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The Mobile Suit Gundam Films: The Best, The Worst, and What's Worth Watching


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Wyvern



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:45 am Reply with quote
Great article! Although it is kind of disappointing how few "true" Gundam films there are (as opposed to compilations) but I guess that's inevitable since the franchise only really took off thanks to compilations.

As for the prospect of an Iron-Blooded Orphans film, spoiler[I'm guessing it would HAVE to be a compilation, because given the way the series ended, there's absolutely no way they could do a sequel that didn't feel extremely forced.]
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:47 am Reply with quote
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The typical Earth Federation “good guys” are replaced with an organization called CONSENT, and the Zeon “bad guys” are replaced with nothing any less on the nose than the actual Illuminati, no kidding


Okay, Lauren, I know that you don't like G-Saviour, but this line makes me wonder how much of the movie you really remember if you're outright getting the sides wrong. CONSENT were the bad guys, a corrupt organization similar to the Titans (only not quite as messed up) that controls most of the colonies, & the Illuminati (who were barely in the movie, anyway) were the rebellious good guys, similar to the AEUG, that ran the remaining colonies that weren't under CONSENT's iron grip. Really, though, the movie focused more on the sole independent colony that remained, making the backdrop more about CONSENT as a villain than the Illuminati as heroes. Granted, I'm not stating it as one of the best movies out there, but I (surprisingly) found G-Saviour better than I remember it being when I re-watched it last year.

Really, the biggest problem with the movie is that it's only the middle portion of a larger overall story, so not enough backstory & world building is done (because that was in a trio of audio dramas), nor is the finale really a proper ending to anything (because that was done via a PS2 video game sequel that's much better than the movie in general). Unfortunately, Bandai only ever gave us the movie, so it's like only getting Episode 2 of a larger story, but never getting what came before or after it.

Honestly, Sunrise could theoretically rectify G-Saviour's existence by either making a UC Gundam story that contradicts something about it (which they haven't done) or just outright remaking it as an OVA series that adapts the audio drama, movie, & video game stories into a single, overarching storyline that would actually properly explain stuff, like why the Earth is essentially a wasteland by then (the dramas indicate it was simply because of all of the prior wars that had happened; they destroyed the planet's viability), why the energy-generating bioluminescence in the movie was so important (because if it was publically known, CONSENT wouldn't be able to have a stranglehold over the colonies anymore), or even how exactly the G-Saviour relates to the legacy of the Gundams (the second audio drama focuses on the creation of the mech).

That aside, though, it's a solid list, though I feel that Char's Counterattack & the 00 movie's spots might be contested (especially the 00 movie).
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:13 am Reply with quote
I actually have Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz on VHS (dubbed, and mine says it's 80 minutes), though I've only seen one episode of Wing (it was dubbed and it fine). Should I watch the film or watch the entire series first, even with its pacing problems and all (I didn't watch it as I've tried to watch the original series but I've been busy)?
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:41 am Reply with quote
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if you wanted to watch its sequel, Gundam Seed Destiny, as soon as possible for some reason


Who would want that?!

Also, even with watching all the trial, Kamille come off as whiny. We are talking about someone who punch a member of the military and then steal a giant weapon to get back at him for simply making fun of his name.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:47 am Reply with quote
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without the trials he's been through, movie Kamille just seems whiny.


But Lauren, Kamille has only ever been just whiny. Even in the TV show his character was never more than "that kid who's inconsistently angry at everything."

Overall the Zeta TV show was a drab, passionless work filled with dark moments just for the sake of it involving a cast of mostly unlikable characters so you don't care when bad things happen to them. The plot never moved anywhere until Axis showed up and most of the action scenes were pretty dull (the finale was filled with great stuff at least).

That's why I consider the moves a vast improvement. Cuts out lots of the redundant stuff, the new action scenes were great, and the lighter moments added a sense of enjoyment to the whole thing. The added character moments went a long way too. In the TV series the AEUG members would always bicker with each other and never built a sense of camaraderie. In the movie even a simple scene like them sitting down for some cake together did wonders.

I own the Anime Legends sets of both but I'll pop in the movies loooooong before I touch the TV series again.

Awakening of the Trailbazer definitely deserves to be on the top tier list. It takes a big chance and knocks it out of the park. The way they handled the aliens was excellent. Rather than just be "humans from another planet" the ELS were truly alien beings that could not be dealt with by normal means. For the first time since G-Gundam was humanity faced with a legitimate existential threat and we were LOSING. The action scenes were amazing because it was such a huge scale and the stakes were higher than any Gundam battle before it. Watching humanity's desperate but inevitably futile struggle was intense.

The resolution also goes all in on something Gundam sometimes toys with but inevitably doesn't commit to: There are no good guys or bad guys. There was no evil 'final boss' whose death would bring peace. Violence doesn't win the day, but communication and understanding. The ELS weren't malevolent, they just didn't know other ways to interact with different species.

The whole package is a spectacular thing to behold. It's no wonder aliens haven't appeared again in Gundam: no one could do it better than here.

Quote:
It's not just me who trying to forget that G-Savior ever happened—Sunrise feels the same way.


And then Build Fighters validated it's existence.

I greatly enjoy G-Saviour. It a good cheesy time while also providing a different sort of story for a Gundam entry. You just gotta let yourself have some fun with it.
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angelmcazares
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:36 pm Reply with quote
I definitely agree with the rankings. It is disappointing that several of these Gundam movies are compilations of tv shows and OVA's; I wish there were more Gundam movies with original content like Chars' Counterattack.

And Lauren, is there any reason why you did not include the Turn A compilation movies?
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Nyren



Joined: 07 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Gundam 00 Special Edition - This one is strange in that both seasons are covered in three compilation films, but only the first film covers the first season. The last two films cover the entirety of the second season and as a result it's far better paced than the first movie which tries to cover 25 episodes in an hour and a half to two hours. They're absolutely stunning to watch in HD, but I wouldn't say they add anything to the overall 00 story. They're just a quick way to watch the series and then jump into the movie.

Gundam AGE: Memory of Eden - So, you actually kind of got this one wrong, but you said you didn't actually watch them so that makes sense. Memory of Eden consists of two compilation films that cover both the second and third generations. The main difference, however, is that the third generation basically becomes background noise. The focus of Memory of Eden is on Asemu and his relationship with Zeheart which is why it covers the third generation as well. To my knowledge, the third generation was typically considered to be the worst of the three and it was the shortest to boot, so it being glossed over to focus on Asemu and Zeheart makes sense. Simply put, you can watch the first 15 episodes of the TV series which cover the first generation, and then just watch Memory of Eden for the rest of the story. In my opinion, doing it like that makes AGE much, much more enjoyable than it is otherwise.

I think you also forgot the Turn A Gundam compilation films, not sure if ZZ and Victory got any.
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residentgrigo



Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:06 pm Reply with quote
How does Miller's Report earn a top trier spot? Hardly a beloved entry and an unworthy farewell. Endless Waltz is not classic either and noticeably inferior to the show´s surprisingly good final stretch.
Trailblazer (worst disappointment in Gudam history?) and Seed can move down to the bottom, while the fine yet incoherent Zeta films can move up to a mid tier spot.
The not available 00 films can have a middling to "bottom of the top spot", while the Age OVA (not a movie) can rot.

I am certain that the Turn A Gundam "films" have no new footage and there are no ZZ (trash) and Victory (hidden gem) films.
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SilverTalon01



Joined: 02 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:14 pm Reply with quote
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The difference between, for example, Gundam Wing and Wing Zero is like night and day, and that's because Hajime Katoki took over mecha design. His mecha are so iconic that Bandai Hobby has an entire line of models he's redone, called “Version Ka.”


The first part makes no sense. Did you mean Wing Zero TV version and Wing Zero EW version? If you meant Wing Gundam and Wing Zero, those are different suits not redesigns.

Also, for some reason they rebranded the Ver. Ka suits as just EW. This kind of annoys me because the Ver. Ka stuff isn't actually in EW. It is just redesigns that were eventually used for Glory of the Losers and NOT EW. They should have called them GotL version if they wanted a rebrand.

Quote:
Gundam 00's entire plot revolved around the teachings of a mythical figure, Aeolia Schenberg, who aspired to eliminate war in the case that humanity makes contact with aliens someday.


I think it more revolved around the fact that aliens were discovered at Jupiter and are imminently going to make contact with the Earth so Aeolia crafted a plan to save humanity.

Sailor Sedna wrote:
I actually have Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz on VHS (dubbed, and mine says it's 80 minutes), though I've only seen one episode of Wing (it was dubbed and it fine). Should I watch the film or watch the entire series first, even with its pacing problems and all (I didn't watch it as I've tried to watch the original series but I've been busy)?


I have this too, and it is actually the OVA version (and I want to say it is censored too). The movie version has some extra stuff.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:42 pm Reply with quote
SO some of the best Gundams are compilations films, and some of the worse are compilations films.
residentgrigo wrote:
How does Miller's Report earn a top trier spot? Hardly a beloved entry and an unworthy farewell. Endless Waltz is not classic either and noticeably inferior to the show´s surprisingly good final stretch.
It is not in Japan, but Wing is a classic in English speaking countries. It was the first Gundam a lot of people saw, I want disagree with the quality.
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LadyKuzunoha



Joined: 18 May 2011
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:48 pm Reply with quote
Sailor Sedna wrote:
I actually have Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz on VHS (dubbed, and mine says it's 80 minutes), though I've only seen one episode of Wing (it was dubbed and it fine). Should I watch the film or watch the entire series first, even with its pacing problems and all (I didn't watch it as I've tried to watch the original series but I've been busy)?


Even taking pacing issues and such into account, I'd recommend that you watch the series first, as Endless Waltz is a follow-up to the events of the series. There are occasional flashbacks, but it's best to have a basic understanding of plot points and character motivations beforehand. Also, if you plan to watch the whole series dubbed, make sure it's the unedited dub rather than the Toonami version.
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SilverTalon01



Joined: 02 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:10 pm Reply with quote
LadyKuzunoha wrote:
Also, if you plan to watch the whole series dubbed, make sure it's the unedited dub rather than the Toonami version.


I actually prefer Wing dubbed because of how great the cheesy lines are, and because of that, I think the Toonami version is actually better. "I'll destroy you." Like, emotionally? Ripping up that invitation is definitely a great first step there!
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LadyKuzunoha



Joined: 18 May 2011
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:39 pm Reply with quote
SilverTalon01 wrote:
"I'll destroy you." Like, emotionally? Ripping up that invitation is definitely a great first step there!


Haha, the Toonami version is definitely amusing at times with its cheesiness, and it does bring some nostalgic feelings, as it was my first exposure to the series. That being said, I think the dialogue is far better when it doesn't have to skirt around the topic of death and references to religion. "The Great Destroyer is back again" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "The God of Death is back from Hell".
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:12 pm Reply with quote
Wyvern wrote:

As for the prospect of an Iron-Blooded Orphans film, spoiler[I'm guessing it would HAVE to be a compilation, because given the way the series ended, there's absolutely no way they could do a sequel that didn't feel extremely forced.]

Not that I disagree,but It can't be anymore forced than a lot of the writing in both seasons.


Quote:
It's time to face the facts: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing probably isn't as good as you remember.


Neither is War In The Pocket, Gundam 0079, Char's Counterattack, Zeta, & G Gundam but a portion of the fanbase will argue otherwise.[/quote]
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MrBonk



Joined: 23 Jan 2015
Posts: 148
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:21 pm Reply with quote
Thunderbolt shouldn't be considered part of any canon. The creator flat out says so, he didn't care about other details or consistency. So that makes it the perfect standalone alternate universe film/ series.
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