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Here's Why None Of The Voice Actors Recorded Together For Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island

The "Gundam" franchise is an exceptionally long-running and popular anime series that has seen an entire collection of television series, movies, manga, action figures, and video games. Of course, that is bound to happen when the franchise is predominately about piloted giant robots that fight each other to either defend their homes; or invade them. Kicking off in 1979 with "Mobile Suit Gundam," CBR notes that there were 49 shows and television shows in 2021 — in other words, there is plenty of "Gundam" to go around.

"Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island" is one of the most recent "Gundam" anime movies, and it involves a gestating plan of attack on Odessa, which is the base of operations for a contingent of Zeon's attack force. However, at the last minute, new orders come in. Instead, White Base is told to head to an island that has a rather foreboding title — the Island of No Return. On the bright side, at least the White Base soldiers and pilots have access to Gundams, and they will soon find out why the island earned such a moniker.

"Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island" has proven to be a tremendous hit with fans, and it holds a 100% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing. What makes this even more impressive is that none of the voice actors were in the same room during the recording of the film. But why?

A familiar threat kept the voice actors separated

It turns out that the reason why none of the voice actors in "Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island" were in the same room during recording is the very same reason why many businesses and communal areas have been forced to adapt — the highly transmissible COVID-19 virus. Toru Furuya, who voices Amuro Ray, has been playing the character since the original "Mobile Suit Gundam" (per IMDb), and he is definitely in the high-risk category for infection. As such, many precautions were taken to make sure that he and his fellow cast members never contracted the illness. Of course, they still gave it their all, which is definitely reflected in the overwhelming fan response to this movie.

In a translated interview with SPICE (via QooApp), Furuya was asked about his co-star Shunsuke Takeuchi's performance, and he replied that since the recordings were on an individual basis, they had to use their imagination and footage to figure out how the characters would sound and how they would interact with each other. At this point, the interviewer said that they understood why they had to record that way due to the circumstances, and Takeuchi, who plays the titular character of Cucuruz Doan, said that he would have loved to be in the same room as Furuya. Furuya added, "It's a very difficult thing to account for since we had to do each of our lines separately without the context of the other in a conversation. Because I just acted out Amuro by myself the way I always have, it's amazing how well the small nuances came through to make the character seem as though they're in the same room."

Isolation was required because of pandemic protocols

According to Japan's website for COVID-19 information, the Japanese government strongly encourages people to wash their hands and wear a mask, while also doing their very best to avoid closed spaces, close contact settings, and crowded places. Although a recording booth probably isn't all that crowded, it is most definitely both a close contact setting and a closed space, and to have multiple actors in that kind of scenario could prove to have long-lasting health ramifications. 

Speaking with Ogiue Maniax, Toru Furuya was asked about what kind of advice he would give to somebody starting off in voice acting, and he answered, "For new people in the voice acting field, I would actually say they should want to experience many things because my personal experience when I get new roles to play is that I go back and do some research on what kind of role this is, what kind of world this is, and what character I'm doing. I would think long and hard about what kind of voice that character would have. I would go as far as to act the same movements as the characters would be making." Considering these words, it seems like Furuya channeled his own advice in "Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island," which is that imagination and getting into one's role is the best way to approach the job, and that can mitigate situations where one is all alone and having to visualize how fellow voice actors might sound.