Turn A Gundam episode 01 audio commentary
Translation by Sensei-Hanzo
Commission and contextual assistance by Feez
The Turn A Gundam BD BOX 1 includes select episode commentaries by various voice actors & actresses. This ep's features Paku Romi (Loran), Takahashi Rieko (Dianna & Kihel), and Murata Akino (Sochie).
Romi: Welcome to the audio commentary for Turn A Gundam Episode 1: Howling at the Moon!
Romi: Hey everyone! It's been a while. I'm Paku Romi, the voice of Loran Cehack.
Rieko: I'm Takahashi Rieko, the voice of Kihel Heim and Dianna...Dia...
Romi: Are you okay?
Rieko: Dianna Soreil!
Akino: Can we continue?
Akino: I'm Murata Akino, the voice of Sochie Heim.
Ryota: And I'm the moderator, Fujitsu Ryota. The four of us are going to be doing commentary on episode 1.
Romi: It's been 15 years.
Ryota: That's right.
Romi: It really makes you realize how fast time flies.
Ryota: So, the episode starts off with a song. How does it feel hearing this after 15 years, Romi?
Romi: To be perfectly honest, it's been a really long time, but when I watched it again... Well, I laughed at how bad I was back then.
Romi: You can tell I had no idea what I was doing. I'm surprised people even made it through the first episode. What did you think, Rieko?
Rieko: For me, when I watched this again after all these years, it really shocked me how young Loran was when he went down to Earth.
Romi: What do you mean?
Rieko: Like, he's just a kid.
Rieko: Just when you think about that, it totally changes how you see the rest of the show. Like, I got kind of choked up.
Romi: Oh, you mean like "I can't believe how young he was!"?
Rieko: Yeah! Like I was so caught up in doing my job that I never really stopped to think about it.
Romi: Oh, yeah. I might have felt a bit of that myself. Like "How old was he again?"
Rieko: He's like a cute little puppy! I didn't remember him being this cute.
Romi: [hears her own line] Stop it!
Ryota: Akino, how did you feel seeing this again?
Akino: When I saw the first scene again, I think back then I never really had time to give it a good watch, but when he's coming down to Earth and singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb", I was really impressed by how good the singing is--
Akino: --and I felt really moved seeing those three going down to Earth, thinking about how nervous they must have been.
Romi: At the time, I remember Mr. Tomino told me not to think about it too hard. He didn't really give me any complex instructions or anything -- he just said to sing it normally. I don't think we even did a second take.
Ryota: Though, it's hard NOT to think about it, isn't it?
Romi: Well, I just tried my best to adapt to his instructions. If he said "Don't think about it", I'd say "Okay." I think that's probably the same for all three of us... No? Just me?
Romi: Hey, you'd better not say you were thinking about it. You didn't remember what your job was, did you?
Rieko: Yes I did!
Romi: Yeah, right.
Rieko: When did you remember? Just now?
Romi: No, from the beginning! From the beginning. I've been in this industry longer than you, you know.
Romi: Oh, can anyone name who this is? Do you know who sings this?
Akino: Po, right?
Ryota: Um, I think it will take too long if we try to look into that, so let's try to focus on what's on screen.
Rieko: Let me just say that she called Fran Doll "Po".
Rieko: Her name's not "Po". It's Fran Doll. I'm disappointed in you.
Romi: Sorry, I take it back.
Ryota: Anyway, after there's the scene with Kihel and Sochie bathing. They wear clothes in the movie, but not in the TV version.
Rieko: Oh, they have clothes on in the movie?
Ryota: Yes. That's one of the parts that's different. That's something we should be commenting on.
Romi: That is important, huh? I never really gave it much thought, but this is pretty weird. Skinny dipping, that is. I'd be worried about bacteria and stuff.
Akino: That's a heck of a way to meet someone.
Romi: I think this is the first time I had ever ad-libbed stuff. I had worked with Mr. Tomino on another anime -- Brain Powerd -- before, but there wasn't any ad-libbing then.
Akino: Probably. I don't really remember anymore.
Romi: I recall this being the first time I'd ever had to do anything like acting out drowning in a river.
[Kihel/Dianna on screen]
Romi: Oh, here she is. Look at her all shiny. I guess we shouldn't just sit here watching. This is an audio commentary, after all.
Romi: Oh, here she is.
Romi: Look at her, all shiny.
Rieko: Sempai -- we can't just sit here watching. This is an audio commentary, after all.
Ryota: So, episode 1 spends a lot of time following Sochie, as she starts getting closer to Loran.
Akino: Yeah... Although back then, I didn't really have time to be thinking about that. I was so focused on just saying my lines to match what was happening on screen. But looking back at it now, she really is kind of clingy.
Romi: She is, isn't she?
Rieko: Totally opposite from Kihel. Watching the first episode again, I can feel how...strong-willed Kihel is. Strong-willed? I don't know. I was kind of surprised at how feminine she is. It's like how I said Loran's like a cute puppy before. I had a strong impression of Kihel being very no-nonsense and efficient, so it surprised me how standoffish she could be. Like, "she really is just a girl after all".
Romi: What, did you forget?
Romi: Yes you did!
Rieko: Give me a break.
Romi: You don't remember the series at all, do you? This is the first episode.
Ryota: Well, there are 50 episodes, so the characters change over the course of the series. Like with Kihel, she's quite different before and after she switches places with Dianna.
Romi: I actually respect Kihel a lot. This small little world was everything to her, and I think it's amazing that she was able to make it in a crazy world like that.
Romi: Although, Sochie is pretty much the same throughout the story, right?
Akino: Yeah. It's sort of the same for me. I think there were things that changed about her, but she's fundamentally the same person inside.
Rieko: She's very curious right from the start, and stays like that even though she's in a rough environment.
Akino: Yeah. Her environment might have changed, but inside she's still the same.
Ryota: And since she's the younger sister, she has a sort of feeling of competition with her older sister.
Akino: Yeah, I really felt that as I watched this episode.
Rieko: The visuals in the first episode are just stunning, though, aren't they? Not that I would expect any less.
Ryota: The first episode looks especially good.
Akino: Oh, the goldfish... You know how they sell those in stores, right? Well, whenever I see one, I always think of this. I'm always like "Oh, it's that fish!"
Romi: I actually have a figure of Loran in my house. It's the first thing you see when you come in.
Akino: Oh, really?
Romi: He's wearing a spacesuit and holding his helmet, and it has the goldfish on the base of the figure. So, whenever I go home I see that fish there.
[Probably talking about this figure: http://plajapan.com/images/gallery/roranseack.jpg]
Akino: That's cute.
Rieko: I just remembered this -- this happened toward the end of the series, but there was a party after we had finished recording the last episode, and I remember Tomino said to me "This show is going to be a hit in 50 years." I didn't really think much of it at the time, but as I get older, the number of Gundam fans increases, and there are a lot of people who say that Turn A Gundam is their favorite. We just watched the first episode, but...I was impressed by how it doesn't feel dated at all.
Akino: I feel like this kind of tribal festival scene isn't something you really see anywhere else. I like this a lot.
Ryota: I think among the fans it actually has become more popular in recent years compared to when it aired. The sales figures support that trend, too. If you take it all into account, it does seem to be living on as a fan favorite.
Romi: There are a lot of core fans out there, which I'm really grateful for. Oh, I really like Kihel's expression coming up. Is it after this?
Ryota: It's when she's standing up on the platform.
Romi: When she says "I will now choose my partner!" She's kind of sweating, right?
Ryota: Here it is.
Romi: Yeah, here. She looks so real and alive. Look. She's all sweaty. It's kind of sexy.
Romi: *sobs* Fuji TV...
Romi: Doesn't it make you think of that?
Romi: Because it aired on Fuji TV. Huh?
Ryota: Can I ask you a question about back when you were recording?
Romi: Go for it.
Ryota: Did Mr. Tomino ever make any, like, unreasonable requests of you? Or were there any directions he gave you that left an impression on you? Not just in the first episode, but anywhere throughout the series.
Romi: Unreasonable requests?
Rieko: Not really...
Akino: It was actually kind of the opposite for me. I don't really have the typical seiyuu voice, so I was focused really hard on trying to raise the pitch of my voice to make it sound young for Sochie, but Mr. Tomino just told me to use my natural voice. That left a big impression on me. So, there weren't really any unreasonable requests on my end.
Romi: What about you, Rieko?
Rieko: The first time I met Mr. Tomino...he said kind of a similar thing to me. Like, "Don't try really hard to make this sound good." I mean, it's work so of course I couldn't just not try at all, but I think that let me not get caught up on any small details or anything.
Romi: For me, there was a time kind of more in the middle of recording where I was starting to doubt myself a bit. This was my first male role of course, so even if I tried to talk naturally, inside I still sort of felt like I had to put a filter on myself. It was a little hard because everyone else was able to talk naturally, but it felt a little restricting to have to have this filter on. But Mr. Tomino saw right through me and told me I could just be myself. He said "Since you're the voice of Loran, whatever you say is Loran's voice, so don't think about it too hard." That really moved me a lot.
Romi: Oh yeah. Back then I would playfully call Mr. Tomino "Dad", but later on, thinking back on it he was kind of more like a mom.
Ryota: So, were there a lot of things you had to consider when it came to voicing a male character?
Romi: Yeah, I mean, no matter how much I tried to hammer it into my brain to not think about it and just be myself, at the beginning, since I had only really worked on Brain Powerd before there were a lot of things I didn't know and was still getting used to. But the other people around me would ask "Do you feel a lot of pressure since you're voicing the main character of a Gundam series?" and it's like "Well, now I do!" I wasn't really used to all that. I felt like I had to keep everyone's spirits high. It was a big growth experience for me in a lot of ways. Honestly, I remember getting pretty worn down by Turn A Gundam. But I couldn't just give up.
Ryota: I'm guessing you couldn't really afford to hesitate.
Romi: Though, I still made a lot of trouble for everyone.
Rieko: But yeah, not many unreasonable requests.
Romi: One thing I really remember is how he would just suddenly burst into the recording studio. He would have such an overwhelming presence that it would feel like "Hey! Hey you! Don't just sit there looking at the mic! Look at me! I'm over here!" Like he was so commanding and forceful that his instructions would feel like he was tackling you or something.
Akino: Yeah, it had nothing to do with the actual things he was saying. Just the aura he had around him.
Rieko: Like we said before he wasn't unreasonable at all. On the contrary, I felt kind of relaxed.
Romi: He's very tolerant.
Romi: I felt right at home.
Ryota: So it sounds like there were a lot of people involved that didn't have much experience with voice acting at that point.
Romi: That's right.
Ryota: Did that make it any easier on you?
Romi: Hm... Well, it helped to feel like we were all in it together. But I wondered if the ones that did have more experience were just looking at us and shaking their heads. Like "You're too close to the mic!"
Akino: For instance, when we would be all lined up next to each other to record our lines, instead of saying our lines into the mic, sometimes we would look to the side and say it to one of the other actors. Basic mistakes like that.
Rieko: But Mr. Tomino never got mad at us for stuff like that.
Ryota: What were your first impressions of the characters you played? Like when you first heard you were going to be playing that character and you saw a picture of them for the first time. I heard when the character designer Mr. Yasuda was designing Sochie he had in mind Ooba Kumiko, the "little sister of Japan".
Akino: My first impression just seeing her appearance? I'm not really sure... I mean, I thought she was cute, but I'm not the kind of person to think too deeply about things like that, so it was more like "Wow, she's cute. Can I really voice such a cute girl?"
Romi: What do you mean!?
Rieko: You ARE a cute girl!
Romi: I don't think you've even changed at all from back then. If you gave yourself some bangs you'd be Sochie. You too, Rieko. Just give yourself some vertical curls and you'd be good to go.
Akino: That's too funny.
Ryota: And what about you, Rieko? What were your first impressions when you saw the designs for Kihel and Dianna?
Rieko: Well, she looks like she came from a very traditional upbringing, very well-mannered. She doesn't have any big dreams or anything, but she's strong enough to do what she wants. That's the kind of impression I got.
Ryota: So, she felt strong-willed to you?
Rieko: Yeah. Like she wouldn't be the kind of girl that was just helpless and couldn't do anything.
Akino: She seems like a good big sister.
Romi: By the way, did you know that we ended up with different roles than the ones we auditioned for?
Romi: Is it okay to talk about that?
Ryota: I think it should be. It's been 15 years after all.
Romi: Akino, you were still Sochie, right?
Rieko: I think I initially tried out for Sochie. Probably. I think it was Sochie.
Romi: I tried out for Kihel and Dianna at first.
Akino: Wow, really?
Romi: Do you remember?
Rieko: Of course.
Romi: Do you remember who you tried out for?
Romi: Who was it?
Romi: Right?! You said the wrong character before! I knew that seemed wrong when I heard it. "Why did she get that wrong?" I was thinking. Also, when we were in the studio auditioning and they asked me to do Loran, I remember doing a dialogue with Rieko as Fran.
Romi: So you DO remember.
Rieko: I did remember! Honest.
Romi: You're lying! You just remembered now, didn't you? I can tell from your face. You didn't remember a thing, did you?
Ryota: So they had you do a conversation right there at the audition?
Romi: Yeah, between Fran and Loran. And also... Can I say this?
Ryota: I think they're going to edit this afterwards and cut some parts out, so just go ahead and say it.
Romi: So I was Loran even though I was kind of confused because I thought I was going to be doing Kihel and Dianna, Rieko was Fran like she was supposed to be...
Rieko: Right. And a few days before the audition, they called me out and told me what role I would be doing, and because I had never done voice work for anime before, they had to teach me everything. Like "When this part comes up, say this" or "Stop speaking here". Lots of different stuff.
Romi: Whoa, really? I never knew that.
Romi: Wasn't that five days before the audition?
Rieko: Maybe. It was really cutting it close.
Ryota: Right down to the wire, huh?
Romi: It was the same for me too, actually. I thought I was going to be doing Kihel and Dianna, but they didn't decide on the roles until literally five days before the auditions.
Rieko: I'm sure you must have been like "What!?"
Ryota: And then you ended up...
Romi: Yeah, I ended up voicing a boy of all things. That was a big shock. What about you, Akino? Any stories like that to tell?
Akino: None at all. I was just Sochie.
Rieko: Well, you look just like her. Seriously, compare a picture of them to each other.
Romi: You should cut your bangs.
Akino: You think so? Maybe I'll go get a haircut tomorrow.
Ryota: So things were really decided just at the last second, and before you knew it you were recording episode one.
Romi: Right. Internally I was still hung up on the gender of my role, so I wasn't even thinking much about the fact that I was voicing the main character. There was an interview before we started recording with a bunch of journalists, and one of them asked like "How are you dealing with the pressure of voicing a main character in a Gundam series?" and then I suddenly realized like "WHOA! The pressure is on now."
Ryota: So were were really just thrown right into the middle of things.
Akino: Well, I'm sure once it was decided you just felt like you had to do the job that was given to you.
[These next couple lines are largely guesses because they're all talking over each other.]
Rieko: I can't believe that was really only your first time doing that.
Akino: It doesn't feel like it was recorded only a few days after the roles were decided.
Romi: Stop it! You guys are embarrassing me. It really was a life-changing role, though. I never would have dreamed that after that I would go on to voice so many male characters.
Rieko: They really are identical, though.
Romi: You're still looking at that? Yeah, Kihel and Dianna look alike. I bet you voiced them not even being able to tell which one is which if they were wearing the same clothes.
Rieko: Yes I could have!
Romi: Really? Really? Well, you probably did. This is a great song, though.
Akino: I still listen to this song, actually. I love it.
Ryota: "Tsuki No Mayu (Lunar Cocoon)". This song really leaves a big impression on you since it's the ending song in the later episodes.
Romi: They played this song when we went in to record the last episode. And when we were doing the auditions. That was when we were at Tokyo TV Center [the name of the recording studio?]. And I cried.
Rieko: Who wouldn't?
Romi: I was all pumped and ready to go, but then they played this song and it was kind of unexpected.
Romi: Oh, there it is. "Everyone, come back!"
Ryota: And that's the end of episode one. So, what were your thoughts looking back on it again? Akino?
Akino: Well, it's really nostalgic, but it also feels like it was just yesterday. Watching this again for the first time in 15 years makes me want to watch the series again now that I'm older.
Rieko: We should all get together and watch it sometime.
Ryota: What about you, Rieko?
Rieko: When I watched the first scene again, I was blown away by how cute Loran is.
Romi: How so?
Rieko: I just wanna squeeze him. Give him a big tight hug. I finally realized all the changes he's about to go through. It was the first time I'd felt that.
Romi: You just felt that now after 15 years?
Romi: You know there are no do-overs for this, right?
Ryota: Okay, what about you, Romi?
Romi: Mr. Tomino said that this was going to be a hit in 50 years, and I really felt like he was able to make something that isn't just a fad and won't be swept away by the passage of time. Looking back on the series after 15 years and being able to feel that, it made me feel how much I've personally grown in that time. You all haven't changed a bit, though.
Romi: How old are you now?
Rieko: I haven't changed.
Ryota: Thank you all for your time.
Romi/Rieko/Akino: Thank you!
Romi: The wind will blow. [???]