Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.
In my opinion, Tieria Erde is more popular than the titular character, Setsuna F. Seiei in Gundam 00.
For an obvious reason.
We have a character here that acted like a male tsundere in the first few episodes. He even looks like a chick. Officially, he is the prettiest trap not just in the Gundam 00 universe, but in the whole Gundam multiverse as well. I once wrote how he beats the other traps, including that notoriously girlish Loran Cehack. And you are not a true Gundam 00 fan if you don’t know that fateful episode. You know, when he showed up in a dance party dressed in revealing gown? I mean I first thought it wasn’t him, and Gundam 00 just brought a new character. And as a friend tipped, most of the fans were left in shock, awe, or just on the floor and in a fit of laughter.
Ever since, Tieria became the stuffs of memes and yaoi fandom everywhere. And if you think he looks gorgeous in gown, just wait until you see his initial character design. I mean fans will wonder why the developers never stick to the original sketch, though fans have no problem with the Tieria we have now.
Tieria the Tsundere
Seen how he treated others in the first few episodes, Tieria was basically a male tsundere. In addition to being stoic, self-righteous and with an inflated ego, the guy was also hostile to others. Eventually, after a series of events, he warmed up to his fellow Celestial Beings. But the defrosting character development was his selling points to the fans, in addition to being prettier in the show.
Tieria is an Innovade. A genetically engineered entities meant to prepare humanity for a so-called "innovations" and communications with extra-terrestrial life. They are also known for being girlish in general. Officially, they are genderless. And combat-types like Tieria are gender-neutral. Yet, Tieria is often referred as “he” based on his voice, role and behavior. In the inside, Tieria is more masculine than he looks. And being an Innovade, the developers felt he deserved a pretty exterior. Though throughout the show, there are scenes that poked fun at his gender.
And looking pretty is an understatement.
Tieria has one of the most girlish character design in the whole Innovade roster, and I thought he was actually a lady when I first saw him. Look at the pink cardigan he wears! And not only that he is a tsundere, he is also a meganekko, thanks to those eyeglasses. Overall, we all know him by his delicate features and shoulder length purple hair. As the series progressed, he discarded the feminine outfit of pink cardigan, over the official uniform of the Celestial beings. We could say he looks a bit masculine in the later season.
But wait until you see his earlier character design.
The early Character Design
Recently, I came across this picture somewhere in the bowels of social media, and various Gundam themed forums. And from the start, I could tell why the comment section was going crazy. It showed what seems to be the earlier concept art for Tieria Erde. I first thought it might be a misrepresented sketch from a popular art sharing platform, like Deviant Art. But after doing some checks, it turned out to be a real initial character design for Tieria Erde.
If you think that the dude looks like a lady from the pink cardigan he wears, his initial art will either challenge your manhood, or melt your hearts out. Later on, we will compare the present Tieria Erde with his initial self, but to begin with, he is slimmer in his initial character concept. He also sports longer hair which falls below the shoulders. The locks are still purple, only wavier, and the initial design also wears glasses. Missing in the initial design is Tieria's signature scowl.
And then there is the outfit he wears.
The girlish sweater, the tight pants and the boots all belong in the catwalk, and not in the deck of a mobile suit carrier. All in all, Tieria Erde was initially portrayed as even more girlish that his present self. If there is one word to describe him, it’s trap!
Compared to Present Day Design
When compared side-by-side to what Tieria looked like now, we could say that the makers of Gundam 00 wanted him to be manlier. He went from being a trap, to still being a trap, only less feminine. In fact, the Tieria we have now is more as a bishounen.
Firstly, the official Tieria design have manlier body proportion. He is still slim, but built like a guy, with broader shoulders. And by the way, at 61 kg of weight and 177 cm of height, he will tower above Kira Yamato (with only a 170 cm height). The official Tieria design also discarded the long and wavy hair. The present one sports a simple bob-cut (with side-bangs). Nevertheless, the makers of Gundam 00 seemingly wanted to preserve his feminine Innovade features, hence the pink cardigan. Noticeably, the official version of Tieria wears a characteristic scowl, unlike a seemingly seductive expression of the initial character concept. For me, it goes well with his role in the series. We got an androgynous Innovade made to fight, and he can’t be too cute. For me, the present Tieria looks like a more convincing fighter (if we will ignore the crossdressing scene).
And as expected, whenever this picture showed up in social media groups and forums, fan would either go crazy or drop to the floor laughing. Tieria is already a trap now, and he was an even bigger trap in his initial design. And we wonder. What if the Gundam 00 makers stick to the earlier design concept?
The show is already poking fun at the gender of Tieria’s present version. But I think it will be hard to take the initial version of Tieria seriously. The show would probably be more light hearted than it is, and Tieria less stoic. I mean, he is too cute to be convincing. But perhaps, we could all agree that the crossdressing scene will be the stuff of legend if they use the initial form of Tieria.