The year is 2345 Correct Century, and in the aftermath of humanity forgetting about their advanced technology, Earth has regressed to simpler times. The Moonrace, an advanced colony of people on the moon, has sent the three teenagers Loran Cehack, Keith Laijie, and Fran Doll to Earth to see if it is suitable to live on once again. Two years have passed, and the Moonrace has arrived on Earth to settle in the Sunbelt zone with the help of the Dianna Counter forces; however, the people of Earth are angry and respond aggressively to their invaders. With negotiations for peace failing, will the people from Earth and the Moonrace ever learn to coexist? Or is this the dawn of a new war?
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTIONS: 9/10 (although much less, if you are not a seasoned Gundam fan) This is another alternative timeline of the Gundam series and historically its third spin-off. But it can easily “fit in” the normal one, as it occurs 2.000 years in the future, and any deviations from its normal narrative form are easily justified (the world changed a lot). I must warn you NOT to watch this series if you are not a seasoned Gundam fan. It is very different from the more famous Gundam titles (the original, Wing, Seed) and may feel alienated if you expect to see something similar to the aforementioned ones. I, myself, gave up pretty soon on it, the first time I tried to watch it years ago. But after watching several other Gundam spin-offs and mecha-related series since then, I can say with certainty that Turn-A is the best non-canon Gundam title in terms of atmosphere. It lacks the perplexity, seriousness and epic warfare of the original Gundam but makes up for most of the damage with a lot more character-focused story and several dramatic/comical scenes.The series is mostly drama and comedy, rather sci-fi and action. It can easily disappoint those of you who care a lot about graphics and epic space battles, as there are only skirmishes with mostly low-teck mecha in it. But for those who care about emotional characters and an easy-going plot, it will not disappoint them. Plus, there are several Easter Eggs that only those who have seen all previous series (like me) will recognize. The series is brimming with references to previous Gundam titles, even those of different alternative timelines (without story continuity). Some I still remember are:- The cannon the Moon-race possesses is the same as the one in Gundam Victory.- The Turn-X mecha uses several Gundam G special attacks.- Records left from the Dark History show footage of the colony dropping from the beginning of the original Gundam, Gundam X unfolding its wings and the 5 mecha of Gundam Wing fighting.All these are just Tributes (no impact in the story) but increase the interest for all those who recognize them by waiting for the next reference to pop-up at anytime. ART SECTION: 7/10 At first, the graphics may seem crude. The character figures are simplistic and with wide outlines. The explosions are very fake most of the time. The mecha designs are bulky and don’t do much. The motion fluidity suffers realism. There is even plenty of stale imaging in the background. BUT!…If you carefully watch WHAT the characters and the mecha do, and not HOW WELL THE THING THEY ARE DOING IS DEPICTED, you will be amazed at the variety, originality and smartness of their actions. From the way they stroke their hair, to the way they look around, move around, express emotions, plan their next move, it is amongst the most realistic I have ever seen.The mecha designs may look stupid at first but in fact are very well thought of. They clearly represent the technological level of the civilization that made them (the world is like in the beginning of the 20th century) and are filled with gadgets, pipes, and other extras, that are clearly there for a reason (part of how they operate, fight, move, etc.). The world in the series is also well depicted. Everything has a retro feeling of the Renaissance and the Steam Age. Several depictions of really old versions of today’s everyday appliances give a big boost in realism and atmosphere. And all countries have altered names of today’s countries (Ameria instead of America, Inglesia instead of England, Kabaria instead of Caribbean) so you can easily compare them with the normal ones.Also, you will notice that there is a lot of nude in the series, something that all Gundam series generally avoid. Most episodes feature a pretty lady undressing or the camera zooming in her juicy parts. These scenes are not sleazy enough to turn the series into “ecchi” but sure keep your eyes open through the slow-pace story. SOUND SECTION: 7/10 Voice acting and sound effects were ok, but they could sure do a better job. Most characters’ voices don’t have a variety in speech volume (they talk in the same way, no matter the situation) and the music themes were repeating too often.But the music themes themselves… wow! At first they sounded like a bunch of pop nonsense (catchy phrases are LALALU, NANANA, MILLENNIUM COLOR) but they slowly become very likable. They are a weird mix of Indian, African, Midi, Opera and who knows what else. So strange words and so deep meanings, easily gave a magical/elegiac atmosphere to the series. You feel really nostalgic when hearing them. STORY SECTION: 8/10 The extremely high-teck Universal Century Era ended with a great war that wiped out all technology and civilizations. Humanity on Earth reverted back to the Stone Age. The colonies around the Earth were all destroyed but the people on the moon retained some technology. 2.000 years pass and the events before the war were forgotten and are now referred only as Dark History. Mankind on Earth (referred to as Earth race) reached an early 20th century technological level, while mankind on the moon (referred to as Moon-race) was several centuries more advanced. Once again, overpopulation on the moon leads to immediate migration to Earth. The Earth-race sees that as invasion and refuses to accept them. Skirmishes break up, with the Moon-race seemingly winning, thanks to their use of mecha.The protagonist is Loran, a young Moon-race member who was secretly sent with others as pioneers and spies on Earth. During a skirmish, he (as it always happens in Gundam!) accidentally finds a Gundam unit inside a stone statue and fights his own people in order to protect the defenseless Earth citizens he became friends with. The story is mainly about learning to fight better and helping in the negotiations for peace. The story is very slow-paced but it has no fillers and every episode has at least one worthy scene. Just as in all Gundam series, we have all the main story elements present: - Unlike having a typical “Aliens/monsters vs Humans” story, Gundam has a “Humans vs Humans” story. So, we feel sad even when the bad guys lose, because they are not heartless/bizarre aliens/monsters, bound to destroy Earth. They are mistreated people with feelings and hopes for the future, like the good guys. - There are essentially no good guys and bad guys. The apparent good Earth-race of the planet’s surface is a bunch of ignorant stuck-ups and xenophobes. The apparent evil Moon-race of the moon cause mass destruction and murder because the Earth-race didn’t allow their vital migration through peaceful means.- Many events are reminiscent of real-life historical events (same as those in my Kidou Senshi Gundam review).- Other issues of great importance are also discussed in the series (same as those in my Kidou Senshi Gundam review).- Gundam is also a sci-fi war drama. There is angst before the tragedy of war and sorrow for the dead in the battles. No one is treated just as a faceless drone. So, the story is great but because it tends to move very slow (50 episodes) and without much action (only skirmishes), it loses two points.WARNING! The final episode has a frenzied pace. Too many things happen in only 20 minutes. Plus, it is VERY SAD. Almost Saikano sad! Be emotionally prepared for not another “and lived happily ever after” ending (which is a good thing, for this kind of story). CHARACTER SECTION: 8/10 At first, the characters seem like wimps. They mostly act childishly and superficially. But this is done intentionally as all their silliness leads to realistic reactions, such as misunderstandment, conflict and mistrust. This is the driving force that moves the story forward or causes funny and tragic events to occur. By being problematic as characters, the story becomes more perplex and unexpected and themselves more “real”, since all normal people have their share of flaws. So, Loran is a spineless dork when it comes to women, his main female friend attacks and hits without thinking, the rival woman officer wants to kill him by disobeying orders, the Earth representative is willing to betray his country in order to become great, the enemy leader wants to destroy the Earth just to give humanity history through wars and so on, and so on. Their un-colored voices and rather weak presence damage their appeal but they are otherwise GREAT! And with such a sad ending, you actually get to like them even more for their tragic conclusion. So, enjoy! A lot! VERDICT: 8/10 The accused is found … NOT GUILTY! … He doesn’t dress in a trendy way, but he thinks a lot more mature than most. SUGGESTION LIST Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Also a war drama. No mecka but story and characters put Gundam to shame.
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