On UC Gundam vs “all that new stuff”
Posted On June 9, 2007
I will try my best not to sound like an elitist piece of shit here. This is serious! Also, this entry will have spoilers for various Gundam series.
I’d like to think I’m different than most UC fans who simply hate stuff that’s not UC because it’s not UC. Contrary to popular belief, I am a bit of Seed fan (was real Seed obsessed just two years ago) but Seed lacks something the originals had, and that’s soul.
I’m partly borrowing Patrick Macias’ words here. The generation of creators that made works such as Mobile Suit Gundam are people who lived through their country being bombed and occupied as children. They more or less lived through war, and the resulting feelings and images clearly resonate in their works. In Gundam’s opening narration, we are treated to images such as a hole being blown through a colony, a fallen battle ship in flames, and the entire city of Sydney being brought to ruin by a giant colony. This may seem the stuff of fiction to us almost 30 years later, but these images were very much a reality to the creators. Gundam is a show about war, but it doesn’t glorify war. It’s an anti-war show, but it doesn’t out right tell you “war is bad.” Rather, it lets the viewer come to his own conclusion about the events unfolding on screen.
Over the years the anti-war message has stayed consistent, but it’s become diluted. The new generation of creators simply can’t grasp the kinds of things the creators of the past experienced. Hence, the result usually feels like a copy of a copy. Looking at things in a very objective manner, First Gundam and Seed are probably on the same level. However, Seed lacks that kind of hard real world experience present in the older Gundam works. The sacrifices made by Ryu Jose and Sleggar Law were most probably realities to Tomino. However, the writers behind Seed totally miss the point of Mwu’s epic sacrifice in the end of Seed, and bring him back in Destiny with just a few scratches and a case of amnesia.
So, in the end I suppose it comes down what kinds of messages and themes you associate with. I’m sure Seed has some underlying themes that I don’t especially get that appeal to newer fans, but I find the messages in the original to be a lot more striking to me. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. I dunno.
Also, as an aside: while Gundam is a good example of a work of fiction influenced by real world experience, Space Battleship Yamato is probably the best I’ve seen with regards to that. I mean fuck, it’s about resurrecting the sunken Yamato to save Earth from nuclear radiation, which is a result of horrible bombings from an alien world.