Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gundam 00 and Classic Science Fiction

Gundam 00 is the only Gundam series I've watched thus far.  I first checked it out when the SciFi channel aired Anime on Monday nights years ago.  I wish they'd bring that back.  I only recently completed it however.

I know enough vaguely about Gundam to know that it does not seem very representative of the Franchise in general.  It's not part of the original Continuity, and is the first to use dates clearly linkable to our real life calendar.

I enjoy it for reasons similar to why Code Geass is one of my favorite Animes.  Tense battles, complicated geo-politics, with good people on each side and moral ambiguity.  And lots of eccentric and quirky interesting characters.

What I want to comment on today is how Gundam 00 draws inspiration from a lot of classic works of Western Science Fiction.

Another thing it has in common with Code Geass is it clearly modeled it's 3 major Superpowers after the three Geroge Orwell envisioned in 1984.  These aren't nearly so blatantly Dystopic however.  The main variation is both put Japan (the native country of their creators) in Oceania rather then Eastasia.  Why (in universe) it's there is different however, in Code Geass it's conquered by Britannia, but in Gundam 00 Japan being the Union seems much more consensual.

The logic behind putting Japan in the same Power Block as America, rather then with China and Russia I fully get, Japan has becomes a very Westernized and particularly Americanized nation.  Thing is that same logic in my mind ought to put South Korea with them as well, but Korea seems to be ignored in Anime.

I also recently before revisiting Gundamn 00 began familiarizing myself with Isaac Aismov's Foundation series.  And immediately I thought of Aeolia Shenberg as Hari Seldon's plan was revealed.  That's largely what inspired me to return to Gundam 00.

But what's really meaty is all the Arthur C Clarke.  Clarke interests me, even though I firmly reject the logic behind Clarke's third law.

The first Clarke connection is of course the Orbital Elevators which are evocative of The Fountains of Paradise.  It's a shame more writers don't draw on that concept, a Christian writer drawing on Biblical Themes could easily go for a Tower of Babel reference with one.

Throughout Series 2 as the metaphysical and Trans-humanist aspects of the story became more and more apparent, I started wondering whether or not a comparison to works like Childhood's End would be accurate.  Then the series ended with a quick little promo for the movie saying that "Humanity's childhood is about to end", so that settled that.

In the Movie, the ESLs have a Lovecraftian vibe to them at first.  But they ultimately aren't really Evil.  And in the end the 2001 and Childhood's End aspects of the story fully come to fruition.  I also suspect where it ultimately goes is something Gene Roddenberry would appreciate.

So it's an Anime I recommend checking out if your into Hard SciFi.

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