Canon Side Stories-Gundam

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Dendrobium Stamen
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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by Dendrobium Stamen » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:41 am

It sounds like this is something of a cultural difference between East and West, particularly when the use of the word "canon" enters the discussion. We in Europe and the Americas are predominantly Christian cultures, where "canon" has a very well-defined meaning, coming from the Biblical context. Japan, as I understand it, freely combines two religions, Buddhism and Shinto, mixing and matching the best of both depending on what's appropriate.

As such, it's no wonder that Japan can culturally cope with what to us Westerners seems like a confusing and ridiculous situation as having two equally-valid and equally-official sets of continuity. Presumably, the Japanese fandom just combine the two however seems most appropriate to them, and just get on with things :roll:
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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by Cardi Doorl » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:10 pm

I figured the view of the Japanese fandom is more sensible, since it's a recognition that we're dealing with fiction, after all. Note that Western fans often ask continuity questions with wording such as "what really/truly happened?", like Gundam is a series of historical documentaries referring directly to some kind of reality outside of what we see in the animations and other productions.

The laissez-faire approach is more sane; it starts with the understanding that it's all fiction and that timelines take a backseat to storytelling. Like I suggested in my earlier post, having some kind of rigid continuity would be pointless at best since enjoying these stories is really what it should all be about (I notice that gets forgotten an awful lot) and strict definitions of canon add nothing to that enjoyment. Besides, rigid timelines are fuel for the worst kind of pedantry - pedantry over the details of fictional events.
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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by Zeonista » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:30 pm

Dendrobium Stamen wrote:It sounds like this is something of a cultural difference between East and West, particularly when the use of the word "canon" enters the discussion. We in Europe and the Americas are predominantly Christian cultures, where "canon" has a very well-defined meaning, coming from the Biblical context. Japan, as I understand it, freely combines two religions, Buddhism and Shinto, mixing and matching the best of both depending on what's appropriate.

As such, it's no wonder that Japan can culturally cope with what to us Westerners seems like a confusing and ridiculous situation as having two equally-valid and equally-official sets of continuity. Presumably, the Japanese fandom just combine the two however seems most appropriate to them, and just get on with things :roll:
That is as good an explanation as any. Most of the side stories tend to be only a step above fan fiction anyway (some not even that), and that is how they are presented and treated. They are the expression of the creator's love of Gundam, and the readers accept that, and then react to the stories on their respective merits. The more successful stories, with their models and tie-ins and such, are the ones that seem to have made it to a level of acceptance that allows them to stand alongside Sunrise's shows in the viewpoint of fandom. It's probably why Sunrise doesn't feel the need to give us new UC anime every other year; the professional-level fans are doing it themselves.

On a side note, the amount of Gundam story games available for the console/handheld enthusiasts show that being your own UC hero away from the main storyline is popular enough in Japan to make it worth the effort. I'm a little surprised that no UC MMORPG exists yet, like with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Middle-Earth. That's pretty much the ultimate side story for any fandom, the one you control instead of follow.
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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by toysdream » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:55 pm

Dendrobium Stamen wrote:It sounds like this is something of a cultural difference between East and West, particularly when the use of the word "canon" enters the discussion. We in Europe and the Americas are predominantly Christian cultures, where "canon" has a very well-defined meaning, coming from the Biblical context. Japan, as I understand it, freely combines two religions, Buddhism and Shinto, mixing and matching the best of both depending on what's appropriate.
I don't know if we can put this all down to deep-seated cultural distinctions. Even in the context of Christian scripture, the Biblical canon isn't supposed to be 100% internally consistent. The key story of the New Testament is told four times in four different ways, and details like Jesus's last words vary from one account to another. These books were included in the canon because they were each considered divinely inspired and authentic, not because they formed a single seamless continuity.

So to make a very dubious analogy, perhaps we could consider the First Gundam movies and TV series to be two slightly different gospels, with Tomino's novels tacked on as a kind of apocrypha. A very crude comparison, but I think it's at least as valid as comparing it to the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism in Japan.

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Note: I'm probably walking a line here in terms of discussing religion on this board, but I'm trying to stick to the boring and uncontroversial historical aspects, rather than making claims for or against any particular spiritual beliefs. In any case, this point occurs to me every time someone brings up the word "canon," which seems to happen on a daily basis. :-)

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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by Black Knight » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:11 pm

Zeonista wrote:On a side note, the amount of Gundam story games available for the console/handheld enthusiasts show that being your own UC hero away from the main storyline is popular enough in Japan to make it worth the effort. I'm a little surprised that no UC MMORPG exists yet, like with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Middle-Earth. That's pretty much the ultimate side story for any fandom, the one you control instead of follow.
It's already been tried, and was a dismal failure. Witness Universal Century Gundam Online.

I know a couple people who were involved in betas, and the game developers reportedly spent far more time developing MS models than the actual game mechanics.

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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by J-Lead » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:09 am

Black Knight wrote:
Zeonista wrote:On a side note, the amount of Gundam story games available for the console/handheld enthusiasts show that being your own UC hero away from the main storyline is popular enough in Japan to make it worth the effort. I'm a little surprised that no UC MMORPG exists yet, like with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Middle-Earth. That's pretty much the ultimate side story for any fandom, the one you control instead of follow.
It's already been tried, and was a dismal failure. Witness Universal Century Gundam Online.

I know a couple people who were involved in betas, and the game developers reportedly spent far more time developing MS models than the actual game mechanics.
Such an idea would probably work a lot better in a Mass Effect-esque interactive story formula than an outright MUMORPIGUH. MMORPG just doesn't seem like it would work very well in a setting where logically your character would be enlisted with an organized military, since MMORPGs usually emphasize individuality, and if there's any cooperation, you can bet your ass it's likely voluntary on the part of all parties involved.

The Bioware RPG formula, however, is different in that your character takes part in set story events, but handles them in his own manner according to the player's wishes, which would work much better for, say, an character creation-engineered ace pilot during the OYW or Grypps conflict.
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Re: Canon Side Stories-Gundam

Post by Zeonista » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:58 pm

J-Lead wrote:
Black Knight wrote:
Zeonista wrote:On a side note, the amount of Gundam story games available for the console/handheld enthusiasts show that being your own UC hero away from the main storyline is popular enough in Japan to make it worth the effort. I'm a little surprised that no UC MMORPG exists yet, like with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Middle-Earth. That's pretty much the ultimate side story for any fandom, the one you control instead of follow.
It's already been tried, and was a dismal failure. Witness Universal Century Gundam Online.

I know a couple people who were involved in betas, and the game developers reportedly spent far more time developing MS models than the actual game mechanics.
Such an idea would probably work a lot better in a Mass Effect-esque interactive story formula than an outright MUMORPIGUH. MMORPG just doesn't seem like it would work very well in a setting where logically your character would be enlisted with an organized military, since MMORPGs usually emphasize individuality, and if there's any cooperation, you can bet your ass it's likely voluntary on the part of all parties involved.

The Bioware RPG formula, however, is different in that your character takes part in set story events, but handles them in his own manner according to the player's wishes, which would work much better for, say, an character creation-engineered ace pilot during the OYW or Grypps conflict.
I forgot all about Universal Century Gundam ONline. Apparently a lot of people did. :)
A gneral MMO type of game would probably not be the best thing for the Gundam genre. The Bioware format sounds more applicable. Something similar to LOTRO might be nice, where the player's character follows a loose storyline that parallels the main storyline of Fellowship of the Ring, allowing the character to do great deeds in support of the Fellowship without being the "tenth member" so to speak. A UC or AU set along that sort of thing could work, and give out some nice semi-canon fun to the player-fans. Not a whole lot of moaning about "canon" in LOTRO either, everybody is too busy questing/crafting/playing their bardic instruments in front of the Prancing Pony. (Why, no, I never mention canon inconsistencies in Kinship chat! :lol: )
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