Mobile Suit Gundam: the Movie Trilogy is the definitive incarnation of the massively influential Mobile Suit Gundam TV series. It may not be perfect, but it definitely deserves its lofty status in the history of anime as a proven classic. As one cannot have one part of the trilogy without the others, this review will cover all three of the compilation movies.
The first question on any new viewer's mind regarding the story of Mobile Suit Gundam: the Movie Trilogy (MSG) would be: "Do the films condense too much story from the TV series to fit into its limited run time?" The answer to that is
"no". MSG takes the liberty to cut some of the flab from the original series and manages very well in terms of preserving the integrity of the story. The pacing may strike as a little faster than usual, but there are no glaring problems pertaining to the question above.
The story of MSG follows the crew of White Base, a secret earth federation battleship housing the RX-78-2 Gundam. The protagonist, Amuro Ray, makes the difficult transition from an ordinary civilian to the ace pilot of the federation military, along with a number of other civilians who were also pulled into the conflict against the Principality of Zeon when their space colony was destroyed by a Zeon attack, the purpose of which was to destroy the White Base, along with the experimental mobile suits being developed in secrecy. The long journey aboard the White Base exposes Amuro to many ugly facets of war far beyond the destruction of his home and the loss of life. In the midst of it all, Amuro is burdened with the responsibility of risking life and limb to protect his friends and comrades aboard the White Base, a target of constant Zeon attack, with the gundam. All this weaves an engrossing tale of struggle and growth, rife with challenges on and off the battlefield, making MSG a very interesting war story. There is an epic feel to the films, because though the adventure of the White Base stretches over many destinations, it is but a small part of the vast web of war and politics that makes up the interstellar conflict, and the characters' struggle for survival in the monstrous web makes them seem all the more vulnerable and the story that much more gripping.
The characters of MSG are some of the most iconic in the history of anime. Amuro, as mentioned above, is a very well-developed character. His teenage angst may strike as a little too much in the beginning, but his clear maturation throughout the story makes him an endearing character. The antagonists of MSG also also equally memorable, as they are some of the best antagonists one will come across in anime: the cunning and skillful Char Aznable and Ramba Ral, the bold and courageous Dozle Zabi, and even the cold and calculated Ghiren Zabi -- all of them have plenty of admirable traits that really makes the viewer respect the nazi-inspired Zeon. Even when these antagonists bite the dust, the viewer would still feel for them.
Hailing from the early 80's, MSG's visuals and sounds are quite aged. Though the animation has definitely improved from the sometimes laughable quality of the original TV series, it will not win over any new anime fans by itself. The frame rate is low, the proportion are sometimes warped, and the details are always shallow. Yet despite all this, MSG still manages to produce a number of memorable battle scenes, which is something to applaud for. The mecha designs, especially that of the gundam and zaku II, influenced mecha designs for decades to come. Even to this day, these old-school robots are sights to behold. The sound effects of MSG are almost as iconic as the mobile suits themselves. Fans will recognize the buzzing sound of the beam saber as well as blast of the beam rifle from miles away. Granted, the quality of these sound effects aren't anything amazing objectively, but they serve their functions well, and their nostalgia value is beyond measure. There are also a couple of very catchy battles tunes to be heard, as well as great sound acting, though Amuro's voice may be a little over-the-top at times.
In the end, Mobile Suit Gundam: the Movie Trilogy should be a must-watch for anyone interested in mecha anime or the history of anime in general. Its influence, popularity, and historic value is simply through the roof. There is a reason why even almost three decades later, model kits of the old RX-78-2 are still selling like hotcakes and the name "Char Aznable" remains recognized almost everywhere in japan. MSG is the very definition of a classic, and this fact cannot be denied. What lies in question is the modern viewer's enjoyment of the aged classic. But with a stellar story and memorable characters, MSG still has the quality to win over its viewers, a quality that will most likely remain as long as there exists people who watch anime.
As an upcoming Gundam fan of the highest degree, I decided to go back to where it began but was given the choice of the television run or the 3 summary films. I bought the film trilogy off of rightstuf and started my journey. Keep in mind I am familiar with anime on the older side especially 70s such as Versailles no bara/Lupin the third. The 1st movie was condensed admirably from the show and did not have too much of a jarring plot progression and pace. Coming to the second film though I was surprised how packed and frankly divided it was. The first
half of the film does leave off where the first film left off but the editing and sequence of events were clearly shifted greatly where the boring moments with diplomats and the white base just lazily stagnant are put together begrudgingly. *SPOILER* Garma's death is brought forward which is great to see.
Overall It was a bit lazier in effort than the first but if you have a day to catch up on Gundam get a big bag of popcorn because your gonna need it.
Story: The story got a lot better from the first film. It was easier to understand what was going on. Moreover it had better drama. That was better because it didn't seem too forceful compared to the first movie.
Art: The animation was still as good. However I found it odd that some characters especially the female ones looked practically the same except for hairstyles (Hamon and Matilda). Not really a flaw but worth noticing.
Sound: Nothing much to say here, the sound effects and the battle themes were well done. I think the voice acting was great too except for the kids. In my opinion it
didn't match them.
Character: Well, supporting characters got development, that's a plus. As a whole it was good but still there was too many mysteries going on (Sayla Mass didn't make sense to me even though I liked her character). The real drawback here is the kids playing as comic relief. Not that I hate children but they were unnecessary (as comic relief) in a war setting. It was better when they actually try to help instead of fooling around.
Enjoyment: It was fairly entertaining to me. More battles means less politics means less confusing or less boring. Nothing wrong with politics but it shouldn't be the main plot(I mean it should stay more battle-oriented). Otherwise watching Star Wars The Phantom Menace would be more appropriate.
The next stop on my tour of the Universal Century. Upping that ante from the previous movie, there really isn't much to say about it other than the fact that the movie is a middle chapter to larger story. This one contains more action, character development and finally some plot, something I felt was sorely missing from the previous movie.
The main subject of discussion here would be character development. Even relatively minor characters like Matilda and Kai get some, further reinforcing them as believable human beings. Of note is Amuro's development. Previously, we saw him as a reluctant teenager drawn into a mess he
had no escape from. Coming to accept his new responsibility, we interestingly see him develop ego issues. However, by far the most interesting character development is that of the enemy. Tomino's sombre vision of war calls for a fair depiction of both sides of the conflict. We are reminded through characters like Ramba Ral and Miharu that both sides involve people with much to lose and suffer. This is also emphasized by several tragic character deaths on the side of the protagonists.
Plotwise, this movie was much more interesting than the previous. The Newtype concept is expanded through discussions among the characters, fully coming to head in the final movie. Though only through a rather short confrontation, the true identity of Sayla is hinted at and also is finally revealed in the last chapter.
I really don't have much to say. Overall, the movie rightly feels like a middle chapter with the movie beginning with action and ending with action, setting up for the space conflicts to follow.
A thrilling military drama. With superb pacing, each scene flows right into the next with incredible finesse. Nothing feels rushed and nothing feels overly done. There's a strong amount of respect for the characters and the events taking place. I have to say that the 0079 series is impressing me in every way. From the complex and realistic drama between the characters and Char's absolutely captivating character in general, I cannot wait to learn more and more about these characters and the world they live in.
I'm starting to wonder if Gundam is the "Starship Troopers" of the eastern world, in that it's an excellent science-fiction
narrative that is respectable piece of military literature. From the first film being a soldier's growth, then the second getting in deeper with the complexity of war itself, I'm nothing short of floored in what the third film may hold for me.
Although dated in regards to technology, the film itself is tastefully crafted. While it's hard to get into at first since the animation is so different in comparison to the digital age, you'll find it's quick and easy to keep focused during any and every scene in this film. The animation flows much better than the previous work, and action sequences feel tighter and riskier than any other. The climax will definitely be a memorable combat sequence for me in anime, as well as the confrontation that the whole film has viewers waiting for.
And not just the animation but the background's look stunning and each region looks significantly different. This made the world feel more real in that not everywhere was the same, boring background.
Really freaking great. The OST is fantastic, and the combat sequences sound fresh and intimate. Slower sections of the film have really good ambient sounds to bring the scene to life.
Holy cow, this film handled everyone's characters a lot better than the first. Not that the first didn't do a great job, but this one in particular really stood out. The whole film had a great balance of action and drama, and even at times paired the two so seamlessly. Really brilliant, and makes you realize this film is more than an action film but really a space opera unfolding at the perfect pace.
A whole lot of fun. I'm excited just at the prospect of REWATCHING this film. This series is great, and I can't wait to jump right into the last film. I'm so glad this franchise grew to what it is today. It just means I get to watch so much more of this series.
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