My first set of episodic notes, reactions, and commentary from Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista), which started airing during the Autumn 2014 anime season.
Everything is by and large as it was when I originally wrote them in the Hangers category when the show was airing. They have been sewn together and provided here for the convenience of readers to look back on my feelings on this series specifically, without needing to click and scan through numerous pages of unrelated material.
Gundam: G no Reconguista (Gundam Reconguista in G) [Episode one and two]
This has been a test of the Emergency Tomino Broadcasting System.
It is in fact the same as a live fire exercise, except newer recruits to Gundam are allowed to eject if they do not fancy what it is doing.
This show is a bit of a stress test on multiple fronts. The most championed aspect, of course, is this is Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino’s return to his franchise with a brand new television series, after by and large stepping aside after Turn A Gundam’s conclusion just before the turn of the millenium. Tomino is seventy two years old, as of this writing, and will turn seventy three before Gundam: G no Reconguista is over. It is a vast professional history he brings with him, and one would hope that if he has taken such a long time away from doing a main Gundam production anything this series contains has been gestating with him and planned out for a long time.
I would hate to see it collapse on a directorial level due to too many last minute production issues or alterations and it draining his ability to steer this ship home.
Which brings us to the other matter: Tomino’s personal directing style.
Tomino has a lot of ideas for his shows, and he tends to have them spill out all over the place and all at the same time. Remember: the original Mobile Suit Gundam was only successful after the television series was canceled, and having been later recut into three theatrical films. Every auteur has their eccentricities, and in Tomino’s case his set of quirks tend to be the sort of thing where general audiences start flipping over sofa cushions in the hope they find an editor. He tells essential storyline information, but not necessarily in what many would consider the “right” order. With an added penchant for dropping us in with the characters and they go through their motions while we need to pick up on the world and universe they exist in as we go along. Then toss in further allowances for things like Tomino’s shot timing and angular cuts in chaotic situations (of which there are many in a given Gundam war), where characters have enough time to make it from one location to another in the time since they were last on screen and yet can still feel like they teleported at random if one is not fully immersed in the effort of viewing.
Things are no different here, so in that respect Tomino is as he has often been.
A notable move would be that G-Reco follows the Turn A Gundam school of thematic thought.
For now it is seemingly a highly upbeat and positive affair, even with the robot fights and some deaths. This is important, as Turn A Gundam was in many respects Tomino’s grand sendup to the human spirit after finally beating back years of deep rooted battles with personal depression (hence things like his “Kill ‘Em All Tomino” nickname years ago, as his productions became various shades of grim and grimmer). When things are more “random” in a serious series however, it often takes a longer boil before the consumer may catch on. By which point, they have already caught a lot of the initial groundwork Tomino’s redirecting rulebook deploys. With a more positive and energetic show however (our robot pilots have cheerleaders! In multiple scenes, at that!), I feel folks are a lot quicker to bring down a critical hammer on him rather than go with the flow.
That said: Turn A Gundam went on to be become what many legions of fans since consider to be the crowning achievement of the entire Gundam franchise. The most hopeful and sincerely positive of any of the primary series.
This bodes well for G-Reco, in that it takes place after the Universal Century of the original series has already ended. It has some of the trappings, and the universe has the knowledge of those past days of trauma, but there is also this forward motion this series must place to get away and move on ahead. The present ending credits have characters doing line dances together, for goodness sake!
We have space elevators and umbilical cord terminology. Pirates stealing high grade industrial batteries, and whose primary geopolitical concern at this time seem to be towards wanting massive solar panel arrays. Conspicuously high levels of religious iconography, which seems to also bleed into political leadership classes.
There are numerous characters to juggle, and those who know each other act accordingly with little but the most basic world or relationship information to hang on to. Those who do not know each other yet and need to figure each other out, like it will seem Aida and Bellri will have to, could come off even more confused for the time being.
I think that having two episodes come out back to back, so as to at least head off a little anti-Tomino sentiments given his usual storytelling style, is a spectacular move. The man has more than earned his opportunity to direct the show however he wants, though there is also the implicit acknowledgement that they can not seem to drag things out too long lest viewers just sampling the series and seeing if they want to get into Gundam drop it.
I am fine for now just mainly talking about production matters for these first two episodes, as I have here. With just some hint of the light shining in of what overall themes the series may be looking to carry forward. Things will click after a while. I just hope it does not scare too many folks away for whom this may be their first Gundam experience, as this was certainly quite a lot to take in at once.
By the by, as an aside, be on the lookout for butterflies. Some have already shown up, both as a creature and on certain costumes.
Especially be mindful of any related to moonlight.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode three]
We continue ever deeper into Yoshiyuki Tomino’s current headspace.
There are a lot of folks who abide by notions of a “three episode test” for a show, prior to deciing to drop one. While I do not ascribe by such hard and fast rules myself, if one did not happen to enjoy any of what was going on in the first episode of G-Reco, I can not imagine their opinions would have turned around for the better by now. Situations rattle off one after another. There are a still lot of characters, concepts, groups, and so on all being fired out of a cannon for all the subtlety of transition they can at times have. Interspersed with all of this, we do get Tomino going off into wacky animal faces mode for certain reaction shots, as mecha terrorize what is should be our Brazilian center of operations thus far. The audience can very much feel like they are being jerked around, and I can sympathize with those who have been expressing such frustrations. I am merely very used to Tomino’s shenanigans over the years, so my expectation has always been one where the show would start to pick up more concrete grounding around perhaps episodes five or six.
What this series could use, and what I expect it to move into when the time comes, is to better separate and compartmentalize its scattershot narrative elements. Right now the series is hurling out everything from love at first sight, the ethical use of tools, prejudice based on ancestral heritage, energy and fuel matters, religion as political power, robot fights, family relations, and so much else.
The show is cramped as it tries to handle all of this at once, and Tomino’s attempts to throw the viewer in with the same sense of confusion he feels the central characters may have.
Eventually, I feel it will smooth out as the show spreads folks out more and tries to tackle things with more measured and attention. There is no reason at this time for me to assume Tomino is not sticking to his usual game plan, for any better or worse implementation though it may be.
Raraiya Monday’s origin, limited present language, and general freaking out whenever in the presence of the Gundam she herself was discovered would be a natural lynchpin for a lot of the story. Almost to the point where I fear she is in danger of being little more than such a plot device unless she gets more robust scenes in general, and ideally both before and after any such reveal.
What I would consider to be more important in the shorter term is the chase to and any interactions with the pirate faction / Ameria special ops team Aida would be associated with. They would have the most ammount of information concerning the discovered mobile suit of the factions we are presently aware of, as they had the longest period for potential research and testing. Likewise, as an outsider group they would be in a fitting position to opine on the Capital Guard and related national arms we have been bouncing around inside of these three episodes. They would be the natural means by which dialogue, debate, or otherwise explanation about the state of the world as it is now and they see it as present could come more into center stage and begin to slow down a little.
As Raraiya, Aida, and Bellri can all pilot the G-Self just fine and without any lockout issue, and each can be assumed at this stage to come from vastly different national backgrounds, this too I feel will be crucial thematically going forwards. The Reguild century fits into this very weird place in the timeline, where the orders of the Universal Century collapsed years ago and the one after the Reguild yet to come. If it wanted to make a crack at some ideas regarding human unity or trying to put the past behind them or the like, I would understand that.
Particularly where even the best intended of ideas may be ones that do not tend to work out as expected.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode four]
(This is slightly behind the current broadcast as I adjust my posting schedule shift, and will be rectified next time)
This is very well the most direct and straightforward to follow episode of G-Reco so far, I feel.
Which, as we are also a little over a solid one-sixth of the series now, poking and prodding at what Tomino is doing well or wrong becomes quite a bit easier.
For all the general credit this series receives for being more of a stylistic throwback to his older mecha work of the 1970’s and 80’s, those show tended to be larger than a twenty six television episode framing. Not that Tomino has never worked in a smaller format. Heck, Overman King Gainer and The Wings of Rean are amongst his most recent series work prior to this, and they are twenty six and six episodes, respectively. But, as this fourth episode slowed down drastically (by this series standards), some larger elements are crystallizing a bit clearer in my eyes and what I walk away with. In particular, I get the feeling this has all the content of a larger high thirties to low fifties episode show, but has been crunched down into a smaller box for time.
Of note, regarding all the classic robot shows Tomino wrote and directed in those days of multiple decades past, while 1977’s Zambot 3 was twenty three episodes, all of his other robot shows had much heftier episode counts. For a writer who very much can tend to veer into various eccentricities at the cost of tighter narrative structure, he gets milage out of that extra space to strech out. Though again, remember Mobile Suit Gundam only really took off after it was edited down to three movies.
So G-Reco does very much feel like one of those older robot shows, to be sure. But it also carries with it how that feeling would go had they been squashed down and sped up. It is the sort of thing when one has a general idea at the start that things may be rushed and chaotic early on, but once the show lets up a bit on the raw speed the actual pace one has been running at gets recontextualized.
It is never a good sign when even Toshio Okada, former Studio Gainax president and the “Otaking” himself is making web videos talking about how he has difficulty grasping what Tomino is trying to do here and for what audience.
On the top level, the plot of this episode is a simple enough matter.
Our “hostages,” all but literally pushed off to be captured by the pirates as they were so as to be bait and data testing, have various dialogues with their captors. As Bellri and Raraiya can also pilot the G-Self without issue, as Aida can, this is something our nomadic force wants to test out and see. Then wouldn’t you know it, since Bellri counts as the son of a high ranking government official the nation can justify an armed police action to get them back. A perfect opportunity for the brand new Capital Army to be deployed, distinct as it is from the Capital Guard defense group. So, all according to plan from our higher ups, aside from how Bellri is not too keen on the existence of the Capital Army and its related military expansion for a religiously lead country that did not used to have one.
Easy enough, when one puts it like that.
Because we are not snapping all over the place as much, moving as we are here largely from events in one room / cockpit / battlefield to another in a more logical and linear progression, the chain of this is easier to follow. Yet by doing so, it does open up those issues when it can more seem at times like characters are talking past one another due to some sort of conversational compression, without a more chaotic cutting veneer to distract from it or provide better plausible deniability for disconnects. Which is doubly unfortunate given some of the matters being woven around the dialogue. The issue of photon batteries and energy production rears its head again, nebulous technological advancement taboos, Raraiya speaking two entirely normal full sentences for the first time in the series so far (“You have pretty eyes” to Klim and “No, Chuchumy’s happy like this. So happy.” to Noredo), some of the larger wars being fought between Ameria and Gondwan, and so on.
Two which stick out to me though, of which one is only directly noticed by the characters themselves at the time: “things” keep coming from space, and Aida and Belri each suffered visible chest pain during a point of messing around with the G-Self’s cockpit controls and a noise was made.
Now, chest pains in general are never good in life, to be sure. But, that being said, going back to the notion that Raraiya, Aida, and Belri could have some sort of multinational or similar link that will be important to the thematics of this series going ahead. They can all pilot the G-Self for some reason, despite very varied backgrounds and other folks from their respective sides failing at it. One does not introduce a potential plot element as clear for the taking without committing gross negligence to their own creation (which, given, some would say is well within Tomino’s wheelhouse to do). The characters themselves do not seem to pick up on the simultaneous reaction they just had though, which while it was not on the more catastrophic end of the chest pain spectrum is potentially questionable given their proximity.
Perhaps more directly crucial though is the notion that “things” keep showing up out of nowhere in space. Now, the specifics of these sare not gone into much, this information showing up more near the end of the episode. However, even Raraiya and the G-Self are of curious origin, so the idea that other machines, people, or so on of any manner of varieties without be within the possibility of information we already know. Raraiya combat or soldier intentions seem to be fairly minimal given her usual demeanor so far, though that may well not be the case if there are others in situations like hers were when they are found.
Given the bridge this series is to act as, coming out of the Universal Century and on toward another timeline as it is, the part such actors would play and where they would be coming would shape a huge part of how much the sins of this universe’s present are more or less the same ones as the era which preceded them. With all of the thematic matters the series has already floated though, I am not entirely sure which way I would want the series to learn. Attempting to give a message akin to history repeating itself regardless of the best intentions of others is a reliable narrative. One can also go the route where any radicalism that may have some out of an attempt to move beyond the end of the UC time may have made things worse in its own ways. We will have a better handle on the situation as more information develops of course, and I have read enough of the pre-release information to be very interested in how one particular spoiler later on in the series will be handled.
But there is a lot going on in this show, to the point where I feel there are so many potential theme threads for it go down that it may well be able to bury itself in total with half finished ideas. So Tomino’s detractors are not necessarily wrong here. But I remain hopeful. We still have fully animated character dance midcards as episode transitions for instance, rather than something more destructive, so it is a series that does want to be positive on some level.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episodes five and six]
There were not actually two episodes this week, unlike at the start of the season when the first two came out back to back.
Rather, due to my schedule change for these episodics, things have ended up where I will need to sqeeze two together, so forgive me if things may seem a bit on the cramped side.
Something which has slowly been dawning on me over the course of the show has been a consistent naming of machines with terms like Hecate, Grimoire, Arcane, and so on. There is also the consideration of there being a above the board technological taboo which hinders or outright prevents various developments within this universe, so as to seemingly prevent a decline back to the ways of the Universal Century timeline. How much of this naming scheme then is a show of respect to the destructive power of the equipment the military forces are using, with a further acknowledgement they may indeed be capable of a rather hellish deeds, is an interesting flavor consideration.
There is the natural branding justification in that it makes things just “Sound Cool” as it were (Gundam’s having been named things like Deathscythe elsewhere in the franchise, after all) for selling model kits to the imaginations of potential merchandise buyers.
But this is besides the point.
Working somewhat off of this though, Bellri has no idea how much fighting power the Capital Army may have at its full disposal.
While it has been established somewhat rushed in dialogue, the understanding is that while the Capital Guard of which Bellri is from was a simple enough bare minimum self defense force that did not engage in invasions or international interventions and the like, the Capital Army has been more of a power grab and behind the scenes force being established by the political power players. With then Bellri’s self instigated capture and hostage situation in turn played into the hands of allowing for rapid expansion and showcasing of, what with him being the son of the Operations Director (who herself has also been out of the military expansion loop).
This, I feel, all follows logically enough when laid out like this as a series of words and sentences I am writing here. It makes sense Bellri would and would not know certain things, and the justifications for the Captial Army getting to expand and deploy as it has does work within standard fictional parameters of brinksmanship and surges for political or military gain. Though I also fully understand that there are very real feelings held by both myself and others that the show has sort of rushed the groundwork for this. It sort of flows within Yoshiyuki Tomino’s tendency to throw the viewer into more of an experiential version of geopolitical events, so things can at times seem very much to come out of nowhere for characters or viewers.
But, I feel less like a well laid jack in the box has been sprung by the people in power more through omission of their activity than through them more robustly executing on the puzzle peices they may have been laying. One tended to know far more about what higher ups from the Earth Federation or the Principality of Zeon were up to in the original series, so when they made more magnificent bastard style moves it was more effective than things have been here. To say nothing, of course, of Turn A Gundam, which G-Reco by its timeline association is going to end up compared to a lot time and again by the Gundam fandom shark tank.
And it is, again, not an unwarranted heat this series has been accumulating over time. Episode five, for instance, has a sequences where Bellri has to make a very difficult emergency docking through an intense firefight to the G-Self with his core fighter. He has a legitimate worry and concern that he is going to crash. But, the barest of second later, he has docked just fine and we are on our way for him to pilot the robot into the fray. So, as a result there is no time for a more genuine tension to even begin to build up, or to sell the battlefield needle threading that would be required make such a landing. He has to do it, and it happens, and we move on. So the entire sequence for an event like that comes off more than a little flat.
While we as viewers can be pretty sure Bellri is not going to die at this stage of the program, some consideration towards tension to his actions in situations like this would be more than welcome.
Events just sort of happening do work in select circumstances.
Aida has a small scene with the helmswoman of the Megafauna, and there no dialogue between them specifically, but there is the resting of a head on another shoulder and if one follows the logical continuity of the helmswomans arm off screen she is very clearly holding Aida’s butt. Characters elsewhere in the scene are talking about other things entirely, and the visual of the moment can just be its own thing in the frame. It is the sort of sight that would speak of there being a history of some kind between the two of them, whatever its nature may be, as they behave around each other in a fashion which indicates a lot of comfort. So that works. It is not elaborated on, and I do not think it fair so say they are in a romantic relationship given the nature of how Aida was destroyed as she was (and still is) by Cahill’s death, but it is something of an intrigue and a palpable moment in its own right. It is how one could perceive two people who have been apart for some time but have a close relationship of some fashion together would act, so in a situation like this Tomino’s directorial style does work at speed and without establishing who the other person even is.
On a further directorial creative note, as we see more and more of the space elevator and such so too do we also see more and more polygon graphics and rendering.
The absolute strongest trump card that keeps me tuning in every week, outside of a general commitment to Gundam and to write about the shows I select for a season, is just how old anime everything attempts to mimic in its visual appearance. The linework, color choices, the really superb laser and particle effects, difficult battle damage drawing, and all the rest. So much of the series attempts as best it can to capture the cel and paint era that has long since passed Tomino by. 3D CGI space equipment then sort of feels all the more jarring, as if it were something which should not exist within this show.
Could a certain thematic point be made of that, right down to the energy and battery plot which is (hopefully) sure to come back around? Perhaps in a very different show, but we still have hand drawn robots on hand. The development and expansion of these forces is said to be covered by some variety of the technological taboo, but look nowhere near the same as the space equipment is rendered. 3D certainly allows for some budget saving moves for a series of elevator and rotation parts once the initial models are made versus the labor of hand drawn animation. But if a show is already hand drawing lavish robot battles and being helmed by Tomino himself as a potential career endnote sendoff, financing seems like at least a little less of a pressing issue.
I suppose I am glad all the 3D is at least so far specifically dedicated to select elements of the show, so it is consistent at least rather than for instance having the robot fights go in and out of polygon modeling. But it is a curious inclusion, given how dead set this series seems to want to be trying to recapture the visual magic of a different production era.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode seven]
In finally revealing this episode one of the aspects of the universe given away in advance materials, I can finally talk about what the Kuntala are or were more forwardly.
The show itself has been doding this for a while, leaving only so much for a viewer to infer that the Kuntala is somehow perceived as an inferior class of people by others. Though to us, there is very little seemingly giving enough information to tell at a glance a Kuntala apart from someone who is not. So we have known so much that it can not be a matter of skin tone and racial divides. A next logical move would be it refering to things like a socioeconomic class, though the parameters of what that would constitute here in a universe of giant robots and cheerleaders would be vague at best..
But it would be closer to what the truth is: after the downfall of the Universal Century timeline, in its most dire times, humanity had turned to cannibalistic tendencies. The Kuntala consisted of essentially a large group of anyone who were effectively forced into factory farming and livestock cattle conditions to raise further humans for other humans to eat. There is a whole lot of other science and justifications involved in that of course, given the general combination of the advanced UC era then turning into a depraved dark age of horrific proportions, but that is a long history explanation made exceptionally short. Tomino had his universe not only go through a massive downfall offscreen and years ago, but a lot of what would have been downright hellish material even for him in his “Kill ‘Em All” Tomino days. The Reguild Century is of course long after society has long since adequately recovered from its worst times, but the discrimination aspect in-universe remains a holdover.
As it goes, a lot of information concerning the world of this series has come out via things like random interviews, promotional materials, and the like. As a result, since some people will seek these peices of information out and others will not, it has made it difficult to when and to what extent I should mention various things like the Kuntala background knowledge.
If you are interested in something of a summary of these various extraneous materials though, and have not done so already, you should by all means check out the collected notes put together on the matter over at Mecha Reporter.
Notably, our Captain Mask for this series is a Kuntala himself, and leads a military unit which also consists of further Kuntala.
The masked pilot role for a Gundam series often goes to one of quite a privileged position, be they an ace fighter, political leader, military commander, and of corse often a combination of all three going all the way back to Char Aznable in the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Here though, our character who takes up the mask mantle (Luin), is someone who much of society looks down on and consider in various to be a kind of subhuman. While the mask itself is handwaved in relatively expected fashion (it contains sensors and other hardware to help his piloting), it does also allow Luin to be a kind of character for those fighting beside or under him. Captain Mask as an idea can be an inspirational rallying point, speaking as it allows him to in grander fashion with less concern for his specific personal identity. Captain Mask in not Luin, in that Captain Mask transcends the more restrictive position Luin may feel himself to be in branded as a Kuntala.
Which, as his entire squad is a dedicated Kuntala unit, one can perhaps assume down the road they may well be used for situations they are seen as more expendable in or left without reinforcement. Which is something one would assume the character/s in such a squad may well know themselves on a certain level, which lends further credence to the idea a larger than life character like Captain Mask can provide focus and psychological assistance for many. There is a lot of weight on Luin’s shoulders to lead this unit for what is arguably at this time very little tangible benefit for anyone but those who may throw them all away.
I am excited at the narrative prospect he provides for the mask character within the Gundam series, as he is equipped to provide a vastly different take on them than we often receive.
Elsewhere this episode, we have the deployment of the inflatable Megafauna.
For all the confusing conceptualization relating to things like Minovsky Particles over the years, radar being screwed around with sufficiently by them so as to make giant robot and battleship balloons viable of a decoy mechanism has been something I have always appreciated. It is more than a bit whimsical by anything close to modern military technology, sure. But, the idea that things could become so technologically advanced so as to allow such simple strategic measures to come back around and be viable again due to how useless radar and other sensors become in technology saturated Gundam battles is an important lesson in its own right. Just because ones goes to university does not mean they can forget everything everything learned in high school for instance, and just because a battlefield may have fighting robots and flying battle cruisers does not mean distraction methods from ages ago become useless.
Plus giant inflatable balloons of space battleships, chubby fake cannons and mock armor plating on down, have a certain charm all their own just on a visual level to me.
Like an impossible parade float, or a swimming pool toy one could imagine wrangling only in their most lucid dreams.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode eight]
We get to meet the Inspector General of Ameria this week.
Aside from the relationship connection of him being Aida’s father, this has a more important narrative role far beyond that. We are finally getting to see more leadership roles from other national sides involved in the current state of affairs on the Earth. What this series has needed something of a large dose of is the ability to frame what is going on with a more international context so that viewers have a better idea of what is transpiring in this universe. When our Capital Guard / Capital Army affiliated players have reacted to or commented upon various goings on, it has been difficult to really latch on to what the situation with Ameria, Gondwan, and so on has been.
While our pirate unit on the Megafauna has been a black ops Ameria operation all along, that still has not really helped matters too terribly much. We have mostly been reacting to the situation of Bellri playing hostage and the coresponding Capital Army push using the justification to get him and the G-Self back, and the multiple firefights which have come from that. The political and world building stuff then has gotten squeezed out of the somewhat cramped running time, as we are still in a mode where it can feel like the series is running at double speed to make up for a smaller total episode count than Tomino’s television Gundam entries have previously received.
The “pirate” force really being an arm of the Ameria military were known far longer ago in the series, of course, and I have mentioned it before. But, the show taking the time to better ground us in what they were up to with this operation and what the goal of the project was is dearly appreciated when one is as information starved as we have been in various sectors of this program. The Megafauna, then, is a transport and weapons project that Ameria was working on under a different name previously, but was killed by bureaucracy at an international conference due to violating various aspects of the technological taboos which permeate this world. Of course, just because something can not be done officially does not mean it was scrapped entirely, and so we have our “pirate” group.
And besides, it seems as though for however important this technological taboo is said to be, including the Pope, it seems as though multiple countries are entirely willing to pay it no mind so as to further their own ends.
There are two thematics which come out of this course.
The first being, naturally, the inherent danger and alarm folks like Bellri’s mother sees in such rampant disregard for these social traditions and protocols regarding technology which have been put into place as humanity has rebuilt itself to a somewhat functional level again. Politicians, people of power and ambition, coming to possess command over materials and knowledge which could again level mankind back to a stone if not borderline feral age. Secondarily though, we have Aida’s father showing that their violations of the technological taboo have extended to astronomical observation of the moon. This too is a practice which has been banned by time and tradition, and yet in breaking it he is able to reveal to an official of another nation the photographic imagery they have acquired of activity far beyond what was their previous understanding.
To extrapolate a bit further than what the episode itself goes into: some spacenoids from the colony structures of the Universal Century survived the downfall of that era, but things have been difficult for them as well. In essence, a reformatted economic structure consists the Earth via the Capital Tower having been able to provide raw materials that would be difficult to impossible for acquiring in space while the space colony descendants are in a far better position to handle the recharging, maintenance, or construction of Photon Batteries to provide energy units back.
But, as Ameria has figured out by breaking some of the observational taboos, things seem to be going not only well on the moon at the moment, but that there has been an overall boom in expansion and construction out there. Consider then also the known rise of a political-religious order which has come to control the economic exchange and the umbilical cord nature of the Capital Tower, and their own development and increasing expansion of a military wing of their foreign policy for an international player which was previously a had but only self defense based units.
The understandable concern by actors like Ameria as they process this information is that the global situation may well be one that is rapidly moving to control them all the more, if not shut them out or run them down entirely. The Capital Army would be in a position where their ability to demand further concessions and taboos by force to outside actors could be applied in exchange for Ameria, Gondowon, and elsewhere ever receiving a continual supply of Photon Batteries again.
Plus the “X” factor of what the spacenoids have even been up to with their development. As the G-Self itself fell from space, and reference has been made to other materials coming from space as well, it is certainly possible to project it tying back into a spacenoid project. Raraiya Monday’s emotional stability also has been improving during her extended time on Earth, and more specifically her extended exposure to large water environments like the ocean around the Megafauna and her personal Chuchumy fish bowl.
Tomino is a fan of the idea that humans in space would find great psychological comfort in the presence of water, so the pieces can begin to be seen that she too was likely suffering from extended deprivation from seeing the life anchoring fluid in its calming and reflecting ways.
Something of potential note is Bellri’s next episode sales pitch this time around.
He has tended to give these rather upbeat, if somewhat ridiculous, send offs at the end. Lines such as not to watch the next episode while walking, and the like. This time though, the same upbeat style is retained while his ending line for the preview is “If you don’t watch, your life will be filled with darkness.”
It has the potential to mean absolutely nothing of course, but it stands out a lot in contrast to a lot of what the show has had him say in these areas up to this point. He has had some dark stuff thrown his way already in the narrative of course, such as accidentally killing Instructor Dellensen. And we are still operating under the notion that the “Real” credits to this show are still sidelined due to them being said to contain significant spoilers for something or things which have not yet occurred in the show.
As we are about a quarter of the way through this series then, and with the general internet activity I have seen for it taking harsher turns on it nearly by the week, it would by all means behoove the series to buckle down and lay more of its cards down on the table.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode nine]
I have said this before, but I will say it again because it applies here: this has been the most straightforward and easy to follow episode of the series thus far. Considering where the show began, that it a very good thing. Being able to say the series has been easier to follow does show marked improvement in pacing, the volume of information provided, and so on.
It does also bring the concern that I am complimenting a production for just starting to perhaps get a real foothold almost halfway through its run. It is a legitimate worry, as I do feel this series has lacked acceptable delivery in a lot of areas where almost any other fresh seasonal program would have been blown to ribbons by the internet far faster. Tomino’s presence, for however it has complicated matters, does give this program rope to play (and potentially hang itself) with. A brand new robot show directed in a similar way from a creative force without the history of them being the creator of the original Gundam, well… they may well not have received even this much of a hesitant Wait and See approach G-Reco has been able to effectively coast on for its run thus far.
The episode at hand though, as mentioned, is more direct than previous counterparts. The Amerian run Megafauna, still with Bellri, his mom, and everyone else aboard, needs to make it past the trigger happy Capital Army so they can have a diplomatic meeting with the Pope. So, low flying past waterfalls, staying close to ground cover, with side events for buying supplies of food from farmers and needing to fend off some elements of the Capital Army anyway before eventually making it to their destination.
As Bellri’s mom did call ahead via a rural landline to set up escort services from the Capital Guard, some viewers I have seen mention that it seems strange the Capital Army would still open fire upon meeting the Megafauna.
That disconnect between the Army and the Guard however I feel is something the series has been trying to sell, but has understandably come across in practice as somewhat confusing. The Capital Guard is still a separate entity from the new Army component, and as a result while they would be sympathetic to the requests and commands of Bellri’s mom the Army would not be as generous. Despite her being the Operations Director, and thus instrumental in the process of organizing the transport and shipping of the critical Photon Batteries, there are other factors in play. There is the general power plays going on, with a country which previously had no military now expanding rapidly, for one thing. Further, our Captain Mask led squad being intentionally composed entirely of a discriminated social group, and thus political leadership engineering a situation where that section of the armed forces could see blowing out a capital ship tier unit as beneficial for gaining praise.
I see what the show wants to be doing, and what would be the intended meaning of its scenes, though it often does not come right out and say it. And I do not mean that as a compliment for it having greater hidden depth as one could apply in other situations. How Tomino is executing on his narrative is still somewhat cluttered and needs to be run through a filter, but we can at least increasingly see clearer water coming out of the pipes as it were.
The series still has issues defining its own terms, for instance how one very much needs to hammer out from strained context that “SU-Cordism” refers to the Space Umbilical Cord terminology of the elevator and the associated set of social, political, and religious beliefs which have sprung up around it. As the religious aspects are mostly mentioned for stray lines about the technological taboos here and there (which are themselves pretty vague, for how far a society with giant robots and a space elevator is allowed to progress any further), and Space Umbilical Cord as a term almost never shows up in delineated dialogue, chasing down all the pieces and wrapping them up together with special terms which are themselves also hazy in being explained to the viewer is a taller order than it should be. It can be parsed out, for sure, but this is the sort of thing which has been losing people along the way. And it is legitimate criticism, so even when I say the show has been improving and evening out in flow, that does come with the caveat that that it still has various quirks which go back to the thoughts from weeks ago of the dialogue having a quality as if they are speeding through twice as much material in half the time.
While Bellri’s darker toned episode preview line from last week has no corresponding event payoff in this episode, we do get to see Cumpa give quite a line. The “These Earthnoids belong on the list of organisms that ought to go extinct” remark, for as to the point of almost being too direct for this program as it is, does fit together within the Spacenoid issues and potential narrative lines I raised previously. This would mean Cumpa is either from space himself (either as a subversive plant for their own ends, or assigned internally there due to the trade agreement), or if the series really wanted to strain itself he could be from Earth while being completely enchanted by the space colony descendants and what they would have access to that he looks down on even his own people. I am inclined to go more with the former than the later, as I do not feel Tomino would go down that route when he already has the Kuntala subplot elements to deal with.
But that these Spacenoid and Earthnoid relations are cropping up more and more with the corresponding energy trade and militarization themes, we may well be on our way to finally getting into the grooves hinted at in the first episode that have taken us a long time to really see fruit from in between everything else which has cropped up. One can always hope.
Of note: the episode next week is outsourced to Studio Wit, which in turn brings with it the Attack on Titan team. I do not mean that as a general statement either. Episode Director switches to Tetsuro Araki, dual Animation Director roles filled by Yasuyuki Ebara on the character end and Takuma Ebisu overseeing the mecha, and so on. While Yoshiyuki Tomino would still have worked closely with them given how G-Reco is very much his vision of what this series should be (for all that entails), in situations like this individual flourishes and the like do still come through. It should be interesting to compare and contrast what happens with the show on a visual level, as even with Tomino providing the overall guide Araki alone is not even in his forties yet. So his way of processing Tomino’s demands, whatever they may have been to one detail level or another, is going to be quite different than if Tomino had done it himself has he has elsewhere in this show. Even if Araki and his team were to attempt to mimic Tomino as closely as possible, it would be hard to pull that off perfectly given differences in influence and production eras.
One can most hope that the week was sent out to make the episode “feel” different as though, to shake things up for a big in-universe event or situation. That is what I would want the situation to be (particularly given the airs of our characters being in a Last Best Chance For Peace sort of situation to avoid full blown war and/or Capital Army power grabs). Given how much G-Reco may well be a final Gundam television lap for Tomino after leaving it aside for so many years, and for however much of a vanity project it may be in that regard, I would imagine that if he wanted to direct every single episode of this show himself he would have been allowed to.
Bringing in an Episode Director and handing off so much to another studio is nowhere near groundbreaking events in weekly anime production of course. But for a guy like the Tomino of the present, it can perhaps mean a lot. The show has certainly confused many early viewers with its narrative pacing choices, and it would be nice to be able to say something really neat happened and show that, perhaps, Tomino had a plan all along.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode ten]
The Studio Wit episode, as mentioned and opined a bit one last week.
This was as near a full outsourcing operation as one can get, aside from Tomino’s natural involvement with the story and giving (a lot of) opinions on storyboards. So the Sunrise team gets more time to do whatever they have cooking up (the episode next week is literally named “Entering the Space War,” so may well be quite extravagant and crucial), and the Tetsurō Araki led Attack on Titan group at Wit gets to try their hand at Tomino’s Gundam series reentry operation.
It is not an enviable challenge to mimic the work of another director and studio, all the more so given Tomino’s eccentricities and quirks. But, in a show where its primary strength so far has come from its visual aesthetic rather than its story, this is the best looking part of the show so far. It all takes place at night with the associated applications of stronger emphasis on lighting effects, particles, and so on. Our primary mecha of the episode involve the extravagantly bulky High Torque Pack for the G-Self, a high grade heavy weapons armament, and the new nimble Wuxia suits of the Capital Army. Correspondingly, there is a lot of focus on weight, size, impact, and most of the fighting between the Megafauna suits and Wuxia consisting of them slamming and grappling each other in the rainforest. With the associated effects on the local vegetation, as well as an opportunity to place in some more shots of animals being in the vicinity of the mecha fights.
So the fighting in particular, I feel, has a nice crunchiness and heft to it here. Which is ideally what one wants in their mecha media when the machines start butting heads. At times this crucial aspect has been lost in the Tomino directed episodes, as he falls into the trap of having too many things going on which easily distracts from the time to give weight or impact to any one thing in particular. While I can again by all means respect Tomino wanting to do as much of this show himself as possible for potentially one last ride, his industry position and legacy does mean nobody on his own team is in a role to act as his editor.
This episode made me think a lot more about what G-Reco would have been were Tomino in more of a story creation and involved storyboard supervisory role, but others still had to do final direction and the like. If more of the show was like this episode, with its slightly longer takes and more time to have a scene sell itself than overburden the viewer with raw talking, I feel general internet opinions of it would be a lot stronger than they are now.
I want this show to be a nice Gundam send off for Tomino, you see, and it is unfortunate to think that while the show has been slowly improving in fits and starts it may well never make up for the time it has already spent.
Production quirks and mecha forest fights aside, we do have some tidbits elsewhere to poke and prod at.
The High Torque Pack, for as cumbersome and awkward as it is as as device when slapped on the G-Self, does raise some questions. It was developed by the Capital Army, and stolen by the Capital Guard for the Amerian forces on the Megafauna. But, it is also specifically mentioned that it was too big for the brand new Wuxia mobile suits to make use of themselves. This is a fine way of indicating that the Capital Army’s military development program may well be going one of two ways. Either the High Torque Pack is something which can be prototyped down and minimized more for eventual deployment on Wuxia’s (perhaps as a mid-series upgrade or the like), or it is being developed as an enhancement for an entirely different grade of more powerful mobile suit elsewhere. The G-Self has a hell of a time trying to accurately move with this backpack on, given the combination of incredible engine force and high weight, and so far as we have seen in the series the G-Self is the strongest mobile suit it could have been used by. So the seed is there for why such a weapons platform would be under development by the Capital Army, as not even their freshly deployed new suits this episode could wear the device in its current form. As we have yet to have a true Gundam tier equivalent suit on the Capital Army’s side of the war, this may well be the indicator such a program is underway.
The sequence where the Wuxia squad commander flies up to the Megafauna, grabs on to the bridge, and jumps out of his mecha to converse with the enemy Captain and demand their surrender is… interesting.
On the one hand, I can chalk this up to a ridiculous Tomino supervision and storytelling quirk. While Minovsky Particles have been spread, thus limiting radio contact, the Wuxia being at that range to the Megafauna would allow for the short range transmission cables. So there is no practical reason for the pilot to jump from his war machine to demand a surrender, outside of the dynamic visual of having him doing so (with the Megafauna crew thankful finding it just as insane as the audience). The other reason though could be an attempt, however confusingly executed in practice, to show just how green the Capital Army is. They have never faught a war before, and with the rapid expansion of forces there is a much larger influx of pilots than they ever would have needed for the Capital Guard. An aspect of this scene may well be a means to get some of this across more in practice. The Capital Army, outside of some transfers like Luin / Mask, is going to have growth problems. Even if they have been working on more advanced tech than other nations (courtesy or not of the moon colonies) the rate of expansion means a lot of folks who probably should not otherwise be pilots are going to fly through the system.
So even when the production is largely handed off, some questionable Tomino choices still shine through.
I would like to think an idea such as “Highly advanced but less capable forces” versus “Less advanced but more practiced in warfare forces” could make for an interesting exploration here, but Tomino has already done that in the Turn A Gundam he last charted a Gundam series with. And G-Reco would do well to lessen direct comparisons of everything Turn A Gundam already accomplished by this point in its narrative.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode eleven]
Slathering a battleship for a full body massage of reinforcing goo to prepare it for a looming battle is not often the sort of thing one sees their looming space war start off with, and yet here we are.
That being said, the level of development the Earthnoid nations have managed to pull themselves up to is almost quaint by Gundam standards. Ameria is launching their major space offensive to take the Capital Tower with what amounts to one command ship, five further battleships, and however one would classify the two additional warships they themselves admit were hastily put together. There are robots and weapons platforms on them all just the same of course, but these are for certain not the vast armadas of years ago. Before the fall of man.
Rising and falling make up an extremely critical plot point, which by way of the show returning to Tomino’s hands this week and away from Studio Wit’s mercenary job last time is both simultaneously making the hint incredibly obvious while also giving it almost smash cut timing. Bellri’s mother works through some associations concerning her son and the moon. With some of it said and others not, the rising Megafauna reminds her of Raraiya Monday, who is on board and descended to Earth in the G-Self. Raraiya can pilot the G-Self, while almost nobody on Earth can pilot the G-Self (since it flat out will refuse to respond). Bellri can pilot the G-Self. Bellri was mentioned off hand in a earlier by Noredo to have been adopted (Bellri’s mom either knows this, or something else is afoot). Do some mental gymnastics, and the conclusion of “Bellri is originally from space” is the conclusion all of this naturally lands at.
Now, this is all very crunched down in real time, but his mother does go through a “But I raised Bellri” mode to top all of this off. Now if that is a matter of weighing some nature versus nurture thing of his background, how she may now be considering her son’s place in an evolving multinational war, that is perhaps a bit too murky to go down at this time. But the idea that Bellri (and by extension, Aida, since she can also pilot the G-Self) is from space like Raraiya but grew up more on Earth seems locked down.
All he needs is a scene where it is revealed to him, and there we go.
This does potentially shoot down a prospect I had raised at the outset of the series.
That of a multinational group able to control the Gundam to the exclusion of all others. Of course, birthplace is not necessarily the same as national affiliation or sense of patriotic allegiance. I am sure Aida would very much see herself as an Amerian, for instance. While Bellri has serious concerns over the militarization of the Capital Tower and is fighting against its new army, I do not feel he hates his old nation. Of note, Bellri and Aida’s adoptive parents (working from the line of thought established previously), are each high ranking officials in the governments of their respective nations. Which itself is something that seems like a further layer and important to what this show may want to do, as such a design choice I do not feel is ever by complete accident.
I wonder as always of how Raraiya fits into any and all of this, given how she is usually running around on an active battlezone like a cat playing with a ball. Working from the idea they were seemingly set up to be kids of government leaders in one way or another, I imagine this would mean Raraiya would constitute some sort of “control” group (perhaps even with Cumpa as her overseer, given his Earthnoid rant suggesting his background could lie elsewhere). Insofar as being from space and seemingly staying up there until her descent in the G-Self, as opposed to Earth based parenting. I suppose this still keeps the door open for the G-Self and the three person group capable of piloting it to have been designed for some sort of weapon based “Decision Maker” role.
Which, if the story does want to be about the aftermath of mankind’s greatest downfall and if its rerisen world would be condemning itself to destruction once again, that would itself be valid. One even has all the religious trappings to go along with that, both overtly like a pope and more symbolically like the Tower itself.
Can Tomino connect with any of it though?
We are getting ever closer to G-Reco’s halfway point, and I still read a lot of weekly confusion and theorycrafting about the series. And it is warranted, by all means. My experience watching and reflecting on the show is less like piecing together a fun puzzle, and more akin to sorting through soup for the choicest bits to bring up.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode twelve]
The series slips ever back into old habits.
Which, while at times a term of endearment elsewhere, is definitely not the case for me here.
We are just shy of what is a scheduled twenty six episode run. We still have Raraiya running around screaming whenever she is put in the flight suit or otherwise feels G-Self is under threat from the mechanics. Noredo still almost exclusively exists in the show to restrain her during her outbursts. While the characters are certainly frustrated with her in various ways, I am not sure Tomino is trying to have that same effect for viewers at home, given how whimsically and fantastically she and resident fish Chuchumy are often framed.
I previously have gone over matters concerning elements of Tomino’s philosophy regarding water, extended duration space travel, and calming qualities, sure.But until the show itself gets to dealing with that in more concrete fashions, and Raraiya gets to be more of a character in her own right through whatever mechanisms are required, she is stuck being little more than a chaotic randomizer. And I want to like her a lot, is what makes it all the worse. Outside of general design allusions to Loran Cehack from Turn A Gundam, I do like the potential sense of wonder or hope she could embody and address and an outlook within the show.
For as rushed and the sense of multiple lines being blended over each other that permeates so much of the show thus far, in this character area it consistently brings up G-Reco has yet to go fuller distance with. And that is getting well past the stage of being a shame to a more active disappointment.
Be all that as it may, there are larger fish to fry, as it were.
This episode is very much like what should be two weekly romps worth of material. We have the attempt by the Amerian forces to get into position and take Sankt Porto and ample space combat. There is an incredibly crunched series of exchanges about Bellri being willing to fight the Capitol Army still, the Capitol Guard and the Amerian forces they have been assisting being on very different perspectives of how far this push is actually going to go towards taking the holy site. Arguments by political, military, and religious leaders over if the Amerian’s were out of line. Loaded lines by folks like Klim claiming that since Amerian forces were able to take the facility by force that in turn means they have the ability to manage it and the distribution of the Photon Batteries.
And it is all so cramped.
I would be far more incensed if Bellri, Kerbes, and so on did not react with the sense that the Capitol Guard had effectively been played for fools, sure.
But even then, they were very much part of a military unit from a foreign government making moves towards one of the most critical sites to the entire energy and industrial processes of the Earth. One can handwave a bit in the way of naivete as a result of not fighting an active war like Ameria had been doing for years, but even so. It is stunning the level of surprise they show for the mission to take Sankt Porto and the results it had. Something which could have leveraged this effect, of course, would be if the show were to slow down and more time was given to the political underpinnings. And it would not even need a whole lot. The Studio Wit had some of this, where just some slightly longer takes, the way someone acts after a door closes or someone otherwise leaves or is moving from a location, that sort of thing. Tiny, small, incremental things. They add further weight and impact when a larger reveal comes later, but they end up on the cutting room floor here (assuming they existed at all in some larger series blueprint).
Tomino’s more experiential directing approach works for things like dunking a viewer into a lot of sights and sounds in a jiffy. Early on in a series, they can even be preferable to many other approaches. But when trying to chain together one political argument after another. In another place, in another time, even something as straightforward as Kilm’s aggressive philosophical line about military might making right would be a whole exchange. More lines to hammer his viewpoint home ever more thunderously even, to really get some wordsmithing going or selling his character further, I am not even talking about some kind of debate.
The series blows through the potential conceptual wonder of Bellri and his friends coming to enter and travel within Sankt Porto for the first time. We then further just snap into what should be a extremely significant political demand by Ameria take take control of this same establishment which is quite literally among the most sacred places in the known human universe. To then smash right into the Spacenoids from their moon facilities actually making themselves a more forward military presence, deploying forces of their own and opening fire to the point of already destroying an Amerian ship.
And all of that is slammed one after another into the last two minutes of the episode.
The series is vicious and unapologetic in fighting for raw plot beats over nearly another else that makes for a cohesive television media experience. And perhaps for others, that works. Meanwhile, I am just seeing one missed opportunity for engagement with its world and universe, time and again in quick succession.
The line Bellri throws out in the episode preview is “If you don’t watch, you’ll never understand anything!”
Well, I do watch. And I spend hundreds of words a week trying to wrap my head around my feelings. Looking up data others have dug up from random interviews and other materials that are important to this world. And I want to like it.
But merely understanding something is itself not enough cause for that. It needs to also sell me a world, moods, people. And while I may know facts about them, I might know what they visually look like, little has crossed the threshold to really connecting with me as something greater than a sum of its parts.
Which is a sad thought, when I consider how much Gundam as a franchise has played a part in my larger anime experience.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) [Episode thirteen]
The Towasanga fleet arrives in full force after making themselves known last time around.
They were, of course, always going to show up. It was merely a matter of time. But but throwing yet another vector into the political and military mix, the constraints this series is already seeking to support itself under creek all the more.
In a select sense, confusion and inexperience with battle is the name of the game here today. The soldiers from Towasanga are causing explosions near Sankt Porto despite clear orders not to. In turn, being both yelled at by their commander as the one board political leadership sighs about it requiring another hundred years to train true forces. Meanwhile on the Earth side the equation, we have a hastily assembled joice force between the Capital Army, Ameria, Capital Guard, and the other associated units with them. Klim’s grand idea is to put together a mobile suit group, head to the capital ship of the moon forces waving a literal white flag, and then proceed to open fire to disable the command structure of their opponent.
With the very aggressive editing of this show however, where it often feels like two characters are talking past each other or lines were otherwise squashed out of the dialogue as if it were a compressed script, I am torn on how to interpret the planning by the multinational Earth force. On a base level, Klim’s plan is a dreadful one from our modern interpretation. Outdated idyllic folly at best, to assume so little of the enemy forces that it would work, and at its worst in dire violation of anything someone who watches international news or studies the history of conflict would consider legal or ethical. While the Reguild Century has been recovering from the horrors which ended the Universal Century, it is not like Klim is from the Capital Guard like Bellri. He is the son of the Amerian President, a nation which has been fighting active wars with Gondwon for some time now, so such conflicts would have been a topic around him.
The entire cast, especially Captain Mask, are all in agreement with Klim’s plan. So, this can be taken as either Klim being just that convinced in his idea being a good one, and nobody else has any better considerations and it sounds compelling enough in the moment. Another could be that Captain Mask may well be mocking Klim’s ideas, as he is knee slapping and having a grand time talking to him and praising the plan. It could in a way be seen as him kissing up to and effectively mocking one of the leaders of who was not that long ago also one of his enemies. He even gets a mental jab in about it being the kind of plan he would expect from the President’s son. But because of the way dialogue is handled in this series, it becomes harder to parse out if Mask is being facetious in his praise, or is genuinely complementing Klim.
The mockery train of thought somewhat derails when one considers Mask made no plans for a backup or escape vector for his own forces. Given the situation, that leads me to want to believe more that Mask genuinely had faith in Klim’s operational objective, as they have not framed him as a man who is callous towards his comrades fates. I do not think Mask would throw his peers away in a potential suicide attack.
So his encouragement for the plan may then also reveal some of his own issues with conducting warfare and further inexperience on the larger Capital Army side as well.
If the series wanted to be about nations with high powered equipment and soldiers with less institutionalized battle philosophy, to where they are all effectively children playing with the most dangerous of matches, that would be valid. The mechanisms for that are in the series to be delivered on, if the right buttons and dials were adjusted. There is a relevancy there and a good thematic ideal to deliver, if sought out.
But to do that, it helps to be able to know how to read a character like Mask’s reactions better. Tomino has stated before that he thinks Gundam should be more of a thing for children rather than otaku, while at the same time this is a late night series. I am willing to grant Tomino likely has little control over his time-slot, but I feel this series would be even more confusing to children. Kids are able to make grand leaps of faith than can paper over various aspects of a production, to be sure. But I also do not think it should be necessary, as tightly written animated programs for young audiences do exist. If I were to interpret this series and the events of this episode within the “Gundam is for children” framework Tomino has raised before, I feel they would at least think Klim’s plan is silly. And I do think the viewer is also supposed to take his plan as one which is in no way going to work out. Beyond that base however, things get murky.
It is never good when there is a division on if one should be laughing at or with the jovial military commander and if they are taking the white flag plan seriously.
On a related matter to Mask: we know from episodes ago that he is a Kuntala, and the history that entails. This being said however, he also actively derides a naval crew member for being a Gondwan man, who as such may not be able to wrap their head around the concept of the Towasanga colony. I had hoped that with Mask’s Kuntala pep talk rally for his forces, and his being granted even a scene of him crying after a failed mission as others deride him, that more would be done with his identity politics. I even went into a whole spiel about it at the time.
Now, one who considers themselves oppressed lashing out at another as a means of asserting some self of power, there are certainly cases of in real life. It would still be a valid thing to do with Captain Mask and/or Luin, depending on how his wearing the mask or now would symbolically change his outlooks. That said however, I am also unsure I am supposed to be reading such a deeper meaning as him trying to fight for Kuntala equality as a group while he derides the populace of an entire country. His background has come up so little for episodes at a stretch, and to pin so much of his potential views on various populations on such a singular throwaway line seems ill advised.
We do get our title drop for the entire series as well this week though, as would befit what is in essence the thematic if not literal midpoint. As established even in pre-release information, “Reconguista” is an adjusted form of “Reconquista,” a Spanish word meaning “Reconquest.” Taken a step further, it is a term we use in our own history to refer to a series of wars from 718 to 1492, a campaign hundreds of years long waged by various Christian kingdoms to retake the Iberian Peninsula.
This, of course, was all known well prior to even the first episode. True enough to form, in one of Klim’s outbursts he exclaims that he considers the actions of Towasanga and the associated building of a military space fleet by the moon forces to be indicative that they are planning to make a campaign for the Earth.
I will take this expected path over Tomino fiddling around with something else, given the history of the term. And there is by all means a whole lot of religious trappings in this show, from having a Pope for SU-Cordism down to the Tower itself potentially being able to be read as a minaret for a mosque that is the Earth itself.
If you will pardon the expression, it is a tall order.
The Megafauna is now heading to Towasanga, to see the much talked about the place themselves during what may well be a short remaining window before full scale war makes it impossible. There is the possibility that the series may finally get to turn the corner, having rushed so far and so fat to get to the moon.forces around the midway point. It could unpack a bit and relax some, even in combat, as through extended scenes we in turn would learn more of its world and the emotions of those in it.
Alternatively, the Megafauna on both a literal and metaphorical level may well be charging headfirst into a whole new set of problems it may well not be equipped to deal with.
Gundam Reconguista in G (Gundam: G no Reconguista) continues into Winter 2015! You can follow along with my episodic thoughts in the Hangers category!