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INTEREST: Mobile Suit Gundam Animation Director Says Series' Pro-War Message is a Mix-Up


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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 1906
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:21 pm Reply with quote
Watching Zeta Gundam and its latter-day prequel Gundam 0083 made me think the biggest problem in the Gundam universe from that point in the larger story is that the first big war was not won hard enough.

I appreciate hearing a view on war from Japan that actually have some nuance. Avoids holier-than-thou naivety. Better than some other anime industry figures I could name.
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DRosencraft



Joined: 27 Apr 2010
Posts: 665
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:45 pm Reply with quote
DotA is something I think can be useful if it is your goal as an author. But I don't think consumers of the media should assume it to be one way or the other. DotA can be a way to dissociate a piece with one person's own ideals and expectations and make it more broader in appeal. But, a piece filled with the author's ideals and passions can create a depth in the story that might otherwise be absent because the author wants to keep their intentions absent.

I'd say based on this director's comments, the confusion in the story becomes apparent. Granted, he's the animation director, not the sole writer of the script, but his position seems to be that Japan should take up its own military even if it has no plans of going to war. Simple as it may sound, that's often how wars in Gundam start or escalate. But like I said before, there is usually an absence of a real driving counter message to war. Wars start, they fight a war to stop the current war. War ends up being their answer to war in Gundam, as expressed most succinctly in 00.

SEED does a better job than most of arguing the futility and counterproductive nature of this rationale, but even there that aspect is what tends to get lambasted by fans of the Gundam franchise who dislike that particular series. Unlike most other entries, however, the MCs rise to enough power that their anti-war sentiments matter for something. Otherwise, most series merely depict the MCs as cogs in the war machine, opposed to the war but absent any means, and eventually any real care, to stop fighting short of eliminating all enemies on the battlefield. There is nuance there, but again, when you cover that up mostly with showing your MC as some super-heroic figure on a white horse saving the day and killing all who oppose them, that nuance is easily missed.
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sdsichero
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Joined: 15 Oct 2009
Posts: 158
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:12 pm Reply with quote
Never saw Gundam as pro-war. Sure the battles are exciting, but the characters usually end up affected by the war, not in a good way. See Camille or Al Izuhara...
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Radrappy



Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 77
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:46 pm Reply with quote
If you've watched 0080 and still think Gundam (especially any UC era series) has a pro-war stance, you're insane.
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amagee



Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 333
Location: Orlando, FL
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:56 pm Reply with quote
A lot of stuff in Gundam seems to me to be focusing on how war is created by another - usually adults - and forced upon the protagonists - typically children. I can't see how someone can get a pro-war message from this but most of us here, me included, are coming from such a different background than Japanese fans that it isn't surprising that it would mean something different to folks of a different culture.

I'd be more curious to know who these "critics" are in Japan calling Gundam pro-war. That'd allow me to see this all in a better context.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 9322
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:37 pm Reply with quote
Radrappy wrote:
If you've watched 0080 and still think Gundam (especially any UC era series) has a pro-war stance, you're insane.


0080 is the only one that sticks to the message that war, and thus these enormous COOL robot death machines are actually supposed to be kind of viewed as instruments of war, is bad. Every other Gundam glamorizes the Gundams, and other mobile suits, to the nth degree. That's why even with the overall message being "war is bad", it gets lost in "but check out this robot's armaments and how much killing it can do."

Gundam worships its instruments of death. It's the same as praising tanks, planes, and ships that have no other purpose than to put lead downrange and ruin someone's day.
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jirg1901



Joined: 03 Jun 2014
Posts: 150
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:09 pm Reply with quote
DRosencraft wrote:
I'd say based on this director's comments, the confusion in the story becomes apparent. Granted, he's the animation director, not the sole writer of the script, but his position seems to be that Japan should take up its own military even if it has no plans of going to war.

Generally the approach in Gundam is that war really sucks but that you can't run away from reality with idealism or just ignore it and hope it goes away. Even in SEED where there is the really heavy no killing policy fairly successfully implemented the final epilogue of Destiny has the main character expressing their personal responsibility as soldiers and politicians. I don't think the way Yasuhiko comes across is too different from that.
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 2224
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:53 pm Reply with quote
This is the big problem about "anti-war" messages in action-heavy shows: you can't talk about how much war sucks and then show awesome action sequences. It leads to mixed messages.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:01 pm Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:
This is the big problem about "anti-war" messages in action-heavy shows: you can't talk about how much war sucks and then show awesome action sequences. It leads to mixed messages.

It's also action sequences typically with no consequences. Whenever a character does die in Gundam, it's this giant multi-episode ordeal that makes a big stink about it and it never feels quite right or natural. Sure, mooks get offed all the time, but it's always in bloodless pink explosions; kind of a difference between and say the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.
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Radrappy



Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 77
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:23 am Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
Radrappy wrote:
If you've watched 0080 and still think Gundam (especially any UC era series) has a pro-war stance, you're insane.


0080 is the only one that sticks to the message that war, and thus these enormous COOL robot death machines are actually supposed to be kind of viewed as instruments of war, is bad. Every other Gundam glamorizes the Gundams, and other mobile suits, to the nth degree. That's why even with the overall message being "war is bad", it gets lost in "but check out this robot's armaments and how much killing it can do."

Gundam worships its instruments of death. It's the same as praising tanks, planes, and ships that have no other purpose than to put lead downrange and ruin someone's day.


Sure but this is a problem with nearly ANY mecha action show.

What I'm getting at that within its medium, Gundam can almost always be counted on to deliver an anti-war message by the end.

It sounds to me that you take issue with Gundam's stance for being hypocritical, not its stance in general.
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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 1866
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:36 am Reply with quote
So, this is awkward. I clicked on the picture without reading anything and immediately thought "OH MY GOD! THEY'RE REMAKING 0079 MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM AREN'T THEY!?" Then I read the article and cried a little.

Back to the topic. I never once saw a Pro War Message in anything Gundam. Especially not the UC. As morally grey as it was, it seemed like The Principality of Zeon (mostly the Zabis and Char to an extent) were pro-war, and they were the bad guys. So... yeah.
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AnimeLordLuis



Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 1626
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:18 am Reply with quote
I've been watching Gundam for years and never saw a Pro-War message hidden in between the lines but now that I think about it I can see how some people would get confused. Rolling Eyes
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Kadmos1



Joined: 08 May 2014
Posts: 13566
Location: In Phoenix but has an 85308 ZIP
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:55 am Reply with quote
Since we are already on the topic of politics, I cite this quote from the animation director in the link:
Quote:
I hope they think for themselves from now on about how we deal with things like the Islamic State extremist group.


I agree that discrimination is, like in all countries, an issue here. The way you respond is another issue. That is, when innocent people are getting hurt/killed due or when people lose their jobs or businesses go bankrupt because of a group's actions, I see this as being no different than the groups you are protesting.
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Cptn_Taylor



Joined: 08 Nov 2013
Posts: 925
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:55 am Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:
This is the big problem about "anti-war" messages in action-heavy shows: you can't talk about how much war sucks and then show awesome action sequences. It leads to mixed messages.


No it doesn't since anti-war sentiments are expressed through the characters. Show me one Gundam main character of the last 4 decades that enjoys going on a killing spree. Show me one Gundam main character of the last four decades that idiolizes war, misery and death. Show me one Gundam main character of the last four decades that doesn't regret having to kill. IBO doesn't count since the main character is fundamentally a psycopath that enjoys cold blood murder.

With your kind of logic an anti-war series should have no war machines to speak off. Just the characters closed in a room debating about the horrors of war. All in black and white. Strike that, all in black. We wouldn't want the audience to think that the use of colors somehow legitimizes war.
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kgw



Joined: 22 Jul 2004
Posts: 1073
Location: Spain, EU
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:48 am Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
AiddonValentine wrote:
This is the big problem about "anti-war" messages in action-heavy shows: you can't talk about how much war sucks and then show awesome action sequences. It leads to mixed messages.

It's also action sequences typically with no consequences. Whenever a character does die in Gundam, it's this giant multi-episode ordeal that makes a big stink about it and it never feels quite right or natural. Sure, mooks get offed all the time, but it's always in bloodless pink explosions; kind of a difference between and say the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.

Let's not talk about 0080 and we will see.
I remember Amuro taking a gun and shooting a Zeon soldier in cold blood, while staying in the refugeee's camp where his mother lived, then taking the Gundam and blowing soldiers to pieces (no Zakus) with its vulcan guns.
Ramba Ral blowing himself with a grenade.
Zeon officers pushing their soldiers forward to avoid themselves dying.
Civilians being killed by "bugs" in F91
Gassing colonies in Z
Colony drops in ZZ
Asteroid drops in Char's
Soldiers dying gorily in 0083, 08 Platoon, V, Unicorn, or even Igloo.

Similar scenes in ALL the AU universes.
Heck, even AGE has their own "war is not that cool".

But if you want to look for "The war is cool" message in Gundam, then look no further than Build Fighters. There you can have those machines not killing anyone.
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