Among the many interviews that were published during the opening month of Yamato 2205, Part 1 ~ TAKE OFF, five of them put two people together in a conversation. All five are presented here, featuring Writer Harutoshi Fukui, Director Kenji Yasuda, and voice actors Daisuke Ono (Kodai) and Tasuku Hatanaka (Domon).
In a few of these discussions, the term “Taiga Drama” comes up (Taiga literally translates to “Big River”). This is a high-profile genre of live-action Japanese TV series broadcast on NHK (Japan’s PBS) that usually last a full year. They often feature ensembles of prominent actors in a fictionalized account of a specific historical time frame. (Find more info here.) As we will see, Yamato 2205 took some of its cues from this genre.
The scriptwriter and director talk about “Yamato-ness”
Excerpt from the October 15, 2021 issue of Weekly Asahi (published October 5) by Satoru Ota and Takeaki Kikuchi. See the online version here.
Yamato 2205, The New Voyage is the latest film in the Space Battleship Yamato remake series. What is the message behind the series and the latest work? Yamato is off to a New Voyage!
Since Yamato 2202, the series structure and script has been written by Harutoshi Fukui (52), who worked on Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. One of the main themes of 2205 is the rebirth of the main character, Susumu Kodai. Mr. Fukui described Earth’s situation in the remake as follows:
“In order to save Kodai’s life in 2202, Earth suffered great damage both economically and militarily as a result. Kodai, burdened with this responsibility and fate, is convinced that he should not pursue his own personal happiness. How can he mentally rehabilitate himself to be able to look forward again? If I started 2205 without depicting that, it would not be connected to 2202 at all, so I kept it in mind.”
Fukui overlaps Earth’s situation with the situation we face today.
“I wanted to make a proper contrast with the situation in contemporary Japan, especially after the 2011 earthquake. The Earth of 2205 is in a similar situation to modern Japan, where we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I wanted to create a story with continuity and the atmosphere of reality. Strangely, I finished writing the script before the Corona virus. As a result, it’s like a story I wrote for the world about the pandemic.”
Fukui remembers being shocked by the first episode of Space Battleship Yamato and says that he saw the first broadcast of The New Voyage only halfway through.
“The next day was a school trip, and we had to be there at 5 a.m. (Laughs). As an elementary school student, I couldn’t watch it all the way through. I didn’t know how it ended until I saw it on video as an adult. It was like a turning point for the Yamato series, making it something that could be watched by everyone from children to adults.”
Making it look modern while keeping the main point
What is the significance of being responsible for the composition of the series?
“I originally thought that Yamato was a pioneering work that would lead the way to new animation. I have to carry on the theme and properly maintain the Taiga Drama route that the Yamato series originally aimed for. After that, I wanted to add new enemies and new characters to the story so it would take shape naturally and the chemistry would happen on its own. Then it feels like you just have to film it as it happens. Compared to 2202, it was more fun and I was able to write it with an interest in what would happen to these characters.”
The new director is Kenji Yasuda (49), who has no actual experience with the original Yamato series. Fukui explained:
“If you have a strong feeling for something, you might do what I would do, or create your own Yamato. In my experience, when this happens, the important story is often neglected. I told Director Yasuda at the beginning that I didn’t want him to focus on Yamato, that I wanted him to create the story that the script called for in a natural way.”
Yasuda, who directed Macross Delta, is four years younger than Fukui. He said, “My brother, who is three years older than me, loves Yamato, and I read some of his books. Of course I know about it from a general education point of view, but the previous remakes were made by people who really loved the old series, so I was surprised when I heard about this project. They told me, ‘We want you to make a Yamato for the present day with a fresh feeling’.”
“When I looked at it again, I found that some of the depictions were indeed dated. I wondered how I could make them more current. When I thought about it, I wondered if it was the visual expression and the sense of tempo. In my recent works, I have tried to make things with more volume and tempo, so I thought I could make use of that.”
However, Yamato is a major series that has been running for more than 45 years.
“Of course, I can’t just do whatever I want because I’m not part of that generation. It’s important to keep in mind the important parts and points that must be protected: the character lines, the music, and the key elements. We need to create a work that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. That’s where Mr. Fukui, co-writer Hideki Oka, and many others from the middle of that generation come in. I had to make sure their intentions were clear while I made the film in a modern way and digested it in my own mind.”
Yamato‘s love acknowledges others
Of course, there is a part that still feels strange to him.
“There are parts that make you wonder things like, “Why are they fighting like this when they’re in space?” I wondered why only Japanese people are on the ship that carries Earth’s fate. I had some simple questions. But if we simply made it a multinational ship, that would have lost the Yamato character. I tried to understand the essence of Yamato by combining it with the key points that they taught me. There were parts where I tried to change the mood, shifting it slightly within the scope of Yamato.”
The visuals, which are drawn using the latest CG technology, also have their own “heart.”
“What should be added to the original Yamato, and what should not be added? If we add too much detail just because it’s CG, we may lose the essence of Yamato. I think we were able to create a new atmosphere in terms of texture while retaining the atmosphere of the previous remake series.”
As for the new crew in 2205, Yasuda says, “It’s a story about the growth of Ryusuke Domon and the other new characters, but it also serves as a stimulus for Kodai, who is struggling with his problems. He feels secure that Yuki Mori and his friends understand him, but at the same time he also wants a push. As the younger generation collides with him, he’s able to look at himself, get pushed forward, and grow together with the new characters. I hope that I can depict the process of Kodai, who continues to be troubled, becoming a cool Kodai again.”
There are times when we feel the message of “love” in the Yamato series. Ryusuke Hikawa, 63, an anime and tokusatsu researcher and specially-appointed professor at Meiji University Graduate School, has a deep knowledge of this.
“The Yamato series is a story about love in the sense of acknowledging the other person.” he said. “I think it is worth thinking about even more in this day and age. Let’s proceed while positively incorporating various new challenges. I feel that this form of ‘love’ permeates the Yamato of the 21st century.”
Fukui explained his thoughts on the Yamato depicted in 2205 in this way:
“In the era when the first Yamato was launched, humanity had advanced farther into space, and there was no doubt in our minds that a better future and a good life awaited us. However, the present day has betrayed all of that. I intend to face this situation head-on and make it a work that will truly become a New Voyage.
Also, for the generation that don’t know the original story, it may seem like an austere and difficult film to watch, but we hope you’ll take it as a sign that you’ve been misled. You will find what you need most in this film.”
All generations should witness Yamato‘s new heroic form.
Kenji Yasuda (left) and Harutoshi Fukui (right)
An interview with Kenji Yasuda, director of Yamato 2205, and Writer Harutoshi Fukui
Published October 7 by Movie Log Plus. See the original article here.
Based on the TV special The New Voyage, which was broadcast in 1979 and received high ratings, Yamato 2205 is the latest in the series with two completely new chapters. For this interview, we spoke with Director Kenji Yasuda and Harutoshi Fukui, who is in charge of the series composition and screenplay. The editorial staff of Movie Log Plus talked about the nostalgia they felt from this film and their thoughts on Dessler!
Interviewer: I thought there was no new series that could make me feel so close to it. The first thing I want to ask you about is the appearance of Ryusuke Domon. Susumu Kodai is synonymous with Yamato, but I wonder if this new character is the second Kodai. I have a feeling that with his appearance, a new and completely different world will unfold. Can you tell us about the inspiration for this new character, and how you came up with the idea of introducing Domon?
Fukui: First of all, the basic problem is that in the original story, all the newcomers who appeared in The New Voyage disappeared in subsequent works. Then, in Yamato III, other newcomers come on board as if nothing had happened. In order to organize the traffic of new characters, including those in Yamato III, it made sense to decide first who the newcomers would be, choosing from among them instead of having them appear all at once. I consulted with the other staff members on this at the earliest stage of planning.
In addition, Domon’s fistfight with Kodai in the original TV series left a great impression on me. As a character who is in opposition to Kodai, the creators clearly wanted to position him as the second Kodai. Kodai is sitting in the captain’s seat, and Domon is in Kodai’s old seat, which has a beautiful form. I think the idea was to connect the series from there. But if a character became more popular than Kodai (in Yamato III) he would be mercilessly killed, so he wasn’t a very lucky person. (Laughs)
This time, Kodai ended up in a new situation and position at the end of 2202. It’s not enough for him to say, “I’m glad I was chosen to be saved by the consensus of Earth’s people.” He now has nothing but remorse for making Earth vulnerable. That’s how the people around him see him, so once he boards Yamato, he’s surrounded by friends who protect him. They know how he feels, so they keep quiet. And that’s where I put someone on Yamato who is in conflict with Kodai and says, “That’s not good enough!” And I put Sanada and Yuki, who always protect Kodai, outside. This makes it easier to create a story with conflict. That all came from the impression of Kodai and Domon fighting each other.
Interviewer: Okay, I understand now! Tasuku Hatanaka is the voice of Ryusuke Domon. Did you have any special requests for him?
Fukui: If you had a remote control that could make fine adjustments and you said “turn a little,” Hatanaka-san would make a hard right-angle turn and keep moving forward. He’s the type that can only turn 90 degrees at a time. His straightforward power as an actor is very impressive. So, rather than ordering something, I’d rather just listen to what comes out.
Yasuda: He’s a Yamato character who doesn’t make speeches. He doesn’t shout or give orders. It’s great to have a presence who speaks off the cuff with just a word or two. We had to voice recordings separately this time due to the Corona pandemic, but that may have had a positive effect. I don’t mean that in a weird way, but if he became too dexterous, he would lose that Domon-ness. I feel like Domon and Hatanaka met at just the right time.
Interviewer: On the other hand, did Mr. Hatanaka ever ask you about his emotional expression? Like, “What should I do?”
Fukui: No, he’s more like, “Oh, I get it now,” even if I explain it to him. (Laughs) He listens sincerely and says, “OK, I’ll try it for now!” And I’m like, “Does he really understand?” (Laughs) But when it comes out, it’s pretty good.
Interviewer: It seems to fit really well, or maybe it’s repulsive, but it seems to fit neatly into this story with that crew.
Fukui: Yes, it’s a little different from the way voice actors sound nowadays. It sounds strange to say that he has more of a live-action voice, but we don’t make much of it. I think it has good results.
Interviewer: It seems to come out straightforwardly, and that’s what gives Domon his own personality. This feels like a new and yet familiar story from the beginning.
There’s a connection to 2202, but the relationships between Garmillas, Iscandar, Earth, and Yamato are also part of the story, including the part where it seems like it’s the will of the Earth. It’s irresistible for older fans. The way the music was put in was also very interesting. It’s nostalgic, like watching Yamato from the TV anime of that time. What did you both discuss, and what did you focus on while being conscious of the past?
Fukui: To be honest, I didn’t expect it to have such a nostalgic feel. I wondered, what is this handmade feeling that you can’t believe was made in the digital age? That’s something that occurred to me during various interviews today.
Nowadays, anime is made for a specific audience. If you like mecha, you fill it up with mecha. If you like beautiful girls, you fill it up with beautiful girls. If it’s for young people, it’s just a bunch of modern shiny stuff. Maybe up to 2202 it was for people who like Yamato.
This time, we had to focus on someone other than just Yamato lovers. That’s why I asked Mr. Yasuda, who is not from the Yamato generation, to direct the film. As a result of this arrangement, we have something like past TV anime which were not all glitter and glamor. They also had stories with a lot of grit.
For example, Star of the Giants had the same Saturday 7:00 p.m. slot as Yamato 2 and Yamato III. And there was certainly something like that both before and after. I don’t remember watching it in detail, but it was very adult-oriented. Hoshi Hiyuma was all grown up, and there were serious corporate stories like in a live-action series.
The New Voyage had a structure and atmosphere that were appropriate for that time slot. The most typical example is our character Yabu. The camera keeps following a fat man who doesn’t look good at all. And it makes you cry. Is there such an anime? Isn’t that what we’re talking about? In the Showa era [pre-1989], it might have happened.
I think we subconsciously remember it and feel nostalgic about it. So, in a way, it is being made for the family: Grandfathers, fathers, and grandchildren in front of the TV. No matter who was there, the TV of that time was made so that anyone who was watching could empathize with a character and get emotionally involved. I think that’s what gives it an unexpectedly nostalgic feel.
Interviewer: It’s amazing that it’s so unexpected.
Fukui: I probably wouldn’t be able to plan for it. We’ve never talked about that, have we? (Laughs)
Yasuda: That’s right (Laughs)
Fukui: We never said anything like, “Let’s make it for the family!” (Laughs)
Interviewer: In Yabu’s own words, “When you’re at the bottom, great things are waiting to happen.” In the current Corona pandemic, there are people in the world who can’t come out of it, and he embodies that in the story. He encourages others when things get dark, but he also has a weak side. I feel like I’m watching a person in the real world. The characters are very human. As for the fleet, Yamato is quite close up this time, isn’t it?
Fukui: Last time, we couldn’t form a fleet with Yamato. There were many fans who said, “I wanted to see a Yamato fleet.” So, for the first time in the series, Yamato has companion ships.
Interviewer: And Dessler, after all. In the TV anime, Dessler was a bit older and had narrow eyes. But the current Dessler is very handsome!
Fukui: He’s a manly man (Laughs)
Interviewer: But just as those of Earth feel about their own people, Garmillas comes in contact with others and feels that they have to be saved from suffering. I feel like, “Dessler, you’re growing up so fast!” I can’t wait to hear him say, “Where is the Yamato boy?” Please tell us about your thoughts on Dessler and how you perceived him.
Fukui: Dessler, like Kodai, has a past in 2202. He was a person who worked hard alone to save the entire Garmillas race even though he made enemies of his own people. In the original story, the later goal of establishing Galman-Gamilas was also presented. To be honest, I didn’t have to do anything more than put him on that track, and he just started running automatically.
In the midst of all this, there was the development that waited at Garmillas. To be honest, it’s terrible that I wouldn’t have thought of it if it hadn’t happened in The New Voyage. (Laughs)
But that awfulness ends up making him a character that we can really relate to in today’s world. There are a lot of people whose lives have been taken away in the last couple of years. Dessler is in a state where his life is being taken away. How can such a person get his mind back together again? I think there is meaning to this story now.
Interviewer: I felt like I was reminded of Dessler’s love again. How do you feel about Dessler, Director Yasuda?
Yasuda: To be honest, I didn’t have any special feelings for Dessler to begin with, but I think this Dessler is perhaps a little different from the previous remakes. In that sense, I wasn’t aware of the past Dessler.
Domon is a type whose emotions come out directly. With Kodai, on the other hand, you don’t really know what he’s thinking. Dessler is an adult in that sense, but when I’m drawing storyboards, his emotions come out the most. He is a person who spills out what he cannot hide. It’s not that his facial muscles are moving, but I think I was able to draw surprisingly rich expressions.
Fukui: I don’t think anyone around knew that. (Laughs)
Interviewer: (Laughs) And the music is played with perfect timing. How did you decide which music to insert at which time? Did you discuss that?
Fukui: 2205 doesn’t really follow The New Voyage in terms of story or drama. I thought that the music was only thing that could make people feel like they were watching it. That’s why we tried to copy as much of the music as we could. I specified that in the script stage.
Interviewer: I got goosebumps listening to it. And the ending song is Love is Still Light, sung by Ayaka Hirahara, who expresses a magnificent world view (lyrics by Yukinojo Mori, music and arrangement by Akira Miyagawa). The music touched my heart very much.
Fukui: That song was written after the Corona pandemic began. I wrote a kind of image poem that would be the starting point for this song. The most important thing I emphasized was the line from Yabu, “When you’re at rock bottom, great things are waiting to happen.” Mr. Yukinojo did a great job with that.
Interviewer: I was so moved that I cried.
Fukui: That’s a good thing, isn’t it? (Laughs)
Interviewer: How did you two encounter Space Battleship Yamato? Please tell us your favorite and most memorable scenes.
Fukui: In Mr. Yasuda’s case, it’s… (Laughs)
Yasuda: I think I saw a glimpse of it, but to be honest, I don’t remember. (Laughs) After I started working on this, I felt like, “Is this Yamato?” Then later I was like, “I’m making Yamato, but…” To be honest, when Yamato‘s music hit me in the first episode, it was, “Oh, I AM making Yamato.” I came to that recognition quite late. (Laughs)
That’s how persuasive the music is, or how big its presence is. I don’t know if it’s a bottom-up thing, but the music and the visuals have a synergy. Both are assertive, and the chemical reaction between them takes it from 100% to 200%. I think Yamato‘s music has that kind of power. As for the song, if it’s played over the Yamato that we made, I’d be addicted to it. I’d say, “Yamato is complete.”
Fukui: I’ve already talked a lot about how I encountered Yamato, so let’s just talk about The New Voyage.
Being able to watch the latest anime movie on TV for free during summer vacation was a big deal for kids. It’s summer vacation, so it’s okay to stay up late the next day. But the next day I had to be at school at 5:00 a.m for a field trip, so the TV was turned off in the middle of the movie. The next day, we gathered in the schoolyard to climb Mt. Fuji, and I was seething with anger, “Damn, I got screwed!” I was so angry. (Laughs)
It wasn’t until I grew up and entered the age of rental video that I saw it properly. Until then, The New Voyage was still hanging in the air, and I watched Be Forever after that.
Interviewer: Finally, please give us a message and tell us about your future plans.
Fukui: My impression of the first chapter is that it’s nostalgic, but also that it was more like The New Voyage than I expected. But in the second chapter, we move away from that, and there’s a cruel truth that makes you go, “What?”
Yasuda: There are a lot of surprises waiting for you, and since you know the original story, you’ll be surprised to find out that “this part has changed” or “this is how it’s been rearranged.” If the first chapter was full of surprises, the second goes to unexpected places. When I read the script, I was also surprised. “Oh, this will happen!” For those who have loved Yamato for a long time, I think it will have a greater impact than you expect. Please be prepared for it and look forward to it (Laughs)
Interviewer: Thank you for all the fun and in-depth conversation!
Space Battleship Yamato Travelogue: Director Kenji Yasuda X Series Composition/Writer Harutoshi Fukui interview
Published October 7 by V-Storage. See the original article here.
The first chapter of Yamato 2205 will be screened in theaters soon. It will be a new start for the remake series, with new characters and a new staff. We asked Harutoshi Fukui, who continues to participate, and Director Kenji Yasuda, who participates in the Yamato series for the first time, to talk about the origins and prospects of this work.
The perspective of a generation that does not know Yamato
Interviewer: First of all, please tell us how you came to be involved in this film.
Yasuda: The remake series so far has been made by people from the “direct hit” Yamato generation. For Yamato 2199, it was Yutaka Izubuchi. Nobuyoshi Habara directed 2202. The people who experienced Yamato in real time were the ones who worked on it with a strong sense of attachment and devotion. I think that’s why it was so dense.
This time, the story starts with a new crew, so when they first talked to me they said they wanted someone who didn’t know Yamato to direct it. I thought it would be too much for me, not knowing the detailed theories and worldview of Yamato. But if that was the reason for the offer, I thought I could rise to the challenge even if I started from zero. So I replied, “Please let me participate.”
Fukui: I joined up with 2202, and the decision to continue was made in the middle of the production. Honestly, since 2202 ended as it did, I felt I had done all I could do. But when I thought about the fate of the characters and the Earth afterward, I felt as if I had left them in a terrible situation. If you only watch the last episode, you can feel a faint sense of hope in the ending. But since we abandoned the Time Fault in order to save Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori from the higher dimensional world, it’s as if Earth has been left completely vulnerable
There are many unknown aliens in the surrounding universe. It must be unbearable for Kodai and Yuki to be back on Earth. I took it on because that part had to be kept in mind while still making it a proper remake, and I thought it would be too much for someone else to handle.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to ask Mr. Yasuda to direct?
Fukui: This time, Satelight Studio was going to produce the film, and they introduced me to him. One of the requirements was, as he mentioned earlier, “someone who isn’t from the Yamato generation.” Even though this is a remake, our goal was not to follow the old Yamato. If you want to follow it completely, it’s best to watch the original.
This is something I’ve learned from working on the Gundam series: if you redraw a scene and build it into the tone of the picture, it can never be better than the original. Even if the original drawing wasn’t that great, you can never win the heart of the fans no matter how much you clean it up and repaint it. And it doesn’t make sense for a remake to just repeat everything from the original. If you recreate the story to fit the current times, I think you have to be ready to make a new anime. In that sense, Mr. Yasuda was the best person for the job, because he had a neutral perspective on Yamato.
The approach is different from the previous two works, but on the same track
Interviewer: How did you go about writing the script?
Fukui: As I mentioned earlier, 2202 ended in such a way that the characters and the Earth survived, but they are still in a difficult situation. As a signpost for the future, the event depicted in the original New Voyage awaits us. In creating a sequel, we have to be clear on the conditions and tasks given to us. If we stitched it all together as one story and tailored it into a basic shape, I didn’t have to worry about it.
Yasuda: I left the script to Mr. Fukui, so the main thing for me was to proceed with the work while confirming it as I went. Rather than trying to come up with my own original development or characters, I was more inclined to stick with the world view created in his script.
Interviewer: What kind of taste does 2205 have?
Fukui: This is the third in the remake series, so I changed the approach from the previous two. However, even so, there are some things that left a strong impression on me from the original work. I tried to keep those points in mind.
We’re trying to make it so that people will remember The New Voyage as they watch it. We’re definitely running on the same tracks as in the first and second remakes. If we don’t derail it from there, it won’t be a steep drop-off. I was conscious of the fact that I was laying out a track that would lead properly to our “destination.”
There are parts of the film that diverge from the original. But, for example, if you watch 2202 and feel like, “That’s completely different from Farewell to Yamato,” I’m doing this in such a way that you’ll think, “This is more like The New Voyage than I expected.”
Making 2205 from the perspective of a Taiga Drama
Interviewer: There’s been a lot of talk about the young characters who will be part of the new Yamato crew in this film. They also feel like a different approach from the original story. Ryusuke Domon is a character from the TV series Yamato III, which comes after The New Voyage in the original timeline, right?
Fukui: Tetsu Kitano and Shigeru Sakamoto, who were part of the new Yamato crew in the original New Voyage, suddenly disappear in the next story, Be Forever. In Yamato III, Domon and others arrive for the first time looking like newcomers. They were trying to aim for historical spectacle in the original series, but looking at with modern eyes, it seems like there were problems in connecting the stories.
By connecting them in 2205, I was able to give the audience a bird’s eye view of the story, like in a Taiga Drama. The decision to introduce Domon earlier in the game was also a Taiga perspective. I’m talking about planting seeds that will grow from 2205 as a starting point while looking ahead to the future. We’ve already reached a consensus with the staff of the new Yamato generation. I’m arranging the characters in response to that.
Yasuda: The question is, who should be placed on which ship? After all, there are three ships this time.
Interviewer: The new Yamato crew member, Caroline Raiden, is a type of character that wasn’t in the previous stories
Yasuda: As a person who didn’t come from the Yamato generation, it didn’t make sense to me that there were only Japanese characters in a story about saving the earth. I asked, “Why is that?” and they said “That’s just the way it is.” (Laughs)
Fukui: Everyone looked down and said, “Well…” (Laughs).
Yasuda: I understood that. But I thought it would be better to have various types of characters. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a strong female character mixed in with the new crew? I think we talked about that.
Fukui: Goro Raiden in the original Yamato III was a huge male character. Sukeji Yabu was supposed to appear this time, and there’s also Tasuke Tokugawa. Three people with heavy bodies is too many. So we thought maybe we didn’t need Raiden, but I heard from experts of the Yamato generation that “Raiden left a lasting impression on fans.” When I was wondering what to do, I had a surprising idea: “Well, why don’t we make him female?” (Laughs) That’s how we make the kinds of changes that surprise original fans.
Also, Director Yasuda mentioned that there are only Japanese people on the Earth side. If the remake series is going to continue, I’ll have to explain that somewhere. So I think Caroline Raiden is just right as a stepping stone. We also got the sense in 2202 that there are other nationalities. That’s why the President of the Earth Federation is designed to look both Asian and Caucasian.
Yasuda: The “Yamato-ness” is a big factor, isn’t it? Characters with Japanese surnames will be on a ship that bears the name Yamato. Although it is set in space, the way of fighting is actively like being at sea. If that were to change, it would become a different work. I think we have to be careful about that balance.
Kodai and Domon’s story and Dessler’s story are the main focus
Interviewer: As Director Yasuda mentioned, the main characters have different positions from the original.
Fukui: After returning from the higher dimension, Kodai must be in a situation where he’s constantly being chased by the media. But when he comes aboard Yamato, everyone knows what’s going on, and they’ll protect him because he’s a comrade who eats at the same table. If they all get comfortable with each other, there’s no drama, so I decided to move Yuki Mori and Sanada, Susumu Kodai’s best protectors, to other ships.
This time, I had the idea of having Yamato sail with a fleet. It was just right. I wanted to separate the two of them from Kodai, and instead have him face Domon, who hates him and has a chip on his shoulder, to create tension and give more momentum to the drama. That was my goal.
Interviewer: Susumu Kodai’s drama is the main focus, but who are the other characters you would like us to pay attention to?
Fukui: I would say Dessler, the other protagonist. There is a drama about Kodai and Domon on the Earth side, but Dessler’s story is also a big part of things. Dessler has experienced ultimate despair. How does he crawl up from there as a human being? Kodai and Dessler are from different backgrounds, but in a sense, they’re on the same page. This drama was not in the original.
In the current world of the Corona pandemic, what should everyone do in the future? We don’t know where to go. That atmosphere was incorporated directly into the story.
Interviewer: Mr. Yasuda, what characters did you find interesting in the film?
Yasuda: That would be Domon, of course. When I was storyboarding, the characters from the series — Dessler, Kodai, Yuki Mori, Sanada — had already established their behavior, so there was no room for new elements. Domon appeared in the original Yamato III, but he has a completely different face and a new role in 2205.
When Nobuteru Yuuki, the character designer, sent me the first draft for Domon, I was very excited. I had a character that I could nurture with my own hands. He has an important role to play, but he also changes. I’m hoping that I can show that to the audience.
The timing of the music is reminiscent of the original story
Interviewer: What kind of efforts have you made in terms of music?
Fukui: I think the music is remembered as strongly as the images. I tried to copy the original work in terms of how it sounds. Although there are parts that are far removed from the original, the music was a big part of the reason why I felt like I was able to make it like The New Voyage.
Yasuda: The Yamato series is different from other titles in that the music itself has its own presence. It’s not only the design, characters, and mecha, but also the theme song and music that have a strong presence in people’s minds. If we changed the music, it wouldn’t be Yamato anymore. Conversely, the moment the music is played, you can reconfirm that it is Yamato. 2205 will have a new design and a new story, but I think the music is a big part of what makes it so solidly Yamato.
I want people to watch 2205 because of the world today
Interviewer: Finally, please give a message to the fans who are going to watch 2205.
Yasuda: 2205 is not a complete remake, there are many new characters and new developments for them and Kodai. In that sense, I think the real New Voyage is about to begin. It’s going to go beyond your expectations. There will be many twists and turns that will defy your expectations in a good way. I hope you enjoy it at the theater with your memories.
Fukui: I put a slightly longer synopsis at the beginning of the film so that you can understand at least a little bit about the story before watching 2205. Some of the younger generation may think Yamato is a bit old-fashioned. There are also people who have already graduated from it.
But it’s been two years since the Corona pandemic, and Afghanistan is in a difficult situation. The things that we have built up are being destroyed one after another. How should we, as human beings, deal with the world today, and how can we be happy? 2205 is an animation work that sincerely depicts such a story. I’ll be happy if you can come and see it and feel like you’ve been missing out on something good. Thank you very much.
Harutoshi Fukui & Tasuku Hatanaka interview
Published October 7 by Web Newtype. See the original article here.
Yamato 2205, The New Voyage Part 1 will be screened at theaters nationwide from October 8, 2021 (Friday). Based on the TV special The New Voyage broadcast in 1979, it is a remake that also incorporates elements of Yamato that came afterward. The story takes place three years after the previous series, Yamato 2202. Yamato‘s new captain Susumu Kodai and his crew embark on a new journey in a turbulent era.
With the screening just around the corner, we spoke with Harutoshi Fukui, who wrote the script and composed the series, and Voice Actor Tasuku Hatanaka, who plays Ryusuke Domon, a member of Yamato‘s new crew.
Interviewer: The subtitle of this film is The New Voyage, but it’s not just the TV special we’re talking about. There’s also the TV anime series Yamato III, including the appearance of Ryusuke Domon and the new crew. How did you decide on the structure?
Fukui: I didn’t have as much trouble as with the previous work, 2202. Farewell to Yamato, the original basis of 2202, was a story with a suicide attack at the end. For the remake, it was a difficult concept to extract the theme of the story, but make the ending completely different.
In comparison, 2205 did not put much as emphasis on faithfully reproducing the original work from the beginning. In other words, the atmosphere was such that I felt like I could do it freehand. However, if I overdid that, it would have jeopardized the purpose of a remake.
So the staff all contributed their views and we had to find the right balance between the two. So Domon and other characters from Yamato III, which came after The New Voyage, made their appearance ahead of schedule. The core staff has been fans of Yamato for 40 years. It was a big task for us to create a composition that would satisfy them. To put it another way, if we can convince the “noisy” fans, I think we can convince all the fans. (Laughs)
Interviewer: What are your thoughts on the TV special The New Voyage?
Fukui: I’m not from the Yamato real time generation, but when Farewell was out and Yamato was booming, that’s when I was first encountered The New Voyage. Of course, there was no internet at the time. I was so excited to be able to watch a film with the quality of a movie on TV. However, I actually had a school trip coming up the next day. The first time I saw it, my parents turned off the TV before it finished. I still haven’t forgiven them for that. (Laughs)
Hatanaka: (Laughs) That’s a powerful memory…!
Interviewer: I heard that 2205 is more like a Taiga Drama than 2202. Will it be more of an ensemble drama?
Fukui: Yes, I think that aspect will be stronger. In 2202, the story converged on one man, Susumu Kodai. But this time, it’s structured in such a way that not only Kodai, but also Domon and Dessler enhance each other. We’re entering a turbulent time for each of them.
Interviewer: Mr. Hatanaka, please tell us about Ryusuke Domon, who makes his first appearance in this work.
Hatanaka: He’s a young man with a lot of anger inside of him, who sometimes puts other people to the test. What he’s angry about can be seen in the film, but I think he is a “fresh wind” to this work. Kodai’s encounter with him is also an opportunity for him to reevaluate what he’s carrying on his shoulders. Domon and I have very different things on our minds. But this is the first time I’ve been on board Yamato myself. So in that sense, I could really relate to it.
Fukui: Kodai and his friends are still in their 20s, but they’ve been working together for more than five years in the story. There is an atmosphere of mutual support. If it goes on, they’ll all get used to each other, and there’s nothing less interesting than a story where everyone fits in.
Domon steps into this, and without any insight, he says, “Why is it this way?” He’s the kind of character who tells you not to get complacent, so I wanted someone young for the part. In my mind, Domon and Mr. Hatanaka are almost the same person.
Hatanaka: Domon’s inability to think about the future is a danger, but his willingness to be direct about what he thinks is right. That encouraged me as an actor. At first, I felt that I was too far away from him because of the difference in our problems. But when I started to play him, I found him to be a very human young man, and I quickly came to like him. I’m sure everyone will like him.
Interviewer: I heard that the voice recording was done one by one, taking the Corona pandemic into consideration. How do you feel after finishing the recording?
Hatanaka: Before I heard the details, I was nervous about jumping into the midst of all the senior members, but even now, after finishing the recording, I don’t feel that way. I think that’s why I was able to play Domon without hesitation.
Fukui: Would you have acted differently if you had been with other cast members?
Hatanaka: It’s a hypothetical question, but I might have been more nervous. (Laughs) Because I was alone, I think I was able to express Domon’s anger and loneliness more deeply. I didn’t feel that it was more difficult to perform because I was alone.
Fukui: At the site, the cast members came and went, and we recorded ten people a day. That’s how it was. A lot of young people came in before and after you, didn’t they?
Hatanaka: That’s right, like Tomo Muranaka, who plays Miyako Kyotsuka in the same new crew as Domon. There was a time when she was recording right before me. She said, “I want to know what’s up with Domon,” so she stayed at the studio after her session. Domon’s lines at that time were only a few words, but she was willing to listen even to such a small line. When I realized she had such strong feelings about being involved in this project, I felt again that I must do my best.
Interviewer: You said you liked Domon when you played him, but did the recording go well?
Hatanaka: Of course, there were many difficult scenes, but Domon is a character who says he doesn’t understand something when he doesn’t understand it, so I hope these hesitations will become part of him.
Fukui: I felt strongly on the set that Domon was a role that only Hatanaka could play at this age in his career. His simple style of “non-acting” acting was a perfect fit. He didn’t need any major direction. Instead, I told him, “You don’t have to do it as is.”
Hatanaka: I’m aware that I’m not a dexterous type. I’m very happy that they appreciated that about me. It worked out that I delivered a spontaneous performance. I think Domon has become a character who is very close to me.
Interviewer: Were there any characters other than Domon that caught your attention?
Hatanaka: To avoid spoilers in the story, it’s Shigeru Sakamoto, who is a member of the same new crew as Domon! Sakamoto is just so cool!
Fukui: No matter how many times I’ve heard that, I don’t get it. (Laughs)
Hatanaka: One of the highlights of Yamato is the battle scenes, isn’t it? There’s a scene in the movie where you can see Sakamoto’s outstanding piloting skills as a member of the air force. That scene really caught my attention. I thought, “This guy is going down the ‘cool’ route!” (Laughs)
Interviewer: When I watch it, I also pay attention to Sakamoto’s battle scenes. (Laughs) I could understand that Domon is a character made possible by Mr. Hatanaka. What do you think of Domon’s position and role in the story?
Fukui: The role of Domon is that of a person who confronts you with things you don’t want to hear. In real life, nobody wants someone like that to come into the scene. But even though we don’t like it, we all know that not having people like that around is like dying a slow death. I’m sure everyone understands that.
Animation, which is made up of pictures, is the epitome of pictorial fiction. It’s possible to just string together what feels good. But Yamato is a story of a man who, after fighting with his enemy for a long time, came to the conclusion that, “We shouldn’t have fought, we should have loved each other.” In a sense, Yamato is a work that commits itself to reality. I wanted the remake to be a story that contrasted with reality without forgetting that spirit.
When I was working on 2205, the new Corona virus was not even a shadow, but now it’s reality. It exposes the sloppiness of adults, including myself. In such a case, it’s time for someone like Domon to give us a quick shove to deal with reality and the problems in front of us. In the end, thanks to Domon, I think I was able to create a story that represents the current world situation.
Interviewer: How did you feel when you saw the finished film?
Hatanaka: Should we go and help people in need right now? What does it mean to be hurt, and how should we get close to such people? There are many scenes in Yamato that force us to make choices about how we should be as human beings. I think it’s a sobering work in today’s world, where we tend to drift toward the easy or fun side. I feel a great passion for it.
Fukui: For myself, I can say that it has a handmade feel that I didn’t think was possible in the 21st century. I feel like it’s a “film.” Even though we didn’t use any film. (Laughs)
Interviewer: Finally, please give us a message for the theatrical screening on October 8.
Fukui: The new Corona virus is still rampant, so there is no guarantee that the screening will open on time. Some of you may feel uneasy about going to the theater. The on-demand version will be available on the same day as the screening. You can watch it in the comfort of your own home, so I hope you’ll give it a try.
Hatanaka: In today’s uncertain future due to the Corona pandemic, it’s a work with a very strong core. I don’t want to put it in simple words, but after watching it, I feel courageous. It’s full of universal themes. I hope people of my generation will also see this film.
Fukui: If you watch Age of Yamato, which is a rebuild of 2199 and 2202, it will be even better.
Yamato 2205 Part 1 Interview with Daisuke Ono & Tasuku Hatanaka
Domon has the same soul as Kodai, and he’s going down the same path
Published October 8 by Animate Times. See the original article here.
Yamato 2205, The New Voyage Part 1, the latest in the remake series that began with Yamato 2199, will start screening in theaters on October 8th! The film will be shown in two chapters.
Daisuke Ono, who plays the main character Susumu Kodai, and Tasuku Hatanaka, who plays Ryusuke Domon aboard Yamato for the first time, had their first conversation on this site! They talked about the appeal of the Yamato series, the highlights of the film, and even talked passionately about each other’s performances!
Wasn’t Space Battleship Yamato a groundbreaking work for the anime and TV industries?
Interviewer: Mr. Hatanaka, have you seen the Yamato series?
Hatanaka: I hadn’t seen it properly until I was involved in this project. I was a newbie. When I got involved, I started watching the series again and found that the themes were universal, and the content is heavy and serious.
The first series was aired on TV in 1974. Since it was on at golden time, 7:30pm on Sundays, wasn’t it revolutionary for the TV world in addition to the anime world? It’s not just about battles, but also about love and conflicts, and it asks the question, “What would you do if you had to make a big choice that would affect the future?” I was drawn to this work because it’s so bold and passionate. I think I understand why it’s loved by so many people and why it’s so appealing even after so many years.
Interviewer: Even though this work was created over 40 years ago, it doesn’t feel old even now. It never fades away.
Hatanaka: I think it’s because it delves into something that’s important and essential in every age, and the decision to broadcast such a grand anime at a time when families would watch it is amazing.
Interviewer: Mr. Ono, You’ve been playing the role of Susumu Kodai since Yamato 2199. Please tell us your impressions of the role so far.
Ono: Yamato is a pioneer and a milestone in Japanese SF anime. Susumu Kodai is a symbolic character of Yamato, so I felt great pressure when I decided to play him.
However, during the nine-year journey from 2199, the love between Kodai and Yuki Mori grew and deepened, and the bond with the crew deepened, and beyond that, there were the battles and interactions with Dessler and other aliens. I’ve had various experiences and grown up in many ways, but I have also grown older during this time. I’ve also changed in a good way. I feel as if I’m walking with Kodai.
So when I’m recording, I’m not just saying lines as I’m acting. I can say them in my own words. There were many moments when I felt that Kodai was expressing my feelings for me. And now, with the release of 2205 coming up, I feel like I’ve become one with Yamato and Kodai.
Interviewer: In the story, only six years have passed between 2199 and 2205. Was it difficult for you to play the role, since you grew up so fast and carry so much?
Ono: You’re right. That’s why I feel like I’m walking through life with him rather than playing him. In 2199 he was the tactical chief, and in 2202 he became the acting captain. In 2205, he becomes the new captain, and his position keeps changing. But the clear difference in 2205 is that he doesn’t get shaken and doesn’t hesitate.
When he was the acting captain, he was shaky, lost, anxious, and scared, and couldn’t make decisions. In the midst of all this, he had the support of his friends and feelings for Yuki. He managed to come this far, but when I looked at 2205 objectively, I thought, “Huh, he’s determined.” He’s become a captain in the true sense of the word. That’s because he grew up watching Captain Okita’s back, and he thinks he’s finally reached the point where he can touch it. It’s like parenthood. I was happy to think, “Oh, good, Kodai has finally become an adult.”
Interviewer: If you had to pick a memorable moment from 2199 to Age of Yamato, what would it be?
Ono: You’re asking me to pick one in that long span! I remember the scene in 2202 where Kodai decides not to choose when Zordar gives him a choice.
Ono: I thought, “That’s just like him.” His decision to not choose was based on a lot of feelings, such as kindness and stubbornness. Normally, that wouldn’t be allowed. It’s very Kodai to say that, and I think it’s one of his best scenes.
The most memorable scene for me personally is the scene in 2202 where he decides to follow Captain Hijikata’s orders. It’s not theoretical, but that scene has stayed in my mind for a long time. I am still aboard Yamato with that feeling. I will never forget it.
Hatanaka: The scene of Sanada’s speech in 2202 was very good. I couldn’t stop crying when I watched it.
Ono: Yeah. It’s good that Sanada said that. He’s been watching Kodai for a long time, hasn’t he? I cry every time I hear, “He is you.”
Hatanaka: I like that scene because I could see Sanada’s humanity and his words touched my heart.
Domon’s charm is his youth and immaturity; when I play Domon, he is always shaking
Interviewer: Ryusuke Domon, played by Mr. Hatanaka, is one of the new crew members aboard Yamato. Please tell us your impression of him, what you tried to do when you played him, and your direction.
Hatanaka: Domon has a lot on his mind, and he’s very distant from me. I’m trying to find the answers he’s looking for. I went in just saying, “I don’t know. I’ll just be Domon, always shaky.”
I think he was running through a lot of mental scenarios before he went aboard Yamato. He didn’t know how he would feel once he was there, or when he faced Kodai. He didn’t know himself. He didn’t understand what Kodai was like. A lot of emotions are swirling around, and it’s a bit dangerous because I don’t know where he’ll end up, but I think youth and immaturity are part of his charm.
Interviewer: Mr. Ono, please tell us your impressions of Domon and Hatanaka’s performance.
Ono: Domon is just like Tasuku Hatanaka. I can feel it even now when I listen to him. He analyzes the role very sincerely and works on it, and puts his emotions into it. So when I watch Domon, I can naturally picture Tasuku’s face. It doesn’t mean that the person inside has come out. It’s just that the way he goes straight for his passion, even though he doesn’t know what’s waiting for him, overlaps perfectly.
That’s why I think the casting is brilliant. I told [the writer] Mr. Fukui, “You cast Tasuku, didn’t you? It’s just perfect!” He was very happy and said, “That’s right.” He didn’t cast Tasuku with that intention from the beginning, he just trusted that Tasuku would do it. But it’s amazing that the sync rate is so high.
Kodai and myself overlap, and Kodai says what I’m thinking. It’s not that our thoughts are similar, it’s that they are exactly the same. And then, when I came here to start a new journey, the young people who had synced up to this point came in and pushed me up from below. Between my way of being an actor and Tasuku’s way of being an actor, I thought our relationship would also sync up. I was surprised and moved by this fateful casting.
Interviewer: Mr. Hatanaka what’s your impression of Susumu Kodai as a character, and what do you think of Mr. Ono’s performance?
Hatanaka: Because I hadn’t seen the original story, I had only a vague idea of Kodai as a hero. In the scenes where he made choices, he always seemed perfect, but through Mr. Ono’s acting, the humanity oozing out of him made me feel closer to him. Kodai’s moments of turmoil and anguish became clearer to me.
Listening to his passionate words make me think, “This is Susumu Kodai’s story.” There’s an overwhelming persuasiveness that makes me think, “I want to follow this person.” I can feel the real Susumu Kodai even now, with all the sway and heat.
Interviewer: The other day, I had a chance to talk to Koichi Yamadera, who plays Dessler. I asked him about Susumu Kodai, the character played by Mr. Ono, and he said, “As a person who played Susumu Kodai in the past [in Playstation games and Yamato Resurrection], I thought he did a brilliant job playing the role of Kodai, who lives a straightforward life despite his conflicts.” He also said that the dialogue between Kodai and Domon is one of the highlights of the film.
Ono: That’s like what Tasuku said earlier. Even though they express it differently, I think they appreciate the same things. It makes me very happy, and it’s a great honor as an actor.
Kodai was forced to make a choice at every hardship, and he had to face it alone. I’ve also felt great pressure when, for example, I have to speak properly at a stage greeting and had to convince myself, “You’re Susumu Kodai of Yamato, aren’t you? You have to make good points in the interview and speak strongly about the work.” Even though I was just thinking that to myself, I worried that I couldn’t find a way out.
But when I expressed my thoughts and feelings, the cast and staff who were around me as Yamato‘s crew supported me. When I realized, “Oh, I’m not doing this alone,” my mind suddenly started to link with Kodai. My doubts and anxieties are poured directly into him. Maybe that’s why you can feel my raw emotions. As an actor, I’ve never been so happy. I’m really happy to have played Susumu Kodai.
Interviewer: Please tell us about your impressions after reading the script and watching 2205 Part 1.
Hatanaka: From Domon’s point of view, there’s a ray of light in the first chapter. But he hasn’t found the answer yet. I was excited to see how far we have to go. I couldn’t fully grasp Domon’s feelings by just reading the script once. I had to re-read it many times.
Ono: Isn’t that what Fukui’s scripts are all about? You don’t say too much, you look between the lines, or at the images. It’s a comprehensive art form, because it has a lot of line turns that you can only understand after you think about them. Dessler and so on. I always think, “Just come out and tell me!”
Hatanaka: He doesn’t say it directly at all, so I get it from facial expressions and performance. I wonder, “Is this what you want me to convey?” It’s very human not to express it in words or attitude.
Ono: Fukui’s scripts demand a wide range of expression from the actors. I think Dessler could only be done by Mr. Yamadera. He has experience and skill, so he can speak without hesitation while putting his thoughts into it. In fact, it’s amazing how much comes out even when he speaks plainly.
And even after watching the first chapter, you can’t predict what fate awaits you in the future. Even though everyone is anxious and scared, they’re still fighting with inspiration and spinning their words.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t miss a thing while weaving the three generations together: Domon and the others who just boarded the ship, Kodai and those who have been on the Yamato since the beginning, and the generation of Captain Okita. It’s just like the generation that watched the original works, the new Yamato generation from 2199, and the future Yamato generation like Tasuku. They are all included. So I think people of all generations will feel that this is a story about “our ship.”
Domon’s actions make me want to do more!
Interviewer: It’s also the biggest crisis that Garmillas, Iscandar, Dessler, and Starsha have faced.
Ono: The long-running story of Garmillas and Iscandar is also a point of interest. I thought I had finished my journey with 2202, but I realized that there were still things I had left undone. Before I go on a journey, I always think, “Why do I have to go on another journey?” Because it’s not easy, and it’s definitely hard.
Hatanaka: It’s going to be hard this time, too.
Interviewer: The Yamato series, new or old, gives viewers a taste of despair. It’s the same in this work.
Hatanaka: I also cried when I saw it, and this time it’s also about family love. I feel that the depth is increasing.
Ono: I like Yabu’s story. I almost cried.
Hatanaka: Same here.
Ono: He appeared in 2199, but I never thought he was alive and had a family.
Hatanaka: He’s carrying a lot of weight and I understand why he did what he did. Each character carries various things on their shoulders, and they clash with each other over what they believe in. It’s hard to say what’s right or wrong, so it’s a challenge to perform them.
Ono: Domon and Yabu are in a similar position, and I thought their conversation was very Yamato-like. On the Earth side, there were questions like, “Who is the enemy? and “Is that person really an ally?” There are places where it is not monolithic.
Hatanaka: But Susumu Kodai makes it happen in the end! Cool!
Ono: Come to think of it, the conversations between Domon and Kodai don’t have many words, do they?
Hatanaka: I think Kodai shows us a lot of things with his back.
Interviewer: Kodai’s way of dealing with Domon seems to overlap with his own former self.
Ono: There is a similarity in the reason why they both came to Yamato, isn’t there? Domon has the same soul as Kodai, and he walks the same path. When I look at Domon, I can’t help but grin. “It’s true! I used to be like that too. Good, do more!”
Interviewer: Finally, please tell us about the highlights of this work.
Hatanaka: I think that even people who are new to Yamato like me can get into the story from the new crew’s point of view and I’m sure you can relate to it. I’m sure you’ll leave the theater with a passion after watching it. We are living in an age where Corona makes the future uncertain, but I believe that this film will give a strong push to all living people. I want you to experience its passion. I’d like people who have never seen Yamato to see it.
Ono: I’ve been traveling with Yamato for nine years, and I’m probably feeling the happiest right now. I think this is the time to share the power of entertainment and the positive driving force of Yamato toward the future with everyone. I’m happy to be able to deliver the title The New Voyage right now.
I’d like to thank everyone who has loved Yamato over the years, from Director Yutaka Izubuchi of 2199 to Director Nobuyoshi Habara of 2202, and those who saw each work that led up to where Director Kenji Yasuda is now. And to those crew members who will be responsible for the future. Please board this ship together so we can ride Yamato into the future. Let’s start our journey here!