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August 30, 2013

Gundam-Diaries: Mobile Suit Gundam Part 2

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Written by: Valtteri Kauraoja
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The most important question that was never answered in episode 1 is why on earth a colony expecting independence wants to attack other colonies, instead of just asking for independence and fighting the Federation and when they come close? Maybe the colony the Zeons scouted and destroyed in episode 1 was a military base and close to the Zeons? Perhaps it was a defensive move. Maybe they were trying to find files of war-machines from Amuro’s planet. I think they alluded to that.

The stock intro of every episode states “The group of colonies furthest from Earth, Side 3, have declared themselves the Principality of Zeon and launched a war of independence against the Earth Federation government.” This tells me nothing. I wonder why the Earth Federation didn’t just let Side 3 declare independence. You’d think that with such horrid losses (They say half of the population was lost in the war’s first month alone) they’d just chill the goddamn out.

At least they make a point in saying that the Federation isn’t necessarily a pure hero either in this show. It’s definitely more impressive and respectable than most morally black and white cartoons. It also seems that the female characters are going to be treated with respect and they are going to be actual characters, which is again very admirable. They mention that the Federation has been mucking about in Sector 7, so I have to assume that the Federation was assaulting the Zeons and the colony Amuro and his buddies live on was close by. They might have mentioned this in the first episode and I just missed it. This is understandable and believable.


This is actually pretty amazing

Cheesy music and animation aside, I like the fact that the show is handled like proper war-fiction. From command ships to guerilla warfare to rescue-squads, Gundam does not seem to be a one-trick-pony. I’ve heard that they take that idea to interesting places in the other serials. I am almost excited. Naïve kids doing their best in all aspects and fronts of the war are a great concept. It’s grand and interesting. As episode 2 ends, I am definitely more drawn in than after the first episode. The themes are now clearer, we are getting to know the characters and the world, and the robot battles are in fact fantastic. I am surprised.

Episode 3 doesn’t really go forward with the story all that much. I’m not even sure if there is an overarching plot we are supposed to care about yet, as it seems like a series of small battles in a big war. Anyway, episode 3 was a really cool war-scenario and it’s basically just 25 minutes of space-robot action and I loved every second of it. Stuff is looking pretty good. I just hope they introduce some bigger stories soon. I will stop caring about the war if it stays stalemate and no progress happens.

Episode 4 starts and apparently we are escaping Luna II. Not sure what that is, but it seems to be some kind of a moonbase sort of a thing? It was probably the spaceship thing that the civilians used to get out of Sector 7 in the very first episode. Or at least the civilians used it to get to Luna II. I think it was namedropped in the previous episodes. Anyhoo, as the dark side of the Federation is shown through cold professionalism and courts-martial, I smile to myself. When I started the show, I was worried that I was going to see a morally black and white kids show, but it turned out to be a rather impressive little sci-fi war drama.

We learn some personal problems about the main bad guy, Char, which is good. They are making him an actual character, instead of just the immoral bastard of an enemy. The small kids in this show look really weird. They sound weird too. They are somewhere between creepy and annoying, and I’m just confused whenever they are on the screen. None of them seem to have any character yet, either, but there’s time to build on them. Let’s hope they do. Or let’s hope they just all die a horrible death.

Episode 4 was more about the characters, which was fine. Characters and sort of the political climate the characters have to endure. It’s cool. Still no over-arching story to care about though. How are they going to end this show in a way that feels like we have made any progress, if nothing of actual meaning seems to happen in the first 2 hours of the show? The fine people of the Gundam-subreddit told me that this monster-of-the-week format will definitely be evident in the rest of the show, which makes me sad a bit. Going through 40+ episodes will be tough if I have no overarching storyline to follow. Writing about them is going to be even harder. Anyway, we get one robot-fight in episode 4, and I am actually surprised at how much I enjoy these fights. For such dated animation, it looks feels and sounds exciting and it’s fun to watch.


Amuro is actually a pretty cool character!

Episode 5 starts with an annoying-sounding and looking kid which is a shame, because I really like the idea behind the opening scene. It’s all about how the civilians have suffered through the war and we hear how unsure Amuro is about the fate of his family, which makes for some fantastic character-development. This was always the stuff I enjoy the most in shows/movies about war and this scene where Amuro fixes a kid’s RC-car is heartwarming and all around welcome.

They reference that Zeon might even attack earth. This really confuses me. The only motivation for anything I’ve been given so far is that Zeon wants independence. How that evolves into them going out of their way to attack other colonies and even earth, is beyond me. You’d think they would play the defensive game here. I’m not really sure what the war is about. What does the Federation want? They keep on attacking Zeons supply ships and moving civilians around. What does the Zeons want? For a colony desiring independence, they sure like attacking people for no apparent reason!

As the Federations “White Base”-ship tries to take civilians to earth; we get a second action scene. There’s a lot at stake as Amuro and a litany of other inexperienced teens are trying to save a ship filled with children and the elderly. It’s pretty gripping stuff, actually. These fight scenes sort of feel like WWI or II airplane dogfights, but just even more awesome and fun to watch, since… You know…. Giant goddamn robots. I like it. We actually see Zeon-guys screaming in terror and pain as they die in fiery explosions. This is much more mature than I expected, which is fantastic.

Episode 5 ends and I am happy that we are on Earth. This means that we have done progress and hopefully some new stories and interesting episodes come out of this. Maybe we will finally learn why the Zeons are such dicks? Who knows? Next time on Gundam-Diaries *obnoxious chime* MORE GUNDAM! GUNDAAAAMOOOOOOO

About the Author

Avatar of Valtteri Kauraoja
Valtteri Kauraoja
Valtteri Kauraoja is a Finnish hippie, who obsesses over retro collecting and enjoys overthinking everything. The pretentious idiot uses all game-running machinery he can find, often talking about weird old games or obscure artsy fartsy titles nobody wants to hear about. He doesn't believe in scores or objectivity and he's probably slightly mentally ill. We apologize in advance.



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