Gundam cliches you could do without?

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YazanGable
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by YazanGable » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:06 am

HellCat wrote:Totally agree on the sidestory issue. If they want to do a comic that runs alongside the main story, fits in and explains a few extra things that's fine. But since SEED we've increasingly seen major Gundam releases be networks of a full TV series supported by 2-3 side works and reference books, little to none of which got brought over internationally with the shows. 00 in particular had this problem. Want to know what happened to the Observers, where Trinity came from or the relation between Nena and Mina? Then you better hope you can track someone down who has read the Japanese books. Questions raised in the show should be answered there, guidebooks should be for things like tech specs.
It feels like a broken version of the idea of cross-media spread.
Done right, it's a pretty solid formula. Each work is fairly self-supporting and runs on the principle 'If you liked this, you may also like these!'

With Gundam, it's more akin to a software marketing issue 'You may have noticed the following problems in the series. It just so happens that we've addressed these problems and have done what we can to fix them. To have them fixed, however, you must buy the new upgrade pack/manga/game/drama cd/etc.'
Rather than making it a fun way to flesh out the world, recent Gundam titles basically try to force you to buy their side material with the threat of dangling plot threads that will remain unresolved if you don't.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:25 pm

Andrew_Graruru wrote:
ShadowCell wrote:what would that change?
New locales; new story possibilities if its an intergalactic war. Something like LOGH has somewhat similar factions to Gundam, but its vast setting allowed a very different feel, especially with widespread terraforming and the struggle over those individual planets.
then how is that still Gundam?

if you take away things that make Gundam different from other shows then a) Gundam will probably do them badly anyways and b) why are you still calling it Gundam?

besides which, given Gundam's business model, it makes very little sense to go making a show that's very different from UC, because the point of the AUs is to guide people towards UC, where the real money is to be made

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:28 pm

While I wouldn't mind a Gundam show set in the whole solar system, an intergalactic show would be way too weird.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:06 pm

besides which, i have to wonder how big a deal these cliches really are to people. Unicorn, for one, revels in them and people not only don't mind yet another psychic teenager who fell into yet another super-powered Gundam's cockpit in yet another Earth Sphere-based war full of yet-more tragic female supersoldiers and psychopaths with yet more helpless mooks all around and yet another masked antagonist, but defend it against all detractors.

so apparently Gundam's cliches are only a problem when they're done badly. so, uh, stop doing Gundam's cliches badly?

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by bullethead » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:49 pm

ShadowCell wrote:
Andrew_Graruru wrote:
ShadowCell wrote:what would that change?
New locales; new story possibilities if its an intergalactic war. Something like LOGH has somewhat similar factions to Gundam, but its vast setting allowed a very different feel, especially with widespread terraforming and the struggle over those individual planets.
then how is that still Gundam?

if you take away things that make Gundam different from other shows then a) Gundam will probably do them badly anyways and b) why are you still calling it Gundam?
It's Gundam, because Bandai and Sunrise say so :mrgreen:

Gundam and any other franchise usually feature a few core ideas that are pretty crucial, but setting is generally one of the ones that are really low on the totem pole. No one really cares about where the story is set if it is executed well. Besides, at this point, there's practically nothing that separates Gundam from other mecha franchises aside from space colonies showing up and names for things since most real mecha franchises are inspired by Gundam and use a lot of the same material remixed in different ways. At this point, Gundam is the blandest of the bland, because they refuse to take any risks or when they do (00 S1), they immediately revert to the Gundam formula (00 S2).
besides which, given Gundam's business model, it makes very little sense to go making a show that's very different from UC, because the point of the AUs is to guide people towards UC, where the real money is to be made
That's the problem with how Bandai's handling the AUs. Instead of something like the recent Star Trek reboot, where everyone involved is going to primarily push the AbramsVerse for the next decade or so while still making some money on the old stuff through novels, comics, and remastered Blu-Rays, Bandai's approach is like "Hey, here's this new Gundam universe and if you like it, be ready to write fanfic about it, because we're ditching it as soon as the show ends! And remember folks, true Gundam fans buy UC stuff!" It's like the business guys don't understand that the reason UC is such a juggernaut is because they built up that brand over decades and if they want AUs to do well, they have to put in the same amount of work into each AU or have a decently long delay between new shows and hire the biggest names they can for each new AU.

That said, I think doing the "AU to guide new people to UC" thing had merit when it was done as Gundam SEED, but doing it with every other show just becomes grating when it undermines the story that a show is trying to tell.
ShadowCell wrote:besides which, i have to wonder how big a deal these cliches really are to people. Unicorn, for one, revels in them and people not only don't mind yet another psychic teenager who fell into yet another super-powered Gundam's cockpit in yet another Earth Sphere-based war full of yet-more tragic female supersoldiers and psychopaths with yet more helpless mooks all around and yet another masked antagonist, but defend it against all detractors.

so apparently Gundam's cliches are only a problem when they're done badly. so, uh, stop doing Gundam's cliches badly?
I think the thing with Unicorn is that the people who watch it and praise it are those who see it as a return to what they consider to be "true Gundam," while those who were never interested or disliked it simply don't talk about it because they don't feel like reiterating their points. In all honesty, Unicorn is probably among the most creatively bankrupt Gundam works because it revels in rehashing UC tropes and adding nothing of substance to the UC universe, instead choosing to make the Federation look bad by retconning in something that could be considered a justification for Zeon's actions. If it had been about anything else, like the downfall of Anaheim Electronics and/or the end of the Zeon remnants, it would have some value, but those things can't happen because Bandai and Sunrise don't want to let go of the easy money they can get off of Zeon fans.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by HellCat » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:29 pm

bullethead wrote:
I think Bandai/Sunrise realized that too, because there's been like three AGE sidestories total (do any of those MSV things count as sidestories?) and only one of them is plot relevant, but the show managed to gloss over it well. The thing that worries me is that franchises over here are starting to do the same thing and while some of them manage to do it like AGE did, most of them are doing it in the "leave gaping plot holes everywhere" manner that the 00 and SEED sidestories did.
AGE has been better and at the same time worse because it was decided the sidestories are where you needed to go to see the actual romance work. If you want to know how Flit and Emily really built up to marriage you need to read Unknown Soldiers, play the PSP game and listen to a drama CD. When the unique point of AGE is a war so vast it'll take three direct generations to solve, leaving that character development out of the way is terrible. Worse, said sidestories seem specifically designed to say 'Oh, you're looking for that stuff? It's all over here'. I'd certainly rather lose some of the more pointless and dull battles AGE has had to get that stuff in the actual show. The PSP games have 20 something Flit fighting a Vagan fleet as he truely starts to fall in love with Emily. We couldn't have got that between Ambat and Asemu's arc?
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:31 pm

bullethead wrote:It's Gundam, because Bandai and Sunrise say so :mrgreen:
so it's still Macross if you take out the singers and aliens and love triangles? it's still Dragon Ball Z if you take out all the energy beams and super-powered aliens? it's still Yu-Gi-Oh if you take away the cards and have them all literally fighting with monsters like Pokemon? really? Gundam is just a name and the audience has no expectations of certain ideas and tropes that come with it?

'cuz a focus on what goes on around the Earth with humans is one of the things that defines Gundam. what would it be if you took that away? if you spread it out to the whole galaxy or whatever, you have to explain why you aren't turning Gundam into something like Legends of Galactic Heroes or Macross. and if you try to keep Gundam the same with simply a new setting, it means the setting change actually doesn't matter, which raises the question of why you did it. so that means it's just a gimmick. i'm not sure Gundam really needs more gimmicks. at any rate, i doubt anyone would really be fooled. after all, you can hardly call it "original" or "new" if Gundam is simply aping some other show's tropes. if that's what you do then you're pretty clearly just opening yourself to the charge of ripping off some other show--which makes Gundam even blander and less original, because instead of rehashing its own tropes, now it's stealing other shows' tropes.

so, if you don't like Gundam's tropes, well, don't watch Gundam. i have no interest in singers and love triangles and all the other stuff that goes into Macross shows, so i just don't watch Macross. expecting it to produce a show that goes against what everyone understands it to be just because i don't like the things that make it be something other than all the other mecha anime out there is kind of silly.

on the other hand, the way around this is to put twists and new perspectives on Gundam's various tropes. AGE tried to do that with its three-generation focus; Unicorn seems to be actively drawing attention to how Full Frontal is a Char clone; 00 tried to reorient the typical antagonist setup; SEED tried to address racism in the context of Gundam; and so it goes. of course, you could do that badly, as many Gundam shows have--but they're still recognizable as Gundam shows.
It's like the business guys don't understand that the reason UC is such a juggernaut is because they built up that brand over decades and if they want AUs to do well, they have to put in the same amount of work into each AU or have a decently long delay between new shows and hire the biggest names they can for each new AU.
um...they do, obviously, very much understand that.

you're assuming that they actually want to build an AU show into the same thing as UC. seeing as how they can pretty reliably make money on whatever One Year War thing they vomit up next, there is no incentive for them to develop the AUs; and either way, if they started to do that, it would require a substantial reworking of the entire business model. by the time they started making AU Gundam enterprises, they'd already had fifteen years' worth of material in the Universal Century to fall back on. and then there was G Gundam, which is far and away the most different show in the franchise, and see how many people shat themselves because it was "super robot" and "not really Gundam"

hence, the Star Trek comparison doesn't work, because everyone shifted their attention to the Abrams film and there's no comparable concurrent development of the other, original universe. but UC Gundam continues to see major productions alongside the AUs, which means it's not just some musty old TV show with some cultural cache and very badly dated production values; it's an ongoing thing.

either way, if Unicorn can get such a great following with the fans, apparently those cliches don't really matter after all. if they did matter, then everyone would be as tired and disdaining of Unicorn as they apparently are of AGE.

besides which, let's be honest. if Gundam really did abandon all these tropes and try to ape some other show, people would just call it a Macross ripoff or a Patlabor ripoff or a VOTOMS ripoff or whatever and say it's not "really Gundam" and we'll be back in the same place as before, except with even more One Year War.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Andrew_Graruru » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:29 pm

ShadowCell wrote:
Andrew_Graruru wrote:
ShadowCell wrote:what would that change?
New locales; new story possibilities if its an intergalactic war. Something like LOGH has somewhat similar factions to Gundam, but its vast setting allowed a very different feel, especially with widespread terraforming and the struggle over those individual planets.
then how is that still Gundam?

if you take away things that make Gundam different from other shows then a) Gundam will probably do them badly anyways and b) why are you still calling it Gundam?

besides which, given Gundam's business model, it makes very little sense to go making a show that's very different from UC, because the point of the AUs is to guide people towards UC, where the real money is to be made
How is G Gundam still Gundam?

How is Turn A still Gundam?

Expanding the setting doesn't really change Gundam all that vastly, just gives it some more locales and conflicts to spice things up. If you wanted to stuff a bunch of fan-favourite Gundam-tropes within that slightly fresher setting it wouldn't be hard.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:41 pm

G Gundam and Turn A still deal with all the same themes as the other shows--and even then people still deride those shows (particularly the former) as "not really Gundam"

so, yeah, if expanding the setting doesn't actually change anything, why do it? and what would make it "fresh" anyways when so many other shows do it?

in fact, Gundam actually has started expanding its map. much of Crossbone takes place at Jupiter, the 00 movie went to Mars briefly, and the antagonists of AGE are based on Mars. and it hasn't changed anything.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by bullethead » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:04 pm

ShadowCell wrote:G Gundam and Turn A still deal with all the same themes as the other shows--and even then people still deride those shows (particularly the former) as "not really Gundam"

so, yeah, if expanding the setting doesn't actually change anything, why do it? and what would make it "fresh" anyways when so many other shows do it?

in fact, Gundam actually has started expanding its map. much of Crossbone takes place at Jupiter, the 00 movie went to Mars briefly, and the antagonists of AGE are based on Mars. and it hasn't changed anything.
Of course nothing has changed. That's because the stories are centered around Earth, except for Crossbone, and Bandai/Sunrise won't let them do anything else since people will cry "not Gundam" because it doesn't hit every checkbox on a list they have. The guys running Sunrise and Bandai need to learn that to make a good show, sometimes you need to stop giving a frak and let your employees do their jobs (and maybe stop airing the shows in Japan first if they're aimed at younger demographics).
HellCat wrote:
bullethead wrote:
I think Bandai/Sunrise realized that too, because there's been like three AGE sidestories total (do any of those MSV things count as sidestories?) and only one of them is plot relevant, but the show managed to gloss over it well. The thing that worries me is that franchises over here are starting to do the same thing and while some of them manage to do it like AGE did, most of them are doing it in the "leave gaping plot holes everywhere" manner that the 00 and SEED sidestories did.
AGE has been better and at the same time worse because it was decided the sidestories are where you needed to go to see the actual romance work. If you want to know how Flit and Emily really built up to marriage you need to read Unknown Soldiers, play the PSP game and listen to a drama CD. When the unique point of AGE is a war so vast it'll take three direct generations to solve, leaving that character development out of the way is terrible. Worse, said sidestories seem specifically designed to say 'Oh, you're looking for that stuff? It's all over here'. I'd certainly rather lose some of the more pointless and dull battles AGE has had to get that stuff in the actual show. The PSP games have 20 something Flit fighting a Vagan fleet as he truely starts to fall in love with Emily. We couldn't have got that between Ambat and Asemu's arc?
You do have a point, but with AGE I resigned myself to the fact that we were going to get screwed somehow in terms of the writing. I would've liked the 20 year old Flit stuff too and would've gladly sacrificed the Fardain and Mars arcs to get it, but we all knew that the game was the definitive version of the story.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:07 pm

why would they not make shows for the Japanese market first? the Japanese market is the one that funds them.

Crossbone, at any rate, was hardly different because it spent so much time around another planet. it was a pretty much paint-by-numbers Gundam story that could just as easily have been set around a space colony somewhere in the Earth Sphere.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by bullethead » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:19 pm

ShadowCell wrote:why would they not make shows for the Japanese market first? the Japanese market is the one that funds them.
Because when you make a show aimed at a younger demographic that Japan doesn't have much of, you're better off showing it everywhere but Japan so you can build up interest in the franchise. Of course, Bandai hasn't done this outside of SE Asia despite having Australians dub it in English because it's Bandai, who cannot comprehend making money off of international markets by being competent.
Crossbone, at any rate, was hardly different because it spent so much time around another planet. it was a pretty much paint-by-numbers Gundam story that could just as easily have been set around a space colony somewhere in the Earth Sphere.
bullethead wrote:Of course nothing has changed. That's because the stories are centered around Earth, except for Crossbone, and Bandai/Sunrise won't let them do anything else since people will cry "not Gundam" because it doesn't hit every checkbox on a list they have.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:35 pm

yeah, eventually Japanese companies will have to shift their audience if Japan's demographic trends keep up. of course, it's still a Japanese product meant for Japanese people, so unless you're trying to say that the entire nation of Japan is about to wink out of existence or something, it's not as though America or anyone else is going to go running to save Gundam or whatever. especially since, judging by what we see in this thread and the same tired old wishlists that are at least as overdone as anything in Gundam, the Americans' response would be to simply turn Gundam into Tom Clancy's Armored Core fanfiction. and then complain about it.

Crossbone seems to be pretty popular regardless, judging by all the sequels and model kits its gets, so i'm not sure what that's supposed to prove. if anything, it proves that the whole "expand the map" thing isn't really important either way--so there's no real reason to do it, and especially no reason to do it and then say that it's "fresher."

i think people need to just accept that this is a Japanese production meant for Japanese people and as a result we don't really get a say. so, like i said, if you think Gundam is "the blandest of the bland" or whatever, well, stop watching it. and, really, if the consequence of trying to make big changes is rejection and subsequently even more paint-by-numbers Gundam (as it was with 00 and may well be with AGE), i'd rather see Gundam be conservative and cautious about what it tries to change.

besides which, considering how popular the likes of Unicorn and 00 are, the hysterics about the imminent doom of all Gundam if it doesn't do what a handful of North Americans and Europeans want is kiiiiiiiiind of ridiculous.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Ryuu74 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:34 pm

I could do without the totally weaksauce warships. I understand the targeting problems in UC, but nothing else really has an excuse.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by bullethead » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:54 pm

Ryuu74 wrote:I could do without the totally weaksauce warships. I understand the targeting problems in UC, but nothing else really has an excuse.
Yeah, that one is really annoying, especially since it's leaked into the G Gen games.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Strike Zero » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:22 pm

uh, say what now? Both the Archangel and the Ptolemaios II were some of the most overpowered warships I've ever seen. Hell, even the Diva from AGE has been doing pretty well for a ship banking on 50 years old.
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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by DuelGundam2099 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:44 pm

so it's still Macross if you take out the singers and aliens and love triangles?
If you call it Macross and have variable fighters I would buy it. Not to mention Macross Zero did not have any singers per say.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by bullethead » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:55 pm

DuelGundam2099 wrote:
so it's still Macross if you take out the singers and aliens and love triangles?
If you call it Macross and have variable fighters I would buy it. Not to mention Macross Zero did not have any singers per say.
Same here. There's plenty of stories in the Macross universe that could be told without singers and love triangles.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by ShadowCell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:21 pm

and you could tell Lupin III stories that don't involve stealing things and running from the law, and you could tell Naruto stories that don't involve orange ninjas, and you could tell DBZ stories about Chichi's adventures collecting enough food to feed her family while Goku is off being dead or whatever, and on and on. so what? is that what people expect when they see something with "Gundam" or "Macross" or whatever on the cover?

like i said, if you think Gundam and all the things that make it what it is are boring, maybe you shouldn't be watching Gundam.

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Re: Gundam cliches you could do without?

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:56 pm

Bullethead, that's the reason why Sunrise/Bandai were floored when they found out that 10-12 year old boys were barely watching AGE... AFTER it started airing. They naively assumed that "Gundam is for everyone," and will probably keep on assuming that. And by "Everyone" they mean Japanese people.

And Mac0 did have Sara Nome.
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