Turn-A Gundam: Gym Ghingnham and the Sippy Teacup of Doom

I still find it hilarious that the most evil man in Turn-A Gundam has a sippy teacup. Its zero-G, yes, but...sippy teacup?

I still find it hilarious that the most evil man in Turn-A Gundam has a sippy teacup. It's zero-G, yes, but...sippy teacup?

It is with a heavy sort of heart that I notice that, in Turn-A Gundam, there only seem to be three people who actually seem to want actual peace: Loran, Harry, Dianna, and Kihel. Considering that, at this point in time, the latter two are essentially the same person, this does not seem to be a very good situation to be in.

In fact, by this point (episode 40), I don’t think there’s a single group of people larger than about ten people who aren’t also working at cross purposes, even if they are “allied” with other groups of people. Dianna Counter has more or less betrayed their namesake for a coup d’etat and are functioning on different aims than the Agrippa Maintainer faction (which itself doesn’t have the greatest control of its elements) despite being set up by them; Luzianna and Guin Lineford seem to be on shaky ground most of the time, even if Lily Borjanon sticks around Guin and the Militia and the Suicide Squad cooperate with each other easily. Even in the “Loran and Dianna faction”, everyone has different motives, and even Harry Ord seems to be operating counter to Loran’s expectations.

And then Gym Ghingnham shows up with his Evil Sippy Teacup and an actually menacing object: the Turn-X. If the Turn-A is the famed White Devil of Black History memory, then the Turn-X is humanity’s savior in giant green Gundam form. As Gym conveniently expositions to us, in a voice that could only belong to Takehito Koyasu, the Turn-A and Turn-X are brothers and enemies–the X of Turn-X is literally the Turn-A’s symbol stacked on top of a similar A to produce an X–and, since both have been reawakened, both must now, as in the Black History, duel for the fate of humanity. The “rivalry” is deeply ingrained in the systems of the two units: Turn-A’s systems seem to respond almost innately to the Turn-X, much as it responded automatically when Dianna Counter botched the landing process on Earth.

Like Turn-A and Turn-X, Dianna and Kihel are two sides of the same coin--but they work in tandem, whereas the Turn-A and Turn-X work. (also pointless picture break)

Like Turn-A and Turn-X, Dianna and Kihel are two sides of the same coin--but they work in tandem, whereas the Turn-A and Turn-X work. (also pointless picture break)

In fact, in stark contrast to the AU Five Gundam Rule gold standard, and SEED and G’s cornucopia of Gundam units, Turn-A gives us two Gundam units, that are mortal enemies: one for progress and one for destruction. The Black History seems to indicate that the Turn-A is the Devil and the Turn-X the Savior…but who’s piloting them now? Loran uses the Turn-A far, far more for things that don’t involve destruction (and tries to avoid as much combat as he can); even the nuclear bombs he carried after the disaster at Lost Mountain that claimed Gavane Gooney’s life were used for positive means. As if gratifying the terrible burden in Turn-A’s chest Loran had borne (SYMBOLISM and that actually just occured to me now) Loran uses the nuclear warheads to prevent the destroyed Mistletoe colony from destroying the Moon’s capital. Turn-A is now some kind of hippie Gundam, in stark contrast to the Moon Hippies who violate all kinds of hippie rules left and right. Meanwhile, the Turn-X is in the broad, strong hands of the impeccably handsome Gym Ghingnham, who, quite unlike the romance novel model he is so often compared to, is anything but a kind, sensitive individual with an endearingly rough exterior; he opted for the “rough exterior”, decided against the endearing bit (this is extrinsically debatable but intrinisically a fact), and then forgot to get an interior. Joy.

It seems as if the pieces have been set for an epic Miltonic clash of Gundam proportiuon (a clash that will be quite unlike G Gundam, the most explicitly Biblical fanservice Gundam series of them all), except that, apparently, Paradise has already been Lost before (perhaps even several times over!! pseudo-spoilers!!) and it seems as if the table has been turned while no one was looking, sticking the Gundam units on the opposite sides and causing everyone else to move to odd places that they shouldn’t be in but are.

On a lighter note:

what.

what.

I note with relish that Turn-A Gundam is one of Tomino’s more light-hearted entries into the Gundam cantos, always a risky prospect with Gundam fans and with Tomino himself, apparently. But Turn-A seems to pull it off with Neo-Tomino stylings. I’ve not seen ZZ Gundam nor Victory Gundam (nor Daitarn 3, nor Xabungle, nor Vifam, nor…) so I’ve no idea how Shin-Tomino handled the “not being serious” thing, but if Turn-A‘s humor fails I forgive it because everything’s so patently ridiculous I don’t mind too much. I mean, we have Moon Hippies. We have Aztec analogues that worship a mass driver. Harry Ord has awesome if ridiculous sunglasses. I don’t think I know if it’s Tomino trying to be funny and failing or Tomino trying to be funny and suceeding (or how much is which), but it’s so far-fetched at times that I can’t help but love it. Even if the series itself is fairly serious, it doesn’t take itself seriously–a commendable fact that will frighten off as many viewers as it might attract for same, alas.

I now move towards the final episodes of the rewatch; I know what happens, and yet I feel like I don’t know. It’s oddly more…rewarding the second time through, perhaps because I paid more attention to different things than the first time through. Or explicitly thought about things I’d only felt unconsciously.

20 Responses to “Turn-A Gundam: Gym Ghingnham and the Sippy Teacup of Doom”


  1. 1 The Animanachronism 6 March 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Your posts are definitely increasing the chance that I’ll rewatch this myself sometime soon.

    You’ve put into words one of the things I really enjoyed when watching Turn-A, how it retains or even extends the familiar Gundam scene of different factions at cross purposes, but (as always) with its own spin – so, as I saw someone point out somewhere, once (worst citation ever!), the bakery that produces bread for both sides is somehow a positive echo of Anaheim Electronics profiting from the sale of weapons to both sides in the Universal Century.

    I think I must just have a thing for loose and factious political structures, though. As soon as Turn-A revealed that the Earthrace were a coalition of independent states, each with a militia that might or might not obey its government, I was sold. There doesn’t have to be intrigue, or anything, I think I just like complication.

  2. 2 reversethieves 7 March 2009 at 7:32 pm

    1. Did you mean 4 people who want peace or is that part of the joke that Dianna and Kihel are almost interchangeable throughout the series?

    2. I think that Dianna (I think)but it best when she said the Gundams are tools. No more no less. They are harly good or evil. It is the people behind the cockpit that decide how the tool will be remembered. When Merrybell Gadget is piloting the Turn A it is a destructive tool as it was back during the Black History. I am sure if Loran piloted the Turn X is could be a tool of peace. You basically already said that but I like to hear myself talk.

    3. As far as I can tell everything before Turn A Tomino comes from a stressed out depressed guy who had to constantly fight tooth and nail with people to get his shows on the air as close to as he wanted. How much of this depression came from his battles with executives and how much of it was personal is something you would have to ask a serious Tomino scholar. Having not seen Gundam ZZ I hear that it starts of light hearted and then goes super bloody serious after people complained it was not super serious business like Zeta. I place Turn A in with the normal parts of the Macross franchise of good story with wacky but lovable madness.

    4. I think that Turn A is my favorite Gundam series mostly because it has a serious story but it never forgets to be fun. I really like serious business stories but serious business story tend to be engaging but not super fun. They have fun parts but you would be hesitant to sum them up as fun. Turn A is always fun and never forgets to be fun and that is what makes it work for me. And the fact that I like most of the cast with Loran being IMHO the most likable Gundam protagonist.

    Side notes –

    For attempted assassins Bruno and Jacop get off quite lightly.

    You must never forget Harry Ord’s super nerd “disguise” when he infiltrates the Earth military.

    Lily Borjanon was mostly loyal to Guin Lineford because she wanted his body. I sure she would have schemed against him more if that were not the case.

    Domon is not the most likable Gundam protagonist becuase he is a likable jerk. He is super likable but also a HUGE jerk.

    – Hisui

  3. 3 schneider 11 March 2009 at 1:03 am

    >>the bakery that produces bread for both sides is somehow a positive echo of Anaheim Electronics profiting from the sale of weapons to both sides in the Universal Century.

    Holy crap, you’re quite right!

    Minor nitpick: The Turn X was never referred to as a Gundam. I’m still not sure which one is stronger, but the Turn X does have niftier weapons.

    @ Hisui

    I found Domon to be a total dickwad at the start, and lost the dickery by the middle.

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  1. 1 Reverse Thieves » Live Action Gundam Sousei at New York Anime Festival Trackback on 23 September 2009 at 8:19 am
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