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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71 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    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~

  • 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.

  • 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”

  • tabriz kaworu says:

    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..

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • *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…

    • 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?

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • Well, he shouldn’t take it too personally. I mean, he’s already doing a better job than Fukuda. Gundam 00 is better than SEED, Destiny, Gundam Wing, and even some UC efforts (ZZ, Victory, 0083). It’s not top tier quality, but it’s a pretty damn fine Gundam program.

    People on -chan boards are going to be cynical douchebags about anything that doesn’t suit their current meme.

  • From what I can see from Mizushima is that he’s a whining crybaby who just can’t take criticisms and jeers like a grown-up. What more, he is comparing straight opinions to kneejerk reactions. Like Taro Aso, he is an embarrassment.

    Everyone has different opinions about ideas and products, some may like it and some may don’t. So who is he to shun others from expressing their opinions whether good or bad? That is so undemocratic of him for expecting everyone to suck up to him and his 00 faggotry. If this interview is meant as a desperate face-saving measure for his career at Bandai-Sunrise, I would say this is pathetic. He can’t proves critics wrong without producing tangible results and lamenting about bloggers being cruel to him.

    So here’s an advice from me to him:
    Be a Man and prove critics wrong, nobody listens to a sulking whiner

  • 1st season seem reasonable to me
    2nd season of gundam 00 …
    so many homo & they are losing the reason for war anymore -_-
    if its all about freedom & stop mass sweeping mission, then help the damn kataron already!

  • wow, he sums up 2ch and 4ch perfectly. It’s good that he’s trying to pay attention to what the fans thinks but I think he should probably consult other professionals for advice instead, because they’re less likely to be so bias and negative. I wonder if this season is a product of 2ch anonymous comments.

  • Sorry guys, but after I watched the first season it seems like 00 is more a sentai series than Gundam, I dont like the way is turning Gundam series, gay characters, stereotypes everywhere, an expected plot, celestial being (a.k.a NERV), etc.
    I prefer the Universal Century. SIEG ZEON

    • What exactly make them gay characters? Does anyone of them explicitly kiss other people of the same sex? No? And I guess that the (former) love between Saji and Lousie was just for show? Oh, and Allelujah and Marie, tha’s a fake thing too.

  • You’re doing great d00d. Pls. do continue what you’re doing.

    UC Universe is a different animal from 00. Just ignore 2ch and continue in delivering awesome stuff…and keep away from really weird names (inb4 Mr. Bushido and Healing Care).

  • Gundam 00.. Honestly I say its good.. however not great.. Its just still no match to some of the older series.

    A few problems i have with the series is Plot lack originality.. Gundam00 season 2 is just another Zeta remake

    Mecha is all Geassified(Code Geass copies).. As if as every mecha is some sort of Alien..

    And last is.. Everything feels so expected .. Like you can pretty much watch the whole anime with your eyes close and when you open it Its already happend as you forseen

  • Gundam 00 is the best Gundam series since Zeta, imo(of course, not saying it’s better, probably top 3 after Zeta and MSG). I wonder where the hell he and the staff are getting this negativity, 2ch? Lol, that’s the last place in the internets they should consider if they want opinions. 4chan also.

  • I think that’s kind of what you should expect when you hire Yun Kouga to do character designs.

    Even if you story is awesome, people just won’t get over the fact that it looks like softcore prettyboy yaoi.

  • He sure knows who he’s dealing with, and I gotta hand it to him, he’s a smart man. He knew that those people were “anti-popular” instead of “anti-00”. Hope those remarks won’t affect the crew’s motivation.

  • Honestly, 4chan and 2ch are the worst places you’d would want to pay attention to when it comes to opinions about anime. From what I’ve seen online, a lot of people besides those two, seem to really enjoy 00.

  • 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…

      • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

      • Anonymous says:

        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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.