Ultimate Mark

Production Reference:
Victory Gundam DVD Memorial Box
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Translator's Note: The Mobile Suit Victory Gundam DVD Memorial Box released in January 2004 included an exclusive "Mobile Suit Victory Gundam Art Works" booklet full of early production art and creator interviews. The most famous of the latter is surely the interview with V Gundam director Yoshiyuki Tomino, in which he urged fans not to buy the DVD.

The Tomino interview published in the "Art Works" booklet is actually a condensed and rearranged version of an even longer one conducted by Go Sasakibara on November 26, 2003. The full transcript was included in Sasakibara's 2004 book That's V Gundam, and I've referred to it in some places to clarify Tomino's comments.

The "Art Works" booklet also includes interviews with most of the main character and mecha designers, galleries of early design work, and a couple of other staff interviews. I've translated all of these as well.


This DVD is unwatchable, so don't buy it!!

If you ask me whether V Gundam was really such a mess as a work, I'd simply say that I just didn't give everything enough thought. I should take this opportunity to clearly state that it's a truly terrible work.

So I'd like to somehow put the following words on the band around this DVD box: "This DVD is unwatchable. Don't buy it." I think a band like that would be most accurate. And that's not just rhetoric. If it were possible, I'd want to do it. Don't buy it just because it has the Gundam name. Something like that would be an act of sincerity towards people 20 years younger than myself.

Although... This is why I hate today's Japan, but if they really put up posters like that, this DVD would probably sell really well.

—People would definitely buy it.

That's what I hate about it.

—That sort of thing probably isn't under our control.

Right, it's out of my control. But I feel this sort of thing is similar to, for example, the current situation with Prime Minister Koizumi. (1)

—It feels like some kind of character merchandising strategy. For a while there was a dispute over whether or not convenience stores could put out Koizumi bento boxes, right?

To that extent, I feel our current sense of daily life is insane. So I'd like it to be understood that the buying and selling of V Gundam DVDs is the same kind of thing.

—Before it's evaluated as a work, these days, it's first evaluated as character merchandise. There's a strong sense that it's being distributed only on that basis, right?

The significance of discussing V Gundam now

In the current state of anime, in some ways the situation of a film director is like that of an engraver in the production of ukiyo-e prints. The process should be that the artist draws the pictures and then the engraver carves them, but these days the engraver is doing the artist's job as well. That's why we're putting out so many trivial works, but for some reason nobody understands the problem.

Among the directors and scriptwriters, how many of them have authority in the true sense? If I had to say, Mr. Hayao Miyazaki might be the only one. I think that's the biggest problem right now. As for myself, I'm at a point where I don't know whether I'm an artist or an engraver, so I can't honestly say whether I'm an original author in the true sense, or whether I've acquired the stature of a director. That's why I ended up allowing other people to direct, as if they were other engravers.

This evaluation of myself is correct in terms of both public opinion and self-awareness. I'm not being self-deprecating, it's just an objective assessment. I should be demonstrating the stature and authority that a director ought to have, but I'm not demonstrating it, so just who is this Tomino? That's what I wonder about.

V Gundam is a work that makes me wonder about such things. Looking back on the work as a whole, it proves once again that this is what you get when it's done by someone who has so little sense of authorship and is so schizophrenic about it. (2) Since there's no basis for even evaluating it as a work, it should never have been turned into a DVD in the first place. I think it's best to keep the discussion at that kind of level.

Additionally, I'd like us to think about what it means that this work has been turned into a DVD. When we consider what should be done in this situation, all the problems should be present here in V Gundam.

V Gundam as a documentary of its times

—I think there are also many fans who, when they watch V Gundam, see it as an event rather than simply reacting to it as "a work," as if there were a documentary quality to how the work itself ended up. In that sense, I'd like to ask about the background and circumstances of the production.

It was a work from 1993, right? To any viewers who had a feeling that the V Gundam TV series wasn't so much an anime as a documentary about Sunrise at the time, I can say that's exactly the case. And with this series, I myself can tell you that the reason it ended up like this wasn't because of the work called Gundam, but because it was completely entangled in business logic. (3)

As an example from the history of the Japanese film industry, Nikkatsu is the easiest way to understand it. Nikkatsu originally started out taking the literary route, trying to maintain its dignity as a certain kind of film company. Then it turned to borderless action movies, using even stars like Yujiro Ishihara only for those kinds of works. As audience numbers continued to decrease, it moved into roman porno. Soon, even that declined, and it now survives only as a small business.

Drawing an analogy to that kind of management transition in the film industry, we can say that V Gundam corresponds to roman porno. Thus, the moment the production of V Gundam ended, the artisanal production company called Sunrise came under the umbrella of the huge corporation called Bandai, and in fact the pain of that transfer of management control is expressed in the work itself. (4)

The background to the creation of V Gundam

I think [the acquisition of the company] was already presupposed when they first asked me "Please do another Gundam, or we'll be in trouble," and we began the planning. (5) About one year before V Gundam went on the air, as the managers were meeting the conditions to negotiate the transfer of the company, it seems that Sunrise was required to make another Gundam. But I wasn't told about that until after the broadcast was over.

In hindsight, I did have some doubts back when the plan was being decided. Even as I lamented that I was nothing but a pathetic robot-anime director who would never be allowed to make anything but Gundam, and with the feeling that I'd entered my twilight years, I felt I still had to give it a try and begin writing a proposal. Looking at interviews from the time, it seems like I wrote more story and structure drafts before we began production than with previous Gundam works.

To work out how to actually implement this on site, first we gathered the scriptwriters and started production, then decided on the character and mecha designers. (6) It was largely due to the bright look of Mr. Katoki's drawings that V Gundam seemed like Gundam.

On the whole, though, it wasn't a system in which you could sense much enthusiasm about creating a new Gundam. The state of Sunrise during the production of ZZ was also utterly terrible, but now I had even less backing than I did then. (7) That was probably also a reflection of the fact that the company's managers were stepping aside. But at the time, I didn't understand why the system had thinned out so much.

This morning, I was looking over the staff formation of V Gundam for the sake of confirmation, and for the first time I was appalled. That's because I realized that the influence of the managers I'd worked with ever since the Nippon Sunrise era had completely disappeared from the staff formation.

For a work, that's a really frightening thing. At first glance, it might seem like there's no direct relationship between the managers and the work, but that's not the case. After all, when you have managers with a strong desire to save their company, the staff they assemble will be different, too. At the time, I thought it turned out like that because I myself had lost my ability, but I was wrong. You can sense the energy of the production company from the staffing. I felt that very keenly this morning.


Translator's Note
Tomino's additional comments in Sasakibara's "That's V Gundam" make it very clear what he means here: "Thinking about it now, with this kind of staff formation—putting it bluntly, with my deepest apologies to the staff they assembled, but they gathered such incompetent people and told them to make a Gundam. I heard that voice again this morning. Being forced to do that is intolerable."

Here, Tomino also talks about the Sunrise producer assigned to the series, who would clearly be Masuo Ueda. "Even the Sunrise producer at the time was someone they'd assigned as a dummy. It seems he knew that, too. This morning, I realized for the first time that's why it was made with such a thin staff on site. Back then, I thought that producer was a genius who would lead the next era of Sunrise. But why the heck was he so unresponsive? It felt very strange."

He goes on to add, "Since we had another producer on site, there seemed to be some kind of barrier. I realized that the producer at the time was being made to be a barrier." This "producer on site" would presumably be assistant producer Masato Mochizuki.


TV anime and business logic

Given this situation, I sometimes couldn't understand what the managers were talking about. But even if I had my doubts about it, I went ahead with the production, relying on their comments that "We'd be in trouble without you, Tomi-chan." (8) Though I was doing this job in my declining years, I wanted to do my best, and I tried as hard as I could to do it in a principled way. (9)

These were the conditions under which V Gundam was created. Once I'd made it all the way to the end while trying not to get schizophrenic, I learned for the first time that Sunrise was being sold off to Bandai, and all the managers were resigning. (10)

However much they said they were relying on the Tomino who made Gundam, as a freelancer I no longer had the studio as a foothold. Even if they told me to hang in there, that's not something you can do.

—In that kind of situation, you'd need a certain amount of preparation, so they should have told you ahead of time.

I think they started talking about it a year earlier, when we began planning. At the time, looking only at Sunrise's studio work, I couldn't see any need to do a new Gundam. So I was puzzled when they suddenly launched the project, and it seemed strange from the beginning.

—At the time, there was already Mobile Suit Gundam F91, and I didn't understand why something made two years later was V Gundam rather than F93.

I'd also been talking with the managers about turning F91 into the first installment of a subsequent TV series, so I thought that was strange as well. I figured that was just because they were running an artisanal production company, so I didn't think about it any more deeply. But in fact, they were being more tenacious.

—So Sunrise didn't simply come under Bandai's umbrella in terms of funding. It was a complete change of management.

That's right. V Gundam was created during the two years in which that situation was unfolding. That's why I talked about the example of Nikkatsu earlier. Ultimately, creating a work in film is about business logic, not creative logic. If you start out on the basis of production funding, then no matter what, you have to conform to the business foundation. In that respect it's much stricter than, for instance, creating a single book.

When you're thinking about a one-year TV series, there's no way to compare the amount of resources involved. Business logic always has an effect on that, so you can't just create a "work" as you please.

When I actually attempted the grueling task of launching V Gundam, in a situation where the production company that served as the business foundation was disappearing, even I knew I was sinking into a swamp. (11) But since I didn't know the reason, I wondered why I was sinking, and thought perhaps I was just that powerless. Even so, I had no choice but to give in to the situation and do the job. That was the V Gundam production site.

I tried to keep it going through my own independent efforts. (12) But if that's the only thing you can do, you won't be able to call the result a coherent work.

The staff who lent their support

It's very easy to understand when you talk about First Gundam in light of this discussion. Even if we were thoroughly impoverished, and the managers didn't have high aspirations, we could've held out even under difficult circumstances as long as we had the feeling that "We can't sell off [the company] until the broadcast is over!" (13) First Gundam was the epitome of that. We had the spirit that "If we're canceled, we're canceled, but let's give it a try! We can't let them just cancel us!"

On V Gundam, there was no end to that sort of thing. I could say I was able to keep going because I still had some physical stamina, but actually it was thanks to the staff we'd assembled. I bad-mouthed the staff in mooks and books at the time, but even so, they'd joined me in that endless swamp and worked alongside me. It was because of them that I was able to make it to the final episode. In that sense, the staff really did their best.

Something very memorable happened during the V Gundam wrap party. I apologized to several of the staff who told me they were sorry they hadn't thought of something, or they couldn't help in any other way, or that was the only way they could shoot it. (14) I told them, "No, it's not the fault of the photography, and it's not the animation either. It was terrible because that's how it was storyboarded in the first place, so you all did your jobs properly, didn't you?" That wrap party was the only time I'd ever had conversations like that. Perhaps it exposed that, from a certain point onwards, I'd been bluffing my way through it.

—You were bluffing?

All these things become apparent in what you depict. The breakdown of the system can't be entirely hidden. But when we had to somehow give it shape as a work, the staff at the end really gave it everything they had, and ultimately lent their support to every shot.

However, as a matter of adult morality, I still can't forgive the investors and managers who turned a blind eye to that situation. At the very least, I wish they'd talked to us properly at the start. I can't forgive people who've let ten years pass without ever once doing that. (15)

—Just from watching it, it felt like there was support on site. Especially in the second half, it felt increasingly ambitious, as if they were really trying to pull off things that had previously been inconsistent.

That's right.

—Depending on the episode, it sometimes ended up feeling really good.

True. But that's what acquiring skills is all about. You never gain skills just because the environment is good. Rather, the "makeshift principle," where the harsher the situation, the more you have to somehow get through it, works very straightforwardly for conscientious people. Their skills improve overnight. It really is instantaneous, and suddenly arrives in a flash.

No matter what, a diligent worker will win out in the end. In that sense, it was an honest result.

That's also apparent in the expression of the work. Such internal feelings of the staff aren't supposed to be visible in the work. But even if you understand that in principle, continuing to make something over the course of a one-year marathon isn't like making a single movie. That's why we couldn't hide it.

In that sense, I feel truly sorry for the people who were watching it. And then I hid that with things like the looks of Katoki mecha and Ousaka characters, making it look nice and pretty... I think creating things isn't easy.


Hiding that terrible system by wrapping it up in Mr. Ousaka's gentle character lines was partly a way of making those problems harder to notice. It must have been precisely because I sensed something was wrong that I called in Katoki and Ousaka. In other words, I thought we'd be in trouble unless I could at least bring in the vivid creations of the youngest people of the time and attach them to it.

If I'd gone with a common and familiar style, or things that were more blatantly like anime characters, the result might have been even more messy. I think it probably would have become something that could never be turned into a DVD, as they're now planning. So in that sense, I'm truly grateful to the two people I just named, but on the other hand I also realize I tricked them into helping me because they were young.

—Mr. Ousaka's touch felt nice and soft.

Those kinds of elements are really the only saving grace of V Gundam. And then there was one other person who led it to become a work that I think has basically no aspects that can be evaluated in terms of creative logic. It's because this person exercised his power that we were forced to include things like motorbike battleships.

—So the bike battleships weren't there from the start of planning?

Not at the beginning. Around the time we began production, I was summoned to the Bandai head office for the first time in my life, and this person directly ordered me to put in bike battleships.

And since that's how it was created, it's the work of Bandai that's expressed in every aspect of the design logic. The people at Bandai now may not like it, but that conversation was the result of somebody who had overwhelming power at Bandai exercising his authority. At the time, Bandai was also preoccupied with the hobby business, so he may have thought that all their programs and production companies had to be toy-oriented in order to boost sales. (16)

—And all the tires in V Gundam, like the Einerad and Twinrad, were added to the work en masse after that.


Evaluation of the "work" and beyond

But I also think the same way, too. When people have some kind of power, I guess they end up making mistakes. Power never works in every direction at once, and only God can keep an eye on everything. There's no such superior human, so I can say that person wasn't solely to blame.

I could say the same of myself. I'm keenly aware of how conceited, and how blind to my surroundings, I was up until Z Gundam. And then with ZZ, which was made as a desperation move, I learned the hard way how limited my capabilities as a single creator were. But as long as I was unable to acquire a new methodology, all I could do was keep rushing headlong the same way, and I'll admit that the result for me was V Gundam.

The reason I couldn't keep out external contamination during V Gundam was partly due to my weak position as a freelancer, but it wasn't just that. If I really had ability as a director and as an original author, this person should have been convinced when he read the proposal. The fact I didn't have such ability meant I was just one of the ignorant masses after all, and it was simply that among the ignorant masses, the one who controls the funding is the strongest.

It's better not to look very intensely at works made in that kind of situation. If there's no need to think of it as a creative work, then there's also no need to watch it. That's the background behind V Gundam. It's the result of being filled with adult corruption.

So we at least need to include some kind of disclaimer, like "We're selling this DVD as a commercial product, but you shouldn't buy it." Prettying up V Gundam and selling it makes you an even worse member of the ignorant masses.

—To be sure, we shouldn't pretty it up. But that sort of thing isn't necessarily a concern for everyone else. I've worked in just that kind of situation myself, but the content still struck me very powerfully.
At times like that, the easy way is to immerse yourself in that system, get used to it, and go along with it. Then you don't care anymore, because you're just going with the flow. But at such a time, V Gundam didn't go with the flow, and you can see in the work that it's somehow trying to break out of that. You can see it in the depiction. It's saying something to the viewer. In that respect, at least, I think V Gundam deserves evaluation. Of course, as you say, we can't assess it from the standpoint of a "creative work"...

I'm not looking for a basis to evaluate it as a creative work. It really shouldn't be taken along with that, and I want the people reading this booklet to understand that it's a completely different matter. And what's more, if you're the kind of person who buys a V Gundam DVD and reads the booklet, you might set your mind at rest by just reading this without watching the DVD itself. So I think such people will be better off if we write down very clearly that these problems exist...

In order to think about what you yourself would do

—I think in some respects, the story we just heard was conveyed to the viewers. For example, it's very much incorporated in the feeling of the theme song's lyrics. It really was a situation where "I don't care if it's a never-ending defense." So if people can somehow relate to that aspect, I think they'll understand that story very well.

This may be a harsh way to put it, but at my age, I don't need them to understand it. My concern is that, the younger people are, the more I want them to consider "Well, what would I do?"

I'm an old man who can't live any way other than this from now on, and I think there's no need for them to understand someone who could only make this kind of a work. Instead, I'd really like them to think about what they would do when faced with a difficult situation like that, and whether they'd be able to muster their own principles, spirit, and willpower.

To understand this, please read the books by Professor Takashi Saito. (laughs) And in terms of my own work, please watch things like King Gainer. In short, they're about "physical sensation." (17) First you get your body in good shape, and prepare yourself to be ready in case of emergency. Then you can take the right kind of breath. That's not an abstract concept, it's entirely literal. Build up a body that can take deep breaths properly, a body that will be prepared when something happens, and a gut that's properly set and won't falter. (18) First of all, you have to be able to do that. And you can't do it just by thinking about it.

Professor Takashi Saito's books are full of how-to advice about this, so I'd like you to look at them. He's written books like "Reading Japanese With a Three-Color Ballpoint Pen" and "Japanese You'll Want to Read Out Loud." He's produced bestsellers by writing books about ways to regain physical sensation and exercise your body. First and foremost, you must begin by building up your body. You can't do that sort of thing just watching DVDs, so you start by going out and training your body.

After all, if you have a body that ends up collapsing on the commuter train, you can't even go to work, right? That's why you have to begin by building your body. I think you should start in your twenties or thirties, not just as a matter of health theory or an interest in sports or outdoor life, or even for the sake of physical strength. Basically, a person like that will acquire a body with the proper physical sensations, and I believe they'll definitely survive. That's also important when creating the entertainment called anime. Someone creating entertainment has to know what entertainment is like. Would you to a festival with a frowning face?! (laughs) If you can't make yourself say "Wow!" when everyone's at a festival, then you can't create something that makes other people think "Wow," can you?

If Japanese anime's become boring, it's probably because the creators don't have that "Wow!" feeling. And that's because they don't experience that kind of thing in their daily lives.

The world and political theory of V Gundam

—The stage setting of V Gundam seems to reflect contemporary world situations such as the war in Yugoslavia, but what was the original basis for the planning of the work?

At first glance, it may seem like it began as a depiction of the conflict in Yugoslavia, and I was certainly conscious of that as well. But what I was actually thinking about at the time was that when the Cold War framework ended, individual egos would manifest themselves, and then their collision might give rise to local conflicts.

You could say Japan was in the same situation during the Era of Warring States, and perhaps it's easier for us to think about it that way. If you have "countries" on the prefecture level and a struggle for power even at that level, you can understand how narrow people are. Then I finally hit upon the idea of the local environment. If their climate, terrain, and foodstuffs are different, not to mention their language, it becomes impossible to reconcile the interests of each community. Under these circumstances, won't people go to war over and over again?

When there are small, weak groups that can't use weapons of mass destruction, sometimes they may not be able to reach consensus through discussion. In order to reconcile them while satisfying their respective egos, you need to go to a higher level equivalent to the United Nations. In the case of Japan, people didn't quiet down until the Tokugawa shogunate appeared. This other authority atop the hierarchy has to be clearly defined. That was based on consideration of the conflict in Yugoslavia, where nothing like that could be established.

Up until then, I didn't know anything about Yugoslavia, and I didn't even know who President Tito was. For me, the most symbolic thing was when I finally realized this person had used the power of the state to more or less pacify dozens of ethnic groups.

Without a symbol placed at the topmost level of the hierarchy, you can't quiet the individual people below. In the case of Japan, even though the Tokugawa shogunate put the the emperor on the sidelines, it didn't try to remove him. You can't govern through force alone, so they thought it was a good idea to leave the emperor in place as an irrelevant symbol. And it's because the Meiji government kept the emperor around that it was able to set up a rough modern national system in less than fifty years. You need a symbol to govern the egos of all those people.

Thinking about the Gundam world from the standpoint of Yugoslavia, I wanted something that would act as a centripetal force in political terms. That's why I brought in Marianism.

There's one more bit of background behind Marianism. That's the name "Maria" itself. I used that because it's the most common female name in the world. It's spread not just throughout the Christian cultural sphere, but to every corner of the world. I felt there was a kind of power in that sound, and I wanted to create a narrative about a structure where everything was governed by that. And the guillotine was positioned as an element that obstructs and opposes it.

—Oh, really.

It's so simple that you don't need anything else.

The guillotine has one additional meaning, in that it's mecha. The guillotine was the first example in history of something created to be an extension of the hand, via a kind of remote operation, when killing or executing people.

—You could say it's industrial.

That's right. To me, it's just like the mobile suit. Maria is at the other extreme from governing with the guillotine, and she transcends it. And when it comes to tools, Maria is in an oppositional relationship to the mobile suit and the guillotine, and ultimately her role is to suppress them. You may think it's stupid, but isn't it a structure that you could imagine existing in reality? I was convinced that there was no alternative to this kind of simple story... This is making me want to do another stand-alone movie. (laughs)

"The realism of 800 lies" and the power of fiction

—I guess you can come up with all kinds of setting by looking at the past and present of humanity and thinking about that.

What's really scary about a work is that it becomes clearly apparent what was on the creator's mind. However much you want to talk about an ideal, that's what actually communicates it. Of course, if you merely believe in that ideal but don't have any genuine imagination, then it's hopeless no matter what you say and I don't you can ever create a good work.

The source of that imagination is looking carefully at the real world. Naturally, if you focus on the realism of simply looking at the world, then you'll probably end up as just a documentarian rather than an author. Or maybe you'll just be a news reporter.

As well as being a realist, an author needs to have another philosophy that transcends that. Yes, I'm using the word "philosophy" here for the first time. (19) And then they need to have the imagination to embrace that philosophy.

—That means using the thing called fiction properly as a weapon.

That's exactly it. Talking about it like this, I realize once again that creating a fiction is an amazing thing.

—Especially nowadays, it seems like the meaning and the power of a fiction are considered separately from each other, and they're being used ambiguously.

I certainly think so. There was something that gave me a shock recently. There's a cliche I've been using for more than twenty years, "the realism of 800 lies." In other words, you have to make the details realistic. "Real" in this case means the realism that supports a completely false world. But I've realized this kind of expression is no longer understood.

When I said "The depiction is a little problematic when you think about it from the standpoint of the realism of 800 lies," my conversation partner, though fairly intellectual, said "If we keep building it up, we'll basically be depicting it realistically." I was confused, and I asked "When you used the word 'real' just now, were you using it in the sense of what's real to us?" They replied "Yes." But of course, I'd been talking with the premise of "the realism of 800 lies," hadn't I?

That shows how nowadays, even people at a fairly high level are using the word "real" mistakenly. People like that might not think that the Gundam world is fictional either. (laughs) But even if I tell them that, they won't understand... Perhaps the word "fiction" is truly dead.

—I think it is.

I thought that was scary.

—Especially looking at the recent anime and manga world, they're making works based on the concept of character merchandise. When you look at them as individual works, are those really fiction? Are they made so they have some kind of power as fiction? Rather, I get the strong impression they're being made purely as character merchandise.

In order to generate character merchandise, you really need to create a work with a narrative worldview. Just a moment, though. Is the term "worldview" really the right one here? Surely not.

—Their worldview is that when you buy a doll, then you buy a dollhouse for it, and there things like telephones and tableware inside it.

That's right. People might call that a worldview, but it isn't really one. However, a lot of people use the term like that nowadays.

—It might be something like visibility, rather than a conceptual vision. Visibility based on how minutely you can analyze things. The "view" in "worldview" isn't like the "vision" in "conceptual vision," and it just means you're really looking at something. (20)

Yes, so it seems. So these days, I'm very careful about that in things like my lectures at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology. It's definitely become a language problem, and I really watch out for it. I always think this kind of discussion could go on endlessly,


There are so many things that would need to be discussed. If we get sucked into that one topic, the conversation would end up covering a huge amount of ground.

Between humility and the avoidance of responsibility

—Earlier, you said that while you were aware you might become schizophrenic, you kept going by being "principled." I think some of the characters who appeared in "V Gundam" had exactly the same feeling. For instance, Duker Iq was a character who could only live on a motorbike, and had to go through life based on that value system. Kagatie, too, has a way of life in which he has no choice but to push ahead based on principle.
The fact that following principles like that can be frightening was demonstrated by things like the subway sarin gas attack that took place a year after the broadcast ended, and I think V Gundam also cast that kind of issue in sharp relief.

Yes, that's true. That's exactly why it's better if you narrow the scope to what you can feel in your own body, like Duker Iq, and then keep going based on that. Applying "principles" and "wisdom" can take your actions and behavior to a point that goes beyond the physical sensations of your own limbs, so you simply shouldn't do it.

As long as you're acting within the scope of what you can touch and physically experience with your own limbs, then metaphorically speaking, you're limited to "one person, one kill." (21) You can only kill one person by yourself. But when you unleash "principle," you can mistakenly kill ten or twenty people. You simply shouldn't do it.

—Then you end up making sarin gas.

Right. Surely that was the whole problem with Aum. (22) That's basically what I was conscious of at the time, and it's easier to understand now that I can put it into words like this, but that's exactly what I mean by the danger of unleashing "principle." So you just shouldn't do that. You could say it like that. Speaking of Aum, there's one more thing I felt I should be careful about when I decided to make Marianism the basis of the narrative. It wasn't so clear at the time, ten years ago, but recently I've come to understand it.

For example, suppose you have a religion, or an absolute like God, or an entity with absolute power. When people think about it, this supposition might seem humbling at first glance, because they're trying to approach things with the humility of knowing that their own ideas aren't absolute.

If you do that, accepting the existence of something like Christ or God, you believe that we're allowed to live our lives according to the destiny of such people. Then comes the idea of royal authority in medieval Europe, where the king takes the attitude that he's simply wielding the power entrusted to him by God, rather than his own wisdom or ability. That might look like humility at first glance, too.

Now, however, I thoroughly reject that idea. It means the person has basically given up thinking for themself, and in fact if they have some kind of God or absolute—specifically, an absolute like Maria—then because they're in a position of merely acting according to its will, then they don't have to think for themself and can avoid all responsibility. It means they don't have to imagine what it means to bear responsibility in the first place.

So for example, if I say I'm punishing you in the name of God, I don't have to think about the consequences of that punishment. When you punish someone, their family could be turned out in the cold, and their community might descend into chaos. But if I believe I had no choice because all of it was in the name of God, then I've ended up completely ceasing to think for myself, and I'm no longer considering cause and effect at all.

The most frightening thing about religion is that individual people no longer experience the proper relationship of cause and effect within their society, and the number of such people will continue to increase. So I believe we really shouldn't entrust our own powers of understanding to religion.

We live our lives because things can't be explained with a single word

And then there's one more major problem. Whether or not an individual person is in a position to imagine cause and effect, they're generally not in a position to take responsibility for it. There's no cause in the simple act of paying your taxes, is there? So you just pay your taxes. Most people don't create the cause, they're just scared that the effects could put them in a terrible place where ten years later they won't get a pension. So when we're talking about cause and effect, it's not something that applies to everyone.

—In that respect, there are also considerable differences depending on the type of religious belief. It would be nice to live well within the scope of what you believe, but...

And that's why, fundamentally, it would be better if you were acting completely within the realm of physical experience. (23) This may be another contradiction, but they also say you'll die young if you become an otaku so attached to your own ego. (24) Whether that's good or bad is a different matter.

So in the end, we have to remember that you can't sum everything up into easily understandable words. There are actually people in Japan who can discuss this properly.

—So you shouldn't settle for just a single word.

People today try too hard to express things in one word. But there are many things in this world we don't understand.

—We go through life burdened by twofold, threefold, and even fourfold contradictions, so I guess they can't be resolved with a single keyword.

We can't resolve them, so people live their lives by setting daily goals. They might live their life day to day, or studying every day, researching every day, investigating every day. Professor Takashi Saito is asking, why can't we just think like that? (laughs)

So what it all comes down to is, "You mustn't expect to understand anything in a linear way by watching V Gundam. It's basically a failure and an uninteresting work, so there's no need to watch it."

—That's... more persuasive after watching King Gainer.

Right. (laughs) That's what I'd like you to understand, and if you don't understand... if you don't understand, then please watch it and think about it yourself. (25) That's what I'd like to say.

Born in 1941 in Kanagawa Prefecture. He joined Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Production after graduating from the cinema department of Nihon University's College of Art. Initially a production assistant on Mighty Atom, he went on to debut as a scriptwriter and episode director on that series. After leaving the company, he first served as chief director on Triton of the Sea. The many works he's directed include Super Machine Zambot 3, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Overman King Gainer.

Translator's Notes

(1) As interviewer Sasakibara goes on to mention, former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi was initially so popular that he was the subject of gimmicky merchandising such as Koizumi bento boxes.

(2) The Japanese term 分裂症 (bunretsu-shō) translates as "schizophrenia," but just as in English, it can be used in a metaphorical sense. I think Tomino is doing that here to describe his uncertainty over his creative role.

(3) The Japanese term 経営論 (keiei-ron), which Tomino uses throughout this interview, would translate directly as "management theory" but I've gone with "business logic" in this context.

(4) In this interview, Tomino repeatedly describes Sunrise as a 町場 (machiba) production company, referring to a traditional method of small-scale building construction. I've translated it here as "artisanal."

(5) According to the full transcript in Sasakibara's book, the thing that was "presupposed" here was the acquisition of Sunrise.

(6) I've attributed these decisions to "we" rather than "I," on the assumption that producers and sponsors would probably be involved as well. As usual, the Japanese text could be interpreted either way.

(7) Tomino actually uses the English loanword "background" here, but from the surrounding context he appears to be talking about institutional support, so I've translated it as "backing."

(8) The full transcript in Sasakibara's book phrases this as "We'll be in trouble unless you do this for us, Tomi-chan."

(9) The Japanese term (ri) can mean "logic" or "reason," but based on how it's employed later in the conversation, Tomino seems to be using it in the sense of "principle" here.

(10) In Sasakibara's book, this is phrased as "After trying to somehow make it all the way to the end, while feeling that I couldn't afford to become schizophrenic."

(11) The phrase Tomino uses here, 「片足がずぶずぶと沈んでいく」, is literally something like "one foot was going to sink." The verb 沈む (shizumu) can also be used metaphorically to describe depression, but I've left this fairly literal since I'm not sure how to interpret it. Tomino goes on to describe the production of "V Gundam" as an "endless swamp" so he may have the same metaphor in mind here.

(12) Here, Tomino uses the term 自助努力 (jijo doryoku), which means an effort you make yourself without relying on other people.

(13) The full transcript in Sasakibara's book makes it clear that this refers to selling off the company.

(14) Tomino tells a similar story in his 2000 book "The Cure of Turn A," recalling how a member of the photography staff apologized to him for the camera work in the last shot of the final episode. Here, Tomino seems to be describing several similar exchanges at the same wrap party.

(15) In Sasakibara's book, Tomino gives an example of what they should have said: "Sorry, but with this we're closing the deal and stepping back. Since we're stepping back, you do it for us."

(16) I believe the Japanese phrase 「ホビーに力が入っていた」 could be interpreted as either "putting energy into hobbies" or "feeling pressured in hobbies," so I've translated this as "preoccupied" in order to encompass both meanings.

(17) The Japanese term 体感 (taikan) refers to experiencing things physically with your body and its senses.

(18) (hara) means "stomach," "belly," or "guts." Just as in English, this can be literal or metaphorical, and I don't know which Tomino intends here.

(19) The Japanese term 理念 (rinen) means a philosophical principle or concept, similar to the term (ri) Tomino uses elsewhere in the interview.

(20) Here, Sasakibara is comparing two different terms—世界観 (sekaikan) or "worldview," 観念 (kannen) or "concept"—which both include the kanji character (kan). I've used the term "conceptual vision" for the latter. This is contrasted with 視線 (shisen), which literally means "gaze" or "line of sight," but I've rendered it here as "visibility."

(21) The phrase Tomino uses here, 「一人一殺」, was also the motto of the 血盟団 (Ketsumeidan) or "League of Blood," an ultranationalist secret society that operated in Japan in the early 20th century and used a tactic of precisely targeted assassination. I assume Tomino is making this reference intentionally.

(22) Aum Shinrikyo was the religious cult that carried out the 1995 sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway system that Sasakibara mentions above.

(23) The Japanese text here reads 「基本的にいうと『体感』という部分だけで全部走れればいいんですよ」. Earlier in the interview, Tomino uses permutations of the verb 走る to discuss acting based on principle, or within the scope of what you can physically experience with your own body, so I think he's reiterating the latter idea here.

(24) The full text in Sasakibara's book phrases this as "an otaku so attached to your own ego within the scope of what you believe," which doesn't necessarily clarify anything.

(25) The full text in Sasakibara's book goes on to make it clear that Tomino is referring to King Gainer here: "So when you're reading this and it mentions King Gainer, and you're wondering whether you should watch it, then yes, please do. Please study it. That's all I can say."


Kunio Okawara was the creator of the Gundam's design. This mecha designer, known to every fan, also played an important role in establishing the mobile suit design of V Gundam. From the existing documents, we've attempted to put together a collection of the precious materials he drew at the time.

A set of enemy mobile suit concept designs that Okawara submitted when the mecha design work began in the spring of 1992. These were drawn based on various ideas, but we can see the compound eyes that were Director Tomino's only request were used in all of the sketches.
It hadn't been decided yet, but to create the image, a few designs were drawn with a hornet mark representing BESPA. When Junya Ishigaki later saw this, he started drawing similar marks on his own designs.
It had been decided that the lead Gundam would be made up of a Core Fighter plus two parts, but this detail wasn't accurately conveyed to Okawara, so he drew a combination of two machines that turned into helicopters. This later became the base for the Zolo.

This was drawn after the decision to use the two-part combining idea shown on the previous page for an enemy mobile suit. The helicopter form of the upper body had been well-received, so he concentrated on preserving its proportions as much as possible as he arranged the mobile suit form. At this point, the beam rotor wasn't yet used as a shield.
As the Zolo design was being finalized, he also drew its advanced form, the Tomliat. Instructions from Director Tomino and other staff members can be seen in the drawings, giving us a rare glimpse of how these directions were given.
Once the concept was finalized, Okawara worked quickly. The image of this Zoloat was also established early on. In the rough below, the shield doubled as a saber and had a more aggressive design than the final draft, and there were also more apogee motors.

The image of the bike mecha at the bottom of the right page was realized in the Galicson and so forth, but since this was Gundam, the onboard mecha needed to be mobile suits. Thus a variety of concept designs were drawn for that purpose.
It was decided that the onboard mobile suits, while retaining a humanoid form, would be equipped with external tire-shaped parts whose image was appropriate for the Motorad ships. The image of the Bruckeng was already complete.
There would be minor changes at various points, but basic elements such as the flight form, and the separation of the tires when using the front mobile suit hatch, were passed down unchanged to the final draft.
Image boards of bike battleships and onboard mecha submitted by the Bandai side. In fact, it's said that these had already been prepared at the time of Metal Armor Dragonar.


V Gundam was meant to go beyond the limits of Gundam

—At the time, V Gundam was the first TV series in a while, wasn't it?

Following the theatrical Mobile Suit Gundam F91 and the OVA Mobile Suit Gundam 0083, Mobile Suit V Gundam was planned as the first TV series in six years. Partly because they weren't TV series, F91 and 0083 were meant to represent the highest grade of Gundam visuals at that point in time. Since this TV series was following afterwards, it was important we find a way to give it a new appeal distinct from them. That was our intention in giving the characters a soft but substantial presence, like the so-called "Masterpiece" series. (1)

—In a sense, it was a challenge.

That's also one reason why there was almost no shading in the early part of the series, even though there was a tendency at the time to take onscreen shading as a given. It was produced via a process where shading was added only to the cuts where we really wanted it, as specified by Director Tomino.

Since around the time of F91, Director Tomino himself had been giving instructions to reduce excess shading as much as possible, specifying it for each cut. His reasoning was that if we overdid it, it would make the screen too noisy.

—What kinds of content-related instructions and requests did Director Tomino give in the early stages?

He wanted the mobile suits to have a mechanical feel. For example, if you have a Core Fighter, practically speaking you're fine as long as that's intact. In the story, they discard Hangers and Boots without hesitation. (2) The depiction expresses this intention.

—I gather there was an initial plan that the V2 would use the V1's Core Fighter.

That's how we were originally thinking of the Core Fighter. At the very beginning, it was just an extension of the approach used by "Operation V" in Mobile Suit Gundam. But unfortunately, we couldn't realize this idea for toy-related reasons. Naturally, when making a product of a new machine, we couldn't just keep the V1's head. (laughs) Thus the screen was enlivened by putting the V2 and V1 side by side, so I think in terms of creating the work, that was okay as an outcome.

—What do you think was the ultimate goal of V Gundam?

I believe Director Tomino was aiming for a Gundam that went beyond its previous limits. We often say that if it's Gundam, then it should be like this or that. But if you just keep doing what you're used to, you can only make a reduced reproduction. (3) He said we needn't be constrained by the past just because it had Gundam in the title, and that we should create a work with a more flexible mindset. I think the fact that the protagonist Üso was younger than previous Gundam protagonists also reflected his intention that it should be seen by a new audience.

—Üso was thirteen years old, right?

At the start of planning, some people reacted with uncertainty about having a thirteen-year-old protagonist. But that was exactly the feeling he wanted to overcome. (4) Up until then, when you had a protagonist about thirteen years old, they tended to be surprisingly schematized children. (5) But real thirteen-year-olds are more self-aware, so we could depict an interesting drama if we portrayed that accurately. Please bear that in mind as you watch it.

Born in 1960 in Yamagata Prefecture. After working at a toymaker, he joined Sunrise because he wanted to take on animation production. From setting and script management, he went on to serve as current head of the Sunrise planning department. He was previously involved in the production of Metal Armor Dragonar, Mobile Suit Gundam F91, and G-Saviour.

Translator's Notes

(1) The "World Masterpiece Theater" series consisted of anime adaptations of classic works of world literature. The original series aired on Fuji TV from 1969 to 1997, and included such beloved titles as Moomin, Heidi, Girl of the Alps, A Dog of Flanders, and Anne of Green Gables.

(2) "Hanger" and "Boots" are nicknames for the upper and lower body parts of the Victory Gundam.

(3) The Japanese term 縮小再生産 (shukushō saiseisan), translated here as "reduced reproduction," has been used elsewhere by Sunrise staff to describe derivative works like Gundam 0083.

(4) I'm generally attributing the ideas Inoue discusses here to "we" and "us," since as head of the Sunrise planning department he was intimately involved in the planning process. At this point, though, he seems to be specifically discussing Tomino's intentions for the series.

(5) "Surprisingly schematized" is a fairly literal translation of the Japanese phrase 「意外と模式化した」. It's hard to guess what this means from the context, but Inoue is contrasting it to the 自意識 (jiishiki)—"self-consciousness" or "self-awareness"—of real children.


I wish we'd made Katejina a more extreme character

—You worked on the production of V Gundam under the title of setting manager, but what kind of work were you actually responsible for?

In a few words, ordering model sheets and other art materials. But since I was involved from the start of planning, I was there for most of the meetings. In particular, I was always involved in the script meetings. This was so I could understand at the script stage what characters and mecha would be needed when we were animating it.

—At these times, did you also participate by suggesting ideas for the story?

Yes, it was too interesting for me to simply sit and listen. I feel like I'd just say whatever I wanted. Among the things they ended up using were the scene where Üso gives Godwald an oxygen tank in episode 15, and Lupe Cineau bathing with Üso in episode 29... those were all weird scenes. (laughs)

—So you were quite involved on the story side, too.

The big parts aside, on a year-long series, everyone's opinions will be reflected to some extent. But I do have some regrets about Katejina. From the very beginning, there was an enthusiasm gap between Director Tomino and the rest of the staff where she was concerned. I didn't care for her either. She's an awful woman, isn't she? The director said "There are women like that," but...

And given the atmosphere at the time... I felt like this up until the time of , so it may be generational, but we also felt that we didn't really want to see a tragic story. (1) However, Director Tomino is basically the type who constructs tragic narratives, so I think we weren't well aligned in that respect.

—Ever since Super Machine Zambot 3, Director Tomino has had a tragic image.

It doesn't seem like Director Tomino himself wants to make nothing but tragedies, and yet that's what happens when he's constructing a story... So when he tried to establish the character of Katejina, the mood of the staff ended up weighing it down. I finally understood her drama with the last episode. I wish her desire for advancement had been more smoothly inserted into the drama.

—And yet it feels like, in a way, Katejina became the character who symbolizes V Gundam.

I think that's thanks to the forcefulness of the storyboards and direction. If we'd done a better job creating her, for example if she'd spurred on Cronicle with the aim of becoming queen of the Zanscare Empire, I wonder how much more extreme we could have made the character. (2) And then perhaps we could have made it even more interesting by including elements from women's biographical dramas... (3)

—It's a question of how to bring together the views of the staff.

This isn't about the story, but I particularly regret that we couldn't have Mr. Ousaka be animation director for every episode. Director Tomino decreed that Mr. Ousaka would be the character designer after he saw the unpublished image boards created during planning, but he wasn't thinking about the work rotation.

Thus, even when Mr. Ousaka was available, we didn't have any key art or animation staff ready. He's a very powerful person, and he wanted to participate in the animation as well, so he was probably dissatisfied with V Gundam because he was barely involved. It wasn't my job to allocate production staff, but even now I remember how disappointing that was.

Born in 1965 in Fukui Prefecture. He joined Sunrise after graduating from college, and served as setting manager and chief production manager on works such as Brain Powerd. After a succession of these jobs, he became producer on the theatrical editions ∀ Gundam: Earth Light and Moon Butterfly. He also worked on Overman King Gainer and Planetes.

Translator's Notes

(1) Here, I assume "we" refers to Kawaguchi and the rest of the younger staff.

(2) "How much more extreme we could have made the character" is my best attempt to interpret the Japanese phrase 「なんてところまでキャラクターを振れたのではないか」.

(3) The Japanese phrase 女の一代記ドラマ (onna no ichidaiki drama), or "women's biographical drama," was also used as the title of a series of biographical TV programs in 2005. Since this was after the release of the V Gundam DVD Memorial Box, I don't imagine Kawaguchi is referencing it here.


V Gundam was drawn so as to inherit the "Gundam world"

█ The V Gundam aimed for a simple form
—What led to you drawing mecha for V Gundam?

I think it was in the summer of 1991, but while I was working on the production of Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, I heard I might be called in for the next Gundam TV series. At the time, I thought this was just baseless hearsay, but then it turned out to be true... So I took this to mean that I should try entering the competition.

Gundam staff are often selected in a competition format, aren't they?

They sometimes hold competitions for other works, too. But as a contestant, it's hard being told to draw something among a huge crowd of invitees. It's different if you really love the story, or you're very gung-ho, but drawing is something that's not easy to do when the likelihood of it being used is so low.

—Did you know who else was participating in the competition?

I thought there would be a lot of people, so when I initially applied, I didn't ask. Then, to my surprise, it turned out that it was just myself, Mr. Kunio Okawara, and Mr. Junya Ishigaki. That's not a lot for a competition, so I was puzzled by what at the time was a rather unusual honor.

—I believe they asked you to create a three-dimensional model for the presentation.

Yes, they did, so I made that before going to the meeting. I brought in something I'd made by assembling broken parts from five or six store-bought models and toys. Mr. Okawara carved one of his legendary wooden models, and I'm not sure what Mr. Ishigaki did...

—Apparently he'd prepared something by carving it out of balsa wood, but he lost his nerve when he saw what you and Mr. Okawara had brought in.

Oh, was that it? I'd tried to put a lot of effort into making mine, too, but I felt my craftsmanship had been beaten when I saw Mr. Okawara's wooden model. They said the quality didn't matter since it was just for explanatory purposes, but it still bothered me.

—Were there any differences between the three-dimensional model you made back then, and the final draft of the V Gundam?

The combining and transforming concept was used unchanged in the final draft of the V Gundam. The idea of it being made up of a Core Fighter plus A and B parts, with the head stored in the Core Fighter, was already decided at that point. My feeling was that it was time to go back to the starting point.

—After this, I believe you switched to doing the design work on paper, but you drew many versions of the V Gundam before it was finalized.

It wasn't straightforward, because it was a Gundam main character. For example, I feel that humanoid mecha look cooler when they're slender. So whether or not it used a binder format, I wanted to draw the backpack pretty small. But Director Tomino ordered me to increase the volume, and he got really mad when I insolently objected. Looking at the V Gundam now, though, I think the back is pretty neat. I don't remember the details, but maybe Director Tomino gave up and let me do as I liked. (laughs)

█ A design drawn with "Gundam fans" in mind.
—As well as the V Gundam, you also worked on the Dash parts and the V2 Gundam, Keilas Guilie and Camion, warships, and so forth. Were there any points you were mindful of throughout all of these?

As far as design, they're each individual, but as a whole I tried to draw them with an awareness that they were inheriting the Gundam world. They told me that it was okay to more or less disregard First Gundam and the other past works, and storywise I agree it was better to ignore them, because that was less restrictive. But in terms of mecha design, I thought it might be more fun if they inherited from the past, rather than cutting it off. So that's how I tried to do it.

—The beam shield is carried over from the F91, isn't it?

The same goes for the 15-meter class height and the round forms of the body. If people who are interested in that take notice, then it provides a link between V Gundam and Gundam F91, the closest existing work in terms of historical setting. There are a lot of Gundam fans who enjoy those kinds of links, right? So as a mecha designer, I thought it was only proper to bear that in mind.

—Likewise, I believe the setting for the V2 Gundam's distinctive Minovsky drive was brought in from the existing Gundam series. Who was it who suggested using this?

That must have been me. I proposed the idea to Director Tomino, including the notion that it could be depicted as wings when widely expanded. Normally, as much as possible, I try to refrain from arguing for the mecha's effectiveness. After all, the work site will be more stable if the mecha designer just prepares things, and leaves their depiction to the series and episode directors.

—And finally, please give us a few words looking back on that time.

Although I worked on the 0083 OVAs, the V Gundam TV series was the first work where I was a designer from the start. Even now, I'm still very grateful to the director, producers, and staff for giving me that opportunity.

Born in 1963 in Saitama Prefecture. He has followed the mecha designer's path since his student days. He was praised by deep Gundam fans for the many mecha he drew for his debut work, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083. In particular, the impact of the GP03, made up of the Stamen and Dendrobium, continues to have an influence on Gundam works to this day. His major works include the Virtual-On series, and he is also involved in a wide range of activities such as the development of toys and models.

Detailed setting for the beam rifle. Although such minute explanations weren't necessary for animation, this was drawn to enhance the completeness of the toys. With things like the anti-glare grooves carved into it to prevent the sensors from being flooded with reflected light, it's a design that really convinces the viewer.


version 1.0
In this work, Hajime Katoki worked mainly on the V Gundam and its variations, the Camion, space warships, and the V2 Gundam and its enhancement parts. Naturally, the V Gundam was the first of these to begin taking shape. This rough design, labeled as Ver.1.0, was the first version drawn after the machine's basic structural concept was decided. It's dated February 19, 1992. The shape of the backpack is reminiscent of the Stamen from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, which Katoki worked on before V Gundam.

version 3.0
Ver.3.0 was drawn between April and May. The points that hadn't yet been resolved were summarized, and Katoki also explained the option latches and drew some weapon ideas.

version 4.0
Coloring tests were carried out in these drawings dated June 25. We can also see that the head was getting close to the final draft at this point.

CORE FIGHTER version 0.0
Ideas for the Core Fighter and the Top Fighter transformation drawn on January 11, 1992, before the V Gundam Ver.1.0 reproduced on page 141. The basic form of the Core Fighter at the heart of the V Gundam was already complete, and Katoki had even drawn a prototype of the later Dash parts.

version 5.0
A version drawn on July 10. The form adopted for the elbow parts would be the basis for the final draft. It was drawn with the image of a very physical Gundam. Since the idea sketch of beam sabers whose beams can be expanded into shields also has the same date, it seems that this was when Katoki settled on putting the beam saber racks in the elbows. In the Bottom Fighter roughs, he was testing different shapes for the Core Fighter's nose.

version 8.X
Now that all the debates were generally settled, the fine-tuning of the details began in Ver.8. Versions from 8.0 to 8.5 exist, with Ver.8.5 dated August 4, just ten days after Ver.7.0. The design with a gatling cannon mounted in the arm was drawn based on setting from the early planning stages, in which parts other than the Core Fighter would be swapped out according to the nature of the combat operation. Katoki was still trying various experiments with the transformation of the feet in flight form.


version 0.0
Attaching a Core Booster unit to the V Gundam which could still be used even in mobile suit form had been under consideration from the beginning. But it wasn't realized until this rough design, drawn in early February 1993. It had a beautiful streamlined shape, and advanced versions of the fin nozzles used in Mobile Suit Gundam F91 extended from its back.

version 1.0
After the submission of Ver.0.0, Director Tomino gave orders that beams should come from the ends of the overhang pack. In this Ver.1.0, Katoki responded by adding separate gun turrets. The shape of the extended fin nozzles also changed. After this, several variations were drawn with the gun barrels mounted in different locations.

version 4.0
Because the gun barrels now faced backwards in Core Booster form, the bulges on the sides were turned into extendable turrets. With this, the overall silhouette was virtually complete, but the design of the turrets had a slimmer form than in the final draft. This was drawn on February 25.


with VSBR
Though it was a minor update version of the V Gundam, since it wasn't going to be used by the protagonist Üso, it was necessary that the V Gundam Hexa be drawn so that its image wasn't stronger than that of the V Gundam. The VSBRs used in Gundam F91 were also proposed as enhancement parts. This may be an example of the mecha designer showing a connection to the existing Gundam world, as discussed in the interview. Though these unfortunately weren't used at the time, they were implemented in the V2 Assault Gundam.


version 0.0
A concept design rough of the V2 Gundam drawn on January 5, 1993, three months before the start of broadcast and about one year after the Core Fighter Ver.0.0 reproduced on page 142. It was provisionally named the V Gundam Mark II. The accompanying notes say, "Three design points: (1) Extended and enlarged shoulders (2) V mark on chest (3) Minovsky drive on back."

version 1.0
Ver.1.0 is dated April 14. Drawn to incorporate the three elements previously noted at the time of Ver.0.0, it suddenly became close to the final draft. Though it took Katoki three months to refine the idea, this was possible because he had figured out what kind of design should be used for the Gundams appearing in the work.

Head design
This seems to have been drawn in basically a single pass, with the feeling that it couldn't be any other way. It had a targeting sight device over its left eye, and at first type A and B proposals were submitted for this design. Later, a type C was drawn which was adopted for the final draft.

version 2.0
The overall balance was adjusted by revising the lines of the shoulders, knees, and calves. The rear skirts were also changed at this stage to the form used in the final draft.

version 3.0
A rough dated May 3, which became the basis for the final draft. The knee parts were smoothed out, and the lines of the shoulder were further refined. Though the basic structure was unchanged, the changes to the shape of the shoulder parts were reflected in the diagrams of the Ver.2.0 and 3.0 arm transformation process.


version 1.0
The basic silhouette of the V2 Gundam's Core Fighter was almost complete. It had a sleek, sophisticated form, and the horizontal wings were deliberately eliminated so that the progress of technology could be intuitively understood.

version 2.0
In Ver.2.0, the air intakes were moved to the same position as in an ordinary fighter plane.

version 3.0
The points where the air intakes were located in Ver.2.0 were changed to smooth parts. It's unclear whether an air inflow is necessary when using the Minovsky drive in the atmosphere, but in the final draft, the only thing that clearly looks like an intake is the central part on the fighter's underside.

V2 Assault concept
The V2 Assault parts were originally called by various names such as the Full Armor V2 and the V2 Gundam Cloth. (1) This was an idea for their attachment points. Ultimately, the main factor in determining the size of the attachment areas was the limitations of the molds used when it was turned into a toy.


version 0.0
The two roughs above are Camion first impressions that Katoki drew in May 1992, after reading the proposal. He says he had the image of a crew like the support team in an automobile rally race. The idea of the Core Fighter being stored in a box for transportation was quite distinctive.

version 1.0
At Director Tomino's request, the Camion and the Core Fighter carrier were made to look more like ordinary trailers. The drawings at the bottom of page 152 were also done at the same time. Katoki wanted to avoid having the Core Fighter carrier towed by an arm, but the final draft used this form as per the director's strong desire. The Core Fighter carrier also adopted a four-wheeled format.


version 1.0
The Reinforce Jr. was drawn as a warship with a new image, while also retaining the impression of a Federation Forces vessel. It seems Katoki wanted to put something in its stern, but in the final draft, a vertical surface with a cylindrical cross-section was adopted instead. Apparently he was also considering omitting the radiator plates.

Translator's Notes

(1) The English loanword "cloth" is also translated here with the Japanese term 聖衣 (seii) or "sacred garment," a term used for things like priestly vestments, saints' robes, and the magical armor in Saint Seiya.


The difficulty of creating new mobile suits

V Gundam placed an emphasis on depicting the narrative
—We know Mr. Ishigaki drew a lot of mecha, mainly the Zanscare side's mobile suits. But Mr. Horiguchi, you also submitted many ideas (more than a hundred sheets), right?

Horiguchi: Up until now, I'd forgotten those memos even existed. (laughs) I was working as a setting manager on Whirlwind! Iron Leaguer at the time, so I think in my memories, I'd convinced myself that I couldn't have been involved in V Gundam which was airing at the same time. (1) But come to think of it, I guess I did help come up with various ideas...

—Did you do that throughout the series?

Horiguchi: No, I recall it being temporary. When they brought in the Motorad Fleet, they also wanted new images for the mecha that were going to appear. So I think they were looking for ideas from a slightly outside perspective, from people within Sunrise who weren't involved in the series production. I was probably pretty perfect for that, since I'd also assisted with setting production on Gundam F91.

—Looking at the dates on the idea memos, this was before the broadcast, wasn't it?

Horiguchi: Yeah, that's true. I was doing it prior to that.

Ishigaki: V Gundam entered production around July of the previous year, so that must be why.

Horiguchi: I also started working on Iron Leaguer partway through, so maybe I did it before going over there.

—Were these drawn on the assumption that they'd be shown to Director Tomino? Or was it more more like an exchange of ideas among the staff?

Horiguchi: I believe they were handed over to Director Tomino after being judged by Mr. Inoue. (2) But since they were ideas from an outside perspective, I was just drawing whatever ridiculous things I liked, so I'm not sure how useful these memos actually were... (laughs)

Ishigaki: I took things like the Dodgore idea exactly as it was, though. In the final draft, the stored form of the tail became a coiled shape. But it was ring-shaped in the rough design stage, like in the diagram, so I basically used what Mr. Horiguchi drew with no changes...

Looking at them now, a lot of these are pretty cool, and I don't know why we didn't use them. There are so many wasted ideas. Why didn't we use this mobile armor Dricome? (3)

Horiguchi: Judging from the memos, it looks I was obsessed with the Dricome. I must have really liked it.

Ishigaki: Maybe we avoided your interesting ideas because even if we'd adopted them, they would have been done in a half-baked fashion.

Horiguchi: Was there so little depiction of the mecha?

Ishigaki: V Gundam emphasized the narrative development as much as possible, and since there were so many types of mobile suit, there wasn't much time to depict elaborate gimmicks.

Horiguchi: I guess finding that balance is the territory of the series and episode directors. If you're giving more weight to depicting the narrative, then that's the choice you've made, and I suppose you can't include mecha like the Dricome.

—Had you heard about the appearance of the Motorad Fleet?

Ishigaki: I didn't hear about it until it materialized. At first they just told me to give them some battle bikes. I asked what it was about, but Director Tomino didn't reply. (laughs) I had no choice but to draw what he told me to, and this time he wanted a big motorbike, so I drew the Galicson.

As to what he was thinking, I heard he had to put in bike battleships, or something like that. I think Director Tomino was trying to foreshadow that with the Galicson. But I can say now that, if he'd told me about the bike battleships when I was doing the battle bikes, I might have made something a little different.

Horiguchi: According to the rumors I've heard, it seems Director Tomino was really worried about the bike battleships. He was constantly wondering how they could be integrated into the worldview, right?

Ishigaki: Yeah, I'm sure he was.

█ Rare roughs by Director Tomino
—By the way, I've heard you were friends even before V Gundam.

Ishigaki: I was, how to put this, a stalker mecha designer. (4) (laughs) I wanted to draw mecha designs, but I didn't know how to get into the animation industry. Every month, I'd send in my unsolicited drawings to the Sunrise planning office, based on the address listed in the anime magazines. Then somebody took notice of me, and I started going to Tokyo to visit the planning office in semi-stalker fashion. (laughs) That's how I met Mr. Horiguchi and Mr. Inoue, and they taught me a lot.

Horiguchi: No, it wasn't anything as grand as teaching. I was just talking big, relying on the fact that I'd joined the planning office a little earlier. (laughs)

Ishigaki: But at the time, I didn't even know the "A" of the ABCs, so I was really grateful.

—So did you discuss V Gundam during the first half?

Horiguchi: It wasn't a formal occasion, but we may have talked a little when we'd meet in the planning office. I think that was about it.

Ishigaki: I probably asked your advice when they told me to create a model to present my concept for the V Gundam competition. I had some interest in models, but at that point I was completely at a loss as to what I should do...

Horiguchi: Ah, that Balsa Gundam?

Ishigaki: I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was desperate. Presenting the concept you're thinking of by making an actual object might be feasible if you're good at that, but even if it only needed to be a rough version, I couldn't do anything with it.

Director Tomino showed me his own balsa-wood models, and with those as reference, I made mine from balsa and toothpicks according to my own interpretation. When I went to the competition, Mr. Okawara had a sturdy carved wooden figure, and Mr. Katoki had made something splendid by gathering parts from models and toys. I was embarrassed, but I stealthily submitted mine at the very end. (laughs)

—What kind of directions did Director Tomino give you about drawing the Zanscare mobile suits?

Ishigaki: Only that I should give them compound eyes. Also, since Mr. Okawara drew a huge number of concept designs right at the very beginning, I tried to expand those lines in my own way as I was drawing.

Horiguchi: Looking at the dates on the roughs you drew, this was right after the production of Gundam F91 ended. Had you already started at that point?

Ishigaki: They kind of sounded me out, and I drew those according to Mr. Inoue's instructions. But at first, I was just drawing pure extensions of Gundam F91.

Horiguchi: Though V Gundam ultimately wasn't a direct continuation of Gundam F91, Director Tomino probably had an image of the next bad guy in his mind, so he must have been looking for something that matched that. Of course, Mr. Okawara would be thinking about that too. This is just speculation, but perhaps the Zolo was a fusion of both.

Ishigaki: Maybe so. Director Tomino provided the image of compound eyes, and I feel like Mr. Okawara was still keeping the Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits in the back of his mind as he was drawing. Of course, when it was decided not to do a continuation of Gundam F91, he had to avoid designs that were direct developments of them.

Horiguchi: If Mr. Okawara had already formed images of the mecha that would have appeared in the sequel, it would be cruel to ask him to throw all of that away.

—The Byg-Zam in First Gundam is a famous example, but Director Tomino used to draw his own roughs of the mecha. Did he do any of those for V Gundam?

Ishigaki: Barely any. The only one was the Sandhoge, where he saw the rough I'd drawn and gave me own image rough, saying that it would be better this way.

—What was it like?

Ishigaki: Just like the final draft. I merely refined the details and cleaned it up. So it should rightfully be called a mecha designed by Director Tomino. (laughs)

Horiguchi: Director Tomino is amazing as a mecha idea man, too. Thanks to skills backed up by experience and natural talent, he has a sense for what kind of design would be good and how to depict it effectively that nobody else can imitate.

Personally, I think the heavy mobile mecha that appeared in Space Runaway Ideon stand at the pinnacle. The design and direction are completely unified according to Director Tomino's ideas.

Ishigaki: Unfortunately, in V Gundam there was only the Sandhoge.

Horiguchi: I guess he had his hands full just creating the narrative. But even in his recent works, it seems like he seldom draws mecha roughs, so perhaps he got tired of it. He's been making works for so long, after all... Maybe that's why he had me draw idea memos.

Ishigaki: Since there are an increasing number of people who specialize in mecha design, maybe he wants to leave it to them. As a mecha designer, I'm happy about that, but I'd like to see a few more of Director Tomino's ideas.

Horiguchi: It seems like hard work to keep drawing them, though. (laughs)

Ishigaki: So if there's ever an opportunity... (laughs)

Born in 1967 in Shizuoka Prefecture. He moved to Tokyo after submitting his design drawings. While he was studying industrial design, he also trained as a mecha designer in the Sunrise planning office, and debuted with guest mecha in Brave Fighter Exkizer. He participated in V Gundam after working on Gundam F91. His representative works include DT Eightron and Outlaw Star.

Born in Niigata Prefecture. He went from a planning idea brain to working on site in the studio as a setting manager, participating in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. In recent years, he handled the planning and production of Gundam the Ride and Gundam Evolve as a producer, and is now attempting the first full 3D CG Gundam TV series with the new SD Gundam Force.

The mobile armor Dricome mentioned in the discussion. From the internal cutaway drawings and written text commentary, we can see that Horiguchi himself was quite fond of it.

A selection of the many ideas that Horiguchi drew in addition to the Dricome.

Left: We can also see the one on which the Dodgore was based.

Right: A humorous diary memo that Ishigaki drew in the studio at the time. It conveys his affection and sadness for the Balsa Gundam.


Ishigaki had been involved in the production of Mobile Suit Gundam F91, released in 1991, as a design assistant, and at this point he was approached about working on V Gundam. These are provisional drawings he did at the time, and since he hadn't been given an explanation of the content, he drew them on the assumption it would be a continuation of Gundam F91. On the left is a mobile suit used by the protagonists' side, at top is an advanced form of the mobile armor Rafflesia from Gundam F91, and below is a prototype Federation Forces mobile armor.


Ishigaki's participation in V Gundam had been more or less decided, and it seemed he would be responsible for the enemy mobile suits. For the time being, he was drawing and accumulating ideas. "This was the first time I'd been asked to draw mobile suits in earnest, so I didn't have much in my internal reserve. I was desperate to somehow come up with ideas. But looking at them now, all of them have armor that resembles kendo protective gear." (From here on, all quotations in the text are from Ishigaki.) The beam shield generators are connected to the arm with a joint to expand their range of motion.


"At this point I started drawing things to show to other people, which also served as cleanup practice. I drew them with the self-imposed restriction that each should include some kind of gimmick, but at the time I really wanted to give them sub-arms, so there are a lot of that type." In the design below, the wings on the back become sub-arms. The one on the right was drawn in the image of a rhinoceros beetle, and the one at bottom right is constructed so that its torso looks like a face.

The design above has the image of a commander's machine, and the concept of a rotating beam cannon on its left shoulder could be considered the prototype for the Contio's shot claws. The one at top right is distinguished by its cicada-inspired head and the side skirts that turn into sub-arms. The design on the right stands out for the large thruster that divides its crotch and extends far behind it.

The ninja-inspired mobile suit above became the basis for the Godzorla. Ishigaki felt that the sub-arms suited the ninja motif, so he was quite pleased with it at the time. The one at top right was designed to be a machine for Newtypes, and the rods extending from its head and back were meant to be used to control funnels. To the right is a BESPA-made mobile suit equipped with a Core Fighter. It exploits the Core Block system by specializing in tactics where it discards parts of its body.

At the same time, Ishigaki also drew several mobile armor designs. "The wasp-type mobile armor below was drawn based on BESPA's image. It's pretty cool, but maybe a little obvious. And in scenes where it's flying in the distance, it would be hard to differentiate the mecha from an actual wasp." The one above uses the motif of the Zakrello from First Gundam. It's interesting that the silhouette of its main body resembles the head of a Gundam type. The seahorse-type mobile armor at bottom center is distinguished by its spherical shoulder parts.


During this time Ishigaki drew several new mobile armor designs, different from those he drew in March. "If I recall correctly, Mr. Koichi Inoue, the script setting manager, told me to draw these. That was probably the point at which they were finally deciding how the narrative of V Gundam was going to unfold, so maybe they were thinking of putting in giant mobile armors. After all, giant mobile armors like the Alpha Azieru from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack and the Rafflesia from Gundam F91 kept on showing up."


"From this point on, I'd stopped drawing things that were meant to provoke deep Gundam fans (laughs) and was attempting to give them more clearly defined concepts. Mr. Kunio Okawara's Zolo was also completed around this time, wasn't it? I think I'd seen that and was trying to match the image." The wasp mark on the chest in the drawing below was an imitation of those in Okawara's rough designs, which likewise shows how he was trying to match the image.

The two designs printed at bottom left became the base for the Shokew. Apparently Ishigaki also liked the three at top, but he couldn't give them much attention while he was focusing on the Shokew, so he gave up on finalizing them. Around this time, it seems he was trying to achieve a depiction of "mobile suit-ness" with at least one machine. The secretly written words "Minovsky drive" can be seen in the design at bottom center of page 168.


"This was a time when I was struggling in earnest to complete new mobile suit designs. Up until then, my only serious involvement in TV works had been the Brave series, so I was always fumbling around in the dark. Though I'd somehow managed to give form to the Shokew, I'd used up all my worthwhile ideas along the way. These roughs are the aftermath of my bitter struggles at the time." Even if we only count mobile suits and mobile armors, Ishigaki drew more than 20 mecha over the course of the series. Designing mobile suits for the first time, while simultaneously working on the guest mecha that appeared in each episode, must have been very difficult.

Ishigaki is still fond of the Memedorza reproduced on page 170, thanks to the absurdity of the jet engines stuffed into its legs. The Sandhoge, also on page 170, was drawn before he saw the rough by Director Tomino that was mentioned in the interview. The Dodgore on page 171 is close in form to Horiguchi's idea memo. The three versions of the Jabaco reproduced on page 172 were drawn in a trial-and-error process to determine the shape of its distinctive shoulder armor. And from the Birknau roughs on page 173, we can see that when it was first drawn, it was upside-down relative to the final draft.


The designs printed here were either drawn during the production of the series and never actually used, or drawn after the broadcast was over as a test to see what kind of mobile suits Ishigaki could now create. The design above was drawn as a proposal for Katejina's final mobile suit, before the Gottrlatan was decided on. The one at top right is similar, but here, a little of the Gottrlatan's image can be seen in its silhouette. The two on the right are mobile suits for use by the Motorad Fleet, and the impact of their huge tires is incredible.

In the middle is a personal mobile suit for Cronicle. This was drawn on the assumption that he'd fly it at the end, before the Rig-Contio was decided on. Provisionally named Shy-Tarn, it was distinguished by its high power output and tail-shaped main thruster. The head design at bottom left was technically an early draft of the Zanneck's head, but it's included here because it was so radically changed. In the bottom right corner is something drawn a year and a half after the broadcast ended, with the idea that if BESPA had built a Gundam, it might be a machine like this.

Translator's Notes

(1) Iron Leaguer debuted on April 6, 1993, four days after V Gundam, and ran until March 29 of the following year. Its broadcast run thus exactly overlapped with V Gundam. Both series were produced by Sunrise's Studio 3, and Iron Leaguer was supervised by Gundam 0083 assistant producer Masahiko Minami, who would then go on to co-produce G Gundam.

(2) Koichi Inoue was then the head of Sunrise's planning department, and was also serving as script manager on V Gundam.

(3) According to the written notes in Horiguchi's sketches, the name "Dricome" is derived from the phrase "Drill comes through."

(4) The Japanese term 押し掛け (oshikake) means an uninvited guest, gatecrasher, or stalker. The latter term seems most appropriate here.


Üso and the others were meant to be characters revealed through movement

█ Aiming for Future Boy Conan in Gundam
—Please tell us how you came to work on the character designs for Mobile Suit V Gundam.

It seems they started by asking various people for image drawings of the characters, in a competition format. I say "it seems" because I didn't actually participate in the competition itself. Or, to be precise, I guess I should say I participated without knowing it...

—What do you mean?

I heard that several people participated in the competition, but all of them were given an idea of V Gundam as a work, and then they did character image drawings in accordance with that. But in my case, image boards that I drew for the planning of a previous rejected project, completely unrelated to Gundam, were submitted as reference. When I asked about it afterwards, it turned out that Mr. Ueda, the producer in charge, showed those image boards to Director Tomino, and the director took a liking to them.

—Though it was a work unrelated to Gundam, was that project a robot show?

No, if anything it was along the lines of a "Masterpiece" show. (1) (laughs) So at first I never imagined they'd see those and choose me.

—The order literally came out of nowhere, then.

Since it inherited the same studio, it had been decided that V Gundam would include some of the staff from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, which I also worked on. (2) I'd heard that some of them had also been asked to do image drawings for the competition, so I already knew about the existence of the work itself. But I assumed that one way or another they wouldn't ask me, since it was possible that I'd be participating in other works which were being planned at the time, even though these were ultimately shelved.

—Did it feel like you were suddenly being asked to draw it?

We had some extra preparation time with V Gundam, so it really didn't feel that way. First they gave me the proposal document, and then I met with Director Tomino... that's the process we followed.

During that meeting, what I heard from Director Tomino was that we were doing Future Boy Conan in Gundam. Those were his words. For people around my age, who watched Conan when we were in school and said "this movement is amazing, anime is really good," it was one of the works that led us to enter this world. So I was delighted they were letting me do it.

—I guess that's why Üso makes all those reckless moves at the beginning of the series. But in design terms, Üso looks like a boy from a good family, rather than a feral child. (3) He has well-groomed hair and so forth...

That was what Director Tomino wanted, right? At first I drew him as a feral child character, and gave him spiky hair. (laughs) That image was ultimately transferred to Odelo.

█ The confidence born from the experience of doing four cours
—When you began the actual design work, what points did you pay the most attention to?

I think animation is all about movement, and this was supposed to be a Conan-like story, so I tried not to create designs that would be hard to move. The order was also to go with a simple style, with as few extra lines and shadows as possible, so I remember I tried to follow that... But since this was right after 0083, which had a really crazy amount of lines and shading, I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it. So even after the series began, at first I was filling in black shadows under their chins as a stopgap measure, and trying to make the characters look complex by stretching the definition of "necessary lines."

I remember I was actually relieved when the decision was eventually made, around the middle of the series, to add some shading after all. I'd used all the ingenuity I could, but it's hard to express three-dimensionality without lines and shadows.

—Shahkti is what what would now be commonly described as a "moe character," but her movements are deliberately made to seem lifelike. Was that your intention from the beginning?

Well, it's a Tomino anime, so I think that was was inevitable. (laughs) But I wasn't thinking that far ahead when I was designing her. If I'd made her that complete at the beginning, it would have restricted the development of the character after the series began, so the order was for more of an approximate image. But my characters aren't very "flashy." If I'd had a little more drawing ability at the time, it might have gone a little better.

—I gather V Gundam was your first character design job.

Actually, even before that, there were about two OVAs that I'd like to go back in time and erase... (4) (laughs) But those were based on existing manga works, so V Gundam was the first one I actually created as an original.

—Was it perplexing to suddenly be working on a four-cours series, not to mention a Tomino work known for featuring a lot of characters?

This was ten years ago, right? Since that was still an era where it was normal for a TV series to run four cours, I was resigned to it once I accepted the job. But of course, my head was completely empty by the time it ended.

I was also responsible for character design on Mobile Fighter G Gundam right after that, but because the lines of the work were different, somehow I was able to create it by drawing on different reserves within myself. If V Gundam and G Gundam had been works of a similar nature, I think I'd surely have run out of material for designs. (laughs)

—It must have been pretty tough.

But recent TV series are typically two cours, aren't they? When I participate in a work like that, it feels like half a job. That's how much two years of V and G boosted my self-confidence. In other words, you could say it's thanks to that experience that I'm who I am today. Thinking about it, I feel it was a really valuable experience.

Born in 1963 in Osaka Prefecture. He was interested in anime production ever since junior high school, and after requesting an apprenticeship at Anime R, he became an animator on Armored Trooper Votoms. He went on to work on Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 and Mobile Fighter G Gundam, and is currently involved in the production of Hiwou War Chronicles and The Mars Daybreak at Bones Inc.

Left: Even though they're only onscreen for a few seconds, Ousaka labored over this female singing duo who appear on a digital disk.

Right: A Tomino memo about the Neneka team's costume. It's rare for him to be this specific.

As the protagonist, he naturally went through a process of repeated trial and error. Though it isn't shown here, as mentioned in the interview, Ousaka originally assumed he'd have spiky, poorly groomed hair. But at the request of Director Tomino, he was given soft, straight hair which he retained until the final draft.
Up until page 185, two image boards are reproduced on the right side of each spread (for a total of eight). These were drawn once Director Tomino had visualized the overall direction, and he wanted to see placeholder moving images. A scene from episode 1 is depicted, already featuring the paraglider. In the sketch at the bottom of page 181, the woman on the left is Katejina. These are dated July 23~24, 1992.

Üso and Shahkti were designed roughly in parallel. Apparently, her original image was also a little more active. As for her costume, while it was hard to abandon the shorts, it seems they decided to give her a long skirt to create the impression of a child from a quiet rural area.
Ideas for her costume and hairstyle after she's revealed to be Maria's daughter. In particular, various ideas for her hairstyle were drawn. Narratively, it seems like a braided hairstyle would be time-consuming, but there were several cute variations.
Her overall image seems to have been fairly constant, but there are signs of experimentation to see how chiseled her facial features should be.

Among the main characters, Katejina falls under the category of those whose design changed a lot. The rough design at the upper left was for when she becomes a Zanscare Empire pilot. At lower right she is drawn with her body wrapped in a similar leotard-like costume, but in the end she basically wore her Zanscare uniform all the time, so these were never used.
Odelo was the only case where a photograph was provided for costume reference. "It was a picture of three or four boys sitting in a desolate part of a Middle Eastern-looking town, staring at the camera." (From here on, all quotations in the text are from Ousaka.) As Üso became a "good boy," Odelo tended to look more and more like a delinquent.
A rough design with striking sharp eyes. This was probably revised because his image was too intimidating for someone who looked after Odelo and the other orphans, and appeared right at the start of the series as a symbol of the League Militaire. It seems that Ousaka loves drawing elderly characters.

Ousaka says that in designing Cronicle, he agonized over how to handle the mask. "I was simply told to draw him wearing a mask, but I had to ponder what it should be like. I was told he looked like he was wearing panties on his head. Well, I said, what's wrong with panties...?" (laughs)
"I was told to give Fuala the image of Catwoman from Batman Returns, which had just opened in theaters. (5) In terms of image, that did the trick, but it took a long time to get to the final draft."
Myra had a motherly image, while Hangerg seemed more like a quiet middle-aged man than in the final draft. Perhaps they disliked this because he was too mild.

"As with Odelo, I recall that Director Tomino gave more orders about his costume than the design of his face. But looking at these, I sure drew a lot of different face patterns, didn't I?" (laughs) In short, he was supposed to be a shy young man, but there were various types such as the pretty-boy to the right with fine lines, and the type who grumbles without speaking up clearly, so it seems he tried them all.
Maria's image was hard to grasp. The illustration on the left was an early idea for a portrait, which wasn't used because she looked too depressed. The costume above was reminiscent of a traditional Japanese shrine maiden, but it was never cleaned up because there were no plans for it to appear in the story.
An early draft of Jinn Jahannam, with a much more vulgar image than the final version. Ousaka preferred this one, but it wasn't used because the rest of the staff thought it might be too exaggerated.
There are several rough sketches of Pippiniden, but this was revised because he looked too old given the setting that he was Cronicle's senior at military academy as well as his friend.
An early draft of Lupe Cineau, depicted as a tough beauty with a bob haircut. This unfortunately wasn't used because the background setting created for her was that of a hot-blooded Spanish woman. Ousaka liked this version, and considered reusing it for another character, but there was never an opportunity and so this didn't come to pass.

Translator's Notes

(1) See previous note about the "World Masterpiece Theater" series.

(2) Both Gundam 0083 and V Gundam were produced by Sunrise's Studio 3.

(3) Apparently the Japanese term 良家のお坊ちゃん (ryōke no obocchan) can also be interpreted as "preppy," that is, a prep-school student.

(4) One of these was the 1987 adult anime Cream Lemon Special: Dark, on which he used the alias "Taro Ousaka."

(5) Batman Returns was released in Japan early in July of 1992.