The Yamato 2 Time Machine, Part 2

Back up to Part 1

Animage #8

February 1979 Issue, published January 10 (between episodes 13 and 14)

Noboru Ishiguro

Character Design

What I find most interesting about the setup for Yamato 2 is how, after 5 years, the characters are starting to walk on their own. In short, as we conceive it, as the characters act they’ll reveal unexpected developments. Yuki seems younger in this TV series than she was in the movie, with the idea being that it’s a follow-on from part 1 and I think it feels quite natural.

Kenzo Koizumi


When I compare Yamato characters to those of other works, they are considerably rich with reality. Even if I design a person with a serious face and body, it is not difficult to add playfulness. As for most of the main characters, Mr. Matsumoto draws a rough, and I often clean it up in my style. However, I did design the four generals of Gamilas.

Katsumi Itabashi

Cleanup (not pictured)

My work is mostly mecha cleanup, but cleaning up Matsumoto mecha is not easy. Because in real life there is no useless decoration, and as an added bonus the form and function are well-matched. It is pleasant to draw this way. While I was part of the process, it was only working on the armor’s joints and the details.

Geki Katsumata

Color Designation

As far as color goes, for me it comes to me naturally as a result of my hearing the story. Because since color is also one of the wavelengths, the color of the skin or clothes can express the character. However, in this Yamato, Sabera uses four different colors. Usually several variations are given and the best one is decided upon. But in the case of Sabera, I showed it to Mr. Matsumoto and he said “this is fine” and we ended up using all of them. There are times when her mood calls for her to have all four colors on her.

How has Teresa changed for TV?

“Shima and Teresa will fall in love.” This magazine caught the shocking news and instantly asked Anime Director Noboru Ishiburo for the truth.

Interviewer: Is it true?

Ishiguro: Yes, yes, a message from Teresa is received by Yamato and Shima answers, several times. Since this repeats, naturally the encounter between these two people becomes a daily conversation.

Interviewer: This would be an unbelievable story in the movie…

Ishiguro: Both Shima and Teresa have changed considerably from the movie version. Teresa is a supernatural girl who manipulates anti-matter, rather than a being made of anti-matter. She is also a survivor of the great Teresarium nation, which was a proud, advanced civilization. Oh, and she wears clothes this time rather than being nude. On the other hand, Shima has changed a little, too. I intend to show his positive traits as a man.

Interviewer: Does their love bear fruit?

Ishiguro: Please keep watching to find out.

Animage #9

March 1979 Issue, published February 10 (the day episode 18 was broadcast)

Yamato 2 Chief Director Shows New Developments

We anxiously asked Mr. Noboru Ishiguro about “the future!!” Yamato watched the self-destruction of Telezart, Shima is deeply worried about the death (?) of Teresa, and Yamato hurries back to Earth…Yamato 2 approaches a climax, and Yamato fans are very interested in the future. Therefore, we tried a direct-hit interview with Mr. Noboru Ishiguro.

Interviewer: We think we’re getting closer to “the decisive battle,” but what will develop in the future?

Ishiguro: Generally speaking, when Yamato returns to the solar system they will fight Dessler to get back to Earth. After that, there will be a large, decisive battle. The setup at this point is changed sharply from the movie, and the stage will be moved to the outer solar system, from Mars to Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in order to have a big story.

Interviewer: You mentioned Dessler just now…does Dessler die before the big decisive battle, like in the movie?

Ishiguro: This is the most difficult problem. Almost every day, we hear “who are you going to kill?” from the fans. We’ve been inundated by letters. Honestly, it hasn’t been decided yet. However, I can say this much: in episodes 18 and 19, Yamato and Dessler will fight each other with all their efforts. Dessler has some new tactics, but they are still secret. [Editor’s note: Ishiguro got the episode numbers wrong in the interview; he was actually referring to 23 and 24.]

Interviewer: This is a little off-topic, but how does Dessler escape from prison?

Ishiguro: The Dessler fleet rushes into the comet and rescues him. [Editor’s note: this statement was probably misdirection on Ishiguro’s part, since the episode was in production at the time.]

Interviewer: That would be a large, decisive battle. Is that what you mean about episode 20?

Ishiguro: Well, the plan is for the Baruze fleet to rush into the Solar System in episode 20, and both armies will opt for a decisive battle at Saturn. The lineup of both militaries starts there. When Yamato returns to the Solar System, it joins the Earth fleet. Strategy is set and the battle between both armies begins in episode 21.

Interviewer: Who takes command of the Earth fleet?

Ishiguro: It is Hijikata. Because Kodai and Hijikata meet again in episode 20, Hijikata’s role in the story increases.

Interviewer: Then the last thing I want to ask you is, will the ending be the same as the movie?

Ishiguro: Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until the end. The main reason is, it has not been decided yet. (Laughs)

The remaining pages from this article included messages to fans from members of the voice cast. Here they are, translated by Sword Takeda:

Isao Sasaki (Saito)

Yamato‘s crew used to be young and naive, skinny good-looking. Saito’s vitality will break this sensibility! Bring it on! Saito handles everything! Yuki is mine! Hang on, Yamato!

Takeshi Aono (Sanada)

What attracts us to Shiro Sanada might be his face. Sharp eyes without eyebrows, steady and calm, perfect analysis on machinery. They are all what I do not have. Envious, yet very much worth playing.

Shusei Nakamura (Shima)

I enjoy long drives. When I have some passengers, I feel great responsibility. Acting as Shima, I always feel like I’m driving with guests.

Akira Kimura (Hijikata)

There are not many appearances of Hijikata in Yamato 2, that is a shame. I envy his steady calmness and strong will that I hope for.

Animage #10

April 1979 Issue, published March 10 (the day episode 22 was broadcast; there was no further Yamato 2 coverage after this issue)

“Ah–I want to become an actor who can make a profit!”

A Talk With Masato Ibu

Since I’m clever, I became a voice actor on the side.

As you well know, this is Mr. Masato Ibu, who portrayed the enemy leader Dessler, whom you had to respect for his samurai spirit.

“I stayed up all night working at a theatrical company…” said a bleary-eyed Mr. Ibu as he appeared at the appointed place. Wearing a loose anorak coat tied with a thick belt, it is somehow the style of a Russian Cossack soldier.

“–ah, are you a professional stage actor, Mr. Ibu?” When I asked right off the bat, his dull eyes twinkled as he issued his denial:

“No, I’m a professional voice actor for commercials and TV dramas. I can’t say I’m a professional stage actor because I can’t make a living at it.”

It is the force of Dessler flowing out for just a moment.

The Main Anime Appearances are Emperor Dessler of Space Battleship Yamato and Kojiro Inukai of Dokaben.

Elsewhere, there were the one-shot roles on Aim for the Ace (Coach Ota) and Gatchaman (Hawk Getz), Poetry of a Baseball Addict (Detective Onijima), Fighting General Daimos, and The Beatles (John Lennon), among others.

He is 29 years old, born in 1949. He is young for someone who pursues acting and voice acting simultaneously. He has memories of World War II in his younger days, and was baptized in theater around 1955. He’s a generation younger than the likes of Nachi Nozawa, Kei Tomiyama, and Makio Inoue, whose love of theater seems to consume them. [Editor’s note: these are other voice actors who dabbled in theater and also appeared on Yamato; Nachi Nozawa was Alphon in Be Forever, Kei Tomiyama was Kodai, and Makio Inoue is best known as Captain Harlock.]

He also keeps his own theater troupe – Shun-Juu – in the area, while continuing steady theater work in twice-yearly public performances. What circumstances would make him coolly say, “I can’t make a living at it”?

What got Mr. Ibu poking his nose into this world was Juro Kara’s Jokyo Gekijou [theater] troupe, around the time that angler theaters such as the Waseda Little Theater were at the height of their prosperity.

“I saw it. That’s when I began to think directly of trying to do a play. It was from seeing the play Snow from the Four Seasons theater company in Nagoya, with Mariko Kaga performing Ondine. Koji Ishizka also came along. In other words, my motive came from admiration.”

At the office in Akasaka, Tokyo, despite
having stayed up all night, as he said…

A Part-Time Job of Manual Labor

Mr. Ibu was born in Tokyo, but owing to family circumstances he spent several years in Nagoya as a teenager. At that time, he appeared as the boy talent on a TV station in Nagoya, on such programs as NHK’s Junior High School Diary.

“Kouji Ishizaka appeared on radio on the occasion of a Nagoya performance. That became my impetus to work with him, so I took the plunge and moved to Tokyo at age 19. I started off training with a theatrical troupe named Kumo, then moved on to training with the Haishou troupe, under the supervision of Juro Hayano and Shoichi Ozawa.”

“Of course, being in drama school doesn’t pay the bills. Manual labor, barker, cabaret, bartender, I took just about any part-time job in order to eat. However, I didn’t learn very much at those two large training schools. First of all, Kumo was nothing but rich, affluent people. The atmosphere didn’t suit me. I was the poor one.”

He quit both schools and became free in no time, and started working with a friend at art theaters such as the Shinjuku Scorpion, famous for underground plays.

“It was when I started doing voice acting for anime and dubbing for foreign films that I could begin to eat.”

Ibu’s first anime appearance was surprisingly late, of course landing the role of Emperor Dessler in Space Battleship Yamato Part 1.

Devising the Voice of Dessler

When the conversation turns to Dessler, his voice is suddenly filled with passion.

“When doing anime, I think of a role the same way as doing a play. But in the case of anime, pictures are completed earlier and united with ‘in between’ pictures. How to add the voice is most difficult.”

“I was still 24-25 years old when I first did Dessler in those days. It was a considerably grown-up role. For me, who was living in the spring of his youth, it was very difficult to make up the margin of the adult Dessler. Although your voice is usually stretched for anime, at first I dropped one step lower than my actual voice. Moreover, without attaching an intonation or even an accent, I took on the method of speaking in a low voice without stretching it. I figured that would build on the image that you saw.”

As readers, you know best the result of this. Even so, it is still a surprise that such a passionate actor would speak of difficulty in creating a role for anime. Although it is described in various ways, in fact many veteran actors give the impression that voice acting is usually a side-job. So, why did an outright well-established post-war generation man take this up coolly as a means of earning a living?

“I tackled doing anime seriously. That was a matter of course, because I needed to eat. Because no matter how much I like a play, I could use this as an alibi for being in an unprofitable play as my main occupation. I don’t like to admit things like that.”

Of course, Mr. Ibu is not saying that a play doesn’t matter. On the contrary, his dream is to one day soon break away from the ghetto of the small-to-medium theatrical troupes he currently indulges in, and the performances no one will see in unprofitable shows that don’t bring in the crowds.

“I want to form a troupe that will entertain crowds of customers and perform profitable plays,” he says.

“Anyway, I do want to become an actor who can make a profit. I want to do a play and shoot one movie, and ideally live a life where I work for half a year and play for the other half.”

Heavy shoes? With a knitted wool hat
and a muffler…this exceptional
outfit suits him well.

“An Actor Who Can Make a Profit…”

“This world is one where, be it TV or the stage, it all comes down to being a yoisho (show-biz term for brown-noser). I am absolutely not the kind of person who can give flattery every single day.”

He views it as a life of constantly cutting bit after bit of yourself away. If you don’t replenish yourself from somewhere, he has a feeling you’ll end up poor and wasted.

“For that replenishment, I’d like to take a knapsack and go on a solo-trip to Africa.”

To that end, he doesn’t put on airs and go rejecting roles left and right.

“A TV drama? Fine with me. Keep the jobs coming, please. Oh, but while I’m up for one of those Mu race things, I just can’t do a drama that doesn’t get me fired up. When I was young, I was told by people in the TV biz and senior actors that I should do the yoisho thing. And I find myself telling young people much the same more and more often.”

Despite that, when a genuine brown-noser appears before him, he tells them with a look on his face that he’ll never like them or give them help.

“In my private life I’ve already gotten married and my first child will be born soon. My wife’s family comes from rural Kagoshima, so when the wedding was announced, it was basically ‘The bridegroom is such and such.’ I was worried what they’d think when they saw what I did for a living. People in the country wouldn’t get someone who’s in drama school, I assumed.”

“Then the introducer said, ‘Eh, the bridegroom appears on TV occasionally, and does something called a discussion key once a week in a place called Tokyo FM Broadcasting Company.’ It was useless.”

“Aaah, I want to become an actor who can make a profit. They say you can’t be a good actor without being a womanizer who engages in all kinds of debauchery, right? When I got married I thought that was true, and at first I wanted to build a good home for the future. That was because, up till then, the environment could not have been called happy. I want to build a good home, without resorting to theories.”

As for hobbies, he likes to take aimless solo trips, listen to records, and drink liquor.

“I listen to rock records, but jazz is my original favorite. For alcohol, my specialty is Shochu wine. My usual pattern is to take a hot bath with a glass of shochu on the side while I listen to jazz records. But I’m not a jazz fanatic like people from one generation ago. When it comes to music or drama, it seems I can’t get completely absorbed by anything.”

It’s the way he has a sincere tone even when he’s joking that causes a strange atmosphere of isolation to hang about him. The impression is of strict loneliness with no dependency or sentimentalism. Was it his upbringing or his environment that made him this way?

When he says how he likes Dessler as a character, you really get the feeling that he does. He’s a gutsy actor.

Anime Person Map: Kenzo Koizumi

Mr. Koziumi became suddenly famous for Yamato, but well before then there was a figure who never wavered, who continued to draw anime steadily…

Toei Animation at the age of 16.

“Say, don’t you think so?”

And our discussion began with talk of the “Egawa problem,” nothing to do with anime at all. A deep voice, a body strengthened by judo, a wrestler in junior high, he was quite chunky.

“I don’t know what his capabilities are as a pitcher, but once a person is past age 20, they have to decide pretty much everything themselves. There’s something wrong with having a politician backing you up.”

[Editor’s note: this reference is to a contemporary baseball scandal in which a pitcher named Suguru Egawa, a 19-year-old prodigy, badly wanted to join the Yomiuri Giants. He did so by ignoring the league’s draft system and writing his own rules to get in, presumably backed by someone of great influence.]

When I think about why he was so concerned with this, it makes sense when you ask the man himself. At the age of 16, he was already working for Toei Animation. In addition, he left high school during the term and, in the face of 400 applicants, he was accepted into one of the 8 spots available. He must have had quite a bit of self-confidence…

“No, that wasn’t it. I was just reckless. Anyway, speaking of anime, I’d only seen Disney feature films, and I didn’t have much practical knowledge. I liked drawing, but I had never wanted to be a cartoonist or a painter.”

Before TV anime began, people with the goal of becoming animators were comparatively rare. However, as is usual, he didn’t get his first-choice position.

“Coloring, tracing, finish inspection, painting, photography, I went around to every department.” (Laughs)

He said painting?

“Yes, I would run out and buy paint and then mix it. I think I had a really good experience for those two years. But it’s not exactly what I would have preferred. (Laughs)”

At Office Academy in Nerima, Tokyo.

It Took Six Years

Yamato construction.”

The first anime was the feature film The Adventures of Sinbad from Toei Animation.

“I was more worried than happy. I wondered whether I could really do it…”

Then, after much hardship, his attachment to Toei Animation was broken when he left the company in 1964. The reason was simple:

“There was obstruction at the top, so I would never get to be a key animator.”

In 1964, the demand for TV anime was on the rise. He formed an independent studio called “Hatena Pro” (Fusahiro Nagaki, president) along with four friends he knew from Toei in order to do key animation and editing for P Pro’s Zero-sen Hayato. That independent production house felt like it was involved with nearly every anime series at the time, including Mighty Atom, Wonder 3, Space Patrol Hopper, Kaze no Fuji-Maru, and the like.

Of course, he was a key animator. On Hopper, he served as an animation director for the first time. And now he is with Studio Mates, where he has been the president since 1970.

It had been ten years since joining Toei Animation. He worked on Attack. No. 1, Akadou Suzunosuke, Lupin the 3rd, “Wilderness Boy Isamu, Bakabon the Genius, and others. And as I write this, I can just hear the fans angrily saying “Haven’t you forgotten one?” No, I haven’t forgotten about “Space Battleship Yamato“…

He did five episodes (out of 26) in the first TV series. He was a supervisor on Farewell to Yamato and the current TV series (Yamato 2). That’s just two lines of text when you write it, but since the first TV series premiered in 1974, he’s been “building” Yamato for six years.

He even took care with the explosions in space…

“Around that time, I worked on Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, and Grendaizer in quick succession. I always liked mecha. There was resistance to the use of a robot only as a weapon. No matter what, I couldn’t help feeling that it was unnatural. I wanted to do a serious mecha project, so I was glad to hear talk about something with a huge battleship.”

“As far as guest characters, I designed the ones like Kodai’s father and such. But I was free to do movement, or rather to experiment with it. Do you know about explosions in space? (He’s very closed-mouthed when talking about himself, but when the subject turns to work, you can’t shut him up.) Realistically, there’s a “pop!” and then a dispersal cloud. But when I did it that way, the result just looked cheap to me. So, I did the opposite and made them slow. I had to make them different from terrestrial explosions.”

“A floating continent with a diameter of several hundred kilometers appeared, and there was a scene where it was scattered to pieces into space. It took a long time to have it break apart and break apart again with great force, and I tried to make it seem like it was breaking up even more.”

“There was something else called an ‘asteroid ring’, which was a ring of rocks floating in space, but making them all the same kind of rocks didn’t produce enough variation. Having said that, making them all completely different made it tough to have them fit together naturally…”

He talked about incidents from six years ago as if they happened yesterday. In Farewell, he worked on three scenes: Yamato‘s launch, the fighter battle, and the damaged battleship of Hijikata.

From The Rabbit of Inaba, Mythology Teaching
Materials Collection (Best Arts & Sciences Co.)

Wanting to move illustrations

7 years earlier, he drew a traffic safety picture book with animals. It was popular. Afterward, requests continued coming in from educational magazines and picture books.

“What do you think the biggest weakness of an animator is? It’s color. Depending on the person, some may not have held a paintbrush in 10 years. When you only draw pictures for others, you can forget to draw for yourself even if you originally wanted to. That’s why I continue to do other work, such as picture books.”

For an animator, trying to best express the text as a picture becomes a very good form of study. Then he said something that surprised me.

“I want to try doing anime that doesn’t use cels. Like making a person drawn in diluted ink on sketch paper move, like that.”

However, with current compositing techniques, compositing that with a background would be difficult. In short, it seems to involve causing an illustration to move.

“I’d like to try reproducing a myth using this technique. I wish I could do it with pale colors…”

It could be said that the troubles he encountered with photography in his youth are now helping him, but he shows his wisdom by not pushing the hardships he experienced onto the young.

“Surprising new talent might appear here once every 4 or 5 years. It might be someone with hidden talent and no connections, but since the gateway in is so narrow, even a person who can stretch to accommodate the stress might still give up. The problem with anime is that it’s becoming a local Tokyo industry, like Kyoto woven goods. If only we could discover new talent throughout Japan…”

Born on May 8, 1943. His hobbies include chess and building plastic models.

The End

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