|Mobile Suit Gundam character|
Principality of Zeon Commander and Ace Pilot Char Aznable.
|First appearance||Episode 1, Gundam Rising (MSG)|
|Voiced by||Shuichi Ikeda (Japanese)
Michael Kopsa (English, MSG and MSG-CC)
Steven Blum (English, MSG I–III)
Tom Edwards (English, MSG-Z)
|Aliases||Casval Rem Deikun (real name)
|Relatives||Zeon Zum Deikun (father)
Sayla Mass (sister)
Afransia Char (clone)
|Nationality||Principality of Zeon|
|Allegiance||Principality of Zeon [MSG]
Axis [post MSG, pre MSG-Z]
Anti Earth Union Group [MSG-Z]
Neo Zeon [MSG-CC]
Char Aznable (シャア・アズナブル Shyaa Azunaburu ), born Casval Rem Deikun (キャスバル・レム・ダイクン Kyasubaru Remu Daikun ) is a fictional character from the Gundam franchise. He is originally one of the main antagonists in Mobile Suit Gundam and later becomes one of the protagonists of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. In his final appearance in Char's Counterattack, he assumes leadership of the Neo Zeon movement, named after his father Zeon Zum Deikun, and becomes the titular antagonist of the film. He is best known for being the archenemy of the first Gundam pilot Amuro Ray. Throughout his life, he is also known by the aliases Edward Mass (エドワウ・マス Edowau Masu ) and Quattro Bajeena (クワトロ・バジーナ Kuwatoro Bajīna ). In addition, he is given the honorary title of "The Red Comet" (赤い彗星のシャア Akai Suisei no Shyaa ), for his performance at the Battle of Loum during Gundam's One Year War.
- 1 Fictional character history
- 2 Fictional characteristics and attributes
- 3 Mobile suits used by Char Aznable
- 4 Cultural significance
- 5 References
Fictional character history
Born Casval Rem Deikun, he is the elder brother of Sayla Mass (Artesia Som Deikun), and the son of late Zeon Zum Deikun, the champion of sovereignty for the space colonies of Side 3, founder of the Republic of Zeon.
According to the manga Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, young Casval and his sister Artesia escape to Earth shortly after their father's death with the help of family friend Jimba Ral (father of Ramba Ral). They spend several years living a luxurious life under the guardianship of the aristocratic Don Teabolo Mass, who names them Edward and Sayla, and treats them like his own children. During this time, Jimba Ral constantly reminds Casval of the Zabi Family's betrayal of his father. After narrowly escaping an attempt on their lives (in which Jimba Ral dies), they flee to the Texas Colony.
They live for a time in a house set up by Texas Colony's chief manager Roger Aznable, still under Teabolo Mass's care. They meet Roger's son Char and discover that he and Casval are nearly identical, except Casval's eyes are brown while Char's are blue. Eventually Char is taken in by Gihren Zabi's propaganda, and against his father's wishes sets off for officer training school. Casval decides to accompany him under the guise of looking out for his friend. Kycilia Zabi finds out that Casval is headed back to Side 3, and without consulting Gihren, orders Casval's death. Both near-identical boys are booked to leave on the same flight, but an antique pistol and fake explosives are found in Char's bag. Not wanting to miss the entrance exam, Char accepts Casval's suggestion to swap clothes in the restroom. Char boards the ship under the name Edward Mass, while Casval, under the name Char Aznable is detained overnight. Shortly after departure, the ship explodes and kills everyone aboard (no doubt the work of Kycilia's henchmen). Edward Mass is listed among the dead and Casval takes on the name Char, enters the Zeon Military Academy and begins wearing sunglasses to hide his eye color (as it wouldn't match any of the real Char's IDs).
After entering the Academy, Char excels in his training and befriends Garma Zabi. As relations between the Zeon Republic (which has been renamed the Zeon Principality) and the Federation deteriorate, the Federation increases their troop strength in Side 3. There is wide spread fear that this troop increase is in fact an invasion and occupation force. On the eve of troop increase, Casval incites Garma to lead other students in the Academy to storm the Federation base and subdue the stationed troops. For this action Casval is stripped of his rank and expelled from the Academy. He travels to Earth and works at the construction site of Federation headquarters in Jaburo. After hostility breaks out between Zeon and the Federation, he returns to Side 3 and joins the Zeon mobile suit assault forces under the command of Admiral Dozle Zabi. He displays superior fighting ability during the Battle of Loum, single-handedly destroying five Federation Magellan-class battleships, which earned him the nickname "Red Comet". He was promoted an exceptional two ranks to Lieutenant Commander.
Mobile Suit Gundam
During the One Year War, Char shows great ability not only as mobile suit pilot, but also as tactician and commanding officer. He also displays his first act of betraying the Zabi family by luring Garma's fleet into a flight path toward the Federation's White Base's line of sight. Prior to Garma's death at the hands of the White Base, Char says to him, "Garma, blame this on the misfortune of your birth." Later in the war, Char begins a bitter rivalry with Federation pilot Amuro Ray, and he develops a relationship with Lalah Sune, a Newtype girl he saved from an Indian brothel. Char also develops into a Newtype himself, and forms psychic bonds with both Amuro and Lalah. Char's abilities and natural charisma allow him to inspire and manipulate. Lalah is killed in battle, taking a blow meant for Char; this results in a bitter hatred between Char and Amuro.
During the war, Char draws on Zeon's philosophy to form his identity. The Zeon Principality is largely an authoritarian state that values independence from the Earth and later the destruction of Earth's inhabitants. With his devotion to free all of those who are "trapped by gravity's pull" he is able to face the most deadly outcomes with dignity and leadership.
In the Battle of A Baoa Qu, Char and Amuro's bitter rivalry reaches the level that they engage in a gunfight and then a sword fight after both lose their mobile suits. In the duel, Char stabs Amuro in the arm, while being stabbed through his helmet, which leaves a scar across his forehead. Sayla runs into the room and urges both men to stop. Char realizes he's been distracted by his rivalry with Amuro, and refocuses on his true enemy - the Zabi family. An ensuing explosion knocks them apart, and Char rushes to save his sister. After being told by a dying Zeon soldier that Kycilia Zabi, the last surviving Zabi, is escaping, Char tells Sayla to "be a nice woman" and go back to Amuro, and takes off with a bazooka in his hands. He finds Kycilia's departing ship and salutes them ("Garma, I'm sending your sister to join you. Consider this my farewell gift.") before firing into the cockpit, annihilating the ship's bridge and decapitating Kycilia in the process. He then disappears amidst the explosion and is logically presumed dead. He was not shown to have survived the incident until the third Mobile Suit Gundam compilation movie, which added new animation during the closing credits revealing Char to still be alive.
Mobile Suit Gundam - Char's Deleted Affair - A Portrait of a Young Comet
At the end of the One Year War, Char goes to Axis and his experience there is partly depicted in the manga Char's Deleted Affair, where he heroically protects Axis in two major battles against the Earth Federation. He stays there until the end of U.C. 0082, when he gets back to Side 3 for a special mission to protect Haman Karn's inspection journey of Side 3. When they arrive at Zum City in U.C. 0083, he gets an invitation by George Miguel (Brother of Nanai) to join a paramilitary spacenoid organization within the Earth Federation Force.
However, upon hearing of Mahajara Karn's fatal illness in late May 0083, Char and Haman both decide to return to Axis. Once they do, they're intercepted by the pro-war Axis faction that wishes to restart the conflict with the Earth Federation, led by one Colonel Enzo. A civil war breaks out, with Char and Haman eventually overcoming Enzo's forces. Unfortunately, Mahajara Karn - Haman's father and the true political leader of Axis' - dies just shortly before the battle ends, and Haman now finds herself in charge of both Axis and Mineva. Tension between Char and Haman over the future of Axis and Zeon lead Char to finally leave the asteroid permanently with over 600 other soldiers on October 29, 0083.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Char reappears 4 years later in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, no longer with a mask and instead merely wearing sunglasses and cutting off his sleeves. Having left Axis Zeon, Char returns to the Earth Sphere in September 0084 and infiltrates the Earth Federation Forces ranking with the alias "Quattro Bajeena". Almost immediately, he finds himself involved in conflicts against the Earth Federation's newly formed Titan Task Force, fighting and shooting down 2 enemy warships within hours of acquiring his new identity. After meeting the Federation politician Blex Forer, Char joins a group of former Earth Federation Force's soldiers and eventually became a leading member of the Anti-Earth Union Group.
This time, rather than serving as the rival of the new protagonist, Kamille Bidan, Char serves as Kamille's mentor in the war against the Earth Federation's oppressive Titans organization. In Zeta Gundam, Char becomes an ally of his former adversaries in Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro Ray, Hayato Kobayashi and Bright Noa. He serves under Bright Noa as leader of AEUG mobile suit forces.
During this period, Char loses faith in himself as a decision maker. It seems to be his greatest fear, as he normally displays none in regard to war. When assuming the identity of Quattro he willingly places himself under the command of his former enemies. He has discovered that there can be compromise in the future of Earth's population and the colonies. In the course of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam even Bright Noa, who lost crew to Char's attacks on the White Base, urges him to drop the Quattro facade and become a leader to the Spacenoids, or those raised in space colonies. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam portrays Char's image as a hero who is always willing to stand up and fight for the freedom of spacenoids. His political speech in front of Federation Assembly in Dakar, which is broadcast throughout Earth and Space, is one of the most important events in the U.C. Gundam timeline. It seals Char's total commitment toward space colonization and migration of humanity to space.
Despite AEUG's victory in the Gryps Conflict against the Titans, Char is defeated in the final battle by Haman Karn, leader of the Axis Zeon (later Neo Zeon) faction and assumed dead. However, as the final credits roll, Char's damaged mobile suit floats by with its cockpit hatch open.
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
In Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Bright Noa remarks to Sayla Mass that he has a gut feeling that Char is simply watching from the sidelines and waiting for the right opportunity to return. Char does not appear in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ because Yoshiyuki Tomino has stated officially that he had originally intended to feature Char, but the plan was cancelled when he was granted to go-ahead with the theatrical movie Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack. This is evident as Char appears in the first opening theme song, but does not appear in the series.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
Char returns in the movie Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, set five years later, as the leader of a new Neo Zeon faction. He intends to create a nuclear winter by dropping the massive asteroid base Axis on the Earth, hence forcing a complete migration into space, which he believes will make all of humanity evolve into Newtypes. Only one thing stands in his way: the Federation's Londo Bell task force, and their top ace pilot, his old archrival Amuro Ray.
In the second Neo Zeon movement, both Char and Amuro pilot mobile suits equipped with an advanced psycommu system known as psycoframe. Char authorized Anaheim Electronics to pass the psycoframe technology to the development team responsible for Amuro's Nu Gundam, effectively planning a fair showdown between them in advance. After Char's mobile suit is destroyed by Amuro in the duel, Amuro captures Char's escape pod, and against Char's taunting, attempts to push the asteroid Axis away from Earth. The intense willpower of Amuro and all the pilots assisting him causes Nu Gundam's psycoframes to resonate and overload, resulting in a spectacular aurora with Axis pushed out of Earth's orbit. Both Amuro and Char disappear without a trace in the incident. There is no concrete evidence about them being deceased in the movie although Nanai Miguel did claim that Char's life force was fading away, as Amuro intercepted Axis and cries for Char when Axis is finally pushed back. The fates of either character were never revealed in the film, though the novelization of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack confirms both as KIA. The follow-up Gundam Unicorn also supports this idea. However, in the official Universal Century timeline for the animated series, it lists Amuro Ray and Char Aznable as MIA.
Fictional characteristics and attributes
Char favors speed-orientated offensive battle tactics and hates to get hit, even when piloting an I-Field generator equipped unit and beam attacks have minimal to no effect (Commented when piloting Zero the R in a simulation battle in Portrait of a Young Comet - Char's Deleted Affair).
He typically pilots red mobile suits, such as his red MS-06S Zaku II, Z'Gok, Gelgoog, RMS-009 Rick Dias and Sazabi. Exceptions to this is the MSN-02 Zeong, which was painted in a bluish-grey colour during the Battle of A Baoa Qu, and had no time to even install the legs, much less be repainted and the MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki, which is painted in bright gold yellow (At the time, he was pretending to be a different person).
The name Char Aznable was inspired by Armenian-French singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour (シャルル・アズナヴール Sharuru Azunavūru ) and character named Charkin in an earlier robot anime Reideen (ライディーン)
Mobile suits used by Char Aznable
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
Some of the mobile suits that he pilots throughout the series are:
- MS-06C Zaku II - Mobile suit that he starts with at the beginning of the war, and wins his ace status in at the battle of Loum.
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type - High-performance mobile suit issued to ace pilots and team commanders.
- MSM-07S Z'Gok Commander Type - An amphibious mobile suit, used by Char on the Jaburo Drop Operation.
- MS-14S Gelgoog Commander Type - The latest Zeon mobile suit incorporated in the last months of the war; special prototype given to ace pilots, damaged by Amuro Ray and the RX-78-2 Gundam at Side 5.
- MS-09R Rick Dom - A Customized space use heavy mobile suit, shown in the original novelization.
- MSN-02 Zeong - A powerful Newtype mobile suit piloted during the Battle of A Baoa Qu, the last one of the war. The unit Char receives is under construction and is only considered to be 80% completed, although the missing 20% consists of the suits legs, which are proclaimed superfluous in space anyway by one of the mechanics.
- Zero Ze Aru - After One Year Wars Char goes to Axis and uses this Mobile Armor in CDA.
- RMS-099 Rick Dias - AEUG mass-produced, heavy attack mobile suit, piloted by Char during the early part of Gryps Conflict.
- RX-178 Gundam Mk-II - Titans prototype, general-purpose mobile suit, piloted by Char at least twice, only having just stolen all three units.
- MSN-0100 Hyaku Shiki - AEUG prototype, personalized high-performance attack mobile suit, piloted by Char during the latter part of Gryps Conflict. Protected by a newly developed Anti-Beam Coating, this mobile suit shows a bright gold tone in place of his typical red scheme.
- MSN-04 Sazabi - Char's personalized mobile suit during the second Neo Zeon movement, designed to make full use of his Newtype powers.
- Replaced by MSN-04II Nightingale in the novelization.
- RX-78C/A Gundam Char Aznable Custom - An Alternate timeline in the video game series "Ghiren's Greed" places Char in the cockpit of a customized red RX-78 Gundam.
- MA-04X Zakrello Char Aznable Custom - Only appeared in Gundam Ace, Char's customize more powerful than original MA.
- RB-79 Ball Char Aznable Custom - Also only appeared in Gundam Ace, as a reference to an ongoing joke that Char will pilot anything "painted in red with horn (antenna)".
- Saku Char Aznable Custom - A parody of Zaku, Char's customize more powerful than original MS. It appeared in an official parody manga first published in Gundam Ace and is included in the Gundam Battle (series) as a secret unit.
So far, Char is the only character in the Gundam universe (U.C. or non-U.C. timelines) to have fought in three final battles of a movie or series. In Mobile Suit Gundam, Char fights against Amuro Ray at A Baoa Qu. In the finale of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Char and Kamille Bidan fight together against Haman Karn (of Axis Zeon) and Paptimus Scirocco (of Titans) in a three-way battle (AEUG vs Titans vs Axis). Finally, Char's last battle is at the end of Char's Counterattack when he fights his archrival Amuro Ray again.
Char Aznable is not only a character, but has become a brand name. Char, along with five other notable mecha and pilots from the various Gundam series, were recognized in the second set of "Anime Heroes and Heroines" stamps, released in Japan in 2005. Char Aznable has routinely placed in the top 10 lists of popular characters in both Gundam-specific and general-oriented fan magazines in Japan, such as Gundam Ace and Animage, typically ranking higher than the main character and his rival, Amuro Ray. In Gundam Ace, Char is consistently in the top 3 of the list, and held the number 1 spot for long periods of time, despite the fact that Gundam Ace tallies votes for Char's alter-ego Quattro Bajina separately. In fact, Quattro also consistently ranks in the top 10. In both Gunpla and Figure magazines it is almost guaranteed to see Char's custom red mobile suit. During January from 2007, Oricon made a poll in which they asked Japanese fans from manga and anime which characters from any series they would most like to see in spinoff series. He won the men's poll while ranked second in the overall.
On the Japanese bulletin board 2channel, the Gundam forums are named Char custom (シャア専用), and the anonymous placeholder for the name is changed to "3 times more than the usual anonymous" (通常の名無しさんの３倍), a reference to the "3 times faster than the usual Zaku" line from the original series. Char Custom refers to Char's tendency to highly customized standard Mobile Suits to his exact specifications and generally making the said units far more potent than normal. This usually involves the character coloring his suits red, which led some people to go as far as to label anything red "Char-custom", and to make vague references to the "3 times more potent" line in the original Gundam series (e.g. A red pencil might write 3 times faster, or is 3 times more likely to break). This pinkish-red colour is actually not the idea of the director, but only because the excess pinkish red colour ink the animation company has at the time. It is, however, stated in the game Gireh's Greed that the colour is actually only the colour of an unpainted Zaku due to the grudge from him being the top graduate from military school.
Bandai has capitalized on the character's popularity by licensing out the name to various products. There has been a Char-custom laptop, Char-custom Nintendo Gamecube, and a Char-custom motorbike helmet. All these products have a red satin finish, and have the goldleaf Zeon insignia or the emblem of Char's Neo Zeon emblazoned on them. A Char-custom Game Boy Advance SP was also created in Japan (with many sources claiming its battery will last 3 times as long as the normal GBA, or even that it will crash 3 times as much). On July 25, 2006, GE Consumer Finance released a Char Custom credit card, which receives three times as many bonus points per 1000 yen spent compared to their other Gundam-related credit cards . Japanese cell phone company Soft Bank released a special Char Custom cell phone in late 2007, with a very large red Zaku head which serves as the charger base. Char related apparel and accessories span a wide range, from the ubiquitous Quattro sunglasses to Char lighters, neckties, wristbands, caps, wallets and a wide range of t-shirts. The creator of Char Aznable, Yoshiyuki Tomino, does not like the idea of making money this way. He feels that by sticking the term "Char's Custom" to the products culturally suggests the quality of the product is superior to other brands. However, most of them are only coloured red and are basically the same as the products on which they are based; ironically, some of these "Char Custom" products are even of lower quality than the baseline products. Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino believes that "having satisfication in such products just because they are popular and can earn money is a sin, since it cannot teach a correct social sense to the newer generation".
In a planned spaceflight for 2006, Soyuz TMA-9, a Japanese internet investor named Daisuke Enomoto had asked to dress up as Char Aznable. However, medical restrictions prevented him from participating in the flight. In Code Geass, Lelouch's masked alter ego Zero was one of the earliest developed characters. Ichirō Ōkouchi wanted a mask to be included as a part of the series, because he felt that a mask was necessary for it to be a Sunrise show. Toyota also formed a new branch called Zeonic Toyota planning to issue a series of special cars, the first one being Char Aznable special Auris.
- Gundam Age(ガンダム･エイジ), 洋泉社, 1999, 飯塚正夫. Original wording quoted: 『～仮面をつけてたライバルって言えば、「ライディーン」のシャーキンなわけで、キンをとってシャー。フルネームはシャンソン歌手で、』translated as If talking about a masked rival, then Raideen's Charkin name was cut down to Char and (combined) with the full name of the Chanson singer
- Otona no Gundam-All about Gundam-Perfect, Adult's Gundam, Char Aznable & Ramba Ral, 1 January 2008, Nikkei Business Publication ISBN 978-4-8222-6317-1
- Japan Philatelic Society Foundation, Animation Hero and Heroine Series II "Gundam"
- "Oricon: Fans Want L, Char Aznable Spinoffs". Anime News Network. August 1, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- Playback special interview - Yoshiyuki Tomino, Otona no Gundam Perfect, p. 102~103, "まず声を大にして言いたいですね。シャアグッズについても、目を引くような”良さ”がなく、ただ赤く塗っただけでシャア專用を名乗るような商品は、絶対に間違っています。誤解を恐れず言いますが、赤いだけという志の低い商品は、ぼくの目の前からなくなってほしいと思います。...どこのメーカー製かわからないパーツを使っで、それで満足のスタッフにはほとほと嫌気ださします。...シャアブランドを借りる一方で、”シャア”に負けない何かを持という気概がなければ意味がないんです。...公共意識を伝え忘れた僕たちの世代の罪...儲かりさえすればいいという企業で働くサラリーマンを見て影響を受けた若い世代が、良い形で大人になれるとは思いません。...そして、公共意識というものを、次の世代にしっかり伝えなかったのも問題です。"
- "Interview with Ichirō Ōkouchi". Code Geass DVD Volume 1 (Sunrise).