Mobile Suit Gundam – Episodes 32 – 42 Review

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The original Mobile Suit Gundam series comes to a close with this last batch of episodes. These 11 episodes show the series at its best and really give a good sense of pay off after 31 episodes of varying quality and wavering personalities. It goes full force with its more fantastical elements like Newtypes with psi powers and gives a satisfying end to the major plot points to tie the series up with a neat bow. Let’s take a deeper look…

Official Synopsis:

What would later be known as the One Year War is still raging between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon, a nation based in a distant space colony. A rag-tag group of civilians and one or two trained soldiers continues to pilot the prototype Earth Federation “White Base” battleship, complete with Amuro Ray at the helm of the power new Federation mobile suit weapon Gundam, into ever more dangerous situations…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Amuro has psi powers now… which is handy, because there wasn’t enough ways to compare the series to Star Wars already…

Amuro Ray (Toru Furuya / Brad Swaile) – Thanks to his newfound Newtype abilities, Amuro is such a good pilot that the Gundam suit has to be modified to keep up with his reaction time. He has lost all ego and immaturity, and is now an invaluable asset to the Earth Federation.

Char Aznable (Shuichi Ikeda / Michael Kopsa) – After meeting Newtype Lalah Sune, Char’s goals shift in a new direction. Forgotten is his grudge with the Zabi family, replaced with an idea that humanity will soon have to find their place in a new world lead by Newtypes…

Bright Noa (Hirotaka Suzuoki / Chris Kalhoon) – The captain of the White Base, and now a calm and steady commander, and a well respected member of the Earth Federation.

Sayla Mass (Yo Inoue / Alaina Burnett) – The former member of the Deikun family, Sayla is now a fully committed pilot on the White Base, and a good one at that. She still worries about her brother, now known as Char, on the other side of the war…

Kai Shiden (Toshio Furukawa / Richard Ian Cox) – Formally cowardly and cocky, Kai is now a respected pilot of the Guncannon and a valued member of the White Base crew.

Hayato Kobayashi (Kiyonobu Suzuki / Matt Smith) – Also formally cowardly, Hayato is a well liked pilot on the White Base, but has failed to gain the same skills as a his fellow pilots…

Lalah Sune (Keiko Han / Willow Johnson) – Extremely powerful Newtype who’s being trained as a pilot with the help of Char, who she has fallen for. A chance encounter with Amuro leads to problems, however…

Gihren Zabi (Banjo Ginga / Hiro Kanagawa) – Oldest son of Zeon’s leader Degwin Zabi, Gihren wants to take control of the Principality and use their power to rule over those he deems the lesser races. This racist skew to an established plan leads people to compare him to Hitler, and by people, I mean including his own father!

Kycilia Zabi (Mami Koyama / Michaelle Porter) – Daughter of Degwin, Kycilia is in charge of a large portion of the Zeon fleet, as well as their moonbase. She is suspicious of Char and his motives, but has decided to keep him close out of curiosity…

Dozle Zabi (Daisuke Gori / French Tickner) – Brother of Gihren and Kycilia, Dozle is in charge of the large space fortress Solomon. His daughter, Minerva, is the only third generation Zabi to have been born.

Plus many more!

The Good:

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The final showdown! (in this series, anyway…)

Well, firstly the Amuro – Char rivalry is really well done here. They were verging on rivals who respect each other, but then when they both fall for Lalah things get complicated, then when she dies by an errant strike from Amuro, it’s full on anger. Char hates Amuro for killing her, Amuro hates Char for bringing her to war and turning her into a soldier. It all leads to their big battle, both in mobile suits and just in normal space suits, in the last two episodes. Amuro is teased for having no real connections or reasons to fight, but in the end he is helped by his friends on board the White Base and realises he does have a reason to live, and Char, with nothing else left to do, finally completes his revenge against the Zabi family by rocket-launching Kycilia’s head off after a sarcastic salute. All these little things that have cropped up are played off nicely, and seeing the Gundam slowly get destroyed was great given its near invincibility throughout the show.

Speaking of Char, the relationship between himself and his sister Sayla is another fun storyline to follow, with Char trying his best to convince her to leave the war, even going as far as to leave a large chest of gold for her to start a new life with. Char’s love for her is one of the many things that stops him from being just some stereotypical evil commander…

… Speaking of stereotypical evil commanders, Gihren wasn’t very interesting (which I’ll get to below) but Kycilia and Dozle were interesting characters. Kycilia is wise and loyal, but also appreciates people like Char, even with the baggage he carries, and knows when to fight and when to pull back. When she finds out Gihren killed their father when he went to talk peace with the Federation, she got confirmation from him, then blasted him in the back of the head, killing him. Good! Dozle on the other hand looks like a generic shouty commander, but his love for his wife and child and his insistence that his men evacuate while he stay behind to fight off the Federation were all commendable actions, and much like Char and Ramba Ral, shows that in war no side is just “the evil side”.

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Char and Lalah riding around in an old fashioned wagon… talk about at odds with the rest of the series!

The White Base crew have pretty much finished developing by now, and are just a well oiled fighting machine. That being said, seeing them slowly get defeated and having to abandon White Base to its destruction during the final episode was, much like the Gundam, a strange sight given all its been through.

The battle scenes in this bunch is great. You start off with the Federation’s attack on the Solomon fortress, including the iconic fight with the “Big Zam”, then you move on to several smaller conflicts, including Amuro and Char facing off in the Texas Colony, before moving on to the big final push against the Zeon’s last line of defence, space fortress A Baoa Qu. Thanks to the Federation having a mobile suit army now, it’s full of large-scale battles, plus plenty of large space cruisers and warships. Zeon’s Solar Ray colony laser is a horrible sight, melting a third of the Earth Federation’s entire fleet in a few seconds. It all creates an exciting end, especially after 30 odd episodes of slow building.

The Bad:

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The Gundam defeats the Big Zam! Classic moment.

Gihren Zabi is annoyingly one-dimensional. He’s literally just “I want Zeon to rule everything with me at the helm, plus I hate people who are different from me, muhahaha!”, when compared to his father, brothers and sister, he is completely, unrealistically, one-sided. I’m glad he wasn’t the final Zabi and that he was just simply killed by his own sister for being a bastard.

Some of the earlier stuff with Mirai, the White Base’s pilot, and her planned husband weren’t very interesting, then suddenly she is shoved into a relationship with the Han Solo-ish Slegger Law, then that very episode Slegger is killed in action and she’s all broken up about it… it’s like, we only just found out that was a thing! Plus Slegger’s death in general seemed like a waste. You should have at least left it for the big final battle, given that no one of note actually died in it, Zabi family aside.

It also has to be said that a large part of the Solomon battle featured Hayato, injured, showing great frustration that he isn’t as good as his friends, despite them having the same combat experience as himself. This is was good, made you really feel sorry for him, but the thing is… it never gets resolved. There is no big scene where he saves somebody and people tell him he’s great, it just… gets left as is. I guess the only purpose it was written for was to get Hayato and Fraw together as a couple, but that’s only vaguely hinted at towards the end anyway…

Overall Thoughts:

Mobile Suit Gundam starts off real slow, and with a pretty unlikable protagonist, but this batch of episodes is why it’s worth sticking with. Great character interaction, the little storylines pay off, and some top-quality action, particularly in the final two episodes. Great stuff.

5 Star Watch

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