Which Side Are You On?

 

 

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Mobile Suit Gundam: High Frontier

Life In The Universal Century


Which Side Are You On?

Although the Colony Management Corporation was the ultimate authority for all of the space colonies and dictated their overall administrative policy, each Side had a local administration of both CMC-appointed and locally elected officials.

The Zarn administration ran Side 1. The Hatte administration ran Side 2. The Munzo administration ran Side 4. The Loum administration ran Side 5. The Reah administration Side 6. The Noa administration ran Side 7.

The actual locations of the Sides vary according to source. In the original Gundam series and Frederik L. Schodt’s translation of Tomino’s Gundam novels, Sides 1 and 4 are in L5, Sides 2 and 6 in L4, Side 3 in L2, Side 5 in L1 and Side 7 in L3.

UC 0079

Z Gundam, on the other hand, placed Sides 1 and 6 in L5, Sides 2 and 5 in L4, Side 3 in L2, Side 4 in L1 and Side 7 in L3—apparently moving Side 4 to L1, Side 5 to L4 and Side 6 to L5.

UC 0087

While both mappings have appeared in subsequent references, the Tomino mapping was consistently used for events prior to UC 0085 and the Z Gundam mapping for events subsequent to UC 0085 in all of the official Japanese sources from 1985 to 1997. At that time, the first of the Mobile Suit Gundam computer video games was released, using the original Tomino mapping—not suprising given that it was a recreation of the One Year War. Over the next two years, various sequels appeared, all set in the One Year War era and all using the Tomino mapping. But when the Z Gundam game appeared in 1999, it too used the Tomino mapping! This is probably a calculated move to maintain consistency for the game players, who may not be familiar with the anime or its history, but it certainly wreaks havoc with the continuity for the rest of us.

How, then, to determine the placement of the colonies and key events of the Saga?

On 20 January 2000, Mark Simmons, generally regarded as the most knowledgeable Gundam fan alive, proposed a radical theory: all of the Z Gundam and subsequent maps were incorrect in that they still depicted seven Sides, when in fact there were only four. He argued that, in Z Gundam and thereafter, we only see or hear references to four numbered Sides in the actual anime. The maps in the various references are artifacts created by people other than Tomino and his staff and slavishly lay out seven Sides and colony groupings that are not, in fact, cited on-screen in any way.

The theory is that the multiple Sides at L4 and L5 were merged, so Side 4 and Side 6 effectively ceased to exist, and that Side 5, depopulated as it was, was simply redesignated Side 4. Side 7, consisting only of Luna² and one uncompleted colony, never really qualified as a Side and was subsequently “downgraded”—in Z Gundam, the individual colonies are cited only by name (Green Noa, Green Oasis, Gryps I, and Gryps II) and never as Side 7. When construction resumes in L1 circa UC 0100, it’s called the Frontier Side.

By this reckoning, all conflicts are resolved. Sides 1, 2 and 3 are always at L5, L4 and L2, respectively. Side 4 is at L5 until it merges with Side 1 and Side 6 at L4 until it merges with Side 2. Side 5 is at L1 until it’s destroyed and the other Sides merge, after which it becomes Side 4 and thence the Frontier Side. Side 7 is only designated as such while there’s some hope that it will actually be completed and thereafter is only referenced by name.

In view of all this, I have elected to follow the Tomino mapping up to 0085 and the Z Gundam mapping, minus references to Sides 5 through 7, thereafter.


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Last Update: 01 January 2017

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