5 months I’ve waited and it’s almost here. Bandai must have known the wait has been a killer for some because a couple days ago they ended up releasing a 7-8 minute preview of the first OVA over the Bandai Channel which eventually made its way to youtube in the clip I’ll be posting below. First though I want to say what a nice little gift this was as a prelude to Alexandre Bilodeau bringing home the first Canadian gold medal on home soil. This has been a week of ups and downs for me, but boy did it end great. Anyhow the embed:
The rest of the article contains spoilers and impressions so this is your chance to look away if you don’t want to watch the preview above.
That was neat. First obviously the animation was top-notch and with not a single hiccup or out-of-place frame that I could find. Everything also flows extremely well even by Gundam animation standards in all of the intricate movements that we see the characters and mobile suits making during the brief skirmish between the Jegans and the Kshatriya. My particular favourites were the funnel attack on the Jegans, the specific movement of the Stark Jegan pilots fingers as he locked them onto the joystick for what he must have known was going to be a fierce encounter, and the depiction of the destruction of the Laplace colony at the beginning of the video which I will get back to soon.
The music was also a standout with all four pieces featured bringing something to the table. First we have the nice piece played during the ceremony to mark the turnover to the Universal Century calendar with its upbeat nature that goes well with the promise of a new dawn for mankind being made. Then after the Laplace Incident and during Siam Vist (the old man) we have the sombre reflective piece during Siam’s discussion with Cardeas. The main theme makes a brief appearance during the title card as well (looking forward to hearing that one in full especially) and finally the only one I hadn’t heard before in the battle music during the skirmish which sets the appropriate tone of tension and even reminds me a little of the classic Neo Zeon battle theme from Char’s Counterattack. All very appropriate in their respective contexts.
I also liked the cinematography used in a few key scenes. First there were the shots of the inside of Laplace with all the earnest celebration during the Federation presidents speech juxtaposed with the outside shots of the impending terrorist attacks and the sense of foreboding that something bad is about to happen. Second was the introduction of the title card itself which at first seemed surprising and a little sudden, but upon reflection was placed quite nicely after what was meant to serve as an introduction. Earth never looked so beautiful. Finally there was one shot just before it with Cardeas standing over Siam and the pair just barely lit by the sun peaking out from behind the Earth. It seems to hint at a twilight not only for Earth below them, but of the Universal Century and mankind as it prepares to pass into the second Universal Century in just a few years time.
If there are a few things I find disappointing they begin with the point at which they ended off. I feel that it definitely accomplishes the goal of leaving the viewer wanting more, but the fact that it was sandwiched between commercials and barely gets out of the introductory phase of the episode seems almost like too much of a tease. Also was it not possible to have a slightly better quality video for the preview? I understand they want the allure of Blu-Ray video to help push the sales, but I still get the feeling that they were being a little cheap just the same. It wouldn’t have killed them to have an HD option would it? Oh well….small nitpicks, none of which I will have to deal with when the actual Blu-Ray comes out so I’ll leave the negatives here.
I just want to talk about one more thing briefly before I head off for a session of Civ IV. I had a feeling…..and sure enough the whole idea of the Laplace Incident kind of reminds me of the failed promise of our own ringing in of the 21st century….that is if the dawn of the Universal Century is supposed to serve as a Gundam equivalent. Here we have the promise of a new dawn for mankind and perhaps an age of peace in the first successful colonization of space. For us it was the fact that there hadn’t been a major war fought by the first world since the fall of the Soviet Union which we though would bring about an age of security and economic growth with trade at last open again to the eastern world and no major enemies to fight. Both promises ended with a terrorist attack on a significant symbol of human triumph. For the Universal Century it was the first colony of Laplace, a symbol of a dawning space age of colonization and an end to worries of war over territory and of unsustainable population growth. For the 21st century it was the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, images of commerce and security respectively. Both events eventually led to wars that have drug on and have still not yet ended (Federation/Zeon war for U.C and Coalition/Insurgent war for 21st century) and little but misery and economic and security setbacks. Of course the fictional war took longer to get started than the real war and it has been going for over fifty years by the time of the Oldsmobile Rebellion in Gundam F90 while the real war started almost immediately and at this moment the powers that be are making promises that it is in it’s final phases. One can only hope that the real world doesn’t make the same mistakes as this fictional one and we can make good on Yang-Wen Li’s ideal of having peace in our time.
Zeonic Scanlations are currently working on many Gundam Unicorn related projects (Deacon Blues 2010/02/11)