Mobile Suit Gundam Animation Director Says Series' Pro-War Message is a Mix-Up

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Yoshikazu Yasuhiko starting working on the Gundam franchise at square one: he was the character designer and animation director for Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 and would continue leaving his touch on the franchise in later installments. He is both the artist and writer of the Mobile Suit Gundam: Origin manga and is chief director of its anime adaptation.

Critics have reflected on Mobile Suit Gundam with some characterizing the series as a glamorization of war or sent a "pro-war" message. Others came to the opposite conclusion, stating that Gundam had anti-war elements. Yasuhiko disagreed that Gundam advocated for conflict. He said in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, "Because Gundam begins against the backdrop of a war, it caused misunderstanding among fans who said things like 'war is cool' or 'war may be right as long as it is a form of resistance of the weak.'"

Throughout Yasuhiko's interview, he articulates a complicated opinion on what war means and if it's ever justifiable. He notes that humanity seems drawn to war because of the excitement it causes and that doing so is human nature. He also states even pacifist nations can benefit from wars between other countries.

"Even if you proclaim to be a peaceful state or you don't get your hands dirty, you could be receiving benefits from war somehow or your country could be indirectly protected by a war fought by others," Yasuhiko said. "It all comes down to how you can control yourself and remain cool-headed when things heat up after you realize what war is all about."

His final message addresses Japanese youth participating protests against the recent security bill, which will allow the reinterpretation of Japan's Peace Constitution as well as the military aid of foreign countries in wartime. While he congratulates them on protesting peacefully, he says, "It's a shame if they are caught up in a single-minded pursuit of ideas such as 'protect (war-renouncing) Article 9 (of the Constitution)' and 'preserve (Japan as) a peaceful country.' For example, I hope they think for themselves from now on about how we deal with things like the Islamic State extremist group."

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

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