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.
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!