Age has in no way mellowed out Yoshiyuki Tomino.

Gundam is unique in that the myriad branches of the franchise all have their own individual storytelling style and atmosphere, but the overarching theme is essentially “giant robots cool, but war bad.” That said, Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino isn’t averse to a pretty aggressive choice of words when discussing his motivations and goals.

Tomino was recently interviewed for a segment on broadcaster TV Asahi’s Isamu Hayashi’s Ima Deshou Koza variety program. During the conversation, Tomino offered some startling thoughts on Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, whose theatrical anime recently became the highest-grossing movie of all time in Japan, and Evangelion, which has scored an instant box office hit with its fourth and final Rebuild of Evangelion movie.

Regarding the two franchises, Tomino said:

“As long as I’m still alive and making anime, I have no problem saying ‘I’m going to crush Demon Slayer’ or ‘I’m going to crush Eva.’”

However, this isn’t necessarily because Tomino thinks poorly of either series. Instead, he was making a statement about his competitive fire and determination to make his anime the best of the best. “If you don’t have that attitude, you can’t keep working in TV anime after you get into your 80s.”

The big 8-0 is a milestone that Tomino will hit this fall, and it’s an age where most people have retired, especially in a youth-oriented field like anime. Yet he’s still creating, with two high-profile anime movie projects coming soon, next month’s Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash, adapted from a novel by Tomino, and July’s Gundam Reconguista in G: The Legacy of Space, which he’s directing.

▼ Clips from the interview

Though Tomino hasn’t directed a television anime since the 2014 Reconguista in G TV series, his comments make it sound like he’s looking to get back to the format soon.

The Gundam creator’s philosophy is quite different from that of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, who generally can’t be bothered to talk or even think about anyone else’s anime while pursuing his personal artistic vision. Ghibli films, though, are sort of in a class of their own in the Japanese entertainment world, never really having to directly compete with other anime for attention, recognition, or revenue. Gundam, though, shares fan headspace with a lot of other anime series, so Tomino’s sense of rivalry with Demon Slayer and Evangelion isn’t a complete shock (not that Tomino doesn’t want to crush Miyazaki’s anime too, though).

Source: Twitter/@RPmPZ9KEAigAtSt via Hachima Kiko
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