From A Beast, To A God – Taming Oneself In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

2 thoughts on “From A Beast, To A God – Taming Oneself In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn”

  1. I do quite like this trope. Obviously, the most iconic example of it is in Eva, but it’s no less effective in Unicorn. I think it draws from a very common understanding of technology – that the tools we use are an extension of our bodies.

    In Unicorn, the technology is especially human-like. As you’ve pointed out, the visual designs of the Gundams are projections of the people that use them. The function of the machine changes as the user changes. The Gundam can kill, but through it the pilot can also speak to people on a deeper level.

    I remember a while back we were talking about whether it’s useful (or even possible) to separate weapons from the actions of those who use them. For example, while the “it’s not guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people!” line is usually used as a lame attempt at derailing gun control efforts, it is true in the abstract. And it is also true that people constantly reinvent technology and use them in different contexts. You could, theoretically, “tame the beast”.

    One thing is clear enough to me, though. For this recasting to happen, the technology (or at the very least its widely designated purpose in human society) has to change along with the user’s outlook. The process of transformation can’t just be an inner journey. It has to be an ongoing process of negotiation with the world around you. You can’t just say, “This is a weapon explicitly meant for killing, but I’ll use it responsibly, therefore this weapon is good!” That’s why I thought it was pretty cool that Banagher doesn’t simply leave for the stars after he successfully recasts his Gundam as a tool for peace-making.

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    1. Was your last sentence a reference to Banagher trying to fly off into the sunset (mentally) before Riddhe called him back in the finale? I’m not really sure what you mean by “Banagher doesn’t simply leave for the stars after he successfully recasts his Gundam as a tool for peace-making.”

      I think technology as extension and amorphous tool is a really good way to view it, although the flexibility with which technology is used can both be a transformation of bad to good (e.g. the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam going from a hunting machine to a shield and force for good) but also good to bad (e.g. modern issues where automation both increases safety and builds humanity’s ability to solve complex problems, but also puts people out of a job and increases inequality.)

      What’s really interesting is that this duality extends beyond just technology, though – that same duality exists when it comes to abstract ideas, like Laplace’s Box. Do you remember Riddhe’s line in episode 7, about how “It wasn’t supposed to be this way! It wasn’t intended to be a curse but a prayer!” in reference to the Box? And then there’s the stance Syam, Banagher, Audrey and co. took when it came to revealing the Box – that they’d let the world decide after they were told the truth (see Captain Otto’s final speech in episode 6.)

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