Director Yoshiyuki Tomino has been awarded the 71st Kanagawa Culture Award for his great impact on the animation industry in Japan and abroad, having directed numerous anime productions, including the Gundam franchise.
Established in 1952, the Kanagawa Culture Award is a joint project between Kanagawa Prefecture and Kanagawa Shimbun. Each year, the prize is awarded to an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the improvement and development of Kanagawa Prefecture’s art and culture.
Held at Kanagawa Prefectural Hall on Thursday, November 3, the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra gave a celebratory performance during the ceremony, playing “Main Title” from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack and nine other pieces.
Born in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, 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 to the Gundam franchise. Announced in November 2018 as a part of the Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary Project, the director retold the series in the form of five compilation films, releasing from 2019 to 2022. The compilations were to include new scenes and newly recorded, updated dialogue.
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, sitting behind the 1982 Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space.