Stardust Memories (SM) is the second side story Tomino made before tarnishing the UC continuity after Char’s Counterattack with pointless sequels. Assuming you are aware of how the timeline of the show goes and have read my review of the original show, so I won’t have to repeat myself, this is how it goes. SM takes place between the first and second seasons and even attempts to bridge them together by explaining how those assholes the Titans got to power. Other than that, the whole show is a cheesefest.
A major problem with the show is that it involves a major battle that could have changed the course of history, yet none of the major pilots from the first series appears or is even mentioned. In a similar fashion many pilots in this series are considered to be elites but are also never mentioned in the main storyline later on. So as a side story it is thrown in the main events in a very sloppy way. This was not a problem with the previous side story, War In the Pocket, because none of its characters were major players in the war, and all the events that took place there were just an unimportant scrimmage that went unnoticed.
Aside from that, even the overall story feels like a dumbed down rehash of the original show. The evil dudes steal a super mecha, the idealist protagonist steals an equally super mecha to stop them, and then you get the usual battles in each episode. There is a sort of a plot twist towards the end regarding a major treason and a second secret weapon of mass destruction but not even that managed to affect the showdown in any significant way.
Even the characters feel too simplistic to care. Despite being elites and military higher ups, they barely have much of a backdrop or are fleshed out much. The protagonist in particular is a complete shounen cardboard, with absolutely nothing to remember him about. Also, there is so much action in this show that it ends up overshadowing character appeal for shallow entertainment.
As far as action goes, it is great for the time it was made and if you are watching it just for that you will love it. The production values are very good, although I found the character designs to be typical and some robot designs too bulky and impractical.
In all, this side story took the exact opposite route of War In The Pocket. You are going to watch it for the cool action and not for its characters or the story. And since we are already getting lots of good action in the main storyline, not even those save face after awhile. I mean the pacing is ok and the characters are rather colorful but nothing stands out enough to matter. Thus I recommend it only for mecha maniacs and Gundam completists. Those of you who are not deep into the franchise can skip it altogether.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 2/2, Visual Effects 2/2
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Historical Value 1/3, Rewatchability 1/3, Memorability 2/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 1/2, Story 1/3, Characters 0/4
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