Reviews: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

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It doesn't get any better than this.
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is, in my mind at least, nothing less than the crowning glory of the entire Gundam franchise. Both the animation and soundtrack are intensely, vibrantly beautiful in the most sweeping and epic senses, while the story exemplifies every positive trait the franchise has possessed for the past thirty years. While not perfect, Gundam Unicorn strives for and consistently achieves excellence at every opportunity. It is nothing less than an intensely rewarding viewing experience, and my only worry is that it may simply be too good to ever spawn a worthy successor.

But enough gushing; let's get down to precisely why this OVA is so good.

Firstly we have the protagonist; Banagher Links. While undoubtedly the most powerful Newtype ever (at least in the Unicorn), Banagher also comes across as an intensely human character with both flaws and positives. Unlike the whiny 'I'm a pacifist so stop making me kill you!' protagonists Gundam has had in the past, Banagher manages to broadcast his 'even so!' message about the potential of humanity in a manner that resonates with the audience rather than infuriates them. This contrasts deliciously with the nihilistic attitudes of his adversaries, who are presented as normal human beings crushed under the weight of circumstances beyond their control, rather than the shallow fanaticism and petty-mindedness of previous UC villains.

Secondly there is the animation and soundtrack for this show. The creative staff seem to have looked at contemporary OVA's and gone 'hah; is that all you can do?'. Unicorn shows you the absolute finest in mobile suit combat, from massive-scale battles to individual duels. The OVA is just gorgeous, so much so that it makes the regular Gundam shows seem almost dull and lifeless by comparison.

Finally, there is the story. It's an epic, and if you like epics, you'll like this one. Unicorn has less an objective-based plot as it is a plot about the evolution of ideals, and thus the symbolism may be a little bit too much for some people. The ending is also somewhat vague and inconclusive, but not so much that it annoyed me. If you can tolerate being left to make your own conclusions at the end of it all, then I don't see as you'll have any problems.

In conclusion; Unicorn is great. You should watch it.
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The Beast of Possibilities: Can Gundam Unicorn live up to its massive hype?
(This only deals with the OVA rendition of Unicorn. I haven't read the novels yet.)

In a few words, oh dear God yes.

It's the year UC 0096, and it's been peaceful for a little too long in the Universal Century. A new Gundam is built, a new Zeon force rises up, and the dance of war, peace, and revolution begins again. Gundam Unicorn looks to take up a damned heavy flag - that of the Universal Century, the holy grail of Gundam. Fans demand certain levels of quality from UC Gundam. Fans will be glad to know that Unicorn absolutely refuses to disappoint you.

The plot begins simple: Banagher Links is a young man studying at Anaheim Industries. Things are normal. The day goes along as usual, with no changes whatsoever.

Then a girl falls out of the sky, and Banagher rushes out to be her white knight. Ironic how that turned out.

Before the day's over, what was supposed to be an ordinary day of learning has turned into a warzone, as the Sleeves, a Neo-Zeon remnant lead by Full Frontal, the "second coming of Char," attempt to obtain Laplace's Box, a device apparently capable of overthrowing the Federation as we know it. In order to stop them, the Vist Foundation's leader, Cardeas Vist, tosses Banagher into the cockpit of RX-0, the Unicorn Gundam. Banagher now faces something he never knew before - war.

Graphically, Gundam Unicorn even puts Gundam 00 in its place. Not particularly surprising, as OV As are known for their higher quality, but apparently someone at Sunrise decided that "higher quality" wasn't enough and wanted to see entire theaters of people pick their jaw up off the floor. From the wonderfully detailed and designed mobile suits, to the classically designed characters, to the absolutely lovely soundtrack, Unicorn takes everything it can and runs with it. As usual, the first OVA leaves most wondering "who am I rooting for again?" The blurred lines of war UC Gundam is known so well for stand tall here. The storyline is easily better than most Gundam series within the last ten years, and that's just the first OVA. However, these are all irrelevant. The big question is this.

Does Gundam Unicorn deserve to stand alongside the legends of the original Gundam and Zeta Gundam?

Well, if the rest of the OV As can stand like this one did... it deserves to shine beside them.
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