MSB's Listener Forum
Season 2 Edition
This week, we have the text of the forum comments and discussion prompts, and sources for submitted research pieces. Some comments have been shortened or reformatted.
Dan: I would like to know your opinion on why certain Mobile suits are called Gundam, and others aren’t. Take the MK II, it’s made of titanium alloy, but it’s called a Gundam. The Hyaku Shiki and Rick Dias are both made of Gundarium Alloy, ( Luna Titanium retconned name) but are not classified as Gundams.
LC: I would like you guys to do an occasional deeper dive into the suits themselves. They're characters in the show, and I'd love an occasional conversation about the aesthetics and in-universe story behind them.
Sean: Why is the Hyaku Shiki the best MS ever?
Robert submitted a research piece about the boat we mentioned in episode 2.19 of the podcast (the one on which Namicar Cornell travels, and where Mirai and her children are held). Sources: definition and explanation of hydrofoils, about the historic hydrofoil passenger service between Hong Kong and Macau, the current hydrofoil passenger service called TurboJET, about the USS Plainview (to which this ship's design might be a reference), and video of the USS Plainview in action.
LC: Gundam gets worse the more it strays from harder sci-fi. Zeta is an excellent series that did much good for the franchise, but in my opinion it also created a lot of the things I don't specifically like, primary among this the deeper woo of newtypes. I (admittedly personally) prefer the more grounded aspects of the franchise (yes I understand the humor of enjoying the grounded aspects of a series about giant robots.) I would much rather have it be a way of serving up deeper philosophical and ethical conversations than about new-age post-jedi SPACE MAGIC.
Needs more Charma: Toward the end of First Gundam, Gihren and Degwin Zabi share an infamous scene in which Degwin asks if Gihren, Zeon’s “Supreme Leader,” has ever heard of Adolf Hitler. Gihren then describes himself as “a follower of Hitler.” The conventional reading of this scene, and the one Thom & Nina discussed on the podcast, is that Degwin is accusing Girhen of being like Hitler and Gihren eagerly accepts the accusation. As Thom put it, this is when the show turns to the audience and states outright that the whole thing has been a metaphor for World War II. However, I think this scene actually shows that Gihren is an analog not for Hitler, but for his follower Mussolini. Both relied on an external force more powerful than themselves (Mussolini relied on Hitler, Gihren relied on Newtypes). Gihren, like Mussolini, is incoherent as a commander. And he’s killed by Kycilia, similar to the way Mussolini was executed by Italian partisans. The true stand-in for Hitler in First Gundam is actually Char. There are two reasons for this. First is the relationship between Gihren (as Mussolini) and Char - Gihren is weaker in every way and relies on Char’s strength for the sake of achieving his own ambitions. Just as Mussolini’s fascist Italy relied on Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Second, Char is depicted as having taken up but also warped his father’s philosophical beliefs, creating a violent perversion of Zeon Deikun’s philosophy. This reflects Hitler’s own self-aggrandizing interpretation of the philosophy espoused by his mentor Dietrich Eckart. I think the Char/Lalah relationship is more an allegory of the relationship between Hitler and the party and the German public given that both Lalah and Germany rely exclusively on Char/Hitler for survival and also shows how the manipulation of said devotees can lead seeming innocent people to commit barbaric acts in the name of a moral crusade, often against their own self interest.
Steven B.: The topic I’m most interested in is theorizing what Gundam manga & light novels could be adapted into anime. What can I say? I love liminal spaces and your podcast is built around only the parts of Gundam that exist as anime. Now, unless I’m mistaken, such adaptations were nonexistent in the Gundam franchise up until the past decade, which saw 4 (that I know of). I know Tomino himself wrote a novelized version of Char’s Counterattack before the film was made, but I’m given to understand it was a soft pitch and by no means a hit on its own. With Hathaway’s Flash coming this winter, what the hell, I want to run down a Top 5 Non-anime Gundam That Could Maybe Become Anime Gundams Some Time in the Near Future.
- Crossbone Gundam
- Char’s Deleted Affair
- The Plot to Assassinate Gihren Zabi
- École du Ciel
- We’re Feddie Hooligans!!
Austin: Why doesn't Amuro know how to shake hands? What happened on that dock with Kamille? That was the most confused congratulations ever. (This is a reference to the episode where they shake hands on the dock in Hong Kong after rescuing Mirai)
Kyle F.: While the Soviet Buran was superficially similar enough to the US Shuttle to be called a copy, it differed in a principally important way. The Shuttle itself was the launch vehicle, aided by an external fuel tank and 2 boosters while the Buran was merely the payload delivered to orbit by a separate rocket system that also used two boosters.
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