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Old 2006-10-09, 22:04   Link #1
Join Date: Dec 2005
My report on Yoshiyuki Tomino's appearence in Chicago/the Zeta Movies premiere...

Copying this from what I've already posted elsewhere. Hope you guys don't mind that it's a bit lengthy and has a small amount of ranting in it:

Now that the report is up on Gunota, I may as well share my experiences, as I was at virtually every single Tomino related event that occurred on Friday and Saturday (with the exception of the 150$ dinner they offered with him, which was just beyond my already hampered budget...). Just to clarify, I was the person mentioned in the report who was cosplaying as Kamille Bidan during the Zeta premiere itself. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to document all the Q and A sessions and panels like I had originally planned, but I'll try to discuss what I can recall from memory:

Friday, October 6th:

Book signing at borders:

I arrived at the Borders book store in downtown Chicago across the street from what USED to be the infamous Marshall Fields. Being a long time UC fan, convention goer, panelist, and cosplayer... I decided that bringing out the Amuro Ray cosplay I wore at Otakon(done for me by a very nice Sayla cosplayer out in Cali) this year would be the most appropriate choice for day 1 of all the major Tomino events. The event itself was located in a small corner on the 3rd floor, and the percentage of people that showed up for this was only a smaller number of hardcore Tomino fans and a few curious bystandards (perhaps 50 or so people) but that merely made the event much more inter-personal. Finally, after lots of silly little injokes with the other hardcore Tomino fans who were there... 12:30PM came and the man himself finally arrived!

Upon first greeting him, I did the old Turn-A hand symbol that he's so famous for doing, and he was visibly amused by both this and the other cosplayers around us. He's also a little bit shorter than he may have appeared in his other pictures, only appearing to be about 5'3 or so. Upon sitting down, his first comment, amusingly enough, was that he appreciated the fan enthusiasm, but the cosplayers should make sure not to wear these on the streets of Chicago once we left.

Before the signing began, he had a 20 minute Q and A session where fans were able to ask him any sort of question they chose. Unfortunately, I can't recall all the specific questions and answers, but there were some rather interesting points made:

One person asked which of the Gundam works does he consider canon, and after some debate about how to translate 'canon', he essentially answered that he only acknowledges his own timeline and works (I assume this means nearly all of UC and Turn-A).

Another question asked was what he preferred between L-Gaim, Dunbine, Ideon, and Xabungle, to which he responded that he isn't really allowed to answer that kind of question.

I tried to follow up on this by asking what his favorite work in general was, but he also didn't want to answer this in the presence of Bandai representatives. This kind of response implies to me that he's become much more compliant with Bandai than he used to be, and he seemed to carry a similar attitude all throughout the entire series of events.

Perhaps one of the most interesting points he made was when someone asked what he tried to do to attract a female fanbase to Gundam. Much to the surprise of many of us, he responded by noting that Gundam was originally more popular with female fans in Japan when it first came out since they were attracted to the drama and the look of the Gundam itself. He said that the male fans simply caught on a little bit later. Apparently, the female Gundam following has 'always' been rather strong in Japan.

Afterwards, the signing itself began. Unfortunately, despite what was mentioned on the website, Borders ONLY allowed him to sign copies of the US Novel release (of which there were plenty avaliable for purchase if you needed one). I was rather disappointed by this since I had intended to get the copy of CCA that Toru Furuya had signed at AX signed by Tomino as well. A few select people got lucky and managed to slip other items past the 'security' and onto his table (most notably, a Zeta boxset, some Turn-A sketches, and a gold painted Hiyaku-Shiki styled Haro toy!). He personally was glad to sign anything as long as you asked him nicely. The signing ended people took a few more pictures with him before he left. I was lucky enough to get in a group picture right next to him (A picture which the Bandai and Sunrise reps were apparently rather enthused to take, as they all crowded around and snapped a few shots of our group...).

Some pictures of the Friday signing (Taken by's Jetspectacular) can be seen here:

Columbia University Animation Panel:

Starting at 6:00PM, this panel had surprisingly little to do with the effects of animation on the Japanese economy, and had even less to do with Gundam itself, but it was still a very interesting event for anybody who likes anime to attend. The panel featured Tomino, Gainax's Hiroaki Inoue, and a few other notable US animation experts who's names have unfortunately eluded me. Unfortunately, my report is going to be unfairly biased to Tomino's comments, but this is just going off of what I can remember. Some of the following points were made:

1. Tomino doesn't have any single message he wants viewers to take from Gundam, but rather believes a good work should contain 'multiple' messages for the viewer. Having only a single idea is too simplistic for him.

2. Tomino appreciates the practical values shown in sports anime and has expressed disappointment over the fact that they're not more successful here in the US.

3. The panelists all reflected that the major difference between Japanese and American heroes resides in how they treat their enemies and how the good and evil are represented. American heroes frequently are simply good and fighting a clearly antagonistic force without much question, while many Japanese heroes have more ambiguous roles and beliefs in the stories they're portrayed in and may tend to question them.

4. Japan embraced animation for the sake of creating something new since in many respects, doing something new and challenging this was all they could hope to do after the devastation they endured in World War II.

5. Tomino also complimented Shoujo stories for the values and complexities they can often contain.

I again apologize that I can't remember much else specifically, but these were some of the most memorable points that I can recall being made. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this panel itself was simply watching Tomino try to respond to the questions he was given. His facial expressions are very animated when pondering a question, and you can easily note when he's either intrigued, or bored by a question. Overall, there was a very strong sentiment of appreciation being shown for what Japanese animation has accomplished in both the world of animation itself, and modern cinema. After the panel ended, all the guests quickly went on their way.

Much of what happened the next day is already covered in the report on Gunota, but I'll write up my own experience and some tidbits about the Zeta films themselves later.

Last edited by HEDGESMFG; 2006-10-10 at 02:00.
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Old 2006-10-09, 22:06   Link #2
Join Date: Dec 2005
Additionally, for those of you who haven't yet read the Gunota report on the film premiere:

US Zeta premiere report
Major thanks to Jason Reynolds of the Gundam Mailing List for making this available to the blog. Unmarked spoilers for Zeta & Turn A are included:


I ran into Tomino on the way into the auditorium and bowed to him. He was taller then I expected. Very cool guy.

There were 5 Cosplayers there. Kamille Bidan, Schwarz Bruder, 2 girls wearing identical costumes I couldn't identify, and a female Zeon officer.

Going in I wasn't sure if the movies would be in Raw Japanese, Dubbed, or Subbed. Luckily they were subbed.

Tomino gave introductions to each of the movies through a translator. His introduction to the first movie focused a lot on the technical problems with making the movie due to the graininess, and the aspect ration, of the old footage. When Tomino introduced the second movie he said that he felt the narrative flow of the first movie was too complex and hard to follow so he made a point of simplifying the storylines for the following movies. He talked about how the second film in a trilogy is always a little slower because it is setting up stuff for the following movie. For a second I thought he was channeling George Lucas. He said the second film was his favorite. I don't remember what he said before the third film.

The one thing that drove EVERYONE crazy was that the people running the event decided to turn the house lights up during the credits, bring Tomino on the stage, and then stop the movie during the credits. We got them to restart the movie but they didn't turn off the house lights and they had spotlights on Tomino so we DID NOT see the Hyakushiki. It might have been there but we couldn't tell. They definitely negated Double Zeta with how they handled Axis, and they might've eliminated Char's Counterattack because he might have actually died this time out. It really ticked off everyone in the audience. Someone asked Tomino what was up with the Hyakushiki during the Q & A but all he would say is he would leave it up to the viewer's interpretation.

Q & A Session

I am trying to type all of these by memory so please forgive me if I forgot a question or misrepresent one. During the Q & A the following questions were brought up:

QUESTION: Would the events of Double Zeta still happen now that they redid the ending of Zeta?

TOMINO: At first he appeared to indicate that it wasn't going to happen by his reaction which I could only describe as disgust. He then said that he didn't plan to do it because he wanted to go do something more challenging. (Career challenges were a big theme with him in the Q & A.)

My questions: Who did we have to bribe to get Turn A Gundam released in America? Were Queen Dianna and Loran Cehack a romantically married couple, or platonic, at the end of Turn A Gundam?

TOMINO: I am not in the business so talk to Bandai/Sunrise about Turn A Gundam. As far as Loran and Dianna the nice thing is that I don't have to be in control of every character's destiny. I can leave it up to the viewers to decide for themselves.

QUESTION: Did Char survive the end of Zeta?

TOMINO: I just answered that (in reference to the viewer has to decide for themselves)

QUESTION: Are you considering redoing Char's Counterattack?

TOMINO: I am not in the business so that is all up to Sunrise.

QUESTION: Do you retain creative control or does Sunrise control the movies.

TOMINO: I do control every frame of the movie and I edit it myself.

QUESTION: How do I get a job at Sunrise:

TOMINO: You need to be in the right place at the right time.

QUESTION: How do you feel about the AU series such as Wing, Seed, etc.

TOMINO: I don't know. I never watched them.

QUESTION: How was it integrating the new animation with the old animation for the Zeta trilogy?

TOMINO: It was an exciting challenge. We had to work on cleaning up the old animation and modifying it to flow with the new animation. This is the first time that something has been done like this in an animated work. In a conventional film you can't bring back the actors 20 years later and have them fit in with their old footage. With animation you are able to bring back the voice actors luckily.

QUESTION: Why didn't you reanimate the whole thing?

TOMINO: We didn't have the budget to be able to redo all the animation. I also felt that there was a certain emotional quality to the original footage that should still be there. ( I am not 100% of this last part so I am paraphrasing from memory)

QUESTION: How do you feel about the American audience's reaction to the Gundam series? (I think in reference to how it has started to deteriorate)

TOMINO: I haven't really been aware of their reaction.

QUESTION: What do you want us to take away from the viewing of this trilogy?

TOMINO: The strength and depth of the human spirit.

QUESTION: What made you decide to change the story so much for this New Translation of Zeta Gundam?

TOMINO: When I created the story 20 years ago I was trying to make a dark story. 20 years later I think it is better to put a happier ending to the story. I also was excited by the challenge of integrating the new footage with the old footage to make something new.

QUESTION: Did you have any particular scenes that you had to cut out of Zeta for the trilogy that you really missed:

TOMINO: I don't have the time to go into it in detail because it could go on all night. I don't have any off the top of my head.

QUESTION: Was it hard to come back to the old characters after such a long time and get back into their world/headspace?

TOMINO: That would take too long to explain.

After the Q & A Tomino was presented with a lifetime career achievement award. He was very grateful to be able to share the movie with us and be in Chicago. He was grateful to the American fans as they were what enabled him to receive the award. They then brought down 4 of the Cosplayers (The Zeon officer didn't come down) to take pictures with Tomino. In conclusion he was a very nice guy. Very funny. It was a treat to see him and these movies! I would definitely recommend getting them if they are released in America. I know I will.
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Old 2006-10-10, 13:25   Link #3
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ithaca, NY, USA // Taichung, Taiwan
Age: 32
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Wow, really awesome!

Man, I wish I could be there, if it weren't because I have school and I can't afford a plane ticket frmo New York to Chicago
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Old 2006-10-23, 03:48   Link #4
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Thanks Kai Shiden!

(Took me forever to recongize the MKII on the poster LOL)
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