Kamille Bidan (カミーユ・ビダン Kamīyu Bidan?) is the main protagonist of the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam television series and a supporting character in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. He is the pilot of the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
Personality & Character
Kamille particularly hated his feminine-sounding name - and thus asserts his manhood by developing a hobby in amateur mobile suit creation. This he might have inherited from his parents: both are Federation officers and among the main engineering team that designed the Titan's prototype unit, Gundam Mk-II. He also showed willingness to fight by stealing a Gundam to step on a Titans officer. He also tends to be brash, thoughtless, somewhat self-important, and prone to acting on his own judgement, in addition to being arrogant in his own right. This leads to him getting more than his fair share of abuse, both mental and physical, at the beginning of the series, like being beaten badly by Wong Lee, and being slapped quite a few times for his bad attitude. However, he eventually comes under Char Aznable's influence as the series progresses. This mentor-protege relationship plays a great role in shaping Kamille from an emotionally vulnerable, angst-ridden teenager to a true soldier. In the manga Mobile Suit Gundam in UC 0099: Moon Crisis Kamille apparently develops a distaste for battle due to his war experiences and dedicates himself to protecting life by becoming a doctor.
He was born on Earth in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. He grew up in the Gryps (formerly called Green Noah) space colony - which was then the field base of the Earth Federation's Titans elite unit, an organization to which his father, Franklin Bidan, belonged.
After a scuffle with Titans officer Jerid Messa, Kamille is detained by them at their base in the Gryps space colony. During an Anti-Earth Union Group raid to steal the new prototype Gundam Mk-II mobile suits, he escapes and helps the AEUG steal all the Gundam Mk II units. Under the tutelage of AEUG officer Quattro Bajeena and former Titans officer Emma Sheen, Kamille later becomes one of AEUG's top pilots while maintaining his civilian status - first in his stolen Gundam Mk II and later in his personally designed MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.During the Gryps conflict; Kamille witnesses the deaths of his parents, lover and friends caught in the Titans nefarious machinations. Though a generally nice person, he tends to act on his emotions and personal judgement rather than balanced rationalization, this has placed him in deep rivalries with ambitious and calculating men like Jerid Messa and Paptimus Scirocco.
Kamille's life is changed again when he meets a strange young female Titan pilot. Her name was unknown, she was simply referred to as "Four Murasame" because she was the fourth Newtype to come from the Murasame Newtype Labs. The two fall powerfully in love at first sight yet were torn apart time and again. Being a Cyber-Newtype, she was mentally unstable and attacked Kamille anytime her Psyco Gundam is near (the Psyco Gundam's computer systems utilize negative emotional stimulus to drive it's pilot into battle). Like the Lalah Sune archetype before her, Four's death cements Kamille's side of the rivalry with Jerid: while finally escaping Titans clutches, she died in battle with Jerid to save Kamille's life. Ironically, despite this potential cause of antipathy, Kamille later shows no real signs of a genuine hatred of Jerid: he treats him much like any other Titan pilot. It's likely that this develops because Kamille thinks that hating Jerid is, at this point, useless.
As the battle of the AEUG and the Titans approach its fateful conclusion in the First Gryps war of UC 0088, Kamille begins tapping the mysterious "Bio-Sensor" in the Zeta Gundam as his Newtype abilities grew, thus unleashing a power never before seen. This was displayed when Kamille used the power to destroy Yazan Gable's Hambrabi. Kamille's anger (at Yazan's enjoyment of killing people) triggered the Bio-Sensor which in turn enshrouds the Zeta in a purple glow of power. Kamille used this power to extend the length of the Zeta Gundam's beam saber then sliced Yazan's Hambrabi in two although Yazan was able to eject in the escape pod. In his final battle with Scirocco, Kamille proved to have the stronger mind (having gained the strength of all the people he loved who had died during the war). Despite impaling the Zeta Gundam into Scirocco's PMX-003 The O, a dying Paptimus Scirocco still managed to unleash a mind-crippling blow to Kamille Bidan, leaving him in a delusional psychotic state.
First Neo Zeon WarAt the start of the series Kamille is brought to the Shangri-La colony in side 1 for medical treatment. His condition has worsened since the end of the battle, leaving him a vegetative state, unresponsive to anyone or anything around him. When the Argama is taken over by their old enemy Yazan Gable and a group of Shangri-La junk dealers, he is taken hostage. However one of the junk dealers, Judau Ashta, is a latent Newtype and his presence causes the comatose Kamille to consciously move for the first time since the start of the First Neo Zeon War. Kamille motions Judau to take his hand and the two experience a Newtype reaction, possibly implying that Kamille sensed Judau's powers and awakened them. After the incident is resolved Kamille is transferred off the Argama to a hospital in the colony and remains there with Fa Yuiry, who eventually retires from the AEUG, to watch over him.
Some time after the Argama leaves Shangri-La, Fa and Kamille travel to Earth, the two settling in Dublin, Ireland, where Kamille is interned at a hospital with Fa as his nurse. When the war brings the Argama to Ireland they reunite with Kamille and Fa and learn that, while he is still vocally unresponsive, Kamille has clearly recovered much of his mental faculties. He plays a key role in saving Elpeo Ple and the Argama from a Neo-Zeon attack, communicating to her as well as the rest of the Gundam team through telepathy and guiding them to victory. Later as the bulk of Neo Zeon heads towards Dublin, Kamille begins to have convulsions as he senses the rebirth of the Psyco Gundam Mk-II and that its pilot, Ple Two, is close to awakening. When it's discovered Haman Karn is dropping a colony on Dublin, the Gundam team decide to smuggle Kamille out of the city, knowing that he would try and fight to save the people. Kamille resigns from the fight only when Judau reassures him that he will do all that he can to save the people; sensing that Judau has inherited his will, Kamille vocally responds for the first time since the series beginning, though it is only a soft "yeah" it signals Kamille's full recovery, as he has been put at ease with the knowledge that the AEUG is in good hands. Despite this when the situation turns bad for the AEUG and Karaba, Kamille desperately rushes to aide them, but his efforts are in vain as the colony hits before he can do anything, killing millions.
Fa once again finds him and comforts him, and the two then watch as their friends fly into space, still determined to defeat Haman. At the end of the First Neo Zeon War it appears that Kamille has completely recovered his mental faculties as he is seen running along a beach with Fa in the series finale. This may indicate he had finally found a chance for a peaceful life alongside his old friend, partner, and now girlfriend, Fa Yuiry.
A New Translation
Gundam metaverse creator Yoshiyuki Tomino noted on the official website of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation that he intended to retcon Kamille's tragic fate at the end of the Gryps War to something more optimistic, in order to balance out the series' bleak tone. The 3-part film adaptation and recollection of the original TV series met rather wide success in Japan, with the new ending resulting in Kamille managing to resist Scirocco's crippling mind attack and reuniting with Fa at the conflict's conclusion. This outcome has long been thought about as an alternate ending to Kamille's story, although it is uncertain if this is a retcon or to be treated as an alternate universe to the main Universal Century history as Kamille's new fate contradicts events in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ.
Zeta Gundam Novelization
In the Novel version of Zeta Gundam however, Kamille like Amuro was killed off tragically. In a change of events, Rosamia does not die in the Psycho Gundam Mk-II but instead was piloting a Baund Doc. He was found in his vegetative state in the Zeta when Gates Kappa found him. Seeking revenge for the death of Scirocco and his comrades. Gates prepared to fire at the Gundam when Rosamia attempted to persuade Gates to let Kamille go, Gates does not relent and tries to kill Kamille but killed Rosamia and was also killed as well. This causes Kamille to go into complete madness as he thought Rosamia was his mother. When Fa came to pick up the Zeta Gundam, she found the hatch open and thought Kamille was sleeping. However it was heavily implied that Kamille had committed suicide shortly after Rosamia's death.
In other media
Kamille is a popular and well-represented character in most Mecha games featuring Gundams. Oftentimes he appears as an extremely powerful and capable Newtype pilot, on-par with the likes of Amuro, Char, and other major characters of the series.
Many video games, in particular the Super Robot Wars series, tend to play with the idea that, if Four was with Kamille at the end of his storyline, his mind would be saved.
Notes & Trivia
- Kamille Bidan's Japanese voice actor, Nobuo Tobita, is famous for his work in various animated Gundam series, including Ulube Ishikawa in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Karius Otto in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory as well as Lasker Alesi in Mobile Suit Gundam IRON-BLOODED ORPHANS.
- Kamille was the first Gundam protagonist to be left crippled in any form after a final battle.
- Although the name Kamille is deemed to sound feminine, it is in fact a unisex French name.
- Kamille's birthdate is November 11, the same day the that ended the First World War was signed, and is commemorated today as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.
- Kamille is the first main protagonist of a Gundam series that become a pilot of a Gundam he personally designed himself with his Ζeta Gundam.
- Kamille set the trend of protagonists in a Gundam anime receiving an upgraded or new mobile suit later in a series, this was inspired by what happened to Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation.
- Despite appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Kamille was never seen speaking throughout the entire series. While he does have a speaking role, Kamille's face is not shown the two times he talks: when guiding Ple and the others, viewers only hear Kamille's voice as the others battle, and when he speaks vocally for the first time his face is turned away from the screen. He is the only returning Zeta Gundam character to not have an on screen speaking role.
- Kamille won Char Aznable in 1980 and Four Murasame in 1985, and the first Gundam protagonist. Notably, he was selected over Judau Ashta, the protagonist from the then-airing Gundam ZZ. Another protagonist would not win the Anime Grand Prix Award until 2002, with Kira Yamato from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. in 1986 in the category of favorite male anime character of the year. He was the third Gundam character to win the Anime Grand Prix after
- In various Super Robot Wars games, Kamille's mind alteration can be prevented by having Four Murasame on your team. Not having her around will usually lead to the events happening and while Kamille's still playable, his stats are horrendous (especially as these events are end-game). Most games that skip the events of Zeta tend to have Kamille arrive just after recovering.
- Various SD Gundam G Generation games, Kamille's hyper mode can be awakened or enhanced by various effects but at the same time the process runs the risk of Kamille leaving the party.
- In Super Robot Wars Z, Kamille is seems to have a good friendship with Shinn Asuka.
- In the 2nd Super Robot Wars Z2 game, Kamille finds himself mentoring Setsuna in his awakening Innovator abilities. This is due to the usual mentor figure, Amuro joining rather late and Kamille in this game has become a veteran in his own right, having seen action in Super Robot Wars Z, and the first Z2 game.
- G Generation Advance: having Kamille on the field during a certain event would waken his hyper mode, though without Domon in the same group, he'll leave the field in berserk rage while with Domon in the unit group he teaches Kamille how to control it and tap into it, allowing him to invoke it via ID Command.
- G Generation DS: He learns his hyper mode normally upon facing Yazan right after he "destroys" Reccoa's unit and it can be enhanced by reenacting certain character deaths from Zeta Gundam (losing those units/pilots permanently). This may also play a part in the fateful confrontation, but Four is needed to prevent the mind crush, same as various SRWs.
- In Super Robot Wars X, it is suggested that Kamille's mind being destroyed is one of the factors that contributes to Char’s actions in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.