Yoshiyuki Tomino has been working in the anime industry since 1963 and began his career as a storyboard artist of Astro Boy. He became well respected for creating the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise and has directed 17 different entries (including movie versions). Tomino has seen various trends over the course of a 54-year career and he is not shy about sharing his thoughts on the industry.
At a G-Reco event in Rome, Italy, Tomino teased his new project for the Mobile Suit Gundam: Reconguista in G entry. “The way that things are actually progressing is a secret, but this isn’t anything too important so I’ll go ahead and say it. One film about 1 hour and 40 minutes in length is in development, and we have tentative permission for a second film. If there isn’t a good audience turnout for the first film, it won’t end up happening.”
Tomino continued, “That’s reality. That sort of realism makes me angry. TOHO took about three months and said, ‘Well, it’s like this, yeah? Even if it’s 1/20th as popular as Your Name, we won’t do it.’ But if it’s 1/20th or 1/30th of the turnout we can probably make a second film. I hope to get everyone’s cooperation.”
Essentially, if the G-Reco movie makes less than $7.8 million to $11.8 million, then the second movie won’t happen. Because of this, Tomino commented that he might have to use some elements from In This Corner of the World, Your Name, or Ancien and the Magic Tablet.
He threw a little bit of shade at this notion, especially towards Your Name, saying, “I can see Makoto Shinkai’s direction. Placing the music that way was skillful.” Tomino would go on to say that he felt the story was “not done particularly well,” and “not all hit movies are actually any good.” Yet, Tomino would fail to expand on this point.
Tomino would switch gears, lamenting that the industry is overflowing with mascot characters and that there are too many anime images and animated commercials for products, stating, “…it’s becoming too normal. I think that has a strong effect. Our ability to think about things in a ‘real’ way is deteriorating.”
After commenting that he doesn’t watch anime unless it’s work related, an audience member asked Tomino about his thoughts on Kemono Friends. He said, “You’re young, so let’s endure Kemono Friends for a year and then we can evaluate it properly in two or three years.”