This will be an attempt to put together info from throughout Gundam Reconguista in G’s production, and related relevant points of interest, updated as needed.
Turn A Gundam
Notably, early in production, it had the name “Ring of Gundam”, which would come up again in another form later.
At one point, a space elevator is mentioned as having existed where South America was in the past (the same location as the one in Reconguista in G).
Its status as possibly taking place after or before Reconguista in G would become a subject of intrigue.
Turn A Space
It is worth mentioning a project Yoshiyuki Tomino expressed interest in that may or may not have had any influence on G-Reco: At Anime Expo New York in 2002, Tomino brought up the idea of something called “Turn A Space”, which he positioned as being “somewhat close to the world of Gundam”, but not a continuation. An apparent transcript of the Q&A session this came from still exists here.
AXNY ran August 31st to September 2nd, 2002, and the television premiere of Tomino directed series Overman King Gainer was September 7th, 2002.
It is difficult to say what if any influence this may have had on G-Reco, but it seems worth mentioning as some of his comments about G-Reco’s relation to Gundam echo similar sentiments.
For a little more on what was known of Turn A Space, see this post at Moon’s Cocoon.
Before being officially announced as Gundam Reconguista in G, the project had been announced with a name often rendered in news outlets as “G-Reko”.
Kenichi Yoshida is contacted by Yoshiyuki Tomino to work on designs. An animator and character designer known for work like Eureka Seven, Yoshida had done animation on Turn A Gundam (1999), and served as character designer and chief animation director on Overman King Gainer (2002). He would go on to serve as character designer and chief animation director on Reconguista in G.
Ippei Gyoubu meets Tomino during the planning of another show. Known for his work in advertising illustration, in particular for the Tokyo Game Show, he would be a primary mechanical designer on Reconguista in G (later contributing to other Gundam projects, such as Iron Blooded Orphans and Build Divers. His first credit with Sunrise is on Sacred Seven in 2011, for suit design).
There are no other details on what this other show was, except that the project was cancelled.
Ring of Gundam
A five minute short which premiered at Gundam Big Expo on August 21st, 2009, as part of the Gundam 30th Anniversary celebration. A 3D CGI production using motion capture, it is the result of a plan for a feature length live action Gundam film which Tomino developed that fell through. It takes place well after the UC timeline, in Gaia Century 333.
In its brief run time, there isn’t much room for exposition, and so there are a number of noted story setting details not obvious or shown at all. Among them, a space elevator is mentioned, which isn’t seen in the short.
Akira Yasuda (aka Akiman) redesigned the RX-78-2 Gundam mobile suit for the production. A former Capcom designer, he served as character designer for Turn A Gundam, and would go on to design the G-Self and Recten mobile suits for Reconguista in G. The obvious difference with the version of the RX-78 he created is the white color scheme, but he also created designs for new internal movement mechanisms, although these do not change its outward appearance much.
He also designed the “Beauty Memory” pod that appears in the short.
At one point, he would cite mechanical design work used here as later serving as basis for the G-Self in Reconguista in G – but before that, it also went towards the Alexander Knightmare Frame design for Code Geass, which bears some similarities to the G-Self.
The Alexander concept would see use in the OVA Code Geass: Akito the Exiled (2012)
Two more former Capcom artist made contributions: Kinu Nishimura designed characters, and Gouda Cheese (aka Bengus) created the Skeleton mobile suit. Both would later work on Reconguista in G as well – Nishimura designed the Venus Globe characters, while Gouda Cheese worked on additional designs.
An illustration by Kinu Nishimura of main characters Eiji and Yuria, from the Ring of Gundam credits
The December issue of Gundam Ace is released on October 26th, 2010. As part of the commemoration for the 100th issue, a short story by Yoshiyuki Tomino is published, called Hajimetai Capital G no Monogatari (Beginning Story of Capital G / はじめたいキャピタルGの物語). At around 8 pages, it is apparently incomplete. Sunrise is credited for production cooperation.
Illustrations from the story, by Tomino himself. The former shows how the space elevator works
The story is about Beryl, a Capital Tower maintenance engineer, who is in training when the elevator is hijacked. A space pirate named Aida pilots a mysterious machine called “G”.
- Notably, the term “Man Machine” is used. (First seen in Gaia Gear, a serialized novel by Tomino that ran in Newtype from 1987 to 1991, with an audio drama in 1992. Set in the far future of the UC timeline, Man Machines seemed to replace Mobile Suits)
- The mysterious “G” is apparently said to not be a Man Machine, however.
- A previous era in which conflict was common is mentioned, but not called “UC” outright. The story takes place 1,000 years after that. Minovsky particles are mentioned.
- It is said that there were once three space elevators, but two were destroyed, and the remaining one was restored. It transports Photon Batteries.
- Man Machines are rarely armed with guns or any weapons, with the one Beryl uses being for maintenance only.
Also in 2010, following their first meeting for the ultimately cancelled project the previous year, Ippei Gyoubu was contacted by Tomino.
Around a year later, late in 2010, I started receiving calls from an unlisted number, and after a month or two of ignoring them he came to my house only to be greeted by my wife, who was so surprised she accidentally turned him away!
The first issue of manga magazine Newtype Ace is released September 10th (marked as October). It announces a project called “G-Reko” from Yoshiyuki Tomino, with no reference to what form of media it will take. It is said to take place 1,000 years after the end of the UC timeline, but isn’t labeled as a Gundam project.
Concept art of the setting is featured, starting with an illustration by Kenichi Yoshida made after hearing the premise from Tomino – it features on a figure standing atop a space elevator structure (it is not specifically dated).
The elevator depicted more heavily resembles the one from Hajimetai Capital G no Monogatari than it does the final product. Most of the setting concepts will likely look familiar to viewers, though.
Magazine scan credits: MechaDamashii.com – GundamGuy – Anime News Network
Released August 25th, the Gundam Ace October 2012 issue featured an acknowledgement of “G-Reko” beginning production. From an Anime News Network report of the time:
The update on G-Reko ran in Tomino’s “Oshiete Kudasai. Tomino Desu” column.
Tomino was in the middle of interviewing Japanese modern artist Takashi Murakami in his column when he commented on the taxing nature of creating a work “on the level of a television series.” Tomino also said that the scenario for the whole G-Reko project has been written and is currently being reevaluated. He added that he would like to draw the storyboards for the entire production, though he realizes that doing so may be impossible.
Notably, it would seem it still was not considered a Gundam project yet:
Tomino said that the “G-Reko” name was chosen in part because “the ‘Gundam’ name was a total nuisance when trying to develop a new kind of robot story.” He noted that the “G” in the title was revealed earlier as standing for “gravity.”
Tomino concluded his Murakami interview by stating that he is taking a break from his Gundam Ace column, which he began in 2003. He cited the time commitment required of him for the production of G-Reko.
Over the summer of 2013, an ad for Sky PerfecTV! was filmed in Tomino’s study. Sunrise producer Naohiro Ogata asked Akira Yasuda to draw a Gundam design to cover up a picture of the G-Self design on Tomino’s wall, acting as a “dummy”. The ad, which aired October 2013, can be seen here.
This “fake” Gundam design would be nicknamed “Sky Gundam”.
An early instruction for Kenichi Yoshida was to draw Beryl and Aida as “nearly-identical” twins.
Yoshida stated he was “at a loss for how to express a man who could easily be seen as a woman”. The final, much different character designs were said to come together by early 2013.
The name change from Beryl to Bellri came about unintentionally. Producer Ogata explained:
Bellri was originally named Beryl, but Tomino’s scripts started calling him Bellri instead. When asked about this, he insisted ‘I can’t be wrong, it’s got to be a problem with the name. Plus, if he’s named Bellri we can nickname him Bell, right?’
Raraiya Monday’s name fell into place for similarly floaty reasons:
Raraiya Monday was named after the day she fell to Earth, but also after Tomino latched onto the word ‘Monday’ while staring off into space and noticing a calendar on the studio wall.
G-Reco – Gundam Reconguista in G
On March 20th, 2014, a Mobile Suit Gundam 35th Anniversary Project reception was held, where the rough dates of three projects were announced: The seventh episode of the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVA, the first episode of the Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin OVA, and the television series Gundam Reconguista in G. It was set to premiere Fall 2014 – a short preview was also released.
The event was streamed and posted online with voice over translations in multiple languages, including English. A special guest was announced, who turned out to be Yoshiyuki Tomino.
Tomino rejected the label of “special guest”, preferring to be considered a regular staff member. He would go on to explain his appreciation for the people and business model who had carried Gundam for all that time, the reason for the “g” in “Reconguista”, and his aims with the new television project.
This speech can still be found online, and has also been transcribed below.
When I came here today, and was told that I’ll be the special guest, I told them no. I complained that I am a member of the team. I’m very disappointed that the word “special guest” was not gone. I’m not special! I’m a regular member of the team.
But, I must say, I am very happy to be able to speak here. I wouldn’t have been able to celebrate 35 years if I were in this business alone. It was the business model with character goods in the center that made this business thrive for 35 years. My appreciation goes to all who extended their support.
But, at the same time, I must say that the people who are aiming to be a part of this business, to become new entrants, are not able to put their fingers on what this business system is all about. I certainly wish they would, but this point of view is lacking in the industry. In that sense, the form of collaboration under the Gundam team, I think, is a business format, although it’s not a nice word, that could be sustained for a while.
As a regular member of the Gundam team, I have been thinking seriously for the past fifteen years of the message to be communicated to [the] post Gundam generation. Gundam Reconguista in G finally formed a framework for that message. The letter “G” stands for “Gundam”, but it primarily means “ground”, as in “standing on the ground”. The word “Reconguista” is a coined word based on the word “Reconcuista”, but in Japan, it had to be “Reconguista” because we need a “g” sound to sell well here. Not “Reconquista”, but “Reconguista”.
Thirty five years have passed, but the business style, or business system, supported by adults will not last another fifty years without change. We need new contents, and new messages. That, in my way of expressing things, is illustrated in Gundam Reconguista in G. Clearly, future fans of Gundam will be different from fans of The Origin or Unicorn. I wanted to create something that could be shown to our children, to your children, I certainly believe we can let it emerge from the field of Gundam. That, I believe, could be expressed in the next production we are working on right now. Only history will tell how well you did. But I tell myself, at this age, “You did a great job”.
I wish to pass the message to children of today, and grandchildren of tomorrow, of the story. I’m so proud and so happy to be able to speak about this on the thirty fifth anniversary. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who made this possible. I know I am able to experience this because of you, the fans. My deepest thanks to you all. Thank you very much.
From August 23rd to September 5th, 2014, a theatrical event run of the first three episodes was held at 13 theaters across Japan. They were then made available on the Docomo Anime Store streaming site from September 8th to September 30th.
On October 2nd, 2014, the first episode of Gundam Reconguista in G aired, beginning its 26 episode run. It played on the MBS network as part of the Animeism block, and was the first (and thus far only) Gundam television series to run at late night.
Tetsuro Araki, director at Wit Studio (known for Death Note, Attack on Titan, and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) created storyboards for and directed episode 10, which aired November 27th, 2014. A fan of Yoshiyuki Tomino, he asked to work on Tomino’s new series. From ANN’s coverage of the Man Tan Web interview:
Araki got excited when he found out that Tomino was making another anime series. “As a Tomino fan, I thought I’d like to subtitle one of his works,” he explained. “I felt I had a chance.” Tomino says that he had seen Episode 1 of Attack on Titan and largely approved. “He keeps a good watch compared to mediocre directors. He captures a worldview. Araki-san tries his best. I happily considered approving all of the young generation instead of rejecting them all. I would’ve declined to direct Attack, but if I had accepted I wouldn’t have been able to make this.”
Araki was shocked when he received Tomino’s feedback on his storyboards. Over a hundred notes had been attached to the pages, some with brutal comments like “This is nauseating” and “I want them to understand the direction of this scene.” But Araki expected this sort of treatment from Tomino, and even says that he treasured the notes. “I stuck them on my desk,” he admitted.
More Undated Minutiae
The G-Arcane is designed to transform into an aircraft form – the model kit is able to do so – but this is never seen or mentioned at all for the duration of the television show. Producer Naohiro Ogata claimed this was because Tomino forgot it could transform, and so no plans were made for it to do so in the series.
It would eventually be seen transforming in two other forms of media: The mostly 3D CGI “From the Past to the Future” short (detailed further below), and the Reconguista in G manga adaptation by Tamon Ota, serialized in Gundam Ace magazine.
Yukio Tomino, Yoshiyuki Tomino’s youngest daughter, choreographed the ad break eyecatch sequences. She is a modern dance choreographer who resides in the Netherlands. (Some examples of her work can be found here)
At this time, the famed life size RX-78-2 Gundam statue was still up at Gundam Front Tokyo in Odaiba, Tokyo. On March 21st, 2015, Gundam Reconguista in G – From the Past to the Future, a nine minute short, premiered on the WALL-G projection wall near the statue, where it would continue to play for some time.
The Gundam statue itself is part of the presentation, with lighting on (and coming from) it synced with the film, as well as some head movement. Examples of this in action can be seen online, such as with this example here.
Footage credit: Black Cat’s Creation 2nd Channel
Featuring a story taking place between episodes 16 and 17, the short features 3D CGI for the mobile suit scenes, but hand drawn animation of the characters. Directed by Shigeto Kawata, a number of aspects not seen in the series are featured, in particular the G-Arcane making use of the Assault Pack, and transforming into its aircraft form.
It depicts a battle against Mask in the G-Phenex, a silver coated replication of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03 Phenex from the UC timeline days. An HGUC model kit of this suit was packaged with a Blu Ray of the short, and sold exclusively at Gundam Front Tokyo.
Gundam Reconguista in G’s 26th and final episode aired on March 26th, 2015.
On August 27th, 2015, an event at the Gundam Café cafe was held (called Yoru no G-Reco Kenkyukai – Tomino Yoshiyuki-Hen / 夜のGレコ研究会 ～富野由悠季編～) and live streamed. Yoshiyuki Tomino, producer Naohiro Ogata, and Bellri voice actor Mark Ishii were in attendance.
During this event, to the surprise of many, Tomino stated that Reconguista in G took place 500 years after Turn A Gundam. Even producer Ogata was shocked, and later reactions from other staff members seemed to indicate they were not aware either (there had been printed materials, like a booklet that came with August 2014 screenings, stating Turn A came after).
(To my knowledge, Tomino himself had never stated G-Reco took place before Turn A in the past, and it was other staff members who had said or written that it did)
In a later deleted tweet, in November 2016, an animator states a Reconguista in G movie will play in 2017. There had been no prior announcements. Ultimately, this doesn’t come to pass, but is part of a series of rumors and talk of such a project that would continue for years.
On April 8th, 2017, during an appearance at Romics (an anime/manga event) in Rome, Italy, Tomino states a new Reconguista in G project is in development.
Alongside a number of other announcements for the Mobile Suit Gundam 40th anniversary project “Beyond”, the Reconguista in G films are finally officially confirmed, and slated for 2019. They are compilation films with some new footage.
Reconguista in G I – Ike! Core Fighter
(Go! Core Fighter)
Notably, despite “Gundam” still appearing in the logo, the titles for the films are “Gekijoban (Theatrical Version) Reconguista in G” – no “Gundam”.
At Japan Expo in Paris, France, on July 5th, 2019, the first Reconguista in G film makes its world premiere, titled “Ike! Core Fighter”. Tomino states there will be a total of five movies.
Yoshiyuki Tomino attends the AnimeNYC convention in New York City, and on November 16th, Reconguista in G I makes its US debut.
Starting November 29th, 2019, the film starts playing in mini-theaters across Japan for a two week run. It debuts and remains at #1 in mini-theater rankings across both weekends.
Made available for video on demand in Japan on the same date, the BD/DVD release arrived on January 28th, 2020. The Blu-ray release includes subtitles in multiple languages, including English.
Fliers confirm the release date for the next installment.
At the end of 2019, Bellri Zenam voice actor Mark Ishii parts from his agency and goes on hiatus.
Reconguista in G I – Bellri Gekishin
(Bellri’s Fierce Charge)
The second film premieres in Japan on February 21st, with a two week run in mini-theaters, and video on demand as well. It start at #1 in mini-theater rankings, and #2 for the second weekend.
Notably, unlike last time, a release date for the next movie is not mentioned.
The BD/DVD release was scheduled for March 27th, 2020, and later bumped down to April. Amid production issues stemming from the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is delayed, and ultimately the discs come out August 26th, 2020.
Once again, the Blu-ray release includes subtitles in multiple languages, including English.
In late June, Mark Ishii announces his return to voice acting, ending his hiatus.
There is no news regarding a third film for quite some time, until November 12th: At Gunpla Expo Tokyo 2020, Gekijoban Gundam G no Reconguista III: Uchu Kara no Isan (The Legacy of Space) is announced with a summer 2021 release window. No other details are offered.
On March 26, 2021, a book by Yoshiyuki Tomino is released: “Anime o Tsukuru Koto o Namete Wa Ikenai – ‘G-Reco’ de Kangaeta Koto”. It explores the Regild Century world setting in detail, along with Tomino’s thoughts and various other planning notes.
In May, a new initiative is launched across the official G-Reco Twitter account and a new website: The G-Reco Cheering Party. Writing prompts are provided (such as what is your favorite mobile suit and why, etc), with the best answers being highlighted. Winners are sent a prize package in a special envelope including a certificate and Cheering Party stickers.
On June 11th, after many COVID related delays, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway (based on Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Hathaway’s Flash novels) is released to general theaters across Japan. As part of the promotional pack-ins included with tickets at certain locations, voucher codes for Reconguista in G I and II are provided, allowing the films to be watched through Bandai Channel online.
As part of further promotional efforts, on July 17th, G-Reco Movie II is made free on YouTube for 24 hours (Japan only).
At about the same time, an early premium ticket package is announced for G-Reco Movie IV. No release date is confirmed at this point. Orders are set open from July 26th to the end of August, or until supplies run out, with a shipping date of September. This package includes a metallic coated variant of the FW Gundam Converge G-Self figure, including a beam rifle, saber, and two different shields.
Reconguista in G III – UCHU KARA NO ISAN
(THE LEGACY OF SPACE)
The third Reconguista in G film is released July 22nd, 2021.
To be continued…