Turn A Gundam‘s second ending is titled “Tsuki no Mayu” (“Moon’s Cocoon”). This song has lyrics by Yoshiyuki Tomino (under the pseudonym Rin Iogi), composition & arrangement by Yoko Kanno, and vocals performed by Aki Okui. It is also this blog’s namesake, i.e. “Moon’s Cocoon”!
I’ve mentioned before how Turn A Gundam‘s first opening theme “Turn A Turn” was unpopular on airwaves and had dwindling CD sales—the same was unfortunately true for its first ending theme “AURA”. While Tomino had originally wanted both OP & ED to remain for the entirety of the show’s duration, he was eventually approached by Sunrise to make new ones. This is partly why “Century Color” doesn’t kick in until episode #39 and “Tsuki no Mayu” episode #41.
Musically, “Tsuki no Mayu” is very similar to “Moon”, almost beat-for-beat with all the same chord structure and motif building. Turn A Gundam‘s soundtrack undoubtedly uses leitmotif, with many tracks borrowing the main melody from “Moon”, and “Tsuki no Mayu” is no different, almost acting as a capstone melody. Unlike “Moon” however—which is sung by Yoko Kanno herself in her native original language—”Tsuki no Mayu” features Japanese vocals by Aki Okui.
Tomino came up with the idea of using “Tsuki no Mayu” in the show’s epilogue when he first heard the completed version of the track. The epilogue was a massive undertaking for the staff, since they had to make sure the animation cuts matched each phrase of music, and that all the major characters were addressed. Many scenes were added, removed, and/or shifted around, and initially it was going to have voiced lines as well. He describes his storyboarding and the directions he gave during post-production as one of the few times he relied on “feelings” as a director. It was the moving power of “Tsuki no Mayu” that allowed Tomino to create such a memorable epilogue sequence. The final episode’s airdate was delayed by a few weeks due to the eruption of Mount Usu in Hokkaido, but the staff kept the momentum going during post-production by having “Tsuki no Mayu” play nonstop in the studio.
Evidently, Tomino liked “Tsuki no Mayu” quite a lot. He was very proud of himself when Yoko Kanno approved of the lyrics without any suggestions, given that she often had no qualm criticizing his body of lyrical work. At the final episode’s pre-screening, he started to cry when it began playing in the epilogue. He later included the entire song’s lyrics in his Turn A no iyashi memoir.
“Tsuki no Mayu” would go on to be a defining song for Turn A Gundam. It was often played in-studio to help set the mood, and it has since been covered by several artists (including Romi Park). In a poll conducted for the Gundam Reconguista in G CONTINUE SPECIAL magazine (released 7/26/22), “Tsuki no Mayu” ranked as the #3 favorite theme song in a Tomino work.
“Tsuki no Mayu” is meant to serve as a representation of Dianna’s “fate”, according to the storyboard. The song’s lyrics match up with that, and they’re written almost as if from Loran’s perspective, with lines such as “you sleep, basking in the summer grass, and I gaze at your sweet profile” and “reflect the Moon in your wings and cast light onto our lives”. Visually, it features a naked Dianna floating in space as she slowly transforms into a dazzling butterfly and basks both the Earth & Moon in her light. It’s a stunning metaphor to her desire to be “free”, with the lyrics calling upon a “swallowtail butterfly”, which are said to symbolize spiritual rebirth. This aspect of birth and rebirth ties into the show’s overarching themes and Tomino’s own spiritual journey as he battled depression. It features animation by Tsukasa Dokite along with CGI effects.
Turn A Gundam Series Credits
Planning – Sunrise
Created by – Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino
Character Design – Akira Yasuda
Character Setting – Yoshihito Hishinuma
Kunio Okawara, Syd Mead, Atsushi Shigeta, Takumi Sakura
Art Director – Shigemi Ikeda
Color Coordinator – Miyoko Kasamori
Director of Photography – Yoichi Oogami
Editing – Shigeyuki Yamamori
Music – Yoko Kanno
Sound Director – Yota Tsuroka
Production Cooperation – Asatsu-DK, Sotsu Co., Ltd.
Producer – Yoshihiro Suzuki (Fuji TV), Hideyuki Tomioka (Sunrise)
Chief Director – Yoshiyuki Tomino
Animation Producer – Fuji TV, Sunrise
Ending Theme “Tsuki no Mayu” Credits
Lyrics – Rin Iogi
Composition – Yoko Kanno
Arrangement – Yoko Kanno
Song – Aki Okui
Ending Animation – Tsukasa Dokite