Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by flamingtroll » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:35 pm

2NA Fish wrote: The old anime you miss out on so much because they've got all these really subtle undertones that go completely over your head if you haven't got a good understanding of the traditional Japanese mindset.
Precisely, this is particularly true for Tomino's style of choppy story-telling. That's why it's hard to explain to new anime fans why it's "good" and they end up disappointed becuase of that. Actually this is true not only for foreign anime fans, but also younger anime fans in general from the impressions I got reading Japanese forums. On the other hand, I wonder if fans even want something like this anymore in their shows. I am not that old either, I just happened to have grow up with anime and had the chance to rewatch old shows to understand them better.
Reccoa was a bit of a caricature of women's liberation in Japan from a male perspective. Traditionally, women were expected to shut up and take what they were given, like good ol Mirai. Divorce was slowly coming in to many countries after the 70's, and Reccoa's actions have many parallels with it. What she did was unacceptable in her society, she paid for it, and that sentiment was the same way Japanese were looking at women's liberation at that time. Emma chose to play along, Reccoa refused. Tomino has written a heap about women's role in society, and he has a great respect for the female gender. Scirroco's idea about women ruling the world is actually his own view - women are the only ones capable of creating life. Naturally the future is up to them.
I can't help but to grin when Char said something about "The cactus is blooming" in one of those episodes. It's very cheesy but kind of classy at the same time. It's also funny how Tomino seems to have taken that view back in Victory gundam.
but a lot of the stuff in Zeta and other old anime make no sense unless you've got an idea of all those strange formalities and customs the Japanese have, or a general knowledge of current events at the time the anime was made. I found that I could appreciate Zeta a lot more when I finally watched it again after some years of Japanese study.
It's true. Not that I am knowledgeable about the Japanese culture. I don't live there, but I am aware of what's happenign there around that time. The current events are pretty important too, such as things like the Zanscare in Victory and the Sarin gas incident.
That being said, I liked the fact Kamiyu was a horrible horrible person who fired vulcans at unarmed people and punched girls in the gut, then complained "Violence is not the way" when Wong beat the crap out of him. After a look on Nicovideo, I realised even a lot of Japanese fans find his deeds outrageous.
I think it was mentioned that Tomino created the character based on a reading of Camille Claudel's life. So Kamille didn't have it so bad in terms of craziness compared to the person he is based on.

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:25 am

2NA Fish wrote:
flamingtroll wrote: That being said, I liked the fact Kamiyu was a horrible horrible person who fired vulcans at unarmed people and punched girls in the gut
My memory must be faulty, I don't remember this. What episode?
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Cardi Doorl » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:30 am

^
The vulcan-firing happens in the first episode. He hijacks the Gundam and sprays a few bursts at the Titans officer, who was a jerk but still unarmed. It's been a few years since I've seen Zeta, though, so I don't remember when Kamille gut-punched a lady.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:09 am

I seem to recall him punching Sara before.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:52 am

Uh, I think Sarah needed Brightslapping. Badly.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by 2NA Fish » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:46 am

flamingtroll wrote:Precisely, this is particularly true for Tomino's style of choppy story-telling. That's why it's hard to explain to new anime fans why it's "good" and they end up disappointed becuase of that. Actually this is true not only for foreign anime fans, but also younger anime fans in general from the impressions I got reading Japanese forums. On the other hand, I wonder if fans even want something like this anymore in their shows. I am not that old either, I just happened to have grow up with anime and had the chance to rewatch old shows to understand them better.
Well, it's a bit like showing young kids Psycho or Jason And The Argonauts. They might not appreciate the actual shows from such a different period in time, but the style of the shows might get popular again. I think Doctor Who is a good example of this. Nice to see that modern audiences can appreciate a show carried by mostly just good dialogue and acting.
I can't help but to grin when Char said something about "The cactus is blooming" in one of those episodes. It's very cheesy but kind of classy at the same time. It's also funny how Tomino seems to have taken that view back in Victory gundam.
That darn cactus comment flew right over my head the first 3 times I watched it. I had no idea until after I got a girlfriend. :lol:
I think it was mentioned that Tomino created the character based on a reading of Camille Claudel's life. So Kamille didn't have it so bad in terms of craziness compared to the person he is based on.
Yep. The name Camille Vidan is a combination of Camille Claudel and Rodin's names.
Punching women
I had to look it up since I forgot which episode it was myself. Episode 31.
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Sara plants a bomb and when she tries to run, he tackles her saying "If we're gonna die, you're dying with us!" before he punches her out.
It was a pretty shocking scene because punching girls has always been taboo, and he did it AFTER he'd already caught her, which struck me as a bit much.

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Dark Duel » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:25 am

Arbiter GUNDAM wrote:Uh, I think Sarah needed Brightslapping. Badly.
I take the view personally that Sara needed BrightPUNCHING. So if Kamille went and did it, more power to him.
Note that I don't normally advocate physical violence. But Sara was an exception.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by VF5SS » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:34 pm

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:A related phenomenon is the Federation retroactively becoming more and more incompetent. 08th MS Team has commanders like Captain Ryer throwing away the lives of the men under his command both callously and pointlessly, while people like Norris Packard make heroic last stands and completely dominate their opponents (the main characters in this case!) even while sacrificing themselves. 0080 has a handful of commandos taking out an entire Federation base, then one guy taking out all eight of the Gray Phantom's MS by himself, then a Zaku II singlehandedly disabling a Gundam. 0083 has the entire EFF outsmarted and outfought by a handful of rag-tag Zeon remnants. Unicorn has a ludicrously lopsided kill count in the Sleeves' favor, despite the fact that Londo Bell showed themselves to be a vastly more capable force only a few years before during CCA.
I feel like this is more of a result of the disproportionate popularity of Zeon in the fandom. The creators (some may be former fans), simply create more situations to justify that love and to keep the popularity going. They already have the coolest looking robots, so why not make them morally justified in everything they do to make fans more happy to self-insert into Zeon. Also it lets them sell more Zeon toys because now the fans won't see themselves as cannon fodder.

Personally I have to agree it is getting incredibly grating as to how much the side stories and OVAs are bending over backwards to paint the Federation as so incompetent that they couldn't find their shoes in a mild Minovsky environment. It's also a big problem that Zeon must constantly rise again in the name of liberation and humanity no matter how many times they threaten to destroy the Earth.

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by ShadowCell » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:57 pm

besides which, since they still have to fit themselves into the general sweep of Universal Century history, it means that the Great and Powerful Zeon has to keep losing to the drooling idiots of the Federation

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Scorpius7692 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:20 pm

Personally I have to agree it is getting incredibly grating as to how much the side stories and OVAs are bending over backwards to paint the Federation as so incompetent that they couldn't find their shoes in a mild Minovsky environment. It's also a big problem that Zeon must constantly rise again in the name of liberation and humanity no matter how many times they threaten to destroy the Earth.
This was the reason I liked the fighting in Zeta at the beginning. No Zeon. Just the Federation essentially fighting itself. I just think it was weird that the Titans used so many Zeon-like suits. You'd think that after Zaku and Company wrecked havoc across the solar system, dropping colonies and blowing up civilians and such, that the Federation would have a natural aversion to Zeonic designs. Not saying that I hate the Hizack or Marasai, but it is a little bit odd. (odder still was that Axis Zeon was using Gaza-Cs, which not only don't look like Zakus at all, they're painted pink!)
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by VF5SS » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:34 pm

Well that's partially because they wanted to keep the aesthetic and maybe someone thought the audience wouldn't geeeeeeeeeet it if they were more normal Federation style designs.

You could always say the Titans used Zeonic technology as a proof of their dominance and as a way to demoralize the Zeon remnants they were supposed to be fighting.
ShadowCell wrote:besides which, since they still have to fit themselves into the general sweep of Universal Century history, it means that the Great and Powerful Zeon has to keep losing to the drooling idiots of the Federation
Well that's just so the glorious Japanese can rise once again against the barbaric Americans.

Ahem~

I mean it's so Zeon can remain the perpetual underdog, striking decisive blows against the corrupt Federation and never showing any weakness. Zeon Banzai!

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:14 pm

I've just had an epiphany.

Zeon is to Gundam what Klingons are to Star Trek. No, seriously. I bet you dollars to yen that if there were some Zeon made-up language, there would be thousands of Otaku who would learn to speak it fluently. AmIright?
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by VF5SS » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:37 pm

There's already a Zeon language.

It's called German.

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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by HellCat » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:40 pm

I remember hearing that supposedly the Zeon-like suits in Zeta was mainly a sponsor thing. Tomino had the Federation using them to keep with the idea, reinforced in the movies, that Zeon was a decade ahead of the Federation in that area. Apparently later sponsors complained kids were having trouble keeping the factions straight, so AEUG switched to mostly Gundam-like units and Titans/Neo-Zeon used monoeyes.

I do agree it's a bit awkward given the bad blood from the OYW and I like how some of the AUs got around it. In 00 and Wing for example, we have enemies who are happy to steal the technology of the Gundam heroes but only for units which actively shift away from that iconic look, whilst CE had the Alliance less then happy about having to use MS at all and wishing they could stick to MA.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:35 pm

Scorpius7692 wrote:This was the reason I liked the fighting in Zeta at the beginning. No Zeon. Just the Federation essentially fighting itself. I just think it was weird that the Titans used so many Zeon-like suits. You'd think that after Zaku and Company wrecked havoc across the solar system, dropping colonies and blowing up civilians and such, that the Federation would have a natural aversion to Zeonic designs. Not saying that I hate the Hizack or Marasai, but it is a little bit odd. (odder still was that Axis Zeon was using Gaza-Cs, which not only don't look like Zakus at all, they're painted pink!)
I think Zeta improved greatly when Axis showed up. By then the battles between AEUG and the Titans had gotten so stale and none of their fights seemed to impact the war situation at all. Adding Axis to the mix gave things a much needed shaking up.

The canon explaination for Titans using monoeyed suits is that most of the mobile suit engineers working for them were former Zeon ones, and those designers stuck with the trademark look.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Scorpius7692 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:05 pm

As much as I enjoyed the Titan vs AEUG conflict at the show's beginning, I willd admit that it got a little tedious (and the darn Byalant had shown up), and I began to like Zeta again when Axis showed up. Plus, I was hoping for less group angst and stupidity and more of trying to beat the powerful Haman Karn. As I haven't entirely finished the series yet, I can't make a 100% correct assumption, but it seemed that Haman appeared, we learned she was using Mineva, Axis became an enemy, and then they mostly went off the radar. I remember Char fighting a Gaza-C in a colony or something, but that was about it.

I really have to finish the series. Probably the only things I want to see now are Haman's Qubeley in action, Reccoa getting what she deserves, Scirocco (or however you spell his name) getting taken out, and the darn Byalant getting blown up.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:21 am

I don't think the Byalant gets blown up. Jerrid just randomly shows up in a Baund Doc at the very end.

I do love me some Baund Doc, though :D
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Imperial » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:54 am

I like to think there was an element of psychological warfare in the decision to roll with Zeonic design aesthetics in the Titans.

Who was it who terrorized the Earth Sphere with a nuke-slinging, gas-spraying, colony-dropping orgy of destruction that obliterated half the human population in a month? The Tians surely wanted to evoke a similar sense of gravity and fear. The black suits, the elite status--the Titans were doing everything they could to appear as a legitimately fearsome, unstoppable enforcer of the Earth Federation's will.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Zeonista » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:57 am

My but this seems to have been a theraputic thread. :D

But since Destiny_Gundam has asked us old-timers why we think living the sign of Zeta is the best thing... Well, I can say why, anyway. I suppose as a fan, Zeta Gundam was the first complete Gundam series I ever watched beginning to end. (I had already seen the Gundam movie trilogy, but they were obviously a highlight reel.) It took some doing, too, in the early days of fandom. And by "early" kids, your Uncle Zeo means "before fansubs". As a fan of all things with giant robot, mecha suits, and such stuff, I knew that the second series was high in the ranks of "must see anime", but getting the headliner TV shows in the Midwest took some doing. I finally got to watch the whole thing end to end in '91 when our anime club traded another anime club a box of tapes for stuff copied off LD. Good times... :) It was awesome, since before then I had only about the first half of the series in 3rd/3rd-and-a-half TV copies. (When you watch an episode where Camille, Fa, and Emma all have the same hair color, you become aware of the need to upgrade.) Then I & some like-minded friends burned through the entire series in one long summer week, with the episode synopses courtesy of a certain Mark Simmons as a guideline. At the end of several days I was emotionally traumatized, stunned, and in Gundam love forever. So yeah, I liked it.

Now as to why it had such a positive effect on me, is a little difficult to express just in text here. Some things require the full live experience to convey the whole meaning. But rather than summon Destiny-kun to La Casa Zeonista for an episode-by-episode testimony to the awesomeness, I will follow the example of Inigo Montoya and "sum up".

1. Excellent Sequel
Zeta was a great sequel, It expanded its original universe, allowed for its story to build on previous events, introduced new characters while giving the originals their due, and served up tons of mecha upgrade. Plus, Sunrise was positive enough to give Tomino the budget he always deserved, so it looked consistently first-rate in a way the corner-cutting original series never could match. (That btw is why Double Zeta suffered in the eyes of many fans; it was an inferior sequel to begin with, and spent its run trying to catch up.)

2. Gundam heroes can grow up
Camille Vidan actually turned into a real Gundam hero before my eyes. And by real I mean someone who was ready to give a darn about what he was fighting for, not just because his little butt was in the pilot's seat. For all those of you who ever wanted the emo, perpetually uncertain bishie hero du jour to get over his bum hand in life and get on with it, Camille is your guy to cheer for. He starts out as a (justifiably) rebel-without-a-cause jerk with a quick mouth and a quicker punch. He joins AEUG, gets the adult-level treatment he thought he wanted, gets punished for being a punk when he should be a man, wises up, and accepts his role as a key member of the Argama team. Sure, he still wears his heart on his sleeve, but he's sixteen, not a world-weary thirty-nine like Uncle Zeo. :wink: He wants AEUG to live up to its ideals and goals, and he rightfully calls BS when his leaders play political games before going for victory first. He falls in love, gets his heart broken, then moves on knowing that crying in his room won't solve anything; it' s not all about him. Compare the Camille of episodes 1 & 37 and marvel. Then, alas, he has to face down his nemesis, a self-serving bastard who is his polar opposite in every way. Which leads to...

3. No Guarantees
Few people like this aspect of the show, and its subsequent effect on Gundam stories and other ainime. But, Kill-'Em-All Tomino actually got my respect for his lack of compassion in Zeta Gundam. Standing up to a bunch of reactionary thugs who have a literal license to kill is a daunting task, not for the faint of heart. Victory has a cost, and its cost is frequently in the lives of people the heroes-and the audience-have come to like. AEUG feels there are lines they will not cross when it comes to fighting, lest they become like the Zeons or Titans themselves. The Titans of course have no such moral boundaries, and so the bodies pile up on both sides. Tomino doesn't play favorites, but he knows that in both fact and fiction, the greater the risk, the greater the reward...if it succeeds.

Also, Tomino's notorious lack of plot armor for his cast works here; actions have consequences, and characters who behave in a thoughtless manner or don't pay attention to events pay the price for their lack of vision. Or maybe they just meet up with the Enemy Ace on the wrong day, sucks to be them, ne? No one in Zeta Gundam is too cute, too cool, too popular, or too smooth to escape The Reaper (or at least a free trip to med bay) if they screw up, and backup is not at hand. After watching the past decade or so of anime frequently grasp at straws to avoid dropping the hammer on a character who had definitely pushed their luck, I can look back at Zeta and its grim-minded UC brethren, and acknowledge that it's sometimes better to go for blood and give the Gundam hero a painful lesson in the sad truths of this sinful world. It also makes for an attentive audience; knowing that even Camille wasn't immune from potential harm kept me glued to the screen!

4. Bieng a Hero of the Uprising is hard work!
This is a plain and simple truth that Tomino uses to advantage in the story. AEUG is in the right, but merely staking out the moral high ground isn't enough. They have agreed not to play by the conventions of Gihren Zabi or Jamitov Hyma, and more power to them, but it means they have to say "no" even as the other side says "oh yes". And well, acting on their own means they have to construct a high-tech fighting force, man it, equip it, and send it in to the field as best they can. "Amateurs study tactics, but professionals study logistics", and the story proves the old saw in spades. AEUG can gain local victories, but the Titans have all the advantages in a lengthy contest, and then the arrival of Axis makes the lack of a decisive victory painfully evident. Camille resents the heck out of watching Quattro play footsie with Haman, but AEUG has no choice. Tomino makes his heroic leaders make the tough calls, and they end up getting thumped for selling out, anyway. Because Paptimus Scirocco isn't going to let them get a breather if he can help it...

5. Bring on the Bad Guys
One of the reasons AEUG really does get into their hard-luck situation is the quality of the opposition. Zeta Gundam has an opposing lineup that still outranks the other shows for power and the bloody-minded will to use it. Jerid's callous attitude towards Camille in the early episodes is fair warning to him-and the audience- about the operational standards of the bad guys. "Sorry about wasting your mom, kid, nothing personal right" Wrong, it's personal, all personal. Bask Om, Paptimus Scirocco, Yazan Gable, and good ol' back-for-more Jerid Mesa really grind AEUG down. Blackmail, extortion through threatened or actual use of WMD, clever schemes, or just plain no-holds-barred mecha combat take Camille and friends to the mat time after time. And then Paptimus cheerfully backstabs the Ttans leadership, screws up all the chances to avoid disaster, and declares himself King of the World for the finale, from inside his solid gold brick of a personal MS. What does the O in "The O" stand for? "Oh my God that thing is tough!!" :shock: And he even screws up Camille's expected Big Win too, what a completely glorious effing bastard of a villain! The Man from Jupiter is still my measuring stick for villainous perfidy in anime; he is rarely equaled, and even more rarely outdone.
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Re: Zeta Gundam: Why is it so great?

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:12 am

You know, there were a few moments in my rewatching where I was actually cheering Jerid on. Specifically it was when I think he was using a Galbaldy to take on the Mark II. I was actually quite impressed with how that fight went and Jerid was doing an admirable job for being, well, Jerid. Kamille almost lost that one and part of me wishes he had.
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