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Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky on Blu-ray

Director: Kō Matsuo

Writer: Kō Matsuo

Music by: Naruyoshi Kikuchi

U. S. Distributor: Sunrise, Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: July 7th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 70 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Action, Adventure, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A

Synopsis:

Their war has not yet ended…

It is Universal Century 0079, at the end of the One Year War between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. The space colonies of Side 4, or Moore, were previously destroyed by a Zeon attack, and many colonists lost their lives. Side 4 became a shoal zone filled with the wreckage of destroyed colonies and warships, lit by constant flashes of lightning due to collisions between electrified debris. It soon came to be known as the “Thunderbolt Sector.”

The Moore Brotherhood, an Earth Federation Forces unit made up of surviving citizens from Moore, set out to exterminate the Zeon forces in the Thunderbolt Sector in order to reclaim their homeland. To halt the Federation advance, the Zeon forces deployed their own Living Dead Division, which was established to collect combat data on soldiers with prosthetic limbs.

Io Fleming, though part of the Moore Brotherhood, hates being tied down by his homeland and family history. Daryl Lorenz, having lost his legs in earlier battles, is now an ace sniper of the Living Dead Division. When they confront each other on the battlefield, they will reach a mutual realization. These two are destined to kill each other.

Commentary:

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky is the type of anime film that proves if you keep doing a thing enough you will finally get it right. This film hits on several major points and leave3s you wanting for a lot more. From the opening sequence all the way to end ending montage I found December Sky to be a delight. It did manage to have some of the overly melodramatic elements that Gundam Universal Century calls for and at the same time uses music and lively characters to make this fast paced film something worth watching.

One thing is very clear and that is the fact that Kō Matsuo understood the import of making these characters complex and human enough to sympathize with on both sides. Funny thing, I found December Sky to be one of the most anti war Gundam produces yet.

Overall Grade: A

As you can tell, I really liked December Sky and will recommend it to all Gundam fans and all other Sci Fi fans who love music and action. I don’t really care if it doesn’t resolve anything I think that from the artistic stylings to the insane character development everyone can get a great idea of what this film is all about. So, I just want to tell Kō Matsuo thank you for proving us with 70 minutes of pure excitement.

Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team (anime review)

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team on Blu-ray

Director:   Takeyuki Kanda (Eps. 1-6),Umanosuke Iida (Eps. 7-12), Shinya Watada (OVA), Mitsuko Kase, Takeyuki Kanda, Umanosuke Iida (Millers Report)

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Rightstuf

U. S. Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes and OVA and Movie / 355 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Romance

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team contains episodes 1-12 of the Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team OVA Series plus the Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team: Miller’s Report movie.

The year is Universal Century 0079. The Federation has begun mass production of prototype Gundams for use by its ground forces. Shiro Amada, commander of the 08th MS Team, must lead his soldiers through fierce fighting on the ground. However, the Zeons are developing a secret project which could tip the balance of power! Can Shiro and his ragtag team of castoffs, rejects, and bad attitudes save the Federation?

Commentary:

Okay, now we have a Gundam series that is worth a little praise and a hefty pat on the back. Giving us the a hero how commands a standard grunt force stuck in jungle warfare is just beautiful. The team is made up of a wide variety of personalities and each one of them are just precious.

The overall feel of Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team is rather straight forward and doesn’t leave us wondering what is going on. Shiro is one of those commanders who seems rather calm on the surface but makes it clear that he believes in a rather optimistic hope for all of humanity. This and his apparent affection for a Zeon female soldier help him continue to do the right thing and also save the Federation from the Zeon zealots?

Overall Grade:

I really enjoyed the Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team it gave me the kind of character development I have been looking for in the Gundam Universe without the overwhelming melodrama. There is plenty of melodrama, but it is tempered by the 08th Team itself.

The animation quality is rather good for an older series and placing the series on Earth in a jungle setting helps keep it grounded. The action and overall feel of  08th Team has a lightness rarely found and it is easy to see the the writing team enjoyed doing this one. The directing is also rather seamless between directors which also shows a continuity in the writing that helped.

To put it simply, Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team is good and has plenty of tasty meet still left on the bone.

Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory & Afterglow of Zeon Film: Complete series (anime review)

Title: Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory & Afterglow of Zeon Film on Blu-ray

Directors: Mitsuko Kase (eps. 1-5), Takashi Imanishi (eps. 2-13)

Writers: Fuyunori Gobu (eps. 1-4), Akinori Endo (eps. 5-6), Asahide Ookuma (eps. 7-8, 10, 12-13), Ryōsuke Takahashi (eps. 9, 11)

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes & film / 444 Episodes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 contains episodes 1-13 of Stardust Memory plus the Afterglow of Zeon compilation film.

Universal Century 0083. Having triumphed in the One-Year War, the Earth Federation has grown complacent, while the last remnants of Zeon forces have been planning one final stand. It all hinges on ace Zeon pilot Anavel Gato stealing one of the new prototype Gundams out from under the Federation’s nose. With a nuclear-equipped Gundam missing and their pride wounded, the Federation ship Albion and rookie pilot Kou Uraki set out in pursuit of the Zeon thieves and the stolen Gundam GP02A.

Special Features: The animation shorts “the Mayfly of Space 1” and “The Mayfly of Space 2”, Clean Openings, Clean Closings, and Japanese Promos.

Commentary:

In the Gundam franchise there are few series that I find above average and Stardust Memory is one of the few. There is still plenty of the over-the-top melodrama and one sided seriousness that I do have to cringe from time to time. Stardust Memory is fairly straight forward and clearly opens with the plot and development of the story.

Overall Grade: B

Without giving anything away I can honestly say that I believe that Gundam and non-Gundam fans will find this to be one of the best written series in the Universal Century saga. I can’t say that the age of the series will help bring people to the table because the animation shows it age and some of the dialogue is standard Gundam diatribe.

With all of the Gundam available I would suggest seeing Char’s Counter Attack before watching Stardust Memories (0083). You would at least have some understanding of what is really going on and maybe even have a little more appreciation of this series and Afterglow of Zeon.

I must admit that it great to see the Gundam universe come back to life.

30 Day Gundam Build Finals

Anther build competition is in the books now and again we saw great results from the 30 Day Gundam Build. Competitors were given 30 days to build the model of their choice. All builders showed us all how much they loved building these models, some projects were just so big that 30 days just wasn’t enough time and others showed off the special talents of the builders.

Animeggroll wants to thank all of the builders for their hard work. The judge for having a very tough task of selecting the top 3 and all of his hard work at putting together a judging format. The photographer for her great job of giving us some wonderful shots of the special work.

Many of these great builds are currently on display in the glass cases back in the Gundam area in the store. Come on by and check out all the incredible builds.

Here are pictures from the event.

Gundam Evolve (anime review)

gundam-evolveTitle: Gundam Evolve

Director: Various – compilation shorts series

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Format: DVD / 120 minutes / 15 episodes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis: 

Explore the Gundam Universe from fifteen new perspectives!

Experience the ultimate visualization of the Mobile Suit Gundam Universe with fifteen short films featuring a mix of traditional and digital animation styles. You’ll find adventures from multiple Gundam series, including side stories of characters such as Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing, and a retelling of episode 39 of the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series!

Features fifteen short Gundam films by directors like Kenichi Suzuki (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Shukou Murase (Gangsta., Ergo Proxy), Takashi Imanishi (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin), and more!

Commentary:

The Gundam universe is broad and wide and Evolve is one of the stranger corners of that Universe. These 15 shorts are all over the place and after a while you aren’t sure what you are watching. It is very clear that the point of this compilation was to show off the awesome CG (Computer Generated Animation) in the early 2000’s.  The flaw in having it released now is that the CG just falls short and is at time very hard to watch. The other major flaw is that the continuity fall s apart with have so many different directors and creators involved.

Overall Grade: C+

Gundam Evolve is something very special in the Gundam franchise, but looses in critical aspect of being well made and coherent. The overworked CG and felling that this is nothing more than a compilation of cut scenes or music videos will leave you wanting for a lot more. I also found the inclusion of SD (Super Deformed) shorts as distracting and not helpful in puling off the grouping.

For most Gundam fans Gundam Evolve will be one of those curiosities that they will buy to add to their collection. For everyone else this set is just a confusing grouping of Gundam shorts that will leave you scratching your head and asking yourself what just happened to the last two hours that you will never be able to get back.

 

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Collection Two on Blu-ray (anime review)

mobile-suit-zeta-gundamTitle: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Collection Two on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi/ Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: April 5th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

A new force enters the Universal Century conflict. Can the A.E.U.G. fight a war on two fronts?

The Universal Century world is locked into an escalating conflict. While the A.E.U.G. resistance group strives to convince the world of the justice of its cause, the brutal Titans continue to suppress dissent through violence and fear. Now the struggle enters a new phase as a powerful third force enters the battlefield, and the A.E.U.G. and Titans race to enlist the support of the mysterious Axis renegades. Confronted with his past, Char Aznable at last decides to embrace his role as leader of the A.E.U.G. But his choice may have come too late, for the Titans have completed their most terrible and devastating weapon.

Commentary:

In the world know as Gundam there are often conflicting messages, but one thing stands true, women make great shields. I think Zeta has the greatest body count of martyrs than any other Gundam series. The one thing that runs through most of this plot devise is that most of them die for the wrong person.

Zeta Gundam is still one of my favorite series of the franchise and yet it manages to frustrate me and remind me how backward much of the mindset set was back in the 1980’s. I am not proud to say that I come from the era and less proud to relive the foolishness that was viewed as high entertainment in the anime world,

Overall Grade: B

The series as a whole is good enough and is clearly a stand out in the Gundam universe. I know that there are a good deal of fans that will climb over each other to get their hands on this series and plenty that will stand back and scratch their heads. I do understand the fandom, I may not always agree with it but I get it.

So, all you Gundam fan get your Zeta hats on and get ready for part two of the Mobile Suite Zeta Gundam series to hit the store shelves. I know you will like it.

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (anime review)

mobile-suit-zeta-gundam-Title: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Collection One on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi/ Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: March 1st, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

The Earth Federation stands victorious, but are they still on the right side?

In Zeta Gundam, we see the future world of the Universal Century through a dark mirror. Having defeated the Zeon menace, the Earth Federation has itself become cruel and oppressive. A new generation of Gundam mobile suits is created not to fight for peace, but to punish the enemies of the state, and yesterday’s villains must become today’s heroes in order to balance the scales of justice. When a young civilian named Kamille Bidan is caught up in the rebellion, he little suspects the price he will pay in the fight for freedom.

Commentary:

I really wanted to like Kamille and I wanted to root for him, but that didn’t last. Once he joined the A.E.U.G. he became even more obnoxious. In the beginning he was a thief and then he just became a whinny little Japanese main character. Other than the obnoxious main character I found the series rather enjoyable. To be honest I don’t find the older series rather tiresome, but Zeta Gundam has some interesting points of view that are well developed and explored in a very deliberate manor. The philosophical viewpoint from A.E.U.G. is rather forward thinking for a series that is almost 15 years old.

Overall Grade: B

When the name Gundam is mentioned I know that I am in for a long conversation with a fan who are immersed in a universe of contradictions and  fanciful flights of science fiction that tend to defy any real grounding in physics or understanding of the universe we live in. Zeta Gundam manages to find some reality but the strength of the series is in its viewpoints not the understanding of the physics that surround them.

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a fun series and I have a feeling that the second collection will round it out and bring it home with a bang. I know that Gundam fans will grab this one up, but if you are new to the series this is a good one to start with. The animation is reasonable for a TV series and the writing is better than several of the other series in the Gundam universe. So, if you want to dip your toe’s in the world of Mobile Suit Gundam then Zeta is a great place to start.