Well, after a “rough start” (by which I mean an awful start) Victory Gundam’s next batch of episodes is an improvement at least. Maybe not a massive one, but the move to space and less pointless female pilot deaths (less, not none…) means this was… tolerable. More information? Why not?! See below!
The Earth, still loosely controlled by the greatly weakened Earth Federation, comes under attack by BESPA, the armed forces of the space colony-based Zanscare Empire. Only a ragtag resistance movement, League Militaire, stands in BESPA’s way as they swiftly conquer much of space and start their invasion of Earth, with the advanced mass-produced mobile suit, the Victory Gundam, as the League Militaire’s secret weapon.
The League has now found themselves in space, taking the fight to Zanscare itself…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Can you tell that the Blu-ray screen grabs have dried up for this part of the show? Jeez, remind me to create my own whenever I get a Blu-ray drive for a future PC…
While I sadly still don’t care about any of the characters (apart from maybe the dog called Flanders, he’s cool) I will say that adding the rather cliché story of the orphan friend of Uso, Shakti, turning out to be the long-hidden daughter of the Queen of the Zanscare Empire was at least interesting. Several episodes of her being treated like royalty and yet still holding to the idea that her “real mother” is still waiting back home, then those little tinges of “is she coming around to the idea?” were good, especially when her mother performs a public miracle to a crowd of adoring followers and it actually seems to legitimately heal the sick.
Actually, that’s another thing. I do like that the Zanscare Empire isn’t just Zeon again like it seemed, and instead it’s a cult of followers who genuinely believe that Queen Maria is a Jesus-like figure and most of the loyal soldiers are just mad that the other people aren’t following “Mariaism”, almost turning it into a holy war rather than Spacenoids seeking independence.
… You know, I can’t remember the one with the blue hair’s name. That’s how little I care… (also: argh! the blocky pixels!)
The idea of a former ally turning into a villain is a good one, so I did like the drama towards the end of this batch that saw Katejina reveal her loyalty to Chronicle and her sister the Queen and attacking Uso. It was a bit spoiled by the fact that she always came across as a bit of a snob anyway… or maybe I just imprinted that on the early episodes because, thanks to the games, I already knew the twist ahead of time? Ah, either way, it was some good, so I’ll mention it.
There were some good space battles, especially the fights with the Kelias Guilie fleet, which included a nasty use of microwaves to give everyone, civilian and soldier, either a splitting headache or loose bowels right before they attack, and the couple of raids on the Zanscare home colony itself. There was a good little re-use of the Gundam cliché of meeting someone nice on the other side and then having to kill them in battle early in the batch, with Uso fully struggling to pull the trigger, even though he knows it what his veteran foe wants. It’s been done before, but it was still done well here.
Uso making sure he remembers what touching breasts are like since all the women he meets keep dying all the time…
Once again the main “Bad” of the series is the characters. Uso remains under-developed, a literal child who is now going from “I’ll slice the suits limbs off so the pilot survives” all the way to “my friend just died so I’ll personally aim and fire this cock-and-balls-shaped space laser to wipe out an entire space fleet of people and not show any psychological damage from it”. Shakti is sill just moaning about everything, the “cool orphans” still playfully muck about with each other, Marbet is still just generic pilot who is upset about having to use Uso in battles, and every villain bar Chronicle is just generically evil. Well, apart from Queen Maria, but she’s clearly being manipulated by people who are generically evil.
We meet the leader of the League Militaire, Jinn Gehennam, and he turns out to be a complete idiot who’s extremely selfish and acts like he’s hot shit. Great! Nearly had a good character there, that was close… There was a mention in Episode 27 that he’s not the real Jinn, so… fingers crossed, I guess? Oh and the “Shrike Team” are still just hanging around, with two more dying, both after getting injured, taken back to get treatment, and then heading right back out against orders. The last of the two was the lead one, the awfully named Junko Jenko, so at least that had some emotional weight, but by now seeing female pilots die has just become so much of a recurring theme that you couldn’t take it seriously.
Episode 17 was a recap episode… EPISODE 17. What point there was in recapping the first 16 episodes I don’t know, but at least I could fast-forward through most of it…
When I said the Space Cannon looks like a cock and balls, I wasn’t lying…
This is one of those reviews where you see I’ve written a lot of stuff in the good as well the bad, and then get confused when I only rate it a 2. Well, when one of the “Bad” section is that I can’t get behind any of the characters, including the lead protagonist, then it’s a bad show. The fact it had some good large-scale action and added a few interesting wrinkles to the villainous Empire helps it rate higher than the first 14 episodes, but it doesn’t help it in the long run…