"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in our forty-fourth casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
A super-simple intro column for new Gundam fans bounces back over the table! We're back with Part 44 of what makes Gundam Gundam.
You can see our previous coverage of what makes Gundam Gundam
, and this week we're back with another Gundam standard!
Gundam has featured many teams of many sizes, but the ones who've made the biggest impact have been trios. From veteran mobile suit wings to bands and idols, trios are often as eye-catching as they are effective.
In part 44, we'll introduce you to the "Trios of Gundam (Part 2)"!
Say the wrong thing to some Gundam trios, and they'll snap.
Last time we looked at the Prinicipality of Zeon's champions, the Black Tri-Stars, but this week we're traveling back in time (or at least character ages) to Mobile Suit Gundam's Extended trio of Sting, Auel, and Stella.
They're members of the Earth Alliance's "Phantom Pain" special forces unit, an irregular squad directed by the secret society Logos. Commanded by masked Earth Alliance Captain Neo Roanoke, the 81st Autonomous Mobile Group "Phantom Pain", which fields both traditional and "Biological CPU" pilots, carries out treaty violations and other black ops under the nominal control of the anti-PLANT (space colony) and anti-Coordinator (genetically modified human) organization Blue Cosmos.
■ Auel Neider (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY)
Auel Neider is a mobile suit pilot in the Earth Alliance's 81st Autonomous Mobile Group "Phantom Pain". Alongside his comrades Stella and Sting, who we'll get to later, he manages to infiltrate the new PLANT Armory One and successfully capture new second-generation mobile suits developed by ZAFT, the PLANTs' joint militia and de-facto government. Piloting the Abyss Gundam, one of these three suits, he shows the full combat potential of an Extended.
His unique fashion sense (←what even happened to that shirt?) and childish lack of discretion make him stand out as overaggressive outside the cockpit (←but more unthinking than actively malicious), but when he encounters an enemy his personality become vicious and intensely focused on the "game" of killing before he's killed (←kinda terrifying, really.)
The Extended, categorized as "Biological CPUs" rather than soldiers, were originally given the superhuman information processing ability to pilot mobile suits through heavy drugging, but further advancements have led to the use of hypnosis-style behavioral conditioning triggered by "block words".
Auel's is "mother". Memories of the EA lab where he was raised and modified, and the ZAFT raid which destroyed it, rush to the surface, and he begins to scream "Mother's going to die!" as he loses control. This happening also sets off Stella. Finally, in a battle near Crete, he clashes with protagonist Shinn Asuka's Blast Impulse...
■ Stella Loussier (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY)
Next, the trio's lone woman, Stella Loussier. Even though she appears and almost like a big sister when off the battlefield, she's still an Extended, and is easily the most dangerous of the three in combat. In the hijacked Gaia Gundam, and later in the Destroy Gundam, she fights with an unreservedly aggressive style. She's plenty scary too.
Stella's block word is "death". On a cliff in Diokia, as she hums and skips, she slips and almost falls into the sea, only to be saved by the passing Shinn, who frustratedly asks "Are you trying to die?!" This is enough to send her into a terrified, screaming fit. Only Shinn's "I'll protect you!" is enough to snap her back to reality. Auel, of course, is able to quickly swing things back toward the worse, though.
This is only the first of her meetings with Shinn, and their attraction grows even as they clash repeatedly; finally, Shinn's Impulse Gundam shoots her down, and she promises to never pilot again, but Neo Roanoke breaks this promise as he fiorces her into battle again. And this time, her memories of Shinn have been wiped. (←Masked man Neo: also kind of a dick.)
Shinn and Stella meet again on the battlefield, her not knowing him and him not knowing she's lost her memories... Cruelly thrown back into battle, she fills the role of the tragic heroine.
■ Sting Oakley (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY)
Sting Oakley, who pilots the Chaos Gundam also captured in their raid, takes on the role of squad leader (←and big brother?) for Auel and Stella. He's calm and composed (unlike the other two). He's the only of the three without a known block word. (←Does he have one? Is there a prize for guessing it?)
During downtime, he enjoys games and sports with Auel—and after Auel's death, you can see the gap formed in his life throwing him more and more off mental balance. (←It's really rather sad.)
His death during the battle at Heavens Base, falling in the Destroy Gundam against an awaked Shinn in the Destiny Gundam, leaves much about his real personality unknown, but perhaps he still thought of his fallen Extended comrades Stella and Auel as siblings to the very end.
The trio from Phantom Pain, while giftred with superhuman abilities, were unable to avoid the tragic fait which awaited them as Extended.
And that's our second look at the trios of Gundam!
Oh, isn't Gundam just so fascinating?
Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well, that's it for this week. Next week we'll be taking another laid-back look at what makes Gundam Gundam!
Scriptwriter. Troublemaking scenarist.
Learning more every day to teach you about the fun of Gundam!