Tag Archives: Gundam

Wave Motion Cannon Guest Feature

Yet again, I have been somewhat absent here lately. Life! It happens to the best of us.

But in the mean time I have also written a guest piece over at Wave Motion Cannon. I cover Gundam’s core themes in the context of Gundam Build Fighters. Feel free to check it out, and all of the other fantastic work they do over there:

War is Sell

Bonus Podcast #1: Gelato is a Lie! feat. TheSubtleDoctor (Warui Deshou)

Download Link – Bonus Episode 1: Gelato is a Lie! feat. SubtleDoctor

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Show Notes

Today’s episode is a bit different than usual, as we’ve thrown out the usual review episode format and in its place have a special bonus episode featuring guest and friend of the show TheSubtleDoctor.  You can find Doc’s writing at The Fandom Post and the excellent Wave Motion Cannon; or, you can hear him as one of the hosts on the awesome Warui Deshou Podcast — if you haven’t yet checked any of those fine things out, get on it!  So, join us for a mostly thoughtless and ill-informed discussion on a variety  topics, such as our thoughts on fanservice, Gundam, Gelato, the latest news, and just what the heck is anime anyways!?

And Just Because:

 

 

 

Build Me Up Buttercup

One of the great joys in life is the creation of something. Whether it is through writing, shooting a video, or baking a meal, the act of making something and enjoying the finished product is uniquely rewarding.

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“Creating something is its own reward,” he said as he tried to figure out what his next blog post should be.

So today let’s talk about the simple joy of building Gunpla.

Full disclosure – I’m not a shill for Gunpla, I just really enjoy putting together tiny toy robots, so even though this sounds like a sales pitch, it’s not. Think of it as a primer for how to start with Gunpla if you are interested.

If you are not familiar with Gunpla, it is essentially the term for Gundam model kits. These kits come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and styles, but generally they depict the titular mobile suits from the various series. These kits come on large sprues referred to as runners that are injection-molded plastic, often pre-colored to match the depiction in the show.

runners
“THE RUNNEEEEEEEEEERS!” – DJ Khaled

The kits come with instructions to show how to put the pieces together. Even though all of the text is in Japanese, there are detailed pictures that make the process very easy, even for beginners.

Usually Gunpla come in a few standard scales – HG, RG, MG, and PG. High Grade and Real Grade are both 1/144 scale, making them the smallest and usually most affordable kits, with the difference being that Real Grade is much more detailed and difficult. Master Grade are 1/100 scale kits, a good deal larger than HG and RG, but not as much detail as the RG kits. Perfect Grade are 1/60 kits and they are definitely the crown jewel – huge figures with a lot of detail and complexity.

A lot of times people wonder why anyone would purchase a figure that isn’t put together. Why buy something that takes work, right? Isn’t the point to not have to work?

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Why don’t I just go buy a copy of Excel while I’m at it?

But the truth is that working on something that takes time and effort is very rewarding. In a sense it is like working out or cleaning the house, in that it may be difficult but by the end you have a sort of euphoria from accomplishing something. Instead of buying a figure and setting in on the shelf (likely still in its packaging) and letting it collect dust, the process of assembly adds an entire new element of attachment and ownership to something.

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Shameless plug alert – assembling figures is also a great time to listen to podcasts.

Beyond that, the Gunpla have a high degree of articulation and options that allow you to customize how they look or stand. If you go the extra step and bring paints into the mix, you can create entirely custom kits that the designers never intended, and that is another level of satisfaction and pride.

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You can’t just buy this kind of awesome.

If any of this has piqued your interest in the slightest and you are curious if you are going to enjoy building figures, it is actually pretty easy to find out. Snag a cheap HG kit off of Amazon or Gundam Planet and a pair of sprue clippers and you can see if this hobby thing is right for you. The top two links below will get you started for $20.

Original Gundam RX-78 for $11

Sprue Clippers for $9

Gundam Planet for lots of Oogling

Even if you assemble the kit and find out you don’t like building them, you can at least say you made something, and that is its own reward. If you want to watch an entire anime devoted to the joy of Gunpla, you can watch Gundam Build Fighters, which is not only a phenomenal show but is entirely for free on Youtube – legally! Yes, Bandai put the series on Youtube for free and it is truly a great show, even if it is just a long-running advertisement.

Gundam Build Fighters

So give model-building a try, you might find out you like it more than you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advisory Parental – The Case for Parents in Anime

It is not uncommon for anime to lack parental figures. Many shows, especially the more popular ones, have mother/father figures who are either deceased, absent, or never mentioned at all. Anime tends to lean on the coming of age story structure, because a great deal of it is aged at children/adolescents/young adults. These groups will gravitate to imaginative spaces where parents are dead, absent, awful, or even outright villains, because that allows for the young heroes to take center stage.

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Thank goodness mom isn’t around to keep me from achieving my goal.

I feel like this is a huge missed opportunity. Sure, not every story needs or benefits from parents for any number of reasons. They may be outside the scope of the work, not particularly interesting, or the author simply does not know how to handle them. This is perfectly fine, but there are real advantages to adding parental figures to a work. Parents are very easy hooks for most viewers, as if they exist on this earth of ours then they have at least some personal dimension with parents whether they are biological, adopted, brought in through marriage, or of a more spiritual variety. Even if someone’s parents are completely absent, that absence plays some part in their story.

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I was both absent and a villain. Behold my incredible parenting abilities.

Parents also tend to be rather complex parts of our lives, as few people have entirely perfect relationships with the people who have raised them. They provide food, shelter, guidance, nurture, stories, and attempt to pass on a series of virtues to us, but can just as often be overbearing, overprotective, naive, or antagonistic to our desires. This kind of multi-layered complexity practically comes prepackaged with the use of parental characters, and authors should certainly not ignore the potential they have for telling stories

To show what I mean, I will pull examples from three (relatively) recent shows that use parents to great effect. To further compound things, all three will be shonen coming of age stories!

Major Hughes – Fullmetal Alchemist

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The Why – In a sense, Major Hughes is almost a bit boring. His entire character is literally Hey Look At Me I Love My Family. While that seems a bit one-dimensional (probably because it is), he definitely earns points for being one of the few characters in all of anime (or fiction, for that matter) who is just an out-and-out adoring father. I wish I could complain with something like, “Ugh, another good father, seen this a thousand times.” But truthfully good dads in anime are pretty similar to their real life counterparts – few and far between.

The Hook – His genuine goodness only magnifies the feels as the series progresses.

Rinko Iori – Gundam Build Fighters

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The Why – A somewhat typical maternal figure, Rinko gets bonus points in a few categories. Firstly, she has an earnest interest in her son Sei’s success, but is not overbearing/too nosy/obnoxious in any way. She clearly cares and encourages him without interfering with his life in any undo manner. Furthermore, she feels like an actual mother rather than a caricature of one – quietly supportive when Sei is around his friends, excitedly cheering for him when watching him compete. On top of that she is a successful businesswoman, has some great (if sparing) dialogue, and the audience can’t help but root for her while she roots for her son.

The Hook – A mother whose role is a bit traditional, but is refreshing in its sincerity.

Joseph Joestar – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

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The Why –  Not only is Joseph one of the better leads in the various arcs of JoJo’s, he really exemplifies the advantages of using these sorts of parental figures in anime. As an audience we see his journeys as a young man, and by Stardust Crusaders (JoJo’s 3rd arc) he is now an older man leading his grandson to save his daughter. The incredible dynamic that his legacy hook adds to the show as a whole gives everything that much more impact. Now the audience can juxtapose Joseph with his daughter and grandson, as well as seeing him continue on to have new adventures of his own. By including him as part of the adventure all of the events that take place have an additional sense of meaning, because this is both a new story for a new hero and the continuing tale of yesterday’s legends.

The Hook – Not your granpappy’s Grandpa character, an elder warrior who provides guidance and punch.


So there you have it folks, three examples of great parental figures that really add to the stories they are in. Do you agree or disagree with our picks for great parental figures in anime? Or can you think of any others we should have included? Tell us in the comments below.