Storyboard to Turn A Gundam EP#43

This post highlights the storyboard of Turn A Gundam episode 43 – “The Shocking Dark History”, with storyboard by Kazuki Akane. This is a major pivotal episode in the plot, so expect spoilers! Akane is an industry veteran who’s no stranger to Gundam in particular, providing storyboards for 0083 and being involved in Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Char’s Counterattack, F91, and later on Iron-Blooded Orphans. He also provided storyboards for Brain Powerd, so, needless to say, Tomino was quite familiar with his work! His major directorial work is perhaps the 2008 Birdy the Mighty Decode TV anime and OVA.

Note that this storyboard is listed as #42 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 (2014), he worked on the storyboards to every single episode.

Below are a few snippets from the episode #43 storyboard matched to their corresponding scene(s) in animation. It’s really cool to compare and contrast and study how they developed.

The Turn A confronts the Turn X for the first time and its internal computer system immediately recognizes its arch-nemesis. Interesting to note that a lot of the ENGRISH was provided by Kazuki Akane himself in the comments.
Loran does battle with Merrybell in her Bandit.
Dianna and Kihel share a moment, perpetuating the “two in one and one in two” thematic focus of the show.
Dianna and Kihel reveal to Sochie that they had swapped places earlier in the show, much to Sochie’s shock.
Harry Ord in his Gold SUMO faces off against a group of Mahiroos led by Sweatson Stero. Harry’s famous “you dare speak of the Queen’s ass so casually, you bastard?!” line is also featured.
Dianna Soreil approaches the unsealed records of the Dark History in the Winter Palace, as Agrippa Maintainer warns her that the Earthers would not be able to comprehend its significance. There’s a lot of detail and shading to the storyboard in these panels, likely because it’s a lead-in to the most pivotal moment in the show.
The shocking Dark History is revealed. What’s interesting is that the storyboard sketches actually do not show what Gundam series are present in each cut, but rather there is a LOT of detail and direction provided in the comments. I’m not fluent in Japanese, but my impression is that there’s direction like “insert ZZ Gundam transformation sequence here” or “Gundam X scene goes here”.
The terrifying Moonlight Butterfly, the Turn A Gundam’s ultimate attack powered by nanotechnology. The mechanism which annihilated civilization and put an end to mankind’s ancient history. The titular hero robot of the show is actually a menace itself.

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.

I have one more storyboards in my possession – episodes #47. Stay tuned for that!


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