|I see what you did there, Sunrise.|
So, Gundam Unicorn. Wow. What a series. It's been airing intermittently over a.. uh... long period, but, really, I was late to the game anyway, so hah. How late you ask? Like, first episode seen 3 weeks ago late. How does that add to the conversation? It doesn't. So, uh, yeah.
The Gundam franchise is one that I have not and do not follow religiously. Then again, it's pretty much safe to say that I do not follow anything religiously except for creayus' CC illustrations. Dem CC.jpgs tho. Anywho, the most I have gotten out of the Gundam franchise is having seen 00, Age, Build Fighters, and maybe 20% of SEED or something. I effectively know nothing about the Gundam universe that aired/released before 00 (anything pre-2007). I also do not read much manga, much less light novels, so those are completely out of the picture. That said, all you Newtypes (or maybe Oldtypes? ba dum tss) out there should understand that this means I cannot fully appreciate everything Gundam UC has to offer. Char? Neo Zeon? I couldn't tell you anything about them save for what was presented in this series. Even then, I'm so bad with politics, I probably still could not tell you anything. So take the following as the ramblings of an uninformed Gundam fan.
Gundam UC blew me away. Maybe it was just because the last two full series of Gundam I had seen were moreso directed at kids *cough* Age and Build Fighters *cough*, but man, this was some good stuff.
I love the mecha, the fighting, and all the glamorous action of the Gundam franchise to bits. And thankfully, those are the pieces that Sunrise usually nails spot-on, Gundam UC being no exception. The visuals are excellent, and the mobile suit designs are as amazing as they always are (except if you're Turn-A Gundam).
But visuals aside, the recurring problems I have with the Gundam franchise as a nihilistic dunce are: complicated politics and subsequently complicated character motives/philosophies that fly right over my head, as well as whiny protagonists that go on and on about how he doesn't want war or cries everytime he kills someone.
|RT if u cri averytim|
So how does Gundam UC fare on these? Not the best on the former, but great on the latter.
I think Gundam UC did not do a very good job in presenting the political ideals of each party. I found myself at times confused at the turn of events because I did not understand character motivations. I believe this stems from a more basic problem, which is that they were not very kind to newcomers of the franchise. The parties involved in the conflict are not always introduced properly (or even at all), which left me having to struggle through figuring out who's who instead of being able to focus on the plot. Heck, I still don't know what Londo Bell is.
|Saving the world one burrito at a time? Or reclaiming the glory of the burritos past?|
|"Baby, I don't know what's in Laplace's Box, but why don't you see what's in mine?"|
Spoiler Warning: The following contains spoilers, and assumes you have already seen the series.
Now, I appreciate it when a good work of art references another good work of art, and Gundam UC made good on this when it used The Lady and the Unicorn. In some of the earlier episodes, 6 tapestries are shown in the Vist mansion, with emphasis given to the unicorns that show up in them, but not much further meaning being given. For those who cannot be arsed to click over to wikipedia, here's the main bit you need:
Five of the tapestries are commonly interpreted as depicting the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words "À mon seul désir" [French, roughly "My sole desire"]. The tapestry's meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as representing love or understanding.This sixth tapestry in question here is indeed the one that gets highlighted in Gundam UC, which fits into the the series' theme of resolving conflict through understanding and love rather than, well, conflict.
But how can we talk about symbolism without talking about the Banshee? When the Banshee first appears, several characters refer to it as the "black unicorn". From the moment it appears, you can tell from its color scheme that the Banshee is bad news (even if you don't know what a banshee is). So, simple enough right? Unicorn is white, so the suit that it must face off against is black. We're done here, no?
Apparently not. In the final episode, Syam Vist says, "the lion has come to our aid" or something along those lines in reference to the Banshee. Lion? I thought it was a black unicorn? Well if you've seen any of the aforementioned tapestries, you might have noticed that the second creature that appears in each of the tapestries is, in fact, a lion.
In the final scenes of the series, the Unicorn and the Banshee work together, protecting Laplace's Box, and a future through understanding. I don't believe the Banshee's color scheme was only for the sake of contrast and providing the Unicorn with a nemesis. That both the Unicorn and Banshee were necessary to defend Laplace's Box means that both light and dark, the good and the bad, were all necessary parts to forging a path of understanding.
... Or I could just be over analyzing.
But, god, the soundtrack. The soundtrack. I'm not sure I've been this impressed by any soundtrack in the Gundam franchise before. The more orchestral nature of the soundtrack really lent itself well to the space opera. Keeping in theme with bringing about "hope", and "believing in the god known as possibility", two main tracks, "RX-0" and "Unicorn" really strike home on inspiration, awe and grandeur, while maintaining a sense of warmth. Just wonderful.
So, final word. Is Gundam UC worth your time? Absolutely. Admittedly, the plot is not supremely amazing. Actually, the plot is pretty standard for a Gundam series. Nonetheless, it is a good installation of the franchise, and in spite of my complaints, is very much so watchable. If you've watched the older Gundam series, but haven't watched Gundam UC, I don't know what you're doing with your life.