The year is Universal Century 0093. Char Aznable has taken command of Neo Zeon, the rebels of outer space. He firmly believes that humankind can only achieve peace by relocating to space. Thus, he plans to crash the giant asteroid Axis into Earth and plunge the planet into an uninhabitable winter. Char also eagerly anticipates this opportunity to settle a 14-year rivalry with Amuro Ray. The two have been reluctant allies at times, but Char has never forgiven Amuro for causing the death of one of his comrades during the One Year War.
Only the Earth Federation's Londo Bell Unit has the power to stop Char from fulfilling his dangerous goal. Leading the defense of Earth is veteran captain Bright Noa and Amuro Ray with the latest Nu Gundam mobile suit. In this thrilling conclusion to the original Gundam series, Londo Bell engages in a final conflict with Neo Zeon that will decide the fate of Earth and end this long-standing rivalry—once and for all.
Well, I personally felt that this movie was conclusive, but felt more like a conclusion or some extension to the original series, and not really that well connected to Zeta and Double Zeta. Then again, this was the intention but I felt this movie could have used some of the main characters from that series or give us an update on Camille, Fa, and Judau, though there are other materials out there exclusive to Japan on what happened to them. Since the movie really has no direct connection to Zeta or Double Zeta, I don’t feel it’s really required that you watch those series, but
I recommended you watch the Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy to understand the foundation of the rivalry between Char and Amuro. Resuming characters that play a significant part are of course Captain Bright, his son Hathaway, Bright’s wife’s former fiancé Cameron also plays a part as well. New additions for this movie are Nanai Miguel, Char’s right hand woman and Quess Paraya, the daughter of a Federation politician who has teenage issues and has erratic newtype abilities. The movie is reasonably paced and the characters all have their use. Granted the new characters do stand out, I just don’t think they were worth sacrificing some other characters over.
In addition to this movie going back to its roots with the Char and Amuro rivalry, the style and design of the mobile suits, specifically the Nu Gundam, Nu being N-U gives that impression as well. The current Gundam’s style goes back to its roots with the more blocky design rather than the aerodynamic frames that were present in Zeta and isn’t really as heavy packed as the Double Zeta. A notable difference is that it breaks the tradition of the red, white, and blue color scheme to a black and white one. With the Nu Gundam comes a new kind of material that is meant to go with the newtype abilities called the Psycho Frame and the addition of funnels also gives Amuro the chance to use those abilities at their fullest potential as well.
The suit Char has this time is the Sazabi, also reverting back to his iconic red scheme. The Sazabi is more cylinder like and kind of goes back to the bulkier and bloated design of the Zakus. The battles are more intense than ever with the heavy fire power and the potential of nuclear weapons being deployed by the Neo Zeon. There is more of a risk factor to the fights that make it more realistic and reasonably paced, but yet exciting. The character designs for the most part are still in tradition and faithful to the original, but presented in a new quality of resolution that really compliment the updated costume designs. Char’s design is quite unique. He’s more muscular looking and he’s more dignified, but yet still recognizable.
Well, the roles of Amuro, Char, and Bright are still respectively reprised by their respective seiyuus throughout the lifespan of the franchise and still pull off their roles as if they never aged a day. Anything I had to say about their roles in previous installments can be said here as well. For the dub, this came out before Zeta got licensed in America so some of the roles are reprised by the dub actors from the TV series as well such as Brad Swaile is still Amuro. I personally thought the dub was excellent in its own right.
The music is constantly intense. Not really as militaristic as Gundam soundtracks, but enough to pull you into the battlefield of space. The ending theme Beyond the Time also truly reflects the nature of the ending of the movie.
I wouldn’t call the movie fan service, but is truly meant for fans of Gundam because it’s really what I may call the symbolic ending to the original Gundam series. I wasn’t really that disappointed with Char’s character, but I think they could have built things up much better. But I guess I have to find other material that is either in manga or game form to get what I’m looking for. For what it’s worth, I do feel delighted this movie does pay homage to the original Gundam in its own right, but I felt they could have done some other things with it to make it more complete and balanced with the other series, but I guess they really wanted to make this movie distinctive with the newer cast.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, by the well-known Gundam creator and director Tomino Yoshiyuki, is the first movie to enter the Gundam franchise. Watching this definitely requires the viewer to have at least seen Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, because otherwise you will simply not get the full enjoyment out of it. With that being said, the film has some great aspects and memorable moments, but there are a couple disappointing flaws that weigh down its score.
The biggest flaw lies in the story. And not in the plot, but in the back story. The plot is a fairly basic tale in the
UC Gundam universe that pits long-time rivals Amuro Ray and Char Aznable against one another again, but the background is a little foggy. Char is now the leader of the new Zeon army, and Amuro is back in action alongside Bright Noa, just like old times. This is all great and it sets up a nice story, but we get absolutely no explanation as to how these things came to be. Between Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the predecessor to this film, and CCA, there is no telling of how Char, who went missing after Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, climbed the latter to become the Zeon big dog. Likewise, there is no telling of how Amuro, who was also last seen in Zeta, became a star fighter of the Federation again.
But aside from the poor lack of background, the story that we witness in the movie is fairly good and nicely played out. It has a decent mix of saddening situations and epic moments, as expected of Tomino and the Gundam franchise.
Now the art and animation, when taken into account dates back to 1988, is something truly stunning. The mecha designs look so much more detailed and the battles have wonderfully animated choreography, resulting in some pretty impressive action. Adding to the action's intensity is the well apt music, which has the classic space opera vice to it, once again suiting the atmosphere very well.
The quality of character is a little debatable. Mainly because there were some new supporting characters that made appearances that were a little unnecessary. The attraction and large amount of screen time to these small co-stars took away some of the focus on the fierce rivalry of Amuro and Char. And really, these two adversaries are who we want to see the most out of here. These two men are prominent stars of the Gundam metaseries, and we want to see them in all their glory. They deserve all the screen time is the point I'm basically trying to get at, and unfortunately these small fry that are introduced in this film steal the spotlight just a bit too much.
In the end though, this is still a thoroughly enjoyable watch for any Gundam fan. The rivalry between Amuro Ray and Char Aznable is truly unforgettable and one of the best in all of anime, and watching this undoubtedly caters to those who want to see more of it, even if they get a tad sidetracked along the way as I've explained above. Overall, this is a pretty solid movie and it deserves its place in the Gundam franchise.
On the side of the plot, there is no previous set up for the events, leaving the background like a big black hole gap behind. Plus, the antagonist's motivations are so stupid that is a pitiful to see: 'we must save thi planet of the human vermins and pollution so let's dump a massive amount of spacial trash and nukes to make then leave'. True is that even in aeug times the objetive was pull out humans... right into space, but it was a ecologist organization too, protecting earth by destroying it is well... bullshit.
The characterization is a real piece of fiasco.
No more than a collection of 'already seen characters' 'The kid that was brought with the sole purpose of staging something REALLY stupid' 'the cyborg new type idiot ludicrous woman' and so on, there is no a single bit of intelligence nor endearing or originality in the original cast.
Not satisfied with a mediocre original cast, plus, the Char's characterization is preposterous, representing an involution in all respects. Not only in his motivations but personality too, demised to not much more than an upstart brat playing around with heavy weaponry. Leaving us with a pale reflex of old good times, when a mature epic veteran in 80's fashioned sunglasses still was there. At least Amuro was really fine and matched quite well.
In the trash box we can pick up some edible rice grains in the form of some nasty good pieces of battle stage music/sounds. Not really impressive though (well, may be by the time). Included with a really joyfull pace rhythm and the enjoy of something gundam like are the only reasons for save the score of total fall off the cliff.
A harrowing tale of love, betrayal, grudges, death, and faith; an epic battle to save the world; a final battle to settle one of fiction’s greatest rivalries and conclude an epic saga that has spanned an entire decade.
Much like Char’s plans themselves, this movie didn't really work out that well. In fairness, it did at least give us what we were promised: an epic conclusion to the rivalry between Char and Amuro that passionately ignited once again, but the way everything is handled makes it so that it's an exhibition of how stupid people can be moreso than a triumphant yet
typically somber finale to an iconic rivalry. An epic conclusion bogged down by idiots and bad deus ex machinas, making this unfortunately the weakest entry into the saga it concluded (barring ZZ and even then, it's a toss-up as to whether you can count it as part of the whole saga and not an extension of Zeta exclusively). A disappointment it was, though that's not to say that this is an entirely bad film. Regardless, what made such a potentially epic conclusion to this epic rivalry and saga go out on a whimper rather than a roar? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
0093 Universal Century Calendar. A plan has been initiated to drop Axis onto Earth by none other than Char himself. Why Char is doing this is beyond me thanks to the fact that not only was he never remotely like this, but there was no progression from any Gundam series to this point. Either way, this has gotten the Earth Federation panicking, especially since whenever they try treaties, he backstabs the hell out of them and blows whatever forces are near him to kingdom come. None take it worse than Amuro Ray, the ultimate rival of Char, and thus, the rivalry begins again. Sounds like an interesting premise, don't it? If you made it so that Char’s plan is in line with his typical actions and how he is as a person (since they aren't), this would be totally kickass.
Unfortunately, the cracks begin to show with the introduction of 3 characters: Gyunei, Hathaway, and Quess. I'll talk about how fucking retarded these pieces of shit are on the characters section, but let’s just say that their stupidity and actions are very...intrusive, to put it kindly. Two of them are the subject of bad heel turns and all of them have terrible romantic aspiration subplots that start up for no legitimate reason, and the amount of time spent on them simply bogs down the movie. They're not the only ones with romance subplots however since not only has Astionage gotten himself a girlfriend named Kayra, and Amuro and Chan have banter before sharing a kiss in the middle of the movie. Both go nowhere but I have to ask: did something happen between Amuro and Beltorika? They aren't in ZZ, and we never see that they split in either this or Zeta Gundam, so what happened between them that Amuro is now single and ready to kiss a girl? This movie doesn't say anything, making this subplot rather badly written in terms of implications. For Astionage and Kayra, he wants to cook her a pasta but in battle she dies, causing her to mourn over her corpse about the pasta he earned to make for her. Honestly, it would've been more impactful if we see him making pasta before the news got to him. Regardless, let's move on.
Even with all that, there aren't many plot holes or many other inconsistencies in the film, but then we get the Axis drop and Amuro’s attempt to stop it...along with a team of mobile suits from the Federation’s 88th fleet outta nowhere just to try and make a deus ex machina, which initially seems to fail but then, out of nowhere, Amuro’s Nu Gundam starts shooting our green particles after a morality sparring match with Char and this is enough to get Axis off course and deflect it entirely, with the fate of our two rivals left unknown, and then the movie abruptly ends after this deus ex machina. I don't need to explain how bad this writing is, right? I mean, it doesn't kill the movie, hell, the plot wasn't all that great to begin with thanks to bad character subplots and decisions but this was just the final nail in the coffin. At least, it would be, but the final nail actually turned out to be how this film doesn't have any stable chronology with the previous installments, as nothing built up to this. To be fair, given how nothing left over from Zeta properly carried over to ZZ, it's no surprised the same happened here.
For the returning case, luckily Noa and Amuro are basically kept in tact, even despite how agitated they are in this crazy new crisis. Char meanwhile...let’s say that his biggest flaw is the extremes of this new plan since this is basically the product of progression that we never got to see since he was never remotely thinking of this kind of action in Zeta or the original Gundam, so what happened that made him truly hate humanity so much? Aside from that, he’s kept in tact as well. We never cared about Astionage, and Mirai is barely even present throughout this movie.
Now to what really tanked here: the new characters. Let's start with one of the most hated characters in Gundam history, Quess! Aside from being an emotionally manipulative bitch, she, for no reason, tries to stake claim for both Amuro and Char and hated people close to them for “getting in her way” and really shows what a spoiled brat she is. The fact that she becomes to willing to kill anyone and everyone makes it worse since she’s already a flip-flop character, an inconsistent pancake that just flips and flops all the time because she’s a selfish and manipulative whore that has nothing else concrete about her! Gyunei initially to want to study her as a way of improving himself as a Cyber Newtype but then, out of nowhere, he falls head over heels for her and is ready to do whatever it takes to destroy Char to win her over. Why he would fall for a 13 year old when he is seemingly a lot older is beyond me by it just happens abruptly without any reason as to why. The jackass doesn't even get to die properly because we never actually see him die outside of his mech getting blown up. You'd think for such a notable character for the film they'd at least show him in the process of dying.
I'm aware that Hathaway isn't actually exclusive to CCA, but like Katz, we only get to see him do things and have a personality that affects a narrative in his somewhat grown up appearance, which is here in this case. For most part, he seems like a decent kid, even though he falls for Quess. However, late into the movie, he loves her so much (for no real reason other than they went on a date, we don't even see him having a crush on her beforehand) that after Chan kills her to save his life, he outright blasts her to death. Is the main message of the movie supposed to be that love makes you stupid? If so, there are better ways and settings to show that message without having such badly written as intrusive characters on display, and all of these guys have ample screen time and relevance to major scenes in the movie, just to make matters worse. Anyone else in this film is one-dimensional and basically worthless to the narrative other than Nanai (who is only really notable to me for delivering a deliciously satisfying slap to that bitch Quess) that I'm not gonna waste any more time dissecting this overall pretty terrible cast of characters.
Studio Sunrise and Studio Hirabi to make this film, and if nothing else, the film looks gorgeous. The action and mech animation shows off the best of what the 80’s were capable of, with such crisp and smooth animation and detail with every bit of action and movement, making the battles brilliant to look at. The Nu Gundam and the Sazabi have particularly great mobile suit designs and all of the other new mechs look pretty neat too. The almost angel dust-like sparks coming from every shot fired from a blaster rifle and every explosion make this film just majestic to bask in when it comes to seeing the fight scenes, and the character animations and designs look great as ever. The only grip I have is in one of the colonies having egregiously dated CGI that also fucks over its frame rate. I never knew that was possible in the 80’s and it was a disconcerting experience to be sure, though it hardly takes anything away from the glorious visuals of the film.
Almost none of the tracks in this film are memorable, which is a real disappointment, especially considering what a great soundtrack Zeta Gundam had. There is only one track from one of the earlier scenes that sounds pretty good and I wish where were more pieces here that sounded actually cinematic and memorable. None of it is bad music but nothing sticks, not even the ED. The dub is also rather meh, barring Brad Swaile’s great returning performance as Amuro and Michael Kopsa as Char Aznable, who despite a few weak moments, sounds pretty good and has a really booming political speech at the midway point. Everyone else is rather so-so, some being worse than others but even then, the dub never sounds overall bad, but these two basically saved the dub from absolute mediocrity.
The action is marvelous and definitely some donteh most fun I've had with Gundam fights, but unfortunately the abysmal subplots made this film really hard to appreciate. I was unbelievably pissed at some of the bullshit that went on with some of these characters but there were brief glimpses of amazing satisfaction, like the lovely action and that time Nanai smacked the shit outta Quess for being such a brat. I'm sort of torn on this one because of that, and I really think this could've been a great film but as it stands, I was overall disappointed on what I got.
OVERALL: 6/10 RAW SCORE: 5.69/10
Like with some of the worst anime Gundam installments out there, good mech action isn't enough to make a good Gundam series, and this applies with any action show. The story it tries to tell actually has to make sense and the drama has to work without being an intrusion on the product and our enjoyment of it. Unfortunately, Char's Counterattack suffers heavily from this, which is a real shame since this was supposed the be the epic conclusion to one of the greatest anime rivalries and sagas of all time. Barring the characters, I wouldn't say that this film is outright bad, just sort of underwhelming for what it was supposed to be, making it one of the weaker entries, not only in the Universal Century timeline, but in terms of Gundam as a whole, and if what I've heard is true, it doesn't get a whole lot better from here for most part. Well, with all that said, I bid you adieu.
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