Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, June 20, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2002
One of the most important parts of the Gundam franchise, Char's Counterattack is in all its glory on the Region 1 DVD.
Beginning with the more technical aspects of the disc, few flaws can be found in both the audio and visual. Despite being now 15 years old, the animation in this movie is ahead of its time and tricks you into thinking it was made much more recently. The audio is presented in both Japanese and English. Being more familiar with the english voice actors, I've listened to it primarily in English, but have also tuned into the just as good japanese track. Opposed to the television series dub (thankfully done by the same people unlike the Gundam Movie Trilogy), the quality of the voice acting is consistent throughout, thankfully, considering that while the TV series dub was very good through most of series, it started to slip in quality near the end. All the main people are back; Michael Kopsa portrays a much more powerful Char than he was in the television series while Brad Swaile manages an older Amuro. The other actors like Bright and Mirai sound pretty much the same as th!
ey did in the series.
In terms of extras, Bandai gives us a nice little video showing us how their popular Gundam plastic models are made. As someone who loves to build them, it was enjoyable to see their origins. We also get a short synopsis of the movie's director/creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino, going over all the various productions he's done over the years. Finally, we get a small booklet going over various things in the Gundam universe that help explain the movie better. The disc itself is found in the normal DVD case with a nice slipcase displaying the Neo-Zeon logo to go over it. The cover itself shows us the Nu Gundam and various pictures from the movie. Bandai has gone a step above the TV series DVDs to give us a flashier, better looking package.
The thrilling conclusion to the original Gundam saga, Char's Counterattack presents us with the final battle between both Char & Amuro and the Earth Federation & Zeon. Taking place more than a decade after the One Year War, Char has now risen to the position of the leader of Zeon (now known as Neo-Zeon) and plans to force all of humanity to space by crashing the giant asteroid, Axis, into the Earth. This will eliminate, in his eyes, the corrupt side of humanity and usher people into a peaceful future. Amuro, the Earth Federation's powerful newtype pilot plans to stop Char with his custom made Nu-Gundam. Their rivalry goes all the way back to the One Year War where they fought over a girl named Lalah Sune who was eventually (accidently) killed by Amuro.. Each blames the other for her death and won't stop til their rival is finished off once and for all.
Char's Counterattack is an epic, with tons of big battles featuring a multitude of amazing mecha, from Amuro's Nu-Gundam, Char's Sazabi, and other powerful weapons like the Alpha Azieru, and Jagd Doga. Many of the characters from earlier in the UC saga like Bright Noah, Mirai Yashima and Cameron Bloom return and we're introduced to multiple new characters, like Quess Paraya, a conceited yet powerful girl whose the daughter of a Federation official and Gyunei Guss, an artificial newtype who hopes to outdo Char. The characters is where Char's Counterattack's one flaw lies. Being a movie, it lacks the character development you get in a TV series so these new characters don't have as much an impact with us. In addition, other important characters like Char's sister Sayla are omitted entirely. Outside of that though, there's little to complain about this movie. Its an amazing finish to the original Gundam saga, ending in typical Tomino fashion.
One warning however. Char's Counterattack originally came out in Japan after 3 Gundam television series had aired, the original Gundam, Zeta Gundam and Double Zeta Gundam. While the original Gundam has been released in America (and is required viewing before watching this movie) the latter two have not, resulting in confusion on multiple matters in the movie, like what Axis is and what Amuro is talking about when he says he and Char used to be on the same side. As someone who has not seen those series, I can tell you that you still get a lot of enjoyment out of this movie, although you will not understand every detail unless you see the other shows (I certainly didn't).
Overall, the best Gundam release of 2002. Highly recommended.
Playstation 2, 17 inch television
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 130
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack