"What is 'Gundam', anyway?" This simple (?) question is answered in our twenty-first casual weekly column just for new fans!
by Ema Baba
This 21st super-simple column for new Gundam fans may contain ancient spirits! ... Or maybe just aged spirits.
was Gundam faces and coloring, and then
was masked men and Haro.
was all about the Universal Century,
was mobile suits,
took on MSVs, and
covered the "Zaku" and "GM",
took on parts swapping,
was an example of mobile suit R&D,
was all about the women of the first
Mobile Suit Gundam
focused on Gundam's "big brothers",
touched on amphibious mobile suits,
introduced some middle-aged men, parts 13 and 14 were the
parts of our look at Gundam TV themes, parts
took on Gundam's 'Gunpla' plastic models,
were our first SD Gundam feature, and in
we chilled out with some Gundam ice queens; this week we've got one more really iconic piece of Gundam.
Charismatic, impish, devilish (!?) terrifying women are the spice (Japanese mustard? Garam masala? Something spine-tingling like that) of Gundam.
This week, we cool off from the heat of summer with some Gundam ice queens!
What makes a terrifying Gundam woman? Sometimes, a villainess toying with the heroes!
Let's begin with Flay Allster of
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
. A pampered, proper type with striking red hair, the daughter of Atlantic Federation Vice Foreign Minister George Allster attends school on the resource satellite Heliopolis, where she's the the school idol (and catches the eye of Kira, who's a year older.)
However, an attack by ZAFT forces opposed to the Earth Alliance destroys Heliopolis. Flay manages to survive in an escape pod before being rescued by Kira in the Strike Gundam, and is taken aboard the Atlantic Alliance assault carrier
as a civilian. She then witnesses the battleship carrying her father being sunk by a ZAFT attack.
Following in the footsteps of her father, a member of Blue Cosmos, (an anti-Coordinator group) this Natural begins to nurture a deep hatred for both genetically-modified Coordinators and Kira (for being unable to save her father.)
Enlisting with the Earth Alliance, she makes her goal the effective manipulation of "Super-Coordinator" Kira to eliminate all other Coordinators. (Terrifying!) Eventually, a complicated semi-romance forms between Flay and Kira.
Her passionate insistence that "All of you Coordinators deserve to be killed!" leads her to reject her fiance Sai Argyle (awwww) and feign shared suffering with Kira in order to manipulate him into wiping out the other Coordinators. However, this false love soon blossoms into something more, and as the show progresses she's caught between her desire for revenge and her love for Kira.
Captured by masked ZAFT commander Rau le Creuset at the Battle of JOSH-A and given the "key to ending the war" (Neutron Jammer Canceler data), she once again flees in an escape pod (!) and, meeting Kira again by chance, confesses her true feelings...
Flay's loathing of Coordinators and mixed love and hatred for Kira make her a villainess, but also someone cruelly caught up in a destiny that could have been avoided if not for the war; in a way, she's a victim too. (You can see her love, her passion as never before in
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED HD Remaster
Next is Nina Purpleton of
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
Born on the moon, she's employed at the Von Braun factory of Anaheim Electronics (famous for producing "everything from spoons to battleships.") She's a famous Gundam enthusiast, borderline-obsessed with her own designs.
After the One Year War, the Federation embarked on a massive rearmament project that included a joint "Gundam Project" with Anaheim Electronics to develop a next-generation front line mobile suit. Nina participated as the systems engineer of the general-purpose RX-78GP01 Zephyrantes, and in addition was assigned to the Federation assault landing vessel
as director of gravity testing for the RX-78GP02A Physalis. (Perhaps the use of flowers for codenames shows a feminine touch?)
She befriends Federation Ensign Kou Uraki through a shared love of Gundams, and soon Kou is fighting over both the GP01's cockpit and Nina herself with his senior officer Bernard Monsha and the "Nightmare of Solomon", Zeon remnant ace Anavel Gato of the Delaz Fleet.
Nina, Gato's ex-lover, (!) is pained by Kou's deepening rivalry with him as the hijacker of the GP02A.
As Operation Stardust, a colony drop intended to restore the Principality of Zeon, unfolds, Kou dismounts to prevent Gato from making final corrections to the colony's course, only to be held at gunpoint by Nina who tells him that "it has nothing to do with (the colony drop or Gundam-jacking)" (Then what
it about?) before disappearing with a wounded Gato.
Kou, who knew nothing of her past relationship with Gato, is shocked beyond thought. (Yep, she's terrifying!).
Some believe this was because she didn't want Kou to kill Gato, while others think that she was torn between them (and possibly felt she was destined to set up their final clash?) Her vague, ambivalent actions toward Kou in the final scene are still debated among fans, and serve to deepen the mystery. (If you're curious about the details, you can see her do her thing in
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
What makes a terrifying Gundam woman? Insane plans the rest of us can't even follow!
Finally, we come to Katejina Loos. Daughter of Tengracee Loos, a merchant in the city of Woowig close to a hidden refugee camp known as Point Kassarelia. A pen pal (!) of protagonist Üso Ewin, they're both driven to the League Militaire resistance group in the aftermath of a battle, but Katejina grown to hate the League Militaire's use of child soldiers like Üso.
Captured and held hostage by Zanscare Empire royal prince Chronicle Asher during the "Vespa" unit's air raid on Woowig, she's seemingly charmed by Chronicle's nobility and becomes first his secretary, then a Zanscare soldier.
At first Katejina seemed like she could be an older sister to Üso, but as she sees more and more combat she begins to fuse a hatred for him with an internal mental collapse. (Üso: "Katejina, are you okay!?")
As Üso and Chronicle face off, a crazed Katejina calls out to them with a bloodcurdling declaration "Üso, Chronicle! Fight! The winner gets my heart, and my body! Ahaha, hahahahahahahahaha!"
Piloting her custom Gottrlatan during the battle for Zanscare's "Angel Halo" psycommu weapon, she kills her former friends on the Shrike Squadron without a moment's hesitation, pity, or even difficulty. Using her all-female guard squadron as sacrificial pawns, she orders them to strip down to swimsuits and attacks Üso's V2 Gundam with bazookas, (The infamous "Babe in a swimsuit" tactic; Üso is at first thrown off guard, thinking they're naked, but they're definitely in swimsuits) disgusting Üso with her brazenness enough that he doesn't hesitate when plunging a beam saber into the cockpit of her stolen League Militaire Gun EZ.
As her collapse passes over the border of madness (scary!), driven by her serious attempts to kill Üso, the object of her obsession, even Katejina's face changes. Standing alongside her lover Chronicle as Üso's final obstacle, then disappearing, at the climax even losing her vision, yet still not entirely out of the picture, this unwavering and undying "gutsy villainess" is the reigning champ of terrifying Gundam women.
And that's it for our summer special on the terrifying women of Gundam, part 2!
Were these chilling profiles enough to make you forget the heat?
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, 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!