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 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 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 13 – “Coming Home” – No Peace

Coming Home

“Coming Home” is a telling episode that shows the consequence the war is having on Amuro. It is a powerful episode. It is the 13th episode of Season 1 and was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama.

The story begins with White Base 7 taking a break and Amuro seeking out his mother. When he arrives at a Federation occupied village and fights the soldiers left there he makes his way to the next village where his mother is. Things unfold from there when Zeon troops arrive from the nearby Zeon base.

Here is assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The War and the Populace – We see in the first village Amuro arrives with drunken Federation soldiers squatting in his house and mocking him as he tries to find his mother. He gets in a fight with them and it is only when villagers step in that he moves on. We see this in the second village when Zeon soldiers arrive and he shoots one of them. His mom is a healer and tries to remind him of the human cost on both sides and that the soldiers may have families of their own. This is too much for Amuro who is at the point where fighting is all he knows.

Amuro – Amuro has been broken down by everything that’s gone on. He’s in a constant sweat thinking of combat and when he’s bullied he fights back, as well as when he fears being discovered by the Zeon soldiers. He isn’t able to stay with him mother because of how much he’s changed and how even though he’s in hell, the combat has given him purpose. We see how much he lives for it too when he gets in his Gundam that Kai drops to take out the Zeon backwater base. For him fighting has become life and he can’t find any peace.

Kamaria – We get to know Kamaria, Amuro’s mother in this and she is a fascinating character. She is a healer and Doctor who just wants the fighting to stop. She has seen what the war has done and tries helping the injured on all sides. The main issue with this that she doesn’t seem to get is Zeon’s desire to conquer…she is right about the human side though and just how costly war is.

Mr. Bright – Commends Amuro for fighting for them and thanks Kamaria for Amuro’s service before Amuro rejoins White Base 7, this is contrasted with his initial anger at Amuro for using supplies and ammunition to take out a backwater base. You can tell he does care about Amuro.

This was an episode I highly recommend, it is one of the best and only downside is the minor characters are nameless. They don’t get the exploration they deserved to truly show the human side that Kamaria is advocating for. Besides that, great episode though.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 5 – “Re-Entry Into Earth” – Char’s Trap

Gundam Ep. 5 Re-Entry Into Earth

“Re-Entry Into Earth” is an episode that establishes Char as a pretty amazing threat and that even when he loses he can sometimes find a way to win. The Episode was written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama and directed by Ryoji Fujihara and Yoshiyuki Tomino.

The story involves White Base 7’s arrival at Earth and attempt to safely enter the atmosphere while being pursued by Char who has been give 3 more Mobile Suits for the fight. The tensions are high as these are some of the best Zeon pilots. From here the story unfolds as Amuro has a limited amount of time to defend the ship and safely re-enter it to not get burned up in the atmosphere.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – Amuro once again knows he’s out of his league and that it is only the Gundam’s natural adaptibiliy that continues to save him. He does figure out how to adapt the Gundam for protection from the Earth’s Atmosphere though which shows he’s getting better at thinking on his feat.

Mr. Bright – Shows why he is the one leading them all as he uses all the members of White Base 7 to their full abilities as he predicts that Char will try and attack them on their re-entry into Earth. The only thing he doesn’t predict is that Char forced them to enter Zeon space upon Earth.

Char – Loses 8 Mobile Suits but manages to push the Gundam and White Base 7 forces into Zeon territory. He then calls upon Captain Garma who is involved with operations on Earth to take them out. This episode shows that even when he loses, he oftentimes finds a way to win.

Garma – Garma is introduced at the end and he has confidence and arrogance that make him intriguing. He has a grudging respect and history with Char it looks like too which adds to him helping and the stakes that are already there.

Sayla Mass – Is Amuro’s support during the battle and keeps communication between him and the ship.

Okay: The Rest of the Crew – Whether it is Ryu and his fighter or the countless others, they don’t get a chance to really be developed much in this episode. They are mostly folks experiencing the re-entry and attack from Char.

The Civilians – We see Amuro fix a toy robotic car for a child who has been adopted by a kind old man who shares his story of growing coffee on Earth before he left to the colony. It is a decent human moment, but more could have been done. Amuro just listens and doesn’t really share a perspective.

This is a good episode. Not great as a lot of it simply acting and reacting to the actions of Char and Amuro, but still manages to stay really interesting and have some good character moments as well.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10