The One Year War comes to a close, as the Zeon forces now retreat back into space. Amuro learns much more of his Newtype abilities and tries to use them the best way he can. He's pushed to his limit as he encounters the infamous Char Aznable once again. He also falls in love with a mysterious woman named Lalah Sune, who knows the full potential of the Newtype abilities.
The greatest battle is about to begin, as many loved ones fall to the power of war. Can the Earth Federation defeat the Principality of Zeon? Or will they fail? Can Char prove that he's the better Newtype than Amuro? They all will be answered now...
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.
The final installment of the Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy is a masterpiece. Watching this film, it is incredibly difficult to believe that the movie is a compilation of over 20 TV episodes as the pacing, plot, art and character development are all outstanding. If any of the three movies in the trilogy have any rewatch value or are strong enough to stand on their own, this one is it.
Let's begin with the story. The Newtype concept comes full circle in this installment, embodied by a love triangle between Amuro, Char and Lalah Sune. The relationship transcends relatively simple romance and enters the realm
of spirituality. Amuro's identity as a Newtype propels Lalah into becoming the most important person in Amuro's life, a relationship that is somehow believably intrinsic despite being slightly rushed. Newtypes in later series are synonymous with super-skilled ace pilots (a fact that Gundam Unicorn bluntly points out) This doesn't feel like the case in this movie; true understanding and love at first sight were Tomino's original vision of the Newtype concept and it really shows.
As a result of accepting his new identity as a Newtype and his relationship with Lalah, the rivalry between himself and Char becomes a deeply personal feud leading to many interesting confrontations. Char's identity is also finally revealed as is Sayla's, allowing justification for his actions and neatly concluding the movie. Without giving away too much, Char's identity is also closely linked to the Zabi family who have a much larger role and presence in this film and give a greater insight into the inner demons of the Zeon rulers.
The characters become fully developed and mature in this film, their identities solidifying and defining their further appearances in the franchise. Amuro's journey is complete. He is now a noble soldier bound by his duty to protect those he loves, a stark contrast to his former angst-ridden self. Though all of the White Base crew is combat-hardened, they are undoubtedly family and the audience always hopes that the final, dangerous confrontations with Zeon won't claim any lives, not only because such a death would be tragic for the audience but also for the other characters. The character development is just that good; you really feel for them.
This constant danger that the characters are placed into creates a very effective sense of dread, keeping the suspense tight and making the action that much more enjoyable. And there's plenty of action. From the famous confrontation between the Gundam and 9 enemy Rick Dom suits, to the gigantic scale of the space battles, the action only abates during critical scenes of character development, finally concluding in the epic Battle of A Baoa Qu.
After all is said and done, one can only sit back, exhale and exclaim "wow!" as the credits roll and the fantastically 80s kitsch track "Megurai" sung by Daisuke Inoue plays. This film has solidified in my mind why the original series is so revered in its home country, to the point of becoming part of the national consciousness. An impressive trilogy to say the least, any Gundam fans who have not experienced the original series or the Universal Century should do what I did and witness this amazing trilogy, especially this powerful work of art that is the final installment. And as a self-referential sign of things to come, the credits conclude with a wonderfully cryptic sentence appearing in English which I will quote:
And now... in anticipation of your insight into the future.
32 years later, after watching hundreds of animes, i still find myself enjoying every second of this movie from beginning to end. You may ask yourself: But isn't this movie outdated? How could i enjoy anything so old? Well, that's exactly what Mobile Suit Gundam is all about. It's about a series which made a huge impact in the industry, and even today, you can still see its influence which still lies deep in the roots of the history of anime.
This movie, aired in 1982, reprises the events from the original series created by Yoshiyuki Tomino back in 1979, from episodes 31 to 43,
with almost a whole new animation.
The story in this one it is really well paced and covers almost all of the main events from the original series, with less political background than the previous movies and more focused on the battle scenes. It's plot revolves around the fictional characters Char and Amuro, where their rivalry reaches new heights with the appereance of a new female character called Lalah, who finds herself very attached to both of them, and the upcoming decisive battle between Zeon and the Federation.
The art is also unbeliable. Even today, i am still impressed by it and i certainly think that it won't discourage anyone who decides to give this movie a chance thirty years later. The character's design are quite appealing for an anime this old and they match the characters personalities pretty well. Also, i find that many of the battles which happen during the movie are extremely well animated and would put in shame many animes from today.
The sound... what can i say about it. Amuro, voiced by Toru Furuya, and Char, voiced by Shuuichi Ikeda, two of the most well know seiyuus in the anime industry, reached a legendary status within this series, giving birth to one of the best rivalries ever made in anime. The soundstrack suits every scene pretty well, specially in the most touching scenes from the movie, and the great ending theme "Meguriai", which made me shed a few tears...
As for the characters, there is some development from the White Base's crew members, specially Mirai, and from the Principality of Zeon, but it mainly focus on Char and Amuro. For those who also watched the original series, there may be some criticism about the characters in the movies simply because their development seems to be a bit rushed, which is very true, but you can still apreciate how they feel about themselves and others, along with their particular perspective on war, friendship, love and death.
Overall, the movie is very enjoyable, with a fair balance between romance, action and drama, and characters with a depth way ahead of its time. But not everybody may be used to watch anime this old, and would be understandable if that hold them back from enjoying this beautiful movie to its fullest.
I personally think an anime movie can't get much better than this.It is never too late to give Gundam a chance and enjoy this fantastic movie, along with the rest of the Universal Century related series.
So as said last time, the original Mobile Suit Gundam didn’t do well. I don’t really know why, but to be fair most of Tomino’s early shows have had bad ratings. Plus, I get the feeling that starting the same day as when the second season of Space Battleship Yamato ended wasn’t a good idea. But that’s just speculation on my part, so don’t quote me on that. So, what saved Gundam? Simple: A Bandai executive looked at it, thought it looked cool and asked Tomino to re-edit his TV Series into a Movie Trilogy (At least that’s what I think).
Thus was born the Mobile
Suit Gundam Movie trilogy, and while I did give each of them separate scores, I’ll be reviewing them all at once as there isn’t enough in each movie for them to warrant a separate review. I’ll ditch my usual analysis methods and instead focus on what has changed and my thoughts on said changes. So, without further ado, let’s get into this mess:
We should start off by saying what has been changed on the technical side of things. Most notably, all of the audio has been re-recorded. I think this was for the better, though. More or less everyone gives a better performance here compared to their TV counterpart. Furuya Tooru and Ikeda Shuichi in particular get more stuff to do, which helps a lot. Also, some re-casting was done for some reason. Perhaps the three most notable examples are Shibata Hidekatsu replacing Nagai Ichiro as Degwin, Inoue Makio replacing Genda Tessho as Sleggar and Genda Tessho himself replacing Gori Daisuke as Dozle. I don’t know why they did this, but they all do a good job either way, with Genda eventually fully taking over the role of Dozle after Gori’s death (Not counting Miyake Kenta’s Dozle from Gundam The Origin).
Also, while I don’t usually mention Dubs, it should be noted that the movies have a totally different cast from the TV Series, namely due to the movies being Dubbed by NYAV Post (And thus starred Michael Lindsay as Amuro and, of all people, Steve Blum as Char) while the TV Series was dubbed by Ocean Studios (And starred Brad Swaile as Amuro and Michael Kopsa as Char). Normally I would prefer the NYAV Dub, as is mostly the case whenever another Studio takes over Ocean’s job, but the Dub for the movies is so bad it’s actually funny (Especially British Bright). Hell, none of them have returned for any of NYAV’s more recent Gundam Dubs (The roles being handed over to Lucien Dodge and Keith Silverstein among many others). So yeah, watch these movies Subbed.
On the subject of sound, the music placement has been changed as well, though unlike the Movie Version of Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, it’s neither better nor worse than the TV Version, just different. That said, I do prefer the movie’s vocal themes, with Ai Senshi being my particular favorite.
The animation has received an improvement as well, it’s gone from looking really shitty to… an average episode of Lupin III. Yeah these movies aren’t exactly that pretty either, but it’s a step up in my look, with most of the embarrassingly bad scenes being re-animated. The mecha themselves have also received some changes. The RX-78-2 has most of its Super Robot elements taken out and some of its mechanics re-worked, and in turn, the rather silly G-Fighter is replaced with the far more practical Core Booster.
Finally, let’s get into the point of this review: The showcase of how Mobile Suit Gundam changes from a TV Format to a Movie Trilogy format… and mostly works. For starters, one of my biggest issues with the original MSG was that the pacing was ungodly slow and weirdly fragmented. Here, while the pacing isn’t perfect (As I’ll touch upon later) it is still a massive improvement. The crew of the White Base doesn’t just meander around, but instead has a clear travel path that you can easily follow. Also, the issue with Newtypes and how they’re introduced is solved. They’re instead introduced about half-way through, and thus it doesn’t feel as jarring.
While normally you would think a lot of material would be lost, that doesn’t end up being the case. These movies are freaking long, but all of the important stuff is here and accounted for. And honestly, most of the stuff that was removed was superfluous to begin with. The only subplot I miss was the whole stuff with Garma’s fiancée, whose subplot ends as the former is killed. I do miss that, but it wasn’t that big on the large scheme of things.
That said; it’s not as if these movies are perfect or anything. For starters, there’s a massive lack of breathing room. It honestly makes me wonder how the hell the White Base’s crew hasn’t collapsed from exhaustion yet. However the main issue is still, believe it or not, the pacing. While the pacing of the overall plot is good, the pacing of the movies individually is absolute horseshit. With the exception of the last movie, which is decently paced, all of them have some issues in their pacing.
Movie 1 ends in a really weird point that doesn’t give off any sense of finality almost as if the plot says “Yeah let’s take a break”. It makes the whole film feel inconclusive, and since the only major accomplishments our heroes achieve is Garma’s death, it feels as if the crew accomplished nothing. Movie 2 ends on a better point, however it suffers from “The Second Movie Compilation Syndrome”. In which, in a trilogy of compilation movies, the second one will suffer the most due to cramming so much material together, so the plot feels disjointed. The only one I think averted this was Code Geass’ second film, as they decided to tell all the events from R1’s last half and R2’s first half from Suzaku’s perspective, but honestly that created so many other issues that it wasn’t worth it.
To give you all a point of comparison, think of the Back To The Future trilogy. While it is agreed that the movies are moreso one really long movie split into three, all three movies have a central conflict that is resolved by the end and can be enjoyed on their own. The Gundam Movie Trilogy is more like a bunch of Doctor Who serials that are clumsily connected together and you can really only enjoy them once you’ve seen them all.
And finally, when you get right down to it, a good bunch of 0079’s issues are still here. Lalah is still a terrible character, the three kids (Whom I forgot to mention in my review of the series) are annoying, and some of the character’s decision making skills are baffling. It’s still not what I would call great.
Even so, I will agree that this is the best way to watch 0079, if only for the improved Animation if anything else. I strongly recommend watching them if only so that you can see this classic show in a more easily digestible format. It’s basically just the better version of an already good show, so why not watch it?
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