Koichi Yamadera interviews, October 2021

The week prior to Yamato 2205 Chapter 1’s premiere was filled with cast and staff interviews. Since the film is as much about Dessler as the other main characters, special attention went to his voice actor, Koichi Yamadera. Collected here are four different interviews, all published on October 6.

Koichi Yamadera: After ten years of playing Dessler, digging deeper through the joy and pressure of Yamato 2205

Published by Mantan Web (see the original post here)

Yamato 2205, the latest installment of the popular Space Battleship Yamato anime series, premieres October 8. This is a new work in the remake series that started with Yamato 2199 in 2012. In the teaser visual of 2205, the hero Susumu Kodai is not shown, but Dessler is depicted on a grand scale, and his story is deeply explored.

Dessler has been played by popular voice actor Koichi Yamadera for about ten years since 2199. We asked Mr. Yamadera about his thoughts on Dessler, how he got involved with the project, and how he delves deep into the story of Dessler in 2205.

The rewards of Dessler

Dessler is a popular character in Yamato along with the main character Susumu Kodai and heroine Mori Yuki. Masato Ibu, who played Dessler in the first TV anime, has a strong image, but in 2022 Yamadera will have been playing Dessler for ten years. What kind of presence does the character of Dessler have for him?

“He’s an important character for me. I’m surprised that it’s been ten years, but there’s always been the Dessler by Masato Ibu. I wanted to follow the Dessler created by the staff and Mr. Ibu as much as possible. However, in the remakes people with love for Yamato are trying to create something new. If I don’t play him as a new Dessler, it won’t make sense, so I put my heart and soul into it.”

Dessler is a very popular character, so playing him is “a lot of hard work,” Yamadera says.

“I inherited the role from a great person, and I feel pressure all the time. But it’s worth it. I’m glad I’m the one who gets to say such wonderful lines! There is nothing better than being given a role that is worth playing. In this series, Dessler is portrayed more deeply. I am once again very grateful to be cast in the part.”

The Impact of 2205: one word and you’re limping

In the teaser video of 2205, the main character Susumu Kodai is not seen. It’s a story about Dessler as well as Kodai and a new character, Ryusuke Domon.

“Looking back at the original, I had anticipated the story to some extent. But I was shocked by the way it unfolded. I’m glad to see him play an active role, but there were many scenes that reduced me to the point of limping even with just one word. Kodai is always carrying something on his back, and Dessler does no less.”

Because of the Corona pandemic, it was difficult to record with a large group, so Yamadera went to the recording and faced Dessler alone.

“When I was practicing at home, I would get impressed and think, ‘I’m going to say this one word like this!’ But even if I thought ‘OK!,’ it would be meaningless if the audience didn’t understand it. I had no choice but to ask the staff to make a decision. On the other hand, when I get an instant OK, it makes me feel uneasy.”

“This time, I was recording alone because of the Corona pandemic. When I’m with others, I don’t like to say much because I don’t want the recording to be delayed and start over. But since I was alone, I said, ‘Can I take that challenge again?’ There were many lines that I re-recorded.”

Dessler’s depth is not limited to charisma

Dessler is deeply explored in the series, thanks in large part to Mr. Fukui, who composed and wrote it. Talking about Mr. Fukui’s scripts, Mr. Yamadera said, “It’s never easy to play the role. But it’s more fun that way.”

“I was conscious of charisma at first, but the character is so complex that he cannot be expressed by that alone. Of course, I can only do this if I understand what Dessler is thinking deep inside. I thought that if I just tried to deliver a good surface performance, I would never be able to convey the message. The recording time wasn’t very long, but I put so much effort into it that I was exhausted. Every pitch I threw was as heavy as a pitcher holding down a ninth inning, and I felt a level of fatigue that was not caused by the number of pitches I threw.”

In Yamato 2205, you will discover a new side of Dessler. What are the highlights of 2205, according to Mr. Yamadera?

I can’t give too many details, but I can say that Garmillas is going to be in trouble and the battle is going to be spectacular. I strongly feel that Yamato is a drama of life. I hope you will experience it. I’m moved not only by Dessler but also by the other characters. Yabu and Domon are also important.”

In other words, you will also be able to enjoy this as an ensemble drama.

The drama of life is depicted – Yamato 2205 Koichi Yamadera interview

Published by Web Newtype (see the original post here)

Yamato 2205 Chapter 1 will premiere in theaters nationwide on Friday, October 8. The story is based on the TV special The New Voyage, broadcast in 1979, and is a remake work that also incorporates elements that came after that.

It takes place three years after the previous work, Yamato 2202. Yamato‘s new captain Susumu Kodai and his crew are about to embark on a new journey in a turbulent era. With the film just around the corner, we spoke with Koichi Yamadera, who plays Abelt Dessler.

Interviewer: Please tell us about your impressions of the script for Yamato 2205.

Yamadera: This series is a remake, so I had a rough idea of how the story would unfold before I read it, but the content was so shocking that it surpassed that. The beginning of the story starts with Dessler’s introductory line. I thought, “I’m starting to sound like a narrator,” but as I continued reading I realized, “So that’s what it is!” Actually, I’ve already finished recording the second chapter, so there are a lot of things going through my mind that I can’t talk about here. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Dessler has been featured prominently in the teaser visuals and key visuals that have been released.

Yamadera: The teaser visual has Dessler with the catchphrase, Still, to “live?” I have it as a background image on my smartphone. I’m glad to have an active role in 2205, but there are so many things going on (with Dessler) that I was sometimes taken aback during the recording. There were times when a single word in a line was enough to make me feel exhausted.

Interviewer: Dessler’s past was deeply depicted in 2202, wasn’t it?

Yamadera: Not to mention 2199. I felt again that I had to perform with 2202 in mind. Especially after what happened to Ranhart (Klaus Keyman). I had to do my best for Garmillas and for my late nephew.

Interviewer: Did your impression of Dessler change after this recording?

Yamadera: I’ve been playing Dessler for a long time, and I’ve always been curious about him. I’ve wondered how strong his feelings are toward Iscandar and Starsha. In 2205, we see the depth of his feelings. Dessler’s feelings of “what is Iscandar” and “what is Starsha” lead directly to his feelings of “what is Garmillas.”

Dessler always acts like he knows everything, but of course there are things he doesn’t know yet, things that are new to him. I was also shocked by that. Yamato is an ensemble drama about Susumu Kodai and many other people’s growth. I felt that Dessler is no exception, although his case is a little different from growth…

Interviewer: Did you have any direction in the recording?

Yamadera: They answer me when I ask questions, but basically, I’ve always been left to my own devices when I work on Yamato. The script is filled with emotional subtleties. I read the script and act as I feel.

Interviewer: The first screening of Yamato 2199 was in 2012, so it will be ten years next year. What kind of presence does Dessler have for you?

Yamadera: He is one of my most important characters. I’m surprised to hear that it will be ten years next year. (Laughs) I would like to thank all the staff who worked on the old series and Masato Ibu who played Dessler at that time. I’ve always wanted to follow that as much as possible from the beginning.

However, the current series is being created by people who have a deep love for Yamato, with the intention of creating a new Yamato. It would be meaningless if we couldn’t create a new Dessler. It is always difficult to take over a role from a great person, not just in this film. I can’t help but feel a lot of pressure. The reason I’m able to keep going is because the work is so interesting and rewarding. I often think to myself, “I’m glad someone else didn’t take the role in which I can deliver such good lines.” (Laughs)

There is no better time to be a voice actor than when you get to play a role that’s worth playing. Of course, it’s a great joy to be appreciated by everyone who sees it, but first and foremost, it’s fun to be able to play a role like this. Dessler is a character with many challenges.

I was impressed with 2205 when I was practicing at home (in preparation for recording). There were many lines that made me think, “I’m going to hang my hat on this one word.” But it would mean nothing if it isn’t communicated to the viewer, so when I get an unexpectedly easy OK from the recording staff, it sometimes makes me uncomfortable.

When I’m recording with other actors, I don’t like to ask the people I’m involved with to redo things, so I don’t say anything as long as the staff is okay with it. However, in this work, considering the Corona situation, they recorded only one actor at a time. If this was the case, I wouldn’t be bothering any other actors. For parts I was particular about, I’d say, “If the next person isn’t here yet, can I have one more go at this line?”

Interviewer: Please tell us your impressions after watching the film.

Yamadera: The Gatlantis led by Zordar in 2202 was terrifying. But this time, Dezarium is also a formidable enemy. In the film, we see their Dezarium hammer, which is a terrible weapon. Although no one says the name of the weapon in the film, I couldn’t help but remember it from the script. The new threat is depicted in both sound and images. I hope that everyone will see it on the big screen.

But that’s not all. The sound of the Dezarium hammer is just like the didgeridoo played by GOMA. It makes you wonder, “How can I make this sound?” It left a deep impression on me. I feel like trying to make such a sound with my mouth someday. (Laughs)

Interviewer: Finally, please give a message to the fans for the premiere on October 8th.

Yamadera: There is a fierce battle, but I think Yamato is a human drama, a drama of life. I say that from Dessler’s perspective, but the others are also amazing, including Kodai, Yabu played by Cho, and the first appearance of Domon played by Tasuku Hatanaka!

Koichi Yamadera: Changes in the voice acting industry are “scary” at age 60

I’m surprised at myself that I’m jealous of young people’s success.

Published by Oricon (see the original post here)

Interview and text by Takashi Tokita

Koichi Yamadera is a voice actor who has appeared in a number of famous anime and has played a myriad of characters with his voice. He has been playing the role of Dessler since Yamato 2199 started in 2012, and including his previous role as Kodai in Yamato Resurrection, he has been involved in the Yamato series for over 20 years.

He will be reprising his role as Abelt Dessler in Yamato 2205 Chapter 1 to premiere on October 8. We asked Yamadera about his thoughts on the film, as well as how he feels about being a voice actor now that he is 60 years old.

“I was about to graduate from anime
in the first year of junior high school.”
The encounter with Yamato
that changed his life

Interviewer: You have been involved in the series for about 20 years, since you took on the role of Kodai as the successor to Kei Tomiyama.

Yamadera: There aren’t many people who have been involved in the series in so many different ways, except for the original work. I’m really grateful for that.

When the Yamato TV series started, I was in the first year of junior high school, and I thought it was time for me to graduate from anime. At that time, there were very few anime for adults, and it was considered to be for children. I thought that if I watched anime, I would be called childish, but then I thought, “What the heck is this?”

When it came to Yamato and Lupin III, I recognized that they were reaching and stretching as anime. I was a fan of Yamato, which I watched with excitement every week when I was an impressionable junior high school student. Looking back now, it’s just amazing.

Interviewer: Space Battleship Yamato was the center of the first anime boom in the 1970s. As a voice actor, what are your thoughts on this series, which has lasted for almost 50 years?

Yamadera: It was called a social phenomenon, wasn’t it? I’m surprised that it’s still going strong.

I was given the opportunity to inherit the role of Kodai from Kei Tomiyama, whom I respected based what I had seen when I was a child. I was surprised when I was asked to work on Resurrection, but since it is a work with a long history, there are a lot of opinions out there.

I didn’t want to be too conscious of the core fans. But that doesn’t mean you can make something completely different. It’s very difficult. There are things that can be depicted because the times have changed, and there are things that will never change. I have always felt that everyone has inherited Yamato with love. If 2199 hadn’t been a success, the remake series wouldn’t have continued. I think it’s a great thing.

Interviewer: This film depicts a new voyage of the Yamato crew, but also of Dessler in a very impressive way.

Yamadera: In the 2202 series, Dessler’s past was revealed. I was like, “I didn’t know that!” I was surprised. I thought he was born a cold-hearted man. But it turns out that he was doing all of this with his heart set on saving Garmillas. So I’ve been playing this role with the sense that he’s been carrying something big on his shoulders since he was young. Especially this time, he’s also carrying the feelings of his nephew Ranhart (Klaus Keyman) from the previous series. Dessler made a promise to him. He’s been keeping that in his heart for a long time, so I feel like I’ve got even more to carry.

Dessler and Masato Ibu, 1979

Interviewer: In the original series, Masato Ibu played the role of Dessler. How did you feel about taking over the role in the remake?

Yamadera: Yamato has been popular for many years, so there are both long-time supporters and newcomers. At first, I was conscious of what people who had heard Mr. Ibu’s Dessler would think. That’s all I was thinking about. I thought that I had to be Mr. Ibu myself. Dessler’s face and story would change, so I said I would do it, but I always thought that I would be compared to Mr. Ibu.

There was a lot of pressure, but once I started, I just had to face the work in front of me and think about how to play the role. It’s all about how much quality you can make out of what you are given. I don’t worry about my surroundings so much anymore. The pressure is still the same, though.

Interviewer: Now, your role as Dessler is widely accepted.

Yamadera: For voice actors, it’s all about the encounter with the work, isn’t it? The first step is to meet the character, and the second step is to show your ability. It’s a great pleasure to be able to give a voice to a line that’s really worthwhile and that makes your heart tremble. So, it was great to find such a work. I’m glad I didn’t get scared and turn it down because of Mr. Ibu’s Dessler.

“Oh, the times have changed.”
The changes in the voice acting industry
that left Yamadera feeling “left behind”

Interviewer: What kind of influence did your predecessors, including Mr. Ibu, have on you?

Yamadera: I’ve come this far by imitating my seniors, not only in Yamato but in many other works. If there’s a senior I love, even if I don’t get to perform, I definitely want to watch them perform in the studio. If there’s someone I think is good, I always try to steal something from them. I’m still trying to steal from people I like.

I was influenced a lot by the way they worked, and I often went out for drinks with them. My seniors always told me, “Don’t stretch yourself thin.” “Don’t make a mistake even if it sells.” “Don’t get cocky with your manager.” I was told a lot of things about acting and everyday life. I guess I was about to get cocky. (Laughs)

Interviewer: In this film, a new cast joins Yamato for the first time. As you have worked with a wide range of voice actors, from veterans to young actors Do you feel that the profession of voice acting has changed over the years?

Yamadera: I feel it a lot now. I used to just say, “Basically, it’s the same.” But recently I started to think, “What?” It’s like, “Oh, the times have changed.” I feel like I need to work harder. I’ve been trying my best to do anything that comes my way, even if it’s not voice acting. But this is a different kind of broadening.

It’s amazing how you can gather so many people through events and concerts on social networking sites. Nowadays, the power of individual communication is becoming more important. I used to be the type that said it didn’t matter, but then I realized that I couldn’t say that either. That’s why I often tell people that they shouldn’t make fun of social networking sites. I think it would be scary if people started saying, “Yama-chan is good, but this voice actor has a million followers. So I’ll go over there.”

At the age of 60, he’s still a “youngster.”
“I want to do this until I die.” Thoughts on voice acting

Interviewer: You turned 60 years old this year. What do you think about your voice acting career, including the Yamato series?

Yamadera: We don’t get royalties for our work. Even if people praise us for our old work, we don’t get a penny. So you have to be constantly working. (Laughs) I want to do a lot of good work in the future, and I enjoy doing it. That’s the purpose of my life. Besides, there’s the fact that I still have a mortgage, so I have to work. (Laughs)

But I didn’t expect to be thinking like this at the age of 60. I used to think that I should focus a little more and just do the work I wanted to do. But there are still so many seniors around. There are many jobs that I feel I didn’t do well enough. I still have a lot to learn.

Interviewer: How long do you want to continue working?

Yamadera: I would like to work until I die. I have to take care of my health all the time, and I want to give a good performance. I don’t want to rush too much, so I want to go at a good pace. It might be best to fade away little by little. I don’t know what will happen in five or ten years, but I want to do as much as I can.

I am already 60 years old, but sometimes I feel like a young man. I wanted to be more mature mentally. I’m surprised at myself when I’m jealous of young people’s success. (Laughs)

Yamato 2205 interview with Koichi Yamadera

Published by Animate Times (see the original post here)

What is the appeal of this film that makes you think, “I’ll bet on the emotion of this scene on this one word”?

Yamato 2205 Chapter 1, the latest in the series that began with Yamato 2199, will premiere in theaters on October 8! The film will be shown in two chapters. We asked Koichi Yamadera, who plays Abelt Dessler, the main antagonist of Kodai Susumu, to introduce the film and talk about its highlights.

Pursuing a new image of Dessler while following in the footsteps of his predecessor Masato Ibu

Interviewer: Yamato 2199 was first released in theaters in April 2012, and this year marks the 10th anniversary of its release. What kind of presence does Dessler have for you?

Yamadera: My honest feeling is, “I didn’t realize how long I’ve been working on it.” Because of the performance of Masato Ibu, who played Dessler in the original, he appeared as a total villain at first, but he had a different atmosphere from previous villains. It’s not unusual for villains to become popular in various films, but I think Dessler is special. From the middle of the series, he wasn’t a villain anymore. I think it was the work of the staff and the performance of Mr. Ibu that created this image of Dessler. I’ve been playing the role with the intention of following it as much as possible.

It’s not a character that I created from scratch. Since the series restarted with 2199, people with love for Yamato have created a new work, so I’ve been playing the role with a lot of energy, thinking that it should be established as a new Dessler. It’s not easy! It’s hard to take over from the greats. (Laughs) It’s the same with my other works, but I feel pressure all the time when I’m recording. 

Interviewer: How were you able to overcome this pressure and play the role so far?

Yamadera: Because the work is interesting and rewarding. I’m always thinking, “That’s such a wonderful line. I’m glad someone else didn’t get Dessler.” There is nothing more fun for a voice actor than playing a role that’s worth playing. I’m happy when people see my work and think it’s good. It’s fun to be able to say such great lines on the site, and to be able to do such performing.

I was impressed even when I was practicing at home before the recording of 2205. There were many scenes where I thought, “I’ll bet on this one word.” But even if I thought I did the best I could, it would be meaningless if the audience couldn’t understand it. So I had to ask for the staff’s judgment, but when they gave me an unexpectedly easy OK, I got worried and asked, “Are you sure that’s OK? Isn’t this an important line?” I pressed it and they’d say, “We know! It was fine! It was fine!”

When I’m recording with other people, I don’t want them to have to start over, so I keep my mouth shut when I get the OK. But this time I was recording by myself, so I asked, “If the next person isn’t here yet, can I try again? It may not change, but I think it’s very important.”

There was a lot of that. It would have been nice to record while feeling each other’s presence, but since that was not possible, I was rather particular about it.

Interviewer: How was it, recording by yourself?

Yamadera: It’s important to listen to the other person’s line, so I was glad that this was not my first recording. But Dessler doesn’t consult with anyone, he thinks and says things on his own. I think it was fortunate that Dessler is a character that isn’t usually affected by what someone else says. (Laughs) When I talk to people from Garmillas, I don’t have much of a conversation because I’m always drawing conclusions. (Laughs)

However, I’ve been greatly influenced by Kodai and the rest of the Yamato crew. I’d like to be able to hear their lines directly.

Interviewer: Now that you’ve played the role this long, is there anything that you’ve discovered or reconfirmed about Dessler?

Yamadera: One thing that has stuck with me is his feelings for Iscandar. He’s always said that he loves Starsha, but now that I’ve been in 2205, I understand why, and it’s more complicated than I imagined.

There were things that Dessler didn’t know, so I learned a lot along with him. There were many changes in directors and staff from 2199 to 2205. How much did they calculate, how did they expand it, how was it interpreted? It’s amazing that you can inherit the baton and make it work! And I realized once again that Dessler is a kind and compassionate person. And the magnitude and sadness of what he has to bear.

I was impressed by Dessler’s brother and his relationship with Keyman

Interviewer: If you had to pick one moment from Yamato 2199 to Age of Yamato, what would it be?

Yamadera: It’s all about Dessler. There are a lot of moments that were not included in the previous works. Also, 2199 was the first time that the full name Abelt Dessler was used. I was impressed by the gradual revelation of why Dessler became the way he did. I was especially surprised that he had an older brother (Matteus), and his relationship with Keyman (Ranhart Dessler) was also significant. This is also depicted in 2205. In addition, I was surprised to learn about the relationship with Starsha of Iscandar.

We’ve already seen in the previous series that Dessler became cold-hearted in order to save Garmillas. I was surprised to learn what he was carrying on his back. Was Dessler playing a cold-hearted character or was he really doing it from the bottom of his heart? It was difficult to grasp his true intentions, and I’ve been very happy to delve so carefully into Dessler and play him for so long.

Interviewer: Please tell us about your impressions of Susumu Kodai, and Daisuke Ono’s performance.

Yamadera: As a person with advanced Kodai experience, I’ve always thought he played the role brilliantly. (Mr. Yamadera previously played Susumu Kodai in the first Yamato Playstation game in 1999 and in Yamato Resurrection in 2009.)

In 2202, he was left behind in a higher dimension with Yuki, and was saved by the decision of the people of Earth. However, in this film, which is a continuation, Kodai has taken on another big burden and lives a straightforward life despite his conflicts. There were many lines that really hit me. For example, the scene that tells young people “What is Yamato?”

Interviewer: In 2199, Kodai was still a young man. But in 2205, as a captain, he has to lead the crew and train the newcomers.

Yamadera: I think they’ve done a great job of portraying Kodai’s growth and development. In this film, he’s watching over the new crew members as he sees his past self in them. I think the interaction between Kodai and Domon is one of the highlights of the film.

Interviewer: Please tell us your impressions of reading the script for Yamato 2205 Chapter 1.

Yamadera: This is a reboot of the original Space Battleship Yamato series, so I had expected the story and development to some extent, but I was still shocked when I read the script for 2205. It starts with Dessler’s long introduction. I thought, “Could it be that I’ve become a narrator?” (Laughs) As I read on, I realized, “So that’s what it is!” And then I found out. I was really impressed with the depth and how amazing it is.

Interviewer: Looking back, in the very first teaser visual that was released, Dessler was alone. The catchphrase of Still, “To live?” was also shocking.

Yamadera: In the main visual released now, there are three people with Kodai and Domon. But I have the first one saved on my smart phone, and I put it on the screen so that it cuts off the last part of the catchphrase. I often look at it when I feel depressed. (Laughs)

I’m glad that Dessler is active in 2205. But there is so much going on. There was a scene in the recording that took my heart away, and there were times when even a single line was enough to make me go limp.

Interviewer: I’ve seen the old works, but I’ve enjoyed the new series from 2199 on because it freshly incorporates new elements and interpretations.

Yamadera: I think it’s a historic work, the result of the ideas and efforts of all the directors and staff from 2199 onward. For those who are new to the Yamato series, it’s easier to keep organized in your head. It’s easy to understand. I think people will enjoy watching it all the way through, including 2205.

But throughout the remake series, there were a lot of unimaginable developments, weren’t there? If you’ve seen 2202, I don’t think you’ll be surprised by anything any more. (Laughs) But this time, too, there is an amazing development waiting for us.

It will be difficult to satisfy all the fans, both the originals and the new ones. But now that I’ve finished playing 2205 to the end, I feel that I understand the answers to various questions. “So that’s why Dessler is like this!”

Interviewer: Please tell us your impressions after watching the film.

Yamadera: I think it’s another great one. The enemy Zordar that appeared in 2202 was incredibly strong, and really scary with the power of Hideaki Tezuka’s voice and sound. I wondered, “Could there be a stronger enemy than this?” But then even more powerful enemies appear, including a terrifying weapon called the Dezarium hammer. The sound of it working was striking and left a great impression on me.

It’s the fruit of the love and effort of many staff members. I hope you will enjoy the wonderful images and sounds at the theater, and I would like to experience them there too.

Interviewer: Please tell us about the highlights and points of interest of this film.

Yamadera: Yamato and the other mecha are amazing as always, and the battles are even more spectacular. But the Yamato series is still a human drama, and it makes you feel that it’s a drama of life.

I speak from Dessler’s point of view, but there are other characters who move my heart. In addition to Susumu Kodai, there is also Ryusuke Domon, who makes his first appearance in this story. I was also moved by Yabu.

In the first chapter, we get to know Dessler’s thoughts and new facts. In the second chapter, you will see Dessler as you’ve never seen him before. I hope you’ll take the time to see this first chapter. I think it will resonate with those who have never seen the Yamato series.

What do I think after watching this first chapter? I feel like, “Thank you Yamato.” I think you’ll be shocked in many ways, so please see it with your own eyes.

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