The land of Neotopia is attacked by the Dark Axis, evil invaders from another dimension who wish to conquer this land. Neotopia's answer: the secret Super Dimensional Guard and their defenders, the Gundam Force. Led by Captain Gundam, the Gundam Force and its team of Gundams with special abilities are aided by a boy named Shute as they stop at nothing to defend the land from the Dark Axis and to defeat them once and for all.
Time to review another "blast from the past" or in this case a bomb from the past. I had forgotten all about this series, but I recently saw a clip and the sheer horror my mind had so carefully repressed all came back to me at once! This is SD Gundam!
When someone asks you the question, "What is your favorite Gundam series?" There is a "correct" answer if you want to be viewed as a sophisticated anime critic online and there is your actual opinion, which may not be the same. The correct answer is 8th Mobile Suit Team, because it is SO much more
realistic (allegedly). If you want to invite a world of scorn and snarky comments to rain down upon you, join a forum of self-acclaimed elitists on MAL or /a/ and state that you enjoyed Gundam Wing. Now if you REALLY want to piss them off, state you thought G-Gundam was the best Gundam series. However, you won't get a big reaction if you bring up the unholy SD Gundam, because according to all Gundam fans, this series NEVER happened! It is so bad that it is basically unspeakable online. I believe SD Gundam still holds the record on what was the big anime rating site before MAL, (animenewsnetwork) as the worst anime of all time!
All Gundam series are slightly different, but almost all have overarching themes that make them Gundam series. They are about young men forced to experience the horrors of war. They are about humans piloting giant mech suits in a war between the space colonies and Earth. There are lots of complicated political sub-plots with Game of Thrones style betrayals and sneaky dealings. SD Gundam has NONE of that. It is the goofy tale of chibi kawaii robots who either align with good or evil with no complexity whatsoever. The series is for children under 10, but my brother watched Gundam Wing uncut when he was 8 and was able to follow the plot just fine. This is one of those shows that talks down to children and treats them like IDIOTS rather than try challenge them. SD Gundam is like the crackbaby of Mobile Suit Gundam and Barney the Dinosaur. It isn't just bad, it is insultingly bad! The CGI in this series easily takes the cake as the worst use of CGI in anime history! It is pure, unadulterated, eye rape throughout the entire show. The soundtrack is also garbage, which is surprising since Gundam series pretty much always have awesome soundtracks. Even G-Gundam has a kickass soundtrack for God's sake! SD Gundam is the single worst anime that Studio Sunrise has ever shat out! Yes, it is even worse than Valverave the Liberator! If you were unfortunate enough to have seen this on Toonami back in the early 2000s, you are my comrade in suffering! Let us remember the bullshit that was SD Gundam, so hopefully fans can convince Sunrise to never make something quite so heinous ever again!
My quest to complete all of the Gundam series took a great stride forward with the completion of this series, which wasn't as bad as I had feared it would be.
This series is set in an alternate gundam universe and begins in Neotopia, a futuristic utopia where robots and humans live in peace and harmony as friends. There are several noteable departures from the standard gundam series the main one being this series was serialized in Cartoon Network and aimed at the younger set (5-8 years old in my opinion), so tons of stuff is dumbed down and the series as a whole comes across
This was the beginning / test phase vehicle for the CGI techniques employed in later gundam series. In this series the gundams are not just mecha, they are sentient! This is both good and bad. I like the idea of sentient gundams but all the characters pretty much come across as one dimensional stereotypes - gundams are no exception.
The 4 main characters are:-
* Captain Gundam is the leader type.
* Zero is the heroic knight, which means he's dumb but noble.
* Bakunetsumaru the hotheaded samurai, honor trumps all
* Shute the good natured overly unrealistic optimist
There is a large supporting cast of other characters.
* Genkimaru the brat gundam with a great special ability
* Princess Rele the pretty but shallow leader of Arc
* Token female "love interest" who makes delicious cake
* Gunbike, Gundivers, Guneagle, Chief Haro, all the bad guys and Zakos.
Everything is very cutesy but surprisingly I wasn't as annoyed as I thought I would be. I guess Kawaii is my Kryptonite. I liked the cute sentient gundams but I wanted to kill Shute and the other little gundam because their characters WERE annoying. That being said when Zero and Bakunetsumaru got their special "upgrades" I still found myself cheering for them.
The soundtrack was ok, nothing special. The ED of the final 26 was a very catchy japanese rap type tune with dancing Zakos. It was so cute it ended up playing in my head for days after ....
While derivative and extremely predictable, I was surprised to find some dark underground humor and parody in this series, that was the only thing that put the story above a 5 for me. For example, the samurai Gundam Bakunetsumaru, when he's about to do his special attack (2 swords) he circles his katanas together forming Twin Circles of light. I was rather shocked because those look like the twin circles of light from the twin drive effect in Gundam 00 Season 2.
Notable parodies (some adult humor) include ripoffs from:-
* Apocalypse Now - "I love the smell of concrete in the morning"
* Star Trek - "I'm a robot doctor, not a miracle worker!" (Bones McCoy)
* And my favorite, I could hardly contain myself from snickering - "Can I touch it?" ... "Ooh, it feels warm" - ok ok, so I have a dirty mind.
Kind of funny, the last really good thing I saw in the series was a parody of Winston Churchill's WW2 "We Shall Fight On the Beaches" speech by Chief Haro, the one that goes "we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall NEVER Surrender!" Now that was impressive how they worked that in.
So, in summation, it was ok, nothing spectacular, very dumbed down with cute but one dimensional characters. I found myself looking forward to seeing what other pop culture/historical parody references they would put in more than anything else, but it did get really exciting in the last 8 episodes. However, by then it's too late to save this series from getting any more than a 5 from me.
I have never written a review before, but Superior Defender Gundam Force has inspired me to do so. You see, I generally like anime. I find it difficult to hate or even dislike an anime, because I know that there is a fandom for it out there and that a few sad, lonely, animators worked hard to make it.
But I can't say that about SD Gundam Force. If Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam showed us how awesome U.C. can be, Gundam Force shows us the depths of human depravity. I stumbled upon this blight on the anime world when a local video store was having a
sale and my friend bought episodes 10-12 for a dollar. As it turns out, a dollar was asking too much.
When someone tells you the good thing about this story is that you've seen it a million times before, you know you're in trouble. The story is set in the futuristic city of Neotopia, where everything is peaceful until an evil force called the Dark Axis arrives from another dimension. Shute makes friends with the sentient, mini-sized gundams and they fight bad guys. It's stereotypical, contrived, and one of the few parts of this anime I can stomach.
Can you call an anime made of CGI an anime? I'm sure you can, but with Gundam Force, I'd rather not. This CGI may have been almost viewable when it came out, but it has aged far worse than the original 1979 Gundam ever did. Some may claim that it's from an era where CGI was new, but it's not. It's from 2004. Let's put that in comparison with another completely CGI series- Jimmy Neutron. Jimmy has been around since 2001 (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, a movie I hadn't seen in nearly three days), and his animation is still watchable. There is no excuse for Shute's mother, Keiko's, breasts, which also seem to function as double missile launchers. No excuse.
As far as the soundtrack goes, it's completely unmemorable, except for one very strange battle song. It boils down to country fiddle music, and combined with the robots attempting to kill each other, it's very jolting.
The voice actors are as ashamed of being in this as I am for watching it, and most of them go under pseudonyms. Yello Lollicup (I am dead serious), AKA Yuri Lowenthal, plays at least two characters in the dub, and they frequently fight each other. They brought together a great cast for an absolutely terrible anime, and they know it. Shute's (Deborah Sale Butler) base excitement comes from knowing she's getting a paycheck out of it. Dave Wittenburg's in there somewhere, but for the first time in his life, he actually succeeded in disguising his voice. As for the sub, they brought back seiyu who've played recurring characters from other Gundam shows, which is the best thing about this entire anime.
Our characters range from Shute, our main character, to a variety of robots, good and bad, to-
I'm kidding. That's it.
Any other humans are minor or temporary. The characters are one-dimensional, and I honestly don't know why Shute needs to be there. There's a character named Sayla, and the homage did more to piss me off than feed any nostalgia.The robots include a knight who uses magic, which makes me bash my continuity-loving brain into a wall. I hate them all, but I hate them equally.
There is one character who deserves a special mention- Chief Haro. Let me explain- Haro is a green, round, robot about the size of a small child. You can fit it in your arms, but it's a pain in the ass. It was built by Amuro Ray, and rolled around White Base being mildly annoying.
Now take that and dress it up in a military uniform. It speaks and moves and waves its little ears just like the original did, except now instead of endearing it's terrifying. One glance at this abomination stopped my in my tracks. I can't sleep at night knowing that monster has been created. Upon seeing it I screamed and paused the video so I could take a picture of it and share it with all my equally appalled compadres.
I know that's a high score, considering my obvious hatred. But if you pretend this anime is a gag anime it becomes incredibly hilarious. Yuri Lowenthal's lack of voice differentiation when fighting himself is ludicrous. It helps to down a couple shots of whiskey before you sit down to "enjoy" this piece of crap executives like to call entertainment, but to each their own.
When taking this anime seriously, its sucks. There is no excusing this. It actually manages to be less than the sum of its parts. It is, without a doubt, the worst anime I have ever seen.
When I was younger, when it was actually on Cartoon Network (This was when I was maybe 4 or 5) I absolutely LOVED this show. Keeping this in mind, I'm giving all of my scores based on the show as more af a younger audience-geared show, and I certainly am not an anime critic. Sure, maybe the story line is a bit cliche, the art not exactly the greatest, and so on, but for kids, this is probably not necessarily a bad show.
For kids, I would definitely recommend this show, especially if you're a parent and want to get your kids into the anime