(Needless to say, the feature image is a screen from the TV series version. I like Ringo a lot, though that doesn’t mean anything in a series where every character is awesome)
The first G Reco compilation movie had its world premiere at Japan Expo 2019 on July 5. Director Tomino Yoshiyuki also participated in a Q&A after the movie. He answered questions from the audience and revealed more on the upcoming movies.
Note that there’s another panel with Director Tomino happening on July 6 which I’m planning to cover as well.
Impressions on the movie
As if entertaining the fantasies of racist french people who think young non-white people from Paris’ suburbs can’t find jobs because they’re lazy, I overslept and got to Japan Expo a bit late. I ended up missing the first 4-5 minutes or so, the scene with Raraiya falling from the sky. That aside, the movie was extremely impressive. Well, I particularly enjoyed the TV series and it’s one of my favorite post-2010 anime with Pretty Rhythm, so it’s no wonder I’ll like the compilation movies. The movie is a bit less than 2 hours long and covers episode 1 to 5. It ends when the Megafauna heads to space, after the battle when Bell saves Klim Nick from Mask by dropping a water ball. Overall the movie flows super well and the various events are perfectly weaved together. Then again, I’ve never found the TV series particularly confusing and I still don’t get why so many people said it was. But whatever that’s not the subject here.
In the first place, the movie is so good it doesn’t even feel like the usual anime compilation movie. In these, you can usually notice at some points things got cut down, but I never got this feeling with the first G Reco movie. Hopefully, the other movies will uphold the same level of quality.
As far as I noticed, the new elements are all either short scenes or short lines of dialogues, all adding more to the experience. Some scenes also got cut like when Klim Nick launches with the Montero, but it doesn’t remove anything from his great characterization at all. The first time he’s shown is during the funny “lower the altitude” scene, and together with Aida’s comments you still immediately get how much of a genius he is.
There are no major changes to the story or characters, but some scenes were slightly changed. One of these is Mick Jack’s introduction. She’s seen delivering supplies to the Megafauna in the Hecate, rather than appearing in the midst of a battle in the big green thing whose name I forgot.
One thing notable is how the scene with Bell needing to use the toilet is less sudden than in the TV series. We also get to hear more of the toilet song, with Raraiya bobbling her head in rhythm, which was super cute. That’s my favorite new scene along with what happens a bit after during the trip: a super heartwarming shot showing Bell and Noredo sleeping together outside the cockpit and Aida and Raraiya sleeping together inside the cockpit.
I think the movie does a really great job when it comes to showing the characters’ relationships and each characters’ motivations. Cumpa Rusita is obviously a shady guy, with him and the men he recruited for Capital Army always using the excuse of “we’re doing this to save your son” to deploy and develop the Capital Army against Wilmit’s protests. Aida’s relationships with the Megafauna crew are done really well too, like adding a few lines to the scene when Steer comforts her after she just got back. You can also tell how much Aida respected Cahill and why she was so tormented by his death besides that she liked him.
One of G Reco‘s themes is showing the tragedy that unfolds when countries who forgot about the horror of war and are total amateurs at it suddenly decide to do one as if it’s a game. I agree that in the TV series, it wasn’t very clear at the beginning, but you can clearly notice that and other themes in the movie.
All the characters, the universe and the world’s setting are all perfectly explained. Even the way certain scenes switch from one to another is used for this objective and it’s really nice. I really can’t wait for the rest and I hope it’ll be just as good. None of my favorite scenes got cut so far, like Manny’s Girl Power, or the introduction of my favorite side character Anette(sewing woman of the Megafauna) and her frank personality. I really hope stuff like Klim Nick quoting Muhammad Ali, the MIKKU JAKKU x KURIMU NIKKU moments or Wilmit saying she forgot to bring biscuits and bananas for Bell will still be there.
Lastly, I also have to mention the translators did a really great job (though I was only reading the subtitles like half the time as I couldn’t see them properly with the people sitting in front.) Back when the TV series aired, I had already mentioned how better the French translation was compared to the English one. Compared to the French version, the English simulcast subs of G-Reco were way too literal, and I wondered if it didn’t contribute to making the series seem more complicated than it is.
Summary of the Q&A with Director Tomino
Shortly after the movie ended and the credits finished rolling with TSUKAME PURAIDO playing, Director Tomino entered the room. Before the Q&A begun, Director Tomino started by repeating what he already said multiple times in the past: that G Reco is a Gundam series only in name. It uses the brand Gundam for marketing reasons and it couldn’t have been made without it, but the story doesn’t have much to do with previous entries and follows different patterns.
Most of the people who asked questions were speaking super low, and the translator would sometimes forget to repeat what was asked before translating the question to Tomino, so I actually didn’t get to hear most of the questions. I do remember pretty much all the answers though. Though it’s possible I merged certain answers together or changed the order which they happened.
Can be considered spoilers: In the movie, the characters from the Capital Army often mention how they got info from “Cumpa Rusita’s Intelligence Department”, “Cumpa Rusita’s ID” etc. Someone asked if that was something new added for the movie. Tomino said that it was supposed to be mentioned in some scenes/dialogues in the TV series, but ended up getting cut. So it’s not like he changed the story, the world’s setting or Cumpa Rusita’s background to add this.
Can be considered spoilers: There’s a short moment where Bell and Aida are arguing telepathically about Cahill’s death. As far as I know, this is a new dialogue and the TV anime didn’t show they can communicate that way. (Come to think of it, Aida does speak telepathically to Bell in the 3DCG short movie). I didn’t hear their question but someone asked something like “does this scene means Aida and Bell are Newtypes”. Tomino answered they aren’t and it’s not related to that. He explained Aida and Bell can speak telepathically because of the “G-Cells” they got injected with and the special connection they share (being siblings). He also said the third movie expands more on Aida and Bell’s relationship compared to the TV series. And how it’ll also expand more on other characters and their relationships like “the woman who is shown to be pregnant at the end” (Kun Soon).
Someone asked something about Crossbone Gundam and how dark it is at some points. Tomino answered that while he wrote the beginning of Crossbone Gundam’s story, he doesn’t know what happens later on as the mangaka wrote the rest, not himself, so he can’t really talk about it. Either when answered that question, or when answering another one who asked how he feels about the “Minagoroshi no Tomino” nickname, Tomino said he doesn’t want to write dark stories anymore. Because one always feel miserable after writing a dark and depressive story. Moreover, seeing how old he is now, he’d rather have a positive and happy story as his last work before his death.
Someone asked why Cahill dies so early in the story. Tomino said it’s to show the atrocity of war and how people can end up suddenly dying, and how war movies where every single character survives are pretty weird when you think about it.
Someone asked why did he decide to work with Yoshida, etc for G Reco. Tomino mentioned that he didn’t necessarily pick who to work with on G-Reco, and mostly did the anime with whoever was interested and was available depending on their schedules. Most of the animators on G-Reco were freelancers who were available or not depending on their schedules. (Tomino had actually already explained this in the past. I think it was in Nolife’s interview.)
Answering another question, Tomino explained that most of the animators working on G Reco are veterans animators who wished to do something different than what they do on all of nowadays’ digital anime productions. This is why G Reco has an old-school look, a cel anime look instead of digital. Creating the anime that way wasn’t particularly hard as again, most animators were veterans with 20, 30 years of experience, so it’s not like they lacked the knowledge and savoir-faire to do an old-school styled anime.
Someone who’s never seen any Gundam nor the original G Reco TV series said the movie was really good and really easy to understand. Tomino said that looking back on your own work and checking what was its strong points and what was bad isn’t a pleasant experience by far. However, he’s used to it as he’s been doing such compilation movies for his works since forever. He believes he’s pretty good at looking back at his own work and synthesizing what needs to be kept and removing the bad parts. Tomino added that he had a hard time doing that for the third movie though, and that it’s the one he struggled with the most. (This means the other movies up to the third one are already done to a certain extent.)
Someone asked why he decided to add toilets in the cockpits. Tomino answered that it’s a logical choice when thinking about how pilots can stay in there for days for a mission. He added it makes sense to think about that if you actually read stories of WW1 soldiers and pilots, who didn’t have handy toilets like the ones in G Reco.
Someone asked how he manages to write super intricate worlds with many different factions, characters, and political ideas. Tomino explained that basically, he tries to think about everything necessary for the mecha to not feel out of place and eerie in the world. The mecha moves, meaning there will be mechanics. The mecha travels and fights, meaning there’s this and that as different countries and factions. Etc. Same for the toilets. This is how he makes his works’ settings basically. He also added that in the past he wasn’t particularly interested in politics and conflicts, but now he is.
Someone asked if he realizes everything he accomplished so far and how his works even influenced people’s careers and scientific developments. Tomino answered that he’s not that stupid and knows what he did. He wouldn’t agree that his works directly influenced science though, though you could argue that it helped in some way and helped to pave the way which led to new advancements. He added that he did already meet people who said they started working in space engineering or similar space-related jobs thanks to his works. Tomino also jokingly said he sometimes gets a bit teary-eyed, thinking that in the end he never managed to surpass Miyazaki Hayao.
There was a Japanese person in the audience, who asked something about the upcoming Senkou no Hathaway anime if I remember correctly. Tomino said that while he wrote the original novels, he’s got nothing to do with the upcoming anime so he can’t answer anything about it as he doesn’t have the right to answer in place of its director.
I forgot what was he answering but at some point, Tomino also jokingly said something like “You should definitely believe what the translator is saying” as if the translator was mellowing the answer he just gave. I was sitting not too far away so I could hear relatively clearly Tomino’s answers in Japanese. The translator clearly didn’t smooth anything as far as I noticed, and Tomino was just kidding.
Lastly, I also had the opportunity to ask a question. I mentioned how G-Reco is an anime with particularly distinct sound design, be it the way the seiyuu speak or the sound effects used, which are all pretty different than current anime. I asked what kind of directions did he give to get that result.
Tomino answered that he doesn’t know any recent anime so he doesn’t know how different G-Reco is compared to them. He didn’t give particular directions when it comes to the sound, and the sound team basically did what they thought would fit Tomino’s direction. And similar to how the animators wanted to make an old looking anime, the sound team too wanted to rather use old-sounding sound effects. Tomino added that there’s one specific order he had for the compilation movies. He believes that there are too many digital sounding sounds using synthesizers in the TV series, so they decided to put a bit more analog and realistic sounds in the movies.
Tomino also mentioned how he worked on the movie as if making an actual movie rather than making an anime movie, and how this probably affected the sound too.
A few comments on the answer I got. In normal conditions, I would have seen the “I don’t watch recent anime” answer coming and would have removed the “it’s different from other anime”, to focus more on the seiyuu aspect. In the end, I didn’t get to hear more about that point and I really wanted to. Though he would have probably just said it’s thanks to the sound director. Anyway, there’s still a chance to ask questions at the panel on Saturday.
That’s all I remember. As the Q&A ended, Tomino gave us a salute with his G-Reco cap and he left after a standing ovation.
Gundam Recongista in G compilation movies. Five-part theatrical release directed by Tomino himself. Japan release announcement soon, will also come to the US. So please support this too!
— Dennis is looking past AX for SDCC (@ichnob) July 6, 2019
Update: The Gundam 40th anniversary panel at Anime Expo 2019 confirmed there will be 5 G Reco compilation movies in total, so yeah, in my opinion, they’ll all be masterpiece seeing how the first one turned out.