Thursday, August 10, 2017

I've watched a lot more Mobile Suit Gundam

So you may remember old posts on this Blog where I talked about Gundam 00 being the only Gundam show I'd watched.  Eventually, earlier this year, I watched the 4 already released episodes of Gundam The Origin and posted about it.

Not long after that I watched the first two episodes of Turn A Gundam then put it on hold.  There I was mainly interested in the Dune like ultra distant future when our History is an ancient mythical past largely forgotten.  But I got annoyed at how literal it took the "reverting to Victorian level society" thing.  I could buy the idea of society technologically regressing, but like literally redoing the same fashion sense is just silly to me.

Well now, since August began, I have decided it was time I really delved into Gundam.

I watched the Gundam movie Trilogy.  And I was impressed, as someone who generally likes the longer versions of any story, I didn't feel like I was missing anything watching these films.  I feel like I can highly recommend them to anyone who's into Space Operas but not sure they get the whole Mecha appeal.

I want to comment briefly on it's treatment of female characters.  It's tempting to compare it to how modern Anime of the same genre tends to handle them, and that may come up later.  But right now I just want to comment on how they are massively better then the big SciFi franchises America had at the time, (Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica) simply by having more then just one or two.  It has 4 among the protagonists (none of whom were ever Damseled) and 3 among the Antagonists.

So it's another reminder of how annoyed I get when people act like Japan in inherently more Sexist then America.  Their gender issues are different, neither is better or worse.  A lot of Modern Japan's peculiar issues were caused by Westernization, which particularly makes it annoying to see westerners criticize it.  (Example, you think their obsession with Panties are weird, well Panties didn't exist in Japan before Westenrization).

After watching the Trilogy I went right to Char's Counterattack.  And I did so knowing full well I was skipping two 50 episode serieses of story.  But I've watched things out of order before, and I wanted to get the gist of the main Gundam saga quickly.  This movie is ultimately also pretty great in-spite of the beginning feeling like you've already missed two acts.  Ironically some reviews I read on MAL were disappointed how irrelevant the events of Zeta and ZZ seemed to be.  Though from my perspective of skipping those it definitely feels like a huge of chunk of Char's character development is missing.  I think their complaint was mainly that characters introduced in those shows were irrelevant to Char's Counterattack, it seems everyone I didn't recognize from the Trilogy were brand new characters.

I then revisited SFDebris reviews of Gundam 0080.  I'll probably actually watch that OVA eventually, but for now since I already know the gist of what happened, and 80s Anime isn't easy for me to get into, I'm gonna focus on watching other Gundam stuff.

I then decided to start Gundam Wing, which was apparently the biggest Gundam show of the 90s.  I'm enjoying it, but also feeling like I'd prefer how a modern Anime would tell this story.  I've watched 17 episodes now, and I need to take a break.

Gundam 00 also had 50 episodes, but it decided to clearly present them as two separate seasons, so I knew going in I'd get some sense of a full story out of just the first 25 and that made going all in on it easier for someone like me.

I next watched Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky.  I complained last month about how much I hate DC Animated movies being only 70 minutes.  But if you're the kind of person who likes 70 Minute Animated features, this movie is a pretty good one.

The movie is perhaps not the best entry point since it's basically another Side Story of the One Year War.  But since a lot of these newer Universal Century Gundam stories are retconning a lot of things (originally the idea was there was only one Gundam during this war, and that's not the Gundam you see in Thudnerbolt).  Knowing the original Gundam story can at times be counter productive to understanding what's going on.  In this case my knowing who the Zeon and Federation were didn't help that it took me awhile to figure out which characters were on which side.

However it probably would have helped more if I read it's MyAnimeList description first.  We make fun of Anime official descriptions not always being accurate, but I think that's cause many are telling you what you need to know going in rather then summarizing what happens.  Like the information you get from a Star Wars opening Crawl.  Indeed I've been using the Star Wars Crawl Generator site to make some Star Wars style Crawls for Gundam, mainly using text taken from MAL.  And here is one I made for Thunderbolt December Sky. [And now it's on my YouTube channel]

My main criticism of Thunderbolt is how it handled it's female characters.  The Federation side in this has a female Captain who seems written to be a vindication of every Misogynist who says women shouldn't be in the Military.  The main female character on the Zeon side is better handled only in comparison to that mess.

This movie is very interesting in it's use of Music.  It started a year after Guardians of The Galaxy came out which I don't think is a coincidence.  It's another movie using a lot of Music you can expect Baby Boomers to be Nostalgic for.  But so gratuitously as some post GotG Hollywood films have.

In one of my old discussions of Gundam 00 I commented on how diverse it's cast of characters was, and wondered if other Gundam shows were similar.  Right now I'd say Gundam 00 still seems to be the most diverse Gundam show.  Among the reasons for that being it actually features Japan and Japanese characters more then other Gundam shows.  The original had Mirai who's probably Japanese based on the name, and that's it.  One Pilot in Wing is Asian but a continental Asian, I think he's Chinese.

Char Aznable's iconic look is quite Aryan.  I'm not sure what we're supposed to think Amuro Ray's ethnicity is, but I'd cast him as African American in a Live Action version, partly because his name has inspired me to Headcanon him as a descendant of Tupac Amaru Shakur.

Gundam is often called the Star Wars of Japan.  Which is why I think I'd commented in my post on Mash-Up Trailers, or at least I meant to, on how strange I found it there aren't any Mash-Up Trailers of Gundam to Star Wars trailers yet.  We have them for Code Geass, Nanoha, Evangelion and SAO, but not Gundam?

My favorite trailer for The Phantom Menace, the one largely focused to Padme with little Anakin or Obi-Won.  I'd like to see done to Gundam Wing, with Relena as Padme.

The original Gundam could fit the new Star Wars movie's Trailers well.

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