Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

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Tachyon
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Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Tachyon » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:32 pm

I was looking through some art books of Advance of Z last night. I really like the designs and wish I could read the novel(s). Is the story good?

The designs really interest me. Many of them have that thick, overbuilt look that isn't often seen in Gundam. However, some of the designs look so big and so powerful that they would seem to throw off continuity in the UC Gundam universe if they had been made. Were many of these designs planned but never built in the Advance of Z story?
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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Black Knight » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:20 pm

Whether the story is good or not is entirely subjective. I happen to think it's crap, but I'm also rather disenchanted with the franchise as a whole; YMMV.

As for the designs, they're all built in the context of the story. Yes, many of them are massive, and many of them seem far overpowered. This is a trait shared with the other famous Gundam photonovel, Gundam Sentinel, but has hurt neither story's popularity (let's face it, most mecha fans have more than a little Isao Ohta in them, where power = coolness).

I want to say that Katoki had a hand in the designs, and he is certainly known for producing chunky, blocky UC Gundam designs (completely unlike his refreshingly original designs for the Wing TV series), but I'm not certain on that, and any website that would allow me to verify is unfortunately blocked on my network. You'll get better answers from the folks over at Titans Test Team Arc forums.

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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Tachyon » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:48 am

Thanks for the link! The UC Gundam universe certainly has room for a lot of different designs.
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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Black Knight » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:39 am

That's debatable, I think. But it's certain that Sunrise & Bandai have a lot of crowbars, and aren't afraid to use them to wedge in more designs when revenues get low. :roll: Gundam is a buisness after all, and the company needs to create new reasons for people to buy more model kits & other merchandise. There's only so many examples of the same model that one person can be expected to buy. And the UC era sells better than anything else, so more things get shoehorned into its timeline than into any of the others. And, occasionally, UC designs are also force-fed into other universes.

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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Tachyon » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:47 pm

I can see that. It's unfortunate that the business heads keep wanting to turn back the clock and squeeze more stories into the One Year War and the Z Gundam era (what's the official name for the Z Gundam era? Gryps War?). I was talking with another Gundam fan a while back and we wanted to see more stories that take the UC Gundam setting forward after the events of Char's Counterattack. Specifically, how is the Newtype issue handled? What effects does it have on society? How are newtypes percieved? What solid effect is it going to have on the UC Gundam setting?
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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Mr March » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:57 pm

I do like the original Zeta Gundam design, but I can't say I'm all that amazed by the Advance of Zeta mecha. Though I will say they do seem to follow a particular motif specific to that story. Then again, I suppose one could say my disinterest is bred via the over-exposure of Gundam in general. The Gundam franchise produces the most mechanical designs of any mecha property I've ever heard of, yet they are correspondingly the least interesting. Familiarity breeds contempt, as the old saying goes.

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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Black Knight » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:20 pm

From a story-telling perspective, that would indeed be a lot of fun to see more things post-CCA, or even post Victory. (And, there'd be a lot of Jegans in that time period, and that's all to the good, IMO). I actually don't mind OYW or even 1st-century UC stories; what I mind is the ever-increasing number of hidden, forgotten, or otherwise unknown highly-advanced but never-before-hinted-at technology test-bed/prototype machines which ultimately lead to development dead-ends. The most ironic line in the entire UC Gundam franchise comes from 0083, which has a character exclaim "With this blow, history is changed!" just as it drops a colony into a spot of North America which was visited in Zeta Gundam and not shown to have any colony-drop-related damage. History was, indeed, changed -- the internal history of UC Gundam was altered from what had been established before.

This is what I dislike the most, officially changing the interal history of a franchise in dramatic ways (non-dramatic events don't really make for good shows) and then trying to explain why these dramatic events were never mentioned in previous shows that took place later. 0080 did this decently, IMO, or at least better than 0083, despite 0083's tie-in to the creation of the Titans. 08th MS Team wasn't too bad, either, but arranged for much too happy an ending for my taste. And 0080 is not without its flaws, between the insane number of additional mobile suits it gifted us with (even though I love the designs), and being the start of the trend where no Federation Forces officer is allowed to have a higher IQ than Forrest Gump.

I find the trend of retconning particularly irksome because it's not as if there aren't plenty of places in the OYW or later in the 1st Century UC which could use some love. Recapturing North America and Africa from the Zeeks in December '79, for example. The North American campaign was less than a month long, perfect for a fast-paced action-oriented OAV, but the only attention it's received has been some bits from The Blue Destiny, where Yuu Kajima helps recapture California Base. MSV indicates there's a whole lot more going on, with many Zeeks mounting a fighting retreat to Florida, and trying to get back into space from there. Stories about the EFF recapturing Africa could show off Neuen Bitter and the more successful holdouts from ZZ -- a show showing those holdouts gathering strength, stealing supplies from the Federation Forces and upgrading their OYW vintage MS would be a great way to pull in money from the Zeon fanbase -- just as the recapturing of North America would be a great showing for Federation fans.

Unfortunately, both of those story ideas would be lacking in the department ofMS called "Gundams", unless they're more examples of what I complained about before, and it's well-noted that MS with "Gundam" in the name sell better than ones that don't -- which is why the "bad guy" MS have transitioned from high-performance, one-off machines with wacky names to being things called "Gundams". If CCA were made today, it would probably feature the "Gundam Sazabi" and "Jagd Gundam", with Neo-Neo-Zeon using the name "Gundam" to inspire their own side.

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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Tachyon » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:58 pm

A lot of very good points here, Black Knight. I don't get upset when a new One Year War anime OAV is released if it's a good one. A good story is a good story. I like your ideas for action stories that coincide with events not seen (or not seen very much) in MS Gundam and Gundam ZZ. I think an anime OAV without a Gundam mobile suit can be made. But, I have to admit, when it comes to a big budget TV series you pretty much need a Gundam (or several) to get it past the Studio Sunrise execs these days.

I really agree with your complaint about the proliferation of Gundams. These days the Gundam franchise anime has so many Gundams that it gets silly. Fans are losing sight of the fact that the Gundam mobile suits were never ultimate fighting machines. They were high quality mobile suits but there were plenty of other high quality mobile suits that could match them. People forget about how the exceptional piloting skills of certain characters were what gave superiority on the battlefield. Mark Simmons, noted North American Gundam fan, wrote once about how many think too highly of the RX-78 Gundam's abilities. Really, it was Amuro's amazing piloting skills that lead to so many victories.
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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Mr March » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:41 am

That's a very observant point, but to be fair, the sequel obsession with details is not a production phenomena unique to Gundam, Sunrise or even Anime. More than sequel has been ruined by fixations with making the cool, flashy aspects bigger/better while ignoring the dramatic human story of the original that was so compelling. In fact, MOST sequels suffer from this failing. There were a thousand and one robot shows out there; Gundam distinguished itself with a compelling story told in a new and different way (the real robot genre). I agree that a priority placed upon story and character would serve the Gundam franchise well, especially since my favorite Gundam story (Gundam 0080) was probably the strongest example of that for the franchise. However, I am interested in Gundam Unicorn and rather enjoy the return to UC.

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Re: Advance of Z Mechanical Designs

Post by Black Knight » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:33 am

Oh, you're absolutely correct that the things I complain about happen often, not just with Gundam. Gundam is, in my mind, simply one of the "best" examples of it, because it is so easy to chart the proliferation of MS named Gundam, and even to when they began to appear on both sides. Gundam's status as a "real robot" show has always been tenuous, though it was certainly "realer" than the true super robot shows that came before it (but not a patch on Macross, VOTOMS, or especially Patlabor, which came after it and certainly wouldn't have been made without First Gundam). As time passed, however, the number of Gundams increased and the differences between a Gundam MS and a true "super robot" shrunk, sometimes through conscious intention (G Gundam, 00), sometimes not (Seed, Destiny)

Certainly, a show can be made without a "Gundam"; 0080 didn't roll out the Alex until episode 3 or 4, and even then didn't give it a lot of screen time -- not anywhere near the standard one-fight-per-episode. Even counting Chris's simulated fight, the Alex rolls out for only two fights (counting Alex vs Kaempfer as a full fight, which is a stretch). And the Gundam Igloo shows frequently ignore the existance of Gundams altogether.

I have to admit, I'm able to look forward to more episodes of Unicorn more than I was able to look forward to episodes of Seed, Destiny, or 00, though I more or less agree with one of my friends that Unicorn is little better than "comfort food" for the UC fan -- I'll be very surprised if its plot ends up much different from any of the other UC shows. But at least it has Jegans, even if they don't put up a very good showing against the Zeon-Newtype-Mobile-Armor/Monster-of-the-Week. But that, alas, is also de rigueur for Gundam shows.

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