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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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So, my biggest gripe with Relena in Gundam Wing is not that she's a 15 year old girl who, befitting her age, is totally full of herself and her Junior High "Intro to Philosophy 101" opinions of Total Pacifism. That by itself makes sense. It's that every single character looks at her and goes "YES. ABSOLUTELY. THIS 15 YEAR OLD STUCK UP GIRL IS THE ONE WHO WILL CREATE THE NEW ORDER OF THE WORLD."

Established thinkers and world leaders with decades of experience bow down at her feet, cry "oh what fools we have been! Clearly we were all simply waiting for your brilliance to come into this world!" Duke Dermail, a man in his 60's-70's, the goddamn LEADER of the Global Military Industrial Complex, considers her the greatest threat to his plans for some reason rather than the legions of very heavily armed and personally motivated Earth Sphere Alliance military holdouts who oppose him.

SHE'S FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS OLD.

That being said, a lot of Gundam Wing's grade school philosophical whinging about War, Peace, Human Nature, and Philosophy can really be properly understood in its context when you understand that the average age of the named characters is in the 15-18 year old range, and even Treize (the most glorious Magnificent Bastard in Gundam history) is only 24.

It still doesn't excuse the Mary Sue way the whole damn fictional universe bends over itself backwards to make Relena out to be Jesus: After Colony Edition.

I mean, god, I love this series so much, but.... FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUCK it has such a messiah complex about Relena it's nothing short of aggravating. In reality, she's literally just as crazy as Dermail, or even the blood-and-battle fetishist Dorothy Catalonia, it's just that Relena's crazy manifests as "would totally let you murder her with no resistance because moral high ground" as opposed to "war for fun and profit", and therefore it's more acceptable.

I mean, am I swimming alone here? Relena is still ungodly popular in Japan and I just don't see it. She's either dangerously naive at best or at worst a self-centered egotist who is constantly being taught by others that she's right to be so and will inadvertently get thousands to millions killed when the world's brief flirtation with her views ends in a decade or two and the first nations or factions to resume weapons production realize it gives them a leg up on all the idealists -- I mean, there's a reason no modern nation with any sort of influence has ever managed it. Dorothy Catalonia might have been a psycho bitch, but she's definitely right when she says that people prefer fighting wars to negotiating. The disadvantage of Relena's views is that when it works, it works great, but as soon as it fails once, the failure is total, whereas in Dorothy's views, there is room for her to be wrong.

Hell, Relena's repeatedly proven wrong in her own universe and needs to be bailed out by people who don't share in those views, and yet she (and the authors, it would seem) remains steadfast and unwavering in this belief that it's weapons that are the Great Satan, and that if people could just gEt RiD oF ThEIr wEApONs, they'd sTOp fIGhTiNG all the time and learn that everybody is actually wonderful and we'd all frolic off into a world of bunnies and rainbows together. She pays some lip service to the notion that something as trivial as changing human nature isn't actually trivial (literally nothing ever comes of that though), but the core of her utopian vision remains that weapons are inherently evil, humans are inherently perfect (not just good, perfect), and the only reason they're not perfect right now is because they have weapons.

Truly, it is the thinking of a 15 year old who just discovered seminar class for the first time.

Which, again, is why it pisses me off that despite clearly showing numerous times that she's wrong (with catastrophic results each time), the After Colony universe actively moves out of her way to make her right in the end: after a "hiccup" a year after the series, wars end, all weapons are destroyed, and mankind lives Happily Ever After The End. In the end, as it turns out, she's perfectly right and humanity becomes a perfect utopian society within 18 months with frankly alarming ease.

I mean, there's your regular Mary Sue, and then there's the kind of Mary Sue where her Sueness is so overwhelmingly powerful that it actively rewrites the natural laws by which that universe and all that live within it operates. Relena is firmly that latter type, the God Sue, having successfully rewritten human nature by sheer force of... I hesitate to use the word "charisma" because it's not really correct, more like... she incessantly badgers human nature into permanently changing. Which is a shame because were that lessened (and the amount of philosophical whinging in general dialed down by about half), I'd recommend Gundam Wing to a hell of a lot more people because Relena's intended role is as a foil to characters like Dorothy and Dermail and if she weren't so overpoweringly Mary Sue she could have fulfilled that role quite nicely and created some interesting discussion.

Instead she just irritates guys like me to the point that we write massive thinkpieces on the internet explaining why she's so annoying.

Actually, you know what? I take back my reference to Relena being Jesus AC Edition.

No matter what version of the Jesus story you hold stock in, he has a way longer and more arduous road than Relena ever faced.

Thanks for listening to me blab about an anime that probably few people still care about.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 05:24:41 PM by Lumi Kløvstad »
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline VladCT

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I mean, am I swimming alone here? Relena is still ungodly popular in Japan and I just don't see it.
I'm not trying to undermine your essay or anything, but this can be easily explained by the power of teenage boners that just happened to last quite a ways into adulthood. :v
It is precisely because it never cared, that people do care.  It's something which it's lacking, because that which it has, it has lackluster of.
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Offline X

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Are we talking about the series 'Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing' with the character Relena Peacecraft?
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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Are we talking about the series 'Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing' with the character Relena Peacecraft?

So, my biggest gripe with Relena in Gundam Wing

Why don't you tell me? XD
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

Offline X

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Just making sure as there is a whole shwak of Gundam series' out there and i only ever watched the one. I did see the entire season and it was fine for what it was. But now that I look back upon it I can see the gripe you have with Relena's character. It really doesn't make any sense in the series and surely would NOT happen in the real world. It is very unfortunate that Mary Sue characters seem to crop up in media every now and then. What make's them a travesty now is that they are almost the norm in today's media. They are an automatic by-product of lazy/armature/incompetent writers that can't keep track of what they are trying to create. And if they're intentional then it's all for propaganda purposes brought about the whole neo-feminist movement that has infiltrated the media; CBS, Paramount, Disney, Marvel, Fox, SONY, and many other Hollywood companies, the list goes on  :P

Mary Sue character don't have any real defining traits other then the fact that they are perfectly infallible. Insufferably so. And there is no such thing as infallible in real life human beings. I'd rather see characters that have flaws in them as that is something we can all relate to. If the Hero/Heroine is flawed we can sympathise with the characters and enjoy what they bring to us. But no one can sympathise with a Mary Sue (or the male equivalent Gary Stu, Marty Stu, or Larry Stu) as they are perfect while we are imperfect. It's just bad writing on the author's part.
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Offline Dracula9

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[empress theresa intensifies]


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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Gundam Wing set itself up as an honest attempt at being the most introspective and philosophical take on the Gundam formula up to that point, and it nearly succeeded in its first third, but after that the villains became cartoonishly unflappably motivated to doing the eeeeeeeebil (seriously, the plot resolves itself like 3 separate times between episodes 14 and 22 and the apocalypse has to be written back in by characters firmly carrying the Villain Ball, and that’s not even gotten to the show’s halfway mark by the point), and the heroes increasingly become cardboard cutouts of heroism to compensate. This helps with the sluggish pacing, but it also turns the show into Just Another Gundam Series with nothing truly original to say. Too much of a price, if you ask me. Up until Wing Zero turns up, the heroes and villains are all interesting and complex characters, even if they are all prone to sequidpedalian loquaciousness. After that... well, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Relena comes into the fullness of her God Sue powers around the same time.

It is also, perhaps, not a coincidence that the original director of the show, Masashi Ikeda, had gotten fed up with all the drama the studio and marketing guys were giving him, and flew the coop about 18-19 episodes in and was replaced by Masato Sato after that (the show credits Ikeda alone to the very end though). Even Masato Sato was fed up with the series by the end, and when Endless Waltz was being made, neither of them agreed to come back and Yasunao Aoki took the director's chair instead.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.

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