Starlog Time Machine, October 1980

Any science-fiction fan who got their start in the 70s and 80s will probably get all dreamy-eyed when they hear the name Starlog. For a good long time, this was the monthly magazine of record for sci-fi on film and television, starting out with a focus on Star Trek in 1976 and serving as ground zero for early coverage of Star Wars and everything that followed, warts and all. It hung on all the way to 2009, at which point the entire library of issues was archived here. The magazine now continues as a website here.

Read more about the magazine’s history here.

Starlog and Space Battleship Yamato crossed paths in June 1980 when issue 35 became the first mainstream magazine to publish a well-informed article on Star Blazers that firmly lodged in the memories of English-speaking fandom. As the only article of its kind back then, it was read and re-read and can be re-re-read here.

This story gets more interesting when you find out that there was also a Japanese edition titled SF Visual Magazine Monthly Starlog. In 1978, the title was licensed by the American publisher (O’Quinn Studios) to a Japanese publisher (Tsurumoto Room Co.) and went on for an indeterminate amount of time (any help locating a record of the Japanese edition would be greatly appreciated) with a mix of imported and homegrown content.

Yamato fans will surely recognize 1978 as the year the saga hit the big time, so it would stand to reason that the Japanese Starlog ought to have plenty of Yamato coverage. In fact, this was NOT the case since the magazine was devoted first and foremost to live-action and literary SF. So it wasn’t until two years later in issue 24 (October 1980) that Yamato – and anime in general – finally earned editorial attention. That was the year of Be Forever and Mobile Suit Gundam, both of which represented a juggernaut that could no longer be ignored.

And thus it was that, slowly and grudgingly, the editors had to finally acknowledge that the phenomenon was worthy of an 8-page article. As you will see, they went into it with an obvious bias, certain that this flash would leave the pan in due time. The advantage of hindsight makes fretful accounts like this great fun to read decades later.


The SF anime boom strikes!

Yamato, Gundam, Conan…is SF anime actual SF?

Reporter Kazuhito Morishita

[Translator’s note: Conan above refers to the anime series Future Boy Conan, directed by Hayao Miyazaki]


1. Why a Yamato fan?

Whether you call it a boom or not a boom, I think it’s amazing how much of a clamor anime fans have made recently. It was the last Sunday in June when I finished writing a manuscript to be turned in the next day, and that evening when I watched the news (on Japanese TV) while drinking a beer, I saw a lot of young people on the screen. A lottery to get on the Space Battleship Yamato ferry was being held outside Shinjuku station’s west exit, and it was said that 15,000 people had gathered for a contest with 500 winners.

[Translator’s note: this refers to the lottery event held on June 29 to choose cruise winners. Read more about it here.]

Even though it was raining, it was thought that another 10,000 might show up if it stopped. However, it wasn’t just the large number of kids that surprised me. I was also impressed by the business skill of the people making Yamato. According to what I heard later, even those who missed the lottery would be given complimentary movie tickets if they went to Kawasaki Harbor for the sendoff. I couldn’t go, but some people would. It would be socially acceptable, and would appeal to the “love” and “trust” of boys and girls. That’s the way the world is right now.

So, while it’s an “SF anime,” the problem is that it’s really neither SF nor anime. The thing I find worrisome is the uproar of the fans, and what makes them so infatuated with it. I’m not an anime fan, and I don’t see those works very much, but I hope the reason I started covering it is clear. Well, I realize it’s vague, but here’s what I found out.

The starting point for anime, or rather the starting point for TV anime was Tetsuwan Atom [Astro Boy] in 1963. From the beginning, it was “so-called SF anime.” According to Volume 11 of Otherwordly Fantasy, the SF Anime Encyclopedia (shown at right, May 1980), the number of SF anime on TV is 115, as of the premiere of Magical Girl Lalabel in the spring of this year. According to an appendix in the August issue of Animage titled Anime 18 Years History/TV Anime Complete List, there have been 303 series, which means that the “so-called SF anime” comprises about 40% of Japanese TV anime so far.

I’m not an anime fan, but I distinctly remember riding home on my bike on the day 8 Man premiered. However, I was disappointed by the TV version of 8 Man, because it was different from the sharp images of Jiro Kuawata.

If everyone thinks for a moment about why children and junior high students like anime, you will understand. Because there’s nothing like it. They’re the most fun and breathtaking TV shows made for viewers of their age. When I look back, I don’t think my friends and I discussed that topic. Popular music was interesting at the time and it seemed like everyone was picking up a guitar. There were a lot of topics like that, but now I feel very distant from rock and pop. I get the strong impression that popular songs are written for young wives, career girls, and salarymen listening at the snack bar. Huh… The terrible trio…?

But anyway, young people don’t just quietly watch TV or sit in a movie theater; they stay up and surround the theater all night, chase voice actors and buy cels, throng to anime studios, broadcast stations, and record companies. They buy deluxe books that cost thousands of yen per volume. Between this, that, and the other thing, I think this is a little unexpected, after all.

A few famous scenes dance across a special screen at the Yamato Festival [in Budokan]!

2. Is Yamato a defective anime!?

Yamato fans: A (19) B (16) C (17) and D (21)

We sat down and talked on the lawn at Kitanomaru-koen park before the start of the Yamato Festival [in Budokan]. We mixed it up.

What did you think when you heard that there would be a third Yamato?

[Translator’s note: this refers to the third feature film, Be Forever not the third TV series.]

A: When we all finished seeing Part 2 [Farewell to Yamato], we all thought 3 would come the next year.

D: Well, I wasn’t particularly surprised. I thought they’d probably do it.

B: If you do it a third time, you might do something flashy to mollify the angry fans. We were all waiting for that.

A: I think it’s good that the target age is lower. We were in middle school when the first one came out, and then they gradually lowered the age range a little. Honestly, I think it’s good. Before Yamato, I watched various anime and I remembered them for a while. I didn’t think it would go as far as it is now.

B: Unlike the Toei Manga Festivals [multi-features for kids during summer break], it was a single work. After all, it was a masterpiece.

C: You could say that. No matter how many times I watch the reruns, I don’t get tired of it.

B: Every time I see it, I discover something new. First it’s the story, and the second or third time it’s the characters.

A: I look forward to the changing faces of the characters. (Laughs) They’re completely different from the start to Episode 26. And the color of the face changes as one of them walks. (Laughs)

C: When did the female crew disappear? (Laughs)

B: Why doesn’t the captain’s room ever get destroyed? (Laughs)

C: Why does the main gun always get hit? It got hit once in Farewell, but for some reason it got revived right away. (Laughs)

Left caption: Yamato fans at Kitanomaru-koen park.
Right caption: The Budokan was full of fans on the day of the
Yamato Festival

Top: Director/concept artist Leiji Matsumoto on stage (at right). On the left is
voice actress Fuyumi Shiraishi. Bottom left: “Japan’s Elvis” Isao Sasaki is
doing well. Bottom right: Should
Yamato part 2 [Farewell] have been the last?

3. Shouldn’t we think of SF anime as manga on TV?

A 20 year old anime fan; he took a break from work and came to the Yamato Festival

I don’t really like Yamato, but in the story something that was once dead rises again. I don’t really like that either, but as an anime I think it’s pretty good. The images and techniques are also good.

I started watching anime after high school. I used to watch TV Manga all the time as a kid, and I see it as manga rather than anime. After all, the technology gradually improves as you get older, and it changes how you look at things, doesn’t it?

[Translator’s note: “TV Manga” was the term that predated “anime.” Yamato was the series that initiated the changeover.]

When I was in high school, I got home around 5:00 and watched reruns. I wanted to see more after dinner, but my brother took over the channel. When I was a junior, my three brothers and I bought a video recorder and started using it. One older brother got all of Yamato. I got Galaxy Express and sometimes watched things like Marine Express, too. I held onto it to watch when I had free time, but I don’t get much of that. But I feel like I should keep it.

There are several single movies that impressed me. Which ones were they? I can’t think of any. I’ll try to. When I think of SF, it has an adult feeling. When I watch something like Nobody’s Boy Remi, my friends would say “Why are you watching Nobody’s Boy?” After all, that kind of thing is childish. But if it’s Yamato or Phoenix, “I want to see that too.” No one talks about regular anime. Today’s high school students are terrifying…

4. From the SF side (1)

I hate naniwabushi [sob story] anime

Norio Ito (SF translator and researcher, honorary member of Japan SF Writers Club)

I haven’t seen any anime movies and I don’t watch TV either. So, while I won’t generally say anything about it, if anime is well-made, slick and well-produced like Star Wars, maybe I’d like to see that. I hate the hackneyed Japanese-style.

(What about SF in anime?)

I can’t say because I haven’t seen any of them. Anime fans watch these works more and more, so best of luck in making good things. Speaking of reality, I feel that current SF anime is making the same mistakes as tokusatsu [live-action special effects]. Even in Star Wars, there was smoke in the explosion scenes in space. Anime isn’t made with special effects, so that’s a mistake that shouldn’t happen. I think you can create more realistic visuals.


5. What is the Gundam phenomenon?

The center of recent topics is Mobile Suit Gundam, which is still reverbating six months after its broadcast ended. It still seems to be boiling. The reason Gundam received so much support is of course only due to the appeal of the work itself, but I did some digging to find out how something so appealing could be made.

What most people have told me is that it’s probably due to a good connection of talent between Supervising Director Yoshiyuki Tomino and Animation Director/Character Designer Yasuhiko Yoshikazu, in addition to their personalities. All the staff members were already bored with robot things, so in order to throw off their frustration and expand their enthusiasm, they did as much as possible within that scope. Mr. Yamaura of Nippon Sunrise said that they grumbled about how they were sort of fed up with the whole “Guts and Glory Doctrine” and that they liked to believe that got through to the viewers, saying that “We’re glad we did this in a robot show.”

I think the same can be said about Yamato. As we can imagine from the words of Yoshinobu Nishizaki in an interview with Monthly Animation magazine (read it here), there was considerable enthusiasm around the time the first TV version of Yamato was sold. People who watch anime generally say, “The first Yamato was good, but it seems to get worse after that.” Apart from the quality of a work, when such enthusiasm shows up on the screen, it can be transmitted to the fans. Everyone cherishes work made in this way.

Company president Kishimoto of Nippon Sunrise said that he wondered if any TV network would run a 43-episode series of Gundam, let alone in prime time. I imagine it’s like wondering about the fate of one’s own child. The story seems to be coming together that there is a strong desire among interested parties to see it on the big screen.

No matter what, the mobile suits that appear in Mobile Suit Gundam look robot-like.
They are not powered suits worn by the mobile infantry in the originator,
Starship Troopers.

6. How Mobile Suit Gundam, the non-children’s anime, was made

Yoshinori Kishimoto, President of Nippon Sunrise

A member of the anime industry from the time of Astro Boy. Received awards for Gundam from a broadcasting station and a record company.

This is my personal feeling, but to be honest I didn’t expect Gundam to earn the support of such a high age group. I heard that it was going to have 20 characters! The cost of a production like that is not a joke, and it’s hard to get that many voice actors together. I said we couldn’t do this even if each person played two roles, but in the end we made the attempt to try something new.

As for the situation at the time of broadcast, there were many older viewers in the fan layer, including university students, and a lot of letters came in. The lower end was junior high students and the upper end was the first year or two of college, but there were some fourth-years in there, too.

One work doesn’t equal a trend, but there was no expectation seven or eight years ago that anime could be like this. When I heard that manga was being read openly on trains, I secretly thought this time might come because these things are compatible.

7. To make an SF anime, you have to be a toy person

Eiji Yamaura, Nippon Sunrise

In charge of planning for Gundam. Inspired by Haruka Takachiho, he aimed for the realism of Starship Troopers.

From the beginning, no one could say that the results would be like this. I’m not a god. However, Yamato was the thing that became our guideline for making things. Now that there are enough anime TV programs, I think we are in an era where we can target an older age group.

Those of us on the creator side are in our thirties. Manga movies and their creators both have their preferences, but that’s not the case with Yamato. Whether it’s live-action or manga, you can say that good things are good. That’s what I think.

To be clear, I said “toy person.” Whether or not we call ourselves pros and think we’re cool, one part of us still plays with toys. So no matter how we make it, whether it’s me or Mr. Tomino, we know how far we can go without upsetting the client. That’s it. I don’t know if it’s right or not.

When you make the next series, you have both confidence and doubts, but in that case, what’s made clear with robot shows is that you don’t make something that’ll lose money for the toy company sponsoring it.

When making anime, a large part of it is the “process” that you just have to go through. But with Yasuhiko and Tomino on Gundam, I think it was more about “authorship.” But that’s not all. In addition to the “process,” something new was created. That means you have to say “authorship” was part of it.

8. Can an anime poseur fan event only be canceled in frustration?

Akiko Sakaki

Working student and organizer of a Mobile Suit Gundam Summer Festival. If you have a dream, you don’t care if it’s SF or not. Has seen The Empire Strikes Back five times.

I had some friends who liked TV anime, and we got together and had a lot of fun. We took Gundam pretty seriously, but we still played around and made fun of the lines. The one I really liked was Treasure Island. That was great. I regularly watched Future Boy Conan and Lupin III, and if you can enjoy a TV anime it becomes your favorite. I’m not particular about the quality, I just take it all in.

When we decided upon the Summer Festival, the first thing one of my friends said was, “Let’s do a Gundam screening!” Everyone said, “Let’s do it, let’s do it,” so I knew it wasn’t just me. We openly invited viewers through Animage and OUT magazines to a venue that would seat 500, and we were overwhelmed on the first day of reception. In the end, the total number reached 2,000. It was hard to write the rejection letters.

I also wonder why Gundam makes so much of an uproar. When I make a big deal about it, I’m conscious that I’m just a poseur, putting on airs. It’s simply something I have to do. It’s not something I’d devote myself to exclusively. I think of myself as an anime fan.

When I was a junior high student, I watched the films of [animator] Norman McLaren. Before then, I watched Gatchaman on TV, but I didn’t think of it as anime. Now my friends make a fuss when they’re frustrated about an event cancellation. What frustration?

I really like the term “anime boom,” but what else could we call it? I don’t know how long voice actor events will continue, I think it’s a question of how long the current state will remain as is. But without a boom, it wouldn’t spread to the general public. We’re in a transitional period right now, and criticism hasn’t been established yet, and I wonder how many of the fans will stick with it. Am I criticizing it? No. Anime should be watched and enjoyed, simply because of the hard work that goes into it.

9. From the SF side (2)

A reversal for anime and tokusatsu (live-action special effects)

Junya Yokota, author and historical researcher

Recently, I was surprised when I compared tokusatsu movies and anime. I thought anime would be much better than clumsy tokusatsu. In the old days, tokusatsu was Godzilla and Mothra, and Astro Boy was the image of anime. However, it has reversed. Tokusatsu has a lot more freedom than anime, and anime looks old. Not like a movie, but more like a kamishibai (picture-story show). I can’t stand to watch it.


10. Who made the most money in the anime boom?

When you look for “SF anime” in anime magazines, the writing about Gundam is more understandable to SF fans than to anime fans. So, when you try reading it from an SF point of view, there are people who say that they instinctively get this point and that, who seem to get SF. To begin with, we have to determine what SF means in order to establish if Gundam is SF or something different. So what do you think SF is?

During my research, I found that Starlog seems to have a higher age range than anime magazines. Whether SF is truly more complex than anime, it seems certain that the idea is widespread. Is Legendary Giant God Ideon better than Flower Child Lunlun because its target age is higher? However, Doraemon is also SF anime.

I feel that the “SF image” held by anime people incorporates metal devices based on complex logic, some of which can fly through space at tremendous speed. But if you go by this, some doubt appears over whether or not Star Wars is SF.

The heart of the White Comet

When I read Gundam theories in Animec magazine, I thought, “But then what is a New Type? They’re not espers! Isn’t it the ultimate expression of a spiritual civilization that can change the entire human race? I used to read SF and think about these things.” From that point of view, SF anime seems to fulfill the role of SF wonderfully.

While the SF expert reader’s columns these days are dreadfully dull, the Teleport column in the old SF Magazine was loads of fun. Although the age group that writes letters is concentrated in their mid-teens, the passion swirling in the letters column of anime magazines feels like something similar. This might be a good guide to future popularity.

If there’s one main difference between SF and anime, it’s that SF fans have a wider age range, and are primarily attracted to print media. Until now, you didn’t get the sense from the specialty magazines that fans were that different from the writers. Since anime involves all sorts of different spheres, like filmmakers, distributors who broadcast or screen them, sponsors, magazine makers, and the like, they’re distant from the fans, and the selling of product is all tangled up in it. So, when something hits big, it makes a huge uproar. And when something starts quietly, it’s like a receding wave, growing more distant.

11. Why does the mysterious popularity of SF happen along with an unbalance of ratings?

Shin Imai, Nagoya TV

Sales representative of the Tokyo branch, sold Gundam to many broadcast stations. As a result, it has been broadcast on 25 stations so far and rerun on 7 (as of the end of July).

It was a very good experience for us. It will remain a part of anime history on Nagoya TV. Yeah, even though it was popular it didn’t lead to high ratings and most people watch it on cassette now. Which means the hidden viewership rate might be high.

Fans came to visit and talked about it in various ways, and I learned a lot from them. I am impressed that they know so much about the working process of an animator. In my case, I came in contact with anime on TV for the first time in junior high, and for people these days anime has been broadcast since they were born. There are differences in the environment, but if the work itself is good, its age doesn’t matter. The term for this is, “art is eternal.” I also love Gundam regardless of age.

Analyzer becomes more human every time he appears,
but is he evolving or devolving?

12. Anime is booming because it is the media and culture of a younger generation

Hideo Ogata, Animage editor in chief

Animage premiered two years ago with a special feature on Farewell to Yamato (see it here). Circulation has increased since then, now at 300,000 copies a month (three times the original number).

I think there are currently three streams of anime fans.

The first type of fan is centered on voice actors. Nowadays, voice actors are as popular as Momoe Yamaguchi and Hideki Saijo. Many people are crazy about voice actors, particularly girls.

The second type is the full-fledged fan, so to speak, centered on the work. Because they examine animation in terms of its content, I get the feeling that this school of thought is more authentic and reliable.

The third type seems to be a mix of them both. After all, the appeal of animation is not just in the content of a work. I think voice actors also bring a lot of charm. Naturally, Animage magazine mixes these three streams and writes well-balanced articles.

To the old-school fans who hold it in disdain, saying that anime’s popularity is a fleeting flash in the pan, I stress over and over that it’s a youth-centered media and culture. It’s not just children watching animation. In terms of content, hasn’t it grown considerably and become more complex? In that sense, it has never belonged only to children.

SF is not escapism, or a simple fantasy world. I think it’s a natural misunderstanding that SF = space. For instance, attaching wings or a mouth to a stone, while you can legitimately say “Well, that’s not science fiction,” I think that you could. It may be best to broaden the interpretation of SF. So, while SF may have some difficult preconceptions, isn’t it the escapism and fantasy stimulation that attracts the young?

13. Is there a future for anime in a barren boom without criticism?

Fujioka Yoshida, publisher of Monthly Animation magazine

Monthly Animation made a good showing as a criticism-based specialist magazine, but unfortunately it was decided to suspend publication with the August issue. Due to many factors that have led up to this, it is still not possible for anime magazines to publish criticism. Anime criticism has not yet been established. It’s good that there is a lot of interest and enthusiasm for anime, but today’s anime boom has a different dimension that few people recognize.

There’s a view that, since anime fans are crazy, anime magazines still aren’t quite up to snuff, though I separate those from the magazines that sell animation cels and the like. It’s fine that they specialize in selling stuff, but I don’t find them that interesting. Rather, I think mini comics and medi-comics are more powerful. 

However, because anime is a creative and artistic field, I’m sure the time when criticism is needed will come soon.

James Blish And The Great White Comet Empire. 
There will be no resurrection for it, will there?

14. Anime’s popularity is not just about visuals! It’s also crackling sound

Mr. Suzuki, King Records

Promoter in charge of record albums for Gundam from the beginning, also works on anime records “suitable for children.”

Mobile Suit Gundam, Collection 1
Released June 5, 1979, 110,000 copies

Collection 2 ~ On the Battlefield
ReleasedNov 21, 1979, 125,000 copies

Collection 3 ~ Amuro (2 LP set)
Released March 21, 1980, 110,000 copies

Collection 4 ~ Symphonic Poem Gundam
Scheduled for release Sept 5, 1980

When the first collection came out, there wasn’t much to it. The poster was not a Yasuhiko Yoshikazu original. The second collection had an original poster and jacket, and sales exploded. It moved about 60,000 upon release and reached 100,000 by the beginning of the year. The third collection continued the jacket from the second collection and included a movie-style poster. For the fourth collection, there will be an original Yasuhiko jacket and poster. Four people are depicted; Char, Amuro, Sayla, and Fraw. The first print run will be 55,000, and the poster will be offered for three months until the end of November. For this sort of record, the extras are life. We expect to sell 100,000 copies by then. Every time a new Gundam record comes out, the previous ones can be sold with it.

About 500 Gundam film concerts have been held so far from small venues to large ones across the country, and fans have passionately soaked it up with some serious anime know-how. Just as we were impressed by novels we read when we were young, I’m sure today’s young people are impressed by anime and records.

Want to visit the company? Come on over. I’ve interviewed a lot of people lately, but it was especially tough in the spring. “Teamup tours” of six or seven people came from Nagoya. They also came from Toyama and Sapporo.

T-shirts also seem to be something that makes fans happy. For now, I’ve decided to award them in lots to people who reserve the fourth collection. For those who want them, I’ll try to sell them through record shops. I wore one to the Yamato Festival with my staff the other day and we were chased down by serious fans asking, “Where did you buy it?”

15. SF is just one way to make anime

Eiji Yamaura, Nippon Sunrise

To be blunt, there’s a certain segment who don’t get SF, who’d say “What is this stuff?!” to Haruka Takachiho (creator of Crusher Joe and The Dirty Pair). It may make some SF fans mad when you sell it as SF, but to put it in the most extreme terms, you can start by doing anything. As long as you attach some theory for why you’re doing it, then maybe you aren’t belittling SF, but rather making use of it.

However, if you make it with that alone, it becomes a lie. That’s why [Studio Nue planning director] Matsuzaki suggested we use it to bring the SF fans along, though that seems a bit cruel. But it’s not very interesting if you’re too tied down to SF.

16. From the SF side (3)

Dreams of anime, anime of dreams

Chiaki Kawamata, novelist, SF writer, and critic

I think each anime fan has their own “dream anime” in their head. I don’t have a dream anime. I prefer Star Wars. But if it’s anime, you don’t have to spend as much money and effort on it as Star Wars.

I think that’s the second best way to show the good points of that world. It’s with that sort of meaning that I have expectations for anime.


The hyperon bomb, a super-huge mecha that appears
in the latest Yamato film,
Be Forever Yamato.

17. What can be done with SF anime?

Well, that’s why fans are enthusiastic. When the uproar woke Mr. Sasaki up to anime from McLaren’s so-called “art animation,” he seemed to have entered the company of TV anime. 20-year-old men and women I talked to at Yamato Festival told me that while they didn’t much like Yamato, they’d still taken time off from work to go to a festival whose subject they knew little about.

A-san, B-san, C-san and D-san knew what they had come to the gathering for. I think the answer is clear. Of the boys and girls who had gathered at the Yamato Festival venue, their quiet, serious appearance was striking. As expected, the “good children” seek out anime.

I think, at the root, the bosou-zoku (hot rodders) and the takenoko-zoku (Harajuku fashionistas) are the same. Whatever the character type or the environment, the phenomenon only changes depending on whether you approach a boy or a girl. After listening to each of their remarks, I composed this with care so as not to defeat the purpose of the story. Therefore, this writer bears all responsibility for the wording.

Fanzines are evidence of activity for SF anime fans,
but their life span is very short.

18. Masterpiece anime is an annual festival

(A-san, B-san, C-san, D-san)

B: After Yamato, the amount of anime you see has changed.

A: This year, I watched about 20 anime (per week), until my eyes crossed. Going from 5:00 to 8:00 is a long time to watch.

B: My parents have completely given up.

C: Sometimes it feels stupid. (Laughs)

[Do you watch programs you don’t like?]

C: The ones I don’t like look less interesting than the others. (Laughs)

D: Some are bad or just uninteresting.

[Do you have a friend who watches them and tells you?]

B: Not many.

A: Ever year in Shibuya we gather at a movie theater and talk about a year’s worth at a time. Generally, there is an anime movie, and there will be someone you know if you go the day before.

C: First of all, I want to talk rather than watch a movie, so I go for that and stay up all night.

A: I don’t know anyone I can talk to about it.

D: When you go to a place like that, there are people who will talk to you. You have the same interests, so…it’s kind of like a festival.

Be Forever Yamato features old and new characters (just the good guys) centered around Mio Sanada (Sasha).

19. Anime fans are too lonely

Eiji Yamaura, Nippon Sunrise

When we did Gundam, when I wondered why we were doing it, I went to an anime cafe one Saturday. There, in that cramped space on a rickety seat, we watched the video screen and debated our views of life. They were lonely. Fed up, they watched it. It’s not good for junior high and high school students to play sports in the daytime on Saturdays. And so…

I felt like they were really lonely people. And when they talk, they’re very serious, aren’t they? Their real lives are different from our image of youth. They’re serious, and they come to a place like this, and there are quite a few people for whom anime is their only choice for a common topic of conversation. That’s what I saw first.

I think if there were stronger guidelines for youths, they would move in a different direction. This is just animation, isn’t it? Until then, I didn’t think it was possible to talk about something like a philosophy of life. So, rather than making it carelessly, it touched off a part of me to want to make it seriously.

Following Yamato, the mecha of Mobile Suit Gundam is waiting to appear on the big screen.

20. From the SF side (4)

SF anime is an entertainment world

– Haruka Takachiho, author

It’s often been called a boom, but that used to be said about SF, and now it’s established and sells normally. I think it’s the same with anime. There may have been a boom for a while, but now it’s the same as stamp collecting. Anime is a hobby to talk about, which is different from a boom. But as for the content…the main interest is in favorite characters and voice actors. I’m entirely unconcerned about saying that the content is superior in SF anime, and instead I think it is very emotional.

Once a show ends, the fans then pursue the characters in the next show. So, while what’s popular may change with show after show, I don’t think you ever get a wholesale fulfillment in anime. Certainly, at first, there are times when we’ll pick up on something that no one really values, but now it’s basically the same in the entertainment world. Anime characters are like entertainers, and when fans make noise around it, it doesn’t matter if the work is good or bad. It is called SF anime, but it’s a vain effort to try and see it as science-fiction.

The final page of the article included this overview of all the monthly magazines dedicated to anime at the time (fall 1980): OUT, Monthly Animation, Animec, Animage, The Anime, Fantoche, and Fanroad. A few others would come along later, namely Animedia, My Anime, NewType and Globian. Today, only Animage, Animedia, and NewType remain in publication.

The End

Special thanks to Minoru Itgaki and Neil Nadelman for translation assistance.

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