The Zeonism of Haman Karn

Notes on Zeonism as proposed by Haman Karn, Regent of Zeon

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Updated

When Char Aznable retired from public life at the end of the One Year War, he left Haman Karn as the Regent of the Principality of Zeon, to watch over the child Mineva Lao Zabi.

Haman did a lot of things, but I’m not entirely sure she was a Zeonist.

Who was Haman, that Char would trust her to raise the infant Zabi heir?

Early Haman

Haman’s origins are not consistently depicted.

We have covered the final episode at a glance, but many things are still shrouded in mystery… Many of you must have thought the same. Yes, for example, “Mineva (in ZZ) was just an ordinary girl,” her saying “I will not become like my sister,” and the “bloodline” mentioned by Glemy that meant Glemy and Ple are related? All of these mysteries were not made clear in the main story of ZZG, it seems. According to Director Tomino’s “Tomino Memo,” all of these settings had already been fleshed out. It is unclear why it was not depicted in the main story, but let us unravel the mystery once and for all.

First of all, Haman’s identity. She is the younger sister of Zena, Mineva’s mother and the wife of Dozle, the 3rd son of the Zabi family, and [Haman] was Dozle’s lover. After losing Dozle to her sister, Haman swore to take revenge on the Zabi family. She became the guardian of Mineva only to use the restoration of the Zabi family as a cover to advance her own agenda.

Deacon Blues’ translation of Gundam Club 1987 issue 2, B-CLUB 15, published January 31, 1987.

According to this gossip rag, Haman is Dozle Zabi’s jilted ex and sister-in-law, aunt of Mineva, and independent woman who don’t need no man. She does need a Zabi heir, though.

But that is not the only explanation for Haman’s origin. The 2001-2009 manga Char’s Deleted Affair places Haman’s guardianship as a political play, in response to her actions during a battle between the Federation and Axis Zeon. Captain Enzo had orchestrated the battle as a means to popularize the idea of war among the people of Axis. Axis’ primary leader, Admiral Maharaja Karn, favored a peaceful existence for Axis; his daughter’s decisive speech encouraging the troops placed her into the public eye.

Captain Enzo: More importantly, there’s the matter of Haman Karn. Her actions were a completely unexpected factor — in a good way! She now has full sway over the hearts of the people as a hero of the Principality, and she’s still only a child. It’ll be easy to manipulate her. In the future, her existence will play a role for us.

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 3, p. 139, Zeonic scanlations translation

Later, in a speech before the assembly, Captain Enzo proposes to create a royal guard unit to protect Mineva Zabi (led by Char, and thereby sidelining him) and to establish Haman as Mineva’s guardian.

Captain Enzo: In an additional note, the brave actions of Lady Haman in this past battle is the subject of great admiration among the people. It’s a pity that she is not yet a soldier. This is where my proposal comes in! We shall allow her to join the Royal Chambers and take a role in supporting the infant Lady Mineva. Thusly, Lady Haman will be bestowed the title of Guardian!

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 3, p. 167, Zeonic scanlations translation

There is no record in Char’s Deleted Affair of Haman having been a lover of Dozle. Haman is fourteen when she first meets Captain Char.

The ceremony was to be conducted in accordance with royal tradition. In order to officially begin service at Lady Mineva’s side, Haman partook in a symbolic bathing ritual, to cleanse her “Earthliness.” The act was performed in solemn at the hands of several attendants.

The inauguration itself was held privately, in the presence of top Zeon officials. It goes without saying that the entire ordeal was strongly influenced by Captain Enzo. In fact, he was the one responsible for having it carried out in such an extravagant fashion.

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 4, pp. 5-9, Zeonic scanlations translation

What is her role, as fifteen-year-old titular guardian, figurehead of Zeon? Char didn’t oppose her appointment, and during a ceremonial motorcade, Char explains why:

Haman: Captain, is it okay for me to take on such an important role?

Char: Lady Mineva’s actual care is already handled by her attendants. All that really matters is that you’re there for her.

I can understand your anxiety. But everyone here is nervous, too. This place is on the outer frontier, far away from the Earth Sphere. Not only that, but it’s under military rule. If Axis is to continue in its existence, then there are no alternatives, other than to wage war on the federation and prevail, or negotiate with them for our independence.

As things stand now, it’s clear that neither can be achieved. The people realize it, too. To them, they’re living in a place where they don’t know whether they’ll even be alive the next day. What they need right now is hope. But Lady Mineva is still too young to rest their concerns. That’s why we need someone who can.

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 4, pp. 10-12 Zeonic scanlations translation

(It is during this motorcade that the young Mashymre Cello breaks a police cordon to run up alongside Haman’s open-topped limo, and offer her a rose. “Lady Haman!” he shouts, “One of these days, I’ll be there for you!” He shows up later.)

Char pushes Haman towards leadership, but what about other authority figures in her life? After a battle in which Haman is taken hostage by Federation soldiers and rescued by Char, Natalie and Haman find themselves invited to a hot spring by a diplomat. While the diplomat goes off to explore, Haman and Natalie have a frank conversation about Haman’s role.

Natalie: I’m sorry, Haman. It was my fault that you got dragged into a dangerous battle. I’ve been regretting it ever since….

Haman: It was nothing. Don’t fret over it. I’m a pilot and you’re a tactical officer. We both have roles to fulfill. Don’t blame yourself.

Natalie: Haman, do you understand your position? You are Admiral Maharaja’s daughter. You are vital to Axis!

Haman: And Axis is vital to me! So I fight in order to protect Axis!

Natalie: I don’t want you to participate in any more life-threatening battles.

Haman: It’s not like I fight because I like it… Fighting is not a game to me! Those that win the fight and survive have the possibility to change the future. But if you lose, then it’s all over. If I can make the world just a little bit better, I will fight, win, and survive! And I won’t regret risking my life on the battlefield for that.

Natalie: If you want to change the world, become a politician and lead the people! There is no need for you to fight on the front lines, in a mobile suit!

Haman: That may be true, but … I’ve chosen my path as a pilot. I’ve realized I’m a skillful pilot. I don’t mean to sound haughty. But it’s just an objective truth, that’s all. When a skilled pilot enters the battlefield, she can save the lives of many of her comrades.

Natalie: Haman….

Haman: I want to further improve my skills as a pilot, so I can use my power for the sake of Axis. — This was how I felt during the previous battle. But Natalie, I really don’t blame you for making me launch.

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 6, pp. 77- Zeonic scanlations translation

At this young age, when her role outside the battlefield is ceremonial, and when her role on the battlefield is is a mostly-ineffective pilot, I do find it weird that Natalie doesn’t push her harder towards politics. But as that diplomat, Oksana, remarks, Haman and Natalie are only beginning to open up to each other. Haman remarks that she views Natalie as “an older sister.”

In UC 0083, Haman cut her hair, donning the hairstyle she would keep through her death in UC 0088.

Also in that year, Haman is sent on an inspection tour of the Federation-controlled Republic of Zeon in Side 3, led by members of the Zeon Independence Alliance. Haman’s conclusion:

Haman: It was much worse than I imagined. I was quite shocked by it all. While it is officially labelled as an independent nation, for all intents and purposes, it is treated like a puppet state.

Georges: That is quite an impressive observation in such a short amount of time, Lady Haman.

Oksana: I feel that the situation has gotten much worse since I left for Axis.

Char: From the eyes of someone who is aware of the era of the Principality of Zeon that is certainly true. And I understand that those who escape to Axis isare unending. But truth be told, I couldn’t sense a vitality in the eyes of the citizens like that time, either. In its current state, it’s impossible for the will of the people to rally behind a rise for independence. That is to say, so long as those who have experienced war and have long given up that desire are steering the world, unless a generational change happens over several decades, a movement for independence will not occur.

Oksana: Those of us in the independent alliance don’t intend to wait that long.

Haman: Then we should help lead them back to their desire for the independence they lost!

Char: I’m afraid the hearts and minds of the masses cannot be changed so easily. To be honest, although the federation is weakening, independence and the like through Axis’ fighting strength is an impractical proposition. Even if we were to gather all the remaining forces around the homeland, I’m doubtful it would be enough to change the current situation.

Haman: Captain! Despite that, I don't want to give up hope!

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 11, pp. 32-35 Zeonic scanlations translation

Haman pushes Char to not give in to despair; despite the tour she still hopes in independence in her lifetimes. She is the generational change that Char anticipates.

But she presses Char too hard on the question of his identity, accidentally using a Newtype power to see his thoughts, and he chastises her. This rejection leads her to flee his presence, leading to an awkward shuttle ride back to the space station Ambrosia. From Ambrosia, they return to Axis on a fast flight.

She arrives to Axis to learn that her father, Admiral Maharaja Karn, is dead.

At the prompting of the infant Mineva’s babysitter, Char backs a proposal to name Haman as Mineva’s regent. Haman does not say no.

At her father’s funeral:

Haman: First, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have attended the funeral of my father, Maharaja Karn. This incident was a very unfortunate one that shook the very system Axis was built upon. My deepest sympathies go out to the 46 soldiers who were sacrificed as a result. When I head the reasons why the dispute took place, both sides shared the same intentions: independence for Zeon. From now on, I’d like to ask that both sides join forces and let bygones be bygones. Let us come together as one to lead for the future of Zeon.

I, Haman Karn, proclaim that from this day forth, I will follow in my father’s footsteps, protect Lady Mineva, return to the Earth in the future to wipe out the past disgrace of our defeat at the hands of the Federation, and to revive the Zabi family to once and for all gain independence for the Principality of Zeon!

Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 14, pp. 2-4 Zeonic scanlations translation

In case you missed that, Haman’s goals are now:

She remains more militant than her father, and remains a Zabi-ist.

So much for Char’s Deleted Affair.

Haman, Regent of Zeon

In 0087, when the Titans begin to the colony laser Gryps II to a firing position, the AEUG asks Haman for the assistance of the Axis Zeon forces she leads. Haman travels to the AEUG spacecraft Argama to negotiate in person with the AEUG’s local leadership: Quattro Bajeena, known as Char Aznable. After remarking on how history keeps bringing them together, Haman asks:

Haman: First things first. Is the AEUG willing to accept the legitimacy of the Zabi family, the former rulers of the space colonies? Well, Captain?

Bright Noa: The AEUG’s sponsors are willing to accept that condition as part of the proposal.

Char: What would you have done if we decided not to recognize the Zabi family?

Haman: Eventually, we would have launched a nuclear attack on Earth. Axis is already prepared for it.

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam , episode 43, English dub.

The negotiations are concluded: Anaheim Electronics chairman Melanie Hue Carbine promises Side 3 to Axis in exchange for their aid. Side 3, also called “Munzo”, is the furthest colony cluster from Earth, located beyond the Moon at Earth-Moon L2. It is the birthplace of Zeon. In exchange, the AEUG asks that Axis Zeon use their battleship Gwadan to destroy Gryps II.

One cannot be sure if the nuclear threat was pure bluster, but that the threat was considered shows that Axis Zeon does not hold to Zeon Zum Deikun’s ideals regarding Ere-ism.

Haman moves the Gwadan to attack Gryps II, which vexes the Titans’ Bask Om. She orders an attack on the colony laser’s nuclear pulse engines, not on its laser functionality, with the intention of preserving the colony laser for use by Zeon. Perfidy.

And yet, Gryps II is disabled, and its course shifts away from the Moon. The AEUG recognizes that she has followed through on her word.

After disabling Gryps II, she establishes the lie that she will give the Titans:

Haman: Our cannons were aimed at the Argama, weren’t they, captain?

Captain: Yes, ma’am.

Haman: There must have been some error in our targeting. We accidentally hit Gryps II. How unfortunate.

Then she goes to meet with the Titans, at their asteroid fortress, The Gate of Zedan. Jamitov skips the pleasantries and asks what she wants:

Haman: We’re terribly sorry that our clumsiness the other day has caused you so much inconvenience. The accident at Gryps II was the result of my subordinate—

Jamitov Hymen: Spare me the details! Tell me what you want with us, and think carefully before you answer, for I may yet have the Gwadan vaporized!

Haman: I wonder about that. Do anything so unwise and Axis will destroy the Gate of Zedan.

Jamitov: The asteroid? [subs: “Axis will?”]

Haman: Yes.

Jamitov: So what do you want?

Haman: The revival of the Zabis!

Jamitov: I’ve already promised you the restoration of the Zabi Family. Must I seal this with my blood?

Haman: Blood? [subs: “A seal of blood?”] [laughs] What does a blood smear on a piece of paper prove? But I will tell you what I really want. The only thing that will satisfy me is your life!

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam , episode 44, English dub, official subs.

Titans officers try to capture her; she threatens Jamitov with an earring containing cyanide gas. This buys time for several Axis soldiers to subdue the Titans officers and secure Haman’s escape. She throws the cyanide capsule, but Jamitov escapes, aided by Lieutenant Jerid. Haman and her soldiers return to the Gwadan, and Axis Zeon requests the assistance of the Argama. The AEUG deploy mobile suits and missiles to attack the Gate of Zedan, and the Gwadan retreats. “They’re just so honest,” Haman says of the AEUG. (Zeta ep. 44, dub)

The AEUG’s assistance allows the Gwadan to escape. The Titans evacuate the Gate of Zedan, and Axis Zeon evacuates the asteroid Axis. The AEUG suppress the Titans evacuation fleet, trying to keep it within its asteroid.

Aboard the Gwadan, Mineva practices her violin lessons. (Zeta ep. 44, dub) I find this interesting because it shows Mineva’s role in Haman’s Axis: at the point of Axis’ triumph over the Titans, Mineva is completely out of the chain of command.

Axis separates from the habitation satellite Moussa, and collides with the Gate of Zedan. The rubble field damages the Titans’ fleet, and the Gate of Zetan is destroyed.

In the aftermath, AEUG chairman Melanie Hugh Carbine goes to negotiate with Axis Zeon.


In the final episode of Zeta Gundam, Quattro battles with Haman Kahn and Paptimus Scirocco. They enter the former residential areas of the colony Gryps II, which has been converted into a giant laser, and encounter each other in a theatre. Haman pressures Quattro to join her. Quattro refuses, saying that they must deal with Scirocco. Haman offers Quattro an alliance against Scirocco if he’ll help her restore the Zabi family. He refuses.

Haman: Scirocco’s right about you, isn’t he? In that case, Char, why don’t you help me restore the Zabi family? Just consider how we could reshape the world together. [points gun at Scirocco] Once we remove this bothersome spectator, of course.

Quattro: Stop it, Haman! Don’t you understand? I just don’t want to guide this world in the wrong direction.

Haman: [points gun at Quattro] Oh, really? Say you defeated the Zabi family and wiped out the Titans. What would your plans for the Earth Sphere be like, then?

Quattro: Even without my guidance, humanity will change as it awakens through its newtype gifts! I am content to wait for that time.

Haman: If you won’t side with me, then I’ll simply eliminate you. And I’ll restore the Zabi family myself. That’s a simple enough idea for guiding the common people.

Quattro: Can’t you see that you’re just repeating the same mistakes, Haman?

Haman: If you don’t understand how this world works, it’s better that you remove yourself from it.

Kamille Bidan: [enters stage left]The ones who need to be removed are the ones whose souls are dragged down by the Earth’s gravity. However, even that cause doesn’t justify killing so many people.

Haman: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Paptimus: Spewing your naked emotions may impress the commonfolk, but it won’t work on us.

Kamille Bidan: What’s the point of building a new world if people can’t live their own lives in it?

Paptimus: Common people are only capable of holding back true genius. They’re good for nothing. The world has always been run by a handful of geniuses.

Kamille Bidan: That’s not true!

Paptimus: Foolish boy! Your kind of cheap sentimentality will be the ruin of this world.

Haman wants to resurrect the Zabis. Scirocco wants to rule. Quattro Bajeena doesn’t seem to care. And here it’s Kamille Bidan, newtype soldier for the AEUG forces, who professes something closest to what Zeon Zum Deikun proposed.

The chronological viewer of Gundam materials will next encounter Haman Karn in a flashback memory from Mashymre Cello, an officer of Zeon who was specially commissioned by her on a public relations mission.

Mashymre: Taking a tour of the colony will allow me to better assist Lady Haman in her conquest of Earth.

[Flashback begins]

Haman: Soldiers who have been selected by the Zabi family! You shall become my eyes and ears in the Earth sphere in order to make it the Zabi Family’s. (crowd cheering.) Mashymre Cello!

Mashymre: Ma’am!

Haman, tenderly: I have high expectations of you.

Mashymre splutters.

Haman You will go to Shangri-La, the first colony. Gather information on it and establish our strategic position there. …. It has come to my attention that the old colonies’ social structure is decaying. Misbehave as they may, please realize that those children are victims of their society. We must be kind to them, and teach them right from wrong.

Haman gifted him a rose, which Mashymre worshipped.

After Mashymre and his replacement Gotton were killed, Haman Karn addressed the forces of Neo Zeon, and the Earth Sphere:

Haman Karn: Those enemies who cast us into the darkness ahave already grown weak and complacent. It is time we made these fools remember us! Soon all of humanity on Earth will know the name of “Neo Zeon”! I ask each of you to fight your hardest for our newly formed Neeo Zeon! For the sake of Neo Zeon’s eternal destiny!

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, episode 20, 9anime.to/mycloud subtitles.

In episode 26, during the battle for Dakar, Haman confronts Judau Ashta at a party where the Federation bigwigs are hobnobbing with the Neo Zeon folks, with Lady Mineva Zabi in attendance. I’d discount this short lecture as propaganda, save for what Haman says at the very end, as she holds him at gunpoint.

Haman Karn: You disappoint me, Judau Ashta. You failed to rise above being a child.

Judau Ashta: It’s too bad. I’ve made quite a mess of your important party.

Haman: Don’t move! You don’t understand, do you? This party is to cement the rule of Neo Zeon. The Earth is to be governed by the people in this building.

Judau: That’s why you can’t claim to have justice on your side!

Haman: We’ve had to huddle like slaves mining the asteroid belt year after year. What have these foolish people done to deserve the beauty of Earth? Earth is being abused at an accelerating rate! Things cannot continue on Earth like this indefinitely! To stand by and allow this is to share the blame for it! I cannot forgive such selfishness.

[laughs]

Somehow when I’m with you, I let my feelings rule my speech. It’s rather mysterious.

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, episode 20, 9anime.to/mycloud subtitles.

Episode 31, Haman’s internal thoughts:

Haman: Creating a new space era is dependant on the legacy of Zabis. But will I die before I can see it?! Frightening as though a new line of Zabis may be, I definitely have to see it! The Neo Zabi family! What do you think, Char? The Zabis who carry on the spirit of the father of Zeon, Zeon Deikun, always remained alone… As I must always be alone…

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, episode 31, 9anime.to/mycloud subtitles.

This is noteworthy in a couple of ways. First, it shows that she’s a Zabi supporter through and through. But also, she believes the Zabi propaganda that the Zabi branch of Zeonism is Zeon Zum Deikun’s Zeonism. For her, the Zabi family is integral to the success of Zeonism and the success of the country named Zeon.

She says as much, to Judau Ashta, when he and Roux louka kidnap Mineva Zabi from Core 3:

Haman: Don’t you understand how dangerous Glemy is? Glemy wants to resurrect the dangerous Zeon!

Judau: That’s what you intend!

Haman: I just want to use Lady Mineva to ensure Zeon’s loyalty to the Zabi name. However, Glemy desires to drench all of space in blood once more. He’s the sort of man whose ambition extends to all space! You must understand this.

Judau: I understand that, Haman. I also know that your victory would have the same results.

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, episode 43, 9anime.to/mycloud subtitles.

Afterwards, she says she’d rather let Mineva be killed rather than let Judau take her. “I will never lose grasp of Mineva Zabi to the likes of anyone else, Judau.”

I take what Haman says to Judau with a large dose of salt. She’s talking to a man she feels a mystical connection to, yet one who she knows is her enemy. (They’re both Newtypes; there is a psychic resonance between them.)

After Glemy Toto is defeated by the Gundam Team, Haman duels Judau, and is defeated by him.

Haman: You were hurt but, it’s I who have lost.

Judau: Why didn’t you use more funnels!?

Haman: [self-deprecating laugh] This was supposed to be a duel.

Judau: That openness … Why didn’t you put it to better use?! If you’d used it to promote harmony… you could’ve helped the Earth!

Haman: [laughs heartily] You know humans couldn’t take the asteroid belt and had to return here. That proves that humans are still stuck in the gravity well and cannot yet fly freely.

Judau: But then, what’s the point of this fight?

Haman: Exactly! Because of your rashness, the Earth remains under the trampling feet of a bunch of fools…! [grunts in pain] It’s all because of you children…

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, episode 46, 9anime.to/mycloud subtitles.

She flies her disabled mobile suit away from Judau before it can explode. Her final words are, “Thank goodness I returned… to meet such a good kid.” Then her mobile suit explodes and kicks off a chain reaction of other events in the battlefield.

I have two competing feelings about Haman:

  1. Haman Karn was not a Zeonist. She may have been a Zabiist, but where Zeon Zum Deikun believed that Spacenoids had thrown off the chains of gravity, Haman believed that humans were still bound by those chains, even after leaving the Earth Sphere.
  2. Haman Karn was a Zeonist, and she believed that the Zabi family were best able to bring about Zeon Zum Deikun’s predicted future.

Did she want to achieve Zeon Zum Deikun’s predicted future because that is the Zabi family’s goal, or did she back the Zabis because only they could achieve Zeon Zum Deikun’s future?

The curious case of Mashymre Cello

Mashymre Cello starts out Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ as a man totally loyal to his commander, Haman Karn, because she gave him a rose. It’s pure cult-of-personality, and he’s defeated in battle early in the series by the new Gundam Team. His command is handed over to Chara Soon (herself not exactly a stable person) and he leaves the story, returning only for a little bit to drop a colony on Dublin, Ireland.

What’s weird is that he’s brought back as a character in the final arc of that series, enhanced as a cyber-Newtype and with renewed command. He is accompanied by a minder, Illia Pazom, whose job it is to remind him of the fact that he’s still obsessed with the roses that Haman keeps giving him.

In episode 44, he delivers this address to the crew of his ship during the now-open conflict between Haman Karn’s Axis Zeon and Glemy Toto’s Glemy Faction:

Mashymre Cello: Chara Soon has already led our forces to eliminate Glemy’s troops on Axis. We are to be the reserves. Our objective is those forces on the edge of the battle. The enemy is powerful! The newtypes of Axis are even stronger than the Gundam Team. Warriors of the Endra. Who could oppose this dream? Glemy has done what none could tolerate! From that evil, now friends must mercilessly fight friends. Fate has decreed that Haman must gain victory in this encounter. Devils will be punished like devils, and criminals will be punished like criminals.

Illia Pazom, to herself: The cyber-enhanced conditioning he’s undergone has been perfect….

Mashymre is one of the few high-level leaders in Haman’s Axis Zeon faction who is depicted onscreen. Yet who is he? A brainwashed devotee.

Not a good look for Axis Zeon.