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  #2461  
Old 01-27-2019, 03:10 PM
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I'm so irritated that NT is a one night only thing in theaters when most other anime has two days.

I have a class I prrrobably shouldn't skip that same night!
Most Fathom Events are two days because they reserve one day for subs and one day for dubs. I suspect Gundam NT will be sub-only. But that's pretty strange IMO considering Gundam has a pretty good track record of simultaneously releasing the dub of big things like their event OVAs (The Origin, Unicorn) across all regions.
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  #2462  
Old 03-04-2019, 01:36 PM
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Apparently NT is kind of a turd? Impressions I've heard is that the technical stuff is mostly okay-to-good except for the insane editing (do you like flashbacks in the middle of important scenes?), and it really suffers on an F91 level from trying to compress something much larger into a one-off movie format.
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  #2463  
Old 03-04-2019, 04:27 PM
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That is not surprising to hear, as it is my default expectation for these kinds of Gundam things. I wanted to go see this when it came to theaters, but it turned out they were only showing the dub version that one day. So uh, nope. I'd rather watch things subbed in general, and it's extra silly for me when most of the UC hasn't been dubbed, or been dubbed very poorly long ago and doesn't have consistent voice acting.

It also jibes with what I know of how that film was being sold, which was as a bridge between Unicorn 2. Who knows what that's gonna be like. I'm fairly pessimistic on just about everything they've laid out with regards to the "Next 100 years" of the UC. But I'll watch it all anyways because I'm an easy mark.
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  #2464  
Old 03-08-2019, 03:24 PM
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We finished watching Zeta Gundam!

Oh my god this show is an enormous mess. It's a total muddled disaster. Fandom wisdom back in the day was that Zeta was a masterpiece and ZZ an abomination, and we were so, so wrong.

The front half of the show is great; the animation is consistently crisp and fluid, plot arcs flow naturally into one another, the characters are present and well-presented... The slow build of Kamille and Jerid's rivalry, Kamille coming to terms with being a soldier, Emma's stoicism, Fa's frustration, Char's inner struggle, the Titans' casual brutality - it's all so good. Even Amuro's reintroduction is handled gracefully, and he presents a compelling contrast to Char that leaves us questioning how reformed the former Zeon ace is, really. The cyber-newtypes are unsettling and unwell, and Kamille's empathy for them is such a defining part of his character and the story.

And then Kamille returns to space and everything just goes to shit.

For starters, the show runs the same plots twice or more. The worst offender is the "Sarah is captured by the Argama" plot, which plays out exactly the same way three times (she's captured before the colony drop in episode 25, while trying to bomb Granada in episode 31, and at the battle for the gate of Zedan in episode 44).

The show often loses track of characters or character developments. The worst offender is an enormous chunk in the middle of the series where it seems the writers straight up forgot Char exists; he's never mentioned, referenced, or discussed outside of an episode or two where he actually puts in an appearance only to immediately vanish again. Other examples include characters seemingly forgetting dramatic epiphanies they had mere episodes ago, transferring posts only to continue operating in their previous position, or reverting to pilot trainees despite having been shown fighting on the front lines as full pilots. Technological gimmicks (the Super Gundam, the Mega Bazooka Launcher, etc) get introduced, showcased, and promptly dropped in a memory hole.

And that's all without getting to the antagonists, who are fired at us in rapid succession without any consideration of theme or pacing. The back half of the series continues Jerid and Sarah's plots and pivots Reccoa, and introduces or abruptly re-introduces Scirocco, Jamitov, Yazan, Haman, Mouar, Rosamia, Gates, Four, and Bask. Worse, most have a dedicated multi-episode arc and then the show just moves on to something else and leaves them hanging. The ending has four whole episodes (46-49) that are basically dedicated to cleaning up dangling plot threads and killing as many characters as possible as quickly as possible, and it's still left with too many plot threads and characters to fit into its finale.

On the other hand, the overall flow of the Gryps conflict was much more compelling than I thought the first time I watched the series (when it was on Gundam Official's youtube channel). The Titans' failed attempt to capture the lunar cities and the AEUG's push outward; the dramatic intensification after Axis' arrival; the sense that no-one's really in control and space is fundamentally ungovernable... It's so good.

The Zeta movie adaptations have their problems, for sure. They lose some of that sense of flow. But they cut or clean up a lot of the other problems, so I still think I prefer them, overall.
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  #2465  
Old 03-10-2019, 06:25 PM
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I think most of your criticisms of the back half of Zeta are fair and understandable, but I either wasn't bothered by certain things, or was never confused by the plot developments. I think you could probably make decent arguments defending most of those things as stylistic choices or artifacts from the era, but that doesn't really matter with regards to if you enjoyed it or not.

Are you going to rewatch ZZ?
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  #2466  
Old 03-10-2019, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
I think most of your criticisms of the back half of Zeta are fair and understandable, but I either wasn't bothered by certain things, or was never confused by the plot developments. I think you could probably make decent arguments defending most of those things as stylistic choices or artifacts from the era, but that doesn't really matter with regards to if you enjoyed it or not.

Are you going to rewatch ZZ?
We jumped into it right after the Zeta finale for some primo mood whiplash. I still adore Bright's reaction to a smart-aleky youngster literally falling in to the Gundam. ("Fuck it, it's worked for me twice so far.")

It's not so much that the plot developments were confusing as they were sloppy. Especially compared to how smooth and polished the start was. Between the multiplication of the cast, the recycling of arcs, and the general lack of focus it felt badly under-planned. There's a lot of good stuff there, it's just that the structure to support it is missing.
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  #2467  
Old 03-11-2019, 04:47 PM
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I vaguely remember reading back in the day stuff about how the ending of Zeta got redesigned and pushed around on the fly because of Tomino's whims, and/or to accommodate the sudden commissioning of a sequel that needed to begin production before Zeta even ended. Like, stuff about how Emma was supposed to survive and play an important part in ZZ, but Tomino got in a spat with the voice actress and decided to off the character. No idea how credible any of that is, but it feels about right and would certainly explain a lot about both Zeta's and ZZ's respective back-halves. (As CCA was also commissioned in the middle of ZZ and threw off ZZ's plans for its ending.)

I don't feel Zeta ever lost focus, but the recycling of arcs is certainly a thing. One of my theories about why old TV doesn't click with people today or hold up as well, is the nature of how the medium has changed and how viewers today don't consider that when watching.

If you missed an episode or two while it was originally airing in the 80s, it could take years for you to finally catch what you missed out on to have a syndicated rebroadcast finally line up with your viewing habits. And your average family didn't have the equipment or the savvy to tape episodes if its airing doesn't fit into your schedule.

You're also expected to see these shows on a week-to-week basis over the course of months and not sit down and marathon. So a lot of creative choices back in the day were oriented around assuming most of your audience has big gaps in what part of the show they've seen, or that they've forgotten what has happened earlier in the show.

Even more so, if something is popular in the zeitgeist like Zeta Gundam was while it was airing, word of mouth and popularity will continually bring new eyeballs to your show as it airs, and you need to make every episode of your show inviting enough so that those new eyeballs stick around and don't flee because they feel they've already missed out on too much.

I don't think the idea of repeating story arcs is necessarily done because of sloppy malfeasance, at least not completely. I think it's much more likely that this was one of the more important/poignant ideas the show had, and its creators wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see it.

It's also worth noting too that, even though the broad strokes of story arcs like Katz/Sarah, and Kamille/cyber-newtypes got repeated, the consequences and outcomes of each repetition was not the same. The way Kamille and Katz react to the first permutation of their love interest arcs versus the final permutation is very different and shows the characters at different stages of their personal development.

Take Kamille. The first time he confronts Four, he's very naive and optimistic about how all that will go and doesn't really think of the consequences of his actions - living purely in the moment. The second time around, Kamille treats the whole scenario as a second chance that he won't mess up on. His desperation and wanting to make it work this time around is palpable and poignant, and the despair he dips into afterwards is much more profound. When Rosammy resurfaces as a cyber newtype, Kamille is much more hardened and cynical about how he treats things. He's standoffish towards Rosammy, doubts her sincerity, and refuses to become emotionally entangled in the way he was with Four. It shows that he's avoiding potential hurt as he's already seen how this ends, but he still tries his best to help her in ways that he couldn't with Four. And when Rosammy puts all of his friends and shipmates in mortal danger, instead of collapsing in agony and becoming useless, he makes it a point to put her down himself in an incredibly sad moment that shows how much Kamille has "grown" from the war. And that act, happening right before the final confrontation of the Gryps Conflict, IMO goes a long way to showing how Kamille ends up broken in the final episode from all of the fatigue of war. Without it, the moment when Kamille takes his helmet off in space doesn't land with nearly the same impact. (Which is, btw, my single favorite moment from Zeta Gundam.)


Re: Bright. I like it too, it shows Bright fully embracing the Tomino philosophy of The Kids Are Alright, and we should be willing to trust them with the future. Of course, if you aren't buying into that philosophy, ZZ is the show where Bright's reputation gets completely dragged through the mud which probably is a part of the original ZZ detractors feelings back in the day.
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  #2468  
Old 03-12-2019, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
I vaguely remember reading back in the day stuff about how the ending of Zeta got redesigned and pushed around on the fly because of Tomino's whims, and/or to accommodate the sudden commissioning of a sequel that needed to begin production before Zeta even ended. Like, stuff about how Emma was supposed to survive and play an important part in ZZ, but Tomino got in a spat with the voice actress and decided to off the character. No idea how credible any of that is, but it feels about right and would certainly explain a lot about both Zeta's and ZZ's respective back-halves. (As CCA was also commissioned in the middle of ZZ and threw off ZZ's plans for its ending.)
My partner also ran into some accounts of how the Zeta Gundam was basically designed by "contest", with the unused designs being recycled into other mecha, and a lot of hurt feelings and general upset about it among the team. It's hard to find first-hand accounts, though, since a lot of the production staff have retired and are clearly reluctant to talk about it anyway.

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Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
If you missed an episode or two while it was originally airing in the 80s, it could take years for you to finally catch what you missed out on to have a syndicated rebroadcast finally line up with your viewing habits. And your average family didn't have the equipment or the savvy to tape episodes if its airing doesn't fit into your schedule.

You're also expected to see these shows on a week-to-week basis over the course of months and not sit down and marathon. So a lot of creative choices back in the day were oriented around assuming most of your audience has big gaps in what part of the show they've seen, or that they've forgotten what has happened earlier in the show.

Even more so, if something is popular in the zeitgeist like Zeta Gundam was while it was airing, word of mouth and popularity will continually bring new eyeballs to your show as it airs, and you need to make every episode of your show inviting enough so that those new eyeballs stick around and don't flee because they feel they've already missed out on too much.

I don't think the idea of repeating story arcs is necessarily done because of sloppy malfeasance, at least not completely. I think it's much more likely that this was one of the more important/poignant ideas the show had, and its creators wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see it.
I think I'd buy that more if any of Zeta's contemporaries did the same thing, but they really don't. ZZ doesn't - it spends a really astonishing amount of time mucking around in the Sahara, but it's constantly spinning new scenarios about the weird shit that happens. VOTOMS doesn't (it recycles the occasional episode, but usually in very quick succession), nor does Macross - though they are a couple years older. Southern Cross does, but its production was notoriously troubled.

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Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
It's also worth noting too that, even though the broad strokes of story arcs like Katz/Sarah, and Kamille/cyber-newtypes got repeated, the consequences and outcomes of each repetition was not the same. The way Kamille and Katz react to the first permutation of their love interest arcs versus the final permutation is very different and shows the characters at different stages of their personal development.
I think you're right here; and I definitely appreciated the Kilimanjaro arc this time around... But I think it still feels shoehorned in. The bits of the arc that aren't about Kamille and Four are very shaky; the relationship between Amuro and Char doesn't really go anywhere, and Jerid's not used very effectively either. It does set up a reverse of Jerid's usual grudge with Kamille, and a reverse of the Lalah situation, which has potential. But that potential is never realized. The incident is never mentioned again; neither Kamille nor Jerid brings it up in subsequent episodes, even when Kamille sees Four or fights Jerid.

I feel like that really robs Kamille and Jerid's relationship of a lot of weight. Jerid's this pathetic loser chasing a rivalry with someone who totally out-classes him, and he's only able to "keep up" by leaving this trail of devastation and ruined lives in his wake. The energy between them comes from the differences in their perspectives about Jerid's actions - Kamille's relatively clear perception VS Jerid's deliberate self-delusion. But that pretty much vanishes after Kilimanjaro; Jerid's subsequent appearances are basically him showing up, being menacing, and then getting wrecked. (IIRC by Fa in the Methuss in one instance, which is awesome)

I also don't feel like Katz and Sarah's relationship has the same sense of progression to it. But I feel like Katz is quite sloppily handled overall; he mostly serves as a foil and gets little development of his own.


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Re: Bright. I like it too, it shows Bright fully embracing the Tomino philosophy of The Kids Are Alright, and we should be willing to trust them with the future. Of course, if you aren't buying into that philosophy, ZZ is the show where Bright's reputation gets completely dragged through the mud which probably is a part of the original ZZ detractors feelings back in the day.
Agreed. One thing I definitely like about ZZ is that it goes out of its way to show Bright as fallible but good despite that. He fails personally, he fails Judau, but he understands he needs to be better and works at it. Ironically, given their relationship in MSG, Bright is the embodiment of Amuro's thesis, that anyone can work to better the human condition and save the Earth and will do so if given the opportunity.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:20 PM
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I think I'd buy that more if any of Zeta's contemporaries did the same thing, but they really don't. ZZ doesn't - it spends a really astonishing amount of time mucking around in the Sahara, but it's constantly spinning new scenarios about the weird shit that happens. VOTOMS doesn't (it recycles the occasional episode, but usually in very quick succession), nor does Macross - though they are a couple years older. Southern Cross does, but its production was notoriously troubled.
I'm not sure I quite agree with this assessment. I do think Zeta's reuse of a story template is the most blatant and egregious, and could have been masked better. But lots of contemporary shows recycle the same plot/characters one more time on numerous occasions. Macross repeats the Trapped/Marooned With the Heroine scenario numerous times, but has the good sense to hide it better by changing the specifics of the scenario, and swapping heroines too. ZZ Gundam repeats scenarios often with regards to Beecha & Mondo's frequent betrayals, Chara's interactions with the Argama/Judau, And Puru/Puru Two essentially being a remix of Four/Rosammy that gets its broad story repeated twice in ZZ, one for Puru and again for Puru Two. I've only seen about a third of Ideon, but half of that show by weight so far is someone on the Ideon distrusting Karala and threatening her life, leading to some kind of repeated disaster that eventually Karala and mutual trust overcomes. Again, a lot of these shows did a better job of hiding it and that it's a fair knock on Zeta, but it's something a lot of older shows indulged in, especially if they have to put together enough material for 50 or so episodes.

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I think you're right here; and I definitely appreciated the Kilimanjaro arc this time around... But I think it still feels shoehorned in. The bits of the arc that aren't about Kamille and Four are very shaky; the relationship between Amuro and Char doesn't really go anywhere, and Jerid's not used very effectively either. It does set up a reverse of Jerid's usual grudge with Kamille, and a reverse of the Lalah situation, which has potential. But that potential is never realized. The incident is never mentioned again; neither Kamille nor Jerid brings it up in subsequent episodes, even when Kamille sees Four or fights Jerid.

I feel like that really robs Kamille and Jerid's relationship of a lot of weight. Jerid's this pathetic loser chasing a rivalry with someone who totally out-classes him, and he's only able to "keep up" by leaving this trail of devastation and ruined lives in his wake. The energy between them comes from the differences in their perspectives about Jerid's actions - Kamille's relatively clear perception VS Jerid's deliberate self-delusion. But that pretty much vanishes after Kilimanjaro; Jerid's subsequent appearances are basically him showing up, being menacing, and then getting wrecked. (IIRC by Fa in the Methuss in one instance, which is awesome)

I also don't feel like Katz and Sarah's relationship has the same sense of progression to it. But I feel like Katz is quite sloppily handled overall; he mostly serves as a foil and gets little development of his own.
I appreciate this perspective and see where it comes from, but it's largely not an issue for me.
I actually think Amuro & Char's relationship goes to a pretty interesting place. Both of them are put into a position where they're ostensibly Kamille's steward/mentor figures, and both of them fail to lead Kamille to a better conclusion than the two of them had with Lalah. And it's in this arc that the two of them have to face that reality dead on. Like, the two of them standing over Kamille and witnessing his sorrow, and not really being able to do anything for him, and then the two of them exchanging knowing glances is just loaded with subtext. And in my head canon, it goes a long way to showing how both Char and Amuro refuse to be good mentors in CCA and fail their respective wards in that film and failing their duty/role as Newtypes. Both of them are failures, and it's the realization of this that either makes or breaks them in CCA.

Jared & Kamille's "rivalry" is admittedly fairly unsatisfying to watch, but it never bothered me because that always felt like the point. I always saw Jerid as a meta deconstruction of Char/that archetype. In 0079, Char steals every scene with his charisma, and lots of fans globbed onto him despite the fact he is demonstrably the bad guy and not someone you should root for. Char also manages to fail upward throughout the entirety of 0079 which is just crazy for what is essentially a grunt soldier. Jerid begins Zeta as an up and coming officer, a step away from being a big shot with huge ambitions. And after repeated failures, he keeps finding himself further demoted, relegated, and humiliated. By the finale he's basically reduced to a grunt and receives a grunt's death.

I've actually come completely around on Katz. I used to think he was the worst part of Zeta, and now I actually adore him and his story arc. Katz begins Zeta thinking that becoming the next Amuro is his birthright. He grew up on the White Base and idolized Amuro, and now is his chance to seize his destiny. But ambition and entitlement doesn't make a hero, and Katz is in it for a lot of the wrong reasons. And his story arc is slowly learning that he's not the next Amuro and growing up beyond his juvenile fantasies. And Sarah plays a role in that too. Sarah is Katz's Lalah/Four, but Katz is not yet the kind of man (or really a man, period) who can attract Sarah away from her indoctrination. Katz eventually gets there, but it isn't until he grows up enough to not repeat his old mistakes with Sarah and becomes a much more jaded/adult character, and that is something that can only be demonstrated through repetition. Katz is great because he's there to rebuff against the idea that being a hero is something inherited, which again serves as a stark rebukement of Amuro inheriting the Gundam from his father, and many other shows/media in general's predilection for the mantle of heroism to be inherited. (The idea of the mantle of hero not being inherited also goes a long way to explaining why Kamille does what he does in the beginning of Zeta from a formal perspective; he doesn't simply inherit the Gundam from his father, rather he steals it from him so his father won't perpetuate evil with it.)


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Agreed. One thing I definitely like about ZZ is that it goes out of its way to show Bright as fallible but good despite that. He fails personally, he fails Judau, but he understands he needs to be better and works at it. Ironically, given their relationship in MSG, Bright is the embodiment of Amuro's thesis, that anyone can work to better the human condition and save the Earth and will do so if given the opportunity.
I'm very much not looking forward to Hathaway's Flash. Because I like Bright, and I really don't need an entire film trilogy dedicated to how he was an awful father. CCA was enough. And both serve to undermine his character arc through the Universal Century that Bright became a good mentor for the future of humanity.
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