Why Dune Fans Should Check Out Mobile Suit Gundam

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From legendary sci-fi series to legendary sci-fi series, here’s why Dune fans must watch Gundam.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Dune, currently playing in theaters and on HBO Max, as well as Mobile Suit Gundam, whose original film trilogy is available on Netflix.

The liberation of Dune (2021) has rekindled interest in the legendary sci-fi series. Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel and its multiple sequels definitely changed the genre’s landscape, setting a new standard for world-building and the political parable. His influences can be seen through popular culture – from Star wars and Star Trek with fantastic franchises like The wheel of time and Game Of Thrones, traces of Dune are ubiquitous.


These traces range from surface level to the most substantial, but one of the Dunethe most direct successors of must undoubtedly be Mobile Suit Gundam. In his native Japan, the influence of Gundam on sci-fi rivals Duneeast to west – Gundam gave birth to the genre “real robot”. Which trades the fantastic spectacle of its “super robot” predecessors for a darker, more grounded perspective on future warfare and the role these colossal humanoid machines would play in it.

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Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy and tank counterattack

As Dune, Gundam would see many sequelae over the years, many of which bear many similarities to Herbert’s work. Whether it is the war in the desert of Iron Blood Orphans or the dynastic conflict of Gundam: The Origin, which reframes the Deikun and Zabi families from the original series as parallels to DuneAtréides and Harkonnen houses, multiple Gundam the series pay lip service Dune.

These tributes go back to the beginning, with the Gundam who started it all, the years 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam. The series begins with the Earth Federation at war with the Principality of Zeon, a former Federation colony turned rogue thanks to its rulers, the fascist Zabi family. Both sides of the conflict are starting to produce mobile suits, controllable robots with immense capacity for destruction. When Zeon’s forces attack Federation Colony Side 7, young civilian Amuro Ray finds himself forced to pilot his military engineer father’s most powerful invention, the titular mobile suit Gundam. From there, the series follows the Federation battleship White Base, inhabited almost entirely by civilians and refugees from Side 7, as Amuro and Amuro in the Gundam defend against the forces of Zeon.

Although it came out two years later Star wars, and Gundam’s iconic beamsaber bearing more than a fleeting resemblance to a lightsaber, the conflicts of Gundam owes more to Dune that they don’t do it for Star wars. Subterfuge and stratagems are the names of the game, the two series resisting the spectacle or the glamourization of war. Amuro and Dune protagonist Paul Atreides are both young, and neither of the series shy away from describing the psychological impact such bloodshed would have on these vulnerable and impressionable minds.

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The most realistic war Dune and Gundam portray are largely thanks to the historical interests of their creators. Herbert and Gundam Ancestor Yoshiyuki Tomino both draws inspiration from real-world conflicts in their works. Dune drawing mainly from the history of European colonialism in the Middle East, while the original Mobile Suit Gundam is largely a tale of WWII in space. Later Tomino-writes Gundams would draw tastes from the unrest in Ireland, the Vietnam War, Israel against Palestine and the Angolan Civil War.

Therefore, Dune and Gundam resist easy moral categorization. While their respective antagonists House Harkonnen and the Zabi family are shamelessly evil, neither series loses much love for their nominally heroic factions. The Atreides House, despite its noble intentions, is still complicit in the barbaric colonialism of the Imperium. The Earth Federation, on the other hand, is made up almost entirely of disconnected bureaucrats with no consideration for citizen spacenoids (those born and raised in space), as Tomino would continue to make them the villains of the world. first Gundam following, Zeta Gundam mobile suit.

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Apart from the giant robots, Gundam is most famous for the concept of “Newtypes” – spacenoids that have developed increased mental capacities due to the constraint of living in space. It reminds me right away Dune‘s Mentats, humans trained in specialized cognitive thinking beyond that of a computer. Both Mentats and Newtypes represent the illumination of their respective future civilizations, but also the ways in which humanity can distort said illumination for nefarious purposes. Mentates and Newtypes become tools of war, and while Amuro and Paul’s prodigious abilities in these areas represent the possibility of changing the problems inherent in the Imperium and the Federation, they also risk repeating these problems on down the line. Message from Dune and Gundam is clear; While future technology and new ways of thinking may improve human life, unless our species takes a long look at itself, it will also use them to perpetuate the same problems for the rest of its life.

For Dune old and new fans, Gundam allows easy recommendation. If you are eager to see more decades of Herbert’s epic of humanity’s worst excesses following him to the stars, then the decades-long epic of humanity’s worst excesses from Tomino that follows it to the stars. ‘to the stars is a worthy substitute. One may have giant robots and the other giant worms, but the two have more in common than not and should be experienced by any sci-fi fan hungry for more nuance and moral ambiguity in their stories. .

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