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Anime / Mobile Suit Gundam F91

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Spoilers for all previous Gundam entries in the Universal Century continuity, including Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
Pray, don't break our peace forever.

"From under our feet comes an attack from space..."
—Cecily Fairchild, aka. Berah Ronah.

Mobile Suit Gundam F91note  is a 1991 anime film, which was Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's attempt to launch a new Gundam saga, set thirty years after Char's Counterattack. He re-teamed with character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and mecha designer Kunio Okawara for the occasion. The movie was first released in Japan on March 16, 1991.

Originally planned as a full-length television series, Gundam F91 hit a production snag due to staff disputes, and the project was stopped after the screenplays for the first thirteen episodes were written. It was then decided that what was made of the show would be condensed into a theatrical feature film. Predictably, condensing a story originally intended to be told over the course of thirteen half-hour episodes into less than two hours of screen time required much of the original story to be cut, and the results are generally regarded with mixed feelings.

Set in UC 0123, the story of Gundam F91 revolves around teenage space colonist Seabook Arno, his girlfriend Cecily Fairchild, and the efforts of the Crossbone Vanguard militia, led by Cecily's grandfather Meitzer Ronah, to establish an aristocracy known as "Cosmo Babylonia". In keeping with Gundam tradition, the civilian Seabook is forced by circumstance to pilot the F91 Gundam, coincidentally designed in part by his estranged mother, Dr. Monica Arno.

The Gundam F91 story was fleshed out in much greater detail in Tomino's two-part novelization. The manga Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam is a direct sequel which takes place ten years after the events of the movie.

Given how none of the characters from the previous UC series show up and the considerably long time jump, it's apparent that (had it been a series) this would have been to be a Gundam equivalent of sorts to Star Trek: The Next Generation, perhaps even more so than Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. As it happens, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam ended up being that equivalent, as well as Tomino's last shot at doing a late UC series.

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Cecily
  • All There in the Manual: Tomino's novels and manga explain many of the crazier elements going on in the movie. Unfortunately, it's not available in English.
  • Animation Bump: Actually inverted as the quality of the animation noticeably drops during the movies last quarter, most likely as a result of the movies rather troubled production.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The jetpack Seabook's dad is seen using inside of the colony should not be able to carry him around like that - even if we could overlook the fact that he's using it inside a colony, and not in a zero-g environment, there's still the fact that the pack lacks the propulsion to carry someone that size.
  • Attack Drone: The Bugs, large saucer drones with whirling blades along their edges. Designed to saw through whatever they encountered. They can also split open to deploy "Child" Bugs, smaller Action Bombs with a small beam gun that can go into smaller places(like houses).
  • Award-Bait Song: Eternal Wind.
  • Badass Normal: Seabook, while he is a Newtype, is closer to Kou Uraki and Shiro Amada than Amuro Ray. His Newtype powers simply aren't very strong.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: A non-sexual version, as the people who have taken Cecily/Berah are her father and grandfather, head of the Crossbone Vanguard
  • Beam Spam: The Rafflesia is equipped with a truly massive number of beam weapons, more than enough to wipe out an entire fleet on its own.
  • Big Bad: Carozzo Ronah/Iron Mask.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Arthur Jung (Roy is simultaneously killed however.) from all of Seabook's friends..
  • Blue Blood: Subverted. The Ronahs took (and bought) their titles and last name from a family of European nobles who'd fallen on hard times long before the events of the F91.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Roy Jung powers up and uses the Guntank R-44 from his own museum to fight the Crossbone Vanguard. In it's first sortie, one of its guns bursts, and in the second it gets shot and badly damaged without doing any real damage to the enemy. After that, it ends up being more useful as an all-terrain transport for a group of civilian refugees trying to escape the active battle zone than it ever was as a weapon.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Seabook has serious issues with his mother Monica choosing to develop mobile suits over raising him and his sister Reese.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Oh so very much, seeing as the 13 episodes they did have scripted then became the basis of the movie. Interestingly, while watching the movie, one can almost point to certain scenes and predict where an "episode" would have started or ended, were it to ever be stretched back out into a series. The movie begins to make much more sense, if one decompresses it in their mind to "actually taking place over a few days/weeks/whatever that we, the viewers, just don't get to see thanks to the crunch."
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: What Reese sort of thinks about the deal.
    • Also, Cecily and Carozzo. And how, considering that...
  • Defector from Decadence: Annamarie.
  • Days of Future Past: Cosmo Babylonia and the Crossbone Vanguard tend to have a particularly old-world aesthetic, reminiscent of the European monarchies they're (at least superficially) mimicking. Their mobile suits' beam flags and Shot Lancers (rocket-tipped lances with machine guns strapped around them) seemingly call to mind the knights of a bygone era. In a way, this foreshadows the Zanscare Empire from Victory.
  • Deflector Shield: In the form of Beam Shields, Gundam F91 and the Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits all have these, which actually seem to do their job (Considering UC century normal shields are about as protective as cardboard).
    • For once the technology here follows a logical pattern: originally shields were effective before beam weaponry became widely spread. After that though, shields were as destroyed as easily as mobile suits were, meaning usually in a single hit. By making the shields ALSO beam-based, they became effective again.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The full name of the F91 Gundam is "F91 Gundam F91", the first F91 being its model number, whereas "Gundam F91" is the assigned codename.
  • Destructive Savior: The Federation soldiers who attempt to defend the Colony in the opening act fare incredibly poorly and end up wrecking the city. Their mobile suits crash into civilian buildings and explode killing dozens, their ordinance often misses their enemies and hits innocent people. Seabook himself chastises them for trying to engage within the populated areas rather than luring the attackers out to less densely populated parts of the colony.
  • Doomed Hometown: Sidestepped. Seabook's home colony is CONQUERED rather than destroyed and ironically made the enemy's capital.
  • The Empire: Cosmo Babylonia is one that's created overnight.
  • Energy Weapons: It's Gundam, so Beam Rifles and Beam Swords are naturally everywhere. Some new additions include:
    • Beam Shield. Basically taking the idea of a Beam Sword, and shaping it into a shield instead of a blade.
    • Beam Sign... it's a shaped beam used as basically a flag for unit commanders.
    • The VSBR (Variable Speed Beam Rifle). This is a weapon where the user can adjust the width of the beam, meaning it can be a broad, sweeping beam or a high powered narrow beam that can even penetrate beam shields.
  • Ensign Newbie: Seabook.
  • Expy: Carozzo is an Expy of Char and Darth Vader, He also seems to be based on The Man In The Iron Mask.
    • Likewise, Cecily is an expy of Sayla Mass.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Zabine
  • The Federation: A far less heroic version than the usual, with Earth Federation grunts attempting to use children as human shield and attacking the Crossbone Vanguard's headquarters despite the presence of a large refugee camp nearby. The higher ups on Earth are even worse, ignoring the conflict in Frontier Side while countless innocents die.
  • Flash Step: The F91 appears to be able to do this, but all it's really doing is ablating thin layers of its armor to help vent off excess heat. Nevertheless, this lets Seabook take down Carozzo and the Rafflesia.
    • There's a good bit of Fan Wank over Carozzo's remark that the afterimages appear to have mass. The current explanation seems to be the same one that makes dummy balloons work: combat computers assign CGI models to ANYTHING that roughly matches a given mobile suit's shape, assuming that it's the real deal. This is done because Minovsky Physics messes with all forms of electronic detection, and is intended to help the pilot, but obviously (as with dummy balloons) led to people figuring out ways to exploit them.
  • Freudian Excuse: Carozzo wants to massacre all people on Earth because of a combination of the way he was raised and the fact that his wife left him for another man.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Ronahs, while not exactly nobodies, were simply a business-oriented family in the earlier UC years, their salvage firm Buch Concern small-fry compared to Anaheim Electronics. They used their relative obscurity to their advantage however, expanding their businesses and social contacts until they were in a position to run their own army, mass-produce their own mobile suit lines and eventually forge Cosmo Babylonia.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How Seabook ultimately defeats Carozzo's Raflessia. By using the F91's Flash Step to direct the Reflessia's turrets towards Carozzo, in other words shooting himself.
  • Humongous Mecha: Par for a Gundam work. Deconstructed however, in that the slightly less humungous modern mecha are vastly more agile and effective than their larger predecessors (which makes sense when you consider Square-Cube Law).
  • Idiot Hero: Seabook spends most of the movie looking deeply confused as to what the Hell is going on. Thus, Humongous Mecha is much like the audience.
  • Important Haircut: Cecily chops off her long hair herself, when she re-takes her true identity of Berah Rona.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: F91 and its side materials mark the point where Anaheim Electronics goes from kind of scummynote  to very scummy, all because they lost their Federation contracts to SNRI. In the manga Silhouette Formula 91 Anaheim steals the F91's tech for their own Silhouette Gundamnote , and the Super Famicom game Gundam F90: Formula Wars 0122, where they help a group of Mars-based Zeon remnants invade Earth, apparently as a "screw you" to the Feddies.
  • Lady of War: Cecily
  • La Résistance: Pathetically, a bunch of civilians put up more fight than the entire Federation. Explained by Seabook theorizing over a news broadcast that the Federation leadership on Earth is only putting up a token fight, hoping to buy off the Crossbone Vanguard by giving them Frontier Side, and preventing an attack on Earth itself.
  • Latex Space Suit: The pilot suits
  • Minovsky Physics: This is a Universal Century work.
  • Mobile Factory: The Raflessia makes Bugs, which are tiny chainsaw drones.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Carozzo wants to slaughter the entire population of Earth.
  • Pile Bunker: Shot Lancers, which look like giant lawn darts with machineguns strapped to them, were developed as a melee weapon and close-range rocket-launcher with zero chance of setting off a reactor explosionnote . These prove to be very effective, especially in and around space colonies.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: The titular mobile suit, designed to be a more useful and manageable size than older Gundams without sacrificing their considerable firepower. It succeeds tremendously.
    • Most modern mobile suits apply, since in the early UC 0100s there was a general scaling-down. Compare the Crossbone Vanguard suits and the Federation's Heavygun and G-Cannon to the overhauled Jegans, both in size and performance, and see how it goes.
      • The big thing that allows this in-universe is refinements to power-plants and internals. Technological advances allow them to be smaller. and for the F-91 in particular, having the Variable Speed Beam Rifle (VSBR for short) for its main weapon system, allows it to have the effect of 2 different types of beam weapons in one system: Short fat beams for dealing with groups of enemies or long thin beams for sniping and piercing all kinds of defenses, even beam shields, which allows the F-91 to deal with multiple types of targets without needing to change or carry various beam weaponry compared to older suits.
  • The Remnant: The Mars-based "Oldsmobile" forces in the prequel manga and spin-off game, who are allied to what would become the Crossbone Vanguard. They're revealed to be the last organized Zeon faction, utilizing mobile suits resembling those from the One Year War.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Cecily/Berah is fine and Meitzer is a would-be Napoleon but otherwise quite sane. The rest of the family seems to be stark raving mad.
    • From what little we see of her, Cecily's mother seemed perfectly fine too.
  • Scenery Gorn: The opening battle sequence has some of the finest scenes of massive property damage and civilian casualties in all of Gundam, which is really saying something.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: This is actually the driving motivation for the protagonists' group. Despite the battles they get into, Seabrook and his friends knew they were just civilians and the military personnel around them knew that too. Their initial goal was simply to get somewhere safe, and their final mission was actually to escape from all the fighting. Fighting with Carozzo was actually a side-mission.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Inverted: F91's incredible speed causes it to heat up to the point that its outer layers of armor are burned off.
  • Soft Reboot: While still set in the UC timeline, this story has little connection to previous Gundam installments, with all the previous main characters being either retired or dead and a new antagonist faction unrelated to the various Neo-Zeon movements (although they're still around according to the F90 spinoff manga).
  • Spent Shells Shower: in one memorable scene a woman gets hit on the head by a spent casing from one of the defending Mobile suit units, killing her.
  • Super Prototype: Averted. The F91 Seabook pilots in the movie is simply the first one to roll out from SNRI's facilities. The mass-production models seen in Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam are very much the same.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The "shell to a mother's skull" scene demonstrates that a Mobile Suit firing its large ballistic weapons indiscriminately in a populated area can and likely will result in casualties. The casings alone are larger than a person's head, never mind their velocity. Topping it off, that same MS's thrusters knock Cecily right over; had she been a few meters closer given the sheer output it used in a pinch, she likely would've been cooked alive.
  • War Is Hell: The anime totally shows many people getting killed in the wake of the Crossbones attack. A woman dies when she gets hit by a mobile suit sized shell, and bunch of people are crushed by falling debris, and they were having party at that time! Plus the Feddies are more than willing to shoot at locations where the civilians are to attack the enemy.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Meitzer, who believes that humanity needs to be ruled over by an elite noble class for its own good.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: For a group of people once considered the next step in human evolution, Newtypes are treated as though they're an endangered species. The "UC NexT 0100" project, announced in 2018, promises to explain this.
  • While Rome Burns: The Crossbone Vanguard time their attack so it coincides with the majority of Federation leadership being off on vacation. Even when informed of the attack, the Federation leaders can't even be bothered to take any action. It's implied that they're either so arrogant that they don't think the Crossbone Vanguard are a significant threat, or so corrupt that they were paid off by Cosmo Babylonia to cede the Frontier colonies to them.