19th Anniversary: Celebrating the Animation of Turn A Gundam

Turn A Gundam celebrated its 19th anniversary this year on April 9th. Woo-hoo! Now here’s a little treat.

Turn A is unique in that it is the last TV Gundam to be mostly animated through physical cels, a process which began to decline in the anime industry by the late 1990s. In 2015 I made a sakuga MAD commemorating its animation. To celebrate Turn A Gundam‘s 19th anniversary I’ve re-created the video in HD, now with added clips and with fixed errors. Please enjoy.

Turn A Gundam features many animators. Below I’d like to highlight two of its prominent key animators: Atsushi Shigeta and Masami Goto.

Disclaimer: I don’t claim to be a “sakuga” or animation expert. In fact, most of what I’ve learned has been through friends and acquaintances. When it comes to Turn A, I’ve routinely asked Kraker2k to look things up for me on Japanese sites.

Perhaps most notable is Atsushi Shigeta, an animator primarily associated with Sunrise. He made his mark on titles such as Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Char‘s Counterattack, and later on Brain Powerd. No doubt Tomino approved of his animation style–and still does, as he was also involved in 2014’s Reconguista in G. Shigeta’s role with Turn A was more than just an animator: he was also responsible for taking Syd Mead’s design sketches and realizing them into master drawings for animation. Syd Mead praised Shigeta’s work and in his art book, “Mead Gundam”, even personally thanked him for his craft. Atsushi Shigeta’s animation style is clean and detailed, often characterized by a stylistic flair.

shigeta1
Animated by Atsushi Shigeta, from OP #2. This little cut is iconic because it segues right into the “na na na~” bit of the song’s lyrics. I also happen to own a cel from this cut!
shigeta2
Animated by Atsushi Shigeta, ep #47. An explosion effect you’ll find in many Atsushi Shigeta MADs on YouTube or niconico. It’s super stylistic and examining it frame-by-frame is very rewarding.

Next up is Masami Goto, a name you’ve undoubtedly seen a lot in the video I made. Alongside Hideaki Anno and Yasushi Muraki, Masami Goto is seen as one of the few successors to Ichirō Itano. Goto’s action animation is superb and he can animate amazing “Itano Circus” sequences as well. He even worked together with Itano on Macross Plus. His career is characterized by various 90s anime: Gundam F91, Tekkaman Blade, Gundam Wing, Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop, Turn A Gundam, to name a few. Personally, I really like Goto’s explosion effects. They add a lot of weight and layers of realism to battles, giving them an extra “wow”-factor. Just the other day, A Lizard In Crimson endearingly referred to him as “Masami GOAT”, and I’m inclined to agree. He’s my favorite animator.

masamigoto
Animated by Masami Goto, ep #15. This is actually three different cuts merged together. The battle between Will Game’s unearthed Cannon Illefuto (a GM Cannon-inspired suit) and a couple Borjarnons. I love these because it showcases Goto’s ability to add realism and weight via explosions. The last cut especially, as the GM Cannon’s being blown apart.
itano
Animated by Masami Goto, ep #50. Turn A‘s not the type of anime you’d expect to see Itano Circus, but the final episode does not care and neither does Masami Goto.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this celebration of Turn A Gundam‘s wonderful animation.

-Feez

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