1979 Voice Actor interviews

In the wake of The New Voyage, the popularity of Yamato‘s voice actors continued to grow in parallel with Yamato itself and the overall anime boom it helped to ignite. Here, those actors speak about their work in a pair of interviews, both published in September and October 1979.

Interview 1

From Animage magazine (Tokuma Shoten, October 1979 issue)

“I want an “Evil” role that consumes and replaces the main character!!”

We asked Osamu Ichikawa, Masayuki Ibu, and Shuichi Ikeda, all of whom have completely changed the image of the “evil” voice, to tell us all about the endless appeal of evil.

TV anime “Evil 3” Roundtable discussion


Shuichi Ikeda

Born in Tokyo on December 2, 1949
After working for the children’s theater company “Komadori”, currently belongs to Katoh Kikaku
Main credits: Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3, Mobile Suit Gundam
Hobbies: baseball, records

Masayuki [Masato] Ibu

Born in Tokyo on March 28, 1949
Formerly worked in small acting theaters, now at M3
Main films: Space Battleship Yamato, Bander Book
Many one-shot productions
Hobbies: listening to records, traveling alone

Osamu Ichikawa

Born in Saitama Prefecture on June 21, 1936
Belongs to Theater Echo
Main Works: Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V, Super Jetter, Brave Raideen
Hobbies: baseball, movies

“I think there’s a common denominator in that viewers are often sympathetic toward ‘evil’ characters when they die..” (Ichikawa)

Animage: In today’s TV anime, the appeal of the villain is a major factor in the popularity of a show. Nowadays, they’ve become indispensable. That’s why we decided to create a biographical dictionary of villains and add some research.

First of all, let’s start with an analysis of the roles you’ve played, talk about your own personal experiences with villains, and the difficulties you had in playing them. I would also like you to touch on the tragedy of the antagonist.

Ichikawa: I’d like to talk about the characters played by the people gathered here today. I think there’s a common denominator in that viewers are often sympathetic toward them when they die. I think there are many people who play villains who don’t get sympathy. The characters we’ve been developing are very strong. A strong villain is a great asset to the story as a whole.

There’s a maxim that says, “The enemy character will lie 26 times next week.” But the stronger the enemy character is, the more exciting the story will be. Of course, it’s not just about being strong. I’m sure there are a lot of factors involved.

Animage: It’s interesting to see a sympathetic villain. Wasn’t it your role as Prince Sharkin in Brave Raideen that started it all?

Ichikawa: Yes, that’s right. There’s a famous story about that. When Sharkin died, a razor was sent to the filmmakers with a note saying, “You killed me well.” That’s how much sympathy he received. It’s often said that Sharkin is the originator of the so-called “beautiful character” in anime. But it wasn’t until the start of Combattler V that I realized that. I was surprised to see how popular Sharkin was, even after Raideen ended. Even now, there are many calls for a rerun or a part II.

Before I did Sharkin, I had played heroes in afreco and anime. I had never played a villain before. And the other actor was my junior, Akira Kamiya. So I decided to play the role of a villain. I thought, “If you’re Raideen the hero, I’ll be Sharkin the hero.” I always stayed conscious of that, and it turned out to be a good idea to compete on an equal footing.

Animage: In the case of Mr. Ibu, Dessler was the perfect choice.

Ibu: It wasn’t that it was a hit role, it was my first time working in anime. However, there hasn’t been much since then. In my case, I never thought of that role as a villain.

Animage: Were asked to play the role?

Ibu: No, I auditioned. Kodai and Shima were the main characters, and I went to the audition for Shima, but they said that my voice wasn’t fresh enough. They thought I would be better suited to a more evil-sounding character. I was asked to read Dessler’s line, and that’s how it all started. The line at that time was, “Here you are, Earth. Look at me, you idiots.” It seemed very one-dimensional, but once the story actually started, I thought, “This is an interesting role.”

Animage: When did you start feeling this way?

Ibu: In the first one. It was my first job, and I was so passionate that I was willing to bet my life on it. I agonized over how to make Dessler’s presence felt.

Animage: It’s good that your personality came out. At first, I guess you played it without really thinking about it.

Ibu: The main character is a hot-blooded, righteous man who wants to hit everything. On the other hand, if I were to respond to things the same way, it wouldn’t stand out. So, when the other side comes at you from a right angle, you should be able to dodge it easily. That’s what I was conscious of.

Ichikawa: You spoke very slowly, as if you had killed your intonation.

Ibu: That’s right. That’s why when I speak Dessler’s lines, I usually go longer than the scene. When that happened, they told me they’d add more film so there was plenty of time in the picture.

Ichikawa: That’s OK because it’s Mr. Ibu. It’s no good if you have a squeaky voice like me.

Animage: Mr. Ikeda, what made you decide to play Char Aznable?

Ikeda: I also started with an audition. But as Ibu-san mentioned earlier, I didn’t see myself as a villain at all. In Gundam we are both, in essence, rivals to each other. There should be some kind of justice on the villain’s side, and I think it would be strange if there wasn’t. Then there’s the villain’s pattern. It’s like, if you do things this way, you’ll be established as a villain. I’m determined not to fall into such a pattern.

Animage: By the way, apart from “sympathy,” is there anything else that’s common among recent villains?

Ichikawa: What these three characters have in common is that their use of language is more dignified than the main character. The hero is a commoner, and the villain speaks in a refined manner, as if he were an aristocrat or a prince.

Ikeda: This was my first time doing anime. That’s one of the things that surprised me when I played the villain, (Laughs) but I can say that too.

“You can’t perform unless you know what kind of life the character has led.” (Ikeda)

Animage: When it comes to acting, is it easier to grasp a character when there are more details about them?

Ichikawa: The more data you have, the easier it is. The hardest thing for me is when people ask me to just randomly match my voice to the character.

Ikeda: I think you can’t perform unless you know what kind of life the character has led and what kind of environment they live in.

Ichikawa: What do you think about that, Mr. Ibu? You went to an audition and got a character.

Ibu: I just expose everything I have and then it’s a matter of whether they like it or not.

Ichikawa: I try to ask everything about their personality, height, age, and so on. I used to be like, “Yes, yes,” but now I’ve changed. I try to get as many cards in my hand as possible.

Ibu: But if we don’t have detailed concepts, it’s inevitable to bring up a very patterned villain.

Ichikawa: However, playing the role of a villain is extremely rewarding. You can create various elements in various forms. I think you can do this better than a hero. But if you play a patterned villain, the story itself becomes boring. As the story continues, it will eventually come to an end. As for how the final episode will be played out, I’m actually more excited about the evil side.

Ibu: In my case, Dessler has died twice. When he died, he really gave it everything. He says, “Look at how I die, you bastards. Even if you survive, that can’t compare to the way I die.” He died a cool death. But then Dessler’s popularity grew, and he was revived. At that time, I wondered what kind of character I was going to come back as.

Animage: Is it difficult to work in such a situation?

Ibu: Every time he comes back to life, his character becomes more rounded. It makes me a little nervous. At that time, I was conscious of the fact that I had to rebuild Gamilas myself. In other words, if the Yamato side has their own ideology, there must also be a “philosophy” on the Gamilas side. In terms of story, the other side may be righteous, but when I do something, my side is absolutely right. We would die to protect it.

In the recent telefeature, it was a good idea when he said, “Come quickly, Kodai.” He also has a side crush on Starsha. It’s a painful situation.

Ichikawa: When I recorded Heinel (in Voltes V) for the last time, I felt like a blank slate. On that day, I took a morning bath to clear my head. I was ready to say goodbye at last. Everyone was on board with me. I heard that I did it with a terrible look on my face, as if I might bite whoever touched me. When I finished, I thought, “Ah, I’ve done my job.” It was the first time in many years that I felt like that.

We all felt like we couldn’t leave the studio. We pooled our money to buy drinks and food. Normally we’re not allowed to eat and drink in the studio, but on that day, we all had a blast. We worked hard until 2 am.

Sharkin, Dessler, Char Aznable

“In Japan, there are many bass tones, but muscular bass tones are very rare.” (Ichikawa)

Animage: I’d like to ask you about your voices. When you first started playing a villain, did you have any references?

Ichikawa: I played the role of a military police officer in a play called When All Young Men Die. It was a hint for Sharkin’s voice.

Animage: That somehow connected with Sharkin?

Ichikawa: Yes, the military police officer is a villain from my point of view. If I tell you this, you’ll know how old I am, but when I was in elementary school, I saw a boy soldier being beaten by his superior officer because he forgot to salute. The boy soldiers were very kind to us, even giving us dry bread.

One day, I found the superior officer and hit him with five layers of clay from the roof. He cut me off and ran after me. I got away through an alley, but the next day, the military police came to my elementary school. They said it was the biggest scandal in the school’s history.

Animage: So that image led to the stage play, and then to Sharkin and other anime.

Ichikawa: When I performed on stage, I was praised by the director. Well, I had many experiences. I don’t have my own knack for villains, I really just wanted to be cool. Fortunately or unfortunately, I fit right in.

Animage: But at the time, cool villains were rare.

Ichikawa: It was the first time, wasn’t it? Before that, there was Rikiishi in Tomorrow’s Joe. I even went to the funeral at that time.

[Translator’s note: there was an actual, real-life funeral for the character in this famous manga.]

Animage: Mr. Ibu’s way of speaking as Dessler is unique. Did you use any foreign actors as references for this?

Ibu: This is a secret, but he way he speaks, it prevents some things from happening. It’s that slowness. And one more thing, as I listen to the two of you, you seem very confident. Being confident means there are things you can get away with. If you have confidence in yourself, you can say, “This is what I think,” without having to pussyfoot around. So, how should you speak in such situations? I think it’s better to speak slowly.

Animage: Mr. Ikeda, this is your first leading role in anime. What was it like to act only with your voice? I guess it was different from acting in movies or on TV.

Ikeda: I used to do radio dramas, so I thought of it as a radio drama.

Animage: By the way, do villains have a certain way of speaking?

Ichikawa: If there was, it would be the patterned villain I mentioned earlier. I don’t do that, but I think you have to maintain a balance in stories. For example, if there’s an evil organization, and a man with a very sharp temper comes in as a subordinate, it’s hard for those above him to act the same way. On the other hand, it would be hard for me to be a subordinate.

Ibu: If you put it that way, it wasn’t always easy playing Dessler. The generals who worked under me were all actors who have been doing it for 10 or 20 years. Osamu Kobayashi played General Domel, for example.

Ichikawa: You’re a person who can compete with his voice. I’ve listened to many people over the years, and there are a few I thought had surprisingly good voices. When I first heard Genzo Wakayama’s voice, it hit me in the gut. I was really surprised to know that there are people in the world with such amazing voices. His voice is very rare for a Japanese actor.

In Japan, there are many bass tones, but muscular bass tones are very rare. As far as I know, Kenji Utsumi, Kyoji Kobayashi, Mr. Ibu and…no one else. There are many American actors, though. This is one of the qualities of a cool villain.

“Dessler said to his second in command, ‘Hyss, you are an idiot.’ That kind of behavior is impressive.” (Ibu)

Animage: Each of you has your own special role, but is there a line that you will never forget?

Ichikawa: In the case of Sharkin, he died without saying anything in the script. His mouth didn’t move. I asked for him to say, “Glory to the Demon Empire,” and then to strike his own chest. I wanted him to die a cool death. There was an opportunity for him to say, “How powerful you could have been if you were on my side!” to the main character.

Ibu: I remember a line Dessler gave to his second-in-command in Yamato part 1. When his subordinate Hyss came to report to him, he said, “Hyss, you’re an idiot.” Usually I’d say, “What are you here for?” And he’d say, “My lord, I…” But I was very impressed with the way he said, “You’re an idiot.”

Animage: Char’s appearances are short, but is there a line that you will never forget?

Ikeda: Char has a lot of rather quirky lines. In the first episode, he fails to kill the main character. Char is always calm. He calmly says, “You never want to admit the mistakes of your youth.” That kind of thing. At that time, Ichiro Nagai was working with me. He said, “Hey, you’ve got a snappy line.” And I was embarrassed.

Ichikawa: You can’t do that sort of thing with a beautiful villain.

Ikeda: That’s why I just open up and talk.

Ibu: You get serious.

Ichikawa: That’s right. Only the villains or heroes can speak the cool lines.

Ibu: Every time I say something, someone behind me says, “What’s wrong?” (Laughs)

Ichikawa: As far as villains are concerned, you can’t be intimidated by the idea of overdoing it. When you get into the act, you can’t help but laugh. The picture is silent, but I’m like, “Wahaha…” Oh, no, that was two too many.

Ibu: There are a lot of twists. It would be strange if there weren’t any.

Ichikawa: The villain’s line is sometimes difficult to understand just by listening to the words. I try to gently correct that, but there are some words I want to use, even if I have to look them up in a dictionary. In Richter’s line, at the end [of Fighting General Daimos, he says, “Even if my body were to rot away at the end of the universe, I will still become a ghost and kill you.” It’s like kabuki.

Ibu: I feel like language has become very crude. I feel that we should use proper words.

Animage: Is there an image of a villain you’d like to play in the future?

Ibu: Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy. He’s an irredeemable character, a so-called dirty role. So if a villain is a dirty character, I’d like to play a thoroughly dirty role.

Ichikawa: If that’s the case, it’s cool whether you’re evil or a hero. I’d like to play a villain who is so melodramatic that he can’t help himself. I think that would be interesting.

Animage: Isn’t that one of the things you’ve done already?

Ichikawa: No, I don’t think so. Such characters don’t appear very often in anime. One project I’m working on is Homer’s Iliad, written by Juro Miyoshi. To put it more simply, it’s Helen of Troy. I think it will definitely become an anime. If you steal this idea, I’ll disavow it. (Laughs)

Ibu: I’m a total maggot. I don’t think I’ve received a single fan letter. For example, people who barge into a queue are the worst people to me. I really don’t like that kind of thing. I’d like to play a role that builds on that very things that I really dislike.

Ikeda: I think there are various ways to evaluate evil. I like movies a lot, but there are people who think movies are bad. I’m not talking about the good and bad nature of evil, but I’d like to work on the idea of living evil. In that respect, I think the heroes of today’s anime lack humanity. Whether you win or lose, you’ll be happy, and love will last forever.

Ichikawa: It is possible that Susumu Kodai’s heroism put the Earth in danger.

Ibu: It could be more historic. Susumu Kodai is a man of heroism.

Ichikawa: Yes, yes. To turn it around, evil is capable of doing so, and it has hidden elements as well. It can consume heroes, and it can even replace them.

Ichikawa: I can’t believe I’m going to be a main character next week.

Animage: I hope such an interesting program will be launched soon. (Laughs)

[Translator’s note: based on the timing of this interview, the “main character” role Ichikawa mentioned was probably Duke Orleans in The Rose of Versailles. He was also the voice of Miru in Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2.]

Interview 2

From The New Voyage Roadshow Special Edition (Shueisha, October 1979)

Yamato Voice Actor Roundtable Discussion

Kei Tomiyama (Kodai), Masato Ibu (Dessler), Yoko Asagami (Yuki), and Miyuki Ueda (Starsha) talk about their memories of Yamato

“Extremely grateful” and “Sanada-san!” What a great line!

The funny Mr. Tomiyama, the bearded and strong Mr. Ibu, the beautiful Ms. Ueda, and Asagami-san, who looks like Momoe-chan. The weight of the years can be felt in the memories shared by these four popular voice actors of Yamato. And their earnest attitude as actors is admirable!

Dessler’s Mr. Ibu auditioned for the role of Shima

Interviewer: Today I’d like to talk about Yamato, since you’ve been working on it for quite some time. I’d like to ask how you got started and your aspirations for the future. Have you been playing the same roles since the beginning?

Asagami: No, only three of us still have the same role…

Ueda: My first role was Teresa in the theatrical version of Farewell to Yamato. I didn’t do the Yamato 2 TV series, but then I played the role of Starsha in The New Voyage.

Tomiyama: The rest of us have been together for five years, since 1974.

Asagami: At first, there were the auditions. I was asked to come at a certain time. They showed me a character and said, “This is the role.” I read the lines and wondered if I would get the part. I felt like I couldn’t decide…

Tomiyama: I didn’t audition for anything. The schedule was decided, and suddenly I was at the first recording session. My first project with Mr. Nishizaki was Wansa-kun, and the next one was Yamato.

Ibu: I went to an audition for Shima.

Interviewer: That’s very different, isn’t it?

Ibu: No, not that different, if I wanted to do it. (Laughs) I was only 24 or 25 at the time. If anything, I was more like Shima. So I did the audition, and I was asked if I’d like to read for the villain, and I put on a big show of it. It was my first time in animation.

Ueda: I did…oh, the very first time was on radio, wasn’t it? When Teresa made her first appearance, it was on Japan Broadcasting. It was in Isao Sasaki’s program.

Tomiyama: It was a radio drama.

Asagami: It was like a preview.

Ueda: That’s right. It was a sudden story, and we had no pictures or anything. I was told to just get on with it. I was asked to do it again, and that was how I first learned about Teresa.

Interviewer: Farewell to Yamato was a big hit last year. How many days did it take for you to record for it?

Tomiyama: I think it took about four days in total.

Interviewer: Only four days?

Tomiyama: It’s still a lot of work even if it only takes four days. Most theatrical movies are done in one day.

Asagami: That’s why it always takes until midnight. From 10:00 in the morning until after midnight.

Ibu: This telefeature [The New Voyage] took from 10:00 in the morning to 3:00 the next morning. There was still some work left to be done, so I worked on it the next night. And the pictures were not finished when I worked on it, so it was very tiring.

Interviewer: No pictures?

Tomiyama: Yes, just like on Part 1, five years ago. They hadn’t had time to shoot the footage yet. All we had was a blank screen called “shiromi.” Sometimes there were lines drawn on it.

Ibu: That was on film as well, right?

Tomiyama: That’s right. They would draw a line that shows how long the spoken line should take. They’d just shoot that and turn it into a film. Once the pictures are created, you then replace the lines with the pictures.

Ibu: It’s much easier to work with a finished film. For example, you have a sense of the distance from which you speak to the other person. Then I can see the picture of a person yelling in a very loud voice, but in some cases [where there is no picture] I’m not yelling at all.

Interviewer: Then you may end up with a scene that need to be redone later.

Tomiyama: In many cases, we can’t even do that work because there’s not enough time before the broadcast.

Asagami: I played the role of Yuki, and I thought I didn’t completely fit her. There’s a scene when Kodai and Shima are laughing, and it was just a line drawing like you’d see in a coloring book. In that line drawing, a hand was near the mouth, so I put my hand to my mouth and laughed. When I saw the finished footage, that hand movement wasn’t there. She wasn’t laughing, just watching them. I was very disappointed.

Tomiyama: That’s why there are usually no line drawings. I would just speak for Kodai while the blue lines were on the screen.

Asagami: Yuki was in red.

Yuki and Dessler both died twice. Do you remember where?

Interviewer: Well, this telefeature had a high rating of 31%…

Tomiyama: There were a lot of fans who said that we should stop after Part 2. I guess they’ll watch the telefeature, no matter what.

Asagami: Yes, I was wondering what would happen.

Tomiyama: There were quite a few people who said they wanted Farewell to be the end.

Asagami: They said it wouldn’t go on, but then it did. It was written clearly [in the end caption] that it would not appear again…

Ibu: I thought, “How dare you come back?” (Laughs)

Asagami: Right. I felt embarrassed.

Ueda: How many times have you died?

Asagami: (Laughs) I died on TV during Part 1, and then when they made it into a movie, they changed it so that I survived. I died in the Part 2 movie, so that was twice. I died every time, and then they brought me back to life again for the next story…

Tomiyama: Dessler died once, too.

Ibu: Once, really.

Tomiyama: He died once and was revived by Emperor Zordar, wasn’t he?

Ibu: But in the Part 2 movie, he feels like a dead man. So, twice.

Asagami: But Dessler is the alter ego of the producer, Mr. Nishizaki, so he has to be there.

Interviewer: As for Dessler, the telefeature was challenging, wasn’t it?

Ibu: That’s right. As an actor, it’s easier to catch a scene when there are many twists and turns, rather than just attacking from the enemy side. It’s easier for me as an actor if there’s drama.

Interviewer: Ms. Ueda, how did you like Starsha?

Ueda: In Starsha’s case, she’s a mother, and the baby appears at the end with a bang. In that case, the mother’s love for the baby shouldn’t come out all at once. She shouldn’t be too much like a mother, but she shouldn’t be cold, either. It felt like, “What should I do?” If I went the wrong way, it would no longer be Starsha. She’d become an ordinary mother, an ordinary woman. In Teresa’s case, she was still cute with a girlish feeling, but this time I had to bring out the mother part as well. It was very hard for me.

“I love you, Kodai!” What the…!

Interviewer: Mr. Tomiyama, how about Kodai?

Tomiyama: In my case, Kodai from Yamato is the only anime character that I have been with for such a long time. I worked for a long time as puppet characters for puppet shows, but this is my first time for an anime character. After we finished Part 2, he was an adult rather than a boy. So it’s not so hard to get into it. But in this telefeature, Dessler and Kodai have a male friendship. It’s an awakening.

Ibu: The world is becoming more and more homosexual. It’s very popular among young people now, isn’t it?

Interviewer: Is that so?

Ibu: It’s starting to feel more uncomfortable. Instead of saying, “I love you, Starsha,” it’s “I love you, Kodai.” (Laughs)

Tomiyama: Well, I don’t interpret it that way because that’s weird. (Laughs) This telefeature is about Dessler’s awakening to the idea of male friendship. Dessler loved Starsha, didn’t he?

Ueda: I loved that part of Dessler’s speech. I didn’t know how to say it, but I thought it was really good.

Tomiyama: So, in the case of Kodai, there’s no need to prepare for the role or anything. In Part 1, he was about 18 years old, but now he’s a grown adult. How about Yuki?

Asagami: She was 18 years old when Part 1 started, right? I was 20 years old then. I always looked younger than my actual age. It’s hard to be an adult. (Laughs) So at the time I thought, “She’s 18, well, maybe if I speak a little more maturely, I’ll sound 18.” But when they cast me as Yuki, they said, “This girl can do it in a down-to-earth way.” So I didn’t push it too hard and just did what I was supposed to do. I feel like I’m still doing it that way.

Yuki often cries, or is on the verge of death. There are a lot of scenes like that, but if anything, it’s easier for me that way. I feel like I’m allowed to do the parts that are really easy to do.

Interviewer: When I hear you talk like that, I get the impression that it’s surprisingly easy-going.

Ibu: No, no, no.

Asagami: You must have a hard time with the Commander, don’t you?

Tomiyama: In Mr. Ibu’s case, he plays two roles. The role of Dessler and the role of Commander.

Ibu: I play the Commander like he’s on the evening news. (Laughs) When I play Dessler, I do it with correct posture. If I curl my back, I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Tomiyama: And your facial expression, too…

Ibu: Does it change?

Tomiyama: You look just like Dessler’s image, with a few wrinkles.

Asagami: Extremely grateful.

Tomiyama: Extremely grateful.

Asagami: A very telling line.

Ueda: My favorite part is when Mr. Tomiyama says “Sanada-san!” Do you like that? “Sanada-san!”

Tomiyama: “Sanada-san!” is difficult for me to say. Especially when the situation is tense, I put more effort into it, and it becomes even harder. Most of the time, it becomes a pickup. After the session is over, I’ll record “Sanada-san!” separately as a replacement. It’s always like that.

Ibu: You should do it 5 or 6 times at the beginning.

Tomiyama: “Sanada-san!” has become famous.

“Days until the end of the Earth” How fun it was every day!

Interviewer: “Sanada-san!” is a famous line. By the way, do you have a favorite scene?

Asagami: I was most absorbed in the Part 1 TV series. I was a big fan of Leiji Matsumoto, and I wanted to do it without destroying the image of this character. I had that image in my mind, and I wanted to do it my own way. That’s why those memories are the most beautiful. In the last part, Kodai-kun is about to die and Yuki operates the Cosmo Cleaner. I was most impressed by that.

Tomiyama: That’s right. I also did the 26 episodes of Part 1, but I was less focused then. I didn’t know anything about Yamato yet. I was doing a lot of anime, and it was just one of the many things I did. I just bumped into Yamato, so I was able to create freely. I guess that’s how I ended up with the mantle of Kodai. I looked forward to going in every time. It was very dramatic. It ended with the narration, “How many days until the end of the Earth” and went on to the next…

Asagami: Everyone was talking about how many days left, and it was a great feeling.

Interviewer: There wasn’t much noise among fans at the time, was there?

Tomiyama: No, not at all.

Asagami: It was supposed to be a one-year project, but it turned out to be only six months.

Ibu: I worked on a back-up program.

Tomiyama: Oh, I was doing Heidi Girl of the Alps or something, but this took up all my time and I couldn’t do anything else.

Interviewer: And then there was a rerun? Eventually….

Asagami: Apparently the rerun in Osaka did really well.

Tomiyama: Osaka seems to have been the biggest spark.

Ibu: Osaka and Yamato. I wonder what the connection is. Yamato is popular with the Osaka crowd.

Tomiyama: Anyway, after the reruns, a great fan club was formed. I guess that’s why people started calling for Yamato to be revived.

Asagami: By the time I heard about it and there were more reruns, it had already died down in Osaka. But the movie rekindled the flames.

Tomiyama: Wasn’t Part 1 interesting?

Asagami: But it wasn’t a good idea to make a movie out of it. They made a movie out of something that was meant for TV, so the story was a mess.

Tomiyama: There were some dissatisfaction among fans. Some said, “Well, when I saw it in the theater, it was just the same story that was shown on TV.”

Interviewer: That’s how the Part 2 movie got made. Then Part 2 for TV was made.

Asagami: Why did I die in the Part 2 movie, but not on TV? I think it was simply for the sake of Part 3. I died in the Part 1 TV series and lived in the Part 1 movie because they wanted to make the Part 2 movie. But in terms of the relationship between film and TV, they make a TV series in such a way that it can be put together into one story. That’s what producer Nishizaki said from the time of Part 1.

Ibu: I always give my all as an actor. I think it’s great that Dessler died spectacularly on the enemy side in the first one. He really put his whole life into it and died in a spectacular manner. When he came back to life again, he had to look a little cooler. It’s weird…how should I put it…I was a virgin in animation, Yamato and me both…

Tomiyama: I think Ibu-chan was the one who went on the best ride.

Ibu: It’s a lot of fun when you enter a world you don’t know. And you study because you don’t want to lose.

Tomiyama: Yoko-chan must have had the hardest time with that. All those machines…

Asagami: Oh, like “Launch.”

Tomiyama: Or “Target something.”

Asagami: There are phrases like “acquired” or “seconds before launch.” I’m really not good at that kind of thing, and it just came out sweet. Halfway through, Mr. Nishizaki felt a little uncomfortable with it. He said, “You won’t talk about those things any more, just things within the life support group.” It was better to focus on everyday lines.

Tomiyama: I see, so you were assigned to the life group halfway through.

Asagami: Yes. I was in the Life Group from the beginning, but from Part 2, I was in front of a radar like Ota used to be. I’d say things like, “We found something,” or “Our goal is something.” I’m in front of the radar, which I heard is called a “boob radar.” But there were other things to do. I have a job along with everyone else on the ship. I started making Yamato Juice along the way, and I also did some fashion shows.

It’s “Stashaa,” not “Stasha”!

[Translator’s note: though the name is pronounced “Starsha” in English, there is no R sound in Japanese. In this section, the subtleties of pronunciation are discussed, but it’s difficult to render them in English text.]

Tomiyama: There was also a Yamato farm, wasn’t there?

Asakami: Yes. And I was playing with Analyzer more.

Interviewer: The New Voyage also had a skirt flipping scene, didn’t it?

Asagami: I got a letter after seeing it, and it left an impression on me. About the skirt-flipping scene, it said, “They did it again.” At the end I’m holding Sasha in my arms and I said, “I won’t cry,” but then I started crying. There was no line in the script for either of those scenes, but I thought it would give a more realistic impression if I said a line that wasn’t written. That’s what I thought about it.

Interviewer: Didn’t “Stashaa” used to be “Stasha” before?

Tomiyama: It was “Stashaa” from the beginning.

Ueda: Oh, I didn’t know that. I didn’t understand and said “Stasha,” and I was told by Mr. Nishizaki, “Please say Stashaa.”

Ibu: In Part 1, it was Dessler who said “Stashaa” the most. At that time, it was Stashaa. Only Mamoru, Kodai’s brother, said “Stasha, Stasha” this time. He’s from another country, so maybe he wasn’t used to calling her by her name… (Laughs)

Tomiyama: For some reason, the villain Dessler seems to be quite popular.

Asagami: I think he’s popular with boys.

Ibu: Really? I prefer girls.

Asagami: But at school, when I’d tell people I’m a Dessler fan, the girls around me who weren’t Dessler fans would say, “What, that blue guy?” “He has a blue face, doesn’t he?” They would make fun of me.

The girls who write in to radio shows and stuff sometimes write with a penname like “Dessler’s wife” or something like that. Once, I received a threatening letter that said, “My husband Dessler is dead because of you and Kodai-kun!” I think people imagine things like, “When’s the funeral?”

Ibu: It’s still just a voice, so that’s good. He can’t stand up and pee after drinking. (Laughs) I wonder if his everyday life is like that.

Asagami: But that’s how it is when it comes to Yamato. I guess the viewers have a lot of expectations.

Ibu: It’s like, this is definitely going to happen here, and the viewers will participate. In that sense, this may already be a masterpiece. It’s what we call a popular masterpiece.

Asagami: All the evil characters except Dessler always die, don’t they?

Ibu: That’s why I’m not sure he’s actually evil. I didn’t start out with an image of evil. Rather, I saw him as cooler than the other side. If Earth is over there, then there’s Gamilas over here.

Anime will last forever, so let’s take good care of it!

Interviewer: The music in Farewell to Yamato was really good.

Tomiyama: Even if the movie became a record, the sound and music are worth listening to on their own.

Ibu: But unfortunately, I can’t understand the music when it’s too loud.

Tomiyama: You never know what kind of music, sound effects, or sound effects will be included.

Ibu: Well, on the other hand, if the picture was completely done [for a recording], and if they played music on the monitor for a love scene or something, I could get more into it.

Ueda: I would definitely get into it. I’m afraid I’d get too carried away and end up doing it wrong.

Ibu: In Yamato‘s case, it’s blessed with music and various staff members. There a lot of so-called “unsung artists” behind the scenes who are a big part of it. I’d want to go to the studio and say, “The film isn’t done! If we’re going to do this, let’s do it the proper way,” but then I’d hear that they stayed up all night sweating blood…

Asagami: They say that whenever Yamato is in the final stretch, there are many car accidents among the staff. They don’t even have time to sleep.

Interviewer: That’s right. The staff’s efforts behind the scenes in the big animation boom should not be forgotten. By the way, what do you all think about anime in general?

Tomiyama: There’s so much of it now. But I don’t think this is something that will ever disappear. I’m sure it will continue forever, even when we become grandparents.

Asagami: That’s right. When I was a child, I went to see 101 Dalmations and Fantasia. I just love anime. I think it would be great if I could participate in a dream project. I’d like to be a part of a big circle of people who really like anime and create fun programs together in a friendly atmosphere. I’d like to be friends with the original creators and animators.

Ibu: If you have more time and take your time, you’ll be able to create something good. But it takes a lot of work for both the actors and the staff. Anime would continue even if it wasn’t like that, but I feel that only works made with passion and care will endure.

Ueda: The viewers are becoming more and more discerning…

Tomiyama: A lot of staff members are involved in this project. We only know the staff members who are present at the recordings. If all the staff members came to the studio and participated in the event, it would be much better. I think if we did it that way, we could create something even better.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time today. I’d like to see this anime boom flourish into something great. To that end, I hope Yamato will continue to launch.

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