by Bamboo Dong,

MS Gundam (Dub only)

DVD Vol. 1: The Battle Begins

Mobile Suit Gundam DVD 1

Before there was Turn A Gundam, There was Gundam Wing. Before that, there was Gundam 0083. And before that, there was Gundam Z. One could name even more legendary Gundam series, but eventually, the series that started it all would be unearthed—Mobile Suit Gundam. Revolutionary as the exciting mecha series that kicked off the Gundam saga, it is finally available in the United States. Aired on television by the Cartoon Network, and licensed by Bandai, this groundbreaking series is now available on VHS and DVD.

Produced in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam is the series responsible for the entire Gundam franchise, and it's easy to see why. Launching off to a fast start, in the first episode, the viewer learns that the Earth Federation is being attacked by a federation of outer colonies, the Principality of Zeon. Piloting mobile suits called Zakus, the Zeon are led by Char Aznable, an unbeatable pilot known as the Red Comet. Immediately within the first few minutes of the episode, one of Earth's bases, “Side 7” is attacked by a small Zeon reconnaissance unit. Just when it looks like everyone on Side 7 is doomed, the Earth Federation's new secret weapon is revealed—the Federation Mobile Suit. Piloted by untrained rookie Amuro Rei, it soon becomes clear that the Zeon have a new rival on their radar.

Containing five episodes on the first disc, the DVD is a good bargain for those fans that are trying to get as much anime as possible and still have enough money left over for food. Besides the episodes, the first DVD volume also includes a brief encyclopedia of some of the mechas seen in the series. The one major problem, however, is the dub-only format. Due to licensing issues, Bandai was unable to pick up the rights for the Japanese language track. This is a problem for dub-haters who will either have to import the series from Japan, or just learn to live with the dub. Fortunately, Bandai is known for good dubs, and this is no exception. The actors play their roles well for the most part, even though there are sporadic moments when the viewer can't help but wince. Curiously enough there is no close captioning available, so the hearing-impaired might want to consider removing this title from their wish lists.

As for the people that were expecting a soundtrack full of sugary pop music, they're in for a shock. Seeing that the series was made in the late 70s, the vocals are nothing more than a few drab selections about the characters and the series. Regarding the age of the series, though, such a trivial matter as the vocals can be forgiven. Fortunately, the instrumentals are action-packed and suit the scenes well. Ranging from emotional tracks, to raging battle music, the instrumentals would be a welcome addition to any music lover's collection.

Overall, this disc is a good buy. Even if there are some setbacks, it still is nice to be able to see how the whole Gundam craze was started. Packed with action, drama, and sweet robots, this is a great choice for Gundam and mecha fans. Regarding the fans that are deathly afraid of dubs—well, maybe you'll like this one.

Overall (dub) : B-

+ One of the greatest series in the Gundam saga
Dub only, no captioning

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Production Info:
Chief Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino
Yoshihisa Araki
Hiroyuki Hoshiyama
Kenichi Matsuzaki
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Yū Yamamoto
Ryoji Fujiwara
Hiro Kuno
Hiroshi Kuno
Shinya Sadamitsu
Kazuo Yamasaki
Kazuo Yamazaki
Minoru Yokitani
Episode Director: Takeyuki Kanda
Unit Director:
Ryoji Fujiwara
Susumu Gyoda
Hiroshi Hisano
Eikichi Kojika
Hiroshi Kuno
Hiroshi Matano
Shinya Sadamitsu
Osamu Sekita
Susumu Sekita
Minoru Yokitani
Yuichiro Yokoyama
Yuji Matsuyama
Takeo Watanabe
Original creator:
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Hajime Yatate
Character Design: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Art Director: Mitsuki Nakamura
Chief Animation Director: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Animation Director:
Yoshinobu Aobachi
Kazuo Nakamura
Manabu Oizumi
Kazuyuki Suzumura
Kazuo Tomizawa
Kazuo Yamazaki
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Mechanical design: Kunio Okawara
Sound Director: Noriyoshi Matsuura
Director of Photography:
Takafumi Hirata
Akio Saitô
Hobuyuki Okuma
Nobuyuki Okuma
Wataru Sekioka
Yasuo Shibue

Full encyclopedia details about
Mobile Suit Gundam (TV)

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Mobile Suit Gundam - The Battle Begins (Dub.DVD 1)

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