- From the book “Shuuichi Ikeda’s Three Times Faster!! There goes Char! Journal of Investigations of the Figures behind Gundam”
- Translation by SimHuman - repost freely
- Pg. 84: Interview of voice actor Hiroshi Kamiya (神谷浩史) by fellow actor Shuuichi Ikeda (池田秀一)
- First Co-starred in “SD Gundam Force”
- Ikeda: Wasn’t the first time we worked together in “SD Gundam Force”?
- Kamiya: It started airing in 2004, so it’s already been seven years. But because it had to air in America, they sped up the production schedule. We were taping something like two episodes a day.
- Ikeda: I remember we did a lot of drinking after we finished recording. Enough that I don't think I've ever spoken to you sober. (laughs)
- Kamiya: We did go and talk over drinks after recording. When you only appeared in the first of the day’s two episodes, you’d tell us, “Well, I’ll go get started on the drinking.” Everyone would be anxious thinking, “Ikeda is waiting for me, I’ve gotta finish up.” (laughs)
- Ikeda: When I left early, I'd already be completely plastered by the time everyone else came. It was really unforgivable. (laughs)
- Kamiya: Not at all. (laughs) I still clearly remember being shocked when I heard that as I was playing Captain Gundam, you’d be voicing Zako Red as its enemy.
- Ikeda: I joined the cast midway through, right?
- Kamiya: Yeah. Zako Red was an offshoot of Commander Sazabi somehow under its control for reconnaissance and the like. The studio's pretense of the day we heard you were coming.
- Ikeda: That was a pretty interesting series. The role was also kind of different from previously.
- Kamiya: It was a challenging series because it was made with full CGI. The movements of the CGI characters are all taken from motion capture of actors. I went to Sunrise’s studio to see that once. At that time, they were recording data for Commander Sazabi taking off and landing. They were struggling to figure out a way to record those because those aren't human movements. I went there hoping to learn how hard they work for when I’m recording, but what I saw looked so much more difficult than what I was expecting. I felt like I should work harder myself.
- Ikeda: It does really affect you, even when you're recording.
- Kamiya: Since it’s a full CG work, I didn't think I could record for it otherwise. There was something you said at the time that left a very strong impression on me. They handed out a rehearsal video before recording started, right? I watched it three times at home. Later, you said, “I didn't quite get all of it at first, but after watching 11 times I understood.” I thought, “11 times? That’s incredible.”
- Ikeda: Well, I'm not too quick on the uptake, so I probably just couldn't understand it. (laughs) And my count of 11 is suspect.
- Kamiya: Don’t be ridiculous! (laughs) You could say that Commander Sazabi is a particularly evil character, and I thought that getting a handle on that and how to work with it could take some time, but I was moved by that attitude toward your work. That was shortly after my debut. I learned a lot from your approach to acting, and I had a great time.
- First Co-starred in “SD Gundam Force”
- Ikeda: I expected that SD Gundam Force would do better commercially. That was unfortunate. I'm not sure if I mentioned this to you previously, but when I was working on it, it reminded me of working on the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
- Kamiya: I think you did mention that.
- Ikeda: I can't say if it was it was the atmosphere, the feeling of it, or the enthusiasm of the staff. There was a determination to do something new, and I had a feeling like, “maybe this can be something different.”
- Kamiya: It might have been because they were doing something technologically extraordinary. The character models just kept improving, so the expressions and movements were completely different in the first and last episodes. The acting also kept improving, until we were really into it by the second half of the series. In particular, the battle between Captain Gundam and your Commander Sazabi left a deep impression on me, with the ferocity of their fighting and it ending in them striking each other. Add in the expressions from that part, and I really got fired up.
- Ikeda: I do remember us really getting worked up during the second half.
- Kamiya: Speaking of which, didn’t you always say that you hated SD [Super-Deformed] works? Why did you take a role in SD Gundam Force?
- Ikeda: I think it was that I really hated of working on the bonus SD short for the movie adaptations a long time ago.
- Kamiya: Those older works really seemed like parodies.
- Ikeda: They did! I just couldn't take seeing them screened alongside the real Char. But when they explained that SD Gundam Force was an all-new full-CGI work, not a parody, I didn't quite understand, but I thought, well, I'll give it a try. It wasn't like the old SD works, where Char would say silly lines he would never really say. Although the characters were deformed, the performances were like ordinary Gundam. With that, I was able to act normally.
- Gundam 00’s Recording and Tohru Furuya’s Acting Secrets
- Ikeda: How was recording Gundam 00?
- Kamiya: Although it wasn't a full-CGI work like SD Gundam Force, the high-quality animation was impressive. The quality stayed high throughout, and it moved swiftly all the way to the movie, so the atmosphere in the studio was very enthusiastic. Because it was related to Gundam, I think everyone set very high expectations for their performances. I think that's in part because of the respect we have for your work in the original Gundam.
- Ikeda: Also because Tohru-chan [Furuya, Amuro’s voice actor] was in it, right? (laughs)
- Kamiya: Certainly! At one event, Tohru started saying, “We’re going to surpass the original Gundam with this!” Although that’s certainly just like him, it put a ton of pressure on the rest of the cast and staff. (laughs) But what are you going to do when the main character of the original Gundam says that?
- Ikeda: Although [Yoshiyuki] Tomino might get angry if he heard about it, saying that kind of thing might be a good idea.
- Kamiya: But because he said that, our tension stayed high until the very end. We were all nervous.
- Ikeda: Tohru-chan also had some hesitation about working on Gundam 00. When I earlier appeared in Gundam SEED DESTINY, he told me, “Ikeda, you can’t play anyone except Char within Gundam.” But when Tohru-chan looked for opinions about Gundam 00 after he was approached for a role, I told him, “You’ve got to do it.” Of course, Amuro is important to Tohru-chan, and Char is important to me, but with Gundam approaching its 30th anniversary, I thought it would be better not to get caught up on that. Tohru-chan said something like, “Isn't it better if we just go on like missionaries for Gundam?” I told him, “That’s writes better if you do it. It won’t change the world of Gundam.”
- Kamiya: That's quite a conversation you had.
- Ikeda: Which is why Tohru-chan did it under a pseudonym.
- Kamiya: Yes, that had some effect on me. (laughs) He pretended to be a new actor called Noboru Sougetsu. I didn't know how to deal with it when we were recording. Tohru even started saying things like, “Kamiya-senpai, could you help me with this part?” (laughs) Toward the end, at one event, he declared, “Everyone, I have an important announcement. The truth is, Noboru Sougetsu was really Tohru Furuya.” And we all had a big reaction to this farce. Before the event, he even told me, “Kamiya, you’re below me in the studio, so play along.” (laughs) But it was a lot of fun. Tohru brought a lot of optimism with him.
- Ikeda: Tohru-chan is really the type to go all the way with something. He must have really been trying to surpass the original Gundam.
- Kamiya: Knowing how proud he is of Amuro Ray, I was very surprised when I found out he would appear in 00. It didn't occur to me that you had anything to do with that, as well.
- Ikeda: No, it's not like I pushed him. Although it seemed like he had a stubborn policy of against appearing in anything else called “Gundam,” it seems like the time came that he changed his mind. All I did was give him a little nudge, I think. (laughs)
- Memories of the Fresh Impression Left by Mobile Suit Gundam
- Ikeda: I don't suppose that you saw the original Gundam as it first aired?
- Kamiya: No, I watched it on a re-airing during the craze for the models. I was a kid back then, so my thought about it was, "I want to see more mobile suits." Than when I was in middle school, I saw Char’s Counterattack and realized that Gundam was more than a story about mobile suits. My way of seeing it changed entirely. And looking back at the Gundam I had watched as a child, I realized that it seemed like a fresh story, and kind of scary. The part where Ramba Ral attacks White Base was frightening. In other robot series, only the main character was in danger during fights, and everyone else was somewhere safe. But in Gundam, you had children on the other side of glass from soldiers with hand grenades, which is very frightening if you think about it. So although I hadn't seen Gundam in a long time, when I started working in this field, I re-watched the three Gundam movies. I found that my memories of it being scary weren’t wrong.
- Ikeda: Lately, I've been thinking that Gundam is complicated. In both 00 and Gundam UC, there is a part you could call philosophical, or even a bit preachy. Harutoshi Fukui, the writer of Gundam UC, is part of the generation that saw Gundam when he was about 10 years old and still has an image of it left over. The director of 00, (Seiji) Mizushima, also saw Gundam around that time. These are the people who are creating Gundam now. So they have a little bit of trauma from it like you were talking about, and it seems as though that unavoidably can catch them up.
- Kamiya: Even so, it's amazing this is been going on for 30 years. What does it feel like to be asked to keep playing a character you played 30 years ago?
- Ikeda: Actually doing it, it's not that big of a deal. It's quite impressive that Tohru-chan sets hurdles for himself, and reviews and critiques his performance from the day before, but I never do that. If I overthink it, I get swallowed up by the pressure and run out. For example, I work on recording a game about once a month, so I have to keep saying the same lines. Every month, it's natural to think, "that went really well," or "today was just terrible," but I don't really worry about it. If I can think just once a year, "today was great," and really feel that from the bottom of my heart, I'm very happy.
- Kamiya: That's not an experience you could have often, is it? Since it's rare to play the same character for 30 years, have the opportunity to say the same lines for 30 years. Since 00, I've repeated some lines from the TV series for the games, but that's not something I did until working on Gundam. Because of that, I felt like I was doing something very important. But even more than that, you’ve voiced Full Frontal for Gundam UC. Just like with SD Gundam Force, I was really impressed.
- Ikeda: Although maybe I should have turned that down. (laughs)
- Kamiya: No, no, I got really fired up seeing your performance.
- Ikeda: But, you know, I'd also like to see other people take those rules. Maybe I just want to feel like I should have done it myself after all a little bit. Although I'm very grateful for having acted this long, I’ve sometimes felt like not just I, but the viewers also have to let go at some point. Like with the original Gundam 30 years ago, maybe the young people need to say, “This is how things should be.” So I thought that perhaps I should retire, but Tohru-chan told me not to do it, so I kept going when I had the chance instead. (laughs)
- Kamiya: I can't imagine Char and Amuro as anyone except you and Tohru. I think that, out of the whole of anime, Char and Amuro may be the only two like that. I get attached to the roles I perform, and when I have the opportunity, I like to continue them, but that's not something I can just do on my own. There aren't really any I would be able to keep doing for 30 years. Because of that, you and Tohru give us hope. Because you’ve been able to keep doing those roles, we can have the hope that we will be able to as well, perhaps, if we give it our all. We’re watching you from behind with that hope.
- Ikeda: Really. Well, it's not like my back is much to look at. (laughs) As long as people feel that way, maybe I should keep going after all.
a guest May 6th, 2012 921 Never
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