Superior Defender Gundam Force Vol. #02 (of 9) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, January 30, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, February 03, 2004
What They Say
Shute and Captain Gundam continue their fight against the Dark Axis. However, the mysterious Gundam known as Zero does not seem to be interested in helping them! Preferring to fight his battles alone, Zero and the others must learn to work together in order to defeat the Dark Axis and the ever imposing, Destroyer Dom! When all seems lost, a blazing fire appears in the sky. Is it a new friend, or a new foe?
4. Attack the Enemy Musai!
5. Gundam Force, Team Up!
6. The Blazing Samurai Comes to Neotopia
New friends and new enemies fill out this volume, bringing each side new members in their big struggle to win.
With this being an English designed production, the only language here is English in a solid sounding stereo mix. There isn’t a ton of directionality across the forward soundstage, but there are a number of notable areas throughout the show. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2003, SD Gundam comes across rather well on our setup. While Andrew had a lot of noticeable aliasing on the first volume, it isn’t as strong here, which gives the transfer a very good looking smooth feel with the vibrant cel shaded animation. The colors throughout here are vibrant and fully saturated without much in the way of noticeable cross coloration. Regular anime shows would probably not work well in this format, but a show like this really takes advantage of the tools provided to it and churns out a great looking piece of work.
Taking center stage on this cover is the Zero Gundam, complete with his sword out and shield extended. He’ set against one of the energy shields that he can create while the rest of the cover is what looks to be the traditional border and logo layout for the series. The back cover is much lighter with a look at Neotopia in the background with a number of shots from the show scattered about. The shows premise and episode summaries are listed here alongside the episode numbers and titles. The usual array of production and technical information is easy to read and laid out as expected. The insert is basically another shot of the front cover and it opens up to a two page spread of Zero as well as a smaller picture of the Grappler Gouf and all his armaments.
The main menu is a simple static piece with the image of Zero from the cover set against a light colored backdrop alongside the episode selections. With nothing here beyond the show, this is one of those very simple menus that works effectively but has no bells or whistles attached to it. Access times are nice and fast and the layout quick to use.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having passed on watching this on the Cartoon Network since the quality of it via Tivo just didn’t come across well, we’ve been looking forward to checking out more of this show. Having raised my eldest daughter on G-Gundam, she’s gotten pretty well hooked on Superior Defender Gundam and its style. Since the show is aimed right at her age group and up, I’ll admit to not looking at this show the same way I would something like MS-08th or Zeta.
Following what’s happened in the previous volume, a lot of changes are going on. Shute proves to be an important teammate as he helps both Zero and the Captain deal with the bad guys and return back to their own dimension. This involves the pain of a lot of Zako’s as both of the Gundam’s make their way through the massive army of them. Zero and Captain still don’t get along as a team, but they do slowly realize along the way that they’re getting more accomplished the more they work together.
When back in their own dimension, Shute gets to be taken to the SD Force base where all the magic really happens. This place is filled with all sorts of folks who help keep the peace and keep all the warriors ready for action. In what has to be the absolute best introduction sequence I’ve ever seen, especially with a crowd, we get to meet the base captain who is a good looking humanoid model but with a giant green Haro head, complete with a captain’s hat.
Anyone who fell in love with the original Gundam series must own this disc for this sequence alone.
While Shute gets to become an honorary special team member of the SD Gundam Force, it brings him into contact with all sorts of new people, including another kid roughly his own age who is one of the brilliant mechanical engineers. In fact, he’s just created a dimensional gate that has allowed him to accidentally “capture” another Gundam warrior from elsewhere and bring him to Neotopia. Riding his Gundam horse, Bakunetsumaru enters the picture with his proper amount of rage and anger about being taken from his world where he’s badly needed. Of course, you know he’s going to come to learn to love where he is once he realizes there are friends here who need his help.
And boy is his help needed when the giant Nina Purpleton robot attacks! Ok, ok, so it’s not really Nina but a giant robot version of the mayor of Neotopia, Margaret. But she really looks like Nina so it sticks in my mind. During a festival event, the bad guys arrive in a Trojan horse style attack and take over the giant robot and begin to wreck havoc everywhere. It’s only through the additional help of Baku plus the willingness of Shute to get his hands dirty that they’re able to fight on together and save the day.
This stuff is just plain cute and simplistic material. While it’s not the great children’s show that has plenty of material adults can enjoy as well, it’s one that does a good job of entertaining children very well. The main draw for me in watching this continues to be the little Zako’s and how they deal with everything. Shute makes me want to just punch him right in the face. He reminds me of early Wesley Crusher with better hair but with the short pants that you’d expect in a show with a character that would have a shouta complex on him.
If anything can be said about SD Gundam, it’s that it goes by fast and earns a few chuckles. My daughter laughed at it quite a lot and has fallen in love with the Zako’s as well with their physical comedy. It’s going to be very few adults that will get much enjoyment out of this unless they’re very open to a lot of things. Die-hard fans already know their position on it.
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Superior Defender Gundam Force