Before comic fans had the MCU, sci-fi fans had the Stargate Universe, and true crime fans had the Law and Order franchise; Weeb’s had Gundam. Now while it’s true that the multiple Gundam series aren’t all connected, there is one primary timeline that does connect, which is what we call the Universal Century—spanning from 1979 to the present, containing seven movies, four series, 13 compilation movies, eight OVA’s, two ONA’s, two amusement park rides, and a new series coming out soon. Mobile Suit Gundam’s The Universal Century has given Weebs an exciting story. Now while it’s true that there are a lot of people who are possibly tired of this one timeline being discussed, what I appreciate about it most is that it gives us something special that I think everybody needs to learn. Today on Geek Devotions, we will discuss one word that this Universal Century gives us that everyone needs to learn to take and appreciate. That word is “perspective.”
Today we’re bringing season 7 of the show to a close with a discussion on one of my favorite franchises, Mobile Suit Gundam. This franchise has been going on since 1979, with various spinoff series in one universe connected all through. If you’re unfamiliar with Mobile Suit Gundam, let me give you a quick little description of it. It takes place in a futuristic timeline where war occurs between the people of Earth and the people of space. There’s a lot of political conversation that takes place, a lot of political chess that takes place, a lot of intrigue.
What fascinates me the most is that the longer the series has continued out, the longer they have included new series within the universal century, the more you begin to look at not just one side of the conversation but multiple sides. This universe does a great job of giving us the importance of perspective, of looking at how people see things, the same event, differently. This is a meaningful conversation we need to have as individuals because learning to see how other people see things will affect how we address people, talk to people, and help people.
What spurred this conversation for me today is the fact they just announced a brand new series that’s coming out soon called Mobile Suit Gundam: Requiem for Vengeance, which seems to be taking a look at the original timeline, the original war but from the perspective of Zeon, the “bad guys” of the original storyline. While looking at the world through the eyes of Zeon isn’t new, it is something that I find fascinating. Because we’re so trained to think of it as black and white, one person versus another, we can forget that these are human beings. These are individuals, and some struggles occur on both sides of the lines.
A great series highlighting this is Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt, which looks at an ace pilot within the Federation and an ace pilot within Zeon. These individuals are fighting for particular reasons, not necessarily for political gain but because they have been conscripted. They’ve been pulled into a situation and have to fight for the love and honor of their family and those around them.
The question has to be asked why is this important? Why is this a meaningful conversation?
As you flip through your social media and news feeds, you begin to see something widespread: conflict. Not just that, but many times, I’ve seen a senseless conflict that could be avoided if people take the time to ask themselves what is taking place on the other side of the line. What are these people thinking? How are they receiving what we’re saying, and how does it affect the situation?
Far too often, the conflict has started simply because people do not take the time to listen and think about what’s being said or how they communicate with other individuals. I know there have been times when I’ve opened my mouth too quickly. I’ve said things out of either a desire to make a joke poorly or because I’m just not thinking, and I realize later that the way I said things and the things I said considered the truth or the reason that I was saying what I was saying and caused more problems, caused more conflict. That’s why it’s so crucial for all of us to stop and think about what we’re saying, think logically, and think out what the other person is saying.
In the Bible, there’s a book called James. James is the half-brother of Jesus, and his book is a very practical book to read. If you haven’t read it, I do encourage you guys to check it out, but in James chapter one, verses 19 through 20, there’s a really interesting phrase that he says:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.James 1:19-20 (English Standard Version | ESV)
In this verse, James is talking to a group of individuals dealing with various troubles, trials, and tribulations. It’s a hard time for them, and he’s encouraging them. He’s like, “Look before you just respond, before you just react to people, be cognitive, really stop to think. Be slow to speak but quick to hear. Be quick to listen to what people are saying. Don’t respond in anger or violence so quickly because what you’re doing hinders what God wants to do in the situation.”
Throughout the entirety of the Universal Century timeline, you see people that have been conscripted; they’ve been pulled into this war, and it’s not even their fault. They hadn’t chosen to do this, but because they’ve been manipulated, because people were slow to think about what’s going on, they reacted to one thing; there’s now a ripple effect that affected other individuals. If we are not intentional about listening to others and thinking through things, intentional about really thinking about what we’re saying, we will have a ripple effect. It’s not just about the effect at the moment but how it ripples out and affects the lives of those around us.
My encouragement, my challenge to all of us, is to do what James has encouraged us to do. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Think through the situation you’re in. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are places and times when you’re in a no-win situation, and the person speaking to you is talking in a manner that will be aggressive, and you only have one recourse of action. That doesn’t mean you must react out of anger and violence. Still, instead, you can take a moment to react with logic, understanding, and peace and hopefully restore and bring healing rather than destruction and death.