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Gundam 00 Interviews


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The following are two interviews of Seiji Mizushima, the director of the Gundam 00 series. Gunota has kindly translated the interview. Enjoy!



From Animage


Q: Tell us how the title "Mobile Suit Gundam 00" came about?

A: It started as a temporary title, but it ended up being the official title. Originally I wanted to have a cool name, but we all forgot about it. Besides the obvious reason of starting from zero, there are other reasons. Right now it is a secret, but it will become a keyword as the story progresses.


Q: Reason behind why this series is set in the future of our world?

A: I personally have no deep knowledge about UC or CE so jumping into their worlds would be inappropriate and offensive to the staff who worked on those series. To me, it made perfect sense to make this series connected to our world. By doing this, it is easier to reflect our history and blend it with the series. At this moment, I am not focusing too much about making this ultra real or serious. This is entertainment after all so I'll mirror some of the real world issues in this series like I have with the anime I worked on in the past.


Q: What kind of Gundam story are you aiming for?

A: Don't know if this is a good or bad thing. I haven't watched a lot of the previous Gundam series. When I was first offered this job, I thought to myself, "Aren't there more Gundam-minded people than me?" Sunrise told me "We want to create a new Gundam so the director doesn't have to know a lot about Gundam." I have staff like Yousuke Kuroda and mecha designers, who are Gundam fans, so they will make sure it is Gundam while I will try to create without thinking too much that this is a Gundam series. Perhaps, this might be the theme, but I will bring my own Gundam-ness to the series.


Q: What is your Gundam-ness?

A: One is writing about war. Gundam is a weapon after all. This doesn't mean I'm going to be devoted to battles scenes. Instead I believe it is important to approach the war theme straightforward. (Gunota note: from here he tries to be funny) Other than that, a mobile weapon walking on 2 legs using beam sabers and a beam rifle. Then the basic stuff like Gundam is red, blue, yellow, and white. *laughs* This time, we are being more adventurous with the designs. If you have these 4 colors, they look like Gundam. *laughs*


Q: The pilots of the Gundams belong to a group who are trying to end war. What are you trying to say with this?

A: Let's take this one phrase, "Using force to end wars" and see what happens when someone carries out this contradicting act. "What do you start to see?" is one of things I want to write. Since this is a drama involving these characters, you will see "What happens to the world when they pilot the Gundam? What will these pilots do and how will they change?" This will be the gut of the series for sure.


Q: How will the MS designs and battle action turn out?

A: We hope to bring 2 styles: one is the super action style from SEED, second are actions that take advantage of the MS. When the plot of Gundams entering the conflict was being setup, we had a conversation saying "It might be all right for the Gundams to be super mecha." Therefore, the antagonist's MS was designed reflecting today's weapons and the Gundams were designed to confront them. It will feel like super mecha vs real mecha. The concept of the Gundam being far superior is one concept I had from the beginning. I don't know how much of that you will see, but the staff will follow along and hopefully you might see some odd looking scenes.


Q: Lastly, a message for the fans of the upcoming series.

A: While this will be a drama connecting people with people or people with the world, I will not be forcing answers on them. I'm hoping this series will motivate viewers into thinking. A Gundam novice like me is working real hard creating a new Gundam so I hope the previous fans and new fans will support us.




From Newtype


Q: A 15-second long promo video appeared after Toward the Terra on June 2. Any response from the public?

A: They were a lot of responses and they were fast, too. A day after the promo, my friend who was eating at a restaurant overheard young people talking about the next Gundam by watching it on their mobile phones.


Q: This Gundam doesn't take place in ___ Era, instead it takes place in Seireki (anno domini aka AD) 2307.

A: I wanted to do it in AD. Since my knowledge regarding UC and CE is very low, doing it in AD would be a lot easier and allow me to bring in real world agendas.


Q: Was bringing a real world agenda the start of your concept?

A: Since this is Mobile Suit Gundam, I believe you are placed in a situation where you have to write something about war. If that is the case, it could be on something like a conflict or terror we see today. In a Gundam series, the Gundam serves as a weapon which allows me to do these things. It is possible to make this story a fantasy, but I didn't want to do that with this Gundam. I wanted an era based on today's world.


Q: Setsuna F. Seiei, the main character, is a former soldier from the Middle East. This smells like the ethnic and religious clash we have today.

A: 300 years from now, I don't think this problem will be solved. However, I don't want to present a solution to this social problem. If young people ended up searching on the net, it would be worth making the series. Instead of just watching the events, I'm personally hoping we can approach it more closely. For us, it is hard to understand the thoughts of people who are living under war conditions, but we can know a little bit by studying. I want to absorb them and express them on film. I do believe this is a hard thing to do.


There is another challenge. I'm aiming for a new innovation as far as MS action goes. Each group will have their own MS, unique in shape and movement as well. To put it simply, a normal MS will have realistic behavior. Since Gundams are super weapons, they will have super mechanic movements. These differences will be purposely put in place and I'm looking forward to how much variety of actions we can express. I want everyone to look forward to this because I am, too.


Q: Setsuna is described as a cool person who hardly reveals any emotion. Does this mean he is keeping his feelings inside himself regarding why he fights?

A: That is still a secret. *laughs* His past is difficult to understand which probably makes him look cool. Once people see the facts, they will understand.


Q: Why did you decide on him as the main character?

A: At first, I wanted a character that doesn't fit a typical Japanese person. Then I went through the process of what this young person and I would do if I were placed in these circumstances. I believe this is an important step when you develop a story.


Q: This is far away from the viewer's standpoint.

A: Yes, it is. Which is why I asked Yun Kouga for character designs. If this wasn't Kouga-san's designs, people might have been afraid, grossed out, or not even empathize. It may sound like this is all we're doing based on my conversation, but it is only part of it. This is an entertainment show so we'll have those other elements, too.


Q: Will there be any romance?

A: There will be plenty of romance even under these harsh circumstances. *laughs* Yousuke Kuroda is going to include lots of romance in the story.


Q: Which means a heroine character is going to appear?

A: We haven't made that public yet? There is one, a 24-year-old heroine. She's been through a lot of difficulties.


Q: Will she be Setsuna's primary interest?

A: Umm, we haven't decided that yet. Again, she's been through a lot...

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Super Mecha Gundams? Oh no. I really don't like the sound of that. I mean, it essentially changes the entire genre itself of the show. From the beginning, Gundams have been prototype reals, not supers. I really don't want pilots yelling out attack names or some such.


I'm sure there's a way that they can make this work and have it be a good show, but it just makes me a little bit uneasy.

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I'd have to agree. this whole interview makes me nervous, about, especially his multiple references to himself as a Gundam novice, sound like hes covering himself if this blows up.

To put it simply, a normal MS will have realistic behavior. Since Gundams are super weapons, they will have super mechanic movements.


does this mean the Gundams are just gonna be running around blowing the absolute crap out of everything while the regular MS end up cannon fodder the whole time?  Even in Wing were in the beginning the Gundams were way above average they still had to retreat and took damage.

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DD: He is speaking of Gundams in terms of them being 'end-it-all' weapons, as in, something that can take out entire armies. It has been heavily suggested that all the Gundams in 00 is going to be one-man armies (without any need for support of any form to speak of), and based on the second trailer aired some time ago, things are definitely not looking at the bright side.


Although this might seem to be something 'refreshing' (notice the sarcasm), it doesn't help that we are going to see more '25 ZAKUs and GOUFs in 2 minutes?!' sort of scenes in 00. Except that the Gundams will have a easier time (yes, the normal MSes don't look like one at all).


Of course, the only way this anime can be really salvaged in any way by the looks of it is to have the enemies have their own elite MSes (something Tallgeese-ish) to fight back. It doesn't help that the time slot is going down the drain (they apparently resorted to showing stuff from 00 after ratings for Terra E went down rapidly, that time slot is far from lucrative any more).

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