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 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 17 – “Zeon’s Secret Mine” – Introducing Kycilia

Gundamep18e

This is the episode that introduces to Kycilia Zabi, the elders sister of the Zabi family and Rear Admiral in the Zeon military. It is here we see some of her operations she is working on and White Base 7’s reaction to Amuro’s leaving.

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

The story involves what happened post Amuro’s desertion and his stumbling upon a secret Zeon Base that Kycilia is using to boost the Zeon war effort so that when they conquer their rule will be absolute. Her underling M’Quve is shown in action as well. On the Trojan Horse Fraw is sent out to convince Amuro to come back but goes for help when he shows her the secret base. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Kycilia Zabi – She is a cruel and practical leader. We see her destroy the base when they are losing the battle against Amuro and his Gundam and she calls things into action too realizing they need more prototypes to offset Amuro’s Gundam considering how powerful it is. She sees the big picture and is not one for sympathy. She tries out their new ship the Adzam, which is in the picture above, and it manages to nearly defeat Amuro showing why she plans to use more prototypes to combat him and the Trojan Horse later.

M’Quve – We actually see that he cares about his men as he protests the destruction of the base, even though he does follow through in the end. He is loyal to the Zabi family even if he cares about his men.

White Base 7 – We see them questioning Amuro’s actions and though they don’t want to kill him they know he needs to be punished for taking the Gundam and deserting. They send Fraw to try and convince him and follow up on the base finding that it wasn’t the main secret base much to their and Amuro’s chagrin.

Fraw Bow – She tries convincing Amuro to come back and we see her slowly losing faith in him, especially when she find the base completely destroyed. She is now torn between her loyalty to White Base 7 and love for Amuro as she leaves to follow him at the end of the episode.

Amuro – We see his denying of responsibility, his joy that turns sour when he sees the men killed in the explosion, and when the Zeon soldier tells him not to be kind to enemy soldiers as it could cost him his life. This is a good episode for exploring who he is and is becoming. Hopefully he can be responsible and turn himself in at some point.

This was a great episode and solid the whole way through. All the characters get explored and we get to see another Zabi in action. We also get more of Amuro’s humanity and how he is developing as a character and see a cool new Zeon ship. I highly recommend this episode.

Final Score: 10 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 9 – “Fly, Gundam!” – Amuro’s Responsibility

Fly, Gundam!

“Fly, Gundam!” was directed by Hideyoshi Ojika and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki. The episode isn’t the strongest, but it does have some good moments.

The premise of the episode is Amuro is tired of fighting so sits out as Garma attacks. From here the crew tries to stand without him as Mr. Bright and Fraw attempt to push him to action so that all won’t be lost. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Mr. Bright – He lays things down to Amuro and hits him since Amuro continues to wine about not wanting to be responsible and to pilot and that he is tired of fighting. Considering that Mr. Bright was once an ensign he doesn’t have time for Amuro’s crap and leaves telling him he’s disappointed and believed that one day Amuro would have been better than the Red Comet. This disappointment is what changes Amuro.

Fraw Bow – Is the other person who forces Amuro to action. If not for her showing that everyone was stepping up, including Kai to do the best they could and he could not, than he wasn’t a man. This is the other thing that pulls him to action and responsibility. She is also jealous of Officer Matilda who Amuro clearly has a crush on.

Garma – Garma has a lot of respect for Amuro in this battle and nearly gets screwed over by Garma when Garma pulls the plug on communication between their ships. He distrusts Char afterwords for good reason. It’s nice to see he isn’t stupid.

Char – Char’s plan to screw over Garma isn’t bad since Garma asked them to just watch unless he asked for help. Char’s ambition is shown to be pretty great in this as well as his manipulations. It’s hard to tie him to the communication going down because no one saw it happen.

Okay: Amuro – His wining is really annoying, I get him being upset but it would have made more sense when White Base 7 was safer and not at the point of getting destroyed by Zeon forces. He realizes that in the end and also hits puberty as Officer Matilda who drops off supplies catches his interest.

Con: Execution – A lot of things here were to obvious, from Char’s betrayal, to Amuro’s stress and giving up. This was a problem with writing as the ideas weren’t bad, just poorly executed.

This episode was okay/good. Not great as it wasn’t very subtle, but still had good moments and clearly showed us that Char is not to be trusted by anyone. Curious to see how next episode goes since it is a Garma centric episode and he is a great character.

Final Score: 7 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 7 – “The Core Fighter’s Escape” – The Civilian Rebellion

The Core Fighters Escape

“The Core Fighter’s Escape,” is an interesting episode. It goes more into the cost the constant running and fighting is having on both the military and the civilians and the cost that comes out of it. We also learn more about Gundam too.

The episode was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and Kazuo Yamasaki and written by Yoshihisa Araki.

the story involves Amuro attempting to reach the atmosphere to send a distress signal to Federation forces. While this is going on the older civilians take the children hostage as they fear for their lives and want to walk on Earth again. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – We see how much this war is weighing on his psyche again as the plan fails and Char and Garma prevent him from getting outside Zeon space to send the distress signal. He also spends a lot of the episode running as he finds Zeon forces outgun him. When he returns he blows up at the old people telling them that they are fighting for them and their lack of support makes him want to quit.

Char – Char goes after Amuro and plays a huge part in making sure White Base 7’s plan to call for help doesn’t succeed. We see how powerless he feels too at the end when Garma reports that the Gundam has a few different forms, which angers Char that he doesn’t even fully know what he’s facing in that Gundam.

Garma – Ends the episode with a plan to take on the Gundam and figures out it has a lot of different forms that haven’t even been faced yet.

Mr. Bright – Stands up for Amuro to Kai by punching Kai and threatening to throw him off the ship if his attitude doesn’t change.

The Hostage Crisis – The old people taking the children hostage shows how selfish people can be when they are desperate. This is going on while the White Base 7’s crew is trying to help. Fraw even volunteers herself as a hostage to take care of the children. It is a powerful situation, showing just how bad things can get.

The Cons: Kai – Kai is a dick. He mocks Amuro, mocks the vessel he’s on and even after Mr. Bright punches him he doesn’t seem to get it. Would not mind this character dying at all.

This was another action episode, but it did have a good Mr. Bright moment, and we get to see more of Amuro and Char. It also explores what people do when they are desperate, as the older folks were. I’m curious to see what’s going to happen later as Amuro’s mind continues to deteriorate and the colonists grow more desperate as Char and Garma figure out how to fight the Gundam.

Final Score: 9 / 10. It was 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 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