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25 janvier 2024

Interview with the designers of Mobile Suit Gundam the Witch from Mercury.

Illustrator/Original Character Designer
Along with HISADAKE, Mogumo is one half of the special planning unit Morion Airlines, who are credited for their assistance with the planning of Mobile Suit Gundam the Witch from Mercury. In recent years, Mogumo has earned attention for providing original character designs for the fantasy action game "Project GAMM" and a collection of character designs published under the name "Kemono Fabric Tokyo Mogumo Artworks."

Q1. Were you familiar with Gundam before this show?
At first, I thought of the Gundam series as something on a higher threshold, but a few years ago, I happened to be given the opportunity to work on a separate Gundam-related project. When that happened, I watched Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans for the first time and since then, I have watched other Gundam shows too. Since it's a show about war, where weapons play a part, I knew it would be heavy, but it's more than that. The relationships and bonds between the characters are always portrayed with warmth and that's part of the attraction. I also developed an interest in mobile suits themselves.
Q2. Tell us how you came to be involved with the character designs for the Witch from Mercury and how you felt when you knew you had the job.
By coincidence, I happened to have a chance to visit with representatives of Sunrise (now Bandai Namco Filmworks) and at that time, they mentioned that there was a competition for help with the planning of their new Gundam show and they invited Morion Airlines (the special planning unit Mogumo is a member of) to make a submission. At first, I was really happy to be taking on a new challenge, but as the scale of the project gradually became clear, I began to feel more pressure. It was half joy and half anxiety.
Q3. Tell us about the process for designing Suletta Mercury and other characters.
At first, we created a proposal that contained our pure vision of what we would like to see in the next Gundam show. In particular, since I was a casual fan who had begun to watch while Iron-Blooded Orphans was on the air, I wanted our submissions to have an atmosphere that wouldn't be too high of a threshold for people like me who weren't overly familiar with mecha robot anime. In terms of design, I tried to keep things simple and use laid-back colors that weren't too flashy. When we started working on the actual show, I adjusted my designs based on input from the director, Mr. Kobayashi, and the information I was given about the script. For Suletta, too, I began by working from the drafts I had submitted for the competition, but as I became aware that she was a clumsy "country bumpkin" from a remote planet, I made changes to her hairstyle and facial features. The designs and the writing of the screenplay proceeded at the same time, so I would consult frequently with Mr. Kobayashi, the director.
Q4. Thoughts on the response to the show
Many of my friends and acquaintances told me they had watched it and I was really happy to see that it generated a lot of fan arts.
Q5. The ending of Episode 12 won a lot of response from audiences overseas, too. It seems that the gap between the adorable design you created for Suletta and the situation she was put in made the story developments all the more powerful. Did you take into consideration those sort of "gundamesque" moments when you made the design?
At the time I created Suletta's character design, I didn't know what would happen in episode 12. Maybe Mr. Kobayashi or Mr. Ohkouchi had it in mind, but I never imagined anything like that. Still, what I focused on for Suletta was the fact that while she is an awkward girl from the countryside, she also needed a heroic side that would be fitting for a Gundam protagonist. For example, her thick mismatched eyebrows suggest that she doesn't pay much attention to her appearance, but they also reflect a strong will.
Q6. The characters you designed have been made into plastic models and figures by BANDAI SPIRITS. What did you think when you see them in three-dimensional form?
The quality was wonderful.

They're so small, but their faces are just as cute and the movable parts mean you can give them all sorts of poses. Seeing characters I designed become plastic models and figures really was a rare experience for me and I'm very happy.
Q7. Thank you very much for your time. Do you have any final words for overseas fans who are looking forward to future episodes of the Witch from Mercury?
My hope is always that the characters I proposed designs for are loved by many for a long time to come. If people from all over the world watch the Witch from Mercury and fall in love with the characters, I'll be very happy. The twist in episode 12 was a shock for me too and like all other viewers, I'm both excited and nervous to see how the characters change. I hope everyone will join me in watching until the very end!
※This is a repost of a past article.
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