Archive for February 15th, 2008

The Case for Gundam Solidarity (With Bonus Meyrin)

Ahh, Gundam. The debates never end on which series is great and which series are utter tripe unfit to crust the shoes of the speaker after a walk through a field on a rainy day. Where is the solidarity?

It’s gone on hiatus somewhere, apparently. Unfortunately, and this is the case with most of anime, people are somewhat unable to set aside preconceptions and expectations and watch something for what it is. It’s common with every human; I do it myself when it comes down to me trying to watch something that isn’t anime. It’s somewhat depressing, then, that one of the major titles that anime has to offer, a series whose name only has to be mentioned to invoke the thought of anime, Gundam, has the division in its fanbase. Such is humanity.

The joy of Gundam, to me, and I’ve stated this before, is in watching how different directors and writers approach the same concept. There’s such variety, we get everything from the super-robot-esque G Gundam to the post-apocalyptic Gundam X to the semi-steampunk Turn A. The least innovative of the AU series in respect to UC proper was SEED, as it was a remake of the original series; but even there, it changed things up a lot. They all have their own personality, their own quirks. Some are more serious than others, some are darker than others, and some are just…Gundam. The unifying factor between all the series are the Gundam units themselves, whether they be airborne or laden with giant beam cannons or even windmills in disguise.

It’s understandable to not like a certain Gundam series for some reason or another, but it doesn’t necessarily make it inferior Gundam. I myself don’t like Destiny, and there’s very justifiable reasons for this, but up until the last 10 episodes or so it was doing just fine as I watched it week by week. It wasn’t bad, per se, the writers just had a couple plot points loosely mapped out and couldn’t quite connect them without losing something. Destiny is an exception, though, as the first AU sequel series, they probably had forgotten how to make a second series set in the same universe.

But it’s not Destiny that’s getting picked on, here, it’s all the other series, from UC to FC to AC to AW to CC to CE to AD. And these all have merits of their own; you may not necessarily like what they’re doing, but that doesn’t mean they suck. The constant bickering over which series is better daunts newcomers to the franchise: they ask a question such as “Where do I start with Gundam?” and get 50 responses, none of which agree with each other. The correct answer to “where do I start with Gundam?” is, of course, wherever the hell y0u feel like starting. There’s a Gundam series for every taste and every walk of life, just like there’s an anime for every taste and every walk of life.

“A kingdom divided amongst itself must fall,” and, while Gundam may not quite fall completely, if there’s enough insular bickering amongst the fans of the giant umbrella we call Gundam, new fans will start to dwindle, and the meager US fanbase for Gundam will slowly evaporate. I don’t know about the Japanese situation in regards to Gundam fans, but I’d imagine it’s much the same, except on a larger scale. It’s self-defeating to the point that it’s almost ludicrous. You can like any series that has the name Gundam in the title and be a Gundam fan; holistic fans such as myself are a rare breed. There’s just no call to hate on someone who likes a different Gundam series than you do. It’s all the same, except different.



I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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February 2008