Re: [gundam] More Turn-A Info in May Newtype

Prabal Nandy (nandy@U.Arizona.EDU)
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 11:50:45 -0700 (MST)

  I've gone back and re-read that Tomino interview and I think I've got a
handle on what's really going on with Turn-A now. Very interesting, I
think we're going to be surprised by Tomino (at least a little)

> >this is _not_ a culture 'bombed back to the stone age' but rather a
> >culture that still _has_ technology, or at least certain technologies, and
> >has simply prefered to ignore or suppress others. A Tomino-paradise! It
> Hmm... it seems that we have one of two things going on here. Either
> Tomino is saying that, without war to spur humanity to progress (the May
> NewType indicates that the Turn A world has been at peace for centuries),
> we'd all regress to happy little Elio running farms and fetching water from
> the well... or he's saying that we'd be better off if we did that on
> purpose.

   I think Tomino is implying through his interview that his original
"Man-machine fusion" Gundam MSG was designed with the former concept in
mind, while this new "Human Story" is designed with the latter in mind.
   From the interview it sounds like Tomino envisons the whole
NT-mind-machine interface hyper-technological future as _One_ possible
future for mankind, where technology is embraced, etc. In this universe,
the weakling peacemongers who give up war and technology are doomed to
retrograde and be despised.
   The other possible future is a world where mankind is improved not
through technology but through human interaction, where people have
realized that Tech has not improved the quality of their lives (beyond a
certain point). Hence, they still _have_ technology, but it is simply a
tool, not something that they strive to produce and advance for the sake
of advancement. I.e., techy consumer products are simply not a high
priority for them as it is for us, they don't need to always have the
brightest, biggest newest, fanciest new computers every year. In this
universe, giving up technology doesn't necessarily mean you deserve to get
conquered (kinda like the Feds in VG), this is the "Final Mankind" that
Tomino is talking about in his interview.

> when everyone else is content to turn a blind eye. From this standpoint,
> one might expect him to be critical of stagnant peaceniks.

  Yes... except he seems to have turned over a new leaf.

> "Turn A Gundam world could be the answer against the story of Newtype
> theory. What I am trying to say is that the mankind is not machine, so the
> theory of evolution (such as the theory of Newtype) cannot totally figure
> out the mankind. The mankind is at last mankind."

  The NT-paradise alluded to in the UC-Gundam series is the story of
mankind that has literally become fused with machines and technology...
but Tomino is sick of the tech-fetish of the original Gundam series and,
like Evangeleon, wants to show us another possible future where Mankind
reaches the 'final stage in evolution' by other means.

> that the newtype concept was an evolution of mankind enabled by technology

  YES! I think that's exactly it.

> (including the technology of space travel). Turn A is supposed to present
> an alternate possibility for our future, one that doesn't hinge on gadgets
> and high tech.

  Given that, I'm curious as to how he's going to do it in a show
featuring giant robots, without resorting to funky mystical stuff (though
it's possible). Frankly, I think a cool story like one where a pastoral
Earth is invaded by high-tech humans from another age can be done very
nicely without the aid of giant robots. Frankly, I think it would have
been neater if the Militia in Turn-A either had no robots at all, or
simply refused to use anything that they couldn't make themselves.

> concepts. Like the Jupiter settlers in Crossbone Gundam, the Moonrace have
> likely been pushed to an extreme of technology-assisted advancement by the
> sheer adversity of their living conditions. The Earth inhabitants,

  Maybe, though it seems to be implied that the Moonies too have lost
technology and have become somewhat degenerate.

> meanwhile, have lost or rejected technology and achieved a state of
> blissful balance with their environment. From the writeups in the May
> magazines, it sounds like one of the themes for the series is to explore a
> clash of cultures who have pursued radically different development paths...

  If that is true then I have great hope for this series as Science
Fiction, giant robots and the UC-Gundam continuity aside. I hope they show
the pointlessness of mecha in this new world order, or something like
that... i.e., a new-age of Gundam!

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