Interview: Kazuhiro Furuhashi

We had a few moments to sit down with the director of the highly anticipated new Gundam UC OAV series, Kazuhiro Furuhashi, who also worked on a bevy of fan-favorite anime series like Rurouni Kenshin and Getbackers.

ANN: I assume you read Harutoshi Fukui's Gundam UC novels as preparation for directing the anime series. How faithful is the series to the books? How different is the story in the anime version?

Furuhashi: Since there are differences [between a novel and an animated series] in the means of expression and absolute volume [meaning the scope and length of the series], change is only natural. I personally embrace changes that allow for even better drama and deeper characters.

Did previous entries in the Gundam franchise influence you when directing Gundam UC at all? Did Director Yoshiyuki Tomino influence you in how you directed Unicorn?

Mobile Suit Gundam is a major influence. As everything up to Space Runaway Ideon informs my very flesh and blood, those influences may unconsciously surface.

Did you feel like you had to live up to high expectations with the Universal Century of Gundam? How did you feel about addressing the very fabric of the Universal Century timeline?

Since there's the novel, the pressure is basically the same as always. As I'm not well-versed with what followed after Mobile Suit Gundam, I'm learning as I go. I don't think there will be any mistakes as I'm surrounded by people who are aficionados of the series.

What makes working on a long-running, beloved franchise like Gundam different than other anime? Would you work on more Gundam in the future?

There are no differences in particular. This is actually my first time with a mecha-based anime and that alone is quite a task. As I'll probably be fully sated with this one, I don't think there will be a next one for me.

The first episode of Gundam Unicorn deals with the theme of "hope". Is this the theme you concentrated on in the direction of the first episode, or did those flow naturally from the story of the novels?

Unicorn and Banagher are the symbols (of hope). At most, this is projected as imagery. It should come out clearly near the end.

What elements of Gundam appeal to you the most, either from a director's point of view, or just as a person who has become familiar with Unicorn through working on it?

I found myself attracted to the diverse relationships between father and son that are depicted like layers of frost. I feel that the work is destined for a long life, given the universal nature of the subject.

How do you feel about Gundam Unicorn's worldwide release? Do you think more anime will be released this way, or at least more Gundam?

I am overwhelmed by the spirit of challenge. I can feel the pressure beginning to build with regard to this (worldwide release). It was totally unexpected. It's my sincere wish that this work is well received and that other works will continue to follow.

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