Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #4 “Soldiers from Home”

Turn A Gundam‘s fourth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on April 30, 1999.

Turn A Gundam‘s fourth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on April 30, 1999.

The episode begins with a rather chaotic skirmish between the Earthlings and Moonrace. Loran struggles to stop the battle as the Militia runs amuck in their feeble attempt to damage the WaDoms and WaDs. The Moonrace, on the other hand, do their best not to directly engage in combat, as they’ve been ordered by Dianna Soreil to limit casualties, but find it difficult to totally ignore the Militia’s “barbaric” tactics. This is an important piece of running context, as it dictates the flow of the upcoming battles; the Moonrace are technologically superior in every way, however their intention is not to destroy and conquer and this pretense allows the Militia to fight back.

We’re introduced to Harry Ord, the captain of Dianna Soreil’s royal guard, who immediately takes on a prominent role. He arrives in his personalized Gold SUMO mobile suit. The SUMO is a curious suit, as it was repurposed from an early rejected draft design of the Turn A Gundam. Syd Mead was an industrial designer by trade so his initial proposals for the Turn A were bulkier in nature, feeling that it’d provide appropriate cover for the young adults piloting it. This was rejected and the Turn A’s design process went in an entirely different direction. However, Mead’s philosophy behind having a bulky robot for protective purposes lived on in spirit; the SUMOs are piloted by Dianna Soreil’s royal guard, with Harry at the helm. Another notable trait about Harry is that he is, obviously, the token mysterious masked character that all Gundam titles are required to have (in the spirit of Char Aznable). In initial drafts, Harry takes on a traditional role as the rival villain who Loran has to overcome, however his role in the story went through many revisions. The final version of the character is quite unlike the usual “Char clone”, as we’ll come to see. Tetsu Inada, his voice actor, is also quite fond of the character, often citing his famous lines and even cosplaying as him on occasion. Harry’s first lines in the show, where he proclaims that the Earth’s rain is warmer than expected, are meant to represent how honest, simple, and straightforward of a person he is.

Kihel and Sochie’s mother faints when she learns of her husband’s death, and it’s also implied that she isn’t in a stable mental condition due to shock from the Moonrace’s previous assault. As mentioned in last episode’s breakdown, vengeance is what guides Sochie to join the Militia, and this is expounded on as Miashei convinces her to stop moping around and fight to avenge her father. Meanwhile, Loran makes contact with the Moonrace to warn them of the Militia’s operation to survey the land and excavate relics of the Dark History. He does this in hopes of easing further conflict. This is also Loran and Harry’s first time interacting with each other, and they both briefly indulge in their mutual love for Queen Dianna.

The Earthlings and Moonrace have their first in-person negotiation talks, with Guin Lineford representing the Earthling side and Captain Audi representing the Moonrace. This peace talk does not last very long, as a deranged Earthling ranking member shoots and kills Audi out of anger. This causes absolute mayhem, and Guin fears for everyone’s life—he’s quite aware of the Moonrace’s technological superiority—and Captain Phil kills the ranking member in return fire. Harry and co. try to ease the situation and call for a temporary cease-fire, to allow both sides to regroup and rethink their circumstances. This botched initial negotiation attempt is definitive to the type of walking-on-eggshells conflicts present in Turn A Gundam. Neither side wants an all-out war; the Earthlings because they know they can’t fight one, and the Moonrace because it’s not their wish to.

This is the first of many episodes to feature outsourced background art by Kyoto Animation—the very same anime studio responsible for works like Haruhi, K-On!, and Sound! Euphonium. KyoAni began in the 1980s as a group of housewives (then Kyoto Anime Studio) painting cels for Tatsunoko Pro and Pierrot productions, and by the 90s they had fully established departments for animation and photography. Their name became a regular occurrence in credits for many high-profile productions, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, often providing in-betweens, key animation, and/or background art. It’s no surprise that they’d be approached for Turn A Gundam as well, especially given the fact that Tomino wanted more women on staff than the norm. [kudos to kViN for giving me a little KyoAni primer for additional context]

The episode ends with the Militia uncovering what appear to be ancient mobile suits.

Turn A Gundam Episode #4 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Poe – Yumiko Nakanishi
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Sid – Akio Nojima
Joseph – Setsuji Sato
Phil – Tsuyoshi Koyama
Colonel Aji – Yutaka Nakano
Ladderum – Ikuya Sawaki
Jessica – Chikako Akimoto
Mrs. Heim – Fumie Hojo
Sam – Hidenari Ugaki
Iru – Yoshihito Ishinami
Military Soldier B – Kihachiro Uemura
Military Soldier C – Kenichi Sakaguchi
Pilot A – Masahiko Tanaka
Pilot B – Toshihide Tsuchiya
Female Secretary – Akiko Okamoto

Key Animation – Studio Dub (Katsunori Enokimoto, Akira Takahashi, Tetsuya Ishikawa, Tsukadai Sakai, Kazuhiro Ono, Satoshi Tazawa, Lee Ju, Seoul Dub), Toshio Mori, Teknori Tsukuma

In-between Check – Miki Otani
In-betweens – Studio Dub (Liu Jun, Akihiro Saitou, Katsuhiro Yokoyama, Masami Koyama, Tomohiru Zaizen, Mari Yasuhiko, Atsushi Ichijo, Kazuko Otake, Seoul Dub, Shanghai Dub)

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Kazuhiro Mikami, Izumi Inoue, Miho Kobayashi, Hiromi Okamoto, Yukari Goto, Mizuho Ueda)
Finishing Manager – Fumie Maebayashi

Art Board – Yukiko Maruyama (Atelier Musa)
Backgrounds – Kyoto Animation (Hiroshi Igaki, Hideki Kaneko, Ryoji Kawabata)
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. (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 – Sachio Tamenaga (Fuji TV), Kaoru Asai (Sunrise)
Setting Management – Shigeru Horiguchi, Yoshitaka Kawaguchi

Episode Director – Akira Nishimori
Animation Director – Shinichi Sakuma
Screenplay – Tetsuko Takahashi
Storyboard – Akira Nishimori
Assistant Episode Director – Satoshi Toba
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto
Production Advancement – Aya Kishida

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