Staff Highlight: Akira Yasuda (“akiman”), the Character Designer

This is the second in my series of staff highlight posts. My sources include various written and video interviews, audio commentaries, and individual research.

Akira Yasuda (pen name “akiman”) is a game designer, character designer, and mecha designer who currently works as a freelancer but was formerly employed by Capcom in the 1980s and 1990s. He gained international fame as the character designer for the transformative fighting game series, Street Fighter II. He provided character designs for Turn A Gundam.

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Yasuda Akira (“akiman”), Turn A Gundam‘s character designer, along with promotional artwork he drew for the Japanese DVD boxes.

Below is a highlight of info and fun facts pertaining to his time on Turn A Gundam.

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Staff Highlight: Yoshiyuki Tomino, Chief Director

This is the first in a series of blog posts focusing on key staff members of Turn A Gundam. My sources include various written and video interviews, audio commentaries, and individual research.

Yoshiyuki Tomino needs no introduction. A legendary figure in Japanese animation, he’s the creator of Mobile Suit Gundam and has been involved in many anime throughout his career. Between 1979 and 1994, Tomino directed six Gundam entries and then proceeded to distance himself from the franchise. Turn A Gundam marks his glorious return.

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Turn A Gundam‘s executive director.

Below is a highlight of info and fun facts pertaining to his time on Turn A Gundam.

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Storyboard to Turn A Gundam EP#43

This post highlights the storyboard of Turn A Gundam episode 43 – “The Shocking Dark History”, with storyboard by Kazuki Akane. This is a major pivotal episode in the plot, so expect spoilers! Akane is an industry veteran who’s no stranger to Gundam in particular, providing storyboards for 0083 and being involved in Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Char’s Counterattack, F91, and later on Iron-Blooded Orphans. He also provided storyboards for Brain Powerd, so, needless to say, Tomino was quite familiar with his work! His major directorial work is perhaps the 2008 Birdy the Mighty Decode TV anime and OVA.

Note that this storyboard is listed as #42 because the recap episode (#16) is omitted from the broadcast count number.

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What do we know about Turn A Space?

I was asked recently about Turn A Space, so I figured I’d use the opportunity to write up a little post summarizing what’s out there. So, what is Turn A Space? It is, of course, related to Turn A Gundam, and a concept or idea Yoshiyuki Tomino once had that never came to fruition. There are many rumors surrounding what it would have entailed, and as such, much of this post is dictated by rumor.

[EG]Turn-A_Gundam_BD_35(1080p_10bit)[BF3B73F2].mkv_snapshot_21.48_[2017.01.22_13.42.13]
A screenshot from Turn A Gundam ep #35
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Storyboard to Turn A Gundam EP#42

My luck hit big and I won auctions to a few Turn A Gundam storyboards, which are huge acquires for a collector like myself. In this post, I’m highlighting episode 42 – “The Turn X Activates”, with storyboard by Seiji Okuda. Okuda is an industry veteran who’s been involved with anime since the mid-60s. His most notable work is perhaps Dancougar (1985) in which he served as series director.

Note that it’s listed as #41 because the recap episode (#16) is omitted from the broadcast count number.

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Debunking Rumors: Loran Cehack as a Girl

Disclaimer: this is a repost of an article I wrote years ago on my personal blog. I’ve decided to slightly revise and edit it and share it here as well, as it’s a relevant topic to this blog.

Yoshiyuki Tomino is a prolific director with a career spanning multiple decades; as such, he is surrounded by hearsay and rumor by fans. This particular rumor was widespread in the English-speaking fandom during the 2000s but has since died down in recent years. This post is simply meant to discredit the basis of the rumor.

RUMOR: Tomino originally intended for Loran Cehack, the protagonist of Turn A Gundam, to be a girl but corporate interference by Sunrise and Bandai prevented him from doing so. What resulted was Tomino acting in “backlash” by having Loran cross-dress on multiple occasions. Some characters in the show even consistently refer to him by his female persona “Laura Rolla”.

[EG]Turn-A_Gundam_BD_07(1080p_10bit)[795C17AA].mkv_snapshot_11.23_[2016.09.25_00.46.57]
“Laura Rolla”‘s first appearance, episode 7.
As far as I am aware, this has only ever been speculation. Even well-established fan sites such as Tominosuki and Japanese subject-matter experts on social media have yet to corroborate the claim. It’s true that Tomino reacting to corporate meddling is nothing new, but Turn A Gundam serves as an antithesis to that — Tomino had much more free reign during its production than in previous Gundam projects.

The speculation stems from the opinion or idea that it simply “makes sense” — that Loran is more “effeminate” than the usual Gundam protagonist, that “Laura Rolla” is very “attractive” as a female character design, and that the story still would’ve flowed well had Loran been a girl. Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with any of that. Personally I’d have loved for Loran to be a girl! If you ask me, Turn A is structured in such a way that had Loran been female not much would’ve needed altering. But the “should’ve” or “could’ve” are irrelevant here, as there is little proof that it ever was a thing outside of fan wish-fulfillment.

I’m going to go into some detail disclaiming this rumor with some facts and counterpoints.

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Site Introspection and Progress Update(s)

It’s been a while since my last post.

I’ve done a bit of thinking and I’d like to re-focus this blog towards being more than just a Turn A Gundam translation hub. So, as you might have noticed, I now have a domain! Any old links to posts should still work. I’ve also added the resource compilation as a site page up top.

It’s with sadness that I must announce that the translation to the Fukui novels is on indefinite hiatus (if it wasn’t already obvious…). Our translator, khoda, has had a lot of pressing real-life concerns that need attending. It’s a shame, but I cannot blame her and I thank her for her amazing work. I’d still like to see these novels translated, but I can’t promise anything right now.

But! I’ll have an exciting new translation project to announce soon, so please stay tuned. I also plan to further expand this blog to feature more personal posts, collection showcases, staff and TV anime info, opinion pieces, etc. I have a lot of knowledge, opinions, rare items, etc. to share. I’m crazy about Turn A Gundam!

This site will remain Turn A Gundam focused, of course, but I may branch out here and there on special occasions.

Thanks for reading!
-Feez