Anime Ramblings – Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

Holy shit, IT’S OVER!

Gundam Unicorn is OVER!

Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love Gundam Unicorn, but there’s been so many delays for it and so much hype even until now, I was just eager to see how they ended this.

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So Gundam Unicorn started back in 2010, and when it was announced around year previously, everyone was hyped as fuck. I remember when Unicorn was announced: basically every mecha-related forum, board, chat, club, etc. was talking about this. Unicorn was, at that point, a novel that sounded really awesome and that seemed to tie up some lose ends from the early UC era. It was also the only hope UC fans had to the return of this timeline back to the mainstream and animated medium (there had been stuff like IGLOO and Evolve around, but they were either ignored or just not as popular or hyped as this).

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Basically, what I’m gonna talk about is the OVA, because frankly, I’ve only read the first two volumes of the novel series, and I don’t think I’ll be able to finish them anytime soon, but whatever.

The OVA was initially going to be six episodes, two episodes per year. But then something happened, shortly after episode 4, which was the least well-received of the episodes by then, and Sunrise decided to not only extend the series with an additional episode, but also delay the following episodes.

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It’s time for GANDAMU.

Episode 1 proved the hype wasn’t in vain: great animation, great music, excellent mechanical and character designs, not to mention the tone and the pacing was incredibly well handled and it was a greatly balanced piece of work. For anime and, especially the mecha genre, it was a good, nice fresh breath of air, which was somewhat ironic considering Unicorn uses so many clich├ęs and tradition from the previous series (especially Universal Century Gundam series).

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Can’t be Gandamu without motherfucking Char! Or Full Frontal…or just a Char clone, doesn’t matter, really.

Episode 2 lived up to its predecessors: personally, I think it even outdid it, somehow outdoing in the animation, combat, music and performance departments while being consistent in everything else. It was also basically every UC fanboy’s wet dream: the Red Comet in HD, modern animation; good old fashioned asteroid field battle; Suichi Ikeda; typical LOLGundam politics and philosophy, etc.. It shed more light on pretty much all the characters, which at this point were still somewhat unknowns (unless you had read the novels).

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;_;

Episode 3 was the high point of the series, personally: it was all the good of episodes 1 and 2, with added extras like further exploring the UC timeline and world, a very moving scene involving the main character, Banagher Links, and his supporting character Marida Cruz; as well as one of, if not the, best animated combat scene in the franchise: the Battle of Palau. It also shed light on several minor characters like Daguza Mackle and Gilboa Sant, who would later become one of the many figures Banagher would look up to in the future.

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HURR SIEG ZEON!!!111!!!!!!!1!1!!!!1!!!1

However, the story-telling quality of the series decreased heavily in episode 4: the pacing was attrocious, the antagonist of the episode, Lony Garvey, was nothing more than delicious fap bait, and pretty much the only reason to watch it is for the, admittedly, very awesome battle in Torrington Base between the Zeon Remnants and the Earth Federation/Londo Bell forces, which features endless cameos of mobile suits from MSV, Zeta, ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Z-MSV, ZZ-MSV, 0080, and many other animated, manga and Variations series, as well as original designs that were based on suits from many of the aforementioned series (such as the AMX-101K). The ending of this episode, however, also questioned heavily whether or not Sunrise would be able to properly cover the content of the novels in the next two episodes.

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XXX-999-666-VVV Gundam EDGE

At this point was when Sunrise decided to extend the series and make more reasonable release schedules (one episode a year instead of two episodes), in order to more effectively produce what remained of the series.

Episode 5 was much better, although it was still somewhat average. Despite this, it was possibly the first time we had had an air battle in the styles of original Gundam/Zeta between opposing factions, although the animation quality left somewhat to be desired. Despite this, it perfectly laid what followed in the next episode.

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Mineva and her bitches. Or manwhores, whatever.

Episode 6 was, however, the return to the roots: a perfect balance between story-telling and action, character drama, and not to mention a huge improvement in production values in general; there were at times when it seemed some of the characters had been rotoscoped due to how fluid the animation was in this episode. It was also a perfect lead in to the next, and final, episode.

Now the final episode has finally come out, and IT’S GLORIOUS. It has its fair share of flaws, mind you, but I don’t think I’ll elaborate much upon them right now. The episode basically delivered on what it had been promising since it was announced, and it did so, greatly. Not only did we get even more mobile suit cameos from previous series (Ga-Zowmn and Zssa, anyone? Oh yes, they appear), but the episode is essentially one of the best produced Sunrise works ever done. It has its share of ridiculous, such as the final confrontation between Banagher and Full Frontal (watch it, and you’ll see what I mean), Riddhe and Marida’s arcs, Angelo (although granted, he’s been pretty ridiculous since episode 2), and a few other things. However, one doesn’t mind with how awesome the episode is. It’s basically around an hour (or hour and a half: I really didn’t bother to check how long it was) of pure UC Gundam awesome.

So, what is my final word on Gundam Unicorn? Well, I think it’d be going too far and say it’s one of the best Gundam series ever made…but I don’t care. I’ll just call it one of the best Gundam series ever made. Sure, there are some I prefer like 0080, or Zeta, but Unicorn is just so well done and so well composed (sans that shitty filler of episode 4 that might as well not exist), it really deserves most of the praise it has gotten, gets and will get.

I mean, it has great characters, excellent art (mechanical, character, background…you name it), God-tier production values…it’s basically everything Gundam should aspire to be in the future, even if it isn’t UC and features space alien pirates and is set in the Andromeda Galaxy and has character designs by Masami Obari.

So have you seen Gundam Unicorn, what do you think about it?