Archive for ‘Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn’

December 24, 2011

Andrew Graruru on Mineva Zabi’s Conversation Over Coffee

Original Post: 12 Moments of Anime 2011: Coffee With a Runaway Princess (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn)

andrewgraruru says:

December 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

[…] At this point I’ve praised this scene on two podcasts and on your blog, and I still think its deserving of that praise. I like the way, through conversations like this, Unicorn is building a much fuller picture of UC’s political climate, going right back to the space settlement program. Spacenoids grievances have been expounded upon through Full Frontal attempting to excuse his mens actions, and from Marida we get a more civilian spacenoid view on why they agitate against the earth Government. The Diner conversation sticks out to me because not only is it the rare occurrence of an earthnoid who says more than a sentence (and that sentence isn’t “Ahhh! a colony is dropping on me!”), but also because it gives us an optimistic viewpoint of space-colonisation. All of this affects the conflict we see in 0096

None of this feels like dry exposition or monotone babbling. Instead it gives the impression of a lived-in universe, and puts all of UC’s conflicts into perspective. And also in this scene we Audrey develop more in four minutes than Banagher has in four episodes; she accepts her position and is ready to go forward. I wish all the characters in this show were as well written as she is.

With two more episodes left (and maybe a movie?) and three more books to cover, I doubt they’ll have time for many more scenes like this. But I expect the conclusion of this series and the opening of Laplaces box will feel all the more effective as the culmination of these quiet moments and political instabilities.

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November 23, 2011

Andrew Graruru on the Zeon of Gundam Unicorn

Original Post: The Despair of Zeon At The Bottom of The Gravity Well–Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 04

 

Andrew_Graruru says:

November 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

It’s hard to really root for Zeon in Gundam, and whatever Harutoshi Fukui’s political leanings may be, I don’t think that’s what Unicorn attempts to do. Despite how humanistic the Zeon characters are in this show (especially compared to the cold, inefficient Feddies) and the damming account of Feddie occupation, Zeons atrocity during war-time still casts a massive shadow over the episode, both in the colony-drop and by showing the Shamblo decimate that random Australian suburb.

As you point out, this more human portrayal serves simply to give a richer, more fully realised lore. It is clear in Unicorn that spacenoids are, to an extent, disenfranchised. They lack the right to vote, they were occupied and pillaged by the Federation (which recalls Mineva’s comment about Spacenoids being used to violence against them). I’ve even heard that in the novels it is explicitly mentioned that the spacenoids are classed as abandoned refugees by the Government, which is why they lack certain fundamental rights. This doesn’t justify the gassing, the colony-drop ect, but it does make it more believable that so many spacenoids would be attracted to such an extremist organisation as Zeon. I hear a lot of complaints about this series being “Zeon fanwank” or whatever, but I actually think it does a good job of making the ideologies of UC as a whole much more fleshed out and believable.

And any time it gets a little too “Hail Nippon!” or “those evil FEDDIE Amurrikans!”, Banagher is there to give Zeonic ideology a good hard kick in the balls.

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March 18, 2011

Chris on The Achievements of Gundam Unicorn (Robot Battles)

Original Post: The Possibility of Being SUPER (Robot) and Mobile SuitGundam Unicorn 03 (Also, an Offering of Sympathies to the Japanese People Affected by the Magnitude 8.9 Earthquake)

Chris

March 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

You know, it’s really hard to give Gundam Unicorn the praise it deserves, without slapping it with a bunch of superlatives, but I’ll try my hardest not to. Take it from an individual who’s a perfectionist in VFX, 3D, and animation in general, as well as constantly having the need to over-analyze everything he watches, but Unicorn is quite possibly the best Gundam series I’ve watched, at least three volumes in. Anyway, back in 2009, I saw the film District 9, which featured one of the coolest mechas I ever saw (this story will be relevant to how I came across Gundam Unicorn), and it revived my interest in mecha and robots in general. But one of the things that made D9 so special to me, is the fact that it balanced solid storytelling, an interesting character arc for the protagonist, and quality action sequences. I remember wanting to find a recent mecha anime to watch after seeing that film, which would have reignited an interest in a medium that I had put on the backburner years ago. I wanted to find something that contained those compelling traits of District 9.

So, after going several months without finding anything riveting (and keep in mind, I had never watched a single Gundam series til’ this), I ended up reading up about Gundam Unicorn in March 2010. It caught my interest and on a blind buy, I was floored by the visuals, from the bright color-palette contrasting the dark shadows of space, to the brilliant animation of the characters and more specifically, the mechas themselves (I honestly believe that Gundam Unicorn is the best digitally animated mecha anime that I have ever watched, I say that with absolutely NO exaggeration). At first, it was hard for me to take in the story and its characters, as I was busy salivating at this visual feast my eyes were greeted with, but after several rewatches, I came to the realization that Gundam Unicorn was what I had been looking for… a mecha anime for ADULTS. It just had that perfect balance of blockbuster action, colorful visuals, excellent weaponry, and a nice, believeable story with likeable characters.

However, I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t have the second volume til’ months later, but it’s understandable, considering that OAVs take longer to produce due to the higher quality of animation. It was during this time gap, that I tried to find other mecha anime’s to fill my desires and I found some solid shows in Macross Frontier, Gurren Lagann, and even old school Votoms, but I kept itching for Gundam. I ended up watching the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Gundam 08th MS Team, and almost every other UC timelined show til’ the second volume of Unicorn dropped. It was also nice to finally have a backstory to certain characters that I could piece together, I.E. Char/Full Frontal and Marida and her Puru clones from ZZ Gundam. Now, as I watched the second volume of Gundam Unicorn, I couldn’t helped but be blown away by the outstanding choreography from the mecha battles… the entire sequence of Full Frontal taking on the Nahel Argama and the Unicorn Gundam, was just breathtaking. A close friend of mine, who makes short action films and is practically an action guru, made one of the best and plausible comments at that time: “The choreography in this series is so good, that even Hollywood action directors could take inspiration from this.” It was at that moment, that I realized I found something really special in Gundam Unicorn… it had finally elevated the metaseries above JUST being an anime, it was becoming a technical achievement for its genre.

Now, I know those are some very broad and bold claims to make, but I think the action and pacing of those sequences validate those responses. I even remember reading where the producer of Gundam Unicorn made mention that this was the first Gundam series to feature really quick edits and kinetic pacing during the mech battles, to be more specific, the Unicorn/Kshatriya sequence in the opening of the second volume, features very quick editing and frantic pacing, which was said to be very complex and time consuming due to having maintiain a fluid and coherent pace. And that battle is then followed up by the aforemention Sinanju/Nahel Argama/Unicorn battle, which also features moments of quick editing and unique camera angles. If there is one thing I’ve really come to appreciate about the battles in this series, it’s Kazuhiro Furuhashi’s involvement in the choreograpgy, as he brought a newfound style that Gundam has never seen before. His angles and attention to detail is to be appreciated, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’ve seen Samurai X or Le Chevalier D’Eon, then you know his eye for action is one of his best traits as a director. I hate to keep sounding like a broken record, but I’m telling you, Gundam Unicorn is SQUASHING every other mecha anime that’s out there right now, at least in the mecha battle department… it’s almost not even fair.

Finally, to stop sucking off the visual quality of this animation, as visuals alone can’t drive a series… I think the story and characters are very solid. One thing I’d really like to single out is female characters, specifically Marida and Mineva/Audrey. How many times in the past have Gundam series weakly integrated female characters into their story? If there’s one pet peeve I have with Gundam collectively, it’s the inability to feature captivating female characters in most of its series. But that’s not the case here, in fact, I’d argue that Marida Cruz is the most interesting character of the series so far. The way they handeled her past in this third volume was so tasteful, touching, and imaginative. They took what could be seen by many as a poor plot device, due to how sexually degrading her past is, and ended up using it as a driving force for her characterization. This is when you know a production studio is attempting to go all out for this series. And as for Mineva, her past is vague when you remove her scenes from ZZ Gundam, which I think makes her motives a bit more interesting, considering her past ties with Char. She may not be AS well written as Marida’s character, but I think Mineva’s bigger payoff won’t be coming til’ later episodes, so I can forgive that for the time being.

There’s so much more that I’d like to say, but I gotta run… all I know is, I feel like Gundam Unicorn is elevating Gundam above just being a typical mecha-action series. I feel like I’m watching something that has a lot of imagination and integrity behind it, and it’s for those reasons, why I love Gundam Unicorn so damn much. I really, really cannot wait for volume 4… should be a good one.

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March 18, 2011

Maglor on Genetic Evolution and Memetic Discourse on the Newtype Theory

Original Post: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as a Eulogy for the Newtype

maglor

March 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

[…] What people needs to realize is that Evolution at its core is merely changes in ratios between genetic elements within a species, and it is something that will inevitably occur over long period of time as mere result of certain genetic elements lending to an individual, more opportunity to procreate. If fragments for genetic element for newtype can be found in sufficient portion of humanity, then even though most may not show the sign of being a New Type, a New Type individual will emerge at pretty regular interval. It is possible that New Type individuals may prosper better in a society that is relatively free from threat of war. If so, slowly their frequency will rise.

What also needs to be explored is that New Type may have memetic components; it is the openness to other’s thoughts and emotions which is required for the New Type abilities to be triggered. It is likely that Zeon Zum Daikoon’s message was more about need for Social evolution instead of genetic evolution. The guesses and feelings about social evolution are presented through diverse individuals in UC Gundam stories from the UC 0079 to Gundam Unicorn time, and hopes and despairs for New Type-like Society seems to be constantly changing. I guess we may get to see several twists to the visions for the New Type as the series continues.

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March 18, 2011

KrimzonStriker on (The Tears of) Time That Newtypes Didn’t Have

Original Post: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as a Eulogy for the Newtype

KrimzonStriker

March 18, 2011 at 5:49 am

One thing I believe that was crucially missed [in this essay] was the conversation between Banagher and the Nahel Argama’s Doctor in relation too the Newtype theory. And going back even further in regards to Cardeas’ own speech in regards to Newtypes. At this juncture the promise of Newtypes has been abused and perverted, monopolized from its original intention, and is now slowly being rejected from society as a whole because it lacked the one thing it needed most… time.

As the Doctor points out, it is far more likely that humanity will destroy itself long before the Newtype theory can ever reach fruition, and why there is now such importance in trying to discover a way within our ordinary and limited understanding. This sheds new light and importance on Riddhe and Audrey’s quest to find a political solution to the conflict, alongside the wild-card of Laplaces Box that carries such mystery, but also promise, to give new life to the Universal Century.

At this point in time I do not think it is quite so necessary to bury Newtypes in the grave, so long as humanity itself exists then the possibility will remain, someday, we simply aren’t ready for it yet. Like Yang Wenli’s comparison of fire and democracy it will take a vast amount of time and much trial and error before we can truly determine its worth and value to mankind as a whole.

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November 9, 2010

Jerry on the Other WW2 Reference in Mobile Suit Gundam (Unicorn)

Original Post: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 Unmasked

Jerry says:

I think the writer of Unicorn is really trying to link Zeon to WW2 Imperial Japan, and not Nazi Germany as many Gundam fans usually see it. And he’s doing it in a way that to me seems very obvious and direct, unlike Tomino who was more covert about it. In Tomino’s shows, there was the Battle of Solomon, which I thought was analogous to WW2′s Pacific war around the Solomon Islands. In Fukui’s episode 1 of Unicorn, we have a Neo-Zeon soldier saying “Space belongs to the spacenoids!” which is analogous to Japan’s WW2 slogan of “Asia for the Asians!” which was a message that opposed the colonization of the non-white world by white Western nations.
And in Episode 2 of Unicorn, Full Frontal tells us that the space colonists of the Federation had no ability to vote. All their leaders were appointed by people in the Federation. In other words, by white European imperialists, as it was in the various colonies found in Africa and Asia and elsewhere. Finally, episode 2 and 3 will take place in Palau, which is a mining colony in space. In WW2, Palau was a Japanese mining colony in the Pacific, and there was a big conflict there between the US and Japan. There’s going to be a big one in the Unicorn show too.

Before Unicorn, I often suspected that Gundam’s resonance with segments of Japan’s population was due to their ancestors’ participation in WW2, and how Japan’s younger generations have various paradoxical opinions about that. I believed that the reason the usual main character of Gundam was a Federation pilot, and either a spacenoid (Amuro, Camille, Banagher) or of Japanese background (Uraki), was supposed to appeal to the Japanese public’s sense that the modern Japan is allied with American side of things, despite the fact that the spacenoid cause is supposedly championed by Zeon (imperial japan). To me, Unicorn really proves my suspicions.

So basically, Gundam’s appeal to the Japanese public has to do with how post-War Japan is in a kind of cultural conflict with WW2 Japan. Zeon is Imperial Japan and all its brutality. And some of its more noble sentiments. (Did you know that Imperial Japan advocated the passing of the Racial Equality Clause in 1919? Black American groups became fascinated with the possibility that the Japanese empire would somehow liberate the non-white world from Western European control.)

Spacenoids are the people who were taken over by the white Western powers. The Federation is America’s military protecting Western European imperial politics. I feel like Unicorn’s writer (Fukui) saw this pattern and really cemented it in. Who knows if Tomino intended much of this though, or Fukui and Tomino ever even met. And I don’t get the impression that the people who really Nazified Zeon in MS IGLOO were ever talking with either Fukui or Tomino.

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