Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Saturday, August 21, 2004

12:45:36 pm , 357 words, 4113 views     Categories: Animation

Turn A Gundam #1

It was interesting to watch this episode while referring to Tomino's storyboard. I almost got the feeling like I understood better what Tomino was trying to do while looking at the storyboard, unhindered by distractions such as the animation in the finished product. That's not as strange as it may sound. Tomino is a famed storyboarder in Japan, probably holding the all-time record for number of episodes storyboarded. At the time this series started airing the count was 586 episodes storyboarded (992 if you count all episodes in all series on which he was the chief director).

After a long period of inactivity and depression, Tomino apparently got a second wind around five or six years back, deciding to get back into productivity full-time. First he took a warm-up dive with Brain Powered, then he went all-out with Turn A, and he finally hit his stride with the recent Gainer. It was good to see that he hadn't lost his touch after all that time. I can't say there's anything new there, either, but it's just as good as his old stuff, if you like that, and you've got to respect his ability to churn it out like that. It was a Tomino episode through and through, with the nonstop flow and camera-style shot framing that has always distinguished his work. If no mecha appear in the episode (aside from the opening sequence), it should be taken as a demonstration of his long-standing averment that you could take the robot out his work and it wouldn't make any difference: to him the essence of the work has always been the human drama. This episode shows the extent to which his time working with Takahata must have influenced his approach. It feels more like World Masterpieces Theater than robot anime. He used to chafe against the label of Yoshiyuki "robot anime" Tomino, but he seems to have come to accept it as his fate, and continues to stride on ahead with his own very particular brand of filmmaking within the confines of the genre. Honestly, by now, I wonder if he could do anything else even if he wanted to.



Amamiya [Visitor]

Hey! I was about to call 世界名作ガンダム劇場 (World Masterpiece Gundam Theater) in my Blog, too. If you have watched Xabungur (戦闘メカ サブングル: I am not sure its spelling), you will understand Turn-A is sort-of a revival of this work. In fact, both works focus on the relationship between two humankinds who survived after “dark-history"; you will see the one who secured the shelter “outside the earth” and another who stayed in the earth afterwards).

I always feel impressed with Tomino’s arts, interleaving a robot-anime with his view to the history.

08/21/04 @ 20:54
Ben [Visitor]

Yeah, but isn’t that what ALL of Tomino’s anime is about? At least for once this one isn’t a boy-forced-to-pilot-robot-unwillingly story. This time he appears willing.

But we love him anyway.

08/22/04 @ 09:38
Amamiya [Visitor]

I forgot to mention that Kinggainer has the same flavor as Turn-A with respect to character design. This will be released in the next year in North America.

P.S. Interesting commnets about Tomino (in Japanese) is available at

08/22/04 @ 12:35
Ben [Visitor]

I quite liked the first ep of King Gainer. It was more promising and much better animated than the first ep of Turn A. The comic mood reminded me a bit of Xabungle.

Thanks for the link. He seems to echo our words about the World Masterpiece Gundam Theater. I liked Yasuhiko Yoshikazu’s comments about Tomino being a cult leader. If you want to read more crazy crazy Tomino comments you should read 冨野由悠季全仕事. It’s full of them. Also Yasuhiko is really harsh on him in the interview in that book. It’s great. He sounds so bitter.

08/22/04 @ 16:37
Amamiya [Visitor]

You have very interesting book collections! In fact, Yasuhiko’s criticism to Tomino simultaneously highlights his story making influenced by Tomino (see Yasuhiko’s manga works and his masterpiece “Giant Gorg.")

BTW, did you see other articles in the link above? The comments on other creators are interesting, too.

08/24/04 @ 21:06