Thursday, 21 August 2014

Anime Review : Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn


Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn also written as 機動戦士ガンダムUC(ユニコーン is a Mecha Anime that fits in the main story line of the Gundam franchise, Universal Century. Universal Century spans over 35 years long starting from the very first Gundam novel. Gundam Unicorn fits in between Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack and  Mobile Suit Gundam F91. Even though it is one of the more recently animated novels in the series. You don't need to watch the entire Gundam franchise to get to grips with what is going on in Gundam Unicorn, but having knowledge about Char's Counterattack does help quite a bit.
 

Synopsis and Plot

The series begins in U.C. 0001, at the very beginning of human space colonization, when a space colony called Laplace is destroyed during a ceremony hosted by the Federation's Prime Minister ushering in the Universal Century dating system. The main story takes place in UC 0096, sixteen years after the end of the One Year War, three years after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, and 27 years before Mobile Suit Gundam F91.

The story revolves around Banagher Links, a seemingly normal boy living and going to school in the space colonies. His life changes one day when he meets a girl named Audrey Burne, as the encounter brings him into contact with a new Gundam and its connections to an item called "Laplace's Box."

Even for newcomers to the Gundam franchise story elements in Gundam Unicorn are explained with enough detail to make them at home in the Universal Century metaverse. Story progression was also well paced and there were no obvious plot holes.

Technical Aspects


Sunrise did a fantastic job with the animation on Gundam Unicorn. There was no drop in quality throughout the OVA, with really high production values all round. The use of the traditional character design and artwork was something I really enjoyed, and actually kind of prefer over the design used in Gundam 00. 

Audio wise Gundam Unicorn was an aural delight! I had the joy of watching Gundam Unicorn on Bluray with the full 5.1 audio soundtrack. Which really bumped the immersion levels up considerably. Each OVA also featured a different ending song which was a nice touch. 

Sawano Hiroyuki of Attack on Titan and Aldnoah Zero fame did the soundtrack for Gundam Unicorn and once again he blew me away with his musical talents. The soundtrack for Gundam Unicorn really amps up the mood in the anime with it's use of orchestral scores.

Characters


Strong characters on both sides of a conflict will always be a Gundam strongpoint, and Gundam Unicorn didn't fail in this respect. From our protagonist Banagher Links a young student thrust into the conflict when he meets Audrey Burne, whose character name and design does feel a lot similar to a certain Audrey Hepburn. Banagher as a mecha anime protagonist is one of the better ones. He isn't overly emotional like other typical mecha pilots, and he does carve himself out as one of the more memorable pilots in the franchise.

Audrey Burne is the pseudonym used by Mineva Lao Zabi, the princess of  Zeon. Even though she comes across as a strong noble princess, she hides a lonely girl starving for affection. She also had appearances in the Original mobile suit Gundam as well as Zeta Gundam.

Gundam Unicorn also features Full Frontal, the man known as the second coming of Char. He is a bit of an enigma throughout the series and the truth about him is only revealed later on. Though his ideologies are quite a bit different than that of the original Char.

Summary

In conclusion Gundam Unicorn is a welcome addition for any Gundam franchise fan. And also a good entry for people new to the main Gundam universe. A Combination of stunning visuals and audio. Added to a realistic cast with a compelling story line that keeps you wanting more. Makes for an unforgettable experience. The only possible downside to it as that some people might feel compelled to catch up on what happens before Unicorn. But in a franchise spanning over 35 years that is a daunting task to take on.

I give Gundam Unicorn an 8/10 and highly suggest any Gundam and Mecha fans to watch it.