Hello everyone, my name is Scott. I run this little blog named Mechanical Anime Reviews. While I don’t talk about mech anime all the time, because there is a wide variety of things to talk about when it comes to anime, today I am going to talk about one of my favorite parts of one of my favorite mech series. This one in particular goes by the name of Turn A Gundam. A late 90’s anime series by the original Gundam creator himself, Yoshiyuki Tomino.
Yes, this is an OWL’s post. If you haven’t heard of OWLS before, OWLS is an acronym for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect. What this group does is promote the acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. Its main focus is to emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance for every human being ever. If you want to know more about OWLS, look at the website here.
This month’s blog topic is centered around Diplomacy. In a more specific form, it is:
“Whenever we have a disagreement with someone, we use our words to express our thoughts and opinions. However, there are those who would rather use fists instead of words, those who forget that being “right” isn’t the most important thing, and those who lose sight of compromising and acknowledging differences in opinion and belief. Diplomacy is an important skill and tactic that not many of us have or are able to utilize properly especially in “social media wars” for sensitive issues and anime discourse—we just express our opinions without really listening. For this month’s prompt, we will be exploring some of the best negotiations scenes in pop culture media and discuss how effective these diplomatic moments are and what we can learn from them. We will also discuss why communication and listening are important traits to have and whether or not there are other means to enforce peace.”
Thanks to Lyn from Something about Lyn for this fantastic, yet difficult, topic.
Setting the Scene:
Even if I am going to discuss one little aspect about Turn A Gundam, some background material is required. I do admit that each Gundam series has a textbook of history of background knowledge about it that is only unveiled as the series moves along. Turn A Gundam has a lot of lore and complicated situations to it in its past and present that that add more depth and interest to its story.
In Turn A Gundam, the conflict between Earth race and the Moon race is a lot more complicated than one would expect. For one thing, there is a huge technology gap. The Earth’s technology is at the level of about the early 1900’s. Their technology maxes out at the level of Model T cars and bi-planes. The Moon is completely different, because they are space aged. They have space ships and giant robots. Giant robots that are designed like they are from a live action adaption from War of the Worlds. I think you now where this story is going from this point on.
Just like H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, Turn A Gundam could be considered a commentary of Imperialism. I mean, isn’t it obvious that the Moon race is going to lanf on Earth and cause some major political incidents? Of course, there are some major differences. For one, War of the Worlds is a short but good book about aliens invading and Turn A Gundam is a fifty episode anime series with more human conflict. Turn A Gundam is going to have a much more complicated plot. Especially since this show is humans against humans, not alien monsters that don’t speak at all against humans and just seek the eradication of the human race. No, the moon people are not going to die from colds either.
Unlike the Earth side of the conflict, the Moon race is split into two groups. Those who work under Queen Diana are for negotiating and peace with the people on Earth. Even though they are more technologically advanced and have seemingly been around longer, the people of the earth are still living there. It wouldn’t be fair to just start randomly taking over people’s homes and land. Of course, there is also the group that feels like they should just take over the Earth for themselves. This is also a group that has a coup behind Queen Diana’s back and start taking over land for their own purposes. The Earth people are thrown into one complicated group. Mainly because they all don’t want to die. Yes, the people of the Earth have radicals as well, but in the series, they are necessary for their own people’s survival. That’s how desperate the situation is. It’s an incredibly lucky think that the Earth natives find mechs underground so they can put up some kind of fight. But hey, that plot point isn’t the direction that I am taking this post.
The Middle Ground: Loran Cehack
Loran, our main protagonist, has an incredibly unique point of view with all things considered. For one, he is of the Moon race. Cehack has been raised on the moon and knows how its people feel. He was also one of the first three people to scout out the Earth for the moon race. He was one of the people that gave the all clear for the moon race to land on the moon. Loran then stayed on the Earth for three years before Queen Diana and some of her people make it there. Until that happens though, Loran spends him time by being the driver for one of Earth’s noble families. From this experience, he gained a new perspective about how the people of the land live as well. Knowing both sides a conflict is the best way to get two sides to join hands together and make compromises.
Our main protagonist plays an incredibly unique roll in Turn A Gundam. If I told you that Loran joined the Earth’s side and even posed as their female ace Laura Rolla (yes, he crossdresses), would that make sense to you? It does to me and to him. From his perspective, the people of the Earth need him help. They need somebody with the knowledge of the moon race to give the Earth as must advantage as they can get. Even more since his beloved Queen Diana, who came for peace, is eventually over thrown and the more militaristic side of the moon has shown its face. Crazy times all around.
Finding a Solution
I also love how Loran Cehack handles every single situation. He plays the role of the peace maker first before ever fighting. This is unlike so many other Gundam pacifist hypocritic protagonists that shoot and kill people first, then ask for peace. Some of you may know what series I am talking about, but I am not going to name them. Whenever Loran can talk to the opposing side and find a solution that doesn’t involve fighting, he goes for it. When plan A fails, he goes for Plan B. Of course, this plan is Kicking his opponent’s ass to the curve. But, even when he does go with plan B and fight, he nearly never kills his opponents. This might be considered a bad thing, considering the fact that a lot of his opponents never learn and end up fighting Loran again sometime later on. At least he gives them the chance to survive and think about the consequences of the moon races actions.
As one would expect, peace is eventually founded between the people of the Earth and the Moon. While peaceful negotiations were a major part of Turn A and took place throughout the series, there was still a lot of fighting that went on as well. This is a mech series after all, there has to be some fighting somewhere along the line. That’s kind of how it all works. Still, the fighting and battles was never without reason. There are always some people that you can never reason with and you have to fight them in one form or another. Despite the fact that some people had to die or be pushed side along the way, the end of the series finally achieved the goal that most people wanted. The moon race started living on the Earth again and peace was achieved between the Earth and the Moon.
Still, some people were left behind in the ruble and never achieved inner peace for themselves. To me, this is a very realistic ending, because not everyone is going to have their answers at the same time. I feel like a quote from a great Star Trek movie is necessary in closing here. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
Thank you all for reading this post. While writing this post, I just fell in love with Turn A Gundam again, so this might mean that I have to write a full post encompassing what I love about the series in its totality. For now though, talking about Diplomacy is enough.
If you want to read more, check out Miandro’s post from Monday and look at forward to Misstress of Yaoi’s post on Friday. If you want even more than that, look at this November OWLS blog schedule to see what has been posted already and who is posting in the future for . Once again, thank you for all for reading and hope to see you all in the future.