Re: [gundam] The Gundam


Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 02:13:52 -0700


Chien Ting Chin writes,

>thanks, do you have all that at your fingertips all the times? You are
>starting to scare me.

  Then maybe you don't want me to answer that question... <grin>

Probe writes,

>> You know, I sometimes wonder whether Japanese fans really worry about it
>> as much as Americans. Every great anime franchise - Yamato, Gundam, Macross
>
> Oh, I'm sure they do _waaaay_ more than the typical American anime fan.
>After all, we've got companies like Gainax based on people like that!

  I really doubt it. Compare, say, the angst expended by Trek fans over
the changing appearance of the Klingons versus the reaction of Japanese
fans to the sudden change of Gamilas skin color in the early episodes of
Yamato...

> Problem is, what you're being exposed to are _US_ anime fans. To even
>_get_ anime in the US and view enough of it to establish continuity, you
>just about HAVE to be a fanatic! And if you're a fanatic, little glitches
>in continuity will bug the hell out of you!

  I'm not primarily thinking of American anime fans, but American sci-fi
and comics fans. You surely know what they're like.

  As a random (and geeky) example, one letterhack wrote to the new
Justice League of America letters page to complain that writer Grant
Morrison had the invading Martians vulnerable to fire, when some crappy
old story had established that this was a unique psychological trauma of
the Martian Manhunter. What amazed me was that, after three or four
continuity reboots, the editor felt obligated to eat humble pie instead
of defiantly replying "Oh, that was the old DC Universe; that story never
happened." What's the point of blowing up the universe if you can't get
rid of this accumulated junk?

  Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think I've ever seen this kind
of nonsense from Japanese anime fans.

Mark Kai writes,

>Don't you think there's a line of respect to be drawn, though? I don't
>sweat the small stuff, but where do we stop? How big a goof do you
>have to have before you step back and realise the mess that has been
>made?

  I'm tempted to say that the choice should be with the individual fan,
to decide what they do or don't accept. In the case of the continuity-mud
dled anime titles I mentioned earlier, clearly the fans have to pick and
choose from several equally valid alternatives. If you asked the average
Japanese Gundam fan, I suspect they'd tell you that both the G-Armor and
the Core Booster existed in the Gundam world, even though they're
technically mutually exclusive...

  Yeah, producing an animated Gundam title ostensibly set in the Gundam
world does entail some responsibility. But if Sunrise doesn't hold up its
end by enforcing some basic level of coherence, then the fans may perhaps
inherit the responsibility to ignore the result... just as they must
leave Ma Kube in the same limbo inhabited by Schroedinger's cat, neither
dead nor alive. ;-)

  Actually, on that note, Gundam ZZ and Return of the Jedi are both as
canonical as they come, and neither has any gross continuity violations.
But I still try not to think about either of 'em very much...!

Egan writes,

>To the Macross creators' credit, the explanation about Exsedol's head was
>buried in a footnote in one of the Macross 7 laser disc liner notes. The
>point was addressed, but I think the explanation is made less odious by its
>offhand placement.

  Fair enough. I suppose it was remiss of me to lump Exedore's head and
the Future Chronicle into the same category. :-)

>The Macross: A Future Chronicle and Gundam 0083's epilogue -- now,
>*those* are blatant, major industrial-grade continuity bandaging. ^^

  Yes, absolutely. Gundam 0080 threw in a bunch of grotesquely
overpowered mobile suits without apology, while 0083 felt it had to sweep
them all neatly under the rug. Which caused more lasting complications
and confusion? Gee, let me think...

-- Mark

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