Unicode Semantics: the ∀ in Turn A Gundam

By Xah Lee. Date:

This article discusses a semantics issue of a Unicode character.

Yesterday, i sent 6 hours researching a song: Yoko Kanno - Moon. It's a song from a Japanese animation titled 《∀ Gundam》, which is read as “Turn A Gundam”.

Turn A Gundam
Turn A Gundam title screen. Note the V merged with G, with G being part of the word Gundam.

However, on Wikipedia they used the Unicode char (U+2200; FOR ALL), not (U+2C6F; LATIN CAPITAL LETTER TURNED A).

So, i spend a total perhaps 30 min on this issue, researching on the issue of which of the two Unicode character is more proper.

On this particular issue, there's several aspects to consider. First of all, if the official publication has ever explicitly indicated about the matter, then that's resolved, but, if not, then there are these points to consider:

Does the story carry any sense of “For All” in any way? As in “For All Gundam”? If so, then the math symbol should be used.

Otherwise, it's possible that there's no such connection whatsoever, and all there is that the series's poster used a upside down A. Maybe the artist isn't thinking about upside down A at all, maybe they were just drawing a stylized V that happened to have a stroke across it. Maybe it is meant to imply Victory Gundam, or something. In this case, when the series's title is put to print, the char should be the Unicode (LATIN CAPITAL LETTER TURNED A) and not the logic “for all” symbol . (Note: the For All symbol is never rendered with serif. The upside-down A has serif when rendered with serif font. The V in the artwork is clearly serifed.)

Yes, a petty detail, not really important. However, it's important in the same sense that some artist care about every detail of her work. Not all artists or designers are like that, and such meticulousness doesn't necessarily contribute to greatness of a work. However, for some artist, every detail matters. That's me.

If you are designing a computer language, or even programing, the above applies too. Some programer or lang designer care about every detail. Here, the issue is proper semantics of Unicode characters. For this topic, i've written a few essays. See:

Maiko Kinzel Engelke told me that the upside-down A should be the math For All symbol, because “the Turn A Gundam is something like the Last Gundam, the one where all technology would be united in one.”. Also confirmed in a comment i posted to Wikipedia discussion, by Benjamin Howard Lee (aka MythSearchertalk) of Hong Kong 2012-01-02, quote: «Well, the motif of Turn A Gundam is to include and conclude all Gundam series, thus it is taking the “For all” meaning of Turn A.» Thanks guys.