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Headscratchers: Gundam
    How gray is Zeon really? 
  • I'm sorry, but when one side in a war caps off its indiscriminate use of deadly neurotoxin by dropping a great big heavy thing on Earth, killing untold millions, and their enemies don't do anything on that scale in retaliation, and for years afterwards holdouts of that side continue attempting to drop great big heavy things on Earth, and said side's rationale for its actions don't make any sense because they are not being oppressed in any meaningful sense... When all those criteria are met, moral ambiguity has officially vanished. Come to think of it, is there a specific trope for when a work claims there is moral ambiguity in a situation where, if you really think about it, it's pretty black and white?
    • Keep in mind that after 0083 there was pretty heavy oppression of the Space Colonies. Furthermore, the Titans (A Federation-affiliated group) did attempt a colony drop on Von Braun city. Now, the Federation has always been less evil than Zeon, but that's because Zeon is led almost entirely by comically evil dictator-types. For the 'spacenoids' (God, that's such a silly name...) the Zeon forces are seen as freedom fighters. They're seen as standing up for the rights of people in space. Sort of an American Revolution scenario, but with Space Nazis instead of Minutemen.
      • ... And since they are Nazis led by comically evil people, it's, if not black and white, a lot less morally ambiguous than the writers would lead us to believe. And yes, the Titans were evil sumbitches. There is no excusing that. But they were formed (by a power-hungry asshat, granted) as a response to Zeon holdouts killing untold millions by dropping another fucking colony on Earth. And the Federation ultimately turned on the Titans, remember? Also, I fail to see how, with the exception of the Titans, the Federation is oppressing the colonies in any meaningful sense. Comparing it to the American Revolution isn't going to activate my Patriotism Circuits and make me see grey where there really isn't any.
      • That wasn't an attempt to push any patriotism circuit, just comparing the scenario. The American colonists weren't being oppressed in the 'Evil Overlord' sense, they were taxed without representation and forced to sell their goods only to the British Empire. Similarly, the people of the colonies weren't allowed to form their own governments and had been forced to emigrate to the colonies. Naturally, there was resentment toward the Federation. However, the bad guys seized control of The Republic of Zeon, and formed a totalitarian dicatorship, using the ideals of the Republic to gain the loyalty of the people. You see, one of the founding philosophies of the Republic were that the people of Space should be independent from control of the Earth. When Degwin Zabi took control and shifted to a dictatorship, he believed the only way to achieve and maintain independence was for Zeon to fight the Federation. Before he took over, the Republic had been trying to negotiate for its independence, with the federation attempting to force them to return through economic pressure. Now, while the colony drop was by far the most destructive single attack in course of the war, both sides suffered horrific losses. The opening claimed both sides had lost half of their respective populations due to indiscriminate use of WM Ds such as nuclear weapons and poison gas. The colony drop was an attempt to wipe out the Federation headquarters at Jaburo and end the war quickly, but the colony was diverted before it could hit, and landed in a civilian city. It's not quite grey and grey morality, but it is done in shades of grey. Once you get away from the original series, we get more and more instances of the Federation proving it can be just as bad as Zeon can. I think the 08th MS team does the best job of portraying each side as equal in greyscale ethics, with the Zeon occupation of that village when the Apsalus and the Federation shooting down a hospital ship. As for Operation Stardust and future Neo-Zeon movements, there seems to less and less justification for these, I'll give you that. As Zeon is continually revived, the followers become more and more fanatical, leading to more extreme actions that begin to fade from 'war' to near-religious terrorism. As Marida Cruz said, belief in the ideals of Zeon Zum-Deikun had become a religion for many. And like I said in my first argument, many of the colonists (And certainly themselves) see themselves as freedom fighters, seeking to liberate space from the perceived tyranny of Earth. So yes, probably not as grey as the writers like to think, but grey nonetheless. (Sorry for such a long and backstory heavy response)
      • I still think that Operation British alone (which would've fucked up Earth even if the colony hit Jaburo) got the whole thing as close to black and white as a gritty, realistic war series could get without getting actual Nazis involved. And I'm fairly certain that even if Side 3 was allowed to peacefully secede, it would've been heavily dependent on Earth. A mostly unsettled (as far as the Europeans were concerned) new continent would have much more resources needed for survival and prosperity than big metal tubes out in space.
      • Is the colony drop that much further from the use of nuclear weapons? Sure, it's a couple orders of magnitude greater, but the concept is still the same: We're going to completely wipe out our target and everything around it. And they probably would have had to rely on Earth for many of their supplies.
      • Nuclear weapons are still heavy shit. The colony drop was, therefore, shit that was a couple orders of magnitude heavier.
      • But the general effect is the same, just on a larger scale. Lots of people are going to die. A nuke isn't that much further from weeks of intensive bombing, and a colony drop isn't that much further from a nuke. It doesn't immediately cross the Moral Event Horizon to deploy a colony drop, so much as it illustrates the extreme measures being used to try to bring the war to an end. Afterall, it was still within the limits of the Antarctic Treaty that prohibited the use of nuclear weapons.
      • The Antarctic Treaty came about as a result of the One Week War, which ended in Operation British, and prohibited colony drops as well as NBC weapons. Oh, and it was desperation to end (on their terms) the war of aggression waged over the same sort of piddly crap that Quebecois separatists think is a big deal. And last I checked, nukes don't cause giant tsunamis.
      • Damn, all my research and I completely missed the Antarctic treaty's signing date. Next I'll be claiming the Geneva Convention came about because of Napoleon's abuse of prisoners. As for that 'piddly crap', it obviously meant a great deal to them. Independence is funny like that. Even if it isn't feasible, people are willing to fight for the chance. And who wouldn't try to bring the war to an end on their terms? This is pretty standard when things get desperate, and the chance to win grows slimmer or suddenly gains a larger price tag. Although, the more I think about it, this was probably too extreme. We've strayed a bit far from the main topic though, haven't we? I'm partly to blame here, I should be trying to prove it's grey/dark grey instead of trying to justify all of Zeon's over-the-line actions.
      • But people keep going on about how noble Zeon's goals are. If Zeon's goals are noble, then so are the goals of Quebecois separatists. And no, Operation British wasn't an act of desperation. The Solar Ray was an act of desperation. Operation British was always going to cap off Zeon's initial offensive. It just so happened that the casualties they took moving the colony into position were the straw that broke the camel's back, preventing them from doing more drops. And this whole argument? We never really left the original subject: In light of how pointless Zeon's endgame was, and the brutality used, on the battlefield and on the home front, in the attempt to reach it, and the holdouts who continued to carry out said brutality in the name of a dead cause, the UC's claim to all moral ambiguity, all the time is utterly invalid.
  • For those who found the argument too hard to follow, basically, it boils down to this: is the case of the Earth Federation vs. the Zeon a case of Grey and Gray Morality, with the Feddies being A Lighter Shade Of Gray because they haven't resorted to Colony Drop type attacks, which Zeon has done multiple times? Or is it a case of Black and White Morality with the unusual step of having Zeon have many traits of an Anti-Villain, especially due to the many otherwise decent Zeon loyalists who we get to see and empathize with in the series?
    • OP here. Didn't say the thing was straight up black and white, but that it's a lot closer to black and white than it is to OMG SO GREY. Yes, there were plenty of good men fighting for Zeon. That doesn't change their orders.
    • Wow, we got our own little folder. Anyways, while Zeon is often a darker shade of gray, it is by no means black. The soldiers fighting for it are fighting for independence from the Earth. The ideals of Zeon center around the belief that mankind was always meant to leave the Earth, and that the colonies should be independent from Earth. Zeon is pretty damn ruthless in pursuing its goals, but so are the Feddies. Remember the hospital ship in the 08th MS Team? Not only did they shoot it down, they shot down the Gouf that fell out of it just to make sure they got everyone. In that same series, they were also trying to use the reactors of their own Mobile Suits to set off an 'accidental' nuclear explosion and level the Zeon base. To accomplish this, they planned on just having teams of GMs waltz into mine-infested tunnels. It's by no means a perfect grey and grey, but it's definately painted in shades of it.
  • And, of course, the dirty little fact that Zeon had independence under Zeon Zum Deikun. There is every indication that their war was a war of "independence" only from a propaganda sense, while their REAL motives were naked imperialism and greed.

    Pacifist characters. Why are they hated? 
  • This is mainly towards Gundam in general and not any specific series. Why do people feel the need to hate on these characters? Do they forget that Gundam is a war show that has analogies to real life? Of course there'd be people who are like that. People keep going on about how the likes of recent Gundam protagonists stink because they "spew" idealism, but in the end, shouldn't that be what we as a people want? No war? Why feel the need to hate on something that deep down many wish were possible?
    • It changes from example to example, but in general it's because characters holding to pacifist ideals come across as either hypocritical or delusional. Gundam Seed is probably the prime example (though hardly the only one); you can't lecture people about how fighting is wrong when you use the biggest god damn stick in the solar system to beat the message into their skulls. The other issue is that pacifism, as an ideology, is flawed. Just because you refuse to fight, it doesn't mean that your enemies will respect your choice, which is one of the major themes from Wing. Not to mention, there's also a sizeable part of the fandom that enjoys Gundam not for the political intrigue and philosophy, but for big ass robots blowing shit up. If the carnage is why you enjoy the show, characters preaching about how awful it is really kills your buzz.
    • It's all about execution. When you're a pacifist is a war zone, things should be hard and there need to be reasons for trying at all to be feasible if it's not. For instance, Loran spends most of the series on Earth where disabled MS tend not to explode easily and the pilots can survive longer because they won't run out of air, so it's not totally unrealistic, plus he's creative at using a hugely destructive MS for noncombat purposes. Banagher, on the other hand, screws up a lot and a lot of his time is spent figuring out how to use such a massively destructive Gundam directly against its designed purpose, he completely fails in trying to talk down an enemy pilot, and it takes until episode 5 for him to succeed. The problem with pilots like late-S2 Setsuna or Kio Asuno is that they get Gundams that make it massively easy to apply pacifistic ideals in pitched battle, use space sparkles toso their enemies feel pacifism, or (in Kio's case) they do blatantly ineffective things despite obvious evidence that it's not working and refusing to change tactics (i.e. yelling "LET'S UNDERSTAND FELLOW HUMAN" to pilots who are repeatedly telling him to hold still so they can shoot him down easier).
    • Simply put, if you're a pacifist - YOU SHOULDN'T BE FIGHTING IN A WAR. Also, a pacifist has no right to preach to the people who are actually fighting and killing, and desperately trying to stay alive. It's especially grating if they're stopping THEIR OWN SIDE from killing the enemy. Notably, Amuro Ray and Tomino's protagonists in general NEVER protested the necessity of killing the enemy.

  • Why do all supplemental materials list Amuro's age as 15 when in the episode "A Fateful Encounter" he flat out SAYS that he's sixteen years old?
    • Amuro could have (and did) turned sixteen between the start of the series (about 8 months into the One Year War) and the end of the series. Other supplemental materials actually gave dates of birth for most of the major characters; Amuro's birthday was sometime early in November (as was Char's), and Amuro and Lalah first meet sometime in December of UC 0079.
  • Why doesn't Fraw Bow wear pants as part of her uniform? All the other female federation soldiers do. You'd think there would be a regulation about this kind of thing.
    • Probably just because it was writt en in the late 70's, and someone needed to wear a miniskirt.
      • According to the Gundam: The Origin manga, it's a training uniform.
  • Why do fans continually insist Lalah was 14? Sunrise themselves have released Lalah's birth being dated in 0062, which makes her 17. This actually even fits with characterization, as Amuro continually falls for older women (Sayla, Miss Matilda, Beltochika) and Char continually has bizarre entanglements with younger women - romantic or not (Quess, Haman, Nanai).
    • Though it should also be noted that Char's age is 19, rather than 21, considering Casval lied about his age when he joined Zeon's military as 'Char.'
  • I've noticed that in all the Gundam spin-offs I know of, NOBODY WEARS SEATBELTS. You'd think that with all the rapid moving, FIGHTING and such they'd want the pilots to stay in their seats. Even in Char's Counter Attack, while the new generation has airbags, they don't have seatbelts to actually keep the pilot seated.
  • Gundam Wing almost always had pilots wearing seatbelts. (It also had mobile suit pilots inexplicably wearing aviator goggles, which struck this troper as weird since it was my understanding that aviator goggles were designed to keep wind out of the pilot's eyes.)
    • More All There in the Manual: The goggles are explained as symbol of the leader of the Maganac Corps which Quatre inherited from Rashid in the Episode Zero manga
      • But why do OZ mobile suit pilots wear goggles?
      • This troper always assumed it was Rule of Cool. The Alliance and Oz have a very old-world feel to their militaries, so I assumed they were based on WW1 fighter pilots, hence the goggles. It's adding to the atmosphere, I guess.
  • Why is it always G, Wing and Seed that get the Hatedom and NEVER UC?
    • Hype Backlash at American fans who only know about Gundam from Toonami, not that there isn't an equal Hype Backlash Backlash at UC fanboys who refuse to accept anything that newer fans also happen to like.
    • Nostalgia. Although ZZ does get some.
      • 0083 and CCA do have their detractors.
      • Says you. In this troper's opinion, Zeta was a travesty that I can only forgive because of Double Zeta, the rest of UC still rocks.
      • Yeah, nostalgia goggles definetly as many of the problems they list with those anime exist in UC and then some.
  • This troper always loved how Gundam has such lovingly detailed mobile suit stats for most of its universe, but there is one thing that has always struck him as odd. The power ratings of early UC series Minovsky reactors are unusually low. The original RX-78-2 Gundam's reactor, for one example, produces 1,380 kilowatts. This is only about 100 more kw of juice than what an old BMW 801 radial airplane engine from WWII will give you. Perhaps the MST3K Mantra is best used here, but hyper-advanced nuclear fusion reactors producing the same amount of power as a gasoline radial engine Just Bugs Me.
    • Probably some form of Technology Marches On. Either that, or UC watts are several orders of magnitude more powerful than present-day watts. After all, look at the computers that they use in early UC works, they're probably twenty times bulkier than a 2010-era PC with likely half the processing power.
  • Why don't they ever use optically-guided (like the Maverick or the Kh-29T) or infrared-guided missiles to counter the effects of Minovsky particles on radar, or even a special missile that seeks out high Minovsky particle densities? Mobile suits have EOS sensors (like the monoeye) after all, which are practically never seen being impaired despite the claims that Minovsky particles are supposed to do that.
  • The Idiot Plot that starts off Stardust Memory. Who THE HELL equips a live nuclear warhead to a prototype that hasn't been evaluated yet and for that matter is done practically out in the open?
    • You... Don't get it do you? Jamitov SET THEM UP, he was the admiral in charge of the fleet, he let Zeon get the GP-02, he let them nuke Solomon, he then arrested Kowen the only admiral in his way and took the fuck over, 0083 was Jamitovs plot to create the Titans!
      • So one leader with an agenda can apparently convince an entire military to put nuclear warheads on a prototype? And none of the main characters think to question this rather poor decision?
  • Why was the Big Zam never mass produced?
    • First of all it was unfeasible, secondly MS production takes a whole lot longer than they had, thirdly the Big Zam was written off as a failure because it was destroyed. Also I-Field tech costed a buttload of cash they didn't have
  • If the One Year War is indeed only one year long, where are the Zeon forces getting all these cool new mobile suits? It really seems like it should have taken a bit longer to go from the Zaku I/Zaku II to the Gelgoog and Zeong, not to mention a lot of the other crazy things they come up with. In the same amount of time, the Federation only manages to come up more reasonably with the Gundam, Guncannon, Guntank, along with the GM and Ground Combat Gundams which clearly stem from the V Project, and the Ball, which is just a work pod with a cannon (and a death trap).
    • That's because Zeon has a weird approach to weapon designing : basically, they create a crapton of prototypes, send them on the battlefield and mass produce the ones getting actual results. In fact, that's how they noticed the awesomeness of mobile suits in the first place! What's more, they also have a tendency to create overly specialized mechs, which effectively means they need a lot of different models running around (the Gundam's Jack-of-All-Trades skillset was revolutionary for the time period).
    • This is also one of the main reasons the Federation won the war: Zeon's production facilities were wasting time and resources trying to come up with the next super-awesome mobile suit that they forgot about mass production. The Federation, on the other hand, mass produces the highly versatile Gundam design in the form of the GM, which leads to a much better utilization of resources. It's basically Awesome, but Impractical vs Boring, but Practical in action.
  • Common sense indicates that if a military contractor were to provide aid to the enemies of its government client, that contractor wouldn't exist for much longer. So how has Anaheim survived pretty obvious treason?
    • No one can afford to harm Anaheim; by the point in the timeline where their treason is obvious, they're also a near-monopoly on high-end MS manufacturing. You go after Anaheim and the remnants will be swept over to the side of your opposite number- this would be a bad thing for you. The enemy's manufacturing capabilities will be reduced, but yours will be out and out eliminated. This is a major reason for the eventual formation of SNRI by the Earth Federation- to get away from relying on Anaheim Electronics.
      • What was stopping the Federation from nationalizing Anaheim?
      • Because the Federation's top brass are most likely in bed with Anaheim through kickbacks and political alliances. As Unicorn has come to demonstrate, Anaheim has alot of pull within the Federation government. There's likely so much money being made and passed around that even if Anaheim were nationalized, the system would still continue so as to continually line the pockets of those involved.
      • Also, even without any kickbacks and corruption, there's the fact that, without a credible threat, funding gets cut to any military in the world. Look at what happened to the EFSF between the end of CCA/Unicorn and F91. They've been stuck using outdated Jegans since they had no one to fight against. Compare this to the 16 or so years before where they were getting a continual stream of new and upgraded mobile suits every year.
  • How much of Zeon's military escaped at the end of the One Year War, and how did they acquire all their materiel? I mean, continued Zeon sympathies in the colonies isn't enough justification for there being enough Zeon loyalists for them to field large enough numbers of advanced enough mobile suits to be a viable faction.
    • There's a throwaway line in 0079 where a Zeon commander (M'quve) claims to have shipped off enough material from his mines to keep Zeon fighting for another decade. Furthermore, if Stardust Memory is to be believed a crapton of Zeon forces didn't acknowledge the surrender and fled to places like Axis or the Delaz Fleet. This troper's guess would be that these two factors together meant that there were still enough troops willing to fight, and with sufficient supplies, for Zeon to keep fighting even after the One Year War was lost.
  • Why wasn't the zeong painted red? Every other Mobile Suit Char used was red, but the one they gave him for the big final battle wasn't? It should have been iconic, the culmination of every suit Char had used up until that point, but instead it's some sort of crazy grey reindeer man.
    • Probably because it wasn't intended for Char to have, Char just needed an upgrade to keep up with Amuro and Zeon was desprately trying to make a last stand. So they just gave Char the zeong, another reason might be is the mobile suit wasn't finished. They hadn't built the legs, but they were in space so it didn't matter much (Look up 'perfect zeong' for a finished version.)
  • Does anyone else think that slapping subordinates is covered somewhere in the Federation disciplinary manual? We all know Bright does it. Late in the series, Slegger slaps Mirai, but more telling would be the unnamed officer who slaps Amuro after Ryu's posthumous promotion. He's nobody important in the plotline, so it doesn't prove anything about his character (as with Bright and Slegger). Also, when Amuro ducks the first slap, the officer yells at him for avoiding discipline. (At least in the dub of the TV show.) There has to be some subsection paragraph authorizing officers to deliver one (1) open-handed slap to the face of a difficult subordinate.
  • One thing that I have really been finding annoying is Shiro Amada's Alpha Strike and how it failed. He's sliding down the tower he stuck his Gundam EZ 8's backpack to and is shown firing in straight lines. However, when it cuts to his opponent, Norris Pacard's Gouf Custom, the bullets from his 100mm autocannon go off to the left of the suit, his 35mm vulcans got off to the right side and his 12.7mm machine gun just kind of meander around the target, who's just standing there. I don't get it. After all, the 35mm and 12.7mm guns wouldn't have done much more than scratch the paint of a mobile suit, if that. I mean, if they really wanted to show how Badass Norris is, then he should have been shown blocking the 100mm rounds with the obvious shield he has and just tanking the weaker stuff.
    • It was more meant to show the impracticality of the alpha strike than anything else. Guns have kick, and automatic weapons never stay pointed at the exact spot they started out with once fired. Given that Shiro was also messily grinding down a tower, the accuracy was shot all to hell, which is pretty much what would happen in Real Life if someone tried such a stunt. Packard knew this and didn't bother dodging because he knew very little of it had any chance of hitting him.


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