Theme Song

Takumi Ishida

“Kaze Yo 0074” (“Dear Wind 0074”) has been announced as the theme song for “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM THE ORIGIN II Artesia’s Sorrow.” The person responsible for this song, which depicts Char’s inner heart, is solo singer Takumi Ishida. He is also a Gundam fan who experienced the first Gundam boom in real time, and we spoke to him about his thoughts on the theme song for this episode.
- First of all, Mr. Ishida, could you tell us a little bit about your background and usual musical activities?
Ishida: I made my debut with a band called The Kaleidoscope, which was signed to avex in 2001. The band split up, but since then I've written songs for other people and continued singing as a solo artist, singing and playing live, and things like that.
My mentor was the musical artist Mr. Tetsuro Oda. I continued to be active in the band while Mr. Oda instructed me in music. When I was in the band we did the ending theme for “ONE PIECE,” and later I formed a band called Ricken’s with Mr. Osamu Sasaki, formerly of MOON CHILD, and we did the ending theme for “EYESHIELD 21.” As a solo artist, I sang the ending theme for “KINGDOM,” so I’ve been involved with quite a few anime-related compositions thus far.
- How did you come to be involved with the theme song for the second episode of “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM THE ORIGIN” (hereafter referred to as “THE ORIGIN”)?
Ishida: I was offered the main theme of “KINGDOM,” but I was only responsible for singing it. This time too, Mr. Takayuki Hattori wrote the music, and Mr. Goro Matsui wrote the lyrics, and I was responsible only for singing it.
When you have a composition like this that only needs a singer, they hold a competition to find a singer whose voice is a good match for the feel of the song. I heard from people at avex that they were having a competition for an anime main theme song that was adult-oriented, and I could enter. So I happily did that, and I was really surprised when I was later told that was the main theme song for “THE ORIGIN.”
- You were born in 1972. In terms of age, you would have been in the generation that experienced the Gundam boom in elementary school, right? Were you a Gundam fan?
Ishida: I was a huge fan. At the time, I was in elementary school, so I didn’t understand everything that was happening in the show. But of course I was fascinated by Gunpla, and also by the world view, and the way that adults were fighting this war where you didn’t know who was in the right between the Federation and Zeon.
Of course, like any kid, I built Gunpla and painted it. At the time I was practicing kendo, so I would pretend my bamboo sword was a beam saber to feel like Gundam. Much later, I also got to do the coloring design for a Guncannon as part of the Gunpla Supporters 35 program for Gunpla's 35th anniversary.
- As a Gundam fan, what were your feelings on becoming involved with this project?
Ishida: I’m extremely honored. Honored is truly the word for it. Speaking as a fan, the feeling that I’m lucky to be involved with Gundam is very strong, but at the same time I know I have to do a perfect job on it too. This is a work with a lot of hardcore fans, and I know if I think about it too much I’ll feel the pressure, so it’s really hard trying to find the balance there.
- Did you read the comics of “THE ORIGIN”?
Ishida: I did. They were really great. In the anime, Char always had a mask on and you almost never saw his eyes. But in “THE ORIGIN,” we get the details of why he became Char, and we see through his eyes into his heart, so that was deeply interesting. Also, it follows some key dialog and scenes from the “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM” anime, but they’re depicted with this slightly different, cool touch that was great. I also read the political parts taking into account our current day and age, and it was written with that feel of the situation during and before World War II, and I loved that too. The story is organized in a way that makes it easy to read, so as a fan I followed it the whole way through.
- There are lots of “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM” fans in your generation, aren’t there?
Ishida: That’s right. And I hope people of my generation will share the same feelings around this theme song. I was chosen for the vocals by Director (Takashi) Imanishi, and the first thing he told me was, “I want you to be conscious of Char as a dark hero.” The story doesn’t present a simple stereotype of pure evil. And maybe my voice, in terms of age and its twists and turns, was a good match for that.
- Up until the recording, what kind of work did you have to do?
Ishida: After I got the composition, at home I chose the key, sang a demo that was true to the written melody, and sent that to Director Imanishi to listen to. It didn’t have much temperature to it, but Director Imanishi commented that, “I want it to have a rougher feel.” So each day I tried practicing different takes in different ways, up until the actual recording. The day of the recording was the first time I got to meet Mr. Hattori and Director Imanishi, so it was a real challenge to see what kind of performance I’d be able to achieve.
- How did you deal with the request to make it “rougher”?
Ishida: The song is in a minor key so it has a dark feel to it, the music is very low, and even the lyrics have an elocutionary quality. The lyrics themselves perfectly summarize the situation in the story, so I couldn’t omit any of them. The music in the chorus isn’t relatively high either, so I really struggled over what kind of rhythm to give it so a composition like that doesn’t sound stagnant.
If you sing too precisely in the parts where the volume is restrained, you don’t get a sense of rhythm, and people listening to it also lose track of what's going on. So I added a rougher feeling bit by bit with my breathing, and on the final repetition I sang it in this kind of dramatic way. I think I could sing it focused like that three or four times, and then I fine-tuned it again and again many times, and then finally got to singing the actual take.
- So it was harder than with a song that you’d written yourself, then?
Ishida: With my own songs I can make lots of changes, so I don’t have to worry so much. But with a song someone else has written, you need to be able to understand the composition, and the greater the aesthetic sense in the studio, the more important it becomes to think how you’re going to sing it. That’s very difficult.
- Did you have the character of Char in your mind while you were singing?
Ishida: Well, the lyrics directly reflect Char’s state of mind from the original manga. I think Mr. Goro (Matsui) is amazing. Everyone including Director Imanishi felt it was a song about Char’s mentality, so I even wondered if it should be sung in Char’s own voice. But as a song, it has a function, and as the one responsible for it I fulfilled my duty to the best of my abilities.
- Incidentally, what kind of person do you think the character of Char is, Mr. Ishida?
Ishida: He’s cool. His ambition is to draw out his own potential to its limits. He was torn away from his mother, his love wasn't accepted, and when those thoughts converge you see the frightening side of him. As a man, I respect that. He takes somewhat mad actions which display his potential in order to achieve his goals, and as a man that’s scary but also very interesting. His IQ and lineage make him a high-spec individual compared to ordinary people, and that’s fascinating too. He’s a super dark hero in another dimension, I guess. But the person I really want to be like is the uncouth, very human Ramba Ral. (laughs)
The characters I like and that interest me are those who are struggling and human, like Kai Shiden. Also the Black Tri-Stars and Dozle Zabi. “THE ORIGIN” has lots of characters that are overflowing with humanity, and that’s great.
- And finally, do you have a message for the fans who are looking forward to the show?
Ishida: When you hear “Kaze Yo 0074” during the end roll, I think there are parts of the song that actually give you chills. I’d love people to come to the theater to hear it, and then hum it on the way home and feel some of what Char feels.

In the next installment of our relay interviews, we speak to Kaori Sawada who sang “By Your Side,” the song sung by Hamon in Club Eden.