Episode Analyses · storyboard

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #43 “The Shocking Dark History”

Turn A Gundam‘s forty-third episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on February 11, 2000. I own a copy of its storyboard and have included comparison shots, which provide an additional layer of perspective on how scene framing and/or drawings began and evolved over time. This episode’s storyboard is by Kazuki Akane, and it is the only episode in which they were involved in. Additionally, this episode was selected by fan-poll to receive an audio commentary track for the Blu-ray release. It received so many votes that two audio commentary tracks were recorded, each with a separate set staff members, proving that it is unquestionably the fan-favorite episode.

Turn A Gundam‘s forty-third episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on February 11, 2000. The illustration pictured is by by Naomi Yamamura from the Gundam Perfect File no. 163.

The episode picks up where the previous one left off, with Loran facing off against Gym and Merrybell. He claims that he hasn’t come to fight (ironic, given that he’s the one who accepted the duel!), but Gym doesn’t care and wants him to hand over his mobile suit. He collects data as the Turn A and Bandit skirmish. Loran asks why is he fighting against Dianna, but Gym turns the tables on him; his logic is that by destroying the Turn A, he’s actually protecting Dianna. The Turn A & Turn X’s scars appear to be resonating with each others. The two suits clearly have a connection; in the past it was the Turn X who failed to defeat the Turn A in battle. Gym muses about the possibility of both suits destroying each other by letting their “systems” run free. Loran realizes that this is all a game to him.

Storyboard v. animation comparison shots. The Turn A & Turn X confront and resonate with each other.

The Militia forces have broken into the White Palace, taking advantage of the confusion caused by Agrippa fleeing the scene. They don’t find any of their allies but do apprehend the palace’s workers. They chase after Dianna and co., guided by some of the palace’s guards. Meanwhile, Dianna, Kihel, Guin, Lily, and Sochie continue onwards to the Winter Palace. They question what the Dark History actually is, but Dianna reminds them that it’s simply a record of past events and not some type of “curse” that Agrippa has framed it as—she suspects that Gym has been manipulating him. Agrippa orders Midgard to have the Gendarme land in the spaceport; he wants to prevent Dianna and her group from learning about the secrets of the Dark History’s files.

Storyboard v. animation comparison shots. Two in one and one in two.

They finally arrive at the Winter Palace and take a moment to rest. There’s a lot of lush greenery surrounding large circular monuments. Guin and Lily comment that it all looks like a set of very graves, as if a far-future cemetery. Dianna explains that the Winter Palace is the Moon’s primary cryogenics facility and that it also houses the data rooms. Kihel suddenly thanks Dianna for crying in front of her father’s grave, over 40 episodes ago! When you think about it, she hadn’t really had the chance to do so. Sochie overhears the conversation and is stunned that it was Dianna who grieved so hard that day. Dianna and Kihel explain to her how they had played a simple prank and were then forced into each other’s roles. On the bright side, they were allowed to understand each other better as people. Sochie is still shocked, and she can’t believe they would drop a bombshell like that at a time like this, which to be fair is a very good question! Guin interjects the conversation, wondering if it was Kiehl who gave the speech at the Declaration of Statehood. Dianna confirms that it was indeed Kihel and that it was her who conceived of the idea itself. Guin is flabbergasted, because that speech is something Dianna herself would have said! Lily is suddenly apologetic, because she realizes that it was Dianna and not Kihel who she bullied into working as a field nurse. Sochie is beside herself, because now that she knows that Dianna went through so much pain, she can’t be mad at her anymore. A lot of character development is coming full circle! It took most of the show, but now all the primary characters know about the switcheroo Dianna-Kihel have been doing.

The Winter Palace is the Moon’s main cryogenics facility.

Sweatson Stero steals one of his subordinate’s Mahiroos, but before he can attack the White Palace he’s stopped by Harry Ord in his Gold SUMO. The two face off, with Harry clearly having the upper-hand. Sweatson tells him to go chase after his “queen’s ass”, to which Harry is disgusted by his vulgar language. This scene is somewhat infamous, as older fansubs humorously translated one of the lines as “you dar speak of the queen’s ass so casually, you bastard!” A slight mistranslation that still gets the point across. Harry says that after they’ve dealt with Agrippa, they will move to sign a cease-fire with the Earthers and send them back home. Sweatson’s backup Mahiroo Squad arrives but Harry easily takes care of all of them. This battle’s storyboard emphasizes all the camera movements, the zoom-ins/outs, and Tomino advised animator Masami Goto to pay attention to the pauses in battle for dramatic effect. Meanwhile, the battle rages on between Loran and Gym & Merrybell. Loran unleashes more of the Turn A’s hidden abilities, distorting electromagnetic waves by vibrating its beam sabers (not unlike what the FLATs do). We’ll see more of its abilities unlock as we head towards the show’s finale.

The Gold SUMO vs. Mahiroo Squad battle, featuring stunning animation by Masami Goto.

Agrippa and Midgard arrive inside the Winter Palace and make their way to the data room. Before they can do much, the Militia raid the building, after having rendezvoused with Dianna and co. They hold Agrippa hostage, who warns them not to touch anything. Dianna finally confronts Agrippa. She claims that it’s the combination of people like Agrippa, Gym, and Guin who eventually bring down catastrophe. Agrippa devises ways to stay in power, Gym does nothing but revel in military might, and Guin claims to act in the furtherance of human knowledge. She asks them to consider why their ancient history has come to be known as the Dark History. Dianna moves forward to the computer pedestal, but Agrippa tells her that even if she unseals the Dark History, the Earthers are incapable of imagining a thousands-years cycle of history. She doesn’t care, calling him prejudice. It’s worth noting that the Dark History as a concept was inspired by recorded history—to understand the dangers of a never-ending cycle. That societies will change and alter events to suit their needs. That truths will often be lost in time, only to be later revealed as a black box of surprises. Turn A Gundam is built on this entire framework. Tomino wanted to deliver a story that would expose the origin of humanity’s sin, and it began as “Ring of Gundam” (the ring representing an endless cycle, not unlike the eternity & rebirth of ouroboros symbolism).

The holographic screens begin to show video recordings, such as a space colony falling onto Earth. Guin and the others are dumbfounded that this isn’t fiction. Dianna reaffirms them that this is all recorded footage. They start seeing spaceships in space, and Dianna reveals that the space war soon after the A.D. gave way to the “Universal Century”. That’s right, the very same U.C. we’ve come to know in Gundam timeline canon. This is the first time it’s namedropped in the show. Remember, Turn A Gundam is not officially associated with any timeline other than its own “Correct Century” (C.C.), but it does posit that all previous timelines happened in the past and converge into a singular point that then lead to the C.C. The order of all events prior to that is irrelevant, nor was it ever discussed in a serious manner during production. The RX-78-2 and Zaku-II from Mobile Suit Gundam are shown on-screen, and Miashei thinks they’re the White Doll and Borjarnon! There’s also footage shown from Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Char’s Counterattack, Victory Gundam, G Gundam, Gundam Wing, and Gundam X—virtually all the previous Gundam titles. Dianna further explains that there was a long, long period of war in the past, and she wants everyone to understand the final outcome. The reason it’s called the “Dark History” is that it was mankind’s final war. Lily surmises that mankind really isn’t that noble after all, if this cycle has perpetuated for centuries.

Storyboard v. animation comparison shots. The shocking Dark History is revealed.

Gym is confused by the holographic displays that are appearing out of nowhere on the Moon’s surface. He thinks it’s Loran’s Turn A that’s pulling his leg, but Loran thinks the same about the Turn X. He discovers that the source of origin is coming from the Winter Palace. Merrybell is thrown off by large displays showing the Gundam X firing its Satellite Cannon and Zakus shooting out missiles. Loran finally realizes that this is footage from the Dark History archives. The Militia members back on the Willghem are freaked out and don’t understand what’s going on, and neither do much of the Moonrace citizenry. Harry explains that these are video recordings of images from the ancient Universal Century (I suppose he’s in the know-how!). There’s chaos and confusion on the streets, and people aren’t sure if they’re being shown an expensive video ad or what. Gym finally realizes that Dianna is revealing the Dark History to the Earthers, in an attempt to legitimize her Earth Return Plan. However, he doesn’t think she’ll be successful. He believes instead that this will cause everyone to remember their “fighting instinct”, which to him is good news! His “spring has come!” Sweatson Stero—who’s “fighting instinct” has been unlocked for many episodes now—is excited at the possibility of the world succumbing to the chaos and destruction shown on the displays.

Dianna then declares that she hasn’t ever looked into the data files about the Mountain Cycle or Turn Code. Agrippa warns them that the data in those files reveal that it was the mustached mobile suit that brought down Earth’s civilization using something called the “Moonlight Butterfly”. Ominous music begins to play, and we’re shown footage of the Turn A Gundam using its Moonlight Butterfly wings to decimate the Earth’s surface with ease. Agrippa proclaims that the Eartheres cannot comprehend the significance of what is being shown. The Turn A Gundam spread its nanomachines across Earth, converting everything into dust… Dianna then concludes that with its mission complete, the Turn A Gundam buried itself in the Mountain Cycle to lay at rest. Everyone is completely shocked that the Turn A Gundam has such destructive power.

Storyboard v. animation comparison shots. The destructive power of the Turn A Gundam’s “Moonlight Butterfly” is revealed.

Turn A Gundam Episode #43 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Dianna – Rieko Takahashi
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Michael – Tetsuo Kanao
Yani – Takuya Kirimoto
Lily – Ai Kobayashi
Bruno – Kazunari Tanaka
Jacop – Hidenari Ugaki
Aims – Dai Matsumoto
John – Toshihide Tsuchiya
Gym – Takehito Koyasu
Sweatson – Toru Uganda
Sweatson – Toru Uganda
Agrippa – Hiroya Ishimaru
Midgard – Ryuji Mizuno
Merrybell – Rio Natsuki
Shikkinen – Ken Iwamatsu
Boy Soldier – Kei Kurita
Militia Soldier – Kihachiro Uemura
Official A – Kenichi Sakaguchi

Key Animation – Studio Dove (Katsunori Enokimoto, Tetsuya Ishikawa, Kazuhiro Ono, Satoshi Tazawa, Lee Ju, Seoul Dove), Atsushi Shigeta, Toshio Mori, Masami Goto, Takao Takegami

In-between Check – Miki Otani
In-betweens – Studio Dove (Liu Jun, Reiko Taito, Akihiro Saito, Yoshiaki Wada, Kazuko Otake, Yoko Kojita, Seoul Dove, Shanghai Dove)

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi (EMUAI)
Assistant Color Coordinator – Miyuki Sato (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Emiko Okui, Yukari Goto, Nobuto Takagi, Mika Nagano, Setsuko Nakamura, Yumi Matsumoto)
Finishing Manager – Fumie Maebayashi

Art Board – Yukiko Maruyama (Atelier Musa)
Backgrounds – White Map (Masashi Hasegawa, Sachie Endo, Junko 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, Akira Iribe)
Digital Coloring – EMUAI
Video Editing – Qtec
Telecine – Makoto Imazuka
Video Editor – Tetsuro Fujita, Minami Takahashi

Mechanical Design – Hitoshi Iwaki, Yoshikazu Miyao, Junya Ishigaki, Mahiro Maeda, Tsukasa Dokite, Kazutaka Miyatake, Takeshi Takakura
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 – Kazuki Akane
Assistant Episode Director – Satoshi Toba
Production Advancement – TaRyuta Wakanabe
Production Desk – Yoichi Watanabe
Literary Coordinator – Tetsuko Takahashi
Setting Production – Koji Yasukawa
Production Secretary – Michiko Yamamoto

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