009 Meets 2199
Yutaka Izubuchi X Masato Hayase

Since the beginning of Yamato 2199‘s magazine coverage, the overarching goal has been to define its past, present, and future context. The series represents all three at once in a way never seen before, and Supervising Director Yutaka Izubuchi has been asked to comment on this so frequently that it’s amazing he can get any work done. Here, he shares the effort with fellow fan-turned-pro Masato Hayase, an artist/writer at the forefront of another multi-generational franchise, The legendary Cyborg 009. The result is an otaku tag-team of championship quality.

This conversation between Izubuchi and Hayase was serialized in the October and November 2012 issues of Hyper Hobby magazine.

Current Events Bombshell, First part

In this magazine, Mr. Hayase, the writer of Sea Jetter Kaito and a big Yamato fan, realized a dialogue with Yutaka Izubuchi! Mr. Hayase’s life work is said to be the writing of Shotaro Ishinomori’s Cyborg 009 Conclusion: God’s War, and Director Izubuchi is doing the big hit remake of Yamato. Together, they spoke about comparisons between the two. They have many points of contact, such as the Heisei Kamen Rider series and had a lot to talk about. Forward!

Heroine and Madonna: the perception of female characters

Hayase-sensei started off today talking about an exhausting trip that felt like he’d walked from Kochi Prefecture back to Tokyo on foot.

Hayase: Recently, there was a “Manga Championship” in Kochi prefecture in which high schools would compete, and they drew illustrations on t-shirts of their favorite anime and manga, which they wore freely. I thought, “if someone draws Yamato, I’ll shake their hand.” But there wasn’t anyone.

[Translator’s note: see a report of this “Manga Championship” event here.]

Izubuchi: Probably not. (Laughs)

Hayase: There were a lot for Tiger & Bunny. My regret about 2199 is that when I go to see it in a theater, there are lots of people from our generation, but I don’t see many young people.

Izubuchi: It might penetrate those layers if it gets broadcast on TV. After all, Tiger & Bunny caught fire on TV, but I don’t think it’s wrong for 2199 to use the theater strategy in the beginning to take in the range of our generation first. I also visited the theater and paid for my own ticket. (Laughs) I wanted to confirm it with my own eyes, and I was glad to see that there was actually an increase in younger viewers and female viewers from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2.

Moderator: Here, I asked about how the young staffers working on the project with him felt about the old Yamato, and on the subject of its heroines. When I mentioned that I felt that heroines in the old Yamato came off as “Madonna” figures, Mr. Izubuchi replied:

Izubuchi: So when you say “heroine,” it conjures up an active, fighting image. In the old days, if there was only a single woman in the group, she was marked as the “Madonna.” Even if she was an active heroine, the feeling was that she was an “Okyan” [Tomboy]. Uh, is “Okyan” a dead word? (Laughs)

I consider a “heroine” to be a fighting woman in that sense, but it might be common for a Yuki Mori type to be called a “Madonna.” In the original Cyborg 009, the heroine 003’s special ability was hearing, not an action carried out with the body. You could say she was in the “radar” group, the same as Yuki Mori, but at least she was in charge of it. (Laughs)

Hayase: Even Ishinomori-sensei wouldn’t want a woman to fight.

Izubuchi: But in the new 009 RE: Cyborg, doesn’t 003 have the feeling of a protector? [Translator’s note: this refers to a feature film released October 2012.]

Hayase: That’s right. Her place now is to be in the position of defending 009.

Izubuchi: Then that’s good, isn’t it? If they went with the old-style Madonna feeling for her, it wouldn’t make sense for young people watching nowadays, would it?

Moderator: That’s right.

Izubuchi: As for me, I liked the old works that had active women in the group. In UFO Robo Grendizer, Maria Grace Fleed shone brighter than Makiba Hikaru. After that, you’d have Megu from Magical Megu-chan. Oh, they’re all Shingo Araki characters. (Laughs)

Hayase: Changing the subject, when worked on the planning for Kamen Rider Decade, I heard from Director Sho Aikawa said that you surrendered to becoming the director of Yamato 2199

Izubuchi: Well, you could say I surrendered to it. I was nominated for it, and had the choice of accepting or note, and I accepted it. So you can’t really say I surrendered to myself.

Hayase: I was really on fire at the time. I met Izubuchi-san for the launch of the Kamen Rider series, but we ended up completely ignoring Kamen Rider and just talked about Yamato. (Laughs) He taught me quite a bit.

However, around the time of 3/11 [the Tohoku Earthquake], what I worried about what would happen to the Cosmo Cleaner D. It was referred to as a radiation removal device, and I was worried that a lot of people would object to it, but you didn’t use the concept of radioactivity.

Izubuchi: I had determined before 3/11 to change it away from radioactivity and it was carried out. The reason was that both Yamato and Godzilla before it spread around the general word “radioactivity” for something like dust that gives off radiation, which is a funny use of the word. Since things in the natural world commonly give off radiation and would also be included in a “radiation removal device,” I thought it was better just to take it out completely.

Hayase: I see.

Izubuchi: Another strange thing was how to build the logic of Earth being saved after the radioactivity disappears. Even if the radiation was lost, neither the sea or anything green would return to Earth, so it probably wouldn’t recreate the original blue Earth. Thinking about all that, I decided to depict the crisis of Earth without the chestnut of “radioactivity” this time. Although we did talk about radiation in Episode 2, that if the Earth’s ozone layer were destroyed it would be natural to measure the dose of radiation, so we touched on it there.

This is beside the point, but if we talked about making 2199 after 3/11, I’d be reluctant to deal with the radioactivity part for the reason you just said. But speaking for myself, I’d consider facing the issue of radioactivity properly. We’d use “radioactive materials” now, rather than the word “radioactivity.”

Hayase: I was a third grader at the time of the original. I watched Ape Army [live-action series], which was on a different channel from Yamato. When I ranked Yamato against Ape Army and Girl of the Alps Heidi [all broadcast at 7:30pm on Sunday], I eliminated Yamato first. Something called “Battleship Yamato” was from World War II even if it had “Space” attached, and it sounded like a grandfather’s war stories. In that respect, Ape Army sounded like a children’s version of the movie Planet of the Apes.

And so, things like “The amusement park on the Moon” (to which the young Shiro Sanada went with his older sister), at which Izubuchi-san was sneering at the time, I embraced without question. I didn’t know anything about SF, so when I saw Yamato later in reruns, I considered it a perfect work.

Izubuchi: In terms of such logic, anime back then was considered just for children, and it was media you should “graduate from” when you entered junior and senior high. I guess I was a heretic, because I kept watching anime at the time. (Laughs) It was a feeling of being in an extreme minority. I ran over to tokusatsu [live action special effects shows] from anime, but that was around the time when tokusatsu became dangerous, too. (Laughs)

Then Yamato started, and it had mecha concepts like nothing seen in anime before, and I thought it was amazing. Rather than following “the normal way” and putting it aside, I thought it was something more people should know about. So I engaged in nit-picking, an occupation I’ve continued to this day. I’ve been thinking about what parts I would revise ever since I was a teenager.

Hayase: So you’ve been training for 30 years?

Izubuchi: I think the matter of Shulz’ skin color is the clearest example. That reminds me of when I did an interview for Hobby Japan [spring 2012], they brought along a back issue [December 1977, below] in which I wrote a short Yamato essay as a high schooler, and I already talked about Shulz’ skin color there. I haven’t really changed since then. I think the phrase, “The child is the father of the man” really applies here. (Everyone laughs)

The Secret Choices in 2199‘s Character Design

Hayase: Are there any points where you crossed the line on logic? For example, the way Yamato was camouflaged off the coast of Cape Bonomisaki, I don’t understand why they were making it there. I don’t think it was there for any other reason than to look cool as it was coming out. [Launching]

Izubuchi: It is a difficult place. I talked it over a few times, and my reasoning kept changing, but I decided that it wouldn’t lose any of appeal if it were changed.

Hayase: You’d be putting the cart before the horse if the appeal disappeared.

Izubuchi: That’s right. First of all, it’s strange that they would build it on the Earth’s surface. (Laughs) But that “image” is important. It would no longer be “Yamato” if it didn’t have that picture. I would only change some of the internal organs. For example, the outer appearance is thought of as camouflage, too, and if it didn’t have that masculine feeling of shaking off the exterior, it wouldn’t be Yamato to me. If we could show the same tempo and force seen in the original, the judgment was that it would be all right.

Hayase: That’s exactly right. I don’t necessarily think there needs to be a reason for everything, and I wondered what kind of storm it would start for Mr. Izubuchi to compromise the original. We can’t make something that we wouldn’t want to watch ourselves. (Laughs)

Izubuchi: That’s right. Maybe it’d be better to have someone make it and then show it to me. (Laughs)

Hayase: I couldn’t make a 009 that I couldn’t enjoy watching myself. (Laughs) I once declared that “if Ishinomori-sensei draws the final chapter of 009, I’ll leave the company” since it would be impossible for me to purely enjoy myself. (Everyone gasps) So, I think there’s a bit of pain involved when people work on a project that they genuinely love.

Izubuchi: That said, you have to flip a switch once you’ve decided to do something. In hindsight, part of you wants to watch it as a regular viewer, but another part of you can’t bear to have somebody else make it. Various people have thought about Yamato in different ways, so there would be a number of different approaches.

Hayase: The character design in 2199 has changed a lot, but I don’t have much sense of incongruity. I think the reason is that I was immunized by reading [manga] volumes by Akira Hio (above left), along with the glittering characters Yuki Hijiri drew for Terebi Land (above right), reprinted by Hyper Hobby magazine, and the chic designs in girls’ comics.

[Translator’s note: this reference is to the “lost” Yamato manga by Yuki Hijiri, which was published in Terebi Land from 1974-75. Hyper Hobby reprinted a chapter in 2012. See the entire serial here.]

Izubuchi: There were several steps to decide on the characters this time, and Nobuteru Yuuki drew them very realistically at the beginning. Even Okita’s lips were visible. However, because it didn’t fit in with his image, we talked about dropping with a view toward how a present-day animator would draw it.

Toyoo Ashida worked on the original production, and though I personally liked the mature style that he drew, I was worried that young people might think Kodai looked too old. Therefore, we lowered his age in the rough design and made his eyes a little wider, and arrived at the basic form that way. It took a lot of time. Dessler went through quite a number sheets.

Hayase: The image of Dessler has changed significantly. You could say he was rejuvenated.

Izubuchi: In Mr. Yuuki’s designs, Dessler was in his early 20s at first, but I thought about raising it to about 32 this time. Mr. Yuuki also wrote in the program book [for the 2nd chapter] that his image is like a young Roman emperor.

We thought of 2199 having the form of various crewmembers centering on Okita’s story and changed the directing approach to emphasize the group drama. Therefore, Kodai doesn’t stick out as being reckless. Sanada is the first mate in that sense. As far as seeing Kodai being so reckless in the old show, Samurai Giants aired before Yamato in my real-time generation, and since Kei Tomiyama also did the voice of Ban Banjou, I think we saw a double image. (Laughs)

Hayase: Certainly, Kodai occasionally looked like Banjou. That was unprecedented. (Laughs)

Izubuchi: At the time, more than the hot-blooded works, I preferred what Shotaro Ishinomori was doing. Stuff with a cynical edge, with elements of social commentary. Besides that, whether or not you were exposed to the girls’ comics of Moto Hagio (above left), Keiko Takemiya (center), and Yumiko Oshima (right) at that time made a big difference. I think fans of hot-blooded stuff, and Yamato maniacs in particular, weren’t that into it.

To wrap up the first part, we asked Director Izubuchi about some of the highlights of Chapter 2.

Izubuchi: Since we’ll show a lot more of the battleship aspect of Yamato I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy it, and the story of the new characters begins to move, so you can think about what will happen to them.

Hayase: Who is your favorite new character?

Izubuchi: I try to avoid developing fondness for a particular character, but if I was forced to choose, I’d say Yamamoto. On the point that drama is easier to draw. From the original, it would be Sanada. Aside from them, I have some love for Niimi. (Laughs) I’m old enough to be Yuria’s grandfather, so I don’t know about her. (Everyone laughs) After that, Yabu.

(End of Part 1)

Yutaka Izubuchi Profile

Debuted in 1979 as a mechanic design collaborator for the enemy side in Fighting General Daimos. A designer for such animation as Holy Warrior Dunbine, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack and Mobile Police Patlabor, along with live-action titles Scientific Squadron Dynaman, Kamen Rider Agito, and Special Squadron Gobusters. Participated as a writer on Skullman. He directed Rahxephon in addition to creating the manga Machine God Fantasy Rune Masker, published in Monthly Comic Ryu (now on hiaitus). Currently in production as Supervising Director on Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

Masato Hayase Profile

Joined Ishimori-pro [studio] as an art assistant in 1989. He was positioned as a successor to Shotaro Ishinomori after his death, and participated in the live-action tokusatsu TV series Voicelugger, Burn!! Robocon, and the Heisei Kamen Rider series. [Translator’s note: “Heisei” refers to the current system of calendar years in Japan, which began in January 1989. The system prior to that was the “Showa.” Thus, “Showa” and “Heisei” are commonly used to delineate eras of pop culture.] His anime works include Android Kikaider the Animation and 009-1. He wrote the novel Kamen Rider Eve and is currently creating the manga Seajetter Kaito in Hyper Hobby magazine. His manga Cyborg 009 Conclusion: God’s War is running as a webcomic on Shogakukan’s Club Sunday. [Links provided at the end of this page.]

Current Events Bombshell, Second part

Last issue, we presented a passionate discussion that was too long to fit, and this time we bring you the rest. With Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Chapter 3 and 009 Re: Cyborg about to firmly grab anime fans when they are released in October, please enjoy this conversation as a prelude. This part continues where the first one left off, with characters!!

Secrets of the 2199 Characters

Hayase: It was hard to swallow that Yamamoto became a woman. And there are also some things which I thought would be saved for the production of Part 2.

Izubuchi: I didn’t think about it that way. Since Hijikata and Hirata have appeared, I’m often asked if I think about it, but it’s just the opposite; they appear because I didn’t think about it. Even if they’re characters from a later series, having them appear in part 1 isn’t strange, since they’re there to present the standpoints and people with whom they share relationships.

Also, Yamamoto is a female character in accordance with the feeling of modern trends. Before I knew anything about the live-action version of Yuki Mori, I thought Kodai should have a rival female pilot to compete with at first, then I put aside the idea of competition and settled into the current touch.

Hayase: I’d think Yamamoto would have many female fans, but was she created with male targets in mind rather than females?

Izubuchi: That wasn’t the reason. Yamamoto was a character who appeared only once in the original work, and didn’t show up very much in later works, either. So instead of Akira Yamamoto, the position of vice-captain [of the fighter squadron] went to Shinohara.

Hayase: Changing the subject, isn’t the second bridge used impressively in 2199? I would think it would be the third bridge as in the original.

Izubuchi: Although the third bridge is impressive in appearance, other than one scene where Domel’s disc latches onto it in the Rainbow Star Cluster battle and the crew members escape, it was only properly depicted at Pluto. I got the feeling of not being sure why they even had a third bridge. (Laughs) This time, the third bridge has been reset as the location of the barrier control system and gravity control.

Hayase: Speaking of the third bridge, when Ganz watches Yamato flip over at Pluto, I wasn’t really clear on why he doesn’t recognize the ship, and says that it looks like a submarine.

Izubuchi: That part was just us playing around a little, which is why we had Shulz playing the straight man with his exasperated, “That’s the Yamato!”

Hayase: Just for a moment, it seems like Ganz is a good person, though it’s funny of me to say “just for a moment,” isn’t it?

Izubuchi: The reason is that I wanted to have a character that expressed love for Ganz. To let him be cool at the very, very end. Those who have fallen from being a slightly good person and become unpredictable make for a better story. I can’t really say more, because it would be a spoiler.

Hayase: I think the quick tempo of this work makes it easy to watch. Will any original standalone stories float by for a few minutes?

Izubuchi: Yes. For example, Episode 9 in Chapter 3 is a completely original story. Others have a story structure that is similar to the original, and even if a familiar deployment of Domel comes up later, some changes in strategy are included.

Hayase: That’s a lot of hard work…

Izubuchi: Even if it is, it’s also a lot of fun. (Laughs) Even though there are some changes, I choose to make them on the basis of “it is Yamato.” Therefore, of course, we’ll present the flow of the battle at Planet Balan, the Rainbow Star Cluster, Gamilas, and Iscandar, so it will be seen properly as Yamato.

Moderator: As for Analyzer, his name has taken the form of a number.

Izubuchi: In 2199, that puts Analyzer in the position of being a sub-frame of Yamato because I wondered if the old fuddy-duddy Analyzer would be accepted in a modern work. I wanted to establish him, but there are various situations, like lifting skirts, that are a problem for TV broadcasting codes.

Hayase: But there’s nudity during the warp scene…

Izubuchi: We actually made an alternate version of that scene for TV. With underwear.

Hayase: If underwear is OK, then skirt-lifting should be, too. (Laughs)

Izubuchi: Aside from the underwear itself, the act of lifting a skirt to see it is what’s NG [No Good] for TV. Mischievious behavior such as that is useless. There are some TV stations with a code, and others without. There’s no telling at the moment which station will broadcast it, so I can’t help but change the approach since it would be absurd if it couldn’t be aired in the future. We’ve prepared an episode where we take a different approach with Analyzer as a character, which takes such things into account.

Hayase: Does he no longer have super robot strength? Like when he lifted a tank in the original?

Izubuchi: I can trust hand-drawn anime to fool you, but it’s beyond the reach of CG this time. (Laughs) You can’t lie with pictures here. Besides, I was thinking about how Analyzer could save a predicament, and there’s a reason we had a Gamiloid on the moon of Saturn in Episode 4 of Chapter 2.

In the original, they met Gamilas people in the Pluto base fight, yet they didn’t know what a Gamilas person was like in the later captive episode. “No, you already met them.” (Laughs) Since I was anxious about that since the old days, I wanted to change that episode about the prisoner. They would have used androids in order to compensate for the shortage of personnel in an interstellar empire, so contrary to the scale and impression of Gamilas, I sets up an indirect feeling of poverty.

Hayase: Do you decide the flow of such concepts in brainstorming? [Group discussion]

Izubuchi: I basically decided upon it myself, but when planning an idea my stance is to consult with a scriptwriter. Although I set up the baseline on my own, changes occur in the plot as we continue to make the series.

Ishinomori’s works Jun and The Way of Ryuu attracted Director Izubuchi

Izubuchi: If someone with an interest in ships, astronomy, etc. sees Space Battleship Yamato, I think it’s a work that can have a major impact on a person’s life. I know it did for me. There are other influential works, and they can certainly be considered “core.” Did you embark on your career because of such works by Ishinomori-sensei, Mr. Hayase?

Hayase: Of course, I was impressed because there was no video at the time, and it wasn’t possible to repeat a viewing of a TV program, so I diligently read manga as an alternative. At the time I read some Ishinomori works without shame. Although a moral hero is something that to enjoy on TV, I also think they can be enjoyed well into an adult career, and I thought that making such works would be great.

Izubuchi: Which specific works made you feel that way?

Hayase: For me, it was Android Kikaider.

Izubuchi: Wonderful. I also loved Kikaider. My personal favorites from Ishinomori-sensei were Jun and The Way of Ryuu. In Ryuu, I liked the feeling that it was studded with a variety of worldviews and my favorite genre in a single work. [45rpm single shown above right]

Hayase: Jun was unexpected.

Izubuchi: I might have been a poet in my youth. (Laughs) The framework of Jun is very cinematic, relying on memorable images rather than words. The words written in an anime script are like insurance, and they may be cut at the storyboard stage. There are places where you can express things with movement or an expression with no need to say it. From that time, Ishinomori-sensei used a variety of approaches in his manga panel layouts, but Jun felt like a very iconic work. I read Cyborg 009, of course, but it didn’t hook me that much. For me, the root works of Ishinomori were the previous two. Certainly I also like Kikaider and Kamen Rider. There seems to be some hesitation in Ishinomori-sensei to draw a hero as a natural hero.

Hayase: I heard that Ishinomori had an experience when he was very young with the one and only fist fight he ever won in his entire life. However, even when he saw his opponent laying sobbing at his feet, it filled him with sadness instead of making him feel better. That was apparently when he developed his feeling that victory does not equal a reason to cheer. Therefore, an Ishinomori hero stands in a position like that.

Moderator: Why is there no familiar narration, such as at the beginning, in Yamato this time?

Izubuchi: One of the reasons is that I wanted to avoid becoming dependant on narration. It’s easy to explain things with narration, but at the same time I think it’s also an escape. The narration at the beginning and at the end, “there are 00 days left,” is a big feature of Yamato, so I made up my mind to have it spoken. The reason I didn’t do a “00 days left” caption was, if Earth isn’t saved on the 364th day, would it fall to ruin on the 366th day? I left it out because I was anxious about it from the old days. But because the preview trailers are separated, I let Okita say the words, “there are 00 more days.”

Conversely, I knew there was a downside. The impressive music sounds really good with an opening narration. As a result, I’m able to hear as much of it as I want.

Hayase: Did you change all the original voice actors from the beginning?

Izubuchi: It was impossible for many reasons to get the cast of the original, and I didn’t want to go halfway with only some of them appearing. Anyway, even if they did appear, I didn’t think they should be in the same role. However, some of the people doing voices were in other parts of the series. Mr. Mugihito played Captain Dagon in Yamato III and now has the role of Tokugawa. Shigeru Chiba played new crewmember Sakimaki in Yamato III, and now has the role of Dr. Sado.

With regard to the salute, at first I thought of using the Yamato-style fist over the chest, but even in the original everyone other than the crew of Yamato used a normal salute. In the case of Japan, the so-called raised hand salute is used when wearing a hat, and we bow in salute when not wearing a hat. However, a bow is too Japanese, and I thought maybe the angle would be hard to draw. The military salute outside Japan is a raised hand even if one’s head is uncovered. I unified it from such a reason. I heard a lot about the method of saluting at the time of Chapter 1, but the voices disappeared with Chapter 2.

But that stupid hair…

Hayase: Yeah, I was worried about the stupid hair for a long time. But it wasn’t universal, after all.

Izubuchi: Well, I thought it was a category of the current fashion, but when Yuuki drew it, I thought, “that’s it?” (Laughs)

Hayase: Even if you don’t usually worry about it, there are still serious scenes.

Izubuchi: That’s what I think, but in the end it comes down to me exercising my judgment. It didn’t get any reaction from young people at all. But then I figured, “Why don’t I just put it on Yabu?” (Everyone laughs)

Inheriting the conflict along with the ambition

Moderator: Mr. Hayase is drawing Cyborg 009 this time. Did you have any conflict about what parts to throw away?

Hayase: The main thing I had to throw away was the number of pages. There were to be nine chapters in all, titled Chapter 001 to Chapter 009, plus the showdown episode, so what I wanted was 200 pages in all. However, the progress of the main characters doesn’t happen quickly, and that’s not allowed in a situation during a publishing recession. Therefore, at the moment I’m drawing it to follow a proposal from the publisher to contain it in five volumes.

Izubuchi: I have a question. For his “Angel” book, did Ishinomori-sensei write down its name or plot at the very end? [Before his death]

Hayase: He left idea notes, and some of the chapters are complete, but other chapters have nothing left behind. The heart of the final chapter was something Ishinomori told his sons on his deathbed in his hospital room.

Izubuchi: Were there any written notes or a recording?

Hayase: No notes were taken, and it wasn’t recorded because to bring in a recorder would have been to almost affirm that Ishinomori-sensei was close to death, so no one was able to bring in a recording machine even if they wanted to.

This is a work fans were hoping for, and I had a lot to worry about since they themselves know Ishinomori best. Although he said every year that he wanted to draw it, he was never able to take the time to do so. In my personal “reader” opinion, I think if this masterpiece is handed down with a truncated finish, fans will complain that the ending was rushed. In addition, we may meet a situation in which a sequel was expected from Ishinomori. More than the beauty of the work’s ending, fans have already formed an empathy for the characters.

Izubuchi: Aside from the intention of the author, a claim could be made that personal feelings took things in an unintended direction.

Hayase: Because it is Ishinomori, I have to meet the demands of such fans. Therefore, I think that’s why I’m being so cautious about drawing The Conclusion. When I meet a fan, they tend to tell me, “I’m waiting.” Therefore, I think it’s a very heavy burden. Even after I started at Ishimori-Pro [Ishinomori’s production studio], I declared “I will leave the company” when it is drawn so I could enjoy it as a fan.

Also, to satisfy not only the requests of fans but also the early black & white Cyborg 009 anime (1966) and movies, I changed 007 to a child since it’s easier to empathize with a child.

Izubuchi: 007 was also restored in the TV version of Cyborg 009 directed by Ryusuke Takahashi (1979). The Norse Mythology story arc was supposed to be produced at the end.

Hayase: That should have resulted in a battle of the gods in anime form. What kind of circumstances were they?

Izubuchi: It certainly seemed like Akiyoshi Sakai was writing the scripts.

Hayase: Why was that not made? It feels like it was cut short.

Izubuchi: I don’t know any details. But I get the feeling it was close.

Hayase: Even looking at it now, I find the beginning “Space Tree” chapter extraordinarily fun.

Izubuchi: With those giants. I like that one, too, and I think it was improved in the Heisei Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier TV series. [2001]

Hayase: I don’t think very highly of it. (Laughs)

Izubuchi: Is that so?

Hayase: If it is done like the original, I don’t think you need it because the original is still there. Like with the “Space Tree” chapter I mentioned before, there are people like me who get excited by that.

Izubuchi: Speaking of such things, the feel of the Heisei version of 009 is close to the reason I’m making 2199, the thought that I wanted young people to see a work like Cyborg 009. Back during that production, I was sounded out to do a design for the ship named the Dolphin, and to be honest I nearly lost it. (Laughs) I got it into my head that I just had to draw it realistically. When you go with those characters, I figured out it was best to also go with the old designs, so I ended up dropping out.

Hayase: I think at the time Izubuchi-san and I and our university classmate Ikuto Yamashita of Evangelion fame were candidates for the job.

Izubuchi: Putting aside the factor of shooting live action like Kamen Rider, I think you can adapt Ishinomori designs for live action, as artist Akira Takahashi did. So if I did the same with the characters, I thought I had better preserve the taste of Ishinomori-sensei. Even on the face of the story, Episode 29 The Blue Beast [below right] still gave me feelings akin to love. A large part of me wants those people now to think, “Yamato is magnificent.”

Hayase: 009 RE: Cyborg will be affirmed when it opens in October, because it is made for the new generation of today. I think of it as something to pass on to future generations. Therefore, I think of Yamato 2199 as being OK in this way.

Izubuchi: However, RE: Cyborg doesn’t necessarily start from the beginning of the story.

Hayase: It is positioned as a sequel.

Izubuchi: So if you put it in Yamato terms, it would be Resurrection. 2199 is more like the Heisei version of 009, The Cyborg Soldier.

Hayase: But when you try to make a Heisei version of a character like the original, it takes on a sense of incongruity. If it becomes a new person, I think it’s necessary to make a new design, too. That’s the challenge carried out in 2199.

Since the passionate talk goes on, please remember that Yamato 2199 Chapter 3 will premiere October 13 and 009 RE: Cyborg will premiere on October 27. We conclude by asking the director about Chapter 3.

Izubuchi: Since, as I said before, original parts begin to come out in the third chapter, I think it will be a touchstone of 2199. The feeling of Chapter 2 was how we would refine the original work, but now that we’re adjusting the helm a bit, you could say this will be a test of how good a job we’re doing.

Hayase: Since the purpose is not to make it just like the old days, my hopes are high, and I’ll watch it expecting to be convinced.

Izubuchi: Because the overall flow doesn’t change, but the approach to individual stories is changed, you can look forward to it. Those parts come up in the second half of Chapter 3. Once we’re out of the solar system it doesn’t feel like there will be battle after battle, so the specific gravity of the story becomes heavier. We’ll also touch on the conflicts within Gamilas, and I think you’ll watch areas like that with interest.

The End

Original text by Kiyoshi Takenaka.
Special thanks to Dave Merrill for images and to Neil Nadelman for translation support.


Wikipedia entry on Shotaro Ishinomori

Official English-language website of Ishimori Pro

Wikipedia entry on Kamen Rider

The Way of Ryuu manga at Manga Park

Mike Toole’s retrospective on Shotaro Ishinomori for Anime News Network

Dave Merrill’s history of Cyborg 009 for Let’s Anime

Wikipedia entry on Cyborg 009

Masato Hayase’s Cyborg 009 Conclusion web-manga at Shogakukan’s Club Sunday site

To read the manga, click on the black box next to a character image, then click it again on the popup.

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