"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in our forty-ninth casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
Is this a recurring weekly nightmare? No, just the opposite! A super-simple intro column for new Gundam fans snapping its pincers! We're back with Part 49 of what makes Gundam Gundam.
You can see our previous coverage of what makes Gundam Gundam
, and this week we're back with another Gundam standard!
Another role vital to Gundam is that of the "schemer".
Almost like a Venus flytrap, they're simply tireless in their ability to grasp absolutely any chance to advance their agenda—and their own position along with it.
In part 49, we bring you "Schemers of Gundam" (Part 1)!
The schemers of Gundam are proud, have firm aesthetic sensibilities, and strike from the rear!
Paptimus Scirocco (Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam)
Our first schemer, and no doubt the most famous, is Lt. Paptimus Scirocco. His aethereal purple hair and unusual look hint at his unique sensibilities.
Captain of the Earth Federation's resource vessel
and leader of the Jupiter Fleet, his return to the Earth Sphere puts him in contact with "Titans" special operations forces commandant Jamitov Hymem, and thereafter (nominally) under his command.
However, his loyalty to the Titans is in name only, and independent operations including the capture of the lunar city Von Braun are only the start of his ambition.
As the burgeoning civil war between the Titans and the A.E.U.G. draws to a head, the Zeon remnants of Axis make their own bid to become the third faction in the Gryps Conflict. Scirocco, aboard the Axis flagship
for a bipartite summit between Jamitov and Axis's leader Haman Karn, suddenly strikes and assassinates Jamitov! Calling for vengeance in the name of a man he himself killed, Scirocco seizes command of the Titans, sortieing to sink the
and duel Haman's Qubeley in his own experimental The O. At this point, I think we've established his schemer cred,
From an (← impressively oldschool) blood pact with Jamitov to bowing in fealty to young Axis princess Mineva Lao Zabi, he's certainly quite the political chameleon. Or really, it's just his scheming instincts and willingness to backstab showing through. (← Even Char is impressed.)
Really, though Scirocco is more than just an idle dilettante. (← it's mean to even phrase it that way.) I mean, he can take on the Newtype Haman, in a mobile suit he designed himself—he's obviously a very talented man. Seriously! Look at how focused he is! He may seem like one big wad of overconfidence, describing himself as a genius and all, but people who paint him as a mere egotist fail to see the big picture.
Even his determination that the world should be ruled by women places him as an observer of history rather than a prime actor.
He doesn't want to be on stage, doesn't want to wear the laurels or wave the banner—he'd rather pull the strings from stage left, the archetypical Producer. And of course, his careful cultivation of his charms, luring others in to act as his puppets, makes him a natural schemer. (← what he lacks in personal virtue, he makes up for in wits and looks.)
Ever polishing his senses, and with a (← terrifying) lack of scruples about using others, the calculating Scirocco is one of Gundam's premier schemers.
■ Tassilo Wago (Mobile Suit Victory Gundam)
Next is Tassilo Wago, a (not-too-)grizzled vet who fills out his uniform nicely. A staff officer of the Zanscare Empire, a militarily-powerful Side 2 colony which invades Earth under abject devotion to its young queen Maria Pure Armonia, he commands the fleet stationed at the space fortress Kailash Gillie and is a trusted confidant of Chancellor Fonse Kagatie.
Kagatie is effectively third-in-command of Imperial forces, and bears an especial fondness for the guillotine; Wago, who swears an oath of loyalty to him and takes command of the Earth invasion, at first sets hereditary executioner Fuala Griffon adrift in space, but soon realizes her potential influence and rescues her in the first of his grasps for power.
However, when his power base of Keilas Guilie is sacked by the Federation militia League Militaire and its fleet sunk, he himself is sentenced to the block. (← They see heads rollin', they lovin' it. Apparently.)
A necessary political fiction, I suppose, but it's not like you really have to go through with it! Anyway, while a disturbance in the crowd saves Tassilo's neck, it does nothing to endear Kagatie to him. I mean, the guillotine! Public execution! (← not like there's many private guillotinings...) That's more than enough to put the fear into a man, and while revenge would be on anyone's mind, the budding schemer Tassilo is up all night looking for angles. (← At least,
think he is.)
Making his return to the field at the head of the fleet defending the massive Psycommu fortress Angel Halo from the Earth Federation's Combined Fleet, he seizes his chance to unseat a nominally supreme but apparently wavering Kagatie, but!
Tassilo's straight-laced military demeanor belies his willingness to bend the rules and use anything—even his queen's personal safety—as a bargaining chip. His schemes, and his devotion to them, are what finally carry him off the rails in his last desperate manoeuvres.
And for now, that's all for our first look at the schemers of Gundam!
Oh, isn't Gundam just so fascinating?
Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, that's it for this week.
Next week we'll be taking another laid-back look at what makes Gundam Gundam!
Scriptwriter. Troublemaking scenarist.
Learning more every day to teach you about the fun of Gundam!