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That is what Stardust Memory feels like, as it has the highest production values of probably any Gundam property in existence, all the shine and pedigree to make a grand show of itself... and it doesn't feel like it has anything to say about anything that happens over the course of its story, appearing completely devoid of meaning on some inherent level that hasn't occurred before in the franchise.
This is basically how I feel about the vast majority of Gundam spin-offs and alternate timelines. Some spin-offs try harder than others to adhere to Gundam values or to do their own thing. But so much of the franchise is basically just nostalgia for nostalgia's sake, and focused like a laser on only the male, plamo-buying demographic that it is honestly just kinda depressing to contemplate. Even the good spin-offs/side-stories like 08th MS Team or Thunderbolt are still just intensely only concerned with the straight male perspective.

0083 was my very first Gundam, and I loved it because 1) I was a tween adolescent and liked it on mostly superficial levels (Wow, cool robot!), and 2) I only had access to the first couple VHS tapes, and it took almost a decade until I was able to watch the rest of the show. These days I see it as being fairly problematic and devoid of substance, but it sure is a pretty show to look at. But as you say Peklo, it's very much a case of wouldn't it have been nice to have seen these resources go towards making something better?

0083 is an interesting "what if" scenario. Because (if memory serves, someone please correct me if I'm wrong) the show's original director (maybe it was the head writer?) died halfway through the run of the OVA and had to be replaced. And most deep-in-the-weeds fans will point to that directorial shift as where the show became aggressively bad in most aspects. The director that ended up taking over, eventually got fired from Sunrise for showing up to a screening with executives blisteringly drunk.

I get the feeling that G Gundam probably won't be a favorite of yours Peklo, or if it is, it'll be in spite of the gender dynamics. G Gundam is better than some others, but it's still overwhelmingly concerned with being a macho show for macho boys. (It has some good lessons for macho boys to not be so toxic, imo. But it's still probably an alienating experience if you're not up for its brand of machismo.)

MB, have you ever seen Gundam X? It's one of the most forgotten corners of the franchise, but I feel like it's got more going for it than most spin-offs and tries its hardest to embody what Gundam is in its totality versus most spinoffs.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
The director death midway through happened with 08th MS Team, where Takeyuki Kanda passed away during production, whereas the reported drunken incident involved Takashi Imanishi, who directed the latter half of Stardust Memory. Mitsuko Kase was the director for the initial half. The show had different writers per every loose arc or so, and I thought was very consistent in what it was through all of its run, so I didn't really identify any particular drop or highlights overall. It felt like it was executed exactly as intended, which is part of my consternation with it--they wanted to make this?

I'm wary of G because I know its reputation, but it's also directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa who managed to make one of my favourite things in the world in Giant Robo, so I know he has the capability to get me to care about mech content and stuff that doesn't have exemplary representation of women. But that series is an entirely different tonal and creative context from a hot-blooded TV anime so I'm not expecting a repeat of those circumstances, either. I'm committed to it either way.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
I consider Stardust Memory to be one of the low points of the franchise, for the reasons you said— the plot is nonsensical and the writing is incredibly sexist. And it's such a shame, because from the outside it's got a lot going for it: great animation, two great openings (which I know you know, but I'm not passing up the chance to link them), and a host of excellent character designs. Though even those aren't problem-free, but it's easy to see those things and have in mind a better show.

The one thing I'll give Stardust Memory credit for— well, aside from Mora and Cima— is one its final scenes: Bask Om announces the formation of the Titans, and we see the Albion crew gleefully suiting up in their new uniforms. Here are your heroes; they are budding fascists. It's a pretty bold image to end on, even if it does conveniently keep the major players (Kou, Keith and Synapse) out of it.

Backing up a bit, I'm heartened that you enjoyed Gundam F91! In my experience, F91 is overlooked and dismissed by most, but it's honestly one of my favourites. Even though it's obviously compressed and truncated, I think it's no worse for wear; the story is still gripping, the themes resonant and even the world and its characters come through. Which is all the more impressive when the movie is a soft reboot of sorts, and doesn't just move away from the Zeon/Char/Newtype stories but establishes a new angle for the franchise and does so very well. (I only wish that the Crossbone Vanguard wasn't so monarchical, which is both odd and a bit been-there-done-that.)

But what I like best about it is the characters. Instead of being a bunch of strangers thrown together, they already know each other— the colony refugees are all friends, the Space Ark crew are already a unit— which makes for an entirely different dynamic than the series is used to. There's little in the way of friction or tension between them; it's all about understanding, empathy and co-operation. And it's not even just screenwriting elision, because Cecily's entire character arc is about getting cut off from that, becoming listless, and returning to normal once she's got supportive friends again. It's quite uplifting, actually!

Also, I know you don't care much for the robots, but… I do, and F91 has my favourite mech designs this side of Turn A. Love 'em all.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
My favourite mobile suit in the franchise so far is the Gundam Mk-II, entirely for narrative reasons: despite being framed as an upgrade over the already-legendary original model, it's quickly outclassed entirely by new special toys on both sides of the conflict, abandoned by the protagonists as unworthy of their status. But it keeps on keeping on, in the hands of the more compelling background workhorse pilots of its respective two featured series in Emma and Elle, the unsung underdogs handling outdated tech and still managing to hang with the rest through sheer gumption and skill. It's very effective theming and lends meaning to a mech that on its own is really boring and sucks by design, and turns that into the attraction itself.

I would say the other standout is the Qubeley, for its arresting, uncompromisingly pure colour scheme and insectoid silhouette, but I'm not going to pretend that I'd be taking notice of any of that if it wasn't Haman's signature mech--I'd probably rationalize anything associated with her into a favourite should it come to that.
 
I'm wary of G because I know its reputation, but it's also directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa who managed to make one of my favourite things in the world in Giant Robo
G Gundam is a lot of macho he-mans doing macho things and being impressive for the girls. But it's not as bad as you might estimate based on its reputation. I actually think it's probably one of the better Gundams for boys to watch, because I'd say the most consistent and broad theme of the show is mostly about deprogramming toxic masculinity from its characters, and thus the audience. There's still a role for flexing your muscles and being a tough guy, but the context of how to be tough is reexamined. Ignoring your feelings and not talking about them is bad, actually! Trying to front like a tough guy instead of actually addressing your trauma is self-defeating! The best fighters in the show are actually kinda scrawny! Love and opening your vulnerabilities to others is not a weakness! Revenge is self-defeating! Etc, etc. Rain as a protagonist can be a little bit damsely at times, but she's also generally respected by the show and by Domon better than a lot of Gundam heroines, and gets to do fun stuff and help a lot more than your Relena Peacecrafts or Frau Bows. (I still really like the episode where her old boyfriend comes back, and Domon doesn't get jealous or judgmental, he's just like, you gotta do what you gotta do.) Still, wouldn't fault you at all for the show not doing anything for ya, or not wanting to put up with these dudebros while they slowly learn their lessons over 50 episodes. Still love them all. Especially when they're voiced by a collection of incredibly awesome talents.

The one thing I'll give Stardust Memory credit for— well, aside from Mora and Cima— is one its final scenes: Bask Om announces the formation of the Titans, and we see the Albion crew gleefully suiting up in their new uniforms. Here are your heroes; they are budding fascists. It's a pretty bold image to end on, even if it does conveniently keep the major players (Kou, Keith and Synapse) out of it.
I like the idea of Mora a lot, but she never gets to do anything fun, and like Peklo said, she's played more as an oddity/joke character versus anything actually empowering. She's no Steer or Chickara Dual from G-Reco, that's for sure.

And yeah, it's a great moment at the end. Because those guys were always assholes and bad people, so it's very fitting they ended up in the Titans and then presumably wiped off the face of the Earth Sphere.
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)

Anyway, I dunno, I always liked the Mk-II's simple design. It's basically the classic/iconic RX-78 but with a tiny bit more going on, so visually I dig it. But what you're saying is definitely true too. It also fills the VITAL role of staying relevant by having tiny bits glued on to it, so Bandai can sell more Gunpla because OH SNAP I gotta get the tiny bits!!!!!
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
If you wanna watch Stardust Memory but don't wanna sit through 13 episodes, here's the compilation movie on Youtube!


I dunno how the movie is but the source material is pretty uneven, but it LOOKS AMAZING. It's on the official Gundam account and they don't usually leave OVAs/movies up for longer than a week or so
 
Hathaway’s Flash is coming out soon, and apparently going straight to Netflix as well. Like potentially in a matter of hours, soon.


Lookin real good too.
 
I thought I saw July 1st somewhere, but I'll happily take now. Now is good.
I'm seeing some sources now saying July 1st but can't personally corroborate that because the announcement video people are citing is now set to private. But it both opened in Japanese theaters today, and also reportedly the DVD/BDs went on sale in Japan today as well. (I'm having trouble finding listings for it online, but that's also pretty standard operating procedure for these kinds of Gundam movies, so I have no doubt it's true.) So at the very least, there will probably be copies of it floating about on the seven seas probably very soon, and you'll likely hear from me as soon as I find it.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
The Gundam.info channel also put an advert for a SEED sidestory set between vanilla and Destiny, which is perhaps interesting only in that Sunrise might be looking to go back to the C.E. stuff since it's been almost twenty years.
 
Yep, seems like they're doing another (probably disposable) SEED side story a la Stargazer or Astray in order to capitalize on the 20th Anniversary of Gundam SEED and also sell more plastic crack:



No, I'm not bitter that they made a brand new, highly detailed Master Grade of a brand new Gundam/Mobile Armor for a SEED spin-off before getting us a MG G-Self or a God Gundam 2.0! Not bitter at all! 😭
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
The design language doesn't really fit the SEED aesthetic either; outside of the cockpit area and helmet design it looks like one of the endless 00 Gundam variants.
 
BD Rips of Hathaway's Flash are out in the wild. The ones I've found though are suboptimal though (raw, 80GB isos; 700MB overcompressed garbo) so it might take a few days for me to watch it.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
Hathaway's Flash sure is pretty!

It would be nice if they spent more than 0.003 seconds establishing the background of the current conflict, though as there are still two movies to go I guess I'll give them a little leeway on that but I'm not holding my breath. I don't understand why the public would despise Manhunter (who want to forcibly deport select people to space) but adore Mafty (who want to deport everyone to space). Especially after the Davao battle, where Mafty forces are firing into occupied civilian buildings. There's a throwaway line from someone that urban combat is the exception, but this surely can't have been the sole instance of it. From whence springs the Mafty love?

I cannot believe that in the Year of Luigi, Two Thousand and Twenty One, we are still pulling out the dusty ancient anime trope of having the main character accidentally walk in on the love interest naked. Frankly, it's embarrassing.

The operation to retrieve the Xi Gundam is treated as this intense, white-knuckle sequence, when really all the pilot had to do was lean her MS against the capsule so Hathaway could cross from one to the other. I haven't piloted a giant robot in a while but it didn't seem real tough. Meanwhile Lane, whose last name is literally Aim, has about a full uninterrupted minute to get off a shot at a large, unprotected target that's dropping straight down at a constant rate but still can't manage it. Could... Could he be a Newtype?!

Gawman falls ten miles from the Penelope into the Xi's cockpit and is magically fine.

...Real pretty!
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Hathaway's Flash is basically peak-depression Tomino, so, uh, yeah.

The novel makes it pretty clear that neither Mafty or the EFSF/Manhunter are the good guys here (the forced deportations to space is basically a redo of what ended up creating Zeon and will thus create Cosmo Babylonia and later the Zanscare), but it's been a while since I read a translated synopsis of it and who knows how accurate a mid-00's summary of a niche JP expanded universe media item is.

Mafty/Hathaway basically ended up learning the wrong lesson from CCA, and thus ended up restarting the cycle that led them here to begin with.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
It would be nice if they spent more than 0.003 seconds establishing the background of the current conflict
Yeah, this sunk the movie for me. It seems like the film doesn't just expect the audience to have foreknowledge of the UC narrative, but also the meta-narrative that the Federation is corrupt and elitist, and figures that that's all that's needed. But it's hard to get invested in a conflict when the motivations— let alone the stakes!— aren't clear. Hopefully the next movies actually start to explain this.

The other problem I had is that all the action scenes take place at night. I could barely make anything out!
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
Yeah, this sunk the movie for me. It seems like the film doesn't just expect the audience to have foreknowledge of the UC narrative, but also the meta-narrative that the Federation is corrupt and elitist, and figures that that's all that's needed.

I mean...I think that's true? Like you need to have seen Char's Counterattack (what a coincidence they put it on Netflix a week releasing this lol) and understand that the Federation is corrupt and elitist. But as to the actual nature of the conflict I think it's pretty straightforward; after Char's Counterattack and seeing the Federation's corruption, Hathaway got disillusioned and decided that Char was right about moving mankind into space, and he started a terrorist organization with the goal of taking out top Federation officials. That's kinda it?

It does seem odd that the public seems to hate the Feds being oppressive and deporting people, but then they're okay with Mafty's idea of eventually moving EVERYONE into space, but I think they do a decent job of showing that public opinion is pretty decently split with regards to Mafty in general. I think the idea is that people may not necessarily be fully on board with Mafty's ideas, but they ARE on board with someone telling the Feds to fuck off, so that's why some people like Mafty. Clearly both sides are wrong here, just in different ways.

I think the only thing you'd miss out on without prior knowledge is that Anaheim is yet again playing both sides and profiting off of eternal war and capitalism's gears are greased with the blood of the innocent and the machinery is built to further fill the pockets of the already-rich but...ah, ya know. You can probably figure that out on your own, what with it being one of the core tenets of UC Gundam and all.

It reminds me of Zeta Gundam in it's storytelling; you just get thrown into it and you have to piece it together. Like at first they're mentioning mobile suits from Kimberly and I'm like who the hell is that and then it becomes apparent that that's the Feds' unit and it's like...oh, well. Okay. The whole movie is like that, but I am a sucker for that kind of storytelling so please give me more.

This is only 1/3rd of the story too, so while some things are still unanswered I assume that'll get wrapped up in time. I can't wait till part 3 when all the Mafty support people get brutally killed in horrible ways while Hathaway screams and/or cries. Presumably.

Edit: IMPORTANT UPDATE

 
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Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
iirc, in setting this is around the time where Anaheim is basically a shell of its former self and it's basically been reduced to turfing out half finished prototypes to anyone who will buy them (which leads to the Formula stuff and the establishment of SNRI, that then splinters off after Crossbone stuff to form the backbone of the Zanscare).

Which is why I'm wondering if they're going to start adapting a lot of the late UC stuff now; you've got the Formula Wars/Silhouette Mirage stuff and Crossbone subseries bracketing F91 (with the latter Crossbone entries serving as a bridge to Victory), and that's most of the unexplored material in anime format out there aside from the half million sidestories set in and around the OYW and Zeta.
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
Honestly I've never seen Victory so idk about all the later Crossbone and Zanscare stuff, but IIRC Anaheim doesn't stop having a monopoly till roughly when F91 happens and that's a five years from when Hathaway's Flash is set. Either way, they suck ass and are bad hmm hmm

I'm also curious where they go from here. Ever since Sunrise came back to UC, it's been kinda hit or miss. Unicorn, Narrative, Origin, Hathaway, Twilight Axis, Thunderbolt...there's some good and bad in all of those, but so far they've been playing it "safe" and filling in gaps in the established timeline. Let's see some wild shit, let's see 60 year old Judau using the beat up and retrofitted ZZ Gundam with a fake head. Come on, you cowards!!!
 
Which is why I'm wondering if they're going to start adapting a lot of the late UC stuff now
I'm pretty sure that was the intention, at least at one point. Maybe things have changed, but recall back in 2018, Bandai made a stink about how they were embarking on a "UC NexT 100" project and laid out a timeline of things (Twilight Axis, NT, Unicorn 2, Hathaway's Flash) and it felt like Late-UC was the ultimate destination as they were doing all these interstitial works between Early and Late. Who knows if that's still the case though. Bandai is capricious and the pandemic screwed with their plans just like everyone else's.

Edit: Also
Edit: IMPORTANT UPDATE
This should hang in the Louvre.
 
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Poster

Just some poster
Hathaway's Flash is basically peak-depression Tomino, so, uh, yeah.

I see. So the story hands out character deaths like Oprah hands out cars.
I mean...I think that's true? Like you need to have seen Char's Counterattack (what a coincidence they put it on Netflix a week releasing this lol) and understand that the Federation is corrupt and elitist. But as to the actual nature of the conflict I think it's pretty straightforward; after Char's Counterattack and seeing the Federation's corruption, Hathaway got disillusioned and decided that Char was right about moving mankind into space, and he started a terrorist organization with the goal of taking out top Federation officials. That's kinda it?
Yeah, it's been a minute since I have seen Char's Counterattack, so it's probably time to watch it again.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
The first movie trilogy recently appeared on Netflix, so I decided to try it. I do enjoy it (particularly the old artstyle, but also the whole feel of the show), but it also feels very action-heavy. My only experience with Gundam is Wing, which I only remember vaguely - I have no idea how these shows normally work.

I'm aware, that these movies are just a condensed version of the first TV show. As I understand it, it basically cuts out the filler from the show. But as it is, I feel like I would prefer a slower paced show, with more room to breath? So, is the stuff that has been cut for the movies worth watching? I do enjoy filler, if it isn't godawful. But do you guys feel that the filler adds to the show, and to the characters?
 
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