After a generation of peace, the Earth Federation has begun to build new space colonies to house humanity's growing population. But a new force, the aristocratic Crossbone Vanguard, plans ... See full summary »
Amuro Ray and the rest of the White Base crew, now denominated the 13th Autonomous Corps, return to outer space to support the rest of the Earth Federation forces for the decisive battle ... See full summary »
After Colony 196, Treize Kushrenada is dead and the 5 young soldiers known as the Gundam pilots have brought peace between Earth and the Colonies through Operation me. Now they move on with... See full summary »
After the One Year War, peace was signed between Zeon and the Earth Federation. Three years later, however, some remaining forces of Zeon who never gave up steal the new Federation mobile ... See full summary »
After the colonies crash into the Earth, the few surviving communities are preyed on by those few who retain technology. A scrappy young boy is hired to rescue a girl from one of these ... See full summary »
Universal Century 0068, Side 3 - The Autonomous Republic of Munzo. Zeon Zum Deikun attempts to declare complete independence of Munzo from the Earth Federation Government, while he preaches... See full summary »
After managing to survive attacks by Zeon's Char Aznable and Garma Zabi, the crew of Federation warship White Base and its mobile suits battle Zeon forces (Ramba Ral, Ma Kube, Tri-Stars, ... See full summary »
In a world where Gundam is a very popular T.V. show, Sei Iori wishes to be just like his father, who was a Gunpla champion years ago, unfortunately, Sei only has skill in building Gunpla, ... See full summary »
Welcome back, Universal Century. It's been a long time.
Barring some remake compilation movies of Zeta Gundam in 2004, Gundam's original universal century time-line, the brainchild of legendary director Yoshiyuki Tomino has taken the back seat to waves of alternate universe Gundam series that favor flashy new mecha, fan-service, bishonen and overly "emo" characters over the gritty, realistic character drama and political undertones of Tomino's Gundam universe. That tone and vision has been kept alive in the form of some excellent OVAs like 0083 and War in the Pocket. Fourteen years after 08th Ms team in 1996, Sunrise has returned to the Universale Century with the worldwide release of "Gundam Unicorn".
Within the opening moments of Gundam Unicorn, we are treated to A flashback to the tragic beginnings of the Universal Century era. The destruction of the Laplace space colony turned an era that would have united the world into one of ongoing hostilities between earth and the space colonies that would culminate in the wars chronicled in the other UC Gundam shows. A hundred years and many bloody conflicts later in present day, an unsteady peace has formed. The aristocratic "Vist Foundation", who has been playing both sides in the war, possesses the mysterious "Laplace box". Rumours of its contents claim that it is the key to ending the ongoing conflict between the colonies and earth, embodied by the remnants of the ZEON organization and the Earth Federation respectively. Over the years, the Federation have desired total control over the people of the colonies whereas ZEON has advocated a near Nazi-ish doctrine of the genetic superiority of Newtypes: special people who possess telepathic powers that they claim will lead them to victory. The remnants of ZEON, now called "The Sleeves" have arrived at the colony to bargain for the possession of the coveted Laplace Box.
Into this conflict comes Benegher Links, an unassuming young man from the "Industrial 7" colony going about his mundane life. One day, he as a fateful run in with one Audrey Burne, who is soon revealed to have arrived on the colony aboard a Sleeves shuttle. She intends to contact Cardeus Vist and prevent the Sleeves from getting Laplace box and using it to start another war. But the Sleeves would do anything to get it, and an unprovoked attack by the Federation security forces launches the entire colony into chaos. At the same time, The Zeon Sleeves attack Vist, suspecting him of selling them out to the Federation. War has begun once again.
What is inside the Laplace box? Only those who have read the novel would know. But clues are dropped throughout the show such as how Vist claims that Neo Zeon's philosophy about newtypes is actually a corrupted form of the original philosophy, twisted to serve their own agenda. Another clue is that the box would "restore the future that was meant to be"; the original intent behind the space colonies and the original purpose of Newtypes. Also a mystery is the secret of the Unicorn Gundam that Vist created. It can only be piloted by one of Vist's bloodline. What is so special about it? What is its purpose?
With 5 more episodes to go, unanswered questions and an open-ended finale are expected. What Gundam Unicorn succeeds in doing is providing a captivating setup and drawing the audience right into the story and its characters. Viewers familiar with previous Universal Century Gundam productions would be able to catch all the little references but new comers to Gundam can also enjoy this OVA for what it is.
Although only episode 1 in a planned 6 episode OVA, it manages to hold its own with a strong cast of characters and actually surpasses the debut episode arcs of both Gundam Seed and Gundam 00. Directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi (who also directed Rurouni Kenshin and Le Chevalier D'Eon), Gundam Unicorn's creative team has the utmost respect for Yoshiyuki Tomino's work, keeping the character designs close to the more tame "classic" look as opposed to the modern design aesthetic of sharp features, neon bright hair colors and model-like figures. The animation is a slick combination 2D and CGI. Most notable is the mecha animation which is possibly the best Sunrise has produced in the digital age. The mecha all have a realistic sense of mass; they take time to accelerate, they have visible inertia, gears crank and hydraulics hiss with every limb movement. All this is a testament to the studio's attention to detail.
Similarly, Gundam Unicorn contains many elements lifted directly from other Gundam shows. A Newtype protagonist with bloodline ties to the creator of the titular Gundam, a mobile suit theft, a runaway "princess" who is at first mistaken for a normal civilian; we have all seen it before. Some of the plot revelations might not come as a big surprise and other plot components have been used so often by anime that were inspired by Gundam that they do not seem wholly original anymore. Thankfully the clever writing and excellent acting by the cast makes the familiar seem so fresh.
Gundam Unicorn's Japanese and English language tracks were released at the same time so it is up to personal preference what language to view it in. Both tracks are of impeccable quality with every voice actor fitting snugly into their roles, but one might prefer the English track as it has a greater sense of realism; all the characters have English or European names with non-Asian appearances and facial features thus hearing them speak English feels more "real".
Watching Gundam Unicorn is like meeting an old friend after so many years. Physically, he has changed a lot, but inside, he is the same. It is the familiar gritty feel of the beloved classic shows given a modern day face lift. More realistic and grittier than recent Gundam shows, it is sure to appeal to fans both old and new alike.
Stay tuned for episode 2
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