Archive for the 'after war gundam x' Category

Fact #1054 About Watching a Gundam Series

No matter how much you say “I need a break, this is getting too intense” towards the end of the series, you somehow find yourself marathoning the ending as fast as you possibly can.

It happened with me and Turn A. It happened with me with G. And now it’s happened with X.

For the past 24 hours, pretty much all I’ve seen is After War Gundam X. And, despite a rather rocky start, it actually got to a level akin with other Gundam series. Unfortunately for the show, the last season of its run got nixed, so we ended up with a set of last 13 episodes that, at times, felt rather rushed. Despite the rushed feeling, and the sometimes random appearance of plot points that didn’t seem to have a genesis from anything, it still ended up being one of the better Gundam series that I’ve seen.

The end revolved around the “secret” of the Newtypes, which apparently is that they don’t really exist, and that neither the Federation nor the Colonies should bandy about the phrase “Newtype” as an excuse for military action and sectionalism. This, coupled with the delightfully evil Frost brothers, Shagia and Olba, made for a suitably epic last episode.

The whole series is about fighting to change the future: rather than a future where the prospect is more and more wars, the future should be one of peace and prosperity. Of course, the ones making the major changes towards this peaceful future are the youngest, Garrod in particular. Led by the future vision of Jamil, himself a Newtype, Garrod strives to end the conflict between humanity (here, as in most Gundam series, represented by the conflict between old and new, between Earth and her Colonies) through the usual Gundam method of destroying those most willing to stir up the feelings of war between them (the Frost brothers, who at least helped Garrod by taking out both the leaders of the New Federation and the Space Revolution [who, by the way, are exactly the same, except they have different sized Jowls of Evil, and one has a wart on his rather large nose]).

Spoilers: He succeeds!

Most every Gundam series usually ends up being an uplifting tale of individuals fighting against everyone else because they have a vision of peace. X is no exception, and, despite being the little Gundam that couldn’t, due to low ratings, it’s actually a much better Gundam than you would expect of one being canceled. It’s every bit as good as the ones that get the most attention, so its abandonment to the shores of time perplexes me, having now watched it. I can only imagine what these last few episodes could have been if only the series hadn’t been canceled.

It’s been a while since I watched an older Gundam series–I was introduced to the franchise with SEED, like quite a few people who got into anime after Wing had long ceased airing on Cartoon Network–so I forgot how absolutely intense they could be. Which is probably why my mind’s a little shot right now. But it’s a good kind of shot. I’ve accomplished something. Or not.

Gundam X got rather good all of a sudden

I don’t know what actually happened, but After War Gundam X, mid-series, just got a hell of a lot better. It’d been quite enjoyable before, although I could really see why it got canceled. Gundam X is a strange beast of a Gundam. It feels really weird, and a lot more “episodic” at first. Oh, there’s multi-episode plot arcs galore, but they all felt rather standalone. However, in episode 21 we got the introduction of the midseries upgrade, the Gundam Double X. It looks suitably scary and imposing and like it’s about ready to blow up small islands at the drop of a hat. We also get the actual antagonist entity for Jamil and co. to fight against by 24.

What sets this series apart from other Gundam series (and why the first 20 episodes feel so weird) is that it’s not about fighting a war so much as fighting the spectre of war. The name of the timeline is well suited to explaining this–since the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it is indeed After War. This isn’t a Gripping War Melodrama like most other Gundam series tend to be (except for G, because Imagawa Yasuhiro is…well, Imagawa Yasuhiro), it’s a Gripping After War Melodrama. See what I’m getting at?

What do we find as the focus of many of the early arc plots? We find that they tend to revolve around old, abandoned projects that might have been table-turning in the war, if they had ever actually come to fruition. There’s the whole sequence in the snowy fort dealing with the Patrouria and artifical Newtypes to destroy the world again. Then there’s the whole sequence on the ocean where first they’re helping Newtype dolphins escape the fate of being turned into radar systems (The Newtype dolphin, by the way, is quite gar) and then they’re confronting Project L, another remnant of the war that poses a threat to the crew of the Frieden.

This isn’t quite a war to end all wars, like we’re getting in Gundam 00 right now. Instead, it’s something more subtle–it’s trying to, as is bandied about before the Double X gets stolen,  fight against the future and prevent another large-scale disaster like the massive colony drop. It’s not quite the same, but there’s a clear semantical difference between X and other Gundam series. I think it’s that difference that contributed to why it ended up “failing”, but it’s also that difference that makes it a good series. It’s one of those series that, while not ahead of its time, people just weren’t ready for it at the time it aired.

We’ve got 00 airing right now, and I’d really like to see what Sunrise does with the franchise after both seasons of 00 have finished airing. The only Gundam I’ve ever been disappointed in was Destiny, but I also haven’t watched Wing and ZZ, which are usually the most reviled, but I plan to when I get the chance to. It’s quite fun to see what each new alternate Gundam universe does that’s different and strange from the others.

G is still the best, though. I refuse to budge on that matter.

Gundam X, more like Gundam x Macross

Seriously. It’s like the “epilogue” part of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross had an illicit affair with Universal Century Gundam and had a bastard child and named it After War Gundam X.

I started watching it last night, and am already on episode 8. It started out really slow, and really kind of…I guess “silly” is the best word for it. It’s hard to explain what the first few episodes are like. You watch it and you’re like “Wait, is this supposed to be Gundam?” It’s the same kind of feeling you get from Mobile Fighter G Gundam (my personal Best Gundam Ever) and Turn-A Gundam (my personal Second Best Gundam Ever, although really it’s a tie) except it feels more like a standard mecha show. However, after I realized that the first few episodes were just intended to be setting up characters for the actual plot (most importantly, Garrod, Jamil, Tiffa, and the Frost brothers) the show stopped seeming “silly” (again, that’s the wrong word for it) and started really grabbing me. I don’t know what happened–I guess I just got used to X’s particular brand of Gundam.

And the SDF Macross epilogue comparison is truly accurate. It takes place, well, “After War”, after what is probably the most devastating colony drop in Gundam history (that’s because just about EVERY SINGLE COLONY got dropped, though) and left the Earth a hostile environment unable to support life. What brought about this end was the appearance of the Earth Federation’s secret weapon, the GX-9900, which–you guessed it–is the Gundam that Our Hero, Garrod, finds himself piloting. There were like 50 of them in the prologue bit, which, when you realize what their power is, is just absolutely frightening.

I haven’t watched enough of it yet to give it proper treatment (it is a 39 episodes series) but it’s starting to win me over. It’s Gundam, and, what’s more, it’s a Gundam that approaches Gundam in a novel way (even 00 doesn’t quite get as bizarro Gundam as X does, although it’s certainly up there). It’s true that every Gundam series approaches Gundam in a novel way (that’s kind of the purpose of the alternate universe series) but it’s just fascinating to me to see so many series–all of them titled Gundam–to approach the same kind of concept in such a different way.

Gundam X seems to be telling a kind-of love story, with Garrod’s love for the mostly unemotional Tiffa. (Eureka Seven fans, are you seeing a similarity here? She even applies MAKEUP!) This is Tiffa:

The image does not show off Tiffa’s extremely long (and extremely sexy) ponytail. She’s unfortunately very delicate–the first time Garrod uses the mega-huge beam cannon, she essentially falls into a state of shock, since she is a Newtype and can read the thoughts and feel the pain of everyone around her. So she’s a bit more useful than Eureka. Kind of.

This is one of those Gundam series that no one who claims to be a Gundam fan should pass up (but, then again, why are you claiming yourself as a Gundam fan if you aren’t interested in watching every Gundam series?), and it’s certainly got enough appeal outside of the Gundam name to merit a look by someone not a Gundam fan. And Macross fans who want an entire series based on the epilogue of SDF Macross. Except not Macross. Yeah.


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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June 2023