Reviewby Bamboo Dong,
MS Gundam (Dub only)
DVD Vol. 3: The Threat of Zeon
If anyone ever wondered why the Gundam franchise was so popular, one quick view of the original series that started it all would give them the answers they were looking for. Mobile Suit Gundam, now being released by Bandai (in English-dubbed-only format), gives fans a chance to experience the phenomenon that swept Japan, and eventually the world. In the third DVD volume, the Principality of Zeon is bent on revenge for Admiral Garma's death, and their target is the White Base and the Federation Mobile Suit piloted by Amuro. Meanwhile, back on Zeon, the royal family is planning Garma's funeral, using it as war propaganda against the Federation. Even as the war rages on with them in the middle, the White Base manages to return to Earth where Amuro decides to go visit his mother. Unfortunately, the visit doesn't turn out as he expects when emotional and ethical differences come between them. During their stay on Earth, the White Base crew encounters even more Zeon soldiers, all of them intent on destroying White Base and the Gundam.
Containing four episodes on the disc, the third volume of Mobile Suit Gundam is an action-filled continuation of the series. Especially nice is the character development contained within these episodes. Previously, Amuro was seen as a stoic figure with hardly any emotions aside from self-assurance and protective love for his comrades. On this DVD, however, Amuro's character is taken for a spin, as he combats the effects of battle fatigue, and the dawning notion that others would want to kill him for the sake of vengeance against the Zeon soldiers he killed. Even as he is progressing into a more dynamic figure, he is also confronted with the emotions he feels in regards to his family and his past. Throughout the disc, in fact, many facets are revealed about the crewmembers, which makes this a particularly intriguing group of episodes to watch. Many of the White Base members are expanded on, which make them more endearing to the viewers, with the exception of the little children on board, whose frequent appearances and screeching voices make them evermore annoying brats.
Included with the episodes is a Mobile Suit Encyclopedia standard on most Gundam DVDs. It gives insight into a few of the fighters seen on the disc, which is enjoyable for mecha enthusiasts. Also included is a large sticker of the Federation Mobile Suit, which is a nice touch, as I had countless moments of fun admiring the shiny gloss coating. The only quibble to be had about the DVD itself was the dub-only format, which was due to a licensing dispute. For dub-haters like me, it meant that I had to choose between watching this classic Gundam series in English or shying away from the dub. I opted for the former choice, and it was worth it. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to deal with the problems associated with the majority of dubs: bad acting. Some of the actors did a good job, but many instances were nothing but long, drawn-out scenes of sheer monotony and yawn-inducing acting. Another negative downside is the fact that subtitles or close captioning cannot be turned on, which means that for the hearing impaired, maybe they should leave this title off their list.
Overall, this DVD is a great one to own, especially for mecha and Gundam fans. Continuing the legacy of the series that started it all, Mobile Suit Gundam is packed with energy and excitement, coupled with emotional interludes that make the DVD one that repeat watching couldn't mar. Even for dub-haters, the content of the series should make it reason enough to overcome all the prejudices necessary to check out this DVD. After all, despite how much dub-bashers preach the necessity of having "pure" anime, no one could ever be complete without watching Mobile Suit Gundam, one of the biggest foundations of anime history.
Overall (dub) : C+
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ More character development
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