Profile picture
Todd DuBois @GWOtaku
, 54 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
Here we go. Macross Development History: From Beginning to Now with Shoji Kawamori. #Macross #anime #Otakon
Kawamori was born in Toyama prefecture in a small town in a “snow-bound, mountainous region”. They could get so much snow it’d be necessary to leave the house via a window on the second floor. In winter they’d lose road access and need to take boats
When Kawamori was 3 they moved to Yokohama, the 3rd largest city in Japan. From out in nature to the big city, and trains Kawamori was very impressed with, this was his first experience with “deculture!” Growing up (this is a Macross phrase, when Zentradi marvel at new culture)
Yokohama was home to the largest Chinatown in Japan, which led to inspiration for Macross’ Lynn Minmay
Kawamori and his contemporaries were very impressed with and inspired by Space Battleship Yamato
In Kawamori’s final year of high school he started part time work at Studio Nue, and after graduation he was there full time
Video clip showing 40 years of things Kawamori has worked on. Macross F,AKB0048, Macross Delta, Aquarion Evol, Macross DYRL, Macross Zero, Macross Plus, Escaflowne, Basquash, M3, Gunhed, Cyberformula, Bodacious Space Pirates, Ghost in the Shell designs, more...overload here
Notwithstanding the barrage of stuff, Kawamori says the video was only about half of what he’s worked on over 40 years
Macross development history now. Pictures shown of a toy line for Takara, Diaclone Car Robot - AKA Transformers the First Generation. Some of what Kawamori did for Diaclone’s Car Robot line became Transformers later
The Car Robot stuff, naturally, taught Kawamori things about transforming mecha that would come in handy for him later. Kawamori was still in college and working on designs for 4 other titles during the Diaclone Car Robot work. Not much time for sleep!
Studio Nue was a “design concept” studio, so in his time there Kawamori had chances to be involved in pitches for shows. One pitch was for a show with a non-humanoid lead mecha, instead of a humanoid one. The result of that was the original Gerwalk design
Kawamori notes the Gerwalk’s original design predated Star Wars and the Imperial walkers
Unfortunately, at the time, no one picked up Kawamori’s pitch featuring the early Gerwalk design. People wanted humanoid robots. It was also a problem that the pitch was based in “hard sci-fi” and there were worries it’d be too inaccessible
And so, the next step for Kawamori & company was a “dummy pitch” with a humanoid robot, put together over the course of a one night meeting. It was decided to make this robot gigantic and they went for a space carrier to make it distinct from the Space Battleship Yamato
At the time this was going on, Kawamori was on Ulysses 31. One discarded idea from that show was a city within a spaceship, so they incorporated that into the “dummy pitch”
Because of the massive scale of the carrier ship robot, it was decided giant foes would be needed. Kawamori went about working on the story after the 1 night meeting. The result of this was the pre-Macross pitch for “Megaload”
Kawamori would work on this pitch during classroom lectures in college
Given the city-within-a-ship concept, it was reasoned that such a place would have a famous singer. Hence the early development of another key Macross aspect. And the VF-1 Valkyrie was naturally developed to complement the carrier
Manga art from Kawamori’s high school days being shown. Sorry, I can’t photograph it. In the concept there you had a space war where adversaries thought with select champions representing. One foe cheated with a mechanized pilot instead of a flesh & blood one
In this high school concept many elements for the main mecha there wound up being used for the Valkyrie
Concept sketches for the VF-1 being shown now. Over time it became more and more plane-like. For a time it seemed like the “Megaload” dummy pitch was attracting interest, and so they decided to “get serious” about it. But, a hitch...a toy manufacturer told them planes don’t sell
To deal with that Kawamori pitched the toy company the Gerwalk, but they rejected it. So he proposed the plan, they said no. Kawamori stuck with it. “When someone tells you something won’t sell, it means there is a big chance in it!” So says his slide, haha
In Kawamori’s view something not selling just means no one had tried well enough. So, he doubled down on the VF-1 to make it as detailed as a plane as he could make it. He studied real fighter planes to this end
Kawamori points out for the “young people” in the audience that these “planes don’t sell” related challenges predated Top Gun
In studying the F-14 Kawamori noticed the spread-apart engines, and he realized that was where the transforming arms of the Valkyrie could go - not the most obvious point when considering the humanoid robot design
After the F-14 revelation, Kawamori was able to refine the Valkyrie idea in about a week. He had to be sure it would seem different enough in the context of Gundam and super robots succeeding. He kept the head simple compared to those designs, pointy elbows, feet in pieces
For the pitch of the new Valkyrie, Kawamori transformed the model he made for it right in front of them. This time, it was a success
Other Valkyrie concepts being shown. An armored type for ground combat, though the issue there was it couldn’t transform. So he came up with additional equipment for heavy weapons for it to carry. And now he’s showing a model of the original plane
Leading up to Macross marketing and promotional materials only showed the upper half of the Valkyrie’s humanoid design, to hide the fact it was a transforming mecha
Audience is shown a 1/48 model of the Valkyrie in development that’s going to be released in Japan soon
Color concept drawings shown for the SDF-1 and Valkyrie. Nice.
At the time Macross was broadcast, fans were “split in review”. One faction liked the music part, others thought it was stupid to have that in the midst of battles. Kawamori didn’t think it was strange given precedent of entertainers visiting soldiers on the field
Kawamori’s attitude was / is as such that when people insist something is stupid, he wants to be contrarian and do that thing more
Why songs and culture as a road to the end of conflict in Macross? To Kawamori, simply finishing things with a big and flashy weapon would not have been original. Moreover, the Zentradi were conceived as a warrior race with *no* culture
Kawamori went to Noburu Ishiguro with the idea of using Lynn Minmay’s songs as the key to ending the conflict. He was not sold on the idea, but Kawamori cited “creator’s privilege” and fought hard for it. When the fateful episode came, reception was mixed
Macross was considered a hit and the Valkyrie toys sold, so naturally work began on a sequel - in the form of a theatrical movie. Kawamori was made director. At the time, he was only a sophomore in college
Working on the Macross movie was an “insurmountable commitment”, so Kawamori couldn’t finish college. For the movie he wanted to make changes and not settle for retelling the series. New ideas like holographic stages and vacuum cleaner robots were put out
We know how the story ends...the result of that movie project and its novel production ideas was Macross DYRL
After the success of Macross TV and DYRL, Kawamori was able to visit the USA for weeks on two separate occasions. He was able to do things like visit NASA, see broadway musicals at a young age
After his USA trips Kawamori was getting “desensitized” to all the entertainment, so he made a trip to China in 1985
In his travels Kawamori noticed how the kids would get active and play together at times there was no power at night. He experienced “deculture” witnessing kids seeming happier without things like TV, at a time he was young and thought he was on the “forefront of entertainment”
Kawamori’s come to think that there’s a “hypnosis” that results in the belief that all technological advancement is good, when the truth is more like that there’s a lot of good and bad in it
Kawamori was approached to do more Macross TV series, but he turned those down at the time. 10 years after Macross Flashback 2012, he was finally convinced. The result was 1994’s Macross 7. He agreed on the understanding they’d be different this time. Mission accomplished
Basara is one of Kawamori’s favorite characters. He concedes that his basic idea was to create a protagonist so different from what came before that fans of the original might hate him for it
Of course Kawamori was still a fan of planes, and he put that into Macross Plus. He pitched this and Macross 7 at the same time, saying he’d do both if both were accepted. He did not think this would happen. It did!
There you have it.....there would be no Macross Plus without Macross 7, quite possibly, and vice versa. Life is funny
Macross Plus’ mind-altering virtual AI singer, Sharon Apple, was considered to be a stupid idea by many staff at the time. Kawamori jokes that they underestimated the power of otaku
Kawamori acknowledges the contributions of Yoko Kanno’s music work for Macross Plus, noting she’s been involved in many of his works since
Macross Zero was the first use of CG in the franchise. Kawamori still loves hand-drawn animation, but he does believe computer animation can work very well for dogfight action. Macross F was where he made it all CG so 2D work could be fully focused on characters
Macross F introduced the trinity of pilot / established singer (Sheryl) / upcoming singer (Ranka). Kawamori notes he went for a beautiful guy and quips he beats the ladies
With the Macross F theatrical movies Kawamori thought the fushion of 2D and 3D CG was how it was supposed to be done. And finally the presentation gets to Macross Delta circa 2015
Macross Delta brought in teams of singers and pilots in a bid to change things up yet again. Kawamori notes the movie that centers around the singer team Walkure. And with the panel coming to a close, we have a LEGO prototype of a Macross Delta mech
The Delta Valkyrie has a single engine instead of the double engine. Not enough time to transform it all, but he’s showing features of the model and how the legs descend and turn
Kawamori plugs Jushinki Pandora / Last Hope, which will be streaming in October on Netflix. Humanity vs an evolving foe created by a rogue AI. A team of pilots and their variable mechs defend our last refuge against them
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Todd DuBois
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!