Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 Unmasked

[ROC] Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 [BD720,AC3].mkv_snapshot_42.08_[2010.11.01_20.59.12]
I have a personally important reservation about Mobile Suit Gundam UC 02, and it is important because it may change how I feel about the franchise in general. Without this reservation, I feel free to say this much:

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 is the best robot anime show I’ve seen in 2010. Better than Rebuild of Evangelion 2.00: You Can (Not) Advance, and better than Macross Frontier: The False Songstress.

I complained loudly last year about the apparent dearth of not just good robot anime, but of robot anime in general. Not so this year, when I can enjoy shows like Broken Blade, and Star Driver: Takuto of the Radiance, or even mediocrities like Iron Man, and Super Robot Wars Original Generation: The Inspector.

Take the above paragraphs as recommendations to watch Gundam Unicorn, if you’re up to date with the Gundam franchise’s Universal Century continuity that is. Beyond this point are spoilers.

Char's Counterattack and Full Frontal attack

Full Frontal Can’t Possibly Be Char

Or, This Franchise Can’t Possibly Be This Whoresome

Or, Sideburns Can’t Possibly Become This Curly

Well actually, he could be… from a meta perspective oh why the hell not? What could be more intriguing and possibly infuriating than bringing back the most iconic character in the franchise (or perhaps in robot anime) back from the dead? Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack ended with Char Aznable defeated by Amuro and that both of them were obliterated when Amuro stopped the Axis asteroid from crashing to Earth.

The subsequent show in the UC chronology was Mobile Suit Gundam F91, which is set many years in the future and make no reference to the fate of the two characters. This isn’t much of an opening to resurrect neither Char nor Amuro, which is why Full Frontal being Char himself is jarring to say the least. If indeed he is, the move feels cheap and this feeling cannot be easily dismissed.

That said, can there be no good reason to bring Char back? None? Zero?

I think there is a good reason. I think Char made a mess of himself, or that he revealed himself to be such a small human being at the end of CCA. I’ve thought about it a lot, and considered that he really was the same hate-filled man who had no real stake in the wars he played a big part in, except to punish the Zabi family at first, then redress Lalah’s death by fighting Amuro.

Mobile Suit Z Gundam gave Char a possibility, that of becoming a true leader. Blex believed in him, and so did Amuro. CCA showed Char throwing removing all pretense of caring about the Principality of Zeon. In Unicorn, he may well just finally do right by his followers, if not those who believed in him back in the Gryps conflict.

But what is all this speculation based on anyway? Here’s what we know:

full frontal and char
They really look alike, they sound alike (they even share the same voice actor).

Banagher Links demanded, “Are you really Char Aznable?”

As I am now, I consider myself a vessel: A vessel for those abandoned in space, and for the heirs of Zeon’s ideals. And if that’s what they want, I will be Char Aznable.

This neither confirms nor does it rule it out. The key phrase here is “As I am now,” which could mean the older, post-CCA version of Char. This time he’s using his third alter-ego, not that “Quattro Bajeena” was particularly effective, but he was able to conceal his identity as Casval Zeum Deikum to many for a long time.

I don’t want him to be Char (I think), but I won’t make up my mind how I feel about all this at this point. There’s a lot of other things to consider, and most of these things, are awesome things.

mineva is one of the awesomest things about gundam unicorn

The Possibility of The Finest Expression of Robot Anime

Fighting with Robots is The Best Thing

I’ve mentioned in the previous post that I think that Gundam Unicorn possesses the possibility of showing the best Gundam story to date, and with that it stands on the shoulders of 30 years of critical and commercial achievement. After this episode, I feel stronger in my belief.

A big part of this is, and must be, the robot fighting. Combat is the payoff of the character drama and plot conflict in robot anime. We watch these shows to see robots fight. We can watch incredible action in shows like Black Lagoon, or even Cowboy Bebop or swordplay in Sword of the Stranger, but we watch Gundam shows to see mobile suits break each other apart. We want our violence to be both beautiful, and possess verisimilitude.

[ROC] Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 [BD720,AC3].mkv_snapshot_32.34_[2010.11.02_07.06.56]
Verisimilitude actually escapes most robot anime. In shows like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann we are coerced to care less because of the inherent absurdity in its combat dynamics, but for the most part in (real) robot anime we are supposed to care how things work, what physical rules govern the combat. Evangelion I think does particularly well with this, but it isn’t as satisfying because Angel battles are often weird and play out like puzzles at times.

Macross does particularly well too, but then it involves itself with singing, and even more challenging to reason: magic singing (Macross Zer0, Macross 7, Macross Frontier). Gundam doesn’t do well, not since after the original movie trilogy. What’s wrong? Here’s a partial list:

  • Variable damage (weapons arbitrarily get weaker, targets arbitrarily become impervious to weapons)
  • Shouting matches concerning ideology and morals during fighting. And by during fighting I mean when you’re supposedly giving your all to lock on and shoot the other guy, concentrating like hell to avoid gunfire; or swinging a robot sword hand using levers, pedals, and buttons.
  • Standing around and not finishing a target off so as to allow a dramatic dialogue or scene to pass, then getting killed precisely because said drama was allowed to pass.
  • Stealing into, or just plain stealing mobile suits easier than stealing panties.
  • Remote beam weapons flying within reach of beam swords/melee weapons.
  • Hell, finding it easier to engage opponents with swords than it is to shoot them
  • HUGGING ROBOTS IN SPACE.

There’s none of the above in the first two episodes of Gundam Unicorn. That’s 4 hours worth anime shows discipline and execution. It communicates how well-thought out the show is because these details mean something to me. But, it isn’t just awesomeness by virtue of mistake avoidance.

[ROC] Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 [BD720,AC3].mkv_snapshot_31.16_[2010.11.02_07.01.14]
The combat is superbly animated and choreographed. When random Vajra, or even redshirt NUNS units get destroyed in Macross Frontier: The False Songstress I feel I’m seeing a casualty for the sake of portraying casualties. Granted Macross interests itself towards larger engagements, but even its skirmishes feel the same way. In the Macross Frontier TV series some fights feel like a total joke (as in the “battle” in Gallia IV even prior to the Macross 7 homage). Gundam on the other hand has most of its combat in small skirmishes. Even larger battles involve fewer than 20 mobile suits at any given time.

What this does is highlight the material scarcity of weapons. Given the fetishism of technology and prototypes throughout the franchise, the engagements seem to count more, even if the tactical objectives mean little in the scheme of things (as is commonplace in Z Gundam). In Gundam Unicorn every fight so far is rife with dramatic importance, and the losses both sides took seem very great: Londo Bell lost whole teams of mass-produced suits due to fighting prototypes. The Sleeves taking any damage at all on its prototype units felt like a huge blow.

[ROC] Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 [BD720,AC3].mkv_snapshot_19.28_[2010.11.02_06.54.51][ROC] Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 [BD720,AC3].mkv_snapshot_30.11_[2010.11.02_06.58.20]
This makes the small unit actions feel desperate and awesome. Every turn and evasion, every maneuver, the tightness of formation and discipline required to hold it just… counts for something, more than Skull Leader calling out tactical plays like “Totsugeki Love Heart” and the whole scene merely feels like a highlight reel/toy commercial in the Macross Frontier media (episode 7, and The False Songstress movie).

Also, everyone misses. Hitting fast moving targets is very difficult and throughout the Universal Century it is very rare to see units just get mowed down one after the other. When they do, you know it’s a significant event in history. Even so, a lot of it has to do with large weapons hitting the battlefield by surprise:

  • The Big Zam issues from Solomon in Mobile Suit Gundam movie 03: Encounters in Space.
  • The Apsalus displays its might in Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team 11.
  • Mega Bazooka Launcher on the Hyaku Shiki in Mobile Suit Z Gundam 49.

…and so on.

To sum, the fights in Gundam Unicorn show at least as much verisimilitude if not more than the finest shows in the franchise while still hitting hard, fast, and full of excitement and drama.

[ROC] Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 [BD720,AC3].mkv_snapshot_33.20_[2010.11.02_07.07.53]

When We Fight, We Fight; When We Talk, We Talk Well

This Episode is a Sequence of Weighty Conversations

One thing I find particularly wonderful in Unicorn is how the ideological discussion, conversation, and debate actually happens outside the cockpits of mobile suits. This is huge for me. In the battles so far (and oh my how exciting and well-done they are) the pilots do nothing but apply themselves fully to the fighting. Whatever is communicated, is within the realm of orders or instruction.

Negotiations with the opposition, occur when the combatants are standing down and not opening fire at each other. Bravo. Gundam Unicorn is displaying what is in my opinion the overdue maturity of robot anime combat portrayal.

Dialogue here is the most effective device to provide both characterization and exposition. One of the overused themes in Gundam is the polarization between youth and adulthood, implying innocence and power to change things in the former, and inauthenticity as well as a predilection to violence in the latter. I acknowledge the necessity of Banagher being so young. Only he can say things so stupidly naïve and be excused for it. Mineva is far more commendable; she has seen much and yet works so hard for peace. But she is too cautious and plays too conservatively. Banagher is too ignorant not to try.

Mineva displays her grit in her conversation with Riddhe, but more spectacularly backs it up in how she handled her own hostage situation. This young woman is no damsel in distress. Banagher on the other hand, is ignorant also as a device: it is through him that many characters will explain themselves and their ideals.

I think the episode can be seen as a series of meaningful conversations, the most remarkable being Riddhe and Mineva’s, the extended Negotiation scene, Banagher and Full Frontal, Banagher with the Palauan family at dinner (delicious scene), then Marida and Banagher in the chapel.

What a delightful scene; this is slice of life
Marida is such a revelation here. I’ve read some paratext that tells me before she rejoined Neo-Zeon she’s been drifting and working as a prostitute. Her harsh life after the Puru project, instead of embittering her, gave her wisdom to confront Banagher’s naïvety not with admonition but with compassion.

The conversations all contribute to depict a story wherein there are no innocents. I prefer to phrase it such, because it doesn’t deny the possibility of heroism, of nobility, of exemplary action. But yes, both sides in the conflict between spaceman and earthling are guilty of atrocity, of injustice, and are still actively perpetrating the same.

Remember the exiling to the colonies. Remember the lack of suffrage for the spaceman. Remember the Colony Drop. Remember the nerve gas. Remember A Baoa Qu. Remember Operation Stardust. Remember the Titans. Remember Dublin. Remember Char’s Counterattack.

So yes, the theme in Gundam Unicorn is consistent with the whole Gundam franchise: War is Hell.

But still, Remember Lalah Sune. Remember Ramba Ral. Remember Norris Packard. Remember Shiro and Aina. Remember Chris and Bernie. Remember Anavel Gato. Remember Kamille and Four. Forget Judau. Remember the Eternal Captain. Remember Amuro Ray. Remember Love.

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.
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75 Responses to Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 Unmasked

  1. nope, DO remember judau

    I’m going to watch Unicorn as soon as I can get it in glorious not-lagging!

    • Good luck and have fun. May your experience sparkle like the stars and may your soul be not weighed down by the Earth’s gravity.

      • Unicorn is one of those things like Bakuman where it’s fun to read people blog about it because I’ve read it/have had it spoiled in bits and pieces for me.

        And I got everything straightened out and am loving the hell out of it!

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  3. Crusader says:

    When you say Remember the Titans I think of that Disney movie about football and a great performance by Denzel Washington. T’was a great film and rather stirring.

    Looking at Full Frontal even if he is not Char, he is a Char clone albeit one that is on the fatter side and seems to have gone nuts with the Rogaine (if he busts out a Fate Alteration Machine I will laugh out a lung). I will do more on this later but for now I am not sure if Gundam Unicorn is qualitatively better than Macross Frontier, but so far I do like the direction they are going, however I have been disappointed before. They do different things but in the case of Macross I prefer the attempt at combined arms and loads of different hard ware, in Gundam the MS is still the be all end all of an arms race, with exception going to MS IGLOO. The battles are different but in terms of aesthetics and utility the VF-25 and Macross Quarter have always tickled my fancy.

    As for the lack of suffrage for the spaceman I laugh at that statement for they forsook democracy when they lifted the Zabi family as their liege lords. Moreover the Gundam franchise especially in AU iterations is suspicious of democracy and more for a sort of enlightened despotism. Just my 2 cents.

    LOL Forget Judau… why even bring that up? We all know Gundam ZZ did not happen. I say Remember Corin Nander!

    I think Unicorn has a shot at being a very solid member of the UC club, but whether they can inspire as G Gundam did, I will have to wait and see.

    • KrimzonStriker says:

      Lets put some things into context however, primarily revolving around Char/Full Frontal. Take into consideration the fact that Char’s own father was in fact the head of a democratic Zeon. Now take into the fact that this may in point be more of a criticism of democracy, or the hypocrisy of democracy, as the spacinoids are part of a system they do not necessarily choose, and without any say despite the fact that it is part of the underlying principle of democracy. If you’ve ever watched Legend of the Galactic Hero this point of view is often brought up against democratic systems for not being true to their democratic ideals.

      • Crusader says:

        I have seen LOGH and to be frank both series are suspicious of democracy to a degree. Not too surprising since Japan was forced into democracy when the modern age caught them while they were still a feudal society. I also suspect that being part of an imperfect democracy that was built by the US after their failed imperial adventure that there is a nostalgia for the old days when Japan was an elite dominated constitutional monarchy that held an Empire. Falling short of democratic ideals is usually the norm, but to simply give up and throw your lot with monarchy is something else. It shows a lack of staying power something that has been a running theme with Zeon.

        • KrimzonStriker says:

          Zeon, or the Neo-Zeon belief anyway, has always been inherently pessimistic. Setting aside the real world monologues, then it is not simply democracy that is questioned but humanity in general. Democracy in some views merely exposes those glaring flaws, and when not in outright abuse by the current regime, the benevolent monarchy/dictatorship does a better job of covering it up. And comparisons can be drawn throughout history between the staying power of democracy and monarchies in that sense, the big example being which one ultimately lasted longer and was better for Rome, the Republic or the Empire?

          • Yes, humanity itself is questioned, or at least how its behaved over the history of space colonization and what led to it.

            There are no innocents, so what now? This is the really cool thing that Banagher is being let into, and equally interesting is the presentation of Christianity as hope in space.

            This is delicious! I’ll probably try to write more about this irony.

    • Hehe comrade I had that Disney movie in mind when I put down that phrase. I found it quite stirring as well and gj Denzel!

      My points on the qualitatively better are these:

      1. Unicorn is not a retelling of a previously broadcast anime show (as is Rebuild of Eva and TFS).

      2. The False Songstress (and even the TV series) asks me, the viewers, to give up a lot of our critical dispositions — because belief cannot be suspended as it never bothers to explain or be consistent with its own physical rules. We just turn some of our discernment off and just have a huge blast with all the concert battles (we are asked not to think about rehearsals, accompaniment, broadcast technology, who’s listening to whom and how, etc.) never mind the song voodoo.

      This is not a bad thing in absolute terms, but I don’t have a problem it counting against Macross in a straight up comparison with another science fiction show.

      3. Your preference is a matter of taste and mind you I like what you’re talking about a lot. But as I said, the way Macross Frontier does it is let Ozma shout “TOTSUGEKI LOVE HEART” and then show a highlight reel on a per-unit basis (often delivering the nods to Itano and past shows — again, not a bad thing but this accomplishes something different) as opposed to carefully portray a tactical battle which Unicorn (so far) does.

      I’m a Macross guy through and through so this acknowledgment doesn’t ‘betray’ my retardedness for Macross don’t worry.

      The Z Gundam movies are invalidated by Unicorn, and ZZ Gundam is completely acknowledged as canon:

      1. Marida is Puru
      2. Nahel Argama is the ship Bright captained with Judau and the rest

      The wonderful thing I find in this episode is ultimately neither space men nor earthlings are lionized. We’re reminded that neither side is innocent perhaps precisely because of the governments that led them (Zeon, Axis-Zeon, Neo-Zeon, Earth Federation, Titans). There is no merit in trying to justify in terms on moral high grounds.

      Ultimately, it’s a question of who has power over whom at present, and whether this relationship will remain as a matter of non-combat political process, or direct fighting.

      What I’m seeing is discussion within the narrative, political, ideological, and historical content approaching the level of Legend of the Galactic Heroes which delights me to no end. It’s also because Unicorn gives me something that LotGH can’t: amazingly animated robot battles.

  4. mshaydown says:

    that list of things Gundam does wrong is so true but I think Unicorn 2 is guilty of clause #5: “Remote beam weapons flying within reach of beam swords/melee weapons.”

    • There are two things Unicorn did well that I find annoying in other Gundam shows:

      #5 as you said; If you look at the desperate fight between Marida and Banagher, the funnels that Banagher swatted are all within seconds of launch while Banagher was rushing straight into Marida.

      Check the first video in this post:

      https://ghostlightning.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/the-funnels-of-love-the-fascination-with-gundams-newtype-remote-beam-weapons-and-how-gundam-unicorn-makes-them-awesome/

      …and look at the weaknesses/liabilities of funnels. Marida deployed them precisely when she should’ve used conventional forward facing weapons. But her suit/armor was not facing the rushing Gundam so she deployed funnels to harrass it. The cost of which is by the time the funnels could fire, the Gundam already covered the distance.

      I AM OKAY WITH THIS.

      The other thing I enjoyed is how the Unicorn Gundam’s limit break system is superior to the H4xx0rz G0d|v|od3 TRANS AM business in Gundam 00. It’s superior because it’s not too powerful, and has interesting costs to the pilot and not the suit which makes for dramatic decision-making and the like.

      I AM OKAY WITH THIS TOO.

  5. ”Hey, I haven’t even seen the original Gundam/Zeta/ZZ/Movies at all (though planning to) but reading atleast the first paragraph after the spoiler alert won’t hurt ri- whoooaoahoahoha”

    Fuck me.

  6. KrimzonStriker says:

    After reading your previous article about Char, I would think that in your debate over Full Frontal’s true identity you would put more focus and context in his words over simply using them as a gauge to see if he’s real or not, the words themselves speak volumes as to not who Full Frontal is, but what he is instead. In that sense, I would think that after your pointed criticism of Char in the CCA movie, you would be more optimistic as to the chance character redemption Full Frontal brings, I.E serving as a symbol and a message for the ideals Char and his father believed in. Whether he’s real or not should not itself be the main focus but instead of what he represents. He is the perfect vessel and leader in that sense, possessing all the admirable characteristics Char had while removing his ego and narrow-minded personality flaws.

    • Two things:

      1. It works that Char is dead, that Amuro is dead. It really does.
      2. Char as a figure works so well in this context, for reasons you’ve mentioned.

      This is where I’m at. If Full Frontal is NOT Char, I think I’d be relieved and actually happy that the show is messing me up with this kind of mystery.

      If he is Char, then a huge problem of verisimilitude ensues… because wouldn’t Amuro have just as much a chance of survival (if there is a difference, these would be infinitesimal relative to their shared improbability of survival.

      This is a problem for me because I want to think of Unicorn as not only the possible best expression of a Gundam story, but possibly the best expression of robot anime to date.

      It’s a very ambitious thing of me to ask from it, hence my conniptions to this resurrecting characters issue, especially Char himself. Now, when this is resolved I can re-dedicate myself to the exploration of both Char and Full Frontal as separate characters.

  7. Jack says:

    I certainly consider the battles in both episode 1 and episode 2 to be be excellent. They’re a far cry from Gundam 00’s “Let’s talk about this all the time, not shoot each other, and then let the other guy go at the end!”

    Although I feel Gundam has done combat very well outside the movie trilogy as well. 08th Team is largely composed of excellent fights and War in the Pocket certainly has them as well.

    I suppose once it goes beyond an OAV or movie, things do tend to get a bit worse though.

    • Agreed, those are excellent. BUT these aren’t *in space* where CCA and 0083 are boss… but I think Unicorn did not waste the fact that it’s done 20 years later (implying maturity of technique, technology, and sensibility) than these shows.

      TV series needn’t have dumb fights, I really don’t see why they should, I just can’t… but they do, don’t they?

      • Jack says:

        Space fights are tricky because they can become very dull without, say, cover. The opening fight of 08thMS team has cover, as does the fight in Unicorn 2.

        I can only suppose TV fights end up dumb because of tighter scheduling. You certainly can’t put the best people on every episode because they’d probably die of exhaustion,

        • I agree with both points, but the thing is, a decade of experience should count for something… two decades… three decades? I’ll see if Gundam 00: Trailblazer of the Meteor will show us similarly impressive space battles.

  8. Gorilla says:

    You nailed it.

    But remember Judau.

    Another thing that Unicorn does better (but all UC OVAs do) than the main Universal Century series is the depiction of the cities and colonies. I still rage over the Dublin episodes in ZZ and how unrealistic the whole thing looked.

    • Thanks! Hehe I swung the Goldion Hammer for this one… seriously though, I felt that this is the first Gundam show made precisely for me. It gives me the things I’ve wanted or even expected from the franchise.

      “KEEP ON, KEEPIN’ ON!”

      –J. Ashta, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2

      As you said, the OVAs/films seem like opportunities for the staff to flesh out the narrative setting in ways the TV series could not or did not. These certainly appeal to us more mature fans who want to be served in more diverse ways.

  9. megaroad1 says:

    I’m a latecomer to the Gundam franchise so I’m only just now done with the original series and movie trilogy. So I still have to work my way through Zeta, ZZ and CCA before it seems I can watch this fine anime ( I’m thinking sticking to UC exclusively).

    But I must say that I’m really looking forward to it if you’re putting it up there with Frontier and even Eva 2.0

    • Glad you’re making your way. Make sure you pay attention to the OVAs: 0080, 08th MS Team, and 0083. All are superb, exemplary shows. You can skip ZZ and go straight to CCA. I look forward to being able to discuss more Gundam with you.

  10. BenDTU says:

    In terms of UC Gundam, I’ve only seen the original series and some of Z, as well as Unicorn 01. But yeah, totally agreed about the fights actually mattering and not being slaughter-for-slaughter’s sake.

    In the original series you’d often see Zaku mooks flip out because Amuro took out their best mate: In the meantime, Amuro was too focused on his own struggle to acknowledge that he was actually fighting real people here, until that ep with Ramba Rall. (Apologies if I get some details wrong there, it’s been a while)

    Meanwhile, Macross… yeah I dunno. I’ve never really considered Macross to be an A-Grade series, and yet I can’t really work out why. Frontier did NOTHING for me at all. Plus was great, I’ll admit and 7 was basically a Super Robot show. But yeah, I dunno. The original was never really anything more than a 7 out of 10 for me.

    Meanwhile, SRWOGTI has every problem you just listed and more, but I won’t go there.

    • I understand your reticence over Macross. I was a bit of a hater of Gundam up until 2009 when I got over myself (I dropped 9 shows straight). But see I always wanted to love it.

      There’s certainly no obligation to be impressed by any of this stuff. But yes, you may be hazy with the details but it’s one thing that immediately distinguished Gundam from the shows that came before it: there’s really serious shit in these stories.

      Amuro suddenly ‘getting’ what he was actually doing is huuuge, and it was paid homage to and ridiculously well, by Eureka SeveN.

      SRWOGTI… I still watch it, maybe because I’ll still enjoy crappy robot shows far more than any other kind of crappy show :3

      • BenDTU says:

        /Still needs to watch Eureka Seven

        I’m still watching it on the rare chance that it actually gets good once the High Tiered Supers turn up. I’m less than enthusiastic though, and I’m pretty sure once we get to that point there’ll be so many factions / private industries / rebel groups doing whatever I’ll have no clue what’s going on.

        I enjoy analyzing the shows I watched, and analyzing a terrible show gets me thinking as much as analyzing a great show.

  11. KrimzonStriker says:

    Going back to your previous assertion about the hope that was derived from Christianity I think that was perhaps the most striking aspect to be revealed in this episode as to just how despondent many spacinoids felt about their current situation. That signals the initial unwillingness to let go during a period where they were essentially cast out. Later, there was the shift to the political will and independence of Zeon as a source of hope. Yet that in turn fed the paranoia against them, as the words “Sieg Zeon, Sieg Zeon” injected fear into the hearts of those who witnessed it, as Riddhe pointed out. No one is innocent as you’ve said, people pushed each other into difficult circumstances and in term met with equally harsh responses because of it. The world going blind made true I guess. Now however, comes the X-factor, that both Banghar and his father bring to a corrupt Federation which is literally feeding this cycle and a jaded-cynical Neo Zeon, renewed faith in humanity, or the possibility of humanity in this sense. This is perhaps, a good contrast between Amuro and Banghar in that sense, because from what I can tell he isn’t one that accepts the status quo and leaves things to be sorted out on their own eventually, you have to at some point stand by those convictions and seize it, much like Mineva and Riddhe are now doing from their respective political sides of the spectrum.

    • I think that was perhaps the most striking aspect to be revealed in this episode as to just how despondent many spacinoids felt about their current situation. That signals the initial unwillingness to let go during a period where they were essentially cast out. Later, there was the shift to the political will and independence of Zeon as a source of hope.

      Yes, you got it. Unicorn, and the Universal Century OVAs refine the core Gundam story. In 0080 we see the setting from a neutral colony’s perspective and through a desperate Zeon’s evil (Col. Killing); we see more desperate Zeon in both 0083 and 08th MS Team.

      But they were desperate because they were losing, little was said about how exactly the UC got to this point. Unicorn, far more than CCA gives the context for Zeon — not the Zabis, but the idea that something is bright and powerful and out for their interests.

      That bit about the Universal Century replacing Anno Domini ergo ending the age of God was some powerful stuff, precisely because of the scene itself, Marida explaining how the idea of God itself as a source of faith was replaced by Zeon.

      Basically, those asteroid miners were kind of like the first Australian colony… I suppose Gundam does draw from the colonial history of humanity.

  12. sadakups says:

    I loved that part about fighting and talking at the same time. I was so attached to the battle sequences that I did not even notice it, considering that such happens rarely in a mecha show, moreso a Gundam.

    I was rewatching that sequence with the Sinanju and the Unicorn and wow, they were really not talking much. I think the reason why in other mecha shows that they feel like they need to talk is to avoid the battle sequences to become “boring” with just pew pew left and right. But after seeing that sequence in Unicorn, heck, that was not boring at all, that was entertaining as hell. I guess future mecha battle sequences should take cue from what this episode did.

    • Macross shows have generally less chatter, but this is because:

      1. They don’t argue with the Zentrans, at least at first.
      2. They don’t argue with the Vajra.

      But whenever they start talking to humans: Macross Plus (albeit the back and forth between Guld and Isamu is classic), Alto vs. Temjin, vs. Ozma (I’m not an adult, I’M A MAN), Alto vs. Brera (YOU DON’T DESERVE TO PROTECT HER)…

      At least Macross Zer0 kept it minimal I think.

      In addition to what you said about boredom, consider also that they use battles as a shortcut to characterize: “you don’t know who a person really is until you fight them”

      …which leads to all sorts of silliness…

      “You must have eyes only for me, GUNDAM!”
      “I THINK I’M IN LOVE!”

      (no points guessing who spoke these choice lines)

  13. Sekou says:

    Another great entry my friend.

    As much as I’m a fan of GW and X in addition to UC(series which routinely ran failed to accurately portray robot anime combat as you put it) I have to admit watching Episode 2 of Unicorn was great experience for the very reasons you listed. The battles were straight forward and believable while also being spectacular and the dialog scenes were just as straight forward and poignant.

    Again, I’m a fan GW and X but without a doubt, THIS is Gundam at it’s best.

  14. Suiman says:

    Interesting, I did not see Audrey being too cautious and conservative. Instead, she executed her plans with reckless abandon, doing everything in her power to achieve her goals way beyond what was expected from a youth, even offering her life if needed. As such, Banagher’s naivete serves as a perfect foil to her, more so, this might be what she truly needs and/or yearns for. The conversation between the two just before Audrey was captured revealed a glimpse of her heart. For a few seconds, the resolute Mineva seemed to falter. Banagher’s defiance has taken her aback, like looking at a mirror, she was reminded of her very young childhood where she was also commanded without being given an informed choice or any choice at all.

    Swiftly, Banagher projected his innate selfishness as a youth onto Audrey. Out of concern, he questioned her authenticity. Were her actions a result of a righteous responsibility she forced onto herself or a sincere choice reflecting her true desires? Mineva’s experiential maturity for a brief moment collapsed revealing a distressed and conflicted child. Her unyielding resolve was visibly replaced with doubt -and moe ♥.

    Could there be a rift within her, the Mineva who shouldered the responsibilities and sins of the Zabi family and the Audrey who briefly enjoyed and probably wanted a mundane life?

    Just as Mineva has inadvertently pulled Banagher into a conflict that urges him to act like an adult; Banagher could break the chains that denies Mineva of her youth or at least lessen the burden she carries.

    Remember Judau, remember Mashymere and his slightly more competent subordinates in Gottn and the rest of the Endra crew, at least remember the lolitastic Mineva and Purus…forget the moon moon people

    …Marida was a prostitute? I expected spoilers but those found within the broadcasted eps.

    • Mineva is too cautious and conservative as a matter of policy and not in general:

      She wants Banagher to escape with her in the RX-0 so she can destroy it/get rid of it.

      This is not the (the Vist foundation’s) purpose of Gundam, which is to protect. This is the mandate given to Banagher. It is not conservative policy as it puts the key to Laplace’s box in play as opposed to destroying/disposing of it.

      I’ve no doubt that Mineva had wished she had a more Micott kind of life at some point, but she behaves like someone who does shoulder the responsibility for the Earth Sphere so it’s not something she often indulges.

      No ZZ Gundam can rot in hell.

      Sorry but I didn’t think Marida’s back story is spoileriffic, as I consider it just as interesting/tangential as Lalah Sune’s own story about being discovered by Char in an Indian brothel.

    • rakusukira says:

      well said..

      Even I was taken aback by Banagher’s sudden disobedience to Mineva .. Perhaps Banagher really disliked the way Mineva just shoved him off in the Vist Mansion.

      Banagher’s genuine concern for Mineva startles her and maybe for a brief moment she wanted to believe him. I thought she would finally open up to him if it weren’t for Commander Daguza’s interference. Seriously, Mineva needs someone to take care of her, to convince her that her life is as valuable as the lives of others, that she could still be freed from the chains of her past.

      I perfectly believe Banagher can do this.

      As for Mineva, I believe she doesn’t want anyone to get hurt because of her– including Banagher. Yet the incident with the Unicorn Gundam has tied Banagher and Mineva’s destinies together– much to her dismay.

      As for Riddhe.. really, the first moment I saw him I instantly knew he was a coward.

      >Mineva accepted the responsibilities that stemmed from being a part of the Zabi family to the point that she thinks its practically okay for her to die for the sake of world peace.

      >Riddhe escaped the constraints of his politician family and became a soldier but his encounter with Mineva reminded him that he cannot be truly “separated” from everything.

      and though I sense a romantic spark between Riddhe and Mineva (probably one sided) coming in the next few episodes, Riddhe’s affections for her will be questioned.

      you all probably know there is going to be a love triangle, right?

      Between Banagher and Riddhe, who will really leave everything just to be with Mineva?? well.. I already have someone in mind

      • Thanks.

        I don’t think Mineva needs anyone to take care of her. She’s proven all her life that she can take care of herself, and had she any real power to rule she would’ve taken care of her constituents soundly.

        Riddhe, is interesting as he’s there to be contrasted with Mineva. Banagher’s ignorance of politics won’t be enough to draw out the subtleties of Mineva’s character so the narrative relies on Riddhe for this. Given what I imagine the contents of the box, I would imagine it’s Mineva who’ll be the source of learning and growth for him, while Banagher’s “pure” idealism will be a catalyst for many.

        I think this is a better way to frame the relationships, as I don’t think there’s much to do in terms of romance and love triangles given the brevity of the narrative. It won’t stop people from shipping, but the last Gundam OVA to indulge a love triangle (Stardust Memory)… let’s not talk about that.

  15. Sekou says:

    Ghost, what did you make of Takuya referencing the Gundam Team who you hate so much?

    • It’s fine. It just pretty much validates the history/events concerning ZZ as canon LOL. It does remind me how a single team of mobile suits fought an entire war. Capt. Otto shouldn’t be too worried. After all, if fucking Beecha Oleg can pilot the Hyaku Shiki, how can he lose using actual special forces?

  16. Sekou says:

    Those special forces have nothing on Beecha; he was an ace! Just joking. XD

    On another note, I wanted to ask you what thought of Angelo in Episode 2 and if you see his character going beyond the overly-loyal right-hand man archetype he seems bound to at the moment.

    • I’m interested in Angelo as well, as he’s interesting to compare with a few other characters:

      Anavel Gato
      Myashimar Cello
      Glemy Toto
      Gyunei Guss

      Obviously, Gato and Glemy (ugh) enjoy top-billing in their respective shows so Angelo won’t have the same subplot that approaches these two examples. What I’ll find interesting will be whether Full Frontal will fall from the pedestal Angelo put him on, and how will Angelo cope.

      Or, Full Frontal can get into a tight spot first, and then Angelo just takes a beam rifle shot for him lol.

      • Sekou says:

        I see the latter scenario happening but the story would be much more interesting if Full Frontal wasn’t seen as a God in Angelo’s eyes anymore for whatever reason and they fought.

  17. LEon says:

    I enjoyed this episode as well. The action was just nice and this episode really set the pace for the coming episodes.

  18. Here’s some twitter discussion on the episode:

  19. turokman2000 says:

    Amazing twitter comment: strawberries and cream. I want my Gundam Unicorn cake!! Hah! Now I know how to someday pick my bride.

    Anyway, I like how the factions and characters in Unicorn are sort of mellowed out. Banagher is all newtype possessed like Kamille and Amuro, but less sure of himself. The object of his premonition is totally Mineva, but when he is in her presence, his instincts totally fail him. It’s as if his destiny is open, totally, frighteningly open. Not even the universe will tell him what he must do.

    Marida is sure of her philosophy, in fact more sure than I have ever seen a Gundam adversary. She’s reflective, subdued. This, as opposed to confused/obsessed/self-righteous (may the eternal flame of perdition ever burn upon the soul of the cursed Reccoa).

    Even Full Frontal is mellow. If you look at the different faces of Char, you get a lot of different levels of passion. FF totally lacks that. I’ll explain.

    All these characters have something in common with every other Gundam UC character: their place in the game, a sense of the nature of the conflict, a commitment to their side. But this time it’s different. This time, there’s no answer, no conflict. One Year War was a titanic polarized struggle. Zeta was a string of confrontations that mirrored OYW in microcosm. ZZ was a hyper-active Zeta. By Char’s Counterattack, heck, the Federation sells the asteroid to Char in an open business deal! It’s as if people are resigned to the conflict. Everyone had settled into this status quo, with Char alone trying to end the conflict once and for all, and he failed. And so, it is what it is. And they say as much.

    The players are resigned to the game. They accept that it will probably just keep on going, and everyone will keep feeling bad about it. Marcenas and Mineva, FF, others share this opinion.

    But Banagher and Marida’s conversation was as breathtaking as his with Cardeas Vist. Because for the first time, we are told the meaning of the conflict! It’s not about Zeon, or newtypes, or power, or justice or whatever it always has been. Humanity needs a purpose – a light – to survive, to keep on living, to live for. That’s what drives the conflict, the search for, and the need for that light. And so, Banagher concedes as he quotes his father, the very spirit that drives man to war is perhaps that which will help him transcend it.

    And so, the objects of the conflict of Universal Century grow less and less important. Zeon, or not, the passion fades. And at the end of the tunnel is a light – Laplace’s box – which when it comes will transcend the conflict, and become the light and source of the new reality.

    I’m struck because I feel like all the characters sense that this is coming, they are all aware that they must accept the new reality, they seem resigned to accept it whatever it is. And so the last gasp of passion in them struggles to win the box for their side, to fight so that the new reality will favor their passions of the old reality.

    In that sense, they seem to be fighting, not for their cause, but to be able to finally leave the cause behind. I sense a coming catharsis much more so than any triumph. People are filling the old roles until the old reality is no more, much more in passive acceptance of what is to come than in an ongoing struggle for the victory and peace that never comes.

    So, am I alone, or do you sense the resignation on the part of the characters too? Look at FF! No speeches, just a cardboard cutout (like from MDynamite7 lol – not really but it feels that way). He even says that he is what he is as long as people need him to be that.

    No purpose, no passion, just the box. Get the box. Destroy the box. All paths are converging. And on the other end, they will be no more, and new paths will emerge.

    I’m excited to watch how they pull it off. Aren’t there novels that spoil the outcome?

    • This is an awesome observation. I can’t say I fully agree with it, but I think it makes sense and you’re really on to something.

      My first reaction to how mellow the characters are, is that it allows me to see the issues being discussed. Often, I can’t really hear it over the shouting because they’re debated while the debaters are in their cockpits.

      It is just as much a directorial effect than it is a character one. After all, we have younger characters like Mineva, Riddhe, and of course Banagher. They’re mellower than their 80s counterparts (or their contemporary AU counterparts) because I think there is a maturity in storytelling that permits the performances to be more refined.

      Not that it hasn’t happened before; see 0080 War in the Pocket, 0083 Stardust Memory.

      I have a post coming up discussing Banagher and Marida’s discussion in detail on the 11th. Watch out for it.

  20. turokman2000 says:

    True point.

    I’d say that the directorial style still counts for setting the stage. So, at least the audience is aware that this time it might be different.

    Although, FF is an interesting character.

    I never saw Char’s Counterattack until years after Gundam W, so I finally understood the Milliardo Peacecraft/Treize business (and my eyes rolled at W). Treize was often difficult to understand, until I viewed him in the ‘Char’ context. And, now, comparing that to FF we see nothing of the elements that all these characters shared.

    I suppose we need to find out more about FF to know for sure what he’s all about – it did take awhile for even Char to reveal himself at times. But if Char was motivated by personal feelings, then FF is the public image of Char made flesh. His goals are a cardboard cutout, it seems. And FF seemed to say that’s what he wanted for himself.

    Also, the family at Palau, that discussion was very revealing. Gundam has always questioned faction, and the purpose of war (except in CC where Char was just plain and simple the bad guy). But I find Unicorn to be particularly ambiguous.

    There’s such little emotional weight given to one side or the other. Yes, Zeon is the agitator, but, well, the Federation funds and allows them. This is because of the mistreatment by the Federation of Spacenoids. Who, the Federation also harms when it battles Zeon in colonies, and when it’s hand is a little heavy in surpressing Zeon. But then Zeon in desperation takes risks, and perhaps with too much zeal sacrifices the innocent. And…

    I mean, FF I don’t even feel is a bad guy. And there are many other examples. FF is only as bad as Cardeas Vist was for wanting to give him the box. But then the unicorn was developed for the Federation. And we know Anaheim has been pulling strings for, since… my head started hurting.

    So, directorially, this is the most ambiguous Gundam in my opinion. Which I why I think the motivations of the characters will drive them towards catharsis in the revealing of Laplace’s box.

    I look forward to your next post. If I might point out how FF aide was super fanatical about him, which we’ve seen before, but this time it’s almost a caricature of the others. This plays into Zeon as the religion of downcast spacenoids, and FF as their Jesus.

    • You give a good survey of the complexities of motivations per faction/leader. It’s all in keeping with the notion of “there are no more innocents” if there ever were any in this conflict to begin with.

      What you share only strengthens my feelings that this particular installment of the franchise is a pretty interesting editorial on the Universal Century itself, and this is pretty much the perspective my next post is taking.

      Concerning FF as a character, everything we know about him is public… is propaganda. It gets interesting:

      He removes his mask,
      and reveals nothing of consequence.

      Rather, his striking resemblance to Char only constructs a stronger mask to his relevant public: Marida who is a Zabi loyalist (not that Mineva represents the Zabis the way Gihren, Kycillia, or even Haman Karn did), and Banagher who FF is interested in recruiting.

  21. Vendredi says:

    Good gravy, are you fast on this. Give me another few days for a proper response, was waiting on a particular sub group. In the meantime, some quick responses off the bat…

    “Stealing into, or just plain stealing mobile suits easier than stealing panties.”

    One point to make is that military hardware is actually a lot laxer in terms of straight activation protocols – although certainly more complex to handle and start up that civilian vehicles, most of the security comes from where the vehicle is and that it`s locked down, not from systems intrinsic to the vehicle itself. That being said, security in some Gundam series tends to be a completely new level of incompetence (0083 comes to mind. At least SeeD featured a commando raid during a sensitive transfer period).

    “…the engagements seem to count more, even if the tactical objectives mean little in the scheme of things….”

    This is partly I think why stories in the short series, OVA, or film format are always fantastic standouts in the mecha genre: the stakes are often smaller, but paradoxically become much more intense. Macross Plus comes to mind here for an example from the other major mecha metaseries.

    • Correct on both counts!

      That said, let’s take a look at my favorite Gundam TV series: Mobile Suit Z Gundam. It is guilty of everything in the list. EVERYTHING (including smaller missions, like Jerid’s near infinite small unit sorties against the Argama just to hunt the Z Gundam… how do you like your theory now?):

      Variable damage (weapons arbitrarily get weaker, targets arbitrarily become impervious to weapons)

      Horrible. The Garuda class atmospheric transport is for all intents and purposes an airplane. It could take a direct impalement of the freaking PSYCHO GUNDAM and still fly. Compare to the Federation ships in the Battle of Loum: six of them were destroyed by Char’s Zaku II Custom with a freaking tommy gun.

      A Baund Doc swatted away (with its hands!) 4 direct beam laser hits from Char’s Hyaku Shiki.

      Shouting matches concerning ideology and morals during fighting. And by during fighting I mean when you’re supposedly giving your all to lock on and shoot the other guy, concentrating like hell to avoid gunfire; or swinging a robot sword hand using levers, pedals, and buttons.

      Almost all the freaking time. Haman to Char, Haman to Kamille, Jerid to Kamille, Paptimus to Kamille, Kamille to Four…

      Standing around and not finishing a target off so as to allow a dramatic dialogue or scene to pass, then getting killed precisely because said drama was allowed to pass.

      Not a perfect example, but still: Jerid grapples the Z Gundam (HUGGING IN SPACE), has every opportunity to use close range weapons to finish off the Gundam, but instead is shaken off — which is an opportunity to FIRE. But what does Jerid do? HUG THE Z GUNDAM AGAIN. He gets shaken off a second time and shot into the exploding Radish. Stupidest death of an “ace” pilot ever.

      Stealing into, or just plain stealing mobile suits easier than stealing panties.

      Kamille starts the show by stealing the Titans’ Gundam Mk. II (just like Amuro stole the RX-78-2). This is called SEIZING THE REINS OF HISTORY.

      Franklin Bidan steals the Rick Dias
      Sara Zabianov (with some help from…)
      Katz Kobayashi (DEATH IS TOO GOOD FOR YOU)
      Rosamia Badam (stole a freaking Nemo for some…[see final bullet])

      Remote beam weapons flying within reach of beam swords/melee weapons.

      Haman Karn asks everyone to not underestimate her Qubeley… it has funnels. A number of which get swatted by beam sabers.

      Hell, finding it easier to engage opponents with swords than it is to shoot them

      THIS IS WHY THE FREAKING O HAS ALL THOSE HIDDEN ARMS. IT’S SO FAT BUT SO FREAKING HARD TO HIT. IT GETS NEAR ENOUGH TO USE ALL ITS SWORDS ON YOU. At least with all those arms it doesn’t participate in…

      HUGGING ROBOTS IN SPACE.

      I already mentioned Jerid’s demise. But the worst of this is Rosamia Badam stealing the Nemo (KAMILLE IS HER ONII-CHAN) who proceeds to go to where Kamille is and…

      wait for it…

      FUCKING GLOMP THE FUCKING ZETA GUNDAM “ONIII-CHAAAAN!!!”

      /RAEG

      It really must be love I have for Z Gundam. It really really must be.

  22. 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.

    • I’m not much for allegory, but you make incredibly interesting claims here. Wow.

      I really have little to say except that your claims make sense to me, and the idea of the lead protagonist being a Federation pilot as a statement of sympathy for America-Japan alignment seems brilliant to me.

      Also, a Japan turning on itself is consistent with the idea of a mono-state humanity turning on itself. It’s fragmented but really the Federation unites the sphere. The fact that Zeon exists underscores that the whole of humanity is a federated collective.

    • Mithradates says:

      “Spacenoids are the people who were taken over by the white Western powers. The Federation is America’s military protecting Western European imperial politics. ”

      Spacenoids as a group did not exist before the EF created them by building space colonies and forcedly relocated most of humanity. They are not comparable to Asians or Africans who were ruled by various colonial powers and whose countries did really experience take over by foreign powers. No, the space colonies are settler colonies of the UC.Therefore, Zeon is America, an young, expansive, exceptional power who is willing to liberate other settler colonies against their wishes (Canada).

  23. Pingback: Jerry on the Other WW2 Reference in Mobile Suit Gundam (Unicorn) « The Ghosts of Discussions

  24. Minstrel Savant says:

    A good reference to Gundam Unicorn as well as the identity of Full Frontal can be found in wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_Unicorn_characters

    This offers an excellent view of the popular opinion of Char to the general public. Granted he was a flawed as they came, even more so given who Char is supposed to be as opposed to Amuro Ray. But given his upbringing and worse, his emotional baggage, can people really blame how he would turn out?

    • Wikipedia = SPOILERS

      A lot of things I can’t help but infer, but for something like Unicorn that I relish, I’d rather keep myself in the dark and let the show work on me.

      Re: Char,

      I’m not sure what happened in between Z and CCA. I’m not sure if there’s a manga that takes this on, but if there is I would read it.

      From a meta perspective, I blame ZZ Gundam. There really was no reason for both Amuro and Char to be entirely uninvolved in the first Neo-Zeon conflict. The whole ZZ business really is a blight on the UC narrative.

      • ZZ is the single worst thing to happen to Gundam, period. I would only salvage 3 things from that series; the whole Dublin Tragedy, the Quinn Mantha and Kamille’s fate. Burn the rest! Burn it to the ground!

  25. This is why i decided not to write about Unicorn, at least up until this point. You’ve summed up the show’s progress very well. I think i vented enough about Gundam’s vexing habit of retelling its core story repeatedly adnauseum, I’m not going to dwell on that. And while I’m a bit annoyed at Char’s corpse being resurrected so to speak, I have faith that this is a quality narrative and that there’s a strong reason for Full Frontal’s presence. I’m going to withold theories, no matter how Puru-esque they may be.

    In Unicorn, so far the awkwardness that the franchise seems to wallow in is gone and I don’t miss it. To be honest I’m not sure I fully appreciated it until you pointed it out to me on Twitter (I was too entranced by Full Frontal & Bannagher’s battle and annoyed by Full Frontal’s face). You could say I was blinded by the franchise and it’s history.

    Maybe the recycling of so many UC era elements is a way of giving us Gundam fans a chance to have that perfect narrative many have wanted since they fell in love with the series.

    • Maybe the recycling of so many UC era elements is a way of giving us Gundam fans a chance to have that perfect narrative many have wanted since they fell in love with the series.

      This is what I’m betting on, basically. A Gundam with minimal awkwardness, and no more LOLTOMINO… it doesn’t have to transcend itself. I want a Gundam show that’s excellent at doing the Gundam things that I value.

  26. JC says:

    ‘Forget Judau’ was a bit harsh, but it also made me laugh.

  27. Pingback: Robot Anime » Blog Archive » Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn – ep.02

  28. BenDTU says:

    Ok, finally just saw Unicorn 02.

    I’d be pretty damn angry if they came out and said “Full Frontal is a Char!”, that’d be a pretty massive retcon to overlook… but then again, I’d also be pretty disappointed if they said he wasn’t. I’d like to hope they’ll just leave the viewer to make up their own mind.

    And if they come out with SeeD-tier “Full Frontal is a clone of Char” revelation I’d ragequit UC Gundam, and potentially even real-robot mecha for good.

    Either way, to me UC Gundam was a shining star of hope in the world of real-robot. Anyone can pull off a good Super Robot show by throwing in enough yelling, cool-yet-completely-impractical weapons and volcanoes in space, but good real-robot shows are far and far between these days.

    I’ll blame Gundam SeeD for that. No, I have nothing to back that statement up, I just need something to blame.

    • NO. Leaving it vague would be disgusting.

      Real robot shows are harder to pull off, in that if you make it really tight, only a limited audience would find it awesome. So, certain compromises that breed other compromises are made.

      SEED (I realize I’ve been using SeeD which is a Final Fantasy VIII acronym LOL) is remarkable in that it was a gateway to the franchise the way W was, and those shows had all sorts of ridiculousness that ironically made them very popular and successful, perhaps breeding similar shows.

  29. Andrepyon says:

    As for the assessment of Zeon being Imperial Japan, and Zeon’s ‘Nazifcation’ I think actually both fit together well. Zeon itself does represent the Japan of that area in many ways and because they went with a WWII feel naming bases like Solomon and Palau only seems natural. I always looked at it as this, the Zabi’s, Gihren especially were fascist. The Zabi’s were like Nazi Germany and like minded people craft Zeon society and military development in that direction without openly saying it. While the ideals that the people of Zeon clung too were much more in tune with Japan. Because if you look the Zabi Family wanted power and control of the Earthsphere and cared nothing for the ideals they claimed they did.

    And I’ve always seen the Federation as being the United States. Especially in the first Gundam. As for Unicorn, it goes into a few things that were also very prevalent in Tomino’s UC work. The Humanism of the Universal Century. Making God an ideal and placing man at the top of everything. However, the UC Gundam never makes a good case for a humanistic world where we’ve “ended the era of God.” In fact it shows that nothing changed. People got worse actually.

    The whole of the Universal Century is dirty and run down. This enlightened era of mankind which people like Char and Amuro never materializes. Corruption pervades everything. Newtypes are still rare, not the budding future of our species as promised by Zeon Deikun. These men do things and kill people believing they are making a positive difference on the future of the world around them when they’re not. History will always be repeated because they want to change the world by giving human beings more power, without changing the nature of humanity. They want to change opinions and mindsets and leave it that foolishly trusting that people will fight the darker side of their being and win for the common good.

    The Earth Federation is the perfect example of this. They flaunt such lofty ideas and they swooned for Char’s address in Dakar but did anything aside from political power change when the Titan’s fell? When Haman died and the Zeon were sent to lick their wounds, did they even remember his plea for the condition of the earth? No. When he became fed up with the lack of progress and dropped and asteroid on the Federation Head Quarters they were so not interested they only sent Londo Bell to fight him. It was only after Char threatened to wipe out the earth that they sent others to “help” if that’s what you call the EFSF’s appearance at the end of CCA.

    Meitzer Ronah brings up that for a short time people did start leaving Earth again, and they did build new colonies. But just like the wave of patriotism after 9/11 in the US, it subsided and things when back to the status quo. It’s all human nature. And despite all Char’s flowery words, or Amuro’s empty promises of showing the light in the human heart, humanity in the UC and in real life proves them wrong.

    Also starting in Zeta was get to start seeing this really environmentalist move especially in the mindset and actions of Char, which he uses to help justify mass murder….Ah, he hated the Zabi’s yet fell back on the old tried and true “Drop something on earth” bit. He could not grasp that there is no great awakening for people and although he was in no big hurry neither could Amuro. They all felt that it had to happen. For being so enlightened both Char and Amuro fail to see the truth that there no light in the human heart. Humanity is corrupted and evil. They will continue to ravage this world as is their nature and you can’t use their evil ways to try to make something good out of them.

    I hate to say this, but the only character in all of Gundam who had a correct view of humanity was Rau Le Creuset. And what’s sad is that Char wasted a lot of good talent trying to do the impossible. He could have made some changes to how the Federation did things. He could have brought a more stable Earth System, but he chose to try to make a better human and that’s like trying to clean your dirty dishes in sewer water.

    • rakusukira says:

      now that you mentioned Rau, I’d have to say he was a complete and total PSYCHO!!! Humanity’s directions leads to two doors, one is the door that leads to the right path and the other leads to the “wrong” path..

      humanity is naturally “good” but because of the power of “freedom,” humanity chose not to be “human” and went to the “wrong” path.. Char’s ideals were of desperation.. although you may be right, i think that Char represents all those who wanted the world to change when in fact no one can really change it without first changing the nature of humanity

    • Rau Le Creuset having a correct view of humanity seems like wild off-hand claim within a seemingly well-considered comment. You never bothered substantiating this claim. How is his view correct?

      • Andrepyon says:

        Rau Le Creuset saw the world for what it is. A world of hatred, this world is becoming increasingly violent. To get what people what for themselves they are willing to do more and more harmful things. People willing to murder each other over something so trivial as a game console or some fluffy toy? And at the same time humanity is seeing itself with this increasing notion of god-hood. Man is the ultimate force in the universe, it our right as the top of the evolutionary ladder to tamper with the very fabric of life itself and do with it as we see fit. That hubris is what brought about Le Creuset in Seed to begin with.

        We talk about tampering with DNA, retro-engineering viruses, thinking of ways to control the weather, all the while, instead of allowing the poor countries of the earth to develop so they can have a better quality of life, we say it will harm the planet so instead they have to live in poverty and conflict. Greed dominates this planet, people’s hearts are filled with love for self more than for anything else. Rau brought these things up, while no others did.

        I’m by no way saying Rau’s intentions of destroying humanity were right, just his observations. And Char may have represented a despite desire to change but again as the old cliche says: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
        And yes Rau Le Creuset was a monstrous fellow, crazy, not the word I would use. He is the result of a crazy equation, how can he have been expected to be anything else?

        • That’s an interesting reading of Rau and I thank you for sharing it. That said, he’s still an outlier, an exception since that setting isn’t exactly run over by a population of similar-minded characters.

  30. Pingback: Moments of 2010: The Universal Century Joins the 21st Century By Celebrating With a 3-Way Prototype Mobile Suit Brawl (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02) | We Remember Love

  31. Ericard says:

    Char Aznable? I’ve seen the DVD and it’s look like real Char Aznable. If someone say clone, it’s nearly impossible. Because Char cannot been born quicker since 3 year after UC0093. I said that he musta be a real Char Aznable. Last word, Zieg Zeon…

  32. Pingback: For All My Sophist Coordination, My Love For Gundam is All Natural | We Remember Love

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