Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Jul 10th 2002
Mobile Suit Gundam
Movie DVD 1
Amuro Ray is torn from his peaceful life as a civilian when Zeon forces attack his home on Side 7, an Earth colony floating in space. He becomes the pilot of Gundam, the Federation's newest weapon, and he and the other civilian-turned-soldiers aboard the White Base must fight to protect themselves against the Zeon forces, especially the ace pilot of the enemy known as the Red Comet, Char Aznable.
In 1979, a series was produced that would revolutionize the world of anime in the minds of fans forever. This series was Mobile Suit Gundam, a series that spawned multiple side series, entire lines of toys, and virtually its own franchise. The series was then turned into a series of motion pictures in order to draw more fans and gain wider accessibility. Luckily, fans in North America can now view these movies, as they are being released by Bandai Entertainment. The first DVD comes with the first movie, and also a special edition metallic cover. Other than that, there are no extras on the disc, but the movie itself is worth the purchase.
Viewers who have seen the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series released by Bandai in dub only format will already be familiar with the movie, as it is almost exactly the same thing. The main difference between the two releases, other than the obvious release format, is the language choice. The series was released as an English only dub due to licensing issues, whereas the movies are being released as subtitled only. This is a huge blessing to many fans who bemoaned the dub-only fate of the series, as the legendary series/movies can finally be seen in its original language. For the most part, the audio tracks were mastered well. At parts, the sound would fade away, but it wasn't anything detrimental and didn't subtract from the viewing pleasure of the movie. The subtitles were large and easy to read, although there were a few lines that were left un-translated, which, although annoying, was nothing more than a triviality.
Given the age of the series, the animation was surprisingly good. There were certain parts where the characters' movements were slightly choppy, but the fight scenes were fluid for the most part. The character designs were rather rough and ragged, especially the facial features, but this can be forgiven given the date it was produced. There was a scene in which the clouds looked especially bad, which was rather curious as the clouds and the rest of the sky art was usually rather good. Either way, the art and animation were done well enough to make the viewing smooth and pleasant, and not much of the viewer's attention is diverted to them as there is enough action happening on screen to keep the viewer busy.
The instrumental music for the movie was good, as it had the type of gallant, majestic soundtrack expected of a Gundam series. The music matched the actions on the screen well, especially during the fight scenes, when the background would be filled with a grandiose symphonic track that accentuated the glory of the Gundam and the characters. The vocal track at the close of the movie, “Suna no Juujika,” wasn't as spectacular, as it was a slow, monotonous song that had no real appeal. This is acceptable, however, as the song was written before the days when sugary pop stampeded the anime stage. Although the vocal track was tedious, and the instrumentals were fairly stimulating, there is no real attraction in buying the soundtrack, unless for the sake of nostalgia. In any case, original copies of the soundtrack would be extremely hard to come by for fans, anyway.
The first Gundam movie is definitely worth purchasing, if only for the sake of viewing and reviewing the series that kicked off the Gundam explosion in the anime world. The mecha action scenes are riveting, and it is infinitely pleasurable listening to the movie in its original dialogue. Fans who were taken aback at Bandai's dub only release of the series, rest your mind, the Gundam movie has come to save the day. Filled with excitement, adventure, and memories from ye olden days, the first Gundam movie of the set is one that cannot be missed. Even if purchasing the movie is far from appealing, then it is worth at least a rental. So, pick up a copy and see what all the fuss was about.
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : C+
+ Gundam in its original language!
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