Cliché, Hotblood, and Super-Robots (Spoilers Abound)

By Nomadotto, not the BigN, so don’t get huffy at him








Alright, let’s begin with the universal rule of awesome mecha shows, namely, the cool guy dies. All the way from Gundam to Eva, if there is an awesome character, he must die. Let’s take a close look at Nadesico, in which THE MAN WHO DIED FOR YOUR SINS, Gai, is shot, in cold blood, in ep 4, almost as an afterthought. It’s almost physical painful to talk about this death, because not only was he one of the best characters in Nadesico, (in fact, in every Super Robot Wars game to date featuring Nadesico, there is a way to keep him alive, which says something for his popularity), but, also, because it was so sudden and so early in the series, there was a lot of time for the effects of his death to sink in.

It’s almost inevitable, whenever there’s a character who is cooler than the main character, Gai and Akito in Nadesico, Kaji and Shinji in Eva, etc. The cooler character is supposed to die, and, then, after a brief period of morning, the main character kicks it into awesome and becomes even better than the dead character. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work. In reality, the main character almost never becomes cooler than the dead character, and the series is shadowed by the phantom of the dead character. Again, take Nadesico, in which Akito still isn’t gar enough to stand on his own, and so they have to bring Gai back and then kill him again, causing more pain in the fanbase and cheapening the original death.

This isn’t to say that death can’t be a powerful event in a show, and death can make a good show better, but the raw emotional power of the death in a way detracts from its effectiveness. If the character is central to the story and he dies, everything afterwards feels epilogue-y, like people talking after the audience is gone. But, if the character is only tangential to the plot, or is not a character who the audience identifies with, you get redshirts and the black guy who always dies in horror movies.

Thus, the meat of the post. For those who have read this far, you should know that Kamina dies in episode 8. After ep 7, it was pretty obvious that he was going to die, but I didn’t want to believe it, and I still don’t want to believe that they took him out. For me, he was the reason I watched the show, and I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to be as excited about each Sunday now that I know that he’s not going to be contributing to the show. Episode 8 is still very early in the series, and Kamina has left some big shoes to fill. Moreover, I don’t trust Gainax to say on the side of gar, rather than emo, so there is a good deal of reason to quit, but, for the sake of Kamina, I will watch for another couple of episodes.

Other than stuff about the show, this event also confirmed that I am a horrible person. I felt less sadness of the death of my grandmother than the death of a fictional character in a cartoon. Take of this what you will.


TheBigN’s take:

It was inevitable, very predictable, painful, and pretty awesome/epic, but it seems many are screaming “TOO SOON” about Kamina’s death. Awesome to some fans of the show, annoying to others, Kamina really kick started the show as his belief of guts and willpower overcoming anything inspired Simon and other characters to continue to fight. At the same time, he was sometimes pretty stubborn, overbearing, and reckless to the point of stupidity in following that philosophy, and I can’t help but think that it contributed to what happens.

While some people seem to worry that the show will become depressing later on, I think a little depression is good to. One doesn’t just shake off something as powerful as an influential person’s demise. I really hope Simon takes into heart the messages that Kamina gave to him in the next couple of episodes. Given that Kamina spent a lot of time and effort on helping Simon gain self-esteem, it will be interesting to see how Simon moves forward. Especially considering that I believe a hotblooded future awaits for our young protagonist, I want to see how his development is spurned on. It’s too soon to tell though, as it’s only been 8 episodes~

But what a way to go. 😛

Though he may be defeated, the soul still burns.

7 Responses to “Cliché, Hotblood, and Super-Robots (Spoilers Abound)”

  1. 1 Pete Zaitcev May 22, 2007 at 12:52 am

    I don’t think that Kamina’s death is such a big spoiler, considering its formulaic nature. In general it’s impossible to be on the Internet and not know about it. It’s like not knowing that Jesus dies in that Mel Gibson’s movie.

  2. 2 nomadotto May 22, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Yeah, well, BigN wanted me to slap spoiler warnings all over it like 2 cent stamps on an airmail letter to Brazil. But yeah, most people on the internet who read anime blogs are going to know about this.

  3. 3 TheBigN May 22, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Zaitcev: It’s more like a just in case scenario for people who don’t know, and I figure there’s still a decent amount of people in that category to warrant it. 😛

  4. 4 Pete Zaitcev May 22, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I only wish Yoko were pregnant by this point, otherwise it’s rather sad.

  5. 5 Rand May 22, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    “I really hope Simon takes into heart the messages that Kamina gave to him in the next couple of episodes.”

    You did watch episode 1, right?

  6. 6 TheBigN May 22, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    I said “next couple of episodes”, where I meant like the next five or so. I’ve said that he’ll become a badass. The question is when will it start. 😛

  7. 7 FrackAttack June 4, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Hmm… I didn’t actually see it coming, although I saw 7 and 8 back-to-back, so I didn’t have much time to ponder that. My initial thought after watching him die in 8 and the replacement character in 9 was “Did the Gurren-Lagann fiasco have anything to do with it?” I felt like the new girl came out of nowhere and was possibly an afterthought. (Notice that she suddenly shows up in the end credits, whereas the other characters have all been there since episode 2.) I could be wrong though.

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