Re: [gundam] What next? (Was Re: Even more Tomino interview)

Jim Huang (tyhuang@OCF.Berkeley.EDU)
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 21:16:14 -0800

On 16 Feb 99, at 20:33, Mark Simmons wrote:
> Probe writes,

> > Well, I too am dissappointed. The original was great because it debunked
> >the anime stereotypes of the time.
> > But now Gundam has become sort of ossified, Gundam Wing, apart from its
> >great plot, hearkens back to the "giant robo" tradition that Gundam was
> >originally created to get away from! What gets be about G-Gundam was the
> >very same sort of super-hero-ish-ness.
> You don't think G Gundam debunked the stereotypes of the "realistic
> robot" genre? <grin>

IMHO, the different between G and W is the traditional battle
between the supermancy of "Justice" or "Aesthetic". Traditionally,
Giant Robot shows has "hero" on the side of "Justice", who should
be the most popular among the cast. Then there will be "villains"
who are popular due to their good looks. From the late 70s to 90s,
"Aesthetic" had gained popularity at the expense of "Justice". WG
is the epitome of the "Aesthetic", regardless of "Justice" in their
action, characters are invincible as long as they are good looking.
But I think we are seeing a backlash againist "Aesthetic" with the
popularity of Giant Robo, G Gundam, and other Retro Giant Robots
I am very interested to see how the new ova "Pubescent Bishoujo
Combine Robo Zi-Main" will take.

> Fact of the matter is that, Nadesico and Gasaraki aside, the
> Gundam-style "realistic robot" genre is pretty much extinct now anyway.
> There's not really an established orthodoxy there to challenge. There are
> certainly some very, very good "experimental" anime showing up of late -
> Perfect Blue, Evangelion, Lain, yadda yadda - but they're not reacting
> against the tyranny of the robot show because there's not really anything
> left to rebel against there. If Tomino's stuck in the robot-show genre,
> how does he avoid becoming a dinosaur?

I think that interview did point out something I didn't notice before:
Interviewer: "So far, by the end of most story, the hero abandon his
robot.[I am sure someone else can do the breakdown, but I didn't
notice that before.] The message I get is that if people keep depend
on robot/tools, they won't grow/evolute. ..." Tomino than went on
about how people's life energy had become weak due to "modern
industrial society". "The new work will be a story about how people
regain that will to live(Genki), return them to the primal emotions, and
get out linear way of thinking that comes with industrial society."

So I don't really think Turn-"A" will be "New series will focus on
emotion, and idea that will destroy the industrial society today." I
think personal transformation, a la "Shoujo Kakumei Utena", will be
more likely.
> Essay question: What other anime stereotypes are left to topple? Or,
> put another way: What's holding the genre back? I'd say fan service, for
> starters, and that's a sacred cow even Evangelion was cautious in tackling...
I don't know, but Tomino did riles againist those "Cheap Love
Romance" inspired by the succes of "Titanic". So maybe Tomino
will fellow Anno's example and do a Love Romance next? ^_^

Jim Huang

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