“Escape,” is the episode that concludes “Mobile Suit Gundam” and leaves things open for the ways the story is continued in the story. How did it fair as a finale? I’ll go into that in the assessment, for now just know this does some great things with characters that even if they were a little predictable, worked and were appreciated.
The finale was written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama and directed by Osamu Sekita and Yoshiyuki Tomino.
The story continues were we left off with Kycilia leading Zeon forces, Amuro and Char in combat and the boarding of A Baoa Qu by Federation forces. From here the story unfolds as Char and Amuro destroy each other’s Gundams and Sayla seeks them out to stop them fighting as Kycilia plans her escape so that Zeon may fight on. From here the story unfolds.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
The Pros: The Battle – The action is once again the best it’s been as Gundams fight Gundams, Battleships face Battleships and A Baoa Qu fights on. We even have the Trojan Horse get mortally wounded and have to land on A Baoa Qu to continue the fight. The Guncannon and Guntank are also destroyed in the battle.
Char vs. Amuro – This is an amazing actions sequence that leads to them destroying one another’s Mobile Suits and eventually crossing swords as they fly around the base. We see them both fighting for Lalah while Amuro is angry Char got her involved in the war, while Char points out the war advanced her abilities and Amuro should have been aware of her. It is a great battle with Char asking him to join his side for the advancement of Newtypes. Amuro is rightfully disgusted and we get our Professor X and Magneto moment. Before Sayla arrives and reminds Char of where the root of his anger comes from…the Zabis. Amuro isn’t his enemy, the Zabi family is.
Kycilia Zabi- Sees the bigger picture, though we see that much like Gihren’s over depedence on super weapons…she’s over dependent on Newtypes and Gundams. This leads to her downfall as at the end Char her greatest Newtype, Captain and Gundam Pilot kills her for her family killing his Father. She was a great character nonetheless.
Sayla – Sayla reminds Char of their origins and that Amuro was never the enemy. In doing so she saves both their lives given they are so evenly matched they would have destroyed each other. As the base is destroyed Char saves her in turn and Amuro does too with his Newtype abilities. It is amazing and great seeing her play such a good role. I hope she appears in future Gundam series.
Char – We get some great glimpses into Amuro’s psyche as he realizes Char isn’t his enemy, the war machine of Zeon is and that is what he must stop if he wishes to make peace. Sayla helps him realize this as he destroys the last Zabi in command (Though Dozle’s child and wife still live). He is one of my favorite characters in this Universe and I can’t wait to see him when I review future Gundam Series and Movies.
Amuro – Is touched by Lalah who reminds him that Char is not his enemy and that he is fighting for peace. This is powerful as we see Lalah acting like Obi-Wan’s force ghost to guide him and will always be with him as he helps the crew of the Trojan Horse get to safety via communicating to them through his mind. Lalah reveals how he is connected to all and in doing so is able to save lives. He manages to survive too and reunite with the crew, who are his new family after.
The Ending – Amuro saves the day fully awakening his abilities and there is happy a reunion, Char gets revenge and we’re left wondering if he still lives, and an armistice is signed between the Federation and Zeon and questions if this peace will be lasting or not. The ending is a little cheezy in places, especially the reunion scene and Lalah’s reveal about everyone being connected, but it works and it leaves the question open which is nasered in the fact that Gundam as a Franchise has so much more after this including a direct sequel to this series “Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam” and “Char’s Counterattack” the film. I can’t wait to review those at some point!
This was a great finale, even with the cheezy moments and gives the first Gundam series a great sendoff. Character arcs are resolved and we see the full cost of the war and know because of how many lives were lost, that peace may not be lasting. There is still too much hate on either side for that to be the case. This was a series that didn’t shy away from humanzing it’s antagonists and showing the complexity of war. It’s one I highly recommend and will probably do a retrospect of and Top 10 Episodes later. Until then, a great end to a great show.
Finale Score: 10 / 10. Does all it needs to do to bring arcs to a close.