Since its first broadcast in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam has been the most monumental mecha anime series in Japan. Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin is an anime based on the manga of the same name written by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, who was also the character designer and animation director for the original Gundam series. The manga has a circulation of over ten million copies. The Loum Arc of this series depicts the beginning of the One Year War over two episodes. The first episode, ‘Clash at Loum’, was released in Japanese cinemas on 2 September 2017, and part two, ‘Rise of the Red Comet’, is to be released on 5 May 2018. Both movies will only be available to watch in Japanese theaters for a short time.
On 2 September, the premiere stage greeting for the anime film Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin: Clash at Loum, directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, was held at Marunouchi Piccadilly in Tokyo. The guest speakers were Yasuhiko, Shuichi Ikeda (Char Aznable), Banjou Ginga (Gihren Zabi), Toru Furuya (Amuro Ray), and Toshio Furukawa (Kai Shiden). When the guests came up on stage, the fans all roared with joy. They were all excited to see the stellar cast members who have played a role since the first Gundam series.
Ikeda first made the fans laugh by accidentally holding the microphone upside-down. Then, he started his greeting by saying, ‘It has been 38 years since the beginning of the Gundam series, but this is the first time for us four to get together like this.’ He also added, ‘We are like the “survivors”. We’ve worked hard, haven’t we?’ Furuya responded, ‘It’s a good thing that we are still alive [laugh].’ Director Yasuhiko commented, ‘Actually, I was thinking all day about why we were chosen as the guests. I mean, there are other cast members who are much younger, like Megu-chan (Megumi Han). Then, I heard that the theme of today’s event is “38 years”. I felt, “Oh, I get it”. I am so thankful to the fans who have supported us for such a long time.’
When the cast members were asked about how they felt when voicing their characters over the course of these 38 years, Ginga answered with a complex look, ‘I’ve learned new things about Char’s family in this film, and I felt that I should have been kinder to my family.’ In this new film, the characters are much younger than in the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, so the cast members had to dub in a young voice. Ginga commented, ‘I was first worried about whether I can still voice a high school boy, but I was also very happy that I got the offer at this age. I joined the dubbing having mixed feelings.’ Then, Furuya mentioned, ‘When Amuro appears in Part 2, he is only eight years old! I had to make my voice extremely young, and I felt, “I may not be able to do it, but I have to do it!”’ He got the fans excited by speaking in Amuro’s voice.
Yasuhiko commented with a smile, ‘38 years ago, I was always drawing in the studio, so I didn’t have the chance to meet the cast members. Regarding Ginga, I met him for the first time when making The Origin. When I met him, I felt, “He looks exactly like Zabi!” First I was scared, but I was glad to find out how kind he is.’ He also added, ‘I think Amuro’s voice is very cute in this movie. The only thing I was worried about was Ikeda’s voice as a young boy. However, he has done a fabulous job.’ The director praised all cast members.
Towards the end of the event, the guests spoke about Rise of the Red Comet, the sequel to Clash at Loum. Ikeda pleaded to Yasuhiko, ‘Please let me be the protagonist for another movie!’ Then, Furuya commented, ‘The Origin’s protagonist is Char, but the protagonist of Mobile Suit Gundam is Amuro Ray. Please make Amuro the leading character for the sixth episode and onward!’ Yasuhiko explained how Episode 5, Clash at Loum, was able to be created thanks to the fans’ support for the Char and Sayla Arc up to Episode 4, and he expressed his gratitude towards the fans. Then, he begged to the fans, ‘Right now, we are putting all our efforts in making Episode 6. Moreover, the story will continue after that. Please let us make the anime for the “One Year War Arc”!’
In relation to the fact that Char is the protagonist of Clash at Loum, at the end of the event, Ginga shouted out, ‘To the one hundred and fifty million citizens of Zeon!’ Then, the fans raised their arms and chanted ‘Sieg Zeon!’ three times. Both the cast members and the audience united as one.
Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin: Clash at Loum is to be shown in 35 theaters across Japan for a limited time of four weeks starting from 2 September.