Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives. He also has a martial arts background.
Be warned! Spoilers up ahead.
Death is always a part of the Gundam series. Even when you die as a hero, there is nothing poetic or romantic about getting killed in the Gundam universe. You are just trash, and the Gundam showed this well to the audience. We see a lot of people suffering horrendous deaths inside their suits, from getting crushed, vaporized, blown, everything! This is just the reality of combat, and heading into battle in your vehicle simply made the manner of deaths even worse.
Then, there is Victory Gundam, a series written by a particularly angry Tomino.
We could tell that the man was in a state of depression. He basically hated his job when he made the series. All of those angers, frustrations and depression produced what seems to be the darkest series in the franchise. I mean, the bittersweet ending was depressing enough, and before that we saw characters getting killed in the most brutal of fashion. The deaths were also pointless and anticlimactic, as if Tomino simply wanted to get them erased.
And if the characters were not killing each other, they are doing something else. You know what I mean. I’m still wondering what’s the point of interrogating a kid in a bathroom, or sending scantily clad women to fight a fully armed Gundam.
Tomino Wasn't in the Mood
It was common knowledge among fans that Yoshiyuki Tomino wasn’t in the right mood when he penned the Victory Gundam. And if you are a real Gundam fan, you are perfectly aware that he was in a deepest state of depression back then. We could blame Bandai and Sunrise for worsening things up, after they meddle too much and tried to wrestle creative controls. I mean, Tomino’s job was hard enough without them on the way. And aside from annoying Tomino, too much executive meddling made the first four episodes confusing. Tomino later admitted that he did try to destroy the whole Gundam franchise, by making the Victory Gundam too dark and violent. In this way, fans will be turned off and he hoped it will ruin any future projects. Indeed, the result was a slasher series disguised as a mecha anime. My friend even reckoned that it will make the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise look meek in terms of mood. At least, people could relate to the dark world of the Evangelion series, unlike Tomino’s butcher shop of an anime.
In the end, the show underperformed in terms of sales, and it marked the end of the U.C. era style Gundam series. Yet some fans felt it was for the better. It was a turning point in Gundam history and the franchise was set to take on the world. Developers were pushed to explore new ideas, and we ended up with some of the most revolutionary Gundam series in the 90s that helped propel the franchise’s popularity to new heights; Gundam G, Wing, X and Turn A.
As for our poor guy Tomino, it was reported that he showed regrets on making the series too bleak and depressing. There are also false quotes going around in the dark reaches of the net attributed to him. One example is when he reportedly said "This series is garbage, don't waste your money on it", which turned out to be fake.
Nevertheless, not all scenes here were dark. Tomino must be having issues, because Victory Gundam got unintentionally funny scenes.
Uso’s Bathroom Torture
Supposedly, military tortures were brutal. I mean it will break you physically and mentally with beatings and brainwashing until you comply. It often brings this image of a soldier punching a hapless prisoner to a pulp before waterboarding him. And the lead character Uso was about to experience the same level of brutality, when he was kidnapped by Lupe Cineau. We first saw the kid receiving the usual physical pain the prisoners experience, before the crazed female officer showed up.
Was he about to be waterboarded, electrocuted, or simply beaten?
Later scenes showed him stripped naked before being thrown into...
Yes. While still handcuffed, Uso was shown swimming in a bubble bath. Then Lupe showed up, undressed, which freaked the kid up. The idea here was that Lupe will attempt to drown him, to test if he had Newtype skills.
And what happens next was a dirty wrestling match between the two, with Uso attempting to escape, while the naked Lupe drowns him. Indeed, the scene was pretty suggestive, and there was accidental groping in Uso’s part. It ended, when Uso managed to escape and runs almost naked in the mansion, with an equally undressed Lupe hot on his tail. Uso’s escape from the mansion was comical, with the guards pulling down his underwear!
So much for a torture scene. Tomino must be so angry that he pulled out this infamous moment in the Gundam world. It made Evangelion’s Mistao and Shinji’s relationship looks meek. Who knows, Lupe must have a thing for children, and what Uso experienced was a rape attempt.
The Bikini Babes Assault Team
As if a pedophile Lupe wasn’t enough, how about a bunch all girls strike team assaulting a fully armed mobile suit, wearing almost nothing!
The genius behind the stupid and suicidal mission was none other than the show’s antagonist, Katejina Loos. Uso and the rest were barreling their way, and Katejina devised a plan to stop him. In other Gundam series, commanders will deploy their armed suits to defend the turf. But Katejina had other plans. She sent her all female troops, dressed in nothing more than revealing bikinis.
I still remember how we reacted. We are left scratching our heads and sniggering like maniacs when we first saw this. And what’s worse than going out there in embarrassing bikini wear? Going out there without mobile suits. Katejina managed to convinced her troops that it was all for the best, that their exposed bodies will distract Uso and render him vulnerable. A Gundam will be taken down by daring tactics she said! What could possibly go wrong?
Some of the Bikini Babes were lucky that they never suffered horrid deaths, like the rest in the series. But one lady Neneka Nibrou got roasted alive after Uso fried her with a beam saber. How Uso reacted at the sight of nearly naked girls even made it funnier.
Victory Gundam was a dark series, but these scenes became unintentionally funny, due to the silliness and stupidity. Up to now, we still have no idea what those scenes meant. What was Tomino thinking when he presented an underage harassment in the bath tub? And what was the big idea behind the Bikini Babes swarming a fully armed suit?
So, this is what extreme depression could do.