Manga of the Month: The Men Who Created Gundam

The Men Who Created Gundam
by Hideki Ohwada, Hajime Yatate, and Yoshiyuki Tomino

The Men Who Created Gundam is a definitely 100% accurate, not exaggerated in any way, portrayal of the creation of Mobile Suit Gundam and its rise to cultural phenomenon.

Told through a series of vignettes, The Men Who Created Gundam gives us glimpses into the defining moments of Gundam’s beginning and takes us through the 1981 festival that kicked off the premiere of the 1st movie. Unsurprisingly, it was no mean feat to bring this series to life at the time. Yoshiyuki Tomino worked tirelessly to recruit first Yoshikazu Yashuhiko (who set the defining look for the series) and then many others whose desires to create something new, dark, dramatic, and beautiful aligned with his. All the while the cast and crew were dealing precariously with sponsors’ demands, money, health crises, and finite time. So turn back the clock to 1978 and get ready to learn just what a brilliant, manipulative, pervy, trash-talking, visionary Tomino is.

In addition to its hyperbolic depiction of Gundam’s history, the book includes non-fiction prose sections which delve into greater detail about things like like Tomino’s Gundam cancelation announcement in Animec magazine and the rise of Gunpla.

-Kate

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Anime NYC 2019: Code Geass: Gundam Reconguista in G Movie I

hisui_icon_4040_round Yoshiyuki Tomino is a treasure. More precisely he might be one of those cursed treasures whose tremendous powers come at a terrible cost but in the anime industry that is just being extremely on-brand. The clearest example of the demon sword that Tomino has become is his last TV series Gundam Reconguista in G. I know it is slightly controversial to say but there are some cool things about the show. It has some amazing mecha designs, memorable characters, interesting setting concepts, and even some engaging and clever themes. But I also have to say that Gundam Reconguista in G is a hot mess. The characters go through unexplained Tomino mood swings and allegiance changes on the drop of a hat, the world-building is random and spotty to the point where it seems deliberately obtuse, the pacing could generously be called messy, and it always feels like it is the first draft of something that need three more drafts to be functional. It has distinctly earned its reputation despite having some really good points in its favor. I enjoyed it but it is undoubtedly the durian of the Gundam series.

So with any of these Gundam compilation movies, there is always a faint glimmer of hope that this could be the second draft to clean up a messy TV series. The original Gundam movies did a lot to streamline the somewhat messy and bloated TV series. Past that point, the compilation movies are a mixed bag with far too many of them feeling like a sloppy clip show more than a properly curated affair. The problem is usually they just show the best parts of the TV series without any of the proper connective tissue to have any of it make sense. They often wind up chopping out the important little parts without trimming enough of the filler fat.

The thing is Gundam Reconguista in G feels like a series that MIGHT be saved with some proper editing. There are a whole bunch of somewhat useless storylines that could be trimmed or remixed into something far more viable while adding in some new informative scenes to flesh out things that seemed to come out of nowhere. Assuming this would happen is utter foolishness but this series would also benefit much more than others so it seemed like something to check out just in case.

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Anime NYC 2019: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection

hisui_icon_4040_round I already mentioned that I had the most uncomfortable viewing experience for Weathering with You but I possibly had the most “authentic” viewing experience for Lelouch of the Re;surrection. I say “authentic” because it was sort of the worst seats in the house but there were be no set up that could be envisioned as more Code Geass that I could think of. First of all the music in the room was just a tad too loud. They raised the volume to counteract a potentially noisy crowd but it mostly only made the crowd louder to compensate. To the right of me was a vaping CC who pretty much smoked her little device the whole movie. Behind me were a row of rowdy fujoshi. They had seen the movie before (a fact they mentioned several times) so they mostly just shouted various comments at the screen with an emphasis on anything hot or to do with their fan fiction. It was not full MST3K but it was a fairly wordy unwanted commentary track.

Overall I still experienced the movie fairly well it just was probably the best encapsulation of the Code Geass fandom in a single solitary moment. If anything I probably would have enjoyed a little more had they not been there but such is sometimes the price of going to a live screening.

By the way, there are going to be some MAJOR spoilers for the Code Geass and the compilation movies but truth be told you should not have anything to do with this movie if you have not seen those.

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