My review of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (alt title: My descent into madness, caused by Gundams)

All the events in the Universal Century timeline prior to this has led up to this moment. Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ were the preludes leading up to the finale that is Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack. It is important to have knowledge of the story and characters from Mobile Suit Gundam, as you will not understand the relationships or the motivations for many of the featured characters.

The movie starts off revealing the fact that Char Aznable, the primary antagonist in the original Gundam series, is now the leader of Neo Zeon. His intention is to save Earth by destroying the Earth Federation and committing genocide by killing all the people living on Earth. How does he plan to do this you ask? By dropping asteroids on Earth to create a nuclear winter, thus rendering it uninhabitable; in fact, one of the first things that happens in the movie is that an asteroid is dropped on Lhasa, Tibet, causing cataclysmic damage. However, a second asteroid must be dropped before his true goal can be achieved. The Earth Federation, with the help of ace pilot Amuro Ray, the primary protagonist in the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, must find a way to stop the charismatic leader of Neo Zeon before he can finish what he already started.

That is the basic set-up and storyline of the movie, with numerous action scenes as well as quieter character moments to give audiences a deeper look into what drives our heroes and villains. You can feel the hatred that Char and Amuro have towards one another, to the point where Amuro is willing to do whatever it takes, including sacrificing himself, to kill Char. Honestly, the best parts of the movie are when it focuses on these two individuals and it tends to veer wildly off course when the focus shifts to other people.

Many questionable choices are made by other characters throughout the film and I am unable to sympathize or rationalize with any of their actions. I will warn you that I do plan to talk about some spoilers starting now but I will mark down where the spoilers end.

***WARNING: SPOILERS START HERE***

People are idiots in this movie and make the worst decisions EVER!! As previously established, Char intends to wipe out all life on Earth. He has his reasons, however misguided they may be, and it is because he feels that humans living on Earth have become complacent and harm the Earth by polluting it. The only way to save the planet is to “reset things” by eradicating all life on Earth and allowing it to start over again from scratch.

Knowing Char’s plans, but not necessarily knowing his motivations, the high ranking officials in the Earth Federation try to establish a treaty with Neo Zeon; in doing so, they provide Char with an asteroid base in exchange for gold and the promise that Neo Zeon will disarm their fleet and hand it over to the Earth Federation.

…WHAT?! Char already dropped one asteroid on Earth and now you’re going to sell him another one just because he promised that he’ll play nice?? I… I can’t even. Just… no, no. How does this make sense to anyone at all? He’s already dropped one asteroid on Earth and now just because of some piece of paper he’s not going to drop a second asteroid that you handed to him on a silver platter?

Hey Earth Federation guys, remember when this happened?!
Hey Earth Federation guys, remember when this happened?!
Guess not, since you decided to SELL THEM ANOTHER ASTEROID!!!
Guess not, since you decided to SELL THEM ANOTHER ASTEROID!!!

Aside from this, I had issues with several characters in the story. I will try to give a short introduction to each character ahead of time before explaining my issues with them. One of the primary individuals involved with the treaty is the Earth Federation Prime Minster Adenaur Paraya. His daughter is Quess Paraya, who ends up being a Newtype. Bright Noa is one of the heroes from the One Year War (Mobile Suit Gundam) and his son is Hathaway Noa. Chan Agi is a technical officer who was working on the RX-93 Nu Gundam, which Amuro pilots in this movie, and she seems to be his lover based on several scenes.

//deep breath in, deep breath out//

Okay, here we go. Adenaur and Quess Paraya were on Earth and took a shuttle into space in order to meet with officials from Neo Zeon for the treaty signing. Using his status, he jumps the queue to board a spacecraft but decides to allow one more person on board since he used his privilege to cut in line. That allows Hathaway Noa, who was there with his mom and sister, to board the shuttle. As the shuttle heads into space, it narrowly avoids collision with the asteroid dropped on Tibet. During this near miss, Quess is screaming at the pilot to go further right, even though he can’t hear her. She doesn’t have a seat belt on so she ends up floating out of her seat and Hathaway, who was sitting with them, pulls her back down so she doesn’t end up hurting herself.

In space, no one can hear you scream...
In space, no one can hear you scream...

The shuttle is damaged and ends up being rescued by an Earth Federation ship, who’s captain is Bright Noa (Hathaway’s father). Amuro is also stationed on this ship as they are the task force, named Londo Bell, that was assigned to stop Char from succeeding. During their time on the ship, Quess and Hathaway try out a combat simulation program that is using data from the most recent battle and they are allowed to do so because of Adenaur’s standing. Quess wanders off and is stopped from going any further in the hangar by one of the officers on the ship. Quess is later told by Hathaway that the officer was Amuro and she immediately takes an interest in him.

Senpai noticed me!
Senpai noticed me!
By the way folks, this conversation all took place within a span of a few seconds.
By the way folks, this conversation all took place within a span of a few seconds.
He's the famous hero who piloted the Gundam in the One Year War after all!
He's the famous hero who piloted the Gundam in the One Year War after all!
No interest. He's just some old guy.
No interest. He's just some old guy.

Later on, Quess visits the hanger again in the hopes of seeing Amuro. There, she sees Chan, who calls out to Amuro. Quess immediately takes exception to this and goes off on Chan, stating that Chan is “getting in the way” of her and Amuro and that she (Chan) should leave the ship.

She's Chan. She works here. Thus, more reason for her being here than you.
She's Chan. She works here. Thus, more reason for her being here than you.
You just met her!! How is that any of your business??
You just met her!! How is that any of your business??
Cool story, bro.
Cool story, bro.
A few scenes ago, you didn't even know who he was!!!!!
A few scenes ago, you didn't even know who he was!!!!!
Interfere with what? Please go away, crazy girl.
Interfere with what? Please go away, crazy girl.
Even the guy behind you thinks you're loco.
Even the guy behind you thinks you're loco.
Sure, I'll leave. I want to leave. Where's the nearest airlock?
Sure, I'll leave. I want to leave. Where's the nearest airlock?

So because the Prime Minister ends up on their ship, Londo Bell must take him to the space colony where the treaty signing will take place. Char, as the supreme leader of Neo Zeon, is of course present in order to take part in the meeting. Soon after it ends, he runs afoul of Amuro while he is out with Hathaway and Quess. They get into a fight and argue about their beliefs, when Char mentions his belief that people on Earth are weighed down by gravity.

And that makes them bad people?
And that makes them bad people?
Why yes, you've reached such a logical and well-thought out conclusion. Can I go now...?
Why yes, you've reached such a logical and well-thought out conclusion. Can I go now...?
Hmm... you bring up a valid argument.
Hmm... you bring up a valid argument.
This counter-argument is not without its merits.
This counter-argument is not without its merits.
That's true. Not everyone will think as you do, Amuro.
That's true. Not everyone will think as you do, Amuro.
No no no. I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that...
No no no. I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that...
A man of action. Nice to have a protagonist with conviction and willing to do what needs to be done from time to time. Clearly, there's no reasoning with Char.
A man of action. Nice to have a protagonist with conviction and willing to do what needs to be done from time to time. Clearly, there's no reasoning with Char.

Despite the fact that she claimed to love Amuro and that they were destined to be together, she disarms Amuro from behind when he pulls his gun out, claiming he wasn’t being fair, and ends up RUNNING AWAY WITH CHAR.

You attacked Amuro from behind, stole his gun and are now pointing it at him. And somehow HE'S the one not fighting fair? Furthermore, weren't you supposed to be on his side?!?!
You attacked Amuro from behind, stole his gun and are now pointing it at him. And somehow HE'S the one not fighting fair? Furthermore, weren't you supposed to be on his side?!?!

Skipping ahead, Char discovers that Quess is a Newtype and decides to take advantage of that. They put her in a mobile suit and discover that she’s a natural, despite her only experience with one being that in the training simulation from earlier. Amuro, being familiar with Char, knows that he is exploiting Quess and wants to save her. Hathaway, despite only knowing Quess for such a short time, also somehow falls madly in love with her and states his intention to save her, even claiming that he’s learned how to pilot a mobile suit.

Sneaking aboard a ship headed into battle to save a girl who doesn't even like you. That's not romantic, it's idiotic.
Sneaking aboard a ship headed into battle to save a girl who doesn't even like you. That's not romantic, it's idiotic.
She doesn't like you, kid. You were friend zoned ages ago!
She doesn't like you, kid. You were friend zoned ages ago!
She's involved herself in a war. She's likely going to die.
She's involved herself in a war. She's likely going to die.
Charlie Brown, you blockhead!
Charlie Brown, you blockhead!
Please give him one so he can go out and get shot down so we don't have to listen to his whining anymore.
Please give him one so he can go out and get shot down so we don't have to listen to his whining anymore.

//deep breath in, deep breath out//

During the climatic battle, Chan decides to take a damaged mobile suit out into the fray in order to provide Amuro with assistance. During this time, Hathaway manages to board a mobile suit and upon take off, manages to take out a Zaku with complete ease! Man, these Zeon guys are pushovers!

Can't you take one that isn't, for all intents and purposes, totally demolished?
Can't you take one that isn't, for all intents and purposes, totally demolished?
Is this turning into Street Fighter? Is Amuro secretly M. Bison?
Is this turning into Street Fighter? Is Amuro secretly M. Bison?

Aw, sweet! New car smell!
Aw, sweet! New car smell!
You're SURPRISED?! Didn't you get on this thing because it WOULD move?
You're SURPRISED?! Didn't you get on this thing because it WOULD move?
Oh, an actual trained soldier. He's in for it now!
Oh, an actual trained soldier. He's in for it now!
Oh. He shot down the Zeon soldier with ease. Why did the war drag on for so long if the soldiers are so shit that a kid, who never received any training, gets a kill that easily???
Oh. He shot down the Zeon soldier with ease. Why did the war drag on for so long if the soldiers are so shit that a kid, who never received any training, gets a kill that easily???

Eventually, he locates Quess and begs her to come back, completely confident that she will forget about Char and Amuro if she just comes back to him. Chan arrives in her damaged suit and tells Hathaway to get away from Quess as she is dangerous. Quess open fires on Chan. Chan tries to defend herself and ends up killing Quess. Hathaway then becomes enraged and opens fire on Chan, who is defenseless, and kills Chan. Ugh…

Yes. BTW, she's aiming her guns at you.
Yes. BTW, she's aiming her guns at you.
You mean like you were with Amuro, and then with Char?
You mean like you were with Amuro, and then with Char?
How did you block that, Chan? None of this makes sense anymore!!!
How did you block that, Chan? None of this makes sense anymore!!!
That's the smart thing to do. Shoot first, ask him to move later... ARGH
That's the smart thing to do. Shoot first, ask him to move later... ARGH
Pot calling the kettle black here, don't ya think?
Pot calling the kettle black here, don't ya think?
Sure, that's how you save things. By destroying them. Wait, WWHHHHAAAAAAAA?!
Sure, that's how you save things. By destroying them. Wait, WWHHHHAAAAAAAA?!
No! NO NO NO! I'm exasperated. Char, I'm on your side now buddy. Drop that rock like it's hot.
No! NO NO NO! I'm exasperated. Char, I'm on your side now buddy. Drop that rock like it's hot.
I agree. Might I add, YOU'RE ALSO ONE OF THOSE ANNOYING CHILDREN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!!
I agree. Might I add, YOU'RE ALSO ONE OF THOSE ANNOYING CHILDREN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!!
YOU'RE DELUSIONAL! I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS ANYMORE... *cries*
YOU'RE DELUSIONAL! I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS ANYMORE... *cries*
You were ready to shoot him about a minute ago!!!
You were ready to shoot him about a minute ago!!!
FINALLY WE'RE RID OF THE CRAZY! PRAISE THE SUN!
FINALLY WE'RE RID OF THE CRAZY! PRAISE THE SUN!
You're just going to start shooting at her? That crazy bitch would've killed you if not for Chan!
You're just going to start shooting at her? That crazy bitch would've killed you if not for Chan!
If you haven't noticed, many of them are trying to SAVE the Earth. If these kids are our future, I fear what's to come...
If you haven't noticed, many of them are trying to SAVE the Earth. If these kids are our future, I fear what's to come...
Our future, ladies and gentlemen. Is that asteroid here yet? I can't wait any longer. You know what Hathaway, I was wrong. You and Quess totally deserve one another.
Our future, ladies and gentlemen. Is that asteroid here yet? I can't wait any longer. You know what Hathaway, I was wrong. You and Quess totally deserve one another.

Anyways, back to the main plot. So the asteroid base was heading towards Earth and they were unable to destroy it with nuclear missiles. Bright Noa and his team manage to sneak aboard and strategically plant explosives, which splits the asteroid base in half. In an unfortunate twist, half of the asteroid would clear Earth, but the other half has enough momentum that it would still crash into Earth.

Amuro defeats Char, captures his escape pod, and decides to make a last ditch effort to stop the asteroid’s descent with his Gundam. Additional Earth Federation troops then arrive and try to assist Amuro in pushing back the asteroid. That makes sense; they’re all on the same side and don’t want Earth to be destroyed. Eventually, some Neo Zeon mobile suits join in the attempt to stop the asteroid. Wait, what? WHAT?! Wasn’t your leader’s plan all along to drop the asteroid and kill all life on Earth? WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO STOP IT NOW?????

Oh... so that's your plan? I thought there would've been a more substantial plan...
Oh... so that's your plan? I thought there would've been a more substantial plan...
Don't be stupid! You'll never win that posing contest against the Statue of Liberty!
Don't be stupid! You'll never win that posing contest against the Statue of Liberty!
Here comes the cavalry. Where were you guys this whole time? Never mind, you guys are gonna blow that asteroid up, right?
Here comes the cavalry. Where were you guys this whole time? Never mind, you guys are gonna blow that asteroid up, right?
I already asked th... you know what? You go ahead, Bright. You're one of the few characters who actually make some sense in this movie. Extra points for slapping Hathaway in an earlier scene.
I already asked th... you know what? You go ahead, Bright. You're one of the few characters who actually make some sense in this movie. Extra points for slapping Hathaway in an earlier scene.
Oh... So, you guys didn't have a plan, huh?
Oh... So, you guys didn't have a plan, huh?
You guys are the luckiest sons of beaches ever. They're all too busy bashing their heads against a literal rock. They're all gonna be easy pickings for you now.
You guys are the luckiest sons of beaches ever. They're all too busy bashing their heads against a literal rock. They're all gonna be easy pickings for you now.
WHY ARE YOU HELPING THE FEDDIES?! YOU GUYS WANTED THIS, REMEMBER?? DESTROY ALL HUMANS?!
WHY ARE YOU HELPING THE FEDDIES?! YOU GUYS WANTED THIS, REMEMBER?? DESTROY ALL HUMANS?!
I don't even... DIDN'T YOU KNOW THIS WAS THE PLAN ALL ALONG? WHY ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE EARTH NOW?!?!?!
I don't even... DIDN'T YOU KNOW THIS WAS THE PLAN ALL ALONG? WHY ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE EARTH NOW?!?!?!

Many of the suits, from both sides, start exploding due to the heat from the asteroid entering Earth’s atmosphere. In the end, Amuro’s mind powers somehow save the day by pushing all the Earth Federation and Neo Zeon suits away to safety and somehow also altering the course of the asteroid to veer away, saving Earth. POWER. OF. THE. MIND. Oh, and both Amuro and Char are assumed dead at this point as well.

So you had to watch Char's Counterattack too?
So you had to watch Char's Counterattack too?
An inexplicable light show and magic powers save the day. Is this happening? Is this real?
An inexplicable light show and magic powers save the day. Is this happening? Is this real?

***END OF SPOILERS***

I’m exhausted. So much of the story, characters and ending are so inexplicable that it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around, even a week after watching it. Character motivations and actions are all over the place and extremely inconsistent aside from a few like Amuro and Char. It’s just a total mess and honestly the end was fairly disappointing as I did enjoy the original series and was hoping to see a strong end to the storylines of these iconic figures. Instead, what I got was Char’s Counterattack. It’s not bad, but it’s pretty middling, which may even be a bigger crime. All in all, if you want to see the conclusion to the Amuro/Char storyline because you’re deeply invested, by all means. For casual fans of Gundam, I’d give this one a pass.

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My quest for Gundams #iblameaustinwalker

I have always been a Gundam fan, although in days past I was probably a relapsed fan. My first exposure to the series began with Gundam Wing when it started airing on YTV in Canada and I actually enjoyed it a lot. I realize that Wing is not held in the highest regard with many fans who first started with Mobile Suit Gundam and the exploits of Amuro Ray and Char Aznable, but it ended up being my jumping off point into the series.

I purchased a great many HG Gundam Wing kits back in the day, of both the High Grade 1/144 and HG 1/100 variety, before finally getting into Master Grade with Wing Zero and Heavyarms Custom from the OVA Endless Waltz. At a certain point I decided to get back into the series and watched Gundam SEED, which I enjoyed immensely, and Gundam SEED Destiny, which I was fairly meh towards.

Since then, I've gone back and watched some of the other series such as the original and Zeta, which furthered my appreciation for the series. Since @austin_walker joined the site and has [hopefully] staked a claim towards wresting the title of "Anime Editor" away from @brad, we have been treated to conversations between him and @vinny regarding Dragon Ball Z and Gundam, culminating in the Gunpla build during the GOTY videos and sparking the creation of the Giant Bomb's Gunpla Build Club thread over in the off-topic forum. This has re-ignited my love of Gunpla and also my love for the series in general, and I have now embarked on a quest to watch a lot of the older series that I have missed (and were given recommendations by Austin on an earlier Beastcast) and hopefully write up some reviews or thought about them. I have compiled a list of series that I have watched and series that I will watch for the first time.

Watched:

  • Mobile Suit Gundam
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
  • After War Gundam X
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73: Stargazer
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 1
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 2
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer

Planning to watch:

  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

I will likely go through what I haven't watched first and write up my thoughts on those before returning to any series I have previously watched. I do plan on re-watching Gundam Wing as it has been a long time since I have gone through that series, and I will probably do the same with Gundam SEED and perhaps SEED Destiny now that they have released the remastered versions. Thanks to all who will consider to join on through this endeavour!

20 Comments

Podcasts

It was funny. Less than a year and a half ago, I didn't even know what a podcast was until one of the managers at the place where I worked mentioned that he was filling up his iPod with podcasts that he listens to in the car on his way to work.
 
After that, I first saw EpicBattleCry and Invisible Walls on Gametrailers.com and started watching them before I even found out that they were podcasts. I still follow EBC now, but I don't really follow IW anymore. I only got into the Giant Bombcast MAYBE a year ago, and I'm somewhat upset with myself that I didn't get into them earlier. Now I look forward to every Tuesday as that's when I get my Jeff/Ryan/Brad/Vinnie fix.
 
Since SC2 came out, I've been looking to consume any media even remotely related to the game: replays, VoDs, people streaming their game on TeamLiquid.net, the GB Community Tournament, and so on. Eventually I found the "State of the Game" podcast which is done by some of the top players from BW and SC2, and it's a hoot to listen to. I may even enjoy it more than the Bombcast surprisingly. I also just subscribed to "The Creep" which is a more casual SC2 podcast, but all of this is just to talk about the fact that because of my love of the game, I wanted to do something for the community as well.
 
I thought about doing videos on Youtube, but that area seems over saturated with already popular figures like Day[9], PsyStarcraft, Husky, HDStarcraft, Artosis, etc. I also considered streaming, but my bandwidth would not allow that. So I thought, how about doing an SC2 podcast?! I didn't come up with the idea as a way to get e-famous or anything like that, I just honestly thought it would be a blast to get together with some like-minded individuals and spit game about something we all know and love. The first recording went better than I could've expected, and I owe a lot to Harris, Domorin, ThatFrood and Moztacular for their support and participation in my crazy-ass dream.
 
Here's hoping that we can continue to put out a quality product that people will enjoy (and perhaps even learn a thing or two from) for quite some time. Cheers! :3

3 Comments