Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 04 — Trampling

I almost forgot I was blogging this.

O Captain! My Captain!

I really liked what they did with this guy. Banagher started out hating him, but eventually came to respect him during their trek through the desert.

They had an interesting conversation in the cave during their trip. The gist of it was that the spacenoids and earthlings have different systems born in different places, which will inevitably come into conflict. But this is rather silly. The spacenoids come from Earth, after all. And their system of government is the oldest form their is: an autocracy. One of its variants developed in the early 20th century, fascism, to be specific.

The scene where Banagher first gets thrown against the wall and then kicks the captain in the balls and starts stomping on his face was great. Banagher has been wandering around sulking the entire episode, and then this happens. He has some potential after all! I especially liked how Banagher still retains his immense respect for the captain as he beats him up. And also how the crew doesn’t want to stop him. It doesn’t detract from my love for the captain either: his yelling at Banagher about what war is like was just what that kid needed.

Lecturing

Banagher does squander my goodwill quite quickly, of course, by starting to lecture. This is one thing about these kinds of characters that never ceases to annoy me. Ten seconds ago, you were a pathetic loser, Banagher. And now you think you’ve figured out the meaning of life, and know more than the guy who just taught you everything? Get off your high horse already.

His whole discussion with Loni was especially ridiculous. This girl just destroyed an entire city, and you’re trying to reason with her? Perhaps I would care more if her total screen time up to this point had totaled more than thirty seconds. As it is, it’s just ridiculous. Banagher gets naked and she’s convinced immediately. Right. They exchanged a sum total of two sentences and now they have a deep bond that transcends spacetime.

Random Thoughts

  • Terrible music choice for the opening sequence. I like violins and choral pieces, but it doesn’t really work in the middle of a Gundam fight.
  • Bright! Bright! Bright!
  • DO NOT WANT.

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13 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 04 — Trampling

  1. >Right. They exchanged a sum total of two sentences and now they have a deep bond that transcends spacetime.

    That’s sort of what Newtypes have always done.

    1. True enough. It pisses me off every time. At least in the older ones they tend to not understand each other much better and still end up killing each other.

  2. I thought it was a good episode. There will always be over-the-top ideological (and sometimes completely stupid) lecturing in Gundam. All the main characters do it, and it can get annoying, depending on what the character is like and how he’s grown throughout the series. There’s good lecturing, like Amuro in Char’s Counterattack, and there’s bad lecturing, like Banagher. The whole convo with Loni was pointless, I agree. And the way she comes to grips with everything happens too suddenly imo.

    And yes, Bright! Bright! Bright! (and that pic of Amuro he’s got hanging on the wall…that’s right Riddhe…you’ll never be as cool as Amuro)

  3. We reason with people who’ve done horrible things all the time, the fact that she destroyed an entire city didn’t bother me in terms of why Banagher chose to try and convince her, in every respect that was probably the best chance given the strength of her mobile armour in minimizing casualties/stopping her, it always is. What do you do with a hostage taker?

    I also disagree with your points about naivety, even the most well-known scholar on the subject, Sun Tzu agrees, war is just plain stupid, and the whole theme of Gundam is that it takes a child to spell out the obvious to everyone.

    1. To clarify, I don’t object to Banagher attempting to negotiate with her as much as I object to how full of himself he is while he’s pontificating.

      War is stupid, and that’s a major theme of Gundam, as you say. But I think you’re missing another one of the main themes: how this cycle of war propagates. The Gundam pilots all try to spell out to everyone that war is stupid. And how do they do this? Why, by waging war, of course. They are not so innocent as they like to imagine. The UC Gundams spell this out clearly, with Amuro and Camille’s actions having disastrous consequences. The more recent ones don’t though, such as Gundam 00— Setsuna’s struggle is actually supposed to be just. This is one of the many reasons I hate Gundam 00.

      1. It’s the painful but obvious truth—you can’t reason with some people, simple as that. I have given up reasoning with people who commit extreme horrendous acts or have extreme view points. Why? It’s hopeless, I’ll never begin to understand where they are coming from. Some people are on a different wavelength of thought or have a different concept of reality. People so ingrained in their ideologies are the most dangerous. You think I would bother to try reasoning with Hitler or Stalin? Hell no. In terms of hostages, as sad as it is, 99% of the time you won’t get through. The best hostage negotiators are the ones who can buy time, not come up with a miraculous solution. The movie Air Force One is a perfect example. My philosophy? Shoot first, ask questions later. There might be casualties but a few losses is better than thousands. Ask Kiritsugu from Fate/Zero lol.

        War is stupid, but necessary. As long as humans exist, there will always be conflict. The message being sent in Gundam 00 is so retarded–if we understand each other, conflict will stop. B.S. People are always going to have an axe to grind, and there will always be people I mentioned earlier. Talking won’t solve everything, sorry it’s just the way humans are. And good point Draggle–the main characters in Gundam always wage war to point out that war is stupid. They aren’t innocent at all. I think Kamille from Zeta accepts that near the end of the series, which is why he’s willing to risk it all to stop the endless cycle. War will forever be part of human nature, might as well accept it if you haven’t yet (speaking about people in general).

        1. To:
          I chalk it up to youth and emotions running high, combined with a bit of desperation. I don’t think Banagher thinks he’s superior, he genuinely believes in what he’s saying after careful consideration and debate on the matter from a variety of different perspectives which is why I give him much more credit then previous pilots who rushed into it simply because circumstances dictated it as such. Where others simply accepted the moniker of being a ‘pilot’ Banagher continues to defy that and any side that seeks to use him in such a capacity.

          Once again, not such a big deal for me, because Gundam utilizes the stupidity of war in the role of a divine comedy, the great ironies and tragedies of life played out before us on stage. At the same time, by putting said pilots in combats it acknowledges the very human limitations mankind has that often can’t translate itself in any other way for them other then through conflict, even though objectively on some level they know how stupid it is. Thus we insert the Newtype theme, which challenges us and the protagonists to try and rise above it. So far no one has quite managed to do that, but more then any other Gundam pilot before him I think Banagher is has been set-up to become the one who comes closest to it.

          I also don’t harp on Gundam 00 too much for espousing that either because in reality country and leader will say straight out they don’t fight for the sake of war, they fight in order to secure peace. 00 simply takes that on a much larger scale by holding no alignments and including the whole world.

          To Judge

          You’re talking about leaders, instigators, people who actually buy into their own demagogue and inflated sense of ego. Common soldiers who have been drilled and brain-washed is another matter entirely, which is what Loni and the Zeon Remnants espouse. You think we prosecuted every member of the SS or Nazi Party to the fullest extent of the law while Germany was a pile of ash needed to be rebuilt? Or not negotiate with the Soviet Union on a number of occasions in order to prevent nuclear Armageddon despite the numerous crimes against humanity they committed? It always depends on the context and the stakes involved, on occasion we do in fact talk people down and spare more lives in the process, not simply set things up in order for the SWAT team to move in.

          We can mitigate and manage it though, so that it doesn’t become so inevitably out of control as to consume us all in the process. Buying time I guess, until perhaps one day, in that hope beyond hope, we’ll be able to transcend our limitations as human beings, which these post-evolution theories in Gundam are about you know, understanding and empathy is a good start to being with.

          1. I will definitely agree that Banagher isn’t nearly as bad with this as other Gundam pilots (with the exception of Gundam A).

            I’ll confess that I’m very uncomfortable with Gundam’s idea of Newtypes. To me, it seems to be another iteration of the idea of the White Man’s burden and the Aryan master race. You’ll recall that theories of “evolution” were the same scientific justification given for these ideas as well. The UC Gundams seem to realize this: Amuro and Camille, although they have extraordinary capabilities for piloting the Gundam, are fundamentally broken people. In everything aside from piloting, they are in fact inferior, not superior, to everyone else.

            Gundam 00 and the other more recent Gundam shows seem to actually believe in this idea of the Newtype master race. The Gundam meisters actually believe they are better than everyone else and have the right to dictate the direction of the world. Humans will either Innovate and join the master race or be left miserably behind on the ground.

            (And sorry for ending up going off on a tangent…)

          2. Then I’ll rest my case on that front.

            You’re looking at the extreme and oft-abused notion based on faux science and propaganda. It isn’t anywhere near to say they’re aren’t any truths or clear benefits to the idea. The elevation and transcendence of people and countries is an example that has spread beyond just those cases. Take the Renaissance or the Enlightenment as examples of trying to emerge from a stagnant, superstitious era during the Dark Ages and how it uplifted Europe into a new Golden Age of thinking science. And most fundamentally, the New-type theory has actual proof to back it up. But that’s not really the point I suppose, the point is the metaphor behind it. And you have a point, but not the one I think you intended to make. Obviously they’re flawed, the whole timeline is flawed in fact as Unicorn reflected upon, but what is important isn’t that Amuro or Camille were better, but that they had the potential to be better and to grow (which they did to a degree you have to admit), as does the rest of mankind, but at best they were only able to ever keep the status quo. Banagher is the latest incarnation in this attempt to rectify the course finally.

            Oh, I thought their views were more simple then that. If they really bought all that then they would have submitted to Ribbons to begin with. They’re reflective pasts and tragedies simply led them to do what they thought needed to be done which the rest of the world seemed to refuse to do in my opinion. And as we both know, the goal was not to dictate, but to push humanity along a path to make that decision for itself.

  4. I won’t say I disagree with your assumption that the common solider is excluded from trying to reason with. You’re right to a degree. But it is as you say, it depends on the context. So in that regard, you are wrong as Loni is a brainwashed puppet who has bought into a dated ideology. There is no saving her. Riddhe says so himself: she’s cursed by the past. I found it disturbing how quickly she was able to come to closure with things; it wasn’t realistic. There are thousands and thousands of cases where the common grunt has bought into the ideology; it becomes scary and cult like to see the masses all buy in. The famous “Sieg Zeon” scene in the original Gundam is proof of that. What about Anavel Gato? That dude was a common grunt who had an axe to grind. All of Scirocco’s little minions totally bought into his ideology until they were dead. There was no reasoning with Sarah while she was alive. Simple as that.

    Now there are soldiers like the Captain who can think for themselves and only fight for the sake of duty. Norris from the 08th MS team is another example. Nonetheless, it still in a big picture view pointless to try to negotiate with the enemy. The Cold War with Soviet Russia as you pointed out was ended not thanks to talk, but to communist Russia’s inability to keep up with the times; it collapsed from within. Also, it was America’s equal military might that averted catastrophe. Sure talks were held, but I think it was a lot easier “negotiating” when you have the shadow of a giant ass military backing you up. Really, all they were doing was feeling one another out. So I stand by what I say that 99%, you’re wasting your time.

    Lastly, the idea of Newtypes. Banagher has indeed been used, and from his various “captors” he has developed a unique viewpoint. I give you this much. He wants to rise above merely being a tool to create conflict. But I agree with Draggle–the way he goes about it is quite laughable. I still have a hard time believing he came to such a conclusion. While his situation is unique, there’s no way he came to such a quick conclusion of how the world should be. I think this is moar a testament though to the actually series being an OVA, and how short it is. I would let it slide…if this was the best example there was. Unfortunately, it’s not. He’s not the “closet” pilot to rise about conflict. No way in hell. Kamille from Zeta had a much better growth arc. He started off a naive fool. By the end, he understood the harsh reality I spoke of and the consequences of war and was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of ending the cycle. Alas it was in vain. While valiant and championing a good idea (at the expense of his mind), nothing was solved. Sometimes dude, you just gotta fight. The idea that war can be averted when we come to some ultimate understanding is just plain stupid. Humans and conflict walk hand in hand. The Newtype idea is good in theory. And Draggle, I like the point you bring up; Char thought of Newtypes moar as a race then anyone else. Innovators from 00 also fit the bill. It’s as you say about Amuro and Kamille: they’re Newtypes but still human. They’re broken. I view Newtypes personally as super human, nothing moar, nothing less. I believe in Char’s original assessment of them: products of war. I even believe that by the time Victory rolls around, w’ere supposed to believe that the Newtype idea of ultimate understanding will never work. Innovators on the otherhand…yuck. So what is the point of (UC) Gundam then? I compare them to Shakespeare’s tragedies. They’re interesting case studies, and in fact, plays, dramas. Plus, it’s just so f’ing entertaining :)

    –Tangent done.

    1. Well first off, our first disagreement comes from whether or not its so dated, or that there isn’t actually a point in all the grievances Zeon has against the Federations rule up till now. And I tend to be a bit more optimistic on the actual chances of that occurring to someone with Loni’s psychological make-up. Examples of child-soldiers in real-life conflicts who have been reformed would tend to support me on this. Once you confront them with their flaws directly and strip the arguments down, I think it very possible to expose it as a much more fragile state of mind. Sure, they’ll likely lash out, but that’s generally because they can’t really defend it once you get them to think about it enough. Loni’s specific problem was her personal losses, once you circumvent that (i.e Kirk’s ghost) then what else did she have to really stand on? All that I think was needed left to give her the final push was the feeling of a way out. Think about this by the time we were pushing the Germans back to their homeland in WW2 most of them weren’t fighting for their ideology anymore, they were fighting to defend their homes and families, especially against the Soviets. We’d already shattered their faith by that point. Let’s not even go into Riddhe, because he was saying that about himself as much as Loni, so what in the end does that really say about him and the Federation being any better on this issue? Always two-halves to form a whole you know.

      I’m not saying their aren’t fanatics or die-hards, obviously their are, but the way you really beat them is to relegate them to obscurity. If the Federation hadn’t gone as far as to start the Titans in response of Gato and Delaz then they wouldn’t have proven both of them right and avoided things like the Gryps Conflict and subsequently the First Neo-Zeon War. And Siricco was beaten the moment the Federation stopped support for the Titans, due in large part because of Char’s Dakar speech. And while we’re talking about Sarah let us note that she did let go when she died because she was allowed to see and understand things beyond his existence, which is what helped Kamille beat Siricco as I recall. So as I see it negotiation and reasoning have just a valid a part to play alongside force when needed.

      And in turn we didn’t end up using our military to liberate or destroy the threat they posed for the 50 year period before their fall. Not to mention that we ended up working with repressive communist China in the process. And it was in so much as it made both powers realize how pointless such a thing as war would be to either capitalism of communism if the world was rendered to ash in the process. And how close did we end up doing just that? We avoided those moments with a combination of force, but also the ability to make concessions and compromises. The Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t end at the blockade you know, both sides agreed to pull missiles away from their respective borders. Heck, we wouldn’t have come to that point if BOTH sides hadn’t decided to push each other with their military might and put the missiles there in the first place! I can point to plenty of other examples where simply using our great military might didn’t solve squat. Vietnam for example, who we now trade with despite their human rights record, ditto with China, the mess with Iraq, the restart with Russia etc etc. My point in the end is that simply because we don’t like or approve of another person or government does not mean we don’t or shouldn’t negotiate and build relationships with them when taking into account the bigger picture of being in direct conflict in the end, its just not worth it and can end up causing far more damage then it mends. I don’t need to change your mind on that account, reality and history speaks for itself on the matter.

      Now there once again I disagree and give my exact reasons why. Kamille was stuck on one side of the issue, and while in that last circumstance violence was necessary to put away the Titans it didn’t leave room to deal with Haman and the return of Neo-Zeon. In fact, the most successful instance of the Gryps conflict was not their constant conflict with the Titans, but when they reached out to the Federation leadership directly to expose the Titans for what they were and de-legitimize them, taking away their cause and reason which allowed them to be wiped out in Gryps alone. Zeon on the other-hand has always had a cause to rally too even after they’re defeated, which is why they movement keeps coming back.

      Banagher has a much better opportunity then Kamille because he’s been able to examine the conflict from every perspective and come to an understanding with all sides and their points of view. And no I’m not saying the Newtype theory or the examples of the specific pilots were perfect, obviously not since Unicorn has gone a long way to acknowledge that in the very first episode. They simply represented the potential of humanity to possibly rise above it all, but of course it was perverted and abused until they became synonymous with War. Every example of a Newtype we have had has been of the young, immature, and easily molded example who end up getting caught up in the conflicts of the past. You can’t pack a process of evolution into a few people and a few years and expect results right away, its unrealistic and the Unicorn does a good job in explaining that. Which is why I’m not worried about the post-Zeonic series like Victory etc, as mankind progresses where it can be ready for it such a thing will be overcome. By the end the political landscape at least begins change along Deikun’s theory. Now all we need to do right now in Unicorn is put this particular problem of the struggle between the Federation and Zeon behind us, thus marking the first step on a long road back to the possibility the Universal Century was supposed to have.

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