Gundam cliches you could do without?

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HellCat
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Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by HellCat » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:54 pm

Gundam series are fairly frequently cited as having recurring ideas, usually in a negative context. As such, which ones would you like to see the end of?

2 of mine to get the ball rolling:

The hero independent faction- I'm really tired of seeing this and it mainly occurs in the AUs. After getting drawn into a war and fighting to stay alive, the lead characters develop something of a messiah complex and decide not only must they end the war but apparently usher in a reformation for humanity.
Now, I don't mind when heroes rebel against corrupt superiors. But it strikes me as fairly preachy that we keep getting characters who go from barely knowing how to wield a gun to being pioneers of the human reform, leading a ragtag band that somehow outwits at least two larger and superior forces. UC to its credit usually made occurances of rebels be brief and said factions were either aided by or hoping to ultimately reconcile with the Federation. Either way, we're now at the point where with each new series I'm waiting for the foregone conclusion that the protagonist is going to suddenly think they have all the answers.

Super soldier lady- This has been done so many times that the dramatic impact has been diluted if not evaporated. The idea of unwillingly modifying a fellow human into a super soldier and forcing them to fight against their will packs a real punch the first few times. But it keeps happening and it's always a case of the protagonist bonding with them, fighting desperately to free them and then a tragic end as they twist the knife with final words about how they would have liked a happy life with the lead.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by DuelGundam2099 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:39 pm

-Funnels. Save for final battles you do not need multiple guns flying around all over the place and most of them being inaccurate or barely doing any damage. Personally it annoys me more than takes away anything

-Beam saber instant kills. (my least favorite gundam cliche) It always manages to destroy any mobile suit/armor in one hit and with the sole exception of shields they never come across resistance. Episode 4 of Unicorn subverted it a little.

-Instant repairs/replacements. Mobile suits are damaged somewhat/loses weapons or fuel, in the span of hours they are good as new, and it is like it never happened. Where do they get all the spare arms and heads? Or the weapons? Zaku Zeta and GM Head are the only subversions to this I have ever seen. Age-3 becoming FX does not count because it outright stops this.

-Pointless love interests. Do I really need to explain?

-Lack of genuinely evil villains being the final boss. No weird "hiding good intentions", no ultra tragic back story, no sophisticated philosophy, no "this is necessary" excuses, and no looking like a deranged mental illness is involved. The Frost brothers are the closest thing to this I've seen; G Gundam had something going with whatshisname reactivating Devil Gundam in the last four episodes, but technically the last boss was DG so.... The Innovades would have counted if they were one individual rather than a group.

-Battleships having bridges and mobile suits not aiming for them. (second least favorite cliche) Seriously, once that bridge is out the ship cannot function and it it's in space you can easily bring a lot more people into the vacuum of space. Once one attack reaches there it is done. It makes things so much easier yet nobody bothers aiming there half the time

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by LigerMKII » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:53 pm

Technically, Beam Sabers are concentrated beams of fusion burning at millions of degrees. It should be no surprise that they cut through anything pretty easily.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Thrawnma » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:02 pm

1) Beam sabers are effectively taking a tube of the sun and slapping you with it.

2) Lack of genuine is a compelling reason to care about a villain as a three dimensional character, and to make a point there's little to be said of Gihren Zabi's "good intention". Ironically the Frost Brothers aren't so much pure evil as much as warped and twisted themselves. Even Rau Le Creuset was mostly just a product of his society. Though more crazy, batshit and fun villains wouldn't be amiss.

3) There's a good number of moments where ships get sunk through their bridges, and it's a main reason why bridges retract by Z Gundam era onward. 0083 explicitly shows on two separate occasions MS aiming for bridges. But to more succinctly refute you, your point is like asking why people don't just shoot everyone in the head -- it's damned hard to make any shot hit in the heat of battle, much less super precise ones.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:13 pm

i wouldn't mind seeing the death of the trope that uses Newtype/whatever connections as substitutes for actual characterization and relationship building.

it's as old as Gundam itself, at least--see Amuro and Lalah, Mobile Suit Gundam--but Unicorn episode 4 is one of the more egregious examples of its misuse. so you want to say that your enhanced person with superhuman powers of understanding and empathy has made this special connection with what's usually some psychologically damaged hot girl in a gigantic death machine. fine. but, you know, your audience is not actually part of that special connection, and no amount of acid-tripping sequences and Meaningful Anime Nudity is going to match the impact of watching two characters actually interact together and get a relationship going that way. it's telling instead of showing, and it's telling by using big 72-point block letters printed on a lead pipe with which you proceed to bludgeon the viewer repeatedly.

the best part of actually taking the time to build relationships and flesh out characters and their interactions is that then the viewer shares the characters' memories and so when Sobby McEmopants and Crazy McSuperweapongirl face off, we don't just have to take your word for it that Sobby is sitting there trying to reason with her on the strength of some emotional connection, and we don't wind up sitting over there with Confused McSaneperson wondering why he just doesn't shoot her already.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by DuelGundam2099 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:20 pm

Technically, Beam Sabers are concentrated beams of fusion burning at millions of degrees. It should be no surprise that they cut through anything pretty easily.
1) Beam sabers are effectively taking a tube of the sun and slapping you with it.
So what good are shields? Besides, the topic said "cliches you can do without", all I did was state one, not deny facts.
Lack of genuine is a compelling reason to care about a villain as a three dimensional character
Since when do people want to care about villains as characters? I know I never have. Besides, every gundam ever has it to some extent that it becomes a cliche, one of which I can live without.
There's a good number of moments where ships get sunk through their bridges, and it's a main reason why bridges retract by Z Gundam era onward. 0083 explicitly shows on two separate occasions MS aiming for bridges.
Admittedly this was more directed at AU shows.
But to more succinctly refute you, your point is like asking why people don't just shoot everyone in the head -- it's damned hard to make any shot hit in the heat of battle, much less super precise ones.
Bad comparison as ships in most mobile suit battles do not move like humans do. All it takes is a mobile suit with decent speed, circle the ship until it runs out of ammunition or finds a blind spot, and fire.

Come to think of it why are battleships never armed on their underside? That position is a very easy shot at thrusters, fuel gauges, etc.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Fritz Ashlyn » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:34 pm

DuelGundam2099 wrote:-Battleships having bridges and mobile suits not aiming for them. (second least favorite cliche) Seriously, once that bridge is out the ship cannot function and it it's in space you can easily bring a lot more people into the vacuum of space. Once one attack reaches there it is done. It makes things so much easier yet nobody bothers aiming there half the time
Retractable bridges were already mentioned, but ships also almost always have at least one sub-bridge. Shooting a ship's bridge will not magically render it helpless or destroy it. If you're taking the time to aim a shot at a specific part of a ship, why not the engine area?
So what good are shields? Besides, the topic said "cliches you can do without", all I did was state one, not deny facts.
You really can't think of a use for shields just because they can't stop a direct attack from a beam saber? I'm not sure the behavior of beam sabers counts as a "cliche" anyway.
Since when do people want to care about villains as characters? I know I never have.
And you know what? Nope. Not gonna wade into this thread. Later gents.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by DuelGundam2099 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:40 pm

why not the engine area?
I did mention thrusters....
You really can't think of a use for shields just because they can't stop a direct attack from a beam saber?
I was being sarcastic. :?

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Fritz Ashlyn » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:50 pm

"BEAM SABERS ARE TOO POWERFUL!"
"Well, that's sort of the point in a way. They--"
"JUST SHOOT OUT THE BRIDGE TO TAKE THE SHIP DOWN JEEZ!"
"That probably won't work, since--"
"NOBODY CARES ABOUT VILLAINS!"
"What?"

It can be hard to spot the sarcasm in a series of posts like that...
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Kenji » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:44 pm

I'd like to see directors and writers leave their personal hobbyhorses at home.

Listening to all the AGE discussion (that is, whether the Vagan deserve to die) and thinking back to SEED and 00 (especially S2), I was trying to figure out what exactly makes those shows so much less compelling to me than Old School (usually Tomino) Gundam.

Then I thought about the talkiness of the fights. Of course, talky fights in which pilots spew their ideologies at each other is a Gundam thing, and a cheap and convenient way to spell out what the fight is over (after all, this is a TV show, and the intended audience might not have watched all of the episodes). That, in itself, is acceptable. There does seem to be a difference in how they're handled, though, even if the difference is subtle.

It seems to me that Old Gundam has characters just talk. However, it doesn't seem like the shows ever require you to believe anybody's ideology. If you think Char's "planet needs a rest" schtick is full of crap, and that Amuro's "just doin' my job" thing doesn't cut it, Char's Counterattack doesn't necessarily fall apart. If, however, you think the Three Ships Alliance is full of it, then SEED and Destiny collapse in on themselves. In New Gundam, the main characters are ciphers for whoever's writing the show, and agreeing is (in some way) integral to the experience.

Whether y'all agree with this idea or not, an author really should leave the hobbyhorse at home. If I'm to believe that we should give peace a chance, then let me come to it of my own free will. A giant robot cartoon is a poor place to try and change my mind.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:10 pm

No, I think you've got the right of it. I think that's why there's such dissension over the Vagan, yes.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by HellCat » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:27 pm

Kenji wrote:I'd like to see directors and writers leave their personal hobbyhorses at home.

Listening to all the AGE discussion (that is, whether the Vagan deserve to die) and thinking back to SEED and 00 (especially S2), I was trying to figure out what exactly makes those shows so much less compelling to me than Old School (usually Tomino) Gundam.

Then I thought about the talkiness of the fights. Of course, talky fights in which pilots spew their ideologies at each other is a Gundam thing, and a cheap and convenient way to spell out what the fight is over (after all, this is a TV show, and the intended audience might not have watched all of the episodes). That, in itself, is acceptable. There does seem to be a difference in how they're handled, though, even if the difference is subtle.

It seems to me that Old Gundam has characters just talk. However, it doesn't seem like the shows ever require you to believe anybody's ideology. If you think Char's "planet needs a rest" schtick is full of crap, and that Amuro's "just doin' my job" thing doesn't cut it, Char's Counterattack doesn't necessarily fall apart. If, however, you think the Three Ships Alliance is full of it, then SEED and Destiny collapse in on themselves. In New Gundam, the main characters are ciphers for whoever's writing the show, and agreeing is (in some way) integral to the experience.

Whether y'all agree with this idea or not, an author really should leave the hobbyhorse at home. If I'm to believe that we should give peace a chance, then let me come to it of my own free will. A giant robot cartoon is a poor place to try and change my mind.
I think this is quite accurate and valid. I love stories that use fiction to explore reality, but I'm tired of the last 20 odd years of Japanese shows seemingly thinking they need to give viewers life answers.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Kuruni » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:28 pm

In case of MSG, I think it's because there is no grand ideal there. Amuro is "exactly" what a young Japanese soldier was in WWII. He got drafted, and kill the guys on other side, but not really know what he's fighting for. In the end, he's lucky that his whole war isn't meaningless one.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Brave Fencer Kirby » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:17 am

I'd like to see a fewer curbstomp battles. Unicorn has been particularly horrible about this, but it's not a new problem in the least. Battles that consist of one side standing around getting killed while the other side shows off how awesome they can be are boring. I want to see fights where both sides wade in, exchange fire, take damage, get kills, and then retreat/surrender/push the enemy back/otherwise end the battle as appropriate. Gundam 0080 has examples of both -- the battle outside Side 6 between mooks from both sides is a good example of a fairly even back-and-forth, while the battle between the Kampfer and the GM Sniper IIs is "losing side stands there like idiots and allows themselves to be slaughtered".

A related issue: I'm tired of seeing fights that last 90 seconds but result in dozens of deaths on both sides. Not only does it strain suspension of disbelief (if you have scores of casualties every time you encounter the enemy, then how the hell does anyone still have the men or materiel to fight?), but it makes the actual large-scale battles seem less impressive by comparison. Both Mobile Suit Gundam and 08th MS Team are pretty good at this -- the former only has three large-scale battles (Odessa, Solomon, and A Baoa Qu) and the latter only one (the final battle at Ginius's base). CE, on the other hand, was particularly bad about it -- pretty much every battle involves blowing up huge numbers of nameless grunts, so the major battles don't feel very "epic" in contrast.

I really dislike the "pacifism" thing that cropped up in Wing and 00, and CE to a lesser extent. The whole themeatic point of the original Gundam shows was that no, we CAN'T just all get along -- that, as bad as war is, sometimes it's the only viable alternative, and that conflict ISN'T always caused some contrived miscommunication. Gundam 00 (particularly the movie) was absolutely terrible about that, but Wing and CE's "I'll kick ass, just magically without killing anyone, so that makes it okay!" thing just seemed like a shameless way to avoid the issue of their lily-white main characters actually killing other people in support of their ideals.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Admiral Larsen » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:58 am

I'd have to agree with that as well and I also feel that it serves as a straitjacket on the story and its progression as a whole. And if the characters of a story are not exceptionally well done then such ideas and thoughts get rubbed the wrong way with the audience.


Overall, if Sunrise and Bandai need ideas on doing Gundam stories, then look at previous examples of anime space opera with Legend of Galactic Heroes being the top of the list. And while at it, look at some American Sci-fi such as Battlestar Galactica, Exosquad, and particularly Babylon 5.

For specific.

1. First of all, mostly drop the newtype, ultimate coordinator, innovator, X-rounders or the like. If need them then have the antagonists use them and if protagonists need to have them, then make them dangerous to the user and that they have to be careful about it. It feels at times too much as a crutch to use in battles and as already referenced, most of the time it can cheapen character development and relations between characters.

2. Drop most of the romance aspects since well besides what many of you think already, it also adds too much trouble for a story, particularly a sci-fi war story. If one is going to write one pretty poorly then one might as well drop it all together. Stories like those in Gundam are difficult enough to deal with without having to deal with romance as well. And besides, we're all mostly here to see stuff blow up.

4. About what some have said about curbstomp battles, I have to agree as well. I would also like to add that in the wars from history past, even though that were loosing made sure to make the offensive force pay in blood for every advance forwards. And it also cheapens a victory, particularly if the protagonist is involved in the fight (Seed and to a lesser extent Wing are prime suspects in this case). The protagonist pilot must earn his victory, not press a button and then magically the foe disappears.

I probably have a lot more but these are the ones I can think of at the moment.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by teslashark » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:30 am

ShadowCell wrote:i wouldn't mind seeing the death of the trope that uses Newtype/whatever connections as substitutes for actual characterization and relationship building.

it's as old as Gundam itself, at least--see Amuro and Lalah, Mobile Suit Gundam--but Unicorn episode 4 is one of the more egregious examples of its misuse. so you want to say that your enhanced person with superhuman powers of understanding and empathy has made this special connection with what's usually some psychologically damaged hot girl in a gigantic death machine. fine. but, you know, your audience is not actually part of that special connection, and no amount of acid-tripping sequences and Meaningful Anime Nudity is going to match the impact of watching two characters actually interact together and get a relationship going that way. it's telling instead of showing, and it's telling by using big 72-point block letters printed on a lead pipe with which you proceed to bludgeon the viewer repeatedly.

the best part of actually taking the time to build relationships and flesh out characters and their interactions is that then the viewer shares the characters' memories and so when Sobby McEmopants and Crazy McSuperweapongirl face off, we don't just have to take your word for it that Sobby is sitting there trying to reason with her on the strength of some emotional connection, and we don't wind up sitting over there with Confused McSaneperson wondering why he just doesn't shoot her already.
That... would be Dragonar. Dragonar is Gundam with no "Next-Generation Human"s of any kind. Any communication is done in a non-psycho way.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:31 am

where did i say "no next-generation humans of any kind"?

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:48 am

Brave Fencer Kirby wrote:I really dislike the "pacifism" thing that cropped up in Wing and 00, and CE to a lesser extent. The whole themeatic point of the original Gundam shows was that no, we CAN'T just all get along -- that, as bad as war is, sometimes it's the only viable alternative, and that conflict ISN'T always caused some contrived miscommunication. Gundam 00 (particularly the movie) was absolutely terrible about that, but Wing and CE's "I'll kick ass, just magically without killing anyone, so that makes it okay!" thing just seemed like a shameless way to avoid the issue of their lily-white main characters actually killing other people in support of their ideals.
I really hate to get into the whole "arguing opinions" thing, but Wing isn't NEARLY as bad with this as Seed and 00 were. The boys only ever abstained from killing in Endless Waltz, and that was justified because the Mariemaia soldiers had been manipulated into fighting for a cause they didn't really support. Notice that the moment as Dekim's deception is revealed, the entirety of his forces turn on him. In this case it wasn't about making the heroes look pure and flawless (they slaughtered how many Alliance and OZ soldiers over the course of the TV show?), but it was about recognizing the causes of conflict and how things aren't always as black and white as "We're good, they oppose us so they're evil and must die".

Anyway, more on-topic, I'm getting pretty tired of a lot of UC tropes in general. The fact that most of the TV protagonists fall into the same mold (civilian techie geek falls into new Gundam, wins a few battles by coasting on its power, then develops extra-human abilities and becomes a one-man army) is really aggravating, which is probably why I much prefer protagonists who break the mold, whether they be trained soldiers like Heero or Shinn or merely skilled amateurs who develop realistically like Garrod or Tobia.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Deacon Blues » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:13 am

Tobia, a skilled amateur? Hah! Surely you jest. He suffers from the biggest plot h4x of all. I mean seriously... he's:
Spoiler
Show
now blind and is able to take out highly skilled soldiers? Give me a break.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Kuruni » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:19 am

Admiral Larsen wrote: 2. Drop most of the romance aspects
It's actually truth in television. Well, toned down truth.

In reality, most child soldiers have history of sexual abuse...and abused. A psychology book I readed claim that, these kids still want to prove that they're humans, still capable of love. However, love is something rather abstract. So they express it in more physical way, through sex. And even worse, as they were abused in the past, it's mostly rape.

In other words, if you want something more realistic, the only choice is war-theme hentai ;-)
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