Now that we’re two hours in, it’s gotten time to start asking in what way Gundam Unicorn sets itself apart from the other Gundam series. Unfortunately, I’m hard-pressed to find that answer…
I guess that the closest that this episode came to standing on its own was the point at which it showed that random Zeon family. It of course already was established that the Zeon aren’t completely evil by the very first Gundam series thirty years ago, but this episode did give a bit more depth to that by showing the people that the Zeon are trying to protect.
But apart from that though… the main problem with Unicorn really is its completely generic story, setting and characters: it’s all just “been there, done that”. There’s yet another boy who through some loophole in the rules gets his hand on the most powerful mobile suit known to man, there is yet another romance with a girl from the enemy (and hey! she’s even a princess this time), there again are strings of mecha battles. It’s all just too safe.
This all could have been forgiven with the right characterization, but… the lead character. I mean, most Gundam leads do fairly well to stand as solid characters, but this guy is completely generic. It’s not really the fact that he’s able to pilot a really powerful mecha: there are tons of other anime who do that. Instead, he just feels so out of place. Here we have a serious story about the war between two big fractions, and right there in the middle there’s this brat who keeps whining because he just discovered that people die in a war. Because of him we had to listen to strings of cheesy morals, instead of focusing on the story.
The same happened to Char here: in Zeta Gundam he was pretty interesting, in the first Gundam he was an excellent villain, but here, he looks like he lost all his charms, relying just on his cool-factor. The action also was something I got bored with. It’s the exact same type of action that we’ve been seeing over and over again. It was indeed solid, but the only thing that set it apart from all of the other Gundams was its airbags and the way in which the lead character vomited in his suit. okay, that’s admirable, but that’s not something you want to advertise yourself with.
Gundam Unicorn is solid, I’m not going to deny that. I did like the parts that didn’t feature the male lead. Minerva thank god shows how to not be annoying as a teenager, and also all of the adults knew exactly in what kind of situation they’re in, and they stand behind their choices. There was this interesting bit of intrigue going on, and at least most of the adults here felt very natural.
But that’s the thing: it’s got such a solid base here, and it doesn’t use it. This is Gundam: it’s got a huge graphics budget here; its direction is very solid and thought out; it’s got all of the ingredients for at least a solid story, grounded in realism. It just feels like it put its ambition in the wrong places.
Of course, it wasn’t bad either. I really hope that this episode was simply building up, so that we can at least get to see something interesting in the final episodes. I first want to see that before I’ll buy that, though. My biggest hope right now resides on that box. If that gets to be more than just another McGuyver, then this could still get interesting.
OVA Episode Rating: 7,75/10