Uma Lightning

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toysdream
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Uma Lightning

Post by toysdream » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:56 pm

We all know that Gundam (and anime & manga in general) is full of stupid puns, jokes, and obscure references, but I just noticed one that completely boggles me.

If you've been vaguely following the MSV-R focused "Return of Johnny Ridden" serial in Gundam Ace, you may be aware that the story largely revolves around a mysterious blue Gelgoog that was part of the Ace Corps during the One Year War and is still running around doing strange stuff ten years later. Although its color scheme resembles that of Robert Gilliam's MS-06R-2 Zaku, we've known for a while now that its pilot is actually a fellow named "Uma Lightning" (ユーマ・ライトニング).

If you look up that name on google.co.jp, one of the top hits turns out to be a straight-to-DVD movie titled "U.M.A. Lightning". This is actually the Japanese title of the schlocky Jersey Devil flick "Carny," starring the ubiquitous and ageless Lou Diamond Philips. "U.M.A." (Unidentified Mysterious Animal) appears to be the favored Japanese nickname for cryptids like the Jersey Devil, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabras, etc.

Why did they pick "Lightning" for the Japanese release title of "Carny"? Why did the MSV-R writers pick that title for their main villain? Why is the Red Comet named after the blameless Charles Aznavour? Who knows? It's just so weird that I wanted to share that with the world. :-)

-- Mark

P.S. Actually, I kinda can see a vague connection there - the Uma Lightning character seems to have an obsession with mythical animals, hearkening back to the Ace Corps mothership "Chimaira". So maybe there's a very tenuous joke in there about cryptozoology. Go figure.

Imperial
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Re: Uma Lightning

Post by Imperial » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:12 pm

That's more than a little strange, but I can see some sense in it if I spin around really fast and tilt my head to the side...

As for *why* the writers chose that name in particular, I would wager it's because it's two puns-in-one. You have the U.M.A. nod and half of Johnny's old ace name, the Crimson Lightning. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if "Uma Lightning" is yet another assumed name meant to denote the Zeon pilot's search for the Unidentified Mysterious Animal known as Crimson Lightning.
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toysdream
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Re: Uma Lightning

Post by toysdream » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:23 pm

Imperial wrote:As for *why* the writers chose that name in particular, I would wager it's because it's two puns-in-one. You have the U.M.A. nod and half of Johnny's old ace name, the Crimson Lightning. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if "Uma Lightning" is yet another assumed name meant to denote the Zeon pilot's search for the Unidentified Mysterious Animal known as Crimson Lightning.
And of course the hero of the comic serial, and apparent leading candidate for actually being Johnny Ridden, is calling himself "Red Wayline". Put those together, and you have "Red Lighting."

Which is interesting because Ridden's nickname, 真紅の稲妻, is literally more like "Crimson Lightning Bolt". If we're supposed to gloss this as simply "Red Lightning", then it's possible that the "RB" inscription on his Zaku actually does stand for "Rote Blitz" - "Red Lighting" in German.

Although that would make no sense given that Ridden is supposed to be of American and/or Australian descent. But now we're really digressing!

-- Mark

Imperial
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Re: Uma Lightning

Post by Imperial » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:43 pm

With Zeon's love of the German tongue, cropping up in the likes of the Kampfer and the Dreissen, it's really not so outlandish. Perhaps someone merely suggested "Rote Blitz" to him as a more exotic-sounding version of his already audacious nickname, and he decided to roll with it.

And now I'm guilty of having taken us even further off-topic with a lot of conjecture about something so inconsequential...
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toysdream
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Re: Uma Lightning

Post by toysdream » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:30 pm

Imperial wrote:With Zeon's love of the German tongue, cropping up in the likes of the Kampfer and the Dreissen, it's really not so outlandish. Perhaps someone merely suggested "Rote Blitz" to him as a more exotic-sounding version of his already audacious nickname, and he decided to roll with it.
I'm skeptical, though. The idea that Zeons loved giving things German names wasn't introduced until Gundam 0080, and all this Nazi-fetishism is basically a retcon. In the MSV era, the assumption seems to be that Zeon is indifferent or even hostile to the traditional cultures and languages of Earth; Roy Greenwood, for example, changed his name from the Germanic "Grunwald" when he moved to Side 3.

-- Mark

YazanGable
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Re: Uma Lightning

Post by YazanGable » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:56 pm

There is always just the possibility the author didn't intend for the name to be anything more than a reference.

It's certainly not the first time a Japanese work has been peppered with western references just for the Hell of it (Bastard!! and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are both loaded with references to western music, to the point almost every character and attack name in the later story arcs of the latter is a reference to a musician or song name.)

There is always the possibility the author just liked how it sounded and ran with it.

Of course, this isn't to say there couldn't be a connection...just saying, there is a chance the author might have just wanted to sneak in the ref and see if anyone caught it.

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