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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“Crash Sayla Mass” is the creepiest thing ever.

We already did an overview podcast of Mechademia which included the third volume but we didn’t get to every little thing that we found interesting. Since this collection included the first Gundam essay so far, we thought we would pull it out for discussion (plus there is no way we couldn’t take a minute to say how creepy that sculpture is). It features a translated essay, Gundam and the Future of Japanoid Art by Takayuki Tatsumi, and then a response from the translator, Christopher Bolton.

When we were on the Manga Out Loud podcast Ed Sizmore discussed the idea that in academia the progress and exchange of ideas is facilitated by follow ups on establish papers. In the spirit of promoting an academic mindsetĀ  in the anime and manga communities we decided to take a stab at writing out own response to one of the articles instead of just doing a review of the third book. Gundam and the Future of Japanoid Art discusses how the novel Starship Troopers influenced Gundam and in turn influenced the way authors view the relationship between man and machine in fiction. The translator then wrote a response in which he talks about his recollection of the Gundam Generating Futures exhibit where Tatsumi’s article originally appeared in the catalog for.

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Anime Literati Take Over the Radio!

We did our first formal guest spot on Manga Out Loud this week. We had a long discussion with Ed about the first three books of Mechademia which sometimes went on wild tangent. But Ed has done a good job editing it down to a respectable 1 hour show. We go though the strengths and weaknesses of the series as well as noteworthy articles. We have an article about the third Mechademia coming up next week focusing on the Gundam essay. You can go back and read our reviews of the first and second volumes, too.

Manga Out Loud – Mechademia Vols 1-3 with special guest Reverse Thieves