In the 1014th year of the Regild Century, humanity has seemingly prospered after previous centuries of war. This is due to the ability to harvest power through the use of photon batteries, and an orbital elevator known as the Capital Tower, which has become something of a religious icon for the new age. However, various threats to the Capital Tower have necessitated the creation of an academy meant to teach promising students how to defend and repair it, named the Capital Guard Academy.
Gundam G no Reconguista begins with Bellri Zenam, a student at the Capital Guard Academy, and his classmates undergoing a practical exercise in repairing the Umbilical Cable of the Central Tower. Unluckily for them, they get attacked by the mobile suit known as "G-Self," piloted by the female space pirate, Aida. Though Bellri and his classmates manage to capture her and the mobile suit, the Capital Guard Academy also comes under attack shortly afterwards, and they are quickly overwhelmed. Realizing that they need the power of the G-Self to defend their home, Bellri hops into the cockpit and heads into action himself in an attempt to defend his friends and home.
It's like a remake of Turn A Gundam. The art style is great. The story is perhaps the weakest I've ever seen in a Gundam series. I watched this and never understood the plot or the driving forces of any character. The weapons go from basic guns to insanely powerful in 10 episodes and it always feels like there's some new trick the Gundam is pulling out of nowhere. The only realistic part of this is that they read the manual for the weapons.
Gundam: Reconguista in G (from hence forth RG) is an ambitious project from a man who made the Gundam metafranchise what it is today. The show takes some big risks, but unfortunately, the execution leaves much to be desired.
First some back story. When Tomino produced the original Mobile Suit Gundam, he was struggling with deep depression and extreme suicidal thoughts. This led to his signature "Kill'em All Tomino" storytelling that bears a remarkable resemblance to George R.R. Martin's way of storytelling today--develop characters, get the audience invested, then give them the axe. By the mid-90s, however, Tomino was receiving treatment and
began to reverse his dark disposition. He was less inclined to "Kill'em All" and more inclined to work out happier endings for his characters. This can be seen quite clearly in Turn A Gundam. In short, the Tomino who produced RG might as well be a different person entirely from the Tomino who made MSG in the 1970s. He is happier, more at peace mentally and spiritually, and less inclined to the brutality he once showed his characters as avatars of his own psychological struggles. However, many of his inspirations--Star Wars, Star Trek, and others--have remained the same and are quite clear in RG.
Now, the best way to describe RG would seem to be a conceptual sandbox of all the ideas Tomino came up with in the 35 years since the original Mobile Suit Gundam. We have already seen him do this once in Turn A Gundam, and now again in RG. A lot of the ideas are actually quite good, and if you use your imagination a bit, you can even see where he is going.
Also, we need to get something out of the way--RG has a lot of the usual Gundam tropes that have in many ways shaped anime as we know it today. You've got your talented pre-teen. Your Char Aznable masked enemy. Your invasion force from space. And, as often happens in Tomino, a "real" enemy revealed (twice) in the storyline that changes the way things are headed. If you are a Gundam fan of any magnitude, these can be forgiven, and perhaps even enjoyed. But they might be groan-worthy for newcomers to the franchise.
Now the problem is that all of this is done sort of haphazardly. It never really feels like the characters develop much or that there is ever a credible threat in the show. Yes, there are plot twists and big reveals, but there is not much foreshadowing done and the characters don't really go through arcs in reaction to them. Compare Bellri, the main character of RG, to Amuro, the main character of MSG. Amuro suffers clear PTSD in reaction to the events of the series, and we, the audience, experience these traumas with him. Bellri on the other hand pretty much starts and ends exactly the same way. Though he experiences much and learns even more, he never really develops beyond the person we are first introduced to in Episode 1. This is a problem that exists in ALL the characters in the show. Motivations are assigned to them, but never really owned by them.
Likewise, it seems like Tomino had planned to connect the Reguild Century more to the Universal Century, but all that really happens is a few one-off lines about the UC and some cameos of UC tech and locations. The show's main premise is that the human race has been limited in its expansion and use of technology on the planet Earth due to a system of beliefs developed at the end of the UC called "SU-Cordism". But the show never really outlines what the specifics of that system are. Indeed, it seems like SU-Cordism is a philosophy directly descended from Char Aznable's desire to clear the Earth of humans to allow it to recover, but this is never firmly established. Likewise, the signature of Tomino--Newtypes--are hinted at a few times but never expressly addressed, leaving some major questions over the evolution of humanity that had been raised throughout the UC Gundam series.
All in all, for a diehard Gundam fan, the show is enjoyable, but far from perfect. Hopefully, the places and ideas it established may form the basis for other materials in the Reguild Century that better trace its linage to the Universal Century. Though, overall, if you are on the fence about watching this series, you can probably safely give it a pass for now. For a similar series that has ideas on par with RG, I recommend checking out Gundam AGE.
I've noticed that a lot of reviews for this series say that the person who wrote them did not finish said series - sure, there are some people who have finished the series, but the first 11 reviews are by people who, at the time they wrote their reviews, had not finished the series. So, as someone who's finished this series, I thought that I might as well add my opinion to the mix. No, I'm not going to be comparing this to Gundam IBO, Unicorn, both seasons of Build Fighters, or Thunderbolt - I'm going to instead compare this to Turn A
Gundam, which, in addition to being my favorite Gundam series, also happens to be in my top 5 (as well as the last Gundam series Tomino directed before G-Reco, not counting the Zeta Gundam compilation movies).
First, let's start with the story. While I do consider Tomino to be one of my favorite directors, I will admit that one of the common criticisms about him, that his narratives can be rather difficult to understand, does ring true a fair amount of the time (for me, the most notable case would be Zeta, although that could have been due to the depression he was experiencing at the time he made the show) - Turn A was an exception to that rule, since when I watched it, I was able to follow the events rather easily. I had the exact opposite experience with G-Reco; there were quite a few times where characters are captured by opposing factions...yet instead of being treated like POWs like you would expect, the characters were allowed to move around unrestrained. In all other Gundam series, when this happens (granted, it doesn't happen often), there is always an explanation - heck, even Gundam AGE did this right! It feels like this series was supposed to be the standard 49-50 episode length, seeing as how they try and cram so many factions into 26 episodes - yet at the same time, it felt like they somehow managed to drag a 13-episode plot out for too long. And the ending in particular made me appreciate Turn A even more - in Turn A, the ending was easily one of the best, if not the best, endings I'd seen in an anime. G-Reco has NO REAL ENDING TO SPEAK OF.
Up next is the art. The art in Turn A Gundam reminded me a lot of Cowboy Bebop's art style - while I would still say that Bebop has the better animation overall, there were a few moments in Turn A that made me reconsider my stance. G-Reco's artstyle is one I can only describe as a mixture between the animation in Victory Gundam and Gundam AGE - the former I consider to be the worst Gundam anime, and the latter was the first Gundam series that I considered bad (before anyone asks, I watched them in random order). I didn't like the animation styles in those series, so to say I didn't like it here was an understatement. I do like the character designs though.
Now, let's talk about the characters. Now, in most Gundam series, you have characters on both sides you can root for. For example, in Turn A, the Earth side has Kiel Heim, Lily Borjano, and Loran Cehack; the Moonrace, on the other hand, has characters like Harry Ord and Dianna Soreil. G-Reco has...to be honest, I couldn't think of any characters I liked (or for that matter, disliked) in G-Reco. I guess you could say that I liked the cast because I couldn't find anything bad about it...but by that logic, you could also say I hated them because I couldn't find anything bad about them either.
I guess if I had to pick one thing that I liked about G-Reco, it would be the soundtrack - now, admittedly, it's pretty much impossible for any composer to compete with Yoko Kanno, so it's pretty much no contest when comparing Turn A's soundtrack to G-Reco. The one part I would complain about is something that everyone else likes a lot, the ending - while I know that a lot of people find it pretty catchy, it reminds me too much of the second opening to Victory Gundam, and considering that that song currently haunts my nightmares, you can probably guess how I felt about this song.
When I watched Turn A Gundam, it started out okay at first, but it grew on me, and by the end of that show, I had a show that I was more than happy to add to my top 5. With G-Reco, on the other hand, I found myself seriously wondering why I had even bothered, since it was so boring that I nearly fell asleep a few times while watching it - now that would be fine if this was, oh say, Mushishi, but it's not. There were no moments where I was awestruck by how awesome the fightscenes were, or impressed with how much the characters had changed. I just found it incredibly boring.
If Turn A represents Tomino at his best, then I'm almost inclined to say that G-Reco represents him at his worst - key word being "Almost", since I have not completed Garzey's Wing (which I've heard is easily Tomino's worst work). I suppose if you're a Gundam completionist, it's worth a watch, but as for everyone else...you're better off skipping this one.
I'm not going to make a long review for this series, as I have quite a bit I would like to actually cover, but do not feel doing so here would be the best. So I will make a very basic review, more or less outlining some of the points of Gundam: Reconguista in G.
--Story: (This is the part I have a lot to touch upon, but will wait until I have a more fleshed out script set up to add back in if possible or re-do my review later on since there is more I would like to add to the rest as well)
story for Reconguista is G is very basic and straight forward. It follows the same basic set-up of most Gundam series' in that faction a is after faction b, with some sort of side agenda, or in Reconguista in G's case, factions a, b, c, etc. are after each other and will occasionally work with each other for their goals.
Now while the story is very basic and easy to follow, you NEED to pay full attention while watching. Gundam: Reconguista in G was very likely condensed from a 50 episode series into the 26 episodes we see. With this there are things that are skimmed over or information is fairly scarce. However it is so basic that as long as you pay full attention you will understand what is going on (aside from the first 4-5 episodes, they're genuinely a bit chaotic and you may need to re-watch those episodes). This is not something to excuse however.
The story for the show also does not require background knowledge of past UC timeline Gundam shows, however it does have some easter eggs and terminology that will resonate with those who have viewed them, making it a nice touch.
Overall the story isn't much to gawk at. It's very simple and easy to follow so long as you pay very close attention. If you do not go into Reconguista in G and give it your full un-divided attention, you will likely be lost. Tact that with the series likely being compressed and you will not enjoy yourself. The story gets a 6/10, it's not deep, it's not dark aside from a few things on history, and it doesn't do a lot to really set itself apart from other Gundam series', and it may as well be considered an Alternate Universe timeline rather than a continuation after the UC timeline since there is no real connection between the two present.
The art is where Reconguista in G really shines, if you've watched Overman King Gainer, Eureka Seven, etc. then this is what you're going into. The animation looks extremely weird on some characters at first, some are down right awkward, however the environments, mobiles suits and a good majority of the characters will look very good and at times it looks almost hand-drawn, something that really made me enjoy the way the animation was handled for Reconguista in G.
The best compliment I can give Reconguista in G is that it's animation is always very consistent. It's action sequences are always very detailed and it doesn't resort to the pathetic streaking lines battles that seems to have become normal in Gundam since AGE. It is also something done in a lot of mech animes these days, but I won't stray to far. There isn't much more to say for the animation other than it is beautiful, and it genuinely deserves a 10/10.
There's not much to say about the sound. You have the usual Gundam sound effects that have been used for years, the musical scores are nice, albeit not the most memorable. There are a few scores that are still stuck in my head and randomly pop in and out here and there, but aside from that not much spectacular, yet nothing is bad so it's more of a hit or miss collection of tracks.
The voice acting is very well done as most would expect from a Japanese dub. Personally I very much enjoyed Mark Ishii's portrayal of Bellri Zenam (the main character of the series), even though it was his debut role as a voice actor. There were one or two times where I felt he overreacted a tad, but other than that he did a very good job, and the rest of the cast was no exception. Since there really isn't much to go about with the sound it gets an 7/10. While there weren't a lot of memorable tracks in the series, there were those really good ones that stood out, having the Gundam sound effects added in was a nice bonus and obviously good voice acting is important, which it fulfills on.
Here's the other part of the series where the show falls. It has a lot of characters that it attempts to introduce, but then a lot of these characters will either die, have no relevance until later into the show or at random intervals or they just flat out disappear and are never seen or mentioned again. For the main characters it does do a good job of fleshing them out, however Reconguista in G has a bad tendency of bringing in too many characters from all sides, trying to make them feel as though they may be relevant, only to have them become pointless tack-on characters for the sake of it.
If it wasn't for the MAIN characters getting developed well and fleshed out all throughout the series I would give this a 2/10, however because of how well the main, main cast is handled, it gets a 6/10.
Gundam: Reconguista in G was a fun ride. It can definitely be confusing if you're not in it 100%, but pay full attention and you will understand everything going on. It's a basic story that really doesn't try to set itself too far apart from the rest of the franchise. It does have very beautiful animation, with action sequences being some of the best I have seen in Gundam in years, the mech designs are interesting and diverse... give or take one obvious and very stupid mobile suit near the end of the series. The majority of the music may not do much for you, but the voice acting will, and the characters fall flat aside from the mains, but overall it's a fun watch.
Overall Gundam: Reconguista in G gets a 7.4/10, on the review itself it will say 7 since it does not let you judge outside of basic numbers, and I round to the nearest whole number so obviously 7 is it. I would recommend this to seasoned Gundam fans such as myself, and would likely steer newcomers of the Gundam franchise towards something else. However it does not require any previous Gundam history to get into so I wouldn't completely ignore recommending it to newcomers, although I would likely recommend older series' regardless just because.
Again I do have MUCH more I would like to actually touch upon for reviewing Reconguista in G, however I will wait until I can fully flesh out my review, and edit back on here or re-do it completely if the earlier is not possible.
Gundam is one of the largest anime franchises today, made up of more than a dozen TV shows, as well as movies, OVAs, and more. With so many stories split up into multiple timelines, it can be tough to know where to start. But don't worry. This comprehensive Gundam guide will help light your way.