Matsumoto’s Ozma Interview – Translation
Here’s my translation of the interview Leiji Matsumoto did with the network about to air his new anime Ozma. The original interview is [here].
Q: The anime will air a year and a week after the [Tohoku] earthquake. What is the message you want to deliver through this work?
A: The people of the world did many things to help us in Japan after this disaster. Japan has to do its best too. I believe that humans have the duty to join forces and help each other. This is no longer the time for us to be fighting each other. With global warming and these earthquakes happening on Earth, my wish is to convey the spirit of cooperation that we must have to build the future. This is where the new anime Ozma comes in. I would like for people to watch it and enjoy it. I hope you will.
Q: We hear that Ozma is based on an unpublished story written in the early 1980s, after the Galaxy Express 999 film came out…
A: I had written the entire plot out as a new story to lay the basis for an anime script, but the 21st century came and plans for this project collapsed. I felt sad that it did and I am very glad to see it animated today.
Q: Galaxy Express 999 showed us “eternal life through machine bodies”, but then the protagonist, Tetsuro, decided that “a life with limits is precious”. What will be the theme in Ozma?
A: Humans always have a purpose, but it is the fact that they also have a limit that spurs them to work hard. If humans could live for ten thousand years, or even one hundred thousand years, they would become too relaxed and lazy. Nothing is endless in our world. That’s why I wanted to make Ozma about “our battle against the Time (that we have as limited lifeforms)”.
Humans have a limited lifespan. This is precisely why we feel a need to try to accomplish something while we still can. Our feelings can carry themselves throughout eternity and without limits, so our role must be to send them to the next generation, and the one after that, etc. This is the same process as a parent raising a child.
Q: Do you have a message for the fans?
A: To the young people:
The future depends on your wills. “Time (spent on hard work and deep study) will not betray your dreams”. There is no end of time for young people. This is your fortune. Therefore don’t be ashamed of crying. Instead, think of giving up as shameful and do your best.
To the Leiji Matsumoto [adult] fans:
The generation that enjoyed my anime shows is still actively working and in the middle of things. Please try to do even more than before. Also, please raise your juniors and your children with joy. I humbly ask you to do this. We still have time.
This is a simple interview but it’s very neat. It really sets up the continuity between Matsumoto’s concerns in Galaxy Express 999 and his environmental and socio-political concerns today. At the same time, it’s very clear how the idea of mortality is making all of these issues more important [or at least, more personal] for him today. Speaking as a fan, his words are very poignant.