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 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 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 19 – “Hand-to-Hand Combat” – Amuro Learns and the Honor of Ramba Ral

Hand-to-Hand Combat

“Hand-to-Hand Combat” is a great episode. It gives us a greater exploration of Ramba Ral and it looks like Amuro is finally learning! I’ll get into more details in the assessment.

“Hand-to-Hand Combat” was written by Masaru Yamamoto and directed by Ryoji Fujihara and Yoshiyuki Tomino. It is the 19th episode of the first season in the English dub.

The story of the episode involves the crew fracturing as Hayato, Kai and another run away as they are jealous of Mr. Bright’s attention to Amuro, along this time Ryu confronts Amuro only for Amuro to mock him. He later runs after Kai and the group to bring them back as Ramba Ral attacks on a boarding mission to capture the Trojan Horse as M’Quve has left him with no resources in order to hide what he’s doing at his main secret base. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Hayato – It’s nice seeing this kid have some personality finally. He’s jealous and feels forgotten, even as he’s been following orders the whole time. He does come back once Ramba attacks though and brings the rest of the group with him.

Ryu – Ryu is shown to be a leader in this one as he calls Amuro out on his selfishness and also the ones who ran away. He punches Amuro and Kai in this one, which honestly at this point most folks who are watching have been wanting to do, and is called out on it by Hyato…cause in the end his anger doesn’t solve anything. The action of circumstances and reason do, which I think he finally gets.

Mr. Bright – Mr. Bright uses and risks all assets to fight off Ramba’s attack, including destroying the Second Bridge. We see how deeply he cares for the crew and his own insecurities as leader and how Mirai is his base. We see him use every person well in the crisis.

Ramba Ral

Ramba Ral – Finds out something important in his boarding of the Trojan Horse, the Princess Artesia is alive and she is Sayla Maas. It is a powerful scene as he and his family cared for her when she was younger. They don’t have time to connect since Ryu attacks and the attack costs Ramba his life. He does go out with honor though saluting the crew and respecting the fact that soldiers half his age beat him. R.I.P. Ramba Ral, you will be missed and were one of my favorite characters.

Clamp – When he first boards he has one of the younger children get away from the explosion. He is surprised about the children in White Base, his surprise leads to him getting shot and killed though. It was nice seeing kindness during duty though before the end. He was an underutilized character.

Crowley Hamon – Swears revenge and manages to escape the fight. We see the tenderness she feels for Ramba and also her leadership abilities on the main ship as she manages to save the bridge crew from a direct assault by Amuro’s Gundam.

Sayla Mass – Is a princess and connected to Ramba Ral! The scene they have together is one of the best in the series and I can’t wait to learn more about her past and her connection to Char. She does a good job in the Gundam too when Amuro gives her advice. She manages to destroy one of the Zeon Mobile Suits in the fight before Zeon forces board White Base.

Amuro – Finally gets that he is part of a crew. When Bright orders him to guns, he goes to guns and fights and he does all he can to protect others. It looks like he finally understands why he was thrown in the brig and will work to be a part of the group. It is powerful too seeing him morn Ramba Ral’s death.

This is another episode showing the human cost of war and one I highly recommend. It shows us the good people fighting on both sides. Ramba Ral is one of the best characters in “Mobile Suit Gundam” and cares about his men and not harming innocents or anyone on the crew if he can. His love for Crowley is pretty deep too. This was his episode and he gets a good death as it fully captures how great a character he is and his relationship to Sayla which reveals to us potential plot arcs for the future.

The Final Score is: 10 / 10. The perfect episode.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 16 – “Amuro Deserts” – The Consequences of Amuro’s Recklessness

Amuro Deserts

“Amuro Deserts” picks up where “Sayla’s Agony” left off, with Sayla and Cozun in the brig and Amuro taking greater and greater risks. The episode was written by Kenichi Matsuzaki and directed by Ryoji Fujihara and Yoshiyuki Tomino.

The story involves Amuro circumventing Mr. Bright and trying to avoid going into the Gundam when they attack the Zeon base as he and Hayato attack in Guntank. Around this time Cozun is making his escape so Sayla is released to capture him. Ramba Ral also takes this time to attack when he gets the distress signal from the Zeon base.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Ramba Ral and Co. – Ramba Ral and co. depart in a Fat Uncle (giant airplane) after getting resupplied and plan to trap and destroy the Trojan Horse. Their attack would have succeeded if the base they were helping had had more ground troops, since the battle ends when Amuro finally gets into his Gundam to face Ramba in his Gouf (Blue Gundam). We see how much Crowley cares about him too and how much he cares for his men as he tells her to save Cozun if she gets the chance.

Sayla – Sayla proves her loyalty by helping isolate Cozun which later leads to him getting killed when they try to recapture him. She also communicates with Amuro during the battle to help in their fight against the base and Ramba.

Amuro – Amuro has grown super reckless as we see him go around Mr. Bright and command Hayato in the Guntank, which leads to the Trojan Horse almost getting destroyed as Gundam was not in the field when Ramba attacked. He later hears Mr. Bright and Mirai talking about dismissing him for a while so he can get more training and grow which leads to him taking Gundam and running to end the episode.

Mirai and Mr. Bright – These two are the parents of the crew and we see how Mr. Bright and Mirai both see the big picture in their own ways. From Amuro needing rest and someone taking over to a while, to knowing that they still need him and he is an asset. You understand why they are leaders in this episode.

Okay: The Base – We don’t really get to know anyone on the Zeon base, which is a shame as it is completely destroyed. We don’t get any of the humanity.

Cozun – Resists being questioned and makes a run for it, and even asks if Sayla wants to join too. He isn’t a bad character, but we don’t fully get his motivations, which is why he’s in the okay section.

This was a good episode that I recommend. We see more of the character dynamics and how much Amuro has grown to overestimate his abilities. It is a good episode that shows where Sayla’s loyalties are and just how outgunned in many way White Base 7 still is, even with all the super weapons. Also, it’s always great to see Ramba Ral in action, love him and his crew.

Final Score: 9 / 10

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 10 – “Garma’s Fate” – The Path of Revenge

Garma's Fate

We continue the review of “Mobile Suit Gundam” with a fascinating episode that gives us a look at the people and motivations on the side of Zeon, with a special focus on Garma and Char.

“Garma’s Fate” was written by Masaru Yamamoto and directed by Ryoji Fujihara.

The episode begins with Garma and Char at a party where it is revealed Garma has a lover named Icelina whose father dislikes Garma and does not want them to marry as he believes Garma is unworthy of his daugther. This prompts Garma to action to capture and destroy White Base 7 and the Gundam so that he can claim the honor he needs so that he may marry Icelina. The story unfolds from there as White Base 7 is hiding in the remains of New Yark.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Nobility of Zeon – The episode starts with Char and Garma at a high society party in Zeon and it is a great glimpse into the world of Zeon, where powerful families rule and prejudice comes from it.

Icelina – Icelina is a great character, she stands up to her father and takes his abuse (seriously, her dad is messed up) and the love between her and Garma feels real. They are both nobility but they are the only ones who are fully honest with each other which makes what happens later sad.

Amuro – Amuro’s strategy to defeat Garma is successful, he leads him away so that Garma’s ship the Gaw can get attacked and trapped by White Base 7 and the Gundams. It is successful, partially because Char sees the plan and allows it to happen.

Char – Char is friends with Garma but his hatred for Garma’s family of Zabi for the killing of his Father is greater. His moment of revenge is sad and rewarding as Char is a great character to route for. He’s smart and he does everything himself and is good at reading situations and finding a way to win. His reason for revenge makes sense too as is his affection for Garma who went to the academy with him. He reveals his agenda to Garma right before Garma dies, making his revenge very sweet.

Garma – This episode is Garma’s tragedy. He loses the woman he loves due his dying, he loses his ship due to Amuro’s trap and his friend Char’s desire for revenge. He has hope and it is torn away, creating a powerful story.

The Ending – Garma’s father Odo Zabi drops his cane and stairs off in lost silence. The leader of Zeon has now been brought to his knees, which should raise the stakes for White Base 7, and now we know the leader of Zeon is in Char’s sights for revenge.

Con: Icelina’s Father Eschonbach- Seriously, screw this guy. I get he hates Zeon since he had to submit to their rule when they conquered him, but he doesn’t even give Garma a chance. He’s just a prick who hits his own daughter.

This episode is amazing and well worth a watch. We get to know the complexity on the Zeon side of things and get Char’s motivation. I can’t wait to see how Char get’s revenge on the man responsible, Odo Zabi, the leader of Zeon. Check this episode out for sure, it is a must see.

Final Score: 10 / 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 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

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.