Moments of 2010: Genesis of Gundam Chapter 19 (The Genesis of Ichiro Itano; 400th Post!)

I know of him primarily for his legendary Itano Circus, an incredible contribution to animated action and made an indelible impact on how visually arresting robot anime can become. If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, a few minutes from this video will SHOW YOU (for sure).

I’ve read a lot of interesting things about Itano. One story is that he got so poor despite his success in animating Gundam that he had to drive trucks before Kawamori Shoji got him involved in Macross. That became such a successful partnership that Itano found himself shooting down Kawamori in mock dogfights using real fighter jets – part of research in preparation in making Macross Plus.

Another story is about how he would strap fireworks on his bike, apparently a story so legendary, that the second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (yes, one of the infamous Endless Eight episodes) remembered love for it.

I gotta love Kyoto Animation’s Haruhi team for making all of these obscure Macross homages, and for this one in particular.

Genesis of Gundam is a ridiculously funny manga that plays up the history of the origins of Gundam and the lives of the people behind it to absurdly awesome hot-blooded levels. Chapters 19 and 20 introduces Itano Ichiro, then an in-between animator who pledged to give Gundam his all after Tomino, Miyatake, and then himself BAWWWED over Tomino’s storyboards (it must be seen to be believed).

His contribution to Gundam led to some of the finest technical achievements in the show, here is one scene:


You can see the result here:

Just remember, this is 1979 and people just don’t make this kind of effort for a 31st episode of a show, particularly studio animation.

Even if you have no intention of reading Genesis of Gundam in full (say, if you’re only a Macross fan at the moment), chapters 19 and 20 are well worth your interest.

For the others, what’s your favorite moment in Gundam Sousei?

Haven’t seen any Gundam at all? Don’t know where to start? Find your Gateway Gundam!

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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28 Responses to Moments of 2010: Genesis of Gundam Chapter 19 (The Genesis of Ichiro Itano; 400th Post!)

  1. Shinmaru says:

    OK, I just started reading Gundam Sousei and this is pretty awesome. The chapter with Shuuichi Ikeda is epic.

  2. Bruno J. Global says:

    >This video contains content from BandaiChannel, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

    Oh wow, a manga about the making of Gundam.

    Just dropping by (after quite a long while) to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. Bonesy! says:

    Gundam Sousei in general is very interesting, I can’t wait for more chapters. I wonder how long it is, though.

  4. megaroad1 says:

    Typical of Bandai to block content to what is just a short clip of an episode. As if it would make a difference to their revenue stream.

    Anyway, Ichiro Itano is a legend for all us Macross fans. Who can forget the famous missile scene in DYRL were a the missiles that deliver the coup de grace to the enemy fortress are actually a couple of cans of Budweiser. The level of detail that went into that scene is amazing!

    Let’s not forget that Itano is been a pretty handy director too. He did the second part of Megazone which was awesome.

    • I know right? I don’t know the exact terms of the fair use clause of the law, but I’m almost certain that this short clip should cover it.

      The Itano circus is as much a part of the goodness that is Macross as transforming robots, giant aliens, and singing idols. Ichiro is the man.

      From a guy named Renato from the Macrossworld Forums:

      I think not only is Itano Ichiro a living legend, he’s like pure rage contained in a human body. 😆

      Did you know that he only became an animator after seeing a classified ad in a newspaper on the street in Ueno, as he was walking around in Tokyo looking to buy a motorcycle, while his parents thought he was at after-school activities, even though he was actually suspended from school?

      He turned up at the studio, they asked him “Do you have a CV?” And he says “No. I just saw the ad. I actually don’t know the first thing about TV manga”. He sat down, did some drawings, and they told him “yeah, not bad, but could better”. He then asked if he could stay till the evening and keep working on his drawing, saying “I want to be satisfied with my drawing”. Hours and many drawings later, he left. He then got a phone call inviting him to do some training sessions at the studio. When he asked why, they answered “Nobody ever stayed and just drew ‘until they were satisfied’ with their drawing”!


      I was wondering when someone was going to make an anime/manga of his life and I see it’s already been done. But why stop there, the potential is there for a big-budget Hollywood epic.

  5. schneider says:

    Off the top of my head, there’s Tomino’s revelation that they have to inject the dumbest robots to make Gundam more appealing. It breaks a creator’s heart to do such a thing, and the manga did a fine job of bringing out that sentiment. And just seeing the stupid Zakrello made me realize that yes, some things get included just like that.

    THE HYPE FOR THE GUNDAM MOVIES. I’d like to laugh at those Gundam nerds looking all hyper pumped up when the news came out, but I realize I’d be no different from them, if I lived at that time!

    • The manga did a great job of showing how both easy it is to manipulate the fans, but at the same time it isn’t disrespectful of them either. I could be wrong, as it could be read as glorifying the creators at the expense of the corporations and the fans, but whatever. I eat it all up.

  6. gwern says:

    > Another story is about how he would strap fireworks on his bike, apparently a story so legendary, that the second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (yes, one of the infamous Endless Eight episodes) remembered love for it.

    Interesting – I hadn’t realized that was a homage. (Or maybe I simply didn’t watch that episode of Endless Eight. There were so many.)

    Now I have to wonder if the whole film-a-movie-for-the-Culture-Fest plotline is some sort of reference by Taniguchi to old amateur film productions in the anime/SF fandom.

    I’ve been transcribing The Notenki Memoirs ( so the DAICON FILM amateur productions & later Gainax films come to my mind, but maybe I’m missing some more obvious possibility.

    • Wow this is a great project. I’ll definitely read it when you’ve prepared more accessible forms for it (.pdf, or whatever) and I’ll most likely want to write about it so keep me posted.

      • gwern says: is largely done. Additional copyediting would be good, and I’d’ve also liked to link things to Wikipedia and add additional commentary (Takeda’s last chapter is just full of BS), but I don’t dare take the time (a certain someone is making noises about getting permission for making the transcription, effectively guaranteeing take-down notices if they feel like using their industry contacts).

        There is also but it’s not as good as the HTML – it is slightly out of date and my toolchain has a number of bugs in it. On the plus side, it is self-contained with the pictures in it, so it is portable and downloadable like the HTML isn’t, so you might as well stash away a copy.

        • I’ve downloaded the PDF and bookmarked the site. It’ll take me some time to go through this due to my massive reading backlog, but I definitely will and I know quite a few people who will be very interested in this.

  7. Really funny. What year was this produced? I will definitely read it. I think I have some time to spare for this after the new year.

  8. Matt Wells says:

    Sorry, can’t believe I missed this post, thanks for linking it to me. I think my perhaps one of my favourite bits was when they said Tomino was able to cobble together an entire episode of Zambot 3 from nothing but stock footage. Given the proportion of shows I’ve seen where stock footage accounted for a sixth of the entire show (looking at you Gaogaigar!), that is still an impressive feat. More so when I think that Zambot was only about 25 episodes long!

  9. kevin says:

    the amazing part of this manga series was the fact that it captured the spirit that died from seed years onward.
    the only thing at the very moment that still has the essence of the original series in it is CROSSBONE. Unicorn’s way too much 00-fied to be considered a legit child of CCA, probably a premature delivery by a loli that char banged up behind the scenes imotbh but that’s besides the point.

    the originals was fucking awesome. Mobile suits movements are backed up by thrust to enhance the effectivness, and when that happens a hell lot during a melee combat fight that DOESN’T stay in one single location but goes all over an asteroid. oh god, i’m fan-boied, sweet mother of mercy – those were the ages of legends.
    Itano circus was lost ever since they started CGI. It just doesn’t fucking work with out the pencil lines that shows you the direction of the thrust on the tail of the burn out itself. it just doesn’t fucking work anymore. Like Nz-666’s funnel dance barely moved my heart and that was like 24 funnels, but char’s single funnel verses amuro’s single fin funnel near the end of cca, omg, i felt horny after that, and i’m not ashamed to admit it.

    • Hehe, I won’t join you in going overboard with depreciating the value of contemporary works as I love Unicorn so much, and I dislike Crossbone anyway. But yeah sure, this manga kicked so much ass. I love Itano Circus in all its forms.

      • kevin says:

        meh, to each of their own, i just personally think that unicorn needed to be more… UC rather than AU-ish. but still gundam barely does true itano circus anymore. infact it doesn’t. and that makes me really sad, fighting in space no longer looks like space fights, and people tend to talk a shit ton more than they had before despite the fact that the talking actually destroys their characters rather than to enhance it. its just so dam annoying because gundam was the genre breaker that trolled everyone all the way back then but has now become the genre generic crap. Genre generic is fine though, but to be crap with the plot and story line is just laziness and something that tells people like me that they no longer care about anything other than money.

        gundam has became a toy commercial disguised as a godly series rather than a good story using the excuse of toy commercial to get published.
        that’s a fact i find really sad.

        • Unicorn is as close to perfect as I want UC to become. I suppose Gundam the Origin can do better, but its moment has yet to come.

          The only time Unicorn indulged in talking was when Banagher had no intention of fighting in the first place in episode 04.

          Gundam has always been a toy commercial, a real damn good one. The idealization in this manga shows the noble if pathetic attempts to make it more than such, but it can and is more than such to anyone who chooses to make it so in their hearts.

          Lastly, the only Itano Circus in Gundam was in Turn A, using cables… kind of like the Slash Harken in Code Geass. It was clearly remembering love for Macross just as in the same episode it threw a rocket punch Mazinger style. You can make a case for something in Ideon as seen in the video, otherwise Gundam has stayed away from it, being a Macross thing.

  10. Pingback: Kio’s Howl To The Earth Was Fierce But Tamed, and This Saves The Federation: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE 33 | We Remember Love

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