I haven’t seen every Gundam series but I’ve seen a few. As of the writing of this post, all the Gundam pilot protagonists I’ve seen have fallen into one of these three categories.
Boy Next Door
The Boy Next Door – Gundam Version (examples: Kira Yamato and Banagher Links) is a guy trying to live an average life at the beginning of the show. But they aren’t really average people. They are always talented but also sensitive. We see these protagonists try to deal with extraordinary circumstances, sometimes badly, and we want them to overcome them.
The Angry Teenager trope is not my favorite, even though I was an angry teenager myself, I still find this type of protagonist really annoying. Domon Kasshu and Shinn Asuka, my examples, are my least favorite characters in the franchise. They are aggressive, immature and it’s justified by their tragic past.
The Stoic Type tends to be what I think a soldier is. They are part of the chain of command, they take orders, they are trained to fight, they also tend not to express their feelings. In the Gundam franchise these characters can be very interesting and compelling if they get a character arc. Both Hiiro Yui and Athrun Zala begin to question their place in their military structure and the orders they get. They also question what they should value.
In conclusion, tropes can be a double-edged sword. In a franchise it makes sense. It can link series to each other with elements of familiarity. Also, we can relate to or at least recognize these types of characters. There’s also a lot of potential for differentiation. While these characters fit a type they aren’t carbon copies of each other.
What are your thoughts and feelings? Agree, disagree?