We had really been digging the Gundam Universal Century OAVs, the 08th MS Team and 0080 were excellent. They both had their flaws but overall they were really enjoyable. Then we came to Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, third time is obviously not the charm. This was a chore to get through. When the Federation creates a new Gundam prototype with nuclear capabilities an ace pilot from a Zeon remnant named Gato steals it. It is up to Kou to take the other Gundam prototype and capture Gato before he can unfurl a plan that merely begins with stealing a Gundam. It is not the most original Gundam plot but it is one that has worked but this time it utterly failed. There was something generally wonky about the plot. I kept waiting for a reveal that all the seemingly utterly horrible decisions made by the Federation were part of some elaborate plot but that is not the case. No one in this series makes anything close to normal human decisions. Kou and Nina Purpleton’s relationship was just so bizarre I could never even attempt to get into it. When you’re longing for the authentic relationships of Tomino you know something has gone horribly wrong. The worst part is this is the Gundam OAV that really ties into the main series since the events in Stardust Memory go on to majorly help create the Titans. This series has fans for two reasons that don’ really matter that much to me: great mobile suit designs and cameo appearance of some important Zeta Gundam players like Bask Om and Haman Karn. This was an utterly horrid Universal Century Gundam series and the sooner I moved on the better.
I like the opening for Stardust Memory, yup, I sure did like that opening. Oh right, now I have to talk about the rest of it. We start with a classic rivalry of rookie vs enemy ace, the robots are cool, the animation is pretty nice, but things just feel off. Why is there a faction of Zeon pirates? And where exactly did they get their uniforms? Cima is completely decked out with a cloak and tiger skinned rug on the floor while many of her henchmen wear shirts with no sleeves or completely open chested. And seeing them interact with regular officers is even more laughable as if they showed up for a costume party that no one knew about. Our female representative on the other side, Nina, is all kinds of contradictory and so ineffectual that one has to wonder how she got her job. Also the pilots on the side of Federation are super assholes minus Kou (but he gets no points because he likes Nina who is a dumb, dumb woman) and Keith (who also loses points for lamest helmet decal). Gato I guess is a pretty bad dude but even he isn’t very engaging. The entire cast is forgettable atleast in any good way. Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory doesn’t start off too badly, but it quickly goes down hill culminating in a nonsensical ending that had me saying “WHAT!? WAIT!” I suppose it should get a few props for really surprising me! I have heard mixed opinions of the series but mine is a definitive “poor.”
I watched the 15-part Gundam Evolve series. It is a unique set of shorts that were either originally packed with certain model kits or played at conventions. They range from about 5 to 15 minutes long. For the most part they are in the Universal Century timeline but there are a few in the others including Gundam Seed, G Gundam, and Wing. Oh and there is a SD Gundam set in a feudal Japanese samurai story setting (see phatbhuda they were thinking of you). All the episodes except for the first feature new footage with CG models of the mecha. Almost all the stories are there for the express purpose of being robot porn aka seeing good looking mecha in combat situations or just to pander to the Gundam fans odd tastes. I mean what else can you say about an episode devoted to the RB-79 Ball. I get the feeling that if you showed this to 10 different mecha fans each one would come way with a different one they liked most. The most interesting was episode 5 where we get a slightly more positive ending to Char’s Counter Attack. Also the little comedy bits with the God Gundam in episode 3 were golden. My only complaint was there should be more Allenby. If you are a Gundam fan there is no reason not to check this out. I can’t think of and episode that was not enjoyable. It might actually take you more time to download them than to watch them. I also suggest them for anime conventions or anime clubs. They are just odd enough to be something that people at the convention or club might not have already seen on their own.
I finished the last half of Eureka Seven getting so caught up that I was watching 6 and then 8 episodes in a row by the end. The plot really picks up steam in the second half and there were quite a few revelations snuck up on me and left me breathless. Renton matures so realistically with a recurring one step forward two steps back and chiding himself in the process. But in the end Renton does everything he says he will. It was unique how characters could change so fully, but believably, as the series went on. Eureka Seven’s most impressive quality is its characterization and relationships that fill up the room when you are watching. Because of this it is a story that instills in you the need to see it through to the end.
Since I got the Gundam 00 S1 Pt.1 Special Edition it came with a copy of Gundam 00F. Gundam 00F is a gaiden manga that takes place during the events of the main Gundam 00 TV series and serves as a sequel to Gundam 00P. It revolves around Fon Spaak a member of the Celestial Being support group Fereshte. Since Fon is a criminal he has an explosive collar around his neck to keep him in line. It seems that Fereshte has several lesser Gundams in their possession but only one true GN drive so Fon goes on missions to aid the four main meisters from the shadows. Most of the chapters revolve around Fon giving some previously unseen aid such as doing some recon work or aiding Lockon in sniping. It’s a decent supplementary manga but it does not stand well on its own. The book ends with Fon having a potentially fatal encounter with Team Trinity so perhaps the plot will start down its own path. As always the art lacks the same spark that most mecha anime have during fights that for some reason rarely translates well into manga. All the characters are pleasant but none of them stood out to me as compelling. I was usually more interested in how they were tied to the TV characters. I will continue to read the series but it is a horrible place to start if you have not already watched the show.
I watched the new Lupin the Third short/Monkey Majik music video. There is no dialogue, just the rock beats of Monkey Majik as the band members get into a scrape with Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko first on the road and then at a local bar. The animation is very nice though there is a point in the middle that switches to still frames disrupting the vibe. Also Fujiko doesn’t look quite like herself but everyone else is spot on. It is a fun little short worth the few minutes.
I could post a picture of Nina Purpleton but I would rather post of Sayla Mass even though she is barely related to Gundam 0083. I assume no one will complain about this change.