Archive for July, 2011

July 8, 2011

Matt Wells on Kamjin and the Alien Rivals in Robot Anime

Original Post: Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross: Remembering the Killer Episodes (05-08)

Matt Wells says:

July 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

[…] As far as the “Noble” enemy rival trope Kamjin seems to disparage, the earliest example I can think of would be Prince Sharkin in Brave Raideen; the character archetype was refined into its more modern form with none other than Prince Heinel in Voltes V, and Richter in Tosho Daimos. Note that all three are aliens, same as Kamjin. Its a common trope in older anime. Char merely branched out into the more modern “Masked Rival” sub-trope.

Not that the idea that the rival figure in a series can be a figure of contempt is anything new, similar contemporary examples I can think of at the time would be Ypsilon in VOTOMS and Gostello (sort of) in SPT Layzner. I just read Kamjin that way from both how the series presents him (like his exchange with Hikaru in ep. 7 seeing them equally matched) and from the narrative role he seems to fit in the series. Kamjin is thrown into the rival role, ill fitting though it might be, so I saw him as a deliberate subversion of it.

Macross seems to be all about referencing and subverting the Mecha shows that came before it, its creators remembering love just as Nadesico did to far more Post-Modern effect 15 years later. […]

Reply

Tags:
July 5, 2011

ghostlightning on Gundam The Origin, Gundam AGE, and The Viewers

This is the text I intended to put on the original post: Our Preliminary Reaction to The Fact That There are TWO Major Gundam Projects Upcoming (and Unicorn Isn’t Even Finished Yet)

…but I decided to use it as a response to the first involving comment.

ghostlightning says:

July 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Didn’t get drunk at all, except from our own hot-blood and love for manly robot anime songs! (We sang Yuusha no Tanjou, The Winner, Crossfight, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Skill!)

Here’s the thing about Gundam AGE: it’s perfect. Not just for the Gundam franchise, but for anime in general. Robot anime has increasingly been the passion of the following distinct demographics:

1. Annoying elitist Oldfags
2. Annoying teenage Newfags
3. Fujoshi

The first group keep getting older, crustier, more irritable, and pissed off. Nobody wants to even try robot anime knowing that these guys will pick on them and act superior. The second group tend to appreciate robot anime in terms that annoy oldfags — they enjoy the shonen fightan style of flashy battles, they proclaim the few robot anime they’ve seen as the best shows ever, and they are unwilling to watch and appreciate most older shows. The third group doesn’t watch robot anime for the robots.

Of course there are the general anime fans, the casualfags, etc. These groups aren’t bad at all, but they tend not to watch robot anime for the robots. The robots are incidental to them, and instead judge the robot anime for general merits such as plot, verisimilitude (worse: realism /facepalm), character development (groan), and originality (kill me now). They will like a few shows transcendent of the robot anime genre, and mark them down for the ways that they remain being robot anime (I just died again).

Here’s an example of the possible reactions to say, Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin anime:

1. Oldfag: Man they better do this the RIGHT way.
2. Newfag: I hope it doesn’t look you know, old.
3. Fujoshi: Meh. Huh? Garma x Char wait what?
4. GeneralElitist Anime Fan: Why do they keep making OYW rehashes? This franchise is so dead.
5. Casualfag: Hmmm. New animation? May check it out.

Of course, these aren’t the only possible reactions. Casualfags may prove to be quite negative too. As for me, I think Gundam Unicorn is the best way to present a Gundam show: with the appropriate seriousness, focus on combat, include the grand thematic sweep, and use spectacular production values. To do this with the main storyline is a very good thing. For almost 2 decades, we’ve seen AU Gundam shows re-present the main Gundam story in attempted fresh ways. Each subfranchise has its own fans: W, SEED, and 00 had their own takes on the Universal Century narrative and its themes. These shows have been useful in bringing some of the newer fans to discover the rest of Gundam.

This is why Gundam the Origin is so good: There’s no need to repackage the main narrative into an alternative universe. It IS the main narrative, in TV anime form — stripped of all the compromises the original production staff had to make as pioneers of real robot anime. Also, new animation with higher production values to me is ALWAYS worth watching.

This may create newfags, and may transition existing newfags into their oldfag journey. BUT, Gundam the Origin being such an adult show may not really create fans of Gundam and robot anime in general in large numbers so as to infuse the community with growth and new blood. For this, you have to go beyond the UC, beyond your typical AU show (read: it can’t be something like 00 which was very faux adult). Gundam AGE on the other hand, is perfect for this.

I couldn’t ask for anything better. Yes, I asked for something like this, in very specific terms:

My Wishes for the Robot Anime of the Future.

I want Gundam to create a mass base of fans at the grade school level, just as I was a fan when I was a kid. I saw super robot shows in kindergarten and saw Macross in the 3rd grade. I want the game and merch tie-ins to be brilliant. I want the kids to go fucking nuts over this. This is what will sustain all of us. This is what will sustain the war effort for another decade.

Reply