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conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
I'm really enjoying G-Witch so far. To be honest, I was a little skeptical going in: I'm not really a fan of school settings at the best of times, the leads didn't have inspiring résumés, and, well, Iron-Blooded Orphans still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, different team or no. Still, even the power of low expectations didn't prepare me to be so on-board with it.

Suletta is a really fun lead, easily flustered but headstrong, and she plays off every character well. Miorine is pretty funny for how often she'll denies or rejects something only to be deadset on it moments later (most obviously: her engagement to Suletta, where she went from "yeah don't worry about the 'groom' thing I'm not going along with that" to "FATHER I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL SO YOU ACCEPT SULETTA AS MY FIANCÉ" in the span of one episode). And I am very intrigued by Lady Prospera, how she is obviously The Char of the series but has an entirely different relationship with the protagonist than usual — not only literally by being the Suletta's mother, but in the way that the two already know each other and are allies. If this isn't building to a big, dramatic break where Suletta has to fight her mother, then we might see Suletta get involved in our requisite Char schemes… and that's a tantalizing prospect.

Also interesting are the glimpses we get of this world's politics and conflicts. I like that the Earth/Colony conflict is the reverse of what Gundam usually does: where the typical set-up is that Earth is exploiting the colonies, here the colonies are in such ascendency that the Earth has fallen by the wayside and into decline. It's an easy swap but still feels fresh. I'm excited to see where it's heading, and honestly, it's nice to be watching a Gundam series week-to-week again.

Though, much as I enjoy some of these diversions (a whole episode on a Gundam trade show!), it does feel a bit slow. They're really writing this with 50 episodes in mind, huh?
 
well, Iron-Blooded Orphans still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, different team or no.
IBO was bad. But in between we had Build Divers Re:Rise, so my faith in Gundam at least I've managed to stay less skeptical than you have.

And I am very intrigued by Lady Prospera, how she is obviously The Char of the series but has an entirely different relationship with the protagonist than usual — not only literally by being the Suletta's mother, but in the way that the two already know each other and are allies. If this isn't building to a big, dramatic break where Suletta has to fight her mother, then we might see Suletta get involved in our requisite Char schemes… and that's a tantalizing prospect.
The thing about the concept of a Char Clone is that his clones, and even the original character himself, has been so many wildly different things that it's pretty hard to take a guess at how this one will play out. Like, for every Iron Mask, there's a Harry Ord. For every Zechs there's a Jamil Neate. For every Casval there's a Quattro.

There's a lot of subtle and not so subtle hints though at where this one will lead, where the subtlety becomes a lot less subtle once you've seen the Prologue episode and read the short web story published by Sunrise called "Cradle Planet" that fills in the gaps between the prologue and the first episode. It provides a lot of clear insights into what the show is hinting at and makes those hints a lot more obvious. Particularly, Aerial is sentient, views Suletta as a sister, and she is privy to knowing their mother's motivations - chiefly revenge. Combine that with some numbers from the prologue and recent episodes not lining up properly, and some pretty heavy handed thematic foreshadowing, it seems likely that we've got a Zone of the Enders type situation where Suletta's mom used her daughter and put her into the Gundam, and that Suletta is not the same little girl from the prologue; Gundam Aerial might be. And that's a kind of dark and irreconcilable twist where I don't think Suletta and her mom will end up on the best of terms as we go further into this show. But that's still just speculation and this could end up going in any number of directions.

I like that the Earth/Colony conflict is the reverse of what Gundam usually does: where the typical set-up is that Earth is exploiting the colonies, here the colonies are in such ascendency that the Earth has fallen by the wayside and into decline. It's an easy swap but still feels fresh.
I get this pov, but to me it honestly feels more like a return to form. As Gundam fans, we're very used to the whole idea of spacenoid oppression, and that gets commonly trotted out in spin-offs. But I feel like a lot of fans forget the conceit of the original show, and a lot of the subsequent sequels in the UC timeline, where it's spacenoids that are - in the name of some twisted sense of justice - crushing Earth under heel and abusing the planet even worse than otherwise would happen. In the original MSG, Zeon drops massive colonies onto the surface and completely devastates the Earth's fragile ecosystem. All while using the name and the cause of a man who called for preservation and protection of Earth. Neo Zeon does the same multiple times and completely brings Earth to heel, save for a few rambunctious, renegade fighters. The Zanscare Empire to my knowledge is a similar dynamic. And G-Gundam and Turn-A both have the inverted power dynamic as their stories' central pillars. So this situation feels a lot more familiar and comfortable to me.

I'm excited to see where it's heading, and honestly, it's nice to be watching a Gundam series week-to-week again.

Though, much as I enjoy some of these diversions (a whole episode on a Gundam trade show!), it does feel a bit slow. They're really writing this with 50 episodes in mind, huh?
I really love watching the show week to week. I generally enjoy watching most things week-to-week that are of this nature. It gives us viewers time to think about, decompress, formulate theories, and organically discuss these shows as they play out. If we were marathon viewing this show instead, you wouldn't even have time to think about or even react to some bombshell on your screen before the next episode auto-plays and the story moves on past those last events. It's also allowing positive word of mouth time to filter out naturally in order to bring in more viewers so they can not just watch the show along with us, but feel like they're a part of it instead of missing the zeitgeist by coming in too late.

I also really appreciate the pacing here. So many anime shows in general, feel like they're poorly paced due to a myriad of factors. Lots of late night anime serve first and foremost as advertisements for their more profitable source material, and are looking to both hook the viewers in instantly, as well as enticing them to go buy the source material after the show has completed its run. Those kinds of shows are very often calculated gambles on part of publishers. They are taking shots in the dark and hoping one of them hits. If the show wasn't popular enough, and/or the source material didn't receive a strong enough boost in sales, that show isn't likely to get a sequel made. Knowing all of that's the case, most production committees will take a long form story like a series of light novels or mangas, and blitz through the first few story arcs in only a matter of a few episodes. They'll fast forward through the initial scenario, or just skip it all together, and try to get to a more natural feeling endpoint in case the show never gets a sequel, but leave enough dangling for interested viewers to go buy the books to see how things turn out.

The converse of this is when a production committee has a lot of confidence that something will be popular, so they very painstakingly draw out a source material as thin as possible to keep the show going for as long as possible to keep the gravy train going.

A show like G-Wtich however, where writers are allowed to plan their stories out to completion from the beginning, and are given a full year's worth of episodes to deal with. These are the kinds of pacing that is long enough to build something really special and fully explore the ideas and themes of those shows and not feel rushed like a lot of late night anime, but are concise and well planned out so that you never feel like this thing will never end or gets stuck in a holding pattern like a lot of shounen fight shows end up feeling. And they'll get real endings too, versus dragging on forever or just never getting a conclusion all together before a project gets unceremoniously abandoned.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
The first season of G-Witch ended this week. I've really enjoyed it so far! I still think the plot is moving awfully slow — I really hope this is going to go more than two seasons, because I'm not sure how it can cover all the ground it needs to in a mere 12 more episodes — but the characters go through a lot and it's been exciting to see Suletta and Miorine's relationship develop. Plus it's just a lot of fun, on a moment-to-moment basis. After the finale, Suletta is, hands down, one of the best protagonists in the franchise.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I found Iron-Blooded Orphans on Netflix. Any opinions on that? Or specifically at conchobar and Wysteria: What did you dislike about it?

Yeah, I can just watch it, but I have, like, a million shows that I want to see, so if this one is bad, I'd just not waste my time. Depends on the way it is bad, though.

I still only have seen Wing, really need to finally watch all of the original.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Heh, yeah I'm pretty sure Wist hates IBO with the fire of a thousand suns. I watched the whole thing and mostly didn't hate it, but I did often find myself wishing some of the writing/plotting were better. I appreciate some of the things it's trying to do, but it often swerves into cheap pathos for the sake of pathos. A lot of the mech designs are pretty great though.
 
IBO is a bad show, but it seems to have its fans so there's clearly something of value here. It has some cool sequences, and its cast of characters are likable. The robits are cool looking too. The show is also stupid AF, but that's not necessarily a deal breaker. Especially if you really like Gundam Wing, which is also stupid. Stupid can be fun! A lot of the things I have problems with IBO over are nitpicks, and don't stop me from liking other shows that have the same problems. But it has a handful of what I consider unforgivable sins that may or may not be stuff you care about:

1) The show glamorizes and glorifies warfare in ways that I think are not just unconscionable, but antithetical to the entire franchise. It would be like if you watched a Star Trek show that decided nah, actually, bigotry and capitalism and solving every conflict with violence is pretty dope.

2) The show is intensely misogynistic. Not that Gundam isn't full of problematic portrayals of women in the past. But it's a franchise that has slowly evolved on this front to be a fair bit more inclusive and less regressive. So it was shocking to go from the previous big Gundam show G-Reco where the main cast and primary movers of the plot being almost all strong and competent women, to IBO where women only really exist to serve men and to make the men/audience feel bad when they get helplessly slaughtered/victimized.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I don't really get the glorifying war thing. It hits the "man, using child soldiers is messed up, huh?" beat as hard as any Gundam I've seen. It has cool fight scenes but so does every Gundam.
 
I don't really get the glorifying war thing. It hits the "man, using child soldiers is messed up, huh?" beat as hard as any Gundam I've seen. It has cool fight scenes but so does every Gundam.
To a certain extent, my evaluation is going to be ymmv, and up to interpretation.
And as you put it yeah, every Gundam has cool fight scenes. The paradoxical dichotomy of making an anti-war statement, while simultaneously showing off cool robots doing cool things is inherent to most or all Gundam shows. But most are at least self-aware and make attempts at either tempering the coolness with stronger, more blatant messages, or by actively undermining how cool the robots are allowed to be in the first place. Tomino, for all his flaws as a director and creative talent, has very consistently evolved his approach to this over the years as he's seen his previous attempts at hammering home his 'war bad' message either fell flat or were ineffective. Most Gundam shows by other creative teams also make their own attempts at this to varying degrees of success.

In my opinion, IBO does not do a sufficient job. A lot of the problem for me is based contextually on how certain moments and scenes are framed. In a more traditional Gundam show like Zeta Gundam for example, when a character with whom the audience sympathizes over dies, the horror of the moment is usually fully expressed in unambiguous ways. The music will turn into painful shrieks and sharp sounds, other characters will cry out in grief, and nothing about the situation is played down or romanticized. There is no nobility or beauty or any positivity in a death from warfare. When a character dies in IBO, the music swells up and the moments are almost saccharine in how they express the events. Kind of like a lot of war propaganda films where the courage and bravery and sacrifice is played up as something heroic and noble.

That's admittedly a matter of taste and left up to interpretation, but I couldn't help but see things that way. But then there's the movements of the plot and actions of the main characters we follow. Early on, yes, there's some "man, using child soldiers is messed up, huh?" moments. (Which, for the record, doesn't really strike me as a daring statement, especially when the show is also saying actually war is fine, just do it the right way.) They quickly give way though, to the main characters just settling down into "actually, war ain't so bad". The cast is given multiple outs and moments to reflect on the business they've found themselves involved in. And at every turn they decide to double down on continuing to fight. It almost becomes comical after a certain point. I think a lot of this could be excused if the show was upfront about the fact that the main characters aren't actually heroes, but villains. And this was the story of the birth of a group of villains for a later show to deal with. There are moments when specific characters experience moments of lucidity where they begin to question everything going on around them. Those moments are fleeting and quickly swept under the rug, in favor of a tenor that's more jingoistic and triumphant in celebrating whatever badass thing these child mercenaries are doing or saying. At times, IBO has this disjointed feeling, and it feels almost like where one of the writers wants to express that no, all of this is messed up, and the other writers/execs are like no, this is cool actually, and the latter are the ones who usually win out in the writer's room struggles.

There's a moment towards the end of the first season that always sticks out to me, where the main characters are getting together to rally the troops. They're about to engage in what is essentially an act of political terrorism. They no longer need to fight to survive, but are now lending their strength to causes they don't personally care about or have a vested interest in because they see it as their only path forward in life. Mostly because they turn a blind eye to anything else and have convinced themselves they're only good at killing people. They start giving speeches and whip the rest of their regiment into a frenzy, and soon everyone is hollering and roaring. It's like a scene directly out of Lord of the Flies, except the music, framing, and everything else associated with the scene is playing it off like this is actually a really cool event and not something horrifically wrong.

And then there's the show's ending. Which is just honestly a baffling exercise of why did this happen and why did you do this. Which would have elicited a cheer from me if it weren't also just so massively stupid. I guess the lesson of the ending we're supposed to take away is that maybe sometimes just let the imperialist, fascist, dictators just do their thing because they aren't actually *that* bad? Man, fuck this stupid show I'm done thinking about it.
 
Felix, if this show looks cool to you, and you want to give it a try, don't let my ramblings get in the way of that. People should watch stuff and make their own decisions about it. I can really only speak for my own evaluations/readings of things. But just know that for better or worse - if you like or hate the show - that the rest of Gundam franchise isn't really like this show at all.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I think I understand some of what you're saying but for me it fell into the depiction =/= endorsement thing. It's definitely subjective.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Felix, if this show looks cool to you, and you want to give it a try, don't let my ramblings get in the way of that. People should watch stuff and make their own decisions about it. I can really only speak for my own evaluations/readings of things. But just know that for better or worse - if you like or hate the show - that the rest of Gundam franchise isn't really like this show at all.
I mainly would like to finally watch a Gundam show, because the franchise looks really cool, and this is the one on Netflix (which makes it easier to access than any other Gundam show).

But yeah, I just wanted to avoid a trashfire on all levels, if there is stuff to enjoy, I will give it a watch. And see for myself how much of a dealbreaker the problems are for me.

Also, it's 20 years since I watched Wing, so no idea if I would still like it. But eith 15, it was a show I couldn't wait for the next episode, when I was mainly in an age where shows didn't do that anymore. It felt so complex and grown-up, with how war is, you know, bad, and people would switch sides. I still remember edgy princess, in contrast with good-hearted princess, who was all "war is cool, because it brings out the most intense in humans" or something, and I was like "Yeah, totally, fascinating perspective".

Anyway, I'll report beck when I have watched IBO. And maybe then give the original a go (I really wished I had access to a dubbed version, subs need just too much focus, so I always wait for a time when I'm ready to devote full attention to a show, which is just rare - I guess I should pay for a crunchyroll account). Thanks for the answers, especially the effortpost from you, Wisteria.
 
It would require its own subscription, but for what it's worth, Crunchyroll has:

- The original Gundam show
- Gundam Seed/Destiny
- Gundam Wing
- Gundam Unicorn
- ZZ Gundam
- Gundam 00
- Gundam The Origin
- IBO
- G Gundam
- Gundam Build Fighters
- Gundam Build Divers
- The Witch of Mercury

A lot of these are pretty ymmv, but G Gundam is a goat-tier anime in general, never mind for a Gundam.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Is G Gundam the one with the tournament, where every nation designs its own Gundam (like the Tequila Gundam)?

I was a bit confused, because I found stuff that talked about it having that tournament, and other stuff that said it is playing on a ruined Earth (which I then found out to be the same thing). I'm just wondering, because I always assumed it was just some goofy show with goofy Gundam designs. Which meant it was a show that I wanted to watch anyway, but good to know that it's actually good.

When I'm asking stuff, what are Gundam shows that are generally agreed to be worth watching? And which ones are generally assumed to be better avoided?
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
Is G Gundam the one with the tournament, where every nation designs its own Gundam (like the Tequila Gundam)?

I was a bit confused, because I found stuff that talked about it having that tournament, and other stuff that said it is playing on a ruined Earth (which I then found out to be the same thing). I'm just wondering, because I always assumed it was just some goofy show with goofy Gundam designs. Which meant it was a show that I wanted to watch anyway, but good to know that it's actually good.

There is a weird goofiness that runs through all of G Gundam, but it's about more than just a tournament, and some of the later episodes get very intense and emotional. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

When I'm asking stuff, what are Gundam shows that are generally agreed to be worth watching? And which ones are generally assumed to be better avoided?

I'm not real plugged into the fandom these days so I don't know which way general opinion swings, so instead I'll just do a real quick and dirty "thumbs up or thumbs down" list of my personal opinion on everything I've seen so far. "Thumbs down" doesn't necessarily mean I consider it completely worthless, just that I don't think it quite hangs with the best of what Gundam has to offer. If it's not on this list, I haven't seen it.

Gundam Fight... Ready... GO!

(y) Mobile Suit Gundam [compilation movies]
(y) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam F91
(n) Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
(y) Mobile Fighter G Gundam
(n) New Mobile War Report Gundam Wing
(n) New Mobile War Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
(n) After War Gundam X
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team - Miller's Report
(n) G-Saviour
(y) Turn A Gundam
(n) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
(y) Gundam Build Fighters
(y) Gundam Build Fighters Try
(y) Gundam Build Fighters Battlogue
(n) Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars
(y) Gundam Build Fighters: GM's Counterattack
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
❓ Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island

I think that's everything. Hathaway's Flash gets a ❓ because I'm reserving judgment on it until the rest of the trilogy comes out, if it ever does. Obviously there are huge gaps in my experience, particularly with any 21st century non-UC productions. I do vaguely intend to get around to watching everything at least once, but it's not a real priority for me. Hope this helps! (It probably doesn't.)
 
I was a bit confused, because I found stuff that talked about it having that tournament, and other stuff that said it is playing on a ruined Earth (which I then found out to be the same thing).
The entire show exists within the context of the "Gundam Fight #13". Every however many years, the Earth-Sphere holds a Gundam Fight where the successors to the former nation states all vie for supremacy, and the winner of the tournament gets to basically run the UN or whatever until the next scheduled fight. This was this world's solution to endemic warfare/the devastation of World Wars.

The first half of the series and first phase of the Gundam Fight is like a Battle Royale, where the representatives of each nation just kind of roam the Earth, challenging each other to duels. If a Gundam gets its head unit destroyed, that disqualifies that Gundam and thus its sponsor nation from the rest of the Tournament. There are supposed to be sportsmanship rules like aiming for the pilot cockpit with lethal force being a disqualifier.

After the end of the Battle Royale section of the tournament, the surviving Gundams must report to the host nation for the main tournament in time for the opening ceremony for an official, knockout bracket style tournament. The specific rules of the tournament are left up to the discretion of the host country, who earned that right by being the winner of the previous tournament.

A lot of the conflict in the show stems not from the actual fights, but the politics surrounding the fights. Some nations employ criminals as mercenaries to represent them. Other nations force disposable prisoners to be their representatives under threat of execution. Many nations attempt to cheat or rig the system in their favor. Almost all nations have moved the elites of their societies and the seats of their governments off-world onto orbital colonies, so they turn a blind eye to how the Gundam Fights tend to cause incredible amounts of collateral damage. And since the elites all moved off-world, the Earth as a whole is neglected and exploited and facing ecological ruin as a result since the elites have no personal stakes in having to live in such a place anymore, and leave the Earth and its remaining people to decay and squalor.

And that's before you get to the main thrust of the show, where the main character is employed by the Japanese government to be their representative, but he only takes the job because it gives him an opportunity and the means to hunt down and kill his own brother - who was the former Japanese Gundam Fight representative - because his brother went insane, stole Japan's Gundam, and murdered everyone in his path, including their parents.

It's a mega goofy show frequently, but it also manages to get pretty intense on a regular basis, and it also takes its premise very seriously. The only thing stronger in the show than its goofy vibes is its commitment to sincerity. It's also a really fun show that is more influenced by things like Super Sentai shows, Hong Kong Kung Fu films, and Luchador wrestling, than anything else.

The only real caveat with the show is that it's wrapped up in 90s era Japanese gender roles/politics, so if you demand strong female representation in your shows you're not going to find it here. But the show is on average less regressive than its peers of the time, and even manages to do a mild critique of toxic masculinity. It's also just really nice (and sadly a statistical outlier in this franchise) to have a Gundam show about mostly adult characters who do adult things and have adult perspectives. Which is pretty rare for the franchise, and anime in general.

Where you gonna get a cartoon that has music like this:

And this:

And this at the same time:


(y) Mobile Suit Gundam [compilation movies]
(y) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam F91
(n) Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
(y) Mobile Fighter G Gundam
(n) New Mobile War Report Gundam Wing
(n) New Mobile War Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
(n) After War Gundam X
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team - Miller's Report
(n) G-Saviour
(y) Turn A Gundam
(n) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
(y) Gundam Build Fighters
(y) Gundam Build Fighters Try
(y) Gundam Build Fighters Battlogue
(n) Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars
(y) Gundam Build Fighters: GM's Counterattack
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
❓ Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island
This is fun! I agree with most of your list but have a few key differences that I feel pretty strongly about. But that's ok! Gundam is a very YMMV franchise in general, and you're hardly ever going to get a consensus on anything - it's mostly going to be up to personal taste. For my money, this is how I'd rate the stuff I've seen:
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam
(y) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
(n) Mobile Suit SD Gundam
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam F91
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
(y)(y)(y) Mobile Fighter G Gundam
(n) New Mobile War Report Gundam Wing
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
(y) After War Gundam X
(n) New Mobile War Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team - Miller's Report
(y)(y)(y) Turn A Gundam
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War
(y) Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam 00
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer
(n) Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G
(y) Gundam Build Fighters
(y) Gundam Reconguista in G
(y) Gundam Build Fighters Try
(y) Gundam Build Fighters Battlogue
(n) Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars
(y) Gundam Build Fighters: GM's Counterattack
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam: Twilight AXIS
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower
(n) Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
(y) Gundam Build Divers
(y) Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise
(y) Gundam Build Divers: Battlogue
❓ Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash
(y) Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island
(y) (so far) Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury
 
When I'm asking stuff, what are Gundam shows that are generally agreed to be worth watching? And which ones are generally assumed to be better avoided?

The core Gundam canon is:

Mobile Suit Gundam (aka Gundam 0079, the original TV show)
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (sequel to original TV show)
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (direct sequel to Zeta)
Char's Counterattack (movie that escalates and resolves some core conflicts from the first three series)
Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (sequel with a big time leap)
Turn A Gundam (sequel with an even bigger time leap, also a kind of capstone to the franchise as a whole, including spinoffs but you don't really need to watch any of them to get it)

Everything is is where you get into stuff that's either a bit more like Star Wars "expanded universe" type business endlessly milking this core canon, or it's alternate universe spinoffs (sometimes like soft reboots, other times like IBO just a mecha show where the mecha happen to be called Gundam to sell more Gundam branded merch). I think some of those are good, but the above is the core Gundam experience.

That's ~250 episodes of TV and a movie, which is already a lot, without even considering spin-off series and one-offs. My recommendation is to start with the original TV show (NOT the compilation movies, which are shorter but feel longer because they achieve a shorter length by destroying the pacing and rhythms of the show) and either quit or go forward from there, because that's the foundation of everything.
 
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FelixSH

(He/Him)
Thanks, that is very helpful. Started with the first two episodes today (of the first show, not the movies, I already tried both some time ago and prefer the show), and it's really good. It's really good at showing us immediately how horrible the war is for everyone. And even two episodes in, Char is already pretty cool, as a sympathetic antagonist (it's not only the mask, but it certainly helps).
 
After the basic premise is established there will be some Monster of the Week type episodes or obvious toy commercial type moments, but honestly yeah when it's going well I think that the original show is one of the best Gundam shows, and even alternate universe spinoffs are extremely referential to it. So, the only reason not to start there is if you're really put off by its age. But, if you can enjoy it, then it's the ideal place to start.

Everything is is where you get into stuff that's either a bit more like Star Wars "expanded universe" type business

I meant "Everything else is" here.
 
Char is already pretty cool, as a sympathetic antagonist (it's not only the mask, but it certainly helps).
Char is maybe a little too sympathetic and charismatic, since his character is still essentially a Nazi. Look forward to how the sequel shows treat his character once the show's creator has the epiphany that oops, I accidentally made people want to be friends with/fuck a Nazi.
 
i think this is also somewhat complicated because to the extent you could have an "oops, I accidentally made people want to be friends with a Nazi" reaction, it applies to any character who is an Earth Federation partisan as well

both governments are evil and authoritarian, one is just evil and authoritarian in a way that Gundam viewers often find sympathetic because most of us belong to the imperial core

if anything i think people not getting how much the Earth Federation sucks is as much as if not a a more problematic element of the fandom (but not really the show itself)

it's not a series about picking sides between Zeon and Earth Federation—it's about the people caught in the middle and negotiating their way through an impossible situation (and this includes both Char and Amuro, who are both deeply flawed but portrayed sympathetically)

I mean, he’s a nazi who wants to kill Hitler, but still, yeah.

he's also eventually the co-founder of space ANTIFA, so in the long term it's definitely very complicated.
 
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both governments are evil and authoritarian, one is just evil and authoritarian in a way that Gundam viewers often find sympathetic because most of us belong to the imperial core

if anything i think people not getting how much the Earth Federation sucks is as much as if not a a more problematic element of the fandom (but not really the show itself)
This is a wild take to me. The EF is definitely corrupted and harmful in the way most modern “liberal democracies” are - where a self-interested plutocratic class has captured the levers of government and made government unresponsive at best, and antagonistic towards the the needs of the people in general. They are “evil” in the way your vanilla bureaucrats/politicians are. I don’t think anyone is suffering under the illusion that the EF is anything but this. But there is a whole order of magnitude difference in that form of evil, and the goose stepping Nazis that makes up Zeon. The crimes of the EF are ones of neglect, malfeasance, corruption, and bureaucratic violence of indeterminate scale. Zeon however carried out campaigns of systematic genocide that murdered billions in the name of ethnic supremacy. I’ve never really observed any fans not understanding the EF being corrupt and bad. But I sure as hell have seen a lot of fans gleefully embracing Zeon’s fascist iconography and rhetoric, in the exact same maybe-ironic-but-hard-to-discern-from-sincerity meme-y way that birthed the MAGA movement/Trump's political career online.

he's also eventually the co-founder of space ANTIFA, so in the long term it's definitely very complicated.
That’s just straight up wrong lol. If you’re talking about the AEUG, he was just a grunt soldier that signed up and wasn’t involved with leadership. He did so under a pseudonym and hid his identity, so as not to lend the movement his identity and clout. Once his cover was blown, and especially after the assassination of the actual founder of the AEUG, he was asked to step up into a leadership role, which he continually balked at. It’s explained to him multiple times he’s more valuable as a politician/figurehead than as a mobile suit pilot - especially since he isn’t even at the top of the game anymore since the new generation of pilots outclass him. But he intentionally ignores these pleas from leadership and sorties to battle. And during the final battle of the Gryps Conflict, he used the chaos of battle to cover for his complete abandonment of the cause, leaving the AEUG to succumb to the same bureaucratic rot coopted by the same financial oligarchs that infect the EF. Char was never a good guy in Zeta. At best, he’s a lost soul who didn’t know where to aim his bloodlust after having achieved his revenge. A rebel without a cause.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Char is maybe a little too sympathetic and charismatic, since his character is still essentially a Nazi. Look forward to how the sequel shows treat his character once the show's creator has the epiphany that oops, I accidentally made people want to be friends with/fuck a Nazi.
Just going into this (I read the rest, but I don't mind spoilers (really, I don't), so carry on), at episode 2, all I know is that Zeon attacked the Federation (which is bad, of course), but also that the Federation uses kids as soldiers (with the assumption, that there is no one left, I guess, but still - Amuro is drafted into piloting and carring for the Gundam, and basically dressed down, because he isn't into it immediately. Not a good look). On the other hand, we have in Char someone who seems to care for the people under him, and is shocked and angry, when one of them dies in battle. This really gives a strong, positive impression of him, even if he is an antagonist.

Looking forward to more. Reading the other comments makes me think of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, at least in how we have two sides, both of which are corrupt, but one still feeling clearly preferable to the other one.
 
Not only did Char co-found AEUG with Blex Forer, he personally rescued Blex from Earth Federation confinement to make it possible to found in the first place. That's why Char is Blex's "bodyguard" and close advisor, and also why Blex asks Char take over as leader. He's not entirely what he seems. It's possible that elements of this are one of those fragmentary Tomino things that you have to pick up on in the show by watching closely and this is only made 100% explicit in Japanese language behind the scenes materials that elaborate on world building details. But that's the backstory behind AEUG and you see Blex and Char have such a close relationship, ending in an intimate deathbed scene where Blex explicitly appeals to him as "Char Aznable" rather than Quattro and asks him to take over.

You can interpret his actions many ways and I interpret them more positively, but, just focusing on the a factual issue, AEUG only exists because Char enables Blex to create it.
 
I'll try and keep that interpretation in mind next time I rewatch Zeta. I didn't get that impression at all lol. Either from the show or the compilation films. I believe you about Tomino's intentions as well, but you'll never know this kind of stuff unless you're reading his novelizations and other things, which I generally don't do because not just the language barrier but also because they seem to liberally revise things and not for the better. Also Death of the Author and all that.

the Federation uses kids as soldiers (with the assumption, that there is no one left, I guess, but still
It's an extremely dire situation in the One Year War. By the time the TV show begins, the war had been ongoing for a good 7-9 months IIRC. And in that time, half of humanity had died to various weapons of mass destruction. So we're talking existential crisis for humanity situations here. Not to mention that at the beginning of the show, despite being way smaller in size, Zeon has their boot on the throat of the EF technologically. Since they have mobiles suits and the EF doesn't. Which in the world of Gundam where they also have a way to effectively make radar and radio completely neutralized, just means the EF is completely fucked until the Gundam project begins to turn the tide of the war. Falling back on conscripting teenagers is a terrible thing but it's also Battle of Stalingrad levels of desperation here.
 
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