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 37 – “Char and Sayla” – The Reasons For Masks

Char and Sayla

“Char and Sayla” picks up where the last episode left off except that Sayla comes down to the planet to confront and stop Char. Around this time another fleet of Zeon’s attack as well. This episode is great at giving us a glimpse into Char and Sayla and the motivations they have in hiding their names.

The episode was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The story involves Sayla’s arrival in the Texas territory as Amuro and Char continue to fight as Zeon attacks with another force in an attempt to stop White Base 7.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – We learn in this episode that Amuro is one of the newtypes which are basically mutants and that’s how he’s been so adaptable in battle. We also see his wondering about Lalah and curiosity on what’s going on with Sayla continues. He is powerless as he loses power even though he destroys Char’s latest Gundam.

Mr. Bright – Listens in on Sayla’s conversation but trusts her and lets her keep the gold that Char sent her when she admits it was Char who sent her it and the letter. You can tell he truly is a good guy through his actions.

Char – Char’s name is Casval and he Sayla are the children of the founder of Zeon, Zeon Zum Deikun but were taken in by Jim Rahl when their father was killed by Degwin Zabi (though most believed he was pointed to as the successor not knowing it was pointing out who killed him). Rimba gave them false identities which is the identity Char has adopted since all he has is vengeance so he can make a better world where the newtypes live as examples to all. We see how complicated he is now too as his end goal intentions are good his way of getting their is just not.

Sayla – Sayla’s name is Artesia (mentioned in earlier episodes) but she hides it too as she doesn’t want to become a political prisoner of the Federation and is scared her adopted family in the crew will leave her. Like Char she hides to protect herself from the consequences of her family name. We see she wants the Federation and Zeon to stop fighting too as she is connected to both sides. She received Char’s gold too and whether she goes to Earth as he wanted for her remains to be seen.

Okay: Confusion – The confession of identities is a little confusing as we are given a lot of backstory really fast. I wish this episode had given more time to explore this though since we get the motivations of two amazing characters. It isn’t bad, but it is a little confusing.

This was an amazing episode and a must watch so you get why Char fights and why he and Sayla have the names they do. Sayla is once again given a choice and we understand what drives Char to continue to fight more fully. It also introduces what everyone has been going on about “Special” in regards to Amuro. Newtype are X-Men basically and Amuro is a newtype.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 36 – “The Duel in Texas” – The Pride of M’Quve

The Duel in Texas

“The Duel in Texas,” is very much a M’Quve episode as we find he has fallen into the trap most Zabi’s have of wanting to take Amuro on their own to show Char that they deserve respect. I was hoping M’Quve was above this, but what can you do. It is still an enjoyable episode.

The episode was directed by Shinya Sadamitsu and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Masaru Yamamoto.

We first learn that Gihrin has moved Zeon headquarters to A Baoa Qu as the final line of defense against Federation forces and also putting out a double rank advancement for whomever defeats the Gundam. The story involves M’Quve entering his own Gundam and luring Amuro into a trap in the Texas area that is a wasteland that Char is using to test Lalah’s abilities. The story lines meet when Amuro enters and Char decides to go and help M’Quve so Kycilia won’t be shamed. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Sayla – We see her take on and do lots of damage and destroy many of the Zeon ships before Kai joins the battle later to help take on the Gundams. She’s improved a lot and the Zeon Captain is surprised one ship can do so much damage.

Amuro – Amuro faces off against M’Quve and at one point Char in his new Gundam over the course of the traps set on Texas. He fights M’Quve and kills him even when Lalah begs for him to stop as he’s already one. In this we see Amuro has no sense of attacking to incapacitate, he is just like Char in he fights to kill.

M’Quve – We see his pride (the Zeon’s and their pride) at stake when he duels Amuro for Kycilia to show up Char and when he’s later rescued by Char he asks Char to stay out of it, leading to M’Quve’s death. He was a good character though, he was the planner and scheme and his Gyan is pretty great.

The Introduction – It is great seeing that Dozle’s death is having consequences, from Degwin, the leader expecting Dozle’s defeat and Gihrin’s actions to strengthen the war effort. The past episodes have consequences, which makes the series great.

Char – Char helps M’Quve but let M’Quve’s pride destroy himself in the end as he saw M’Quve’s pride and ivory tower approach a waste (and every hurt against the Zabi family is a win for Char). It was great seeing that side of him again, that he will help but he’ll also let others destroy themselves if it serves him. He also manages to put up a good fight against Amuro which continues next episode.

Okay: Lalah – She doesn’t like fighting but she’s serving Char and Zeon? What? She is a confusing character who I really don’t get at this point.

This was a great episode and good way for M’Quve to go. I was hoping he’d get to go out with a super weapon though rather than Gundam vs Gundam which seems to be the status quo for how Zeon’s get defeated. Still has some great Char and Amuro moments though and we get to know M’Quve better too.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 35 – “Big Zam’s Last Stand” – The Strength of Dozle Zabi

Big Zam's Last Stand

 

“Big Zam’s Last Stand” is the completion of Dozle Zabi’s arc from the last episode, and they do a good job completing it! It says a lot when you have a named Federation character die, especially if they die on the Trojan Horse. Who I’m referring to I’ll show in the assessment, but the fact that Dozle pulls this off in his Big Zam makes him a very worthy foe who gets a great death.

The episode was directed by Osamu Sekita and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The story is the title. It is Dozle Zabi’s last stand in his Big Zam Gundam armor. During the battle he has his men retreat as he annihilates the Federation’s forces with his powerful Gundam and eventually starts targeting the Cruisers too. It isn’t until Kai, Sleggar and Amuro work together that they figure out how to face him. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – We see Amuro’s fear when he faces down Big Zam and also when he faces Dozle Zobi who is firing his weapon at Amuro in his Gundam. To Amuro’s eyes he sees a dark specter which might be the violence that Dozle feels towards his enemies.

Mr. Bright – Does a great job being a supportive friend to Mirai and facing off against Dozle and making sure that all his the White Base 7 crew get back safe. You get why he’s the commander of the ship in this episode.

M’Quve – His arrogance leads to him almost not picking up Dozle’s wife and kid. It takes a soldier calling him out. Didn’t mind too much since he’s a manipulator and didn’t know if it was personal in order to complete wipe out Dozle’s line for the sake of ambition or Kycilia.

Dozle Zabi – Destroys most of the Federation Gundams and a lot of the fleet on his own, and is only taken out because 3 of the main crew face him and manage to get underneath the suit. Regardless he fights to the end and protects him men by fighting on his own allowing his men time to retreat. He was a good and honorable soldier and leader. It was great how he got to go.

Okay: Sleggar – He dies! I’m glad he does too as he finally gets to do something good and help Amuro defeat Big Zam. Never liked the character, but at least he got a noble death and got to show how dangerous Dozle is.

Okay/Con: Mirai – Mirai is attracted to Sleggar, why? He slapped her. I don’t understand and Sleggar doesn’t either. I guess the writers needed to give her characterization since they weren’t exploring her possible romantic interesting in Mr. Bright. Mr. Bright does give her a break though which is when her and Sleggar kiss and Sleggar gives her a ring. It all kind of came out of left field.

This was a favorite episode, since much like the Ramba Ral episode we got a full exploration of the character of Dozle Zabi and had sacrifice, showing that the Trojan Horse is not invulnerable and can take losses. It makes me excited for the rest of the series as there are still more Zabi’s to face. Sleggar won’t be missed, but at least got a good death…for me the true drama was with Dozle though and the lengths he went to fighting to the end to protect his family and men.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 34 – “The Glory of Solomon” – The Federation’s Strength

The Glory of Solomon

 

The Trojan Horse is finally properly in the war! This is great as it shows us just how powerful the Federation is and gives us a chance to explore another of the Zabi’s…Dozle Zabi. I’ll get into what I mean more in the assessment.

The episode was directed by Hiroshi Hisano and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The story involves the Trojan Horse joining the Federation assault on Solomon Base, the headquarters of Dozle Zabi. From here the story unfolds as we get glimpses into the man of Dozle Zabi and the crew of White Base 7 as they take place in their first full scale battle and military operation. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: White Base 7 – Seeing the crew in action here is awesome as we get to see them cooperating with a larger force and being the ones to break through to board Solomon with the Federation Gundams. Sayla, Kai and Mr. Bright get special mentions.

The Federation – The Federation isn’t completely decedent on Gundams to win the day the way Zeon is. We see them use a special weapon made of mirrors to break down Solomon’s defenses which make Amuro boarding the base possible.

Amuro – We see him in top action here working with Sayla and Kai to get close and board the base.

Hayato – Finally some characterization! He feels inadequate because he’s in competition with Amuro and when he has to leave the battle due to getting injured he is dwelling in his self pity that no one can pull him out of.

Dozle Zabi – Dozle is a fascinating character. We see him caring for his wife and child before he has them leave when the Federation forces board Solomon. It is than he gets in to his own Gundam and has his forces to do the same for the final standoff. He is an interesting character in that he keeps comforting his wife that all is okay even as things are not looking okay. The Zabi problem of pride is very apparent in this character since he doesn’t send for help until the Federation has already boarded the base.

This was a great episode! We finally get to see and explore another member of the Zabi family and we see the Trojan Horse in action in a large scale battle with lots of other Federation ships and Gundams. I definitely recommend it.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 33 – “A Fateful Encounter” – When Char Met Amuro

A Fatefull Encounter

“A Fateful Encounter” finishes up the arc in Base 6 and introduces us to some new elements, mostly related to Char. I’ll go into more of what I mean in the following assessment.

“A Fateful Encounter” was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama.

The episode involves Amuro seeing more of his father’s mind falling apart and meeting the mysterious woman named Lalah who he later runs into again when he sees Char for the first time. The story unfolds from here as Conscon does a full scale assault against the Trojan Horse to show Char how powerful he is as Char is staying on Base 6.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – Amuro is afraid of Char, when they meet and Char helps him pull his car out of a rut Amuro loses the ability to thank him and takes off as quickly as possible. We see later being with his father has honed him as he doesn’t want more people to go mad from the war like his father has. He kills the most Zeon Gundams in this battle.

Char – Char has taken Lalah under his wing as it implies she is a psychic and can sense Amuro’s Gundam during the fight. They have an interesting relationship as she seems to be his protege. We also see Char’s kindness when he helps Amuro and in his time with Lalah and honoring Base 6’s neutrality.

Mirai – We see her try to protect Cameron Bloom in this episode but ends up respecting his wish to escort the Trojan Horse out of the dock to offer them more protection. She is smacked by Slagger (hate this guy) and the trying to force her to like Bloom is getting really annoying. She holds her own though.

Cameron Bloom – We see his love for Mirai in his self sacrifice and his hope for her protecting after the battle is over. He was willing to risk his own neutrality for another, which was great to see. Showing that there was more than an arranged marriage going on for him.

Okay: Lalah – She’s a blank slate at this point. She comments on nature’s beauty to Amuro when a bird dies and seems to have something with Char, but none of these are fully fleshed out.

The Cons: Sleggar – Hate this guy, he violently smacks Mirai for no reason as Mr. Bright lets Bloom escort them anyway. Can this character just die? Even Kai’s improved but this guy is still horrid.

Coscon – Risks all his forces and dies in the battle against the Trojan Horse and Amuro’s Gundam all for the sake of pride. He will not be missed.

This was a good but not great episode. I liked the moments of Amuro’s dad rooting for him during the battle and his moments with Amuro and Cameron Bloom and Mirai had some good moments too. Coscon was a waste of a bad guy though.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 31 – “Breakthrough” – The Trojan Horse Cannot Be Stopped

Breakthrough      After all the damage M’Quve did with his trap I’m beginning to find the crew of White Base 7 a little too overpowered after this episode. I guess in a way it shows us how far they’ve come…but it also makes the Zeon faction not feel like a threat either. I’ll get into the details in the assessment.

“Breakthrough” was directed by Osamu Sekita and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.H

The story involves Char’s attempt to stop the Trojan Horse by forcing them to fight him in the Zanzabar and Dren’s forces. He does this after a soldier finds an experimental gundam called the Zakrello (that was untested and was done without Char’s consent) that White Base 7 is alerted to his presence. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Char – We see Char and Dren treating each other as friends in this one and also how powerless Char feels after The Trojan Horse annihilates Dren’s forces. At this point he knows he needs a good plan to beat them since Dren couldn’t hold them off long enough for his forces to meet up.

Dren – Dren was always Char’s lackey when we saw him, but in this we see him as a commander, which is great! Of course Amuro kills him though, since if you are an interesting Zeon that isn’t Char…you are probably going to die. He at least got to go out fighting though and doing some damage to White Base 7.

Amuro – Amuro destroys the flagship and does a great job working with Hayato, Kai and Sayla to stop Dren’s attack force. He also stands up to Slagger creeping on Sayla and reaches out to Sayla as a friend, as well as warning Slagger about the threat of Char.

Sayla – We see a flashback where Char says that she must not stand in his way on his road to vengeance against the Zabi and that though she loves him she won’t support him. It is a great character moment before we see her in the field.

Hayato and Kai – These two rocked in Guncannon and Guntank against the swarm of Dren’s forces. I was rooting for them.

Mr. Bright – Is confident as a commander and does all the right things to defeat Dren’s forces.

The Cons: White Base 7’s Crew is Unstoppable – This is really the core issue here. We still have a fair way to go to get to the finale, but the crew has defeated everything thrown at them and taken most victories from the Zeon. This is good at ending the stalemate but takes away the threat of Zeon introducing new Gundams since Amuro’s Gundam will beat them anyway. I hope this gets dealt with later. An overpowering force isn’t all that fun to follow.

Good episode minus White Base 7’s invulnerability and really liked the Sayla and Char character moments. Also Dren finally got a moment to shine too.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10