Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #13 “An Older Woman”

Turn A Gundam‘s thirteenth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on July 2, 1999.

Turn A Gundam‘s thirteenth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on July 2, 1999.

Aboard the Soleil, Kihel (as “Dianna”) examines the damages done to Nocis City. She pleads for both sides to end the fighting, while Miran questions if it’s even possible at this point. Kihel wonders if it’ll require a Romeo and Juliet type of tragedy to quell the conflict and asks Miran to locate “Kihel” (Dianna) at all costs. This is the first time a real-world fictional story or legend is brought up in the show, which suggests that despite the Correct Century being a far-future timeline that has merged and/or “reset”, humanity still regurgitates some of the same tales. As previously mentioned, Turn A Gundam borrows elements from folklore, fairytales, mythology, and other fiction.

Loran, Dianna, and Sid move southward to search for new Mountain Cycle(s), and also because they notice that Dianna Counter forces are scouting the area. Poe’s team searches for and finds the remains of Corin’s mobile suit, concluding that he’d been killed in action. Loran and co. eventually emerge outside the caves to a new location. Dianna takes this opportunity to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the environment. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she begins to sprint across the land, arms stretched out like a bird. She eventually finds a man digging in the area and recognizes him as a certain “Will Game”, breaking into tears at the sight of him—much to his confusion! Loran pursues Dianna and comes across a woman going about her merry way, who then recognizes Dianna as “Dianna Soreil” and grabs a nearby stone ready to attack. Thankfully, Loran runs to Dianna’s aid to shield her and informs the woman that she’s not Dianna, but rather Kihel Heim (remember, at this point in the plot Loran still doesn’t know Dianna is masquerading as “Kihel”). The woman drops the rock in shock and disbelief, but Loran assures her it makes no sense for the Moonrace’s leader to be here. She seems to accept his logic and apologizes for the sudden outburst.

The man identifies himself as Will Game and the woman as Teteth Halleh, and they appear to be an item. Turns out Will Game has been digging up what appears to be a spaceship of sorts, possibly from the same era as the White Doll. He’s doing it as a sense of a responsibility, because he wants to see if his ancestor’s love for “Dianna Soreil” was real, in what appears to be a silly fairytale. He reckons that now that the Dianna Counter have appeared as a real entity, maybe the Dianna legend is true after all and he can go to the Moon. This shocks Dianna, because she knows what he’s talking about; it’s no legend. She recalls her time generations ago in a series of flashbacks. I’m going to copy-paste what I wrote here, to summarize on a holistic level, because this arc ties-in directly to the show’s Princess Kaguya influence. I’ll be cross-referencing this post for future episodes to streamline the process.

The piece of fiction Turn A Gundam draws the most from is The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, also known as the The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (henceforth Princess Kaguya). It is widely considered the oldest Japanese monogatari (fictional prose narrative) containing elements of folklore, dating back to the 9th century Heian period. Their are various renditions of the tale, but the basic outline is as follows: the story tells the tale of a mysterious Moon princess named Kaguya sent to Earth as an infant. She lives most of her childhood as a humble peasant, until a fateful day when the lunarians send riches and wealth to her foster parents. They then move to the capital and she’s forced to live the life of nobility. Kaguya grows into a beautiful woman and catches the eyes of many suitors, so she issues impossible challenges to the men who ask for her hand in marriage. They either fail to meet her expectations or try to con their way to victory. This cycle repeats itself and Kaguya loathes her life. She longs to go back to the curious lifestyle she had as a child and inexplicably begins to stare at the Moon. It’s at this point that she becomes conscious of the fact that she herself is of lunarian origin. This signals the lunarian entourage to come collect her and return to the Moon, against her wishes. She’s forced to leave her life on Earth and return home, never having lived the Earthling life she longed for. The story does not have a happy ending. So how does this connect to Turn A Gundam? The implication is that Dianna Soreil herself serves as a pseudo-expy and commentary piece on Princess Kaguya—like Kaguya, Dianna wishes to live the rest of her life out on Earth. In fact, Turn A Gundam‘s entire premise hinges on this idea; the Moonrace’s operation to return to the Earth is essentially Princess Kaguya getting a second chance. This plotline begins in earnest in episode 10, when Dianna and Kihel swap roles. She’s allowed to masquerade as Kihel and live the life of an Earthling, satiating her curiosity in the process. The connections become even more apparent during the Will Game arc when Dianna’s past is explored. Will Game served as one of Dianna’s many suitors, only unlike in Princess Kaguya, Dianna is actually in love with him. Nevertheless, she issues him an “impossible challenge”, and before he can even complete it (in this case, traveling to the orient to find a specific feather), Dianna is forced to return to the Moon and never sees him again. What’s even sadder is that, centuries later, she learns that unlike the typical Princess Kaguya suitor, Will Game was able to precure the impossible item. Loran Cehack can be viewed as the “final suitor”, so to speak, in that he’s the person who facilitates Dianna’s lifelong dream, and she even chooses to live alone with him in the end. In earlier drafts of the story, the parallel to Princess Kaguya is much more explicit, with mentions of Dianna “becoming Kaguya” and Loran allowing her to “fulfill her destiny” being running themes. In his Turn A no iyashi memoir, Tomino states that Turn A Gundam is simply a story based on Princess Kaguya featuring giant robots, and in interviews he’s said that he wanted to tell and retell the tale for new generations.

Dianna appears to have an affinity towards birds, and this is the first episode where that’s presented. It’s not something which ever gets explored in a direct manner, but it does feel like appropriate symbolism for her character arc. Birds serve as a representation of her desire to be free from her cage of responsibility; to live her life out on Earth. In this episode alone we see her imitating a bird as she runs, and there’s a scene where she solemnly observes a bird in its cage. There will be more scenes in the future, so I’ll do my best to point them out! Supplementary work and adaptations take it a step further, such as Atsushi Souga’s manga adaptation. The bird imagery mirrors what we’ll later see as butterfly imagery—in a similar vein, butterflies break out of their cocoons to be “free” once they’ve completed their transformation.

The next day Teteth examines the White Doll’s cockpit, wondering if it was also excavated from a mountain. It’s clear that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Loran doesn’t approve of her peeking around, but she claims she was simply curious. She then turns her curiosity to Loran himself, asking where he learned how to pilot the White Doll. She takes him to a hot spring and uses her feminine wiles to extract information out of him, learning that he’s Moonrace working with the Earth Militia. Teteth is meant to be a physically attractive woman, in the colloquial sense, to test Loran’s dedication towards Dianna-Kihel. Character designer Akiman drew her as “slender” and “voluptuous”, because that’s the body type he likes.

Dianna Counter scouts locate the White Doll and begin to launch an attack, lead by Lt. Poe. Loran uses the Minchi Drill to make quick work of the WaDs, and he takes on Poe’s WaDom with ease as well. After the battle, Will Game takes everyone to his ancestors’ old estate. Dianna recognizes it immediately, and even remembers the spot the old Will Game had planted a tree. The current Will Game brings her a music box from her ancestor, which causes Dianna to break down into tears as the episode ends. Neat thing about this episode’s title is that it can refer to two separate characters—Teteth and/or Dianna. Teteth’s newly introduced and is visibly an “older” woman, and we learn in this episode that Dianna has lived for generations via cold sleep.

This episode features stunning animation cuts by Masami Goto, one of Turn A Gundam‘s prominent animators.

Turn A Gundam Episode #13 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
KIhel – Rieko Takahashi
Dianna – Rieko Takahashi
Sid – Akio Nojima
Miran – Kazuyuki Sogabe
Poe – Yumiko Nakanishi
Will – Kenichi Sakaguchi
Teteth – Yumi Touma
WaD Soldier 1 – Kiachiro Uemura
WaD Soldier 2 – Toshihide Tsuchiya
WaD Soldier 3 – Hiroyuki Yokoo

Key Animation – Akitoshi Yokoyama, Toru Yoshida, Etsushi Mori, Katsuhisa Yamamoto, Katsutoshi Tsunoda, Takenori Tsukuma, Masami Goto, Yasukazu Shoji, Yuriko Ikeda, Yuki Kinoshita, Studio Dove

In-between Check – Sachiyo Hirade
In-betweens – Kazuyo Tominaga, Taeko Watanabe, Setsuko Takenouchi, Fumiyo Mori, Anime R, Studio Cashew, Studio Takuranke, Production I.G., Studio Dove (Liu Jun, Akihiro Saito, Katsuhiro Yokoyama, Masami Koyama, Tomohiro Zaizen, Mori Yasuhiko, Kazuko Otake, Atsushi Ichijo, Seoul Dove, Shanhai Dove)

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi (EMUAI)
Assistant Color Coordinator – Miyuki Sato (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Akiko Inoue, Yasuko Suenaga, Hiromi Okamoto, Hiromi Mizuno, Taeko Kurohata, Miyuki Kurata)
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
Recording Adjustment Assistant – Rakuonsha
Desk – Yoshimi Sugiyama
Music Production – Yoshiaki Ota (Borderline Records)
Digital Effects – Sunrise D.I.D. (Hiroshi Furuhashi, Ken Iokawa, 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 – Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Animation Director – Atsuo Tobe
Screenplay – Miya Asakawa
Storyboard – Minoru Yokitani, Akitoshi Yokoyama
Assistant Episode Director – Masakazu Hishida
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto
Production Advancement – Tomoaki Kono

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