This series is the first alternative universe of the Gundam franchise. Besides the same name, the series has nothing else in common with the original, it just borrowed the name and the basic robot design. This was done purely to increase its sales, if you see it just as a stand-alone series, it is just a pile of trash.
Although generally accepted as one of the weakest titles in the franchise, for many people out there this actually ranks as the best of them all. The reason is simple; it is not about boring politics, war drama, and emo teenagers crying over the victims of war. Who cares about all that; it is 100% retarded robot action with macho-dudes, as all robot shows should ever strive to be. To all these people I can only say the following: “You are a bunch of idiots.”
STORY & CHARACTER SECTIONS: 4/10
Story Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
Character Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 1/2
If you have seen any of the normal timeline series, you will know that the basic premise of Gundam is that of a war drama. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a Gundam. Yet this series which dares to call itself as such is just a shounen flashy-technique-robot-tournament genre, like Plawress Sanshiro, Angelic Layer and Medabots (but with big mecha). Unlike Gundam’s normal themes, there is no struggle between Earth and the space colonies, no angst before the tragedy of war, no sorrow for the dead over the struggle for control of the world’s natural resources. The war is presented as a tv-show, where robots fight only one-on-one and where there are rules to be followed during the battles (as if any rules count in war!). Instead of feeling sad over the death and destruction that is happening in the world, you simply scream: “Yeah! Blast them all! How cool! Everything’s turned to rubble! More! More!”
This series is about a bunch of heavy-dudes, piloting supernatural machines and beating the crap out of each other, just to see who is the strongest. Yes, the overused phrase “I want to be the best in the world” exists here as well. Like in almost all heavy-dude series (Fist of the North Star, Afro Samurai, Highlander the anime movie) the protagonist is an overpowerful “don’t f*** with me” man who wants to avenge a loved-one’s death. And like in many heavy-dude series, his main rival is his brother. As for the rest of the heavy-dudes, they are typical, shallow characters we see in most Hollywood movies. They all have a specific goal in life and nothing else in personality or character development. And yes, they all solve their problems through fighting (as if violence ever solved anything!). Typically, they begin as secondary rivals for the protagonist, but after he kicks their ass, they miraculously adore him for that and aid him in his battle with the main villain.
And how original! Towards the end, the scriptwriters try to teach us a moral message by introducing a worldwide threat that requires all the heavy-dudes to team-up against it. Something about evil cells that take over your body and make you a villain through brainwashing but you are otherwise innocent and not to blame if they ever leave you. Really now, what a cheap way out of being a murderer and an ass for most of the show. The moral message they try to promote is supposed to be: “We may belong to different countries, but we still live on the same planet.” Really?! You don’t say! And here I thought the moral message was: “As long as there is nobody stronger than us, fighting each other is ok!”
Listen here champs, if it has no emos and actual drama why did you name it Gundam and not some Mazinger variant? It is a lot closer to that childish concept than to the semi-mature themes of this franchise. And if you so much want to have macho dudes and bimbos in it, why did you dumbed them down compared to the original? At least later shows had the decency to flesh them out a bit, like what they did in Wing and 00. This is all so shallow compared to the initial idea that it’s plain insulting. Awful story, boring characters, and lame excuses for brainless fighting do not belong here. And don’t give me all that “You are narrow-minded and only want rehashes of the same thing” excuse. If it doesn’t feel like Gundam, it shouldn’t be called that, even if that means a rehash.
And let’s just suppose I am to accept all that crap. Don’t tell me there were memorable characters or an interesting storyline in here. Everything was basic and stupid. A complete mess, light years behind the original.
ART & SOUND SECTIONS: 5/10
Art Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 0/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2
Sound Analysis: Voice Acting 0/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3
The good part is that the visual and sound effects are numerous and flashy. Also, the way the mechas are piloted is interesting. The pilots in the cockpit don’t sit and use steering wheels; they stand up wearing a suit that interfaces with their mecha and copies every acrobatic move they do or think. Even the main music themes are blood boiling and very fitting with the type of the series it tries to be.
The bad part is ALL THE REST. What kind of mecha designs ARE THESE?!!! Gundams that look like windmills?! Like schoolgirls?!! Like Egyptian Pharaohs, Napoleon, fish with a Gundam head coming out of their mouths?!!! What drug did the designers take to draw this shit? How could they ridicule the Gundam design like this? How can someone actually pilot one of these without becoming a laughing stock? How can a huge robot even move with such a shape?
Supposed that each one of them was based after the country it was made but this does not excuse looking as impractical and lame as this. Furthermore, the designs end up being racist as hell by promoting superficial stereotypes that do not do their races any favor. I am sure the African Gundam does not need to be restricted to wearing a zebra skin and holding a Zulu spear; the pilot can do any shit he likes. As for the lead Gundams, both of which are Japanese? No sir, they look fine and cool, and are named with the most awesome titles of God and Devil instead of pitiful Napoleon or Sweden Cheerleader. How more chauvinistic could the assholes behind this thing be? Half the nations in the world would be offended by being labeled like that.
And those special attacks, oh my God, they were unbearable, there isn’t a hint of realism around them. How was I supposed to like this kind of battles? How can anyone? Voice-activated spinning punches and chest beams are bullshit seen in kiddy series, like the Power Rangers or Voltron. They have no place in a serious title like Gundam.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTIONS: 1/10
Value Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
Enjoyment Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 1/2, Story 0/3, Characters 0/4
Assuming you have an I.Q. higher than 90 and have seen some good mecha series, you will definitely HATE this one. The original Gundam was the first series that offered a more realistic approach to mecha anime by removing voice-activated special attacks and by focusing more on the drama of the characters instead of endless power-ups and pointless battles. This revision made a U-turn back to the silly super robot formula it was trying to keep away from. Some say that it offered an air of freshness to the franchise by being so different but that is not what made the basic concept of Gundam good. You can find a thousand shows with a silly mecha story but very few like what the first was heading for. So sure, it was too melo and stupid half the time but it still tried to be more than this shit. This show destroyed the serious image Gundam had up to then and alienated thousands of new viewers; a damage that kept away most up until Gundam Seed aired several years later. So in case this is your first Gundam show, don’t let it fool you into thinking it is awesome or whatever. It is garbage! One of the worst entries in the franchise.
VERDICT: 3.5 / 10
I flip my shining middle finger to the jerks that made it. Total failure!