Chapter 5 of volume 1 of the Turn A Gundam manga adaptation by Atsushi Souga. We’ve also translated the character profiles that are at the end of the volume. And with this, we’ve finished scanlating the entirety of the first volume. That means we’re a fifth of the way through!
Akira Yasuda (better known by his pen name “akiman”) is the character designer for Turn A Gundam. He is well-known for his various design roles in video games, notably the Street Fighter series. He has also been involved in anime linked to director Yoshiyuki Tomino, such as Turn A Gundam, King Gainer, and Gundam Reconguista in G. I had the opportunity to meet akiman at Anime Expo in 2016, and I was blessed with yet another opportunity at this year’s Anime Expo.
Disclaimer: this is a repost of an article I wrote years ago on my personal blog. I’ve decided to slightly revise and edit it and share it here as well, as it’s a relevant topic to this blog.
Yoshiyuki Tomino is a prolific director with a career spanning multiple decades; as such, he is surrounded by hearsay and rumor by fans. This particular rumor was widespread in the English-speaking fandom during the 2000s but has since died down in recent years. This post is simply meant to discredit the basis of the rumor.
RUMOR: Tomino originally intended for Loran Cehack, the protagonist of Turn A Gundam, to be a girl but corporate interference by Sunrise and Bandai prevented him from doing so. What resulted was Tomino acting in “backlash” by having Loran cross-dress on multiple occasions. Some characters in the show even consistently refer to him by his female persona “Laura Rolla”.
As far as I am aware, this has only ever been speculation. Even well-established fan sites such as Tominosuki and Japanese subject-matter experts on social media have yet to corroborate the claim. It’s true that Tomino reacting to corporate meddling is nothing new, but Turn A Gundam serves as an antithesis to that — Tomino had much more free reign during its production than in previous Gundam projects.
The speculation stems from the opinion or idea that it simply “makes sense” — that Loran is more “effeminate” than the usual Gundam protagonist, that “Laura Rolla” is very “attractive” as a female character design, and that the story still would’ve flowed well had Loran been a girl. Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with any of that. Personally I’d have loved for Loran to be a girl! If you ask me, Turn A is structured in such a way that had Loran been female not much would’ve needed altering. But the “should’ve” or “could’ve” are irrelevant here, as there is little proof that it ever was a thing outside of fan wish-fulfillment.
I’m going to go into some detail disclaiming this rumor with some facts and counterpoints.