Archive Post: Char’s Counterattack (10/11/14)

Hello and Welcome to a special post of Anime Chop Block.

Today, I review what is considered one of the best anime films of all time in a metaseries considered a classic by many of both new and old guards of anime: Kido Senshi Gundam Char’s Counterattack

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Released in March 12, 1988 and directed by Yoshiyuki “Kill Em All” Tomino, this movie was the big conclusion to the Universal Century of Gundam until Gundam Unicorn came out and it shows.

Story/Writing:

Sadly this will not be a very comprehensive part since I haven’t seen the original Gundam or any of the Zeta Gundams. I will do what I can while fact checking but be warned that there are going to be errors and spoilers. Also, I will try to talk about the movie in relation to events from the other series as I can find out but because of the dense canon, this review is basically for people who know a fair bit of the UC Gundam verse so if you don’t know much, head to the conclusion for my final opinion.

Anyway, the movie opens with Char Aznable, the iconic character of the UC Gundams, launching an asteroid, Fifth Luna, towards Earth in a bid to force humanity to leave Earth. He is opposed by the Londo Bell taskforce with Amuro Ray, his rival, but sadly, the asteroid hits earth creating a massive explosion but not creating the nuclear winter Char wants. Char makes political moves to negotiate with the Earth Federation ruling Earth to acquire a large asteroid called Axis. The latter half of the movie involves Amuro and his team trying to stop Char’s plan to launch Axis, loaded with nuclear weapons, towards Earth and cause nuclear winter.

Now this is a brief summary of the plot because all the characters and histories are difficult to talk about without referencing the other series but the movie does a good job of introducing the important points particularly the rivalry between Amuro and Char. It’s quick and fairly self-contained and even if you don’t know about the older shows, you fully understand how these people interact with each other and how they are connected. It also has a few scenes recapping older stuff so it helps people get up to speed enough to get engrossed in the plot. In addition, the plot itself has a good pace to it; the first act is very fast to get us a nice intro dose of action but it’s second act slows down to enable us to see the cast interact with each other without much pressure. The third act is large and bombastic with quick writing connecting scene after scene without it feeling rushed. It gets to its high point and stay up there till the very end. The dialogue is natural and fits the situation and emotions for each of the characters. The finale in particular is gushing with feeling and the ideals of our two rivals all the while ending in spectacular fashion. The movie itself is a big ending of the universe: characters dying, final resolutions said, ideal butted against each other and a glorious finish. The story of Char’s counterattack had me at the edge of my seat till the end.

Characters

This is probably going to be a very short part since talking about these characters and their development requires the entirely of the UC verse so I will talk in very broad terms for this part; they are all really good with one glaring example.

First the positives, each character bounces off others with ease and their personalities shine through with the actions and tone they take. At this point, the older characters feel like fully fledged human beings and not tropes and the new characters feel like they fit right into the fold of the world and have a purpose.

Now the negative, there is one character that is very, very annoying. You will know it when you see it but she is just not that well done. I understand what they are going for: naïve, innocent and seeking compassion but it comes off as a whiny brat that is rebelling against adults and has taken up a fringe religion to do so. It grates at my ears and has no reprieve.

Art/Animation

For a movie in 1988, I feel it is better than some of the stuff in recent years. This was almost entirely hand drawn and the attention to detail and smooth animation show. The models have nice smooth edges and the colors are not muddy or over exposed but have the right brightness for each individual scene. The animation is a very high mark for the movie and stands above some of what we have

Sound/Music

Can’t really say much here, the SFX fits each scene and it feels like a massive battle. It reverberates and enforces the show but is nothing special.

Conclusion

All and all, this is a great movie and with good reason to be considered a classic by any mecha fan or anime historian. You will most likely be confused if you know nothing about Universal Century Gundam but an hour or two in the Gundam wiki should be enough to get you up to speed.

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