-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Mon, 31 Jan 2000 20:32:24 -0800

At 04:18 1/31/2000 -0800, you wrote:
>bozhe moi! all this just takes me back to my english
>classes! :]
>so, z (and the gundam gurus), don't hold back -- how
>do you think "erosion" and/or "hardening of the
>arteries" manifest themselves in the newer gundams?
>by "newer" gundams, i'd probably include 0083, 0080
>and 8th MS Team, along with the 3 alternate universes.
> (is that a fair classification?)

Fair enough, but, almost by definition, the Alternate Universe series are
an attempt to escape the original format and any hardening or erosion that
may have accrued. G Gundam breaks the mold entirely and invokes the
classic Warrior's Quest. Gundam Wing takes a different tack with the Five
Hero Team. Gundam X takes the original format head-on and multiplies
everything by a couple of orders of magnitude, giving us a hundred colony
drops and a beam rifle with the power of the Solar Ray. Of the three,
Gundam X is the one that is most derivative of the original. It's also the
one with that was the least successful, although there's no evidence of a
causal relationship here.

If you include Gundam 0080 and Gundam 0083, then you should also include
Gundam F91 and V Gundam, which came out between Gundam 0083 and G
Gundam. Gundam F91 suffers the most from formula, because it's really just
the setup for a series that didn't materialize and is therefore Gundam In A
Nutshell. Gundam 0080 and Gundam 0083 both break with tradition -- no
Newtypes, less scope -- but 0083 relies on formula throughout, while 0080
breaks new ground. V Gundam is almost a remake of the original with
all-new mecha and character design, but Tomino manages to introduce new
twists with Usso's heritage and other neat tricks.

Here's an irony for you: Tomino has, over the years, been repeatedly
condemned for reusing the same plot -- "One-Story Tomino" -- but in
actually has managed to avoid formula at every turn. Z Gundam was an
inversion of the original story, with the former White Base crew taking on
the Federation they once served so well, making common cause with the Red
Comet in the process. Gundam ZZ took a radical turn indeed and only became
popular when it veered back into the familiar tropes that are otherwise so
roundly condemned. CCA tied up all of the loose ends (or would have, had
Tomino been allowed to kill off Amuro and Char in no uncertain terms, as he
originally intended) but suffers from the need to compress the story into a
mere two hours. Yes, Tomino recycles the PLOT, but each of his STORIES is
quite unique and different.

The map is not the territory and the plot is not the story.

>also, which gundam series, to you, represented a good
>flexing of the arteries (sticking to the wording, heh)
>while still remaining true to the "format"?

Gundam 0080 moves the farthest away from the original story while remaining
part and parcel of it.

V Gundam manages to touch all of the same bases while telling a completely
different story.


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