Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #37 “Gateway to the Moon”

Turn A Gundam‘s thirty-seventh episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on December 24, 1999.

Turn A Gundam‘s thirty-seventh episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on December 24, 1999.

Cancer Kafka flails about in an attempt to do a spacewalk and accidentally opens a communication channel in the process. She overhears Midgard discussing with someone about the possibility of assassinating Dianna. Midgard’s talking to Gym Ghingnham, who’s finally shown and introduced. Gym claims claims that the Ghingnham family must remove the dishonor wrought by the Soreils and that he’ll soon rendezvous with the Gendarme. His feed constantly cuts in-and-out, changing in shape and size; it’s a really neat way to introduce the chaotic nature of his character and to display his might and power. Gym’s outfit is based on a kamishimo—formal samurai wear—as his basic character concept is meant to draw from samurai like Oda Nobunaga. Akiman wanted him to appear strong and fearless, so he exposed his arms and styled his hair with a chonmage (traditional Japanese topknot). Takehito Koyasu did not have to audition for the role of Gym Ghingham. Instead he was approached by Sunrise staff and recruited. He had a booming presence in the studio and inspired other actors with confidence, and his rivalry with Romi Park often led to shouting matches (read more). Anyhow, Cancer returns to the ship and in a frantic on-the-spot decision rescues Dianna from her confinement. Later on, we see that the RRET Team have hatched a plan and pretend to have had enough of space. Muron escapes in a FLAT while Cancer secures the ship’s escape shuttle. Midgard doesn’t deem it necessary to give chase, saying that they’re not worth the trouble. Little does he know that Dianna is with them.

Turn A Gundam‘s final antagonist, Gym Ghingham.

The Militia members still struggle to adjust to the zero-gravity environment, but they’re making progress! And in humorous ways too! Michael wants the crew to be ready before they head into enemy territory. Sid mentions that according to Loran they’ll regain some of their weight when they get closer to the Moon, which is true. The Moon has about 1/6th the gravitational pull as the Earth. It’s gravity is much smaller since it is far less massive as a planetary object. This episode features animation by Kenichi Yoshida, an animator and illustrator well-known for his unique style and character design work on shows like Eureka Seven. In the 1990s he was a staff member at Studio Ghibli and was involved in a number of their productions, but by 1999 he had left the studio to become a freelancer. Turn A Gundam was his first credited post-Ghibli endeavor. Here you can see his smooth movement and attention to character weight(lessness) in its budding phases. The Tomino-Akiman-Yoshida partnership formed during the Turn A Gundam era, and the trio would go on to work together on King Gainer and Gundam Reconguista in G.

Some of Kenichi Yoshida’s animation from this episode.

Loran, Sochie, Miashei, and Fran discuss the Willghem’s current flight path to the Moon and when it would be reasonable to rid of the nukes stored in the White Doll’s chest. They figure they have to come up with a reason to take out the suit in the first place. Sochie casually mentions that Fran is Moonrace, much to Loran’s surprise. Sochie apparently had put two-and-two together long ago, and even mentions the time Loran, Fran, and Keith met up in the first episode. Fran says that while this trip is a bit of a homecoming for her, what she really wants to do is document the journey and write about it in an article. It’s a nice little glimpse into her personal life and goals, especially given she’s a supporting character who’s been around since the very beginning. Loran gets called to the bridge because they’ve apparently received a transmission from Dianna.

Once they’ve made some distance, Dianna enters the space shuttle and is allowed to relax and take a breather. She thanks the RRET Team for their services; had they not rescued her she wouldn’t have the opportunity to take action. She wants the duo to escort her to an asteroid colony called Mistletoe. She pulls out a mini transmitter stored in her hair and asks them to relay the music to the Willghem. Yes, I suppose Dianna does indeed conveniently have this contingency plan in place. The Willghem picks up the signal, which is encoded in classical music, and Harry is able to decade it with a decryption pin he also conveniently happens to have on his person. A map of the Earth-Moon region pops up on the screen, and Harry recognizes the coordinates of the blinking dot as Mistletoe. He surmises that Dianna has escaped to the colony, because it is not a facility that is normally under operation. “A mistletoe in Dianna’s forest”, as Loran calls it. Loran and Sochie are sent to rescue Dianna, while Harry asks Kihel for her assistance, as he thinks she’ll prove to be a useful “Dianna”.

Dianna and the RRET Team arrive at Mistletoe, and with her instructions they’re able to bring the port back online and enter the colony. The inside is lush with trees and greenery, and we learn that in the past the Soleil family conducted experiments at Mistletoe to re-establish agriculture and create air & food. While not a topic that’s particularly discussed in-show, in earlier drafts of Turn A Gundam it’s mentioned that the Moonrace’s sphere of influence spreads far beyond the Moon to nearby colonies, so Mistletoe is a glimpse of that. This is yet another episode to feature background art by Kyoto Animation. Dianna asks Cancer and Muron to return to Earth in the ship and live the rest of their lives in peace. They obviously refuse, claiming that everything they’ve done was so that they could eventually serve their queen again. They want to live and die with her, and she thanks them for their unending loyalty.

Gym Ghingnham rendezvouses with the Gendarme, only to learn that Midgard has allowed Dianna to escape from his grasps. He laughs it off and admits that she is the Queen of the Moon after all, and a lowborn loser stands no chance against her. He intercepts the melody Dianna sent to the Willghem and also decodes her location. He then commands an army of ships to advance to Mistletoe, ready to display his military might. A squad of Mahiroos are deployed, and another new character is introduced—Sweatson Stero. The Mahiroos are designed by Mahiro Maeda and are the mainstay mobile suit of the Ghingnham fleet. They’re high-mobility suits and a subject of lots of great animation. Sweatson Stero is a character Akiman spent very little time on designing; he simply just followed Tomino’s rough sketches.

Dianna and the RRET Team enter a deeper part of the colony where everything’s frozen. Turns out the nanomachines are offline. She wants to head towards the main control center and activate all the facilities. Back at the Willghem, Kihel remarks that she’s sensed constant tension and responsibility from Dianna, who never shirks her duties—and that is where her beauty comes from. Harry says Kihel is equally as beautiful, and that is why he must betray her. You can tell from the way they’re speaking to each other that they’re hatching a plan together. Guin and Lily come around the corner and catch them in the act. Harry quickly punches Kihel in the gut to knock her out and escapes with her limp body. He makes his way to the hangar and easily fends off the Willghem’s crew and launches in the SUMO. Guin realizes he’s left with Kihel with the intent of exploiting her.

The episode ends with Sweatson Stero’s Mahiroo squad arriving at Mistletoe,ready to chase the White Doll.

The Mahiroos make a grand entrance, with stunning animation by Seiichi Nakatani.

Turn A Gundam Episode #37 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Dianna – Rieko Takahashi
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Sid – Akio Nojima
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Michael – Tetsuo Kanao
Yani – Takuya Kirimoto
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Gym – Takehito Koyasu
Sweatson – Toru Uganda
Ladderum – Ikuya Sawaki
Lily – Ai Kobayashi
Bruno – Kazunari Tanaka
Jacop – Hidenari Ugaki
Cancer – Urara Takano
Muron – Fumihiko Tachiki
Midgard – Ryuji Mizuno
Pilot A – Kenichi Sakaguchi
Officer A – Kihachiro Uemura
Transmission Soldier – Toshihide Tsuchiya

Key Animation – Tsukasa Dokide, Atsushi Shigeta, Takenori Tsukuma, Etsushi Mori, Kenichi Yoshida, Hiromi Maezawa, Seiichi Nakatani, Katsuhisa Yamamoto, Tomohiro Kawahara, Keiichiro Okamoto, Studio Dove (Katsunori Enokimoto, Tetsuya Ishikawa, Kazuhiro Ono, Satoshi Tazawa, Lee Ju, Seoul Dove)

In-between Check – Reiko Saito
In-betweens – Studio Dove (Miki Otani, Akihiro Saitou, Tomohiro Zaizen, Kazuko Otake, Kishi Yano, Akira Maeda, Seoul Dove, Shanghai Dove)

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi (EMUAI)
Assistant Color Coordinator – Miyuki Sato (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Chiho Nishioka, Hiromi Tobita, Ayumi Ando, Miho Suzuki, Yukari Takano, Masami Hagishata)
Finishing Manager – Fumie Maebayashi

Art Board – Yukiko Maruyama (Atelier Musa)
Backgrounds – Kyoto Animation (Hideki Kaneko, Ryuji Kawabata, Yuriko Honda, Hiroshi Igaki)
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, Ken Iokawa, Makoto Takakura, Akira Iribe)
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, Kazutaka Miyatake
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 – Takashi Ikehata
Animation Director – Shinichi Sakuma
Screenplay – Tetsuko Takahashi
Storyboard – Akitoshi Yokoyama
Assistant Episode Director – Satoshi Toba
Production Advancement – Ryuta Wakanabe
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s