Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

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Nikkolas
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Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:02 am

Anothe topic I know... Please forgive me. This is something I went into Gundam with my eyes especially wide open for.

One thing I've heard over the years as an anime fan is that Gundam is notoriously sexist or even downright misogynistic at points. Tomino's thoughts on gender and sex are...complicated to say the least, if Zeta is anything to go by. He has plenty of things to say about men too though. If women are pure and all that and need to be protected, men are incapable of living without violence and war.

Nevertheless, Reccoa and Sarah and Scirocco in general kinda hurt Zeta's reputation in this area. Even though I loved it, it had a problem and I think that's undeniable.

But this leads me to ask you all something since this is pretty much a Gundam forum. What Gundm series handles women the best?

I'm sorry to sy it's not Zeta or MSG from what I've seen, and the less said about Fllay and lacus in SEED the better. MS Team had Karen Joshua who was outright awesome in every way while also being a very sympathetic and likable character. Kiki was also pretty nice but she didn't accomplish much that I can recall. And Aina...not much there. Oh and Stardust Memory and Destiny are even worse than Zeta.

I've heard the most praise for women in the following series from othr Gundam fans:
Wing - It has the largest female cast in a Gundam series I believe as every male has a female counterpart. No idea if that means all of them are interesting or well-developed though.
Turn A - Among the heaping helping of praise it gets from everyone, this is one of the largest compliments I see.

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by DarthYAM » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:33 am

ZZ has a pretty good cast from what I've seen; Haman, Roux and Elle are all capable soldiers and Leina has an awesome moment when she calls out the earth leadership while bleeding from a stomach wound.

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Raikoh
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Raikoh » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:37 am

If we can count Build Fighters, I'd like to nominate that. Or Ganota no Onna (WOW THAT'S AN OBSCURE ONE!). But those are comedy series, so anyway, this section of the post is more a joke (though, yeah, I think Ganota no Onna had a great cast of women).

I'd say it all depends on what sort of thing you consider to be a positive portrayal of women. There are varying parts of the spectrum, but I think Gundam had quite a lot of good females in a show. The aforementioned Turn A has some great girls in it, with a lot of different physical and mental differentiation, as well as the women having full personalities rather than just being "love interest A" or something. Same goes for ZZ, as stated above. I also give points to 00, mostly since Soma Peries is just one of my favorite Gundam characters in general. There's also Unicorn, where the women are incredibly plot-important, have physical differentiation rather than being just eye candy, and aren't just defined by the men they accompany. But if we want to talk about the cast as a whole, I think that my favorite female cast would go to X. All the women there have distinct personalities and appearances, character development (even if it's very minor such as Toniya's, and exception being Pala but she was around for less than ten episodes. Besides, Pala was great anyway).

I fancy myself a feminist but I am of the brand who say feminism is about letting women be who they want to be. From that point of view, even Zeta could be considered fairly progressive. There might be some points that could be seen as misogynistic, but having a flawed character who happens to be female is actually a good thing. We don't call Macbeth misogynistic, we just say "Lady Macbeth was a really complicated character."

Too many times I feel that the idea of "positive portrayal of women in the media" is just "Action Girl," which itself is no better than just making a stereotypical damsel in distress in my opinion. There's a saying: "Don't write 'strong' women. Write interesting women. Write well-rounded women. Write a woman who kicks ass. Write a woman who cowers in a corner. Write a woman who's desperate for a husband. Write a woman who doesn't need a man. Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don't take crap, women who need validation, and women who don't care what anybody thinks. Write characters who are people."
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LightningCount
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by LightningCount » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:39 am

There are so many ways to quantify this. Going on basic dynamism and presence/importance in the plot, I'd say the following are in the mix for me (of those I've seen, which, again, doesn't include Turn-A):

Gundam Wing (This female cast is capable and active in various roles that affect the world and the characters around them in one way or another, and all supply thoughtful, influential commentary or discussion about the world or the characters around them).

Gundam X (This female cast draws a lot of contrasts amongst itself and brings a naturalistic vibe to a torn world, while also playing competent and key roles in the central plot).

G-Gundam (This female cast is again shown to be versatile and capable. In many cases they provide grounding to a really unconventional Gundam story).

Gundam 08th MS Team (This female cast has a strength that brings weight and balance the whole way through the story).

Gundam 0080 (While there are few females in this cast, there is one iconic one in particular that helps create a poetic counterbalance to the main plot, showing a nice, logical mixture of nurturer and warrior).

As an aside, historically, if I recall correctly, Gundam Wing and Gundam SEED had the most female viewership/fans.
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:10 am

Wing for the bishounen and SEED for the "soap opera" I imagine. I heard character toys and stuff even outsold model kits for SEED because people watched it as much for the interpersonal drama and love triangles as they did the robots.

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Kratos » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:21 am

Well, all I know is AGE and Victory certainly have among the worst female casts.
Raikoh wrote:I fancy myself a feminist but I am of the brand who say feminism is about letting women be who they want to be. [...] There might be some points that could be seen as misogynistic, but having a flawed character who happens to be female is actually a good thing. We don't call Macbeth misogynistic, we just say "Lady Macbeth was a really complicated character."
I think this is a really good point, and a fantastic thing to take into account when analyzing gender roles in fiction.

I don't have much to add, except that, for all the accusations of misogyny that have dogged Tomino, the majority of his shows tend to at least feature a fairly well-rounded cast of women; that is, there are plenty of strong to go with the weak. Matilda is great, and Mirai is one of my favourite female Gundam characters. She's the de facto "mom" of the White Base, and yet is also a talented pilot of the ship and a valued confidante for Bright. That said, I'm not sure you can really say that a show with a "ha ha, look at the silly woman try to pilot the Gundam" episode can be said to be among the ones with the best female casts.

Though actually, the films (and THE ORIGIN, though that's not Tomino) remove a lot of the worst stuff from the TV show, too, to the point where they might actually number among the series with the best lady characters.
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LightningCount
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by LightningCount » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:00 am

Kratos and Raikoh make some very good points that I agree with. I don't like the extremes some people take things like this. I am not comfortable with pigeonholing either men or women characters as such things as "weak" because of one thing or another, especially not if one character or another has affection for another. Everyone has their different vulnerabilities and strengths, and a lot of human needs are just plain universal for the guys and the girls. As has been said here, both genders are entitled to show both their archetypal masculine and feminine sides, and the series I noted, I feel in my experience, did the most competent job of that for Gundam. It respects that both of those sides are needed in both genders complementarily to engender a positive end result. I can't say any spoilers, but if you think about any of the series I mentioned, the males and the females both derive strength and meaning or clarity from one another during the trials they face, and if they didn't they wouldn't have survived at all. Male or female, sometimes you have to show your human weaknesses and insecurities to find your strengths.
Nikkolas wrote:Wing for the bishounen and SEED for the "soap opera" I imagine. I heard character toys and stuff even outsold model kits for SEED because people watched it as much for the interpersonal drama and love triangles as they did the robots.
No doubt this was a trend toward that. Though, for the record, I think the bishounen perception/fandom versus show reality are kind of laughable. (Also, it's strange that 00, X, or SEED don't get those comments as much when they have some rather similar visual character traits). Regardless, if they are truly bishounen, Wing has the baddest bishounen around. :lol: You don't want to mess with those boys.
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:20 am

LightningCount wrote:Regardless, if they are truly bishounen, Wing has the baddest bishounen around. :lol: You don't want to mess with those boys.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtQkoecIzng

Yeah...not gonna mess with that guy. >>

I'd rather stick with Kamille. Later-Zeta Kamille I mean. Episode 1 Kamille would hit me.

Seriously though it does strike me as weird that Wing's supposedly the one that brought in all the "YaoI Fangirls" when Zeta had Kamille, Quattro and...I'm sure there were one or two others. But it had prettyboys too is my point.

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LightningCount
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by LightningCount » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:47 am

Nikkolas wrote:
LightningCount wrote:Regardless, if they are truly bishounen, Wing has the baddest bishounen around. :lol: You don't want to mess with those boys.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtQkoecIzng

Yeah...not gonna mess with that guy. >>

I'd rather stick with Kamille. Later-Zeta Kamille I mean. Episode 1 Kamille would hit me.

Seriously though it does strike me as weird that Wing's supposedly the one that brought in all the "YaoI Fangirls" when Zeta had Kamille, Quattro and...I'm sure there were one or two others. But it had prettyboys too is my point.
Ha! Right. It must have just been a specific time period of type-casting maybe.

Not to harp about Wing (as I've been doing way too much of that), but one thing that may have affected female views about those pilots in particular, and this is just a guess, is how organic they were. I watched an episode today from the middle of the series because of these recent posts of yours, and the overall vibe sort of surprised me since I'd more recently been watching 00 and 08th Team again. What I mean is, you get very much into the psychology of these pilots in the series, and it's anything but one-dimensional. I have a hard time putting it into words, but as much as the Wing series exaggerates its characters in certain action scenarios (which bugs some), they feel like living, breathing characters in their world, rather than characters put in to simply fulfill a finite plot role. Just below the surface, the world and their actions deeply affect them, constantly, and it's constantly giving the viewer something to think about with the way the story is structured. There's a lot of meat and feeling behind all the craziness. It draws you in and gives you a lot to consider, giving the female fans more to think about with these characters beyond their personas. I still feel like I'm not finding the words, but I tried. :P It's more toward Cowboy Bebop in its character treatment, if you've ever seen that. You know that the Bebop crew is ostensibly space bounty hunters with a overlying plot about revenge and redemption, but the characters exude so much beyond the plot setup that they themselves, their actions and reactions, almost become the plot. Behind the suspension of disbelief of the wildness, Wing has that. But if Amuro could crash a plane into a MS and jump out in midair in Zeta, I don't think exaggerations should shock Gundam fans as much as it seems to with certain series like Wing.

By the way, when Wing first aired in the US, fans were saying that Heero there (laughing) was a ripoff of Kamille...which from what I've seen of the first half of Zeta, is totally grasping at straws just to undercut Wing. But I digress.
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:11 am

Yeah...if people actually said that they are the worst kind of fanboys. (no offense to any UC fans on here but I was put off getting into Gundam for a long time because I posted on a forum that was "UC and maybe 00 and anything else, GTFO." To even say you liked Kira Yamato was grounds for a large round of bashing and insults) Kamille certainly never laughed like a maniac after killing people. If anything he was either all-business while in his Gundam or he was sulky.

Plus, just going off what I know about Heero and what I've heard, he's a much more introverted character than Kamille was. Kamille was very open with all of his feelings, be they anger or sadness or whatever. Most Gundam MCs I've sen are that way to be honest.

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:25 am

Best: Ecole Du Ciel, if that counts (is it still the only Gundam work with a female lead?). For anime, probably Turn A.

Worst: AGE, no question. Runners-up are Destiny and 0083 (although I have a personal beef with 00)
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Shinji103 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:37 am

"Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series"

Haman.

Haman.

And Haman.

But seriously, Haman.





Okay, seriously seriously, judging it as the semi-comedy series it was, I'd say the best female cast was in ZZ.

It's hard to say a lot of the female casts were good, though. In a lot of Gundam series-es, it feels like the staff is making fun of females gender, and it's so bad that a lot of people go into a Gundam series expecting the girls to be crazy.

Many see Zeta's female cast as the "psycho chicks" Four and Roasmia, and Reccoa's betrayal over Quattro not reciprocating her feelings didn't help. And then there's the infamous Fa Yuiry.
But it does have the all-mighty Haman Karn. :D

ZZ is infamous as a non-serious comedy so people don't take that very seriously, plus people see Haman as having been nerfed.

Quess in CCA. Enough said, unfortunately.

Victory. Yeesh. Nevermind Katejina, it felt like the girl pilots were just there to be psycho and/or die. At least Marbet survived while showing she was a competent pilot.

00 didn't help this stereotype. Season 1 was mostly fine, though you have only one single competent female pilot (Soma), everybody compared Marina to Relena, and Nena Trinity had to be an even worse pilot than Fa. (though I disagree on Fa being a terrible pilot, she did survive one of the bloodiest Gundam series-es in the saga, and then continued to survive in what parts she appeared in ZZ) And I still remember the viewer reaction to Liu Mei being carried around inthe jungle by her brother.
Season 2 got a bit ugly. Marina became incredibly pointless, especially with the fact that it was painfully clear she was originally intended to be a romantic interest for Setsuna. (when a female character appears in the OPs as the main character's significant other, starts appearing in the MC's dreams, and the terribly anti-social MC takes the time to write her a letter before the final battle, it's clear what's going on) What was she there for, again?
I still remember how even people here on the MAHQ forums expected Louise to be a crazy chick pilot when we found out she'd be a pilot. I stuck out for her..........and then she turned into psycho chick pilot #361.
Soma got benched as Marie for a good while and then turned into a revenging lone wolf, though at least she got to keep piloting.
The friend backstory to Sumeragi and Mannequin was obviously thrown in "last second" for S2, as there was never a scene with Mannequin recognizing CB's tactics in S1.
They threw out the Feldt/Neil/Lyle character conflict they had setup in all of five minutes; clearly this was something they decided to throw out "last second" sometime between the production of S1 and S2.
This one is more of a personal view, but they should have had Feldt be the Cherudim's pilot instead of bringing in the carbon copy Lockon 2.0. (a friendship between Feldt and Anew would have been so much better than LylexAnew with the backstory of Feldt's freindship with Christina and her death)
And Nena. In four years, not only did she not improve as a pilot at all and was merely a character used to connect events in S2, but they kept her stuck in the same four year old machine, only for her to be brunt-smacked by Louise. (I think she may have been Louise's one, single kill) Sadly disappointing. She would have been so much better a character if she had actually worked on improving her piloting skills and becoing a competent or even strong pilot out of a desire for revenge on Ali Al-Saachez, even if she were just defeated by him in the end.

And AGE........was already pointed out. I have lingering negative feelings on the inadequacy of that series as a whole, so I'll avoid going into detail on it.

[/rant]

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Kratos » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:49 am

Haman is awesome in Zeta, but I'm not sure ZZ Haman is equally so. Her obsession with Judau is more than a bit of a step backwards from who she was in the former.
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:53 am

What's wrong with Fa? I didn't find her particularly offensive.

Also Zeta does have Emma. Emma who, when told that any woman might do what Reccoa did, just looks away and says "lol nope."

Enna alone could carry the entire female cast of Zeta to something resembling decent I'd say.

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Kratos » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:01 am

This is kinda what I was talking about above - Tomino may have some unfortunate implications pop up here and there, but more often then not there tends to be an Emma for every Reccoa (so to speak). He works with a spectrum.

So the question is: what the hell happened with Victory?
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Nikkolas » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:05 am

Wasn't he going through depression for a lot of these series? I heard it was at its worst during Victory.

Apparently it didn't work wonders for him like it did the Evangelion guy.

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Shinji103 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:38 am

Nikkolas wrote:What's wrong with Fa? I didn't find her particularly offensive.
I don't find anything wrong with her, but 90% of the Gundam fandom does. Most often it stems from the fact most people think she's a terrible pilot. (though they're not exactly wrong)

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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by HellCat » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:08 am

Kuroda has admited he basically writes the kind of women he's attracted to, which is basically left leaning, kind hearted but strong willed intelectuals. I think that comes through quite a bit in 00 and BF. The female casts aren't perfect but the man can at least give us tragic females who aren't complete messes without a man. The likes of Sumeragi, Kinue and Aila are some of my favourites.

Tomino Gundam is really all over the place. For every strong willed Sayla, you have whatever the hell Mirai had going on with Sleggar. Admitedly when you're talking about a 35 year old franchise you're generally going to see certain changes influenced by society as a whole. Japan itself isn't exactly the most progressive nation when it comes to women.

In terms of just being bad...I do think it currently stands as AGE. Zeta didn't have the greatest female cast but at least they could apparently act by themselves. The female cast of AGE is a joke and an insult, basically token love interests who stand around squeaking their crush's name and have no actual impact on the three generation war that said men butt heads on. Even characters I like didn't come out too well. I'm one of the few who actually liked Spriggan, but going insane and taking her dead boyfriend's name so he could live on through her.....ok then. I think the absolute worst was Remi, who was basically Milly from ZZ as rendered through moe tropes. The terrible and telegraphed way they killed her off to prove she was a tool rather than a character....*shakes head*
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by Raikoh » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:08 am

Kratos wrote:So the question is: what the hell happened with Victory?
I don't know, I thought the female cast of Victory was pretty good. Though I can really see why people wouldn't like it.

I mean, the Shrike Team drop like flies, even though Junko was still a great pilot. Marbet was also a really likeable character who manages to balance her masculinity and femininity rather well. On the other hand, the antagonistic women in Victory are all completely nuts. Not to mention that all the women who aren't pilots aren't really huge in the plot. Maria is just sort of a puppet to the real antagonists, and Shakti just sort of babysits Karl while getting tossed between factions as a sort of underplayed Macguffin Girl.
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Re: Best Female Cast In A Gundam Series

Post by HellCat » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:41 am

I think Victory gets an unfair rap. It's a bit like the opposite of Zeta in the English fandom. I went into Victory expecting blood, gore and depression....and found it was actually quite an enjoyable series which had learned from the earlier UC shows and at most has one 'Well, that sure was overkill' depressing gore moment.

The worst I can is Maria's final resolution seems a bit sexist, but I've been told apparently Tomino himself says Victory's themes are apparently supposed to be paired with the ones F91 explored. Speaking of learning from early works, V uses refugee kids much better than that movie did.
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