Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Anime — Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

One of the major series that are set in the same continuity as the original, but to my mind rather the weaker of the two. Where the original had the main characters caught up in actual warfare, doing what they could to escape to safety, and then becoming caught up as an irregular unit in the larger conflict, this is the story of a boy named Sue Kamille; and it all starts when a soldier (of the now rather fascist Earth Federation) makes fun of his name. So, he decides to sneak onto the base and cause mayhem with one of the new Mark II Gundam models; and gets out thanks to the fortunate timing of a raid by spacer guerillas.

So we reprise some of the structure of the previous series -- battles in space, then down to Earth for a while (meeting more of the old characters) before getting back into space, bouncing around the Moon and colonies before a final battle. And like last time, there's a somewhat fae girl whom the hero falls for, and who of course dies fighting for the other side, and a set of annoying kids aboard the battleship (purely gratuitously). But this time, rather than just "Federation good, Zeon bad", there is an attempt at some more Byzantine politics, with various Zeon successor groups being introduced, though often in a way that seemed to suggest that you should have known about them all along (maybe you should have read/seen something else in the canon?).

While there are a number of stronger female characters who turn their coats, or at least seriously consider it, they also get above and beyond the usual Kill 'em All Tomino treatment. And then the final battle -- they saved up all the character deaths, including at least one who'd been on borrowed time for several episodes; and after that ... it just stopped.
No aftermath, no epilogue, nothing.

In all, a series to be watched because it gets quoted so often, but being somewhat more ambitious than its predecessor, it also needs to be judged more harshly.

Bonus feature — Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

One of the alternate canon Gundam series, with the same Earth vs Colonies backdrop; but this time it kicks off with five superpowered delinquents being dropped to Earth in their own overpowered Gundams to #occupy the place, fighting each other as often as the Earth military. Oh, and one of them somehow is attending a school where the oujo-sama (daughter of some diplomat) showcased in the ED sequence goes, so he can threaten to kill her (which gets her all hot for him).

Meanwhile, there is a Char-alike following his own agenda, and military bases in Africa which appear to have the same racial mix as a Democrat party campaign HQ...

Dropped after five episodes.

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