A Little FSS Fun

Discussion of FSS manga, movie and omake

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Tachyon
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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by Tachyon » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:58 am

Thanks again for the translations. If you find the desire to translate any more just let us know. We have some Nagano interview pages and other things too.
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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:51 am

It's a good thing Japanese Wikipedia has all the notable staff members of Sunrise listed.

Aura Insector
In April of '83 I joined "Nippon Sunrise". More accurately, I'd already been part-timing there on a trial basis for three months; at that time, I was placed at a desk in producer Ueda Masuo's #3 studio and assisted with "Galactic Drifter Vifam" while learning how an anime is made. Having been told "We probably can't use you right off, but give it a go." I drew a lot and eventually was put to work on small items in Vifam; puppet fighters and such. My boss at the time, project head Yamaura Eiji (later company president), must have thought "We can use this guy so let's get our money's worth!" because I soon found myself working on Yasuhiko Yoshikazu's "Giant Gorg" responsible for all the large mecha besides Gorg itself, so I had designs in both "Vifam" and "Gorg" when I joined Sunrise. Then I was told, "Do the planning for next year's show after Vifam, too~" and while making all these robots, I think it was in May, they said, "#2 studio's doing this show Dunbine, and they're switching to a new main robot for the second half, and they want a transforming one. So give it a go." "You want me to take on yet another series!" "That's what we're paying you for. Just see what you can come up with for a main character mecha. If it's interesting Tomi (director Tomino Yoshiyuki) might use it." So I ended up drawing this "Aura Insector". I made up that name myself. In hindsight, it's clear that the new Dunbine, "Billbine" was almost certainly going to be Kogawa Tomonori's design; I think Yamaura, director Tomino, and the others just wanted to see what I would come up with. Obviously this "Aura Insector" was never used, but as can be seen the Aura Inspector's transformation pattern and nose are the basis for the "L-Gaim Mk-II". Well, even so I felt it was a waste that it was never used, so it was redesigned into "Kfir" in "Five Star Stories".

Aura Insector (Nagano-style Billbine)
Three design proposals were submitted for "Dunbine". This is one of them. It includes the characteristic black lines of an Aura Battler, produced with the idea of a shark-motif high-speed flight-mode Aura Battler. The two long claws extending towards the back move to point forward when transforming, looking something like Kfir below for Pattern A. Then Pattern C looks like Dunbine. There's no date on it, but I think it'd be around May of '83.

Kfir Imperium
The history of this design is as previously written. Its first appearance was quite long ago, before the serialization of "Five Star", drawn together with Lachesis for an extra for "Newtype", and appearing again on the left title page. Being fond of the design, I remade it as a cel illustration for "Designs 1" and this is the version below.

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:31 am

I don't think I can really translate this scribbly text with the tank; it's an expansion on the JC 7343 mark on the timeline about Lachesis appearing in Poland in January 1945 and participating in the Battle of Berlin later that year. The picture takes place in April 1945, outside Berlin. Lachesis appears to have been traveling with the Großdeutchland panzer division.

I'm willing to translate other material as long as I can read it. My vocabulary's better for some kinds of translation than others, but I can usually do pretty good with a character dictionary and Wikipedia.

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by Tachyon » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:48 am

There are 2 interview pages with printed text (not hand written). I'll see if I can scan them this evening.
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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by Tachyon » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:36 pm

http://www.gearsonline.net/download/led-01.gif
http://www.gearsonline.net/download/led-02.gif
http://www.gearsonline.net/download/led-03.gif
http://www.gearsonline.net/download/led-04.gif

These 4 pages are from the back of Reboot volume 1. It looks like they're describing the design history of the LED Mirage. I shrank them down to half size to make them an easier download.
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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:50 am

That's... rather more text than I was expecting. This may take a while. Here's the first page:

LED Mirage Earliest Design
A puzzling robot design drawn between May and June of 1984. The name "Headdliner", a horn on the head, and a red cross were part of the initial imagery, and even now 27 years later this imagery continues. The name it had at the time was "Blood Temple"; a year later I called it "B. Temple", and a year after that it became the prototype for the robot named "LED Mirage".

[title bottom right]
Before the Birth of the Five Star Stories

[image note top on left]
Headdliner

[image note top on right]
Red cross on white

[image note bottom right]
"Blood Temple"
Also called Temple Knight
20 Units
Right hand: P. Launcher Burst
Left hand: Circus Binder

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:54 am

So much text. The iconic sword horn was apparently inspired by Nagano seeing a Tsintaosaurus fossil somewhere.

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by Tachyon » Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:33 pm

I was concerned that might be too much text to drop on you. If you can, take your time. We can certainly wait. There are no obligations here. Whatever we can get on the LED's history will be appreciated.

I'm going to hold off scanning the interview because it's even more text.
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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:11 pm

Page 2!

[right column]
The B Temple's creation was done at a period when I'd already switched gears into "Five Star". This illustration drawn June 20th of 1984 already bears a strong resemblance to the established design. When all is said and done, the defining trait of the B Temple's position as a predecessor to the LED Mirage is the long horn on the head. Not only does the LED Mirage inherit this horn, but since the appearance of the B Temple many anime works have featured robots with similar sword-like horns on the front of the head. I don't know why it has had such influence, but certainly this is proof that many people think this style of horn is cool. This horn on the head comes from a picture I saw at the time of the "Tsintaosaurus", a Chinese dinosaur fossil. Moving the horn forward resulted in this design. The elongated head of this design that leads into the B Temple, LED Mirage, and others comes from copying the balance of the dinosaur's skull, as does the attachment of the horn. This impressive horn-bearing design style continued for over 25 years, and I believe it is still one of the peaks of Nagano robot design.

[left column]
For 25 long years this comic has continued serialization. Many people call it "Five Star Monogatari" or "FSS" for short. As the author, I've always called it "Five Star Stories" in English since even before the serialization. This is simply because I like the sound of "stories" better than "monogatari". In combination with the report this time I talk about the events leading up to the serialization of "Five Star Stories" in the interview. A separate work from TV anime "Heavy Metal L-Gaim", even though the designer is the same and and robots are of the same design line, the story is the completely different "Five Star Stories". In 1985, how was I to display this grand story I'd come up with? Could I really do it with a serialized manga? Inoue Shinichiro, who'd been responsible for me in the "L-Gaim" days, was launching "Newtype" the next year, so I asked to publish in it. Inoue stressed that "Five Star Stories" being a story with no connection to "L-Gaim" meant it would have to be more interesting to make up for it. My anxiety blew away with the beginning of serialization; the uniqueness of a manga without an anime, the story, and the lack of "robot manga" at the time led to a large readership. The strong characters of the "LED Mirage" and "Fatima" counted for a lot.

In 1985 before serialization, while working on the TV anime "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam" I continued to build the framework for this story, but how I actually came up with it is beyond my memory. Searching out old materials from 1985-86 involved a grand excavation not seen since "Designs". So I brought current Newtype editor T and assistant editor M from some other magazine to dig up Nagano's sealed past in the warehouse/home/atelier; excavation is quite heavy labor. "Found it~ B Temple first design." "Why is this over here!" "The Zeta Gundam roughs were left in my house!" "Oh, the first version of the cluster timeline!! The names are all different!!" "Geh! Roughs for L-Gaim's Poseidal." "No, those are discarded setup drafts." "What a place for Vifam's RV designs to be! Hey! An unpublished RV!" "You didn't see that!!" "Wow. M9 and Geara Doga designs." "All the ZZ and Char's Counterattack designs are over here! (all rejected designs)" "Found the Hyaku Shiki Neue!!" "Ah, so this is α Gundam!!!" "Destroy it!" It was quite the uproar in all three places. In any case now that the excavation is over they might end up in Newtype some time, but for now this is the first publishing of materials and comments relating to the developments from the "L-Gaim" to "Five Star" era. Incidentally, the excavation took place December 25, 2010. ...What a thing to be doing on Christmas day...work is tough...

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by Tachyon » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:44 pm

This is wonderful stuff. It tells us all kinds of interesting things about not only the LED Mirage but also the beginnings of FSS.
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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:59 pm

Page 3 just the right column for now:

From A Temple to B Temple
Nagano mecha appearing in "Heavy Metal L-Gaim" include the "Bat-Shu", "L-Gaim", "Auge", and the "Mk-II". That many later Nagano robots have been derived from these designs is obvious from reading "Five Star Stories". The "BANG" and "Wolk Schätze" were born from the "L-Gaim Mk-II", and the face of "the KOG" comes from the Mk-II as well. But as for the other strong design line of the "LED Mirage" and other Mirage MH, even I don't know exactly where they came from. In the summer of 1983, while planning for the new show I had gotten as far as creating the Auge. Then the real work started on "Heavy Metal L-Gaim" and I had to pause from making robots for production work; as the show started its broadcast in '94, I started working on more robots to follow the "Auge" and "Bat-Shu". The first image I came up with was that of a four-armed robot. Aside from the L-Gaim itself, the names for all the robots and mecha in "L-Gaim" were left up to me, so I decided the four-armed robot would be named "Ashura Temple". It was tricky thinking up names for all these new mecha coming up, so I started just naming them all after the German rock bands I'd listened to a lot in high school (The rock band Ash Ra Tempel is actually spelled differently. I simply wanted the connotation of a "palace" so it became Temple). This Ashura Temple is a design that directly connects to Five Star Stories. The Ashura Temple discussed here is a different robot from the "Ashra Temple" of the same name in "Five Star Stories"; the MH in Five Star is just named that because it also has four arms, not because of any deeper connection. Sorry for making it complicated.

From B Temple to LED Mirage
With the appearance of the cluster timeline, "Five Star Stories" begins to move. The B Temple is drawn while imagining the great invasion of 3159. The horn attachment is changed, the cross mark becomes the Mirage Knights mark. The flame launcher, the back leg design and such are almost all assembled from my imagination.

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by levrin » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:23 am

spanning pages 3 and 4:

A Temple Draft 1
The LED Mirage's design started with this A Temple. The clumsy joints have been lifted straight from the "Graia" and "Bal-Bud", but the design line already produces a distinct silhouette unlike the "Bat-Shu" and "Auge".

A Temple Draft 2
This robot design is something like a base pattern for later Nagano robots. This design transitions into both the "B Temple" and "C Temple". In this second image at last we see the face and earflaps that the LED Mirage will inherit.

A Temple Draft 3
A forehead part is added to the face in draft 2, and the "reflectors" that later show up on all Mirage MH make their appearance. These reflectors are dropped from the design later, though. Of note are the ankle covers; these will become a staple of later designs.

A Temple Draft 4
The "A Temple" design just short of completion. The ankle and shoulder designs that will be taken for the "LED Mirage" are in their final state here. Later, after the creation of the LED Mirage, the A Temple became the prototype for the Rouge Mirage.

B Temple, First Sketch
The A Temple as a foundation for the design named "Blood Temple", which then advanced into this design in one sitting. On the left is an "Auge". The illustration on page 192 was drawn right after this; drawing three units in a row sent a message of "there are several B Temples".

LED Mirage (1986)
The second sheet's A Temple's head was the prototype for the B Temple's head; while this imagery disappeared for the final A Temple, it was restored in the B Temple. Adding the Tsintaosaurus horn and a flamethrower, it became the B Temple on the left page. Then, adding the "Flame Launcher" and a red cross, it finally became the LED Mirage. "Five Star Stories" had begun.

LED Mirage (2000)
The Crusader imagery of the B Temple is further emphasized in the LED Mirage. The crest-shaped counterweight on the head brings to mind Roman legionnaires, leading to the initial confrontation between the first chapter's "Japanese armored" Black Knight and the "Western armored" LED Mirage. Finally I'd finished the major step in the LED Mirage design, but details are adjusted and the overall balance shifts with each era; almost every MH has the high heels previously used on the "L-Gaim Mk-II" now. Essentially it took me 16 years to finish this robot. Unlike the still unfinished "Fatima", this is the final form of the LED Mirage. This design doesn't need any more revisions, and there are no planned changes ahead.

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Re: A Little FSS Fun

Post by Tachyon » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:28 pm

Wow. There was a lot more to the LED's design than I thought. It really is the central mecha design of FSS.
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