All the various Gundam shows come together to make a strange animal. They are all part of the same franchise but are radically different from each other. One of the odd things I have noticed is the two types of Gundam fans in the U.S. There are Universal Century purists that are usually older Gundam fans. They either hate Alternate Universe Gundam series or are extremely harsh judges of them. New Gundam fans tend to judge all the Gundam series on their own merits and flaws which I prefer. I remember hearing nothing but bad things about After War Gundam X back in the day. It was supposedly a horrific show that was the lowest point in the Gundam series. After I watched Turn A Gundam which also had a bad reputation but found it to be my favorite Gundam series I decide that maybe I would give Gundam X a chance. This was reinforced by various friends on Twitter assuring me that it was worth a shot I plunged into the unknown.
Gundam X begins after the apocalyptic end of a war between the Earth and the colonies. During the climax of the war the colonies dropped themselves on the earth killing 99% of the population. Fifteen years later the environment is somewhat stable again and people are just starting to making decent headway in the rebuilding of Earth. Garrod Ran is hired to save a kidnapped young girl named Tiffa Adill with mysterious powers who was taken by mercenaries. But the people asking Garrod to rescue her might not have her best interests at heart. While rescuing Tiffa Garrod also finds an amazing pre-war mobile suit called the Gundam X. This suit is just as mysterious and powerful as Tiffa.
Garrod Ran is a likable chap. I like describing him as if you took all five Gundam Wing pilots and made them one guy with Duo being the main and strongest template. He is a loner but usually easy going, energetic, and resourceful. He goes through periods where he is depressed and angry but he’s fifteen. It would be highly unrealistic for him to be any other way. Garrod has an aptitude for piloting but does not start out as an ace and it is implied that he has done some piloting before the show begins. Tifa Adill is sort of a stock mysterious girl with powers but she is a well done version of that archetype. It turns out she is a Newtype but unlike in the original Gundam series she never uses her power for combat. She is a quiet and odd girl who cuts herself off from everyone else. Although it is never stated, you know that Tifa has been unable to live a normal life ever since she discovered her powers. Still she is a good and kind person who wants to help others but is not always sure how to interact with people in order to do so.
Eventually Garrod and Tifa wind up on a ship called the Freeden. The captain, Jamil Neate, was a war hero who now goes around saving Newtypes while earning a living as a mercenary and scavenger. He is a quiet father figure for the crew who is trying to atone for several major sins committed during the war. The rest of the crew is a tightly knit group that slowly integrate Garrod and Tifa into their family. They are a varied bunch from the ditzy blond helmswomen to the the 12 year genius mechanic. In the first episode we are introduced to Witz Sou and Roybea Loy who start out as independent mercenaries but they quickly become full members of the crew. They usually fight along side Garrod in lesser Gundams while providing him the advice of a pair of older brothers. I would be remiss in not mentioning Paula Cis, the spunky tomboy that saves Garrod at one point and later allies herself with the crew of the Freeden. She was obviously supposed to get a deeper back story and more screen time but Paula is a victim of the show getting the number of episodes cut. Which is upsetting because Paula Cis reminded me of a mixture of Sayla Mass and Allenby Beardsley. In other words, pure awesome.