Ultimate Mark

Production Reference:
V Gundam in Newtype
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Translator's Note: The following interview with chief director Yoshiyuki Tomino appeared in Kadokawa's Monthly Newtype anime magazine during the broadcast of V Gundam. As is often the case, Tomino's interview transcripts have been edited for publication into single essays in his own voice.

From Monthly Newtype, April 1993

Discard realism, and return to the starting point of TV anime!
The birth of a completely new, more manga-like Gundam

This time, in starting a new Gundam, I began my preparations with a readiness to put an end to what I'd been doing at least up until F91. But even if one individual says they're discarding the past, it was actually still the same old Gundam after all. Honestly, up until recently, the entire studio was in a continual process of trial and error. But that changed drastically two weeks ago. As the production progressed, I could finally see the world and concepts of V Gundam, which previously hadn't been clear. So my thinking is quite different from our last interview a little while ago.

Anyway, first of all, I'd like to return to the starting point of TV anime and make it an enjoyable robot show. For example, the protagonist is thirteen years old because that overlaps with the age group I'd most like to watch it. For the same reason, the story is designed to be told mainly through the eyes of the protagonist Üso. And I deliberately had the narrative begin on Earth in order to erase the image that Gundam equals space.

The same could be said of the way the Gundam itself is handled. To put it simply, the V Gundam often gets broken. That's because today's children, influenced by video games, don't expect the protagonist to be absolutely strong. Instead, they think about how to fight in the situation they've been placed in. Thinking about it on that basis, we came up with a Victory-type Gundam that can swap out damaged parts. And at least three of them will be showing up.

Actually, giving it the embarrassing title of "V (Victory) Gundam" was related to this as well.

If it has the Gundam name, one way or another there will always be fans who demand that "the essence of Gundam" is realism. It's thanks to the tastes of those people that there's a history and chronology (of the Gundam world). And that's why, in a nutshell, I wanted to bid farewell to fans like that and disavow that "essence." So as a creator, I'm completely ignoring the chronological setting. Right now, I'd rather appeal to new fans. I think that's the value of doing anime in the medium of television.

In that sense, I'm aiming for something more manga-like than previous giant robot shows. What happens after the second cours isn't yet decided, but the plan is to make it messier, with a completely different look from previous Gundams. Even if the possibility isn't visible, we'll do that in the third cours. I'd like to attempt a new kind of TV anime, and I'm even prepared to accept that the versions up until F91 were basically failures.

I'm hoping that V Gundam alone will expand the market from SD to a little above it. If we can make V Gundam a manga-like Gundam with a completely different flavor, then it may be bold to say this, but we might be able to make another Gundam that follows F91 and perhaps even do a double feature next year. Of course there's a successor story to F91, and I'm looking for an opportunity to make it.

The first cours has already entered production, so in some respects it's still looking back a little at the older Gundams, but nonetheless I think you'll see a different atmosphere. V Gundam may be a Gundam in name, but we're making a very primitive kind of robot anime that hasn't been seen in recent years. It also has all the elements that are necessary for the sake of commercialism, and I believe it will be an enjoyable work from that point of view as well. That said, the story is complex and strangely constructed...

(February 8, at Sunrise Studio 3)