Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 30 – “A Decoy in Space” – Sayla’s Loyalties

A Decoy in Space

“A Decoy in Space” continues Char’s assault on The Trojan Horse and further exploration of the conflict that Sayla now feels that she’s talked to her brother and knows they are facing him on the other side.

The episode was directed by Hiroshi Hisano and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama.

“A Decoy in Space,” begins with the Trojan Horse leaving orbit after taking on a new officer named Sleggar while Char mounts an attack with his limited forces as he wants to make sure White Base 7 will not reach it’s location. When the crew are called into action Sayla finds herself paralyzed and possibly harming her brother.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Char – Shows why he is the main rival of the Trojan Horse and White Base 7 once again when he attacks them head on and manages to reek a lot of havok before Sleggar gets a direct hit on his ship the Zanzibar. I would have liked to see him think about Sayla though.

Sayla – Her conflict in loyalties is really prevalent here as she worries that Char may be in one of the Gundams so is slow to react leading to trouble in the battle. Amuro talks to her after and Mirai and Mr. Bright also confront her to but she brushes it off not wanting to face her dilemma yet.

Amuro – Uses his wit to outsmart the latest and greatest Zeon Gundam ship the Bigro and 2 upgraded Doms that Sayla and Kai help take out. We see how much he cares for Sayla too when he reaches out about her question on who their enemy is and her freezing in battle.

The Cons: Sleggar – Guy is way too macho confident. I can see what they were getting at with his character, but at this point Hayato has more personality and complexity and he’s one of the characters that is the least fleshed out. His constant hitting on Mirai and all the women was uncomfortable an annoying.

This was a good episode with decent action. Don’t like Sleggar all that much and kind of thought he’d die this episode continuing the theme of if a character is introduced, they will be killed. He broke that pattern which was nice to see though which means he could get more character development. He’s also the first outsider on the crew.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 28 – “Tragedy in Jubaro” – Invasion of Jubaro

Tragedy in Jaburo

This is the episode where we get to see Char back in action again, and also just how Powerful the Federation is. It is a pretty great action episode that has some good character moments too.

“Tragedy in Jubaro,” was directed by Shinya Sadamitsu and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Yoshihisa Araki.

The story involves the Trojan Horse arriving at the secret Federation Base at Jubaro where Matilda’s fiance Woody is the captain. It is here they are taken care of until Char attacks as he was able to follow them and joins the battle as a new Zeon Gundam is released into the field.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Battle – The assault on Jubaro is a fantastic battle! You see all the different types of Zeon Gundams in action including an upgraded Red Comet Gundam Char is using and the Zock, a large frog like Zeon Gundam. We also see the mass produced GM’s which are smaller versions of Amuro’s Gundam. The Federation puts up a good fight but Zeon is powerful and does a lot of damage including the killing of Woody before finally retreating.

Amuro – Amuro has empathy for Woody and realizes his crush was misplaced as he keeps imagining Woody and Matilda’s marriage, this comes to a head when Char in his mobile suit destroys Woody’s ship and Amuro in a rage charges him only to be stopped by the Zock who gives Char time to escape.

Char – He isn’t an idiot and always facing Amuro with backup as he knows Amuro’s Gundam is superior and doesn’t know all of it’s abilities yet. We see he is a good commander though and would have captured or destroyed the base of White Base 7 hadn’t risen to the occassion.

Sayla, Kai, Hayato – These three are great in combat this time and each destroy a Zeon Gundam. Sayla is working with Amuro, and Kai and Hayato work together to defend the other entrance to the base. Kai is all idealistic now which is kind of cool to see as he mentions fighting so there won’t be more orphans and desperate people.

Okay: Woody – He helps White Base 7 but is kind of a one note character. He is helping them and respects them because Matilda did, but we don’t see much personality beyond him being a professional soldier. So his death doesn’t have the same affect as prior ones.

This was a really good episode and worth watching since we haven’t seen Char commanding and in battle for some time. He really is the main threat outside of the Zabi family and he earned that role for a reason. This episode was good at showing that nowhere is really safe for the Trojan Horse.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 27 – “Across the Atlantic” – For the Children

Across the Atlantic

“Across the Atlantic” continues Miharu and Kai’s story as well as Boone who is serving under Char at the Mad Angler. It has great action and character moments partially for these reasons and drives the story forward.

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

The story picks up with Miharu on board being hidden by Kai, but Amuro sees her but doesn’t say anything as Boone attacks out of vengeance for his men killed in the last battle. He first gets information that The Trojan Horse is headed to South America when he goes undercover as an injured fisherman. It is from here that Miharu is questioning her allegiance as she sees that the Trojan Horse is caring for orphans as well on their vessel. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Boon – You see why he swears vengeance and he gets an awesome vehicle to fight in, The Grabro, a mini-sub/Gundam. It is a powerful Gundam that manages to injured the Trojan Horse before Amuro finally destroys it along with Boon.

Miharu – Miharu is the main focus of the episode as she realizes her mistake and tries to White Base 7 by joining Kai on his jet and when the lever is caught, releasing it which costs her, her life. This isn’t before she gets her message to Kai of wanting to end the war in conversation they had earlier…so future generations will grow up with peace.

Sayla and Amuro – This team is great and does a good job fighting the two Z’Goks and Amuro is able to take out the Grabro once the Grabro twists off his Gundam’s leg, and Sayla takes out a Z’Gok while Kai and Miharu take out the other.

Okay: Kai – Kai is pretty good in this episode, still pretty stupid for sheltering a spy and from that pretty selfish in regards to the safety of the crew, but I did feel bad for him when Miharu died. I don’t know if I’ll ever like this character…but he can be okay.

This was a great action episode and one that advanced the plot further. Also two deaths of significance though Miharu’s was bigger since we got to know her more than Boone. “Mobile Suit Gundam” has a pretty big named character body count…which is good, it doesn’t try to white wash war.  Can’t wait to see where the series goes and loving how White Base 7 is working so well as a team!

Final Score: 9 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 26 – “A Spy on Board” – What Desperation Does

A Spy on Board

We continue our review of “Mobile Suit Gundam” with the first Kai centric episode. I wish these episodes made me more sympathetic towards him, this and the next one do a little at least. We also see reasons in this episode why a Federation citizen would help Zeon in the war.

“A Spy on Board” was directed by Hiroshi Hisano and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama.

The story of the episode involves Kai leaving and being taken in by a Zeon agent who is raising orphans from the war in her home. Her name is Miharu and she and Kai take a liking to one another. She eventually hears from Boon who is serving under Char in Mad Angler and is told to infiltrate the Trojan Horse to see where they are going. From here the story unfolds as Char sends a Z’Gok mobile suit to attack.

Here is an assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Zeon Forces of the Mad Angler – Zeon Mobile suits rock and the pilots have personality, even if they only live for a short period of time. They always put up a good fight, for example the Z’Gok’s attacking is what bring Kai back to White Base 7 to help the crew he was a part of.

The Trojan Horse – The crew lets Kai leave, even knowing they could get punished for it, and welcome him back when the battle commences. You see that most people don’t like him (myself included) but they respect him.

Miharu – She was the spy we saw sending information to Zeon when The Trojan Horse first arrived. She’s an interesting character as we learn she is living in an abandoned house and has devoted the money she gets from Zeon to caring for orphans. She’s a great character and succeeds on sneaking on after she’s given a uniform by a Zeon agent.

Amuro – We see him working with Sayla more in this episode and how much of a team they are becoming. Amuro also gives Kai his tools so he has money for getting started. He says he doesn’t like Kai but respects him, showing that Amuro is a good guy.

Sayla – Sayla is getting more confident in herself as a pilot as she takes out and helps take out Z’Goks. I really like her character and hope she continues to get confidence. Her and Amuro make a much better team than Amuro and Hayato or Amuro and Kai.

Okay: Kai – He’s not a complete ass this time and we see how many times the crew has smacked him and affected his ability to trust and want to be with them (understandably). I don’t know if he sees how his selfishness has affected them though. He is kind to Miharu and the orphans though.

This was a good episode, not great because Kai isn’t strong enough to carry an episode on his own, but it at least explores the motivation on why a Federation would work with a Zeon as an informant.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 25 – “Char Returns” – It’s Personal

Char Returns

We continue the review of “Mobile Suit Gundam” with the episode “Char Returns,” which establishes Char’s motivations more and also just how trapped the crew of White Base 7 is.

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

The story begins with White Base 7 arriving in Belfast to get restocked and rest for a while but not before a spy sends off a missive to the Mad Angler Squadron who are being lead by Char who sends two Goggs (amphibious Gundams) to investigate. Around this time General Revil is letting the crew know that they have no choice but to stay since they have state secrets and if they choose to leave they’ll be held in prison for a year. Soon Char’s Gundams attack and the story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Char – For Char this is personal, we see him reek havoc on Belfast with the Goggs and going forward himself to investigate during the assault to discover the Trojan Horse. At the end of the episode he isn’t surprised the Goggs are defeated and says he wants to be the one to personally defeat Amuro and his Gundam as his pride has been personally harmed. It is a pretty powerful speech and we see why everyone respects him.

Sayla – Sayla does more multi-tasking and is taking up the role of Ryu. We see her protecting Amuro and helping when they attack in the G-Bull Tank which leads to defeating one of the Goggs and than backing up Amuro in the fight against the second one in the G-Fighter. She’s becoming quite an accomplished soldier.

Fraw – Is looking at leaving since she wants to care for the children since they have no parents and nowhere to go. Her heart is in the right place though at this point she is the communications officer since Sayla is now the pilot.

The Goggs – I love the design of the amphibious Gundams. Zeon’s Gundams tend to have great designs overall, but these ones are especially memorable as they are most dangerous underwater and sometimes move on four legs like an animal. They have the best armor too that can withstand vulcan gunfire.

General Revil – You understand the dilemma he faces in this even though his forcing the crew to stay in the military isn’t just. He stays in the battle though and he does have a lot of respect for the crew of White Base 7.

This was a great episode and one I’d recommend. It was wonderful to see Char in action again and to see how much Amuro and Sayla have matured as soldiers. It was also good to see more of the Federation and how they aren’t completely good (forcing the crew to stay in the military basically).

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 24 – “The Battle of Odessa” – Any Cost to Win

The Battle of Odessa

“Battle of Odessa” is the episode that completes the M’Quve’s Mine Base arc as well as the first time that things will truly start to change after in not being desperate in regards to the crew of the Trojan Horse. It’s an episode with some of the best action that shows just how far some members of Zeon are willing to go to defeat the Federation.

The episode was directed by Shinya Sadamitsu and written by Yoshihisa Araki.

The story picks up where the last one left off with the Trojan Horse assaulting M’Quve’s main base from behind as the surviving Black Tri-Star members do a revenge attack against the Trojan Horse. Everything comes to a head as the Battle of Odessa rages around and Amuro discovers a Zeon mole in the Federation army.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Black Tri-Stars – Out to avenge their comrade, these guys nearly beat Amuro and cause some pain for the Trojan Horse, they also fight with honor unlike M’Quve. Going to miss these two and wish they’d gotten backstory.

The Federation – We have a captain who is a mole, Revil finally aiding the Trojan Horse and the Federation fighting with honor. Got to say this showed the complexity of the faction we’re supposed to sympathize with which I really loved.

Sayla – Is once again good support and takes time to learn how to fly the new jet before her and Amuro discover the mole leaving M’Quve’s base and realize the reason Zeon has always known where they are. She does a lot of good during the fights.

Amuro – Discovers and chastises the mole before he is court martialed for revealing his plans to Amuro, manages to take out the Black Tri-Stars and has his most successful battle thus far that leads to General Revil personally congratulating him after the battle. He also stops a nuke.

The Trojan Horse – The crew all work together to win the day and not a crew member is wasted in the fight.

Con: M’Quve – Really don’t like this guy after the episode. He was willing to nuke Earth to defeat the Federation when the Treaty had made using nukes illegal. I’m surprised he wasn’t smart enough to realize how that would alienate the survivors to continuously resist Zeon rule afterword. Lost all respect for him for actually going through with the attempted Nuking of Federation forces. He escapes too and we learn that his mines have given Zeon enough resources to fight for 10 more years.

The Mole – We don’t get the Captain’s motivations for betraying and he isn’t smart in how he reveals his plans to Amuro.

This was a great episode that I hope more comes of it afterword, such as how the populace views Zeon after the attempt to use nukes. This episode is Amuro and the crew of the Trojan Horse at their best and a great action episode. So definitely gets a recommend.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 23 – “Black Tri-Star” – Kycilia’s Elite

Black Tri-Star

“The Black Tri-Star” brings us back to Kycilia as well as the recovering of the Trojan Horse from M’Quve’s trap. It’s a good episode that gives us some character development and introduces some great foes.

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

The story picks up with Kycilia wanting to protect the mines of M’Quve and keep the Trojan Horse from the front, so she sends her elite soldiers…the Black Tri-Stars. From here the story unfolds as Amuro gets to know Matilda before the assault by the Black Tri-Stars.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Kycilia – She sees the big picture and is willing to take risks to keep the Trojan Horse and Amuro’s Gundam away from the front and destroying Zeon’s supplies they need for the war effort. You definitely see in this episode why she is the Rear Admiral of Zeon.

The Black Tri-Stars – These guys are southern working class soldiers, the polar opposite of the officers which make things interesting as they love battle and care deeply for one another. You see why they are her elites. They manage to make a major kill too in the course of their assault on the Trojan Horse. They manage to take out Lt. Matilda and her ship showing just how dangerous they are.

Amuro – Amuro manages to take out one of the Black Tri-Stars but is unable to save Matilda. He also helps train Sayla more as she is his support during the battle. He has some great lines with Matilda before and you can see how much he respects her and the reason she fights.

Sayla – Feels guilt over being unable to save Matilda but does a pretty good job in the battle given she was using the prototype for the first time. I hope she can work through the guilt, I really like her character.

Matilda – Matilda went into supplies because she want to build things and so much of war is destruction. She is a creator and healer with supplies and also super professional and kind. Her death is felt, even if it doesn’t have the same affect as Ryu and Ramba’s death had.

Okay: Matilda’s funeral – We didn’t get to know her very well the way we did Ramba, Hamon or Ryu but it was still a decent honoring of her, given she was the one keeping White Base 7 alive so often when they ran low on supplies and suffered assaults from Zeon.

This episode is well worth a watch. Matilda and Kycilia get explored more and we see the Trojan Horse back in action while still recovering. It also continues the theme of loss during war and how easy it is to lose someone you care about in war and battle.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 22 – “Matilda’s Rescue” – No Longer Alone

Matilda's Rescue

“Matilda’s Rescue” directly follows from “The Trap of M’Quve” and has the crew beginning to find it’s bearings once more as aid is being sent from Federation forces.

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

The Trojan Horse is still broken and lacking supplies but the secret message to General Revil gets sent out leading to Lt. Matilda being sent with supplies and some more experimental Gundam material for the crew. From here the story unfolds as M’Quve attacks the supply caravan leading Amuro to mount a rescue.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: General Revil – General Revil represents HQ’s desperation to win the war and the fact that he cares about the crew to a degree, even though they are his guinea pigs. He sends Matilda with supplies and upgrades for the Trojan Horse as he hopes for them to reach the Odessa Offensive to change the stalemate of the war. Interested in seeing more of this guy.

Mirai – Mirai rises up to be the leader Mr. Bright hoped her to be. We see her successfully save Lt. Matilda and the supplies and support the crew. She also connects with Sayla who is proud of her for rising to the challenge.

Lt. Matilda – Keeps calm in the attack and gets Amuro the new technology. She once again shows she’s a fascinating character and stays with the crew to make sure they re-stock and are prepared for the Odessa offensive.

Sayla – Supports Miria and helps during the battle. We see how she’s matured and is at the point of multi-tasking like most of the core crew so that whatever battle situation is at hand, she can take the most needed role.

Amuro – We see Amuro lead the attack to save her and some of his best work as a pilot and in the Gundam as he manages to save some of the ships and take out M’Quve’s Goufs. We also see his attraction to Matilda more too.

Okay: Kai – Isn’t helping with repairs until Mirai arrives but helps during the battle. This character still really annoys me though.

This was an episode that gave us a little bit of hope for the crew of the Trojan Horse as we get closer to the big battle and changing the outcome of the war. It was great seeing something good happen and the crew rise to the challenge once more.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 21 – “The Trap of M’Quve” – The Cost of Loss

The Trap of M'Quve

We continue our bleak journey of loss in “The Trap of M’Quve.” “The Trap of M’Quve” was directed by Shinya Sadamitsu and written by Yoshihasa Arika.

The story is the title, M’Quve is angry at how The Trojan Horse is continuing to destroy his bases so he sets a trap to get them destroyed with his Particle Cannon. Around this time Mr. Bright has fallen into a stupor from exhaustion and sadness over the death of Ryu leaving Mirai in charge of commanding the Trojan Horse. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: M’Quve – M’Quve is a great enemy, from leaving bombs all over the Trojan Horse that injure it and the engine, to attacking it with fighters to lure it in to the area of the particle cannon. He accomplishes everything and White Base 7 only wins by faking their own destruction with Smoke Bombs.

Amuro – Takes control this time on the battlefield and manages to destroy the particle cannon in the end. He is the one who realizes that their dwelling on Ryu is making them not find power in themselves or think things through. For once he’s one of the clearer thinkers in an episode.

Sayla – Besides Amuro Sayla is the one trying to make a difference and keeping her cool. It’s her advice to Mirai that usually got disregarded as Sayla saw the bigger picture. She was the one who should have commanded, not Mirai.

Con: Mirai – She makes a bunch of mistakes and doesn’t even think like the pilot she is. This is a shame as this was her chance to shine but instead she caves to the sadness over Mr. Bright’s illness and the death of Ryu. This is understandable, but not in the face of extermination.

The Crew – There was hardly any leadership displayed in this episode and that falls on the crew. M’Quve almost had things too easy because of the Trojan Horse’s incompetence.

This was a good episode on dealing with the loss of Ryu but not the best epsidoe for the crew as the Trojan Horse is now grounded and can only be saved by outside help. I like that this shows they aren’t unstoppable I just wish a bigger enemy like Char or one of the Zabi family had been the one to do the deed.

Final Score: 7.8 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 20 – “Sorrow and Hatred” – The Character of Ryu

Sorrow and Hatred

“Mobile Suit Gundam” doesn’t pull any punches (both literally and figuratively). This episode follows right after the powerful loss of Ramba Ral and ups it and the stakes as we move forward.

“The Sorrow and the Hatred” was written by Yoshihisa Araki and directed by Sussumu Gyoda and Yoshiyuki Tomino, the directors who did the last episode. Putting them in charge was the right move since this episode deals directly with the consequences from the last one.

The episode begins with an injured Ryu being treated for his injury during the last battle, but moving about trying to put things in motion for people to heal. He wants the crew to work together, since they are all they have. While this is going on Crowly Hamon is planning a suicide mission with her last men to avenge Garma and her lover Ramba Ral. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Consequences from Ramba’s Assault – The crew is low on ammo, repairing the 2nd bridge, injured and tired and suffering from the loss of those killed in the last battle. From the beginning of the episode stakes are high.

Mr. Bright – We see the dilemma he faces with Amuro as Amuro continually circumvents his orders and doesn’t know if Amuro gets that he’s part of a crew yet. We again see him use everyone when they’re put into action and him fully feel the loss of an important crewmember.

Amuro – Continues with learning from last episode and listens to Mr. Bright unless the orders put the crew at risk. He talks to Hamon briefly too as they both have a respect for each other at the end as he admired her and she respects him as a person and soldier.

 

HamonCrowley Hamon – Another interesting and wonderful Zeon character is killed. This time by Ryu though. We see how loyal she is to the cause in this and her love for Zeon and Ramba when she does the suicide mission to take out the Trojan Horse. She nearly succeeds too and would have if Ryu hadn’t gone suicidal on her with the Core Jet, given that she was defeating Amuro in his Gundam.

Ryu – This show, like  re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica” has a high body count, which I think lends to the stakes and why ending the war is so important. Ryu, Hamon and Ramba are just a few of the people who’ve died so far and for Ryu the crew weeps. He is the character who in the end shows who sensitive he can be and builds everyone up around him before risking his life to save the Trojan Horse and Amuro. His death means something.

Con: How the Crew experiences Ryu’s Death – Every character is crying, this is one thing I would have changed as different people experience loss differently and it isn’t always as open, sometimes it’s quite or simply internal. I wish that had been shown rather than the crews reaction being universal, regardless of character.

This was a powerful episode that sums up what Amuro hopes to do, he wants to end the war so no more people can die. It’s a powerful statement and at this time a far dream as the Zabi family is showing no sign of letting up the fight. I highly recommend this episode though, it is solidly great. R.I.P. Hamon and Ryu.

Final Score: 9 / 10