Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the remake of the first Space Battleship Yamato (also known as Star Blazers in the West) anime series that began airing on TV in 1974, was aired on TV in 2013. The series remained 100% true to the original show but with newer animation techniques. It’s amazing how beautifully detailed the animation is; the Wave Motion Gun is epic and the battleships are a space eye-candy. The original Yamato is considered a monumental work of sci-fi animation. The remake just proved how important Yamato is even today.
It’s been 3 years and 5 months since the TV remake ended, and the sequel to Space Battleship Yamato 2199, called Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love, premiered in theaters on Saturday 25 February 2017. As is obvious to Yamato fans, this is based on the theatrical film Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato: Warriors of Love, which created a social phenomenon when the film was released in 1978. The latest Yamato film includes the original 2202 characters, and it seems that you can appreciate it better if you see it as the sequel to Space Battleship Yamato 2199.
In this interview, Daisuke Ono (who plays Susumu Kodai) and Hiroshi Kamiya (who plays Klaus Keyman) will tell us how enthusiastic they are about being on board the Yamato. Ono plays Kodai in both Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and the latest film, and Kamiya acts as a new Garmillas character, Klaus Keyman, who is debuting in Yamato 2202.
Here we go!
[Interview: Tomoko Oomagai]
‘Space Battleship Yamato 2202: Warriors of Love’ Chapter 1 Volume Koushi
Saturday 25 February 2017: 2-week limited theatrical releases began in 15 theaters nationwide
Daisuke Ono: ‘I can relate to Susumu Kodai. I now believe that it’s destiny.’
–Mr. Ono, could you describe what you actually felt when you were chosen as Susumu Kodai, the protagonist of Space Battleship Yamato 2199 [hereafter: 2199] and when the film was released?
‘The original Space Battleship Yamato [hereafter: Yamato] is considered the monumental work of sci-fi animation in Japan, and I always knew that it was a legendary work that everyone recognizes. So, I have to admit that I was feeling more pressure than expected when I was chosen to play Susumu Kodai. However, when it came out and everyone learned what it was like, people including both original fans and younger generations commented on how entertaining Yamato was. That’s when I felt real satisfaction. Both the staff and cast were sharing this passion that they wanted to produce the newer Yamato with modern technology in the story that would work in modern society, rather than just recreate the original Yamato in order to deliver it to the next generation. As a cast member, I was very happy to be a part of this movement and take a journey on Yamato 2199.‘
–Which part of 2199 do you think inspires the younger generation?
‘This may sound paradoxical, but I believe that it is because of the film’s universal themes, such as the bonds of love and friendship. What Yamato depicts is still the same even after many years. People in different generations can relate to the story and all agree to it. This is not about winning a popularity contest among younger people, but about the film capturing the heart of the younger generation as well as maintaining the excitement of the original fans. [laugh] I think the answer is that the film is entertaining for everyone, young and old.’
–How did you feel about remaking Yamato when 2199 began its production, Mr. Kamiya?
‘I thought that the definition of Yamato was going to be renewed at that point. The original Yamato is a monumental work in sci-fi animation. When you talk about animation in Japan, the title Yamato always comes up first and I’m pretty sure that everyone knows about it. However, it is also true that there are more and more people who actually haven’t seen Yamato.
So, when I heard about 2199 being made, I realized that Yamato had become something like a classic or a folk tale. It may not sound very smart, but classics and folk tales are both universal. It’s just like knowing the folk tale of Momotaro (Peach Boy) without having read it properly…and Yamato has become one of those. In the long history of Japanese anime, Yamato might have become a sublimated tale, equivalent to folk tales or classics.’
Next Page: Daisuke Ono, ‘I don’t know anything about Keyman at all either.’