Type: I watched this while playing Xenogears
Synopsis: It’s War! The Principality of Zeon (who are totally not evil, pinky swear) has declared its independence from the Earth Federation (who are totally not corrupt you guys!). With heavy casualties on both sides, Zeon begins to take the advantage with their devastating new Mobile Suits. Luckily, Earth has the one thing Zeon can never beat: a merchandising empire based on a severely anti-war story!
Pros: When you think about it, the Gundam franchise is like the Star Wars of anime. A clearly influential mega franchise that forever changed the course of world wide pop culture. It also premiered 2 years after Star Wars, which I’m sure is a big pink laser sword sized coincidence. I know that Gundam has gained a reputation as a home for whiny teenage pilots, but I wondered how much this was a result of a post-Evangelion world. Turns out, Eva borrowed heavily from Gundam (which is pretty obvious when you think about it). The original Mobile Suit Gundam is a strict anti-war anime with a whiny teenage protagonist. But without spending an entire thesis analyzing this show (which you could totally pull off), I’ll just say that the show does a great job justifying all the troupes that it would birth in the “Real Robot” genre. The premise is that humanity is at war with itself. The protagonist, Amuro, is caught in the middle of a battle. His escape ship, White Base, is attacked and is threfore severely in need of able bodied men and women, which is why so many of the crew are young volunteers. The first third of the anime is like the modern Battlestar Galactica, a skeleton crew trying their best to get back to Earth while being hounded by the enemy. Amuro is more or less drafted because he’s got the most experience with the new experimental “Mobile Suit Gundam.” He’s whiny because he’s not a trained soldier but everyone expects him to pilot Gundam and keep everyone from dying. That’s a lot of pressure. But by the second third, Amuro becomes a soldier after experiencing the horrors of war. The last third delves into more sci-fi mind reader stuff. The beauty of the show is that every story “arc” is an exploration of the cost of war, either for families, couples, or the individual. People die. A lot. And except maybe the people in charge, there are no “bad guys.” In several instances, the “evil” Zeon soldiers are portrayed are regular folks. Look, its really hard to talk about something this influential. It’s a good show. Watch it.
Cons: This show was released in 1979. The animation might be a big obstacle for a lot of people. Which is a shame, because this show stands up extremely well. I admit, I did not expect a continuous plot line from a show from the 70’s mainly known for selling toys. But this thing is quality (except for those kids that are allowed to stay on the ship for some reason). Maybe, maybe, it drags a little at the end, and I kinda wish the Mobile Suits weren’t so brightly colored, but that’s a minor gripe.
Watch it?: I’m annoyed that I didn’t watch it sooner (5/5)
I heard this guy doesn’t get the happiest of endings
Best Episode: Ep13. “Coming Home” (the cornerstone episode)