Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 18 – “Ramba Ral’s Attack” – Amuro’s Arrogance

Ramba Ral's Attack

 

“Ramba Ral’s Attack” is a great episode revealing more of Rama Ral and Crowley as characters and also Amuro and Fraw too. The episode was directed by Susumu Gyoda and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama.

The story picks up where the last episode left off with Fraw leaving White Base 7 to find Amuro again and Ramba and his forces planning their next move to destroy the Trojan Horse. From here the story unfolds as Amuro is undercover in Ramba’s camp but is allowed to go free given that Ramba doesn’t know if he ‘s Federation or not and if he and Fraw were it wouldn’t matter since the town is neutral territory that he honors. He does have Fraw followed to the Trojan Horse though, and the story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Ramba Ral – Ramba Ral is an interesting and classy guy, he is fine with his love Crowley hitting on Amuro and them paying for Amuro’s meal and he shows respect to Amuro and Fraw. The only time he mocks Amuro is when Amuro is out of his league during their battle and Ral shows as much by escaping his Gundam easily to plan his next move, while rubbing Amuro’s inexperience in his face.

Crowley Hamon – We see in this episode just how open her and Ramba’s relationship is, as she shows an interesting an Amuro and Ramba is cool with it. It adds more layers to their relationship as you see what they have is completely unique and totally them. Crowley is also shown to be kind like Ramba.

Fraw Bow – She is beginning to see the bigger picture, which is good. She tries convincing Amuro and she does convince him in a way as he stays to fight with White Base 7 against Ramba Ral’s attack. She finally gets Amuro’s arrogance and how it has put them all in unnecessary risk on multiple occasions and ignores him when he is crying out for help in the brig of the Trojan Horse.

Mr. Bright – Has had enough of Amuro’s crap and puts him in the brig. We see him using the Guntank and Guncannon in cordination against Ramba Ral really well too, as Ramba Ral is always being just held back until Amuro returns with his Gundam.

Okay: Amuro – The kid is acting like a kid and still doesn’t get why no one respects him. He’s reminding me a lot of Shinji in “Evangalion” at this point, where he is talented but he expects others to conform to his will, he’s not aware that he’s a part of a crew until Ryu comes to look for him and even than he doesn’t get why they’d be disappointed in him. He has a lot of growing to do, so putting him in the okay area. I honestly expected him to get it by now, at least a little. If he did he’d be in the pro section.

This episode was great and showed us more of the awesome Ramba Ral and Crowley Hamon…I love seeing these two in action as they show their experience in their positions really well and are highly honorable characters. Amuro needs a lot of work and he’s the part that brings this episode down the most and keeps it from being a favorite.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Still solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 4 – “Escape from Luna II” – When the Government is the Enemy

Escape from Luna II

 

This was a fascinating episode and does more to cover the complexity of war, which “Mobile Suit Gundam” is quite adept at. The episode was written by Masaru Yamamoto and directed by Shinya Sadamitsu.

The story involves White Base 7 arrival at Luna Base II. It is here that the man in charge Wakkein has all conscripted personal from White Base arrested for seeing the secret Trojan Horse Cruiser and the Gundam. From here the story unfolds as Char leads a successful assault upon the base leading to dire consequences later.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The theme – The government during war time can help as much as hinder you as seen by Wekkein who arrests them because of military protocol. Protocol that the crew of White Base 7 has been ignoring because they’ve needed all people and weapons just to survive assaults on Zeon. This soon comes to a head as Wakkein must make a choice after Captain Paolo explains the situation.

Wakkein – This man is a soldier confined by the rules and the rules almost cost him the base, he understands this and makes the choice to support them all in the end in the final assault, even when it means destroying his cruiser The Magellan. He also holds off on alerting Earth as he’s learned empathy from the experience.

Amuro – Shows why he is the protagonist again as it is he and Bright who are plotting the escape and how to rescue all the refugees on the base during Char’s attack. He also holds his own against Char’s Red Comet and another Zeon Mobile Suit. He does a good job and at the end after Captain Paolo dies he wonders where his father is…showing the loss of war.

Mr. Bright – Bright is the one who convinces Wakkein to destroy his own ship and to help them in the fight against Char and Zeon forces. He proves himself as a leader once more and you can see why Captain Paolo put him in charge while he was sick and injured.

Fraw Bow – Looks over the refugees and brings them to the ship for the escape. She is pretty much functioning as the civilian leader at this point.

Char – Does anymore need to be said? He does a sneak attack on Luna Base II leading to the weapons and army of Luna Base II being incapacitated, the only reason he doesn’t win is the destruction of the Magellan destroys one of his mobile suits in the fight and the fact that Amuro’s mobile suit adapts and learns on it’s own. By default he is the underdog fighting an enemy that can adapt to any of his attacks. He still manages to reek havoc on the Base though before his retreat.

The Death of Captain Paolo – With Captain Paolo’s death the colony lost an advocate who could fight for them against Federation bureaucracy, they are the rag tag team of survivors and are fully on their own. His death is powerful and means something. I didn’t write about his character before because Bright took over his role, but what he means we learn in this episode…and he means a lot. R.I.P. Captain Paolo.

This was a solid episode that shows how those who mean to help and also the rules can hinder. Wakkein is a victim of circumstances who doesn’t learn how to bend the rules until he has too and until he experiences first hand what the refugees know for real. This is powerful and definitely one of my favorite episodes. Good guest character, consequences at the end of the battle (Paolo’s death) and the journey continues to the Federation’s headquarters at the Earth.

Final Score: 10 / 10. It accomplishes all it set out to do.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Vote to Attack” – Learning Teamwork

Gundam episode 3

We continue our reviews of “Mobile Suit Gundam” with episode 3, “Vote to Attack.” This episode was directed by Hideyoshi Ojika and Yoshiyuki Tomino, and written by Yoshihisa Araki.

The story is one of choice, should White Base attack the Zeon’s and Char when they are restocking, or make their way to Luna Base II. The decision is made to attack and the story explores the consequences of that as the crew rises to the challenge and making sense of one another.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Characters

Sayla Mass – We see in this that Sayla Mass is the one holding Captain Bright to the fire so that he doesn’t assume privilege over others. They clash, which is great to see as she is the communications officer, which usually in sci. fi. means they are regulated to love interest or passive person sending out commands. Not so in Sayla Mass’s case.

Kai – Kai is a character who starts out a coward but rises to attack White Base when he sees Amuro is need and that they’ll be destroyed if Char has the chance to resupply. He is still arguing the entire time, but I guess that’s his character. He actually takes action in this episode and contributes showing how the experience of every person needed is changing him.

Captain Bright – Clashes with Sayla but is aware of the crew because of it, has the choice to attack the supply ship put up to a vote and fully contributes to protecting the ship from Zeon forces.

Commander Char – Char is once again a great enemy as we see him care for his men and take the practical approach as he collects supplies and puts his ego aside while the Captain of the supply ship attacks in his Mobile Suit which costs him his life. This was an episode of him getting the weapons he needs and further testing Amuro and Amuro’s Gundam. He does manage to get the supplies in the end, though the supply ship is lost. We also learn that Zeon forces are overextended and Char is on his own.

Amuro – We see him work in coordination with others and how it pays off as they succeed in destroying the supply ship. He also learns just how much better Char is than him and it is only the strength of the Gundam keeping him alive. He also hates that Captain Bright shows him no respect. At the end of the episode he says he wants to punch the Captain.

Okay: Mirai – Leading at the helm and piloting the main ship she is mostly just there like before. She hasn’t gotten a good chance to be explored but she does remind Captain Bright of the choice he faces.

Ryu – The Core Fighter pilot and forgets to turn off his radio, was the only surviving pilot so became one by default. Is still out of his league and needs to be explored more. Mostly the rookie in a support role at this point.

This is the episode where the crew comes together and actually manages to hurt Zeon and Char. It is a great episode and one that shows the tension between characters, Char is shown to see the big picture once again and the crew begins to find their footing and work as a team. I definitely recommend.

Final Score: 8.8 / 10. Some characters could have been explored more.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 2 – “Destroy Gundam!” – Learning to Fight

Gundam Episode 2

We continue the review of “Mobile Suit Gundam” with episode 2, “Destroy Gundam!” This episode was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The episode picks up where the pilot left off with Commander Char and Zion forces attacking the Federation colony. Amuro is in his Gundam and is helping in the evacuation but is soon ordered to fight and destroy the Gundam parts on the colony so they don’t fall into Zeon hands, even though Mr. Light disproves of a child piloting the Gundam. There is also another arc of Fraw and Sayla Mass help evacuate the remaining survivors.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro Ray – He is good in this episode and has more personality going on. We see him freeze when facing off against Commander Char and we come to understand that he is depending way too much on the suit. This is good as it establishes his dilemma of if he even wants to be a soldier, of course Mr. Bright doesn’t give him a chance in the end as he needs every person to fight as he lost most of the men in the Zeon attack.

Commander Char – Has a custom Mobile Suit that allows him to be quick in battle and we see how attached he is to his men as when he loses one to Amuro he swears revenge. He’s a very human antagonist and we soon learn he has a sister who is with the Earth Federation (Sayla Mass).

Sayla Mass – Sayla Mass is the outsider who most don’t trust because of her connection to the Zeons. Luckily Fraw is there to show her kindness and we see her action as she tries to help civilians in the colony escape. Excited to see where they take this character in relation to her brother.

Fraw – Fraw is active in this and we see her assigned to a be a nurse as they need everyone they can get. She cares for the children and is one of the few truly kind people we meet..showing that her carrying for Amuro was greater than him just being her friend. She cares for everyone.

Okay: The Leaders – All the leaders are kind of just there to support the folks with personality. The injured Federation Commander who puts Mr. Bright in charge is just happy and supportive of Amuro and the Admiral to the Zeon’s is happy to see Char succeed and continue to be a legend. There isn’t much there to like or dislike…they are simply there to move the plot forward.

The Music in the Episode – Much better than the theme and ending song, but not all that memorable. At times it does add tension though.

Would I recommend this episode? Yep, it improves on the one before, develops our heroes and antagonists and shows us more of the world. This show once again makes me want to continue watching and reviewing.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam Pilot – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Gundam Rising” – The Consequences of War

Mobile Suit Gundam

“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