Director Tomino Yoshiyuki produced the theatrical version of“Gundam Reconguista in G” as a five-part theatrical work. The first part, “Go! Core Fighter” will be screened for a limited period of 2 weeks from Nov. 29, 2019.
For some time, Director Tomino has been sending a message saying "I want children and the younger generation to watch it." However, what is the meaning behind those words? I asked him about his thoughts on that topic.
[Interview / Composition = Ishii Makoto ]
■ Creating a story that departed from "war stories" that young people hate
――“Anime! Anime!” is viewed by readers of a wide age range, however people in their 20s is where the largest volume lies. I would like to ask you some questions tailored to that target group.
Tomino-san: People in their twenties, who are said to be current anime fans, are a good tip for me. For them, the proper noun “Gundam” is probably annoying and has become a messy war story.
For people in their twenties now, the image of a war story with robots is old.
――Do you mean that the sense of this generation is different?
Tomino-san: People who can't accept what I just said are working for Gundam now, making the advertisements, and promoting the movies, so Gundam-related works fail to catch customers in their 20s.
That's why we have to change.
In my case, when I was doing “∀Gundam”, I experienced that very strongly and thought it was no good. I felt I have to do Gundam.
――Despite that trend, there is a reason for you to work on Gundam again with “Gundam Reconguista in G”.
Tomino-san: As long as I work at Sunrise, the company I'm investing in is Bandai, so I can't make works without getting involved in Gundam figures. In that is the case, I thought I would use it to my advantage.
However, if you make a story about the Universal Century, you can make something that looks like Gundam, but it is only "like" Gundam. The aim was to make something that was different.
The title is “Gundam Reconguista in G”. “G” is also a bit of ridiculing that Gundam is included, but the real aim is not there.
The “Gundam” that young people should hate is wearing an awkward crown, however my thinking is that if you are a teenager or younger, this work is something you can enjoy watching.
――Certainly, many young people think that they have never seen Gundam or that it is difficult to understand.
Tomino-san: About two months ago when I was thinking about why people were having trouble relating to Gundam, I came up with the idea that "All Gundam series are war stories." That is the cause of the trouble. My generation is attracted at a good war story.
――That is due to war stories replacing war with easy-to-understand keywords.
Tomino-san: That's right. Due to such a model, my generation was still actively buying until their middle age.
However, as we are no longer in an era where you can understand that is completely gone. Young people don't even know the Korean War, and even for some, even the Vietnam War was a long time ago.
Isn't it strange to try and use a war story to attract customers for such a generation?
――I think it is certain that war has become a distant thing that cannot be imagined, and something that is hard to know what goes on.
Tomino-san: That's right. That's why "Gundam Reconguista in G" was created from the start using a perspective that even young people can understand.
The thing that I thought about the most at that time was "this is an anime so it is something that children should watch." Someone, who the children can feel sympathy with, to appears on the screen. It took a lot of restraint not to make an adult story.
■ A story that created a world where children can play an active role
――What age did you specifically have in mind when you were thinking of children?
Tomino-san: From 5th grade elementary school to 2nd grade high school. When you reach 3rd grade high school, you stop watching anime and reading manga and spend more time studying for your exams.
And what is important with this age is that what they see at this age remains with them for a lifetime, so making something that would hook this age group was a decisive condition.
The Gundam series has been running for 40 years, so it eventually those watching it will became an adult. Although it is for an adult, it is an anime, so you are not able to include the realities of real war which make it half-finished.
However, conversely, generations who have no memory of wars can use anime like this to learn what war is like.
For me however, I feel that is a mistake, and what I made in order not to become that kind of anime is "Gundam Reconguista in G".
――What kind of perspective did you put in when making “Gundam Reconguista in G” in order for children to watch it?
Tomino-san: The result that I arrived at after thinking about what to do in order for children to play an active role, we as adults had no choice but to create an inefficient world. So, I built a story that young people up to 22 and 23 years old are working hard to support the world.
As a result, rather than a story based only on the main characters Bellri and Aida, it is a story that the young people in the story move around, and it was made with a sense of rhythm similar to that of a movie.
In particular, if the American comic Marvel can do such a thing through film (with 20 or more movies being made in the series over 10 years), surely a gimmick of a giant robot for the background would be able to do something similar as the Marvel movies. If we make something that has a rhythm and change similar to this, we estimate that we can probably run for about 20 or 30 years, in terms of movie entertainment.
On top of that, in terms of theme theory, it is expected that environmental problems will come to the fore to some extent, and that is also shown in our story, so I feel that our basic aim is not wrong.
So if we run with that, I think that once we have 5 films completed, I think that they will continue to be watched for 30 to 40 years.
■ Moving towards an entertainment product, not a healing one
――You mentioned that you made “Gundam Reconguista in G” as you were frustrated with the new type. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Tomino-san: In my case, there was a concrete position of “creating a new type” by putting out a work to the world at large, but I was frustrated and lost.
The real question was, the fact that we could not release a new type to the world can also be seen by looking at modern politics.
You could also say that it was bad that we could not couldn't do an education that would make me try the new type.
I'm sorry I couldn't find people to support the new type.
――After all, it is only the old type that is on people and it is in the world that supports it.
Tomino-san: There was a real sense of defeat. However, feeling this way is quite arrogant, and you could say, “Why can I say such a big thing just by making a robot animation,” that is really true.
Exactly because it is anime, you can say that it is a new type theory as a philosophy theory, and at first it was an ideal philosophy and theory but the current situation is the result of trying an anime of a huge robot with that theory.
Looking at the present era, we are receiving work like that from
Director Shinkai Makoto. It is consistent with the social feeling of wanting to be healed, and there is no choice but to produce such work as a tool.
However, such a situation is appreciated by the creator, but it is not necessarily good.
For example, for Disney anime, there were so many stories where the beautiful princess and the handsome prince stare at each other, fall in love and then get married, and I thought that entertainment was the right way. However that is not the case.
That is shown in Shinkai Makoto's anime as men and women do not hold hands.
――Rather, connecting hands becomes the climax.
Tomino-san: Regarding Shinkai Makoto's anime, when you look at postings on the internet, they say, "They said everything that I'm worried about." So that is why it feels good to be healed, ad you are healed.
When I saw that a 45-year-old person was writing such things, there were no doubt that I'm convinced about many parts .
――So you want to draw something different from that.
Tomino-san: Amusement is drawing something stupid at first glance, but that is very important. If the entertainment value of a video is so high, you can draw it as a drama, that includes poetic stories and tragedies?
You don't talk about that type of entertainment saying lets make it introverted.
That's why it's fun to watch handsome men and beautiful women dancing and sometimes the women raising their legs.
Entertainment should be easy to understand in this way. So it is very difficult to become introverted as symbolized by recent anime works. It seems to be healing but not entertainment.
■ Reconstructing the youth image
――In that sense, did you think about the part that the entertainment in “Gundam Reconguista in G” plays again?
Tomino-san: Basically I did. In the story after the universe century, we went to the point where we used up the earth, returned from a situation where mankind may have become extinct, and gone a thousand years after that time to a time where the younger generation can somehow play an active role.
By doing so, we can talk about how children move around energetically . If we explain it in a way easy-to-understand, it can't be help drawing an end-of-the-world war.
――During the Cold War, there were many such works.
Tomino-san: Looking at such things makes me hate myself. This is not purely entertainment but a movie with a message.
So it's nice to see lots of science fiction movies, but is it really good as a play? The question arises whether it is a good movie.
That's why I wanted to get a few more entertainment movies, and if I had been doing this for a long time, and if I was going to make an anime into a movie, I thought I wanted to do one of this level. That's all.
For a society such as now that is squeezed for breath, I thought that it would be better entertainment to create a story that would distract the viewer.
From my point of view, healing movies are just that, healing. There is an affirmation that "there is no need to change" the current situation and that it can be left as it is. But I think that is a little wrong.
――How did you plan to draw young people in with this work, including the main character Beruri?
Tomino-san: I used to be like that, but when I was younger I didn't think much about next year.
As a result of accumulating "do what we are supposed to do", we encounter a serious problem at some point. Whether it is job hunting or marriage.
However, if you don't know why it is good to be reckless, there are parts that you cannot prepare, and if you do not do your best to be prepared, you may not see the next era.
One female acquaintance of mine went on to prep school and was a violinist until the second year of high school. In addition to that, she was accepted into Harvard University and received top honors.
If you're like a child who rushes like that, there's no time to be depressed. Of course, this child is not a genius, but rather she is at a high level, but I think we have forgotten that it is human beings who are doing this.
On the other hand, Japanese figure skating has produced a lot of good skater, however it is not the organization but the individuals who develop them. The family nurtures global athletes.
Why don't we look at those outward facing parts, rather than only the inward facing ones? There is such a range in the world, and when thinking about how to nurture mental abilities while putting such things in sight, I think that the treatment of the characters in “Gundam Reconguista in G” was not wrong.
■ Message in the poster visual
Tomino-san: When creating an anime, people with unique talents are able to make a proper work.
However, this work is intended to show an example of how such a work can be made by a person who has no particular talent, such as me, if they work hard enough.
It might be a good example to show to the next generation. I hope you can read that from “Gundam Reconguista in G” that you may need something like this to survive without being crushed in the present society. That type of feeling.
――Finally, can you give a few words to those people who haven't seen Gundam before and are wondering whether to watch it or not?
Tomino: I can't give you anything like that. If I do say something now it doesn't mean they suddenly say ok lets watch it. That's why I made the poster this time.
The poster this time doesn't have the look of a robot movie, right? People who feel this difference will see this work. This poster has the basic layout that I wanted, and I can see the principles and position of the work.
Thanks to this poster, there were some people who will come for the first time.
That's why the work of “Gundam Reconguista in G” should be like this poster. There is definitely a message there.
I don't want to use the phrase “please watch it because it is interesting”. The gaze of a child is scary, so if they look at the poster, they will know that this is something different.
Basically, I would like to make up to 5 movies on this route, and if you watch Part 1, you will definitely see the next. That is because it is that type of movie.