The following article was originally printed in the May 1981 issue of My Anime. The interview has been translated by Twitter user @frog_kun © 2016 Wave Motion Cannon
Both directors speak eagerly about their aspirations for the second film!!
「As everyone expected, Gundam has now surpassed Yamato in popularity. Shochiku has wasted no time confirming that the second Gundam film will be made. Both directors discuss the film in a spontaneous interview!
A party was held to celebrate the completion of the film March 13th last year. In order to celebrate the completion of the Mobile Gundam Suit movie, the voice actors and the Sunrise staff assembled in full force, beginning with Mr. Tomino and Mr. Yasuhiko, and held a festive celebration party. Now that the second film was been set in stone, all eyes are on Studio Sunrise once more.
On the March 14th Anime War, Gundam was predictably strong. On the night of the 13th, over 10,000 people lined up around Shinjuku Shochiku. There were even some dedicated fans who lined up from the 6th. Because of that, the theater made a special case, allowing people to enter at 11:00 pm on the 13th, and for the screening to show until 5:00 am the next morning. There was a huge chorus inside the theater. As they look forward to part two in July, the excitement seems set to escalate further…」
“I want to answer Yasuhiko-san’s wish to include new material in the movie…”
Editor: I believe that the film we’re discussing today was originally planned to be a four-part production, but it ended up changing considerably and becoming a three-parter. Part 2 will be released in July; how will it turn out?
Tomino: We still haven’t decided the planning schedule in concrete terms, but my gut tells me that the second film will be quite dense with material. While it does cover fewer episodes than the first film does, I think that it’s still imperative to make the content connect well. It would be a bit tough to actually make a four-parter film happen. Given the production system these days, it’s impossible to make a four-part film. Sure, there are some risks doing it this way, but I want to recap the story in a three-act structure. But it’s not certain yet whether it’ll be three parts. The first two parts will be made, but after that it depends on how they’re received.
Editor: The first part contained no new story events whatsoever, but what about part two?
Tomino: It won’t have anything either. We had no inclination to include anything; we simply focused our efforts on cutting. There are a lot of fans who like Kai and Miharu’s story, but there’s a big probability that it will be cut.
Editor: If you’re cutting Kai and Miharu’s story, then will the film mainly focus on Ral, Hamon, M’Quve, and Matilda’s stories?
Tomino: I believe so. Personally speaking, I don’t want to leave out Kai and Miharu’s story, though…
Editor: I think the first part might have bitten off more than it could chew…
Tomino: Yeah. It left too much without cutting anything. So in the second film, I think that filtering the story through Amuro’s perspective is the only structure that would work. If we do that, then Kai and Miharu’s story would be unnecessary. I hope the viewers cut us some slack.
Editor: At the current stage, the film recaps the events up to which episode?
Tomino: Up to episode 30 is the plan. I figure that episode 30 will probably be the main showcase of the film. That way, we can finish the story in three parts. I’m thinking of using episode 30 as a means of foreshadowing the final stages of the story.
But because Amuro and the Newtypes take precedence over depicting the various aspects of the Gundam world in the film, I see no need to include the standalone episodes. Because of that, I had no choice but to compress the original story from episode 16 to episode 18. Currently, the basic idea is to start from the story of Amuro’s desertion.
But still, fifteen episodes of content is exhausting. Two hours and twenty minutes really is too long, so I think two hours and seven/eight minutes is a good length. We’ll do whatever we can. And in order to do it, I intend to address some criticisms as I go along. With Gundam, it’s impossible to change the story itself, you see, and I didn’t have the stamina to do that either.
When we decided that the film would be screened in July, we drastically reduced the number of drawings to include. It’s impossible unless we do that. If possible, we’d like to think of parts two and three holistically, so if we don’t get the go-ahead to produce part three, some aspects will be difficult to accomplish. Because the screening of part two was decided so suddenly, we couldn’t avoid having less time to make new material. That’s the situation we were caught in.
Editor: I believe that quite a few episodes will be shorn off…
Tomino: In all likelihood, I don’t believe that part two will give off the impression of shaving off as much as the first part did. That, at least, I have confidence about. In fact, Yasuhiko-san wanted to include a considerable amount of new material, so it’s really more of a question of how to incorporate the new material. I don’t know how things will turn out when we try it, but that’s the direction we’d like to head in.
At this current stage, it has been decided that part two will be made, but we won’t know whether that will led to a part three unless we try.
“I don’t leave my luck to the heavens; I leave it to Tomino-san…” — Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Editor: With part two, what sort of adjustments have you made to the visuals?
Yasuhiko: I spoke about it with Tomino-san after the initial screening of part one, but apparently the new cuts stood out from the other parts. This was the result of correcting each bad cut separately. With part two, I’d like to correct each scene as a whole.
Editor: From now on, I think you’ll have to go all out, no holds barred…
Yasuhiko: I think we’ll have to increase the number of staff. If we don’t secure some robust key animators in advance, then it will be fruitless even if we correct the cuts to the extent we did with the first part. Ideally, I’m thinking of correcting about 500-600 cuts, but there’s a limit to how much we can do. I’d like to look at as many scenes as possible.
Editor: What structure will part two take specifically?
Yasuhiko: Part two will have more of an episodic structure than part one. Specifically, episodes 16-21 cover Amuro’s desertion, as well as Ramba Ral and Hamon’s deaths. Episodes 22-25 cover a big battle as well as Matilda’s death, and episodes 29-30 cover the part about Jaburo and the kids. If we include all of that, then as a standalone film it would be lacking in unity. We may end up dropping entire episodes. So at the moment, I don’t leave my luck to the heavens; I leave it to Tomino-san.
If we’re talking about the visuals, I’d like to correct things more actively than we did with the first part. I’ll go out on a limb and say that there will be budget and scheduling problems. With part one, we fixed the cuts; with part two, we’ll fix the scenes; and with part three, we’ll fix the scenes and the overall structure. If we do that, then there will be some meaning in turning the series into a film, I think. There is no brand new material in the first two parts. The question is how to recap everything in a way that flows well.
Editor: Which character’s life do you want the viewers to see?
Yasuhiko: The episodes about Miharu and her siblings shows how severely war touches people’s lives.
Very cool interview — I greatly love the original Gundam 0079 film-trilogy, and this glimpse into their production (and the thought processes of both Tomino and Yasuhiko as they make decisions about what to trim, expand, and alter in the movies) is absolutely priceless.