Gundam 00 Director Hurt by Net Bashing

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In a recent interview, 水島精二 / Seiji Mizushima, director of Gundam 00, spoke of the tremendous pressures of creating a Gundam series, the constant criticism made of the show online, and even how the Internet’s “knee jerk” negativity lowers the creative motivation of the production staff.

The lengthy interview was conducted as part of Nikkei Business Online’s anime column. The article is nearly three pages long, and is only the first part of the interview posted thus far.

Below is an abridged summary, with the interviewer’s questions in bold:

The creation of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 can be called a monumental project, as it is a continuation of the epochal Mobile Suit Gundam series, a series embraced by people ranging from 10 year olds to those in their 50s…

Honestly, I was extremely happy (to become the series’ director). As I am in my early 40s, I was part of the generation that was brought up watching the original Mobile Suit Gundam series.

I was not very familiar with the details of the Gundam franchise, but ever since entering the anime production business I’ve wanted to work on a Gundam show at least once. I think a lot of people (in the industry) feel the same way.

Right now, it is an honor to be in charge of a Gundam series, but on the other hand it does also feel like putting one’s hands into the fire at times.

Fire? What do you mean by that?

Creating a new Gundam series entails a large “risk” for the creator. Since it is such a major title, the creative staff is not free to exercise much freedom in the show’s creation, and the staff must always be on their guard.

Do you feel a lot of pressure from Gundam fans?

We continuously hear from the fans things like “Gundam isn’t like that! This Gundam is no good!”

I see. It must be a lot like in the automobile industry, where a big name company changes an old model and fans of the old model are distraught.

Certainly the expectations are set very high for such a big property (like Gundam).

Much like what would happen when a change is made to a famous car model, voices of “No, I’d prefer it to be like this…” are heard. We in the production staff would prefer to hear positive comments, but that isn’t the case.

The “knee jerk” reactions are more like “What the hell is this?” or “That’s uncool.”

Why exactly do you think they’re “knee jerk” reactions?

Well, they’re not criticisms based on close inspection of the product, or by closely following the story, but rather by merely looking at pictures (of the show) and superficial appearance.

Right now, the Internet is a place where commentary of the series travels extremely fast. Whether it is positive or negative, talk travels quickly there.

The people that want to flame the show approached the series right from the start from the vector of “I hate it”, and on the Internet they can find other sympathetic people with which to search for points of shared dislike. They’ve already gotten on the “flow of hate”, and so there’s really no helping it.

Are you really aware of all the Internet discussions?

Yes. A lot of the production staff is aware of the comments, and so the Internet flaming does lower their motivation, make no mistake about that.

Does that sort (of criticism) tend to only happen on the Internet?

It’s more obvious on the Internet. More so than on blogs, it’s especially prevalent on anonymous bulletin boards.

Those knee jerk reactions don’t really go up on personal blogs, but more on these bulletin boards where tons of people gather and can post under anonymous pseudonyms. A lot of flaming directed towards films, books, musical artists and the like can be found there. I sometimes think those people simply dislike anything that’s selling well.

Thus, I think instead of calling them “Anti-Gundam 00″, it might be better to call them “Anti-Popular.”

I think the approach of not simply watching the show for enjoyment, but rather to criticize it from the very beginning is something that is especially noticeable on the Internet. On the medium of the Internet, the sentiments of animosity towards major works is very strong, I feel.

The interview does continue on for over another page, but no new topic is introduced and the remainder is mostly composed of Mizushima discussing Internet anonymity, and the possible explanations for what drives Internet users to post negative comments.

In the sake of brevity, the rest of the interview is not shown here, but if the next installment contains more commentary as interesting as this, you can expect to see it covered here.

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Seiji Mizushima, Gundam 00 Director.

The full length interview is available at Nikkei Business Online.


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    Comment by Crymeariver
    15:03 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not going to say a word about the quality or lack thereof for the series as doing so distracts from what fast becomes painfully obvious from the interview exerpts.

    OFFLINE people are clueless when it comes to understanding ONLINE forms of communication and how features like anonymity shape the content and also, how that content should be approached.

    Instead of recognizing when they are fish out of The Water and either staying in their natural habitat or, learning how to survive on land, perhaps even enjoy its advantages... they lash out and more or less directly DEMAND The Land should conform to the relative ratios and phases of land, water and breathable gases typical of The Water.

    Or, at the very least, imply that land animals should refrain from discussing what goes on underwater lest they offend the... well, sometimes dangerous and potentially lethal but primarily, SENSITIVE marine lifeforms.

    Right after they lament how excessively careful and picky land-based lifeforms have become at choosing when, where, if at all to swim.

    While assuming they are free from such considerations in their relation to land animals.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    Insightful. Thank you.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:53 27/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Gundam 00 so far it's okay for me. We love it and that's why some of us may hate it. It's freedom of speech and there's always 2 fractions (love and hate) of them.

    I think the director do well in the series plot lay-outs (although not consistent). The one that's lacking is character developments. Eg. We want more development from federation side, not just CB and Innovators. Please don't give us shits like baby-adult behavoir. Some of us don't want to say "Please grow up" again. Again.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:16 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    *shrugs*
    I came into the show with open mind and ended up hating it at end of S1, and so far S2 hasn't done anything to regain my faith in the show. Maybe he should stop using cliched and BAD plot device that plagued UC Gundam - last-minute-mass-kill-em-all. Honesly, the end of S1 was a load of crap, the characters who died for the sake of forced tragedy ended up with no one giving a damn was the staple of UC gundam, and even the most hardcore UC elitists would agree, yet he choosed to use it, not to mention the very-last-last-minute graham entrance? what the hellw sa that all about? just to make another masked mysterious(not) enemy ace?

    and now in S2 we're giving hte BS about the "proper" way of killing people at war, give me a break! what's the differnece between kill-bot and a missile? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, yet the show tries to make a freakin' big deal out of it, I simply give up on taking the show seriously after this...

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:49 27/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe he should stop using cliched and BAD plot device that plagued UC Gundam - last-minute-mass-kill-em-all.

    Well, it's a decisive battle after all. >_>; Like the final battle in UC 0078, and the final battle in UC 0083. Are we still talking about war here?

    Avatar of andychiw
    Comment by ritchan
    11:55 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    If the director hasn't said so yet, I'll come out and say so myself: no more moe! Please! I don't want to wait another 10 years until this fad finally dies out! By that time, all anime fans will be labeled as pedophiles!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:33 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Dull-at-best, actively-irritating-at-worst protagonists? Check.

    Characters who sit around on a couch and expect us to give a shit about them? Check.

    Forced tragedy that doesn't actually impact the cast? Check.

    Conspiracy plot that reads like a 12-year-old's Tom Clancy fanfiction? Check.

    Whiny, excuse-spinning cockbite of a creator who thinks the world owes him acceptance and praise? Check, check, check.

    m00 would make a fine webcomic.

    Comment by kareal
    10:02 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    anonymous bashing? check all over.

    I actually think both 00 and 002S are in general view pretty mediocre, but in terms of feeling and character and since I watch it as it goes, I like both seasons very much. You don't have to be quality to be viewable and liked, but I like how 00 is at least viewable most of the time and despite it being disappointing at times and just plain cheesy most of the time, I'm still going to watch it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:13 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Less Innogaytors, less genderswapping fun with Tieria = less Internet criticism

    Comment by Lain
    07:19 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    They just want more moe fanservice.

    Comment by Kaioshin Sama
    05:46 28/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm just glad that Mishizuma is taking a stand against the rather unnecessary level of bashing that Gundam 00 is getting. I mean the obviously superficial stuff that indeed does exist. There's nothing wrong with criticism and he's even making a point of that, but there's no denying the show get's a lot more cheap shots then it or frankly any show deserves like when people bash it for not catering to their every belief in how the show should proceed. That's a cheap shot as far as I'm concerned.

    Comment by ATMalicious
    08:14 23/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    00 was bomb it reminded me of the days when I would watch Wing on toonami lol hella better than SEED too

    Comment by Karin
    22:35 31/03/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The first season was nice, but watching the second, it felt like it's only reason is to sell more frenchise.

    Personally I prefered the suit design in Seed, and the solid old stories with grown up looking characters.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:07 05/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    never was a gundam fan, and probably never will be. but i say he should keep doing what he thinks is right. gundam can be whatever he wants it to be. nobody can tell him what it is or is not. that's just what i think anyway. peace~

    Comment by tabriz kaworu
    23:28 28/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    I personally prefer season 1 than season 2. the plot much original, no colony, no warship, and no(yet)mask guy.. and the each gundam "theme" so much strong, Slash, Snipe, Fly, Blast. I just dont like part about last-minute-entrance-of-Graham-as-next-boss...
    But after all, that ABSOLUTELY better than Seed n Destiny..

    Comment by Whispo
    07:36 28/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    And here I was about to say something sensfull .... but that picture of Felt just drove my head the other way : /

    Comment by Nico
    16:42 03/01/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I personally love Gundam 00. It's in my book my favorite and goes beyond every other series. Every series has their ups and down and while some try to be more realistic then others, 00 manages to question a not so implausible future. The production of Gundam 00 is good, the characters are refined and solid enough, the music and themes songs are very well selected, specially in the second season.

    I find it rather sad that people are bashing what 00 is trying to accomplish and yes, the Director should not care as much for how certain people feel about the current serie. If you haven't noticed, negativity is invading everything as of late. Movies, Games, Books, Music, Anime... Everything new gets bashed out and compared with nostalgia. We're in an Era where people seem to be tired of evolving and moving forward, everyone seems to be centered on how the past was better. I still hear the good old "Hey, Evangalion was better then this" comment here and there. Seriously, don't feel hurt by negative comments... It's nothing more then random talks where people are blind by their own demise. You're the director of a legendary franchise! A lot of people love Gundam 00, we just don't spam it on every forums... we're busy enjoying ourselves :)

    "The loudest voice is always from the un-happy"

    Avatar of Quen
    Comment by Quen
    06:47 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm surprised no one's commented on my choice of the cover picture of Felt, bizzare...

    Avatar of linkinstreet
    Comment by linkinstreet
    23:02 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    I agree with him actually. At first I thought 00 would turn out to be like Seed, but when I watched it, I was surprised to see it's more mature. The fact that it's based more on real life than some obscure dimension is what made it more appealing.

    The middle eastern characters, who are seen as more of an oppressed faction that just want to live in peace and not just some racist obsessed terrorist that are portrayed in US media, the power hungry super powers that is hell bent to hold on to their powers, the hired gun that don't care about anything except that he gets the money (Ali Al-Sanchez), the double dealing woman, all of these what made it more appealing than some of the few gundam series that had been produced, like X gundam or Seed.

    Most of the anime fans right now (the international ones I mean, teh ones that started the fansubbing craze) have grown up, and won't really be satisfied with just mindless shounen stuff like Naruto or Bleach. Like me, I'd like to see more stuff like this.

    Comment by Nayuki
    06:58 06/01/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Right on the money! This is exactly why I like Gundam 00 so much. It is much more grounded to present international relations issues and is much more realistic. This is my favourite Gundam series so far, and it is by far way better than any of the Gundam Seed incarnations.

    Comment by Takkun
    23:50 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    And ZING, right on the money!

    Avatar of Aoshi_88
    Comment by Aoshi
    23:02 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    While i do comment from time to time about plot devices and pilot haxxes, i still find G00 smoewhat enjoyable.

    Wing 2.0 it may seem and may be, but i'm still watching it!

    Avatar of snakechimera
    Comment by snakechimera
    13:30 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    no way, hella better than Wing

    Avatar of s0m31john
    Comment by s0m31john
    23:53 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    INTERNET TOUGH GUYS

    Comment by icie
    23:54 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, when I watched Seed (the first series, not Destiny), I thought it was really alluding a lot to the (then) current situation in terms of politics and wars being declared here and there.

    00 has moved even closer to reality (which is good: it's thought provoking), even though I thought Celestial Being's moral ambiguity should perhaps be made much more obvious (like Kira's actions, most of Celestial Being's moves are shrouded by the "these guys are the protagonists, so they must be good" sentiment).

    All that aside, it doesn't do well for the production staff to be too aware of all the baseless criticisms flying about in the tubes and getting all down on it. My policy is always that you can't please everyone, but by heeding your own passions, you can create a work which will surprise, delight, and eventually mold the future of the franchise.

    Comment by Templa
    00:14 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fact: Gundam 00 > All other Gundam series.
    Especially in Design, Graphic, Animation, Reality-relation and possibilities and less unreal stuff.
    Openings and Endings are 10 times better than Seed and Destiny. I don't know what these guys want with their old crappy Gundam series.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:14 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Awww... here comes the new generation who keeps BAWWW'ing because there are plenty of us who prefer the old UC series despite it's ugly artworks, and outdated animation.

    In term of storyline, recent Gundam series haven't even come close to matching original UC 0078, and Z Gundam. The only thing they are better than the classics is OSTs.

    In fact, Gundam SEED series, and 00 series don't even come close to G Gundam. The parody Gundam!

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:54 01/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so far not a single gundam series match the realism of the 8th team alright.

    and so far not a single gundam series match the HOT BLOODNESS of G gundam.

    AND SO FAR not a single gundam series match the ever-alike-character-face, cry babies, succubus, copy/reuse/flashback of seed/destiny.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:59 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    So far I'm liking the way he directs Gundam, going more political and ideological.

    I wanna say to those jerks Gundam isn't just Gundam UC, you know.

    Comment by Zing Freelancer
    22:52 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    They should drop Gundamn and do some more Code Geass.

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    Comment by kenjiharima
    22:36 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's what you get for making boys look like girls...

    Avatar of Exia
    Comment by exia
    21:42 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    i think gundam 00 is doin fine the way it is. the only thing that i have to criticize is the pacing of the series, but yeah this is his first gundam series, and how many people are lucky enough to direct a "gundam series" anyways.

    Comment by pl
    21:39 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Serious professional opinions are rare and welcome!

    Avatar of lerrymaru
    Comment by maru
    21:26 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Dude u doin good. U think too much. All that lacks in Gundam 00 now is doujin. ^^

    Comment by Treyn
    21:58 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not been a Gundam Fan, but after watching Gundam 00 it gave me a new insight of the legendary gundam. Somehow several introduced gundams were like "kiddies" but hey, everything evolves and needs it. Shamefully admiting that most of those criticism are based solely on the "picture", where I hate the most if needs to be criticized. It should be about "the whole" series and not the drawings per se.

    Oh well, dramatically these production staff should not be weakened by these, thus think of it that they are working on one of the Mecha foundation in Anime and is a privilege as same to what their director experienced.

    Comment by Anim3Fr33K
    22:01 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    They really should ignore 2chan and the such, internet cesspools shouldn't be taken seriously. Its always nice to here that the staff actually care and take time to read this stuff tho. Iv not seen 00 yet my self, im waiting for it to finish airing (yeh yeh 2 seasons i know, its not 2 seasons its 2 parts of the same series so XP). But im looking forward to it. I personally try not to read others opinions on a series before i see them so as not to color my judgment, as the guy said, so many people see others comments and watch the show expecting to hate it or looking to spot anything they dont like with it, as apposed to finding what they do like.

    (wow this is my longest sankaku post yet lol)

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:23 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    The second season has been really bad, looks like i know why now.

    Avatar of cubed2d
    Comment by Tim James
    22:18 25/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    the internet can be a horrible place and full of wrong sometimes. im personaly loveing gundam 00, one of the best gundam series for a while.

    Comment by Yuun
    00:26 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Been with Gundam since UC series till today without missing any of it. Conclusion? None beat the Original Gundam Series, while putting the newer series for comparison... I think Seed is still the best while 2nd goes to Wing and then OO.

    Well, Gundam OO wasn't bad but somehow It felt like there's too much Homos. Especially those Innovator, sheesh...

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:43 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hear Hear!

    Things that New Gundam series have ruined in my eyes:

    1) Ugly character design (SEED-they all look alike, OO-We r pretty boys!)

    2) All mecha r now named Gundams

    3) No intense rivalry

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:40 26/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Replies for:
    #1-Yun Kouga is a shojou mangaka, so I don't think we should expect her to draw really manly-looking characters.

    #2-Where did you get that? Sunrise so far, has labeled only thirteen MS Gundams, and not ALL in general.

    #3-No rivalry yes. We don't have Ali and Setsuna's rivalry after all. And that of Graham and Setsuna too. (poor Kurdish brat, targeted by mechaphiles) Yeah right.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:25 27/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    >only 13 ms gundams
    >only 13

    ... what. The first gundam series had ONE. Zeta had two (well, five if you count the three mk-IIs as separate and the super gundam as separate too). 0080 had one. 0083 had three (and variations on those three).

    For fuck's sake, even Wing had less than ten gundams (not counting endless waltz).

    Comment by Banshou
    14:17 29/08/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Didn't G have 50?

    Comment by Banshoo
    14:17 29/08/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Didn't G have 50?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:22 03/02/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    so basically you guys just want the original gundam series remade

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:14 31/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    Stop being so butthurt about the number of MS' called Gundam. So it's not exactly like your old shows. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW. Get over it.

    And I think that the characters look just fine. Thinking that "there's too much Homos" (lol @ that statement, by the way) just because they don't look manly enough is just amusing.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:46 27/12/2008 # ! Neutral (0)

    I was the anon that posted the 1,2,3 comments

    #1-Yun Kouga is a shojou mangaka, so I don’t think we should expect her to draw really manly-looking characters.

    Hence why the director should be criticize for taking this kind of art direction. It makes the Gundam looks foolish, and i can't ever put Gundam and Shoujo in the same page if the artwork & Character design is as awful as SEED and Gundam 00.

    #3-No rivalry yes. We don’t have Ali and Setsuna’s rivalry after all. And that of Graham and Setsuna too. (poor Kurdish brat, targeted by mechaphiles) Yeah right.

    Are they as intense as Amuro - Char's rivalry? Or Uraki - Gato' rivalry? Rivalry makes Gundam standout from the rest. However, i have to admit it's not an important matter in story.




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