If you watch the eighth episode of Space Runaway Ideon, you will see Gije struggling to make combat honour work. If you ask me, his increasingly wild rules-lawyering provides much of the episode’s pleasure. ‘Okay, I had to take children hostage to make you duel honourably with me, but they’re being held hostage by my assistant, and the warrior code doesn’t apply to him as he’s a commoner, now can we get on with it please’.
Gije loses, because Bes is the sort of badass who can comfortably use a lightsabre and a laser pistol at once. As Gije flees, the Ideon has the opportunity to squash him and suddenly, when it’s a matter of restraining rather than promoting violence, honour starts to function: we shouldn’t step on Gije since Gije is an honourable warrior, say the pilots of the Ideon. Well, all of the pilots but one, for Kasha thinks it’s perfectly fine to squash Gije.
So this episode carries two different inflections: first, that honour works best—only works?—when it’s restraining violence; and second, that women don’t understand combat honour. (After all, feminine honour is passive, physically-located, binary and perhaps irretrievable once lost.) There’s room to argue that Kasha got it right, that she chose the correct, pragmatic response to the Buff Clan’s largely unprovoked and never truly honourable attacks. I don’t think Ideon takes this tack itself, though.
(This was also written in cheerful ignorance about Ideon‘s country of origin: I can only read from where I am, after all. This is also all Mike’s fault.)
I suppose I’m ignorant about the country of origin as well, but I can barely get across the feeling of ridiculousness watching these folks sitting around in their fake forest debating the honor of sparing a completely insane alien who randomly attacked them, because he’s a “samurai.”
Yet another reason to look down on Kasha’s hot-blooded, tomboyish ways. She wants to live in this man’s world of combat, but she doesn’t understand one of its key components (neither do I, but I’ve never been accused of being particularly manly myself).
It’s interesting, though: I’ve been kinda taking the angle that Tomino goes above and beyond the traditional Japanese marginalization of women and into misogyny, but perhaps there’s something in that old samurai world that fueled him. Then again, I’ve heard he was in a pretty dark place at the time, so… who knows.