I first watched Mobile Suit Gundam: Stardust Memory when I was in High School, a little after 9/11. The story worked for me at that time, when all the Gundam I’d seen had been the Gundam compilation films and Char’s Counterattack. Since then I’ve seen considerably more Gundam (including Zeta Gundam) since then.

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Japanese box art for Space Runaway Ideon

Yoshiyuki Tomino has something of a reputation as an anime director, for multiple reasons. Tomino has a reputation for being full of himself. His interviews about Brainpowerd in Animerica magazine demonstrate this. Anyone who has gone to an anime con and asked a Japanese guest who worked with him for a “Tomino story” can attest to this. Tomino also has a reputation for his absolute ruthlessness for killing off characters in his work. The normal examples of this are Zeta Gundam, the last half of ZZ Gundam, and Char’s Counterattack. However, the work that started Tomino down this road was Space Runaway Ideon. (Pronounced E-day-on).

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Cropped version of Gundam Unicorn Blu-Ray Art

For the past 30 years, the narrative and thematic conclusion of the One Year War arc of the Universal Century was Char’s Counterattack. The film is wonderfully animated, with intense action sequences, but in my view it felt less like a thematic conclusion of the themes of the first 3 Gundam series, and more of a return to the narrative of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime series. As I mentioned in my review of Gundam ZZ – that worked for me when what I knew of the Universal Century was just the original series, but it became less and less resonant as I made my way through the story. Gundam Unicorn, on the other hand, feels much more resonant, and fits as a conclusion to this part of the Universal Century. (more…)

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is one of the Universal Century Gundam series that had yet to receive a US release. Bandai Entertainment USA had announced a US release prior to them shutting their doors several years ago, but now that RightStuf has been working to bring out various Gundam series to the US, which means that fans here can finally take a look at the show legally.

As a head’s up, there are some spoilers for the show here, but I’m going to work to keep them to a minimum. There will be some heavy spoilers for Gundam Zeta, which are somewhat essential due to how the show starts. (more…)