Ultimate Mark

Production Reference:
Newtype 100% Collection: Victory Gundam
> Back to Gundam Unofficial


Translator's Note: Two volumes of Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype 100% Collection series were published to accompany Mobile Suit V Gundam. Volume 1, "Üso's Battle," was released in February 1994, and Volume 2, "Shahkti's Prayer," in June 1994. Both volumes included creator and staff interviews, and the second provided a rare peek at the early designs for many characters and mobile suits. I've translated these features below.

From Victory Gundam Vol.1, "Üso's Battle"

—Was the Gundam this time supposed to have a Core Block from the planning stage?

Since it's the first TV series in a long time, many of the staff doing the planning wanted something that would be an homage to the original Gundam. So the idea that we should have a three-part separating Gundam, equipped with a core fighter that was standard but with a new style, was virtually a given.

—Was it difficult to draw something that met the requirement of a "Gundam" silhouette?

I thought I could draw an interesting design while also using that silhouette, so there were no particular problems in that respect. Personally, I wanted to draw something a little more adventurous, but since the request was for something standard, I think it ended up being a pretty solid design.

—What about the V-Dash?

Because the machine uses a Core Block system, depending on how you look at it, it might be better to enhance it by exchanging the Top and Bottom Limbs for new ones. But if you went with that plan, it might end being hard to tell whether it's a V1.5 or a V-Dash. So in the end we thought it was better to use an expansion system that would still make it completely recognizable.

—And about the V2...?

The V1 was trying for a standard kind of appeal, but with the V2 we built on that, and I'm confident we've been able to establish lines unique to the Victory type.

—And a word for the fans?

On a TV series, the opinions of the viewers don't really reach the studio. So if you could write to Sunrise and the editorial departments and so forth, I think we can make things that better reflect everyone's views. In any case, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Born in 1963 in Saitama Prefecture. He studied mechanical engineering in college, but from then on, his growing interest in his hobbies led him onto the designer's path. He debuted with Gundam 0083, then worked on Patlabor 2 The Movie and this series.

From Victory Gundam Vol.1, "Üso's Battle"

—It seems the design of the Zolo was very influential when the worldview for V Gundam was being established.

The idea of transforming into a helicopter was actually one I'd proposed for use in the new Gundam. But then everyone else thought it would be more interesting to use that for an enemy mobile suit, so I hastily revised the design accordingly. I came up with this gimmick for the sake of a fun toy, but since this was the first mobile suit used by the enemy, I also drew it with the sense that it would become the basis for all the mecha that appeared afterwards.

—Looking at the other mobile suits on the BESPA side, were they all drawn with the sense that they were part of the Zolo series?

I could have drawn things using different lines, but since Mr. Ishigaki and Mr. Katoki were also involved this time, I thought I'd retain that image as I continued drawing.

—What about the Gun EZ and Gun Blaster?

In the early stages of production, Mr. Katoki was having trouble finishing up the V Gundam. The example I gave him of how it could be drawn appeared onscreen as the Gun EZ, basically unchanged. So the details of that mecha represent his design from my point of view.

—It feels like you really gave your all to designing the Einerad and the Motorad Fleet.

I think we have to remember that, in the end, this is a robot anime. And if you design accordingly, I think it's more entertaining for the viewer, too. That tire concept was proposed by the production side during Dragonar, but I don't think we can draw interesting designs unless we consider using these kinds of ideas—which, in a bad light, can be a hindrance—as well.

Born in 1947, in Tokyo Metropolis. After joining Tatsunoko Production and doing designs for works like Gatchaman and Polymar, he eventually became a freelancer. His many major works include Gundam, Votoms, and Iron Leaguer.

From Victory Gundam Vol.1, "Üso's Battle"

—You're drawing a lot of mobile suits and other mecha, but it seems like the Shokew is one of the most significant.

I drew one machine after another before the planning of the program began, but this was the very first one I drew in earnest based on a specific order. The setting that this would be the first mobile suit used by the protagonist wasn't yet complete at that point, but it was clear that it would appear from the first episode and be important to the series, so I went back and forth with Director Tomino many times as I was refining it. That's why, although it took a lot of time, I have a pretty strong attachment to the Shokew.

—What kind of orders did the director initially give you?

I think all he said was that he wanted compound eyes. Anyway, I recall it started with me drawing roughs. But the director told me to try changing up Mr. Okawara's design lines, so I thought I'd do something totally different. The results can be seen in the area around the waist and from the ankle to the top of the foot, whose structure is unlike previous mobile suits.

—And when you completed it, you moved on to designing other mecha, right?

That's not the case. I'd received orders for one other mobile suit and one mobile armor at the same time as the Shokew. The mobile armor I drew at that point, which was meant to have the image of a flying tank, later appeared onscreen as the Recarl. But the mobile suit remained a phantom, and it looks like the series is going to end without it ever showing up. That's a little disappointing, since I personally really liked it...

—Of the mobile suits you drew after that, which are your favorites?

There are a few, like the Contio and the Sandhoge. But since I put so much passion into the Shokew, when it came to the Godzorla I did right afterwards, I couldn't give it the kind of characteristics I wanted. I remember that gave me trouble.

Born in 1967 in Shizuoka Prefecture. While he was studying industrial design, he started spending a lot of time at Sunrise, and debuted with guest mecha in Exkizer. He joined the staff of V Gundam after working on F91, etc.

From Victory Gundam Vol.1, "Üso's Battle"

—Like the previous series, the current V Gundam is a work in which a lot of characters appear...

That's right. (laughs) I'm trying to do my research by looking at photos from various places, but I'm having a pretty hard time. In particular, this is my first time doing original character design, including for OVAs. So even before the series started, I was worried about whether I'd be able to keep up with drawing the characters for a year-long work.

—What kind of instructions did the director give you in the planning stage?

First and foremost, he wanted the characters to be simple. This is difficult to express, but most of the characters who appeared in previous Gundam series had the kind of realistic design that, if anything, you often see in recent anime. This time, both to change the atmosphere of the work and to reduce the working time, he wanted me to try to simplify the characters.

—And what about Üso and Shahkti?

Since they're the hero and heroine, it naturally took a long time until their designs received the final OK, and they also changed a lot along the way. At first I was drawing them in my usual style, putting in lots of lines and using them to emphasize everything down to the clothing folds. But when I was given the aforementioned instruction to make them simpler, I eliminated the extra details and ended up with the designs you see today.

—Did you also have a plan for their color setting at that point?

No, I actually had no idea at all. When they showed me Shahkti's colors in a meeting, I was surprised in a positive way. The same goes for Marbet, and the worldview was dramatically expanded thanks to their color setting.

Born in 1963 in Osaka Prefecture. He was interested in anime production ever since junior high school, and debuted as an animator on Votoms. He became even more aware of anime's depth with Black Magic M-66, and then went on to work on Gundam 0083, etc.

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

The V2 was born as a result of refining the problem areas of the V

Since the V Gundam is the protagonist's mecha, its design required not only a good visual appearance, but also a strong sense of satisfaction when it was turned into a toy. In these pages, we've published rough designs that show Mr. Katoki's efforts to smoothly combine both these elements.

—You mainly designed the protagonist's mobile suits, the V and V2, and their enhancement parts. What points did you pay particular attention to in drawing them?

Speaking mainly of the toy aspects, the V2 was born as a result of refining the V. For example, the ankle parts of the V bulged out too much and ruined the overall balance of the machine, because I had to provide enough clearance for the plastic model to stand upright. So the V2 is designed to provide that clearance even without the same kind of shape.

—In that case, you must have had some very detailed discussions with Bandai.

The people responsible were really enthusiastic, so we exchanged ideas quite frequently. I drew parts assuming that they'd end up being omitted, and they included almost all of them. I'd explain how things were constructed, and they'd make them accordingly.

—So the designs were realized three-dimensionally to such an extent...

Of course, there were cost restrictions. But thanks to the use of things like poly-caps, modern Gundam models are unbelievably advanced. For example, even the joints have now improved to the point where they can take almost human-like poses, and their movement is only restricted by the armor plates established in the design.

—That must be difficult.

With this work, however, I learned a lot about these kinds of issues, so I think it was a good experience. I'd like to keep drawing designs that take advantage of this in the future, so I'm very grateful to everyone.


☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Dash parts for the V2
A rough design for a form equipped with the Buster option, originally named the V2-Dash. You can also see a diagram of a stand-alone option that wasn't drawn in the anime setting. Cross-section views were added to the long-range shoulder cannon on the far right, because the Bandai person responsible for turning it into a toy asked for an explanation of its structure.


Invented as psycommu-like weapons
During planning, the Assault option was imagined as psycommu-like equipment. It seems there was an idea that the VSBRs on the hips could be used as wired attack weapons. The missile pods on the arms had to be omitted from the plastic model for cost reasons, and they never appeared onscreen, either.

☆ Click the image thumbnails below to see them at full size! ☆


The V, loaded with ideas for every part
Pictured above is an optional weapon invented to accompany the appearance of the Hexa. This later appeared in plastic model form, released as part of a set of extra weapons. On the left is an internal structure for the shield unit, but this plan would have prevented simultaneous use of the shields and sabers, so it wasn't used in the story itself.


The Gundam's main weapon, released as a large-size toy
The V's beam rifle was released as a 1/10 scale toy, and the middle and lower drawings are setting for this toy. The drawing at top is a rough design for the V2's version, which has a more angular design. Originally the idea was that the V Gundam would be gradually enhanced by adding items. This is reflected in the phrase "RPG-like expansion" written next to it.

☆ Click the image thumbnails below to see them at full size! ☆


Parts for the V imagined from the beginning
An exploded diagram of the internal parts, drawn during the creation of the V-Dash Core Booster model. Since Mr. Katoki himself had been thinking about the appearance of the V-Dash from the beginning, he'd probably imagined the structure of these parts long beforehand. With the fine detail of the illustration and the notes alongside it, this setting shows how much care he always took during the creation of the toys.


A novel-original V Gundam variation
This mobile suit is a successor to the V, which appears in the Mobile Suit V Gundam novels independently composed by Director Tomino. It is equipped with a mega beam shield (called a Minovsky shield in the novels) and a Minovsky drive, but isn't as complete as the V2 in the anime. This machine has a strong image of an intermediate step between the V and V2. Large hardpoints for optional weapons are installed on its shoulders, and the weapons mounted here can be used even in Top Fighter form.

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

You get "a good program" when the broadcast time slot, content, and target are aligned

—This was the first time TV Asahi served as the station-side producer of a TV work with the Gundam name, wasn't it?

Right. But they'd already completed three episodes' worth of rush film when I came in as producer, and the development of the story was more or less decided. Saying this may sound like I'm making excuses, but in that kind of situation, the meddling of a station producer would only create confusion in the studio. So, with few exceptions, I didn't really participate in the story decisions. Actually, where our station is concerned, it's usually customary for us to be deeply involved from the start of production. So this was a pretty irregular situation.

—What did you think of the show as broadcast?

I thought it was very well made. Since Director Tomino himself was the original author, the story was also skillfully constructed. But "a good work" doesn't necessarily equal "a good program." It's only when the broadcast time slot and the content align with the target that it becomes "a good program." We station producers are the ones who manage that, but with this work the production had already progressed pretty far, so it was too late for me to say anything. I think we had a problem there from the outset.

—With robot anime, the merchandising of things like toys is also an important factor, right?

Of course. Fundamentally, the station producer should be involved as well, but in practice that's something discussed between the production company and the sponsors... Personally, I think the merchandise should be launched after a good program has been favorably received. But it's a chicken-and-egg relationship, where it's hard to say which should come first. So although I think I could have intervened this time if the sponsors were pushing too hard, ultimately that never happened, since Sunrise can't rely on the station. (laughs)

Born in 1936, in Tokyo Metropolis. After joining TV Asahi, he became a producer of children's programs, responsible for many anime and tokusatsu shows. The works he's previously handled include Doraemon and Captain Harlock.

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

I'm trying to create designs that will interest kids when they see them

Mr. Ishigaki supported the mecha design of V Gundam by drawing a total of more than 25 mobile suits and mobile armors, mainly on the Zanscare side, as well as countless other vessels and props. The mechanics he drew went through many stages on the way to the final draft. Here, we'll attempt to follow these transitions.

—You drew quite a lot of designs, didn't you?

I joined when the program was starting, about two years ago. If you include what I worked on back then, when they told me to just try drawing anything, then even I have no idea how much drawing I've done. There were also quite a few that never appeared in the program and ended up becoming phantom designs.

—Were there any general points you were concerned about when you were drawing mobile suit and mobile armor designs?

I'm something of a rookie, so I tend to be defiant and I don't care what other people say. Thus, while there were some detailed aspects I had to be careful with while drawing, in general they let me work more or less as I pleased. But if I had to say, I'm trying to draw designs that will interest little kids when they see them, rather than worrying about what's happening in a mechanical sense.

—What kinds of detailed aspects do you mean?

For example, at the beginning the director said, "The image style is close to Mr. Okawara's, isn't it?" So I intentionally tried to change it. Although they deliberately divided up the mecha design among three people, if we'd all drawn things with the same atmosphere, it would have made it less appealing.

—What kinds of mobile suits were there among the designs that didn't appear?

There was one that worked like a ninja, and an underground mobile suit equipped with drills. There were also machines with Fujin and Raijin motifs, whose image partially survived in things like the Gengaozo. (1) I'm really fond of some of these, so if there's an opportunity, I'd like them to appear onscreen at some point.

Translator's Notes

(1) Fujin and Raijin are deities from Japanese mythology who represent wind and thunder, respectively.


☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Aiming for a Zaku-like mobile armor
The Recarl was based on an order with the image of a "flying tank." He initially drew one design where the gun barrel was stored inside the hull, and another with a wasp or "Vespa" motif. Looking back on it now, Mr. Ishigaki says he thinks he made it a little too complex.


An agonizing design
The drawing at top right shows a mobile suit with ninja-like functions, which became a phantom design. Only its head design was used in the Godzorla. After this came a process of trial and error focused on the torso area. Since he worked on this right after struggling with the Shokew, it inevitably ended up looking similar, so it was fairly agonizing to design.


The Shokew became the origin point
Because it had been decided this was the first mobile suit Üso would pilot, it was the one for which the most rough designs were drawn. A number of other rough drafts survive besides those reproduced here. The traces of this effort can be seen in the various ideas tried for the hips, chest, and shoulders. But the effort he devoted to it made it his favorite among the mobile suits he drew.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


A mecha drawn with playfulness
With its setting background of a worker machine created by Zubroch, the Sandhoge gave him a great deal of freedom with the design, so he says he had a lot of fun drawing it. Even from the rough drawings, you can see that interesting experiments are incorporated throughout the machine, and it's clearly distinct from other mobile suits and mobile armors.


Originally a mobile suit for Fuala
A design drawn as a mobile suit used by Fuala while she was commander of the Ra-Gaine base. For this reason, it has a vaguely feminine aura. Unfortunately, due to the development of the story, she was never able to pilot anything other than the Recarl during her time on Earth. So instead, this was operated by Kwan Lee.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


The early draft had four arms
In the initial plan this was imagined as a four-armed mobile suit, and the launching of the claws wasn't under consideration. This came from the idea of seizing enemies with the extra arms, then destroying their immobilized parts with the chest beam cannons. As it became a machine that used psycommu-like tactics, the chest beam cannons remained, but the idea itself disappeared.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Wings of light were also considered...
Like the Recarl, this was drawn with beam wings. But Mr. Katoki was also considering that idea at the same time, so after some discussion, it was decided that these would be used in the protagonist's mobile suit as part of the V2's Minovsky drive.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


The Javelin, born from advice
The Federation Forces' main space combat mobile suit was originally equipped with overhang cannons. The javelin unit was born from the director's advice, to solve the vexing problem of the silhouette having become too ordinary.


A barely changed Federation Forces mobile suit
The image of the Jamesgun was already fixed, so it wasn't changed very much. After all, the impression of Federation mobile suits was well established, and since there were few places it could be seen, it would have been hard to feature something whose design was completely different from previous ones. It seems that a heavy combat type Federation Forces mobile suit was also under consideration.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Two machines born from a single rough
A design reminiscent of the Gogg, which formerly appeared as an amphibious mobile suit of the Zeon forces. Both the Abigor and the Galguyu were born from this single rough. After this, there was also a point where the Abigor was imagined as a separating mecha like the Zolo.


A mobile armor thought to have been shelved
At the time of the early draft at top right, the Birknau was being considered as Cronicle's mobile armor "Shy-Tarn." At one point it appeared to have been shelved, but ultimately it was turned upside down to make it easier to draw, and appeared onscreen as Pippiniden's own mecha.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


The phantom design on which the Zanneck was based
The phantom Raijin mobile suit Zancock, which was meant to appear alongside the Gokuack, a mobile suit with a Fujin motif. It had an overall height 2~3 times that of the V2, and was supposed to be piloted by Fuala, returned from her sentence of space exile to torment Üso. It was ultimately never used because of the decision to feature the Zanneck.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Based on the image of a crescent moon
The Zanneck was drawn to incorporate the idea of the miniature Big Cannon carried by the Zancock. As per the drawing on the right, in the original image the feet were also shaped like crescent moons. But the director said it wasn't necessary to go that far, so they were changed to relatively normal ones.


A transformation into an Einerad was considered
In the rough design, the Dodgore was depicted as an Einerad mecha. Because legs were attached to the tail section in the final draft, the Einerad functions were eliminated, but the tail parts do form a ring shape in episode 33.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Designed as Katejina's final machine
Another type was being prepared as the machine piloted by Katejina in the final battle, but ultimately it became a phantom design, and this Gottrlatan was used instead. Although Mr. Ishigaki isn't too fond of large backpacks, it seems he likes this machine because the cannon pack is removable.


Its image was a successor to the Gedlav
The Jabaco, originally called the Goolugu, was made with the image of a powered-up version of the Gedlav. That's why it appeared together with the Twinrad. The distinctive floating armor plates on its shoulders are vestiges of the original idea of giving it boomerang-shaped weapons.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


The final mobile suit that rivaled the V2
A rough draft of the Rig-Contio, the final mobile suit. As well as the previous idea of boomerang-shaped weapons, which there had never been an opportunity to use, you can also see a Zanzcare version of the Minovsky drive created to rival the V2.


From the image of Fujin...
A redrawn version of the Fujin mobile suit Gokuack, which was mentioned in the Zancock section. But according to Mr. Ishigaki, when he turned the back engine unit into an unmanned attack machine, it ended up having more of a Raijin image.

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

Now I could create works while making full use of the fun of animation

—You storyboarded more than a third of the series, didn't you?

Personally, I wanted to work as a series and episode director in many different genres. But when I was directing a work called Ai no Kusabi, I thought I'd get burned out if I kept going like that, and I wondered if I could get somebody to retrain me.

Then, at the perfect moment, they asked me if I'd like to work on V Gundam. I asked who the series director was, and they said it was Director Tomino, so it was lucky they let me participate. When it comes to Director Tomino, in addition to his track record, he also knows a lot about the state of the industry, so nothing could have made me happier than being able to study under him. I thought I'd stick with it until the director got sick of me, and before I knew it, I'd been responsible for 18 episodes.

—You must have gotten a lot out of that.

I don't feel I really changed that much, but I did gain a lot. In particular, I think he taught me some very important things about how to think about film. Since I also loved movies, I'd always wanted to draw animated representations of my own films, but Director Tomino was thinking very deeply about methodologies for using animation to create something more cinematic. Simply learning about that was really significant.

—And was that reflected in the work?

For some time, I'd been wondering whether it might be better if I were doing this in live action. But thanks to what I learned, I now feel I'm able to create film and video while making proper use of the fun of animation. So when I was drawing the storyboards, I really enjoyed it when the kids were getting up to mischief.

Born in 1961, in Miyazaki Prefecture. After enrolling in Osaka University of Arts, he entered the anime world through the TV version of Macross, and debuted as an episode director on the first episode of Orguss. He has gone on to work on titles such as Urban Square and A.D. Police.

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

Drawing so many multinational faces was truly difficult

Many characters appear in V Gundam. This was Mr. Osaka's first time as character designer, and he wryly says "at first I was mostly just fumbling around," but he completed them all splendidly. Here we present his rough designs for the characters.

—The mobile suits are designed so that you can distinguish friend and foe at a glance, but were there any orders like that for the characters?

At the very beginning, there was nothing special about the orders I received. But when I submitted a first draft of Count Nyung with the image of a pretty scary character, I received instructions from the director that many such characters would be appearing in the future, so I should make him seem more gentle. So after that, I went by the rough theory that the Zanscare characters should be drawn with a scary image. But since there are no absolute villains in this work, all of them still have some degree of normality. In that sense, I didn't distinguish them thoroughly in my drawings.

—This time, there were characters of various ethnicities...

I did my absolute best to draw multinational faces that weren't just limited to Japanese people. But to be honest, personally I'm still not sure how well I succeeded. This was the aspect that challenged me most as a designer, so I paid a lot of attention to it while drawing, but...

—What was the hardest part?

Rather than the characters, I had trouble with the BESPA uniforms. It might have gone faster if I were interested in that sort of thing, but it's something I didn't know much about. What's more, the director also requested a design that could be cosplayed... (laughs)

—How do you feel now that the broadcast is safely over?

I'm relieved that I somehow made it through a whole year. (laughs) Anyway, I'm truly grateful to all the fans for watching it for that year.


☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


A "brave veteran warrior" with an overly villainous face
This younger and slyer-looking version of Godwald Hein was changed because it didn't suit his character background as a brave veteran warrior. It's also said that he was actually modeled on a member of the production staff.


Fuala had fluffy hair from the beginning
The first draft of Fuala, who Mr. Ousaka says was his favorite character on the screen. It seems he drew her when he was struggling with the uniform design. The final draft was completed after he received instructions that she should look more like Catwoman in Batman Returns.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Lupe Cineau was a beauty with a bob haircut
A first draft of Lupe Cineau with a bob haircut. She was completely redrawn after this, because the setting created for her was that of a hot-blooded Spanish woman. The idea of reusing the design for somebody else was considered, but unfortunately this was abandoned because the opportunity never arose.


The final draft gave him more presence
Duker Iq didn't change too dramatically. However, since he didn't have quite enough presence for his role as a commander, a mustache was added in the final draft and the design used had a slightly older image.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Struggling to grasp the image...
A version of Maria with a large hair ornament and a more mystical appearance. Mr. Ousaka says he had a hard time grasping her image. The three drawings on the right show a costume similar to that of a Japanese shrine maiden, but its appearance in the story was shelved, so it was never cleaned up.


An early draft used for Tassilo
The base design for Gettle Dupré, deputy commander of the Ra-Gaine base. It was changed when the director said that he shouldn't be so handsome, but more of an unappealing guy, and this design became the prototype for Tassilo Wago.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


Several drafts were drawn of Cronicle's senior
Pippiniden went through a variety of changes. The drawing on the left was an early one, but there was yet another draft before that, which became the base for Metchet Rubence. The one on the right wasn't used because it looked too old in relation to Cronicle.


An early draft with a more vulgar image
This version of the fake Jinn Jahannam had a more "boorish" image than the final design that appeared on TV. Some people said this was overdoing it, so it ended up being revised, but Mr. Ousaka says he personally preferred this version.

☆ Click the image thumbnail below to see it at full size! ☆


The Reinforce's phantom female medic
A medic who was supposed to appear in episode 18, treating Jinn Jahannam when he's screaming about being injured. In the completed film, this role was filled by a different Gaunland crewmember, so she became a phantom character. That's a little disappointing because she's so cute...


Too cool for the dregs of the Federation
The early draft of Robert was rejected because he looked too cool for a soldier of the corrupt Federation Forces. With some modifications, this was later used for Mandella Soone of PCST.


His face was sculpted to make him European
It's said that Mr. Ousaka drew the rough design for Karlmann using his own two children as reference. After it was pointed out that his face looked Asian, the final draft was drawn with a more sculpted face to make him look ethnically European.

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

With the support of the fans, please have V Gundam turned into a movie!?

—As someone responsible for the actual animation, what did you think of Üso and the other featured characters?

In order to reduce the animation burden, Mr. Ousaka designed the characters to be easy to draw, so I think that saved us a lot of working time and effort. But given the policy of omitting shading as much as possible, we were careful to avoid drawing layouts where the characters were shown directly from the front or side, so that the drawings wouldn't end up looking featureless.

—Wasn't it hard to show facial expressions without shading?

There are lots of people who use shading in their drawings, so that may well be the case. Personally, I never had a knack for adding shadows to my line drawings, so I didn't feel it was all that tough. But in that kind of situation, everything depends on the skill of the artist. For example, even if it's just a sitting pose, how can you differentiate it in the drawing? In that respect, I have some regrets that I couldn't fully achieve that as an animation director.

—It must have been a race against time.

I had to let it go even if I was somewhat dissatisfied. But it may have been a little malicious of Director Tomino to make the characters so simple. (laughs) We were also forbidden to animate on twos. (1) I guess animating without relying on these things is the most basic of basics, but...

—Now the work is done, what are your hopes for the future?

I'm very grateful to those who've supported us thus far. So I'd like those people to please send letters asking that it be turned into a movie. In that case, I can make a living off this work for another year... I'm only joking. (laughs) But I'd be delighted if we could make a movie like that, so I appreciate your cooperation. (laughs)

Born in 1962, in Kagoshima Prefecture. After changing careers from salaryman to animator, he became an animation director with episode 31 of Z Gundam, then worked on Gundam 0083 before participating in this work.

Translator's Notes

(1) Full animation is done at a rate of 24 frames per second. This is often reduced to 12 frames per second, so that each frame is shown for twice as long, which is known as "animating on twos." On V Gundam, this was reduced still further to 8 frames per second, or "animating on threes."

From Victory Gundam Vol.2, "Shahkti's Prayer"

The story can be fully understood by watching only Üso and Shahkti

—You're credited among the staff of V Gundam as script manager. First, please tell us how you feel after a year of work.

Since this work wasn't a continuation of the previous Gundam series, and its content was independent in story terms, I was able to work on it with a fairly relaxed attitude. So even though I was one of the creators, I started to find the film we were making really interesting. My honest feeling now is that I'm glad I was involved.

—What aspect did you find most interesting?

The way the characters were depicted. Every one of them was an everyday character who seemed like they could really exist somewhere. But simply being everyday isn't enough for an entertainment work. As represented by Üso, while they did the things that had to be shown, they didn't play their parts as insistently as a stereotypical character. That's not to say they were consigned to mediocrity, and it was necessary to find a good balance in between. Of course, sometimes we overdid it, but I think ultimately were were able to get it to a point that was pretty satisfying.

—How did the drama differ from previous works?

In previous Gundams, it felt like it was hard to understand the drama without seeing it comprehensively from multiple viewpoints. But this work was designed so that the basic flow can be seen by following Üso and Shahkti. I can't deny that it was a little unhelpful when questions we deliberately posed weren't answered until weeks afterwards. We really should have planted the answers in advance without anyone noticing, and then when the question arose we'd say, oh, that's what it was...

Born in 1960, in Yamagata Prefecture. He joined Sunrise after working for a toymaker. He went on to handle tasks such as setting management, scripts, and planning, but at first he also drew mecha designs himself. He has participated in many works such as Samurai Troopers.