Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as a Eulogy for the Newtype

While the Universal Century continued with its wars and the involvement of Gundam in them via Gundam F91 (film), Crossbone Gundam (manga), and Victory Gundam (TV), for some fans such as myself the story of the Universal Century was the milieu of Char and Amuro, the Zabis, of Zeon and the Federation.

It’s last major conflict was Char’s rebellion, and the story of Gundam Unicorn serves as an eulogy, an epitaph to the great saga. It is why this show comports itself with such seriousness. It fully intends to celebrate the story of the wars, of the role of Gundams in its battles. This is why episode two did so much to flesh out the back story of space colonization.

It is premature to discuss the eulogy for the UC itself as we are only halfway through the OVA, however there is a eulogy or epitaph within the over arching one that I can discuss here: that for the Newtypes.

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.03 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP EN)  Sub(JP-EN-SP-FR-CH) Chap].mp4_snapshot_21.56_[2011.03.13_21.23.57]

To make a full essay I do think that I’ll have to take into account After War Gundam X. For now however my familiarity and experience of it is limited to my playing Super Robot Wars α Gaiden while enriching, cannot suffice. Thus I must limit my scope to the UC, even as I speculate later on in the essay as to how other works outside Gundam can be read as part of a related but broader trope, or as I’m fond of saying, tradition in science fiction.

The NT is the possibility of humanity, a hoped-for evolutionary next step by those who view the conflict-related abilities of human beings as a genetic defect. Under the lights of this theory, attributed to Zeon Zum Deilum, the vastness of space triggered this ability in humans to communicate with each other without misunderstanding, with absolute empathy, therefore eliminating the propensity and desire for conflict itself.

With this ability, the human race will be suitably adapted for space exploration and colonization. It’s interesting that Gundam is actually rather down-to-earth (LOL) in pursuing this theme, as other shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion or even Macross Frontier took this idea as a kind of way for humans to meld with one another (Eva being more aggressive with this than Macross).

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.03 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP EN)  Sub(JP-EN-SP-FR-CH) Chap].mp4_snapshot_54.41_[2011.03.14_04.58.32]

One of the tragedies of the Universal Century however is the misuse of the Newtype theory, the corruption of it if you will, as a military weapon. Newtypes were conscripted, converted, and even cultured to become advanced combat units as pilots of custom mobile weapons. Every major installment of the franchise, particularly those made by Tomino Yoshiyuki features such a tragedy:

  • Lalah Sune, weaponized by the Flanagan Institute and by Char Aznable himself (under Kycilia Zabi, Mobile Suit Gundam)
  • Four Murasame (Murasame Institute, Mobile Suit Z Gundam)
  • Rosamia Badam (Augusta Institute, Mobile Suit Z Gundam)
  • Elpeo Ple, Ple (Puru) clones (Neo Zeon, Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam)
  • Quess Paraya, weaponized by Char Aznable (2nd Neo Zeon, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack)

A number of other stories exist (Ecole du Ciel, ZZ Gundam) but they are mainly reprises of the same theme: adolescents developed and deployed as weapons by the military-industrial complex. I shouldn’t have to point out that they never end well. AU Gundams outside of X and G, lay it thick when using cruder versions of this for their purposes: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED’s Coordinators, GSD’s Extended (equivalent to Cyber NTs), and Gundam 00’s Innovators. I can make an argument that Gundam 00’s Innovator concept actually builds on and goes beyond Tomino Yoshiyuki’s Newtypes… but I won’t. It was a wasted idea in that sub-franchise.

What Gundam popularized if not outright started in Lalah Sune then Four Murasame, paved the road for highly popular and/or critically well-received characters such as Ayanami Rei of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Anemone of Eureka SeveN (arguably Eureka herself is a Lalah Sune while Anemone is a Four; that analogue can be extended to Asuka Langley Soryu and Ayanami Rei respectively). I’ll even go further and read the Macross characters Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee as Newtype idols (preceded by Nekki Basara and Mylene Flare Jenius) as their singing that have the power to create understanding across the vastness of space, that were also appropriated by the military-industrial complex at certain points of their respective stories.

In the latest episode of Unicorn, the NT-D weapon system is revealed for what it is: a weapon for a Newtype to destroy other Newtypes (NewType-Destroy system). The last of the Newtypes from the wars fight each other. The Gundam itself is now the ultimate weapon against them (as opposed to being a top-tier weapon in general). Under this development, in this milieu of a next-to-nonexistent Zeon spells out the writing on the wall: NT-based weapons development will be a senseless waste. Think about it: The Sleeves are never going to overwhelm anyone with numbers, therefore there has to be a high fighting capacity per unit ratio in their forces. However, historically Zeon’s high fighting capacity units, with the exception of several mobile armors (Big Zam, Apsalus, Neue Ziel, etc.) were Newtype weapons. This strategy is no longer even feasible while the NT-D exists.

The Gundam Unicorn may be the “key” to Laplace’s box which is said to have the power to end the Federation, but it is also the thing to unravel the hypocritical appropriation of Zeon Zum Deikun’s NT theory as a justification for war in the name of the spacenoids.

Marida Cruz, who is Ple 12 from the series of cyber Newtypes in Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam, is the last NT tragedy. Whatever happens in the end, her story thus far is a reprise of all the Newtype sob stories: a play on Lalah Sune’s brothel life with Suberoa Zinnerman playing the role of Char. The difference here is how Ple 12 ended up in a brothel after her NT weapon life, to be brought back into soldiery after that. Marida has known nothing but suffering – in this way the other Ple’s were lucky to have been killed in the first Neo-Zeon war.

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.03 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP EN)  Sub(JP-EN-SP-FR-CH) Chap].mp4_snapshot_21.29_[2011.03.13_21.23.10]

Given the previous episode, and the kindness that she treated Banagher with (Otto Midas, the captain of the Nahel Argama plays this role this episode, in a charmingly understated way; though arguably it’s really Daguza who played the role in a big way), we find how Marida isn’t embittered by her life.

In this episode, Full Frontal who could very well be the last Newtype in the service of Zeonic hopes puts Marida in harms way – sacrificing her and the Kshatriya to prove his suspicions regarding the NT-D in the RX-0, as part of his gambit in giving it back to Banagher and the Federation. Full Frontal’s  speech yields much:

The pilot is [just] a processing mechanism for converting received psycho-waves into hostility…

The Newtype Destroyer system. If it identifies the enemy as a Newtype, the suit’s limiters are disengaged. It’s a hunting machine that combines the paranormal interface of the psycho-frame abd the power to take control of an enemy’s pycommu weapons.

…The day that Newtypes can be destroyed by a product of technology is the day they will be consigned to history. Just as the Universal Century is about to mark its hundredth year, the UC [Unicorn] project was aptly named indeed.

Banagher’s awakening to regain control of the Gundam and stop it from killing Marida is significant. It is the narrative’s response to Full Frontal’s assertion that NTs can be destroyed by the power of technology. The human prevails over the machine. Newtypes live on. It is also part of an overarching theme of human agency in the face of the machine; the Gundam being both God and Devil; the multiple gray faces of both sides in the conflict – stretching all the way back in the founding of the colonies.

But, what concerns me in this post is how it asserts that the military deployment of NTs will come to an end, as so much technological resources are required to deploy them and there’s now the risk that a purely technological countermeasure can be deployed against them cheaper and more easily. Right now the Gundam is unique, and the NT-D requires a NT pilot, but this may not be the case in future designs.

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.03 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP EN)  Sub(JP-EN-SP-FR-CH) Chap].mp4_snapshot_54.38_[2011.03.14_04.58.23]

This now places NT’s significance in a solely thematic, i.e. Noncombatant plane – that of the idealized beings for peace, the beings who understand others and each other perfectly. When such a thing happens, they no longer have the most entertaining place in a robot show: fighters and pilots. This is why they’re doomed and how Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is sending them off.

But does it follow that a society of a race of NTs is a peaceful one? No. The Gundam franchise will never respond to this. I seriously doubt it. However, there is a clear answer: albeit from a different story, a different show, from a different science fiction setting. The answer is no. A race of Newtypes can and did become a vast and powerful galactic empire, far away from Earth.

Char Aznable’s dream does get fulfilled, when humanity becomes – entirely by its own will and its own powers, to become the self-styled Children of the Stars. They are the lords and leaders of the Humankind Empire Abh.

Banner of the Stars Spoor Jinto Lafiel Atosuryua

The Abh are the featured race in the science fiction series of books and OVAs that I will refer to in this post as Banner of the Stars. The narrative is remarkable in that the protagonists and the perspective from which the story unfolds is that of the “bad guys,” that is of the superior, alien-like race who are genetically engineered and bred, that declares war on humanity.

The superiority of the Abh I discuss I limit only to the physiological set of attributes that exceed those of any human being not only within its own narrative but even for all but the most powerful characters in Gundam.

They are physically quicker and stronger than human. Their life span far exceed that of humans. They retain their individuality much like any human but have a great ability to cooperate and organize with others. Lastly they have an extra sense beyond that of any human that allows them to fight and pilot war vessels unlike any human.

Banner of the Stars Novel Jinto Lafiel

It is very easy for me to imagine or contextualize them as a race and empire of cyber or artificial Newtypes. This is Zeon’s vision realized. What Zeon could not account for, perhaps not being a biologist, is that the non-Newtype strain of humanity doesn’t immediately stop breeding. There will be oldtypes even among spacenoids, and will continue to breed until they are killed off.

While the Abh’s war with the rest of humanity isn’t a war of genocide, under the lights of Zeon’s fruity theory of understanding there is an unexamined assumption that the next stage of humanity will relate with the previous stage of humanity as equals. But how could they possibly do so? Racism/xenophobia goes in all directions.

The Banner of the Stars story is unfinished to date, but one of the possible outcomes is a complete subjugation of humanity by the Abh. I cannot help but imagine this as saying something to whatever possibility the most optimistic of Newtypes have for their own futures. The thing is, we know it never happens in the UC even until the end of V Gundam, the most chronologically recent point in the history of the UC. Also, if we are to take Turn A Gundam as the culmination of all Gundam narratives, then there are no Newtypes in the future.

[TV-J] Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Unicorn - episode.03 [BD 1920x1080 h264 AAC(5.1ch JP EN)  Sub(JP-EN-SP-FR-CH) Chap].mp4_snapshot_48.36_[2011.03.14_04.50.51]

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is the great big sendoff to the anime Jedi, the often sad killers and victims, the weeping and whining residents of the cold hells of the Universal Century.

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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62 Responses to Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as a Eulogy for the Newtype

  1. Huntsman says:

    I see…bringing the Abh into the picture in order to make this argument is surely an unorthodox yet intriguing comparison…but I’ve admittedly forgotten most of the details concerning the Cos/BoS series myself. I really need to rewatch those shows one of these days.

    I do remember, however, that since their stories were more focused on the personal relationships and less on advancing the ovearching narrative after establishing the basics of the setting, perhaps the author wasn’t really too interested in developing the concept any further to begin with? Maybe we will never know.

    Back to Gundam and Unicorn…I’m tempted to conclude that the existence of later UC works such as F-91 and V, which were Tomino’s last attempts to directly extend the life of the original universe in a linear fashion, may make the message seem a little less powerful.

    Consider that Newtypes became rarer but didn’t quite disappear from the cockpits of mecha and, for that matter, post-Newtype Destroyer systems didn’t become the norm.

    If we add Turn A into the equation then the issue appears to resolve itself, of course, but then again that’s to be expected given its unique nature as a story set above and beyond all possible Gundam futures.

    However, if we only think about the era of UC that began with MSG and ended with CCA, then the themes you’ve mentioned are completely valid and extremely relevant.

    • There’s nothing that much to remember, given that my comparison is mostly on the macro level which may be tempting to dismiss as superficial… but no, it isn’t really. This is really my reading of the text; my appropriation of its themes vis-a-vis the Newtype concept. What’s important is to note that the Abh are a highly organized people despite a lot of individuality that have a large territory in space to control and are continually expanding. They are not only genetically superior to humans, they practice genetic engineering in every offspring. They have extrasensory abilities that have direct combat application. And, they are at war with humans, who consider them monsters.

  2. And good riddance! Despite being one of the unique features of the Gundam franchise I’ve felt that the Newtype concept has ranged from either ‘not that interesting’ to a curse upon the franchise for introducing some rather silly concepts into a mostly serious universe.

    But within the story itself, I’m glad that Unicorn is actually making the Newtype concept change over time. Despite my PURE RAGE over how much unimaginative rehash and cliche was in episode two I do think that episode three was a big step in the right direction. Moving towards some sort of point, finally, to the whole Newtype issue. Or the NT-D system can get mass produced and wipe out all Newtypes, I’ll be happy either way 😛

    • maglor says:

      My assessment about Episode 2 is different from yours. Rehash and cliche can work in right contents. I believe Ep 2 gave us better understanding of the characters in the story.

    • Episode two was made of win and awesome and will probably end up as one of the finest episodes in all of Gundam ever (unless Unicorn keeps getting awesomer still).

      Even outside Unicorn I think the Newtypes are a credit to the Gundam franchise, despite how shows like SEED and 00 made such a stinking mess out of it. As for the engineered child-soldier piloting giant mecha that this engendered, we’ll always have the triumphs of Evangelion and Eureka SeveN.

  3. foshizzel says:

    I love that chart of the girls! Nice and sooooo true!

    I never really cared to much for the while newtype thing, but I guess there are a few shows that copy that. Then again it does make things more epic with the newtype fighting other newtypes! At least for me anyway.

    • I started out extremely disliking the whole Newtype idea. I thought fruity powers should stay out of my grimdark science fiction. The more shows I watched, I learned to calibrate my tastes and expectations for anime and started to appreciate the concept and the work behind Newtypes and the stories that feature them. Of course it didn’t hurt that they often looked cute/hot.

      It must be said that the space reveries that the newtype hero pilots have with the (often dead) newtypes were all encounters that remained fully clothed until Flay Allster went buck naked and changed everything forever. Banagher was the first UC male to strip for the newtype encounters in space.

  4. KrimzonStriker says:

    One thing I believe that was crucially missed 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.

    • maglor says:

      I agree with most of your points. 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.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        Another thing that needs to be accounted for is that Daikum’s theory was on the basis that Newtypes were the end goal, his own aspirations at the time was to facilitate the socio-political environment for that to take place in the first place, and ensure the survival of the species as a whole.

        Unfortunately mankind as it currently is was simply too stubborn. The whole “Souls weighed down by gravity” I don’t know, but unless something profound happens to reverse that sandpit/rut of the Universal Century under the paranoid grip of the Federation hierarchy then the possibility dies. But I’m betting Unicorn isn’t going to let that happen.

      • While I like your take, what actually happens is that NT abilities are triggered during high-stress (combat) situations.

        This has more to do with Gundam, as anime, has a propensity to indulge dialogue-presented conflict during duels. The NT space reverie is the device used to engender insight into the lead pilot. Outside of this, the show itself is the primary culprit of weaponizing NT abilities. Amuro’s abilities came into its own when he became the real “Nightmare of Solomon.”

        That being said, your take is a satisfying Watsonian perspective to my Doylist one.

        • KrimzonStriker says:

          I always thought it was of the personalization of the conflict in general, kind of like a “every individual is their own universe” which I somewhat liken to Daiguza’s soliloquy of becoming more then just a nameless cog. Just as war consumes untold numbers of lives an individual can in turn change the face of war.

          Mindless mecha battles after-all, while having their own entertainment value, doesn’t quite carry the same impact and drama (when trying to be serious) without the faces underneath them.

          In the literary sense I’m more prone to thinking that as a plot device Newtypes or Newtype esque characters will never really be abandoned by the Gundam franchise in quite the way I think you mean, “War is hell” being the running theme as you know. There has to be two sides to everything in order to balance characters motivation, consequence and hope, and some type of eventual end-game.

          I can take you up on the Doylist as well if you like, though I appreciate the compliment in that regard 😀

          • I think Newtype-esque characters will still be there, though I wonder what kind of future will there be in the UC. V was such a mess that I don’t even know how they’ll reset from there. Otherwise, side stories from the Zeon saga will be rather narrow and small, albeit always interesting for me (e.g. should they animate Ecole du Ciel).

            I do think however, that one needn’t be an NT to join the War is Hell chorus. Shiro Amada played that role pretty well (Uraki Kou, not so much); Bernie Wiseman too.

            I do agree that the grander narrative of the evolution of humanity and the implied peace is a pretty strong end-game. 00 would’ve done well with this, but totally botched the alien plot direction.

    • You’re right. I just rewatched the scene and yeah I sure dropped the ball by not remembering it.

      As for Cardeas’ speech I pretty much took it for granted in this post since I’ve commented on it many posts ago (it’s obvious how much I’m getting out of this OVA given that this is my 8th post for three episodes LOL).

      The time element is pretty huge. The Universal Century, or specifically the Zeon saga is history on hyper-speed. Over the course of a decade major wars took place that are in themselves very, very short. No surprise given that the first one was a one year war. We can argue that the Newtype theory put forth by Zeon Zum Deikum is further victimized by this tremendous hurry, but then again it was misappropriated in the first place to pad support for what pretty much was a political and not an ideological conflict with the Earth Federation.

      My “grave” for the Newtype, as is the theme of this post is not so much the complete and utter extinction as it sounds, but something more consistent with how the franchise itself leaves the door open. After all, the Turn A and the Turn X didn’t go away. They were wrapped in a cocoon. They may turn (LOL NICE PUN) into something else but still Gundam in the future… and yet, the show is the end of things. So it is the case as well in Unicorn, in the spirit of my thinking.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        In that case I don’t believe Unicorn encapsulates just the eulogy of Newtypes, but also of the whole sordid history of the past hundred years of the Universal Century. Once again it will come to the God of Possibility to try and salvage this era. Instead of an “end” persay, I believe this will be more like a ‘reset’, a new beginning if you will, to start over and give humanity the time to work through its problems again. If we must go to the post Unicorn era then we can at least begin to see the slow transition away from the monolithic rule of the Federation, as Deikum had intended. So for now I think NewTypes are on “hold” as it were, while giving ample opportunity for new conflicts that need to be worked through and furtherance of the franchise in general. Though honestly, I don’t believe we’ll ever actually go beyond Unicorn again the UC timeline anyway, perhaps more inter-zeonic war scenarios, but I think the God of Possibility will be the final fitting send off for the Universal Century.

        God I hate the Turn series sometimes, they leave me just utterly confused as to how events connect the two, then again most post Zeonic conflicts do that, and why I hope Tomino will never touch those sordid affairs again with a meter long pole T_T

        • Yes, Unicorn is the requiem for the UC as I began to say in this post. I just don’t want to overextend that point because we are only halfway through the OVA. It’s clear to me how the Newtypes are being sung their farewells not so much as a character type or a species, but as a dominant idea in the Universal Century.

          The franchise sprawled and will continue to do so in a tangled mess, and speaking for myself Turn A Gundam as the end of all possible Gundam narratives is a great idea.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            Really now? I was never able to get into the idea honestly, it felt like too much of a disconnect with all the implications involved. Or just my love for the everything from Unicorn down is just too strong.

          • Yes.

            By elegant I don’t mean everything (or even most of it) seamlessly fits. More like, elegant because of the simplicity of it. Kind of like Alexandros undoing the Gordian Knot by cutting it with a sword.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            Meh, I like complex drama’s, and leaving a more open world in order to draw out new possibilities for the future, like the original MSG :p

            Not to say I don’t like prequels or “how we got here’s”, I just dislike an overarching guideline with a disconnect as to how everything plays out, is all. But that’s me I guess.

  5. WhatSht says:

    if turn A is truly the “culmination of all Gundam narratives”, then what im assuming is, banagher went crazy and killed all newtypes(or maybe almost all) with the unicorn in NT-D.

    • Newtypes were never again so central/influential to UC thought, stragegy and tactics since. That said, they didn’t go extinct as the Gundam F91 was a Newtype machine, and Seabrook went on to fight in Crossbone Gundam. In Victory, Usso was quite a skilled NT pilot, and perhaps Shakti was the first NT of mass destruction (it is actually FAR LESS impressive as that sounds /facepalm). Even so, while I’ve little doubt that Angel Halo was an NT tactical weapon… the whole thing wasn’t born out of the idea of the Newtype as Zeon and the succeeding Zabis thought of it (and the Titans), the NTs in V seem to be incidentally so.

      • WhatSht says:

        after re-reading this post again, i just wanna say that the NT concept wasnt really clear in Gundam seed/destiny, but one that we can be sure, the extendeds are equivalent to Cyber NTs, since the damn coordinators didnt have special abilities that normal humans didnt have(other than being stronger, etc), the coordinators can’t be counted as NTs.

        i think only those with the Superior Evolutionary Element Destined-factor(SEED factor) can be counted as NTs.

        according to gundamofficial.com, in theory, those who possess the SEED factor have the ability to advance to the next stage of human evolution-an ability unrelated to whether the carrier is a Natural or a Coordinator.

        the extendeds can be thought to be Cyber NTs, since they go crazy in battle, as though they are in “SEED mode”.

        well, on a side note, the timeline of Gundam Seed starts from the ending of the AD calendar, 16 years before the CE calendar started.

  6. maglor says:

    There is an angle that always bothered me about Gundam and Banner of Stars series. Both of the series has some elements that can be perceived as an attempt to justify the concept of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_East_Asia_Co-Prosperity_Sphere . It never is comfortable trying to empathize with non-democratic power which has chance to rule the entire humanity. This may be is because some part of stories reminds some people of the following – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_war_crimes

    • KrimzonStriker says:

      You need to look at Legend of the Galactic Heroes then, its quite easy to see the pros and even accept autocratic rule if it benefits the society and people as a whole, AND ends up winning out in the end.

    • Putting things that way, it’s quite difficult to not get disturbed. After all, Japan did occupy us (the Philippines) as part of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (as would Zeon later on in the OYW) where my grandfather fought and survived the Fall of Bataan and the Death March. It’s part of my long conversation with the concept of guilty pleasures (too long and complex to discuss here).

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        My family managed to live through the occupation in the rural villages of China alright (though all their livestock was killed) though apparently my great-grandfather was a transport sailor working for the U.S Army.

        That all aside I try not to let my personal morals get in the way of an objective analysis, even those actions, systems, or ways of thinking that make you apprehensive might have some insight and benefit too it as well, like Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

  7. schneider says:

    Let me fill in the Gundam X stuff for you:

    Tiffa Adill is a Newtype with zero combat ability. But since she’s a Newtype (and a very strong one at that), military organizations covet her to power up their Newtype-only weaponry, and other ghastly things. Newtypes in Gundam X are quite pitiable, since they really get no respect, and unscrupulous people only see them as tools for their own schemes.

    That said, I think Tiffa is the purest Newtype in the entire Gundam metaverse, as her key character trait is empathizing with humans (dolphins, even). She isn’t a weapon of war, and the show goes to great lengths to keep her from becoming so. In Gundam X, you have a Newtype (Jamil Neate) commanding a ship in order to search and protect others Newtypes from exploiters who would enslave them for war, and quell those who would want to start wars again.

    There’s a more conventional, UC-esque Newtype in the show (who’ll fit in the bottom row of the image you made nicely), but I’m loath to reveal more.

    The NT-D conceit doesn’t happen in the After War timeline because technology got so fucked up after the war that even mobile suits from 15 years ago are even more advanced than the current ones.

    • It’s consistent with what I understand from playing SRWaG, thanks.

      I like Jamil a lot, as an adult with regrets and trying to atone for them as a life/combat purpose. Thanks for all of this and especially the tech tree note. That explains much.

  8. SquareSphere says:

    And then a crazy/defective/murdering newtype/artificial newtype appears that has somehow mutated/evolved past the previous restrictions of the NT-D system to start war anew along with a new arms race.

    Yep we’ve seen that before to. :-/

    • Is this some kind of spoiler? Don’t spoil me please.

      • SquareSphere says:

        no spoiler, but it’s a common story telling strat when they want to milk a fanchise. Just look Gundam OO.

        • You seem to suggest that “milking” a franchise is a bad thing.

          • Reid says:

            I think what he means is that most series invoke a combination of the “sorting algorithm of evil” and “lensman arms race” tropes. Here are explanations from TV Tropes:

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SortingAlgorithmOfEvil

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LensmanArmsRace

            Personally, I don’t see and alternative to “milking” a franchise if that’s what people continue to want to see. Look at all superhero comics – the same stuff gets repeated over and over and then reset or spiraled off into alternate universes. The thing about revisiting or “milking” a franchise is that it can reveal more nuances of the character when done properly. That is, familiar characters in similar, seemingly repetitious, situations allow an author to flesh the different dynamics of a given character’s personality or to give a more realized vision of a scenario.

          • I don’t see it as a bad thing. The tropes mentioned often presented problems that existed prior to sequels (e.g. the case of the OYW, also Evangelion). It has so much to do with execution and not the spirit of bringing more stories as part of a franchise.

          • SquareSphere says:

            i don’t have any problem with continuing series as long as they’re planned that way. It’s just that with the recent Gundam/mecha series the continuations have been sloppy and tend to throw away any good story development done in the first season.

            Biggest offenders are Code Geass and Gundam OO

          • Huntsman says:

            I would disagree with SquareSphere, not because those series didn’t ultimately run into a number of unfortunate flaws, but because I don’t think they “threw away any good story development” in spite of their problems.

            In other words, I don’t think something “sloppy” is automatically worthless…nor do I think that “milking” is automatically sloppy either.

            What’s more, I don’t see how that’s related to Gundam Unicorn in any case.

        • Skribulous says:

          Funny, because you just described what might be the Banshee’s role.

  9. Pingback: KrimzonStriker on (The Tears of) Time That Newtypes Didn’t Have | The Ghosts of Discussions

  10. Pingback: Maglor on Genetic Evolution and Memetic Discourse on the Newtype Theory | The Ghosts of Discussions

  11. adaywithoutme says:

    Enidsefjore;vflrw

    Dammit, guess I AM going to have to watch Gundam Unicorn.

  12. Jack says:

    While I respect that the creators ofGundam Unicron wish to tackle the Newtype concept in a manner more original than most, I have very little interest in Newtypes themselves.

    It seems that, at times, Gundam stories get bogged down by discussions of Newtypes rather than, say, discussions of the shows actual setting, plot, characters and so forth.

    It’s not even that I feel that space Jedi’s are essentially to silly to be in a serious Gundam show (although they are rather silly), I’ve just never encountered a well executed “Newtype storyline” or character arc.

    If you want to have a discussion about the possibility of humanity changing as they start living in space, then make your story about that. Explore that concept to it’s fullest. But don’t just insert them, rather awkwardly, into your war stories.

    • Huntsman says:

      I would agree with you as far as Gundam in general is concerned, but in the case of Unicorn there seems to be a far more solid and intentional connection between developing the concept of Newtypes and advancing the actual story or setting.

      It doesn’t come across as much of a forceful inclusion when, for example, RX-0 and the NT-D system are meant to be the “key” to whatever Laplace’s Box is.

      As far as we can tell, you cannot properly operate either of those without a Newtype and this isn’t exclusively a mechanical process but one that also interacts with the pilot’s state of mind and heart, as corny as the idea might sound.

      In fact, after three episodes you could argue that Newtypes -artificial or otherwise- appear to be far more relevant than usual even in terms of character development, if Marida and Banagher are anything to go by.

    • Beyond agreeing with Huntsman about Unicorn in particular, I do think that the Gundam TV shows of the UC as a whole are NOT exemplary written nor executed. A whole bunch of nonsense goes on and shows up in jarring and annoying ways. Often people refer to this as LOLTOMINO, which I am almost certain is uncharitably applied to NTs and NT-related elements.

      I also think that when it comes to NTs, Gundam is always serious, which adds to the problematic experience felt by many. I for one, did not like NTs at all until I made a conscious choice to accept the concept as integral to Gundam. I make this choice as a fan of the work, and not as a reviewer passing value judgment in an attempt to secure or depose Gundam’s critical place in some anime canon.

      • Jack says:

        Oh, I was agreeing with your main position in the article, that the Newtype plot is integral to the Unicorn storyline. I wasn’t disagreeing with that so much as using it as a rather weak excuse to bash Newtypes in general.

        I actually enjoy Tomino’s weirdness, his quirky style is always a refreshing change of pace. I just don’t think he’s very good at being ‘serious’.

  13. Interesting, I never thought of comparing the tragic female figures of early Gundam with those in other pivotal mecha series. That’s probably because I was too busy comparing them to other females in the Gundam metaverse. It’s not that hard given a little thought though. When you use Four as an example it becomes pretty easy to see how the “crazy/psycho b*tch” characters could all be linked/compared to her. And to me, Anemone might be the apex of that archetype of a broken weapon.

    It might be that despite her somewhat quirky personality (it’s been awhile since I’ve watched 0079), she seemed too normal to me and I had trouble comparing her to the living dolls that Rei and Eureka were.

    As for your main point about the Newtypes, it felt strange watching this episode of Unicorn and trying to grasp the point they were making. It makes me wonder if this is going to outright retcon the post Char/Amuro era or if the technology they’re displaying will actually fail or be lost in time. If technology based anti-Newtype weaponry is available for the later (chronologically) series, then there seems to be no point or way that F91 (not yet watched) or Victory Gundam can exist.

    Then again, they could do what I fear most. They could introduce all this new technology and not even address the changes it would make between the various series. But for now I’m enjoying these installments way too much. And I’ll worry about all that stuff two years from now, when the dust has settled.

    • Lalah is not a living doll, and her similarity to Rei, Eureka, and Ranka have mostly to do with her latent powers. That said, there is some similarity to Lalah being “rescued” by Char and Eureka being “protected” by Holland. I call it remembering love, but that’s me.

      There’s going to be a whole bunch of time skipped all the way to F91 (go watch it, it’s short, pretty, and facepalm-inducing LOL), so the technology will be lost. I just fervently wish that the excuse will be FAR BETTER than what was offered at the end of Stardust Memory.

  14. Matt Wells says:

    And just to debase and drag down this otherwise excellent and intelligent discourse…

    Did anybody else scroll along that picture like a drooling pervert, only to have your glimmer of sexual feeling quashed by Quess Fucking Pariah and the downright creepy two puru’s? Seriously, the proportions on those two make them look like genuine, realistic LITTLE GIRLS! Their subsequent fetishisation by Gundam lolicons only makes it all the more creepy.

    C’mon, MOVE you stupid newtype jailbait, you’re blocking the view of the legal MS pilots! Yeah Sayla, you work those legwarmers, ye dirty tart…

  15. Pingback: WHY WE CAN HAVE NICE THINGS, or, How The Gundam Fandom Can Find Their Own Personal Newtype | We Remember Love

  16. Aorii says:

    Thanks for this post, it’s very helpful in understanding/enjoying Unicorn 3 in hindsight, because I spent quarter of the episode annoyed at the sheer ridiculousness of the Unicorn and its Newtype Destroyer system. I mean the moment it joins battle on one side, this has stopped being a ‘battle’ or ‘war’ and turned immediately into a wholesome one-sided ‘slaughter’… seeing a purpose to that all does help, although frankly I still think it’s naive to presume a single system being capable of discouraging weaponization of NewTypes. Sure, they’ll get murdered against NT-D, but they still ruin everything else, and military balance is a game of quantity as much as quality. As far as I can tell thus far, NT-D doesn’t seem to be something good for mass-deployment, so it certainly can’t be everywhere at once.

    Unfortunately I don’t think Banner will ever finish. Baka-Tsuki actually has the 4th, unadapted light novel translated, but the general belief amongst followers is that Morioka-sensei advanced the whole Abh war against mankind too quickly, too successfully, that he’s not sure where to go next anymore. By and most from the books’ flow, is seems the decisive campaign in Banner I was really the last chance the human factions had of resisting Abh dominance, and everything since has just been steamrolling… good for the empire itself, not as much for fictional development.

    • So glad you like it.

      Several things:

      1. I believe a battle can be exciting without parity. It’s all in the portrayal. For example, in SDF Macross, for the most part the Zentraedi mecha are giant space coffins who have no competitive advantage over Variable Fighters whatsoever (size just makes them easier to shoot). The ratio of kills is estimated at 6 Regults for every VF shot down. There are only around 300 VFs at any given time and EACH Zentran ship have at least 1,000 Regults on board, so at certain battles the ration could be 10:1.

      2. Duels on the other hand, are more enjoyable when there is parity. Still, I don’t think a tight fight throughout the duration is necessarily more exciting. We can look at some or many of the Evangelion battles and see how the pendulum swings from very extreme dominant turns. The battles were a big part of the excitement there too. Also, Amuro in the Nv-Gundam = RAEP TIEM in CCA, and was an incredibly awesome run.

      I’d take NT-D raep in ep 03 over the multitude of Kamille’s skirmishes in Z Gundam.

      3. Imagine the presence of NT-D in a Gundam (1 unit) in any significant engagement involving NTs from OYW to CCA. The NTs are screwed. The only time I imagine there would be a great need for more than one unit is in ZZ Gundam, but then again, most of the NTs were killing each other (Haman vs. Glemy factions ughhhhh) so maybe not even going to make a difference. In CCA, Gyunei and Quess would’ve been TOAST (not that they weren’t).

      4. T_T but I think just one big wrap-up and/or a massive timeskip would be interesting.

  17. Cynthia says:

    You mentioned before that you didn’t care for Terra E…, but are you aware of how the concept of Newtypes in Gundam is similar to that of the Mu in Terra E…? Especially the part about Mu being a natural evolution in humans.

    • Yes, I am aware. Evolution in humans resulting in psychic powers is a Science Fiction tradition and can even be found in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels. Gundam 00 went so far as to reference the Harry Seldon character in Foundation through an “Expy” Aeolia Schernberg.

  18. Turambar says:

    If Gundam Unicorn is the herald to the displacement of Newtypes as a military asset, than Gundam X is what unseats them as the other half of the equation: seemingly mystical beings with the ability to communicate on a higher plane. Since you’ve played Alpha Gaiden, you’re probably familiar with the climax of the series, the meeting of the show’s cast with D.O.M.E. (the first ever Newtype who was dismantled and incorporated into a computer). It is not a coincidence that Jamil would claimed to have felt as if he could see through time as a pilot, and D.O.M.E.’s response was a complete and utter denial of it.

    Jamil: “Was all of that an illusion?”
    DOME: “Yes.”

    Gundam X fills in the other half of the equation perfectly in this sense. Newtypes are not the key to the future not just because their powers are corrupted by the oldtypes around them, but rather because they do not have such powers to begin with. Those dependent on them will get no where. Zeon Zum Deikun’s ideology, even in its purest form, was a false one to begin with.

    • Too bad Gundam X the anime is near-unwatchable… not crushingly terrible like Gundam Wing (which I just finished moments ago before writing this reply), but something that doesn’t act interested in getting me to watch it… to follow what’s going on, etc. It’d be interesting indeed to have a fuller appreciation of its essay on the passing of the NT ideal.

  19. andrew says:

    I really feel Victory Gundam is a very good UC series. I like that it kind of looks at newtypes from a different angle though it does not really have too much in the philosophical sense.

  20. 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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