Monday, April 11, 2005

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

Genre: Action / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
1988 Yoshiyuki Tomino, Bandai Visual, Nagoya Broadcasting, Network, Shochiku Film, Sotsu Agency, Sunrise.

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Shunichi Sakurai's Description:
It is the year UC 0093, and after hiding for so long, estranged Zeon heir Char Aznable decides it is time for him to finally claim his birthright as ruler of the space colonies. Having lost faith in the gravity-bound souls of the Earth-living humans, he and his Neo Zeon armada mount a full-scale offensive against the Earth Federation. While EF emissary Adenauer Paraya makes haste to hunt the Neo Zeon force down, Char's longtime Newtype rival Amuro Ray has plans of his own...

A grandiose end to the definitive Gundam rivalry. >>> by Shunichi Sakurai
Char's Counterattack is the culmination of the longtime conflict between enemy aces Amuro Ray and Char Aznable, the beginnings of which were documented in the latter episodes of the original Mobile Suit Gundam TV series. This means that to fully understand this movie, just like the Star Wars movies you will have to watch MSG and Z Gundam beforehand.

After the regime of the Titans, the Earth Federation makes a new force to hunt down Zeon remnants: the Londo Bell fleet, where we see stalwarts Amuro Ray and Capt. Bright Noa once more. Char however has grown disenchanted with the Earth, coming out of hiding to attack his old enemy once more. We are witness to a more desparate side of him, too, despite his cool demeanor, as the movie opens with an operation to drop an asteroid on the EF headquarters.

Coming from Z Gundam, CCA is a huge improvement in terms of visual quality, in my opinion. While the mecha designs may seem simpler here, with Zeta's fetish for transforming mobile suits removed, overall CCA comes across as cleaner, more polished and mature. Gone is the irritating limited color palette of Zeta and the animation is very slick for its time. As befits its cinematic setting, the musical score is superb.

Yet the characterization and plot drives this movie, just like the older Gundam series. Despite a more mature Amuro piloting the RX-93 Nu-Gundam, we still see vestiges of his rash nature and insecurities. Char takes out the frustration of losing his love Lalah Sune on spoiled brat Quess Paraya, and despite taking on the Neo Zeon leadership, is afraid of taking his father's name. Gyunei Guss, a hotshot cyber-Newtype, tries to prove that he is superior to Char in a jealous fit. All this happens within the span of three days of battle heading to a climactic finish.

As a fitting finale, fans are treated to a definitive showdown between Amuro and Char - with and without mobile suits - and in both instances the action is very intense. For many Gundam fans, that will be the icing on this filling cake that ends one of the greatest chapters of Gundam history.

Individual Rating: Art: 8; Story: 10; Characters: 9; Sounds: 10

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