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

Prabal Nandy (nandy@U.Arizona.EDU)
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 14:36:56 -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
> Yep, and I think we're now reading off the same page...

  Yeah, it's hard to speculated based on 'tidbits'! Has anyone seen eps of
this show yet?

> >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
> Again, this reminds me of the Amish, who accept and reject technologies

  Kind of... the Amish seem to have allowed themselves to be 'frozen' to a
particular Tech-level. You mentioned that they now consider the 'net to be
a "Good Technology"... however, how do they expect to get on the 'net if
they lack phone lines, computers, electricity, etc?
  The Turn-A world seems to _have_ the technological-base... without the
massive industrial-base that we associate with tech. I.e., they have
certain advanced technologies but produced on a very limited scale, the so
called "Good technologies". But they are a people who feel no need to
mass-produce and capitalize on everything. It will be interesting to see:

        1. What kind of capitalistic economy these people have, and
        2. How much knowledge do they retain of the science of 'dark
        3. How is the recovery/creation of new/old/restricted technology
        done. (Is it restricted by edicts and government, is it just a
        social phenomenon, etc).

> >mankind that has literally become fused with machines and technology...
> >but Tomino is sick of the tech-fetish of the original Gundam series
> Can't say I blame him. Looking at the modern world, one has to wonder

  Well hell's bells... even from an "Anime" point of view the
machine-human fusion technofuture has been done to DEATH. There's no more
places for that idea to go, while the human-philosophy side of things was
completely utterly neglected until "Evangeleon"!

> we wouldn't be technofetishist stress cases who get carpal tunnel syndrome
> slaving away for multinational corporations while we wage video-game war by
> remote control. Net positive or negative?

  I think this is what Tomino meant by a "Frugal Existance" of our
technosociety. Look at Japan, at the wage slaves and long working hours,
all for what? A new walkman, a new TV or stereo? I think Tomino is
thinking that it's simply not worth it, better to live on a farm, etc. It
is an idealized kind of future that I'm grateful that Tomino seems to have
realized _can't_ happen if you reject _all_ advanced technology out of
hand, but which can happen if you restrict and control what technologies
you desire.

> of question regarding weapons - note that they keep having to pull out the
> Gundams to defeat some rouge group that doesn't believe in disarmament, and
> that the final resolution of the story (in which even the Gundams are
> destroyed) is final only if there are really no more armed fanatics out

  Well, the interesting idea of Turn-A is that if you:
        1. Destroy the factories
        2. Hide the knowledge and
        3. Bury the weapons
  You can effectively _prevent_ fanatics from ever getting the
weapons/technologies that you fear. After all, how can they build MS on
Earth without factories, etc? So the world of Turn-A has purposefully
eroded away their heavy industrial base to such an extent that it becomes
practically impossible to make what you need for an army armed with
anything more than 'hand-crafted' weapons. "Chesspiece war", yet with the
knowledge of the future that war leads to nothing good. I.e., it's hard to
fight with flintlocks and spears when you know that once your people used
to battle it out in space with giant battleships and robots.

> By the same token, how sustainable is a pastoral utopia if it can get
> trampled by the first band of techno-thugs who happen along? And if you
> have to dig up weapons of your own to fight them, what does that make you?
> If Tomino really follows these dilemmas to some kind of a conclusion, I'll
> be pretty darned impressed.

  Me too!
  But you know what, I think that the 'grand plan' of the Turn-A world WAS
to find a happy medium. It sounds too much like something out of the
"Foundation" series. You have one group of people living on Earth and
expanding their minds while the other half follows the technological path.
Meanwhile, you don't want the Earther's to be _completely_ hopeless
against a techno-foe, so you direct them to bury their weapons, not
destroy them. This way, if it ever becomes necessary to fight back,
they've got a chance!
  But the problem is, what happens when these idealistic people start
using the same tech that got them to this situation in the first place?
Where is the lesson there?
  Is there a third alternative?

> Though it's not clear whether the Earth inhabitants are really conscious
> of technology taboos. One of the prime movers in the story is Guen, a young
> turk who wants to revive the old technologies. Is he defying the rules of
> society, or is he the product of an era where those rules and decisions
> have been forgotten?

  It's a good question.
  I would have suspected the former choice, but everything I've heard
makes it sound like the latter is the correct one. The rules may simply
have followed down the path of obscurity by now.

> Perhaps so, but the harshness of their environment must have forced them
> to keep _some_ of their edge. At the very least, they haven't fallen as far
> as their terrestrial kin.

  I think calling it a 'fall' may be quite incorrect. I think people
_chose_ to reject technology, this makes them very different from a people
who simply lost technology over time, especially in their attitudes! The
moon people may well have gotten to a point where, though they had more
tech than the Earthers, it had _stagnated_ (hence the difference between
the Turn-A and the Sumo) and as a result, these poor people are trapped,
dependant on a technology that they can no longer maintain.
  This, I suspect, may well be the impetus behind their push to return to
Earth. Far from having a tech-edge, these poor people may have completely
lost the ability to even maintain their own habitats!

> >the pointlessness of mecha in this new world order, or something like
> >that... i.e., a new-age of Gundam!
> Or potentially a conclusion to the saga, which would be a feat in and of
> itself. Either way, I have very high hopes for this one...

  If it is a complete conclusion to the Gundam saga I will be very very
impressed and amazed! Still, better Tomino than anyone else!


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