Anime Expo New York - Yoshiyuki Tomino Panel – the daddy of Gundam!<br> -

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Anime Expo New York - Yoshiyuki Tomino Panel – the daddy of Gundam!

By Andrew Tei     September 28, 2004


YT – Yoshiyuki Tomino

M – Moderator

Q – Question from Audience

Again, I was transcribing as the panel went on, some this is not 100%
accurate, plus the translation gap.

Moderator: Welcome everyone. Yoshiyuki Tomino is most noted for being the
creator of Mobile Suit Gundam.

YT: I told him. I have a terribly old series.

Question from Audience: What was the inspiration for Amuro and Char, and their

YT: I made a story about how Amuro would age and not being as nice looking
when he aged. In general, in these types of stories, the hero does not age. In
Gundam, I had no other choice to make the characters age. (YES, this answer
makes no sense, I expect a serious translation of the quest here.)

Q: What's next for Gundam?

YT: I'm currently not thinking of a story that would be a continuation of
Gundam. To continue a series that is over 20 years old, would require more
help from other people. I'm thinking of creating stories that are close to the
world of Gundam. As a preparation for this, I made Turn A Gundam. For my next
story, I'm thinking of Turn A Space. In that story, I would imagine there
would be mobile suits in the story. And to make such a work, I would require
help from Sunrise and from sponsors. Currently I don't think I'll be able to
do that right now.

Q: I feel that Gundam ZZ was being rewritten towards the end? Was there an
original ending to it?

YT: I'm very sorry, I forgotten. ZZ is a very old work, and because of it I'm
can't remember how I was going to originally end it.

Q: What is your favorite part about MSG?

YT: I love all of it. However there are some characters that I made very well,
and some I failed at. That includes mecha designs also. In a way, I kind of
like the characters I failed at, since I could have improved them.

Q: Could you tell us more about Overman King Gainer(a new series)?

YT: It comes out September 17 in Japan. It begins very seriously, but I'm
trying to introduce some comedy in the series. I feel that such a series would
be work very well in the US, so I hope that it will be brought over quickly.

Q: What are the chances that Gundam Z would be released next in the US?

YT: I'm not sure. Please push Bandai of America to help solve this problem.

Q: Are you surprised at Gundam's success and influence?

YT: Yes.

Q: You've mentioned that Gundam has always been a conflict between toys and
the story. Has this changed?

YT: Bandai has actually gotten worse over the years, and are interfering more
with the stories. I've spoken directly to the CEO three weeks ago, so this is
no secret.

Q: Why didn't you rejoin with the original team from Gundam to make Turn A
Gundam. Why did you use Syd Mead for the mecha design for Turn A Gundam?

YT: I feel that even in the previous work that the Japanese mecha designers
had stopped progressing in their designs, so I chose Syd Mead since I felt he
was best for what I wanted to achieve. The other reason is my favorite
designer was unavailable working on another series. In the past two to three
years, the staffs who work on these types of series have been very busy, so
it’s hard to get them all together to work.

Q: In the late 70s, there were a lot of robot series, like Mazinger Z, Getter
Robo, Gaiking, and Voltus 5 how did you feel the audience was ready for
such a serious series?

YT: I felt that kids wouldn't always be satisfied with the same level of work
all the time. All the robot shows were aimed for such a low age group. I felt
teenagers were looking for something more.

Q: With G-Saviour, I was wondering if you would think of doing another live
action Gundam. Or do you want it to stay as anime and manga?

YT: I don't know anything about G-Saviour. Salary men think that movies like
this work. Since I am a freelance director, I am sad I had no power over them.

Q: In the translation of the Gnndam series, how are you involved?

YT: I don't know any English, so I cannot really interfere with the
translation. I'm sorry.

Q: How did you go about choosing character names?

YT: The Gundam world takes place in the near future. I believe there would be
the continuation of current names, plus new names forming. This was also a way
of expressing the different ethnic groups.

Q: Where did the idea of what the MSG suits would look like?

YT: After looking at robots in toy stores, and working with them and how they
moved. I wanted to make them more real, so Mobile Suits were a logical

Q: What was your most challenging experience, and how did you get through it?

YT: Making a 20 minute TV series weekly is very hard work.

Q: How are the alternate universes Gundam series made without you?

YT: I had no involvement and no reports from the makings

Q: In Char's Counterattack, what is your opinion of what happened to Amuro and
Char at the end?

YT: I'm not going to answer that until after the movie.

Q: What determines the length of a beam saber?

YT: I was wondering, about the light sabers in Star Wars, about how shiny they
were. I wanted to make it less. If they are that shiny, the enemy should be
able to easily get out of the way. I had a problem with the animators making
them too bright, so that was one of my complaints during the production.

Q: Would we ever get a chance to read any of your novels?

YT: There were some plans to publish them under a new publisher, but there are
not plans.

Q: Why did we not get the original language version of Gundam here? Do we have
to wait for the Japanese version to come out on DVD first?

YT: The sound quality that remains from the first series is quite poor,
including needing new music. So releasing the original soundtrack would be
quite impossible. You would have to record it again. I agree with Bandai's
decision that they had to re-record the soundtrack. I know there are a lot of
fans who are disappointed with this. I'm sorry.

Q: Why did the tone of Z(dark) change with ZZ(light)?

YT: I found that the anime fans did find it very dark, so I made ZZ. When I
was making ZZ, I wanted to help cheer up the anime fans at the time. So they
wouldn't be as gloomy. So please, don't watch anime and become gloomy.

Q: When you created the MSG series, were there any historical events that
influenced it? What other things helped influence you make it.

YT: Fiction if you really think about, is a story and its all a lie. So if you
take that and extend it, you can do anything else. But you have to set some
rules in the story otherwise it can go too far. So the ”Minovsky” particles
are part of those rules. And it helped set the story line. It’s necessary to
have rules in making a story, example. A Mobile Suit can go through the
atmosphere and in doing so I could make the story more interesting, but I'm
not sure it’s a good example.

Q: Now that traditional hand drawn animation isn't being done in Japan, what
do you miss about that?

YT: I feel that there were technical limitations using cels, and I feel
expressions can be done better with computer graphics. In past works, I could
not quite tell the story with the amount of reality I wanted to, due to the
limitations. There is the warmth of a hand drawn cel, so the warmth is
difficult to dismiss. But since cels are no longer in production, to make such
a work would be a large personal endeavor.

Q: In your later works, it seemed that Newtypes were you solution to human
evolution, but then you lessened their importance. What do you feel about out
future? Will wars continue?

YT: I began to see Newtypes as kinda like supermen, being very much something
that wouldn't happen. As I became older, I began to think that everyone was a
Newtype. Until the third day after birth, you were all Newtypes. And because
of society and education, you slowly become not a Newtype. But since we've all
had that experience, we should become Newtypes in the future. So work hard

Q: Why did you use the idea of dropping a colony onto earth? Where did this
idea come from?

YT: I made an error when I thought of this, since colonies shouldn't be able
to get through the atmosphere. In the movie, visually it’s very good. So in
that sense it’s not a mistake. In a fictional work, even if it just comes up
looking good on the screen that's okay.

Q: (missed quite a bit of the question).......What was your favorite thing in
making the series?

YT: In the making of the Gundam series, I really liked being able to produce
the Gundam world. Even 20 years before the first satellites were launched, I
used to dream about space travel as a child.

Q: How did the name Gundam come up?

YT: In searching for a name, the main thing was one I could register. It was
very close to "Gun Boy", and that’s why it was chosen.

Q: Episode 15, the Isle of Korlas Doom was missing the US release. What
happened to that episode?

YT: I asked that it would be skipped. There is a reason, but since the staff
is still alive I can't answer it. It’s a long story.

Q: Did Char Aznable's name from the name of French singer, Char Aznavour?

YT: Yes. It’s very difficult to think up of names, so I ran out of time and
saw this name.

Q: With the in depth design of the suits, it looks like they could be built?
Do you have one?

YT: I try to mix realistic with something that would look good as a toy. If I
don't do this, I can't get money from the sponsor.

I missed the last two questions, and apologize.

The panel ended after this with the raffle for Tomino’s autograph. Amazingly,
I won one.


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