a.k.a. Kidou Senshi Z Gundam -Hoshi wo Tsugu Mono-
It is the year Universal Century 0087, and the Earth Federation is at war with itself. The rebellious AEUG is in the midst of a shadow conflict with the Titans. Kamille Bidan, a teenager from the colonies, inadvertently finds himself in the middle of a heartless battle. Now he must fight for the AEUG as the pilot of the Mark II Gundam… the survival of the colonies depends on it.
summary by Ender
Highs: Streamlined story that flows well; the new animation
Lows: Often confusing presentation; the old animation
Much like George Lucas to Star Wars, Tomino Yoshiyuki returns to his controversial Gundam series with new tricks and some very large scissors. Many people are going to wonder why it took so long for him to put Zeta Gundam on the big screen, while others will ask if the film still has the same magic as the series did 20 years ago. I think the more important question is: is it worth my valuable time? With all nitpicks and favorites aside, I can honestly say “yes.”
At first, I was a bit skeptical approaching this film. After all, it would be very hard for even a director like Tomino to avoid a few backlashes for remaking his own story. Then again, he did the same thing with Mobile Suit Gundam, and the effect is the same here. Many of the series longer scenes (the extended stay in Granada and Jerid’s ineptness as a Titans pilot) have been cut down to allow an almost seamlessly moving story. However, there’s still the occasional sprung thread that may go over most Gundam fans’ heads, but also leave the casual viewer wondering. For example, Reccoa Londe (an important character) does not even get her name mentioned until a few scenes after her initial appearance. This tends to be a common problem with compilation movies, but it can be avoided.
One of the major developments this movie had going for it was the integration of brand new footage with the older cinematics. Again, as with the narrative, this has its own ups and downs. The new animation is truly marvelous and makes me yearn for the day Sunrise puts out less Gundam series and more Gundam movies. The big highlight is the climactic battle between AEUG forces and a Titans pursuit team at the end. In spite of this, the older animation juxtaposes horribly with the new. Although it’s not a big problem with the smaller, quieter scenes, it becomes an almost laughable nuisance when the various dogfights seem to cut in and out of newer and older animation. If Sunrise was going to take the theatrical route with a gem from the ’80s, it should either have remade the whole series with new footage or made the movie back in the ’80s. Either of those choices would have been preferable.
After the failure that was Gundam Seed Destiny, a much-needed return to the Universal Century brings Gundam back to its rightful space opera roots. Though it is just the beginning of a trilogy, Heirs to the Stars marks a very different path for this franchise, one any self-respecting otaku would want to see further develop.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Heirs to the Stars can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.