Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gundam found




I have been moving things.

When you moving things, read: excavate and box up all the junk you've pack-ratted away for years (at least in my case), you sometimes find treasures you've forgotten you own.  For me, that was a VHS copy of the science fiction anime, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Movie.

If you're anything like me, and I know I am, there's nothing like giant robots slugging it out for the fate of humanity.  That's the science fiction gist behind Gundam.  Of course that's entirely oversimplifying things, but I shall attempt to expand on it later.  My introduction to the Japanese series Gundam came through Cartoon Network's Toonami circa 2000.  Social situations eventually rendered me unable (or unwilling) to catch every episode, so I lost track of the series.  Just as well for as it turns out, Cartoon Network canceled airing the series in the wake of the September 11th attacks.  The network was steering away from anything war themed for the times.

Anyway, Mobile Suit Gundam takes place in the year 0079 of the Universal Century (whatever that means.)  The Earth Federation and its space colonies are at war with the breakaway Duchy of Zeon.  This enemy quickly turns the tide against Earth by deploying robotic fighting machines called mobile suits.  While there are any number of comparisons to these "battle suits" in the pantheon of science fiction, one of the more apt analogies might be to the "power armor" of Starship Troopers

With Earth and her colonies on the ropes, the final hope rests in an experimental piece of robotic armor called Mobile Suit Gundam.  As is often the case with giant mecha anime, things go awry in that a young lad named Amuro Ray becomes Gundam's controller and only pilot (this seems to happen a lot, just watch Johnny Soko and his Flying Robot.)  Ray is then thrust into a war not only for Earth's survival but his own as well.

Good clean fun.  Sorta, but not really.  Many space-and-giant-robot-themed anime sagas from Japan are deceptively simplistic.  A series such as Gundam does not have such longevity simply because there are enough sci fi and anime geeks out there to keep it going.  Fans grow attached to the characters, their interplay, and the personal triumphs and tragedies that each one faces throughout the course of their fictional lifetimes.  That's what keeps people coming back for more.

Now, if I could just find a VCR...


My e-novella, Hound of Winter is available for only 99 cents


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