Turn-A Gundam: Turn! Turn! Turn! A!

The confusion implicit in this screencap (Dianna is Kihel here), more or less, is Turn-A in a nutshell.

This post is circa episode 23, so expect spoilers when applicable.

If Universal Century Gundam is Tomino’s exploration of human evoution more than a masterwork of anti-war anime (and you’ll have to forgive me as I’ve forgotten where I read that; I think it was a comment somewhere around the aniblogohedron, perhaps Schneider?), then Correct Century is Tomino actually taking on the anti-war angle more head-on, it seems. First and foremost in my mind is the shifting lines between who’s fighting for whom, when. Unlike Zeta Gundam’s gradual fractioning of the various agencies that compromised the Titans and the A.E.U.G., this isn’t necessarily betrayal; rather, it’s much more complex than that.

For one, Kihel Heim and Dianna Soriel switched places. The inherent comic irony in having the grand leader of Dianna Counter swap places with the secretary to a now-useless Guin Lineford–very much a princess-and-the-pauper effect, even if Kihel is extremely ladylike herself. The usual accompaniment of morality associated with the classic tale of role reversal is clearly present: Dianna learns about the hardship of human life on Earth and experiences up close the ravages of war in the surgical room; Kihel, meanwhile, finds her hands full trying to balance out all the duties of state, appease her advisers, Dianna Counter, and the Militia alike. And, even if it’s stressful, both recognize the other’s feats: Dianna feels genuine grief over the death of Kihel’s father, and Kihel delivers (as Dianna) a declaration that expresses Dianna’s innermost feelings better than she feels even she could.

In the midst of all this, of course, people shift sides almost recklessly: Will Game meets Dianna, the girl his grandfather always reminisced about, and, not realizing that she is Dianna, joins Dianna Counter to travel to the moon and meet Dianna, and gets himself killed. Corin Nander, a decidedly psychopathic killer unleashed by shadowy Moonrace factions in order to provoke more tension between Earth and Moon, is defeated by Dianna and Loran, only to show up later at Keith’s bakery as a kindly if eccentric travelling monk, sans memories of anything except the terror of the Turn-A Gundam. Corin’s accomplices Jacop and Bruno attach themselves to Teteth as she embarks on a quest to assassinate Dianna (not realizing that Dianna is Kihel), then when luck turns bad attach themselves to Loran’s Gallop and nearly unwittingly assist in the eventual death of Teteth. Harry Ord, he of more potent manliness than Char Aznable (I’m half-expecting a SUPER HARRY moment a la SUPER ASIA although I know it’s not coming), is forced into fighting Dianna Counter in order to protect the true Dianna from Poe rampaging with a giant beam weapon.

Does this sound confusing? Not as confusing as this was to me:

I still cannot believe Agrippa Maintainer has such cute pyjamas. Like, seriously. You dont wear those pyjamas when youre an EVIL-LOOKING MASTERMIND.

I still cannot believe Agrippa Maintainer MIDGARD SORRY GUYS has such cute pyjamas. Like, seriously. You don't wear those pyjamas when you're an EVIL-LOOKING CONSPIRATORIAL MASTERMIND.

Turn-A’s war is a literal quagmire of a war, one where a unified will doesn’t exist on any one side. Lines blur; the greatest enemy for the Moonrace might be a faction in their own ranks, and the same for the loosely banded Earthrace. Driving a lot of the actions are raw emotion: Sochie refuses to give in to the Moonrace because of her father’s death, and so prolongs the conflict in her rage-born attempts to wreak revenge. Poe is similar, except rather than any one particular death, she’s instead obsessed with defeating the Turn-A, which she can never seem to do; each successive attempt drives her even further up the wall with rage and steels her resolve to take the battle to the next level. It’s a distinctly different sense from the betrayal-prone Zeta sides: Zeta factions were in tenuous alliances with each other that eventually disintegrated; Turn-A has people from both sides working towards a certain, common goal, one they can’t seem to agree on the exact nature of, and doing it through wildly varied means.

Amidst this all stands the Turn-A, more useful, it seems, as impromptu cow transport, clothesline, washing machine, and inadvertent comic relief as it tries to reattach its head in the midst of sudden combat. It is a focal point for the combat between the two sides, but it’s not really been doing much of anything, really; it didn’t even start working until the surprise Dianna Counter attack and quickly came to dominate the dialogue between the two sides. Loran refuses to fight in the Turn-A as much as possible, keeping damage and causalities to a minimum when he does. For all of its threatening to Corin, who deems it the “white devil of the Black History”, it has that comical moustache that makes it look fairly silly. It’s allegedly dangerous, and that’s why the Moonrace rushes to control it, to prevent the Black History from happening again.

But–again–it’s not doing anything. So what gives?

(Of course, I–having already seen the series–know exactly what’s up, but, since this is a post limited to the first twenty-three episodes, for the sake of my sanity and thought process, and your presumed spoiler inhibition, all I can really say is that. Alas. Now I want to watch more, harder, better, faster, and stronger*–more or less so I can write what is now tumbling around in my mind and at least give some kind of weird voice to stray thoughts.)

* this is why that is there, since that took place two hours ago from now, which is not the now you are reading this, but the now I am writing this, which isn’t even a single isolated temporal unit and oh forget it

7 Responses to “Turn-A Gundam: Turn! Turn! Turn! A!”

  1. 1 schneider 17 February 2009 at 1:27 am

    Whoa, I don’t really remember making a comment like that, but fine!

    Actually, that’s not Agrippa Maintainer. That’s Midgard. Harry’s nightclothes are also lols.

    I can’t remember much of the show’s middle, but I know that Gavane Gooney has already been introduced somewhere. That poor guy.

  2. 2 OGT 17 February 2009 at 1:33 am

    @schneider: I wasn’t for sure who I read it from; your name popped in my head and–hey–free link!

    I guess that is Midgard–I guess I forgot who was who in the several years. I remembered Midgard’s features and the name Agrippa Maintainer and I don’t know if I ever distinguished the two in memory. Oops.

    Gavane Gooney is awesome. I was at a friend’s house the other day, and (for some ungodly reason) they were subjecting us to Full House episodes dubbed into Japanese. I noticed, with great relish, that the actor who dubbed Bob Saget was none other than Houchu Otsuka, better known as our friend GAVANE GOONEY.


  3. 3 Crusader 17 February 2009 at 2:34 am

    Say have you seen Laura Rola? Harry Ord told me to look for her. :P

  4. 4 Son Gohan 17 February 2009 at 5:36 am

    I am looking forward to the second part of this review because I never really grasped the ending of Turn A…

    • 5 OGT 17 February 2009 at 8:44 am

      @Crusader: If I see her, I’ll let him know, okay? I hear she’s a real stunner!

      @Son Gohan: I’m not sure how possible it is to grasp the ending of anything directed by Tomino (I remember First Gundam and Zeta being fairly inscrutable, and Overman King Gainer, as awesome as it was, was downright nonsensical from start to end), but if I can make Turn-A make even one more iota of sense, I’ve at least done SOMETHING useful.

  5. 6 schneider 18 February 2009 at 11:09 am

    @ OGT

    Okay, he’s Yazan, Chibodee and FMP’s Gates too. That’s godly.

    He could’ve made Sochie happy too, if she forgot about that prude Loran. Gee, talk about sleeping in separate rooms…

  6. 7 ghostlightning 3 May 2009 at 9:47 am

    I’ve come to enjoy 33 episodes of Turn-A partly due to giving up my need to make sense of everything.

    Rather, I’ve let the show work its magic on me, because it has something awesome going for it:


    I can’t distinguish it or articulate it, but I’m certain that’s what’s working for me.

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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 2009

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