“Gundam” is a huge franchise spanning multiple series, OVAs and movies, but the first one, “Mobile Suit Gundam” began in 1979 and lasted until 1980 and spanned 43 episodes. This is a series I’ve been meaning to watch as I love giant robots and politics and when they go together and have a larger message or messages, and have decent animation, well you’ve got me hooked.
The series was written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino and also writen Hajime Yataka and produced by Nippon Sunrise.
The Pilot episode “Gundam Rising” tells the story of Amuro Ray, a civilian whose colony is attacked by Zeon’s who are in a stalemate against the Federation who is constructing a Mobile Suit Gundam to combat the more powerful Zeon Mobile Suits. From here the episode unfolds.
Here is the assessment of the pilot:
The Pros: The World – The world is really cool, it takes place in the future in 2079 (0079 by the Calender in the episode) where the furthest colony of Zeon rebelled for independence and we are left wondering who is in the right as the Federation is seen as being indifferent in many ways and detached from it’s own populace. The war has come to a stalemate as both sides try to get the upper hand to end the war, regardless of the civilian cost.
Zeon – These guys are a great and complicated threat as of the first episode. We see Commander Char who is leading the attack to capture the Federation Gundam and he’s smart and involved as when a rookie causes the Federation to counter attack he joins the battle at the end of the episode to try and stop the mistake made from getting worse.
The Federation – This faction is protecting the colonies from Zeon but at the same time is almost a faceless military. Amuro’s father is the scientist who created the Gundam and we see him fearing more children having to become soldiers in the war, he’s the human face as the rest are just soldiers giving orders and reacting to Zeon.
Commander Char – This guy has a great design (red uniform, wears a hat and mask) and is the kind of enemy you don’t want to mess with. He is a strategist but also one who will fight for and with his men…making him a good and complicated antagonist.
Doctor Ray – Amuro’s father is one who invented the Gundam to end the war and so children won’t have to die in the conflict. He is the idealist who is unable to connect with his son, making him an intriguing character.
Okay: Amuro Ray – At this point he is sort of the everyday hero, there isn’t anything interesting about him. He is meant to be our eyes, but in the process he doesn’t have the chance to be shown to be that unique yet. We see the horror of war through his eyes, like when his friend loses her family and we see the fear as he get’s inside the Gundam and joins the fight since he discovered the manual to use it after the soldiers carrying it were destroyed in the Zeon attack. He is a character with potential. So not good or bad, just okay.
Fraw Bow – Is Amuro’s friend and has his problem, but we do see the possibility for character development as she loses her family in the Zeon attack. She is the one who keeps Amuro grounded as he is often lost in studying when we first meet him.
The Animation – Some of the animation is a bit shaky, which is a shame as the story is amazing!
Okay/Con – The theme song – The theme song is way to happy and in celebration of the Gundam, which stands at odds with the traumatic experience of war expressed in the episode. I hope the theme song changes later on in the series.
I want to see what happens next, so I would recommend this episode. Barring the theme song and the shaky animation at times it really is a solid story. It tells the story of the price of war and the ends people will go to end it which kicks off the story with the factions established and the beginning place for our heroes to grow from. I’ll be reviewing more of this show as well, just sporadically as I’ll be reviewing a few other things as well.
Final Score is 8.5 / 10