Yoshiyuki Tomino Admits Story Problems in Gundam Reconguista
posted on by Eric Stimson
Yoshiyuki Tomino's latest anime, Gundam: Reconguista in G, has largely met with a hostile reception from fans, including being called "really bad" and hard to follow by former Studio Gainax president Toshio Okada and performing poorly in anime rankings compiled on Nico Nico Douga. In an interview published in the June edition of the manga magazine Gundam Ace, Tomino admitted to his errors, even saying "I'd only get 15 points out of 100."
Tomino praises the detail and skill of the animation and even apologizes for pushing his staff too far. He thinks the level of the storyboards was not up to par with the sakuga (scenes animated particularly fluidly) since he was "drawing them with the sense of old robot anime." As a result, he feels that the story was "lost" amidst the action scenes and was a big miscalculation. "The principle that screenwriting should prevail over the quality of action scenes was totally discarded."
Regarding the criticism that Gundam Reconguista's story was confusing, Tomino admits that he didn't write the show in a way that was easy to follow. "If I was told that it wasn't understandable because I was bad, all I could say is, 'I'm sorry,'" he said.
Frankly, I didn't think it would be this horrible. Fundamentally, people don't respond to stories made with cold logic. If the logic is overpowering, it won't be a story you can be emotionally attached to. That's all. After Episode 19, we improved so it became a little easier to watch, but gosh, it was too late. With a terrifying amount of effort, we managed to wrap everything up by Episode 26.
When asked if he felt that Gundam Reconguista had adequately conveyed his intentions, Tomino responds:
No. I think a lot of people got caught up by the exterior, the action scenes. But the people I'd most want to see it probably didn't. That's the guys in the Cabinet, the nuclear energy guys. And I don't expect them to.
Tomino also explains that he was motivated by a desire to keep his staff, many of whom are in their 40s and 50s, working for another decade. He expresses frustration that the current anime industry didn't properly provide them with an outlet for their talents. "Can't we make better use of their technique and talent?... Producers and investors want to take those measures. Anime can't just be iyashi-kei ["healing" style] and pretty girls." But when asked if Gundam Reconguista would change the situation, Tomino said no, "because [it] wasn't popular."
Tomino acknowledges that anime is supposed to be "happier" than what he produced, but claimed he couldn't bring himself to make something like that. "I fundamentally have frustration with these types of works, and I realize that I spewed it out too much." He predicts that in 50 years, he will be vindicated, and admits that "personally, I quite like it." But Tomino was careful to say, "Of course, anime is also entertainment, and now the people who sell a million copies are the winners and there's no future for anyone beneath that. That means if something doesn't sell, you can't brag about it."