Now famous Tao Tsuchiya who had appeared in multiple movies and TV Series after her role as Princess Emerana in Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial had returned back for an Interview as part of the release of Ultraman Zero Blu-ray BOX 10th Anniversary Edition.
The complete interview was published in Tsuburaya's subscription based service TSUBURAYA IMAGINATION. Here's the translation of the complete interview.
Interviewer - First can you tell us your thoughts of 'Ultraman Zero 10th Anniversary'.
Tao Tsuchiya - It's been 10 years since I had worked with Zero in "Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial". I happy to see Zero still active even 10 years after 'Revenge of Belial'. I think it's a brilliant thing.
Zero had debuted in the Movie and not TV Series. He has his own personality and had grabbed the hearts of many fans. I had also witnessed personally getting in touch with the fans at Ulfes (Ultraman Festival) every year. He is really popular. He is a miraculous being.
Interviewer - What's a charm point of Zero that you liked?
Tao Tsuchiya - Zero is an Innovative character compared any other Ultra Heroes. He gets his origin story in the previous film (Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy). In terms of Visual, he has to horns. His fighting style is unique. His everything is charm!
But if I have to select one, then I think it would be his growth (character development) in different works. Especially in 'Revenge of Belial' with get to see the appearance of Glen Fire, Mirror Knight, Jean-Bot and other members of Ultimate Force Zero. I like process how he tries to build friendship with them. I haven't seen any Ultraman who made friends with Heroes of different worlds. I got excited thinking 'He is not alone!'.
Interviewer - Is there something about those days that you can tell us about?
Tao Tsuchiya - I loved Ultraman Series since childhood and used to watch it regularly. Audition took place at Tsuburaya's Headquarters. I was like "Wah~ Finally I am here!". I was so happy. After that till I got selected, I was getting excited. I used to frequently ask my manager "Any update?" "Any update?". With that said, when I got selected, I was really happy. It was the moment by dream became true.
Interviewer - How was it like to play the Heroine - Emerana?
Tao Tsuchiya - Ultraman Series like 'Ultraman Tiga', 'Dyna', 'Gaia', 'Cosmos' had heroine who were from earth. I had an impression that they are always active. But in case people from different worlds like Risa Nanase from 'Ultraman Gaia: The Battle in Hyperspace' or Camearra from 'Ultraman Tiga: THE FINAL ODYSSEY' have a sad part in them.
Emerana who was a space being also has a sad part that she had to run away from Planet Esmeralda while leaving her people & family. It was a burden for her. She was calling a Hero for help. I wanted to express that. I did my best back then to play it. I also won't forget that it was the first time that I had dyed my hair for the role - Emerana. It was banned in my school to dye hair so I had to wear a wig and go to school. (lol) It's so nostalgic.
Interviewer - Anything interesting that had happened during the filming those days?
Tao Tsuchiya - Director Yuichi Abe was pretty strict in a good way. He didn't force me during acting. Instead he guided me in a natural way to play Emerana. Something that I remember properly is the beginning scene from the movie which was filmed at Akiyoshidai, Yamaguchi prefecture. Abe Director always has clear intention. In that scene, I had given NG multiples saying "Once more", "once more". I couldn't get it properly. That time Assistant Director - Akira Kondo taught me "Tao-chan, in Tokusatsu the characters are powerful. That's why human have to be more expressful or else they would lose to Ultraman". It was one of the early filming. Because he gave me advice that time, it was really useful later in the filming.
Interviewer - Can you tell us something about your co-stars - Yu Koyanagi who played Ran & Tatsuomi Hamada who played Nao?
Tao Tsuchiya - Koyanagi-san always used to brighten up the atmosphere. He made us happy during the filming. I think Koyanagi-san was about 21 that time. Current me is 5 years older than his age that time. I can't help the feeling of passing time. (lol)
Tacchan (Tatsuomi Hamada) was 10 years old back then. He used to wear piggyback and used to hug everyone. He was jealous about Koyanagi-san and used to say "He is lucky to transform into Ultraman". I was impressed when he got selected for Ultraman Geed. I said "Tacchan had become Ultraman!". Memory about his 10 year old self has left a strong mark in me. If I meet him now, his voice would have changed, he would be taller and I'd be surprised. Speaking of which, back then me and Tacchan were still minors and couldn't drink alcohol. During the filming we three used to talk "Once we become adults, let's drink together". I hope we get that chance one day.
Interviewer - Do you anything to talk about Ran & Nao played by them?
Tao Tsuchiya - Whatever you say it's always Tacchan's 'Jean-Fight!'. Because of this, Ultimate Force Zero's promise became strong and everyone became one in that movie scene. I wasn't actually there during the filming of that scene. It seems they had taken lot of time to filming this. I came to know about this later from the staff. I thought "Tacchan will definitely become an actor with guts". It's has become true. Now you can see him active in different places. I am really happy.
Interviewer - What about Ran played by Koyanagi-san?
Tao Tsuchiya - Ran played by Koyanagi-san was always possessed by Zero. I have heard that among the Ultra Heroes, he is a Highschooler. He had played it in a unique way to show the pure part and also the naughty part. The balance he created is a charming. That's my favorite part of the work. Director Abe wanted to express the relation between Princess Emerana and Zero. He wanted viewers to feel the romance. (lol) In the end during the goodbye scene, where he puts the Tiara on my head will strike your heart. That is one of scene where you can feel the relation between Zero & Emerana.
Interviewer - Who did you feel after watching the finished movie?
Tao Tsuchiya - I don't actually remember my first impression which I felt after watching the preview (lol). But seeing the CG part merging with the acting which was just an image during the filming, character's scale and other things related to Tokusatsu work really pulled me in. I was surprised with the interactions between the Voice Actors & the Suit Actors. Like Zero created by Mamoru Miyano & Hideyoshi Iwata, everyone of Ultimate Force Zero. They had created a perfect character with their Voice Actor & Suit Actor Combi. Emerana's acting which I did was still immature so I am a bit embarassed now. But I was able to play the Princess because of the world created by Director Abe, supported by the characters played by the Voice Actors & Suit Actors. Because of that I was able to farewell Zero will all my feelings. I think it was really good.
Interviewer - Next time you had appeared on 'Ultraman Zero Gaiden: Killer the Beatstar' is the sequel to 'Revenge of Belial' and it's the only work that depicts the 'aftermath of Emerana'
Tao Tsuchiya - Since it's a sequel, I think there have been people who were expecting much. So I decided to keep in mind to include the relationship between Emerana and Ultimate Force Zero and to express even the complex feelings. This work was filmed in the same year as Great East Japan Earthquake. Because of the situation, there was confusion & conflict during the filming. But Director Abe came along and said "Because of this Tokusatsu Work, people will gain courage and become active. Let's do our best to reach the people who are in trouble!". There was the theme of "The greatness of helping each other and to increase friends". There is a scene where Jean Nine rises to good side and joins as comrade. The scene to persuade Jean-Killer was very important. I think it was important to feel to each help during that part. Based on that I did my best during the filming. Emerana is a Princess, but she is not a weak being. There is a scene where she stops berserk Jean-Bot while putting herself at risk. You will get to her core part in this.
Interviewer - You have appeared in "Revenge of Belial & "Killer the Beatstar" which is included in "Ultraman Zero Blu-ray BOX" along with six other works where Zero appears in. How do you feel getting to know that this will get more users to watch it?
Tao Tsuchiya - I am happy to know that we'll get to see of Zero's history. I have been telling my friends about Zero's history. But since everything will be put in one, I will of course talk about his history and also about his growth. I will definitely recommend it to everyone around me!
Interviewer - The Box will also included the Making of 'Revenge of Belial' which is narrated by Tsuchiya-san and even the Audio Commentary.
Tao Tsuchiya - So, that means it will include the footage where I was playing with Tacchan during the filming break. It's so embarrassing! (lol). But because of that I will reminded of the Surprise Birthday which they had celebrated during the Making's narration. I have felt that "It was really good to be part of this work". Like crossing a dimension, I have really felt emotional to be able to revisit the world of Ultraman Series.
Interviewer - It's been 10 years since the 'Revenge of Belial'. Have you thought what Emerana would be doing aftermath? If you get a chance to work with Zero again. What kind of work would you expect?
Tao Tsuchiya - You know what, the dress which I am wearing right now, I have selected it by imaging what Emerana would look 10 years after. It's been 10 years. I wonder what would happen if Planet Esmeralda would have been influenced by Earth's culture. While thinking about this, I had made the dress look mature and wanted to express the grown Emerana. Zero who had worked with me back then was a high schooler. Now he is wearing a Mant and has also become a great teacher. If I get to work with Zero once again, then that time I don't want to be Princess anymore. I want to reunite as a Queen.
Interviewer - What is the position that Ultraman stands for you Tsuchiya-san?
Tao Tsuchiya - I am appearing in many works as an actress. No matter what role I am doing, Emerana will continue to be my root. Even Ultraman Series is my origin and it's the light of hope that had guided me afterwards.
Interviewer - In the end, please give a message to the Fans.
Tao Tsuchiya - I have been raised while watching Ultraman from my childhood. I get impressed by Ulfes show which is held every year. Ultraman has important themes like the feelings to trust friends. These are not just things that have thrown there. They have been made to appeal everyone deeply. I want that theme of the series to reach more people and I want to be the help as much as possible. I want to continue to support Ultraman Series with fans.
(Source - TSUBURAYA IMAGINATION)