Aside from the ingenious mobile suit battles in Crossbone Gundam, I noticed how Tomino tried to ground his Newtype concept by forcing Tobia Arronax, a Spacenoid, to take a simple 12-kilometer mountain hike on Earth. Can you see the catch?
It’s hard to compare the lives of an Earthnoid and a Spacenoid in a Gundam show, as it is made. Why, this is but tangential to robots blasting the shit out of each other. But Crossbone Gundam takes a breather in robot action to address this, and I am marveled by the elegance of its presentation.
So, back to Tobia. Does he achieve the hike? Yes, but with extreme difficulty. Not only is the scale off (if he were in a colony, he’d have scaled the entire inner wall and back), there is gravity, good old 1.0 G, exerting its toll on his space-adapted body. He realizes that Earthnoids live such different lives from both the Jupiter Empire and the Crossbone Vanguard, who are all Spacenoids. Earth’s oppressor and defender both have little inkling of what Earth is really like (this is especially shown in the land battles, where both parties exhibit clumsy manuevers unsuitable in a 1.0 G environment.) Walking great distances on Earth is not something we acquire through evolution; rather, it is something we’ve possessed from the very beginning. But Spacenoids, having adjusted to zero-G environments, take this for granted.
Human beings are a very adaptable species. There are Eskimos and desert nomads, on separate sides of the spectrum. Your local homeless Jim would probably have a really strong immune system against microbes on the street. No matter who we are or where we’re from, there’s some part of us that’s deeply-rooted in our environment. However, in rooting ourselves, we become unsuited for other environments. How would a Baguio highlander, who’s breathed fresh mountain air in his entire life, live in Manila, one of the world’s most polluted cities? Remember The War of the Worlds? Not as drastic, but you get the idea.
Crux Dogatie advocates the total divorcing of mankind from Earth. He claims that man does not need Earth anymore, but he is wrong. The lizard may have evolved from the fish to live on dry land, but that lizard will never be able to swim in the waters as good as its evolutionary ancestor can. Likewise, if we were all to evolve into Newtypes, living in space for the entirety of our lives, then we would be total wimps in terrestial environments.
This is probably what Tomino is telling us in Crossbone Gundam: Newtypes are not supermen! To be a Newtype, one must awaken in space. With that comes all the disadvantages of colony environments. Enjoying a mountain hike or plain simple biodiversity would be alien pleasures for them. Tobia can’t even tell if a deer is a dangerous, man-eating animal! I’m humbled, as a fan, because I’ve known and loved the Newtype concept for how long, and then I’m struck with the revelation that I still know so little of it.
And what do you know? In the end, being an Oldtype isn’t bad, after all. While I work in a polluted city 5 days a week, I doubt if Kamille could fare as well! I may not be able to move Funnels with my will, but this life I have–it’s good enough.