"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in our twenty-seventh casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
Here's another vibrantly-colored super-simple intro column for new Gundam fans! We're back with Part 27 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!
Something you really can't ignore about Gundam is some of the super-quotable (!?) dialogue.
In part 27, "Famous Gundam Lines (Part 2:
Mobile Suit Gundam
)," we'll look at a few of Zeon characters' best lines from the original series
Mobile Suit Gundam
Gundam heroes don't have a monopoly on famous lines!?
"In other words, what remains of them is little more than debris." (Gihren Zabi / Mobile Suit Gundam)
We start off with a line from Gihren Zabi, military commander and de-facto ruler of the Principality of Zeon which stands against our heroes. (episode 41, "Space Fortress: A Baoa Qu")
This shocking line, delivered as part of one of anime's most famous speeches, established his own reputation as one of the medium's most infamous orators and had a major impact on later mecha shows and across all genres.
The speech was delivered shortly after the Federation fleet was first heavily damaged by the secret Solar Ray, a humongous anti-ship laser array, and then wiped out at the decisive battle of A Baoa Qu.
Gazing upon the damage wreaked by the Solar Ray, Gihren uses his victory to launch into a Hitlerian screed, declaring "There is no other way for mankind [...] except living under the direct control of we, the chosen, superior race of Zeon!" to his own troops (a case he also made with his dismissal of the Federation's remaining forces.)
The oratorical, eloquent, and clever (an IQ of 240!) Gihren had also, upon the death of his half-brother Garma, insisted on an (of course, televised) state funeral against his father Degwin Zabi's wishes for a private ceremony, leading to a breakdown in Zabi family relations. The collected, calm, snooty, and egotistical Gihren considered everyone around him to be below his intellectual level. (← including his own father Dozle) I suppose it just goes to show that he looks down on the Federation, and Earthnoids, even more.
Some guys are just that self-centered, "I'm the smartest!" (in that smug way) type, I guess, but it seems like the wordier they get they harder of a time they have seeing what's going on under their very noses. In the end, the throne slipped out of his grasp nearly as soon as it landed there, taken by his shrewder cute (!?) little sister Kycillia Zabi with a beam blast and the epithet "You killed your own father!"... His nearly-exquisite elitism and overconfidence led to his own downfall, making him the very picture of a storybook villain.
However, even if the man himself is gone, his rousing speeches shall live forever!
Everyone, follow as if you were a Zeon soldier! Hail Zeon! Hail Zeon! Hail Zeon! Hail Zeon! (←Now, don't stop until I'm done.)
"Char, you... You double-crossed me, Char!?" (Garma Zabi / Mobile Suit Gundam)
Next, a line from Garma Zabi, commander of Zeon's Earth Attack Force. (
Mobile Suit Gundam
episode 10, "Garma's Fate")
Garma, the youngest of the Zabis but already ranked Captain, has been marked for success his entire life, and this dashing young prince has stolen as many hearts as even Char. (← The kid's lucky he didn't turn out like his brothers.) However, this carefree upbringing leads to a careless personality, and crafty Char is easily able to...
Garma seeks a victory to show his Earthnoid fiancée, and perhaps it's when Char takes advantage and suggests that taking down the White Base could earn him not just admiration, but the Zeon Cross, that the young man's fate is sealed.
Eventually, while he and Char chase the White Base together, Char's prediction is correct, and Garma is caught between it, the Guntank, and the Guncannon. It's only during a radio exchange with Char as he takes fire from the White Base that he realizes his betrayal.
Easygoing Garma, who doesn't notice until Char's "Y'know, you're a bro, but your dad, he's a total dick, mwahahahaha!" (← okay,
isn't exactly the line) that he's been betrayed by his close friend, lets out a yelp of shock that wouldn't be out of place in a comic strip. (← Y'know who the dick is, Char? It's you. You're the dick.)
Char may be right when he calls Garma a "spoiled brat", but I'd still like to see what would have become of him as a proud leader of Zeon.
"Amuro... I can see time itself..." (Lalah Sune / Mobile Suit Gundam)
This line was spoken by tragic heroine Lalah Sune, a reassuring, motherly (!?) "model Newtype" trained at the Flanagan Institute. (
Mobile Suit Gundam
episode 40, "A Cosmic Glow")
Lalah is also an Ensign in the Zeon forces, and following the discovery of her gift by Char she racks up an impressive kill count at the controls of the Newtype-only "Elmeth" mobile armor.
Though perhaps, on a kill-or-be-killed battlefield, the Newtype ability to share thoughts with your foe is more of a curse than a blessing?
Fighting for the cause of a man who sees her as nothing more than a tool, (← Yep, Char, man, still a dick) with Amuro, perhaps her true match, taking her life... Ah, Lalah's fate is just too cruel!
I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks "We'd be better off if a user like you was stuck in a mobile suit with no legs, Char!"?
In episode 33, "A Fateful Encounter", Amuro meets Lalah alongside Char, but it's not until they meet again on the battlefield near the end of the show that they can have a real heart-to-heart. (!?) These were Lalah's last spoken words as she took a blow from Amuro's Gundam meant for Char, but the "time" she saw was a reflection of their souls resonating.
Can't you feel the eternal flow of souls and time, thought and emptiness, that she felt in that moment? (← Okay, maybe that's a little too Newtypey...)
Lalah's soul lives on forever in Gundam alongside these words.
"Legs are just for show. The brass doesn't understand things like that." (Zeon soldier / Mobile Suit Gundam)
Last, we have the words of an anonymous Zeon soldier. (
Mobile Suit Gundam
episode 41, "Space Fortress: A Baoa Qu")
You wouldn't think a nameless character who's "just a" mechanic would be remembered in the next scene, never mind 35 years later, but this line still sticks out due to his (accidentally?) frank honesty.
This quote that even people who've never seen Gundam have probably heard somewhere comes when, as the space fortress A Baoa Qu is under attack, Char is given—whether he likes it or not—the Zeong by Kycillia Zabi. His reaction upon seeing it of "The hell? This thing ain't got no feet!" (← There I go again) draws a response from its mechanic.
While Char understands that there's nothing else left to pilot, its description as "only 80% complete" unnerves him, but the mechanic is quick to reassure him with a "Who told you that? In its current state, the Zeong can fight at 100%, Captain!"
As an enlisted man gives Char, a captain, an enthusiastically unvarnished opinion, you can really feel his one-minded focus on his work.
But it's not just because he's usually loose-lipped, or because he doesn't know how to speak to his superiors. As a mechanic, the combat readiness of mobile suits is his job, and he's confident (← even enthusiastic!) in a way that old men going "what the hell do the bosses know, anyway?" at a bar aren't. There are plenty of famous lines, but this one may just be one of the top three lines we'd like to use in our own lives! (I guess the other two would be "One of us is the culprit!" and "Keep the change."...)
The realization that "hey, it's space, you're not going to be walking anyway, so who needs legs?" is also pretty impressive. Perhaps he's really Copernicus reborn?
With these revolutionary words that continued to resound through all of mecha anime, this anonymous Zeon soldier sealed his place as the most famous soldier in Gundam history. (applause)
And there it is, "Famous Gundam Lines (Part 2: Mobile Suit Gundam),", a veritable hit parade of Gundam's best lines!
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, 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!