When one space colony declared its independence from the Earth Federation, the devastating 7th Space War, an all-out war between Earth and space, resulted. The Federation responded to the Space Revolutionary Army with mobile suits, called Gundams. However, the Space Revolutionary forces played their trump card and dropped hundreds of space colonies onto the Earth, plunging the planet into a seven-year-long nuclear winter. The Federation collapsed, but the Space Revolutionary Army was unable to invade the Earth in the aftermath of the colony drop.
Fifteen years have passed. The year is now After War 0015, and a New Federation has sprung up on Earth to restore order. In space, the colonial leaders have been rebuilding their own forces as well. By chance, fifteen-year-old Garrod Ran has discovered an old Federation mobile suit, the Gundam X, and now he uses it to help out the Vulture ship Freeden in its struggle to keep the powers that be from repeating the mistakes of the past.
It's a damn shame that After War Gundam X is the least popular of all the Gundam shows, because it really is an impressive piece of work and probably one of, if not the best of Gundam spinoffs. It has the realism that Wing does not, the maturity missing from SEED, and the extra kick lacking in 00. The only Gundam since the original to be cancelled, and to be honest that's the biggest fault X has. You can't help but wonder what could've been if only that episode count reached 50.
At the start
of the show we meet Garrod Ran, a young mercenary of only 15 years of age and lets just say, he does some pretty amazing stuff for a guy his age. After taking a rescue job he meets the target, Tiffa Adill, a mysterious young newtype girl. However, upon learning that his employer would only exploit her for her abilities, Garrod turns on him and joins the very group he "rescued" her from, the mercenary ship "Freeden". With the help of Tiffa's abilities, the crew of the Freeden continues their search to help any newtypes who are being unjustly used by others.
Gundam X has one very crucial element that no other Gundam spinoff does. It feels like a U.C. show. In the world of Gundam X, the colonists have seemingly dropped all of the colonies down to the Earth as opposed to just one, and the human population is relatively miniscule. Because of this, many people consider the After War universe to be an alternate reality to the Universal Century, as opposed to a standalone universe such as the Cosmic Era from SEED or the Future Century from G Gundam.
Without spoiling anything I have to point out again that Gundam X ended 11 episodes early at episode 39 as opposed to 50. Because of this a lot of people feel the ending is rushed. I have to disagree to an extent. Although the ending moves very fast(quite a bit happens in those last 8 episodes in very little time) it wraps things up quite nicely and I can't but feel that's almost exactly how the original ending would've gone. Still, I'd love to see those missing 11 episodes.
The art style is good, but let's just say the animation could've had a better budget for its time. Roughly the same quality as Wing. Definitely the biggest negative to X in the aesthetics department, but it's more good than bad. The gundam designs are pretty outlandish, but for how badass they look, they aren't invincible, unlike the SEED and Wing gundams, which is great. The Freeden pilots have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Great voice acting and one hell of a score. The Gundam X openings (by the amazing group Romantic Mode) are some of my favorite openings in all the anime I've seen, and in regards to the ending credits, I rarely sit through ending credits but for this show I made an exception. The three ending themes(two of them are different language versions of the same song) are some the best that I've ever heard used in anything, anime or otherwise. As for the score, I'm always humming one or two tracks here and there. Great soundtracks.
At first I thought this was the biggest weakness Gundam X had. A few episodes later and I was proved wrong. All I can say without spoiling you is that it's definitely enough character development. At first the show seems to be only about Tiffa and Garrod, but over time it focuses on other characters well enough. Tiffa and Garrod are still the most important characters, but it doesn't terribly overshadow the anyone else. There are still flaws, such as expanding on a few bit characters who don't show up for more than 10 minutes of screen time, and the Frost Brothers up until the last arc, but overall it's all good.
Gundam X is definitely not the best Gundam show, but damn if it isn't the most likeable. It's hard to hate this show. It may not be a masterpiece, but it's one hell of a ride from start to finish. Garrod in particular is just an amazingly well done protagonist. He's impossible to hate, and he's always believable. He's extremely street smart, but not a genius; very skilled in battle but not exactly soldier by any sense of the word. From the very first episode, he is kicking things in gear and you just want to strap yourself in for the roller coaster ride he's going to deliver.
I like to refer to Gundam X as the Daft Punk of Gundam. Anyone who's experienced it can't hate it in the least. I give it a 9 because hell, I can't deny how much fun I had. I enjoyed this more than G Gundam, and that's saying a hell of a lot. A great balance of the always enjoyable shonen heroism while still keeping that tomino-esque reality that the original gundams had. You can even find some parallels between X and Tomino's own Crossbone Gundam graphic novel, strangely enough. If you can watch After War Gundam X, then do so. Chances are you won't be disappointed.
Alll I can say is, this is definitely one of the most underrated Gundams of the franchise, and an underrated anime in general. I don’t get why the hell they can bring SEED and SEED Destiny, and not X and/or Turn A? What I really liked about this series was it took a different direction with the newtype concept that was a re-occuring element in the UC sagas, mostly in Zeta and CCA. Yes, newtypes can be elite pilots, but Tifa demonstrates that newtypes aren’t exclusive to this rolel. Granted the extremity this anime took with that concept felt out of place for Gundam, in
no ways did I feel any sense of intensity or suspense was ruined, but I felt it built it up. I would elaborate how unique this series makes its own interpretation of the newtype concept but it would be a spoiler and I encourage you to see the series for yourself to understand what I mean.
But other than that, it still retains the other characteristics from other Gundam series, and redefines and advances them. Garoad you can say is more of a modern day interpretation of Judeau Ashita from Double Zeta. He’s young, but he’s a guy who is out doing his job and circumstances just led him to where he is. What’s also unique is that he’s not a newtype but yet, he just naturally develops his piloting skills. Tifa’s character was just new to me, and I felt the nature of her character felt out of place for Gundam, but because this isn’t the original Gundam and the intention was to go for something different and new, I felt she just simply served her purpose though I don’t personally call her a top 5 female Gundam character. And as usual, the series will still have villains and antagonists you can relate to which the Frost bros do well at. The series does have some interesting twists and turns that will keep you guessing in relation to the characters and the overall story. I feel that because it’s uniquely both characteristically and not characteristically Gundam at the same time give a new distinction it’s trademark characteristics.
Well, this series premiered after Gundam Wing, so most of the color schemes and gimmicks of the mechs will probably not really stand out since it mostly follows the approach that Gundam Wing has. But I guess some of the features of the GX where its main weapon needs to be powered by a satellite brings a new element to the engineering and the firepower that hasn’t been used in past sagas makes it more fresh. And as I stated earlier, the mechs in general don’t have any qualities that are necessarily fresh or new. Like the Leopard is pretty much a green colored firearms, and the design of the GX looks like the Wing Gundam but with a different set of wings.
The character designs mostly in relation to the costume are a little wilder than your typical Gundam series, thus giving some reflection to its post apocalyptic nature. But other than that, you have generic bishounen and bishoujo designs but very tolerable. My favorite design is that of Jamil with a modern day old school approach. He wears a very ancient military style uniform, and his side burns and hair style is something more characteristic of a 1970s anime hero. And Tanya is just simply hot.The character design is nothing really cutting edge but still appropriate for its setting at some capacity. The battles are pretty interesting since a majority of this Gundam series takes place on Earth and I was wondering if there was ever going to be any traditional space battles, which has always been an iconic trait of the franchise. But I feel that the engineering and the gimmicks of the Gundams presented justified keeping the battles on earth territory for most of the series. But the battles are still intense and they excellently know how to apply land and air war fare with a different approach with more reliance on transforming mechs.
Personally, I loved Takagi Wataru’s unique approach to playing Garoad Ran. Even though he’s achieved world fame as Onizuka Eikichi from GTO, I loved how he still retained his nasal voice and make Garoad come across as a teenager and as a wise ass. I thought it was a very brilliant performance. Granted Garoad has comedic traits, I think Takagi’s addition who mostly does comedy roles does a great job in a more serious role such as this one himself. I think Jamil’s voice actor, Horiuchi Kenyuu who is famous as playing Raiden in the Metal Gear Solid games brought a unique charisma to his character and also made him sound very intimidating. And another unique actress is Mitsuishi Kotono, who was also still playing Sailor Moon at the time is also the voice of Tanya, the bridge captain. Later she would come back to Gundam SEED. as the Captain of the Archangel. With her role in Gundam X, she brought Misato’s party girl side to her character.
The music is just intense and beautiful. The opening theme DREAMS just has this militaristic feel with how it opens, but yet transitions to this powerful song about hope and determination, and the ending themes sung in English sound like Love Lift Us Where We Belong, but brought a refreshing feel to the series. The background music is very appropriate for the series.
Well, sadly, this Gundam had to be cut due to low ratings, but I heard that this series is finding rejuvenation in Japan with the DVD releases and people are appreciating it more. Artistically as I said earlier, it really does nothing to advance Gundam but I think it still maintained its spirit and really brought a unique and distinctive redefinition to some of its original foundation. Such as the themes and concepts behind the series with new types was what made it unique and was first brought into an alternate universe of Gundam which would later be brought back in SEED which I think they did a bad job of that concept in that series. I say it is required to have some familiarity with the original Gundam to understand the origin of its concepts such as colony drops and newtypes, and some familiarity with Gundam Wing to understand the mech design and style. This is something truly made for Gundam fans, and I think this is probably something that a casual anime fan or a hardcore anime fan that isn’t into Gundam could probably handle.
Gundam X gets a bad reputation much of the time due to the fact that it was canceled—the only Gundam since the original to get cut short. We'll probably never know what set of circumstances led to the early end of its broadcast in Japan, but there is one thing I can say. Much like the original Gundam series, Gundam X was extremely underappreciated in its time.
In a technical sense, the art, music and sound effects are roughly equal to Gundam Wing. They were produced back to back, so this is expectable. If you've seen Gundam Wing, then you know what Gundam X looks and
What really sets Gundam X apart, especially from its immediate predecessor, is its characters. Gundam X is full of characters that you can actually care about. In particular, Garrod and Tifa's relationship is extremely genuine and endearing. This is quite a feat for a genre of anime not particularly well known for being able to develop a believable romance.
The plot of Gundam X is well paced, keeping a good momentum and tension throughout. Each episode tends to leave you hanging, and craving more. This structure worked well for Escaflowne, and it works very well here too.
Overall, don't write this Gundam off just because you heard it got canceled. I consider this the best of the AU Gundam series, and enjoy it on the same level as the original series. Any Gundam or mecha fan should see this series.
Before watching Gundam X, I often heard how it was considered to be one of worst Gundam series out there since it only ran for 39 episodes, since it had been canceled due to low rating. But after finishing it just now, I have to say, its probably one of the best Gundam series I've seen and quite possibly one of the more under appreciated anime out there.
Story: Gundam X takes place 15 years after the war between the Earth forces and Space Rebellion which wiped out almost all of the Earth's population due to the use of Newtypes, individuals with advanced abilities. The story
follows Garrod Ran, a 15 year old boy who runs into a mysterious girl called Tiffa and later decides to join the Freeden, a ship led by Jamil Neate, a former "hero" in the war(think Amuro Ray), in order to protect Tiffa, while traveling the Earth to prevent the abusive use of Newtypes and eventually to stop a war that could result in the same tragedy 15 years ago. The plot set-up can almost be thought of as a pre-cursor to Eureka 7, the main character chooses to join a group of ragtag individuals in order to protect a girl they've taken interest in,not to fight for peace or anything close to it.
Art: Being released in 1996, the art looks dated but still holds up fairly well 14 years since its release. For those who have seen Gundam Wing, you know what you're expecting
Sound: The sound effects and background music are fairly well done( despite the fx sounding a bit old-school and thus similar to Wing again), but the opening themes are very well done and quite catchy too.
Characters: Despite the high enjoyment quality of all other Gundam shows, most of the main characters, were rather annoying, throwing out angst and other "emo" actions that seemed rather siily. Gundam X has a decent set of characters that are all fairly fleshed out and really likable and don't display any of the cliches established by its predecessors. Garrod is a rather interesting main lead and often displays some traits that most teens could relate to. Despite some "angst" he displays in the few beginning episodes of the anime, it actually makes sense why he acts this way. Jamil is a mix of Char, Amuro and even Bright, and acts as the leader figure among the crew of the Freeden and his past involvement in the war only makes him more interesting. Roybea and Witz, the other 2 Gundam pilots, are interesting characters as well and they even have good intentions being involved with the Freeden. The Frost brothers are the ones who truly shine in this show, they are the very definition of evil and will do whatever they want to get what they want.
Enjoyment: Every episode was well done and did a good job of building up to the conclusion. It started out as showing out with showing how the entire cast only worked to find Newtypes scattered around the globe, but slowly begun to realize that encountering them would lead to them becoming involved in a war once again. The only flaw I can think of is that the show was cut short, so starting around episode 30 to the last episode, it felt a bit rushed as I was hit with so much information in a few episodes, but was wrapped up really well overall.
Overall: Don't let the fact that Gundam X gets a bad vibe from many Gundam fans steer you away from watching this. The plot is well paced and the characters are all done fairly well and even has a bit of the political themes found in almost every Gundam series( but to a more limited extent here). This under-appreciated gem is a must watch for anyone who is a fan of mecha, romance or anyone who is an anime fan in general.
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