“0080?” has a question mark because the chronology of Char’s Deleted Affair is not exact, but it is known that these events take place after the end of the One Year War.
Maharaja: Whatever the case, we need his support to attain independence for Spacenoids without resorting to war. It’s the only way we’ll live up to Zeon Zum Deikun’s ideals. If he comes forward with his true identity and takes up the reins of the movement, the people’s morale would rise alongside the prospect of independence. When that day finally comes, I’ll raise both my hands in his support.
— Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 4, pp. 69 Zeonic scanlations translation
This one quote is sufficient to capture Maharaja Karn’s Zeonism: He takes seriously Zeon Zum Deikun’s statement that independence must be attained through peace. He is not a Zabi-ist; with the infant Mineva Lao Zabi already on the throne of the Principality, and his daughter, Haman, as Mineva’s guardian, Maharaja Karn instead looks to Char Aznable, who he believes is Casval Rem Deikun, to take up the leadership of a peaceful Zeonism.
But there’s more. He’s not solely Zeonist in the sense of backing independence for Zeon. He invites Char and another trusted soldier over for drinks one night.
Maharaja: As I told you before, the factions are not the issue. Forcing responsibility on them for what transpired, and causing them to fall, isn’t what’s important.
The final direction I hope to take is complete independence and autonomy of Spacenoids. Something that isn’t limited to just Axis or Zeon. But rather independence for all Spacenoids living in the colonies. If we are able to attain that goal, then I won’t have any qualms that that the organization that is the “Principality of Zeon” here on Axis will be a sacrificial stone in exchange for that. I’d stake my life on it.
… We are here to protect this organization called Axis. Of course I can’t tell that to anyone other than you.
— Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 6, pp. 69 Zeonic scanlations translation
Maharaja: When Captain Char returns from the Republic with a resolute decisions, the day will surely come for the Axis-based revival of Zeon, and the truly independent self-government of the Spacenoids’ desire will be achieved. This time it will not be a dictatorship like the Zabi family but a true independent Republic of Zeon. I believe whole-heartedly in this and will wait for it.
— Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 8, pp. 100 Zeonic scanlations translation
Maharaja Karn is the closest thing I’ve seen to an adherent to the original teachings of Zeon Zum Deikun.
Unfortunately, he falls ill and slips into a coma before he has a chance to suppress Axis’ militant faction.
Enzo Bernini leads a faction of Axis Zeon which seeks independence for Zeon through war with the Federation.
Enzo: We have Lady Mineva, the rightful heir to the throne of the Principality of Zeon, and
we havehope for Spacenoids. Complete autonomy is the true desire of all Spacenoids. Now, in this situation, when Axis revolts, and is victorious in battle with the Federation, thus achieving independence, there’s no doubt that the other colonies will follow suit.
Then, the Spacenoid alliance will form, centered around the Principality and the Zabi family. And we’ll have status and rights equal to that of the Earth Federation Government in our hands. That’s when Axis will be the heart of Spacenoid independence, and we will surely be the pillars of that movement!
What a splendid future it will be.
— Char’s Deleted Affair, volume 6, pp. 94-95 Zeonic scanlations translation
This is a man whose Zeonism is as fervently independent as Maharaja Karn’s Zeonism, yet it lacks Maharaja’s commitment to peaceful measures.
In the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn novelization, after the Federation forces and ECOAS team aboard the Nahel Argama acquire the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam from Anaheim, ECOAS 920 team commander Daguza Mackle discusses that Gundam with members of his team. The Gundam was manufactured by Anaheim Electronics, the primary military contractor for the Federation and a front for the Vist Foundation. After testing the Unicorn at the Magallanica, the Vist Foundation had arranged to transfer the Unicorn Gundam to the “Sleeves” faction of Neo Zeon, at the same time that ECOAS tried to capture it. The Gundam instead was given by Vist Foundation leader Cardeas Vist to Banagher Links, who piloted it during a confrontation between the Sleeves and Federation forces. After the stress of being used by the Unicorn’s NT-D system exhausted Banagher, he and the Unicorn were captured by the Nahel Argama, which led to this conversation between a wounded Daguza and his subordinates:
“Then, leader, is that mobile suit the Laplace Box?”
“Leaving aside whether we can put an end to this speculation, we do have enough proof here. We have a machine that was ready to be moved out with the spare parts and the Laplace Program that was only installed when it was moved to the Magallanica. I have no idea which level of the Vist Foundation got involved with this plan, but the Unicorn’s the symbol of the Foundation after all.”
The moment Daguza finished, the left arm and flank that were numb started to ache, and he did not continue . It seemed that the effect of the painkiller had worn out. Conroy seemed to detect this situation as he wanted to say something, but Daguza averted his stare and quickly said before Conroy could, “What we can understand is that the weapon was built for Newtypes to pilot.”
“The Newtype Theory is the core of Zeon. Removing Zeonism is something that has to be linked with eliminating the remnants of Zeon. It’s really puzzling why they would gamble on the Federation’s trust in the plan and take a weapon meant for Newtypes.”
“Fight fire with fire…you can think of it that way, but I heard that the Newtype research facility was already closed.”
“No matter how we deny it, the conclusion is that we can’t ignore how useful Newtype weapons are, is it? In fact, all the Gundam pilots up till now are…”
“It’s because of this, that the elimination of Newtypes has to be carried out by non-Newtypes. This is to crush the myth that’s ingrained deeply in people’s hearts.”
Volume 3, Chapter 1, Part 3 of the Baka-Tsuki translation of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn available on The Internet Archive
There are several things going on in this scene, but what I wish to highlight is that Daguza, a member of the Federation’s crack special forces, thinks that Newtype Theory is essential to Zeonism, and that without it, Zeonism, as both an ideology and a Spacenoid-independence movement, will fade away.
During the events of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Sleeves pilot Marida Cruz drags captive Gundam pilot Banagher Links through the rough-hewn informal tunnels of the asteroid Palau to a miner’s chapel, an unexpected but not uncommon bastion of Christianity in the post-gods Universal Century. There, Marida stares at a crucifix, the focus of the chapel, and says to Banagher:
“This statue was built when this place was still part of the Asteroid Belt. The first batch of space pioneers were those who could not live on Earth, political criminals and people who had no other ways to live. When the Universal Century started, it was said that the Prime Minister said that this was a moment where Humanity would have to say goodbye to the century of Gods, but to these space pioneers, they would need a light they could rely on, especially those who lived in the asteroid belts, where the sunlight was mixed amongst the stars…”
The clear voice rang throughout the chapel, gradually seeping into Banagher’s tense body. He remembered the praying faces of Gilboa and the rest before they had dinner, and tried to say, “Light, is it…” Even though this “Palau” was dragged to be part of the Earth Celestial Sphere, the Church had built up in other places. The ideals of the people who saw light here 100 years ago had not disappeared even till this point. This belief would probably sink in with Gilboa and his descendants from the moment this was ingrained into the asteroid belt. They believed that one of these days, all suffering would pay off—
“Without light, people will be unable to live on. That’s why people want to rely on such a thing. However, the people who were abandoned into space finally found a light to replace this man. They found the new light called Zeon.”
Marida’s expression became a little sinister. Banagher again looked back at the image of Christ, and overlapped the image of Zeon Deikun he saw on the textbook over there.
“Whether it’s right or not isn’t important. To them, this light is important. They needed something to fight despair and live in this world that was cruel and binding. They needed something to believe that this world still has room for change. No one can laugh at such a demand. It’s stupid not to have a physical thing to rely on and live until now—if anyone can say that, that person is either being very happy, or is living in a way where he has nothing to do with the world. That can’t be called real living.”
Volume 4, Chapter 1, Part 13 of the Baka-Tsuki translation of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn available on The Internet Archive
For these asteroid miners, Zeonism provided the hope of salvation that Christianity had formerly provided. Salvation in the afterlife was replaced by temporal salvation, which their present suffering would work towards. Zeon’s ideology provided goals towards which they could work.
Suberoa Zinnerman is captain of the Garencieres, a tramp freighter spaceship which is secretly a Zeon-remnant infiltration ship.
While Mineva Zabi questions Full Frontal about his plan for Zeon and the Side Co-Prosperity Sphere:
Full Frontal: As I had explained, this is different from the old movements to revive Zeon. I was worried that a soldier like Lieutenant Zinnerman, who had been serving the Republic army wholeheartedly, would definitely refuse, so I withheld the important before that moment. I do apologize for that.
Zinnerman: There’s no need to apologize. Once I heard everything, I felt that it’s all a stupid plan.
Volume 8, Chapter 3, Parts 8-11 of the Baka-Tsuki translation of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn available on The Internet Archive, with non-speech text removed
Later, Full Frontal and Zinnerman speak, alone. Full Frontal expresses that he would not take the leadership of Zeon from Her Highness Mineva, even if he had not sworn to keep her as head of the Principality. Full Frontal is a leader, but he does not lead for his own sake.
It was a fact that they agreed as a condition to view Mineva as the princess when Zinnerman affiliated himself with the “Sleeves”, but at this situation,
hestarted to feel that it did not matter at all. Mineva was need to gathered the efforts of all the people related to the Principality, but she had no other value. It was the same whether she was involved in the Sid co-prosperity ring, but there was a role she could take up if there was a need. Zinnerman had no strength in hating Frontal for this implication and looked away from the masked face. “You’re not interested, right?” These words came in at this moment,
“That’s fine too. It’s because you’re like this that I let the Garencieres team act freely, Captain.”
“…What do you mean?”
“Since you were entrusted with the child, you naturally wanted to protect Her Highness, and you have the sense of responsibility to your own subordinates. But those are mere responsibilities; you never had any particular interest in reviving Zeon at all. You hated the Federation with a vengeance, but you know that this isn’t a grudge that can be cleared completely just by taking revenge.
“And thus, even if it was for a moment, you were on a Federation ship. But as time passed…no, from the moment you stepped aboard this ship, you felt that you couldn’t erase your hatred, and you did what you had to do.
“Activists succumb easily as they’re used to justifying themselves. However, for people like you, captain, who don’t harbor much hope in humanity and the world, it’s hardly for you to succumb because you aren’t fixed. Once you understand the innermost self within you, you’ll be the most reliable partner.”
Volume 8, Chapter 3, Parts 14 of the Baka-Tsuki translation of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn available [on The Internet Archive](https://archive.org/details/manga_Gundam_Unicorn/%21Autogenerated%20Baka-Tsuki/Gundam%20Unicorn%20-%20Volume%2001%20-%20Day%20of%20the%20Unicorn%20%28Part%201%29%20%5BBaka-Tsuki%5D%5BAutogenerated%5D%5BDark%5D/mode/1up), with non-speech text removed</cite>
The anime’s depiction of events is compatible with this interpretation, I suppose. While the Sleeves and Zinnerman’s Garencieres team hold the Nahel Argama crew captive, Zinnerman meets with Full Frontal:
Full Frontal: If it weren’t for the General Revil’s suprise attack, you would have hijacked the Nahel Argama with or without us. Am I right, captain?
Zinnerman: That’s what you brought me down here for?
Full Frontal: Does it seem meaningless now? For all those years, you hung onto that hatred of yours, never being able to get rid of it. But now you have other dreams. Was it the boy who somehow changed you? Or was it Lieutenant Marida?
Zinnerman: I couldn’t let go of this hatred, even if I wanted to. But I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘meaningless’ now. I suppose I’m tired, tired of hunting the darkness, of the me who’s given up on everything. It makes me wonder — back then, when Char Aznable chose to create the world of Newtypes that his father dreamed of, instead of seeking revenge against the Zabi family — I wonder if he was in the same state of mind back then as I am right now.
— Mobile Suit Unicorn Gundam RE:0096 episode 17, GundamInfo English dub, 7:00.
When the Nahel Argama crew start to evict the Sleeves from her, Princess Mineva Zabi ends up in the cockpit of Marida Cruz’ mobile suit, ordering Full Frontal’s rebels to stand down.
Cruz’s father figure and commanding officer, Zinnerman, orders Cruz to open the cockpit of her mobile suit, and she does so. Sleeves Lieutenant Angelo Sauper jams his mobile suit’s gun into the open hatch. Mineva tries to get Marida to close the hatch, but all she does is look to Zinnerman.
Mineva: Zinnerman! Are you still a prisoner of your past? You have Marida now! Take responsibility, and live in the present. Things were different ever since that day you rescued Marida, weren’t they, Zinnerman?
Zinnerman: Reason can’t make things go away. [pulls out a picture of his daughter] Hatred, regret — I couldn’t help them. I couldn’t do anything! They must have been so scared, in so much pain. And I did nothing. Fi, Marie, …
Marida: Father. Just this once, will you let me have my way?
Zinnerman, having a flashback to his daughter running towards him: Alright.
This will be my final order to you: Listen to your heart.
— Mobile Suit Unicorn Gundam RE:0096 episode 17, GundamInfo English dub, 17:00.
Marida closes her suit’s hatch, protecting the princess, and attacks Angelo. Angelo threatens Zinnerman; Banagher Links interrupts that attack.