Mobile Suit Gundam – Episodes 22 – 31 Review

Gundam Pt3

The watch through of the Gundam Blu-rays goes part the half way mark as we see Amuro and the White Base crew encounter more Zeon forces and the return of Char Aznable! This batch also ends with the White Base back in space, setting up the last big push of the One Year War. Let’s take a closer look…

Synopsis:

What would later be known as the One Year War is still raging between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon, a nation based in a distant space colony. A rag-tag group of civilians and one or two trained soldiers continues to pilot the prototype Earth Federation “White Base” battleship, complete with Amuro Ray at the helm of the power new Federation mobile suit weapon Gundam, into ever more dangerous situations…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Gundam Pt3 1

Char is back! How I’ve missed that cheesy helmet… that sounded weird…. *ahem*. Carry on.

Amuro Ray (Toru Furuya / Brad Swaile) – Amuro has matured since going through the fight with Ramba Ral and the subsequent death of Ryu. His skills are also improving at a rapid rate, which is handy when he re-encounters as certain Red Comet…

Char Aznable (Shuichi Ikeda / Michael Kopsa) – Still on the wrong end of the Zabi family as he watched gleefully as Garma died, Char is stationed in an amphibious unit of Zeon in the Atlantic ocean, and would you believe it: White Base soon crosses the very same ocean…

Bright Noa (Hirotaka Suzuoki / Chris Kalhoon) – Captain of the White Base, Bright is firmly in command and has gained the respect of his crew.

Sayla Mass (Yo Inoue / Alaina Burnett) – Char’s sister and now a full capable pilot, Sayla is a fighting against the Zeon while forever hoping that her brother isn’t among the ships she must face…

Kai Shiden (Toshio Furukawa / Richard Ian Cox) – Formally arrogant, now just wise-cracking member of the White Base crew. A quick and tragic experience in love sets his attention even further on ending the war.

Hayato Kobayashi (Kiyonobu Suzuki / Matt Smith) – A capable pilot of the Gun Tank, Hayato struggles to keep up with everyone, and is beginning to feel very insecure about himself…

Slegger Law (Tessho Genda / Bill Mondy) – The Han Solo style cocky pilot who thinks he has a way with women, Slegger joins the White Base crew during the fight at Jaburo.

M’Quve (Kaneto Shiozawa / Michael Benyaer) – Super stuck-up antiques collector who runs the mining operation of Zeon in the Odessa region. His arrogance is only surpassed by his stupidity.

Plus many more!

The Good:

Gundam Pt3 2

The evolution of the Zeon mobile suits is always fun to follow.

After Amuro suffers one last lost at his first crush of Matilda, the Lieutenant who helped White Base resupply, he finally becomes a ace pilot and soldier he was seemingly meant to be. This makes his border-line arrogant, but not in the unpleasant way he had been previously, and in fact seeing all he goes through makes you take his side in most things. It’s a satisfying watch seeing Amuro grow in front of your eyes, and one of the show’s greatest strengths.

Kai likewise goes through a pleasing maturity, when he tried to leave the base because he “was never a soldier to begin with”, but then falls in love in an enemy spy who eventually convinces him to return to the base. He then meets said spy who has smuggled herself aboard, then finally loses her when the two man a plane in battle. The heartbreak and the fact that she was looking after children cements Kai’s resolve in wanting to stop this kind of stuff from happening.

The battle at Odessa is a good story, with the debut and eventual defeat of the Black Tri-Stars, a group of three enemies that have become extremely popular in Japanese pop culture. That’s why its actually always surprising to see that they only last a few episodes, and only a single episode as a trio. Still, Amuro’s battle with them and M’Quve’s general smugness getting taken down a peg is good viewing.

Gundam Pt3 3

Poor old Jim. Never saw it coming…

That leads into a run of episodes based around the White Base going from one Federation base to another, with the Atlantic ocean in the middle, which is filled with Zeon soldiers, one of which is Char! Once again its great to see him, his confident but not unpleasantly arrogant attitude and the fact he treats his men with respect really does paint him in a different light to the more-often-than-not evil “just because” type of generals you tend to see on the Zeon side, and while there is no member of the Zabi family for Char to kill, he still plays a pleasing part. His attack on the Federation Jaburo base is great, especially the fight with Amuro and Char’s reaction to how good he has become. Plus its this point we see the Federation has built and mass produced their own mobile suits (called GMs, pronounced “Jims” for some reason…) so it feels like the Federation can finally push back after the feeling of hopelessness that had hung around the series up to this point.

The last two episodes see the White Base and Char’s group duel in space, having just set off from Earth. It’s a good, simple set of episodes with plenty of mobile suit destruction.

The Bad:

 Gundam Pt3 4

There is a definite Han Solo-Luke Skywalker-Leia situation going on in this scene…

Slegger Law, who joins the White Base towards the end of this batch, is immediately unlikable, especially after having seen what the rest of the crew has been through. I know full well that he actually becomes a very fun character in the next set of episodes (for what good it will do him) so I forgot who… different his is to start with.

Most of Episode 29, “A Wish of War Orphans”, focuses on the children that have been stuck on White Base all this time. They are going to be left behind but instead go on a fun little adventure and save the day by finding bombs some infiltrators have planted. This leads the White Base crew to allow them back on board… Huh? For a series that focuses so heavily on the realities on war, I would have thought the three orphans they’ve been taking into battle would have been left behind and safe, not put in extreme danger again… The comedy felt very forced and out-of-place, too.

Overall Thoughts:

This is where Gundam really picks up, and sets up the great end to the series. Both sides now have mobile suits and the White Base and its crew are now more than up to the task of joining in the main conflict. It’s a good set of episodes, but one that sets up a great one…

4 Star Watch

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