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    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 dictatorship, 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 WMDs 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.
      • They'd have had to rely on Earth, yes. But they'd have been recognized as an independent entity,rather than a vassal state. They would be peers, not subordinate.
      • 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.
  • Just a point that no-one seems to have touched on- The issue is not with the leaders of Zeon being a shade of gray, it's the people and soldiers themselves. The leadership between The Federation and Zeon is a lot closer to Black and White, but as for the soldiers fighting the war, it's not. In response to the colony gassings during the one year war, pretty much all soldiers who actually carried these operations out thought that they were carrying sleeping gases, not the deadlier mixtures. It's a minor plot point in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory as it is one of the things that causes Cima Garahau to betray the Delaz fleet although this is admittedly All There in the Manual. However Neo Zeon, who carried out Operation British are further down the scale since as put above " Each time Zeon is reimagined, Its followers become more and more fanatical" The original principality may have been an example of Grey-and-Gray Morality, but most of the Neo Zeon factions are far closer to the black.
  • The only reason why most of the time the Federation didn't retaliate by dropping bomb or toxic gas is not that they didn't want to but because they can't and they want to appear to have the moral high ground. Remember, GP 02 A was approved the use of nuclear warhead by the Federation and in Unicorn, they approved of the Vist using Colony Laser to destroy Side 7. So they totally intend to use extreme method, it's just that most of the time, they don't have enough resource to do so.

    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 Banagher 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. And while Setsuna from 00 may seem to be a pacifist during A Wakening of the Trailblazer, he is never seen thought the series questioning killing his opponents and only hesitates because the main antagonists are aliens who he cannot communicate with like he can humans, meaning he is effectively murdering those he cannot understand at all
    • Adding on to the above, Pacifistic characters who do not fight (Lacus Clyne, Relena Darlain, Marina Ishmail (I do hope I'm spelling that right)) tend to be unable to do much due to the fact that they are in the middle of a war, as such they are perceived as stated above to be "killing the buzz". They are not able to have any effect on the story until the epilogue, when the protagonist has beaten back all aggressors in their Gundam (or similar fashion) and as such are kind of useless until that stage (Lacus might be an exception to this in SEED, being the head of Terminal). Pacifistic Characters who have Gundams (Kira and Kio) tend to make decisions according to Wide-Eyed Idealism, which can come off as making them Too Dumb to Live. It really comes down to the point made above- Pacifism is a flawed ideology. Characters who understand that and work to accommodate that tend to come off far better than characters that simply yell "STOP FIGHTING!" while gunning enemies down. Kira Yamato is a good example of these, since he fits both types depending on the series.
    • Even taking into account the shortcomings of pacifism, the sheer amount of vitriol these characters tend to get can still seem unwarranted and irrational. Yes, pacifism as an ideology is flawed, but so is militarism and literally every other conceivable ideology. There is no such thing as an ideology that doesn't have its potential pitfalls and shortcomings. So I really don't see any logical reason why pacifism, specifically, should be singled out as a target of scorn, and especially not in the Gundam franchise, which has a consistent War Is Hell theme. And I really, REALLY don't get the argument from two posts above that "a pacifist has no right to preach to the people who are actually fighting and killing". Yes, soldiers are in a very difficult situation that civilians might not be able to understand, but that does not mean that their actions should be beyond criticism. Again, pacifism is flawed, but so is the military mindset, and just like those who fight are more likely to see the flaws of the former, non-combatants are probably more likely to see the flaws of the latter.
    • As it has been said it really is a matter of ham handed presentation. Pacifism is a laudible guiding principle, even if the reality of the world doesn't allow it to be exercised in its pure form. The idea that one should strive and be willing to sacrifice to resolve a conflict peacefully is good and very much in line with Gundam's more reasonable themes of being anti-war. The problem is, that while Gundam generally has an anti-war theme, we're mostly here for the big cool shooty robots. So pacifist characters end up coming off as quite frustrating and of place. Not that you cannot have a pacifist in a war setting and have them be both good and heroic. See Hacksaw ridge for instance. As for people pointing out the hypocricy of pacifism. Of course. All ideologies are aspirational. All are imperfect and all have failure states. We do not negotiate with terrorists. Unless those terrorists have the means to lay out enoug hurt. Then the political calculus changes and we do negotiate with terrorists. Pacifism is laudible until you end up with a situation where war is the least evil option. Then it too must step aside until its appointed time comes round again.

     Amuro's age 
* 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.

     Bad Reactors 
  • 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.
    • Either that or they meant Megawatts, but got the units confused.
     Optically-Guided Missiles 
  • 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.
    • It's a Handwave for why they use Mobile Suits to begin with. Just go with it.
    • My understanding is that minovsky particles are like exotic particle chaff clouds. They interfere with the entire electromagnetic spectrum. In insanely high densities over very wide areas, even visible light. Although this is rare. An optically guided missile is going to have trouble as it will either be wire guided or guided by a radio datalink. Wire guiding is short ranged in a universe where high velocity projectile cannons and beam guns can do that job better. And radio guidance gets jumbled up like radar as the missile reacher longer range. Infrared has the same problem, hazing out at long range. Which is in fact a problem for IR seeking missiles in the earth's amtosphere.
     Nuclear Weapons in Memory Stardust 
  • The 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?
      • A sufficiently charismatic or influential leader entirely could swing the military and industrial groups enough to manage it.
A few might disagree, but they can easily be silenced or scapegoated. Plus, promises of power. Military leaders get promised a plush job in the new counterrevolutionary group and all the power that entails, while manufacturers get the promise of lucrative new contracts.
  • It's pretty clear too that the Federation was entertaining the idea that they didn't need to abide by the Anti-Arctic treaty with Zeon essentially defunct. Unit-2 was, after all, explicitly built as a nuclear delivery platform. Basically, the federation was being cockey.
     Big Zam and mass production 
  • 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.
    • Keep in mind too that mobile suits were a new technology at the start of the war which means there was lots of room to grow. The Zaku II could be a big step up from the Zaku I just by incorporating what pilots told them was important and discarding what they learned was not. The Gouf could be better still by focusing on performance over ease of piloting without needing a break through in technology. Many of Zeons other suits were simply refinements, field modifications, or specializations that probably used a lot of standard parts. More tellingly, the Zaku I is not so totally outclassed that a skilled Zaku I pilot couldn't put up a fight against a novice Gundam pilot. In fact, the Gundam's performance, while impressive, was not quantum leaps above the Zaku II. It was better of course, in almost every way. But it's main advantage was the incorporation of compact beam weaponry. Later series introduce far more mobile suit variants, but they appear over a longer time span. They're concurrent projects. And many of them are explicitly built on a previous chassis.
     Anaheim Electronics and Treason 
  • 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.
     Red Zeong 
  • 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.)
    • Considering it was at the very end of the war, with Zeon's resources stretched, they literally may not have had enough red paint to cover the Zeong...
  • 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.
    • It is, it's called a "correction".
    • The supplementary material confirms that with the Federation, physically striking soldiers, subordinates, etc. is standard punishment for just about every offense, no matter how small. It is regulation.
     Shiro's Alpha Strike 
  • 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.
     Gundam Human Design 
  • Is anyone else bugged by Gundams having weirdly human design traits? For instance, suits with goggles like the GM Sniper... why the hell would you mount expensive, sensitive tracking equipment on the outside of the head, other than the fact that it looks like a human's helmet visor?
    • Possibly for both ease of activation (just pull the scanner down, and it activates), and as a redundancy. Lose the precision cams, and you can easily switch back, rather than being blinded
    • It's very likely there's a good reason (like it has to be on the outside with the majority of it inside) but it's an artistic choice for the series in-universe as well as out mostly. As the novelization of the original Gundam series says, there's no reason to put legs on space mobile suits but they do anyway.
    • It's sometimes a case of additional modifications of a base design. For your GM Sniper example, the OG Sniper & the Sniper II were based off existing designs, and their sniper packages were added on later. The Sniper Custom was built from the ground up as a sniper platform, and thus had their added sensors inside the head, and the visor was for protecting those sensors. Similar equipment can be seen on the Aqua GM, Zaku Flipper, etc.

     Aquatic units in the Universal Century 
  • Why are there so many underwater Zeon mobile suits, but only two terrible Federation suits, the Aqua GM (the Waterproof Gundam is literally an Aqua GM with extra bits attached) and the Zaku Mariner (based on a OYW Zeon design, and all of them stolen by Neo Zeon in the first Neo Zeon war)? Zeon remnants were active for almost 20 years on Earth, waged 3 wars on Earth and space, and no one thought to create a design that can fight on terrain that covers the vast majority of the Earth?
    • This troper seems to recall many aquatic Zeon suits being built with mine-countermeasures, so it is possible that the federation believed that those would stop Zeon's suits, and didn't have time to develop any dedicated aquatic suits until the war's end. Also, in some segments of the series, mobile suit battles do occur underwater, so it is possible that federation suits could fight well enough in water anyway, and Zeon only produced aquatic suits to cover the problems with it's other suits. Following this, the Aqua GM might just be one of the many modifications made to a GM to ensure it's survivability in certain environments (the GM Cold Climates Type comes to mind).
    • There's two reasons that should explain this sufficiently. Firstly, Zeon utilized several mobile suit manufacturers. The Z'Gok belonged to MIP (which normally made mobile armors), the Gogg to Zimmand (creators of Dom, Gyan), the Acguy to Zeonic (creators of Zaku, Gouf, Gelgoog), and the Zock being the baby of R&D at California Base. Theoretically, these four would be competing to be the aquatic suit of Zeon, and Zeon, late enough in the war, realized they had no need to produce any of these at the same level as the Zaku, and just kept a limited supply of each type as needed. The second reason is that once Zeon was kicked off of Earth, the Federation just had no need for a specialized aquatic suit. The main course to them was suppression of activity in space, and the likelihood of Zeon or any other threat becoming a dangerous sea power was low.
      • That does not explain why no one in the EFF ever developed an Aqua variant of any suits past the OYW (the GM Marine Type, Guncannon Aquas, and Ball Marine Types of Thunderbolt are all modifications of OYW suits). Thunderbolt, Double Zeta, & Unicorn show that the Zeon Remnants and other third parties are a creditable naval threat. The Zee Zulu & the Shamblo were designed by people who never even SEEN the ocean, yet they wreck havoc on the Federation. Zeon even destroyed the naval forces at Torrington, the EFF testing base. It stretches my believably a bit that no one thought "Huh, all of our specialized Aqua units go back to the OYW, and all our Zaku Mariners got stolen. How about we modify the Aqua GM kit for the GM II or something?"
      • Two probable components. One, the Federation is arrogant. They pushed back the Zeonic forces with what they had, and they THINK Zeon has been neutered after the OYW. Two is cost/benefit ratio. The cost to refit the GM II or any other unit is higher than the perceived benefit (most combat is in space, wiping up remnants or "sympathizers", so refitting new units for underwater is nearly pointless).

     Mobile Suit Controls 
This has always bothered me. At least in Seed, and I believe in Wing and some of the U.C. shows, (and probably others I haven't seen), whenever we see the main Gundam's cockpit, it shows this particular control layout that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

The layout is something like this: The pilot is sitting between two sliding controls that look a little like jet aircraft throttles, with triggers and buttons on the grips. There's a computer interface in front of them, and either two or four foot pedals on the floor by their feet, like the rudder pedals on an aircraft.

How does that translate to an efficient control system for a humanoid mecha? The arms alone have three joints, each of which has multiple degrees of freedom, and that's not even counting the hands. So the arms are clearly not controlled by the two sliding controls, which have one degree of freedom each. And the same thing goes for the legs/pedals!

In fact, in Seed, at least, we only ever see Kira dramatically slamming the sliding controls forwards while the Strike does something dramatic, or stomping hard on one of the pedals like it's the accelerator on a car.

And this isn't getting into egregious things like in After War Gundam X, where there's one sliding control that seemingly controls everything, and apparently pops out of its socket with minimum effort because it's also the security key. Also in that show, one of the enemy pilots, Carris, makes his Vertigo fly back to its base by hitting a few buttons while he's doubled over in pain and unable to control it properly. Episode 13, if you're wondering.

Still, I have to wonder: what are the controls actually supposed to do? And what actually controls the arms and legs, not to mention the rocket thrusters and weapons?

We know it can't be some kind of mental link, at least not for relatively basic models like the Strike, because whenever an enemy unit uses that kind of technology, it's a big deal and a lot gets made of it in the show. Moreover, psycommu, bits, funnels—anything controlled with a mental link is usually only for Newtype pilots.

And if the computer's controlling the actual movements of the mobile suit, while the pilot just tells it where to go and whom to fight, then that's dumb. What would they need a pilot for, besides accountability? And we know that's not what the pilots are there for.

  • I have a theory. I guess a total Gundam nerd can post something canon later. So, for the arm control; the sticks sliding forward and back control extension of the arms and some kind of gimbal on the stick for controlling up/down in the shoulder with the computer fine-tuning the control. The fingers are controlled by the triggers on the sticks and that controls the weapons systems. The pedals work like a car, you press the accelerator pedal to move the legs, press it hard and you run. The other pedal controls jet thrust for the boosters and maybe covers jump as well. Head control is handled by slaving the head to the pilot's helmet similar to what we do with modern helicopters. For turning, the pilot can shift his weight in the seat to the left or right to turn. Let's just say that it becomes very obvious when he scratches his butt.
    • OP here. That theory has promise. The only thing that bothers me about this, really, is that the pilot always seems to have extremely precise control over the unit, because the Ace Pilots dodge bullets and things. Even in "08th Mobile Suit Team," the most starkly realistic one to my mind, the Gundams can still maneuver precisely enough to fight like men and slide down skyscrapers and so forth. At best, that theory could explain the mook units like Zakus, but with the Gundams and other special units, it must be something different. I guess this is all just nitpicking, because it is a mecha show we're talking about.
      • Perhaps that's due to differences in the OS precision and suit mechanics. Grunt units have very general OS settings, for ease of use. Higher end units have the OS extremely custom tuned, enhancing precision and control.