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 Post subject: Gundam: What's Official?
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:07 pm 
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Here's something pretty nifty I recently came across. Back in 2001, the Japanese magazine Dengeki Hobby ran a multi-part feature called the "MS Expert Committe," in which they gathered a bunch of Gundam experts from Sunrise, Bandai's hobby and videogame departments, and outside editorial studios, and had them discuss the official status of the assorted "original mobile suits" that have been featured in video games over the years. The Japanese fan site G-Robotism has transcripts of the entire feature series, starting with the first installment.

It may come as a surprise to Western fans, but the contents of Gundam video games are generally not considered official. Only the Sunrise animation studio gets to say what's part of official Gundam continuity, and the products of Bandai's hobby and videogame divisions don't qualify unless Sunrise says so. That's why the new "Harmony of Gundam" project is such a big deal--these new mobile suits were created under Sunrise supervision and bear its stamp of official approval, unlike all the earlier game originals.

In the first installment, Sunrise's Shigeru Horiguchi lays down a simple guideline: "If it's filmed, it's official." It seems that Sunrise classifies the existing Gundam material into three categories: white (official), black (false), and gray (everything in between). Even material produced under Sunrise supervision isn't considered official until it's appeared in filmed form. What's more, the panelists conclude that animated cut scenes like those in the "Gihren's Greed" games don't count; Horiguchi suggests that we think of these as something akin to fictional movies produced after the fact. (The writer of Gundam Ace's "Data Gundam" feature, who I believe is named Akiyuki Okazaki, says the same thing of the U.C. history clips included with The 08th MS Team video series, likening them to "battlefield rumors.")

Interestingly, the Sunrise representatives suggest that there's an element of democracy involved in the question of what's official. The MSV series, which have since appeared in the animation, seem to crossed over into the official realm, and Sunrise's Shigeru Morita describes them as "the whitest" of the vast gray area. If I'm interpreting Horiguchi's followup comments correctly, he seems to be suggesting that future animated cameos--and thus, official status--might be decided by what's popular and accepted among the fans.

After that, the discussion moves on to specific cases. Some mobile suits, like the "RF" (refined) machines used by the Oldsmobile Army or the MS-04 from Kunio Okawara's M-MSV collection, are rejected because their glitzy appearance doesn't match the story continuity, even though Sunrise has no problem with the basic concept. Others, like the Gundam Pixie from Cross Dimension 0079, is rejected because it breaks basic rules of Gundam continuity (and they don't like the name either). Similarly, Sunrise takes a dim view of the core fighter featured in recent kits of the Gundam GP03. Not only does it have atmospheric wings, which seems wrong for the space-only GP03, but the dialogue of Gundam 0083 states outright that the GP03 has no core fighter and thus renders this hopelessly out of continuity.

Other examples get a thumbs-up. The space versions of the Gundam Ez8 featured in the G Generation Gather Beat series, which are clearly depicted as nonexistent imaginary machines in the game itself, are deemed okay in this context even though they'd be unacceptable in Gihren's Greed. The Blue Destiny series is singled out for particular praise; the creators went to great lengths to play by the rules of Gundam continuity (for example, "borrowing" the RX-79 Gundam from The 08th MS Team rather than inventing a new Gundam of their own), and Horiguchi concludes that Blue Destiny is "an example of perfect success in terms of original mobile suits" right after Johnny Ridden and Shin Matsunaga of MSV fame.

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:38 pm 
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I've had a question that kind of goes with this. If what happens in the video games isn't official then is what happens in the manga also not cannon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:47 pm 
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Crimson-Lightning wrote:
I've had a question that kind of goes with this. If what happens in the video games isn't official then is what happens in the manga also not cannon?

My impression is that manga is even less official than games. The games are at least produced by Bandai, whether or not Sunrise is directly involved. But with a couple of recent exceptions (such as Gundam Seed Astray and Advance of Zeta), manga and serial novels have seldom had any kind of Sunrise involvement or supervision.

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:50 pm 
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I've always had a lot of problems with this also. Obviously all of the animated series and movies are official (though from what I understand now, G-Saviour is not...so yeah). Though it's always been annoying to me that Sunrise/Bandai don't have an official list of what manga and whatnot are canon. There's so many different novels, manga, side-story games, et cetera out there for Gundam (a LOT), but it seems most of them aren't canon. But even the few that seem canon, such as Ecole du Ciel, might not be canon.

It would be really nice if Sunrise/Bandai got together and made a list of EVERYTHING official in Gundam. IS G-Saviour official? Which manga are official? Which games are official? Which off-screen variations are official? And so on. Would really help me, at least, figure out what information I should take as affecting the Gundam universe, and which information I should take as an alternate universe.

EDIT: What about Place from Beyond the Blaze? The G04 and G05 seem to play a decent part in the One Year War, and with the evolution in the RX-78 line of mobile suits.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:57 pm 
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Given their praise of Blue Destiny and how it vehemently tries hard to follow the rules of Gundam continuity, the very worst I see from BD is that it's the 'whitest of grays' much like a number of the MSV designs. Aside from the recent mangas, this one looks like one of the few that they're willing to accept as canon.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:29 am 
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Annon Kaies Zi wrote:
Though it's always been annoying to me that Sunrise/Bandai don't have an official list of what manga and whatnot are canon.

I imagine it would be a very short list! According to Sunrise's Horiguchi, none of these spinoffs and side stories are official. I think the notion that Ecole du Ciel or whatever are part of the official Gundam continuity is just a misconception of Western fans, which is kind of the reason I made this post.

As far as Sunrise is concerned, all the manga and video games and so forth fall into the unofficial gray area, and none of it counts until it shows up in the animation. If the stuff in these spinoff works seems plausible, and doesn't openly contradict the animation, that just means the creators are doing their jobs. Whether or not you want to consider it "true" or "real" is, it seems, a matter of individual fan preference.

Incidentally, the term "canon" is probably unhelpful here. The term has no Japanese equivalent, and the Japanese staff generally talk about what's "official" instead.

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:23 am 
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So then what would be the stance on how official Crossbone Gundam is?

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:26 am 
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Wingnut wrote:
So then what would be the stance on how official Crossbone Gundam is?


Since that was written out by Tomino himself, wouldn't the original series be considered canon?

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:29 am 
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wing zero alpha wrote:
Wingnut wrote:
So then what would be the stance on how official Crossbone Gundam is?


Since that was written out by Tomino himself, wouldn't the original series be considered canon?


Well, Gaia Gear was also written by Tomino...doesn't necessarily mean it's canon. However, I would assume that both F90 and Crossbone are canon, as they play a big part in the UC timeline, and don't seem to go against technology restraints and the such.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:35 am 
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Annon Kaies Zi wrote:
Well, Gaia Gear was also written by Tomino...doesn't necessarily mean it's canon. However, I would assume that both F90 and Crossbone are canon, as they play a big part in the UC timeline, and don't seem to go against technology restraints and the such.


Gaia Gear was supposedly canon at one point, but then it was dropped out much like G-Saviour was. At least that's the way I heard it.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:38 am 
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Annon Kaies Zi wrote:
Well, Gaia Gear was also written by Tomino...doesn't necessarily mean it's canon. However, I would assume that both F90 and Crossbone are canon, as they play a big part in the UC timeline, and don't seem to go against technology restraints and the such.

Like I said, the fact that these works don't explicitly violate continuity doesn't make them official. It just means that the writers are doing their jobs. Nonetheless, as far as Sunrise is concerned, it isn't official until it's filmed. As rules go, that has the advantage of being very straightforward.

And again, "canon" isn't really a helpful term here. It isn't used on the Japan side, so the chances of a Sunrise statement regarding "Gundam canon" are effectively nil. And anyway, fans in English-speaking fandoms tend to have wildly different personal ideas as to what the term "canon" even means, whereas "official" is pretty cut and dry.

-- Mark


Last edited by toysdream on Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:38 am 
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toysdream wrote:
I imagine it would be a very short list! According to Sunrise's Horiguchi, none of these spinoffs and side stories are official.


Pardon me for asking, but would this apply to the Gundam Sentinel photonovel, as well?

Also, where would the 'odd bits' such as Green Divers & the Gundam ride stand?

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:42 am 
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Sorry, I meant "official" in my posts, not "canon". I just think canon automatically when I think about the "what's in/what's not" context.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:10 am 
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toysdream wrote:
After that, the discussion moves on to specific cases. Some mobile suits, like the "RF" (refined) machines used by the Oldsmobile Army or the MS-04 from Kunio Okawara's M-MSV collection, are rejected because their glitzy appearance doesn't match the story continuity, even though Sunrise has no problem with the basic concept.


I find this part interesting for a few reasons specifically the RF series since they appear in the Gundam F90 manga and the Super Famicon Gundam F91 game. And since they are in the manga/game format wouldn't that be an automatic thumbs down? But instead we have them brought up and rejected due to appearance however their concept has no problem. The same thing was mentioned later about Blue Destiny who started in the manga format and but gets a thumbs up. So since these are specific manga cases does this mean that we'd have some mangas or at least their designs getting a thumbs up?

Oh and ha that site is using MAHQ to link to all the funky Gundam designs.

EDIT: Hmmm after going through this I see what seems to be the general idea of this they are going through all the various games and asking about cetrain designs with a little non game stuff thrown in there as well. It's more complicated since they seem to be going on a design by design basis for the most part and not just going "Well Zeonic Front NO". So I guess this means we'd need a roundtable discussion on the manga's to see what direction that'd lead too.


Last edited by Mark064 on Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:35 am 
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I thought only the RF Gyan and RF Adzam appear in the manga, and the glitzy suits tat are being referred to (suxh as RF Zaku) only appear in the game?


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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:37 am 
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From what I can tell, almost nothing unanimated is part of the official Gundam timeline.

Would Advance of Zeta be official timeline since one of the Hazels appeared in the Zeta movie trilogy?

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:40 am 
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Draco Starcloud wrote:
Would Advance of Zeta be official timeline since one of the Hazels appeared in the Zeta movie trilogy?


That goes with the debate whether the Zeta movies themselves are part of the official timeline since they diverge away from ZZ and CCA.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:46 am 
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The idea of reading this (sort of) one of the main ideas of what's offical and what's not seems to be on the general idea of how likely something is compared to the story and how the designs look compared to the story. For example Pixie was disliked due to reasonings of "Land Combat Gundam for Amuro? That's a Double Negative!" and they go on. Ignoring for the moment the whole debate of the Zeta Movies at the very least this means that the Hazel and Gaza-E would exist in Gundam but by extension that probably wouldn't drag their whole storyline in and would probably be judged on a case by case basis. I wouldn't be surprised if Advance of Zeta didn't make it due to the look of the designs compared to the animated stuff that and I can't imagine they are big fans of the story from which I remember is the TTT team attacking the same Zeon Ace over and over again conveniently missing out on every major Titan's operation.


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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:58 am 
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Ryujin wrote:
Pardon me for asking, but would this apply to the Gundam Sentinel photonovel, as well?

Good question. Sentinel was originally produced under the supervision of the Bandai hobby department, not Sunrise, so it would fall under that vast "gray area." But that quick glimpse of a Gaza E in the Zeta movies could perhaps shift the rest of Sentinel into the "official" category, just as the MSV and MS-X cameos in Zeta Gundam did for those product lines.

The same could also be said of Advance of Zeta, as Draco Starcloud points out...

Quote:
Also, where would the 'odd bits' such as Green Divers & the Gundam ride stand?

Also a good question. The Gundam Officials Web site has an interview with the producer of those works, which specifically discusses the status of Gundam The Ride; I'll look at that tomorrow and see what he has to say for himself.


Mark064 wrote:
I find this part interesting for a few reasons specifically the RF series since they appear in the Gundam F90 manga and the Super Famicon Gundam F91 game. And since they are in the manga/game format wouldn't that be an automatic thumbs down?

The discussion in this feature concerns the "Formula Wars" video game, rather than the F90 manga. The glitzy redesigns in the Formula Wars video rate a thumbs-down from Sunrise, but the manga versions--which literally are One Year War machines with new innards--might actually have gotten a more favorable response.

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And since they are in the manga/game format wouldn't that be an automatic thumbs down? But instead we have them brought up and rejected due to appearance however their concept has no problem.

Well, depends what you mean by "thumbs down." All these "original mobile suits" are unofficial by definition, as they establish in the first installment, but the point of the following discussion is to decide which of these unofficial machines come closest to the Sunrise-approved "white" category. Technically the entire discussion is kind of pointless since none of these machines are official until they're animated. :-)

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The same thing was mentioned later about Blue Destiny who started in the manga format and but gets a thumbs up.

Blue Destiny was originally developed as a video game, and the manga version is just an adaptation of that game. There's also a novelization, which was actually written by the author of the Gundam Officials encyclopedia. Small world!

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:25 am 
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Yeah that was the point of my edit. So I guess in the end this means the only designs that can make it to offical status are pretty much anime only. Even from your earlier post on Gundam Offical's mecha development chart BD made it into the questionable existance category so it seems like Sunrise's offical stance downgraded BD from almost MSV status to something less with the Zanny (what was the roundtable status on the Zanny again, I recall it being mentioned?). I guess what we really need in the end is some sort of chart like Gundam Offical's had that put certain designs into questionable existance status to see if the designs from not OYW are making it at least into questionable existance.

But actually thinking about this some more and venturing into the idea this quote is brought to mind.

Quote:
If I'm interpreting Horiguchi's followup comments correctly, he seems to be suggesting that future animated cameos--and thus, official status--might be decided by what's popular and accepted among the fans.


If his comment is right wouldn't the animated cameo of the Gaza-E and Hazel suit be exactly what he is talking about. But this is also problematic as for example Crossbone Gundam seems to be popular but there is virtually no way to get an animated cameo as it takes place inbetween F91 and Victory unless a series that took place in that time was created so it's quite problematic...


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