Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

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Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by False Prophet » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:12 am

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to be that in Gundam the bad guys usually field a wider variety of MS than the good guys? Why is this? Is this the same situation as with aces (If your side have more aces, it means you are being outnumbered) in that as the war goes on, the bad guys is losing and thus they try to find a solution; while with the good guys their machines have been doing fine and therefore need no replacement?

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Kuruni » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:23 am

Because of the trope call "Monster of the Week", or "Mecha Wrestling" as it's called in Gundam Sousei. Basically, variety of bad guys = more opportunities for hero to reveal different gimmicks = more toys selling.

In universe, the protagonists are usually has much less manpower and/or resource (Z, ZZ, V, W, X, GSD, 00, IBO), and the series which the portagonists has adavantage in number are severe lacking behind in MS tech (MSG, Turn A, SeeD, Age Gen 1). So it does make sense in universe that they can't cracnk out new variants at same speed with the antagonists. For G and Gunpla Battle series, well, it's tournament story.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:19 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:12 am
Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to be that in Gundam the bad guys usually field a wider variety of MS than the good guys? Why is this? Is this the same situation as with aces (If your side have more aces, it means you are being outnumbered) in that as the war goes on, the bad guys is losing and thus they try to find a solution; while with the good guys their machines have been doing fine and therefore need no replacement?
Partly, it's as Kuruni says... it's less "Monster of the Week" and more a slightly different trope called the Sorting Algorithm of Evil. In principle, the antagonist faction receives a greater number of upgrades a new models to ensure that they continue to pose a significant threat as the protagonists become more skillful and proficient. If the antagonists were stuck with just the one design or had minimal upgrades, the ever-increasing proficiency of the hero and his companions would turn battles from dramatic and challenging affairs into little more than a MMO-style grind.

It has a bit of the "monster of the week" flavor to it, since in Gundam the latest model seldom lasts long before their weak spots are sussed out by the heroes, though they tend to last longer than just one episode on average.

The other part of it is that it's an inherited tendency from the original Mobile Suit Gundam series... in which it was a little bit of Truth in Television derived from the Principality of Zeon being based on Nazi Germany. When the tide of the Second World War started to turn against them, the Nazis fell into a bit of a rut with trying to develop a new weapon that would singlehandedly turn the tide of the war back in their favor. Just like Zeon, this led to their defense industry generating a huge number of competing programs that were plagued by politicking, backstabbing, and a lack of reasonable (sane) oversight. Many programs were terminated in the prototype phase for being simply terrible ideas, and many more were carried farther than they should have been as the result of being a pet project for some idiot official. The few worthy programs to come out of the mountain of trash and wasteful spending were hamstrung by politicking and engineering issues, entering service too late and in numbers too few to offset losses, let alone regain the initiative in the war. (The closest direct comparison would probably be the Gelgoog and Me 262... each was a game-changing high-performance weapon, but both were fielded far too late to do anything other than slightly delay a defeat that was already inevitable. You could argue the EMS-04/10 Zudah is analogous to Heinkel's He 162, a design with theoretically high performance so poorly engineered that it could and did frequently destroy itself with the stresses of its own maneuvering.)
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by False Prophet » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:33 pm

@Seto Kaiba: That reminds me, is not the reverse thing happened to Macross Frontier (correct me if I am wrong, I have not finished it): There are only a few type of Vajra, but there are tons of VF (of course, the bad guys use VF too.)

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:40 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:33 pm
@Seto Kaiba: That reminds me, is not the reverse thing happened to Macross Frontier (correct me if I am wrong, I have not finished it): There are only a few type of Vajra, but there are tons of VF (of course, the bad guys use VF too.)
That's a rather different situation, since all of the models of VF in the show were developed before the start of the Vajra conflict. There are also only a few different models of VF in the series, with most of the protagonists simply flying different variants of the same aircraft. (Admittedly none of them fly the grunt model, the VF-25A, though in truth the differences between the variants are purely cosmetic outside of the head configuration.)

The series basically takes place in the middle of changeover from one model of fighter to another. The VF-171 is the old model on the way out, and the VF-25 and VF-27 are individual fleets replacements for it.

The only true wartime development was the VF-171EX Nightmare Plus. I'd say it's roughly analogous to the MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai from Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, given that both are improved variants of initial model "grunt" units produced in low volumes with increased engine output that inherited better systems and armor from newer models in order to stay competitive in the short term. The VF-171EX got new, more powerful engines, and inherited the integrated control systems, armor material, and anti-beam coating from the VF-25 on top of also getting the same new solid ammo and beam weapon upgrades.

The YF-29 from the movies is (debatably) the first and, thus far, only case of a Gundam style Super Prototype in Macross, but even that was in development well before the war actually started.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Dark Duel » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:40 pm

I'm gonna start by saying that it's been a couple of years since I last watch Frontier, but that was my recollection as well.
Most of the variety in Frontier comes in the form of specialized variants of the two core VF models - the VF-171(with the vanilla "cannon fodder" model and the improved -171EX model) and 25(IIRC 3 different minor variants, and the RVF-25)
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:23 pm

Dark Duel wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:40 pm
Most of the variety in Frontier comes in the form of specialized variants of the two core VF models - the VF-171(with the vanilla "cannon fodder" model and the improved -171EX model) and 25(IIRC 3 different minor variants, and the RVF-25)
Pretty much, yeah... and, for the most part, there's very little hardware difference between the variants. All of the VF-25 variants use identical hardware except for the monitor turret (head), and the VF-27's two variants have only a cosmetic set of fins on the head separating them. The VF-171EX is the only variant with significant differences from the base model.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Dark Duel » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:40 pm

Yeah. Even the RVF-25 isn't that much different from the baseline model - I mean, it is moreso than the others, but apart from a head swap, it just has the radome on its back and IIRC one other little bit of kibble dangling from its underside(presumably some additional sensor of some kind, I guess).
Really the only drastic hardware change is the 171EX, and even that's mostly external equipment in terms of what's visible, the rest being "under the hood" changes.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:44 pm

Kuruni wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:23 am
In universe, the protagonists are usually has much less manpower and/or resource (Z, ZZ, V, W, X, GSD, 00, IBO), and the series which the portagonists has adavantage in number are severe lacking behind in MS tech (MSG, Turn A, SeeD, Age Gen 1). So it does make sense in universe that they can't cracnk out new variants at same speed with the antagonists. For G and Gunpla Battle series, well, it's tournament story.
Being driven in no small measure by merchandise, the defense industry in any given Gundam series seems to be almost fanatically devoted to iterative development. Instead of incorporating new advances into a production block update of existing mobile suits, any new feature seems to only be available on the latest model. One could be forgiven for thinking Zeonic, Zimmad, and Anaheim got their start in smartphones.

The antagonists du jour never seem to buy more than a few hundred of any given mobile suit and then are quick to trade up. G-Reco was only two cour, and Mask went through how many upgrades? Five? Six?

It seems like the only ones who are buying mobile suits with the expectation that they'll last a couple decades or so is the Federation.


Dark Duel wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:40 pm
Yeah. Even the RVF-25 isn't that much different from the baseline model - I mean, it is moreso than the others, but apart from a head swap, it just has the radome on its back and IIRC one other little bit of kibble dangling from its underside(presumably some additional sensor of some kind, I guess).
That's detachable, actually... it's the Aegis Pack. If you really wanted to, you could mount that same hardware on any other VF-25 variant with some minor software changes.

Macross has always tended to take a more real-world view with respect to service lifespans, with some VFs remaining in military service for thirty years or more and having spent years if not decades of development time before the first prototype ever flew, so we don't generally see quick-and-dirty new designs deployed in wartime. The VF-25, for instance, had a start-to-finish development time of 18 years. Most are in development for about a decade before they ever fly as a prototype.

The only really good examples I can think of of wartime developments are the SDR-04-Mk.XIV Phalanx destroid, which was developed and built during the First Space War aboard the SDF-1 Macross, the DYRLverse's version of the VE-1 which was in the same situation, and the non-canon VF-X3 Medusa which was cobbled together from VF-1 and destroid parts and ended up an unflyable mess.


Dark Duel wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:40 pm
Really the only drastic hardware change is the 171EX, and even that's mostly external equipment in terms of what's visible, the rest being "under the hood" changes.
It does have some minor changes to airframe shape, the pitch of the nose was changed to accommodate a change from the low-observable cockpit to the "hero" bubble canopy. As a result, the EX model got .13 meters shorter in fighter mode.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Kuruni » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:28 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:44 pm
G-Reco was only two cour, and Mask went through how many upgrades? Five? Six?
G-Reco is a little unusual in that both Mask's Squad and Megafauna also get new stuff from other parties. Megafauna use mostly Amerian mecha, but also get stuff from Capital Guard, Towasanga, and Venus Globe. While Mask Squad start with Capital Army's, then get Towasanga's and later Venus Globe. So it's understandable that they get more models in short time.

(Somewhat off-topic, but I think that excluding G-Self, the best advertised MS in-story itself happen to be Recten. It does wonderful in the first epsidoe and show some nice gimmics too)
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by yazi88 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:56 am

IBO might be one of the few shows where the good guys have more different units than the bad guys. Gjharrhorn for the most part only uses Grazes and its variations including the schalbe Graze which preceded it and its successor the Reginglaze along with Julietta's upgrades and the Kimaris with its upgrades. McGillis's faction uses 2 Grimegardes and the Bael.

Tekkadan uses 2 customized Grazes, Barbatos/Gusion Rebake with their upgrades, Gundam Flauros, Landman Rodi and the Shidens with their custom versions and the hand me down the Hekija at the end.

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:18 pm

Kuruni wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:28 am
G-Reco is a little unusual in that both Mask's Squad and Megafauna also get new stuff from other parties. Megafauna use mostly Amerian mecha, but also get stuff from Capital Guard, Towasanga, and Venus Globe. While Mask Squad start with Capital Army's, then get Towasanga's and later Venus Globe. So it's understandable that they get more models in short time.
Even before Mask's unit started getting upgrades from the G-IT Laboratory they'd already gone through three or four different models of mobile suit, some of which only lasted one or two episodes like the Elf Bullock. That's rather a lot for a Gundam show that's only half as long as usual.

G-Reco was also a bit unique in that there was at least one faction that NEVER upgraded. The Capital Guard was still soldiering on with old Rectens and Recksnows at the end of the series.



yazi88 wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:56 am
IBO might be one of the few shows where the good guys have more different units than the bad guys. Gjharrhorn for the most part only uses Grazes and its variations including the schalbe Graze which preceded it and its successor the Reginglaze along with Julietta's upgrades and the Kimaris with its upgrades. McGillis's faction uses 2 Grimegardes and the Bael.

Tekkadan uses 2 customized Grazes, Barbatos/Gusion Rebake with their upgrades, Gundam Flauros, Landman Rodi and the Shidens with their custom versions and the hand me down the Hekija at the end.
Depends on how you want to define "different". Since the Iron-Blooded Orphans MS's are a base frame with all the primary systems built into it and then armor and optional hardware attached to that frame, distinguishing between models is a little trickier. Of course, since half of Tekkadan's upgrades are Megamanning and most of the others are a five finger discount on the hardware left by their defeated enemies, they do tend to accumulate a lot of variety, though it's questionable how many of them count as true variants and distinct models.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by yazi88 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:25 pm

I guess in terms of different frames with Tekkadan in IBO they have more different units rather than using the same frame and making variations like Gjarrhorn Valkyria/Geiril/Graze frames aside from the Gundams. Tekkadan uses Gundam, Graze, Shiden, Rodi and Hekija frames.

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by MythSearcher » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:04 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:19 pm

The other part of it is that it's an inherited tendency from the original Mobile Suit Gundam series... in which it was a little bit of Truth in Television derived from the Principality of Zeon being based on Nazi Germany. When the tide of the Second World War started to turn against them, the Nazis fell into a bit of a rut with trying to develop a new weapon that would singlehandedly turn the tide of the war back in their favor. Just like Zeon, this led to their defense industry generating a huge number of competing programs that were plagued by politicking, backstabbing, and a lack of reasonable (sane) oversight. Many programs were terminated in the prototype phase for being simply terrible ideas, and many more were carried farther than they should have been as the result of being a pet project for some idiot official. The few worthy programs to come out of the mountain of trash and wasteful spending were hamstrung by politicking and engineering issues, entering service too late and in numbers too few to offset losses, let alone regain the initiative in the war. (The closest direct comparison would probably be the Gelgoog and Me 262... each was a game-changing high-performance weapon, but both were fielded far too late to do anything other than slightly delay a defeat that was already inevitable. You could argue the EMS-04/10 Zudah is analogous to Heinkel's He 162, a design with theoretically high performance so poorly engineered that it could and did frequently destroy itself with the stresses of its own maneuvering.)
There's a bit of back story to this.
Originally, Tomino planned to use exclusively Zakus in the show as enemy units, and only a small number of special units. However, the drop in number of viewers after the first few episodes just showing Zakus, they had to give up and design newer units for the Gundam to fight, and rationalizing it as what you are saying here.

BTW, Me262 seems to also have a relatively low reliability as well, at least compared to piston cylinder planes.

I'd compare the Zeon MSs to Japanese planes though, their specs are usually less good than the allies'.

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:22 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:04 am
There's a bit of back story to this.
Originally, Tomino planned to use exclusively Zakus in the show as enemy units, and only a small number of special units. However, the drop in number of viewers after the first few episodes just showing Zakus, they had to give up and design newer units for the Gundam to fight, and rationalizing it as what you are saying here.
Yeah, I remember that. IIRC it was even discussed at some length in Gundam Sousei.


MythSearcher wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:04 am
BTW, Me262 seems to also have a relatively low reliability as well, at least compared to piston cylinder planes.

I'd compare the Zeon MSs to Japanese planes though, their specs are usually less good than the allies'.
I think the German analogy tends to hold up better in direct comparison, given how they weren't exactly shy about the Principality of Zeon being Nazi Germany In Space. Germany's design ethos put an emphasis on keeping designs simple, robust, and heavily iterative in application of refinements and improvements. Japan's approach was more along the lines of sacrificing anything and everything if it'd increase performance, as famously embodied by their most iconic fighter: the A6M Zero.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by MythSearcher » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:48 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:22 pm
I think the German analogy tends to hold up better in direct comparison, given how they weren't exactly shy about the Principality of Zeon being Nazi Germany In Space. Germany's design ethos put an emphasis on keeping designs simple, robust, and heavily iterative in application of refinements and improvements. Japan's approach was more along the lines of sacrificing anything and everything if it'd increase performance, as famously embodied by their most iconic fighter: the A6M Zero.
True, the appearance and a lot of the ideals of Zeon is qutie obviously Nazi-like.
But the inferior spec and the actual ruling polictics are more like Japanese(some post-WWII).

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Zeonista » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:03 pm

The early classic mecha anime like Macross and Gundam were made with rather conventional marketing support. It was still supposedly "kids' stuff" aimed at boys. So there would be a few easily identifiable hero designs, maybe a few more good-guy grunt suits that were sort of like the hero mecha but not as good. The villains would field many designs in a "monster of the week" format which all had a specific shtick to set them apart from each other. The villain of course would have his Tower of Power ready for the Final Showdown, whenever that happened. That was pretty much the first decade of mecha anime right there, and the viewpoint or expectation did not automatically vanish in the Eighties.

As stated earlier, Tomino had to bow to reality of ratings and sales and introduce some more MS, and the inevitable MA as well. What helped set his anime apart though was finding some reality-based reasons in & out of the story to justify having some new adversaries. The Gouf is a "counter-Gundam" of agility and close combat, the Dom is an assault sled, the Gelgoog is the new generation model introduced just as Zeon hits the skids, the Mobile Armors are quality-multiplier nightmares, and so on. It made sense and helped keep older fans beyond the school set interested in the anime as well. (The Zakurello is an unfortunate throwback, but not everything can be a winner! :D ) The schoolboys who watched MS Gundam though grew up watching and prefering mecha anime that continued to play by Tomino's rule set. That was the second decade of mecha anime, and it's been the go-to model ever since.

SDF Macross having one main design adapted to identify the pilots but still capable of variable mission duties was written into the series with the role of a contemporary strike fighter. As a young Robotech viewer in the Eighties it was instantly credible, with mission focus, Top Gun cool, and a battloid ground combat mode too! 8) The Destroids were walking gun & missile platforms, but that was OK because someone has to play defense. Not as cool as the Veritechs, no, but they made sense, and had a purpose beyond filling toy racks. The Zentraedi tended to have fewer variations, but it made sense since they were mass-produced foes to the nth degree, with outstanding mecha being saved for the enemy commanders.
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:57 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:48 am
True, the appearance and a lot of the ideals of Zeon is qutie obviously Nazi-like.
But the inferior spec and the actual ruling polictics are more like Japanese(some post-WWII).
You keep coming back to this "inferior spec" thing, but that doesn't really logically work with the comparison of Federation vs. Zeon MS's since for almost the entire OYW there was nothing to compare them to apart from the "super-prototype" Gundam. By the time the Federation had a representative sample of a production MS, Zeon's forces were fielding Mobile Suits that were at least as good (the MS-09 Dom and MS-14A Gelgoog, which the GM only really beat in acceleration.) Zeon's problem towards the end of the war was that most of its best pilots had died fighting the Federation and by the time these new MS's were available they were down to reservists and greenhorns.

Zeonista wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:03 pm
The Zentraedi tended to have fewer variations, but it made sense since they were mass-produced foes to the nth degree, with outstanding mecha being saved for the enemy commanders.
The Zentradi Army in Super Dimension Fortress Macross had more variants of its mecha than the UN Forces did for theirs... and more types of mecha in general as well. They just had them all intended for separate jobs instead of almost entirely cosmetic differences like the VF-1's variants.

("Outstanding" mecha were not saved for commanders either... the one mecha in that series that really stands head and shoulders above the others was reserved for women.)
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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by False Prophet » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:22 am

MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:48 am
... the actual ruling polictics are more like Japanese(some post-WWII).
Sidestepping the topic, how is post-WWII politic was ran in Japan anyway?

I do not know if this is related or not, but this scene in The Plan to Assasinate Ghiren shows how stratified Zeon society is.

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Re: Why do the bad guys usually have more different models than the good guys?

Post by MythSearcher » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:33 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:57 pm

You keep coming back to this "inferior spec" thing, but that doesn't really logically work with the comparison of Federation vs. Zeon MS's since for almost the entire OYW there was nothing to compare them to apart from the "super-prototype" Gundam. By the time the Federation had a representative sample of a production MS, Zeon's forces were fielding Mobile Suits that were at least as good (the MS-09 Dom and MS-14A Gelgoog, which the GM only really beat in acceleration.) Zeon's problem towards the end of the war was that most of its best pilots had died fighting the Federation and by the time these new MS's were available they were down to reservists and greenhorns.
The majority of MS that Zeon was using is inferior to the EFF's models. They did not have even limited production models that can keep up with the development like the Nazis. In air, land and undersurface combat vehicles the Nazi Germanydid have pretty good designs rolling out throughout the war, and didn't really need to rely on a late design like the Gelgoog to catch up with the Allies. As oppose to Zeon, the mainstay is the Zaku with many variants and kept being the most common field unit until the Dom/Rick Dom, but at least the Rick Dom isn't that much more powerful compared to the much cheaper Ball(which is a design of similar period). The GM, by spec, is good enough of a match against the Gelgoog, and doesn't really need to rely on numbers like the T-34 or M4 against the Tiger.
This is more like Japanese Zero, while in the first half of the war, since the Ally Forces are focusing their effort in the European Theatre, the Zero only need to fight older and out-dated or at least incorrectly placed planes(like desert models at sea), but when the US turned their more advanced development to the Pacific, the Japanese didn't have anything that can catch up with the spec, even when they kept modifying the Zero (I recall up to mod 52) it only made the thing that much more unstable and falling apart in air when performing something as simple as a diving attack, which is a really common and powerful tactic used in dogfight in WWII. The Type One was actually better(kinda), but less recognised due to the political tension between the army and the navy.

This is where the Zeon politics is a reflection of WWII Japan, internal factions that create useless competition amongst themselves and waste resources and time.
False Prophet wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:22 am
Sidestepping the topic, how is post-WWII politic was ran in Japan anyway?

I do not know if this is related or not, but this scene in The Plan to Assasinate Ghiren shows how stratified Zeon society is.
There's a whole book talking about the economy and politics of Gundam, mainly on OYW.
The Zeon politics is based heavily on family relations, which is really common post WWII.(Of course one can say that is also quite common pre-WWII.)

Stratified is usually common in dictatorship/Totalitarianism countries, also true for Nazi Germany, so I am not using that to talk about Zeon being like Japan.

An easier way to think of this is that Tomino isn't really good at foreign politics in history, he just used what he saw in life and made his reflection in the anime he created, which is aimed at Japanese audiences, thus it would be much easier to use Japanese politics, which will need less homework done and more audience can relate to.
The Federation is also heavily modelled from Japanese Government of post-WWII, even more so than Zeon, but showing more of the downside of a bureaucracy and democracy. Even Side 6 is a show of the Japanese problem, just not that political.

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