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 38 – “The Newtype: Challia Bull” – The New Weapons of War

The New Type Challia Bull

“The Newtype: Challia Bull” is themed just as it’s suggested…the exploration of Newtypes in relation to the war effort. We also see politicing between the Zabi siblings and Zeon striking back at the recent Federation victories.

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

The story begins with Lalah working with Char to destroy Federation ships and cause chaos and fear on the Solomon Base that the Federation recently captured. We then see Gihren who sends out Challia Bull to be his agent in Kycilia’s forces. Around this time Amuro was sensing Lalah’s attack but is surprised when Bull attacks and it an unknown for him and his Gundam. Sayla also comes forward about the truth of her identity to Mr. Bright. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Challia Bull – This guy is a soldier who is good at hiding his own agenda. At one point he appears to be almost a Magneto when he tells Lalah they need to look out for their own people. He also does a good job fighting and doing damage (destroys Guncannon’s legs) and is only defeated because of Amuro honing his abilities as a Newtype.

Lalah – She is getting character development! We see a huge part of her motivation is doing things for Char because Char cares about her, and she loves the feel of victory and being in control. We get more exploration of this next episode too.

Char – Knows how tough his position when when Challia arrives as an agent of Gihren, but doesn’t let that stop him. Once again he lets it be a chance to show Lalah as superior as he puts Challia’s fears to rest about him before Challia’s inevitable doom to Gundam.

Amuro – Amuro gets to the point where his reflexes are faster than his armor. This is the first time his Newtype abilities are very apparent and it comes in handy it is his speed that allows him to take out Challia Bull. It ends with him figuring how to upgrade the Gundam so it doesn’t happen again.

Sayla – Sayla tells the truth about her identity as a Princess of Zeon and that Char is her older brother. She expresses her disapproval of him and that she stands ready to fight. This one firmly establishes her truth and transparency.

Mr. Bright – Accepts Sayla’s confession and is grateful to have still on board. We also see him commanding during the battle.

Okay: Gihren – We don’t really get enough time with him to know his intentions, just that he’s untrustworthy, so there isn’t much to go on.

This is a good episode that shows how Amuro’s abilities are advancing and the fact that the Federation and Zeons now both know of Newtypes are using them as weapons of war. The Newtypes change things and just how radically they’ll change things remains to be seen.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10. Solidly good and enjoyable episode.

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 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 32 – “Farewell In Side 6” – How War Changes People

Farewell in Side 6

“Farewell In Side 6” is a powerful episode on how war transforms people. Side 6 is the neutral colony that has stayed out the war and has pulled people there who are connected to our heroes…from Amuro’s Dad to Cameron Bloom, Mirai’s fiance. I’ll get into those consequences in the assessment.

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

The story involves White Base 7 getting repairs from the neutral party outside of Base 6 as Dozle Zabi sends Conscon to shame Char so that Kycilia will stop using him. As the crew rests on White Base 6 Amuro finds his Dad and Mirai is confronted by her fiance. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – Poor Amuro, his mother hates him for being a soldier and his father’s mind is broken from loss of oxygen and can no longer relate to people. He gives his son junk to install on Gundam and Amuro feels completely lost until Conscon’s attack.

Mirai – This episode has Mirai, Amuro and Char as the main focuses, and Mirai has the best arc as she realizes she doesn’t love her fiance anymore and hates how her father took away her agency in setting up the marriage. She leaves Bloom at the end which makes sense given how much power he assumes over that fracking Sleggar calls him out on. If you’re being called out by Sleggar…you have issues.

Cameron Bloom – The neutral afraid of conflict and a leader on Base 6. You see him do what he can to help but also to keep Base 6 out of the conflict. In the end it is powerlessness and unwillingness to face Zeon that drives Mirai away as he doesn’t appreciate her role on White Base 7.

Char – Char is great at being humble in the face of Conscon’s arrogance and calling him out on the unfair shaming. This is good as when Amuro and his Gundam inevitably defeat his Gundams he is scared of their power which Char knows all too well.

Sleggar – He stands up to Bloom for Mirai when he’s blocking Mirai and being controlling. It’s nice to know this guy does have some good qualities. He also tells Bloom how Mirai is like a mother to them all.

Okay: Base 6 – Base 6 isn’t fully explored and I would have liked more of the civilian interactions and representation of Base. They are an amorphous body so we don’t really get their point of view.

The cons: Conscon – Is an arrogant prick who is no more than that. He’s a pretty one faced villain representing everything wrong with Zeon in their privilege and royalty. Seeing his face after his defeat was the best part of the character.

Good episode for the character development, though Coscon is a pretty lazy villain and White Base 7 is still pretty invulnerable. A good episode for how it develops Mirai and Amuro though.

Final Score: 8.8 / 10

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 29 – “A Wish For War Orphans” – The Choice of Orphans

A Wish for War Orphans

We continue our time at Jubaro with “A Wish for War Orphans” an episode that explores the desires of the orphaned children on the Trojan Horse and Sayla and Char. It is a pretty good episode, though I wish we’d had more time with Sayla and Char.

The episode was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and written by Masaru Yamamoto.

The episode begins with the children being taken in by the Jubaro care center and them deciding they want to go back to White Base 7 when they realize it is their home and an attack by Char and his Gundams to destroy the production of GMs. From here the story unfolds as the crew who are on break are called into action.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Mr. Bright – We see that Mr. Bright is embracing his role as leader of the Trojan Horse and has become more comfortable interacting on a human level with his subordinates like Kai and Amuro. He only appears briefly but it has some good characterization.

Sayla – We see that Sayla has conflicted loyalties as Char asks her join him and Zeon. She lies to Amarai about talking to Char and we see he had an effect on her. She remembered someone who was kind and not the soldier he’s become.

Char – Char is smart as in he knows when to run, which has saved his life countless times. He also reached out Sayla and may have found an ally on White Base since they are related. You get why things are personal with Amuro in this episode as Amuro pretty thoroughly thwarts his plans. Also great character moments with Sayla.

Amuro – He is embracing the hero role and drives the car full of bombs off the edge so the GM’s wont be destroyed and the kids who’d found the bombs. He also destroys Char’s support Gundams and cuts the arm of Char’s Gundam. This episode revealed his rage, which is something Zeon may use against him later.

Sayla’s Choice – Char is offering Sayla the chance to be with family again (and from there Char will tell her of his plans for revenge against the Zabi for killing their family). She is in an interesting situation, especially if the crew of White Base 7 learns she and Char are related.

Okay: The Orphans of White Base – I don’t think their names are all that important since they kind of exist as a blob and don’t have all that great of individual personalities. It’s more what they represent. When they are at the Jubaro care center another orphan reminds them of home and them home is White Base which leads to them running back, getting caught by Char’s infiltration unit, escaping and getting all the bombs out of the GM facility. If they were older I think their personalities would be more distinct.

Good episode in regards to Char, Sayla and Amuro…but the orphans have never been all that fleshed out as characters. They are mostly their for comedic relief. It was great seeing them have the attempt of character moments though this episode. Also they were made to represent the choices of Sayla and Char as Zeon and the Federation offer two ways of escape.

Final Score: 8 / 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.