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‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ creator challenges new artists to 'crush' Miyazaki, surpass ‘One Piece’

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“Mobile Suit Gundam” creator Yoshiyuki Tomino issued a playful challenge to aspiring artists at a screening on Saturday.

Key points:

  • Tomino, 82, delivered his pep talk to new animators and artists after the screening of his 1988 film “Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack” at the second Niigata International Animation Film Festival in Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture.

  • During his speech, Tomino praised Hayao Miyazaki, 83, for his work and how his latest Oscar win for “The Boy and the Heron” has raised the bar for young artists looking to enter the anime and manga industry. He also mentioned that young artists would have to work extra hard if they want to surpass Miyazaki and works like “One Piece,” created by Eiichiro Oda.

  • “Please do your best to crush Miyazaki. I can't do it anymore. Thanks to Miyazaki's animations, anime and movies themselves are changing,” Tomino noted in his closing remark.

The details:

  • Miyazaki won his second Oscar for best animated feature at the 96th Academy Awards on March 10 for “The Boy and the Heron,” following his first in 2002 for “Spirited Away.”

  • Meanwhile, Fandom’s fifth annual Inside Fandom study in 2023 ranked “One Piece” as the third-most popular entertainment franchise in the world, next to “Star Wars” at No. 1, followed by Marvel in second. The series beat other big-name franchises on the list, including “Elder Scrolls,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “Final Fantasy.”

  • Tomino has never shied away from his professional rivalry against Miyazaki. He expressed his admiration for the legendary director and urge to surpass him during his lecture at Takara University’s Tokyo Media Department on May 5, 2019, telling the students, “Once you join the anime industry, you’re surrounded by deeply talented people… If there’s someone you want to crush nearby, it inspires you to chase after your dreams to a ridiculous extent… I was able to make something like Gundam because I met Miyazaki and Isao Takahata [another Studio Ghibli director].”

  • Born in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on Nov. 5, 1941, Tomino got his big break after joining Osamu Tezuka's Mushi Production Studio as a production assistant in 1964.

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  • Following the success of “The Boy and the Heron,” Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki confirmed in October 2023 that the legendary director is already working on his next title and has no plans on retiring anytime soon.

  • Meanwhile, Tomino recently held a meeting with animator and character designer Akira Yasuda on Feb. 27 at Bandai Film Works Studio 1, possibly hinting at Tomino’s potential return. The studio, formerly and famously known as Sunrise, is the home of the “Mobile Suit Gundam” franchise.

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