Renowned Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Returns to Ashigara Elementary School, Inspiring Students on its 150th Anniversary

The Odawara Shiritsu Ashigara Elementary School is commemorating its 150th year. In honor of the occasion, director and Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino returned to his alma mater to deliver an inspirational lecture to the students.

Approximately 200 students from third to sixth grade attended the ''To the Ashigara Elementary School Students'' lecture.

Director Tomino discusses the status of Ashigara Elementary School when he first enrolled there almost 70 years ago, his memories of the first Japanese broadcast of the TV manga ''Astro Boy,'' how animation is created, and insects. He told stories of his days as a production manager and how the final episode of ''Triton of the Sea'' elicited a variety of reactions from viewers.
''If you want to work on developing works for children,'' director Isao Takahata instructed me when I worked out at the World Masterpiece Theater, including ''Heidi, Girl of the Alps.'' Looking back, he remarked that the production mindset of ''Adults must do their best'' taught him a lot.

He naturally delved into the evolution of Gundam, which stands as his most significant accomplishment. He mentioned that rather than featuring extraterrestrial adversaries, "Mobile Suit Gundam" centered on human-to-human conflict, with the mecha scale reduced from towering heights of 80 or 100 meters to approximately 20 meters compared to earlier colossal robots. He was well aware of both his deliberate choice in crafting the storyline and the subsequent acclaim it would receive. He expressed, "This anime served as a means for the younger generation to grasp the concept of war in Japan, a nation no longer embroiled in conflict."

Image: Gundam Info

During his elementary school days, his fascination with space travel coincided with a deep admiration for manga and illustrated narratives. Consequently, the allure of "story creation" and "illustrating narratives" captivated my interest. Director Tomino experienced a similar awakening, becoming consumed by this passion throughout his junior high and high school years, often prioritizing it over his studies. However, upon reaching adulthood, he pondered over his remorse for neglecting the study of literature, regretting not delving into novels and articles during his formative years. With a smile, he shared this insight, saying, "Please take this advice from me."

He further emphasized that if there's something you feel passionate about, whether it's related to sports or academics, it's important to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to it. In instances where you might lack enthusiasm for specific tasks, take a pause to introspect and question the significance of attending school regularly. Consider pondering over the role of teachers and the purpose behind the array of subjects offered.

Image: Gundam Info

Finally, he shared the reason he agreed to give this lecture was due to the presence of individuals from Ashigara Elementary School who have been recognized as Persons of Cultural Merit. Reflecting on this, he mentioned, "I was curious if it was indeed the case," and proceeded to engage in a thoughtful Q&A session, addressing inquiries from the enthusiastically participating children. The lecture concluded with a gesture of gratitude, presenting a bouquet of flowers.


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