Back in June, Nolife did a special gundam night, talking about the various aspect of the franchise: shows, games, figurines etc. Nolife exists for 8 years now. It’s the only French channel I watch regularly for years now. There’s only crap on tv now. It’s either reality shows, tv shows with the episodes not airing chronologically, retarded debates brewing racism, and crappy anime, Japanese or not. While the dubs almost always suck, there used to be a lot of different jp anime airing till five years ago or so.
Without even speaking of the history of France with anime and how we’re the nonJapanese anime master race with Italy, around 15 years ago now, in a span of a few years, one channel aired Evangelion, Escaflowne, FMA, Excel Saga, GTO, Monster, Samurai Champloo (only one year after it aired in japan or even less) and more. There was tons of other anime on other channels too. Though the dubs sucked most of the time,it was still cool. Gankustuou even aired on tv here too, cuz muh Monte-Cristo French culture. Then around 3 years ago, I don’t know what happened, but now every channel only airs either Naruto or Fairy Tail. There’s still that one channel reairing old anime from 25+ years ago, but besides Nolife no one airs anime different than ultra popular things now. (Without counting children anime in the mornings like the new Beyblade and the occasional rebroadcast of Princess Sarah,Heidi,Attacker You, etc)
Almost every new French produced anime sucks too. Wakfudofus anime are apparently good but I never watched them. The new Taiyou no Ko Esteban series sucked. Then there’s Marathon who used to do good shows like Totally Spies or Martin Mystère, but now they do crap like Lolirock: A multimedia show copying Sailor Moon and Purikyua and mixing it with music. Even Jem and the holograms was better than this. Don’t watch Lolirock if you value yourself.
Anyway, Nolife did a Gundam night and since they actually aired G Reco.
I was busy, so I only watched all of it now. They also managed to interview Tomino and Yoshida, as in Nolife themselves, not some interview from another source. I summarized what they say since it’s interesting.
My own comments are under parenthesis.
Setting and characters
In 35 years, there’s now more Gundam shows made by other people than shows Tomino made himself, so the thing he was thinking about all the time when working on G Reco was to do something a bit different. There’s also been a lot of completely different Gundams too, so at least he wanted to put it in Universal Century, though it’s the far future.
He wanted to make it easy for kids to watch. (bright colors etc)
He didn’t choose the staff himself, and simply worked with the persons currently available, however there are some people in the staff that he wanted to be with two years ago when he decided to make the show.
Yoshida’s first Gundam is the original one, he saw it when he was 11. He really liked working on King Gainer with Tomino and he was sad when it ended, so when he got called for G Reco he immediately said yes.
Tomino didn’t think about how G Reco is connected to the other shows historically speaking. The Reguild Century is a new era and the characters dunno anything about UC.
(So spending time arguing about it is a waste of time. According to the people commenting the interview, the fact that it takes place “before Turn A” was written on a pamphlet distributed during the premiere event of G Reco and nowhere else.)
He didn’t think about the older shows at all else he wouldn’t have been able to renew himself . (he’s just tsundere, there’s still stuff like jaburo references in the final ep)
Tomino first made the 3 parts setting: 1 earth,2 behind the moon, 3 near venus, and then made the characters to link these places together like Aida and bell.
Yoshida first thought he had to make Aida and Bell look similar but after thinking about it for a long time he decided to make them different, no need to have same haircolor/face. Tomino didn’t give him detailed orders for the chara design, he wanted Yoshida to read the scenario and imagine himself how the characters look. The most difficult was to design Aida and give her the feeling of a perfect big sister. He redid her from scratch 2-3 times. He drew Aida the most but likes Barara the most (she’s literally Cynthianemone so no wonder.)
Tomino wrote the characters’ personalities by each focusing them on a single personality trait, so to draw them you just need to draw this trait the most as possible. A lot of anime fans and pro people working on anime don’t understand this way of thinking. (For Ringo the trait was probably “rich looking boy with equally rich hair”).
The parents in the show were written to show what kind of environment the characters grew into, because he thinks blood relation is important, but what influences a kid the most is the environment and person he grows up with. In his opinion parents need to be neutral about everything when raising their kids so they don’t influence them too much, and generally parents can’t do that very well, and this is one of the things he wanted to show with the family relations in G Reco. (Implying it’s good to raise your kids without teaching them how evil America or France really is)
He thinks the Sides colonies from UC were fragile and gradually disappeared. You can see similar looking colonies near Towasanga in the show, but after keeping recycling stuff in them etc, they’ve become different. They didn’t trash them completely because they wanted to preserve their culture or whatever. But because they live in space, that way of thinking and their culture was forced to gradually became different compared to people on earth and that’s one of the things he wanted to show in G Reco.
Production (You should know that I don’t know anything about anime production besides what they show in Shirobako until episode 6)
The interview was made when they were working on the final eps, past episode 20. Putting CG scenes is something they were forced to do because of production constraints. However Tomino did think about putting CG in before being coerced to do so. But he doesn’t really like CG, because he thinks it’s not fun to give mechas in anime a photorealistic look with CG. He thinks digital hand drawn anime will continue and everything won’t be CG. He hopes hand drawn anime will continue till the end of the 21st century.
Outlines are visible because Yoshida wanted the show to look as much as it’s hand drawn as possible. Things became pretty hard back when digital production became the norm, because it’s visible immediately if you screw up now, compared to before when everything was done by hand only.
Yoshida’s job (animation director and chara designer) is to talk with the director, check over every cut drawn by the animators, and decide which cut he’ll decide exactly how it’ll go and which cut he’ll give the animators more leeway. Then working on making the design of the new characters who’ll appear later. He drew both the characters and the mechas in the first episode then showed his designs to the team so everything is uniform. Besides that he didn’t give the team strict orders.
(I randomly saw some weeks ago Obari saying the same thing on twitter. He thinks the OP animation and first episode of an anime must be all done by the directors, so then the rest of the team get a clear idea of the show’s general style etc, so things are more uniformed.)
Tomino didn’t give out opinions on the mecha design and in fact he tries to choose designers that will do things he won’t think of himself. He thinks it was the first time the mecha designer worked that way, without any direction or order. (He specifically cites Gyoubu Ippei, saying he trusts him completely, but there’s other mecha designers on the show like Akiman.)
Yoshida thinks his way of drawing anime is a bit different than the usual norm these days. Kinda like how France has an artistic culture that inspires itself from old things, he thinks what he draws look more like older shows than recent stuff. Tomino says that thanks to digital things etc, he could do more movements and had more freedom animation wise compared to 15 years ago(Turn A) or 35 years ago(original), thanks to that he could do things more freely. They used a normal production planning for the show, nothing special. The backgrounds are pretty because the staff in charge of them worked very hard.
About problems they encountered: Tomino said it’s mostly problems with his own work. When he drew the ekonte/storyboards of the episodes from the scenario, he changed the order of events a lot and ended up drying up the scenario. So then he had to change a lot of things so that what happens on screen corresponds to what the characters had to do. So the original scenario disappeared. It was already the case around episode 9-10, and until episode 20 he was unable to make his storyboards while precisely following the established scenario. Because of that, the initial story about Aida and Bell got thinner, and he was very bothered by it. People watching the show can’t understand this though as they only see the final product, not the journey that brought it up.
He doesn’t think 26 episodes was enough, but he already knew that from the start when he decided on the story’s structure when writing the scenario. And because he knew that, he could decide on how to make it into a tv show correctly. So he thought the story over again until episode 9, and as he did the ekonte/storyboards for all the first episodes except episode 6, he thought they would still be able to express the ideals he wanted to put in the show.
Because of lack of time, he couldn’t do all the ekonte/storyboards by himself and that’s why some aspects of the story feel unfinished or not exploited fully. He did decide on the global structure and how the story would go from the start, so rather of thinking whether he only managed to tell 50% or 60% of the story, he thinks that he managed to identify the problems that could have appeared and managed to solve them. He’d like to do a sequel, but he put a lot of strain on himself during G Reco and was very exigent with himself with the story and ideas. He’s not confident he can do that again.
(In summary he says that he couldn’t control everything and that he thinks he failed. I disagree.)
(There’s people who think that means that he admits that the story is “incomprehensible”.
There’s also people who think he just means he could have done a better show, and that the story being “incomprehensible” is something done on purpose, that it’s one of the messages put in the show along with the ecological one: that not everything is pure black or pure white like in tv shows and that you don’t have a narrator accompanying you in real life explaining things for you.)
(Lastly, I put “incomprehensible” under brackets because I’m one of those who think the story was perfectly fine and not incomprehensible at all. There’s some confusing things like Rockpie saying CQC is forbidden then drawing his sword right after, but everything becomes clear once you realize Rockpie was a huge arrogant idiot. A lot of the characters in the show are doing what they prohibit others to do.)
(I didn’t write a post here about G Reco after the show ended, because I already used a lot of time to write one on a french forum, and I’m too lazy to reformulate it in English and put it here. And it’s just anime in the end, I’m not gonna get mad because people didn’t like it or write essays about it. And it won’t help me learn Japanese like my translations of Pretty Rhythm books. It’s just a waste of time.)
(I do agree it could have been even better if there was more episodes, but the show is already a masterpiece in my opinion. I’m not too surprised Tomino thinks he failed though. I wasn’t expecting to agree a lot with a person thinking parents shouldn’t influence their children.)
Beyond G Reco
Yoshida thinks animation is evolving into the right direction, a lot of shows surpass themselves in the sensation of movement and such. Maybe Japanese anime’s graphic style is a bit too closed though, and they need to make it more open for more non Japanese people to enjoy it.
35 years ago, Tomino never thought Gundam would become this popular and he’s thankful. He thinks it should stop though. When making G Reco, he wanted to separate from Gundam, but then it got put the Gundam title name on it, the name Mobile Suits, etc, and it became a Gundam show. However when making the story, Reguild Century was supposed to be a sequel to UC, but it didn’t turn out like that, and everyone should think of the meaning behind those words.
(While I read dozens of times in my life that Tomino wants Gundam to die etc, I never saw sources or bothered to look for sources, so I never really believed it. It’s the first time I hear it from his own mouth, which saves me the trouble for looking for sources, and I believe it now.)
Tomino wants to make something new, but he can’t do it because in his job and business as director, innovation only exists in expansion of a business line.
(I think he means how there’s mostly only sequels and spin offs etc)
So instead he tried to bring new elements in the continuity with G Reco. While he’s happy Gundam is still continuing, he thinks they really need to make something new, but since it’s a business and all about money they just go see directors and writers and tell them “please make the new Gundam”. If he could, he’d stop this, even if this is the business he lives from. But there’s also the culpability that other people are living from it, so he just tell them “go ahead make the new Gundam, but we’re going straight into a wall.”
He says to people who aren’t into anime: it’s perfectly fine to think anime is weird because there’s humanoid robots and people piloting them and stuff. But magic too is weird, and yet there’s tons of stories using it. People who aren’t into anime should keep this in mind, and maybe even force themselves to watch one or two episodes/movie of something, and they’ll certainly understand why anime can be so fun. BUT there can also be anime that doesn’t have a lot of animation, and anime by definition should be animated. So you shouldn’t watch shows with crappy animation.
(Implying there isn’t anime that are masterpieces despite having horrible Korean outsourced animation most of the time like Pretty Rhythm)
Tomino lost hope in humanity and think the earth won’t last more than 300 years
(and go boom like in the final ep of Il était une fois l’homme)
He thinks the planet can’t keep up with the capitalism system, in our everyday lives we’re pushed toward buying more and more, something everyone knows for years. It’s been around 30 years now we went past the limit levels The Club Of Rome had set and yet the economy system haven’t changed.
(While I didn’t loose faith in humanity I 100% agree with him for once. It’s especially shocking when you clearly see how much trades stock and capitalism and consumerism and everything around it is rotten and creates situations like every student being in debt in the USA, the current economic crisis in Greece, Italy, Spain etc, and yet the higher ups still go with it because they only think of themselves, as it’s a system where the rich gets even more rich. It’s not like it’s a fatality though and not everyone has given up,there’s stuff like islamic finance for example)
Another point Tomino brought up is how we’re now accustomed to living with terrorism. You can only despair when you ask yourself how come not a single politician or country leader, who’re supposed to think in the long term, couldn’t prevent things like this from happening.
(Except they saw it coming Tomino san, American leaders are the one who made terrorism in the first place. I wish I could meet him one day and talk with him about all this. Still, I wasn’t expecting a Japanese old man to bring this up, since they’re usually so focused on their island problems (lol racism) but I guess the two Japanese guys getting murdered by the Infinite Stratos dogs must have shocked him too.)
That’s why in G Reco, everything from the 21st century and before, technology, sciences, but also economical and political sciences, have been declared taboo. He couldn’t have written the story if not for that, and hope other people his age will change their way of thinking. Though he knows he can’t expect anything out of adults, that’s why he made G Reco for kids so they can think of the show again when they’re adults. With G no Reconguista he tried making a summary of all the different problems we need to think about.
Yoshida thinks that Tomino made the first gundam show while thinking what would be the future judging from then, and now he did G Reco while thinking what would be the future judging from now. Yoshida felt like this when drawing G Reco, and he thinks it’s a particularity of Tomino shows, he hopes you’ll also think about the future when watching G Reco.
(While there’s a lot of things I don’t agree with, I have to admit I’m a bit moved by Tomino’s will to change things. It would be nice if more writers etc had that way of thinking, instead of just writing to satisfy their “artistic” urges. Maybe then we’d get less stuff like 50 shades of grey. I wanted to put a joke here about the chinese nickname of 50 shades of grey I read in a manhua the other day but I forgot it, and I also don’t know the name of the manhua, I just read it when it pops up in my Batoto follow list. It’s really hilariously bad and funny, and it’s basically Melrose Place/Aaron Spelling general: Chinese elevator lady edition. Anyway.)
Btw the CG episode thing that was first shown at an event or whatever was on the blurays, you can find it on the net now. It’s pretty cool.