[gundam] a CHARacter study (BTW: big time spoiler warning!)

Chien Ting Chin (chinc@sten.sunnybrook.utoronto.ca)
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 21:09:04 -0500

Probe went away for a few days, and come back to open a few cans of
worms. Thanks, Probe! Let's try out this smaller can first:

On Fri, 26 Feb 1999, Prabal Nandy wrote:
> I truly believe that Char did _not_ love Laura Sun, and furthermore he

Really? Why do you say that? I like Lalah (can someone rule on the
proper spelling please?) because she's the only one that Char opens up
to. Without Lalah, Char would be a purely bloodthristy monster. As you
say, a shell of a man, and a shell of a character. I prefer the "true
love" interpretation, because it makes for a more interesting CHARacter
and a more interesting story. Now Char's grudge against Amuro is not a
meaningless vendetta...

> As Laura says, she's indebted to him and loyal to him for that reason,
> but his heart is black and unlovable.

Did she really say that? I have to watch that part again...

> > It could be the action of one man (Char) outweighted those of all the good
> > guys in White Base?
> Nope. Zabi was doomed with or without Char. And the 1YW would have gone
> on without him. A matter of fact, since it is the _GM_ that won the war

Yes, I agree mostly. It wasn't so important that Bright, Amuro and Char
did whatever they did in the battlefield. A Bao A Qu was doomed to have
its ugly ass whooped. But Kishiria Zabi could very well have survived
without Char's interference (and isn't there some poetic justice? The
whole show was about bigass mechas, but the final fatal shots against the
Zabis were human-sized rifle and rocket). And if Kishiria survived, she
could have regrouped the Zeon's leftovers more effectively than a
non-"Royal" person. Even if only the infant Minerva survived, things could
have been a lot nastier for the Feds.

> Yes. This is simply because Char decided that the point of his life was
> to bear grudges and exact revenge. It's the standard by which he sets all
> of life's goals, and then convinces himself that he had no choice...
> He's ALWAYS a suspicious scheming plotter determined to get revenge on
> someone, or something. ANYTHING to give his life some meaning...

Hmm... I am not sure if Tomino really intended Char to be so empty. You
could be right, but I'd like to see more explanation.

My little (possibily different from Tomino) interpretation of Char is that
he wanted revenge in the short term, but he has a long term ambition to
realize the admirable dream of his father Zeon Daikun. So the murders of
Zabis were only partly vengeful, but also serve as the early stage of his
bigger plan, since the Zabis salvagely corrupted Zeon Daikun's dream into
a murderous regime. Rightly or wrongly, Char considers the only way to
achieve his father's dream is by deceit and murder. He mentioned several
times to Amuro that a single Newtype, no matter how powerful, cannot force
any real change against the course of history, but occassionally an
oppotunity will open up, then an unglamorous but shrewd soldier can push
the tide over the edge (to misuse a couple of metaphors, you know what I
mean :)

> > In our world, Char would be hailed as a hero, ruthless, determined,
> > patient, focused and doesn't let wishy washy bleeding heart morals get in
> A hero, or a monster. It can easily swing both ways, and I tend to take
> the latter choice more seriously.

Hehehe, that's my point. Char is a hero according to the standards of our
(industrial?) world. But with Newtype power, he is that much closer to
the superhero, that much closer to Neitzsche's Ubberman (sp?). And it's
the Ubberman's destiny to inherit the world, displacing the Oldtypes.
Therefore, Ubberman = Monster. Is that Tomino's idea? I can only hope
so. (you can tell I am a wishy-washy softy by now, can't you?)

> If NT-ishness is an expression of the connections and
> understandings between people, then in effect Char _abused_ the
> connections and trust people had with him for the sole purpose of pushing

Well, what's wrong with that? If he only betray and abuse when the victim
won't live long enough to extract revenge, then by our standard we can't
fault him, can we?

Look at the end of 1yw again: Amuro can look forward to an honorable
discharge and some peace and quiet. Char can look forward to more power
and glory as a power vaccum was created above his head, with more shrewd
manipulation he can find promotion from the fighting pilot class to the
ruling class.

The Amuro that we all love deliberately squandered his superior Newtype
power to avoid becoming a monster, but that also dooms him into being an
insignificant cog in the great machine that is society. I think (or hope)
that's Tomino's point.

CHIN, Chien Ting
Dept of Medical Biophysics, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre
... o O *
Man is a bubble

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