(From the Evil Rabbits who brought you the G-boy Shrink-a-thon...)
Trust me guys, it’s a fair fight.
Maybe it is that you have no reason to believe me. But think about it- can you even trust yourself? Do you know beyond all doubt what’s making you tick in the deepest, gooiest regions of your mind? If you can’t answer or find yourself unwilling to do so, that’s just fine.
That’s why we have semiotics.
Semiotics, in very simplified terms, is the study of the existence of signs: a very social melding of psychology, science and philosophy, still in it's infancy. The semiotician asks himself each day, "What constitutes a sign or a symbology?" and "What governs these signs and symbols we drown in each day?".
A sign in semiotics is anything that stands for something else- Absolutely everything that can consciously or unconsciously be taken as something beyond itself falls into the realm of semiotics- words, images, sounds, genitures, sounds, colors, objects, even certain letters can have a semiotic meaning.
But here’s what differentiates semiotics from your junior English class where the teacher extolled the importance of that goddamn red “A” in The Scarlet Letter.
First off, a sign in semiotics ties in importance with the relationship of it and other signs present in the same item. What’s it like outside when the sign appears? What other signs join it? What signs mean the same things? What signs contradict it? Is it a member of a group of signs signifying something else when taken as a whole?
And then there’s perception. The writer takes a back seat and all the importance is places on the reader or the viewer. It’s all about perception. True, many signs are universal, some are created, some may be indicative of a single person's idea of the world. In communication, these are encoded, transmitted and decoded by the receiver, but how does the receiver decode messages? That is perception and it may vary by culture, race, sex, age or life experiences.
Actually, the importance of perception is one of the few things followers of this method of studying have been able to agree on. Semiotics is a lot like the internet really: its new, its confusing, full of gibberish, hard to find what you want in, and no one can agree on how it should work.
True, certain things can make it easier to understand… like examples!
Here’s a semiotic interpretation of an every day object- or at least one interpretation of it indicative of the general populous (and taken alone, with no context or related symbols- this is only to show how deep semiotics goes into the stuff we never think about). Every day objects are notorious for assuming meanings most people recognize only in the dreams and unconscious state. Meanings can also change over time…
Like they did for the morning mail Once it was our connection with the rest of the world, a wholly civilized connivance too. Now most of the mail people receive is intended for “Resident” and is of little concern for them. Besides, many people have at their disposal blinding fast e-mal and cellular phones to stay in touch. “Snail-mail” has assumed an almost frivolous, old-fashioned air.
Semiotics can also be melded easily into other systems of though, which is why it has a long-standing association with psychology. You can have Freudian semiotics, humanistic semiotics, Pavlovian semiotics… we’ve chosen for our report to use Jung though (and maybe some Freud). If you’re not familiar with Jung, particularly his theory of archetypes, try this link.
This, at the beginning, was an absurd undertaking. OK, so maybe it still is in some ways. One day in the TQML IRC channel, I did a little semiotic interpretation on Quatre’s clothing after proposing I could, well, do the whole series. It took about 45 minutes for all the chatting this aroused to die down. My fingers were killing me. I saw I was one person with one very silly idea. Not that I wasn’t supported and politely criticized by a lot of really sweet people with really neat ideas.
The “Why?” line still comes up on occasion and to people who are asking it now I say, “Why not?”
Anyway, I knew there was no chance in hell I could do this alone (besides that being against what semiotics is really about). Solution: well, besides having all the great people in IRC to annoy forever and ever about it, I e-mailed a huge mess of people known for their devotion to particular characters (and character separation seemed to be the most logical way to go about things, and for once in my life I was right) and lo and behold… some of them wrote back!
Not only that, but my general letter to the TQML yielded… well, it was downright scary at first. Just as I was mulling over something about Heero, I get two letters bounced back to me about… Heero.
It used to be I had very little faith in human kind. I still don’t, but man, if you ask for their opinions on something you get them! And they seem to fancy diving into the darkest, coldest regions of they minds more than anyone ever knew.
And that’s to be taken as astounding even before you read what they surfaced with. We may not be as shallow as those cow-abducting aliens think.
But we are not all the same. Just because we had so many helpful people This is not the truth. There is no such thing as truth because of the subject matter.
Heck, here I am, lil American girl doing a semiotics report on a JAPANESE TV series. There are certain nuances of the show I can’t learn and no one can ever relate to me in any form. Noted semiotician Humberto Eco suggested culture is, at it’s most basic, a difference of perception. My many lovely assistants and I have done our best though. You’ll notice that we’ve avoided word choice and character’s speech patterns almost entirely due to the irreconcilable differences between both dubbed versions, various fan subs, professional subs and the original straight Japanese.
DO NOT TAKE THESE INTERPRETATIONS AS FACT! We have done our best to cite what must be cited as accurately as possible, but technically every verb in what you’re about to read should be in a conditional form. They’re not because adding all those “could”s and “would”s could total up to extra hours on the part of the poor typists, who are not experts in the involved fields and are not claiming to be.
If you think something other than what’s written here, that’s probably a good sign. If you think we’re way off base and you can write an eloquent, polite rebuttal, we may just ask you if we can post it. We WANT you to think, to be inspired, to see things a new way. To be confused and to wish to be no longer confused.
Just breathe. Just think.
That just might be the real reason behind all this.
But now, the sad truth.
The show isn’t the best that was ever made. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there have been better ones and there will be more. It could have had a bigger production budget, it could have told us so much more about the society it portrays. And yet, we love it. All it is a bunch of near random, disjointed images plagued by half-rationales and… and yet… we love it. Maybe we love it because we are seeing what we want to see, reaching things deep below the surface that usually remain buried in our subconscious…
So now, we present unto you: Gundam W,
sliced, diced, processed and served with those little sword toothpicks
and a selection of fine dipping sauces…
Please note: All
documents here assume knowledge of at least the whole series, Endless Waltz
and the Episode 0 manga.
Heero- You Must Be an Angel
Duo- Black Celebration
Relina- I Could Be You’re Mother and a Homecoming Queen
Trowa- Bid Me Time to Return
Quatre- My Love is Stronger than Your Pain
Catherine and Iria- The Good Sisters
Wufei and Meiran- The Ghost in You
Dorothy- We Are Ever Damn'd With Lucifer
Trieze- Once a King
The Gundams (And Fighting Styles in General)
Clothing- All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go On Earth Really far-fetched stuff here.
[Additions may be appearing at any random moment ^_^]
Jung- Why We Love Him [linked to above also]
Newtype? What’s That?
Gundam W and the Arthurian Legends
Quatre and T.E. Lawrence
Pretty... A VERY odd little aside thing that also appears linked in Quatre's essay.
The Roll of Midi Une [Assumes reading of the Trowa section]
Merchen’s Explanation of the Blond Arab
Fanfic rants by Tzigane
Gundamwing.net has articles regarding WWII references and name signifigance in their general info section.
The Four Gundams of the Apocalypse By Isabella Kroft
All rants, all the time... oh c'mon Hikaru-chan! We love you! ^_^V
Graphics courtesy of…
Pretty Credits Page
Person to annoy should the matter come up...
Help! Take me away
from this insanity!
Ne? The Main Page is any better?