Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #2 “The Coming of Age Ceremony”

Turn A Gundam‘s second episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on April 16, 1999. It followed the highly-applauded premiere episode.

Turn A Gundam‘s second episode aired on April 16, 1999 on Fuji TV.

We quickly learn more about Kihel and Sochie’s personalities and life goals. Sochie’s rebellious nature comes to light; a daughter of a wealthy family who would rather become a militia pilot over living the illustrious life of nobility. She’s perfectly okay with her elder sister Kihel being the shine of the family. Kihel, on the other hand, struggles with the idea of attending university as is expected of her. She believes it a waste of time in an ever-evolving world and would rather head straight into the workforce as a government official. In the midst of it all, Loran admires how much Kihel looks more and more like Queen Dianna (of the Moonrace) as time passes. We also get a glimpse at Keith and Fran’s roles for the remainder for the show, as a baker and news reporter respectively. Meanwhile, Guin continues to refer to Loran as “Laura”, and Kihel asks him why. His response? It “seems to suit him better.”

Also featured is one of voice actress Rieko Takahashi’s favorite scenes. She voices both Kihel Heim and Dianna Soreil (more on that particular dynamic in future posts), and her favorite scene specifically involving Kihel is in this episode: when she casually steals Sochie’s candy for herself and chides her for being “rude”. Takahashi views it as a cute and innocent moment between sisters, as they discuss their career plans.

Voice actress Rieko Takahashi’s favorite scene involving Kihel Heim.

I own a lot of Turn A Gundam cels (too many keep count of…), and one of them is from this episode! It’s during the scene in which Guin is persuading Loran to take on a job at Bostonian Castle. Loran kindly refuses, so Guin then suggests he work for Sid, a prospector looking for engineers. I find this cel striking because Loran only wears his chauffeur uniform for a few episodes. This uniform was intended by Akiman to be sharp and attractive, with white gloves and shiny shoes.

Side-by-side comparison shot of an animation cel to final animation frame @ 9m44s.

Turn A Gundam‘s an anime that utilizes folklore and mythology to great degree, and we get our first glimpse of that in this episode. Loran and Sochie attend the Coming of Age ceremony, a traditional practice the people of Vicinity perform as they come into adulthood. For Loran this is an important step to assimilate into society, given that he’s already two years behind on the tradition. There’s nothing unusual about all this—you see variations of this type of thing in many fictional stories. What makes it interesting here, however, is how it’s woven into the story. The ceremony involves basking under the “gaze of the White Doll”, the town’s local guardian deity, and one of the rituals requires you to place leeches at six locations on your naked back. We later learn that the guardian deity is actually the Turn A Gundam itself, which had been buried underground for thousands of years! And the leeches are explained early into the next episode.

The main conflict is also briefly introduced. It’s revealed that Guin Lineford has been in contact with the Moonrace via radio signals, and that they plan to immigrate or invade the continent to reclaim parts of their lost land. As the Coming of Age ceremony commences, the Moonrace come crashing down and bomb the cityscape. This is what causes the “White Doll” (the Turn A Gundam) to emerge from its sleep. Loran, being of Moonrace origin himself, is barely able to recognize the internals of its cockpit, and it appears that the Turn A’s sentience is what fights back against the invaders. We are also introduced to the WaDom (short for “Walking Dome”), a 40-m tall Dianna Counter mobile suit.

The second episode features stunning animation by Atsushi Shigeta, with much of the action sequences near the end being his work. As mentioned earlier, Shigeta played a important role in Turn A Gundam. He was one of its prominent animators and was also responsible for taking Syd Mead’s design sketches and realizing them into master drawings for reference purposes. It’s said he often went uncredited too—animation directing, cuts, promotional work, etc. Thus, it’s only natural for the Turn A’s debut performance to feature several cuts by him. Shigeta is noted for his clean and detailed style, particularly in smoke and explosion effects. You can see some of that here as the Turn A prepares to fire its beam rifle and skids down the hill.

The Turn A Gundam emerges: much of the action sequences at the end of the episode are animated by Atsushi Shigeta. Here’s a compilation of his animation cuts. Credit to @kraker2k for helping me parse through and analyze these.

The episode ends on an abrupt note, not unlike some of the episodes in Tomino’s previous anime Brain Powerd.

Turn A Gundam Episode #2 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Keith – Jun Fukuyama
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Sid – Akio Nojima
Joseph – Setsuji Sato
Yani – Takuya Kirimoto
Jessica – Chikako Akimoto
Poe – Yumiko Nakanishi
Ladderum Kune – Ikuya Sawaki
Dylan – Chou Katsumi
Mrs. Heim – Fumie Hojo
Staff Member A – Kazunori Tanaka
Staff Member B – Toshihiko Nakajima
Staff Member C – Jun Hazumi
Militia A – Kihachiro Uemura
Woman A – Shizumi Niki
Woman B – Mioko Fujiwara
Gentleman D – Toshihide Tsuchiya
Girlfriend – Yuko Goto
Boy A – Takayuki Okada
Boy C – Ben Takada
Boy D – Kenta Katagiri
Boy E – Hiroto Torihata
Boy H – Masahito Yabe

Key Animation – Studio Dove (Katsunori Enokimoto, Akira Takahashi, Tetsuya Ishikawa, Tsukadai Sakai, Kazuhiro Ono, Satoshi Tazawa, Lee Ju, Seoul Dove), Atsushi Shigeta, Toshio Mori, Tomohiro Kawahara

In-between Check – Miki Otani
In-betweens – Studio Dove (Akihiro Saito, Masami Koyama, Tomohiro Zaizen, Katsuhiro Yokoyama, Mari Yasuhiko, Kazuko Otake, Atsushi Ichijo, Seoul Dove, Shanghai Dove)

Color Setting – Fusako Nakao (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Yasuko Suenaga, Harumi Kiyono, Ayumi Ando, Takako Uemura, Eri Masuda, Ayako Tsunoda)
Finishing Manager – Fumie Maebayashi

Art Board – Yukiko Maruyama (Atelier Musa)
Backgrounds – White Map (Masashi Hasegawa, Hiroshi Nozawa, Sachie Endo, Junko Sakurai, Akiko Manabe)
Special Effects – Toshio Hasegawa (Marix)
Title Lith Work – Maki Pro

Photography – Asahi Production (Shinya Sawada, Atsushi Tamura, Asami Kumazawa, Noriaki Akitaya, Tomokazu Kaneko, Akihiko Fujino)
Assitant Editor – Nobuhiro Akiho (Jay Film)
Development – Tokyo Laboratory

Sound design – Koji Kasamatsu
Foley – Eiko Morikawa
Recording Adjustment – Yasuhiro Nagura
Sound Production – Rakuonsha
Desk – Yoshimi Sugiyama
Music Production – Yoshiaki Ota (Borderline Records)

Digital Effects – Sunrise D.I.D. (Hiroshi Furuhashi, Ken Iokawa, Kayoko Murakami, Makoto Takakura)
Video Editing – Qtec
Telecine – Makoto Imazuka
Video Editor – Tetsuro Fujita

Mechanical Design – Hitoshi Iwaki, Yoshikazu Miyao, Junya Ishigaki, Mahiro Maeda, Tsukasa Dokite
Setting Proof – Shigeru Morita (Studio Nue)
Title Logo Design – Daisuke Unno

PR Management – Schio Tamenaga (Fuji TV), Kaoru Asai (Sunrise)
Setting Management – Shigeru Horiguchi, Yoshitaka Kawaguchi

Episode Director – Kunihiro Mori
Animation Director – Shinichi Sakuma
Screenplay – Katsuhiko Chiba
Storyboard – Minoru Yokitani
Assistant Episode Director – Satoshi Toba
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto
Production Advancement – Hiromi Ogawa

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