Category Archives: Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 42 – “Battleship Libra” – Know Your Enemy

msgw42

This is the episode that Wufei finally finds purpose and gets outside of himself, as well as us also learning what finally happened to Lady Une and what Treize’s motivation is, to a degree. I’m curious how things are going to unfold from here as Zechs is an enemy, an interesting enemy, but an enemy nonetheless, and this is something that all the Gundam Pilots learn.

“Battleship Libra” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Nana Harada and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story begins with Wufei being picked up by Noin, Quatre and Heero and when a White Fang force arrives Heero lets him use Wing Zero so he can learn who his enemy is. Lady Une arrives on Earth as well, having been saved from the destruction of Barge and Dorothy arrives at Battleship Libra as Relena makes her way there too.

The Pros: Wufei – Wufei is finally likable! The guy realizes that the Gundams are his allies and that all of them are needed to defeat Treize and Zechs who are his true enemies. It’s a powerful scene as he realizes that he’ll die fighting alone (having lost the last two battles he fought alone). He’s likable when he actually works with people.

Heero – Heero shows why he’s the leader when he gives Wufei Wing Zero to use for the battle and it then we see that Heero cares about the other pilots and has the moment he got to know them and realized they weren’t enemies. He’s growing and Relena is rubbing off on him.

Team Gundam – Sally, Wufei and Heero are on their way to the Peacemillion to finish upgrading Heavyarms and Shenlong Gundam. Their faction is getting ready for the final fight.

Dorothy – Dorothy grew up with Treize and Zechs and convinces him to let her on the Battleship Libra as she wants to be a part of the battle to come. It’s a good conversation as she is able to reach Zechs who has become lost in his role as leader of the White Fang.

Relena – Is wondering why Zechs has become so lost and thinks about her Father who reminded her of the importance of pacifism. She still holds onto it, even as the world crumbles around her.

Treize – Is motivated to bring about Peace in the same way Zechs is, by ending it in the final war now that the Earth is united (as are the Colonies). Both see things as a means to an end and in their own ways are trying to look after Relena, though completely missing the point in their means to an end approach.

Nichol – Takes Lady Une to Earth, finally stops fighting like an OZ soldier and sacrifices himself in the fight to help Wufei. Good moment of awesome for a minor character.

Zechs – Is a villain now, but an interesting one.  I get why he believes what he does, though it has consumed him to the point where he nearly destroys Dorothy until she sells him on the fact that she wants to be a part of the Great War and be by his side when it ends.

Battleship Libra – Has an awesome design, and is super deadly. Can’t wait to see it in action. Libra and Epyon are going to be the main threat since I don’t know what Treize has to fight with at this point.

This was another perfect episode. I didn’t mind Zechs being the villain again even, it was so wonderful. I am looking forward to the final fight and how it will play out among all the factions. It has been great so far as usually character development is part of the action, it isn’t simply action for action’s sake, which I appreciate.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

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Mobile Suit Gundam – An Anime That Truly Explores War

Mobile Suit Gundam

This has been article I’ve been meaning to write, now that I’ve finished reviewing all the episodes of “Mobile Suit Gundam.” The first in the “Gundam” series. Suffice to say, I understand how it sparked a franchise. This was an anime that covered the human cost of war and politics, the hard choices, from the civilians caught in the middle who in many cases are forced to take sides, from the good people on both sides of the conflict and how war can lead to regret when a person realizes how it has changed them and those around them. You get to know the characters, which is why these things and many times their dying actually matters.

The human cost of war is the most prevalent thing you feel in “Mobile Suit Gundam,” characters are introduced like Ramba Ral, Crowley, Matilda and others who we come to know right before they are torn from us, in many cases by other characters like the crew of the Trojan Horse who we have come to care for. We also see the human cost in how Amuro’s father is psychologically broken from the attack when he loses oxygen and he is no longer able to fully attach to his son or to use the great engineering mind he once had the designed Gundam.

Characters are also forced to make hard choices and take sides. At one point Amuro leaves, at another point Kai leaves…for Amuro it’s partially because he doesn’t want to give up Gundam, but it’s also him genuinely wanting to prove himself and help in the war, for Kai it’s because he’s tired of fighting in a conflict he never wanted to be a part of. He was a civilian who doesn’t adapt to war until he has a reason when he loses the woman he loves who was a spy who ends up betraying Zeon. She makes that hard choice too as she became a Zeon spy to care for orphan children and needed money. Sayla is also forced to make a choice when she learns her brother Char is serving under the Zeons in order to overthrow them since Char and Sayla are the true heirs before the Zabi family overthrew them. In these moments of hard choices, we get why characters do the things they do. It makes them human and the conflict they are a part of real.

Another aspect covered is how people change. Char goes from his personal vendetta against Amuro to remembering his original mission and destroying the Zabi line so that his new dream of having a world shaped by Newtypes like him and Amuro can become a reality. Degwin Zabi also changes when he sees the human cost of the war and how he has turned his son into a monster who believes in Zeon supreme and decimating the rest of the colonies for population control so Zeon can colonize them. To prevent his Nazi son from destroying his legacy and innocent lives he goes to meet General Revil for a peace talk only for Gehrin to destroy them with the Solar Ray. Amuro also goes from fighting for the sake of fighting to fighting for his family of White Base 7. The crew is his community and home and his last act before saving himself is to get them all to safely with his newtype powers.

Because of all these factors, the choices characters make and the cost that comes with it are accurately felt. In many cases during war there isn’t a right answer, there are only slightly worse or better answers. This moral quandary is part of what makes the characters memorable, they aren’t allowed to stay static because the war presents them with choices and their choices shape the conflict. The series doesn’t end on a completely idealistic note either. An armistice is signed between the Federation and Zeon but it is left open since the cost of the war so high…you know that both sides now carry hatred from what they just went through and for this reason even though there is peace it could very well be temporary as both sides have hurt each other so greatly.

This was an amazing anime and one I’d highly recommend. The animation is a little rough at first and the songs too hopeful but they both get better and better capture the price and cost of war. If you are looking for an anime with compelling characters, good action and choices that mean something, you will enjoy this one greatly. This series makes me look forward to reviewing other series in the “Gundam” franchise.

Final score: 9 / 10. Solidly great, just started out a little rough and the Trojan Horse being unstoppable for a time kept it from being perfect.

Mobile Suit Gundam Finale – Season 1, Episode 42 – “Escape” – Peace in Our Time?

Escape

“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.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 41 – “Space Fortress: A Baoa Qu” – To Destroy One’s Enemies

Space Fortress A Baoa Qu

The penultimate episode of the series really starts with a powerful beginning as we see General Revil and Degwin Zabi destroyed by the Solar Ray that his own son Gehrin Zabi fires. This really sets up the theme of everyone seeking to destroy the ones they consider their enemy.

The episode was written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama and directed by Ryoji Fujihara and Yoshiyuki Tomino.

As stated above it begins with the Solar Ray destroying Degwin and his peace envoy which puts Kycilia on edge and distrusting of Gihren as she meets up with him at A Baoa Qu. It is here he goes full on propaganda with promoting Zeon as the superior race who will crush all their enemies before them. At the same time the Trojan Horse is recovering from the destruction it witnessed as Amuro pulls them together for the final attack on the base with the remainder of the Federation fleet. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Battle – The Battle is amazing! We see the base holding it’s own against greater forces and also the battles on the smaller scale when we get the POV’s of Kai, Hayato and Sayla in Guncannon, Guntank and G-Fighter. This lends to how epic the scale really is as Mr. Bright and Kycilia are giving orders.

Gihren Zabi – Is a bastard and I was so happy when Kycilia killed him. She figured out that he murdered his own father and puts him down as she believes only the honorable should rule and those who respect the Zabi family which he clearly doesn’t. He won’t be missed.

Kycilia Zabi – Her blind spot is still Char though as she gives him a Newtype Gundam Zeong (given his budding Newtype abilities). We see her command her forces and firmly establish leadership after the coup against her brother as the base quickly falls into line. It says a lot about her power that her murder of her brother didn’t cause a Civil War among the troops. I guess they saw how reckless he had become too. Her other blindspot is she depends too much on Gundams to fight the battle and doesn’t call for reinforcements from Zeon. She was the one who realized Newtypes could change the war but it was realized too late.

Amuro – Amuro is getting better in his abilities but is now evenly matched with Char on the battlefield as when they face off neither knows how to defeat the other and they both experience fear because of it. They also know how much of a game changer each is as their gundams and their personal abilities are quite powerful.

Kai, Hayato, Sayla – All of them have great moments this battle, though Sayla is going to get a bigger sequence on why she’s a pro next episode. In this one she is taking out Zeon Gundams as Kai and Hayato manage to land on A Baoa Qu and help break through.

Char's Zeong

Char – Char gets an awesome new Gundam that forces him to use his Newtype abilities as he, at least initially is pretty balanced in the fight against Amuro. They fight to a standstill and lose each other in the battle and aren’t able to find each other again till the end. He decimates lots of Federation forces too and would have changed the battle towards Zeon victory if not for Amuro.

Enemies Meet – This episode is all about enemies meeting. From Kycilia killing her brother Gihren, from Gihren’s execution of his father with the Solar Ray for seeking peace and of course the main two of the series – Char and Amuro. We see the outcomes of all of this in the final episode.

This was a solid episode that doesn’t have any real cons. It has a limited time so we don’t have the minor characters get too much exploration, but we still get exploration of the leads and the Zabi family, which was all the episode needed to do.

Final Score: 10 / 10. A perfect “Mobile Suit Gundam” episode.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 40 – “A Cosmic Glow” – A Dream for Peace

A Cosmic Glow

This is the episode that shows what different characters are do to try and reach peace, and showing us that Degwin Zabi isn’t a completely bad guy. It also has a very trippy sequence as we fully get to know the motivations of Lalah and Amuro.

The episode was written by Kenichi Matsuzaki and directed by Shinya Sadamitsu.

The story involves Kycilia calling out Char on his real identity and asking him why his quest for revenge changed? When he says Lalah, she understands and says they won’t have peace and resolution between them until after the war. An attack is than mounted to stop the Fleet that the Trojan Horse is leading as Degwin Zabi goes over to the Federation to negotiate for peace as Gihren Zabi prepares the Solar Ray. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Degwin Zabi – A guy who backs up his regret with action and trying to change the war he started. Where this goes remains to be seen, but I suspect that Gihren is going to kill him as he lamenting that Degwin has become a sentimental old man as he prepares the Solar Ray to decimate a portion of the Federation’s Fleet. We also see that the death of Garma his son, is a major motivation for his quest for peace.

Gihren Zabi – Is a bastard and great bad guy. We see him follow through on his ends justify the means approach in his preparation to the point that his Father who is the Lord of Zeon in name is worth killing. History repeats as Degwin did the same thing to the last lord of Zeon.

Kycilia Zabi – Knows the truth of Char’s identity and tells him and forces him to face why he changed his mind on revenge and that things aren’t resolved but winning the war is more important. You can tell she puts Zeon over her personal issues with other people.

Lalah – We see that Lalah is more aware of the big picture than Char and when she connects to Amuro during the battle shows him a vision of peace. It is here she asks him why he fights and learns because he has to, where for her it is to protect. We see her take this to the full degree when she sacrifices herself to save Char from Amuro’s attack.

Char – Char’s hate has consumed him to the point that he nearly kills Sayla in battle. We see him have a great moment with Kycilia though that at least for the moment, he’s put his hatred for the Zabi family aside for Lalah and the hopes the Newtypes bring. We also see his despair at the death of Lalah, the woman he loved.

Amuro – Amuro is shown the bigger picture and how his fighting to kill has hurt so many…he and Lalah connect over the dream of peace and stop fighting when they see their past and current meeting as destiny and resolve to stop…before Char forces their hands which leads to Amuro accidentally killing Lalah.

The Set up – The Solar Ray is about to fire and probably is going to destroy General Revil and Degwin Zabi which will make peace less likely (and also continuation of the Gundam series since many characters we haven’t met will have reasons to hate).

The Cons: The Dream Sequence – The vision or dream was way too confusing and it was hard to understand what Lalah’s and Amuro’s motivations were fully during it. It could have been done much more subtly and with much less words. It was excess.

This is a favorite episode for sure and has some great character development! I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the final two episodes…especially in regards to Char and the Zabis and Char and Sayla.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 39 – “Lalah’s Dilemma” – The Evil of the Zabi’s of Zeon

Lalah's Dilemma

 

This is the episode that really shows just how bad Gihren Zabi is, if the Hitler analogies of “Hail Zeon,” he does weren’t already enough. This episode does show his Father sees the bigger picture though as he declared Independence and made a principality for reasons of stability. We also see how far Lalah’s abilities have advanced, her relationship with Char and how Kycilia sees them both.

The episode was directed by Osamu Sekita and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Yoshihasa Araki.

The story involves Gihren voices to Degwin his father that he admires Hitler and wants to create a society in which only the worthy live as well as decimating a large portion of the population and using the powerful Solar Ray as a defense against Federation forces. Degwin warns him against this dangerous philosophy. Around the same time Kycilia arrives and Char and Lalah must deal with her. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Degwin Zabi – Fascinating that the guy who killed Char and Sayla’s parents could grow so much as a character. He regrets the can of worms he opened with the war and how it has consumed his son where his son is taking the idea of a free Zeon to the extreme of genocide. This plays out later but for now we only see the regret on how his philosophy and actions shaped his son. Got to say, I like this character. He especially disproves of his son’s incompetency at evacuating an entire colony just to use a super weapon that could in the end, turn people against them and their family.

Gihren Zabi – I don’t like this guy but his he makes a good villain. He is driven to succeed by any means necessary and truly believes he is in the right. This makes for an interesting enemy especially since his family in many ways disagrees with him and his approach.

Lalah – We see Lalah’s love for Char as Char defends her and she defends Char from Amuro. Char is the reason she fights, and to end the war. We also see that her and Amuro are pretty evenly matched given they’ve both destroyed powerful vessels for their given factions. We see her love for Char too as they kiss after.

Kycilia – Disproves of Lalah’s dress but gives her and Char the support they need to continue the fight. She is cruel but on point and obsessed with her duty to Zeon. We see her appreciation for Lalah and Char’s fighting after the battle.

Char – Defends Lalah which helps her win and she saves his life from Amuro. We see how their bond has grown and that she has changed his view on life. This is powerful and shows Char’s growth as a character.

Amuro – Has his suit modified and it helps a lot as he is moving quicker and beginning to get premonitions predicting peoples’ next moves. We see him connect with Lalah too and her hatred at his attempt to kill Char.

This was a great episode for what it showed in regards to the Zabi family complexity. The battle sequences do a lot and we see how far Gihren is willing to go for his philosophy and to end the war, which is now contrasted by Char who sees much more.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 38 – “The Newtype: Challia Bull” – The New Weapons of War

The New Type Challia Bull

“The Newtype: Challia Bull” is themed just as it’s suggested…the exploration of Newtypes in relation to the war effort. We also see politicing between the Zabi siblings and Zeon striking back at the recent Federation victories.

The episode was directed by Osamu Sekita and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Masaru Yamamoto.

The story begins with Lalah working with Char to destroy Federation ships and cause chaos and fear on the Solomon Base that the Federation recently captured. We then see Gihren who sends out Challia Bull to be his agent in Kycilia’s forces. Around this time Amuro was sensing Lalah’s attack but is surprised when Bull attacks and it an unknown for him and his Gundam. Sayla also comes forward about the truth of her identity to Mr. Bright. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Challia Bull – This guy is a soldier who is good at hiding his own agenda. At one point he appears to be almost a Magneto when he tells Lalah they need to look out for their own people. He also does a good job fighting and doing damage (destroys Guncannon’s legs) and is only defeated because of Amuro honing his abilities as a Newtype.

Lalah – She is getting character development! We see a huge part of her motivation is doing things for Char because Char cares about her, and she loves the feel of victory and being in control. We get more exploration of this next episode too.

Char – Knows how tough his position when when Challia arrives as an agent of Gihren, but doesn’t let that stop him. Once again he lets it be a chance to show Lalah as superior as he puts Challia’s fears to rest about him before Challia’s inevitable doom to Gundam.

Amuro – Amuro gets to the point where his reflexes are faster than his armor. This is the first time his Newtype abilities are very apparent and it comes in handy it is his speed that allows him to take out Challia Bull. It ends with him figuring how to upgrade the Gundam so it doesn’t happen again.

Sayla – Sayla tells the truth about her identity as a Princess of Zeon and that Char is her older brother. She expresses her disapproval of him and that she stands ready to fight. This one firmly establishes her truth and transparency.

Mr. Bright – Accepts Sayla’s confession and is grateful to have still on board. We also see him commanding during the battle.

Okay: Gihren – We don’t really get enough time with him to know his intentions, just that he’s untrustworthy, so there isn’t much to go on.

This is a good episode that shows how Amuro’s abilities are advancing and the fact that the Federation and Zeons now both know of Newtypes are using them as weapons of war. The Newtypes change things and just how radically they’ll change things remains to be seen.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10. Solidly good and enjoyable episode.