Storyboard to Turn A Gundam EP#42

My luck hit big and I won auctions to a few Turn A Gundam storyboards, which are huge acquires for a collector like myself. In this post, I’m highlighting episode 42 – “The Turn X Activates”, with storyboard by Seiji Okuda. Okuda is an industry veteran who’s been involved with anime since the mid-60s. His most notable work is perhaps Dancougar (1985) in which he served as series director.

Note that it’s listed as #41 because the recap episode (#16) is omitted from the broadcast count number.

What are storyboards? Well, I’m no expert on the matter so I shall borrow Sakuga Blog‘s definition:

Storyboard (絵コンテ, ekonte): The blueprints of animation. A series of usually simple drawings serving as anime’s visual script, drawn on special sheets with fields for the animation cut number, notes for the staff and the matching lines of dialogue.

The storyboard is usually based on the script and scenario and is drawn or supervised by the director. They serve to help frame camera angles, scene conceptualization, dialogue placement, special effects, and more. They often also contain direction and notes for staff members to follow in scene creation. The quality and detail of storyboards may vary based on how heavily the staff relies on the storyboarding process. My understanding is that, generally speaking, the storyboards to anime opening and ending song sequences carry much more detail than regular episodes.

Yoshiyuki Tomino draws or edits many of the storyboards to the anime he directs. They say that Tomino revised many of the scripts and storyboards handed to him during Turn A’s production process, despite the fact that he had a talented team assembled to relieve himself of creative control. This is par for the course; he’s the type of director who can’t help but be intimately involved in all aspects of production. For example, in Tomino’s most recent work, Reconguista in G, he worked on the storyboards to every single episode.

Below are a few snippets from the episode #42 storyboard matched to their corresponding scene(s) in animation. It’s really cool to compare and contrast and study how they developed.

Loran and co. take a moment to enjoy some rations as they stand guard of the palace. The famous lick-lip appears to have been appropriately brought to life.
Dianna Soreil in distress.
Gym Ghingham’s relentless zoom-ins on the visual monitor reflect his aggressive and dominate personality.
The Turn X is introduced. A lot of time and care was put into its design process by Syd Mead to meet Tomino’s criteria, so its introduction scene is given apt detail in the storyboard. The top-down view followed by a close-up of the machine’s head are tried-and-true camera shots of mobile suits docked in hangars.
The iconic Turn A kick.
An intense confrontation between Dianna and Agrippa. I really like the way this scene’s shaped. The characters are elevated on rising platforms, which creates a sense of intensity and allows for top-down and bottom-up camera angles to give weight to the scene. It reminds me of a similarly-crafted scene near the end of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
Dianna and Kihel finally reconvene in person.
The final shot of the episode.

There’s a lot more I could post, obviously, and one day I’d like to get some of the notes in the columns translated. What’s interesting is that there are a lot of panels that are crossed out, which I assume indicate that they weren’t used.

I have two more storyboards in my possession – episodes #43 and #47. I’m really excited to share #43’s, as that’s the pivotal Dark History episode. Stay tuned for that.


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