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

Prabal Nandy (nandy@U.Arizona.EDU)
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 15:57:01 -0700 (MST)

> >completely different ways. Amuro the wayward, humble, sad child who
> >eventually realizes the importance of the people around him, while Char,
> >the charasmatic manipulator gradually destroys everyone around him and
> I think that both you and Mark are onto something here. Mark had

  This just 'feels' right... doesn't it? Especially given the ending?

> previously noted that Gundam was really the story of a bunch of orphans
> coming together to form a family. You note here that Amuro and Char, both

  Yes, a family brought together by circumstance and not by blood.
Tomino's point may be that simply-put, the tradition-bound alliances and
rivalries of the 'accepted' family structure are stupid, rigid, and
archaic. The point of being Newtype is to free yourself of society's
expectations and embrace the people in your life that really mean
something to you. People that you feel a special kind of "Newtype"
connection with.
  This is hardly a new concept to the American/Western mind which is
probably why this show gets laughed at alot by fans over here, but to the
Japanese it was probably a revolutionary thought at the time!

> effectively fatherless and motherless, go different ways: Amuro learns to
> connect with those around him but Char doesn't -- and comes to blames Amuro
> for his inability to do so.

  Yes, I totally agree...

> group of people who are torn from the former by forces beyond anyone's
> control and given little or no choice about the latter, yet who somehow
> forge their own "family" made up entirely of partners in adversity, whose
> only common bond is their shared hardship and experience in their struggle

  A "New Type" of society, not based on the traditionally enforced
relationships of the current one but on a new type of connection between
people. One based on circumstance, fear, stress and salvation, i.e., the
ability to trust a diverse group of people and 'foreigners' based on their
proven friendship in war and in peace, instead of clinging to the safe
xenophobia of your old life. Tomino appears to scream "Open your eyes,
don't be a robot! Think for yourself and don't care about what people
think of you!"

> He seems to be suggesting that the formalized family/community
> relationships in Japan have missed the point, that what makes a family
> isn't blood relationships or personal connections, but something deeper and
> inherently spiritual. He also taps into a truth about war that is often

  I totally agree with this, and this is more than anything else the heart
of his "Newtype" spirituality.

> This theme repeats throughout most of Tomino's works. Those annoying kids
> are there for a reason, as they become the children of the newly-formed
> family, to be protected and nurtured by the youngsters forced to assume

  Yeah, they're like surrogate younger siblings for our heroes, the future
generation that must be nurtured and protected, and eventually, to be
held accountable to.

> parental roles. The foster parents learn from these children what they
> didn't learn from their own parents and become true parents (and thus full

  It's all about growing up, just like Evangeleon.

> Amuro grew up. Char didn't. That's the point of the first Gundam. The
> sequels are thus inherently flawed because they require Amuro to regress to
> somewhat less than he was at the end of the first Gundam simply to make the
> sequel possible. That's bad whenever you twist the character to fit the story.

  Elegantly stated and exactly what I meant earlier. Amuro is to a large
extent _done_ as a character after MSG. To try and change him more is to
be fundamentally untrue to his changed nature!

> How about all the effiminate boys and tough girls (sissies and tomboys, if
> you will)?

  Doesn't happen too much in anime, but it does.

> You know, one of the things I really liked about Gundam 0080 was that Chris
> was really a girl-next-door type, a perfectly ordinary (if somewhat
> audacious and short-tempered) person who just happened to pilot a Gundam

  Audacious and short-tempered... by Japanese standards. She's very mild
by 'western' sensibilities of course. Similarly, Bernie is significantly
more sensitive and 'real' feeling than the typical CHUNKY anime hero.

> Instead of having the hero overwhelmed and appalled at every turn, I'd like
> to see someone who really takes to it and shows an extreme love and ability

  You mean... for killing? That's creepy man!

> for it -- and have the people who put him there be overwhelmed and appalled
> and think they've created a monster they can't control, when all the time
> it's just this young guy or gal who's having the time of his or her life.

  Kinda sounds like Maxwell Duo!

Gundam Mailing List Archives are available at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sat Feb 27 1999 - 07:25:40 JST