U.C. 0123. Mobile Suit Gundam F91 is Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's attempt to launch a new Gundam saga, set thirty years after Char's Counterattack.
The story of Gundam F91 revolves around teenage space colonist Seabook Arno, his friend Cecily Fairchild, and the efforts of the Crossbone Vanguard militia, led by Cecily's grandfather Meitzer Ronah, to establish an aristocracy known as "Cosmo Babylonia".
In keeping with Gundam tradition, the civilian Seabook is forced by circumstance to pilot the F91 Gundam, coincidentally designed in part by his estranged mother, Dr. Monica Arno.
Nobody does an attack on a civilian population better than the Gundam franchise.
The opening to this movie blew me away. When a gigantic bullet casing, falling from a mecha's weapon, bounced off a lady's head on a street far below, causing her to fall over and die, I instantly gave this a 10.
This is the kind of movie I was hoping Char's Counterattack would be. A coherent and compelling movie charting everything we love about the Gundam franchise. The horror and tragedy of war, the visceral action and drama, the complexity and ambiguities of ideologies, mecha blowing shit up.
Char’s Counterattack had all that, but to me felt like you were tuning into a movie midway through; you were thrown into a situation that you weren’t introduced to properly. It had too much plot machinations and not enough breathing space for characters, too many ideas and not enough execution. F91 however does it all correctly.
Yes, F91 is the outcome of a full TV series being cancelled midway through pre-production, and turned into a movie instead, but the movie does not reflect that at all. It does not feel incomplete or flawed beyond redemption, it actually feels like a prologue to an epic 50 episode saga, one that we won’t mind missing out on because there’s too many ways they can end up generic and tiresome, much like the Gundam show F91 is the continuation of: Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ.
The only negative thing I can say about this movie is that some of the scenes with the Crossbone Vanguard aristocracy are a bit too long and feel obligatory, but they’re still essential to understanding their motives, so they’re not a complete waste of time. Obviously there’s no villain on par with Char Aznable, but it would be too much to expect one.
Where this movie shines, and what we should focus on, is the attention to detail, like the aforementioned woman-killing gigantic bullet, the reimagining of the tropes of the genre that Mobile Suit Gundam introduced back in 1979, such as survivors of an attack forced to become soldiers, and the ambiguous motivations that spur men to want to kill millions of human beings for a greater good.
Another negative thing about F91 is the total rip-off of the Empire Strikes Back bad guys theme. I'm not a SW geek so I don’t know the actual title, but it’s probably 'Imperial March' or something.
But other than these small nitpicks (and the fact that the MSG Random Slap ratio is pretty damn low) it’s an awesome movie with brilliant animation that puts A LOT of today's anime to shame. And it hilariously keeps up another MSG tradition: stupid names for characters: Seabook.
It’s not the name of a prize-winning race horse. It’s our main hero.
Remember it. Remember F91, don’t let it get overshadowed by other Gundam shows, this one is an accomplishment.read more
Ever wonder what happens when a fifty-episode series gets condensed to under two hours? The answer to that lies within Mobile Suit Gundam F91 -- a textbook example of wasted potential. Though F91's core story is a solid idea that draws plenty of inspiration from its predecessors, without any flesh on its narrative bones, F91 is reduced to an inconsistent and and very much rushed tale. However, boasting its nostalgic story along with great animation, F91 is still worth a look by fans of the gundam franchise.
Due to disputes amongst the original production staff, this ill-fated chapter of the universal century gundam saga was cut down in size in a rather extreme extent. F91 tells the tale of Seabook Arno and the crew of the Space Arc, a spaceship of civilians trying to escape the conflict between the Earth Federation and the Crossbone Vanguard, a faction led by the Ronah aristocratic family. As usual, the protagonist is forced into the cockpit of the gundam in amidst of the chaos and destruction on the civilian population and is bound there by his obligation to protect friends and family. While F91 certainly does not make new ground in the way of plot creativity, it does incorporate many of the key themes in the gundam franchise with great success. There are a number of solid lessons and morals to be learned in F91, and though there is very little originality amongst them, they provide the film with much-welcomed substance.
However, after the first third of the film, the plot begins to lurch forward erratically. Viewers are expected to connect the dots in places where considerable lines of narrative have been truncated. Names, faces, places, and political intrigue are constantly thrown at the viewer and are gone before the viewer gets a chance to absorb them. The end product manages to be more or less coherent, but much of the plot is lost and damaged due to the lack of elaboration. Needless to say, this does not make for good entertainment.
Fortunately, the production value of F91 is that of a feature film rather than a TV series. Like other Gundam OVAs and films of its era, the action looks great -- arguably superior to the modern TV productions. The new generation of mobile suits (three decades past the technology of Char's Counterattack) have a number of new tricks, which makes for eye candy that will please most mecha fans.The 1991 character designs also hold up well to the test of time, though looks alone would not be able to veil the considerable flaws in characterization. Though Seabook Arno is a mature and charismatic gundam protagonist, due to the limited runtime and the large cast, most key characters are not very well developed, hence some of their actions they take seem incomprehensible. Thankfully, none of the characters manage to be obnoxious and repulsive. F91 is accompanied by a mediocre musical score that is sparingly used, though viewers will find a great theme song and plenty of classic sci-fi sound effects, for better or for worse.
There's a great story in F91 dying to get out -- a story forever lost to the squabbles of yesteryear. Chances are, if you're a gundam fan, you will leave Mobile Suit Gundam F91 satisfied to some degree under the laments of disappointment over its lost potential. If you are new to the gundam franchise, there are much better choices than F91 for your entry point into the metaseries. And if you're not a fan of gundam or mecha in general, F91 is not going to convince you otherwise.
- Great animation
- Gundam veterans will be able to appreciate the remains of the amputated plot
- Barely coherent
- Underdeveloped characters
- Bland musical scoreread more
Gundam F91 is decent. Balancing equal pros and cons, this after product of an attempt to start a new full length gundam series that fell apart manages to hold itself together and deliver a sufficient package, but fails to achieve what it could have been.
In terms of story, it's pretty standard Gundam fare. The space faring Zeon expies want to start an empire and it's up to our stupidly named protagonist to pilot the Gundam to victory. The story had a lot of potential, like a pristine plate, but then it was dropped and taped back together. It all feels rushed. Scenes feel like they should go on for longer, character dialogue feels as if they had more to say but they just didn't have enough time. Some important aspects of the plot happen offscreen and are casually mentioned by a character after a cut, which really detracts from the plot. You'll often look at scenes and imagine what they could have been had they been fully developed.
The characters are mediocre. None of them have enough time to sufficiently develop themselves, and sometimes their motivations can seem really forced and not legitimate. That being said, they're established well and you'll come to enjoy them, but they never grow beyond what is presented initially. Props to Carozzo to having a cool mask tho.
The art and action sequences are where this movie really stand out. The MS are some of the most unique and well designed in any Gundam media, and watching these machines duke it out is a great experience. The opening scene with the battle inside the colony is incredible, and the effort and finesse put into this sequence is easily visible, and probably one of the best actions in any Mecha anime, period. The characters all look gorgeous, and the backdrops are beautifully animated. This movie does not disappoint in the visual department.
Not much to say about the soundtrack, it has it's moments, and a pretty bumping leimotif in Eternal Wind, but nothing to write home about. Both the Japanese and English versions are good, so watch whichever you wish.
Overall, Gundam F91 is not a title to be overlooked, but it's no magnum opus. One thing of note is that it might be more enjoyable if you go into it with the prior knowledge of the movies development, which might allow you to be more forgiving to the rushed aspects of it's plot.read more
A new group, the Crossbones Vanguard conquer the Frontier IV colony in a surprise attack after years of peace. Caught in the crossfire is college student Seabook Arno, who sees many of his friends killed during the skirmish and discovers that his girlfriend Cecily Fairchild is actually Berah Ronah - heir to the Ronah family clan and the Crossones Vanguard. He then finds out that his mother is alive and has been working on a new mobile suit codenamed "Gundam Formula-91". Seabook reluctantly pilots the Gundam at first, but slowly discovers the Newtype abilities within him and uses them and the Gundam to turn the tide of the war.
To be fair this was a lot of character development to try to squeeze into a movie and it isn't very well executed. Plot holes with Cecily's father abound, not to mention that most normal people wouldn't be able to "buy" the love story between Cecily and Seabook. Seabook is likeable but Cecily is a bit of a mess mentally and emotionally, having come from a very messed-up family.
Overall there was a good story but the characters weren't developed very well and this could have been executed so much better than what was presented. I keep wondering how much better this could have been if it had just been expanded to a 10 or 12 episode series - there was certainly enough meat in the story to justify it.
Art/Animation and Sound
Very old and dated. Didn't detract much from enjoyment of the story - the problems were inherently in character development, not in the animation and sound.
I felt a little let down by this. The premise and set up were good, there was a lot of conflict built into both lead character's histories, which was fully exploited but didn't have as much emotional impact as expected because both lead characters just didn't "click" with each other the way you expect romantic leads to click.
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