Tomino Yoshiyuki Q&A at Japan Expo 2019, July 6

if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the article with my impressions on the first G-Reco compilation movie and the July 5 Q&A.

You can find other Tomino related events or interviews I translated in the past on this page.

Director Tomino held an around 30 minutes long Q&A on July 6, the third day of Japan Expo 2019. When he stepped on stage along with the MC and the translator, they explained how this was supposed to be a panel. What happened is, Tomino told Japan Expo’s staff beforehand how it’s his first time visiting France, so he doesn’t feel like talking about himself or his career, etc. Instead, he wanted to hear the audience speak. He wanted to hear our opinions on his works, answer our questions and chat with us. So they decided on holding a Q&A instead.

There were so many questions, I wouldn’t have been able to listen to all the answers if I concentrated on taking notes. So I just wrote down everything in my head. As such it’s possible I forgot certain parts or merged certain answers together. And I’ll update the post if I remember more.

Do you ever feel like remaking one of your previous series?

Tomino answered that he never feels that way. Each story he worked on is already complete and he doesn’t feel like redoing any of them.

Will you ever make a new anime with Nagano Mamoru?

Tomino answered that it will never happen. He jokingly said it’s because “Nagano is way more popular than me nowadays anyway and he’s too full of himself”. (Forgot about this last bit, thanks Saga)

Who is your favorite character in all the series you directed?

“I like every single one of them so I can’t choose. I can’t answer. It’d be like telling you all right now all of my mistresses’ names.” Everyone clapped and laughed following that joke.

Why did you decide to do the children human bombs in Zambot 3?

He answered that it’s true he did that for shock value, but also to clearly show how far atrocities can go in times of war. He added that if you read about wars that happened or conflicts which are happening now, you’ll see that these kinds of horrible acts regularly happen.

G-Reco never depicts information media such as news radio or a news tv channel. Is it because you didn’t want to include these things in G-Reco, or is there another reason?

Tomino explained that G-Reco is a series taking place sometime after humanity nearly faced extinction. So while they started redeveloping technology etc, they didn’t get to the point where they have news radios or news tv channels yet.

Why do you always do mecha anime themed around war? Is it because of a personal experience? Did you ever feel like doing another genre than mecha + war? 

(This was one of the longest answers Tomino gave so I might have forgotten some details).
Tomino explained that he believes anime is the best media when it comes to displaying themes, and how you can convey an infinity of different themes with anime. There’s no limit to what you can do. He also said it’s a media that resonates with everyone, whoever they are. He explained that before the first Gundam, anime wasn’t recognized as a media who could deal with deep themes. Hence why people would call it “TV manga”, to point out how anime was always aimed at children. With Gundam, Tomino wanted to show you can do deep adult themes with anime just like movies, and he always worked on his anime as if making movies instead. War was the best theme he could pick to explain as clearly as possible that anime isn’t necessarily for children.
As for doing other genres than war and mecha, Tomino answered that he thought about it in the past but never managed to do it, and now he’s too old to try something different anyway and gave up. He said this is the kind of thing that makes him feel like he lost to Miyazaki.
Tomino added that seeing the infinite possibilities of anime, it’s sad that only Miyazaki anime are popular and how everyone tends to do the same kinds of Miyazaki-like anime.

(I had the chance to ask a question today as well) Miyazaki Hayao’s most recognized forte is being able to write powerful female characters. However, all of your series also feature strong and independent female characters who don’t lose to Miyazaki’s. How do you manage to do that? 

Tomino answered that basically, what he always does in every series is include as many female characters as possible. And every single one will be completely different from one another, with completely different personalities. Because just like in real life, everyone is different. He said he could give a more elaborate answer, but won’t because it would be way too long.

Which was the series you had the hardest time with, which series was the easiest to work on?

Tomino explained that making anime is a very difficult job in the first place, so there was not a single series he ever found easy to work on. Even more so because he always pours all his mental energy in every single of his works, to the point of having nothing left when it ends. At the same time, this always makes him feel like he’s not good enough. Because he assumes that if he had more talent, he should be able to make anime without exhausting himself every time. (Tomino is always harsh on himself so I actually expected him to say more stuff like that during the Q&As, but besides that one answer, he didn’t at all)

What were your thoughts when working on Ideon

Basically, Tomino explained that he was asked to make Ideon after the company making its toys released the toys for it. That company definitely didn’t imagine the anime would turn like this. He said that it was a good lesson for the toys company and that “companies shouldn’t make toys before making the anime”.

The Umi no Triton TV anime was an adaptation of a manga by Osamu Tezuka, and it was also your first work as a director. Can you tell us more about how you felt back then?
(He gave the longest answer for this question, and I ended up forgetting what he said about Osamu. I didn’t manage to understand everything he said in Japanese when answering, and I forgot part of what the translator said.)

Tomino explained that when working on Umi no Triton, the staff was supervised by the management. At some point after something happened (I forgot what), the management completely gave up and let them do whatever they wanted with the rest of the story. It was a great opportunity because it allowed them to freely express their creativity, and it was a really interesting situation because what they depicted in the story mimicked what was happening to them. (I haven’t seen Umi no Triton so I’m not sure what he meant). They ended up depicting a story that was completely unexpected by the management.

What happened next: After the Q&A ended, Tomino received the Golden Daruma award from one of Japan Expo’s founders. He was really happy about it and said it’s one of the best looking Daruma he ever got.  (This is basically the award they give to each legendary guest. Non-Japanese guests get it too. This year, for example, they also gave one to a singer of the french versions of OP songs of old anime like Aishite Knight and Kazoku Robinson Hyouryuuki)

Next, Miwa joined them on stage as well. There was also a fun moment when the MC and the translator forgot to get back on the front of the scene after Miwa joined, so Tomino told them to do it, with the MC person saying “see, he knows his stuff as a director”. We could really tell overall through the Q&A how great of a person Tomino is and how great his sense of humor is.

Miwa explained how she’s the singer of “A Red Ray”, the third ED theme of Gundam The Origin: Advent of the Red Comet, and how each ED from now will have Sugizo working on it and will be sung by a different female singer, and how she’s honored to be the first. She was also super happy to meet Tomino and participate in an event with him. Miwa also read a special message from Sugizo, who in short said he’s really happy to be working on Gundam and hopes everyone will keep supporting all of the franchise.

Miwa then sang “A Red Ray”. After that, everyone else got back on stage. Miwa was really eager about Tomino and insisted he stands on the center, but Tomino said he’s an old guy and young people are the ones who you should step up instead. In the end, he got back to the center. When asked for one last word to wrap up the event, Tomino said that it’s stupid to give that kind of role to an old man like him. He said he can’t create things anymore, and now it’s the young people’s turn to create. He ended by saying he’s really happy to have come all the way here and chat with us, and that seeing us so enthusiastic makes him think that Gundam will be resurrected and keep going. He left after a standing ovation and after doing the same salute with his G-Reco cap he did the day before.

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