Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino has been awarded the Person of Cultural Merit status by the Japanese government.
The award is given to people in varying fields such as Manga, Animation as well as theatre. The 2020 class also included Wata no Kuni Hoshi artist Yumiko Oshima.
While this year’s recipients were only just announced, they’ll only be presented with the awards on November 4th, a day before Tomino’s 80th birthday.
Neither Tomino nor his spokespeople have released a statement about the nomination, though we can expect that to change after the ceremony.
It’s no surprise Tomino would be awarded the Person of Cultural Merit Award, given Gundam’s status in Japanese culture. Two life-sized moving installations featuring the giant robots from Tomino’s anime exist in Japan, with a third one planned in the coming years.
Meanwhile the Gundam Brand itself has exploded into multiple anime, video games as well as a live-action movie coming to Netflix.
The series has also had an effect on anime in general, creating what many call the “Real Robot Genre”. That is to say that giant robots were no longer treated like superheroes a la Mazinger Z, but rather like big military vehicles.
Tomino’s work extends beyond Gundam, however, as he’s also directed series such as Ideon, Dunbine and L-Gaim. He also got his start with writing the screenplay for Astro Boy, another iconic anime.