Saturday, April 21, 2018

Two New Gundam Shows Coming & What It Means For #AGundamForUs

An announcement came out this week regarding the Gundam franchise. Tokyosaurus had a short video regarding this, both short, which I'll embed because he summarizes the matter well enough for my purposes.

And there was another announcement that he covered a week ago today.

And there is a very brief teaser for Narrative on the Gundaminfo channel.

Also, we have Gundam Build Divers airing in Japan right now as well as another Origin installment in the wings. Combined? The Gundam franchise looks to be in decent shape at the moment, albeit with plenty of room for improvement. (Still no anime adaptation of Hathaway's Flash.) This is what a healthy media franchise looks like. Mouse Wars take note.

The problem here is that the mecha genre doesn't have more than one such franchise. We have to cast our net wider into Space Opera generally to get more than the Macross franchise on the radar, and that only gets us Space Battleship Yamato and Legend of the Galactic Heroes (and, to be fair, the latter is only due to the new series).

For all that shows like Code Geass and Darling in the FranXX have going for them, they rarely get past the initial series. The former show is soon to debut its third series, but it's really a Season 3 of the original and not a proper sequel or prequel. The latter is still airing, but it is unlikely to get a follow-up green-lit that goes beyond this series to explore more from another perspective- something that the Macross and Gundam franchises did do to varying degrees of success.

As mentioned previously, mecha media is in an overall stale state and a lot of that is due to issues that cannot be solved internally; for the medium to get the revival it needs to endure beyond a handful (at best) of stalwarts and a mess of also-rans (the pathetic state of tabletop RPGs and US comics) we need a fresh infusion of talent willing and able to address unsatisfied audiences.

That's us. That's #AGundamForUs.

What the new announcements mean is that the trends previously identified will persist, making the window of opportunity previously identified larger and longer. We can--and should--go at this good and hard, as this is the sort of opportunity that provides fertile ground for the sort of fork-and-replace strategy of building parallel institutions that overtake and overcome converged ones that I often advocate.

It's only fair. If Japan can give us My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man, then we ought to return the favor with our own loving tributes to the giant robot genre many of us love so much- and thereby save it from the moribund state it presently suffers through.

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