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22º marzo 2024

Commemorating the release of "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED FREEDOM"
Special interview with Soichiro Hoshi and Mitsuo Fukuda

We conducted an interview with Soichiro Hoshi, the voice of Kira Yamato, and director Mitsuo Fukuda! Together, they look back on Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY, both of which are currently streaming on GUNDAM.INFO. They also tell us what to look forward to with the release of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED FREEDOM!
*Be warned, this article includes spoilers pertaining to Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY.
―First off, could you introduce yourselves to fans around the world?―

HoshiI'm Soichiro Hoshi, the voice of Kira Yamato. Thank you for reading.

FukudaI'm Mitsuo Fukuda, director of the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED series. Thank you for reading.

―What impressions did you have of the GUNDAM franchise before you became involved with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED series?―

HoshiAs a child, I watched Mobile Suit Gundam when it was on rebroadcast. Even among us elementary school students, we knew it was like no anime we'd seen before and we all started building GUNPLA. In my childhood heart, it was the anime I longed to be in the most. After that, the GUNDAM series continued with sequels and new universes, so even after becoming a voice actor, I knew it was special. When I did my first audition for a GUNDAM anime, I remember how excited I was at the possibility of being involved.

FukudaI was a member of SUNRISE ※① when Mobile Suit Gundam was created, so rather than viewing it as a fan, my professional perspective was that we'd reached an age where new things were possible. I had the impression that GUNDAM was a special franchise that was about more than just making robot anime that appealed to children.

―In 2002, the two of you became involved with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED as the lead voice actor and director respectively. How did you feel when you got the news?―

HoshiI had auditioned twice for GUNDAM projects before, but I unfortunately didn't get either part. As a voice actor, it was a bitter moment for me. Right around the same period, I was cast in another SUNRISE※① anime, "Infinite ∞ Ryvius." At that time, there were a lot of original sci-fi anime being made besides GUNDAM, and just when I thought that I might be more suited to those, I got invited to audition for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Mr. Fukuda was to be the director and I was already a fan of his "FUTURE GPX CYBER FORMULA" and "GEAR FIGHTER DENDOH." Meanwhile, the character designs were to be done by Hisashi Hirai, who I'd had the pleasure of working with on "SCRYED" and other productions. I sincerely wanted to take part in the project. For some reason, even the production staff cheered me on by saying "You better get the part!" Though I wasn't certain the audition would be a success, I went in determined to be involved and I was fortunate enough to be chosen...

FukudaIt was pretty close, though.

HoshiAfterward, I heard that I was in a pretty precarious position during final auditions. (laughs)

FukudaIt wasn't that we didn't like him. At that time, he was already a very popular voice actor and it seemed like you could hear his voice coming from your TV on a weekly or even daily basis. As such, we worried about making him the lead.

HoshiDid you worry about it overlapping with the other productions I was in?

FukudaYou were appearing in something five days a week.

HoshiNo, that's an exaggeration. There were times, however, when a series I was in would be broadcast at the same time by coincidence.

FukudaIf things went really bad, we were worried he could be playing the protagonist in another show at the same time as ours. However, we did pick him in the end.

―So Mr. Hoshi was chosen from among a number of talented actors?―

HoshiAt the audition, I also tried out for the part of Athrun, but I had the feeling that the part wasn't right for me. Mr. Ishida was chosen for that role, but he and I had performed together several times in other projects, so I knew I could trust him. Still, he was appearing in a lot of other anime too, wasn't he?

FukudaI knew he was appearing in other prominent projects, but his work as a dubbing actor for Western movies had left a big impression on me. Ms. Morosawa and I both had Ishida in mind for Athrun.

HoshiIs that true? So it was near finalized already?

FukudaWe did listen to everyone's voices at the auditions. But just as we had imagined it, Ishida ended up being the one we wanted.

―Mr. Hoshi and Mr. Ishida had lent their voices to a lot of projects at the time, so as a fan, I can understand why they were chosen.―

HoshiThank you very much. A lot went down before I was cast in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. A lot happened for me, internally.

―So that's how Mobile Suit Gundam SEED began. In the first half, I was really impressed with the detailed portrayal of Kira's struggle, as he found himself caught up in a war.―

HoshiDuring that time, we had a big cast onsite during recording and there were a lot of veterans. I was maybe the youngest there, so every week, I was able to link that experience to Kira's feelings. For the most part, the sound director Mr. Uragami gave directions, but during the scenes with crying, Mr. Fukuda made requests too, didn't you?

FukudaI told him to cry as if his heart were shattering to pieces. Like he was losing his humanity.

HoshiThe chance to receive such direct instruction from the director was a valuable experience. He didn't give concrete instructions like "do this, do that." Rather, it was about what Kira was feeling inside. I'd never experienced anything like that, and even to this day, I think Kira was the only part where I performed like that. It really left an impression on me.

FukudaI told him to speak like he was crying but couldn't actually shed tears.

―Reading past articles, it seems that a lot of fans are fond of the scene where Kira and Athrun talk on opposite sides of the fence.―

HoshiThat scene remains popular to this day.

FukudaWe wanted that scene to be the climax of the first half. For Mr. Hoshi and Mr. Ishida, it seems to have been a hard scene to perform. They each know the other's heart, and they're so close in proximity, and yet the fence stands between them. Close, yet far away. Plus, the gap between them isn't bridged during the scene itself. The composition was always the same. From the first time they encounter one another, to their encounter at the fence and finally their reconciliation, the images always convey a sense of isolation. Episode 26 was a climax point and even the episode title was simply "Kira". The music also utilized the melody of the closing theme, "Anna ni Issho Datta no ni" by See-Saw. The whole first half was built to culminate in that scene.


FukudaI felt that you really brought out Kira's charm in the way you performed it.

HoshiOh? Thank you very much. That makes me happy.

FukudaI also like the moment before that scene, when Kira opts not to meet with his parents. If he had met with them, he couldn't stop himself from asking why they made him a Coordinator, so he decided not to go. That's also when he tells Flay "what we've been doing is wrong." All these twisted threads from the first half connect in that episode. As staff, too, we put a particular amount of effort into it and I imagine that's why it left such a big impression on fans. Other than that, I left everything to Mr. Hoshi and Mr. Ishida's performance.

HoshiYeah, Kira and Athrun were best friends and in reality, they want to reconcile. But events keep progressing before they can do so. Even as I was performing, I was certain that the scene would bring an onrush of emotions for those watching.

―Over the course of the year in which it was broadcast, do you have any particular memories of SEED?―

HoshiThese days, there aren't many opportunities to appear in a year-long series. Of course, I was working on multiple projects at the same time, but it did feel as if Kira was at my side for that entire year. As the story progresses, his resolve firms up, he shares his feelings with Lacus, and then he's entrusted with Freedom Gundam after reaching maturity. That's what I remember the most.

FukudaSEED was a project where the writers' voices really came through. Kira's breakdown was well-portrayed.

HoshiDuring those difficult moments in the first half.

FukudaAnd then, in the second half, he gets challenged in a different sense. Until Nicol and Tolle lose their lives, Kira's heart still isn't in the fight. His feelings change after their deaths. After that, he's constantly faced with reminders of the tragic consequences of war. Then, finally, he reaches a moment where he questions how things got to that point.

HoshiThat was the last line.

FukudaThat was the true essence of SEED. After going through war, no one is able to look back and say it was worth it.

―That set things up for the sequel, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY. When did you know that you were going to produce a continuation of the story?―

HoshiWhen we were recording the end of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, I was aware that there were talks of a sequel.

FukudaYes, we were talking about it from that time. However, it didn't have the official green light yet, so that's why we killed off Mu. (laughs)

HoshiOh, is that why?!

―And then, you thought of a way to bring Mu back as Neo Roanoke in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY.―


―The story of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY takes place two years after SEED. After living in isolation from the world, my impression is that Kira has settled down into a rather composed young man.―

FukudaKira's heart is still broken at that time.

HoshiIt's broken…

―Does that mean he was still carrying the events of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED with him? How did you attempt to portray things in your performance?―

FukudaKira lacks emotion at that time.

HoshiRight. There was barely any dialog that let his emotions show. We had a year-long break in between recordings and the story takes place two years after the finale of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, so though I had done a lot of exploration to that point, it was, in some ways, like a reset.

FukudaThat's what I wanted for the performance of Kira in DESTINY. The problem is that he had grown into too strong of a character. Soichiro Hoshi and Kira became too important to the SEED series. When Kira is onscreen, he devours the other characters. (Laughs)

HoshiI see your point. If Kira had let loose his emotions at that point, things would have been even messier.

―Freedom Gundam can turn the tide of a battle. We see that several times in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY too.―

FukudaLastly, there was his pairing with Athrun. As Athrun is confronted with problems, he agonizes over every decision and changes directions recklessly. That meant the performance was constantly changing too. If we had thrown Kira into those scenes, Athrun's role would have been devoured. That was the hardest part. But since Athrun is indecisive, his subordinate Shinn ends up caught in the middle. And even then, Cagalli was the source of Athrun's indecision... One thing leads to another. It was hard to balance.

―Between his marriage to Cagalli and his time with ZAFT, Athrun's worries in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY seem to make him a complete contrast to Kira.―

Fukuda(After the events of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) I think it's safe to say that Kira was broken. In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY, Kira's feelings for Lacus are closer to "addiction" than "love". We never hear him use the word love. It's more like "if she were to disappear, I'd die too". I really think that Kira was in an extreme psychological state at that point.

―As the story progresses, we're treated to the appearance of a new mobile suit, Strike Freedom Gundam.―
―Ten years later, it remains an incredibly popular MS. Mr. Hoshi, do you have any special feelings about the mobile suits that Kira pilots?―

HoshiI was really fond of the first Strike Gundam. So much so, that I remember thinking that I wanted him to pilot it forever. At that time, just being able to pilot a Gundam felt like I had realized my childhood dream, but after that, I learned the joy of getting to climb into all sorts of different Gundams and each of them is special to me. When we began Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY, I was so attached to Freedom Gundam that I caught myself thinking, "do we really have to change again?" But then, the way that Freedom evolved and reappeared as Strike Freedom Gundam was an ideal development.

―In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY, we're introduced to all sorts of fascinating weaponry conversion systems such as the DRAGOON system and the Silhouette system. Were you particularly conscious of anything while creating the battle scenes?―

FukudaRather than specific ideas for how the action should go, our main concern was how enemies would go about trying to defeat Freedom. For that reason, we put together a theatrical combat team and focused more on the overall tactics employed than detailed action scenes.

―The series continually deals with the issue of DNA manipulation, but Kira's lines about being an ordinary human being, no different than any other, seemed to be the answer the story was looking for.―
―Could you tell us what sort of themes or messages you were hoping to explore with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY?―

FukudaThe prejudice that exists between Naturals and Coordinators occurs because humans have gone out of their way to create categories. Though the gap may not be as extreme as in the story, even in today's society, differences between people at birth and envy of those with superior abilities are problems that we face constantly. I never tried to approach those problems from the perspective of "right" or "wrong." However, the idea that life in our world is not born out of "necessity" remained consistent. In the beginning, everything is born from love.

―Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Do you have any message for fans of the SEED series?―

FukudaThe main theme of both Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY is the question, "why do wars occur," and "why do two people of the same species, like Kira and Athrun, choose to fight?" Other than that, there are the various romances between the characters and Kira's aloofness, I suppose. (laughs)

HoshiI'm grateful to everyone who has watched the series from the beginning and invested themselves in the story, just like us. Of course, I'd also like to thank those who are watching Mobile Suit Gundam SEED on GUNDAM.INFO now, in preparation for the new theatrical release. I hope you'll first enjoy the two existing series, sink your teeth into the content, and then make your way to the theater.

Soichiro Hoshi, the voice of Kira Yamato, and SEED series director Mitsuo Fukuda, thank you for your time. We hope readers will be inspired to re-watch their favorite scenes after reading.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY are currently being streamed on the GUNDAM.INFO YouTube channel.
For more information on Mobile Suit Gundam SEED FREEDOM, please visit the official website!
The second half of this interview, covering Mobile Suit Gundam SEED FREEDOM, is scheduled for release in the near future! We hope you look forward to it!
*① Bandai Namco Filmworks Inc. (company name changed in 2022)
*② Chiaki Morosawa: The writer tasked with the overall composition of the SEED series.

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