Today I watched Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Revenge (1988)
When most people think of mecha, it is the iconic Gundam designs that first spring to mind. So ubiquitous is the franchise that I am obligated to review one of the many films that have come out of the many series to bear the name. Char’s Counterattack is the first original film in the franchise and details the final clash between rival pilots Amuro Ray and Char Anzable, the former of which fights for the Earth Federation and the latter has assumed leadership of the Principality of Zeon. Their conflict is rooted in broader struggles between the Earth and the many humans now living in space.
This film throws viewers immediatley into the deep end of Gundam, as it is the culmination of the first three series’. Because of that the film certainly feels as though it exists in this much larger world with very intricate conflicts and issues. Even with that said, the film does a good job at highlighting it’s setting without trying too hard to re-establish it for the fans who already know this stuff. While the film certainly creatures protagonist and antagonist factions, it does an incredible job of making sure that none of them are truly evil, it is a portrait of realistic conflict driven by realistic motives.
Even without a deep familiarity for the series, the way this movie threw me into it’s deep military sci-fi story was quite compelling. My one problem with it comes from the character of Quess; not only is she personally annoying, her plot makes little sense. There is a point when she changes sides in the conflict and it seemed to come out of nowhere, worse still this plot could have been written out entirely. But aside from her I feel the film is a very worthwhile sit, packed full of giant robot action. 4/5