Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #27 “Midnight Sunrise”

Turn A Gundam‘s twenty-seventh episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on October 15, 1999. This is a highly consequential episode that provides an intense depiction of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. It aired just weeks after the September 1999 Tokaimura JCO nuclear accident; in interviews, director Yoshiyuki Tomino has described the coincidental timing as “subconsciously reflecting the times.” While it wasn’t his intention to write a story about nuclear weapons, he felt it was required to include it as part of the story (i.e. remnants of the Dark History). In terms of staff involvement, this is one of the few episodes to have two animation directors—Masami Goto is mecha animation director for episodes #27 & #50—and Tomino himself is its storyboard artist. This episode was also selected by fan-poll to receive an audio commentary track for the Blu-ray release.

Turn A Gundam‘s twenty-seventh episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on October 15, 1999.

We see Loran and Harry harvesting fields as Dianna admires the beauty of the land. She plans to return to the Moon and reconsider the Earth Return Plan on a fundamental level. She’s traveled this far south in order to use the Sackträger, a catapult waystation orbiting above the Earth’s equator, as apparently some of the Dianna Counter’s supply ships have been utilizing it. In this scene, Dianna is seen wearing Kihel’s original outfit—the one which serves as the basis of her character design. This is particularly relevant because in this episode Dianna finally reunites with Kihel, signifying how the two are indeed “two in one and one in two”.

Loran and Dianna share a final goodbye as she boards Harry’s SUMO. She thanks him for the wealth of experiences he’s given her, and she wishes for him to continue to have an open mind as an Earther. It’s an intimate lady-and-knight moment that highlights their relationship. Loran’s love and loyalty towards Dianna is unparalleled, and Dianna relies on and values Loran’s continued dedication. While it’s subtle in Dianna’s case, the intent is that it’s reciprocated; Tomino didn’t want the viewer to think that their feelings are overly complex and that it can be a simple love based on mutual respect. When she takes off, Loran takes a moment to express just how much he’ll miss her. He returns back to the Militia and informs them that “Kihel” has gone to engage in talks with “Dianna”.

Gavane and the Suicide Squad are scouting the new Mountain Cycle called “Lost Mountain” and come across a shaft that takes them further into its depths. The Moonrace are also searching and excavating the area. Lt. Zenoa’s team unearths three mobile armors covered in nanoskin. They also find what appear to be nuclear bombs, which causes Zenoa to freak out. He knows about the destructive power of such deadly weapons and warns the incoming Suicide Squad to fall back and not engage in combat. A standoff occurs.

Harry and Dianna return to the Soleil. At some point, Dianna had changed to a general soldier uniform. She heads to a changing room and swaps to her formal queen outfit in a matter of seconds. She must be accustomed to doing so, no? It’s worth noting that she’s worn three outfits in one episode, which is definitely a new track record! She tricks a guard into thinking she’s simply playing a prank.

Dianna and Kihel finally have their fated reunion, in an extremely emotional moment where the two embrace each other. Dianna immediately blames everything on herself and commends Kihel for filling her role. Kihel is floored by the praise and confesses that she had to study all of Dianna’s private files in order to learn about the Moon, the military, and her relationship with others (’tis a shame, but it’d have been nice if all that took place on-screen…). She has come to realize that living a long life is no blessing. Harry enters the room and Dianna announces that she’s promoted him to Lt., as a reward for protecting Kihel in her absence. Dianna also informs Kihel that she’d like to have her continue acting as her double, as she deems it necessary to assemble a group of people she can truly trust.

The Gallop heads out to Lost Mountain in order to assist the Suicide Squad and challenge the Dianna Counter’s stalemate. Skirmishes are going off between the Zenoa Team and Suicide Squad, and the RRET Team has inexplicably joined the battle as well. Gavane and co. believe that the Dianna Counter are trying to stop them from digging up a secret weapon. He doesn’t believe Zenoa’s warning of “if you fight, then we all die!”, which, to the viewer, might sound dumb, but one has to remember that no Earthling in this story can even comprehend the destructive nature of a nuke. Zenoa frantically begs everyone to leave the area before the bombs explode. Gavane finally obliges, but not without snagging a few warheads for himself!

The RRET Team engage with Militia Borjarnons, and they accidentally land a direct hit on one of its engine. This causes a massive explosion that frightens everyone on the battlefield. This is actually a reference and parallel to the original Mobile Suit Gundam; in its first episode, Amuro Ray cleaves a Zaku with the RX782’s beam saber, which causes a destructive explosion that damages the colony’s hull, shocking him. The Gundam franchise as a whole references this instance a handful of times, often to put things into perspective, i.e. these mobile suits are engine-powered and require a lot of energy to maintain. If they’re attacked at their “weak spot”, the resulting explosion can be devastating. Reconguista in G, for instance, also has a similar scene.

When Loran enters the fray, the White Doll’s sensors immediately detect radiation from the nearby nuclear weapons. The RRET Team and Suicide Squad continue to engage in combat, as Zenoa sends out further transmissions urging everyone to stop fighting. Gavane gets caught by a FLAT in a ditch and is forced to engage it in a close-quarters situation. Loran orders Miashei to retreat and explains to her that one nuke is powerful enough to wipe Nocis off the map. He then intercepts the Suicide Squad and urges them too to fall back, but they want to go and rescue Gavane instead. Loran frantically yells and pleads, stating they don’t have time. You can really feel the urgency in his voice, with a level of determination he hasn’t shown before. He fends off the stubborn RRET Team and orders everyone to retreat. The RRET Team, along with Zenoa’s squad, finally withdraw, as do the Suicide Squad. But Gavane is nowhere to be found on Loran’s sensors… the Gallop retreats as well, despite Sochie’s crying and begging. Horace, Fran, and Ladderum have to hold her back.

The nuclear bomb(s) let rip. The sky brightens into day as its destructive power is unleashed. The explosion can be witnessed all the way from the Willghem to the Soleil. Every character is in utter shock as ominous background music plays. Dianna comments that “a dawn at midnight is an anomaly that must never be.”

Yes, Gavane Gonny is dead. An untimely demise, at that. After recording his final lines in the studio, voice actor Hōchū Ōtsuka was approached by Romi Park and Rieko Takahashi (Loran & Dianna’s VAs) to thank him for his work. They were both fans and admired him from afar—he is/was an industry veteran. Prior to Turn A Gundam, Ōtsuka had been involved in works such as Heavy Metal L-Gaim, Zeta Gundam, and G Gundam.

This is a visually striking episode that features many talented animators, including Masami Goto at helm as mecha animation director. Here’s Seiichi Nakatani’s cut.

Turn A Gundam Episode #27 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Dianna – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Sid – Akio Nojima
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Ladderum – Ikuya Sawaki
Bruno – Kazunari Tanaka
Jacop – Hidenari Ugaki
Horace – Hirohiko Kakegawa
Gavane – Houchu Otsuka
Aims – Dai Matsumoto
John – Toshihide Tsuchiya
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Phil – Tsuyoshi Koyama
Zenoa – Takehiro Murozono
Anan – Mayumi Tsubaki
Cancer – Urara Takano
Muron – Fumihiko Tachiki
Mottokee – Akihiko Ishizumi
Freccul – Tomoe Hanba
Female Nuse – Mayumi Yanagisawa
Man in Space Suit – Kiyoshi Nobo

Key Animation – Seiichi Tanaka, Etsushi Mori, Takenori Tsukuma, Hiromi Tazawa, Dan Kongoji, Takao Takegami, Katsuhisa Yamamoto, Toru Yoshida, Yasushi Shingo, Masami Goto, Atsuo Tobe, Studio D-VOLT (Yoshikazu Samura, Shuji Sakamoto, Hisashi Ishii, Tomoko Tanaka, Minoru Katagai, Takahiko Yoshida, Atsushi Yonemoto, Shigeki Kuhara)

In-between Check – Sachiyo Hirade
In-betweens – Kazuyo Tominaga, Maya Fujimori, Setsuko Takenouchi, Taeko Watanabe, Kyoto Animation, Studio Takuranke, Anime R, Studio Cashew, Studio Dove (Reiko Saito, Yoshiaki Wada, Yoko Kojita, Seoul Dove)

Color Setting – Fusako Nakao (EMUAI)
Assistant Color Coordinator – Miyuki Sato (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Tetsu Kawamura, Takako Uemura, Mizuho Ueda, Junko Tsunoda, Yumiko Shinohara, Yoko Wakabayashi)
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. (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 – Yoshihito Hishinuma, Masami Goto
Screenplay – Jirō Takayama
Storyboard – Minoru Yokitani
Production Advancement – Naohiro Ogata
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto

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