May 4, 2018
Karhu (All reviews)
'Gundam Origin' is the best thing that has yet happened to the Gundam franchise. The series is so different from all the other Gundams, and so successful at what it does that it appears to be more similar to 'Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex' and 'Legend of the Galactic Heroes' than it is similar to other Gundams.

This time around our story does NOT center around bunch of kids who fights against each others with super robots, and question their morality after falling in love with enemy kids. And when people lose their families, they do NOT get over it in mere 10 minutes like they do in the alternative version, the original Mobile Suit Gundam. No. This time our story centers around politics and military tactics, and comes off exactly as mature and realistic as is possible in the animated medium. However, from its core 'Gundam Origin' is character biography. It aims to capture the life of Casval Rem Deiku in a way most similar to Sports series such as 'Major' and 'Hajime no Ippo', but also close to Career series such as 'Glass no Kamen' (actress) and 'Uchuu Kyoudai' (astronaut). I am mentioning these 4 series because they are the only other anime I have ever seen to go as deep into character-centric story telling as 'Gundam Origin'. I am a huge fan of this concept, and never in my life did I think I would see the 5th successful series to achieve this to be This anime. I have been blown away.

The details put on art and animation are insane. These six episodes took three years to make. And while this is not uncommon for OVA series at all, the team didn't exactly spend their days loitering around. This is a work of such high caliber it mainly reminds me of 'Hellsing Ultimate'. Outside of few building scenes, there are practically no scenery that hasn't been animated. Even during debates, there are no scrolling backgrounds to make it create the illusion of animation and movement. During these scenes, almost every side character is in some way reacting to the conversations, be it in forms of expressions, habits or body gestures. It's crazy.

The thing that impressed me the most is the character design, more specifically their faces. Approximately 93% of the 200something characters don't even look like anime characters. For the first time ever, I have been impressed by the animated faces of middle aged men. They have unreal amount of details, separately designed side/front profiles and realistic facial features. The faces have so much depth that it doesn't even stop there. Especially during close-ups, we can see shadows cast on their faces according to their facial features and room lighting. If this doesn't impress you then I have no idea what could. Also, for the first time since 'Gankutsuou' has a goddamn piece of clothing burned in my very soul. I am talking about the onepiece dress seen in episode 2 at Club Eden. Talk about pretty. For the sake of readable length, I won't go further into details, but practically everything has been polished and there isn't much CGI outside episode 6. But even in the finale the CGI is so well done that less experienced viewers won't even realize they are looking at CGI.

The series is, by no means, perfect. One of the side characters, Zabi Garman, can be seen as a plot element who only exists to lead the story in preferred direction. Our main character can be criticized of being a Gary Stu level Jesus who is perfect at everything and anything. Personally, I didn't find any of these factors to be actual "problems" that could ruin the series for me. Rather, I thought they were done well. For example, the expectations others' and Garma himself put on him didn't match his personality, so it was easy for him to get played. Most of the time everything feels like it has been done with high level of self-awareness. The team behind Gundam Origin seems to be well aware of all its flaws and did their best on making it believable, acknowledging its imperfections and weaker sides.

Since I haven't spoken anything about the sounds yet, I suggest you head to your closest youtube and copy-paste the following song title "Crowley Hamon - Don't Say Goodbye" and enjoy. I let this piece speak for itself.

When it comes to enjoyment, I can't speak on the behalf of Gundam fandom for the reason that I am not a fan of Gundam series in generally. Thus far the only ones I have really enjoyed were Vietnam, Hamburger Meat and Nice Float (08th MS Team, 0080 War in the Pocket and Unicorn - in case you are not up to date with hottest Gundam memes). I can still speak as a fan of mature anime series, as a fan of character portray, and as a fan of anime in generally. The levels of mature and realistic are -ironically- almost unrealistic, the characters are far better than anyone could expect, and the art kept constantly impressing me. I will call Gundam Origin an obligatory view for all anime fans.