Episode Analyses

Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #49 “Moonlight Butterfly”

Turn A Gundam‘s forty-ninth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on March 24, 2000. This episode was selected by fan-poll to receive an audio commentary track for the Blu-ray release.

Turn A Gundam‘s forty-ninth episode was broadcast on Fuji TV on March 24, 2000.

The Militia and Dianna Counter have joined forces, and the battle rages on between them and the Ghingham Fleet. Recall from last episode that Joseph is currently piloting the Turn A, and that puts people at unease. Phil sends Bruno and Jacop to the Whales to express his concern, and Harry figures they’ll need to have Loran dock with the mobile suit before the encircling operation. Fran doesn’t think Joseph will hand it over that easily, but Loran understands his mindset—he compares it to Moonrace canallers who have an inferiority complex to big-city folks from Gengnham. Nevertheless, he plans to convince Joseph to hand over the suit. The Turn A can’t operate at full performance without the Core Fighter after all. Meanwhile, Gym isn’t pleased that Guin has managed to lose the Turn A to the Militia. Guin makes up some stupid excuse, and instead suggests having Gym’s forces move northward to lure out the Soleil.

The Militia and Dianna Counter make preparations for the final battle, and most importantly Corin Nander has a new mobile suit! It’s a modified red-painted Kapool that he had Dianna Counter mechanics customize by utilizing spare parts. It’s designed by Yutaka Izubuchi and comes equipped with a Minchi Drill (similar to the one his Eagail had in the early episodes…) and Rocket Punch Glove (a modified hand from a WaDom). Despite only existing for two episodes, Corin’s Kapool is a fan favorite mobile suit and often appears in Gundam and Super Robot Wars video games. [edit: it was pointed out to me by a staff member that Corin’s Kapool doesn’t have its trademark horn in episode #49. It’s quietly added into episode #50]

Corin’s custom Kapool!

Loran and Joseph brawl in the Turn A’s cockpit, but Joseph ultimately wins the duel and kicks him out. Loran pleads with him that if the Turn X shows up, he make an escape to the sea instead of attempting to fight it. Joseph basically ignores him and tells everyone that his squad is taking point. He also asks Loran to take care of Fran, implying that she’s possibly pregnant with Joseph’s baby! It’s a very abrupt and Tomino-like way to announce such a thing. Meanwhile, Dianna, Phil, and Miran discuss strategy. They’ve tried to reach out to the Ghingham Fleet but haven’t gotten a response, and Miran thinks that Guin Lineford hopes the two Moonrace factions will destroy each other so that he can reap the benefits.

Poe, Corin, Sochie, and Miashei clash against Sweatson, Merrybell, and their respective squadrons. It’s a full on multi-faction Tomino-patented final battle. The Lousana Militia (with Lily commanding the Gallop) attack Ghingham Fleet forces in guerilla warfare-style skirmishes. Corin debuts in his new Kapool and makes quick work of Sweatson with his new armaments.

Gym finally launches in the Turn X, ordering his men to ignore the small fry. Their target is the Soleil where Dianna Soreil resides, the Moonrace’s icon and idol. He then makes quick work of incoming Dianna Counter mobile suits, and we see the Shining Finger in action once again. The Soleil and Whales get word that the Turn X has entered the fray; with Loran’s Core Fighter still disengaged, Harry decides to launch in the SUMO, but not before sharing a quick moment with Kihel. Joseph comes out of hiding with the Turn A and begins attacking the Turn X, but Gym easily dispels its beams with the Moonlight Butterfly. Gym clearly has the upper hand, toying with Joseph’s pitiful movements. Sweatson comes out of nowhere, attempting to provide assistance, but… Gym doesn’t like the fact that he’s interrupting his duel with his “brother”, so he casually just kills him! Gym then detaches the Turn X’s limbs and captures the Turn A, using magnetic fields to analyze Joseph’s “biometric data”. Joseph is basically being electrified to death. Loran, Bruno, Jacop, Harry, Poe, and the others finally arrive onto the scene. Gym is interrupted by the SUMO squadron. The Turn A falls to the ground, as Joseph lays unconscious.

The Shining Finger!

Gym declares that the Turn X is the only Turn-type that is needed in this era and fires a beam at the Willghem, more-or-less incapacitating the ship. Guin and co. barely escape death, but there goes that alliance! Harry, Poe and the others attack, attempting to capture the Turn X with an I-Field Barrier, but Gym easily breaks out of their field by unleashing the Moonlight Butterfly. This is a famous scene within fandom, as it features iconic lines such as Gym’s “Kono Turn X sugoi yo! Sasuga Turn A no onii-san! (“My Turn X is incredible! It truly is the Turn A’s big brother!”); and, of course, Harry’s unforgettable “UNIVERSE!” battle cry. Takehito Koyasu’s performance as Gym is very impressive in this episode, and some of his iconic lines were added in simply because they sounded “cool”. Koyasu came into the production mid-way and didn’t have to audition for his role, so he knew he had to make a big impact in the studio. Tetsu Inada’s performance as Harry is incredible as well—”UNIVERSE” has become synonymous with both the character and voice actor, and you’ll sometimes hear it in other works too. Harry Ord as a character avoided death several times as scenarios were revised, so Inada felt that if he didn’t give it his all in this battle vs. Gym then Harry would die!

One of the greatest scenes in the history of anime.

Dianna immediately recognizes the Moonlight Butterfly for what it is, and everyone else is flabbergasted by its intensity. It causes Corin to recall the “Gundam” again, and this time we get a split-second callback to… that’s right, the Wing Zero! It’s implied that the “Gundam” from Corin’s past is none other than Heero Yuy’s Wing Zero from Gundam Wing. There’s a lot that can be construed from this. The Correct Century (C.C.) is the theoretical result of merging Gundam franchise timelines prior to Turn A Gundam, resulting in a far-flung future set an indeterminate number of years in the future. It’s a loose concept and there’s no particular timeline of events, and Corin’s age is intentionally unknown (he could be thousands of years-old, for instance). It puts a very interesting spin on his character, though! It’s important to note that there wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into this connection. Director Tomino wasn’t very familiar with Gundam Wing so he didn’t initially realize that it was added in by staff discretion, but he’s happy with the end result. It fit the thematic framework of encompassing all Gundam series. Initially, Tomino was reluctant to include shows like Wing into the Dark History, but he didn’t want to exclude the hard work of staff members who had worked on other Gundam series. He had heard that the first cour of Wing embodied the spirit of Mobile Suit Gundam, so it felt appropriate to include it in Turn A Gundam. He viewed it as a stamp of approval for other creators to do anything they wanted with Gundam as a franchise.

Corin Nander recalls the “Gundam” from his past.

Harry, Poe, and the SUMOs attempt to subjugate the Turn X yet again, relying on tactics and teamwork (it’s endearing seeing these two finally work together!), but Gym is able to fend them off. Loran in the meantime re-docks the Core Fighter with the Turn A, and with Joseph and Fran taken to safety, he finally launches in his suit. Gym immediately recognizes him as his true brother, and the two face-off in a final clash between titans.

This episode features lots of exciting battles, with Atsushi Shigeta credited as assistant animation director with a focus on the Turn X’s special effects.

Additionally, this is the last episode to feature outsourced background art by Kyoto Animation. Since they’re now a well-known and beloved animation studio, let’s do a little recap. KyoAni began in the 1980s as a group of housewives (then Kyoto Anime Studio) painting cels for Tatsunoko Pro and Pierrot productions, and by the 90s they had fully established departments for animation and photography. Their name became a regular occurrence in credits for many high-profile productions, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, often providing in-betweens, key animation, and/or background art. It’s no surprise that their services were sought-after in Turn A Gundam as well, especially given that Tomino wanted more women on staff. In total, they provided backgrounds for 12 episodes and in-betweens for 6 episodes. Thank you, KyoAni!

Turn A Gundam Episode #49 Credits
Loran – Romi Park
Dianna – Rieko Takahashi
Kihel – Rieko Takahashi
Sochie – Akino Murata
Guin – Gou Aoba
Harry – Tetsu Inada
Fran – Kumiko Watanabe
Sid – Akio Nojima
Miashei – Noriko Kito
Joseph – Setsuji Sato
Michael – Tetsuo Kanao
Yani – Takuya Kirimoto
Lily – Ai Kobayashi
Bruno – Kazunari Tanaka
Jacop – Hidenari Ugaki
Gym – Takehito Koyasu
Sweatson – Toru Uganda
Merrybell – Rio Natsuki
Poe – Yumiko Nakanishi
Miran – Kazuyuki Sogabe
Phil – Tsuyoshi Koyama
Corin – Yasuhiko Kawazu
Mallygan – Hiroya Ishimaru
Daisuke – Hiroshi Matsumoto
Aspit Captain – Yoshiyuki Kaneko
Hammet – Atsushi Murai
DC Soldier – Kihachiro Uemura
Pilot C – Toshihide Tsuchiya

Key Animation – Nakamura Production (Akira Matsunaga, Hiroyuki Mori, Seiichi Hashimoto, Takeo Tominaga, Yuji Miyashita, Kenichi Takase, Kenichiro Kasuya, Kenji Suzuki), Toshio Mori, Tsukasa Dokite, Akitoshi Yokoyama, Katsutoshi Tsunoda, Katsuhisa Yamamoto
Assistant Animation Director – Atsushi Shigeta

In-between Check – Tsuguru Fukuda (Nakamura Production), Kazuyo Tominaga
In-betweens – Nakamura Production (Yoshitake Iwagami, Ryuji Iwabuchi, Isshou Matsuyama, Koji Kanno, Takashi Yoshimura, Hitomi Takechi, Tomonao Ohashi, Kenichi Tamaru, Taeko Watanabe, Fumiyo Mori), Studio Dove, Studio Bogey

Color Setting – Kazuko Kikuchi
Assistant Color Coordinator – Miyuki Sato (EMUAI)
Finishing – EMUAI (Shinichi Yoneda, Mayumi Hirade, Ayumi Ando, Hiromi Okamoto, Miho Suzuki, Junko Nakayama), Studio Bogey
Finishing Manager – Fumie Maebayashi

Art Board – Yukiko Maruyama (Atelier Musa)
Backgrounds – Kyoto Animation (Joji Unoguchi, Ryuji Kawabata, Hideki Kaneko, Yuriko Honda, Nao Yoshikawa, Shizuko Uehara, Asako Morita, Hiroshi Ugaki, Atsushiki Betsumiya)
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, Makoto Takakura, Akira Iribe)
Digital Coloring – EMUAI
Video Editing – Qtec
Telecine – Makoto Imazuka
Video Editor – Tetsuro Fujita, Minami Takahashi

Mechanical Design – Hiroshi Iwaki, Yoshikazu Miyao, Junya Ishigaki, Mahiro Maeda, Tsukasa Dokite, Kazutaka Miyatake, Takeshi Takakura, Kimitoshi Yamane
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 – Takuro Shinbo
Screenplay – Jirō Takayama
Storyboard – Akitoshi Yokoyama, Minoru Yokitani
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

One thought on “Turn A Gundam Staff, Production, and Episode Analyses – Episode #49 “Moonlight Butterfly”

  1. UNIVERSE! Dare I say, one of the best episodes in all of Gundam. Might even be the best Turn A episode if Golden Autumn didn’t exist


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