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Kino’s Journey (anime review)

Title: Kino’s Journey: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Ryūtarō Nakamura

Studio: A. C. G. T.

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: Feb. 26th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Adventure, Sci Fi, Philosophical

Age Rating: PG

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Three days. Two nights. That’s how much time Kino and Hermes allot to each new place they visit before drifting off again, crossing a mysterious land filled with mystical sights and strange customs. Kino’s an enigmatic loner, skilled with weapons and always anticipating what might lie around the next hill or bend of the river. Hermes is Kino’s friend, companion, and motorcycle, gifted with the ability to think and speak, seldom as bold as Kino, but always there when speed is required.

What is their goal, their ultimate destination? Like life itself, it’s all a mystery that one can only solve by taking the journey. All Kino and Hermes know is that adventure, danger, and new wonders lie on the horizon, waiting to be encountered at each passing stop. Join the odyssey and drift along for the ride!

Commentary:

Kino’s Journey is a rather different series that takes a hard look at humanity in a sometimes harsh reality. It does something that I have only managed to come across a few times in anime or any series for that matter, which is to get to the hard realism of our own brutal nature. Of course there is plenty of optimism interlaced, in fact Kino is a shinning beacon for our tortured species. Although Kino managed to remain rather detached or appears to be separated there are moments that you realize that Kino cares much more than is apparent.

Overall Grade: A-

Kino’s Journey reminds of another series that looks at our species though a rather odd lens, that series was Mushi Shi. Both are somewhat reflective but the quiet nature of the main characters manage to provide a grounding for the disturbing qualities in the ones that surround them and the environments they discover.

The only detractor for Kino’s Journey has to be the age of the series and the animation production quality. It is clear that Kino’s Journey was produced for television and the overall production quality is on the low side, but that is where the deficiencies end. The writing, voice acting and overall concepts are well above average which make Kino’s Journey a real treasure.

Looking for a series that will make you think then Kino’s Journey should be place at the top of your list.

Rocket Girls: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Rocket Girls: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Hiroshi Aoyama

Studio: Mook Animation

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 15th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Comedy, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

When Yukari Morita decided to look for her missing father who disappeared in the South Seas, she had no idea how far her journey would take her. Just traveling to the Solomon Islands is a long way for a high school girl to go on her own, but then Yukari runs into an astronaut from the Solomon Space Association, which has been trying to build a rocket powerful enough launch a man into space. Upon meeting the petite Yukari, however, SSA director Nasuda realizes that she’s small enough to go up in a less powerful rocket the SSA has already built! So he offers her a deal: if Yukari agrees to become their astronaut, the SSA will help find her missing father! Will Yukari have the right stuff to blast off in the wildest space quest ever? Find out in Rocket Girls!

Commentary:

Any time a series is adapted from a popular light novel the anime is often flawed. In the case of Rocket Girls the story manages to stand on its own. Of course there has to be plenty of great stuff left behind. To its credit this series does manage to get to the point of the story.

I feel as thought there was a reasonable attempt to provide solid character development for the girls and with the tight constraints of 12 episodes there is plenty of development along with plot focus that is provided.

As the series progressed it becomes clear that this anime really wants to be taken seriously and because of its real life help from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Rocket Girls does manage just fine.

Overall Grade: B+

I really love these type of anime. I was particular fond of Space Brothers and all 99 episodes that were produced. With Rocket Girls the shortness of the series did have an impact on the overall enjoyment. I do wish much of the everyday issues, trials and tribulations could have been played out a little better.

Rocket Girls is very good at what it does. There are plenty of smiles and a few solid laughs, but the place it shines is in the real life science and some of the drama that comes out in the story.

If you are looking for a light hearted Science / Fiction story that just might inspire a young lady to look at space as an option for a career then Rocket Girls is for you.

Frame Arms Girl: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Frame Arms Girl: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi

Studio: Zexcs, Studio A-Cat

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 4th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Fantasy, Action

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis:

When Ao found the package on her doorstep, she thought it was a present from her father, but inside the box was something truly unexpected: Gourai!

A Frame Arms Girl, Gourai is a walking, talking, miniature artificial person with the intelligence of a ten-year-old human and a selection of snap-on weapons and armor. And the reason Gourai needs armor quickly becomes clear as two more Frame Arms Girls, Stylet and Baselard, arrive intent on testing Gourai’s combat capabilities! It seems that Ao has been chosen to help test a new toy line and the good news is that she’ll get paid for hosting her diminutive charges’ battles! Of course, since they’re mainly interested in fighting and gathering information, things are going to get awkward when they follow her to school.

Commentary:

Frame Arms Girl is taking off where Gundam Build Fighters left off. The big difference is that the Frame Arms Girls are anthropomorphic girls which has an even deeper history in the anime world leading back to Hand Made Maids and Chobits, but that is were the similarities end. The basic plot is simplistic and rather straight forward with not too many surprises. The one area that the series falls apart for me is the animation itself. The heavy handed computer graphics (CG) put me off right away. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s this style of animations was kind of cool, but with all the advancements in animation software this hard edge CG just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The thing about Frame Arms Girl that makes it special is the fact that it focuses on the younger female audience. Build Fighters brought girls into the mix and recognized the inclusion of girls in the genre, but Frame Arms Girl takes it to the next step and makes them the focus of the entire story. This is the star aspect of the entire series. Funny thing is that over the last few years I have come across more men who want to build these models and it almost seems as though the series has attracted a much difference demographic.

Overall Grade: C+

There is a lot that I liked about Frame Arms Girl, but it has to be the animation production values that stands out for me. The out dated  hard edged CG almost shut me down completely. The saving grace is the fun of the story and the fact that there is an honest attempt to include the younger female audience in the genre.

I really want to recommend this series to everyone because of the overall fun it brings and also to see how series can be more inclusive. I just find the overall endorsement to fail me because of the CG. If you enjoy bad CG and have a younger female viewer who would enjoy this story then you need to rush out and grab a copy. Frame Arms Girl is a minor hit for me and think it could find a broader audience if it had an english dub and better animation. If you are curious then you should defiantly check it out!

Flip Flappers: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Flip Flappers: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Kiyotaka Oshiyama

Writer: Yuniko Ayana

Music By: To-Mas

Studio: Studio 3Hz

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 27th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Magical Girl, Absurdity, Adventure, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

As a middle school student, Cocona has been trying to decide what to do with her life. Magical Girl, however, wasn’t a career path that she’d ever considered. When suddenly a strange girl named Papika thrusts her into a secret organization called Flip Flap, Cocona’s outlook does a radical flip-flop. Her views start to change when she is dragged into an alternate dimension called Pure Illusion where she’s charged with gathering crystal shards and fighting strange creatures.

Now, between running missions and facing off against a rival organization, Cocona doesn’t have much time to consider alternate career choices. What are these shards, and why is gathering them so important? There’s a mystery to be solved and multiple worlds to be saved!

Commentary:

Flip Flappers is another great example of the direction anime has begun to explore as we see new creative teams finding the financing to create new and imaginative series. Only 13 episodes long there is a great deal of action, weirdness and story packed into Flip Flappers. Looking at the series as a whole I can say that I see Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Fooly Cooly, Puella Madoka Magica and even Space Dandy all rolled up into it. In fact I feel as though that the list is on the short side. I would consider Flip Flappers a true post modern production the way it takes the past and manages to deconstruct so many anime and reconstructs it into a crazy series that leaves you smiling and scratching your head at the same time.

Overall Grade: A

Just the animation for Flip Flappers makes it a winner for me. With some solid absurdity and plenty of surreal surroundings take the series over the top. There are a few weaknesses and I think the the character development of Cocona and Papika could have been drawn out a little better with more hints and story development earlier on. The real meat of the series doesn’t come into play until later in the story line and it would have been nice to give more glimpses of their past together before we get to episode 9/10.

I think Flip Flappers is a big surprise for the winter releases but I am afraid it will be over looked for other big name releases. So, if you are looking for a series that will keep you guessing and make you smile all the way down the rabbit hole then Flip Flappers is the series for you. It is not too often that we get treated to a new series that will blow your mind from the very beginning and keep blowing it all the way to end.

Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) Blu-Ray Collection (anime review)

Title:Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) Blu-Ray Collection

Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi

Writer: Yasuyuki Muto

Music by: Hiroyuki Sawano

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: March 6th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 7 Episodes / 450 Minutes

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

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) Blu-ray Collection contains episodes 1-7.

Universal Century 0096. Three years after the last conflict between Neo Zeon and the Earth Federation Forces, the tentative peace of the Earth Sphere is about to be shattered again. Cardeas Vist, the head of the powerful Vist Foundation, has decided to hand over “Laplace’s Box,” the secret of the Foundation’s prosperity, to the supposed enemy, Neo Zeon. Banagher Links, a student at the space colony Industrial 7, rescues a mysterious girl who calls herself Audrey Burne. Audrey is seeking to prevent a war, but it seems she has come too late. As Banagher’s home colony is devastated by the attacks of the enemy mobile suit Kshatriya, he finds his strange destiny and is forced to fight in the formidable weapon system known as the Unicorn Gundam.

Based on a bestselling novel by the famed writer Harutoshi Fukui and animated with theatrical quality, this new chapter in the Gundam saga is a cutting-edge anime series for all coming generations.

Special Features: The “Story So Far”, Episode EX “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, Episode Recaps, Episode 5 Ending with Lyrics, Trailers, Promotional Videos, Commercials, MS & Character Highlights, Episode 3 Textless Ending.

Commentary:

In the wide world of Mobile Suit Gundam there are few series that I find as well put together as Unicorn. This short but exceptional series does something that others did not manage to do. It makes the characters mostly likable and less melodramatic than most of the other series. Unicorn does play fast and loose with physics and makes some aspects a little hard to believe but it remains fun and entertaining. Maybe not as much fun as MS 08th Team or dramatic and hard hitting as Thunderbolt,  but it still hits most of the high points and leave little to disappoint.

The one thing that I felt was a little to tried and true for a Gundam series was the way Banagher was whinny and somewhat of a punk. This model of the anti-hero is something the Japanese love to have as the star protagonist. At least they toned it down somewhat and didn’t allow him to ruin the series the way Camille or even Amuro Ray for that matter. This whinny hero boy archetype is always the weak link in gundam and it is not surprise that most fans will levitate toward  Char or Full Frontal as the real favorite.

Overall grade: A-

One great benefit to being produced in the last 10 years is the quality of animation. Unicorn is top flight and it really does make a difference. Being easy to watch make all the difference in the world. I found it much easier to overlook the bad physics and melodramatic writing when the overall look is fluid and appealing.

Overall Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn is one of the best short series for Gundam, next to MS o8th Team. I know that this group of disc were out already, but the repackaging in a single group is much appreciated and I have a feeling that plenty of Gundam fans will be standing in line on March 6th to get their copy. I know I am glad to have mine.

 

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.

Sound of the Sky (anime review)

Title: Sound of the Sky (Soro no Wata) Complete Set on Blu-ray
Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Studio: A-1 Pictures
U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment
U.S. Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Format: DVD/ 12 episodes/ 355 minutes
Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama
Age Rating: 14+
Personal Rating: A
Similar Titles: Air, Kanon

Sometimes our goals in life lead is to do things and impact others in way we would never expect. They also put us in situations that just might make all the difference in the world.

Synopsis:

A young girl, Kanata Sorami, joins the army to learn how to play trumpet because she saw a solider play “Amazing Grace” and was touched so deeply that it is the only goal she has in life. The army sends her to the outpost in the town of Seize to become the bugler. Unknown to her she becomes one of the Fire Maidens of Seize. These are the historical protectors of the Village. The other members of the squad are Rio Kazumiya, Kanata’s trumpet teacher, Filicia Heideman, the company commander, Noel Kannagi, the mechanic and Kureha Suminoya the other private assigned as the gunner.

In the beginning Kanata does not know how to play the trumpet very well but she has a great ear for sound and with some training by Rio she manages to become wonderful player and even the village begins to enjoy her playing. During this time she becomes a valued member of the platoon and the bonds of these 5 women become so close it almost seems as though they are sisters.

There is a tentative peace between Helvetia and Roma. The current talks are not going very well and the platoon must always be on the watch for anyone coming across the no-mans land just outside Seize. During this period of stress there is a secret about Rio that comes to light that drives her away from the platoon to eventually end up having a overreaching impact on everyones life.

Commentary:

This wonderfully crafted anime brings together several key elements that makes it one to be seen. The first of these elements is the bonding of the main characters that creates a group of women who become true sisters and find that they each have their role to play. They are each very different and have a dramatic past that is at the core of who they are. This is highlighted by Kanata who has the loss of her family and the contact with a beautiful bugler who was playing “Amazing Grace” in such a way that made her think to was the true Sound of the Sky. That was the motivating factor behind her having no fear and wanting to be able to play that piece for all the world to hear. The others also have past experience that make them so special that they each bound together make an unstoppable force. All of this is accentuated buy the strong character development and the wonderful series of events that bring them together.

The second of the outstanding elements has to be the plot structure and the way the story is told. By the middle of the series I was a little concerned that Sound of the Sky as nothing more than a string of unrelated events but in classic Japanese story telling fashion all of these events all roll up together and provide a ending that managed to warm even my cold heart. The stories told about these women and girls consistently brought a kind smile to my soul as I moved through the series and at the end I wanted only good to happen for this loving group of women.

The final and possible most impressive is the high quality of the animation. I found myself blown away by the impressive artistry put into creating the world that these intrepid ladies lived. The monastery where they lived was so well developed it made me feel like I was there and the landscapes were Miyazakiesk and created a peaceful place that we all would want to be a part of. At every turn I found myself in awe of the talented work that went into this loving series.

Overall Grade: A

Sound of the Sky is not one of those knock down drag-out anime that is all about the action, it is a kind gentle anime that does not shy away from action, but rather uses it only when it is important. The creators have given us something to contemplate and use as a guide to what it is to truly care about those others around us. This series should be put on everyones must see list.

Because of the gentle spirit of Sound of the Sky I would recommend Air and Kanon as the two other series to get that loving feeling from.

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.

Martian Successor Nadesico (anime review)

Title: Martian Successor Nadesico: Complete series plus Prince of Darkness on Blu-ray

Director: Tatsuo Sato

Studio: Xebec

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

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

Format: Blu-ray/26 Episodes & Feature Film / 740 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Sci Fi, Mecha, Harem

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The Martian Successor Blu-ray contains all 26 episodes of the TV series and the Prince of Darkness movie across 4 Blu-rays PLUS an entire DVD of extras including the Gekigangar 3 OVA!

Tatsuo Sato’s Comedy Masterpiece Returns in High Definition!

The Earth, its moon and its Martian colonies are under alien attack, but the war against the “Jovian lizards” has, so far, been nothing short of a series of disasters.

Disgusted by the incompetence of Earth’s military, the independent arms manufacturer Nergal builds its own space battleship and plans to launch a desperate offensive to save humanity. But due to a shortage of trained soldiers, they’ve assembled the most unorthodox crew to ever launch into orbit! With a pacifist cook-turned-unwilling mecha pilot and a ditsy admiral’s daughter in command, can this unprecedented gathering of geeks, misfits and anime fans prevail against the Jovian menace?

Commentary:

In the long list of Mecha Harem series, Martian Successor Nadesico stands out as one of the top series for me. Although it may be beginning to show its age it still has plenty of laughs and mecha action to offer. The great thing about this series is that it pokes fun at all of the tropes and silly plot devices that many of the older mecha series used. The unwilling Akito Tenkawa is every young male mecha pilot that shows up in series like Gundam, Evangelion and many others that give us reasons to root for a anti-hero figure, but in Akito’s case he just wants to cook, but may be a better pilot than a chef.

The other great parody aspect to the series is the inclusion of their own anime series “Gekigangar III“. This is a focal point for much of the crew and they exhibit a funny Otaku tenancy that pokes fun at the fan base of the mecha universe of anime. I personally think series like Martian Successor Nadesico provide a glimpse at the anime world that a large number of fans should be required to watch. This series of fun and laughs takes a goofy look at the world it lives in and also makes a very pointed commentary about the obsession that sometimes follows the fandom around.

Overall Grade: A-

I am not sure if there was a good reason to release Martian Successor Nadesico in Blu-ray it is very possible that the quality of the series is about the same on DVD. I am happy to see it coming back out. I think it is a series that needs to be re-released every 5 to 6 years just so new fans can discover the greatness of it and be reminded that anime is just anime.

There are many great anime that hold the mirror up to the fandom and Martian Successor Nadesico stands at close to the very top of the list. The other thing that keeps this anime worthy of praise is the overall humor that comes across and the simplistic approach to telling the story. If you haven’t see Martian Successor Nadesico then you really have a reason to check it out. So, get busy!!!!

Turn A Gundam part 1 on Blu-ray (anime review)

Title: Turn A Gundam part 1 (on Blu-ray)

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Writer/Creator: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Sunrise

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 7th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Romance, Steampunk

Age Rating: TV 13

Overall personal rating: B

Synopsis:

For 2000 years, a separate race of humanity has lived on the moon. Known as “the Moonrace,” their technology is leaps and bounds beyond those that stayed behind on the Earth’s surface. Now seeking to return to their original home, the Moonrace send three teenagers – Loran, Keith, and Fran – down to Earth on a reconnaissance mission to test the viability of its environment.

After spending a year on Earth, Loran has become good friends with Sochie and Kihel, daughters of the prestigious Heim family, and he looks forward to fully integrating into Earth society. But before Loran gets the chance to make his report, the Moonrace launch a surprise attack. Earth’s primitive airplanes are no match for the superior power of the Moonrace’s mobile suits. However, in the midst of the initial attack, Loran and Sochie uncover a long-forgotten relic: a white mobile suit. As a Moonrace, Loran is quickly able to grasp the basics of piloting it, but by doing so, he inadvertently places himself in the middle of a war.

Commentary:

Gundam Fans get in line for here come the resurrection of the mysterious Turn A Gundam. Reaching back to the year 1999 Sunrise with the help of Nozomi have brought back a slick version of the a series that many people can’t waited to get the next installment of and everyone else figures it may be time to give it a rest. Personally, I am a believer that the Gundam franchise may have seen better years, but honestly I found Turn A Gundam every enjoyable. Of course it felt dated and the writing fell flat more than a few times. Even with those detractors the story held my interest and gave me a reason to think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Compared to most of the older Gundam renditions I feel as though Turn A Gundam builds on a simple story and support both our future and past. There is obviously the leaning to the earth bound humans and a slightly sinister approach to the Moonrace humans. I’m not sure that there is a real need to make one more sympathetic than the other and I think that ben though the Moonrace has better technology that doesn’t mean their lives are that much darker. If I was human and bound to a dead rock where we have to manufacture everything even the air you breath I would be a little bitter about the selfish earth bound humans who are too ignorant the understand what they really have.

I’m not saying that all of the Earth humans are portrayed as naive or even good natured and not all Moonrace humans are evil. That would be against all anime doctrine and would also fail the entire Gundam universe. What I am saying is that I could see myself siding with the Moonrace and wanting to drive out the stupid Earthlings so that someone who would appreciate the earth for what it is could be in control.

Overall Grade: B

Turn a Gundam is a new twist on an old Gundam plot, but it does a good job of telling the story. I just wish the animation was better. By 1999 – 2000 anime productions values had really found a new look and Turn A Gundam held on to some rather tired old artistic values in this series. I get that it is a Gundam series, but for gods sake they should have made it look a lot better than they did.

One other thing that I reality like about Turn A Gundam was the fact that human technology was all about the steam power and Steampunk ruled the day. This added romantic ideal did help give some beauty to the visual aspects to the series and it helped give me a reason to keep watching in some of the slower moments.

Even with the poor production value I still find it to be a solid series with plenty of Gundam goodness packed into it. There is one other thing that I must mention and it is the disc art work. The five disc have possibly the best disc art covers i have ever seen. If the series would have looked that good it would have overtaken the Gundam and Mecha anime world and blown everyone away.

I am looking forward to seeing the second half of the series. So all you Gundam fans get ready for the one true Steampunk Gundam coming at you. Now on Blu-ray makes it even better.