Alll I can say is, this is definitely one of the most underrated Gundams of the franchise, and an underrated anime in general. I don’t get why the hell they can bring SEED and SEED Destiny, and not X and/or Turn A? What I really liked about this series was it took a different direction with the newtype concept that was a re-occuring element in the UC sagas, mostly in Zeta and CCA. Yes, newtypes can be elite pilots, but Tifa demonstrates that newtypes aren’t exclusive to this rolel. Granted the extremity this anime took with that concept felt out of place for Gundam, in no ways did I feel any sense of intensity or suspense was ruined, but I felt it built it up. I would elaborate how unique this series makes its own interpretation of the newtype concept but it would be a spoiler and I encourage you to see the series for yourself to understand what I mean.
But other than that, it still retains the other characteristics from other Gundam series, and redefines and advances them. Garoad you can say is more of a modern day interpretation of Judeau Ashita from Double Zeta. He’s young, but he’s a guy who is out doing his job and circumstances just led him to where he is. What’s also unique is that he’s not a newtype but yet, he just naturally develops his piloting skills. Tifa’s character was just new to me, and I felt the nature of her character felt out of place for Gundam, but because this isn’t the original Gundam and the intention was to go for something different and new, I felt she just simply served her purpose though I don’t personally call her a top 5 female Gundam character. And as usual, the series will still have villains and antagonists you can relate to which the Frost bros do well at. The series does have some interesting twists and turns that will keep you guessing in relation to the characters and the overall story. I feel that because it’s uniquely both characteristically and not characteristically Gundam at the same time give a new distinction it’s trademark characteristics.
Well, this series premiered after Gundam Wing, so most of the color schemes and gimmicks of the mechs will probably not really stand out since it mostly follows the approach that Gundam Wing has. But I guess some of the features of the GX where its main weapon needs to be powered by a satellite brings a new element to the engineering and the firepower that hasn’t been used in past sagas makes it more fresh. And as I stated earlier, the mechs in general don’t have any qualities that are necessarily fresh or new. Like the Leopard is pretty much a green colored firearms, and the design of the GX looks like the Wing Gundam but with a different set of wings.
The character designs mostly in relation to the costume are a little wilder than your typical Gundam series, thus giving some reflection to its post apocalyptic nature. But other than that, you have generic bishounen and bishoujo designs but very tolerable. My favorite design is that of Jamil with a modern day old school approach. He wears a very ancient military style uniform, and his side burns and hair style is something more characteristic of a 1970s anime hero. And Tanya is just simply hot.The character design is nothing really cutting edge but still appropriate for its setting at some capacity. The battles are pretty interesting since a majority of this Gundam series takes place on Earth and I was wondering if there was ever going to be any traditional space battles, which has always been an iconic trait of the franchise. But I feel that the engineering and the gimmicks of the Gundams presented justified keeping the battles on earth territory for most of the series. But the battles are still intense and they excellently know how to apply land and air war fare with a different approach with more reliance on transforming mechs.
Personally, I loved Takagi Wataru’s unique approach to playing Garoad Ran. Even though he’s achieved world fame as Onizuka Eikichi from GTO, I loved how he still retained his nasal voice and make Garoad come across as a teenager and as a wise ass. I thought it was a very brilliant performance. Granted Garoad has comedic traits, I think Takagi’s addition who mostly does comedy roles does a great job in a more serious role such as this one himself. I think Jamil’s voice actor, Horiuchi Kenyuu who is famous as playing Raiden in the Metal Gear Solid games brought a unique charisma to his character and also made him sound very intimidating. And another unique actress is Mitsuishi Kotono, who was also still playing Sailor Moon at the time is also the voice of Tanya, the bridge captain. Later she would come back to Gundam SEED. as the Captain of the Archangel. With her role in Gundam X, she brought Misato’s party girl side to her character.
The music is just intense and beautiful. The opening theme DREAMS just has this militaristic feel with how it opens, but yet transitions to this powerful song about hope and determination, and the ending themes sung in English sound like Love Lift Us Where We Belong, but brought a refreshing feel to the series. The background music is very appropriate for the series.
Well, sadly, this Gundam had to be cut due to low ratings, but I heard that this series is finding rejuvenation in Japan with the DVD releases and people are appreciating it more. Artistically as I said earlier, it really does nothing to advance Gundam but I think it still maintained its spirit and really brought a unique and distinctive redefinition to some of its original foundation. Such as the themes and concepts behind the series with new types was what made it unique and was first brought into an alternate universe of Gundam which would later be brought back in SEED which I think they did a bad job of that concept in that series. I say it is required to have some familiarity with the original Gundam to understand the origin of its concepts such as colony drops and newtypes, and some familiarity with Gundam Wing to understand the mech design and style. This is something truly made for Gundam fans, and I think this is probably something that a casual anime fan or a hardcore anime fan that isn’t into Gundam could probably handle.
This series is an alternative universe of the normal Gundam timeline and historically its second spin-off. It has many similarities with the original but adds elements from other genres that give the series a more epic and flashy atmosphere. Unfortunately, it also removes many good parts we find in the original, which turned it into just another superficial, shounen mecha show.
ART & SOUND SECTIONS: 6/10
Typical. TOO typical. The character and mecha designs, as well as the action scenes were not better than an average mecha show. Same thing for the music themes and the character voices. It will really disappoint fans of the original and will leave mecha fans indifferent about it.
STORY & CHARACTER SECTIONS: 5/10
Gundam is essentially a sci-fi war drama and this series has the same premise. (spoiler alert!)
In this timeline, the One-Year-War ends with all space colonies dropping on Earth, instead of surrendering. The result was an apocalyptic event that destroyed almost everything. 15 years later, the remaining humans try to rebuild the wastelands of the surface, only to find that many are using Mobile Suits for profit, while others begin another war for the survival of the fittest race.
The protagonist is a young mercenary who is paid to protect a powerful Newtype girl, which possesses the ability to boost a mecha’s psionic capacities. The two enter a Gundam by accident (like in all Gundam series!), team up with a crew of vigilantes and are trapped between the war of Oldtypes vs Newtypes, for the control of the future.
Like in the original Gundam’s normal themes, there is:
- a conflict between the normal Homo-sapiens/Oldtypes and the new Psycics/Newtypes
- angst before the tragedy of war
- sorrow for the dead over the struggle for control of the world’s natural resources and the future
Unlike in the original, there is:
- the presence of a kind, magical, beautiful girl with a tragic past that gives the story a supernatural/messiah theme
- more focus on new bigger/better guns that makes the story more action-based
- less focus on character and scenario development, making the series more shallow
The story is very simple, with slow development and almost no plot twists. The characters act too typical and frankly, they do not deserve to be remembered about anything they did or said.
The ending was also poor, as the scriptwriters gave us a stupid moral message through a metaphysical entity, saying, “There is no difference between Oldtypes and Newtypes”. What is this, a fairy tale with a God-From-A-Machine conclusion? As if everybody else was too stupid to realize something that simple by himself or herself. Not to mention that the bad guys in the story where just two siblings that wanted to kill everyone and were beaten in just 5 seconds. Furthermore the show’s sponsors decided to change the time slot and cut it from 50 episodes to 40, so it had a rushed conclusion which made it look even worse than it already was.
To sum it up, there is little story, unmemorable characters and a simple ending. Not suitable for a Gundam series which is supposed to be far more than that.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTIONS: 1/10
If it wasn’t for the name and the basic design of the Gundam in this series, I doubt anyone would care to remember it. It is just another average-to-bad series that tries to sell by using a renowned title in it.
The accused is found … GUILTY! … of using plagiarism for disguising a mediocre work.
Turn-A Gundam. That’s how alternative settings should look like.