Mark Simmons (
Tue, 04 Jan 2000 15:11:50 -0800

Justin Palmer asks,

> A little bit OT, I know, but can anyone tell me what aniem
> Mamoru Nagano has designed mecha for? Thanks!

  He started off doing some minor mecha props for Vifam, then graduated to
chief mecha & character designer on 1984's Heavy Metal L.Gaim. He was
heavily involved in Z Gundam, designing the new-look normal suits, the
Ahgama, and several mobile suits (including the antennae-less Z Gundam seen
in the first opening credits, and a rough design that later became the Type

  Nagano was originally supposed to do mecha design for ZZ, but after
turning in his versions of the title Gundam, the Gallus J, the Gaza D, and
the Hamma Hamma, he was bounced off the series. Only his Endora- and
Gwanban-class ships made it into the actual series, and these actually
debuted in Z Gundam anyway.

This is actually where Mika Akitaka got his big break. Up until then he'd
been just a member of the freelance studio Shindosha, and his only mecha
design gig was for the Cruise Chaser Blassty video game. When Nagano was
dropped as ZZ mecha designer, Sunrise recuited Yutaka Izubuchi to fill the
gap. Izubuchi ended up doing most of the rough mecha designs, and Shindosha
- in particular, Akitaka - did the "cleanup" on Izubuchi's roughs.

  Specifically, Izubuchi roughed out the Bau, R Jarja, Zussa, Dreissen, and
I think the Hamma Hamma as well. Makoto Kobayashi roughed out the final ZZ
Gundam. Other featured mobile suits were created by hangers-on like the
Model Graphix staff and Stream Base veterans, or designed by Akitaka himself
(the Gaza D and Doven Wolf just _scream_ Akitaka). At any rate, Akitaka did
the final cleaned-up versions of damn near everything in the show.

Back to Nagano. After ZZ, he proposed designs for Char's Counterattack,
which were also rejected; no-one's ever seen Nagano's versions, but a while
back he vouched for the never-seen "HIS Gundam" as his all-time favorite

  After that, Nagano pretty much stuck to his comics, first Fool For The
City and then Five Star Stories. He returned to anime with Brain Powerd,
where he did rough mecha design (cleaned up by Atsushi Shigeta), and is now
starting up this Schell Bullet project. Whew!

-- Mark

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