Reviewby Bamboo Dong,
Mobile Suit Gundam
DVD Vol. 5: In Love and War
Mobile Suit Gundam-- one of the foundations of mecha anime, considered by many fans to be a classic... Fortunately, anime fans in North America now have the opportunity to experience the series that launched the entire Gundam franchise through Bandai's dubbed-only release. In the fifth installment of MS Gundam, the White Base members find themselves under constant attack as countless Zeon forces try to bring down the indestructible "Trojan Horse." Unfortunately, the White Base is wrought with tragedy as one of the crewmembers sacrifices his life to defend the ship and his comrades. Even while the shipmates are trying hard to cope with their extreme loss, the Zeon continue to launch endless campaigns against them mercilessly.
Packed with excitement, the four episodes on this disc provide a hundred minutes of fun, mecha-pounding action, complete with scenes filled with tear-jerking emotion. With four episodes, plus the ever present Mobile Suit Encyclopedia, Bandai did a good job of packaging. Also including a Gundam sticker, this is one of the best volumes of the series so far. Not only was the plot engaging, the visual effects were filled with fire and energy. Although the episodes followed the routine schematic of Zeon arrivals and their inevitable defeat, it was still interesting to see how each predicament would be solved and how each problem would be alluded. Even though it was certain that the White Base would always win, the scenes still had me at the edge of my seat, making me wonder if the new Zeon ploy would work, if the Mobile Suit midair conversion would work, or what would happen once the Gundams ran out of ammunition. The only downside with the way the Zeon forces are presented is the sheer confusion of it all. Zeon commanders are introduced and killed faster than I can catch, which makes it difficult to figure out who's avenging who, who has the toughest troops, who's in love with who--in general, how they're all interrelated.
What stood out particularly in these episodes were the characters, which was both intriguing and annoying at often the same time. After the surprise honorable death of one of the crewmembers, the viewer is jolted by the recollection of the fact that in anime, main characters die all the time. The scene of the person's death is highly emotional and tear-inducing . . . needless to say, it would have possessed those qualities if it wasn't such a display of bad acting and the source of some of the cheesiest lines I have ever heard. Regardless, the event plays a major part in the events to follow, as the viewer is able to witness the various reactions that each character goes through. In fact, for the very first time, even the commanding officer, the stoic Bright Noah shows human emotions as he deals with the tragedy.
As I near the tail end of the review, it becomes necessary once again to begin ranting about the dub. What were mistaken before as emotionless characters turned out just to be bad actors, as they all droned in a dapper monotone throughout the episodes. Some of them were better than others, some of them were worse. As I make my way through the series, though, an innovative thought has dawned upon me. My opinion of the dub alters considerably depending on the way the characters are sitting in my mind. For instance, in the last volume where the characters angered me to no end, the dub seemed atrocious. Now that the characters have fallen a bit more in place with their designated natures, the dubbing doesn't seem as bad (not to be confused with good, however). In that sense, I don't mind Amuro's voice at all. This doesn't imply that his actor is legions above the others, it just means that his character is likeable, and thus his voice is fine. The women, on the other hand (as habit dictates, I can't seem to get through a review without expressing my displeasure of the females in the series), are quite an annoying bunch. It seems like they all try to prove their equality to the men, but somehow, they always seem to fall short of the mark. Their inadequacies serve only to strengthen the stereotype of feeble women. (Then there are those female characters who aren't exactly women. Haro, the talking robot-ball thing, for one, has by far the most annoying voice in the series with the exception of the little girl.)
Overall (dub) : C-
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ Midair Conversion! Let's do it again!
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