In our largely cynical, short-term-memory-focused world, it’s tough to make it to March without a large chorus of online voices announcing whatever the current year is to be “the worst year ever.” 2020 has been a legitimate kick in the teeth in multiple ways, though, and all of us could use a message of hope these days, so here’s one from four decades’ worth of Gundam pilots.
Titled "Message from Gundam Beyond,” the video (which has optional English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese subtitles) opens with original "Mobile Suit Gundam" protagonist Amuro Rey reverently telling us “I can see people’s warm and strong wills.” He’s quickly joined by on-again, off-again, on-once-again adversary Char Aznable, who reminds us that “There’s nothing more precious than people caring about each other.”
Their words are set to a surprisingly large collection of scenes of people showing genuine compassion to one another throughout the myriad branches of the Gundam anime franchise. “Not only wishes for our everyday life, but also gratitude towards those working on the difficult front lines and sustaining our everyday necessities, all those feelings are coming together to move the earth,” says Amuro. “These days we’re all passing together will create the future.”
It’s not only Gundam’s original mecha jocks who want to acknowledge the inherent strength of the human heart and the good that it can do. In turn, they’re followed by Banagher Links (from "Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn"), Mikazuki Augus ("Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans"), Setsuna Seiei ("Mobile Suit Gundam 00"), Heero Yuy ("Mobile Suit Gundam Wing"), Kamille Bidan ("Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam"), and Hathaway Noa ("Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash"), all of whom implore us “Kimochi wo hitotsu ni,” “Let’s synchronize our hearts,” or, as the English subtitles render it, “Let’s be of one mind.”
▼ “Let’s be one of one mind” is a much nicer sentiment than Heero’s most famous in-anime line, “I’m going to kill you.”
“This is the time to show the light of the human heart,” declares Amuro after his younger cohorts make their pledge, and Char, who really enjoys having the last word, chimes in with the challenge “Let’s see the strength of the bonds between people’s souls.”
Some might say it’s splitting hairs, but many would say that "Mobile Suit Gundam" was the first anime franchise in the “real robot” genre. Unlike previous “super robot” anime where the titular mecha was basically a magical superhero in its own right, the robots in Gundam, technologically impressive as they may have been, were ultimately tools with which realistic human characters struggled to achieve their ideals and better mankind.
The video doesn’t mention any of the world’s problems specifically (there are plenty to pick from at the moment, after all), and in keeping with the franchise’s focus on realism, it doesn’t offer any easy answers, either. Instead, the message is that whatever problems individuals, humans, or humanity as a whole are facing, odds are treating each other with kindness and compassion, and hanging on to hope, is going to be an important part of the solutions.
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