Veteran Gundam series animator and director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko revealed that the infamous Cucuruz Doan’s Island episode was completely outsourced. In an interview with Monthly Gundam Ace, Yasuhiko stated that they treated the Doan story “like a stepchild” during production. However, Yasuhiko also believes that the story still has potential if made properly. [Thanks, ryokutya!]
Yasuhiko provided some previously unknown details about the birth of the Cucuruz Doan’s Island episode, as well as the upcoming theatrical release. The episode has become infamous due to its poor animation quality and storyline. It’s also the only episode from the original series that series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino cut from the overseas release.
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, who was working as an animation director on the original Mobile Suit Gundam, stated that they had neglected the Doan story. So much so, that he fully outsourced the entire episode to a separate studio. This studio was likely Anime Friend, a subsidiary of Tatsunoko Productions that appeared in the credits of Cucuruz Doan’s Island.
Speaking in the December 2021 issue of Monthly Gundam Ace, Yasuhiko stated:
At the time, (the Doan story) was treated as if it was a stepchild and was completely outsourced to an outside studio, animation direction included. When the raw footage came back, I though ‘Oh, I’m not sure about this…’ but I had always felt bothered by the story.
I still think it can be a good story if its made properly.
Yasuhiko didn’t specify the reason behind outsourcing the episode to a separate studio in the interview. Notably, Yasuhiko is the director of the upcoming film adaptation of the same episode which will release sometime in 2022.