Daisuke Ono interviews, 2205 Chapter 2

As part of the promotional campaign for Yamato 2205 Chapter 2, Daisuke Ono (the voice of Susumu Kodai) sat for a series of media interviews that were published on various entertainment sites. Four of those interviews are presented here, two of which feature him in conversation with Director Kenji Yasuda.

Yamato 2205: Daisuke Ono and Director Kenji Yasuda talk about their trust in each other

Published by Mantan Web on February 4 (see the original post here)

Yamato 2205, the latest work in the popular Space Battleship Yamato anime series, premieres on February 4. The 2205 series is joined by new staff members. The film is directed by Kenji Yasuda, known for his work on Macross Delta and Aquarion EVOL.

Daisuke Ono, who plays the main character Susumu Kodai, has also starred in Somali and the Forest Spirit and Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, both of which were directed by Yasuda, and the two have great trust in each other. For this interview, they both discussed their thoughts on Space Battleship Yamato.

Two men of destiny!
Daisuke Ono’s sense of security

Interviewer: What is your impression of each other?

Ono: We worked together on Somali and the Forest Spirit and Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens before Yamato 2205. I felt it was fate that I could work with Director Yasuda again. Director Yasuda is not from the generation that was directly hit by Yamato, as I am.

Yasuda: That’s right.

Ono: It feels the same as when I first encountered Yamato. I grew up watching works created by people who admired it. There was pressure at first. It’s a great work, and it was heavy. But as my journey progressed, I made more and more friends, and everyone told me we could make a Yamato for today! Director Yasuda is passionate, and he’s been a great help to me. Another passionate colleague is on board this ship! I’m very happy about that.

Yasuda: He performed in Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens in Hakata dialect with great difficulty, and as an emotionless golem in Somali and the Forest Spirit. Kodai also has a lot to deal with. His position in 2205 is different from the past. But I had no worries about the new Kodai. I drew some storyboards with the image of Mr. Ono and the past Kodai in my head. It was very helpful and reassuring to have him in the role.

Ono: I’m relieved to hear that story now. (Laughs) It’s not easy to talk about this kind of thing. Director Yasuda didn’t give me any instructions like, “Please do this!” He left it up to me. There was a lot of work to do, and if he entrusted me with this project, I was going to sit up straight and take it on. There was a strong feeling that I had to do right by him.

Yasuda: Kodai is a difficult character. He is the lead, but he doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. I think it was very difficult for Mr. Ono because he had to use his eyes, suppress his emotions, and keep a lot of things inside.

Ono: There were many scenes with prominent facial expressions. You can see it right there in the visuals. We don’t use only our voices to express emotional movements. If you do, sometimes it can be a mismatch.

Yasuda: For example, in some scenes between Kodai and Yuki in the first chapter, they’re not quite meshing, but you can tell they understand each other by how she glances at him, and how his eyes are downcast to show his emotion.

Ono: I think that’s what Director Yasuda’s Yamato is all about. We can see the subtlety of emotions beyond the dialogue through facial expressions. When I watch it again, it really touches me.

Yasuda: After Somali and the Forest Spirit and Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, I started to create films in such a way that we can understand the emotions of the characters in the lighting. Ramens has a strong suspense element, and I paid attention to lighting in order to create sharpness in a scene. For Yamato as well, I thought lighting could create a new way of presentation. This may be one of the reasons for the change in atmosphere.

Ono: There’s also the flow of the past.

Yasuda: I was prepared to be optimistic about it, but it was not to be. (Laughs) I learned something new.

Ono: I’m in the same position. When I was working on 2199, they said, “It’s OK to make him Daisuke Ono’s Kodai.” But that’s not how it works.

Yasuda: Isn’t it rare to find a character who has been around for such a long time?

Ono: Yes, it is. Kodai is always Kodai, isn’t he? In 2199, he’s troubled by many problems, but he rushes forward with his characteristic recklessness. He was most passionate in 2199. In 2202, he struggles in the midst of his conflicts. In 2205 he has gone through that, and I’m ready for it.

Yasuda: I was once told, “This Kodai is not ‘Kodai-kun’ any more.” [Translator’s note: this invokes Yuki’s way of speaking to him as her loved one.] I wasn’t really conscious of it, but from the beginning, I had the image of “Captain Kodai” in mind when I created this work. I was able to depict him without blurring the fact that he had become “Captain Kodai.” Ryusuke Domon carries the crazy stuff.

Ono: 2205 has some craziness, but it’s also calm in places.

Interviewer: Director Yasuda, what is appealing about Mr. Ono from your point of view?

Yasuda: There are no obvious answers in acting, so I was searching for answers during the voice recording. He has a lot to offer, and I feel comfortable with him. I hope to work with him again in the future!

Ono: Thank you very much! I’m glad to hear that. Expressing something that you don’t otherwise experience is one of the most enjoyable aspects of voice acting. When I work with Director Yasuda, there are many roles that overlap with my own feelings, and Kodai is no exception. I play the part as I am, so I can pull back where I need to. But what about when I need to add something? The visuals are there to take care of that.

Yasuda: When something unexpected came out in the performance, I sometimes added it to the visuals. The scenes in which emotions explode were left up to me. I adjusted the facial expressions here and there. So the sync rate may have gone up.

Ono: Yes, the sync rate definitely went up. Director Yasuda’s works have an aesthetic of subtraction. The places where it pulls back and pushes forward are very precise. That’s why my performance looks as good as it does. He brings out the best in us.

A New Yamato! The importance of music

Interviewer: Did you have a strong sense of creating a “new Yamato?”

Yasuda: Yamato has been around for a long time, but we also need to attract new fans. I was conscious of the need for a faster tempo, but would the Yamato music match the up-tempo visuals? I was worried about that. However, when the music is played, it just becomes Space Battleship Yamato. In that sense, I wanted the audience to feel the new tempo while also being surprised to hear the nostalgic music playing.

Ono: The fleet moves aggressively and speedily. It’s cool, and it doesn’t feel out of place in Yamato. The speedy movement adds a sense of tension. The music of Yamato flows with it there.

Music is important! If we’d made everything new, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this effect. It’s something that has been passed down from generation to generation. It doesn’t fight the current technology at all, but rather goes hand in hand to create a good effect.

Yasuda: The use of music in film has evolved over the years, and we were able to make it work.

Ono: I also feel the weight of the fleet.

Yasuda: It’s difficult. The original work was hand-drawn, and it has a unique texture. You can’t lie about that in CG. Because it’s in space, if ships in the distance looked hazy, the atmospheric perspective would be a lie. In some places, I used sunlight to keep the image from looking too solid. There was a burning star nearby, so I used it as light.

However, the Dezarium fleet is black. It would be invisible in space, so I used starlight on it. I added more gas, and it turned out to be a good direction.

Interviewer: The second chapter also depict various kinds of love.

Ono: The bond between people is at the root of the story, isn’t it? Life is precious because it’s limited. It’s a matter of course, but we tend to forget that. The relationship between Starsha and Dessler was heart-wrenching.

Kodai is still troubled, but he takes a step back. Domon isn’t like Kodai, but still pulls him back. I felt once again how Yamato depicts human drama. We could talk for hours about the kinds of love depicted in Yamato. I think the story of 2205 tells us what it means to live on after a long journey.

Yasuda: Various characters support each other, but Dessler and Starsha are the main points in 2205. Starsha is a mysterious princess and Dessler is ruthless and silent. But they’re both surprisingly expressive. Their emotions, which they have been suppressing, come spilling out.

There are many harsh situations, but when I was storyboarding, I tried to portray them as human beings. It’s a work with many pillars. Domon and Yabu are also there.

Ono: Various kinds of love are depicted in the film. There is also the theme of passing things on to the next generation. I thought so when I saw the younger characters.

Tetsuya Kitano is in Kodai’s position! Yasuo Nambu is on board Asuka! He must have moved up in the world. Young people who will lead the next generation are chasing after each other. I was moved by this, as it overlaps with my own life as an actor.

It’s the passionate performances of the voice actors and the meticulous art that make Yamato 2205 such a wonderful work. I hope you can feel their passion.

The lead actor and director of Yamato 2205 talk about The New Voyage

A conversation with Daisuke Ono and Kenji Yasuda

Published by Animage Plus on February 5 (see the original post here)

The shocking truth about Iscandar and Garmillas is revealed at the end of a fierce battle against an unimaginable enemy…!

Yamato 2205 depicts a new voyage of Yamato led by Susumu Captain Kodai. Following the first chapter, Take Off in October 2021, the second chapter, Starsha premiered on February 4.

Following Yamato 2199 directed by Yutaka Izubuchi and Yamato 2202 directed by Nobuyoshi Habara, the director of this film is Kenji Yasuda, who depicted high-speed battles in Macross Delta. While inheriting the success of the series so far, Yasuda has brought a new wind to Yamato‘s voyage.

Daisuke Ono has played the role of Susumu Kodai for ten years. He is able to perform perfectly after overcoming many hardships and becoming “Captain Susumu Kodai.”

Here is a special conversation between these two as they look back on The New Voyage.

Accumulation and Trust between Director and Actor

Ono: I have worked with Director Yasuda on Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens and Somali and the Forest Spirit. I felt like it was fate that we would be working together again on Yamato 2205.

Yasuda: I wasn’t directly hit by Yamato. I was in the “robot” generation that followed. (Laughs)

Ono: I get the same feeling as when I first encountered Yamato. It was a work that the older generation was crazy about and longed for. I grew up watching the works of people who made things with that longing. That’s exactly what you did after Mobile Suit Gundam.

Yasuda: Yes, that’s right.

Ono: We grew up with the process of making things. Director Yasuda’s position and my position as an actor are the same. We’re sympatico.

When I first started working on Yamato, there was a lot of pressure. I felt that I had to carry on the great work. But as I traveled around, my friends grew and grew. I learned from them that it was okay to make the Yamato of today.

And now, Director Yasuda is on board the ship. I felt sympathy and compassion for him when we worked together before, so I was very happy to have another passionate colleague on board.

Yasuda: In Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, Mr. Ono had a hard time with the Hakata dialect. In Somali, he played a golem with no face or emotions. With Yamato 2205, he finally gets to play a “normal human being.” (Laughs)

However, Kodai has a lot of things on his mind. Moreover, this is called The New Voyage, so we have a new crew. Kodai’s position has changed, so I think it was a very difficult role.

Ono: Yes, it was.

Yasuda: But I’ve seen Mr. Ono’s range and ability in the works we’ve done together. Based on the variety of his past performances, I thought I could ask him to play a new Kodai without any worries. I thought I could imagine something a little different from the past Kodai when drawing the storyboards. I think that was very helpful, and I’m grateful for that.

Ono: I feel…relieved now. (Laughs)

Yasuda: Now, finally. (Laughs)

Ono: It’s not often that I get a chance to talk about something like this unless I’m interviewed. I’m glad to hear it. (Laughs) During the recording, Director Yasuda never said, “Please do it this way” or, “That’s not right.” I’m glad you told me that now. I had always felt like, “I wonder if he’s leaving it to me,” and now I hear, “that’s how it was.”

Yasuda: That’s right.

Ono: If it had happened a little earlier, I might have been worried about whether I could handle it. But I had accumulated a lot of experience from my previous works, so I thought, “If Director Yasuda is going to entrust me with this project, then I have to sit up straight and face Kodai this time around.” I felt positive.

Director Yasuda’s new Yamato

Yasuda: Kodai is a difficult character, isn’t he? Of course, he’s one of the main characters in this film, but he doesn’t have a lot of lines.

Ono: Yes, that’s true.

Yasuda: There’s a lot of eye performance; little reactions here and there in the visuals. I think a suppressed performance that doesn’t express much emotion must be difficult because of everything you have to keep inside.

Ono: I would like to ask you again about that. This time, you showed a lot with facial expressions. In some cases, you could tell from the pictures alone. Were you consciously trying to create that kind of facial expression in the story? Something you could do without saying it in dialogue?

Yasuda: Of course, this time it’s not a slapstick piece. It’s a conversation between adults. For example, in the scenes between Kodai and Yuki, there are some subtle differences between them. But the atmosphere is such that they can understand what each other is thinking. The way Yuki glances at Kodai, the way his eyes are downcast, and so on.

I was very careful to express emotions and the relationship between Kodai and Yuki without lines, such as how they looked at each other. Especially this time, Kodai and Yuki are now captains of their own ships. I wanted to create the mood of an adult couple.

Ono: I see. I think that’s the special feature of 2205 that was created by Director Yasuda. The subtleties of emotion can be seen in the facial expressions. When the other person is speaking, the listener’s mouth opens a little or the listener’s eyes are downcast and so on, and these details are very finely drawn. If you consciously watch it that way, you’ll notice it. “Oh, he’s going through that now.” They also move a lot in places where I think it would normally be okay to use a still picture.

Yasuda: Yes, because there is no flashy action. If we did it in a normal way, it would be like a picture story show with just mouth movements. Little reactions. There’s no need for unnecessary movement, but I think it’s better to move the parts that can be moved.

I also paid attention to the lighting of each scene, such as the way shadows were cast, the brightness/darkness of the room, and so on. As much as possible, I tried to set up situations where we could understand the character’s emotions that way.

Ono: Ah…I see!

Yasuda: I started to think about that aspect myself after Ramens and Somali, which we worked on together. It made Ramens more suspenseful. Also, the characters’ clothes were not anime-like. I tried to increase the amount of information so that the picture would not be too plain. I thought that if I could add that kind of atmosphere to Yamato as well, I might be able to come up with something new. In that sense, it may be a little bit different from the past remake series.

Ono: Wow, interesting! Glad you said so… (Laughs)

“Captain Kodai” through the years

Ono: You made Yamato 2205 as a continuation from Yutaka Izubuchi (2199 director) and Nobuyoshi Habara (2202 director). Is there some aspect of inheriting something from that flow? What was that like?

Yasuda: Like someone else prepared me for bad weather. (Laughs) When they first talked to me about the project, I was told, “You don’t need to know the contents of the previous series, you can do whatever you want.” I went to the meeting wondering what I could do, and afterward I was like, “…I guess it’s not going to go that way.” (Laughs)

Ono: (Laughs) That’s right.

Yasuda: From there, I started to study again to see what I could do and what new elements I could put in.

Ono: That’s interesting. I was in the same position with 2199. Everyone would say, “It’s fine to make it ‘Daisuke Ono’s Susumu Kodai’,” but I thought, “No, that’s not going to work.” (Laughs) I had that feeling, too.

Yasuda: Everyone says, “The character is completed when the actor breathes life into it. So, please do it freely.” But now you’ve been playing Kodai for almost ten years. It’s rare to have such a long tenure.

Ono: Well, I haven’t been involved with any other character for such a long period of time. But I feel that the Kodai I played in the past and the Kodai I’m playing this time are all Kodai. In 2199 he was troubled and worried, but he was able to break through because of his own character. I think the Kodai of 2199 was the most passionate.

Yasuda: Yes, because of his youth.

Ono: The Kodai in 2202 agonized over the conflict. I have the impression that Kodai in 2205 has gone through that process and is now ready for the next step.

Yasuda: In one of the interviews, the interviewer said, “This Kodai is not ‘Kodai-kun’ at all.” I myself was not conscious of it because I had never worked on Yamato before, and I wasn’t aware of its original story. I read the script without knowing much about the original work or the previous work in this series.

From the beginning, I had the image of “Captain Kodai” instead of “Kodai-kun.” I feel that I was able to depict him as “Captain Kodai” without any ambiguity based on the accumulation of past works. On the other hand, the “youthfulness” and “recklessness” that Kodai used to have is not as strong, so Domon took on those qualities.

Ono: Oh, I see…

Yasuda: I realized later that it was also good that we were able to show the difference in generations by properly defining the characters.

Ono: You’re right. Domon carried the aggressive part of moving forward. Maybe that’s why this time Kodai is the calmest he’s ever been. Of course, there’s still some hesitation.

Yasuda: Even though there are some things that he’s holding onto, he is basically firm. He makes decisions when he has to. It’s thanks to you that I was able to create such a Kodai. There were many pillars to the story, such as the relationship between Dessler and Starsha, and the growth of the young crew members. There were many characters, but I think your Kodai really made his presence felt.

Ono: Thank you very much!

Yasuda: Thank you!

Daisuke Ono, who has played Susumu Kodai for ten years, says,
“I understand his heart”

Published by Fuji TV on February 7 (see the original post here)

Daisuke Ono, who has played the voice of the main character, Susumu Kodai, for almost ten years in the Yamato remake series, talked about his thoughts on the Yamato crew.

Yamato 2205 Chapter 2, Starsha, is now playing in theaters. This is a new work that brings together elements from the TV special The New Voyage, which garnered high viewer ratings in 1979.

Susumu Kodai is played by voice actor Daisuke Ono. He has played the role of Jotaro Sorajo in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (TOKYO MX), and has also appeared as Matsuno Jyushimatsu in Osomatsu-san (TV Tokyo), and as Sebastian Michaelis in Black Butler (TV Tokyo). He has played a wide range of roles in a number of popular works.

We asked Mr. Ono about his current feelings regarding the latest Yamato production, as well as his thoughts on his senior and junior voice actors.

A longtime mystery has been solved in this work, and I feel sad…

Interviewer: After the Yamato 2199 series that started in 2012 and the 2202 series in 2017, what are your feelings now that you’ve finished Yamato 2205?

Ono: Like Yamato, I felt like I was traveling the whole time. But I was never alone. It’s a journey where I’ve overcome many hardships with my friends. I never imagined that it would be such a long journey, or that Yamato would become a work that overlaps with my own way of life.

Interviewer: How has playing the role of Susumu Kodai changed you over the past ten years?

Ono: Kodai was always troubled and conflicted, and overcame difficulties each time. I feel that I have grown up each time I played Kodai. Now that I’ve played the role for ten years, I understand his heart. I even feel that it’s become “Susumu Kodai = Daisuke Ono.”

In his travels, Kodai has realized that the most important thing in life is to join hands with others. Not only with Yamato‘s crew, but also with aliens. Kodai’s way of life is rooted in the idea that “We should even be able to understand aliens.” I myself am also a person who believes that people can live only by being connected with others.

Interviewer: What are the highlights of Yamato 2205 Chapter 2?

Ono: Yamato has always depicted “universal love” that exists in every age. I felt that this work depicts the most universal love ever. In the end, the story is about Abelt Dessler and Starsha Iscandar. I think it solved a mystery that had been hidden for a long time.

Interviewer: What is the mystery?

Ono: I have always wanted to know about Dessler. He’s a cynical man of few words. What is his past, and why is he so preoccupied with it? I kept thinking, “Dessler, just tell me!” In this work, all the mysteries were revealed, and at the end I felt sad.

Interviewer: At the end of the story, Kodai says, “Even if it’s only for a moment, just seeing the person you love at the end is enough to save a person.” How did you feel about this line?

Ono: In the ten years that I’ve been involved with Yamato, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to some crew members. The late Unsho Ishizuka, who played Ryu Hijikata, and the late Keiji Fujiwara, who played Isamu Enomoto. Their faces came to mind as we played this out to the end. It was a sad and lonely goodbye, but I was really happy to ride Yamato with them. I was happy about that.

I want people to feel that they can easily express themselves around me

Interviewer: What does the Yamato crew mean to you?

Ono: Kodai has a tendency to take on responsibility alone even though he has many friends around him. It was difficult for me to play that part of the role. But whenever Kodai makes a decision, someone always has his back. I was saved.

For example, Yuki Mori, Kodai’s fiancée and captain of the supply carrier Asuka says, “We all carry this together!” Ryusuke Domon, a junior crew member, also gives him a push. I myself am sometimes pushed by my peers and seniors, and sometimes I’m moved by the performance of my juniors.

Interviewer: Kodai accepts the strategy of Domon, played by Yu Hatanaka, and it’s impressive when he entrusts Domon to lead the operation. How did you feel when you played that?

Ono: Kodai doesn’t particularly try to push Domon. The young Kodai and the current Domon have similar ways of thinking. I think it can be said that Domon = Kodai. So it’s like, “I know you want to do this. I do too, so come with me.” I feel that the intention was conveyed without words. Just as “Susumu Kodai = Daisuke Ono,” also “Ryusuke Domon = Tasuku Hatanaka,” and it was very much linked to Kodai’s feelings.

Interviewer: You once said, “I would like to nurture young people in the future.” Do you want to do it like Kodai, “speaking with your back turned”?

Ono: Yes. Just like I did, no one listens to me even if I tell them this or that. (Laughs) I learned from and studied my seniors whom I thought were cool. Unsho Ishizuka and Keiji Fujiwara, for example. I loved the way both of them taught me not with words, but with their posture and their backs. And they never made me feel uncomfortable. They were there naturally, pointing out where to go. I want to be a senior like them someday.

Interviewer: Do you also try to create an atmosphere where you don’t make people feel self-conscious?

Ono: As much as possible. I still have a long way to go. (Laughs) I want people to feel that they can easily talk and express themselves when they’re around me. I try to compliment my juniors a lot, like, “I really liked the way you said that!” Even when things don’t go well, I try to praise them as much as possible. Instead of saying, “too bad it didn’t work out,” I’ll say, “Even though you didn’t get hired, I liked what you did in the audition.”

Interviewer: Did you have a chance to talk with the younger cast members in this production?

Ono: Not much, but whenever I got together with Tasuku Hatanaka for interviews and on other works, I told him, “You’re just like Domon, you’re just like Domon.” With Nobuhiko Okamoto, who played the role of Tasuke Tokugawa, I thought, “Oh, he looks like the son of Hikozaemon Tokugawa (voiced by Ichiro Nagai)!” Wataru Hatano was also very good as Heiji Bando, and I told him how I felt when I met him.

Yamato fans can be friends across generations

Interviewer: Please give a message to long-time Yamato fans and new Yamato fans!

Ono: The Yamato series is a great work that is the starting point of Japanese SF anime. We, the creators, feel that it’s refreshing to see Yamato expressed with the latest technology, and to see it incorporated into the thinking of the current era.

Now that I’ve finished this work, when I look at Yamato, I think, “Anime is great!” I think the number of fans of anime has increased and it has become more socially accepted as a culture. Now is the time for many people to see Yamato. I want to tell people that this is the origin of Japanese anime. I believe Yamato will move the hearts of men and women, young and old alike.

And for the younger generation, if you are moved by Yamato, please tell the Yamato fans of the past! I’m sure you will get along well with them. (Laughs) In the world of Yamato, even aliens can get along with each other, so we should be able to get along with people of any generation. Please share your thoughts and feelings with many people through Yamato.

“Susumu Kodai’s position is the same as mine.”

Daisuke Ono looks back on his ten-year journey with Space Battleship Yamato

Published by Encount on February 12 (see the original post here)

Daisuke Ono (43) is the popular voice actor who plays Susumu Kodai. In conjunction with Yamato 2205 Chapter 2 (in theaters now), he looks back on his ten-year journey with Space Battleship Yamato.

Author: Tetsuya Hiratsuji

Ten years have passed since Yamato 2199 was screened in theaters in April 2012. Yamato 2202 and Age of Yamato have been produced, and the latest film is a reconstruction of The New Voyage, broadcast in 1979. Kodai has become the captain of the ship. He and his former nemesis Dessler are now in the midst of a battle against a dark and powerful fleet, the Dezarium.

“When I met Susumu Kodai ten years ago, I knew that he was too big for me to take on alone. After my journey in 2205, I realize that Susumu Kodai is now Daisuke Ono. At the heart of the story is the “great harmony” of working hand in hand with others. Not only in the work, but also in my own way of life. I am very happy to have played this role and to have traveled on Yamato. I am truly an actor now.”

In the original story, Kodai was played by Kei Tomiyama, a famous actor who passed away in 1995. The pressure to take over the role was great.

“Among the many voice actors who have supported Japanese anime from the very beginning, I think Kei Toyama was a truly great person. There are many of his works that left a lasting impression on me. Not only Yamato, but also his role as Yan Wenli in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and for dubbing foreign films. Mr. Toyama’s voice is unique. But it was so great that I never had the desire to copy it.”

In the remake series, Kodai’s character has been significantly rewritten.

“The original Susumu Kodai was a hot-blooded, manly hero. But in 2199, Kodai was always in doubt. In the midst of the conflict, he’s a hero who moves forward with his own determination and resolve. Actually, there were many parts that linked with me, such as when he could neither turn backward nor move forward. So I was able to project myself into the role, and the more I played him, the more synchronized I became. Perhaps I was able to shift into my own Susumu Kodai because the great Kei Tomiyama was there first.”

Like Kodai, Ono had his doubts and pressures ten years ago.

“At first, I thought I would have to carry the load by myself. There were also hard times when I was worried that I might not be able to. At that time, I realized that I was being helped by the people around me. I realized that to live is to move forward through our bonds with others.”

Sad farewells in Yamato

“I was given a baton, and I’m in a place where I can pass it on to the next generation.”

Kodai served as a Tactical Chief in Yamato 2199. After the death of Captain Juzo Okita, he became acting captain. In the latest film, he assumes the role of captain.

“Kodai’s position is similar to mine. There’s a push from the juniors, and there are higher-ups on Earth whose way of thinking is different. In the world of voice acting, too, there are many layers at the top, and you have to show your back to the juniors. If I hadn’t been exposed to Yamato, I might have seen only myself.”

There were also sad farewells in Yamato. Unsho Ishizuka, who played Ryu Hijikata, passed away in 2018, and Keiji Fujiwara, who played Isamu Enomoto, passed away in 2020.

“He was an unforgettable senior. All of my favorite seniors were silent and delivered great performances. When I talked with them, they took me up many notches. Kodai has a line, ‘Even if you see your loved one only at the end, that alone can save you.’ I was reminded of the two of them when I read that line.”

Ono feels that these two seniors have entrusted him with their work.

Yamato is a story about passing things on to the next generation, isn’t it? Now I feel like I’m in a place where the baton has been handed to me and I’m passing it on. I was so moved I told that to the Series Writer Harutoshi Fukui and Director Kenji Yasuda.”

In 2205, a young man named Ryusuke Domon joins the ship. He is a passionate character reminiscent of the former Susumu Kodai. He is played by Ono’s junior, Tasuku Hatanaka.

“When it comes to the juniors, I basically praise them. I said to Tasuku Hatanaka, ‘You are this role.’ Domon is clumsy and a bit awkward, but he has a straight and true path. That’s how I see him. There’s some overlap there. I thought the same about Susumu Kodai.”

The voice recording was done with one actor at a time to prevent Corona infection.

“I missed being able to talk with everyone, but there were some good points to this. I was able to have closer discussions with the staff members, and I was able to spend a lot of time digging in alone. It was a one-person recording, but I was able to do it without hesitation. I guess I was prepared for it. I think the result was even better than I expected.”

Production of the next series, Be Forever Yamato REBEL 3199, has been announced.

“I wonder what the story will be about. We voice actors are the last to know. I’m sure Mr. Fukui will have a lot of fun with us. I always ask him, ‘Why are we going on such a hard journey?’ He answered happily, “You will have a tough time again. I look forward to seeing those excited smiles’.”

The Space Battleship Yamato series has been loved by people of all ages for nearly 50 years.

“I hope that those of you who loved the original work will also enjoy this new generation of Yamato. It has all the dynamism and storytelling charm of the original. More and more, I want to see scenes I liked at the time depicted with modern-day technology and passion. Yamato will never betray Yamato. For the generation that will be exposed to Yamato for the first time, I would like to say, ‘This is Japanese anime. This is a work that will probably be handed down for 100 years.’ When I see Yamato, I can talk about it with older fellows and it’s exciting.”

Daisuke Ono/Susumu Kodai’s journey is not over yet.

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