a.k.a. G Gundam
a.k.a. Kido Butoden G Gundam
Format: 49 episodes
Dates: 4/1/1994 to 3/31/1995
In a world ravaged by war, the inhabitants of each nation make a space colony that represents their country. In order to prevent war, a huge tournament is held every four years, and the winner’s country rules over all the other space colonies until the results of the next tournament. The combatants: fearless fighters piloting Gundam mobile suits. The ring: the ruined remains of the earth. This year’s Gundam tournament will be different from the ones in its past. Neo Japan’s fighter Domon Kasshu may be employed by the Japanese military to win the tournament, but in reality Domon is fighting for his own reasons. He will face the challenges of a life time in this tournament to end all tournaments!
summary by Kei
Highs: Fun character designs; great character personalities; decent underlying plot; some of the Gundam designs are great…
Lows: …while some Gundam designs are plain awful; stereotypes could push people’s buttons; poor animation; reused cels
If any series is judged too harshly too quickly, it has to be G Gundam. Everyone puts it off as being a plotless fighting extravaganza that makes DBZ look innovative. The series has its low points, but it is really not as bad as people make it out to be. After watching it all, I left satisfied, and that is what’s important after all!
If anything, G Gundam deserves credit for bringing its cast of characters to life. Sure, this is done through heavy stereotypes, but if you can look past that, the characters’ personalities are actually fleshed out nicely. Some people may be offended by the stereotypes, but I couldn’t help but laugh at some of them. The Neo-American pilot’s last name is Crockett, the Neo-Mexico Gundam has a huge sombrero on its head, etc.
Gundam wouldn’t be Gundam without the huge mecha. Some of the designs are great, whereas some fall flat to the point where you wonder what the heck they were thinking when they designed them (i.e. the Nether Gundam). There really is more to the plot than meets the eye. It’s more than “just fighting”; there is quite a bit of commentary about love, betrayal and what drives people to do certain things. However, there is more than enough people that enjoy G Gundam for its face value. I suppose people are drawn to this like how they are drawn to professional sports. You’ll find yourself cheering certain characters and booing when they lose as if it was a sporting event.
Not everyone will like G Gundam at all. If you’re looking for a deep intellectual anime, then really steer clear of this one. However, if all you’re looking for is fun and entertainment, then sit down and enjoy the show! Gundam Fight! Ready?… Go!
Highs: Genuinely fun; diverse cast; imaginative take on Gundam
Lows: Poor animation; shallow plot at times; “Gundam of the Week” formula can get old
To quote the good folks associated with Monty Python, “And now, for something completely different…”: A Gundam series that resembles a Street Fighter videogame.
The franchise’s first step into the Alternate Universe era is certainly a large one, and some might not take too well to it. The general set-up of G Gundam is incredibly shallow at first glance, especially when it’s compared to the lush and deep history that was created in the Universal Century timeline. The first set of episodes in each major arc follow a rather generic “Gundam of the Week” formula that can get a little taxing at times to watch. Just change the representing nation of the opposing Gundam in each episode, and you can pretty much guess the overall outcome before they even say ‘Go’. The animation doesn’t fair much better. Even by mid 90s standards, the artwork can be downright poor at times. Reused animation cycles are also commonplace through a majority of the series, so don’t start watching G Gundam and expect to see much in the way of eye candy.
Besides, a mecha martial arts fighting tournament certainly doesn’t sound like anything to be excited over, right? First impressions aside, this is the most fun I have had watching a Gundam series in quite a long time. After watching such U.C Gundam series as Victory Gundam and Zeta Gundam, this was a refreshing change of pace from the epic space wars that are the trademark of the franchise. With a plethora of various Gundam designs to represent each nation, the creative muscles of this series are on full display. That’s not to say that it’s all about unique mecha simply fighting each other. Underneath the fighting and the bravado is an understated but still present and solid plotline that makes itself known well enough to keep everything moving along nicely. When the plot does take the reigns of the action, the fights are rather entertaining. It may not exactly be like anything from other action series, but I can safely say that not once did I hit the skip button on my remote during any fight.
Just like in many other series before it, G Gundam has a full and diverse cast of characters. The alliances that are made and broken are just like any other incarnation of Gundam, but it’s the interactions of the characters that make them unique from any other Gundam series before or after it. After the introductions are done, you really get to know each and every pilot and assistant. Personalities and motives are fleshed out as vividly as possible at every occasion. Their individual hopes, dreams, and aspirations are on full display, which allows for the viewer to connect on some pretty strong levels. By the tail end of the series, don’t be surprised to find yourself rooting for the good guys as if you were at a real sporting event.
Is this series going to win any awards for outstanding writing or cinematography? Absolutely not. However, if you want to sit back and watch a genuinely entertaining Gundam series that tries a little something different, then G Gundam should be right up your alley.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.