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Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island

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Summary

During a nighttime battle on the island of Alegranza, a GM pilot panics and fires missiles before getting killed by a Zaku II’s heat hawk. Another GM pilot also panics and fires his shoulder cannon and beam spray gun before turning to run back to his Gunperry. The Zaku attacks from behind, destroying both the GM and Gunperry. At a nearby lighthouse, several children comment that Doan won. The Zaku pilot, Cucuruz Doan, watches as the Gunperry burns. At the port city of Las Palmas, Spain, White Base Capt. Bright Noa is briefed by a staff officer who declares that they must clear out all obstacles ahead of the attack on Gibraltar. He mentions that Fleet Admiral Gopp’s ship, La Grandpa, will soon pass through Las Palmas, so before that they have to take care of the situation on Alegranza. The staff officer explains that there are Zeon operatives on the island and that they recently destroyed two GMs, but Bright is uninterested. The staff officer mentions that Bright’s career so far has been remarkable and that he’d be a hard man to replace, but he notes that the ship’s Gundam is less special now that the GM is in mass production. Bright suggests assigning another unit to deal with the problem, but the staff officer insists that an independent force like the White Base is better suited for this kind of mission. Later, Bright assembles the crew on the bridge for a briefing and shows them a map of Alegranza, the northernmost of Spain’s Canary Islands. Sayla Mass notes that the island has an old lighthouse, and Kai Shiden complains that mopping up an uninhabited island is a lousy job. Bright is annoyed and asks where Sleggar Law is, and a crewmember mentions that he’s out in the city drinking with his teammates. Bright then orders Job John and Hayato Kobayashi to man the Gunperry and transport Kai’s Guncannon and Amuro Ray’s Gundam. Amuro asks if he has to go, and Bright snaps that he shouldn’t expect special treatment because the Gundam wasn’t going to stay a prototype forever. Fraw Bow wishes Amuro good luck, and Sayla tells him to be careful because she has a bad feeling about this. On the Gunperry, Kai complains that Bright is getting too full of himself, but Job thinks it’s hard to be captain. Kai asks what Bright meant by the phrase “remnant operatives,” so Job explains that they’re agents left intentionally left behind by a withdrawing force with a mission of sabotage and espionage. Copilot Olsen spots dark clouds ahead and thinks they’re too big for a squall. Mirai Yashima brings Bright some coffee, and he wonders if he was too harsh with Amuro. Mirai answers that he was and needs to be gentler with Amuro because he’s sensitive. As the Gunperry flies through the clouds, Job tells Olsen to lower their altitude to improve visibility. The Gunperry flies over Alegranza and transmits a video feed back to the White Base. Job flies over the location of the destroyed Gunperry and reports that he doesn’t see the GMs, so Bright orders them to land and begin recon in force. From his gunner’s perch, Hayato comments that he has a bad feeling about this. Amuro and Hayato deploy in their mobile suits, unaware that Doan’s Zaku is watching them. Kai decides to head for the lighthouse and tells Amuro to explore in the other direction. Amuro reaches the western shore of the island and wonders who they’re fighting this time. Kai thinks something is suspicious about the lighthouse and spots a plowed field. Bright calls for a status report, and Kai is shocked when several children start throwing rocks at the Guncannon’s feet. The children keep pelting Kai with rocks and tell Kai to leave because they hate soldiers. Kai tries to step back and loses his footing, which frightens the children. Amuro spots Zaku footprints and turns off his radio when Kai calls him. Amuro follows the footprints to a cliff and turns just as Doan attacks him from behind. Doan pushes Amuro to the edge of the cliff, and Amuro tosses aside his beam rifle to free up a hand and push Doan away. Doan charges in with his heat hawk and dodges Amuro retaliatory beam saber attack while slicing his shield in half. Amuro jumps and slashes at Doan but ends up hitting the ground. He then jumps again to dodge a heat hawk attack, but the force of the Gundam landing on the destabilized ground causes it to crumble below Amuro’s feet. Doan jumps back and watches the Gundam fall into the ocean. 

Kai returns to the Gunperry, and Job mentions that he’s lost contact with Amuro. Job reports this news to Bright, and at that moment a drunk Sleggar reports to the bridge. Mirai runs over and whispers to him that Amuro is missing. As the storm on the island worsens, Bright orders Job to withdraw and says they’ll search for Amuro later. As the Gunperry takes off, Bright orders Sleggar to search for Amuro. As he sleeps, Amuro has nightmares about his first combat experience, as well as his mother Kamaria condemning him for being a soldier. He also thinks of his father Tem urging him to fight, as well as his first battle with Char Aznable and falling into Earth’s atmosphere. Amuro wakes up and finds that part of his pilot suit has been removed and that wounds on his arm and head have been bandaged. He wonders where he is and reaches for a bottle of water by his cot. He pretends to not notice as several children sneak a look at him. Amuro sneaks out of the room and is immediately greeted by a bleating goat named Blanca. Two boys named Mateo and Lope chase after Blanca and quickly turn around when they spot Amuro on his feet. Doan tells Amuro that he should stay in bed, but Amuro walks over to Doan and asks if Doan attacked him. He demands to know where the Gundam is, and several children complain about helping a soldier like Amuro. He then looks over at the lighthouse and tries to recall the geography of the island when he approached from above. He then walks off on his own to find the Gundam, and Doan tells Cara to leave him be. Amuro marches on until after sunset and finally stops when he reaches a massive crater. At the house, the children sit down to eat dinner with Doan and Cara. Amado complains about there not being enough milk, and Mateo blames Lope for not having held Blanca steady, which makes Lope cry. Doan asks Cara if she’s worried about Amuro, and Marcos thinks they should forget about him. Doan hands Cara a water bottle and tells her to find Amuro. Cara asks Ines to look after the kids and heads out. Amuro, exhausted and experiencing fuzzy vision, spots Cara’s lantern and heads for her. Cara gives Amuro the bottle, and he chugs most of it in one gulp. Cara asks how far he went and mentions they have enough dinner for him. He tells her not to worry about him, but then his stomach rumbles loudly. As they walk back to the house, Amuro asks about the lighthouse and Cara explains that the generator is broken, but Doan hasn’t had time to fix it. Julian tells Doan that it’s his birthday tomorrow, and Doan says they’ll have to celebrate. Ines asks Julian what he wants for his birthday, and he answers that he wants Doan to fix the lighthouse. Mateo comments that with working electricity, they could use Blanca’s milk to make ice cream. Cara returns with Amuro, and Doan asks how far he went. The children scowl at Amuro as he sits down at the table, and they complain when Cara serves him dinner. Julian notes that if you don’t work you don’t get to eat, and Doan tells Amuro he can start working for his food tomorrow. Amuro thanks Cara for the food and wolfs it down. Doan asks Amuro for his name and introduces himself. He thinks it’ll be hard for Amuro to get around in his pilot suit and tells Marcos to lend him some pants. Cara tells the kids it’s time to go to bed, and they recite their promises to do their chores and help each other.

Generals Johann Ibrahim Revil and Elran fly in a Dish over Belfast, and Revil points out the Moltke, a newly constructed Big Tray class land battleship. Revil notes that the ship is amphibious, so it’ll cross the water and come ashore before heading to Odessa, which he also intends to send the White Base to. The ship is currently under Gopp’s command, but Revil wants them close by. The staff officer notifies Bright that the ship has been transferred to Revil’s command and must launch immediately for Belfast. Bright asks about the mission on Alegranza, and the staff officer says they’ll just assign it to someone else. Bright thinks about the time that he slapped Amuro twice and wishes that Amuro had just deserted. Bright assembles the crew on the bridge to announce their new orders. Fraw starts crying at the idea of Amuro being left behind, and Bright leaves the bridge. Sleggar then asks Kai if he’s ever wanted to face a court-martial. Gopp takes a video call from M’Quve and asks what he wants. M’Quve tells Gopp to stop his assault on Gibraltar, and Gopp asks if this is an official surrender. M’Quve explains that they’ve prepared something based on the EFF’s response, and if the attack proceeds, Zeon will destroy the cities of Washington, New York, London, Paris and others. Gopp asks if M’Quve has forgotten the Antarctic Treaty, and M’Quve answers that a treaty is just a treaty. Gopp notes that Paris was also under threat during World War II, but one of Hitler’s soldiers was devoted to saving culture and didn’t follow orders. In Casablanca, a GM team fights Zakus and comes under attack from Zeon’s Brown Southern Cross team. Team members Egba Atler, Waldo Ren, Danan Rashica, Yun Sangho and Selma Livens use their custom High Mobility Zakus to easily dispatch the GMs. Team leader Egba is impressed by the performance of new team member Danan, and Danan comments that he volunteered because he was interested in Doan and wanted to see how strong he was and if he was better than Char. Egba sticks his heat hawk up against the head of Danan’s Zaku and tells him that Doan is a traitor and his name should never be mentioned again.Amuro lies awake in his room and hears Lope crying in the room that all the kids share. Some of the kids complain about Lope crying every night, but Cara tries to calm him down. In another room, Doan is frustrated as he works on schematics. He then recalls serving as the commander of the Brown Southern Cross and causing civilian casualties. Cara comes in after Lope falls asleep, and Doan apologizes for putting her through so much. Cara thanks him for what he’s done, and he says they’ll be able to live more comfortably when the war ends. Cara starts crying and tells Doan not to die before running out of the room. The next morning, several of the girls scream in panic when Julian chases them with a snake he picked up from the ground. Amuro brings out his plate and thanks Cara for the food, and Doan asks if he slept well. Amuro struggles to plow a field, and Marcos laughs at him. Blanca escapes again after spilling the milk and causes Lope to cry again. Several girls ask to be on goat duty, which causes Mateo to cry. Doan then demonstrates how to properly milk Blanca, which impresses the kids. Amado and Guido run over to show Doan the fish they caught, and he explains it’s one of the smaller ones. As Amuro walks away, Doan asks if he’s going to search for the Gundam. Doan gives Amuro his hat and canteen so he doesn’t suffer heatstroke. Amuro thanks him and walks off on his solo journey.

On the White Base, Fraw pounds on the bathroom door and tells Kikka, Katz and Letz to come out immediately. They complain that it’s wrong to leave Amuro behind, and they refuse to come out or eat unless everyone promises to look for him. Kai comments that they’re not wrong, and Sleggar tricks them into coming out by mentioning ice cream. Sleggar then tells Kai, Hayato and Job that it’s time to risk a court-martial. Sleggar wants to take three mobile suits, but Kai and Job note that the Gunperry’s payload is two suits. Sleggar thinks they should use the Core Booster and asks Sayla if she can pilot it. She agrees but slaps him when he asks if he can ride her back. Later, Sleggar tells the others to load up the Guncannons in the Gunperry and prepare for launch tomorrow. On Alegranza, Amuro continues his search and finds Gundam footprints. He reaches the shore and recalls it as the spot where he encountered Doan’s Zaku. He runs to the end of the land and is shocked to see a huge drop off to the water. Thunder crackles as the sky darkens, and Amuro sees that a squall is coming. He gets soaked running back to the house, where the kids are using pots and pails to help collect rainwater. After the storm, the kids give the pails to Marcos to fill up the water tank. Cara complains that there’s no water coming out of the well, and Marcos finds that the well tank is almost empty. Amuro returns and finds Doan inspecting the water tank. He asks Marcos to help him fix a broken pipe and Amuro asks to come along. Doan descends into the well but can’t fight into the tighter spaces, so Amuro offers to go down himself. Tied to a rope held by Doan and Marcos, Amuro descends and finds the broken pipe, which he repairs. The kids thank Doan when he returns, but he tells them the credit belongs to Amuro. Doan leaves to do some work, and Cara notes that he was up late last night too. He tells her that it’s not a big deal and that he’s almost done. Doan departs by boat and is followed on foot by Marcos. Amuro grabs Doan’s rope and also leaves, with the kids waving and saying goodbye. Marcos climbs down to a shore as Doan reaches a cave entrance by boat. Marcos jumps into the water and swims by wrecked GMs and Zakus as he enters the cave. Amuro uses the rope to rappel down the side of the cliff and reach the water. He finds an entrance to the cave and is surprised to see a dock with a submarine. Marcos argues with Doan and says he wants to pilot the Gundam so he can protect everyone, but Doan responds that fighting isn’t the only way to be strong. Marcos insists, and Doan tells him to leave and never come back to this place. Amuro reveals his presence and tells Doan to give him back the Gundam. Doan says he couldn’t believe it when he discovered that the pilot of the fearsome Gundam was just a kid. Marcos tackles Amuro and tries to punch him, and the two roll around for a bit until Doan tells Marcos to stop. Doan tells them both to leave because he has important work to do. Doan heads deeper into the base and reaches the nuclear missile control room. Elsewhere, M’Quve asks Uragang why Point C.A. isn’t responding, and Uragang blames the density of Minovsky particles. He notes that their operative has fought off multiple EFF search missions, and M’Quve suspects that operative is a saboteur. The Brown Southern Cross is ordered to travel to Alegranza, eliminate the saboteur, and perform a manual missile launch. Waldo Ren wonders if Doan is the saboteur, which excites Danan and enrages Egba, who punches Danan in the face. Waldo and Yun hold Egba back while Danan runs away. On Alegranza, Amuro uses the rope to pull Marcos up the side of the cliff. On the White Base, Sayla winks to Mirai as she leaves the bridge. Job, Kai and Hayato take off in the Gunperry, with Fraw and the kids as passengers. Bright gets a call from the staff officer demanding that he launch and rendezvous with Revil in Belfast. Sayla takes off in the Core Booster, with Sleggar’s GM riding on the back. The staff officer demands to know why Bright is going so slowly, and Bright makes up engine problems. Bright is informed that a Fat Uncle and several other craft are heading for Alegranza. The Fat Uncle and two Lugguns carrying Zakus approach the island as everyone seeks shelter from the storm.

Amuro decides to go up to the roof to fix the electric generator and gets a car battery to power it, which turns on the lights. Marcos runs up to the top of the lighthouse and turns on the light. Doan returns by boat and is annoyed to see the lighthouse activated. Marcos thanks Amuro for restoring the electricity and shakes his hand. Doan docks the boat and tells Amuro that he shouldn’t have done that. Amuro hears the sound of the Gunperry approaching, and it comes in close to the lighthouse for a landing. Doan vows to destroy it, but just then the Fat Uncle approaches and he spots the Brown Southern Cross emblem on it. Doan comments that you can’t run from your past, and he tells Cara to take care of the kids. Doan vows that he’ll come back, and Amuro wants to come with him. Doan asks if Amuro can fight for these children, even against his own comrades. Kai and Hayato launch in their Guncannons, and Egba assigns Waldo and Yun to the special mission while the rest of them take on the EFF. Doan, Amuro and Marcos head to the cave in the boat, and Sleggar opens fire on the Lugguns. Waldo and Yun let go of the Lugguns and drop into the water, and Sleggar destroys both Lugguns. Marcos asks Amuro if he can swim and says they’ll have to dive under the rocks to reach the cave. Amuro has trouble holding his breath, so Marcos grabs onto him and pulls him up into the cave. Kai and Hayato are forced on the defensive, and Job tells Fraw and the kids that it’s dangerous to stay. Doan launches in his Zaku and heads for the cave exit. Kai takes a hit and loses one of his cannons, and Sayla crash lands after having taken damage from the Lugguns. Sleggar’s GM is tossed off the Core Booster and crashes into a large rock, losing its head in the process. Hayato jumps out of his Guncannon just before it explodes, and Egba severs the legs of Kai’s Guncannon. Egba is filled with rage when Doan arrives on the battlefield. Marcos is able to revive Amuro, but the two are forced to hide when Waldo and Yun’s Zakus enter the cave. Waldo dismounts from his Zaku to head to the control room. Doan tells his former teammates to leave and says he doesn’t want to fight them. Egba refuses and says he’s glad he can kill Doan with his own hands. Danan gets excited and attacks, but Doan is able to dodge. The two switch to heat hawks, but even then Doan has the edge. Doan slices into Danan’s cockpit and kills him. Waldo reaches the control room and prepares to launch nuclear missiles at Chicago, New York, Washington, Paris, London and Moscow. Amuro and Marcos attempt to sneak past Yun, but he spots them and follows into the mobile suit hangar. He stops in front of a mobile suit berth covered by a large tarp and spots the Gundam’s feet. Just as he pulls the tarp away, Amuro activates the Gundam and stabs Yun’s cockpit with his beam saber, killing him. Waldo returns from the control room and runs away when he spots the Gundam, but Amuro steps on him and crushes him. He then picks up Waldo’s Zaku and throws it at the submarine, causing both to sink. Selma engages in close combat with Doan, but he slices into her Zaku and kills her. Cara tells the children to head to the basement for safety, but Blanca breaks free from Mateo and Lope. The kids chase after Blanca, and the goat knocks Hayato aside and rams into Job and Kai. Blanca then calmly licks Kikka’s face, and all the island kids talk to the White Base kids, who say they’re looking for Amuro. 

Egba attacks with his heat saber, but Doan dodges and falls back into the large crater. The White Base crew and the kids head for the crater to look for Amuro. They spot Doan fighting Egba and cheer for him, but Cara is worried. Egba cuts off Doan’s right arm, which was holding the heat hawk. Egba declares that Doan is finished, but Doan starts throwing large rocks at him. Egba then comes under fire from above by the Gundam’s vulcans. Amuro pulls out both beam sabers as he descends into the crater to face Egba. In response, Egba rushes in and attacks with his heat saber. Amuro falls back and is chased to the cliff by Egba. Amuro slowly approaches and fires vulcans, which throws Egba off balance. Amuro then rushes in and slices into Egba’s Zaku, which falls off the side of the cliff and explodes. The nuclear missiles complete their launch sequence and all take off. M’Quve watches the launch and comments that this is what Gopp gets. Gopp’s fleet tries to shoot down the missiles, but the missiles leave the atmosphere and detonate in space. The explosions look like beautiful flashes from Alegranza, and Cara realizes this is what Doan was working on. Gopp is relieved to hear that the missiles detonated in space, and M’Quve laughs and says one of his people must’ve also been devoted to saving culture. Fraw cries and hugs Amuro, and he apologizes for making her worry. Marcos thanks Amuro and says he had no idea Amuro was so strong. The kids greet Doan and say that between him and Amuro they’re not scared of war. Doan tells them that war is frightful, and Amuro says that the smell of battle lingers on Doan and draws conflict to him. He offers to take that away and uses the Gundam to toss Doan’s damaged Zaku into the ocean. Doan tells the kids that everything is alright and that Amuro did the right thing. Later, the White Base takes off and flies over Alegranza on its way to Belfast. Doan says that Amuro might be on the ship, and everyone runs out to wave at it. As the White Base circles above, Amuro looks out from a bridge window at Doan. The ship then ascends and leaves the island behind.

Commentary

This feature film is adapted from a TV episode of the same name that has gained a joke reputation in Western fandom. The episode has been excluded, at Tomino’s request, from all Western releases, and it’s known for poor quality animation that has become the subject of many memes. So when it was announced that Yas was directing this movie, my first thought was, “what’s the point?” However, the movie takes a very basic story and builds on it in unexpected ways. Following the visual style of The Origin, the movie is set after the Jaburo arc (which preceded Odessa in The Origin manga). This means that Sleggar gets to be part of the story, and it’s nice to see him get to do more than he did in the original series. The tone of the movie is generally lighthearted, whether it’s Amuro’s interaction with the kids or Blanca’s antics. The TV episode had Doan living on an island with a young woman and some orphans, but here all the side characters are different. In addition to taking care of all these war orphans, Doan is secretly sabotaging Zeon’s nuclear missiles. The Brown Southern Cross team is also a new addition, and it’s interesting seeing Doan cast as an ace pilot who abandoned his team for a greater purpose. There’s not much to these characters, and they only get a little bit of screen time before being killed on-by-one. This story catches Amuro at a good spot in his journey – he’s faced some hardships up to now, but the worst is yet to come. All the orphans, especially Marcos, initially dislike Amuro, but he eventually works to gain their trust and admiration. At the end of the day, this theatrical release in 2022 is likely the last hurrah for all the remaining original Japanese voice actors. That being the case, they get to go out on a note of a movie featuring high quality animation, mobile suit battles and re-orchestrated tracks from the original soundtrack. This movie is definitely worth a watch for any fan of the original series.

Overall Rating
4/5
Cucuruz Doan’s Island Info


Director:

Yoshikazu Yasuhiko

Writer:
Toshizo Nemoto

Mechanical Designer(s):
Hajime Katoki
Kunio Okawara
Kimitoshi Yamane

Character Designer(s):
Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Atsushi Tamura
Tsukasa Kotobuki

Musical Composer:
Takayuki Hattori

Theatrical Release:
Japan 06.03.2022
U.S. 09.27.2022

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