Newtypes in After War Gundam X

"There are no Newtypes." Gundam X is Eureka Seven done right. It is also an epilogue to early UC Gundam.

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Title: Mobile New Century Gundam X aka After War Gundam X aka Shin Kidou Seki Gundam X
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise/Sotsu Agency
Format: 39 Episodes
Dates: 5 Apr 1996 – 28 Dec 1996

Synopsis from anidb: Gundam X is the story of those survivors of the Seventh Space War trying to live among the ruins of their civilization. "Vultures", scavengers of war material and ruined cities roam the wasted Earth. Unknown to all, the leaders of the warring factions have been plotting to regain their lost glory, and using enhanced human "Newtypes", they aim to dominate the world. But Jamil Neate, would-be hero of the war and once-pilot of the monstrous Gundam X, the plucky teen Garrod Ran, and Newtype girl Tiffa Adill aim to find a way to save the human race from another round of self-destruction.

The Highlights:
Characters:
Likeable but simple.

Pacing:
Uneven but not bad, 3 or so episode arcs for the most part.

Ending:
Rushed but ties up most plot threads
.
Themes:
Relevant today.

gundam x mechGundam is like a self-propelling wheel. Just recently a new Gundam series was announced. It has a very dedicated if a bit insular community in a time when mecha anime is not popular. And yet when Gundam X came out in 1996 they had to "cancel" it due to low ratings, down from from 49 to 39 episodes. To a modern viewer like me who is used to 13 episode anime, the usual 50 episode run of Gundam series feels a bit bloated so I liked this change. In fact even though the last arc suffered from this a bit I think it may have done some good to the series too.

I enjoyed Gundam X but I don't think anyone would be talking about Gundam X if it wasn't a Gundam series. Gundam X is not part of the UC Gundam timeline but I feel like you need to have watched at least the original Gundam compilation movie trilogy , Zeta Gundam,  and then Char's Counter Attack to fully understand the significance of Newtypes. Newtypes are basically ace pilots with slight psychic abilities like being able to predict the future vaguely and feel other people's emotions. It's not very complicated but you will get a better view of the situation of Newtypes in Gundam by watching early UC. Otherwise you might not care about what Gundam X has to say about Newtypes. Anyhow Gundam X felt like an unofficial epilogue to early UC. 

It's a what if scenario on the original war between earth and the colonies - everything that could go wrong went wrong and the world was reduced to a post-apocalyptic scenario by senseless war.

For a post-apocalyptic scenario Gundam X is very cheerful and not tense at all. Probably because there is no war, but also because the characters are not stuck in a small ship in space being pursued by enemies. The main characters are not soldiers but mercenaries, if they wanted to they could leave the ship, they don't feel trapped in war like in early UC because there is no big war, this is a post-war setting. Only 15 years have passed since the last war and 10 billion people have died but humanity is already recovering and also already heading towards the path of war fueled by old divisions.

The story focuses on various factions on earth, we barely get to see the colonies or space till the final battle. It's similar to G Gundam in that it's mostly set on earth but in this case the characters don't even know if the colonies exist. Perhaps because of this, there is no longer much focus on the environmentalism - of moving humanity to the colonies to save the earth's environment.

The message of environmentalism typical to UC Gundam is pushed to the background, humanity has destroyed the world but nature and the world is recovering by itself so its not the focus, the focus is more on the Newtypes and how they are misused and mistreated but also put on a pedestal during the war and the previous era leading to their suffering and to war. This theme was always there but it was never the sole focus so you although could infer the theme and peace together the resolution from early UC, it's nice to have it spelled it out to you more "officially" here in Gundam X.

The motives of the main antagonists, the Frost Brothers, are also related to Newtypes but you could not have deduced them from early UC, because while early UC was trying to set up the concept of Newtypes, Gundam X is trying to deconstruct it as an ideal.

Basically the Frost Brothers were deemed as unfit to be newtypes despite their telepathic abilities because they couldn't use the "Flash system," the flash system gives "proper" Newtypes the ability to control multiple mechs at once with their mind powers. Now the Frost Brothers want revenge against Newtypes and a world which put such importance on Newtypes.

The motivations of the main characters are also connected to Newtypes. Jamil, a former Newtype ace pilot during the war 15 years ago has decided to go around the world with his crew on his ship, the Freedern, to find and fetch Newtypes to protect them from being manipulated and exploited. Various circumstances, Garrod, lead to the protagonist who, significantly, is not a Newtype to end up a mech pilot on the Freedern, piloting a Gundam X same type of mech Jamil piloted. This mech like many others was scavenged from a war-time military facility because the ability to produce powerful mechs like that has been lost. The Gundam X has a colony destroying laser which can only be used when the moon is out for once.

Garrod falls in love with a Newtype called Tiffa Adill, also aboard the Freedern, she is a quiet and kind of asocial adolescent girl. She was the victim of human experiments due to her Newtype powers before she was rescued by the Freedern.

Garrod and Tiffa Adill's romance sort of reminded me of Eureka Seven, except the crew of the Freedern are actually likeable. Towards the end Tiffa's character also plays into the "What is a Newtype?" theme because she was a Newtype who was born on earth but Newtypes were supposed to be only Spacenoids.

The message of Gundam X is anti-elitist and anti-ideological one. To the extent that we can draw parallels to real life from the theme of Newtypes as presented in Gundam X, it seems that Newtypes are stand-ins for extreme ideologues who hope to bring a new age for humanity but really just end up being pawns to those who want power, and tools to bring suffering to everyone.

The Newtype message of Gundam X thus is this, "there are no Newtypes," there is no elite special group of people who will single-handedly push humanity to the next stage but history is something that we must build together and by ourselves. Thinking otherwise might lead to the destruction of the human race.

There is also the message that grievances of the past generations should be let go, so that the new generation can live and prosper peacefully. Alas, this message is lost to today's youth. They may either worship or loathe the past but either way they are spellbound by it.

The Rating:7
rank 7

By Otaking, or [The Good Student]

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