Re: [gundam] Zaku Variants


Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 17:21:31 -0700


Linwood Foster writes,

>I've got a question for you guys. If you had never seen the Zaku before,
>nor any of the various retrocons or MSVs or upgrades, would you have
>seriously liked the design based solely on its original MSG look? I am
>wondering because I have always heard people raving about how the Zaku is
>so cool, yet I just don't see the coolness factor in it.

  Absolutely not. There's nothing intrinsically cool about the Zaku, or for
that matter about any of the classic Gundam mecha designs. Without
exception, they're gaudy, goofy, and crude-looking compared to the sleek
designs turned out by current faves like Hajime Katoki and Mamoru Nagano.

  What makes the Zaku, et al, cool is its context. If you've watched the
original series and/or movies, let alone had two decades to develop
feelings of warm nostalgia about them, then even things like the Zaku I and
Gann begin to seem curiously cool. And, since they're very distinctive
designs, it's easy for latter-day hotshots to give them stylish makeovers.

  In general, I don't think you can really separate a mecha design from its
context. Take, for example, the Master Gundam and Kowloon Gundam, from G
Gundam. On its intrinsic merits, the Master Gundam is by far the better
design - a slick Katoki design, with a cool Dracula cape and high-tech
detailing. But after watching the series, I'd say the Kowloon Gundam is by
far the more appropriate design for the character and the story. With all
that crap on its back, and its stiffly mechanical joints, the Master Gundam
looks pretty stupid striking kung-fu poses and striking lethal blows with
its beam ribbons.

  All of which applies to the Turn A Gundam and its ilk. Taken in the
abstract, it looks kinda silly. But until we see the animation, it's tough
to tell how it works in context. Check out the stills from Shinji Kira's
episode 2 report
<http://www.kt.rim.or.jp/~skira/gundamhp/tagundam/onairreport/0416/0416tagundam.
htm> - click on 'em to see the full-size versions - and see if you still
think the design isn't working.

-- Mark, who's getting fonder of the Turn A the more y'all bitch about it

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Mark Simmons <mailto:scorpio@best.com>
MacAddict: the magazine! <http://www.macaddict.com/>
Gundam: the Project! <http://gundam.anime.net/>
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