In the war between the Earth Federation and Zeon, a young and inexperienced crew find themselves on a new spaceship. Their best hope of making it through the conflict is the Gundam, a giant humanoid robot, and its gifted teenage pilot.
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It is the year 0079 of the Universal Century. A war has broken out between the Duchy of Zeon, a space colony that wants independence, and the Earth Federation. A teenage boy has to pilot the Federation's new secret weapon when the space colony in which he lives is attacked by Zeon mobile suits, gigantic robots piloted by humans. That new secret weapon is called the Gundam, a far more powerful mobile suit. The story follows Amuro Ray and many other civilians around his age who have to take over a Federation spaceship and become soldiers in order to survive the war against Zeon's forces throughout the One Year War. Written by
Do NOT be alarmed, it is just the opening theme song and the animation
I am not what people might call a "long time fan". My first Gundam show was "Gundam Seed" for crying out loud. I have heard the outcry of many fans as to the unoriginality of Gundam Seed, hence i decided to "go back to the source" and check out the original 1979 Gundam series: The legend that started it all. My chance came when it was shown on local TV for a while(too bad it never completed its run and was replaced by the 3rd rerun of Gundam seed again) "Oh the horror!". My thoughts exactly as i sat through the painfully campy opening theme song. As i shook my head in disgust over the horrendously childish lyrics that sounded like some rejected theme song from Tetsuwan Atom(Astro Boy to you guys in the west), i prepared myself for the worse disappointment in my life.
And i was so proved wrong.
Gundam's story was anything BUT childish or campy. I presented a very real and very engaging war story about a gifted youngster and his friends thrown into the heat of combat by circumstance.
The story goes that "The Principality of Zeon" wages war with the Earth Federation over authority in the outlying space colonies. The war soon spreads to the colony "side 7" where our main character, Amuro Ray, resides. Following an unprovoked attack on the colony, Amuro and his friends stumble across the prototype Federation mobile suit called "Gundam". A series of events lead up to our unlikely heroes landing on board and becoming drafted as the crew of "White Base", a powerful Federation space carrier commanded by the then ensign Bright Noa. This motley gang soon learn to work together and in due time, they and Gundam come to play a pivotal role in the war.
I was at first impressed by how The drama and inter character relationships and interactions play out as good as some live action TV shows and they manage to engage you on an emotional level that many anime fail to. You get a sense that the characters really grow and evolve as the story moves along, never falling too far into the usual stock character stereotypes. Aside from some well developed characters, I like how the story manages to weave in some underlying philosophies and thought provoking points of view on war. It lends an edge to the show that makes it a whole lot "smarter" than your average shonen adventure or super robot series.
I actually found myself more interested in the ZEON side of the conflict. There was a subplot of political backstabbing and "power-play" among the ruling party of ZEON. Very intriguing. What was more intriguing was the mysterious Char Aznable. Aside from being a highly skilled mobile suit pilot and "rival" to Amuro Ray, bits and pieces of his past and ulterior motives are revealed little by little in such a way that makes you want to know more about him. He is easily my favorite character among all the characters from various gundam series.
True to the hype, the numerous battles in Gundam are done so much more realistically than the more recent Gundam Seed and Gundam 00. Also, there is a greater emphasis on teamwork between Amuro in the Gundam, the weapons and support team on White Base and the other pilots in the other mobile suits. The inexperience of the crew and the vulnerability of the Gundam make each battle a true nail-biter with a greater sense of true peril than battles in the recent Gundam series.
Admittedly, this is not an easy series to get into, mainly due to its age. Already mediocre compared to other anime series that came out in the late 70s and 80s, the animation style is painfully dated compared to today's fare. But I urge all you people who are hungry for some well thought out war drama to look past the superficial aspects and embrace the essence of what Gundam is.
Look past the dated animation, skip the opening theme song if you must, and you will find out why MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM is such a well respected and influential anime classic.
PS: Why is Gundam Seed's picture there? This is supposed to be the original Gundam, not Gundam Seed.
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