Turn A Gundam‘s first ending song is titled “AURA”. It is written, composed, and sung by singer-songwriter Shinji Tanimura and its music arrangement is by Yoko Kanno.
Shinji Tanimura is a renowned singer-songwriter and composer who has been involved with famous artists such as Hibari Misora and Momoe Yamaguchi. He previously collaborated with Yoshiyuki Tomino on the ending song “Suna no Juujika” for the first movie in the Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy. Tomino had wanted him to sing the song as well, but he couldn’t due to contracting issues. Back then Tomino had approached him with a greedy mindset, intending to show off the work of a popular singer-songwriter in his anime. With Turn A Gundam, 20 years had passed and things were different. Tomino was genuinely his fan this go around and wanted Tanimura to sing a song that would make audiences feel that mecha anime has changed.
Tanimura was a tenured performer. He believed in a philosophy called “throwing a curve ball” to the audience, so to speak, in order to continuously evolve as an artist. The singer has to adapt to the stage and audience on any given day and not deliver a by-the-books performance. At times, this could mean singing with incredible bravado and emotion, and at other times it could mean singing in a routine-like fashion. Yoko Kanno agreed with this mindset. To Tomino, this put things into perspective: he had realized that he was throwing “straight balls” for most of his career and wanted to throw a “curve ball” with Turn A Gundam.
Tomino admired Tanimura’s continued success and dedication as an artist. In early 1999, he’d held hundreds of concerts and would continue to keep the pace into the 2000s. Meanwhile—in his mind—Tomino was struggling to finalize the first half of Turn A Gundam‘s scenario amidst poor reputation of the “Mustache Gundam”. When he heard Tanimura recording “AURA”, he was mesmerized and felt that he should make a show talented people such as him could approve of.
Visually “AURA” has limited animation by Kazuhiro Soeta. It features Loran in his pilot suit flying in the skies, as he floats past Kihel (in the foreground) with her hand reaching out to him. Once he moves past her he becomes naked and she changes direction to reveal herself as Dianna. This reflects the “two in one and one in two” duality between Kihel and Dianna.
The lyrics call on the “eyes of the boy hanging his head” gazing “upon the sea of his heart”, and “AURA” itself is meant to refer to the first winds that blow at dawn. There are many ways to interpret the lyrics, but given the visuals I personally view it as a metaphor for Loran’s internal confusion and never-ending love and loyalty for both Kihel and Dianna.
Turn A Gundam Series Credits
Planning – Sunrise
Created by – Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino
Character Design – Akira Yasuda
Character Setting – Yoshihito Hishinuma
Kunio Okawara, Syd Mead, Atsushi Shigeta, Takumi Sakura
Art Director – Shigemi Ikeda
Color Coordinator – Miyoko Kasamori
Director of Photography – Yoichi Oogami
Editing – Shigeyuki Yamamori
Music – Yoko Kanno
Sound Director – Yota Tsuroka
Production Cooperation – Asatsu-DK, Sotsu Co., Ltd.
Producer – Yoshihiro Suzuki (Fuji TV), Hideyuki Tomioka (Sunrise)
Chief Director – Yoshiyuki Tomino
Animation Producer – Fuji TV, Sunrise
Ending Theme “AURA” Credits
Lyrics – Shinji Tanimura
Composition – Shinji Tanimura
Arrangement – Yoko Kanno
Song – Shinji Tanimura
Ending Animation – Kazuhiro Soeta