Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #10 “Grave Visit”

Turn A Gundam‘s tenth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on June 11, 1999. This episode was selected by fan-poll to receive an audio commentary track for the Blu-ray release.

Turn A Gundam‘s tenth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on June 11, 1999.

Loran, Sid, and Joseph examine the White Doll’s information tablet, as Loran’s slowly been able to learn how to navigate its menus. Joseph wonders if technology on the Moon is similar to this, to which Loran apprehensively confirms; to Loran’s surprise, Joseph responds back by saying having someone like him is a huge help. They learn more about the suit’s beam sabers, a destructive weapon of light that was easily able to cut through mobile suit armor. Setsuji Satō, Joseph’s voice actor, is proud of the precise way he says “computer” (in English) in this scene.

Dianna summons Kihel and Guin to her quarters to apologize for her lack of control of her army. She reckons that the officers and troops are overwhelmed by the situation and mesmerized by the Earth’s wonders; their communications systems are currently unreliable. Guin believes with Dianna’s abilities she can improve the situation. Dianna notices an airship on standby outside, which according to Guin is scheduled to conduct an investigation of the damages occurred in the local areas. Dianna’s curiosity gets the better of her and she wonders if she can join in on the flight. Miran advises otherwise, but Dianna insists she wants to observe the situation herself. Guin agrees to accommodate her and leaves to make preparations, asking Kihel to keep Dianna company; similarly, Miran heads out to arrange security under Lt. Harry Ord.

Dianna and Kihel share a cup of tea and their striking resemblances are further brought to light, with many back-and-forth and panned shots between the two. They even mimic each others’ voice ticks and actions and laugh at the unbelievable coincidence. Dianna even swaps her drinking hand to act as Kihel’s “mirror reflection”, alluding to an overarching “two in one and one in two” theme of the show. The two serve as “mirror images” of each other, in many respects. As I’ve mentioned before, their nearly identical appearances is something that has to be taken at face-value and simply accepted without explanation, if one is to buy into the show’s premise.

“Two in one and one in two.”

Meanwhile, we see the Earth Militia digging up the FLAT robot that Keith had informed them of.

Dianna and Kihel next muse about what clothes to wear on the airship ride, as Dianna would likely feel too restrictive in her current getup. Dianna picks out a few dresses from Kihel’s wardrobe and asks Kihel to model them for her. To further satiate her curiosity, she asks Kihel to wear her commander uniform so she can see what she looks like to other people. Dianna herself dawns a white and blue dress, an outfit she’s commonly associated with (she wears it for over ten episodes and many promotional art feature her in said dress). In a playful moment, Kihel imitates Dianna giving orders to her men, much to Dianna’s amusement. With Dianna suddenly opening up to her, Kihel comes to realize that she’s actually a sad and lonely person. Their little date is interrupted by Miran who’s read to pick them up. Kihel frantically wonders what they should do, to which Dianna in the moment says that for now Kihel is “Dianna” and Dianna is “Kihel”. And what if they’re found out? Well, they shall “simply apologize”, of course.

The ol’ switcheroo is a pivotal moment in the show, for many reasons. Tomino as a director is known to borrow elements from folklore, fairytales, mythology, and other fiction into his works, Turn A Gundam being no exception. The story Turn A Gundam borrows from most is Princess Kaguya, a 9th century Heian period monogatari telling the story of a mysterious Moon princess. And the idea of Dianna and Kihel swapping roles in is inspired by Torikaebaya Monogatari, a Japanese tale from the late Heian period that tells the story of two siblings whose mannerisms fit the opposite sex better, so they swap places. The scenario writers began these two storylines with episode 10, as the Princess Kaguya influences require Dianna to be masquerading as Kihel and mingling with Earthlings. Part II of my examination of the show’s production history goes into more detail, for the curious. Tomino also saw this scene as the first major “act” of a theatrical play or performance, and he liked it so much that much of it was redrawn, reanimated, and expanded upon in the Turn A Gundam movies.

The outfit most commonly-associated with Dianna is this white & blue dress. Akiman describes it as a “sexy” outfit that emphasizes the female figure, because of the bolero-style jacket and high-waisted long skirt.
Much of the scene where Dianna and Kiihel exchange clothing and swap places was redrawn, reanimated, and expanded upon in the Turn A Gundam movie.

The Turn A Gundam staff internally used K-Dianna to refer to Dianna masquerading as Kihel, and D-Kihel to refer to Kihel masquerading as Dianna. It’s usually not an issue but in episodes like this when they’re on-screen together, I’ll be following suit to avoid any confusion.

Loran and Sochie return to Bostonian Castle to provide a status update, and Sochie also exclaims that she wants to visit her sickly mother in Vicinity and would like to take Kihel with her. The airship that’s heading out is flying in that direction, so Guin tells the two to hop aboard. Later, D-Kihel and K-Dianna awkwardly board the ship in their new roles (Dianna as “Kihel” and Kihel as “Dianna”), and K-Dianna quietly cautions D-Kihel that she’s now “Dianna Soreil” and must watch her manner of speaking. They run into Loran and Sochie, and Sochie informs K-Dianna that their mother isn’t feeling well so they’ll be stopping by Vicinity. As the airship lifts off, Harry Ord’s security detail trails behind in their SUMO mobile suits.

D-Kihel and K-Dianna observe the Earth’s beauty as the airship makes flight. Without thinking, K-Dianna comments on how beautiful a sight it is and how foolish everyone is to fight, as she’s able to witness the damages caused by all the fighting. Miran responds by thinking this should be a common sight for “Kihel”. D-Kihel and K-Dianna quickly play off each other to avoid rousing anymore suspicion. It’s a curiously humorous scene that highlights the immediate synergy Dianna and Kihel have with each other, almost like a kinship. Not only are they nearly identical in appearance, they can haphazardly fill each other’s roles. Guin then takes K-Dianna to a private cabin with Loran and Sochie to discuss if “Kihel” has spare clothing to lend to “Dianna”, to avoid any suspicion in Vicinity. K-Dianna says she might have some at home and excitedly says Dianna would fit perfectly in them. This angers Sochie, who wonders why her sister is happy to escort the person responsible for their father’s murder and making their life a living hell. It’s in this instance that Dianna’s forced to see the consequences of her actions upfront.

Sochie and K-Dianna arrive a the Heim manor, and they’re taken inside to see their mother. Loran suggests to D-Kihel to also go and offer her respects to Mrs. Heim. K-Dianna talks to with her mother (remember, this is Dianna speaking in place of Kihel), while K-Dianna has no choice but to simply observe as she’s playing the role of “Dianna”. Their mother has clearly facing memory loss and her sense of self is eroding, and K-Dianna ponders why she even launched an invasion against kind people such as this. The group then goes to pay their respects to Mr. Heim’s grave.

The moment that follows is yet another pivotal scene. K-Dianna’s bottled-up feelings come surging out in a burst of unparalleled emotion when she sees the grave—the grave of Kihel and Sochie’s father, a man killed by her own people. Her responsibility. She runs up to the grave with a visually stunning Osamu Dezaki-esque triple-take camera effect and gets on her knees in heartfelt apology. Loran and D-Kihel (who obviously knows it’s Dianna acting in her place) are both in shock at the sudden emotion. D-Kihel sheds a tear, thanking Dianna for truly expressing her sorrow. Tetsu Inada (Harry Ord’s VA) has commented on this scene, calling it “particularly moving” that a queen would bow in front of a grave in apology. Part of this scene was also redrawn and reanimated for the movies.

This episode marks a major turning point. Dianna as “Kihel” and Kihel as “Dianna”, the “two in one and one in two” theme it represents, and the confusion it causes other characters in the story. We’re also introduced to what’ll be a running theme in the show: Dianna’s personal soul-searching and self-examination of her “sins” and how they’ve affected the people around her. Dianna is Turn A Gundam‘s plot-focus character, so this serves as a means of character development. Just as an aside, this is one of my favorite episodes! I recently acquired film strips that were distributed at Gundam Hathaway theater showings, and two of them are from reanimated scenes from this episode.

Turn A Gundam Episode #10 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
DIanna – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Keith – Jun Fukuyama
Sid – Akio Nojima
Michael – Tetsuo Kanao
Joseph – Setsuji Sato
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Miran – Kazuyuki Sogabe
Jessica – Chikako Akimoto
Ladderum – Ikuya Sawaki
Mrs. Heim – Fumie Hojo
Militia Soldier A – Takuya Kirimoto
Military Officer – Kihachiro Uemura
Soldier A – Toshihide Tsuchiya

Key Animation – Nakamura Production (Kazuhiro Sakakura, Shinichi Takahashi, Akira Matsunaga, Hiroyuki Mori, Shinpei Tomooka, Seiichi Hashimoto, Takeo Tominaga, Yuji Miyashita, Hiroyuki Hashimoto, Junko Komatsuzaki)

In-between Check – Tsuguru Fukuda (Nakamura Production)
In-betweens – Nakamura Production (Kenichiro Kasuyo, Ryuji Iwabuchi, Yukiya Dobashi, Yoshitake Iwagami, Tomoyuki Tajima, Isshou Matsuyama, Daisuke Miyazaki, Kenichi Takase)

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Yoshiki Ito, Atsuko Iiyama, Shinichi Yoneda, Hiromi Mizuno, Hiromi Okamoto, Yuko Takahashi)
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)
Recording Adjustment Assistant – Mika Kamemoto (Avaco Creative Studio)
Sound Production – Rakuonsha
Desk – Yoshimi Sugiyama
Music Production – Yoshiaki Ota (Borderline Records)
Digital Effects – Sunrise D.I.D. (Hiroshi Furuhashi, 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 – Mihiro Yamaguchi
Animation Director – Takuro Shinbo
Screenplay – Jirō Takayama
Storyboard – Masakazu Hishida, 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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