Attempted Rape: Pretty much the only way to interpret Lieutenant Lupe Cirneau's method of 'interrogating' Uso after he's captured by BESPA.
Awesome, but Impractical: Early on Uso uses a massive Gatling gun with equivalent destructive power to the beam weapons, but it runs out of ammo quickly and the massive recoil makes it impossible to aim properly.
Ax-Crazy: Lupe Cineaux and Fuala Giffon. Katejina as well by the ending.
Bittersweet Ending: The Zanscare are defeated and Uso and Shakti live happily ever after but at the cost of the lives of the Shrike Team, Odelo, the Reinforce Jr. crew, Uso's parents...
Black Comedy Rape: The bizarre incident in Episode 29 where Lupe attempts to molest Uso in a bathtub. It ends with the poor kid clinging to the top of a curtain, stark naked except for a pair of handcuffs, whilst the Zanscare soldiers below yell at him to come down.
Born Lucky: Uso, despite his absurd skill for his age, frequently wins via the Hand of God.
Continuity Cameo: An old Jovian merchant (with his worn-out mobile suit called the Gump) fights alongside Uso Evin in a sidestory and does so awesomely. The catch? The man's revealed to be an elderly Judau Ashta, with the Gump being a jury-rigged ZZ Gundam.
Cool Big Sis: Marvette and the Shrike Team girls, specially Mahelia Merill.
Cool Bike: By Word of God, this is motif for many of Zanscare's mechanic, result in them have two wheels in their design (for examples, Keilas Guilie cannon's particle generators and Contio's shot claw mounts). The straight examples are two models of armored bike, bike-like mobile armor Galicson, and battleships that can tranform into gigantic bike, Adrastea and Lysithea.
Cool Ship: The Reinforce Junior, a repurposed and refitted Squid-class Zanscare battleship that serves as our heroes' main getabout in the series. The original Reinforce, for the record, was much less cool - it was a small, elderly Federation cruiser that only lasted a few episodes before being wrecked and used as parts for the Junior.
Crapsack World: The absolute low point of the Universal Century... which is saying something.
Darker and Edgier: Even more thanZeta Gundam. It was so dark and depressing that Tomino told the DVD buyers not to watch it in his introduction booklet. In addition it has lots and lots of violent deaths, far more than Zeta could even aspire to.
Days of Future Past: The Zanscare Empire really dug into its whole Ancient Regime pretentions, complete with wigs and guillotines. The Earth Sphere circa UC 0153 is also reminiscent of Japan's Sengoku period, with the squabbling colonies ignoring an seemingly increasingly inept Earth Federation.
Depopulation Bomb: The Angel Halo basically does this on a planetary scale. It doesn't just take out humans, either, but everything with a reasonably-functional brain.
Disposable Woman: There's a lot of this, with the Shrike Team being the most (in)famous examples.
The Empire: The Zanscare Empire is a pretty classic example of this.
Easy Logistics: Interestingly, this is the greatest advance of this era; The Zanscare's Beam Rotor's as well as the League Militaire's Minosvky drive systems allowed them to fly without refueling (and thus operate independently) since propulsion is powered directly by nuclear reactors, giving the users a major tactical advantage.
Fate Worse than DeathKatejina survives... but is blinded, mentally crippled, and amnesiac; a horrible, but well-deserved one. In fact, Tomino himself commented that Katejina committed so many crimes of such magnitude that even death would've been too lenient a punishment.
Flawed Prototype: The Abigor, namely its life support functions and thrusters. Its fighting ability, on the other hand...
Gundam Vs Series: Gundam vs. Gundam has Uso in the V and V2 Gundams. Next adds Katejina in the Gedlav and Fuala in the Zanneck as a boss. Extreme Vs. drops the Victory and Gedlav in favor of Junko's Gun-EZ, but Katejina returns with the Gottrlatan as DLC. Full Boost brings back the Victory. On top of all this, machines like the Gunblastor, Javelin, and V-Hexa show up as CPU-only opponents in the games' mission modes (and as of Full Boost as regular opponents).
Gratuitous German: A bunch of Zanscare mobile suits (probably due to Zeon's German references) have German names: Motorad — motorbike, Ein(e)rad - unicycle.
It gets better: There's a mobile armor called the Birkenau. Tasteful.
Heroic BSOD: Katejina sends in the Bikini Babe Assault Team to attack Uso, who goes into one before he kills the entire team. Katejina needed to be insane to think such an idiotic excuse for a plan could work... Oh Wait.
History Repeats: This series drives home just how much the Universal Century has failed to deliver on the original aspirations of those who founded it. A motif that is revisited in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
Holy Halo: The Angel Halo, naturally. The Zanneck that shows up late in the series also has a halo motif, most notably in the twin particle accelerators it uses to charge its Mega Beam Cannon.
Humongous Mecha: If you weren't expecting this one then you're watching the wrong frachise.
Infant Immortality: Subverted. After 50 episodes of all the teenage protagonists consistently surviving with little more than scratches, the barely teenaged Odelo bites it in the last episode as Katejina's final victim. The other kids and teens (including Odelo's girlfriend Elischa) get relatively happy ends with peaceful futures.
Improbable Age: Uso pilots Gundams at age thirteen. Justified Trope, though: Uso's skill as a pilot come from being raised with mobile suits, like some children being raised surrounded by guns. It's mentioned that he used actual mobile suit simulators as video games. His status as a Newtype and having a mom who designed and built these suits certainly helps as well.
Played for Drama with characters noting the horror of children becoming involved in the war.
One Mook even kills himself with a mouth held hand grenade after getting shot down by Uso (who also has him at gunpoint) because he's so horrified that things are so bad on earth that supposedly he can't stand the thought of earth forces being so desperate they use children as fighters/pilots.
Irony: The Zanscare Empire apparently has an obsession with the absolute monarchies of pre-Revolutionary Europe. Yet their similar obsessions with guillotines and their utterly brutal tactics call to mind the Terror that followed the French Revolution.
The Juggernaut: The Adrastea-class motorbike-battleship is enormous, absurdly heavily-armed, and tough enough that even a kamikaze attack from a Victory-2 Core Fighter barely slows it down... and that's before it activates its prow beam shield. The rest of the Motorad Fleet's ships also follow this trope to a slightly lesser extent, and it takes the League Militare a not-inconsiderable number of episodes to stop the damned things.
Kavorka Man: Oliver Inoue is a subversion: he's quite plain, but aside of the Love Triangle with Marbet and Junko, he's a pretty decent dude.
Kill 'em All: Made during Tomino's depression years (80's-mid 90's). We all know what happens.
Kill Sat: The Keilas Guilie fleet's suspiciously phallic Big Cannon. Later, Fuala pilots a suit-sized (and slightly less phallic) version.
Lightning Bruiser: The V2 itself - 20 gs of max acceleration is nothing to sneeze at; for reference, the Saturn V could at best give 5 g's of acceleration, while most state of the art fighter jets can at most corner at 10 g's (any more and they would crush the pilot).
Love Hurts: Nearly every single couple on both sides of the war ends up with one of the two dead, unless they both die, and not even married couples are safe.
Made of Plasticine: The Titular Victory Gundam. It is barely Super Robot, and it is the Gundam that is most damaged in any series. A running joke seems to be 'How long will it take for Uso to just abandoned the busted legs?' over the course of every episode.
Ironically, the final shot of the last episode show both the victory and the victory 2 in the scenery, which would make it one of the few gundams to have survived intact the entire series.
Mecha Expansion Pack: The V Gundam has the Dash pack, while the V2 has the Assault and Buster packs. In an interesting play on the trope, the V2 packs can actually be combined with each other when necessary.
Each of the V Gundam's variants mounts multiple Hardpoints on its arms, legs, and waist armor (8 for the Victory, 10 for the V-Dash and V2) that allow its crew to select from several different weapon systems (including beam rifles, V.S.B.R.s, missile pods, gatling guns, rocket launchers, and even a smartgun) that can all be mounted to any of the hardpoints in almost any combination, making the V Gundam series into a Swiss-Army Weapon.
Mega Corp.: The League Militaire is revealed to be funded by a reinvigorated Anaheim Electronics.
Mind Rape: The effects of the Angel Halo. More exactly: it basically uses twenty-thousand Newtype "psychikers" to amplify the powers of a single Newtype (in this case, Queen Maria Armonia) who can then use it to Mind Rape the whole of the Earth Sphere if she so desires. Zanscare planned on using it on Earth to regress people to an infantile state of mind so they'd all die off and leave the Earth "purified". Fortunately for everyone involved, they had the bad judgement to place none other than Messiah of the series, Maria's daughter Shakti, in control of it. Earlier, when testing its effects, they tried to use it to cause Uso to lose his will to fight, first by bombarding him with images of peace and happiness, then with scenes of terror and pain.
Monowheel Mayhem: The Einrad, a colossal monowheel used as a transport vehicle for the Zanscare Empire's mobile suits, provides a definite emphasis on the 'mayhem', and its improved version, the Twinrad, is even more dangerous.
Mood Whiplash: Uso and his girlfriend Shakti are stock child anime characters... set in a bleak and brutal series.
There are quite a few bizarrely comical moments midway through the series: League Militaire using microwave frequencies to trigger ship-wide Zanscare indigestion, groin kicks and your typically overexaggerated facial expressions. Of particular note is episode 29: The episode that introduces the V2 Gundam also has Uso interrogated in a bath by Lupe Cineau (complete with accidental groping) and escaping Side 2 completely naked. In his core fighter. With Haro and Flanders. In the middle of a space battle. In front of his teammates. Yeah...
Mundane Utility: Episode 37 brings us giant robot fishing. Uso catches a battleship.
Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: Particularly egregious in a few episodes where the protagonists must refrain from destroying the enemy mobile suits during the second Earth invasion arc in order to prevent their reactors from going nuclear and contaminating the landscape. While reactors that get pierced by beam weapons do make a big explosion from the plasma their I-field is containing suddenly releasing itself into the environment, this would cause the pressure within the reactor to drop, decreasing the rate of fusion and pretty much ensuring that there wouldn't be a nuclear explosion.note Note that the setting is so bleak that it's entirely possible that the engineers of both sides specifically designed the reactors to violently explode in order to dissuade attackers with the threat of a massive explosion as well as providing a self destruct mechanism that in addition prevents enemies from capturing and copying the more advanced machines.
Out of Order: Due to Executive Meddling, the order of the first 4 episodes was rearranged in order to show the eponymous Gundam in the first episode, which does confuse the viewer.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Amusingly subverted. At one point, a captured Zanscare pilot tries to sneak out of the ship via a cunning ruse... wearing a League Militaire helmet on top of his instantly-recognisable 'Yellowjacket' flight suit. Since they're deliberately letting him go in order to get Uso on board the enemy battleship, the Reinforce Junior's crew pretend not to notice.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Plenty, including Zanscare's heavily-armed Shy-Tarn base-defence unit and the terrifying Lightning Bruiser that is the Gedlav monowheel-rider, but the grand prize in the 'powerhouse' department has to go to the mighty Victory-2 Gundam, which is three metres shorter than the original RX-78.
Power Gives You Wings: The V2 Gundam's Wings of Light are fantastically powerful, both as defensive shields and offensive weapons.
There's also the colony of Macedonia, whose military wear uniforms suspiciously similar to World War II German gear and put our heroes in a forced-labour camp they have to break out of... in an episode called "The Great Escapade", no less.
Senseless Sacrifice: So many, but Oliver's kamikaze run into a battleship's tire takes the cake. Not only was the ship on the moon, so it didn't need the tire to function, but the Zanscare make a throwaway remark in the next episode along the lines of "the damage can be fixed in about twelve hours".
It's additionally senseless when you realize that while there are a large supply of Core Top and Boots for the Victory 2, only a grand total of two Core Fighters were built, Uso's and Oliver's... which meant that not only was Oliver sacrificed, but so was a potential second Victory 2 Gundam...
Sequel Escalation: In this series the weapons have gotten some serious upgrades; the beam rifles destroy the scenery as if they were Zeta's Mega Beam Rifles, the mega beam rifles are powerful enough to destroy six mobile suits in one shot, the mega beam cannons can level a city with 3 shots and even the vulcans can uproot forests. Small wonder that even though armor can endure the now much more violent core explosions, it simply cannot keep up.
Shout-Out: At least three members of the Shrike Team are named after famous singers: Connie Francis, Peggy Lee and Kate Bush.
Two of them - Helen Jackson and Maheria Merill - have their names swapped around with famous singers Helen Merill and Mahalia Jackson, so you could call this Theme Naming.
Nowhere near as bad as the music playing during some fights. It's so... peaceful. It brings to mind calm meadows and green pastures... while cockpits are being punched in and the pilots crushed to death. It's brutally effective.
Spell My Name with an S: Like Gundam X, this is a by-product of not having an English Release. For example, the ship Reinforce Jr. was rendered as Lean Horse Jr. in a fan translation of Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, ruining a shout out in the Nanoha series, which depended on a certain character sharing the same name as the aforementioned ship.
Even the staff at Sunrise couldn't agree on how to spell Uso's name! While official sources have apparently settled on "Uso Ewin", he's shown to spell it "Uso Ebbin" in a Gratuitous English e-mail he writes in one of the first episodes.
There's some confusion over his first name as well. The spelling "Uso" is used a lot, but the katakana actually read "Usso" (ウッソ), while Dynasty Warriors: Gundam uses "Üso".
Subsystem Damage: The Gundams are far from untouchable; a few well placed hits can impair hand operation for example which adds to the realism.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Many examples. Marvet and Oliver (they get married, then he dies); Elischa and Odelo (he's killed in battle right before the end); Chronicle and Katejina, even though it was one-sided (Chronicle dies in battle, and Katejina... well..); Uso's parents, in a way (both die in the second half of the series and were unwillingly separated due to their work in La Resistance); there were even two one-shot characters from the Zanscare side, Karinga and Kisharl, who were entirely made of this trope...
Stock Footage: Averted. Aside from the occasional full-screen explosion, this series makes relatively little use of stock footage, which is surprising when you consider when it was made.
Super Prototype: Averted with the Victory Gundam - the mass-produced Victory Hexa had slightly superior performance, though not quite enough to qualify Uso's suit as a Flawed Prototype, either. The Victory-2, the most powerful suit of the Universal Century, plays it slightly straighter, since it never quite gets around to being mass-produced.
It was originally planned to be in Znote Fans hacked the game data and discovered unused voice clips of Amuro supporting Uso (and Judau., but got cut for yet-unknown reasons.
Team Mom: Marvette Fingerhut, in addition to being an Action Girl. And she's pretty much the only Action Girl who survives in the series. Both she and the baby she's pregnant with.
Transforming Mecha: The Victory (and V2) Gundam can operate as fighter, provided that it doesn't have both the arms and the legs attached at the same time.
Vestigial Empire: The Earth Federation by this point in the UC timeline is shown as inept and weak that a ragtag militia is all that stands in the Zanscare Empire's way. At least until the Feddies get their act together.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Zanscare Empire believes the Solar System will be a better place under the rule of their God-Queen. It's also subverted as said God-Queen is really nothing more than a powerless figurehead for the Evil Chancellor and his political party from Jupiter to exploit for their revenge on the Earth.