a.k.a. Kidou Senshi Gundam II: Soldiers of Sorrow
As the war between the Federation and Zeonic forces continues to ravage the Earth, Amuro and the crew of White Base are sent straight to the front-lines, battle after battle. The continuous fighting begins to take its toll on the young soldiers. Can they hold on together long enough to make it to Jaburo?
summary by Ender
Highs: Large amounts of action; some character moments
Lows: Tremendous lag in the story
Well, after the initial setup of the first movie, it was time for the stakes to rise and the characters to start dying. Soldiers of Sorrow continues right where the last movie left off and continues the story quite nicely… except for the few snags it runs into along the way. Okay, make that the few large snags.
This film is a little more than 30 percent new animation, and chronicles episodes 15 or so up until around episode 31. So, it is here that characters die. And if there is one thing Tomino knows well, it’s character death. Here the battles become larger and larger, and the crew of White Base begins to learn the further hardships of war. Though the main focus is on Amuro, some time is also given to the side characters like Kai, Ryu, Ramba Ral and Matilda. Suddenly, those characters do not feel like wallflowers and actually take large parts in the action that plays out and assist in showing what war can truly do to a human being.
I must say for all this action, things get a bit… boring and formulaic. The action sequences almost look identical, and even the climactic finale is a bit anticlimactic when stacked up to all the other action sequences in the film. I think they could have managed to keep the action down just a bit to make even more room for the characters, but this movie is long enough as it is. I guess audiences really need something to blow up on screen to keep their attention.
This is the weakest out of the Gundam trilogy. However, if you have watched the first movie or do not want to sit through episodes 15 through 31, then this movie cannot be avoided if you want to get to the conclusion. Just be prepared to keep your finger on the fast-forward button.
Highs: Encapsulates the next 16 episodes adequately; animation receives a boost
Lows: The first half’s transitions, or lack thereof; pounds the Newtype concept into the ground
When I first watched Soldiers of Sorrow, I was somewhat disappointed because it didn’t continue following the television series as well as Gundam I had. Then I shook my head a few times and found that I had to look at it from the perspective of it not being an overbudgeted recap. That made me slightly less disappointed.
Soldiers of Sorrow continues the story of the next 16 episodes well. Because of this, the most development out of the three movies can be seen here in every character from Amuro to Kai. The death of friends and loved ones shakes many of the crew members to their core, and it becomes obvious where the title of this movie comes from. And a little bit of eye candy doesn’t hurt, either. Okay, so many people will still look at the 30% new animation and ask, “that’s supposed to be eye candy?” In comparison to the original animation, the new stuff is a nice improvement.
I have no problem with the fact that Soldiers of Sorrow attempts to retell the original series in a lot less time, but the Sunrise staff mucked up much of the first half. With such bad editing and transitions between scenes, I would be surprised if someone did not raise their eyebrows at least once. For example, the White Base is flying over Eastern Europe in one scene and then attempting to land a second later at a Federation base… in Belfast, Ireland (for those of you who need help, I’m not the geography Professor). This becomes absurd in no time, but what’s almost as bad is the heavy use of the Newtype concept. No character has a clear idea of what a Newtype is, but there is a near-constant overemphasis of it. This sheer overuse just might cause you to become sick.
If you haven’t watched the first movie, don’t watch Soldiers of Sorrow; you’ll just be lost as to what’s going on. Even if you’ve watched the television series, do not watch this movie; this is effectively a different anime. Try looking passed the horrible transitions and you just might make it to Encounters in Space.
Mobile Suit Gundam I, II, and III can be downloaded legally in the United States as one single collection HERE.