ExecutiveOtaku on the Evil Organizations in the Gundam Franchise

Original Post: Gundam Ecole du Ciel is so Doomed Moe

ExecutiveOtaku

March 9, 2010 at 4:13 am

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I don’t disagree with this reading, only that I don’t make a big distinction between the constructs that are organizational systems and the humans that participate in it. I only mean that humans are still responsible for these things they create, and the actions they perpetrate during wartime.

Organizations can be a major force for evil in conflicts and other situations due to the way they either give a false confidence to the people carrying out the orders. If someone is ordered, especially a soldier who is taught to respect their chain of command, to do something that they don’t understand or doesn’t sit well with them they assume that the people above them know the bigger picture and thus things that the individual wouldn’t normally do become okay in many cases. Or the truth could just be hidden from most people, as Cima Garahau’s escort of the poison gas-carrying MS-05s was hidden from her until it was too late. And if that should fail, there is the threat of punishment by an organization if the orders are not carried out. Organizations can sometimes make it very difficult to do the right thing or can encourage people to do the wrong things.

That said, I lean more towards concluding that holding the organization more responsible is a cop-out. Some individual gave the order and in some cases other individuals executed orders that go against good conscience/the law/whatever. Reducing a conflict to the madness of states or organizations is an easy way out, a way of absolving the participants and comforting the minds of the bystanders who would rather not contemplate the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, sometimes their fellow countrymen. Once Chairman Zara was defeated in SEED, everyone seemed to forget about Yzak killing a shuttle full of civilians and other crimes. He even became a good guy! Clearly he was responsible for what he did (he wasn’t even ordered to destroy the shuttle), but SEED seemed to absolve him of this because he was part of an organization at war. In war terrible things happen, but this wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or even of stray rounds or explosions as happened to Shin’s sister. Sometimes it is politically expedient, such as in the peace treaty that ended the One Year War and only placed blame for it on the Zabi family. But it doesn’t address what happened in an honest fashion, and it can even be dangerous when the losers are not confronted with the fact that they lost, that they were wrong, as Operation Stardust proved. “A few corrupt leaders were wrong, but the people/the ideals were right!” as Gato might have said. Gundam may emphasize the ‘organizations are evil’ element, but it can only explain away so much. It’s an odd dynamic within the franchise: individuals (usually Newtypes) are given such a prominent place in the narrative, yet when anything bad happens it becomes all about the organizations that they are a part of.

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