Briefing Room

 

Looking for Gundam Wing stuff?

Sorry, you won't find it here. In case you didn't know, After War Gundam X is another alternate-universe Gundam series set in its own timeline, so the events in it have no relation to Wing or any other Gundam series out there (even though it's got lots of heavy Universal Century influence). I've got nothing against Wing as a series (just some of the really stupid fans of it who refuse to acknowledge the existence of other Gundam shows outside of it), but it's just not one of my favorites.

An Introduction to Gundam X

Fifteen years ago, a terrible war known as the 7th Space War was fought between the Earth Federation and the orbiting colonies of the Space Revolutionary Army (SRA). Taking a gamble in war diplomacy, the SRA mounted rocket engines on nearly all of their colonies and planned to send them hurtling towards Earth. The Federation's last-ditch attempt to avoid the colony drop was the GX-9900 Gundam X, mounted with the powerful Satellite Cannon that could destroy a colony with one shot. At the controls of this ultimate weapon was a 15-year-old Newtype ace pilot by the name of Jamil Neate, who could use his enhanced abilities to control unmanned versions of the Gundam X called "bit mobile suits." However, Jamil was unable to stop the colony drop, and the war ended in complete devastation, 99% of Earth's population killed and the planet plunged into a years-long winter.

The year is now After War (AW) 0015, and the survivors of the 7th Space War are still struggling to rebuild their lives in this world of anarchy and desolation. Mercenaries and scavengers, including the appropriately named "Vultures," pick through the remains, and the Federation and SRA appear to have gone into hiding. However, no one is aware that both sides are merely rebuilding their forces and preparing for yet another war. Their plans weigh heavily on the remaining Newtypes, whose abilities they wish to manipulate in order to gain the upper hand, but there is a third party that opposes this. Entering the picture once more is Jamil Neate, now the stoic captain of the Vulture landship Freeden and his Newtype abilities lost after the war. With the help of the 15-year-old war orphan Garrod Ran, Newtype waif Tiffa Adill, and the rest of the Vultures, he is determined to seek out and protect those like him so that the catastrophe of 15 years ago is not repeated.

Despite Gundam X's rather short 39-episode length (it was originally slated for 49 episodes but was ultimately shortened and cancelled due to its lack of popularity and poor ratings in Japan), there is so much going on within that timespan with several separate yet connected story arcs that it is hard to describe the plot any more than I already have. (Some people often criticize the series and say that it has no plot, thus its lack of popularity, but I won't comment on that.) But whereas a series like Gundam Wing was a story about war, pacifism, and the philosophy and rationale behind them, Gundam X (or simply GX for short) is more a story about the characters and their relationships. I honestly believe that if you took away all the mobile suits and dropped the characters into a different setting or era in history, you could still get a very similar story albeit a bit different for obvious reasons. And when I say "relationships," I'm talking about how the characters interact with each other on a day-to-day basis as well as romantic relationships, since that is often part of some characters' motives in this.

Storywise, Gundam X is the most faithful of the alternate-universe series to the original 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam; the 7th Space War acts as a parallel to the One Year War but with a far more catastrophic end result, and the younger Jamil could be seen as a parallel to the original's legendary Newtype hero Amuro Ray. Even the non-Gundam mobile suits are very similar in design to those of the original, including their model numbers. And like GX, the original was also cut short because of its initial lack of popularity (originally slated for 52 episodes but shortened to 43). It is also the only alternate-universe series to feature Newtypes, a common part of all the Yoshiyuki Tomino-penned stories in the original Universal Century timeline, but now instead of mostly being seen as the next step in human evolution, they are almost worshipped as gods and exploited by both the Federation and SRA as weapons of war to use as they see fit. However, by the end of the series, it is revealed that while yes, those known as Newtypes may have abilities that ordinary people may not have, this does not mean that they are a superior race or the next step in evolution; they're just "gifted freaks," as it was put in Animerica's recent special issue on the world of Gundam. Oddly enough, in the semi-alternate-universe series "Turn A" Gundam (also created by Tomino, the father of the Gundam phenomenon), there appears to be a large amount of GX influence (according to a review at the Newtype Asylum website), including the lack of Newtypes.

Unlike some of the Wing characters, who often possess such unusual and sometimes unrealistic qualities, I personally have found myself far more intrigued by the GX characters, as nearly all of them have something about them someone can identify with. There's Garrod, the free-spirited war orphan who's halfway between a boy and a man and can't seem to decide which way he wants to go; Tiffa, the soft-spoken Newtype girl with the ability to foresee the future; Jamil, the mysterious and stoic ex-Newtype ace pilot who is still haunted by the nightmare of the 7th Space War; Witz, the often rebellious yet loyal Gundam pilot who fights for the very family who doesn't want him to fight; Roybea, the enigmatic ladies' man with a girlfriend in nearly every town; the Frost brothers, Shagia and Olba, who were shunned for their not-quite-Newtype abilities and swear revenge for this . . . the list goes on and on. Each character, whether a series regular or seen in only a few episodes, plays an important role in the events which take place in Gundam X. With all the character development that takes place in GX, I think it's safe to say that this is why it's currently my favorite Gundam series of them all . . . even if it is one of the least popular. Whoever said good stuff had to be popular?

The Method to My Madness

I know what many of you are probably thinking--"Khandreia, have you flipped your lid? What are you doing making a shrine for a character who's not even as good-looking as, say, Garrod or even one of the Gundam Wing characters?" Well, to tell you the truth . . . I'm really not sure! I think it all goes back to when I was working on Jamil's character profile for Gundam Boy! (my Garrod shrine in case you didn't notice), and when I noticed just how much I had to say regarding my personal thoughts (which was almost as long as the bio I have here on the Captain's Quarters page . . .), I began wondering, "Gosh, do I really like him that much? Maybe I oughta just make things easier on myself and create a small shrine instead of having this really long profile." So there I sat for a little over a month after writing up the profile, trying to decide whether or not I should create this page, and here it is.

But just how did I come about considering Jamil one of my favorite characters to begin with? I personally don't know for sure, but I think one of the factors was a watercolor painting I did in early December 2000 called "Battle Scars", which features an image of Jamil and the GX-9900 on it. I never expected to create the picture, as I normally don't even work in watercolor, but the night before I'd begun working on it, it suddenly appeared in my mind as if it were some kind of vision, and it just wouldn't leave me alone afterwards. When it came to actually working on it, I had the hardest time deciding whether or not I should even finish it; I don't know if it was a fear of being laughed at by my online friends for showing an interest in a character who at the time was supposed to be 10 years older than me or just a serious case of denial, but I eventually finished it after 5 days of work. Unbeknownst to me, this was just the beginning of the path to the creation of this shrine . . .

I thought that after I'd finished that watercolor, I could forget about this whole problem of mine and move on, but I just couldn't get it out of my mind, especially when I saw and bought this wonderful cel from episode 24 that really seemed to capture Jamil's personality very well later that month on eBay. I think the reason I was so intrigued by that cel was that is because I'm often easily intrigued by characters who are either very quiet or have a mysterious air about them, and, well, Jamil fits those two qualities pretty well, wouldn't you say? I'm a naturally curious person, so wanting to know more about characters like this is a part of who I am. That's what sealed it for me. By the early part of 2001, Jamil was definitely my favorite Gundam X character now, and there was no turning back. The soon-to-be miko was born.

I also wonder if my interest in a character like Jamil has something to do with my age. I'm 21 years old . . . an awkward age for anime fans, since most main characters are under 19, with very few anywhere in the 20-30-year-old bracket. Maybe I was just in need of an intriguing character older than me yet still somewhat close to my age who I could watch and admire for something other than just outer appearance (a common reason for most female anime fans for liking the younger characters)? I mean sure, Jamil may not be quite as biseinen (the term for a good-looking adult male) as other anime men around the same age (though I have to admit, when those sunglasses finally come off in the last episode, I think he's got really nice eyes, and I especially have an interest in mysterious characters with nice eyes . . . *wistfully remembers her equally rabid obsession with Adam of Power Rangers from 1995 to 2000*), but there's just something about the character himself that makes me want to know just what's behind that stoic fašade, you know? Now that I think about it, maybe now I understand why Sala (who I personally have never really cared for) has such an interest in him all throughout the show (and she's just 18!) . . .

Like I said on the main page, you won't find a lot of fangirl-type stuff here. As much of an obsessed fangirl as I can be at times (if you've ever seen the infamous Fangirl Party thread on the Gundam.com message boards, you'd know this very well . . . ^_^;;), I would just feel weird doing that for such a character as this. Though some of my friends might disagree with me on this, there really isn't a whole lot to be fangirl-ish about that wouldn't potentially scare off much of the all-around Gundam fandom. Besides, I don't really go for the sites that do nothing but gush over a character yet provide no worthwhile information or semi-original content. This site gives me a chance to share my interest in a less-appreciated character while sharing why he interests me as well and try to have people take me seriously about it at the same time. If this is the very first shrine ever made for Jamil (and I'm more than confident now that it is the first), it should have something worth looking at! (But just watch as GX eventually comes to the US and people start stealing stuff from here and Gundam Boy! . . . that's one thing I'm really not looking forward to. Hell, it's not even over here yet and I've still had a few of my scans stolen! -_-;)

But yes, this strange interest of mine has made me take on the title of "Jamil no Miko"; get an e-mail from me or talk with me on message boards, and you'll clearly see it in my signature. (A miko, for those of you who aren't familiar with Japanese culture or the Fushigi Yuugi anime series, is the word for a young priestess, but is used in the anime fandom for a female fan who has devoted herself to any given character or entity.) Since there are so few Gundam X fans but already someone with the "Garrod no Miko" title (that would be my friend Lady Douji), and much less any GX websites or character shrines, I just thought "Why not?" As I like to say, dare to be different!

That's about all I can really say without getting too in-depth character-wise; you'll find more of that in the Captain's Quarters section. But I bet you're all wondering where I got the name "Frozen Memories" from. In the first opening theme for GX, "Dreams" by ROmantic Mode (gosh, I love that song . . .), there's a line that goes "Kouritsuita kioku ga mezameru shunkan," which, according to my fansubs, translates to "At the moment when frozen memories return." In the opening credits, this line of the song is synchronized with the image of Jamil with the moon in the background that you used to see in my title and header graphics in the original version of the site. Considering what we do know about his past as well as his personality, I felt that taking that little bit of the song as the name of the site was appropriate. That's it--nothing really cryptic about it at all.