In a recent interview with Forbes, Mobile Suit Gundam animator and Gundam The Origin manga creator, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, revealed that director Yoshiyuki Tomino acted as if he was the only person responsible for the success of the anime.
“During the original Mobile Suit Gundam, my relationship with Tomino was very positive and productive. After the success of the series though, Tomino shut out everybody else and acted as though he was the only person responsible for its success,” Yasuhiko said.
This made it hard for him to work on Gundam.
Yasuhiko said that after the original Mobile Suit Gundam, he didn’t want to be associated with the sequels. Nevertheless, he looked forward to Gundam F91 and worked as a character designer when director Tomino revealed that the sequel will have a completely new storyline.
“So there was almost no communication between him and I after this, which made it very hard to work on Gundam. After all, if you have to work together, there needs to be communication. This changed with Gundam F91, as communication was reopened. However, I only worked on the character design for Gundam F91, as I had retired from animation at that point,” he added.
The animator also delved deep into how Tomino is very difficult to understand because of his lack of communication or “logical consistency”. He admitted that Tomino is very easily misunderstood and often misquoted because of his “charisma”.
“As for Tomino, he is a unique and a great creator, but he doesn’t communicate clearly or has logical consistency. This means his stories or explanations can be hard to follow. Respecting him as a great creator is one thing, but handling his charisma is something else entirely. I think looking only at Tomino’s charisma is the wrong thing to do. He is very easily misunderstood this way and is often misquoted, which then gets out of control,” Yasuhiko said.
However, Yasuhiko said that he did not hate the director, or even look down on him. Instead he respected Tomino’s talent the most.
“People sometimes think that I look down on Tomino, or even hate him. This is not true. I feel I am the one that respects Tomino’s talent the most. By contrast, I feel I am very easy to understand, but I think that is probably indicative of me not being that great a creator,” said Yasuhiko.
Furthermore, the legendary animator and anime director revealed in the interview that working in Gundam and its success, gave him the opportunity to fulfill his dream as a mangaka.
“Around ten years after I started as a freelancer, I came to work on the first Mobile Suit Gundam as an animator. It ended up being a big hit so after that Tokuma, who were publishing animation magazines at the time, contacted me and asked if I was interested in making manga. It was this that made me think that I may be able to become a mangaka. This is around the time I started working on manga. This meant for the following ten years I was both an animator and someone that made manga. At the end of that period, I decided to stop working in animation and focus solely on creating manga,” said the manga author.
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko is a Japanese animator, manga artist, and director in the anime industry. Born in Engaru, Hokkaidō, Yasuhiko dropped out of Hirosaki University and was hired by Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi Productions in 1970 as an animator. He later went freelance and worked on various animation productions for film and television. He began working as a manga artist in 1979.
In 1981 he won the Seiun Award in the Art category. In 1992 he won the Japan Cartoonists Association Award, and in 2000, an Excellence Prize in manga for Ōdō no Inu at the Japan Media Arts Festival. He is also known as a novelist and science fiction illustrator. Some of his most notable works as character designer and director are Brave Reideen, Combattler V, and Mobile Suit Gundam.
He is also the creator and director of Giant Gorg. Less well known is the fact that he was the original character designer for the Dirty Pair, long before their first anime or manga appearance, when he was illustrating the Haruka Takachiho short stories that became the 1980 fixup novel Great Adventures of the Dirty Pair.
In recent years, he has branched out artistically, creating works such as Joan, a three-volume story of a young French girl living at the time of the Hundred Years’ War, whose life parallels that of Joan of Arc; and Jesus, a two-volume biographical manga about the life of Jesus Christ.