Reviewby Richard Winters, Jan 28th 2012
Mobile Suit Gundam - Collection 1
The Original Series Finally Available
The year is 0079 of the Universal Century, the Earth Federation and its space colonies are engaged in an apocalyptic war. The rebellious Principality of Zeon, using humanoid fighting machines called mobile suits, has all but vanquished the Federation. Now the Federation's last hope is the prototype mobile suit Gundam. When a twist of fate makes young civilian Amuro Ray the Gundam's pilot, his own battle begins - a struggle not only for the Federation's survival, but for his own.
So why should you buy a dvd release of an anime over 30 years old? Read on friends and find out why you should stop reading this review and start watching these dvd's right now!
Sometimes you hear one phrase and you know why it's important. Everyone knows what Pokémon are, knows who Son Goku is and knows why you mustn't run away. And there is not an anime fan out there who is unaware that Gundam is a giant robot adorned in white, red, yellow and blue that is usually piloted by some annoying whiny kid that you can't decide if he needs to be punched or commemorated in slashfic.
And dear friends, Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 is the reason for that.
In fact, it's the reason for the existence of Sunrise Animation Studio, responsible for amongst other things Cowboy Bebop, Tiger and Bunny, and Code Geass. Arguably, the commercial success of MSG paved the way for every real robot animation. Ahem. So historical significance aside, why watch it? Why pay retail for something this old?
Because it's worth it.
This release of Mobile Gundam Suit 0079 is superior in every conceivable way to any previous release in the English language. Many of you I am certain will have encountered the less than spectacular parallel import versions. Gone are the days of squinting bleary eyed at DVDs which were mastered from disparate magnetic tape television rips. Gone is watching a questionable copy and having the surreal realisation that the subtitles to ‘Garama's Fate’ have been replaced with the subtitles to ‘It's a Wonderful Life’ (Ed- I will admit, the synch between the two do make for amusing viewing). This new release has been cleaned up to an amazing extent. While thanks to it's limited budget MSG will never be considered a masterpiece of the animator's art, this restoration allows the presented visuals to speak with authority. Now if (like me) you attempted the previous English release, and were beyond disappointed with the dub only presentation, rest assured that the full Japanese voice track is back.
I actually don't have to tell you the plot as there is a pretty good chance that you have already seen it. Gundam's tropes are well known and reused in many anime. Boy is forced to climb into highly experimental giant robot, discovers that they are a prodigy and only they can fight a one man war against the enemy and in doing so becomes a man. This is where it started, and it's well worth to see where it all began.
Despite the age and the obvious insertion of new toys for the sponsors to sell (gunhammer and bean javelin anyone?) MSG does this as well if not better than any other show. The villains are not faceless, but people with emotions. The annoying brat pilot gets the s**t slapped out of him when he misbehaves. Ramba Ral is more impressively moustached than anyone other than a badass old man has a right to be. Everyone born and raised in space is completely freaked out by their first thunderstorm.
If by chance you haven't watched Gundam before, well, I'd rather not spoil it for you. So lets just say deep characterisation and good mecha design help out a plot which will undoubtedly be strangely familiar given how often it has since been recycled.
These 4 disks cover up to episode 21. For those familiar with the franchise this covers the escape from side 7, the war against Garama's army, the Ramba Ral plot arc and the beginnings of operation Oddesa .
If you like robots, you owe it to yourself to watch this. If you like Sunrise, you owe it to yourself to watch this. And finally for the first time in 30 years we have a collection that does the show justice.
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