Well I’ll be damned…
Here is another blast from the past but one which I can’t believe that I’ve just finished watching. Not really being a fan of Gundams (though I remember that it used to be one of my childhood dreams to be piloting one thanks to Gundam Wing corrupting me during the black hole of my life when I didn’t even know what anime was), I took a look at this series out of impulse and…damn…it makes me realise that I should do things like this more often.
Domon Kasshu, a man of extreme RAGE
But here it is, living legend and a living proof that “Anger makes you stronger”. So I find myself being welcomed to the dark side to embrace this new power. Who needs to remain calm and coolheaded anyway in a fight? HOT BLOODED EPIC GARNESS, BURNING MEN PUMPING MANLY JUICES is how you should really fight as far as primal instincts tell you. And I’ve got to tell you, this series was definitely a blast from the past giving you a rare glimpse of “the good o’ days” which is rarely seen nowadays. And I’m not really talking about how this series should be considered the grandfather of Gurren Lagann either in terms of breaking the epic screaming and chanting scale; I’m actually talking about how fun this series was for me even despite being totally and completely illogical. Illogical as in pulling stunts that would normally get you slammed for being completely shit and unbelievable by current day’s standards (yes, who the heck would believe that Domon can call his Gundam from miles away using his voice and for it to mysteriously teleport to his exact location?).
Domon’s pals throughout the series
Perhaps the fact that this is a “super mecha” series doesn’t pardon the fact that some holes within it are too inconsistent and hardly believable (one day you have teleporting Gundams, the next you have the shuffle alliance killing themselves over something so minor) but seriously, the magic to this series is that you will very soon find out that you don’t give a damn about those inconsistencies and just enjoying the ride and events as they fold. Isn’t this so much more relaxing and stress free than always criticizing and overanalyzing the flaws of a series currently airing using nowadays standards just to prove how intellectual correct you are? I think so. Of course there comes a time where you have to burst the bubble of fanboys who have gone way over themselves to overrate a series but that usually means that something is critically wrong with the series in the first place (another long story which I won’t be covering now).
So what was G Gundam to me then? I think the answer to that question can be easily summed up with one phrase:
“Ore no kono te ga hikatte unaru! Omae wo taose to kagayaki sakebu! Hissatsu, Shining Finger!”
“This hand of mine glows with an awesome power. It’s burning grip tells me to defeat you! Now here I go, Shining Finger!”
Now that is one phrase I can’t help but shot out with joy because not only does it embody the hot blooded GARNESS of everyone around the world, it also signals that someone is going to get smashed in the face. Quite satisfying indeed if you let go of all logic and embrace your primal instincts.
In fact it can be easily said that the thing that struck me the most when starting this series was the fact that the lyrics for the opening theme was so epically sexy. It is one of those songs where you can’t help but sing along (even though you don’t know crap about the lyrics) and yell, “SHINING FINGER!!” at the top of your lungs. It’s truly a breathtaking and refreshing experience as well as serving as a form of de-stressing rather than punching holes into your poor wall.
Now Allenby here is an example of how you can be both moe and sexy
The story for the series itself is a bag full of clichés and cheesiness. But the series also isn’t afraid to show that fact and somewhat plays to it without holding back at all (which is much more appreciating than some half done crap because the producers were too afraid to push it to the limit). Because of this, I believe that the plot for this series couldn’t have been anymore better (with the obligatory minor faults here and there). As easy as the illogical faults can be pushed aside because you are just captivated by the charm that this series gives out, it is also easy to find yourself being immersed into the storyline and well…there are never enough plot twists to call it a day. The magic is that you never know when it would hit you until it hits, like how your allies were your enemies all along or the truth about the betrayals being turned upside down. This was just one of those series which kept you coming for more ending with cliffhangers upon cliffhangers (especially towards the later part of the series) rather than trying to chase you off with a stick.
The basic premise itself was rather simple, but the complex storytelling (or not) and how everything seems to fit and comes full circle at the end is just great to see. The Gundam fight, a tournament which repeats every 4 years between countries and the winning Gundam’s country is given the right to rule for that period. Somehow, I have a suspicious feeling that this is how the Olympics would turn out when humanity finally destroys themselves and begin to create giant mechas to fight; too bad I won’t live to see the day.
Quite possibly the sexiest pose in the series
But behind the service of what seems to be an alternative to all out war between countries, Master Asia (I will fanboy about how much I love this character soon) unfortunately has seen the ugly truth. So taking the weight of the world onto himself, he sets out on a quest to save the world by ironically destroying humans. But another ironic twist of fate is that what he is doing right now is still killing the world (as Domon puts it, if Master Asia’s aim was to allow nature to regrow then destroying humanity which is also part of nature, would be a contradiction).
Characters play a big role in this series as much as a good plot. Without a good cast of characters, the series is doomed to failure anyway but thank God did we have a good cast here. As far as first impression goes though, you wouldn’t immediately think so…why? Well the country representative Gundam fighters are about as stereotypical to their country as you would think (which I dreaded that when we come to Neo China, someone with bucked tooth will turn up).
Err…Gundam love, GO!
But whilst the initial impressions where of nothing much than “meh”, very soon you will find yourself caring a whole lot deal for these characters as you learn more about them. “Now this is how you do character development” is the only phrase I have to express how well done the characters were portrayed as the series unfolded itself. These are real human emotions here and no chance has been missed to develop them. This makes a big change to the lesser series nowadays which tries to display human feelings but fail utterly; in fact Natsume Yuujinchou is probably the only current airing series this season which I love completely to bits for its emotional values. The character here just jump at you and drag them into their world where at the end of the day you just can help but scream out lines like a madman, just like them.
Like I said before, Master Asia is amazing and sexy. He is a role model for us all and a great master for Domon to the bitter end. In fact, knowing that he will meet certain death because of how well the title for the episode was versed did not affect the moment of overwhelming impact one bit. But though his madness of the final clash I think it is fair enough to conclude that his taunting words were actually words of encouragement for Domon to defeat his master. Master Asia on the surface may seem like a bad guy but underneath his is always looking out for his beloved pupil. He had countless times to crush Domon, yet he didn’t…he even went out on a limp to teach him his ultimate attack when they were still enemies. This ideal of the ultimate sacrifice is just amazing to watch, and the truly stunning thing is that he never betrayed his ideals…as he revealed that he doesn’t have one DG cell on his body. Now that is what I call manly; the school of the undefeated East is the best!
“The school of the undefeated East!”
“The winds of the king!”
“Look! The East is burning red!”
I don’t know about you, but that quote brought a tear to my eyes. I think it also has to be said how well the BGM accompanies the critical scenes in this series. Yea, without the BGM I don’t think the feelings and dramatic suspense could be fully expressed so it is to be praised, not to mention how creative they were to insert actual Cantonese songs during the final fights in Hong Kong.
I am still very surprised that I watched this series, seriously. But now I am also very glad that I have and am proud to say that I am a fan of G Gundam. Whilst the “problems” pointed out is that the series is filled with clichés and whatnot, which is usually frowned upon by modern standards, I find that none of that matters when watching this series…besides, this is retro (1994) and it can get away with more and still be epic as heck.
I suppose if there is one more than minor nag I would give to this series is the way Domon comes across as a hot blooded character. Don’t get me wrong, I love his style and GARness but there are times where I just want to give him such a smacking for not being aware of his surrounds or the atmosphere. He is a cluless, blockhead who only knows how to fight and the so called “communication with your fists” so he ultimately fails at the sentimental, sloppy things. Good God that we have someone like Rain taking care of him then? (Even though I love Allenby more).
This is overall a must watch Gundam series from me surprisingly even if I haven’t seen any of the retro ones besides this and Wing. But hands down, this series beats the crap out of Wing any day and I can easily rate it 9/10…