12 Days of Anime 2018, Day 1: Guin’s Moon Car

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Somehow it’s been three years. Time flies huh. I started this blog for 12 days and I fully intend to keep taking part every year, because it’s a lot of fun and gives me an excuse to write more. So let’s get started.

Sometimes there are little moments in anime that just manage to perfectly sum up a character. Turn A Gundam’s Guin Sard Lineford has one of those moments towards the end of the series. Having finally completed their grueling journey to the moon the militia begins to unload their ship, leading to the reveal that Guin had his car brought along. As well as being a genuinely funny moment the car symbolises a lot of what Guin’s about.

Guin is a noble from the country of Inglesa who for much of the series acts as the self-appointed chief negotiator between Earth and the Moonrace. More than anything Guin is defined by his hubris; he genuinely wants to help advance humanity through technology, with the Moonrace being just another route towards this goal. But he also wants this to happen on his terms, because Guin wants everything on his terms. He consistently puts himself at the forefront, Guin Lineford is the one who’ll broker peace between the Earth and the Moonrace. Because if there’s one thing Guin unshakably believes in it’s his own importance.

Early in the series there’s a scene where Guin attempts to buy a horse from a civilian after his car gets trapped while fleeing from the destruction of Inglesa’s capital . His request being refused in spite of who he is, and his offers of money being turned down as “useless paper” is one of the few times Guin seems genuinely shaken by anything. The loss of the prestige his name carried seems to be the only thing that really hurts him, moments before he was staring without much interest as his city burned around him, but the idea of the Lineford name no longer being relevant is something he struggles to deal with. This sends him into a period of depression during which he largely withdraws from the series, only acting by proxy through his acquaintance Lily Borjarno.

Of course someone so self-assured can’t be knocked down for too long and Guin resurfaces eventually, maneuvering himself into a position of de facto power over the militia despite the loss of his territory. From there he manages to take control of the spaceship Willgem and ends up leading the expedition to the moon. Despite the repeated mentions of the limited storage space on the ship he naturally has to bring one of his cars. Even before the appearance of the Moonrace Guin was driven towards technological advancement, his cars are the tangible representation of this and he won’t be without them in hostile territory.

Even his interactions with protagonist Loran are tinged with self-assurance, with Guin insisting on refering to him as Laura for the entire series. While to some extent it feels like a way of Guin dealing with his attraction to Loran in a world which as far as we see is largely heteronormative by thinking of him as a woman, it also feels like Guin attempting to reconcile this ingrained heteronormativity with his view of the world. Guin wants everything his way, and he’s simply projecting his idealised reality onto Loran. Guin is attracted to Loran therefore Loran is Laura, because of course the object of his affections should be available to him.

The need to be the one remembered for ending the war is what ultimately drives Guin to his downfall. As peace between the Earth and Moonrace seems to be approaching after the failure of Agrippa Maintaner’s coup Guin allies himself with the Moonrace militarist Gym Ghingham in an attempt to bring the war to an end through force before a peace can be negotiated. This move eventually leads to his being sidelined by Ghingham and living out the rest of his days in exile as Lily Borjarno, the woman he had tried to further his own goals ends up taking the role he had sought for himself. Guin’s need to be important caused him to throw it all away.

Well that’s day one out of the way. The next few will be pre written since I’m away for a couple of days, hopefully that doesn’t go horribly wrong.

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This image is tangentially related to the last sentence and definitely not just an excuse to appreciate Harry Ord’s fashion sense for a moment.
12 Days of Anime 2018, Day 1: Guin’s Moon Car

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