Inside the Boy Inside the Robot: Mobile Suit Gundam and Interiority
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Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980) is an iconic series in the genre of television anime featuring giant fighting robots, embedded in a system of conventions developed across decades of media aimed at boys that emphasizes action and combat. In this thesis, I argue that Gundam foregrounds the interiority of its main character Amuro, challenging conventions governing the boy protagonist. Using Peter Verstraten's principles of film narratology and Thomas Lamarre’s theory of limited animation, I find in Gundam's narrative strategies sophisticated techniques developed to portray his inner life. These techniques of interiority generate ironic tensions with the traditionally exterior orientation of combat narratives. These tensions connect to a larger discourse of Japanese postwar media built into the very lines that draw characters and robots, leading Gundam to a spectacular confrontation with its own genre’s legacy of mechaphilia.