Tabby (tabby@psn.net)
Thu, 01 Jul 1999 12:15:15 -0700


>No kidding. What's the matter, people? Is the Gundam saga as it has already
>been written not good enough for you? Well, then instead of trying to change
>it, _watch something else_. I'm sure there is a vast majority on this ML who
>like their Gundam just the way it is, thank you very much. Well, with the
>possible exception of all the non-UC series, but I digress.
>
>If you want aliens, watch another show. It ain't broke...stop trying to fix
>it.

But it is broke. The Universal Century Gundam stories have done a marvelous
job of exploring the theme of Humanity mastering itself before mastering
space, improved by each retro-OVA series. Unfortunately, the UC stories are
becoming so self-referential as to almost be repetitive. Likewise, while
Wing Gundam has earned a fine reputation, it and the other alternate Gundam
settings are incredibly self-referential, where the idea of the Gundam
*replaces* the idea of the Mobile Suit, and Earth-Colony conflicts are no
longer dramatic, merely routine. Turn-A takes this further by being an
exercise in self-referential storytelling, relying on the fact that the
audience is intimately familiar with the history of Gundam as an
institution, while the characters are largely unaware of the history of
thier world.

Aliens could be a quick fix, a cheap plot device to revitalize the Gundam
premise. Or they could be a new complication in the story of Humanity
emigrating to space. In terms of Macross, you could have the endless
repition of the Earth-Zentraedi war that dominated much of the storyline,
or you could have the aliens be a part of the larger story(but only a
part)as in Macross Plus.

Let's also not overlook the fact that Tomino has had some success with
aliens and space-opera. There were no aliens in Ideon, but alien artifacts
played an important role in the story(at least in film version I saw).

The retro-OVAs aside, new Gundam stories are becoming almost incestuous,
relying heavily on aspects of previous stories to build so-called *new*
settings. Used subtly, and carefully, an alien factor in a Gundam story
could help *emphasize* the drama of Humanity struggling with itself. Used
carelessly, however, you'd get another throwaway-Macross series.

tabby

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