Ultimate Mark

Production Reference:
Gundam Age
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Translator's Note: Published by Yosensha in April 1999, on the twentieth anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam's debut, Gundam Age—A Gundam Reader for the Gunpla Generation is a collection of essays on the show's mobile suits, merchandising, and spinoffs. It also includes a couple of interesting behind-the-scenes accounts of First Gundam's development from former members of the Sunrise planning office.

gundamf91_officialedition

The first of these is based on an interview with Masao Iizuka. Then in charge of the planning office desk, Iizuka was responsible for managing all the setting materials created during the show's development. An additional feature is based on an interview with Eiji Yamaura, then the manager of the planning division. Together, Iizuka and Yamaura guided the project from its very beginning, and thus provide a unique perspective on the creation of Mobile Suit Gundam.

The following text is copyright © Sotsu • Sunrise.

HOW GUNDAM WAS BORN
THE SECRETS OF MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM'S BIRTH

Sunrise Planning Office Desk (at the time)
Masao Iizuka Interview

Interviewer & Composition: Kunpei Ando

We started work on the planning of Gundam right around the time the broadcast of Daitarn 3 began. (1) Of course, the name "Gundam" hadn't yet been decided. At the time, we were doing both completely original works such as Zambot 3 and Daitarn 3, and also animation production as a contractor for other companies.

Nippon Sunrise was originally a company formed by gathering mid-level staff from Mushi Production. First, they obtained funding from Tohokushinsha and created Soeisha. This was a contractor that sold planning and production services, and it was the Sunrise Studio in Kamiigusa that actually produced the animation. (2)

The first thing Soeisha made was an original work called Hazedon. (3) Next, Tohokushinsha gave us a project that was supposed to be a Japanese version of Thunderbirds. A team led by Mr. Yamaura, who was in charge of planning, created Zero Tester. (4) This was well received, and also sold a lot of toys.

At the time, Mazinger Z and Getter Robo, created by Mr. Go Nagai, were experiencing a boom. (5) So after this, we planned a giant robot show called Brave Raideen. (1) (6) The amount of action in the series increased as it went along, and it managed to achieve commercial success. Meanwhile, Toei also asked us to work on the Combattler V series, so we were accumulating a lot of experience.

But while Tohokushinsha had made a profit from Zero Tester, as subcontractors, we weren't seeing any of that money. It was like that with the subsequent robot shows, too.

█ Rise Up, Sunrise

One way or another, we wanted to become independent. At just that time, a manufacturer called Clover was looking for its own original program. Back then, Clover was a company that was doing very well selling things like soft vinyl figures, but it was treated poorly by wholesalers because it didn't have much name recognition. So they came to us, saying they wanted an original work. With this, we effectively became independent as Nippon Sunrise. (7)

However, there was one real difficulty with this. We reached out to major and mid-level advertising agencies that handled animation, but none of them would work with us. Somehow, a company called the Tōyō Agency agreed to take on the agency work. But we were anxious because none of us had ever heard of this company. It had never actually offered a TV program, and had started out merely handling the mascot merchandising for the Korakuen Stadium's Giants team. It now changed its articles of incorporation, and its company name as well, and a new company called the Sotsu Agency was born. (8)

Thus, the three companies known as Nippon Sunrise, Clover, and the Sotsu Agency would henceforth rise up together.

At the time, there was a flood of robot shows, so we had to change the situation somehow if we were going to stand out. So the drama in Zambot 3 was carefully crafted with the middle-schooler Kappei as the protagonist, while Daitarn 3 was an adventure show influenced by 007. (9) Accordingly, their toys also sold pretty well.

The first time we visited Clover's prefab office building, the building had been constructed by these two works. As for the vital Nippon Sunrise, however, we were still renting a home. We started thinking we had to do something about that. Of course it was no good if our titles weren't known. But at the same time, we decided we also had to market the Nippon Sunrise name.

█ Yamato Shock

At that time, Space Battleship Yamato was hugely popular. (10) Even though the TV series had ratings of less than 5%, it was embraced by older viewers thanks to its long-running drama. It was followed by Mr. Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock. It was becoming accepted that anime could be watched not just by grade-schoolers, but by middle-school and high-school students as well. (11)

We were aware of it, too. Yamato became a smash hit as a movie. One night I was coming home in a taxi, and the driver asked me, "What kind of work do you do?" "I make TV anime," I replied, and he said, "Oh, are you doing Yamato? That president Nishizaki must have made a lot of money." To think that this taxi driver even knew the company name of Office Academy! I guess this had to happen, I thought. Now we're going up against big companies we'd never taken on before.

In our own way, we set out to analyze how Yamato had been received, and we realized one thing. In the case of Yamato, wasn't it a flaw that, aside from Kodai and Yuki Mori, no children or young characters appeared? Apart from those two, they were all old men and career soldiers. Wasn't that hard for children to empathize with?

Thus, we wondered what would happen if we made a world of children only. What then? In that case, maybe we should make a space version of "Two Years' Vacation." (12) This was the original proposal for Gundam.

█ Gundam was "Two Years' Vacation"!

I talked with Mr. (Eiji) Yamaura, then the manager of the planning division, about a space version of "Two Years' Vacation," and he said, "That's never going to work." But we thought it couldn't hurt to try, and so we kept talking about it with Clover and the agency. Then, one day, Mr. Yamaura suddenly said, "It's been okayed." A victory for persistence!

Now we finally had to think about our protagonist. If "Two Years' Vacation" was our model, the hero would normally be something like the leader, Briant. But we didn't want to do the obvious thing. The protagonists of previous robot shows were all modeled on Koji Kabuto from Mazinger Z. They were handsome, athletic, and popular with girls. As a reversal of this, in Zambot 3, we'd made Kappei a middle-schooler and a childish-looking type of protagonist. In "Two Years' Vacation," we had the leader Briant and his rival Doniphan. But ultimately neither Briant nor Doniphan were interesting. That's when Briant's younger brother Jacques came to mind. (13)

It's a prank by Jacques that initially causes the boys to be cast adrift, and from then on this once-lively child becomes depressed and introverted. After a while, he confesses his sin and lightens up once again, but we decided to try making this boy the protagonist. That was the template for Amuro.

This was the time when computers were first beginning to become popular. We thought we could do a lot with a child who was a product of this high technology, and decided to make the protagonist a somewhat introverted young man.

█ The Road to the Mobile Suit

In the original plan, we hadn't intended to include any kind of robots. At first, the story was centered on the space carrier Pegasus. But it seemed unlikely we could trademark the name Pegasus, so it became the White Base. At any rate, other mecha were also being created for a story starring this space carrier.

The project name at the time was Freedom Fighter. It was a story of young men and women fighting for freedom during wartime.

However, around the end of August, President Komatsu and Managing Director Adachi of Clover came to see us. In Sunrise's conference room, the president said, "Mr. Yamaura. Even if we make a toy of this wooden horse-looking thing, we won't make any money. Please put in a robot."

"Uh oh." But there was no choice, so we went ahead and added the robot. However, we didn't want it to be like previous giant robots. At this point, Mr. Haruka Takachiho of Studio Nue said to Mr. Yamaura, "In Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers,' there are 2.5-meter powered space suits. How about that?" "That's it," he replied. Since time was short, we immediately asked Mr. (Kunio) Okawara, "Please do something like that."

What he gave us, though, was a design that looked almost like a diving suit. It was a little off-target, so he revised it again.

If you're fighting in space, you'll probably begin with long-range combat. Then after that comes medium-range fighting, and finally melee combat. In that case, we'd have three different types of robot. One would be a tank type with long-range cannons, one a medium-range combat and support type with mortars, and then we decided that the last one would be our main robot. With their images now fixed, we completed prototypes for the three designs. With the sense that these were space-age weapons and soldiers, we were determined that they'd carry guns.

There was one thing we'd forgotten, though. Since we were thinking only about warfare, we hadn't realized it, but we'd forgotten about the swords. Dramatically speaking, these were a necessary element for close combat, so one way or another they had to carry them. Fortunately, Star Wars had just opened right around that time. (14) We decided to borrow the lightsabers used by Luke and the others, but since it would be bad to keep them exactly the same, we turned them into beam sabers (laughs).

Thus, we put two of these beam sabers on the robot's back, saying that one was a spare. We also discussed putting them on the waist, but in the end it was better if they were symmetrical. That would also have been hard to animate.

█ Gundam = Mazinger?

At any rate, in this way the concepts and designs had been decided, but we still didn't have a name for the all-important robots. Rather than the previous giant robots, they were space-age mobile weapons—no, more than weapons, they were warriors, so the term "mobile warrior" had already been decided. (15) Next, we all pondered what general name we should use for the robots themselves. Mr. Yamaura said, "Isn't powered suit fine?" But that was no good. It would be one thing if it was some other country, but we're dealing with America, the land of lawsuits. We'd suffer heavy losses if somebody sued us. So we we attached "mobile" to the "suit" part of "powered suit," giving us "mobile suit." (16) That was a little unwieldy, so we shortened the Japanese term a little, and thus "mobile suit" was decided.

As for the Gundam's size, since powered suits are 2.5 meters, at first we thought it should be about the same. But in the end, the robots are there to sell toys, and a height of 2.5 meters wouldn't appeal to children. That really isn't very big. As for why the Gundam is 18 meters, we were actually just going back to Mazinger Z, the ancestor of all giant robots. At that time, robots were getting steadily bigger. There was even a song saying that Combattler V had "a height of 57 meters, a weight of 550 tons," and Dangard A was more than 100 meters. They were all like that, and so we thought 18 meters was enough to make it seem realistic as a weapon. That was also roughly the maximum size we could show in a drawing while keeping it in balance with the other mecha.

Because it was originally planned as the story of a space carrier, we'd also been designing the fighters that it carried. Even though the mobile suits were the stars, they'd still need support fighters, so we kept the Core Fighter. In that case, we decided that it should transform and turn into a cockpit. Well then, we thought, if an arm or a leg were destroyed in battle, that part could be instantly replaced. Depending on the combat situation, you could combine the upper half of the Gundam with the lower half of the tank, while the upper half of the tank returned independently to the White Base. That meant they'd be interchangeable. When they were turned into toys, this would also provide added play value and please the children. In the end, the plan had turned back into a giant robot show.

However, a problem arose when we made the mobile suits 18 meters tall. The story was originally set in space, but it was supposed to take place around the Earth, or the Moon at the furthest. We didn't intend to have aliens as the enemy, either. After all, if we went to the ends of space, it would be really hard to do the background art setting. It would become weird and absurd. Thus we'd planned to use space stations as the stage for the action, but 18-meter mobile suits wouldn't fit inside. A space station would usually be a donut-shaped object, small enough that a walking human could see the other side. You couldn't just add a bump to it and turn it into a hangar.

Tearing my hair out, I looked around everywhere for something we could use. Then I came across a space-related book published by Sanseido in Kanda, and created by the editorial department of Asahi Shōgakusei Shimbun. I looked inside, and after Space Island 1 and donut-shaped stations, it introduced some cylinder-shaped thing. Thought up by Mr. O'Neill, it seemed to be three to six kilometers in diameter. Oh, an 18-meter robot could fit inside this!

I bought the book and came back, but in fact, our art director Mr. Mitsuki Nakamura already had some Western books on this area of interest. That was really a lifesaver, and we had him design a space colony right away. Now everything was finally in place, and we'd reached the point where it seemed things would work out somehow.

█ From Gunboy to Gundam

After that came the setting for the enemy side. It's a fight between fellow human beings, so in a historical sense, they're the bad guys because they have the image of the Nazis and the German Empire. (17) That's how the Zabi family were created. We bought books about military costumes and so forth, and had Mr. Yasuhiko create Zeon's imagery.

Putting a mask on Char, the enemy ace, meant we had to give the enemy's ace pilot a complicated back story. Thus he was originally the orphan child of Zeon Deikun. If we didn't include factors like that, we couldn't stretch it into a long-format drama. Speaking of masked rivals, we had Sharkin in Raideen, so we removed the "kin" to get "Char." Since there was a chanson singer named Charles Aznavour, we made his full name Char Aznable simply as a pun. There's a lot of punning and wordplay in Sunrise's naming.

As for the enemy mobile suit Zaku, at first we called it "Zako" because it's small fry. But that was overdoing it. Since they're military troops, they'd make a "zaku zaku" sound when they approached in a group, so we decided to make the name "Zaku." From then on, whenever possible we gave the enemy mobile suits two-character names such as "Gufu" and "Domu." Director Tomino's sense for naming this sort of thing was outstanding.

Finally, we had to decide the Gundam's name. Early on, the working title was Gunboy. When we had to include a robot, the plan was also revised and its title was changed. There hadn't been many previous robots that carried guns, so we wanted to emphasize that. (18) Then, since the main characters were youngsters, we called it Gunboy. A cosmetic product for men called "Mandom" and a trailer truck movie called Convoy were also popular around this time. And, ever since Mazinger Z, there had been a superstition that things wouldn't become hits unless they included an "n" syllable. That's why we used that for Zambot 3 and Daitarn 3. When we wrote Gunboy and Gunvoy in the proposal, we were just following the trends of the time. (19)

Gunboy, however, was tricky in trademark terms, so we decided to give it one more push and tinker with it a little more. Then Mr. Yamaura said, "Can't we make it a bit stronger, like Convoy or Mandom?" So we went back to the original name Freedom Fighter. There was something nice about the "dom" in "Freedom." (20)

Now we had "Gundum," but spelling it with two "u" letters in a row made it hard to read. So we changed it to "dam," adding the meaning that it was protecting the Earth. This could be used in the sense of a structure that held back floods or generated electricity. Thus Gundam was decided!

And just like that, the plan was finalized.

█ Save Gundam!

And so the broadcast finally began, but it didn't get very good ratings. Then Mr. Tomino and the others started getting calls from the agency, the network, and the sponsors. To boost the ratings, they decided that new enemy mobile suits would show up every week. At the time, Mr. (Yoshikazu) Yasuhiko was also holed up at Sunrise working, and he flew into a rage when he heard this. He said the story had changed, and this would surely destroy the worldview they'd previously built up.

"In that case," Mr. Yasuhiko said, "it would be better to end it with episode 26, and start a completely new program from episode 27!"

Maybe so. But since we'd come this far, we all racked our brains to see if we could somehow do it without destroying the previous worldview. If you think about it, during the Vietnam War the American forces started out fighting with the variable-wing F-111, but its efficiency was poor and they didn't want to use something so expensive, so they stopped using it. (21) If things like that happen in actual wars, then couldn't we do them in the Gundam world as well? Anyway, if we had new enemy mecha every week, then we could gradually weed out the ones that didn't fit the world... and so he calmed down. He still wasn't happy about it, though. (22)

Anyway, we had to think of something. In desperation, Director Tomino and the others began inventing this design and that design. But when they suddenly came up with one that had a bunch of whips, we all pushed back, saying "This is a bit weird." There was also another one with puffy hands. But later on, Bandai turned these mobile suits into plastic models and sold them as well. (laughs)

For the time being, we were keeping our promise, but some terrible things showed up as a result. Like the Zakrello. (laughs) Of course, its image didn't fit, and in the end it only appeared for about four cuts in one episode. Even if we were breaking the worldview everyone had worked so hard to create, there was no choice. We said that we'd just discard the things that didn't fit.

Meanwhile, it would all be for nothing if we couldn't sell the toys, so along the way we also introduced the G-Armor. The toys did sell, but it was just a drop in the bucket. That's when they finally started talking about cancelation. But somehow we kept trying, and we managed to keep it on the air until January, through the end of the Christmas and New Year toy-selling season.

Before we started, we'd all talked about making something like Yamato, but we'd never dreamed that it would actually end up like Yamato in every respect. We hadn't intended to imitate it to the extent that we couldn't get the ratings.

█ Mid-kids and the Birth of Gunpla!

Then, just as we were about to be canceled, we started getting phone calls from "mid-kids." (23) This was a neologism we came up with for in-betweens who were neither children nor adults. They called and wrote enthusiastically, but it did no good for them to lobby us. We asked them to go tell the TV networks and the sponsors instead. Still, at the time, we were all sure that things would work out in the end thanks to the efforts of all these fans.

Regardless of the ratings, the situation might have been different if the toys were selling better. But the only toys were giant robots made from Chōgōkin alloy. They didn't feel like the animated Gundam, whose design had been refined by Mr. Yasuhiko.

Thinking that it would be good to have plastic models as well, Mr. Yamaura repeatedly tried to negotiate that with Clover, but was told that "We don't make those." So he asked if he could negotiate with other companies, and approached Bandai for the first time. At that very moment, Bandai was looking for new subjects for plastic models, and it responded with considerable enthusiasm. But the cancelation had already been decided, and these discussions almost fizzled out as well.

But we couldn't let it end like that, so we kept trying. Mobilizing the voices of the fans, we managed to hype up the idea of a movie version. When it was released in March of the following year, it would become a big hit. Meanwhile, the plastic models went on sale in August of that year.

Looking at the assembled models, however, they seemed pretty lifeless. They were lanky and top-heavy, and didn't look at all like weapons. When you gave them guns, the models' arms drooped. We said, "Is this really Gunpla?"

At that point, it was actually the plastic model fans who came to our rescue. In the model magazines, scenes of the Gundam slicing through a Zaku in the first episode were reproduced as dioramas. They all used putty to add thickness to the skinny parts, turning these cheap-looking models into magnificent Gundams and Zakus. In the process, Bandai finally found out what its customers were looking for, and it released a second series which were better made. As a result, they created a big boom, with even grade-schoolers buying them.

Now people began to complain that they couldn't find any Gunpla to buy, and ultimately there was an accident at a department store in Kashiwa. It may be indiscreet of me to say this, but terrible as that was, the fact it became a newspaper story also meant that this had turned into a social phenomenon. We've done it, I thought.

One by one, the "mid-kids" went on to recreate scenes from the story as dioramas. It was really impressive. We'd put in all these monster-of-the-week mecha because we didn't get good ratings in the first three months, but that ended up expanding the variety of plastic models. Director Tomino and everyone else had adjusted the story situation and created all this setting, in a way that didn't destroy the worldview that had been built up in the story, and now the people who had watched the show were exercising all their ingenuity as well. In the end, this added depth to the creation of dioramas, leading to a flowering of creativity.

Translator's Notes

(1) Daitarn 3 debuted on June 3, 1978.

(2) Soeisha was established in 1972, and the Sunrise Studio was founded in September of that year.

(3) Hazedon aired from October 1972 to March 1973.

(4) Zero Tester aired from October 1973 to December 1974.

(5) Mazinger Z aired from December 1972 to September 1974, and Getter Robo from April 1974 to May 1975.

(6) Brave Raideen aired from April 1975 to March 1976. The first half of the series was directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, and the second half by Tadao Nagahama, who went on to direct Combattler V.

(7) Soeisha became Nippon Sunrise in November 1976.

(8) The Tōyō Agency became Sotsu in August 1977.

(9) Zambot 3 aired from October 1977 to March 1978, and Daitarn 3 from June 1978 to March 1979.

(10) Space Battleship Yamato aired from October 1974 to March 1975, and a highly successful movie compilation was released in August 1977. A variety of spinoffs and sequels appeared in 1978.

(11) The three stages of the Japanese education system are 小学校 (shōgakkō, "elementary school"), 中学校 (chūgakkō, "junior high school")、and 高校 (kōkō, "senior high school"). I've glossed them here as "grade school," "middle school," and "high school" respectively.

(12) An 1888 adventure novel by French author Jules Verne, recounting the adventures of 15 boys (and one dog) who are stranded on a desert island.

(13) In an interview in the 1998 laser disc Memorial Box, this idea is credited to director Yoshiyuki Tomino, but Tomino's name doesn't come up in Iizuka's discussion of the planning stages.

(14) The general release of Star Wars in Japan came on July 1, 1978, more than a year after its U.S. release.

(15) This is a literal translation of the title's Japanese prefix, 機動戦士 (kidō senshi ).

(16) The phonetic Japanese term Iizuka gives here is モービル・スーツ (mōbiru sūtsu) with a long "o," which is then shortened slightly to モビルスーツ (mobiru sūtsu).

(17) The German Empire was the monarchy that ruled Germany until the end of World War I.

(18) One previous example of a gun-carrying robot would be the Zambo Ace from Zambot 3.

(19) I've spelled the working titles ガンボーイ and ガンボイ as Gunboy and Gunvoy respectively. The latter was apparently inspired by the movie title Convoy.

(20) The Japanese spelling of "freedom" is フリーダム, whose final characters could be written in English as "dom," "dum," or "dam."

(21) The original text says "A-111" but this is surely just a typo.

(22) I think these final sentences are referring specifically to Yasuhiko. Literally, he's described as being "defiant."

(23) The Japanese term Iizuka uses here, 中供 (chūdomo), is a combination of "middle" and "child." It doesn't seem to have caught on, so I'm comfortable rendering it as something similarly awkward in English.

GUNDAM, WAR, AND NEWTYPES

Sunrise Planning Division Manager (at the time)
Eiji Yamaura Interview

Interviewer & Composition: Kunpei Ando

The planning of Gundam began in the summer of the year before the broadcast started. At the time, Space Battleship Yamato was in the middle of a huge boom. Asking ourselves why Yamato had become such a hit, we analyzed it, and came to the conclusion that we could do adequate business if we focused narrowly on a "high-target" audience and secured 300-400,000 passionate fans.

For example, even if we didn't get high ratings, it would be great if a related book sold 100,000 copies. Likewise, if 100,000 copies of an LP were released, that would be amazing. But to do this, we'd need an excellent worldview, story, and characters. At just that time, Zambot 3 and Daitarn 3, which we co-created with Mr. Tomino, had achieved commercial success. (1) Following up on that, if we could do as we pleased just once... it was misleading, but I asked the sponsors if they'd let us run wild doing whatever we wanted, and then began the planning anyway.

Meanwhile, (Haruka) Takachiho of Studio Nue came to me with Heinlein's "Starship Troopers." This became a great reference for how we could make robots seem a little more like weapons.

However, the plan we created at this point was nothing more than a starting point. It's true that various people contributed ideas for Gundam during the planning stages, but ultimately it was Mr. Tomino who created the world by selecting from among them. Anyway, at the point when "Mr. Tomino makes it," it would start over again from scratch. After all, the image on the screen is the creation of the director.

Actually, the Newtype concept was also inserted into the story because of Mr. Tomino. There were no Newtypes in the planning stages. Frankly, even now, nobody knows whether or not it was a good idea to incorporate Newtypes into the Gundam world. But if you want my own intuitive opinion, I think that Newtypes are the primary reason why the world of the work called Gundam has spread this far. It means that the development of the Gundam world has become a broader dialogue with the era itself. The Newtype keyword also plays to Director Tomino's sensibilities as a dramatist. His powers are expressed through film.

In fact, if Newtypes didn't exist, then Gundam would just be a typical action story. So the sensibilities of Mr. Tomino, who effortlessly leapt over the limits of what I'd planned as a war history, are really amazing. Anyway, the spiritual interactions of these Newtypes are shamelessly explicit on the screen. (laughs) I couldn't show you something like that.

Though Gundam was created for a high-target audience, and despite the introduction of Newtypes, some of the stories were also fairly crude. In a sense, the plan itself incorporated various people's views of life. Their ideas about children, their messages, and their feelings about war itself... we absorbed the ideas of all the staff who worked on Gundam.

Among them, some of my own actual wartime experiences may also have been reflected. (2) At the time, I often talked about the war with the staff. That said, since the Gundam and Zaku are 18 meters tall, in terms of weapons theory they're totally useless. They'd be too easy to hit.

In that sense, Gundam is ultimately just an extension of the robot story. But the first Zaku design that Mr. Okawara created for us had a remarkable sense of presence. The moment they saw it, a feeling was instantly created in the staff that "This could also be used in a war story." You could say that the direction of Gundam was actually decided by the power of that Zaku design.

Speaking of war stories, the first episode initially didn't have that feeling. It was a very orthodox script in which the conflict between the Federation and the Principality of Zeon was more fully explained from the beginning. But we cut all of that, saying that it should begin with Zakus suddenly entering the colony without any explanation. We started with a bang, feeling that it would be better to create a sense of tension around the children being caught up in the war. Mr. Tomino said it would be good to show scenes of carnage from the beginning.

Well, I think that dramatization was a great success. But at the time, we weren't at all confident. We did everything very nervously, asking whether this was really okay.

It got pretty good results, and even now people keep coming back to it. But when we were doing it, honestly none of us knew if it would work or not. Of course we had many dreams, and we were aiming for a high-target audience, so we always had the aspiration to succeed. But the fact that it produced results was like the good fortune that comes at certain times to certain people. Even if I said, "We pulled it off by doing this and that," in the end it would be a lie. Of course, I don't mean to say that we simply got lucky.

Just at the time we were planning Gundam, Mr. Tomino was really hitting his stride. The same goes for the character designer Mr. Yasuhiko and the mecha designer Mr. Okawara, and of course the writer Mr. Hoshiyama as well. It was a really good time for personal development, a time of rapid growth. Meanwhile, Mr. Takachiho came to me with "Starship Troopers," and we also had Space Battleship Yamato as a suitable business model. The relationships between these people, the body of work they accumulated, and this information all fortunately came together.

In any case, everyone wanted to think up interesting ideas and incorporate a variety of things, so they all put their hearts into it. I think Gundam was the result.

Translator's Notes

(1) Yamaura, under the pseudonym "Hajime Yatate," is credited as the co-creator of Daitarn 3. But Zambot 3 is credited to Yoshitake Suzuki and Yoshiyuki Tomino, so I interpreted this sentence as "we co-created" rather than "I co-created."

(2) Yamaura was born in 1936, so these would probably have been his childhood experiences of World War II.