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Episode 1: His Name is Captain

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: September 2, 2003
New Review: December 13, 2013

 

Summary

 

In the city of Neotopia, humans and robots peacefully coexist. In another world, the Dark Axis forces prepare to invade Neotopia under the command of Zapper Zaku. Zapper Zaku hops onto a Komusai that travels through the Zakrello Gate into Neotopia. In Neotopia, a young boy named Shute uses rocket-powered skates to race against a train. He then ducks to avoid the Komusai when it emerges from the Zakrello Gate. Going against his better judgement, Shute decides to investigate. Zapper Zaku orders his Zako minions to attack Neotopia's robots, but he's confused when he sees a field of flowers. Zapper Zaku scolds his Zakos for inputting the wrong coordinates and landing them in a field rather than the city. The Zakos then deploy BaguBagu bugs that start transforming the countryside into concrete. A police officer GM orders Zapper Zaku to surrender and drop his weapons, so the Zakos open fire and take him down. The BaguBagu bugs combine into a larger form and target Shute, but he's saved at the last second by Captain Gundam. Captain Gundam fires his beam rifle, which hits the BaguBagu and damages the Komusai. After taking the cop to safety, he orders Zapper Zaku to surrender, but Zapper Zaku responds by opening fire. Zapper Zaku charges toward Captain Gundam and slams into him, but Captain Gundam sticks his shield into the ground and uses it to perform a spinning kick on Zapper Zaku. Shute exclaims that no one is going to believe what he's seeing. Zapper Zaku then calls the Magna Musai and orders it to fire its cannons through the Zakrello Gate. Captain Gundam realizes that Shute is in the cannon's line of fire, so he fires his beam rifle and absorbs the blast with his shield. The blast destroys his rifle and knocks him, the Komusai and Zakos into the distance. Shute runs over to the crater left behind by the explosion.

 

Shute walks home and wonders if Captain Gundam is safe since he never got to thank him for saving his life. Shute gets home and tells the story to his baby sister Nana. He notices a hole in the roof of his workshop and leaves Nana with his mother to check it out. Shute goes into the workshop and is surprised to find Captain Gundam there, but deactivated. Shute has a repair bot work into the night, but it's not enough to reactivate Captain Gundam. Shute spots the letters "GF" on Captain Gundam's body and wonders what they mean. Shute keeps working on repairs, but his efforts are unsuccessful. Shute wants to return the favor since Captain Gundam saved his life. He looks at a Sleeping Beauty storybook and decides to take the drastic measure of trying a kiss. Before Shute can do anything, Captain Gundam's chest lights up and opens, revealing the soul drive, a burning flame inside an energy sphere. Shute then falls asleep and wakes up when Captain Gundam reactivates. Captain Gundam asks why Shute repaired him, and Shute explains that he was returning the favor since Captain Gundam had saved him earlier. Shute introduces himself, but Captain Gundam responds that he can't give his name because his existence is classified. Captain Gundam's V-fin lights up when he detects enemies in the factory district. Captain Gundam asks Shute to forget about him and flies away. The Komusai lands in a factory and deploys its Zakos to attack the GM workers. Captain Gundam appears and again demands that Zapper Zaku surrender, but Zapper Zaku again responds by opening fire. Captain Gundam counterattacks with his vulcan guns, and Shute approaches the factory with Captain Gundam's shield. Captain Gundam's arm cannons run out of ammo, so he comes under attack from the Komusai. Zapper Zaku notes that Captain Gundam put up a good fight, but he won't last forever. The front gate is locked, so Shute uses a rocket-boosted jump from his skates to jump onto a pipe and get inside. Shute tosses the shield to Captain Gundam, which he uses to block the Komusai's attack. Captain Gundam's soul drive activates and blocks an attack from the Magna Musai's cannons. Captain Gundam's fist glows with energy, and he unleashes a punch that repels the energy and sends the Komusai flying through the Zakrello Gate. Several Gunperry trucks arrive, and GM Snipers start securing the scene. Captain Gundam thanks Shute and walks off, so Shute asks if he's ever going to see him again. Captain Gundam opens his face mask and tells Shute his name, but asks him to keep it a secret.

 

Commentary

 

The first episode of SD Gundam Force is a departure from previous SD Gundam productions, to say the least. Whereas early SD Gundam series were parodies of the Universal Century, this series is more akin to an American children's cartoon, and not in the best sense of the word. There's nothing wrong with having a series targeting a younger audience, but this series aims for the lowest common denominator in such a way that you wonder if the intended audience has been potty trained. Even for a children's series, Shute so far isn't a very interesting main character, and Captain Gundam is a do-gooder who keeps bringing up that he has a license to use a weapon. Casting Zakus as incompetent minions is pretty amusing, but they're led by a blustering villain who is neither interesting nor effective. The rather simplistic cel-shaded animation also takes some getting used to. Going into this series, you have to have the proper expectations of what you're going to get, which at this point isn't much.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

2.5 out of 5 stars
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SD Gundam Force Episode 1 SD Gundam Force Episode 1
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