The Zeonism of Mineva Lao Zabi

Notes on Zeonism as proposed by Mineva Lao Zabi, heir to the Principality of Zeon.



Heir to the Zabi throne, Princess of the Principality of Zeon, I’m not sure that Mineva Lao Zabi is a Zeonist.

Mineva was born on September 2, U.C. 00791, as the first and only daughter of her father, Dozle, and her mother, Zenna. She escapes A Baoa Qu with her mother under the escort of Char Aznable, who guides them to Axis.

The Gryps Conflict

TKTK Zeta 30 3:00: Char says, “She’s portrayed as their leader, but Mineva Zabi is still a figurehead.”

In 0087, the Zeon faction from the Belt asteroid Axis appears in the Earth Sphere. Quattro and a number of AEUG leaders meet with the leadership of Axis: Haman Karn and the young Princess Mineva Zabi.

Princess Zabi: Thank you for your long-term reconnaissance of the Earth Sphere. The time has arrived for Axis to make its move. I request that you assist us in reviving the Zabi family. True prosperity for all Spacenoids depends on the restoration of Zeon. Zein Deikun’s — [Princess Zabi gasps as Char, who has ascended the steps to her throne, thrusts his face at hers, and stares deeply into her eyes.]

Char: Please continue, your highness.

Haman Karn: [angrily] Char Aznable!

Char: [angrily] How dare you raise Mineva like this! You’ve made this child a parrot!

Haman Karn: She is the successor to the Zabi family. Her Highness’s destiny is to lead all Spacenoids. It is only proper that she should understand her responsibility. Perhaps it is you who have had a change of heart. [Char grabs her; her soldiers grab him.]

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, episode 33, dubbed

Char and the AEUG delegation depart in disgrace; Princess Mineva Zabi accepts on behalf of Axis Zeon Paptimus’ Scirocco’s pledge of alliance.

When Haman rams the asteroid Axis into the Titans’ asteroid fortress, the Gate of Zedan, Haman is aboard the Axis flagship Gwadan, practicing violin lessons. (Zeta ep. 44, dub) I find this interesting because it is further evidence of Mineva’s role in Haman’s Axis: at the point of Axis’ triumph over the Titans, Mineva is not only completely uninvolved in the chain of command, she’s not even present to supervise the goings-on. She’s less of a figurehead and more of a puppet, to be used for a scene and then put away.

This puppet-like behavior continues in UC 0092, during the events surrounding the isolated Bernal Sphere Moon Moon. Though Haman Karn died in 0088, Mineva, exposed to the high background levels of cyber-newtype drugs present in Moon Moon’s environment, begins to exhibit behavior and personality similar to Haman Karn.


The Third Neo Zeon War

During the Third Neo Zeon War in U.C. 0096, she turned against Full Frontal and sought a new path for Spacenoids, free from the banner of Zeon.

TKTK diner scene on Earth.

After being reunited with Full Frontal aboard the captive Federation ship Nahal Argama, Mineva has Full Frontal explain his philosophy:

Full Frontal: What we Spacenoids desire, first and foremost, is the establishment of our right to self-rule. The Federation will never consent to this. They know that the instant they do, the roles of master and servant would be reversed. The reason is obvious.

At present, life in the Earth Sphere depends on the existence of the seven Sides and the Moon, including energy production, food production, economic activity itself. The fact is that on its own, the planet Earth is no longer even capable of feeding 2 billion Earthnoid mouths.

Spacenoids, on the other hand, could easily support themselves if they were to sever ties with Earth. Zeon Deikun should have used this fact as a weapon.

However, while he may have been a great philosopher, a politician he was not. Whether it’s the Zabi family twisting Zeon’s ideals and exploiting them in a war for independence or the two Neo Zeon wars, it all boils down to the same thing.

Until we abandon the goal of forcing them to formally acknowledge us, there will be no victory in our battle against the Federation. We will strengthen the ties between the Moon and seven Sides and create an economic zone that excludes the Earth at its center. That is to say, we found the Side Co-Prosperity Sphere. If all the Sides enter into an economic partnership and boycott Earth, it will wither away into a backwater with no economic value whatsoever. The Federation Government probably won’t be able to survive, either. The only entity capable of acting as mediator for this is the Republic of Zeon.

Although it may be a Federation puppet, a certain degree of autonomy has been granted to it. The problem is that it is set to relinquish its autonomy to the Federation in four short years. If the Republic reverts back to Side 3 and is no longer permitted to act as anything beyond a local government, we will never move toward the Side Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Princess Mineva Zabi: And it was at that crucial juncture that the proposal came from the Vist Foundation to turn over Laplace’s Box.

Full Frontal: Yes. Although I doubt that Cardeas Vist was aware of our plans, judging from the timing of the offer, I suspect that he hated the idea that the Federation order would become more entrenched when the Republic was dissolved.

It is common knowledge that, with the dissolution of the Republic, the Federation intends to eradicate Zeon. As is embodied by the Unicorn Gundam, a device designed to destroy the Newtype myth.

Mineva: So, what you hope to gain by obtaining the Box is time. By threatening the Federation and postponing the Republic’s dissolution, you gain time to create this Side Co-Prosperity Sphere of yours.

Full Frontal: That sums it up admirably.

Mineva: Now that I hear it, it all seems so petty. You want to create this Side Co-Prosperity Sphere and leave out the Federation. Rather than demanding change from those who refuse it, you will imply ignore them. That is far removed from the ideals of Zeon Deikun, who dreamed of reforming humanity.

And worlds apart from the madness, the passion, of Char, who tried to render Earth uninhabitable and bring all humanity into space. Are you sure this is what you really want? If this Side Co-Prosperity Sphere of yours comes to pass, the Earthnoids will probably speed up the redevelopment of Earth. In order to support an economy of their own. It would be a return to the old A.D. calendar days.

The new generation that will grow up in poverty might even plot to retaliate against the Spacenoids. Just like when Zeon started the One Year War. There will be no harmony or reform, only the strong and weak endlessly trading places into the future.

Full Frontal’s address aboard the Nahal Argama, Mobile Suit Unicorn Gundam RE:0096 episode 16, GundamInfo English subtitles, 12:55.

Mineva believes that Full Frontal’s plan to abandon Earth would result in further retaliation by Earthnoids against Spacenoids. She favors a plan with more dialogue and interaction between the factions in the Earth Sphere.

The uneasy ceasefilre between the crew of the Nahel Argama and the Sleeves forces aboard her lapses when a Federation patrol ship chances upon the Nahel Argama and the Zeonic ships escorting her. Captain Otto orders the Sleeves thrown off his ship. Full Frontal makes to fight, but Mineva expresses her discontent with Full Frontal’s recently-described interpretation of Zeonism.

Princess Mineva Zabi: Withdraw your forces, Full Frontal. We won’t walk down the same path as you! “The Second Coming of the Red Comet”, there was a time when we clung to your strength. When we were being hounded by the Federation, we had nothing else. But you are not Char!

The Char that I knew believed in human possibility!

Lieutenant Angelo Sauper: Why do you refuse to understand the captain’s ideas?!

Mineva: Garencieres Team! Officers and soldiers of Neo Zeon! Hear me! Whatever Laplace’s Box turns out to be, it will mark a profound turning point for us. It may even be capable of bringing about the future that Full Frontal speaks of. He may very prove correct. It may be the only realistic answer to ensure humanity’s continued existence.

However, can that truly be called the future? Wasn't "the future" supposed to refer to a time that is different from the present? A better world? The human evolution and harmony that were dreamed of by Zeon Deikun are nowhere in that world. As the successors to the name of Zeon, as those who brought about the tragedies of the One Year War, we have a responsibility! If we simply accept reality as reality, we cannot fulfill that responsibility. The light that the Unicorn showed us —

Angelo Sauper: How can the last child of Zabi say such a thing?

[All this time, Mineva has been riding in a mobile suit piloted by Marida Cruz. Cruz’s father figure and commanding officer, Captain Zinnerman, orders Cruz to open the cockpit of her mobile suit, and she does so. Sauper jams his mobile suit’s gun into the open hatch. Mineva asks Zinnerman why he's stuck in the past; it's because he seeks revenge for the death of his wife and daughter. Marida calls him father, asks him to let her have her way. He assents; Marida closes her hatch and punches Angelo’s mobile suit.]

Angelo Sauper: Zinnerman, you bastard! You people are always like this! Irresponsible! Weak! That’s why we need power that goes beyond humanity! The Captain is a man who's transcended humanity!

Banagher Links: Humanity's future is to be built by humans, isn’t it? People are weak. Flawed. That’s why we entrust [the future] to each other. It’s passed on, and people keep walking forward. No matter how painful the path might be!

Mobile Suit Unicorn Gundam RE:0096 episode 17, GundamInfo English subtitles, 15:47.

Several things are made clear in this scene:

Full Frontal and Sauper depart, with Full Frontal declaring a race to the Box.

Hours later, Mineva and Banagher Links arrive at the bedside of Syam Vist, the guardian of Laplace’s Box. They are interrupted by Full Frontal.

Mineva: Syam Vist. For many years, you have used this to extort concessions from the Federation government. Why give that up now?

Vist: Four years from now, in U.C. 0100, the autonomy of the Republic of Zeon will be revoked. The name of Zeon, along with his ideology, will sink into oblivion. The word “Newtype” will eventually be forgotten as well, and the curse of the Box will return to nothingness. As well as its prayer.

Without giving in to despair, without trying to stymie it, a prayer to turn back towards the God called possibility. If we miss this opportunity —

Mineva: But if we do this, war will break out again. If it has been signed by representatives of every nation, this monument carries the weight of law. If an anti-government group like the Zeon remnants were to get their hands on it, it would be the perfect weapon to bring down the Federation. If that happens, it will be the One Year War all over again. It's too steep a price to pay for the truth of their goodwill.

Mobile Suit Unicorn Gundam RE:0096 episode 20, GundamInfo English subtitles, 9:00.

This princess of Zeon is opposed to war, having seen the effects it had upon her country. But because Mineva believes in “the god called ‘possibility’ that lives inside us all,” in the 22nd episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096, Mineva takes the microphone that Syam Vist offers her, and tells the world of the contents of Laplace’s Box, because she thinks it will make the world a better place for Spacenoids.

End Notes

  1. Mineva’s birthdate of September 2, U.C. 0079 is from the Gundam Wikia article for Mineva, but is unsourced.