Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #7 “Training to be a Lady”

Turn A Gundam‘s seventh episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on May 21, 1999.

Turn A Gundam‘s seventh episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on May 21, 1999.

The Moonrace discover that the Earth Militia have been excavating mobile suits from the Mountain Cycle. They figure that they should investigate the surrounding areas for similar relics, to prevent the Militia’s arsenal from increasing and causing all-out war. In an effort to improve relations between the two sides, Dianna also suggests to hold a goodwill dance party.

Guin has Loran return to Bostonian Castle and instructs him to attend the party as “Laura Rolla”; his plan is to show the Moonrace that they have a powerful mobile suit that is piloted by a maiden woman. Loran begrudgingly goes along with the idea, because stopping war from breaking out is top priority. What ensues is one of the show’s most iconic segments. Kihel acts as Loran’s instructor and trains him to play the role of a “lady”—conduct oneself as a lady, dress as a lady, dance as a lady, etc., in what is deemed appropriate for the time period. Loran fumbles around and struggles at first, but ultimately he owns up to the role and convincingly dawns the “Laura Rolla” persona. He’s an effeminate man by nature, so he’s able to pull it off quite well! This episode’s scenario is by Miya Asakawa, who claims to have had a lot of fun working on this episode and was laughing as she wrote the script.

The idea of “Laura Rolla” has been subject to rumor that Tomino originally wanted Loran to be a girl. This is simply false, as Loran’s earlier character designs actually had him appear even more masculine. “Laura Rolla” as an concept is inspired by Takarazuka Revue stage performances. An all-female theater troupe, the male characters in Takarazuka stories are also played by women, a construct that influenced transformative shoujo titles like Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight. In Turn A Gundam, it’s a bit of a reverse-situation, with a man (Loran) occasionally playing the role of a woman (Laura). He also acts as a knight for the women in his life and even has a bit of chivalric romance going on with Dianna—a dynamic not uncommon to Takarazuka stories. Tomino wanted to explore the masculine and feminine aspects that dwell within all of us, so he instructed Akiman to give Loran both “male” and “female” design characteristics. This resulted in green eyes and untypically long hair for a Gundam protagonist. One could even speculate and say Loran’s pseudo-androgyny represents a symbolic union between the Earth and Moon (i.e. masculinity & femininity), which parallels his role as a “bridge” between both sides of the conflict. The scene of him training to be a lady is also reminiscent of an actor preparing to play a part in theater. It’s all quite a nuanced topic, and I’ll be exploring it in much greater detail in the next post of my Turn A Gundam production history series, so be on the lookout for that!

As the dance party commences, the Earthlings and Moonrace apprehensively stand on opposite sides of the room. Dianna seeks to break the ice, so Harry takes the lead and asks if anyone would like to dance with him. Loran is forcibly volunteered by Kihel, so the two share a dance in which they size each other up. Loran’s eventually granted an audience with his beloved Dianna, and he takes the opportunity to ask her why the fighting continues despite her arrival. She assures him that she as well desires nothing but peace and will work to negotiate with the Earthlings. This eases Loran’s consciousness. A magnificent cake (baked by none other than Keith) is then brought out as a sign of solidarity, and Guin and Dianna are asked to step forward.

Assassins burst out from under the cake’s stand in an attempt to kill Dianna but miss their shot. Loran runs to Dianna’s safety and Harry fights them off. Chaos and mayhem ensue, and Guin tries to calm down the situation. In a fit of rage, Loran chases after the rebels in the Turn A but isn’t able to successfully capture them. As things settle down, Harry discovers that the assassins were carrying oxygen respirators with them, indicating that they may in fact be Moonrace under guise. Miran suggests to keep this information from Dianna, as a plot may be brewing. There are Moonrace factions against Dianna? The episode ends on an ominous note.

Turn A Gundam has a very deliberate focus on clothing design & variety, and this episode highlights that aspect. Let’s quickly run through some of the dazzling outfits the characters wear in the dance party!

Laura Rolla’s ball dress. Akiman designed the dress in the image of a sword and shield—fitting, given Loran’s role in the show. The choker is meant to hide his Adam’s apple and the clothes hide his rugged shoulders.
Kihel Heim’s ball dress. The dress is meant to emphasize Kihel’s chest, as she might have wanted to impress Guin and the other men in attendance. Akiman looked at various reference materials for the jewelry design.
Harry’s ball outfit. The black & yellow colors are meant to show his strength, like a bee or wasp, as a “warning” sign to the Earthlings. The color scheme is also said to be in reference to the Hanshin Tigers, a Japanese baseball team.
Dianna’s ball dress. The “X”-shaped design represents her desire to be free, bound by responsibility, and feather ornaments were popular during the Victorian-era. Akiman mostly followed Tomino’s rough sketches in designing this outfit.

Turn A Gundam Episode #7 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Dianna – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Keith – Jun Fukuyama
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Sid – Akio Nojima
Joseph – Setsuji Sato
Verlaine – Nao Takamori
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Miran – Kazuyuki Sogabe
Phil – Tsuyoshi Koyama
Farmer A – Takehiro Murozono
Farmer B – Koji Yusa
Farmer C – Toshihide Tsuchiya
Military Officer A – Kenichi Sakaguchi
Bodyguard A – Kenji Nomura
Reporter A – Kihachiro Uemura
Female Reporter – Akari Fujiwara
Moon Woman A – Kaoru Morota

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

In-between Check – Miki Otani
In-betweens – Liu Jun, Akihiro Saitou, Katsuhiro Yokoyama, Masami Koyama, Tomohiro Zaizen, Mari Yasuhiko, Kazuko Otake, Atsushi Ichijo, Seoul Dove, Shanghai Dove

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi
Finishing – EMUAI (Yuki Kase, Miyuki Mizumaki, Chiho Nishida, Yasuko Suenaga, Chitsue Sato, Yuki Otsuka)
Finishing Manager – Fumie Maebayashi

Art Board – Yukiko Maruyama (Atelier Musa)
Backgrounds – White Map (Masashi Hasegawa, Sachie Endo, Jun 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 – Yasushi Nagura (Avaco Creative Studio)
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)
Digital Coloring – EMUAI
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 – Kunihiro Mori
Animation Director – Shinichi Sakuma
Screenplay – Miya Asakawa
Storyboard – Kunihiro Mori
Assistant Episode Director – Masakazu Hishida
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto
Production Advancement – Hiroyuki Sato

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