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 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 3 – “Vote to Attack” – Learning Teamwork

Gundam episode 3

We continue our reviews of “Mobile Suit Gundam” with episode 3, “Vote to Attack.” This episode was directed by Hideyoshi Ojika and Yoshiyuki Tomino, and written by Yoshihisa Araki.

The story is one of choice, should White Base attack the Zeon’s and Char when they are restocking, or make their way to Luna Base II. The decision is made to attack and the story explores the consequences of that as the crew rises to the challenge and making sense of one another.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Characters

Sayla Mass – We see in this that Sayla Mass is the one holding Captain Bright to the fire so that he doesn’t assume privilege over others. They clash, which is great to see as she is the communications officer, which usually in sci. fi. means they are regulated to love interest or passive person sending out commands. Not so in Sayla Mass’s case.

Kai – Kai is a character who starts out a coward but rises to attack White Base when he sees Amuro is need and that they’ll be destroyed if Char has the chance to resupply. He is still arguing the entire time, but I guess that’s his character. He actually takes action in this episode and contributes showing how the experience of every person needed is changing him.

Captain Bright – Clashes with Sayla but is aware of the crew because of it, has the choice to attack the supply ship put up to a vote and fully contributes to protecting the ship from Zeon forces.

Commander Char – Char is once again a great enemy as we see him care for his men and take the practical approach as he collects supplies and puts his ego aside while the Captain of the supply ship attacks in his Mobile Suit which costs him his life. This was an episode of him getting the weapons he needs and further testing Amuro and Amuro’s Gundam. He does manage to get the supplies in the end, though the supply ship is lost. We also learn that Zeon forces are overextended and Char is on his own.

Amuro – We see him work in coordination with others and how it pays off as they succeed in destroying the supply ship. He also learns just how much better Char is than him and it is only the strength of the Gundam keeping him alive. He also hates that Captain Bright shows him no respect. At the end of the episode he says he wants to punch the Captain.

Okay: Mirai – Leading at the helm and piloting the main ship she is mostly just there like before. She hasn’t gotten a good chance to be explored but she does remind Captain Bright of the choice he faces.

Ryu – The Core Fighter pilot and forgets to turn off his radio, was the only surviving pilot so became one by default. Is still out of his league and needs to be explored more. Mostly the rookie in a support role at this point.

This is the episode where the crew comes together and actually manages to hurt Zeon and Char. It is a great episode and one that shows the tension between characters, Char is shown to see the big picture once again and the crew begins to find their footing and work as a team. I definitely recommend.

Final Score: 8.8 / 10. Some characters could have been explored more.

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.