As we’re not in Japan, a good portion of Gundam fans in the States wish that they could have been able to attend the Gundam Big Expo this year, as part of this year’s anniversary celebration. Among other things, the expo advertised the premiere of a new CG short directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino entitled Ring of Gundam. As this is the first time Tomino has touched Gundam since the New Translation trilogy, anticipation for this went through the roof. Fans everywhere were dying to see this, people Stateside even moreso as…well…chances are it’d never happen through legal means.
The short was upped online the day afterward for Yahoo.jp, but for Japanese IPs only. As expected, it only took 48 hours for somebody to find a way around this and put it online. On the off-chance that the short will deleted any moment now, I’m not going to bother posting the link. Instead, I want to share with you one rather interesting interpretation of Ring of Gundam.
The short revolves around a young man in a Ring Colony who is desperate to find the Beauty Memory, hoping that it will be the key to finding “Amuro’s Memories”. Standing in his way is what fans believe is a Zanscare Empire-based mecha. His only hope? What looks like the RX-78-3 Gundam.
After watching it, I didn’t know what to think. My Japanese comprehension is getting there but I was able to catch the major points. Last night, I talked with a friend about it and he brought up an interesting point about a possible underlying message: Tomino is telling us to get a life.
Seriously! In the short, because our hero is so fixated on obtaining Amuro’s Memory, the resulting fight with the enemy mech takes out a good portion of the Ring Colony. The newly retrieved Beauty Memory then reveals that Amuro’s Memory isn’t even necessary for the “new world”. What I think he’s getting at is that by trying to cling so hard to or emulate 0079, we basically screw everything up in the process. [Insert Seed/Seed Destiny Joke Here.] In Tomino’s eyes, too many shows have claimed Gundam as an influence, perhaps maybe he partly blames himself for anime’s current stagnation as a medium. In that case, it makes sense that he’d believe this has gone on far enough. That’s why the message is that of transition–it’s time for us to let go and move on….but this could mean either one of two things: A.) Create more new interpretations of Gundam without retreading on the past or B.) Leave Gundam alone altogether.
The latter would make more sense actually, given that this isn’t the first time he’s called people out before. I mean, where do you go after something like Turn A? Do we really need another Alternate Universe series? Tomino’s trying to say that if we’re going to move on in anime, something else needs to take it’s place. The next big thing needs to happen. Not the next product or batch of fanservice, the next big phenomenon that will inspire kids and fans for years to come like Gundam did. In other words: We as fans, creators, dreamers, we’ve just been called out.
Right now, the message is lost in translation (which hasn’t come about yet) and fans speculation/nitpicking. Even I’ll admit before thinking about it, I was hoping for more of this universe but unless Bandai/Sunrise offers him his own private space colony, this may be the last we see of Tomino touching Gundam for awhile. Lord forbid what will happen to the franchise if/when he passes on. Meanwhile, there are those that call this short pointless and not worth the trouble. If you’re reading between the lines though, I’d say that Ring of Gundam was worth the wait.