1983 Yoshinobu Nishizaki Interview

Published in the Space Battleship Yamato
Total Collection Special
Gakken Publishing, January 1, 1983


’83 Spring theatrical release


Toward the Yamato Final Chapter

For Kodai and young people, I thought about The Final Chapter as a story to make you think about the next part of life

What is depicted in The Final Chapter?

Space Battleship Yamato shines with ten years of history. The anime boom arose in those ten years, transforming what used to be for children into a mainstay of society. It would not be an exaggeration to say this is the history of Yamato. Now, Yamato brings that ten-year history to a close.

Therefore, all that love and energy are being poured into The Final Chapter. We asked Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki to talk about it.

Interviewer: When we sum up the last ten years, the turning point must be the origin, Yamato Part 1.

Nishizaki: That’s right. Although I took a last step five years ago with Farewell to Yamato, this case is different from Farewell. If I must make one last ticket, I thought of The Final Chapter as the end of the tenth year. For example, it’s the end of the ship called Yamato, but it’s the story of the true growth of the young man called Susumu Kodai.

Interviewer: One of the greatest points of interest in The Final Chapter is the appearance of Captain Okita.

Nishizaki: Yamato is the story of Kodai’s growth and also the ship called Yamato. In order to depict those two points in The Final Chapter, the presence of Juuzo Okita becomes indispensable.

Yamato [Part 1] presented a 16-year old boy called Susumu Kodai who was consumed by personal hatred, and he learned to see things as a man from a higher perspective due to the power of Okita. Regarding Okita’s resurrection, he appears as a man of flesh and blood.

Interviewer: The reappearance of Captain Okita is depicted in The Final Chapter?

Nishizaki: At first, Kodai’s head was full of revenge on Planet Gamilas for taking away his family. However, there’s a thing called a mission that is nobler than personal feelings, and sometimes you have to stake your life on that mission to accomplish it. A man is one who will not give up until the very end. Okita taught him this through hard experience.

At the same time, Okita came to represent a father figure to Kodai. In the process of a man growing up, one of the walls he must overcome by all means is the presence of his father. If other captains are brought on board when trying to depict Kodai’s growth, the person in charge would become the focal point from that time onward. So, if the captain of The Final Chapter wasn’t Okita, the story would not be satisfying.

Interviewer: In the past, the love of humanity, the love of space, and other forms of love between men and women have been portrayed in Yamato, but what will the next theme become?

Nishizaki: If the theme of Yamato is the varieties of love, such as fighting to find happiness by one’s own hand, or whether you can die for another person, it is a matter of course that “love” is the origin. However, to put it a little more bluntly, it stands on the premise that the future is bright, and the belief that doing one’s best will lead to happiness.

Interviewer: Is that the message to the audience?

Nishizaki: That’s right. In life, boys and girls who go through childhood reach a period of adolescence. The story of Yamato depicts young boys and girls moving through this period. The future of humanity is very bright, but sometimes it’s hard and painful. I think another person who makes wonderful movies about this is Spielberg. This is impudent of me to say, but I think the world I’ve created has a lot in common with his.

Looking at it with all things considered, Yamato is a work that walks toward life after this, giving optimism to people entering adolescence. It is also symbolized by Aquarius as the “myth of space.” That can be considered to be the big theme.

Interviewer: Speaking specifically about the “myth of space,” what sort of thing is it?

Nishizaki: I think everyone knows full well by now that this thing called life arose from the sea. I think what lead to the sea as the origin of life is a “water planet” that makes an orbit through space every 4 billion years. That’s what I call the “myth of space.”

It’s called transmigration in Buddhism, life arising with infinite possibility. It perishes, and a new one is born. In that way, live revolves and revolves and continues on forever. The symbol for it is Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori.

Underlying Yamato for over a decade is a “life philosophy” that flows through it. To give an ending to these ten years, I surely have to depict the birth of life by all means. I express this with the presence of Aquarius.

Also, it twines around the two people of Kodai and Yuki, and we’ll depict parts that consider life anew.

Okita is the theme of Yamato

Interviewer: By the way, how is Kodai’s situation when Juuzo Okita returns as captain?

Nishizaki: Up to now in Yamato, Kodai has been shown to gradually develop as a captain. However, we didn’t touch upon whether he was really suitable as the captain. If you look at Kodai’s nature, there is a place where he is too much of a humanist to pass for the captain of a warship.

Kodai sees the flooding of Planet Dengil and goes to help. However, Yamato takes a huge blow because of that, and Kodai himself is gravely wounded by space radiation sickness. First of all, the captain should think about the ship and crew before all else. In this wake of this incident, Kodai hands in his resignation and leaves Yamato.

Interviewer: It’s a little hard to imagine Yamato without Kodai on board…

Nishizaki: Of course it is. When Kodai leaves Yamato, he notices it for the first time. What is Yamato to him? Yamato was something that gave him growth. Yamato‘s presence is like that of his brother, the blood relative he lost in war.

Interviewer: Does Kodai go back to being the captain again?

Nishizaki: Although he says good-bye to Yamato, Kodai is still a good soldier and wants to take Yamato out again to save Earth from crisis. His wish is met by returning to the position of combat group leader.

But when you think about a “fight,” it isn’t just war, there is also the big fight that comes about as a member of society. Fighting on board Yamato and constantly struggling in war is not a life. That’s the last message that is presented to Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori in this upcoming movie.

Interviewer: Is that the touch of Captain Okita that allows Kodai to mature?

Nishizaki: Looking back at Yamato‘s past, Okita showed a hard way of life, that “it is precious to put one’s life at stake for others, but it’s also important to survive without giving up until the very end.” That attitude has been the backbone of Kodai’s growth.

As the captain and sometimes the father, Okita educated young people to stand on their own feet as a member of society. He taught that “love” is what is necessary to live as a human being in space. It may be a little extreme to attribute that to Okita, but I think I can say that the actions themselves flow consistently through the theme of Yamato.

To love each other in the midst of a fight, or in other words, if one can make their beloved person happy, you can talk about mankind finding peace in space. Therefore, it’s a very important thing to love another person with your heart and soul. For Kodai, who spent his boyhood in battle, there is a new life after he leaves Yamato. This is the continuing growth that is depicted in the story.

Bottom half: notes on the October 1982 anniversary party.

The music image

Interviewer: That small thing is the basis for everything. I’m wondering, when you talk about “new life,” is its meaning connected to marriage?

Nishizaki: I think there has to be some kind of ending for the relationship of these two. Whether it is depicted as a wedding ceremony or something else, please look forward to it in the story. Don’t expect that it will be something half-hearted.

Interviewer: Has the image of how to depict these two already been decided?

Nishizaki: I can’t give an answer about the details, but composer Inoue Daisuke has written a song that is like a “hymn of two young people.” This is an image that hasn’t been seen in Yamato before, with songs by Tranzam and Tomoko Kuwae. In the end there is a song by Junko Yagami for Yuki saying, “finally you are all mine,” and she sings it with those feelings.

Interviewer: Speaking of music in animation, I think one of Yamato‘s greatest achievements was to show the importance of music.

Nishizaki: That’s right. Although there are the two big elements of Aquarius and Dengil in The Final Chapter, each theme is already completed.

In Aquarius, there is a goddess called the Queen of Aquarius. She is not a woman of flesh and blood like Starsha. She is a god-like being who is the idealogical symbol of the origin of life. So the aim of the music that represents the world of Aquarius was to express “the presence of God that encompasses all of space.” Specifically, it was finished with a classical image.

Interviewer: The image for the people of Dengil has the style of medieval Spain.

Nishizaki: There is such a part, but the design policy to the last is the Dengil fortress Uruk. To put it a little more specifically, the mecha has a religious tone, and it follows that Lugal has an element of religious charisma. I wanted the music of Uruk to have something like a Spanish rhapsody. It is classical in the style of Sibelius.

Anyway, it befits the last Yamato, and I wanted to give it a crowning glory. Working in production is a constant series of battles, but we’re pushing forward to make something you can enjoy.

The End

Special thanks to Neil Nadelman for translation support

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