79-year-old Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino says he probably has three more years to work in the anime industry due to health issues. Tomino has been diagnosed with spinal canal stenosis, which is described by the Mayo Clinic as “a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine.”
All this and more was revealed in a new interview he did with the Japanese magazine Weekly Playboy (which is not the Japanese version of Playboy). He’s fully vaccinated against COVID. He’s not been involved with the making of the movie Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway, even though they’re based on his novels.
This got him musing about his directing debut, where he took charge of the anime adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s Triton of the Sea, and Tezuka was not involved.
“It makes me very happy that I’m now in Tezuka’s shoes, but… oh dear,” he remarked. “It means I’ve reached a certain age. Right, I’ll be 80 soon!”
The live-action Hollywood adaptation of Gundam was brought up. Tomino mostly didn’t comment on that, though he mentioned it would have been nice if Hollywood had asked him to direct it. But then again, he said that directing a live-action movie requires a lot of stamina.
“As I am now, I don’t have that much stamina left in me,” he said. “So please let me say that we all ought to value the elderly a little more.”
Earlier this year, Tomino had also said, “Giant robot shows are for kids, but while I’m alive and can make new works, I’ll crush Demon Slayer and Evangelion. If I didn’t think that ambitiously, I wouldn’t be making TV anime past the age of 80.”
Best of luck to his health and meeting those goals!
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.