28 November 2019 | ayonijaprithuvainya
Exciting, Mature and Grounded
It can sometimes take itself a bit too seriously but this is arguably one of the most mature and grounded entries in the Gundam franchise, by popular anime standards. If you are fascinated by mechs, but are turned off by anime tropes, this one is a very good place to start.
It has a large Game-of-Throne-esque collection of grown-up characters, often with dubious moralities and oblique agendas, and with believable personalities (again, by popular anime standards) and flaws.
The setting is essentially the same as our world, but a few decades into the future. Many of the real world issues of today are mirrored in this show, such as religious and racial conflicts, war-profiteering, absolutism, child-soldiers, and the core question of using violence as a means to achieve peace. It also delves into some classic Japanese concepts such as the meaning of honour for a warrior.
The plot is relatively easy to follow, and technology depicted in the show seems grounded. A visionary scientist sets in motion a shadowy anti-war organisation made up of small set of superlative war-machines called Gundams (hitherto unknown in this world), driven by a hand-picked group of pilots and an elite supporting crew. Their goal is to put a stop to military conflicts across the world, ironically, through military interventions of their own, planned by a semi-sentient AI. Of course, the interventions, while initially successful, have unintended consequences as the rest of the world comes up with desperate measures to make up for the technical superiority of the Gundams. The objectives of the organisation turns out to be not as transparent as it seemed, even to its members, with hidden forces at play with their own agendas.
As a mech enthusiast, I was mightily impressed with the mech designs in this show. They are the right mix of style and plausibility, and often exemplify pure mechanical joy of putting things together or taking things apart.
The animation style is absolutely superb, and the soundtrack is memorable. What more is there to say! Highly recommended. Would love to see this story revisited in the future, or adapted to other media.