Gihren Zabi (ギレン・ザビ, Giren Zabi, also spelled Giren) is the primary antagonist of the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam. One of the heads of the Principality of Zeon, Gihren is the oldest son of Degwin Sodo Zabi, the ruler of Zeon and the instigator of the war with Earth. With the death of Degwin's favorite son Garma Zabi in battle, Degwin withdraws from day to day duties as Zeon's leader which effectively made Gihren the leader of Zeon. This was most evident in the speech Gihren gave at Garma's state funeral. This speech was notable for possibly being the debut of the trademark salute "Sieg Zeon!" (literally translated as "Victorious Zeon").
Giren was gifted with a high IQ (240) and ingenious oratory abilities. He and his sister Kycilia were constantly at odds with each other as both had similar political goals but different methods.
Although Gihren was successful in reducing his father's role to that of a figurehead ruler, he must still endure Degwin's criticisms and scorn. Degwin saw Gihren as little more than an updated version of historical dictator Adolf Hitler (a role that Gihren was all too happy to take to heart.)
He was voiced by the veteran seiyu, Banjo Ginga in the original Japanese version. In the English dubbed series and movie adaptations the character was voiced by Hiro Kanagawa and Doug Stone respectively.
Gihren's own father compared him to real life dictator Adolf Hitler, which may not be completely inaccurate. Like Hitler, Gihren appeared to believe in a "survival of the fittest" mentality and that the "Superior Race" should rule over the inferior ones (the superior race being Spacenoids from Side 3 and the inferior the Earthnoids). He also shared Hitler's gift for oratory and manipulation, taking the reins of power from his father behind the scenes the way Hitler did with the German president of his day. Unluckily for Gihren, he also had a number of Hitler's personality flaws, such as an over-reliance on miracle weapons to turn the tide against numerically superior foes. By this logic, the assorted super weapons such as the MA-08 Big Zam and Apsalus Project Mobile Armors can be seen as analogies of the V1 and V2 rocket-bombs used by the Third Reich. Like Hitler, he also greatly overestimated the capability of his forces. This was shown during the final battle of the One Year War, when despite his claims of superiority his forces were overcome by those of the Federation.
In an effort to circumvent the Antarctic treaty (forbidding nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and colony drops on Earth), Gihren's most ambitious project was the Solar Ray cannon. This consisted of a hollowed-out colony cylinder rebuilt into a giant carbon dioxide laser with the ability to destroy entire fleets. Gihren learned that Degwin, tired of the war, decided to take his personal fleet to a designated area in space where he would meet the fleet of Earth Federation representative General Revil and discuss peace negotiations. Gihren arranged for a firing of the Solar Ray which destroyed Degwin and Revil's entire fleet. However, this may have cost Gihren one of his tactical advantages, as the aiming of the laser had to be toward a direction which can only destroy 1/3 of the EFSF fleet, instead of the most effective direction that can destroy 1/2. The laser had to be recharged and thus did not have the chance for a second firing before the EFSF decided to rush their attack, fearing the laser will wipe out their fleet if they delayed.
Kycilia, eventually learning that the death of her father was no mere accident, personally executes Gihren for the crime of patricide. As a result, she takes over during Battle of A Baoa Qu. This was said to have resulted in many Gihren loyalists withdrawing from the battlefield, however, the main of these withdrawal, where the Delaz fleet retreated, was actually before she officially took over and announced Gihren's death, Delaz retreated when the Dolos class ships sank. In the noveilzations by Yoshiyuki Tomino, Gihren did arrange an aiming of the colony laser that killed many friendly forces but Degwin (who apparently survived the war) was not among them. Gihren, however, was still killed by Kycilia for his treachery.
|“|| We have lost a hero to our glorious and noble cause, but does this foreshadow our defeat? No. It is a new beginning. Compared to Earth Federation the military resources of Zeon is less than one thirtieth of theirs. Despite this major difference, how is it that we have been able to fight the fight for so long? It is because our goal in this war is a righteous one. It’s been over fifty years since the elite of the Federation, consumed by greed began a war against our blessed empire! Never forget the times when the Federation has trampled us! We, the blessed children of God almighty, have had a long and arduous struggle to achieve glory for our great nation. Our fight is sacred, our cause divine. The war is at a stalemate. Perhaps many of you have become complacent.
The Federation has polluted our most cherished systems for merely the sake of their own greed! We must send them a message, but not composed of words. We have wasted too much time with words. We need action now. The Earth elite must be taught a strong lesson for their evil corruption. This is only the beginning of our war. We have been putting more and more money into our efforts towards making our military stronger than ever. The Federation has done the same.
Many of your fathers and brothers have perished valiantly in the face of a contemptible enemy. We must never forget what the Federation has done to our people! These Brave men have shown us these virtues through their own valiant sacrifice. By focusing our anger and sorrow, we are finally in a position where victory is within our grasp, and once again, our most cherished nation will flourish. Victory is the greatest tribute we can pay those who sacrifice their lives for us! Rise, our people, Rise! Take your sorrow, and turn it into anger! Zeon thirsts for the strength of its people! SIEG ZEON!
|~ Gihren Zabi|