Lets Talk Revolution Kataron Style Or Who Is The Real Enemy In Gundam 00


Heroic Revolutionary Or Symbolic Idealist/Shallow Icon Lacking In True Depth And Meaning That A Person Could Wear On Their Shirt, The Same Can Be Asked Of Kataron And It’s Cause

Oddly enough I find myself claiming that Crusader has raised a few reasonable points on the latest episode of Gundam 00 and against all better judgement and on the constant urging of Deathkillz to say something about the show I’ve seen fit to respond to it.  First let me say that on many levels I actually agree with Crusader (and believe me I find this strange and disturbing on a number of levels) that the A-LAWS have not been portrayed as completely villainous in their motives to be seen as a worthy villain faction to Celestial Beings apparent portrayal as the hero faction. 

Part of the reason I find some common ground in this assessment (aside from the fact that this time there are no wild and unsubstantiated accusations of jingoism amongst Sunrise staffers in his argument) is that what we saw in episode 5 was merely the organization carrying out it’s mandate.  That being to seek out and eliminate terrorist threats that can be perceived as a threat to the stability of the freshly minted Earth Federation.  And while I do agree with Crusader that the A-LAWS haven’t been portrayed as a major villain faction that he was expecting, I think that Crusader is missing the bigger picture here and that perhaps that is not what Gundam 00 is going for at all with the A-LAWS in the first place.  Allow me to copy-paste my initial response on the issue from THAT below:The Hunter-Killer drones are not barbaric or inhumane in that they are not programmed to recognize surrender nor to have the capacity for mercy? Even if Kataron would have chosen to fight to the last man, it’s not exactly like they had an option in the first place. Oh well, you’re not serious of course, but I just find the notion that Kataron is entirely responsible for it’s own destruction to be overstating their fault in the matter, even if it does seem like they provoked it themselves over time.

I do actually agree that we haven’t exactly seen the A-LAWS going beyond the scope of their duties so far though. Rounding up real resistance cells that are antagonistic towards the Federation and seen as a threat to peace is a power they’ve been granted and one that is arguably justifiable to an extent. So until we see them going well beyond what they did at Proud Colony with Saji, which was the closest they’ve come to overextending their power then I have to agree that Kataron is mostly to blame for it’s own demise. I really would have given them the chance to surrender peacefully first though. Even Celestial Being has given that option to so called belligerents in the past.

I think what’s actually going to happen from what I’ve read is that Ribbons, who apparently has access to the President, is going to use the Gundams as an excuse to expand the A-LAWS scope of operations and powers while granting them full autonomy from the Federation military in the process and that’s probably where we are finally going to start to see the brutality you are expecting from an organization meant to be portrayed as the villain faction. In other words Ribbons and the A-LAWS are possibly about to go “Maverick” on the Federation regulars in a very bad way.

Hahaha, I made a funny in the last sentence.  Anyway, where I mentioned that we might not actually have seen the action that will solidify the A-LAWS as a group worth fighting against is where I’d like to start touching upon the subject again.  Only lets go back further.  Back before the beginning of the first season where we had the blank of four years and a lot of unknowns.

It is here that one of the biggest questions remains and one that I really hope is dealt with definitively at some point over the course of the series.  Who started the conflict, Kataron or the A-LAWS?  According to Kataron it was the A-LAWS whose tactics of supression and extermination of federation dissidents had become too much to bear.  I have to assume then that among the reasons for founding Kataron was the belief that they had a right to revolution against a government they felt no longer represented the interests of the Earth as a whole,  One that was trying to rule through coercion instead of through popular support.  What am I talking about when I mention a “right to revolution”?  Well it’s something mentioned in John Locke’s 2nd Treatise of Civil Government, which you can read here. Sections 222-243 should help explain what I mean.

Now I recognize that the question could be raised that we don’t know for certain the circumstances under which Kataron was truly founded and have only heard from their mouth that the A-LAWS and Federation had taken their interests in security to far and that Kataron was formed to counter this and not the other way around.  To this I could counter that there really should be no Kataron if the Federation was 100% successful in it’s bid for world unity, it wouldn’t make sense.  If things have gotten to this point then clearly something has gone wrong with the promise of a unified and peaceful world and that is where Celestial Being comes back into the picture.  I believe it was Setsuna who mentioned in a prior episode that their target now is not the Federation, which they see as a legitimate entity, but the A-LAWS who overextend their authority and oppress the world through force.  And I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that they were founded on the advice of one Ribbons Almack, but that also remains to be seen. 

In any case I expect to see an escalation of their activities in the coming episodes and a comeback for Kataron otherwise this is going to be one short conflict and I think we’ve only seen the opening salvos or the first act if you will at this point.  My only question on this matter then remains, what specifically did the A-LAWS do to bring about the foundation of Kataron?  In the case of the Titans in Zeta Gundam we knew it was the 30 Bunch incident, but to be fair we didn’t find out about that until about episode 6-7 so Gundam 00’s currently on track for a possible explanation for Kataron and A-LAWS battle over the last 4 years, though I hope it doesn’t have to wait long.

So what is it I’m trying to say here in all this?  How can I agree with Crusader’s notion that the A-LAWS are not shown to be truly villainous enough, yet disagree with him as a whole on the issue of why this is the case?  Well it’s because I actually think that the goal here is to, as per Gundam tradition, portray the conflict and the factions participating in it in shades of grey.  In my opinion everyone has at least a justifiable reason for why they are acting in this latest conflict:

– Kataron is exercising it’s right to revolt as I mentioned

– Celestial Being is trying to carry out it’s original goal of a creating a more peaceful and unified world, and while this is clearly something that can only happen in an anime, I don’t see how that’s an unjustifiable so much as unrealistic goal.

– A-LAWS is trying to break down resistance cells that are against the Earth Federation in the belief that it will create a more peaceful world.

Everyone’s goal actually does seem to be lasting peace and prosperity for the world….well except perhaps for Ribbons and Wang-Liu Mei who I will designate as wild cards amongst the cast, it’s just again that people have varying beliefs in how that can be reached.  And it’s also hard to deny that their are decent as well as despicable people amongst each faction so that never are we under the assumption that any side is made up of pure white hate or pure black hat characters. 

A-LAWS/Earth Federation has Louise, Soma, Katie, Patrick and Andrei and Sergei, who at the end of the day all seem like decent folk.  Louise is misguided at the moment and into something bad because she believes it is her path to closure and revenge against the Gundams, Soma eventually wants a quiet life where she can live in peace as Sergei’s adopted daughter.  Katie believes in firm but honourable leadership and has demonstrated caring and compassion for the men under her command as well as admiration for the worthy amongst her foeds.  Partick is kind of a jet jockey ace wannabe, but at the end of the day he really seems to mean no harm.  Andrei wants to prove his worth to his father who I assume has failed to recognize his achievements, and Sergei is an honourable man who believes in duty and a degree of chivalry and has demonstrated this on numerous occasions.

On the other hand A-LAWS/Earth Federation as has people like Ribbons Almack, Ali-Al Sarches, Arthur Goodman, Barack Zinin and Arba Lindt.  Ribbons of course is the primary antagonist in the series and seems to be interested in power and propagating his innovator agenda before what is good for humanity, Ali desire is to creat havoc and chaos across the world as per the only life he’s ever know, Arthur will stop at no measure to see that the A-LAWS will win a decisive victory against there foes, and if that means a slaughter with automatons then so be it.  Barack seems to enjoy fighting way to much to be a man who desires peace, and Arba Lindt is just plain seedy and seems like Arthur’s toady who also has no qualms about winning at all costs.

In Celestial Being/Kataron, pretty much every character has shades of grey even amongst their own personality traits.  Setsuna knows nothing but fighting and has also demonstrated a lack of mercy in some of his engagements, but seems to truly believe in the ends of peace and stability justifying the means.  Lockon is playing both side of the engagements and we don’t really know the true extent of his loyalty yet, but so far he’s been a faithful member of the organization.  Allelujah is a schizophrenic, or at least was, and variably alternates between a compassionate nice guy and a bloodthirsty psychopath who was at one point confronted with the tough decision of taking out the super solider facility, which while it was a step towards Celestial Beings goal, was morally ambigious at best as an act of mercy and flat out murder of innocents at worst.  And Tiera has had issues with lacking trust and arrogance, at one time ready to turn on his teammates at any time and while still fairly curt and seemingly heartless is now fully devoted to Celestial Beings new cause and has taken on a role of being sort of like a protector/guardian of his fellow teamates. And then there’s Klaus who while he claims he was trying to take the children seen in episode 05 in as refugees has yet to explain why he kept them on a resistance base that is likely to come under attack.  Was he just negligent in recognizing the danger or was he actually intending to use their presence as a human shield tactic? In any case none of them are perfect, their cause is noble in principle, but at times flawed, but rarely is any side ever completely right or wrong in times of war, nor even clear-headed in their strategies and goals.  History is merely written by the victors.

And that is where I disagree with Crusader on what Gundam 00’s overall goal has been over the last few episodes.  I find it hard to believe, though I suppose it’s possible that some people do given 5 years of Gundam Seed bullshit, that anyone could be under the impression that Gundam 00 is going for a black and white dynamic with it’s factions.  Realistic their portrayal might not be, rarely is any anime, but the goal seems pretty clearly to portray at least to a certain extent that the real enemy in this case is not the A-LAWS, but conflict and war itself.  In fact, considering that from day one the ideal that war=teh evil has been thrust in our faces by the show, to suggest that the goal is to make A-LAWS the villain and that Sunrise better get cracking with showing them killing babies (obviously this was in jest on his part, but my overall point stands) seems a little bizarre if way off base from what the show, hell Gundam, has with but a few exceptions always been about.  War is Hell.


13 Responses to “Lets Talk Revolution Kataron Style Or Who Is The Real Enemy In Gundam 00”

  1. 1 Vallen Chaos Valiant November 5, 2008 at 10:50 am

    A-Laws and the Federation should be separate entries in the poll…
    That’s what Sergei would do.

    Otherwise you might as well put Ribbons and Wang together with Celestial Being.

    Oh, and a point here is that Sergei had openly defied A-Laws in the latest episode. As the moral compass character of the Federation, that’s a pretty bad sign for A-Laws.

  2. 2 Enact November 5, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    The “main enemy of Gundam 00 being war itself” idea I find myself agreeing with, as I’ve had a similer stance for a while now, mostly because each of the factions are just various ways of dealing with it. If we remember back in season 1, while the world was in a state of constant war, it was all about money and it was controllable (I know you don’t like the MGS franchise Kaioshin, but it’s similer to the War Economy concept in MGS4). Sure people still die in droves, but as far as the developed world was concerned, it was mostly in far away places that had nothing to do with them (as personified by Saji and Louise).

    In that sense, you could also say that Celestial Being is the main enemy simply because agian, while the world was in a state of constant war, it was controlable, and Celestial Being is technically guilty of upsetting the status quo. People had gotten comfortable in this type of enviroment, and them coming in and trying to force change out of people has cost a lot of lives and money for all parties involved. There’s more I’d like to say but it’s early in the morning so I’ll leave it at that for now.

  3. 3 Vallen Chaos Valiant November 5, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    “In that sense, you could also say that Celestial Being is the main enemy simply because agian, while the world was in a state of constant war, it was controlable, and Celestial Being is technically guilty of upsetting the status quo”

    Controllable by whom? Obviously, those who are not harmed by it. Those who ARE being harmed had no control over it whatsoever.

    And upsetting the status quo is NOT a crime. Those who want to maintain the status quo even though they know changing nothing means innocents will die, however, ARE in a way guilty.

    Your view, Enact, would make sense for those who don’t need the world to change. They are happy, and much rather everyone else stop trying to change anything in case their perfect lives got altered. A common view, sure, but it is not a crime to want change.

    As they say: Yes we Can.

  4. 4 ghostlightning November 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Since I only watched the Zeta movies, I was under the impression that the Titans were really just a bunch of bullies and were 2-dimensional baddies as opposed to the more complex Axis-Zeon(?) under Haman Karn, and Paptimus Scirocco.

    I had then assumed that A-Laws would be exactly like the Titans, with CB playing the AEUG roles along with Catalan.

    I fully submit my ignorance in this matter. I recognize the universal theme of ‘evils of war’, but does that necessarily prevent factions like the Titans and the A-Laws to be presented as any more complicated than cruel thugs?

  5. 5 Enact November 5, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    When I said controllable, I meant by those in power, because they are the ones who decide if they want to go to war or not. Those who are harmed by it are just victims of the war machine, or even products of it (Allelujah). And no, upsetting the status quo isn’t a crime whatsoever, but what I’m saying is that for those who have grown used to how things are and have learned to make due with it, it’s like throwing a spanner into the works. Remember, all three of the power blocs in season 1 were basically a collection of first world countries who went about playing a large scale Zero Sum game as they saw fit, while places like the kurdish republic fought over natural resoruces.

  6. 6 Kaioshin Sama November 5, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    @Vallen Chaos Valient & Enact: As the world is imperfect, so are my polls. Anyway, as I said in my little right to revolution bit, if the current status quo isn’t working and will only lead to things being worse off for the people in the end then people have a right to chance the current system of power. Whether that’s something as bloodless as an impeachment of the current government or something as violent as an armed revolution is where the chaotic factors come into the mix. Celestial Being knows full well that they are responsible for the current situation and their apparent desire to pay for it at the end of their current series of interventions (as per Ian’s dialogue) shows this.

    Did Celestial Being really make things worse though. The primary reason the Earth Federation seems to be the imperfect entity it is now as opposed to an enduring symbol of unity (well mostly) that the U.N is the loss of Veda and Ribbons current as of yet unknown level of influence on the Federation President. That and they pretty much rushed to confederation in as little as 4 years, probably even less, in the belief that they could sort out all the worlds differences, security and economic needs afterward based on their success against Celestial Being and the acquisition of Tau-GN Drive technology. It’s similar to what happened in Canada (of course without the science fiction stuff) and why to this day there is still an unadressed void between the French and English speaking demographics of the country.

    World Government especially, even though we’ve never seen it, can’t possibly work under those circumstances and trying to force nations like Azadistan in to joining it isn’t going to help matters either. I get the sense that this haste and uncertainty with which member nations joined or were forced to join the Earth Federation is what gave birth to the A-LAWS to forcibly keep the government stable and propped up and Kataron to resist the speed of rapid change that was actually making things worse in certain countries such as Azadistan. Rapid change can bring promise to many, but mismanaged it can just as easily bring instability and decay.

    You know what though, I really hope they will show the state of countries other then Japan and Azadistan again though, because I think it’s very important to us understanding exactly what went on during the past 4 years that made thing the way they are.

    @Ghostlightning: To their enemies no, but to the viewer yes. What Gundam can do as a work of fiction is something that in the real world is frankly impossible. Present a conflict where both sides of the story are open for the observer to see. There is no perjury on the stand, no secret government buildings or prisons where the viewer cannot go, no lack of intel on resistance organizations and their current actions, all is potentially viewable to the audience via the magic of the fourth wall.

    As such it’s up to us to make the call, but I think doing it as early as episode 05 is folly. To say 1/5th of the way through the season that Kataron/Celestial Being is 100% right or wrong or that A-LAWS/Earth Federation is 100% right or 100% wrong would be rushing to a conclusion/judgement with the same type of haste that brought about the conflict of opinions and values that we are currently seeing in the show itself.

  7. 7 Keiichi November 7, 2008 at 1:27 am

    I still don’t believe that Wang Liu Mei could be considered as villainous, simply shady. She has stated that she wishes change, although what kind of change seems dubious her actions in causing trouble for CB is to test them, to deem them worthy. My fanboy-ism of Neena is partly speaking for Wang, but other than that Wang Liu Mei’s assistant (the tall chinese martial artist) does not look like the type to serve under a malevolent person.

  8. 8 Kaioshin Sama November 7, 2008 at 5:39 am

    @Keeichi: Well she did say something last season along the lines of “I don’t care if the world burns” or “If the world won’t change it should be destroyed”. Aside from sounding kind of supervillainish it does make her seem at the very least very troubled. What I don’t understand is that the girl is clearly very well off, very well liked in social circles and seems to have it all so if there’s an issue with the way she views the world it seems it must be psychological.

  9. 9 Zetatrain November 9, 2008 at 3:41 am

    True evil? More like the lesser of two (or in this case 3-4) evils. Because there are so many factors that determine the whether an act is good or bad,like the reason, moral of the action, and the end result,there are not many acts that can be considered “True” evil. If anything, Ali is the closest thing to true evil; he fights simply because he takes pleasure in it. Ali is like the human embodiment of war itself.

    On a separate note, I sometimes wonder if all the members of CB truly believe that they can eradicate war or if they actually realize the futility of eradicating war. Lasse himself, in episode 23 of season one, said that he honestly believed that their actions will not eradicate war. This makes me question what kind of world CB hopes will become of their actions and whether or not their actions are justified.

  10. 10 Kaioshin Sama November 10, 2008 at 9:02 am

    @ZetaTrain: Your first paragraph kind of reminded me of the philsophical question that acts if there is a such a thing a truly selfless and pure act. The idea being that if an act is committed to be “selfless” it is perhaps unknowingly in the interest of being witnessed by others with the intest of being painted as selfless, which is of course a virtue and would increase the image you have in a public standing. Thus it’s not really an entirely selfless act at all.

    Something tells me they are more or less for the moment trying to fix the mess they created by getting rid of the A-LAWS organization. They seem to feel that at the very least it will make things better.

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