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

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.04 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP,EN) Sub(JP,EN,FR,SP,CH)].mp4_snapshot_15.59_[2011.11.19_06.48.44]

[Moment the Eleventh: Rider Crashes a Party (Fate/Zero)]

There are two things that Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is very good at: mecha battles, and quiet moments of conversation. I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink over the former, and a bit on the latter. What these quiet moments of conversation do in the big scheme of the Universal Century is serve an editorial on history.

In all installments of the Universal Century, all the characters are very much living in their moment of history. Big things are happening and are yet to happen and the characters are right in the middle of it. If we get commentary on big events, they come in big speeches like Quattro Bajeena in Dakar (Mobile Suit Z Gundam); worse, lectures from the cockpit during battles like from Anavel Gato (Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory).

While there are quiet, but electric moments throughout the saga (Char and Amuro, having whiskey in Zeta), again they are very much in the thick of history – enriching their personal mythologies rather than offering an editorial on the same history. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, happening after the “end of history” allows for this. It has a number of ways (from the people behind the big events explaining things to their children, to dinner table discussion), but it’s this conversation between unlikely veterans in episode 04 that evoke such strong feelings.

Not much was really said, but there was a deep reservoir of feeling that affected me greatly. It was a duel of gestures, of kindness and dignity. What more could be the starkest of contrasts with everything else that we see in the Universal Century?

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.04 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP,EN) Sub(JP,EN,FR,SP,CH)].mp4_snapshot_17.04_[2011.11.19_06.50.02]

You will pay for this.
For now you will not have the grace to accept gifts
Because the Princess of the Spacenoids
In exile, must be a giver of gifts.

The bills you leave under the coffee cup and saucer
Hardly match the value of this conversation.
The free man, with a free mind, a free tongue gives freely
His sentiments spanning three wars

Encompassing all of your life, dear princess.
You pray the money does not insult him.
Be assured, that this man who has faced the guns of Zeon
Will not be affronted with their money

Given in good faith,
Even if only a token of appreciation
For some of the best coffee and conversation
The Princess of Space ever had on Earth.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, moments of 2011 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to 12 Moments of Anime 2011: Coffee With a Runaway Princess (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn)

  1. Shinmarizu says:

    Refreshing that some of the best things that occur in this Gundam series, let alone any series, is good thought-provoking intellectual discussion. Usually that’s left to bloggers and commentators.

  2. Good post, and I agree with all of it. 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.

    • 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.

      Excellent.

      Couldn’t have said it better. I’ve mentioned it somewhere else that this scene is a partner to Banagher’s trek across the desert. A partner in what? Remembering love for Amuro’s running away:

      Amuro ran away from the White Base after hearing Bright and Mirai talking about withholding praise from Amuro lest he starts acting indispensable. He does exactly that and runs away with the Gundam, buries in the desert and runs into Ramba Ral (and Hamon Crowley) in a salon/bar.

      Gundam Unicorn breaks this up:

      Mineva runs away and has a conversation with “the enemy” in the bar/saloon.
      Banagher digs the Gundam out from the sand after crossing the Desert.

      The reference is amazing in that it is both subtle and remarkably obvious.

      • That’s very astute, I never realised that reference until you pointed it out. It kind of neat how Unicorn borrows the structure of 0079′s story, albeit in a subtle way.

        I wonder if the climax of the series will at all echo the battle of a Bao Qu, with all the references to 0079 and all. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the final co-ordinates, what better way to chart humanity’s downfall?

        • Remembering love is my hobby within this hobby so I guess I’ve developed a knack, thanks.

          A Baoa Qu would be beat, I suppose…though Solomon would suit me just fine, especially how that’s where Lalah was unveiled as a Newtype weapon and that’s where Amuro’s own abilities emerged.

    • Zetatrain says:

      When did rumors about a movie start floating around?

      • Apparently the producer said at the ep 3 premiere that the OAV would only cover up to book 8. 2chan took this to mean they’d finish it in a movie. Then at the ep 4 premiere Fukui said he knew people were wondering about the ending, and that there would be an announcement at the ep 5 premiere.

        Of course, the announcement could be that its just going to be an entirely new ending to wrap it up quickly. I’d rather it was a movie.

  3. Pingback: Andrew Graruru on Mineva Zabi’s Conversation Over Coffee | The Ghosts of Discussions

  4. CES says:

    It’s an interesting moment. We all know how the OYW started, but it’s the first time we heard how the UC really started. Didn’t expect them of them to pull out the enviroment card though. It’s been mentioned in stuff like Char’s speech in Dakar, but it’s mostly been put on the side. Funny, because G was quicker to point that out. It’s a great expose of the backstory and a good commentary on a relevant issue.

    Mineva’s brilliant in this one. It’s one of the few moments where she lets her guard down and we get to see the full breadth of her character. But…this isn’t the kind of conversation that happens between an old guy and a teenage girl! It’s great how strong she is even with the weight of history on her shoulders, but it’s also tragic that even with her guard down, she’s not a teenage girl. She’s a veteran.

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  6. nickioh says:

    Another great thing about UC is they never really had a clear “right” or “wrong” side.

    Gundam to me is: a conflict between two sides where the line of good and evil starts to blur out. Leaving the viewer to decides whose right or wrong. I loved it, this is what defines Gundam. SEED or OO are good on their own right, but can never achieve such awesomeness.

    • Well… you’ll just have to drill down:

      1. The Federation is an oppressive regime that disenfranchised the Spacenoids. They’re “wrong.”
      2. The Principality of Zeon is based on the avarice of the Zabi family and corrupted the Zeon ideal of the Newtype as some kind of Fascist manifesto. Also, they dropped colonies and gassed colonies. They’re “wrong.”
      3. The Titans are bullies who fuck everyone over. They’re “wrong.”
      4. The AEUG and Karaba are movements/units fighting against the Titans (and Axis Zeon) due to the obvious rapaciousness of both. They’re “right.”
      5. Neo Zeon wants the restoration of the Zabi family and the domination of the Earth Sphere. They also dropped a colony. They’re “wrong.”
      6. Neo Zeon II tried to drop an asteroid on Earth due to some environmental ideal. They’re “wrong.” Nothing about the Federation suggests that the disenfranchisement of the colonies have been acted upon positively. They’re still “wrong.”

      There’s one clear “right” side: the AEUG during the Gryps conflict and during the first Neo Zeon war (but the less said about ZZ Gundam, the better). Otherwise, it’s not the lines are blurred. They’re all wrong, in terms of sides. Thus Gundam shows are stories more about individuals than sides. Sides are almost always wrong. The victims are too many: see Aina & Shiro, Anavel Gato, Bright in Z, Amuro in Z, etc etc.

      SEED is garbage and 00 started good and turned into shit.

  7. Pingback: The Purpose of Possibility: What Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Does for the Universal Century Narrative (The First of Three Posts on Mobile Suit Unicorn 05) | We Remember Love

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