Anime Wisdom from Quattro Bajeena… I believe in a better tomorrow that is here today.

Quattro Bajeena, or Char Aznable by any other name, and yes there were others, Édouard Mass and even Casval Rem Deikun… Will the real Quattro Bajeena please stand up? And he has. As a central figure to the original Gundam timeline, Quattro, or Char, was at his most humanitarian height in the sequel Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. It is a shame he fell from grace in terms of being a hero from Zeta Gundam to Char’s Counterattack. His guise as Quattro seemed to have shed anger from the past to move ahead into the future, but this sadly was temporary.

It was a time when he had the awesome hair and swapped the mask like helmet for aviator sunglasses; he was stylin’! That aside, Quattro’s ascension as an individual for change was his climatic speech in the Assembly at Dakar. A speech in which he came out to everyone as Char and issued a call to everyone to rethink what we need to focus on for not the future, but the right now…

I would like to start by asking the forgiveness of the assembly members and all Federation citizens. We mean no disrespect by taking over this meeting. I am Lieutenant Quattro Bajeena of the Anti-Earth Union Group. There is one more thing I must disclose before I say what I came to say. I have another name. I am also the man who was known as Char Aznable. I have come to you today as someone who carries within him the true aspirations of Zeon. Do not think of me as Char of the Principality of Zeon, but rather as the son of Zeon Deikun. Zeon Deikun’s legacy has nothing to do with the evils and hatred of the Zabi family. Zeon Deikun did not build the principality of Zeon! When one sees how the Titans do as they please with the Earth Federation Forces it becomes apparent that they are more depraved then the Zabi family ever was!

Humanity went to space so that the planet would not collapse under the weight of the people on it. Once there, they flourished, expanding their living space as they built more colonies on their own! Unfortunately, their success filled them with hubris and dreams of glory creating evils like the Zabi family! We mustn’t repeat that mistake! Why won’t people understand that moving into space will broaden their horizons!? We believe that humanity should no longer pollute the Earth! But the Titans whose souls are pulled down by gravity think only of ravaging it! Why is it so hard for people to understand? From the dawn of history, mankind has played in this cradle called “Earth.” But now, humanity must leave the nursery behind! Our infancy has come to an end!

Tell me why at this turning point in our history we must fight amongst each other and further pollute the Earth? The Earth should be returned to its natural state and all of humanity must make its home in outer space! Otherwise, Earth will no longer be the planet of water. Even this very city of Dakar is slowly being engulfed by the desert. This is how exhausted the Earth is! Right now, every one of us would like to see the Earth remain alive and beautiful. If we truly feel this way then we should not cling to the Earth as parasites just to fulfill our selfish desires.

The Titans have started a battle disregarding the lives at this assembly. See for yourselves the brutality of the actions they take. They place themselves above the regular Earth Federation Forces and label anyone who opposes them evil doers. But, their own arrogance is the greatest evil; they will be the ruin of humanity! Those of you who were watching the television must realize by now that this is how the Titans go about their business. I admit, it was wrong to take over this assembly, but what of the Titans who were trying to destroy it with the members still inside? Would they even destroy their own supporters?!

There is of course more than one form of pollution. Greenhouse gases are one thing, but fear and negativity are another. I don’t believe we need to leave our beautiful planet, but instead change the way we view the world and ourselves. I see a lot of fear right now, a lot of negativity right now, but a whole lot of potential for creating something beautiful RIGHT NOW! The era of dividing humanity and fulfilling aimless desires we don’t believe in anymore is over. This holds true for both Universal Century 0087 and in our calendar year of 2020. Old corrupt regimes will do what they can to hold onto power by making you afraid, but there are those who are willing to stand up and say, NO! I am a sovereign being and I am one with all my brothers and sisters and we fear nothing that is not real. And you too are a sovereign being and I am willing to shake your hand, give you a hug and say you are my friend. United we all stand.

#62 : Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ

The red headed step twice removed cousin that you swear has to be adopted.  Much is said about the reputation of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ as the oddball of the original Universal Century timeline of Gundam. Now I can poo-poo all over this show too, but why? It is better to see the hidden glories inside this odd release. Let us instead look at the areas where ZZ Gundam does well as well as my areas of questioning, at least from my perspective.

ZZ_1First, it is well animated. Kind of generic, but Sunrise usually gives royal treatment to many classic series and that should not be overlooked. Also the change from Yoshikazu Yasuhiko to Hiroyuki Kiazume for lead character designer is not a bad change. Kitazume has great skills as an artist, so he is most welcome as a change. What would Judau have looked like other wise? Maybe a different eye shape perhaps? And by the way, is it me or are there like way more girls than dudes in this show? Nothing wrong with that and all of them are on the cuter side. Therefore the nickname for ZZ shall be forever known as Cute Girl Gundam (thats better than my nickname for Zeta, Bitchslap Gundam… just ask Kamille).

ZZ_2Second, patience and the 20 episode mark. When I first saw this series I watched about the first 20 episodes and was a little disappointed to say the least. In response, I did a very sensible thing… I took a break from it for about a month. Upon returning, to my surprise, the series began to change (for a short period of time) back into the older dramatic flavor of Zeta and MSG. This gave me faith to continue to the finish. And even though the show is far from perfect, I did finish it. Like anything in life, get away for five minutes to clear your perspective.

ZZ_3Third, we get resolution for Zeta’s tragic hero, Kamille Bidan. And after Zeta, I was worried beyond belief for Kamille, as he is my favorite pilot and the show just stops in a dramatic cliffhanger. Thankfully we see him get out of his shock and mental issues from the final battle of Zeta, though the price he paid for what he did may never be fully healed. The price of karma and severe PTSD on a newtype is a bitch! And… thank you Fa for standing by him.

Something else to consider… not every mecha series is, or even has to be, an epic space opera melodrama. While this may be true and can work for other shows, Xabungle and GoShogun come to mind, it is a serious jolt for my view on the classic Gundam Universe. Some may blame director Yoshiyuki Tomino since he has an interesting portfolio, but I know no anime is the sole responsibility of just one individual. Miyazaki may be the lone exception to that rule (he has his genius hands in everything) 🙂

ZZ_4Now for the main problem I have with ZZ. It is not the story, or the characters, or even the bizarre comedy. It is a more fundamental issue I have with many things in our culture. It’s that it is a product of a branding machine. The sole reason for ZZ’s existence is to continue a franchise to make more money. It’s a victim of marketing and higher ups trying to bend an already established universe and twist it around to make it appeal to someone else who would care less about Gundam. Gundam, like other properties, still continues today with constant revisiting leaving little room for originality. Perhaps mecha and Gundam perhaps are just dead concepts? Love live you beautiful giant robots.

…and also sometimes when a story is finished, it should be treated as such. Sequels after sequels are not always necessary.

So in the end we have a Gundam series that starts off with an introductory episode, the second episode features a food fight, we meet one of the missing Misfits from Jem and the Holograms and we get an episode where the boys have to dress up like girls to rescue their comrades. Not my typical definition of Gundam, but who knows, it may be more to your liking than you realize. ZZ Gundam may be far from perfect (what is perfect amyways?), but it is at least worth a view for the sake of posterity.

#45 : Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Whether in the afterworld or someplace else, the soul that used to inhabit this cold shell is probably not at peace. And further out there is a green planet… ” … I love that intro and yes I love this show. While I often think you can never go beyond an original, this is a big exception. This is not a sequel, nor a followup to Mobile Suit GundamMobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a melancholic ride of intensity that can never be topped.

ZG_1For me Zeta Gundam is the pinnacle of Gundam. I have not seen every Gundam series and to be honest I don’t know how I can. This show left a mark on me that I cannot shake even now. At it’s best it might be the most brutal and passionate tale of epic space opera mecha. The aftermath of ZZ Gundam and then Char’s Counterattack left me disappointed as I felt the story had no where else to go, or just didn’t go anywhere. Zeta Gundam, for me, was the top of what mecha once was and became. Even watching mecha related shows from later decades that take on the direct seriousness and drama, for me, are more cookie cutter or fall flat with being a bit too much for what it is (Evangelion is an exception, but that is it’s own brillance).

ZG_2When I first watched Zeta I had no idea what was going on and this was due to the fact that I had zero exposure to the Universal Century timeline. I watched almost a third of the show and proclaimed I had to go back a little further to make some sense of all this. Once I got around to the original Mobile Suit Gundam series and digested all there was I was in much better shape. I would come back to Zeta and digested the first half this time with glee and joy. I would eventually purchase the second half and, no lie, watched the final 25 episodes in what was possibly one of the greatest endurance runs of my life. In the span of a day and a half I would finish that second half and my life was never the same.

ZG_3Zeta takes place about eight years after the original series and for me the real draw is our new protagonist. I love Kamille Bidan. Some say he is troubled, maybe autistic. It may be that, but his confusion and angst mixed with raw ability hit very close to almost looking in the mirror. I get this guy, totally get this guy. Also with the reintroductions of Char Aznable… I mean Quattro Bajenna (love those shades dude), Amuro Ray (who I still find it hard to believe had a back seat role in this chapter), Bright Noa (welcome back captain) and most of the other members of the White Base crew makes everything proper and tidy. And with a plethora of many more new characters in this series as well, it is sad to say that a minority live to the end. Many tears have I shed over and over again over the loss of so many folks including the troubled Four Murasume and the brilliant Emma Sheen.

ZG_4Now I want to discuss the ending. How do you describe it… kind of like a car accident? All that heavy action and movement, which breaks to a moment of reflection and confusion which seems to stand still. Where am I, why do I feel in shock that I can’t even talk, what just happened? How sad to watch our protagonist, Kamille, once filled with such passion and drive become nothing more than a confused shell. And that is our finale. Cut… done. That’s it? Yup and somehow even though many call it a downer and open ended ending, I find it beyond satisfying. This is not some wrapped up in a bow Hollywood every one wins and smiles at the end kind of ending. This is a close the book, take a breathe and sighing out type of ending. You have to take some time to process what has just occurred and not just only the ending, but the whole show as an entirety. And because of the need of this processing, it stays with you. LIKE GLUE!

Zeta Gundam… a product of it’s time, a pinnacle of a generation and a classic for all time. One of my all time favorites now and forever.