In UC 0123, a beauty pageant is held on the Frontier IV colony (formerly Side 4). Seabook Arno forces his friend Cecily Fairchild to appear in the contest, even though she doesn’t want to be in it. At the same time, Den’an-Zon and Ebirhu-S mobile suits of the Crossbone Vanguard enter Frontier IV and attack the Earth Federation Forces. Dwight Camury announces Cecily as the winner, and he has a strange reaction to her mother’s earrings. A Jegan suddenly crashes into a nearby building, and the fight between the Crossbone Vanguard and EFF reaches the civilian area. Cecily is nearly crushed by a mobile suit, but Seabook saves her. He and his sister Rees join his friends Drosie Mua, Arthur, Georgi, and Sam. As the battle spreads, they find Dwight and head for a mobile suit museum that is a shelter. The museum’s owner, Roy Jung, wants to fight with an old Guntank mobile suit. Georgi and Arthur join the fight, and Arthur is killed in an explosion. The Guntank damages the escape route, so Seabook and the others head for the wharf with the Guntank to get to an EFF ship. They are blocked by a G-Cannon and an officer who wants to use the children as shields. They are helped by Seabook’s father Leslie, who tells them to hurry to the wharf.
Seabook drives the Guntank to an industrial area and takes an elevator down towards the wharf. Leslie says there should be at least one space boat there. Several Jegans are attacked by Dorel Ronah and his Berga-Dalas. Cecily wants to investigate the explosion, and Seabook follows her in the Guntank. He sees her father Theo shooting at her, and he threatens to shoot Theo. Theo and Cecily struggle with the gun, and Seabook is shot in the arm. Dorel arrives and cripples the Guntank with his shot lancer. Theo says that Dorel is her brother and he has come to take her home. Cecily wants to look for her mother Nadia, and Dorel says she should join the Crossbone Vanguard to do that. Cecily reluctantly agrees, and Dorel takes her away. Seabook makes it back to the space boat, and Drosie tends to his wounds. Leslie opens the space door for them and stays behind to help a kid. Sam pilots the space boat over Frontier IV, and everyone is shocked by the carnage they see below them. Cecily objects to being called Berah Ronah and having servants attend to her. She meets with Theo and calls him a coward, and he says he had to do what he did. Cecily is taken to meet her father Korozo, who wears an iron mask. He wears it in shame because Nadia left him for Theo. He says he will not take it off until the idea of Cosmo Babylonia is realized. He tells Cecily she will meet her grandfather Meitzer in another part of Frontier IV, which is now called Cosmo Babylon.
Cecily meets Meitzer, who tells her that she is to be a figurehead queen to be the people’s idol until Cosmo Babylonia is established. She says she couldn’t possibly do such a thing. Cecily returns to the ruins of the Guntank with ace pilot Zabine Chareux, and she wonders if Seabook is alive. In space, the Crossbone Vanguard attacks the EFF fleet near Frontier II. Seabook and friends hide in Frontier I and join with the EFF training ship Space Ark, which is under the command of acting captain Leahlee Edaberry. The Earth Federation makes an announcement and claims that the attack on Frontier IV is just a riot by immature citizens. Seabook helps engineer Gruce with the construction of the Gundam Formula 91 and sees his mother Monica in the training video. He knew she was working on a bio computer, but not for mobile suits. He asks Gruce not to tell Rees. The EFF shoot straight through Frontier IV to destroy the Ronah mansion, but they only kill innocent civilians. Meitzer tells Cecily how corrupt the Earth Federation is, and that the government officials live on Earth and force everyone else to live in space. He believes that all people should live in space. At Frontier I, Heavygun pilot Birgit Pirjo arrives at the Space Ark and meets with the portly officer Cosmo Eigesse. Seabook is mad at Cosmo because Rees found out about the F91 video. Rees says she understands why mother worked on the bio computer, and she figures out the code for the Gundam F91’s wiring. Cosmo orders them to finish the Gundam F91 and makes Seabook the pilot.
At Frontier IV, Zabine trains Cecily with a Den’an-Zon, and he says she has natural ability. Dahgi-Iris pilot Annamarie Brougia wonders why so much time is being spent training one pilot. She launches with her mobile suit team to fight in space. Dorel leads a squadron of Den’an-Zons and Den’an-Geis to Frontier I to capture a tunnel that allows access to the colony interior. He disobeys orders and goes inside the colony to scout ahead. The Space Ark hides near the mountains, and Birgit launches in his Heavygun to fight. Seabook goes out in the Gundam F91 and has trouble fighting at first. He is attacked by a Den’an-Gei and shoots it with his beam rifle. He is then able to destroy two Den’an-Zons, and Dorel retreats. Seabook sneaks into Frontier IV and goes to the Ronah mansion to rescue Cecily. She says it’s too late for that, and Seabook is chased away by Zabine. Cecily cuts her hair and tells Meitzer she will be his figurehead. The Crossbone Vanguard holds a parade with mobile suits, and Korozo gives a speech about the corrupt Earth Federation. A sniper tries to kill him, but the bullets ricochet off his mask. Seabook is spotted in the crowd, but Leslie shows up and they drive off. Annamarie shoots at the van and severely injures Leslie. Seabook and Leslie head for Frontier I in the Gundam F91, and Leslie dies from his wounds.
Seabook returns to the Space Ark, and the crew blames him for the death of his father because of his recklessness. Cosmo brings in resistance fighters to help, and he talks about reports of the Crossbones massacring people in other colonies. Seabook cries alone in his room and wonders if Cecily is aiding in the massacre. At Cosmo Babylonia, Theo and Nadia go to meet Korozo. Nadia and Korozo get into an argument, and Korozo talks about his personal shame. Nadia tries to convince Cecily to come with her, but Cecily refuses. Korozo leaves, and Theo falls to the floor dead. Korozo meets with one of his men to discuss deployment of the Bugs. If they are successful in Frontier I, they will be sent to the Moon and Earth. Annamarie and her team launch, followed by Dorel. Zabine tells Cecily that Korozo and Meitzer have different philosophies, and it has to do with the Bugs. At Frontier I, Seabook and Birgit go out to examine the colony and learn the topography. He nearly shoots a Dahgi-Iris that is being escorted by Jegans. Annamarie has defected to the Space Ark, and her suit is repainted. Dorel’s forces attack the EFF fleet and deploy dummy suits to trick them. Dwight gets the children into the space boat to escape, and Seabook, Birgit and Annamarie go into battle.
From the ground Monica sees the Space Ark and tries to get to the ship. A squad of Jegans tries to fight the Crossbones, but the Jegans are too big and bulky. Seabook destroys several suits with the VSBR (Variable Speed Beam Rifle). Annamarie goes off on her own in the battle, and Birgit wonders if she betrayed them. Seabook follows, and Annamarie attacks Zabine. She accuses him of following men who enforce a fake justice. Zabine destroys Annamarie’s beam rifle, leaving her with only a beam saber. He is too skilled for Annamarie, and she is killed. The fighting continues, and Seabook attacks Cecily’s Vigna-Ghina. By now Seabook has more experience and nearly destroys the Vigna-Ghina before he realizes Cecily is the pilot. He asks her if she is part of the Ronah family now, and she says she didn’t know what to do. She comes with him to the Space Ark, and Birgit is hostile to her. In space, Zabine sees that a nuclear power plant is being used to provide an electrical charge to Korozo’s battleship Zamouth Garr. He is told to resupply elsewhere, and he assumes the secrecy has to do with the Bugs. Monica arrives at the Space Ark, and Rees isn’t happy that she took so long to get to the ship. One of the crew says that Seabook has been fighting in the Gundam F91 and might be a Newtype. She objects to him fighting, but Seabook says he hopes that Newtypes can evolve beyond war. Monica decides to help.
The Space Ark leaves Frontier I, and the space boat heads for the Moon. Monica says that Cecily doesn’t have to fight, but Cecily says she can help. Korozo is told that the Bugs can kill the 3 million people on Frontier I in about two days. He wants them to be sent to Earth and the Moon immediately after. The Bugs are flying discs that are designed to kill only humans. They are unleashed inside Frontier I and begin massacring the population. Birgit is attacked by several Bugs and is killed. Seabook and Cecily fight the Bugs and head into space. Cecily attacks the Zamouth Garr and destroys the control system of the Bugs. Nearby, Zabine sees that Cecily has betrayed the Crossbones. Korozo goes out to investigate in his psycommu mobile armor Lafressia and attacks groups of mobile suits. Seabook and Cecily spot the Lafressia, and Seabook senses that the evil coming from it is what disturbs space. They attack Korozo, but the Lafressia’s armor is quite strong. They lure Korozo inside of a ruined colony to gain an advantage, and Cecily attacks him head on. He destroys her beam rifle and damages the Vigna-Ghina. Zabine asks one of Korozo’s men what the Lafressia is, and he says not to worry. Zabine shoots him and returns to the battle.
Cecily is too close to Korozo, and he grabs the Vigna-Ghina and cripples it. He gets out of the Lafressia and rips open the cockpit. Cecily tries to shoot him, but he grabs her and throws her into space. Seabook attacks, and Korozo gets back into the Lafressia. Seabook uses the Gundam F91’s ability to move quickly and leave after images of itself to confuse Korozo. Seabook destroys the Vigna-Ghina, and the explosion damages the Lafressia. He continues to dart around and moves in close enough to destroy the Lafressia’s cockpit. Seabook then begins to search desperately for Cecily, but he can’t find her. Zabine sees that the Space Ark is full of refugees and leaves it alone. He and his men follow Dorel back to Frontier I. Monica goes over to the Gundam F91 and activates the psycommu system to enhance Seabook’s Newtype perceptions. She sets it to filter out everything except human body heat. Seabook is unable to concentrate, and Monica tells him to use his feelings. He spots a lily floating and space and realizes Cecily is nearby. He abandons the Gundam F91 and finds Cecily nearby. She wakes up, and they embrace.
Gundam F91 is a bit of an odd duck as far as movies go. There is some question whether the original development of this story was intended for TV or for the big screen. It’s clear that this movie was intended to kick off the next generation of Gundam stories – it jumps into the second Universal Century and moves beyond the Federation/Zeon conflict that defined every previous entry in the franchise. However, the movie unfortunately tries to cram too much story into its two-hour runtime, and nothing is wrapped up by the end. Although Seabook kills Iron Mask, the Crossbone Vanguard essentially wins and declares victory with its captured colonies. As a protagonist, Seabook quickly goes through the motions as his predecessors, experiencing the loss of friends and family. Secondary characters don’t get much opportunity to shine, and we get some rushed developments like Annamarie switching sides because of her anger over Cecily’s special treatment. The soundtrack is not one of this movie’s strengths, and it often sounds too close to Star Wars for comfort. However, the animation is incredible, as are Yas’ character designs and the mobile suit designs. Overall, this movie is not bad, but it should be viewed with measured expectations regarding its weaknesses.
Original Review: July 4, 2000