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Kidou Senshi Gundam

Kidou Senshi Gundam
Episodes: 43 Start date: End date:


September U.C. 0079 - December U.C. 0079

In the year Universal Century 0079,The Principality of Zeon invents a gigantic human-shaped weapon called the Mobile Suit (MS) and begins its war for independence against the Earth Federation. The story depicts the life of young boys and girls in the war, focusing on the young protagonist named Amuro Ray. Amuro becomes the pilot of the Gundam, a prototype MS developed by Federation Force. Through his battles against the ace pilot of Zeon, Char Aznable, and the bitter trials of the war, he become aware of his uniqueness as a NewType.

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Mobile Suit Gundam is quite possibly the single most influential mecha anime of all time, which may not sound like a lot but when you have series like Evangelion and Gurren Lagann in the mix it’s an impressive feat.

Firstly some context, before Mobile Suit Gundam, or Gundam 0079 as I will refer to it from this point on, there were few if any mecha shows that incorporated the series’ giant robots in a grounded and realistic way. Shows before Gundam 0079 typically featured giant flashy mech that got into one on one fights with other giant robots or huge alien monsters, in monster of the weak bouts against some jobber brought in by a comically evil, moustache twirling villain, shows like Mazinger Z and Getter Robo.

Gundam 0079 differentiated itself at the time by being a show that portrayed it’s mecha and fights as a completely serious and harsh thing within the world of Gundam. It’s fight scenes are often semi realistic depictions of violence with mechs being cut to the centre and the metal being melted by beam blades as the pilot inside screamed for dear life. This brutal depiction of violence is what grounds this show and makes a lot of the moral quandaries in the series feel real, for example, the main character Amuro’s struggle with murdering people in a war orchestrated by people who don’t understand the cost of life and send in troops to die without any consideration for people who die or their loved ones.

This grounded feeling also lends itself to the characters of the series, arguably the single strongest aspect of the series and the true focus, its characters are often extremely human and feel like real people with real problems, with stand outs being: Char, Amuro and Bright. Char, a man blinded by revenge. Amuro, a young boy struggling to fight in a war he believes he has no stake in. Bright, a commander in charge of a squad of young, inexperienced civilians who he must guide while himself learning what it means to be a commanding officer.

Lastly I want to talk about the message Gundam 0079 presents in it’s narrative, to put it simply it’s a story about how war is bad and that’s a pretty lofty goal for a kids show in the 70’s. It manages to paint a realistic portrayal of the miseries of war and how it affects the psyche of people who are a variety of ages and have different ideologies, it teaches us that war breaks even the strongest of people and serves only to self perpetuate, an endless cycle of hell that brings only death and misery but that's not to say it's whoely miserable, it also thinks people can and do change and that both sides aren't bad and that the people who fight aren't inherently bad for fighting for what they belive in.

I wholeheartedly believe that Gundam 0079 was one of the biggest if not the biggest turning point in anime in terms of writing characters and building themes to create a story with impact and depth and to name all its inspired would take you a life time because it’s still inspiring creators to this day, people like Hideaki Anno and Hiroyuki Imaishi, directors of the aforementioned series’ Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. Do yourself a solid and watch Gundam 0079 to learn and to love.

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