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Mobile Suit Gundam I

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: April 1, 2000
New Review: July 22, 2020

 

Summary

 

By Universal Century (UC) 0079, humans have moved into space, with the majority of the population living in space colonies. However, war breaks out between the Earth Federation and the space-based Principality of Zeon. The Zeon open the war by dropping a space colony on Earth, but the fighting enters a stalemate for the next eight months. In September, Zaku II pilots Denim, Gene and Slender approach the exterior of a space colony under construction at Side 7 and infiltrate it. Denim orders Slender to stay behind while he and Gene enter the colony’s habitat area. Denim and Gene use their binoculars and spot the military facilities in one of the blocks. Elsewhere in the colony, a teenager named Fraw Bow visits the home of her friend, Amuro Ray, and finds that he hasn’t even eaten the breakfast she prepared for him. Fraw heads upstairs to lecture him and is joined by his pet robot, Haro. Fraw starts packing clothes for Amuro due to the evacuation order, but he ignores her because he’s busy working on a computer. She tells him there was a military broadcast about them leaving due to a warship docking at the colony, and he reluctantly gets dressed. Outside, Fraw runs into Hayato Kobayashi and scolds him for not telling Amuro about the evacuation. Hayato is annoyed that they had to move because of military engineers like Amuro’s father. Amuro pulls up next to Fraw in a car while scarfing down a sandwich, and she gets into the car. She asks Amuro if his father will be on the warship, and Amuro thinks it’s likely since he went to Earth a week ago. Elsewhere, Earth Federation Forces soldiers prepare to load the parts of the new mobile suit Gundam onto the incoming assault carrier White Base, which docks inside the colony. A junior officer named Bright Noa asks Tem Ray to report to the bridge, and Tem comments that the mass production of the Gundam might spare young boys like Bright from seeing combat. Bright notices a photo of Amuro on Tem’s desk, and Tem asks about the rumors that young boys are fighting as guerrillas. Tem heads to the bridge and asks Capt. Paolo Cassius if they were able to shake the Zeon ship following them, but Paolo answers that they weren’t. Denim identifies three mobile suits in the military facility, and while Gene wants to attack now, Denim reminds him that their orders were only to observe. Gene runs back to his Zaku and says that Char Aznable built his career on winning battles, and Denim tells him he’s violating orders. Gene doesn’t think anyone will care if he pulls it off right, so he targets and destroys a truck carrying a Guncannon mobile suit. He then hits an industrial elevator loaded with Guntank parts. The civilian shelter rocks from the explosions, and Amuro decides to leave and find his father. He’s shocked to see a Zaku in front of him opening fire on the EFF. A soldier drives by and tells Amuro to leave, and he’s immediately killed by incoming fire. A box tumbles out of the destroyed vehicle, and Amuro picks up a classified manual detailing the specs of the prototype Gundam. Slender reports back to Char on the Musai cruiser Falmer that Denim and Gene are inside the colony fighting the EFF. Char tells Slender to get as many pictures as possible and pull out if necessary. Dren asks what they’re going to do, and Char tells him to bring the Falmer in closer in case he has to launch. Fraw finds Amuro and drags him along with her. Continued fire between the Zeon and EFF results in more explosions, and Amuro spots Tem nearby. Tem gives orders to load the Gundam onto the White Base before the civilians, and Amuro asks if he thinks mobile suits are more important than people. The Gundam transport trailer won’t activate, and Tem tells Amuro to get to the White Base. Fraw runs over to get Amuro, and an explosion kills multiple civilians. Fraw looks over at the bodies and sees that her family are among the dead. She runs over to her mother Fam and starts crying, and Amuro tells her to run. Fraw refuses to leave, so he slaps her face and tells her to run to the spaceport. Amuro runs over to the transport trailer and gets into the Gundam’s cockpit.

 

Amuro follows the instructions in the manual to activate the Gundam’s systems and close the cockpit hatch. Bright helps evacuate citizens and asks for support, but the White Base can’t deploy a Core Fighter. Paolo is surprised because he never expected an attack from within the colony. Gene targets the Gundam’s transport trailer, so Amuro panics and fires his vulcan guns in response. Denim thought the Gundam was just unassembled parts, and Gene notices it’s having trouble moving. He opens fire with his rifle, but it has no impact on the Gundam’s armor. Denim wants to fall back as the Gundam stands up and fires more vulcans. Tem drives by and wonders who is in the cockpit. When Amuro runs out of ammo, Gene moves in closer to attack. Amuro grabs onto Gene’s Zaku and damages its head before knocking it into a building. Denim tells Gene to jump back to where Slender is, but Amuro rushes in with his beam saber and slices Gene’s Zaku in half. The resulting explosion blasts a hole in the colony wall that sucks Tem out into space. Amuro realizes he can’t cause another explosion, so he decides to aim for the cockpit when Denim rushes toward him. Denim leaps into the air to attack, but Amuro stabs the cockpit with his beam saber, killing Denim. Bright is informed that their regular engineers are dead, so he wants to use the Gundam to help load parts onto the White Base. Outside, Char’s Falmer fires missiles at Side 7, and he’s informed that Slender has escaped and is returning to the ship. The Falmer’s missiles hit the White Base and kill some of the crew manning the guns. Fraw helps three children move to the White Base, and Amuro uses the Gundam’s hand to shield them from an explosion. Pilot trainee Ryu Jose asks to take Paolo’s place at a gun emplacement, but an explosion injures Paolo. Char tells Slender he did a good job, but he finds it hard to believe the EFF developed such a powerful mobile suit. Char then asks Dren to open a channel to Adm. Dozle Zabi. A young woman named Sayla Mass asks Fraw to help her tend to the wounded, and Fraw hands Ryu suture tape to use on Paolo. Paolo asks Bright for a status report, and Bright reports that all Side 7 personnel have been killed. Paolo orders Bright to load all Gundam-related material onto the ship, and Bright reports that an unknown pilot is helping them load a Guntank and Guncannon onto the ship. Paolo tells Bright that the White Base has to leave as soon as that’s done, but Bright notes they don’t have a pilot. A young woman named Mirai Yashima volunteers to serve as pilot, and Paolo is impressed that she’s from the well-known Yashima family. Dozle tells Char that he’d been hoping to celebrate the completion of a successful mission, but Char reports that he’s discovered the EFF’s secret Operation V and a new warship. Char also reports that he needs missiles and three new Zakus for reinforcement. Dozle orders Char to get as much info on the Gundam as he can, and to capture it if possible. Char and three soldiers then don normal suits to head into space and infiltrate Side 7. Bright wheels Paolo to the bridge and tells him that the Gundam pilot is named Amuro, but Paolo doesn’t know him. Bright uses a computer station to call the Gundam and is shocked to see a kid piloting it. Mirai recognizes Amuro, and Paolo is amazed that a kid destroyed two Zakus. As Amuro loads the Guntank, Sayla and Fraw return to the colony to look for stragglers. Kai Shiden runs by them to get to an elevator, and when asked says he didn’t see anyone else. Sayla slaps Kai in the face and calls him a coward, and Ryu asks him to help carry an injured civilian. Char’s men use a mirror to signal the Falmer, which targets Side 7’s space gate with its mega particle cannons. Char and his men then infiltrate Side 7 through a maintenance airlock. Paolo asks for a report, and operator Marker Clan responds that the Falmer is approaching. Paolo orders Bright to have Amuro destroy any Gundam parts that can’t be salvaged, and Amuro thinks a super napalm will do the job. Fraw cries as she drives through her neighborhood, and Sayla grabs a gun when she spots Char. She finds him examining a wrecked Guncannon and threatens to shoot him. Char is shocked by her appearance and removes his helmet. Sayla hesitates, and he kicks her gun away and wonders if she’s Artesia. Char then retreats when the Gundam shows up, and Amuro tells Sayla to get onto the hand.

 

As a large door opens for the Gundam, Char uses his jetpack to fly by and enter the space port. Hayato, Kai, Ryu, and Bright open fire on Char, and Bright lands a shot that destroys Char’s camera. Char then tosses grenades to blast his way into space and escape with his men. Amuro heads into space and fires his beam rifle, but Char and the other soldiers are too small to target. Char calls Dren and orders him to launch their Zakus. The White Base then launches from the spaceport, and Bright tells Amuro not to get too far ahead of the ship. Bright tells operator Oscar Dublin to ensure that all the civilians manning stations on the ship are brought up to speed. The ship then spreads Minovsky particles to combat density, and Ryu prepares to launch in a Core Fighter. Amuro takes aim at several incoming missiles and destroys them with his beam rifle. Oscar and Marker then pick up two incoming mobile suits, including one coming in at three times normal speed. Paolo recognizes that suit as belonging to Char the Red Comet, who single-handedly destroyed five EFF battleships at the Battle of Loum. Amuro tries to target Char’s commander Zaku, but Char is easily able to dodge. Char returns fire and is surprised by how strong the Gundam’s armor is. Char dodges more beam rifle blasts and orders Slender to attack the Gundam from behind. Bright warns Amuro not to waste his beam rifle energy, and Ryu arrives to provide back up. Amuro lands a shot on Slender’s Zaku, and Char wonders if the Gundam has a warship-class beam cannon. Amuro runs out of beam rifle energy, and Char retreats to the Falmer. Amuro and Ryu return to the ship, and Bright orders Mirai to set course for the EFF asteroid base Luna II. When Amuro reports to the bridge, Bright tells him he’s depending too much on the Gundam’s abilities and needs to improve his skills. Amuro doesn’t understand, and Bright says that Amuro is the pilot now, and if he doesn’t like it he can go back to Side 7. Amuro angrily responds that he’ll do it, and Bright counters that Amuro is free to hate him if he wishes. Bright tells Amuro that he’s responsible for the Gundam and orders him to assist with its maintenance. As the White Base approaches Luna II, the orphaned children Kikka Kitamoto, Katz Howan and Letz Cofan help Fraw hand out food to the refugees. Sayla rides an elevator with Bright, and when he asks where she lived before this, she in turn asks if she’s required to answer. She then answers Earth, and he mentions this is his first time in space. On the bridge, Sayla relieves Mirai at the helm, and Mirai comments to Bright that she doesn’t think Char will attack because he lacks firepower. Fraw brings Amuro food and a change of clothes, but responds that he’s busy fixing the Gundam. Elsewhere, the Falmer docks with Gadem’s Papua supply ship to be restocked on supplies and mobile suits. The White Base docks inside Luna II, and commander Wakkein greets Paolo when he’s wheeled off the ship. Wakkein promises to see to the ship and send it to Jaburo. Bright asks Wakkein about taking on the refugees, but Wakkein responds that the White Base is a new ship and must depart immediately for the EFF’s Jaburo headquarters on Earth. After the White Base leaves, a subordinate asks Wakkein if he thinks the ship will succeed. Wakkein responds that the war is growing desperate if they’re relying on civilian amateurs.

 

In the White Base’s mobile suit hangar, Core Fighters are loaded in as the cockpits for the Guncannon and Guntank. Kai teases Hayato about practicing in the mobile suit simulator, and Sayla reminds Kai he’s still on alert status. Bright asks Mirai if she can handle atmospheric reentry, and she tells him she did it once with a glider. He answers that the basics are the same and she should just follow the lead of the Salamis cruiser accompanying them. Mirai is worried that Char will attack, but Bright tells her to concentrate on reentry. Lt. Reed calls from the Salamis and tells Bright to follow his ship. Char addresses his pilots and tells them that the White Base will be entering the atmosphere in 20 minutes and that no one has ever carried out a battle with this kind of timing. Char warns the pilots that their Zakus will burn up if they get pulled into Earth’s atmosphere, but he thinks this is the perfect time for an attack because the enemy will be focused on reentry. Char tells his pilots that their primary target is the White Base, nicknamed Trojan Horse, and the secondary target is the Gundam. On the White Base, Amuro, Hayato, Kai and Ryu don their pilot suits and prepare to launch. Reed launches in a Salamis capsule, and Mirai alters course to follow. Bright addresses the entire ship and announces that they’ll be entering the atmosphere in three minutes. Marker picks up incoming enemies, and Bright orders Amuro to launch and attack the Zeon. Sayla warns Amuro that he has four minutes to get back to the ship, as well as that he’s up against four enemies. Amuro doesn’t know how he can do that, but Sayla has faith in him. Dren launches in the Komusai shuttle, and the Falmer fires missiles at the White Base. Sayla tells Amuro that the Zakus are going after the Salamis capsule, so he destroys a Zaku at close range with vulcans. The Salamis capsule is damaged by a Zaku, and Bright tells Reed to come onto the White Base. He wants Amuro to lure away the two Zakus, but Amuro is engaged in combat with Char. Char punches the Gundam and states that a mobile suit’s abilities don’t decide battles. Char dodges Amuro’s bazooka shots until Amuro runs out of ammo, and he gets in close to punch the Gundam. The Salamis capsule docks in the White Base, and Char orders one of his pilots to get closer to the ship. Hayato and Kai man gun turrets, and Amuro tosses his bazooka at Char, to little effect. Char knocks the Gundam away and then gets close to kick it. Sayla calls Amuro and tells him that he’s surpassed the time limit. Char falls back to the Komusai while Zaku pilot Crown continues to fight Amuro. Reed yells at Bright that they need to get the Gundam to Jaburo, and he threatens to have Bright court-martialed. Crown calls Char for help, and Char soberly informs him that a Zaku can’t survive reentry, but his death won’t be in vain. Amuro scans the Gundam’s instruction manual and finds a reentry system that deploys coolant. Char and Dren are surprised to see that the Gundam is entering the atmosphere, and Dren realizes that even if they couldn’t defeat the enemy, they changed their reentry angle to lead them into Zeon territory. Char calls Earth Attack Force Commander Garma Zabi and reports that the Gundam from the EFF’s Operation V has destroyed six of his mobile suits. Char mentions that Garma can have the honor of the kill, and Garma deploys a Gaw carrier to pick up the Komusai. The White Base emerges from reentry blackout, and the crew are surprised that Amuro survived. An elderly refugee tells his grandson Pelo about the land and the sea on Earth. Fraw visits Amuro in the hangar and tells him he did a good job, but he ignores her and leaves. Amuro runs into the kids and asks them to leave him alone when they offer him pie. He then enters his quarters and collapses on his bed. Marker pulls up a map showing that instead of being on course for Jaburo in Brazil, the White Base is instead deep inside Zeon-controlled North America. Bright comments that Char played them, and Reed orders him to get the White Base out of Zeon territory. Garma’s Gaw fleet approaches the White Base and deploys its squadrons of Dopp fighters. The Komusai lands in Garma’s Gaw, and Garma tells Char he should rest while they handle things. Char guarantees that successfully taking down the Gundam will earn a Zeon Cross award, and Garma wants to take the opportunity to impress his older sister, Kycilia. 

 

Fraw enters Amuro’s quarters and finds him lying in bed. She tells him he’s supposed to be on standby, and he comments that he hasn’t slept since they left Side 7. She tells him that Sayla could look him over since she’s a med student, but he yells at her to shut up. She says this isn’t like him, and he asks if fighting in a mobile suit is. Amuro thinks that the EFF is using the White Base as a decoy to distract the Zeon while they work on newer weapons. The White Base receives a message from Jaburo stating simply that their orders are to break past enemy forces and escape to see. Garma suits up and launches in his Dopp to lead an attack on the White Base. Reed wants Mirai to take the ship higher when she grazes a mountain, but Bright counters that they’ll be spotted by the Gaw if they go higher. Bright calls the mobile suit hangar to ask about launches, and Ryu explains that Kai is going to launch in the Guncannon. Fraw calls Sayla to report that Amuro refuses to launch, which angers Bright. Fraw reminds Amuro that she’d be dead if he hadn’t fought to protect her, but he answers that he’s tired of being scared. The Dopps begin their attack run, and Mirai alters course. Hayato and Ryu launch in the Guntank and descend to the ground, followed by Kai. Dopps attack the Guntank, and Hayato destroys one in a single shot with the cannons. Kai panics when he comes under fire from Magella Attack tanks, but he returns fire and destroys one. Garma tells Char that the Gundam hasn’t launched and asks if the other defects they’re fighting are worth a Zeon Cross. Bright goes to Amuro’s quarters and demands to know why he won’t launch. He grabs Amuro by the collar, and Amuro tells Bright to launch in the Gundam himself if he wants it so badly. Bright slaps Amuro in the face and responds that he would if he could. Bright thinks having something to hate will make Amuro feel better, but Amuro answers that he’s not that petty. Bright slaps him again and expresses his disappointment, stating that he thought Amuro’s natural talent would let him beat Char. Bright then leaves, and Fraw asks Amuro about the instruction manual for the Gundam so she can pilot it herself. Amuro tells her that she can’t do it and states that even if he doesn’t like it, he is a man. Kai runs out of ammo as the Dopps press their attack on him. Magella Attacks fire on the White Base, and Bright orders them to fall back over Reed’s initial objections. Amuro launches in the Gundam and initially has trouble adjusting to gravity. He destroys a Magella Attack and Dopp to provide relief for Kai, but more Dopps attack. Char and Dren launch in the Komusai so that he can access his Zaku. Amuro performs jumps so that he can attack and destroy Dopps. Bright issues orders for the Guntank and Guncannon to cover the Gundam so it doesn’t get picked off when landing between jumps. Amuro destroys seven more Dopps and comes under attack from Garma, but he uses his beam saber to slice into Garma’s wing. Oscar and Marker pick up the Komusai on sensors, and Bright orders that a replacement beam rifle be deployed since Amuro dropped his earlier. Amuro jumps and catches the rifle just in time to attack Char. However, Char dodges Amuro’s attacks and the rifle runs out of energy quickly. Amuro is ordered to fall back, so he disengages. Garma returns to the Gaw and tells Char to fall back.

 

Amuro flies past a mountain and nearly crashes into a Medea transport plane captained by Matilda Ajan. The Medea rendezvous with the White Base to resupply the ship, and Matilda reports to Bright that her orders are to take away Reed and some of the Side 7 refugees, but she has no orders to deliver to Bright. Bright asks why they’re being left as they are, and she explains that she’s here on Gen. Revil’s orders, and that he believes the White Base can fight as well as any regular EFF unit. Bright asks when they’ll next be resupplied, and Matilda answers that they’ll have to escape to the west. Before leaving, Matilda thanks Amuro for protecting them and wonders if he’s an esper. Elsewhere, Garma visits Char while he takes a shower and thanks him for saving his life. He thinks he can prove himself to Kycilia with Char’s help and reminds him about tonight’s party. At the party, sycophants try to curry favor with Garma and ask about his father, Sovereign Degwin Sodo Zabi, visiting Earth. Garma complains to Char about the sycophants, and Char asks about Joseph Eschonbach, the city’s former mayor. All eyes in the room then turn towards Garma’s lover, Icelina Eschonbach. On a balcony, Icelina tells Garma that her father won’t allow their marriage. Garma tells her that he can’t oppose his father or all of Zeon, but if the next mission is successful, Degwin will have to listen to him. If not, Garma declares that he’ll abandon Zeon to be with Icelina. A subordinate interrupts Garma kissing Icelina to report that they’ve spotted the White Base. Garma wants to move out immediately and promises Icelina she’ll be at his side when he triumphantly returns to Zeon. Garma’s Gaws, Lugguns and Dopps take off and fly over the devastated city to search for the White Base. Amuro volunteers to use the Gundam to lead the Zeon away, but Bright thinks it’s too late for that. A Zeon flare illuminates the night sky and reveals a damaged sports dome, which Bright decides to hide the ship in. Mirai maneuvers the White Base into the tight confines of the dome while the mobile suits are prepped for launch. The Gaws begin carpet bombing the ruined city to flush out the White Base. Icelina tries to board her family’s jet to go see Garma, but servants forcibly detain her. She tells her father she can decide how to live her life, and he slaps her in response. Garma is annoyed that the White Base hasn’t revealed itself and wants to launch, but Char offers to go instead. Char tells Garma that he’s being hasty and needs to calm down, but Garma thinks he’s in perfect control. Garma tells Char to contact him when he’s found the White Base or its mobile suits, and Char launches in his Zaku with two wingmen as backup. Bright orders Amuro to launch and lure the Zakus in front of the ship. Char spots the Gundam landing, and Amuro comes under fire from multiple angles. Char notices that Amuro’s skills have improved, and Amuro blasts a Zaku through a ruined building. The other Zaku attacks with its heat hawk, but Amuro dodges and moves away. Char realizes that the White Base must be behind him, but he calls Garma and falsely reports that the Gundam is retreating back to its ship. Garma’s Gaw moves in to attack, and the White Base seizes the opportunity to take off and attack from behind. The attack cripples Garma’s Gaw, and Amuro destroys the other attacking Zaku. Garma orders the Gaw to turn around and ram into the White Base. Char calls Garma and tells him to blame the misfortune of his birth. He laughs and says that Garma was a good friend, but Degwin is to blame. Garma seizes the controls to perform his kamikaze attack, but the White Base keeps up its barrage and destroys the Gaw. Eschonbach is informed of Garma’s death and calls Icelina into his office to tell her the news. She then runs outside and cries next to a tree. At Side 3, Dozle returns to Zeon’s capital, Zum City, and complains that defenses haven’t been improved in six months. Gihren Zabi, the eldest son of Degwin, tells his father that they can’t let Garma’s death be in vain and let people think he died uselessly. Dozle and Kycilia join them, and Dozle regrets that he won’t ever be able to take orders from Garma. On Earth, Kai, Mirai and Sayla relax by the shore of the lake that the White Base has landed next to. Kai asks where Amuro is, and Mirai explains that he went to visit his mother because she lives nearby. Kai calls Amuro an elite, and when Mirai explains that not everyone from Earth is elite, Kai counters that to him anyone with a home on Earth is elite. Amuro returns to his home and finds a bunch of drunk EFF soldiers partying inside. He goes inside and says this is his house, and one of the soldiers tells him no one was home. They mock him asking around for his mother and comment that she probably died in an air raid. Amuro spots an old wooden toy of his on the mantle and remembers when he and Tem left for space due to Kamaria Ray wanting to stay on Earth. Amuro runs out of the house and sees two EFF soldiers harassing a woman with a fruit stand. They toss money to the ground for her to pick up, and Amuro tells them to leave her alone. He tackles one of them, but they start kicking him until the woman gives them their money back. The woman tells Amuro that her husband and their daughter, his childhood friend Comilly, were killed in air raids. The woman asks Amuro if he’s seen Kamaria and mentions that she volunteers at the refugee camp. Marker picks up incoming enemies, and Bright wants to take them out before the rendezvous with the Medea. Ryu launches in a Core Fighter and destroys a Luggun patrol plane, but another returns fire. 

 

Amuro lands his Core Fighter at the refugee camp, and the people ask him to hide it due to a nearby Zeon base conducting regular patrols. Kamaria spots Amuro and runs over to hug him, but their reunion is interrupted by the refugees asking again about the Core Fighter. After hiding the Core Fighter, Amuro gets in a bed to cover up his uniform and tells Kamaria about what happened with the Zeon attack on Side 7. A boy storms into the building to report that the Zeon soldiers are on patrol. Elsewhere, Ryu dodges machine gun fire from the Luggun and returns fire, damaging the recon plane. He then realizes his oil tank has been damaged, forcing him to suspend pursuit of the Luggun. Bright tells Sayla to call Amuro and have him intercept the Luggun and destroy it. Two Zeon soldiers enter the building and ask if anyone knows about the reports regarding a fighter. Amuro’s communicator beeps and attracts the attention of a soldier. The soldier asks Kamaria about Amuro, and she says he’s just a sick patient. The soldier struggles with Kamaria until Amuro shoots him from under the blanket. He then pulls out the gun and chases away the other Zeon soldier by firing off multiple shots. Kamaria asks how Amuro could shoot when that soldier could have a family, and he asks if she’d rather the soldier had shot him. Amuro thinks that Kamaria doesn’t love him, and when she says otherwise, he calls her a liar. Sayla calls Amuro again on his wrist communicator and tells him about the Luggun. Kamaria tells Amuro that she didn’t raise him to be like this, and he answers that this is war. As he runs toward the Core Fighter, she shouts that she’s ashamed to have him as a son. Amuro takes off and chases the Luggun, which crashes just before reaching the Zeon base. Amuro approaches the base and opens fire, downing several Dopps. The Medea arrives for its rendezvous while Amuro keeps attacking the Zeon base. At the camp, Kamaria wonders if Amuro ended up like this because Tem raised him. One of the Medeas crashes into the Zeon base, and Matilda tells Amuro to pull back because it’s dangerous. Matilda decides to move the rendezvous spot and complains that the White Base amateurs are a bunch of trouble. After the White Base lands, Kamaria thanks Bright for taking care of Amuro, and he responds that they all owe their lives to Amuro. Bright asks Amuro what he’s going to do, and Amuro says goodbye to Kamaria. She falls to her knees and cries as the White Base takes off and flies away. Later, the White Base lands in a forest and receives supplies and engine repairs from Matilda’s team. Matilda mentions that a major operation is being planned for Europe, so the White Base is being left in Bright’s hands. Matilda mentions that the Zeon are researching Newtypes, who are said to be people who have good intuition like espers. Matilda also mentions that Bright has been promoted, and the two of them tell Amuro he should get sleep when he approaches them. Amuro finds Fraw waiting outside his quarters, and when she asks where he was, he lies that he was in the toilet. The next morning, Amuro rushes to the bridge to watch Matilda’s Medea take off, and Fraw walks away sadly. Bright orders Amuro to go on standby since they’ll be passing through Zeon territory. After the ship takes off, Marker outlines Matilda’s escape plan, which calls for the White Base to reach the ocean and head for Europe.

 

In Zum City, Degwin repeatedly listens to Garma’s final video message before the start of his state funeral. Kycilia tells Degwin that she knows how he feels, but he has duties to fulfill as the sovereign. Degwin joins the rest of the family in the main venue, where a large crowd chants the Zabi name. Elsewhere, the Zanzibar cruiser commanded by Ramba Ral completes atmospheric reentry, and his subordinate Clamp reports that they’ve spotted the White Base. Ramba’s lover Crowley Hamon thinks this an opportunity to avenge Garma, but Ramba tells her not to be hasty because the White Base’s location is far from their base. Clamp thinks the Zanzibar can make the trip, but their escorts are just Komusais. Hamon asks Ramba what he’s going to do, and he reminds her that his orders are to avenge Garma. Fraw brings Amuro food and finds him working diligently on the Gundam’s auxiliary computer. After she leaves, he stops to eat and thinks about his mother. Kycilia asks about what happened to Char and then issues orders to a subordinate. The Zanzibar opens fire on the White Base, so Mirai moves the ship into a group of clouds as cover. Some of the Zeon soldiers mistake lightning for an EFF weapon, but Ramba assures them it’s a natural occurrence. Marker scans the area and finds an island for the ship to land on. Bright orders all mobile suits to launch, and Ryu finds Amuro in a daze in his quarters. Ryu slaps Amuro to snap him out of the daze. A Komusai flies above the island and fires off a signal flare after spotting the White Base. The White Base fires missiles at the Zanzibar, and Ryu leads a fatigued Amuro to the Gundam. Ramba launches in his Gouf, accompanied by wingmen Acous and Cozun in their Zakus. The Komusais pull back due to continued fire from the White Base, and Ryu tells Bright that Amuro is burned out. Bright wants him to launch anyway, and Amuro crashes into the ground after the shock of launch. He’s then attacked by Ramba and rushes in to fight. Cozun tosses a blinder cracker at Amuro, forcing him to fall back. Ramba attacks with his heat rod and wraps it around Amuro’s bazooka to deliver an electric shock. Kai provides cover in the Guncannon, and the Guntank arrives to provide additional support. Amuro tries to attack and gets another shock from the heat rod. He then punches the Gouf and attacks with his beam saber, but Ramba deflects and knocks him away. Amuro realizes that the Gouf is more powerful than a Zaku, and Ramba falls back due to the artillery barrage. As Ramba’s team escapes, the Zanzibar activates bright lights to blind the enemy and cover their withdrawal. Amuro wonders if the Zeon ran away or let them go. Gihren delivers a fiery speech detailing the righteousness of the Zeon cause against the elites of the Earth Federation. The speech is broadcast across the Earth Sphere, and Bright tells Amuro he should pay attention. Char has a drink at a bar and is approached by an agent of Kycilia. Fraw asks Amuro if he’s OK, and he apologizes for worrying her. Gihren tells the Zeon to take their hatred and use it to smash the EFF. He declares that the Zeon are the chosen race to lead mankind and ends his speech with a cry of “Sieg Zeon!” that is repeated by the crowd. Bright dismisses Gihren’s speech as the propaganda of the Zabi dictatorship. The White Base takes off and ascends into the clouds.

 

Commentary

 

At this point, it's a well-known story that Mobile Suit Gundam was canceled, but found a second life in repeat broadcasts that eventually led to the creation of this compilation movie trilogy. This first movie, weighing in at over 135 minutes, covers roughly the first 13 episodes of the TV series. Whole episodes were removed, or events rearranged, such as Amuro reuniting with Kamaria before first encountering Ramba Ral. Despite the changes, this movie presents a coherent story, and as my first exposure to Gundam, I never felt it was lacking in any way. Some of the deleted episodes were good, but the tighter focus of the movie creates better momentum for the story, particularly when certain scenes are combined to create larger battles, for instance. The TV series also featured Char making an unsuccessful (and rather silly) first attempt on Garma's life, and its removal makes the betrayal here work better. Paolo, the ill-fated first captain of the White Base, dies in the TV series, but the movies give him a more hopeful fate. The tighter story here also creates an atmosphere of desperation as the White Base's motley crew of junior officers and amateur civilians are pushed to their limits. The movies are also a bit more thematically consistent by making mention of the concept of Newtypes far earlier than the TV series did. While the TV series did repeatedly hint at the concept, the word "Newtype" wasn't mentioned until near the end of its abbreviated run.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Movie 1 Gundam Movie 1

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Buy the collection (movies 1-3) on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon
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