Mobile Fighter G-Gundam Vol. #12 (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, July 13, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2003
What They Say
With the fate of his brother still fresh on his mind, Domon must face his former master once more! And just when Domon thinks things couldn't get any worse, Rain leaves. Only to be kidnapped!
Now, Domon and the rest of the Shuffle Alliance must face the ultimate test as they rocket into space to save the Earth. Beside them stands all of the Gundams from all of the nations of Earth. The Gundam Federation has been formed to prevent the destruction of the Earth from the Ultimate Gundam. But is it too late?
The big finale provides a range of emotions right from the first episode as things get progressively darker as the weight of everything crushes down our heroes.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Though originally released in 1994, the track for this appears to be a pro-logic mix, though I don’t really hear anything coming through the rear speakers unless my ears are playing tricks on me. The Japanese track feels a small bit lower than the English track, with dialogue feeling a slight bit muffled at times. There’s not a whole lot of directionality going on, since when things happen, they’re loud all-encompassing moments of destruction that fill up the entire forward soundstage.
The transfer for this release looks decent, but in general feels like it’s not up to snuff when compared to other Gundam series. The shows look and feel continues to be of a more drab and lifeless feel, even when you do have the bright outdoor exteriors. It may be a bit simply animated, but the only real problems we noticed with this transfer is some occasional cross coloration and aliasing as well as some light color banding during a few areas of solid colors.
The “Storybook” cover makes its appearance at last, with the beautiful image of Domon holding Rain, wrapped in his red cloak, as they ride Master Asia’s horse while you have the image of the God Gundam coming over the horizon line of the Earth. This is a great looking cover. The back cover provides a few shots of the show itself and a few paragraphs of show summary. The discs volume numbering, done in rounds, shows up on both the spine and the front cover, earning good kudos from us. The back cover lists the episode numbers and the basic features of the disc. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while it opens to reveal a bio on the Dark Gundam. The back of the insert provides the production and cast information for the show.
The menus are nicely done though a bit simple. The main static image is of a circuit board while to the right there are some visuals from the episodes playing. Selections are mixed into the circuit board area and access times are nice and fast. There’s little to the disc outside of the basics, so moving about is pretty easy and the layout is fairly standard for Bandai releases. One of the best spots is the episode selection area in how that’s laid out. Very neat.
The final installment of the G-Files brings out a lot of the heartache that the director went through with these final episodes, particularly after dealing with episode 45 and then being pretty much drained from it, only to have four more episodes to deal with. There’s a lot about Ulube in here, from his naming and the fights it caused to some of the plot elements about him. There’s also plenty about the amusing “see you next time” at the end of the series and his surprise that people really expected more. These installments for the series really helps the viewer to understand exactly what the director was trying to accomplish, many aspects of which the casual Western viewer would not normally get. They were pretty influential in increasing my appreciation of the series and I’m glad they were included and as detailed as they were.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final volume of Mobile Fighter G-Gundam is something of a roller coaster ride of emotions, watching as the battles get intense right from the start, only to have the stakes rise incredibly after that and then move into a multiple episode battle sequence.
The Battle Royale is the main focus early on here, as we shift to the final battle between Domon and Master Asia. Domon’s still reeling from the revelations about the Devil Gundam and his brother, and now having to take his master down, someone he still in his heart does call his master. Master Asia takes Domon’s refusal to listen to his side of the story rather well, and instead focuses on telling him his tale through his fists, bringing more of the fighters spiritual methodology into play. The bulk of this episode is the rising level of violence between the two with elements of the larger plot Asia had in mind revealed at long last. This is one of those episodes that would normally be the end of any other series.
But here, we’ve got four more after it.
The larger battle takes up the next four installments as the Devil Gundam has risen again under a new master, surprising the hell out of everyone including those who had been working alongside him. What makes this particular version of the Devil Gundam more evil is that they’ve placed Rain inside of it as the necessary living pilot, and that only serves to infuriate those who will fight against it, allowing them to make many mistakes along the way in the battle as they’re getting too emotional.
G-Gundam really escalates beautifully here in the finale, building up and playing out many of the cards it’s held throughout the series. They do manage to make each episode basically stand alone but also as a segue into the next one where the stakes are higher and serves as a sequel. There’s also the great bit that happens in a lot of classic series, things I also remember fondly when I was little, in having all the Gundams from all the nations assemble to help out. The large battle sequences here are things that are definitely more common in the UC universe as opposed to this one, so it was neat to see such a large playing feel of varied Gundams going at it.
In the beginning, I really wasn’t sure about G-Gundam based on the years of bashing it has suffered by the few who had seen it through other means. All I can figure is that either they based their opinions on the first couple of episodes – a serious no no when it comes to all the Gundam series – or they just couldn’t deal with something that decided to do something different with the Gundam universe. As much as I enjoy the UC storylines, more so than the alternates, G-Gundam takes some of the usual conventions and plays with them. It also brings in a lot of varied material from other shows Imagawa was influenced by and just rides things to various extremes and has fun with it.
In the end, I think that’s one of the best things about it. I love the UC shows and their serious modes, plots and characters. But I enjoyed the hell out of how much fun the people behind this show seem to have had in making it. Their fun is really reflected here, providing something very enjoyable, entertaining and engaging. It took a bit to really get into it, but by the second disc I found the hooks sinking in deep. I’ll definitely have fond memories of this show, a rarity when it comes to long running series.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,G-Files
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Fighter G-Gundam