When I was still a complete outsider to the Gundam fandom (I consider myself still pretty much a newfag) I was utterly fascinated by how disgusting it is. I still am. It’s still disgusting. Why? War is hell, etc.
There seems to be a perpetual pissing match among fans. What’s at stake? Who gets to look down on whom: UC is great, AU is shit. G Gundam is super robot garbage. V Gundam is GRIMDARK while your Gundam 00 is wannabe relevant rubbish. G Savior is the best (no, I made that up). Turn A is not Gundam. Katoki ruins every mobile suit he touches. People who don’t understand the lore don’t deserve to build Gunpla. Gundam SEED is just a commercial for shitty overpriced toys made for man-children, while 08th MS Team is ART. All Gundam since Wing is for gay-slashing fangirls. Gundam is better without Tomino.
What’s fascinating is that these statements come from within the fandom. This is the same fandom that at one point saved the would-be franchise from oblivion precisely by buying every Gundam-related toy ever made. Fractured, and with no discernable desire of being anything but. There’s no incentive to be anything else really, though sometimes there are those who wish for some form of unity. After all, we all like Gundam in some form right?
But who am I kidding? There just seems to be so much gratification to be had to form cliques – which in many ways are reactions to other groups. And such groups, in the space of fan and hobby matters, are ideologically driven. Ideals presume hierarchy: there’s the ideal, and there are the things less than ideal.
But as I advocate, culture is pretty much flat. Ideals are chosen and are contingent, not necessary. Mobile Suit Z Gundam is NOT necessarily superior than Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. One must crush and shame hundreds of thousands of fags to make this evident to everyone who cares. Our ideals pretty much operate as biases in day-to-day fan life.
But in this space of fandom, it is the hope of some – like Owada Hideki, that all the fans would evolve, with abilities to deal with the vastness of this very space. In the Universal Century, the Newtype ideal failed. Perhaps it must live within the fandom first, as Owara seems to suggest. We, as fans must find what being a Newtype means for ourselves. Maybe then we would all achieve complete understanding of each other.
Feasible? Not a chance.
Could I personally use less haterade among Gundam fans? Yes, though it doesn’t mean I actually propose that we become less authentic about our feelings regarding Gundam shows and related products, that we pretend to like what we don’t. What I’m more interested in is the departure from the need to feel and act superior over each other even if we encounter the fans of things we consider the shittiest Gundam-related thing ever shat out of a butt. Maybe when we all activate our Newtype powers, until then may the space flamingoes find you and keep you.
Further Reading: An abridged set of links demonstrating fan uh, divisiveness related to Gundam.
Haven’t seen any Gundam at all? Don’t know where to start? Find your Gateway Gundam
Bonus: The Possibilities of Gundam [open image on a new tab for awesomeness]