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The year is UC 0153. The conflict between the Earth Federation and Zeon is long over, and the majority of humanity has migrated to the space colonies. Even the Federation headquarters has been moved into space. Only a handful of humans still live on the planet. The Earth Federation has weakened, allowing the spaceborn Zanscare Empire to gain power. The fanatically religious Zanscare begins to conquer Earth, and the weak Federation is unable and even unwilling to do anything about it. Only the League Militaire, a resistance group mostly made up of the remaining Earthnoids, and its newest weapon - the Victory Gundam - stand in the way of the Zanscare Empire. Usso Ebbing, a 13-year old boy, takes the controls of the Victory Gundam in this series, making him the youngest hero in any Gundam series to date. Written by
Gundam animes tend more towards good than bad, but V Gundam is one of the better TV series--and arguably the best of the UC timeline. Although it is slightly confusing in the beginning, as the episodes go on, you get a better idea of what's going on and the characters really start to grow on you. Although there are a few obvious red-shirts, a lot of these characters are killed in a messy and upsetting fashion--just like in real war. There are lots of noble sacrifices, but perhaps even more pointless deaths, failed attempts at making a heroic sacrifice, and most of all, an overarching sense of dread throughout the entire series. This is one of the only Gundam stories where it was really hard to tell who was going to come out on top when the dust had cleared.
A true epic spanning over fifty episodes, V Gundam doesn't necessarily tie up all the loose ends, or explain everything perfectly. But that's part of the point; in a real war, so many people are involved, it's nearly impossible to fully understand what is truly going on. The gamut of characters here is staggering. Some fall into typical anime stereotypes, but most of them are refreshing and interesting in their own rights.
Quite a few of the scenes were shocking, and it isn't for the faint hearted. This is certainly the most downcast of all Gundam series, save perhaps Z Gundam. War crimes are the norm; the body count consistently rises; children, even younger than usual (the main character is 13) are thrown in as cannon fodder; and a general lack of ethics is displayed at pretty much every turn by all sides of the conflict. But this makes the series all the more compelling. It doesn't rely on cheap over-use of gore and violence, but instead real drama.
If you like any Gundam, and have a familiarity with the UC timeline, I highly suggest V Gundam.
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