Gundam Reconguista in G: We Are With Hell

hisui_icon_4040 Has anyone else noticed some extra in the subtext in the ending of Gundam Reconguista in G? They probably have but I have not seen a lot of discussion about it so I felt it was worth bringing it up. I was discussing the song with Carl Li from Ogiue Maniax and he mentioned that it was probably partially just written to have a song with the name of the show in the lyrics. He is almost certainly correct with that assessment. Tomino really does love to throw the name of the show into the opening and closing. But that is not all that is going on here.

Here is my theory: A Glint of G, the ending song of Gundam Reconguista in G, is about Tomino’s views of the current state and future of the Gundam franchise as much as it is about the series itself. He is almost throwing down the gauntlet with this song about what he thinks Gundam needs to do to survive. If Gundam stays obsessed with sticking to its tried and true formulas it will never progress. Gundam has to be willing to try new concepts despite the fact that it is risky.

Now it is easy to assume that Tomino would not have that much control over the themes of the ending. Most opening and ending songs are chosen to sell the singles of an up and coming artist of whatever music label that is part of the production committee wants to sell. But if you look at the credits you will notice the lyrics were written by Rin Iogi. Anyone in the know will tell you that Rin Iogi is just the pen name Tomino uses when he writes the lyrics of the shows he works on. So this is not just a song Tomino gave the music label some vague notes about so they could fashion a song for the show. This is something he has carefully crafted. A cranky old man like Tomino is HARDLY above using an end song as the Gundam equivalent of a diss track. This is the man who said “I think that video games are evil” and that Attack on Titan‘s art was crude, grotesque, and comparable to pornography.

Plus it is not like Gundam fans don’t say this about Gundam as it is.

But let us look at the song with the lyrics as translated by Lyrcial Nonsense:


 

We can keep our spirits up! We can keep our spirits up!
So raise your hands up, give it a try! Keep looking forward, just give it a try!

It starts off as a fairly normal song about looking forward to the future. Nothing too radical.

Just because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow,
Doesn’t mean things can change with you just standing still.

A call for change in the face of oncoming uncertainty. It backs my idea as a general concept but nothing that specifically hints that this is supposed to be about Gundam in particular.

Stand on up and start walking, breaking into a run when you pass “start”;
In that direction is a glint of the future!

I have to wonder if him talking about pressing “start” is supposed to a reference to his infamous indictment of video games. If nothing else Tomino seems to have become quite self-aware in his old age. I mean he has come to realize how crazy his character naming scheme is.

Also I do wonder if his use of glint is supposed to be a reference to the New Type flash that has become so synonymous with Universal Century Gundam. But that might be nothing more than generic reference to the series.

Then again Newtypes are supposed to be the next evolution of mankind who can see things on a greater and more forward thinking scale then their more close minded compatriots.

Take hold of pride! Take hold of success!
The “G” of “guts” is the G of a beginning:
A Reconguista in G!

This is where I really began to wonder if this is Tomino is calling out for change in the Gundam universe going forward. The fact that he constantly is using the G in the chorus. Now the show is called Gundam Reconguista in G so him just using G is hardly a smoking gun. But considering how much the G has become synonymous with the Gundam franchise in general it can make you wonder if the G is talking about Gundam as whole more than just the G in the title. We have had G-SaviourG Gundam, and Gunpla Builders Beginning G so the G of Gundam has been established as a “thing.”

If that is a case you can see this whole chorus as a call for Gundam to be reborn. If you have pride and guts you will change the Gundam formula for success in the future. A change in the formula that can start here.

If we can keep our spirits up, if we can keep our spirits up,
We can take on this challenge, trying a lucky dash.

I think here he acknowledges that it won’t be easy and that there is a bit of luck involved with any changes actually succeeding at first but it is a risk worth taking.

We can fix our gaze on things in this world,
And pull each of them out from amidst the chaos.
The real world is hell; (We are with hell) and when the meaning of truth,
Seems almost within reach, that’s where the glint of the future will lie.

This sounds like a call to examine all the old Gundam cliches, tropes, formulas, and archetypes.

It’s coming: pleasure; the time of fulfillment!
An extreme G is the G of a beginning:
A Reconguista in G!

I feel like this stanza is about how the change is coming one way for another. Eventually people are going to get bored with the standard Gundam formula. In fact we are already begging to see that. Now is the perfect time to change to keep Gundam alive.

You don’t think I can do it, you don’t think I can do it,
But that’s why this challenging moment is happening now.
Amidst a boring and harsh repetition, repetition,
You no longer believe; have you been tricked?

Here it seems to be a criticisms that this call for change has been sounded in the past but the current thinking is that breaking with Gundam tradition will never work. Sunrise, Bandai, and the old guard fans will stick to what is safe. That has made many people just assume that will always be the way things are no matter how much they might want it to be otherwise.

The Goddess of Glory won’t come over to your side,
So you’ve got to pull the glint of the future to you!

Now he goes on to say that this change won’t just happen on its own. It is far too easy for Gundam to just keep doing what it is doing because it has worked so far. It is up to the directors that come after him to have the guts to make changes despite what the powers that be might say. Only those willing to change will be favored by the goddess of victory.

Let’s take hold of pride! Let’s take hold of success!
The “G” of “guts” is the G of a beginning:
A Reconguista in G!

Take hold of pride! Take hold of success!
A spirited G is the G of a beginning:
A Reconguista in G!

The end just drills home the point about this being a song about Gundam in general and how it needs to change to survive. But if it does change there is chance for new growth and possibly even greater success.


 

I am willing to admit that I can easily think of two very simple criticisms of this interpretation.

The first is if Tomino is saying this than the best counter might be, “Physician, heal thyself.” While there has been some major support for Gundam Reconguista in G even its inordinate supporters would say that it feels so much like a Tomino show. You would never mistake this as the work of any other director. If anything he is sticking slavishly to his own formulas as much as anyone else. So while I don’t totally disagree with that statement I do feel it is a bit of an ad hominem tu quoque argument. While Tomino might be a bit of a hypocrite that does not make him incorrect. If anything me might be auguring while they keep bringing in guys like him to do the classics they should be hiring new blood that can shake things up.

The second easy criticism might be that I don’t really have any proof that this is what he is going for. I don’t have a single interview or soundbite that says this is what Tomino is trying to say. In fact even my analysis of the chorus, which has the strongest ties to my interpretation, is hardly anything close to hard evidence. I am perfectly will to admit this is just a gut feeling more than a definitive reading.

But I am curious what other people think. Do you think I am missing some evidence in the song? Do you have a different reading? Do you think it is just a song about robot pilots in a kick line hoping for a better and less cannibalistic future? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Gundam Reconguista in G: We Are With Hell

  1. Herbert Kame Köster says:

    The title itself. Reconquista is a Spanish word for reconquest, the act of conquering something lost before once again. The use of G is hardly a typo, and the official stance that “japanese audience likes it better with G” is moot. I personally think the title is a bit of a redundancy, as “ReconGuista in G” screams for the fact you anotated in this article. Its all about reconquering, “reconGuering”, the essence of G(undam).

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