Since it’s inception in 1979, the Mobile Suit Gundam has accumulated a massive worldwide fanbase of various demographics, but according to the producer of The Witch from Mercury, younger audiences are apparently feeling alienated by the franchise’s anti-war themes.
In a recent interview with Akiba-Souken (translated by DeepL), G-Witch producer Takuya Okamoto recalled a visit to the Sunrise/Bandai Namco Filmworks studio from a group of school kids, wherein he overheard them expressing such opinions as “Gundam wasn’t made for them” and a general expressing a “refusal to watch anything that was associated with Gundam.”
In that moment, said Okatomo, he realized how much older the franchise’s demographic had become.
“The junior and senior high school students who were watching Mobile Suit Gundam Seed when it broadcasted are now in their thirties,” said the producer.
Apparently, Okamoto was not the only one who had worried that the franchise’s age had erected a generational barrier for entry, as according to him, the general plan for G-Witch even before he joined the series was to create an easier point of entry for the next generation of Gundam fans.
With the words of the visiting teenagers echoing through his mind, Okamoto said he sat down with his staff and discussed a different approach for G-Witch, ultimately deciding to set the series in a more traditional school setting in the hopes that teenagers would be better able to relate to the characters.
Providing further insight into this decision, Okamoto explained that younger audiences have found themselves uninterested in the series’ darker themes of child soldiers and a “war between major political powers” because they had no interest in a narrative that did not affect the characters on a personal level.
Coupled with the series’ 5:00 PM time slot on Japanese television, the production team believed it was “more important to develop an easy entry into the franchise and not to make the beginning of the story being too heavy.”
However, despite the series being aimed a younger demo, Okamoto assure that its story would not alienate long time fans of the franchise, going so far as to guarantee that G-Witch will feature enough action and drama to keep every generation of viewer interested.