Random Musing Of The Week (The Minmay Defence Vs. Trans-Am Burst Mode)


Setsuna F Seiei and Lynn Minmay, Changing The Future The Anime Way

In teasing over the events of Gundam 00 Episode 24 and discussing Macross a bit with ghostlightning I suddenly stumbled upon an interesting question that I had to ask myself.  Which do I find a more unlikely event, a guy realizing his true potential and activating a system that releases a miracle particle that allows people who subconciously want to reconcile with others to have their chance to communicate on a more direct level instead of slaughtering one another, or a girl realizing her true potential and singing pop songs that allow a race of giant barbarians to experience culture and surrender instead of slaughtering the whole damn human race?  Hmmmmm…I love asking myself impossible questions. 😛

I guess what I’m getting at here is that I’m yet again left finding my two favourite longstanding mecha franchises to be two sides of the same coin (or is it that they are the same side of different coins?) in both their tendency to enrapture me in their premises, but also to make me laugh a bit at their naivety and overall simple solutions to the extremely complex problems of war.  I could poll this to find what other people think, but I don’t think there really is an answer.  I think it just comes down to suspension of disbelief and whether we take these shows at face value and run with what they have to offer, however naive it might be (and they really are in the end as fun as it is to watch them.  It’s for the entertainment long before it’s for the message) or whether we dismiss the premise altogther and just grumble at them.  As you can see from this post from time to time I sort of prefer to do both.


10 Responses to “Random Musing Of The Week (The Minmay Defence Vs. Trans-Am Burst Mode)”

  1. 1 ghostlightning March 25, 2009 at 3:41 am

    both their tendency to enrapture me in their premises, but also to make me laugh a bit at their naivety and overall simple solutions to the extremely complex problems of war.


    I’ll freely admit bias and prefer the musical production IN SPACE (it never loses its silliness), over the miracle particle explosion.

    But yes, they are more similar than they are different. In your previous post you’ve presented well how the events in ep 24 of Gundam 00 have been prepared for by hints and clues throughout the narrative. It shouldn’t be that surprising, though I did feel a little surprised at how much the Trans-am burst was going to figure – as to solve all the pending storylines.

    The key difference is that music and Macross didn’t solve everything. This difference may not hold depending on the denouement of 00, but in Macross’ case, there’s an extended post-Space War I arc, wherein music was hardly a factor.

    It is part of the nostalgia within the franchise (and that of its fans) at how music is still used: weaponized by the authorities (Frontier, 7, even Plus to some degree), and how characters such as Basara use it for different purposes (i.e. “[to] SET YOUR HEART ON FIRE”).

    What’ll be interesting is how far Gundam 00 takes the evolution/innovation concept. In the UC I don’t think the Newtypes did become the progression of humanity. Am I wrong? (I haven’t seen any UC beyond CCA).

  2. 2 Kaioshin Sama March 25, 2009 at 4:59 am

    No, by the end of Victory Gundam it had become pretty clear that Newtypes had become little more then weapons for leaders to exploit and fight wars with. Gundam X tried to fix this a little bit by saying their are no real Newtypes as the future and it’s just a mutation, but that more or less just outright made it a dismissal of the concept. Gundam 00 seems to be trying to reimagine Newtypes with the Innovators and make it part mutation, part evolution, and part wave of the future idealism, and the way it’s going it seems to be in favour of those who have the personality traits of Setsuna (self-sacrificing, humble, capapable of compassion and understanding) rather then those like Ribbons (arrogant, callous and self-concerned).

    Of course I think it’s important to note that without his experiences in the first season along with his meeting with Marina and Ribbons intervention in his life Setsuna probably wouldn’t have taken on these traits and would still be the brash, over-emotional and impulsive person he was then. And he’d be dead already. In a way it’s true what Ribbons says at the end of the episode, he did make Setsuna into what he is now.

    So it seems like the show is also trying to say that the path to evolution is built through experience as much as it is by chance and mutation and not through manufactured “perfect” beings with no real understanding of others. I suppose you could make a Newtype/Cyber-Newtype comparison here.

  3. 3 Unentschieden March 25, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    As mentioned the common factor in the franchises is communication against conflict.

    I´d say the first macross was the least naive (given the usual suspension of disbelief necessary for “space mech operas”). Depite what everyone seems to interpret it music was NOT a cure-all in that Series (Macross 7 though…). Frontier is somewhat inbetween.

    In contrast to that “mind control particles” sound almost lazy and just a orange juicification away from NGE.

  4. 4 Kaioshin Sama March 25, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    @Unentschieden: Without the Minmay defence it’s safe to say that U.N Spacy could not have won the battle against the Zentraedi. The million plus ships would have just completely overwhelmed them. When you’re on the brink like that it’s pretty cure-all for the situation at hand. And it’s no solution for those who choose to close off their minds like Boddole Zer or Kamjin.

    And I think you misunderstand the Trans-Am Burst. They weren’t mind control particles at all, they just opened up other peoples mind to one another, kind of like how Minmay’s singing opened up the Zentraedi’s minds to culture. It’s also nothing like the Human Instrumentality Project. Everyone still lives seperate lives, they aren’t even a hive mind, they are just more directly connected to one another in terms of communication and understanding. When you’re on the brink like that it’s a pretty cure-all for the situation at hand, but it’s no solution from people who still choose to close off their mind like Ali or Ribbons.

    Yeah I’m still having trouble finding one any less or more unlikely or naive. I think Macross 7 takes the cake though for sure with Anima Spiritia.

  5. 5 Epi March 26, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Personally I think the Minmay defense, at least as presented in Macross: Do You Remember Love? was much more plausible. Why? Because there was enough consistency within the backstory, and the general themes of the entire show that it just… worked.

    Meanwhile, while Setsuna’s particles do ‘work’ on some level as they have been predicted ever since we saw 00’s mind-bending abilities way back at the beginning of the season, it’s still all a bit of a deus ex machina for it to fix everything so perfectly.

    As well, as a piece of technology, it’s much less probable that one guy 200 years before the current time of the show could create all of this technology (imagine a scientist 200 years ago being ahead of today’s science by a LOT), than people sending out voice communication messages of a song being played.

    The belief in 00 is purely that the technology somehow works. The believe in Macross is that the culture works. When given a well-written story, culture wins hands down in my book. My opinion of course.

  6. 6 ghostlightning March 26, 2009 at 3:47 am

    The fundamental difference between the presentation of the two phenomena is as follows:

    1. The use of culture/music/Minmei is a planned attack; the effects of Minmei, music, and miclones kissing have been documented by both Britai’s staff and Global’s. They really built an entire strategy on it, even if it was a bit rushed (despite the evidence even from the earlier episodes – since the capture of the officers) and quite silly.

    We knew it was coming. We’d be quite slow and dull not to have seen it coming.

    2. The Trans-Am Burst was a surprise, in that it was an additional gear that the GN 000 Raiser can use. There are hints, in that the Gundams have always been switching to higher gears throughout the series. In addition to this, the particles did allow for a lot of telepathic communication.

    However, the final execution of the burst wasn’t strategized. All we know is that before the final battle started, new parts arrived. Among these parts we can assume is the one that enabled the Trans-Am burst.

    I can’t say I like it: no trials, no break-in, no testing, no feeling out the kinks. Just immediate ownage.

    In the final episodes of 0083: Stardust Memory (my favorite corner of the franchise) Gato and Uraki both had tremendous upgrades, using mecha of much higher complexity than what they had been using (also using newly minted technology). I shouldn’t have overlooked it, but I did. Maybe because 0083 has done a spectacular job with tech development and testing/trials of mecha in its prior episodes. In Gundam 00, very little has been done to satisfy this little want of mine.

    On the clues given, it takes more effort to predict the Trans-Am burst. After all, who has predicted it? Did anyone?

    The cynics would say that they half-expected some deux-ex-machina fix, and I have some sympathy for that. Nonetheless, I don’t dislike it too much.

    I do love Gundam 00 in my fashion.

  7. 7 Kaioshin Sama March 26, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Hmmmmm……I don’t think the trans-am burst is as implausible as some of you are saying, nor do I feel it fixes all the characters probems as there is still much to do in the final episode. I would sooner chalk up the preference for Macross’ Minmay Defence to the receny of 00 more then anything myself, but I did pose the question to my readers so thank you all for your responses and thoughts on this matter. Keep in mind though that I asked which was more implausible from a real world standpoint, not which was more or less foreshadowed.

    Also I think it is important to keep in mind that Do You Remember Love had time to build on the ideas of the original Macross TV series, much like the Mobile Suit Gundam movies, which got to improve on and clarify the whole Newtype concept and much of the original TV series. Gundam 00 doesn’t have source material with which to work on and clarify it’s themes further like Macross DRYL does so the comparison still isn’t entirely fair if we are going by compilation movies. This does kind of make me wonder what we’ll see when the inevitable Gundam 00 compilation movies come around though.

    I should say though that I am most certainly not about to condemn either series for what I feel to be simple solutions to complex problems as they are anime targeted at a younger audience. And I still don’t think Gundam 00 is anywhere near approaching the poorly written story others would like to claim it is.

  8. 8 CCCP May 19, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Personally, I don’t think the Trans-Am Burst was much of a Deus ex machina. Here’s why I don’t think so:

    1. It would not have worked without a naturally-created Innovator like Setsuna (which represents the fact that it would not have worked without ALL OF THE THINGS HE HAD DONE/HAPPENED TO HIM throughout the series.)

    2. 00 Gundam had done similar things on smaller scales all throughout the 2nd Season, especially once Setsuna started to become an Innovator. (His telepathic talk with Graham, for instance)

    3. It only affected people who were already willing and open to communicate anyway. It didn’t do something batshit like disarm all military factions; it just provided a means for each character to say their piece.

    4. It had already been shown throughout the 2nd season that the true GN Particles and the telepathic abilities of the Innovators were somewhat linked. Is it that surprising that, in their extreme forms of the Twin Drive system and a True Innovator respectively, they might be capable of a much larger version of what was becoming almost commonplace throughout the rest of the season?

    5. It’s really not that much different than what happened with Sumeragi and Billy, in that what resulted from the Trans-Am Burst was completely determined by the positions that the individual characters were already in. Really, the only difference between, say, Saji talking with Lousie and Billy talking to Sumeragi (both situations had very similar results) is the presence or lack of GN Particles, which were really just a conduit for what had already been there all along, in terms of the characters’ feelings and wishes.

    So, there’s my two (thousand) cents on why I liked the Trans-Am Burst and don’t think it’s as cheap/out-of-place/implausible/deus-ex-machina as many people say.

  9. 9 Kaioshin Sama May 19, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    @CCCP: Yeah, but tell all of this to the people who are looking for reasons to criticize the show heavily and see if they don’t just outright dismiss or ignore it. If there’s anything I’ve learned there’s always a way around everything when it comes to interpreting themes and concepts…..even if you have to become an oxen to do so.

    I don’t see many other ways they could have resolved these characters issues though and still fulfill the promise made at the beginning of the season that the 00 Gundam will change the world. The way I figure it this is the kind of series Gundam 00 is, one where the characters and the title mecha tie together on a deeper level (“I am Gundam”), and it would have been an awful waste Setsuna had gone through becoming an Innovator and a guider of humanity only to do nothing but slug it out with Ribbons.

  10. 10 CCCP May 20, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I know there are plenty of people who will mindlessly diss anything in this show they can think of. That’s why I took my comments here, where most people give shows a chance and think about if something really is a problem or not. And another aspect many seem to be overlooking: the Trans-Am Burst was certainly no worse (in terms of being overpowered or deus ex machina) than Amuro using his Nu Gundam to stop Axis from falling on earth in Char’s Counterattack.

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