[This article assumes the reader is not already familiar with the Gundam meta series.]
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is the anime adaption of a Gundam (giant mecha) novel. This series toke a crazy long time to make. With the first episode released in 2010, the final episode 7 is released on 2014-5-17. The story takes place in the same universe as Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) and follows the events 3 years after Char’s Counterattack (1988).
Once again a teenager gets to pilot a powerful mecha – the Gundam Unicorn and caught between two sides of war – the Earth Federation and Neo Zeon. He and his Gundam Unicorn turn out to be a key to unlocking a mysterious object – Laplace’s Box, which is known to be a real threat to the Earth Federation, but nearly no one knows exactly what it is. Not sticking to either side, he tries to find his own path.
There are many things to like about this series:
- With so many years spent on producing these 7 episodes, the video and audio qualities of the series are superb. I suspect this may be the best looking Gundam series to date.
- Although Gundam series always have spectacular battles, the budget and time allows their perfection here.
- As with several other Gundam series, this one has an anti-war theme and a sophisticated storyline. Good and evil are not clear cut at all. It is definitely NOT one of those anime that basically says “kill the bad guy then everyone lives happily forever”.
- There is a father-daughter relationship in this series, which I think is well done and not that common for Gundam, unlike the common elements such as the death of a father, and the death of an important female character.
- It takes place in the Universal Century timeline, which almost every Gundam fan loves. For this reason we get to see classic mechas from that timeline, and new designs that are consistent with those.
- This series has a villain in the same form and voice of Char Aznable, whom I regard as the most charming antagonist from all Gundam series.
- We see or hear living or dead people from Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), for fans who love this classic.
As for the not so good aspects:
- One character falls in love with another without any explanation, then makes an important but abrupt transition that is unjustified.
- Perhaps due to its novel nature, there are often speeches that are simply too long.
- Although it is not essential to watch Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) or Char’s Counterattack (1988) before this, knowing what happened before certainly helps. Not knowing the multiple organizations and the political relationships among them makes it harder to understand the story. Reading pages like this one and this wikipedia should help.
- Even after understanding the roles of the various organizations, there are still plot points that I find hard to understand. For example, in Episode 5 a smart guy figures out the ulterior motive of Earth Federation, but after repeated viewing I still fail to see exactly how he comes to this conclusion.
Anyway, this is a really good Gundam series, and no fan should miss it.