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Anime / Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

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We belong to Earth...

"Amuro. I’m doing something extremely wicked."
Char Aznable

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack is the first full-length Gundam animated movie, released in 1988. Char's Counterattack is the culmination of the original saga begun in Mobile Suit Gundam and continued through Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, marking the final conflict of the fourteen-year rivalry between Amuro Ray and Char Aznable, and the end of the Earth Federation/Zeon conflicts.

The year is Universal Century 0093: five years have passed since the end of the First Neo-Zeon War. The Earth Federation has recovered and created a new anti-colonial special taskforce to deal with rebel forces: Londo Bell. Elsewhere in space, Char Aznable reappears out of a self-imposed exile with a declaration that he now commands his own Neo-Zeon movement. Unlike movements of the past, Char intends to force the emigration of Earth's inhabitants to space by bringing about an ice age through dropping asteroids onto the planet. Enter Amuro Ray, now a seasoned veteran of the Londo Bell, who will ensure his arch-rival will not succeed.

The events of this movie in particular are further explored in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash.

The movie is noteworthy for having a rather unusual genesis. Originally, director Yoshiyuki Tomino was going to wrap up Amuro and Char's storyline in Gundam ZZ, but mid-way through production he was given the go-ahead to make a movie, forcing the plot of ZZ to be rewritten (details on its trope page). In the meantime Tomino wrote the novel Hi-Streamer, but when Sunrise gave him the green light, he went back and wrote a second novel, Beltorchika's Children, which he specifically wrote to be adapted into a movie. However, Sunrise instead chose to use Hi-Streamer, with the final film being a pretty straightforward adaptation of its second half. These two novels serve as the origin of the Hi-Nu Gundam (an alternate version of the Nu Gundam) and Nightingale (a bigger, beefier Sazabi), which pop up in video games like Super Robot Wars, SD Gundam G Generation, and Gundam Vs Series.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Amuro and Char are aces amongst elites, with the former being much more heavily emphasized, and indeed raised to such lofty proportions that Mooks, including Neo-Zeon Ace Pilot Gyunei Guss, are made short work of.
  • Ace Custom: Both Amuro's Nu Gundam and Char's Sazabi are one-shot Mobile Suits built solely for the use of their respective pilots.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: The mobile suit designs for this movie pulls away from some of the crazier mobile suits fielded in previous series, especially avoiding any Transforming Mecha. But this reflects a streamlining of various technological advances, making them look a little more like One-Year-War era mobile suits but with the best gear available. The Nu Gundam specifically has an upgraded psycho frame and the fin funnels can both attack with beam weaponry and defend with an i-shield (Gyunei mistook them for heat sinks at first), making it the most versatile and advanced mobile suit yet made but cosmetically very similar to the original.
  • All There in the Manual: The novel adaptation as filmed actually contains only half of the original story. The first half took place in 0092 and detailed Char's return, his take over of Sweetwater, EGUM (a front organization for Char's Neo Zeon) and the formation of Londo Bell. The film begins at the second part, during Char's take over of Fifth Luna.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the movie, the only named character who sets foot in a mobile suit who remains alive in a traditional sense is Hathaway.
  • The Artifact: Hi-Streamer was the name of a concept design created by Mamoru Nagano for what eventually became the Nu Gundam prior to his falling out with Tomino.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: When the Londo Bell execute their Macross Missile Massacre with nuclear missiles hidden amongst them in an attempt to destroy the engines of the Axis asteroid before it can collide with Earth, Char and Gyunei use their mobile suits' funnels to destroy them. The missiles, predictably, go nuclear.
  • Artistic License – Space: The climax of the movie where mobile suits are trying to push Axis away from Earth somewhat falls apart when you realize that the mobile suits are pushing it in such a way to decelerate it, which would only make things worse. The dialogue, however, is correct: everyone is freaked out when Axis decelerates, and are relieved when it is inexplicably re-accelerated by the phenomenon later coined "Axis Shock".
  • Ascended Meme: Gyunei tells Quess Paraya that everyone thinks Char is into young girls.
    • A very old meme about Char not knowing how to drive a car appears to be borne out by him confronting Amuro on horseback.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Ultimately the fate of Char and Amuro as the Nu Gundam's psycoframe overloads while pushing Axis away from Earth, a conclusion left ambiguous by the movie and side materials for years until Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn confirmed it, especially its Animated Adaptation.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: Axis is crammed to the brim with nukes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Amuro and Char disappear through an overload of the Nu Gundam's Psychoframe. Of the named cast, only Bright Noah, his family and Char's lover Nanai Miguel survive. However, Axis is pushed away by the reaction of the Psychoframe in the Nu and Sazabi; it wouldn't have happened if it were not Amuro, who made a desperate push first-hand against Axis. Char even acknowledges the stream of hope and warmth Amuro has caused before the overload.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: The Psycommu and Psycoframe systems, which are used by Gyunei/Quess and Amuro/Char respectively.
  • Breaking Speech: Amuro gives one to Char late in the film, after both pilots leave their Mobile Suits (and while attempting to lure Char into a trap). It fails, resulting in Amuro almost getting killed at least twice.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Neo-Zeon's payment for Axis comes in the form of a trolley carrying cases of gold ingots. As a preliminary to negotiations, each Federation representative receives a smaller briefcase of gold.
  • The Captain: Bright Noah; in Char's Counterattack, he leads the Londo Bell taskforce with their flagship Ra Cailum
  • Call-Back: An incredibly subtle one to Zeta Gundam, illustrated in this picture.
    • The briefcases full of Neo-Zeon gold referenced directly above are a clever callback to a scene in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, where Smug Snake M'Quve gloats about all the precious minerals his unit has extracted from their occupation and how "Zeon can fight for another ten years if necessary!"
  • Canon Foreigner: Some MS and characters from Hi-Streamer and Beltorchika's Children didn't make the transition into animation, including the RGM-88X Jeddah (the precursor to the Jegan), the NZ-222 Psyco Doga (a miniatuirized form of Quess's Alpha Azieru, which is piloted by a "Glab/Graves Glass" who would ultimately become Gyunei Guss in the animation), and most obviously Amuro and Beltorchika's unborn child.
    • The Hi-Nu Gundam is probably the most famous example; originally it was simply the Hi-Streamer version of the Nu Gundam. Sunrise later worked it into the main Gundam universe after a fashion by declaring that it was actually the intended and completed form of the Nu Gundam, while the one seen in the film was rushed in order to get it on the battlefield in time to fight Char. This is actually where the name "Hi-Nu" comes from (itself being a nod to Hi-Streamer).
  • Car Fu: Londo Bell use a variant as one of their battle tactics, jumping off their Base Jabber transports as they hit the enemy line and letting them ram into their foes' suits.
  • Character Development: Char, in a negative way at the end of Zeta Gundam before becoming the Big Bad of the this film.
  • Character Name Alias: Quess takes on the alias of "Quess Air" after defecting to Char's terrorist organization Neo-Zeon.
  • Chest Blaster: The Sazabi has a torso-mounted mega particle canon, although it's actually a bit lower, designed to resemble a belt buckle.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hit Sayla Mass hard. Despite being the protagonist's one-time Love Interest and the antagonist's sister, she's only mentioned once in the film (referred to as her true name "Artesia" by Char in a flashback to the death of Lalah Sune) and never seen at all. What makes this particularly surprising is the cameo she had in Gundam ZZ was meant to foreshadow the movie. Apparently the reason was Sayla's voice actor was unavailable...again.
    • You would think that Kamille and Judau Ashta would be there to help Amuro out in stopping Charnote ...
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Quess grabs this trope and rides it for all it's worth, to the point of ranting at Amuro's love interest Chan the very first time she meets her and even telling her to get off the ship. Even the hangar mechanics are taken aback!
  • Colony Drop: "Fifth Luna", the first asteroid seen in the beginning of the film (which was successfully dropped, by the way); narrowly averted with Axis-Zeon, both an asteroid and space colony.
    • Axis has enough nukes to bring about a planet-wide nuclear winter.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Amuro, both in and out of his Mobile Suit. This is even known to the rest of the cast, as Gyunei at one point jumps to the conclusion that Amuro is trying to pull a fast one on him during a Hostage Situation — he's wrong, but Amuro's later actions prove that Gyunei was entirely right to worry about such behavior. And notably, even during that incident Amuro only detaches two of his six fin funnels.
  • Continuity Lockout: The movie overall is not too continuity heavy, and is generally framed in such a way that you can watch the original series and jump to this movie with little issue. But a problem did come into the English dub, as after the failure of dubbing and airing the original show, neither Zeta Gundam or ZZ Gundam got proper releases. This makes a lot of the references and technology advances shown to be really confusing, especially since the psycoframe and cyber-newtypes were barely on the radar of the characters in the original show.
  • Deus ex Machina: Just like the Bio-Sensor in Zeta, the Psycoframe is a magic piece of plot tech that exists for no other reason than to enable the Axis Shock at the very end, which comes out of nowhere with no foreshadowing except for a few seconds before it happens and it causes Axis to change course despite the fact that it has already begun atmospheric entry.
  • Doomed Hometown: Quess' homeland of Lhasa, Tibet is the first to be destroyed.
  • Duel to the Death: The entire film, in a way, is Char setting up one last duel between himself and Amuro.
  • Escape Pod: The Sazabi has one, and Char attempts to escape in it after Amuro dismantles the Sazabi around him. He's not successful.
  • Energy Weapons: Natch. Beam swords and beam rifles galore.
  • Ephebophile: 13-year-old Quess is seemingly an object of desire from some of the male cast, though how much is feeling and how much is faking is anyone's guess. It really drives home the intermingling plots of character tensions and warfare since regardless of the details, she's still used and abused.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Char is apparently trying to invoke this.
  • Expy: Chan is said to be a replacement for Beltorchika, after Tomino wasn't allowed to use the latter, though it's Sayla she acts the most like. Because of this, Chan was Killed Off for Real.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Anaheim Electronics was originally a major financial backer for the heroic Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG), and only sold (inferior) suits to nastier factions to keep them off its tail. Since the AEUG has disbanded and most of the company's nicer members are dead, Anaheim is a straight-up war profiteer that openly backs both sides.
  • The Federation: The Earth Federation.
  • Flawed Prototype:
    • The Nu Gundam, despite being one of the most incredible suits of its era, is still an incomplete, rushed version of Amuro's original design - the fin funnels are actually a last-second addition and just stick to a random latch on the backpack, while the controls are still dangerously oversensitive.
    • The Re-GZ that Amuro was using at the start of the film was a proof-of-concept production mobile suit of a non-transforming Zeta Gundam that saved money by instead docking with the Black Weapons System, a jet-like booster to improve range and firepower. It ended up being a Master of None, better than the grunt suits but can't keep up with the Ace Custom hardware of the time. General purpose booster platforms to assist the operating range of standard mobile suits were also becoming commonplace, rendering the Black Weapons System Cool, but Inefficient.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: The tension between Amuro and Char is at its highest here, with Tomino intentionally framing their violence with homoerotic undertones. Love and hate really are two sides of the same coin.
  • Force and Finesse: Gyunei and Quess when they fight together. Quess is the Force, Gyunei is the Finesse. Amuro still beats them both.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Wouldn't be Gundam without it, particularly since Bright is in the movie. Just like the original, it's subverted because it fixes nothing, but noteworthy for being a particularly vigorous Bright Slap - Captain Bright slaps his own son halfway across a room. Even in zero-G that's a hell of a smack.
  • Girl of the Week: Chan was created to be one of these, with the producers reasoning that Amuro would look cooler if he had "Bond Girls".
  • Gratuitous German: One of the characters has the name "Adenauer" as a first name, even though it's a famous German family name (most notably that of the first chancellor of the modern German state, Konrad Adenauer).
  • Groin Attack: One moment in Char and Amuro's fight is when the Sazabi strikes down at the Nu Gundam with its beam saber, its blade cutting through where the groin of the Nu Gundam is at.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs/Combat Breakdown: When the Nu Gundam and Sazabi's fancy Energy Weapons fizzle out toward the climax, resulting in one of the most brutal bareknuckle beatdowns with Humongous Mecha in anime history.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: By the time Amuro takes the initiative to push Axis, Londo Bell, Federation army 'and' Neo-Zeon pilots do the same with their mobile suits. Sadly, because of the intense pressure and stress, their suits can't handle it like the Nu Gundam. While most can't hang on and are forced off relatively harmlessly, a good number of them explode after a few seconds.
    • Amuro follows them shortly after, only by the hands of the Nu Gundam's overloading Psycoframe.
  • Hostage Situation: Gyunei instigates one in an attempt to capture Amuro and his Nu Gundam. The attempt fails when Gyunei jumps the gun and the unfortunate hostage loses her life.
  • Humongous Mecha: The titular mobile suits, of course. Quess's Alpha Azieru takes it up to eleven.
  • In Medias Res: The film opens with Char launching his first attack on the Federation as the new leader of Neo-Zeon. The tale of how he ended up in charge and started his new war, as well as Amuro and Bright realizing what he's up to and preparing to face it, is a story that is never told.
  • In the Back: Being a pragmatic sort, it doesn't bother Amuro at all to take out Gyunei this way.
  • Irony:
    • In their final battle of the original anime, Char's piloting an incomplete prototype mobile suit (the Zeong). In this one, it's Amuro doing it (the Nu Gundam).
    • A very bitter one happens with the finale. Char's given reasoning for dropping Axis is so that humanity can finally ascend to space, unlock their Newtype abilities and come to an understanding. The movie ends with Char and Amuro screaming and yelling at each other, neither man understanding each other's actions.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Char's strategy for defeating a war-wearied Federation. Ironically, they seem to be willing to give Char nearly everything he could possibly want, even after he launched an unprovoked attack on them.
  • Invincible Hero: Amuro is at the peak of his piloting ability and has a Mobile Suit built with the most cutting-edge technology of the era, entirely to his specifications. Accordingly he is nearly untouchable, with no one save for Char himself able to get a scratch on him.
  • Knight Templar: It is implied that Char intends to force all of humanity into space so they can evolve into Newtypes, with the intent that the resulting understanding between everyone preventing future conflicts from occurring.
  • La Résistance: Char's Neo-Zeon casts themselves as this and are tacitly accepted as such by the colonists of Sweetwater, who have sheltered Char on multiple occasions when Londo Bell was sniffing around for him.
  • Little Miss Badass: Everyone assumes Char is after Quess because he likes young girls. The truth is that he just wants to use Quess to kill people since she's one exceptionally powerful Newtype.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lalah Sune, who Char is still not over after thirteen years, to the point of it being common knowledge among his subordinates. Amuro is a downplayed example, since he doesn't start a war because of it like Char, but we still see that he is haunted by visions of Lalah. Disturbingly, it is implied Amuro is actually seeing Lalah as a Newtype ghost, and she tells him she wants to be between him and Char for eternity.
  • Love Hurts: A significant portion of the cast dies because of the male portion's attraction to Quess. Gyunei (who's in love with her and is killed by Amuro), the mechanic Astonage Medoz (tries to stop Hathaway from going to find Quess, only to be killed by an explosion; his girlfriend Kayru Su had just died in the previous sortie) and Chan (who kills Quess due to a misunderstanding and is offed by Hathaway since he nearly succeeded in getting Quess to stand down.
  • Meaningful Name: Quess is a character that is less sympathetic than most who brings about the deaths of no small number of people. Her last name is pronounced like "pariah." Her father moreso, as no one in the film speaks a good word to or about him, and he only gets his way due to his status as a politician.
  • Men of Sherwood: CCA is definitely one of the more effective outings for the Federation's rank and file. The Londo Bell unit is quite skilled and with Amuro leading the charge, the Jegan pilots disrupt and route the Neo Zeon Mobile Suits and ships in spite of the numbers being in Neo Zeon's favor.
  • Mid Movie Upgrade: Amuro piloted the Re-GZ at the start of the film. He then switches to the much more powerful Nu Gundam, which he also personally designed.
  • Minovsky Physics: As normal for Gundam.
  • Monumental Damage: The epicenter of Char's asteroid attack on Lhasa is the Potala Palace, traditional home of the Dalai Lama.
  • Mook Lieutenant: For Zeon it's Lyle and Rezin. Lyle is the one captaining the ships in the fleet under Nanai and Rezin is the one leading the Doga's into battle with her uniquely painted suit to seperate her from the others. For Londo Bell it's Kayra who's leading the grunts.
  • Motive Decay: Gyunei goes from wanting to keep an eye on Quess to making sure he can steal her attention from Char with remarkable speed. Than again, he is a Cyber-Newtype, and if Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ are any indication, they tend to be a little unstable. It's also unsubtly implied that Quess's own Newtype powers are responsible for this effect, as Hathaway Noa also undergoes a similar sudden infatuation.
  • Mythology Gag: The Hi-Nu Gundam's name is a reference back to the original Hi-Streamer novel; originally it was just "the Hi-Streamer version of the Nu Gundam" until it started showing up in video games and model kit form and Bandai needed a distinctive name for it.
  • Never Found the Body: The fates of Amuro and Char are unknown in the film, but averted with Beltorchika's Children, which states both men are killed-in-action.
  • Never My Fault: A staple of Zeon.
    • Char refuses to accept any responsibility for his role in Lalah's death. Likewise he views Neo Zeon's actions as just retribution for the folly of Earth and the Federation.
    • Neo Zeon as a whole is quite willing to wash their hands of their share of atrocities (the actions of the Zabis and of Haman) and rally behind those performed by the Titans. Supplementary material would go on to note that much of Char's Neo Zeon was formed by the remnants of Haman's Neo Zeon; it's clear that it's not just Char's hypocrisy at play.
  • 90% of Your Brain: Lampshaded in a conversation between Quess and Hathaway regarding the origin of Newtype powers - that people used only a fraction (said to be "half", not 10% as in the trope) of their brains while living on Earth, but began to use the rest when they moved into space. How seriously we are to take them is somewhat open to debate, in that they're teenagers, not scientists, and both spend the rest of the movie doing very little that one might consider "smart," or "well-thought out." Nonetheless, the franchise never openly contradicts this explanation.
  • Oh, Crap!: Char, when his brilliant plan is suddenly derailed.
  • Older and Wiser: Amuro is a sad case of this. He's become a mature Ace Pilot, but underwent a lot of heartbreak to get there. Char is also older, but he's definitely not wiser.
  • On-Ride/On-Foot Combat: Following the trend set by the final episodes in previous Gundam works (Amuro at A Boa Qu, Kamille and Char at Gryps II), there is a point where both Amuro and Char leave their Mobile Suits and fight each other on foot. As with previous instances of this trope, more pragmatic viewers will be inclined to wonder why The Hero doesn't just destroy his rival's machine while it's alone and unguarded.
  • Plot Technology: The Psycoframe tech seems to exist for this purpose, as much like the Bio-Sensor of Zeta Gundam it facilitates all the weirdness and is never used again.
  • Properly Paranoid: In a running Gundam theme, Amuro raises concerns which sound completely paranoid to everyone around him, only to be proven completely right. Here, he questions how real the Neo-Zeon fleet being surrendered to the Federation is; sure enough, they're just decoys.
  • Psychic Powers: A major plot point is the Newtype powers held by many of the key characters, including Amuro, Char, Quess, Hathaway and Gyunei. It's implied that Char's plan to drop Axis on Earth is to facilitate humanity's evolution into Newtypes.
    • Irony: Despite Char's insistence that Newtype evolution will lead to greater understanding between humanity, he and Amuro, both Newtypes, find no middle ground. Amuro doesn't see why Char would drop Axis on Earth and dismisses his act of sportsmanship leaking out the Psychoframe data to him for use in the Nu Gundam as a way to fight even and to "look down on him" (though he's practically right how that didn't work out like Char hoped). Char, in turn, doesn't understand Amuro's treatment of Quess or his bond with Lalah. They both die at each other's throats, no more peaceful than they were before.
  • Rank Up: Amuro, last seen in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, was a Captain. For the Londo Bell forces, he's been promoted several steps up to Lieutenant Commander. Also played straight with Bright who, while still called "captain" (as in of the ship, as opposed to his rank), is now in charge of his own independent arm of the EFSF fleet.
    • In Shin Gihren's Greed, Amuro's best ending sees him promoted again to colonel after successfully preventing the Axis Shock and capturing Char alive.
  • Real Robot: The distant finale to the series that first invented it.
  • The Remnant: Neo-Zeon, made up of the last shattered remains of the Zeonic movement after the collapse of the Principality of Zeon and Axis.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Both Zeta Gundam and ZZ Gundam had a few overlapping characters but in most respects this movie is a conclusion to Char and Amuro's rivalry that started with the original series. In accordance with that Amuro's Nu Gundam and Char's Sazabi are much simpler in design compared to what was fielded in the previous series, as though they are direct upgrades to their original Gundam and Zaku.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Quess unwittingly kills her own father in her first battle.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Amuro, in a rare Real Robot Genre showing of this trope. Unlike his Beltorchika's Children counterpart who comes dangerously close to death at the hands of both Quess and Char, this Amuro is never seriously challenged by any of the antagonists, and the closest he comes to danger is when Char triggers one of his own booby traps to blow up near him (both pilots are on foot at this point). As for Nu Gundam, Amuro's protests that it's "not for show" become just plain funny with its very showy fin funnel tricks and Deus ex Machina psychoframe.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The movie is a battle between Char Aznable's cynicism and Amuro Ray's idealism.
  • Smug Snake: Quess's father Adenauer Paraya is this in spades. He's a neglectful parent, a Dirty Coward, and is entirely too self-satisfied to see Char is playing him like a fiddle.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Neo-Zeon's Rezun Schnyder, a pilot so aggressive and Ax-Crazy that Gyunei and even Quess look like angels in comparison to. When she's killed about halfway into the film, none of the rest cast either notice or care.
  • Space Is Cold: Averted. Quess actually takes a brief space walk between cockpits in plain clothes during the initial battle of Axis. She is completely fine after about eight seconds of exposure to total vacuum. Weirdly, neither her cockpit nor Char's visibly decompresses when it opens,
  • Spell My Name With An S: Is it "Londo Bell" or "Rondo Bell"? "Londo" is the official romanisation, but "Rondo" (a term for a musical form) makes more sense when paired with "Bell."
  • Super-Soldier: Gyunei is the latest iteration of the "Cyber-Newtype" concept that was attempted several times in Zeta Gundam (and almost always turned the unfortunates involved into Ax-Crazy Tykebombs). Though seemingly more stable than his predecessors, Gyunei's sanity undergoes a sudden steep decline shortly after meeting Quess...
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Gyunei is often considered one, for a character in the same series, no less: Kamille Bidan, the similarly angsty Newtype pilot of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (who was also being mentored by Char in that series). A popular fan theory goes that Gyunei was even outright supposed to be Kamille, having undergone questionable brain surgery and cybernetic implants to cure the brain damage he suffered at the end of Zeta Gundam, though there has never been any evidence to substantiate it (and indeed the novels seem to contradict the theory by also including Gyunei, just with the alternate name of "Graves" for some reason. Nevertheless, the fan theory persists after two decades, to the point of even being referenced in the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam games (where Kamille will occasionally be seen piloting Gyunei's Jagd Doga).
    • Chan is a more solid case, as she was a character Tomino was forced to come up with explicitly because the producers wanted Amuro to have "Bond Girls" and forced him to make a new character rather than use Amuro's Zeta-era love interest Beltorchika (who featured heavily in the original work, to the point of it even being called "Beltorchika's Children". Tellingly, Chan ends up having quite a bit in common with Sayla Mass, Amuro's first female partner (who is strangely MIA from all versions of the story).
  • Sword Fight: Amuro and Char, beam saber to beam saber.
  • Territorial Smurfette: Inverted, as Quess exhibits a pathological hostility to any women already on the team she joins. Both Chan and Nanai become undeserved recipients of her bad attitude as a result.
  • The Film of the Book: Of Hi-Streamer.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Earth Federation leadership's attitude in this movie can be summed up thusly - "Okay, Char, we'll give you a huge suitcase full of money and a giant space rock, just as long as you promise not to drop any more giant space rocks on us." Bright rightfully suspects that Char wouldn't keep his word and calls out Adenauer for allowing the deal to go through.
  • Transforming Mecha: Though this was a major part of MS design in the past two series, the film scales it back. The only transforming Mobile Suit is the Re-GZ; a mass production version of the Zeta Gundam. That said it's only a partial transformation, and it achieves its Waverider mode from a back weapons system wherein the parts for the wings and fuselage are separate pieces that attach to it. When it transforms it has to eject all of those extra parts and can't transform back unless those parts are retrieved. The MSV only Re-GZ Custom plays this trope straight with the BWS more properly integrated into the design.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: Amuro, Hathaway, and Quess go on one in Londenion when a countryside drive takes a turn for the surreal courtesy of a Lalah-sent swan. Chasing the swan leads them to Char, which sets a chunk of the events of the film's second half into motion.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: They were actually just starting the testing phase on the Nu Gundam when Char's Neo Zeon fleet decided on a preemptive attack on the Ra Cailum. Because of the urgency of the situation, Amuro and his team basically threw it together, slapped on whatever weapons they could find, then launched without fine-tuning the instruments. This does come to bite Amuro in the ass during the Nu Gundam's second sortie against Gyunei. Ultimately, this trope is what kills Amuro and Char, contrary to popular belief: their suits didn't burn up on atmospheric re-entry, but rather the resonating Psychoframes overloaded, which is what happens when experimental technology gets used in combat without prior testing.
  • War Refugees: They make of the bulk of Char's supporters, residing in a hastily constructed "refugee camp" colony called Sweetwater that Char uses as his base of operations.
  • Warrior Therapist: Taken to ludicrous extremes, as Amuro and Char discuss their differing philosophies while punching each other out in a neutral colony, while trying to shoot each other in the abandoned recesses of Axis, and most notably, while the former is attempting to hold off Axis in atmospheric re-entry single-handedly with the Nu Gundam.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Compared to the cyber-enhanced Gyunei, Newtype savant Quess, and The Ace Char, Amuro is much more limited, with Char even taunting him for being "just a pilot". That said, 'just a pilot' rings hollow when it's directed at the single best pilot in the Universal Century, and over the course of the film Amuro's sheer skill overcomes everything any of his enemies throw at him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Char, though how much is still a subject of Fan Wank among Universal Century fans. Even the promotional material from Toonami lampshades it.
    "Deeming earthlings so vile a creature, Char schemes to save [the Earth] by destroying the people."
  • Well-Trained, but Inexperienced: This is ultimately what gets Gyunei killed. Char states outright that Neo-Zeon has spent so much money on training and enhancing him that losing him isn't an option, and indeed Gyunei proves to be a One-Man Army who surpasses most previous Cyber-Newtypes. But as well-trained as he is, he just doesn't have Amuro's 14 years of combat experience, and Amuro zeroes in on his over-sensitivity with the laser focus of a man who's spent a decade honing his Flaw Exploitation.
  • What If?: Episode five of Gundam Evolve, written by Tomino himself, is a more positive spin on one particular event from the movie, namely Quess pulling a Heel–Face Turn after destroying Hathaway's Jegan (but not killing Hathaway) and receiving encouragement from him and Amuro to deal with her directionless anger before it causes real damage.
    • The MSV designs for the movie include the Re-GZ Custom, which was designed with the concept of "What if the Re-GZ had been Amuro's main mobile suit instead of the Nu Gundam?" As a result, the Custom is closer in concept to its "father" the Zeta Gundam, including being fully transformable (rather than just ejecting parts) and possessing a biosensor.
    • The PSP game Shin Gihren's Greed features not just one but several alternate endings for this movie, ranging from Amuro surviving the Axis Shock, capturing Char and being promoted to colonel to Gyunei successfully capturing Amuro, leading to a Neo-Zeon victory but a deeply depressed Char (due to being deprived of his glorious final battle with Amuro).
    • The Playstation 2 game Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam has one scenario that has the events of the movie take place in UC 0088, the era of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. This has Amuro piloting the Zeta and the Double Zeta and Char piloting the Qubeley. It's implied the same thing that happens in the movie happens here.
    • Many Super Robot Wars entries use the events of the movie for various missions. Some unique takes of this include Super Robot Wars Reversal, where preventing this movie is one of two endings, Super Robot Wars Z, where The Sleeves are the ones who try to drop Axis (as the Char here is the one from the Zeta Gundam: A New Translation movie trilogy), and Super Robot Wars 30, where the events of the movie happened, but Amuro and Char survived and went into hiding.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Gyunei's obsession with Quess is very possibly the result of his Cyber-Newtype enhancements. There is evidence in previous series this isn't that uncommon. Makes more sense when you recall that Quess is not just a normal Newtype either, but one that got her powers enhanced as well. No wonder why Gyunei feels they're Birds of a Feather.
    • Quess herself applies for this trope, being a powerful Newtype but also being far too immature and inexperienced to properly manage her gifts.
  • Worthy Opponent: Even after all these years, Char still believes the only person worthy enough to be his rival is Amuro. To that end, he leaks the Psychoframe data to the Londo Bell for Amuro to specifically use, so they can have an even fight. Lampshaded during their duel, after Amuro pulls a surprise attack when Char is chasing after him.
    "You're worthy enough to be my rival."
  • Wrecked Weapon: An interesting case. As the fight between Char and Amuro continues, all of their weaponry gets smashed up, tossed away, blown up or otherwise unable to be used to the point where the Nu and Sazabi are down to just their fists.
  • Yandere: Quess; Gyunei could also count, and a case could be made for Hathaway.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: More than most Gundam works before or since, CCA portrays its youthful characters (typically a Target Audience for the series) as overconfident idiots who don't belong anywhere near a battlefield. Quess is the most glaring example of this, but Hathaway's not far behind and even Child Soldier Gyunei lets his youthful confidence get the better of him (which is often lampshaded in video games in confrontations between himself and Char).
  • Your Size May Vary: The Sazabi's cockpit ball changes size wildly between the scene where it's loaded into the mobile suit's head and when the Nu Gundam grabs it after ejecting from the Sazabi's shattered remains. Proportionately speaking, given that the Sazabi is about as big as the Nu Gundam, the size the cockpit is when Amuro catches it is more likely to be the correct size.
    • Considering the Nu can palm the thing, it's big enough to comfortably hold Char and some cockpit equipment, that would make them about 50 meters tall.

You still don't know the true meaning of Gundam.