Updated: 10/27/21 at 3:35 CST
Among twenty-one recipients, renowned director Yoshiyuki Tomino is receiving one of the highest honors in Japan. Sponsored by the Japanese government, the Order of Culture honors select people who have made outstanding cultural contributions.
The Person of Cultural Merit awards ceremony will be held at The Okura Tokyo in Toranomon, Tokyo on November 4, 2021.
Yoshiyuki Tomino is one of the pioneering creatives in the anime industry having debuted on Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy in 1963 as a writer and storyboard artist. Tomino began his long standing relationship with legendary anime studio Sunrise with directing works such as the 1975 La Seine no Hoshi and their “super robot” mecha anime Brave Raideen, Invincible Super Man Zambot 3, and Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3.
The director would go on to pair with the studio again to create the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series, ushering in a new sub genre of mecha anime works. Gundam moved away from simple “good vs evil” storylines and depicting mecha as “superheroes” but as realistic war machines with grounded, nuanced political narratives, to be later dubbed the “Real Robot” genre. Tomino has since become a star player in the genre directing a multitude of mecha anime and Gundam entries with Sunrise such as:
- Space Runaway Ideon
- Combat Mecha Xabungle
- Aura Battler Dunbine
- Heavy Metal L-Gaim
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
- Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack
- Mobile Suit Gundam F91
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
- Turn-A Gundam
- Overman King Gainer
Released in 2014, Gundam Reconguista in G celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Gundam franchise and saw the return of Yoshiyuki Tomino helming an entry for the first time in fifteen years since 1999’s Turn-A Gundam.
The director is currently retelling the series in the form of five compilation films. The film series was announced in November 2018 as a part of the Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary Project. The compilations were to include new scenes and newly recorded, updated dialogue. Gundam Reconguista in G III: A Legacy from Space released July 22, 2021 to Japanese theaters.
First in a trilogy of anime films helmed by director Shukou Murase, Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway’s Flash or Hathaway is the official sequel to the 1988 Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack movie. The project was announced in November 2018 to celebrate the Gundam 40th anniversary, adapting the Yoshiyuki Tomino-penned novel series of the same name. The novels were originally released from 1989 to 1990, as a follow-up to Tomino’s Char’s Counterattack: Beltorchika’s Children novel, published by Kadokawa’s Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko imprint.
Opening to Japanese theaters June 11 the Hathaway film has earned record box office sales with 2.2 billion yen in revenue, with over 1.07 million tickets sold, becoming the second highest grossing Gundam film. Hathaway sits behind the 1982 Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space as the highest earning film in the Gundam franchise, sitting at 2.3 billion yen in box office revenue.
Composer Shigeaki Saegusa was honored with the honored with Person of Cultural Merit award in 2020, best known for composing the music for the 1985 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam series, its 1986 sequel Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and the film Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack.
Source: The Asahi Shimbun