Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Tue, 11 Jul 2000 11:19:00 -0700


Dafydd writes,

> There's also the matter that Gundarium is, as you note, a mundane material,
> specifically an alloy of the titanium that makes up a good percentage of lunar
> regolith

  Remember, the "Luna" in Luna Ttanium stands for Luna Two, where the
material was developed. The alloy also known as Gundarium is the product of
Federation mad science, not something they just found lying around on the
moon's surface. As such, it's not all that far removed from Wing's
Gundanium.

>, while Gundanium is one of those SF "unobtainium" fantasy materials
> that can do just about anything you say it can. The one official treatise on
> the subject, a booklet that shipped with one of the OST CDs, hinted at organic
> self-repair properties.

  Eh, we've been over this. The reference to "Genetic" in the soundtrack's
acronym is meaningless - the detailed essay that accompanies it, which was
reprinted in the Data Collection book, makes no reference to organic or
self-repairing properties. I just looked over this again recently, and the
essay basically discusses the production process, structure, and properties
of Gundanium. While the manufacture involves molecular-level precision
assembly and tempering by the solar winds, there's nothing organic about the
stuff.

> Gundam is scientific, albeit with lapses into the fantastic, while Gundam Wing
> is magical. Gundam's "lost princess" does her bit and then drops out of sight
> to become a doctor, while Wing's princess comes into her own as Empress of the
> Known Universe. Quite a difference!

  ...whereas F91's lost princess takes charge of her feudalistic nation and
then ends up as a pirate captain, complete with squawking parrot. :-)

> Almost, but not quite. 08th MS Team springs a bunch of Newtype orphans on us
> in the finale. They do not, however, have any impact on the outcome or change
> anyone's views or ideas.

  Not to mention that the production staff (and even cast) was different
from that of the main story... the epilogue installment is positioned almost
as a side story for 08th MS Team.

> More to the point, all of the colonies seen in UC Gundam are based on
> real-world designs and concepts: the Bernal sphere, the Grey "Vivarium"
> cylinder, and the O'Neill cylinder. While a case can be made for the
> Stanford torus being related to the wheel-shaped colonies seen in Wing,
> there doesn't appear to be much else in common. What's with that boom
> thingy that they use for docking? There are Wing colonies with TWO
> wheels, like giant skates, and other designs that make no sense at all.

  I think you're being rather unfair here. Wing's colonies are indeed based
on the Stanford Torus, and they've been described in reference books as
being smaller-scale "Island Two" models. The "upper level" for low-gravity
manufacturing is actually quite ingenious, and they don't have the glaring
physical impossibility of the O'Neill cylinder (e.g. the immense centrifugal
force on the mirrors). They may not be a complete ripoff of '70s NASA
concept art, but they strike me as being a good deal more practical than
their UC cousins.

> Generally, however, the less said about the "scientific" underpinnings of
> Wing, the better. Again, UC Gundam is SF, Gundam Wing is fantasy with SF
> trappings.

  Again, I think this is an unjustified distinction. Original Gundam was
pretty whacked-out too, but unlike Wing it attracted a hard-core cadre of
technically-oriented fans who extrapolated some mumbo-jumbo throwaway
technobabble into a plausible scientific foundation after the series was off
the air. Subsequent UC shows were then able to coast on the volunteer
efforts of the Rapport, Roman Album, and Gunsight staffs. (A similar process
happened with Star Trek.)

  For whatever reason, Wing never inspired a similar effort of fannish
extrapolation. (Perhaps in part because, after Gundam, anime creators have
typically taken it upon themselves to establish their own technical
foundation.) That doesn't mean it can't be done, or that Wing is any more
intrinsically illogical than original Gundam.

-- Mark

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