Mobile Suit Gundam I (1981 Film)

While I am somewhat more used to the Canadian actors in Gundam English dubs, I didn’t mind seeing this one with an alternative cast, especially with good performances from Steve Blum and others in this movie. The dub is better than many, and worth seeing, but some of the characters have unnecessary accents which don’t fit their roles. Overall, its a nice way to step into the Gundam franchise without watching an entire TV series. Solid movie.

In contrast to other action anime, Gundam is more of a strategic and political war drama than an action series. For some viewers, like me, it comes off a little slow and not quite as interesting as I would like. I’m still determined to “get into” the franchise however, and i’ll be viewing the rest of the Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy, as well as the their sequel film Char’s Counterattack, in the future.

The Mobile Suit Gundam TV series (created by Yoshiyuki Tomino) ran in Japan from 1979 to 1980 for 43 episodes and gained popularity internationally with sequels, films, and popular additional series like Gundam Wing and Zeta Gundam. This movie in particular was released in 1981, and presumably compiles the events of the first third of the TV series, and was released as part of a trilogy. The later films depart more from the show itself, adding in new animation and plotlines.

So far, it’s kept my interest, but it still seems a bit too complex for its own good. The main draw here is the captivating character, Char Aznable, the arch-enemy of the hero Amuro. The fights are intersting, and they do a nice job actually showing some of the casualties of war (even a fictional one). At one point, the main chatacter’s mother calls him a murderer. This truly has a raw power, without taking pleasure in the fighting on screen, which is somewhat rare.

Mobile Suit Gundam, and its many sequel and spin-off series’ are currently planned for North American distribution by Sunrise and Right Stuf International. Some of them are available to view for free on their website, gundam.info

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