Federation troops and Zeon forces carry out a fierce battle in the Thunderbolt Sector in what was once Side 4 "Moore." The Thunderbolt Sector is a shoal zone composed of the debris of destroyed space colonies, named for the electrical discharges from the metal debris. MS pilot Io Flemming is among the Federation soldiers who are dispatched to the area, where Zeon sniper Daryl Lorenz awaits them on the battlefield.
Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky will be the first anime to ever be released on 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) Blu-ray. The 4K UHD Blu-ray will be released by Bandai Visual in Japan on December 22, 2016.
Man oh man, has it been ages since I watched a Gundam show... Sure, there was this Iron-Blooded orphans thing, but Gundam as entitled - that has been escaping my radar for years now. Why, you may ask? It's quite simple. For a hardcore fan Gundams ended around Turn A and the only reasonable approach to the topic were either the Unicorn or (loosely) 00.
Thundebolt then caught me completely off-guard. Having no time for animes these days I got the glimpse of the upcoming OVA through some promo I was never hoping to watch, It didn't say much though, only showing some really neat looking
battle scenes. I am a mecha fan, even putting aside the fact that I stopped watching anime some time ago, so it was only natural that I would be interested in a battle sequence that actually resemebles just that - a battle sequence. From there I was only secinds away from being completely blasted into oblivion by the first OVA episode. The animation, the music, the pacing, interesting characters and refreshing approach at the topic on OYW - all of that packed into merely a 20-minute-worth of screening.
Then, I couldn't watch the other 3 eps because of chores and kind of forgot about it until recently, when I found out that it acutally got a re-release in a form of a movie: December Sky. And what a movie it is!
A spectacle is more appropriate - because technically and visually it blows away even the Unicorn OVAs and TV series! From ground up the visuals and audio are all pitch perfect. Finally one can enjoy eye-candy partially drawn battle sequences when there's very little actual CGI involved. Sure, there is still some, but not very offputting and someone who's not accustomed to the sight won't even catch it. That's very good, espeically in the era of mecha animes being nearly 100% done over CGI. Good job SUNRISE.
Then there's the music, the score and voiceover - all top notch, as expected of a high budget SUNRISE theatrical release. Seiyuus in both Japanese and English versions do their jobs well, although I would still prefer to hear the original voiceover for the fact of a better lipsinc. Japanese seiyuu also tend to pour more emotion into their characters than their English counterparts.
Plotwise it is a traditional good vs evil story, however the twist is here that in war there's no black and white but rather shades of grey and lots of ambiguity. The world in Thunderbolt is also much grittier than in previous installments and I believe that was the idea behind the project - to show, that wars in Gundam UC universe are comprised off not only genius pilots and giant robots but also, and probably most often off personal tragedies of minor characters that apear behing the curtains. In that aspect the story hits jackpot. It so reminds of another project like that caught me by surprise - 0080 War in the pocket. Albeit having an entirely different cast and approach to the topic of wars it still is, in a way, a reminisent of that amazing installment. Not often a 80 minute film will engage you so much into it's world and keep you at the edge of your seat until you hurt yourself. Amazing.
Overall, I recommend it mostly to Gundam fans for apparent reasons, but also it should find some audience around your average Joe's looking for a visually stunning mecha battle spectacle. For Gundam series to have a good story as an add-on is rarity these days, so enjoy it while it lasts.