Yoshikazu Yasuhiko Interview - "Gundam is a Poorly Made Anime"

topThe Gundam anime experienced a small boost in popularity with the recent release of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime DVD Box. The original 43-episode Gundam anime was first aired in 1979, and now the DVD box set is experiencing positive sales. ITmedia News interviews Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, the art director and character designer of Gundam, who talks about Gundam and his recent works. (by Koh Shimada)

Q: The DVD box set of the "First Gundam" is very popular.

A: Gundam is a very mysterious thing for me. I really don't see why Gundam is still popular after so many years. Sometimes I have to see it on due to the necessity of my job, but I think it's a poorly made work.

topQ: Do you really think so?

A: Japanese animation has a special nature. It can attract many fans if it's of poor quality, even overseas. They say "Japanimation overcame the world."

Q: Enthusiastic fans love Gundam and other Japanese anime, you know.

A: I can't see why it's the way it is. I think the quality of Japanese anime is worse than Disney animation.

Q: What do you think is the reason behind it?

A: I guess because Japanese anime arouses imagination. Fans would use their imagination to fill in the blanks. Moreover, Japanese anime targets young people, not children, not adults, through its humanistic theme. Anime created a new world.

Q: Japan is the ahead in the "Robot building" race, the "Gundam generation" engineers are challenged to build unique robots.

A: In the beginning Robot came from overseas. In Japan, robots were given adorable images such as "Astro Boy" and simple images such as "Gigantor" at the same time. The interestingly adorable but mechanical robots drew many fans, and part of them became engineers who would have a chance to combine their images of robots with real science.

Q: You are became a professor of Kobe Art and Technical University in April of last year.

A: I'm feeling both enjoyment and disappointment. Sometimes I'm bothered by my job, but I'm also encouraged by my job. I watched students for 10 months, and I can see more possibility in them. Many of them have a great mind.

Q: How do you compare the student nowadays with you when you were young.

A: I can't compare myself to them because it's only been a few years since universities began to offer opportunities to study sub-cultures. Right now the universities are looking for ways to carry the program out trough trial and error.

A few years after, the worth of studying sub-culture will be evaluated by after we see the current students step in to society.

Q: What are you doing now?

A: Right now I'm working on a Gundam manga, Gundam: The Origin, it will take around two to three more years to finish; I will have to dedicate this year to the manga. I have many ideas for new manga, but I have to finish Gundam: The Origin before I can get started on them.

Q: Nowadays why aren't you participating in any anime projects?

A: I don't want to make anime, however I'm creating an anime in my class. I saw some first year students who have great talents, yet even they knew very little about anime. One of my "themes" is how to nurture them.

Q: Finally, what is your dream?

A: I'm sixty this year, but I have many things I still want to do. Before my retirement, I hope I will be able to finish as many of them as I can.

About Mobile Suit Gundam DVD Box Set
The "First Gundam" DVD sold over 120,000 copes. Bandai Visual Co. Ltd released "Gundam DVD-BOX 1" on December 22nd of last year, which packed 24 episodes into 6 DVDs, featuring the first half of Mobile Suit Gundam that was aired between 1979-1980. A staff of Bandai Visual said: "120,000 copies during the first print is the highest record for us. This was the beginning of Gundum, making it a great DVD for fans."

This year, "DVD-BOX 2" that contains episode 25th to the last episode in 5 DVDs
went on.

About Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
He is the character designer of Gundam, the creator of the storyboard for Starbrazers, the art director of Brave Raideen, etc. Yasuhiko is one of the giants of anime, and had been creating manga since 1979. Currently Yasuhiko is only drawing manga, and his most recent work is Gundam: The Origin, which is serialized in Gundam Ace, a Gundam-only magazine.

Translated by T. Ohara

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"I think the quality of

"I think the quality of Japanese anime is worse than Disney animation." --he couldn't possibly mean that!

it's because japan used to

it's because japan used to draw 12 frames per sec, but disney use 24 frames per sec in animation. that's what he meant by low quality.

Though it is true that

Though it is true that Disney has better animation, I believe that Japanese anime has a more of a storyline and imagination than Disney today (not including Pixar's films).


My first gundam show I seen was Gundam 0080 War in the pocket that was the very first Gundam that made addict to and my first complete gundam series is Gundam SEED im so happy that I complete it and now all I just need is to get all of Gundam Seed Destiny and Also StarGazer.

Disney animation is better?

In terms of frames per second, yes. That's because of something called "budget". A Disney movie dwarfs the budget of any anime. It has nothing to do with artistic superiority.