territorial dispute between the Garmillas, led by Dessler, and a giant interstellar nation. What is the unimaginable enemy that awaits them?

In this film, we will see Susumu Kodai in action with the rest of the Yamato crew who have grown up through the battles they have fought so far. Another highlight is the appearance of young crew members who are new to Yamato. Among these new crew members is the key character Ryusuke Domon, played by Tasuku Hatanaka. We asked him about the highlights of the work.

Interviewer: What kind of impression do you have of this work?

Hatanaka: Harutoshi Fukui (who wrote and composed the series) said that he wanted to bring a fresh wind to Yamato by introducing a new crew. I think that the drama of people clashing with each other is depicted more intensely than in the past series.

Interviewer: You play Ryusuke Domon, one of the new crew members.

Hatanaka: He comes aboard Yamato with complicated feelings, and has a certain sense of purpose in testing the adults. He is personally wavering because of that. Basically, he’s still young, so his doubts and desire to make a statement are very strong. There are a lot of things he can’t make up his mind about, so there were many parts that I found difficult to play, but I enjoyed the role because of his “wavering.” It was a challenging role for me. What purpose does he have in coming to Yamato? This is a point of interest that I would like you to see without any prior information.

Interviewer: How was the main character Susumu Kodai’s performance in this film?

Hatanaka: Oh, he’s so cool! I was most excited by Kodai’s line at the end of the film. He’s been through a lot in the story so far. Sometimes he’s frustrated that he can’t help the people he wants to help. I thought that he might be the most sympathetic to Domon’s feelings…but Domon is still not able to accept that. I think that drama is also an important point. In that sense, The New Voyage is a film that shows Kodai’s manly spirit. The choices he makes and actions he takes as Yamato‘s captain are inspiring and give us courage. I hope you will enjoy watching Kodai’s growth.

Interviewer: Finally, do you have a message for your fans?

Hatanaka: When I went to see Age of Yamato at the theater, I was surprised to see that there were people of all ages in the audience. Some of them were old men with canes, and some were 10 or 12-year-old children, which I thought was amazing. I’m sure there are young people who will encounter Yamato for the first time through this film. I’m sure that the new crew will be able to represent their perspective, and I think they’ll enjoy it. I’m sure the older fans who have been watching Yamato for a long time will feel the unchanging passion flowing through the foundation of the story. The characters make important choices as human beings, and they are portrayed well. I hope you will come to the theater and feel the heat.

Voice actor Tasuku Hatanaka: my voice “was complex.”
I thought I would never be able to match a “big veteran voice actor”

Published October 10 by Bizspa (see the original article here)
Interview, text and photography by Fumi Mochizuki

Tasuku Hatanaka has been active as an actor and a voice actor. He made his solo debut as a singer in 2017, and is now expanding his activities. A variety talk show he participates in called Night Play With Voice Actors (AbemaTV) is also gaining popularity. (See clips on Youtube here.)

Hatanaka participated in the latest installment of the Space Battleship Yamato series, Yamato 2205 Part 1 in the part of new crew member Ryusuke Domon. With an uncertain feeling in his heart, he has decided to join Yamato, a ship newly captained by Susumu Kodai (Daisuke Ono). What kind of story is Yamato? We asked him to talk about the appeal of this series and what it offers to people in their 20s.

We also asked Hatanaka, who made his debut (when he was still in 5th grade) as Edmund Pevensie in Chronicles of Narnia, about how his “voice is complex,” and what he tries to do in auditions.

What I’m trying to portray is very simple

Interviewer: Had you ever seen Space Battleship Yamato?

Tasuku Hatanaka: To be honest, I didn’t know much about it because I’m not from that generation. But for some reason, I’ve known that theme song since I was little. Also, when I was a teenager, the sound director I was working with said to me, “I used to be a staff member of Yamato.” I knew that it had a great impact on Japanese anime. Still, I had the impression that this was an old school anime.

Interviewer: That’s right. I think most people in their twenties or younger feel like that.

Hatanaka: I never had the opportunity to know much about it, and I thought it had a rather rigid image, or was a world that beginners could not easily enter. Of course, it has a long history, and the story is complicated. But when I got involved in this work, I felt that what it was trying to portray was very simple: “What would you think at this moment? What is the right choice?” It was as if I was being held at gunpoint on a universal issue that can be understood at any age. I think it is a passionate story with a deep human drama. I like it.

I would go out for a drink with my seniors

Interviewer: “It was like being held at gunpoint.”

Hatanaka: This work is arranged in a modern way, and of course there are parts that are stylish, but the “choice between life and death” is something that needs to be depicted, no matter how modern something is. We are so far away from war that we hardly have a chance to think about it. I think that watching films like this will give us that chance.

Interviewer: How did you feel after jumping into the world of Yamato?

Hatanaka: It really stretched my muscles. My character, Ryusuke Domon, is a newcomer to Yamato. When Domon is troubled, I’m also troubled about what I would do. On the other hand, there’s a scene where Kodai shows his true colors. I couldn’t stop crying.

If you think about your everyday life, there are difficulties. For example, when a senior asks you to go out for a drink, you might feel doubt, thinking that it will take a long time or that you’ll be scolded. But it’s still interesting. There are strong hints for life in the stories they tell. Even if you end up coming home late, you’ll be glad that you went out for a drink. That’s how I feel about this work. Even if you don’t know anything about this film, I want to tell you, “Well, go see it.”

My interest in acting was influenced by my parents

Interviewer: Your parents (Hiroshi Hatanaka and Keiko Fukushima) are also actors. Were you influenced by them?

Hatanaka: Definitely. That was my only influence. When I was a kid, I thought it was great to see my parents live on the stage. It was completely different from when I was at home. (Laughs) When I came home, my parents usually told stories about acting. It was fun to hear them talk about it. So I naturally thought it would be a fun thing to do.

Voice acting debut in The Chronicles of Narnia

Interviewer: I heard it was your mother who first encouraged you to become a voice actor.

Hatanaka: When I was in elementary school, I told her, “I want to audition to be an actor.” She told me, “Actors need to be aware of what their character is, and how to sell themselves, so you’re not ready yet.” At the time, I was a plump type, so she said that if I were to debut as an actor back then, “You’ll only be cast as that type of character. Your debut is also the point where you decide your future, so shouldn’t you act in a moment where you’re not bound by your body type? There are many possibilities in voice acting.”

Interviewer: Did that lead you to the dubbing of Narnia, your first work as a voice actor?

Hatanaka: Yes, that’s right. I asked to audition for it. At the time, I recorded a line at home and sent it to Disney [in Japan] to be judged.

My voice was “complex”

Interviewer: I heard that you once cried because you hated your own voice.

Hatanaka: I used to. I have adenoids, a disease in which your tonsils are larger than usual, and my nose gets clogged. It was especially bad when I was in elementary school, and my nasal voice made me feel uncomfortable. As an adult, it’s getting better little by little.

Interviewer: What about surgery?

Hatanaka: I wanted to, but I was told that it might change my voice. I was already working on Narnia at that time, and I thought it would be weird to suddenly change my voice in the midst of a series.

Interviewer: Did you think that your voice would become your personality or weapon?

Hatanaka: Yes, I did. I thought it would be a distinctive voice, so I gradually got rid of the complexities. But there are moments when I think it’s hard to use, so there are advantages and disadvantages. However, my voice is not characteristic, so I was once told by a senior who has a straight voice, “Since you have that kind of personality, you should polish it up and work hard on it.”

The late Keiji Fujiwara was amazing!

Interviewer: What do your seniors who have distinctive voices say to you?

Hatanaka: Not much. They are all people who continue to fight on the front lines. They are still sharpening their swords, so I don’t feel like I should reveal my hand to the enemy. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Many voice actors get the impression that big-time veterans often say, “I won’t lose to any young people!” (Laughs)

Hatanaka: Because they are not bound by their appearance, they can play young roles, and everyone is a rival. I once worked with Keiji Fujiwara (Hiroshi Nohara in Crayon Shinchan, Tony Stark in Iron Man, etc.). I had a great battle scene with him. I thought I would never be able to compete with him in my life. Before the recording started, he was aloof. But then a switch was thrown and he changed completely and it was like “I’m going to beat you!” All my blows were dodged, and I was taking straight punches. (Laughs)

You have to do your best with the people in front of you

Interviewer: Lastly, your career in Narnia started with an audition. I heard that you got the role of Domon through an audition this time. What did you do to get the role?

Hatanaka: I couldn’t grasp it at all. (Laughs) I thought I didn’t get it at all in the audition. Sometimes you get caught doing badly. There are some things you can’t resist no matter how hard you try. But I can’t be depressed every time that happens. I think that’s important.

Even if I don’t get the job, it doesn’t mean that I’m rejected. It’s just that I didn’t measure up to the role. But the role I got was definitely an encounter with Yamato. If I hadn’t done Domon, some things simply wouldn’t have occurred to me. I think we have to do our best to make the most of each encounter that comes our way. It’s up to you to decide what to do with those experiences and how to use them to advance yourself. I believe there is no such thing as a waste of time.

Pleasure is also in the role making
Tasuku Hatanaka talks passionately about Space Battleship Yamato!

Published October 14 by Hominis (see the original article here)
Text by Mika Nakamura • Photography by Masao Nagata

Yamato 2205 Part 1, the latest in the Yamato series, is a two-part film based on the 1979 TV special The New Voyage. We interviewed Tasuku Hatanaka, who plays the new character Ryusuke Domon, and asked him about his thoughts on the work.

Interviewer: How did you feel when you got the part?

Hatanaka: I was genuinely happy to land the role in the audition. However, the Yamato series has been running since before I was born, so it has a long history. Moreover, the character I play, Domon, was also in the old series. I felt a sense of pleasure as I wondered how I should create the image of Domon.

Interviewer: What was your impression of Space Battleship Yamato?

Hatanaka: I knew that it started in the 1970s and had a revolutionary influence on Japanese animation, but I didn’t know much about the specifics. But I strongly felt its bold theme, including in the remake series. “When you are faced with an important choice, what will you choose? How do we love someone?” These are universal themes that are tackled head-on in this work. I thought it was really amazing.

Interviewer: What is the appeal of Ryusuke Domon, and what does he have in common with yourself?

Hatanaka: His past is very heavy, and he has very complicated feelings toward Yamato and Kodai. What we have in common is that he comes to Yamato looking for answers, and he is lost and unstable. I can relate to his hesitation and instability, and the turmoil in his heart as he struggles to find something. He’s always wavering, never quite settled, but he’s able to express that honestly. I think that’s what I have in common with him.

Interviewer: Like Domon, you have been challenging yourself with various things. You’re in VART, the first full-fledged racing team in the voice acting industry, and other activities.

Hatanaka: I really enjoy driving. I’m glad that I got my manual license. I appreciate the automatic transmission, and I also love the behavior of manual cars. But the members of “BLACK VART”, who have been participating since season 2, are only using automatic transmissions. (Laughs) Furthermore, Daisuke Ono, who plays Susumu Kodai, just got his license. I’m not sure about the power balance… (Laughs) But I’ll do my best to be as competitive in the car race as in voice recording.

(Visit the official website for VART here. Notably, the voice actors for both Kodai and Keyman are members of the BLACK VART team.)

Interviewer: You are also actively taking on new fields of work, such as participating in the improvisational theater AD-LIVE.

Hatanaka: Basically, I think every job is a challenge. I want to maintain the attitude of taking on challenges that I have never faced before. But of course, I need to keep learning new things, as well as what my seniors have taught me about the core of my acting, and I will continue to do my best.

Interviewer: Please give a message to your fans who are looking forward to this film.

Hatanaka: I’m sure there are a lot of people who don’t know Yamato, who are wondering, “What is Yamato anyway?” But when you see Yamato in a movie theater, I think you will have a very exciting experience. I myself love Yamato‘s passion. I hope you can feel that passion in this film.

Voice actor Tasuku Hatanaka appears in the latest work of Space Battleship Yamato! “Because I’m a newbie to Yamato, I feel the same as the new crew.”

Published October 16 by Fuji TV (see the original article here)

Yamato 2205 is a new work in two chapters that brings together elements from the highly-rated 1979 TV special The New Voyage. The new crew member Ryusuke Domon is played by voice actor Tasuku Hatanaka.

He has appeared in Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal (TV Tokyo), Ushio Tora (TV Tokyo), and has played the role of Ikoma in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Fuji TV). In addition to playing many characters in popular works, he made his debut as a singer in 2017 and has been active in a wide range of fields.

We talked to Hatanaka about his enthusiasm for appearing in the popular Space Battleship Yamato series, as well as his thoughts on his role as Domon.

Feeling pleasure, but “I didn’t dare to watch the original”

Interviewer: How did you feel when you were chosen to play Domon?

Hatanaka: I was very happy. The Yamato series has a long history, and the character I play, Domon, was also in the original story. So I felt the pleasure of thinking about how to create the “Domon” image.

Interviewer: Did you watch any of the previous films before you started?

Hatanaka: I’m not a member of the “Yamato generation,” so I hadn’t actually seen any of the previous works. It wasn’t until I was asked to participate in this project that I was introduced to the world of Yamato. I have checked out the new series since 2012, but I didn’t dare to watch the original. I felt that the character of this Domon was completely different from the previous version, so I thought it would be a bit different from playing the role by following the original story.

Interviewer: What do you think of the new series?

Hatanaka: I guess I’m a “Yamato newbie” to all the Yamato fans out there. But even for me, I was struck in the heart by the fact that, “this is a work that you have to see.” It directly confronts the questions that are difficult to answer when faced with important choices in life, such as “which to choose” and “how to love.” I am very passionate about the timeless, universal theme in Yamato‘s foundation.

Interviewer: Domon is a young man who is clumsy but has excellent grades and lives a straightforward life. What do you think is the appeal of Domon, and what do you and Domon have in common?

Hatanaka: I think the most interesting thing about him is that he “wavers.” Domon has a heavy past and has mixed emotions about Yamato, but he still gets onboard as a tactician. Domon and I may have something in common in that we’re both “looking for a reason to have our heart shaken.” With the script in my hand, I was searching for the answer to that question all the time. I really sympathized with Domon, who struggles to find something in such an uncertain and unstable situation. So when I was playing him, I tried to keep his “wavering” feeling in mind. But I also tried not to overdo it.

Interviewer: The complex feelings Domon has for his senior, Susumu Kodai (Captain of Yamato), is the key to the story. Is there anyone who is a big part of your life like Susumu Kodai?

Hatanaka: I guess it would have to be Ultraman, who I’ve admired since I was a kid. (Laughs) No, I think it would be my father (actor Hiroshi Hatanaka) and other senior actors. Kodai is not an “absolute hero,” but a familiar figure with human weaknesses. In the same way, no matter how perfect a senior actor seems to be, When I go out for drinks with him, I sometimes hear him say, “I’m in pain too.” Whenever I hear that, I think, “Oh, he’s just a human being.” When I look at Kodai, he overlaps with the image of my seniors.

Interviewer: Please give a message to the people who will be watching your work.

Hatanaka: Because I’m a newcomer to Yamato, I felt as if I could get on board with the same point of view as the new crew. So for those who don’t know Yamato at all, I think this work is a chance to enter the world of Yamato and enjoy it. When you experience this world, you’ll feel a burning in your heart that is hard to find elsewhere. If you look back at the previous works, you can feel the depth of this world. I really like Yamato‘s energy, and I hope you can feel it too. Let’s ride Yamato with the new crew!

Tasuku Hatanaka: The appeal of voice acting is that it can transcend age and time

Published October 19 by W Online (see the original article here)

Yamato 2205 is the latest in the Space Battleship Yamato series, a completely new work based on The New Voyage, which was broadcast in 1979. We asked Tasuku Hatanaka, the voice actor who plays Ryusuke Domon in his first appearance, about what was important to him in the recording, his memories from high school, and what is important to him when aiming to become a voice actor.

The pleasure of a series that has been going on since before I was born

Interviewer: Please tell us how you felt when you received the offer to appear in the series.

Hatanaka: I was genuinely very happy with the audition result. Space Battleship Yamato has a long history, starting with the old series before I was born. Moreover, the new crew member Domon also appeared in the old series. I felt the pleasure of how to create the image of Domon again.

Interviewer: Have you looked back at the past works?

Hatanaka: I have seen the new series from Yamato 2199 to Yamato 2202 and Age of Yamato, but I tried not to look at the old ones. When I was reading the audition materials, I felt that the Domon of that series and the Domon of this series were completely different characters. So I didn’t want to play the role as if it was the old Domon.

Interviewer: I heard that you saw Yamato for the first time after you were selected for the role. What did you know of it before you saw it?

Hatanaka: I knew that it had been around since the 1970s, and that it had a revolutionary influence on anime. I knew it had a less rigid image than Mobile Suit Gundam, but it was a space war story, a science fiction story, and I felt it had a distance and weight that I couldn’t easily step into.

Interviewer: How did you feel when you actually saw it?

Hatanaka: Looking at the new series, the theme may have changed a bit over the years, but I feel that the core is the same. It’s quite “bare bones.” It’s about important choices. “Which will you choose? How will you love something?” And so on. I thought it was an amazing film that tackled these issues head on. In the 1970s, both adults and children watched it together. I genuinely thought, “Yamato is amazing.”

Interviewer: That’s right, children and adults alike used to watch it. It’s a great work that you could enjoy as it asked such questions.

Hatanaka: To be honest, to those who have loved Yamato up until now, it seems that newcomers like me don’t know much about it. Maybe I’m a beginner and haven’t picked up the details, but because the underlying theme is universal, it struck a chord with me and made me feel passionate. I thought it was a work that I had to see. In fact, I was also very much influenced by it.

I’m similar to Domon in that I’m always wavering and never settled

Interviewer: What did you keep in mind when playing Domon?

Hatanaka: I had a lot of support from Harutoshi Fukui, who wrote the script, and from Director Yasuda and the sound director. As they pointed out, the trick was to not to overdo it. I thought they were trying to emphasize Domon’s uncertainty. So there are some shots that used the “test voice.” I felt that they really emphasized the “rawness” of the scene.

Interviewer: I get the impression that Ryusuke Domon is a down-to-Earth young man. What do you think is the appeal of Ryusuke Domon? What do you think you have in common with him?

Hatanaka: His appeal is that he “wavers.” What he’s carrying is very heavy. His father passed away, and his father’s last look is stuck in his mind. I think he had very mixed feelings about Yamato, which was the trigger. But without Yamato, Earth would have been destroyed. There were a lot of things that helped me.

Domon’s feelings when he boarded Yamato were quite different from mine. But what I have in common with him is that he went looking for it because he didn’t know what it was. I could relate to his passion to find something while struggling with the uncertainty of not knowing. I think the similarity between me and Domon is that we are always wavering, never settled, and yet we express our feelings honestly.

Interviewer: At first glance, Domon seems to be smart and calculating, but in fact, he has a bit of an edge to him. I love the depiction of how he is loved by his peers.

Hatanaka: I think he is blessed with good friends and has a good way of life. Everyone worries about him, and there are people who will stop him even if they have to beat him up. He’s a dangerous guy, but he really lives a straight and honest life. That’s why he’s clumsy, and rushes forward without looking around. But he has his own sense of self and follows his will. I think everyone can relate to that.

Interviewer: In the scenes with the new crew, there were many moments that made me think, “It’s nice to have friends.” Is there anyone other than Domon that you like in the new crew?

Hatanaka: Shigeru Sakamoto. As a man, I admire him a lot. He’s like an elementary school student, but also like a man who enjoys a thrill. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he shows it with his actions. I like the way he seems aloof, but is decisive when he has to be.

Interviewer: Is there any character other than the new crew that you are attracted to?

Hatanaka: Shiro Sanada. I liked his speech. In Yamato 2199, he helps others at his own expense. His feelings don’t show on the surface, but he has a lot of human qualities. I like how it is delicately portrayed in Age of Yamato. I would like to know more about Mr. Sanada.

Yamato 2205 is a chance to start watching Yamato

Interviewer: You were recorded separately, but you performed in the same movie as Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Koichi Yamadera (Dessler).

Hatanaka: If it wasn’t for Corona, I would have liked to record with all of them. But on the other hand, because we recorded separately from the older members, there were some lonely feelings that matched with Domon’s, so I think that was good. The second part also depicts Domon’s lonely inner struggle. That’s something he has to find the answer for himself.

Interviewer: This work focuses on the complex feelings that Ryusuke Domon has for Susumu Kodai. As there anyone who is as important to you as Kodai is to him?

Hatanaka: Kodai is not an absolute hero, and that’s what makes him interesting. Especially in the new series, the twists and turns of Susumu Kodai’s humanity have been portrayed very well, haven’t they? That made me feel like he was familiar to me. No matter how perfect my seniors seemed to be, when we went out for drinks before the Corona pandemic, they’d say, “I’m suffering too,” and I realized that they are human beings. When I look at Susumu Kodai, the images of my seniors who showed a little vulnerability come to my mind.

Interviewer: If you don’t know much about Yamato, you might think that Susumu Kodai is a very strong and cool leader. But in reality, he has a lot of conflicts and worries.

Hatanaka: I think so. I think there are a lot of people who are like, “What is Yamato, anyway?” But when you see it in a movie theater, I think you will have a heart-warming experience. I myself came into the film not knowing anything about it, and now I really like the passion of Yamato. I really hope that everyone can feel it. I think Yamato 2205 is a chance to start watching. Even if you don’t know anything about Yamato, you can enter the story from the same perspective as the new crew. It’s a very thoughtful film. Now is the time for you to get on board Yamato with the new crew.

Interviewer: Also, it would be fun to watch the past films!

Hatanaka: I’d like people to watch Age of Yamato in particular. I think there are things that will come to you even after you’ve seen it. Of course, you can still enjoy watching 2205. But if you watch the past films, you will be able to see the depth of their feelings. So take a look after you have enjoyed this film.

The appeal of voice acting is that it can transcend age and time

Interviewer: Now, let’s talk about yourself. What was the trigger that changed your life?

Hatanaka: I think my life was changed when I first encountered voice acting. I was in the fifth grade when I took my first audition. My parents are both actors, so I came into this world quite easily. I kept saying, “I want to be an actor,” and I became one.

Interviewer: Is voice acting still an attractive job for you?

Hatanaka: At first, I didn’t really understand what I was doing. Only anime can take you to a world like Space Battleship Yamato. I think the appeal of being a voice actor that you can transcend age and time.

Interviewer: What kind of student were you?

Hatanaka: When I look back on it now, I wasn’t thinking about anything. (Laughs) I started working on Yu-Gi-Oh in my first year of high school. I didn’t really understand the weight of the job. I was on the basketball team, participating in school events to the fullest. I enjoyed my school life. I was also on the pep squad, so I would scream at the Yu-Gi-Oh recordings!

If I met myself back then, I’d say, “You should take care of your throat, you idiot!” I’d want to slap myself. (Laughs) But I really did enjoy my high school life. For those of you who are in high school now, I hope you enjoy your time there as much as you can, despite the current circumstances.

Interviewer: You must have been a very busy high school student with school events, pep squad, and regular work.

Hatanaka: I didn’t have an agency, so I was working for free. My regular job was Yu-Gi-Oh, and I worked on commercials and variety. But basically, I was able to work after school and participate in both classes and recordings.

Interviewer: How did you become affiliated with an agency?

Hatanaka: When I became a college student, I thought it would be too hard to work while assembling my own classes. When Kenji Utsumi, the chairman of Kenpro (Hatanaka’s agency), was still alive, he said to me, “If you want to do voice work, you have to be smart and professional.” So, I became a member. I was grateful for the opportunity to have him manage my schedule.

The day will come when the time you spent worrying will be useful as experience

Interviewer: Do you have any advice for readers who want to become voice actors?

Hatanaka: I’m not in a position to talk about this yet, but personally, I think you should enjoy your high school life. When you perform as an actor, no matter what kind of work it is, you’ll say, “Oh! I’ve experienced this feeling myself!”

For example, Ryusuke Domon and I are in completely different positions and live in completely different environments. But I can understand his wavering feelings. What allows you to draw on that are experiences you had during your teenage years or when you were a student. That’s when you’re the most impressionable and you feel a lot of things, and your teachers tell you a lot of things, or you’re tormented by your parents. It may be painful at the time, but the day will come when it will be useful as an experience.

Interviewer: You always remember and cherish the works and books you absorbed during that time, don’t you?

Hatanaka: I think so. Even if you watch a movie or read a book that you don’t understand or find boring, it will become a yardstick when you come back to it years later. That way, you can learn more about yourself. When I was a university student, I saw Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953). It’s so quiet that it used to put me to sleep. But when I rewatched it recently, I found that it really affected me. I realized that it was a really good movie that made my heart ache.

Interviewer: So you were able to get a different impression of the film now because you had seen it once before?

Hatanaka: That’s really true. When I watch it now, I miss that unique low angle. It makes me think about various things, like, “Is this the perspective of a child?” I noticed a lot of sadness in the actors’ expressionless faces. If I hadn’t encountered Tokyo Story when I was in college, I wouldn’t have thought of watching it again.

I think it was an important encounter for me. I believe that nothing is wasted when you are a student, so it’s important to have as many experiences as possible to lead to your dreams.

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