Yoshikazu Yasuhiko Interview - "Gundam is a Poorly Made Anime"
The Gundam anime experienced a small boost in popularity with the recent release of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime DVD Box. The original 43-episode Gundam anime was first aired in 1979, and now the DVD box set is experiencing positive sales. ITmedia News interviews Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, the art director and character designer of Gundam, who talks about Gundam and his recent works. (by Koh Shimada)
Q: The DVD box set of the "First Gundam" is very popular.
A: Gundam is a very mysterious thing for me. I really don't see why Gundam is still popular after so many years. Sometimes I have to see it on due to the necessity of my job, but I think it's a poorly made work.
Q: Do you really think so?
A: Japanese animation has a special nature. It can attract many fans if it's of poor quality, even overseas. They say "Japanimation overcame the world."
Q: Enthusiastic fans love Gundam and other Japanese anime, you know.
A: I can't see why it's the way it is. I think the quality of Japanese anime is worse than Disney animation.
Q: What do you think is the reason behind it?
A: I guess because Japanese anime arouses imagination. Fans would use their imagination to fill in the blanks. Moreover, Japanese anime targets young people, not children, not adults, through its humanistic theme. Anime created a new world.
Q: Japan is the ahead in the "Robot building" race, the "Gundam generation" engineers are challenged to build unique robots.
A: In the beginning Robot came from overseas. In Japan, robots were given adorable images such as "Astro Boy" and simple images such as "Gigantor" at the same time. The interestingly adorable but mechanical robots drew many fans, and part of them became engineers who would have a chance to combine their images of robots with real science.
Q: You are became a professor of Kobe Art and Technical University in April of last year.
A: I'm feeling both enjoyment and disappointment. Sometimes I'm bothered by my job, but I'm also encouraged by my job. I watched students for 10 months, and I can see more possibility in them. Many of them have a great mind.
Q: How do you compare the student nowadays with you when you were young.
A: I can't compare myself to them because it's only been a few years since universities began to offer opportunities to study sub-cultures. Right now the universities are looking for ways to carry the program out trough trial and error.
A few years after, the worth of studying sub-culture will be evaluated by after we see the current students step in to society.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: Right now I'm working on a Gundam manga, Gundam: The Origin, it will take around two to three more years to finish; I will have to dedicate this year to the manga. I have many ideas for new manga, but I have to finish Gundam: The Origin before I can get started on them.
Q: Nowadays why aren't you participating in any anime projects?
A: I don't want to make anime, however I'm creating an anime in my class. I saw some first year students who have great talents, yet even they knew very little about anime. One of my "themes" is how to nurture them.
Q: Finally, what is your dream?
A: I'm sixty this year, but I have many things I still want to do. Before my retirement, I hope I will be able to finish as many of them as I can.
About Mobile Suit Gundam DVD Box Set
This year, "DVD-BOX 2" that contains episode 25th to the last episode in 5 DVDs
About Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Translated by T. Ohara