Mobile Suit Gundam Movie II - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: £17.99
  • Running time: 147
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam Movie II

By Dani Moure     June 05, 2006
Release Date: July 11, 2005


Mobile Suit Gundam Movie II
© Beez


What They Say
The war rages on, and the Federation ship White Base continues to do battle with the Zeon forces as they undertake the long journey to Federation headquarters in Jaburo. But turmoil from within also threatens to tear the White Base apart. One crew member must confront her past. One will desert just when the others need him most. And one will find true love but at an alarming cost. Will the White Base be able to make its way to the Federation headquarters at Jaburo before it's too late?

The Review!
As the saga that started it all continues, we hit the more low-key middle arc of the story...

Audio:
The Japanese track has been remixed for this release (as it was for the original Japanese DVD release), and as such it contains some slight changes in sound effects and the like. For someone like me who has never seen the original series though, you wouldn't notice, and it contains some classic sounding effects when it comes to laser blasts and such. The 5.1 track has some good directionality about it and makes good use of the channels, particularly for the various sound effects to really envelop you as you watch.

Video:
Much like the audio, the video for the movies was completely remastered and restored for the DVD release, and it shows. For a show that debuted in 1979, the video is crisp and clear, with no aliasing, cross colouration or other artifacting that I noticed during playback. It really does look good, and the only downer is the jitter inherent from the film splicing of older movies.

The English subtitles are white, in a clearly readable font, and I didn't notice any errors.

Packaging:
The front cover features an ominous looking image with Amuro at the front with a scowl on his face, and Char looming slightly faded in the background. The cover has a nice yellow tone, with the logo at the bottom of the cover along with company and rating logos. The back cover features a description of the movie, some screenshots and the usual credit list. Additionally Beez add their very welcome information box to clearly show the disc's technical specs.

Menu:
The menu system is pretty simple. After selecting your language on an initial screen, a short animation begins before the main menu loop kicks in. The main screen has Amuro on the right hand side, the logo in the bottom left and a central computer-style screen in the middle showing clips from the films. Selections are along the top part of the screen. Sub-menus are all static, playing different parts of music from the film and with images of the Gundam at the sides. While they're not spectacular they're nicely themed to fit the Gundam style display, and are really easy to use with quick access times.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There's no getting away from it " this second part of the Gundam movie trilogy is weaker than the first, as we hit a bit of a lull in the story at times, as it shifts from introductions to build up to the end. If you're at all familiar with how a series is generally structured, it's quite apparent from how things play out that this movie is based on the middle episodes in the original series, generally the part of any serialisation where the story slows down and tries to build towards an end. Setting that aside though, it's still more of the original Gundam, and it continues to captivate for that reason alone.

The main theme of this movie is the crew of the White Base's journey to Jabrow, the Earth Federation HQ. Several of the crew members get a bit of time in the limelight as the story shifts focus several times, and it starts with Sayla trying to find out as much information as she can about her brother and why he is siding with the Zeon forces. She eventually ends up commandeering the Gundam, much to everyone else's surprise, but she only gets a small amount of information and also gets put in the brig for her trouble.

Meanwhile a lot of information and discussion about Newtypes comes to the fore, with everyone knowing about Amuro it creates some interesting friction with the rest of the crew, and when he overhears Bright talking to Frau Bow about what to do with him, removing him from piloting the Gundam because the Federation wants to know far more about Newtypes, he leaves White Base. But as he wanders around on his own, he comes face to face with the enemy, the fierce Zeon soldier Ramba Ral. He and Sayla get into a sticky situation in front of their enemies, but are surprisingly let go without trouble because they're not on the battlefield. While it's all a bit confusing to the pair, Amuro soon realises that he's led the enemy right to White Base, and they intend to invade.

Amuro and the crew do make it to Jabrow eventually though, but their fate is to be sent away again. Taking the opportunity for a bit of downtime though, everyone feels a little out of place. Kai ends up leaving and befriending a woman, who ends up being a Zeon spy and leads the enemy to them again, with a huge battle ensuing, yet Kai still protects her. And Char is not completely forgotten, either, as he returns to cause more havoc with his scheming ways.

A lot of the themes and ideas in this second movie outing (actually subtitled "Soldiers of Sorrow", though Beez have dropped that from their release) come across quite well, with their being some interesting positions taken by the cast as they battle with their morals and things, and there are often counterpoints for each one. For instance while Amuro runs off rather child-like when he feels rejected and out of place with the White Base crew, based off one conversation, Kai does things in the more cooler and calmer manner by just going off and doing his own thing.

Some of the focus on Amuro is lost at times as well, as the side-stories shift focus over so heavily from one character to the other in a more pronounced way than the first movie. It's not necessarily a bad thing, given the parts focussing on Sayla and Kai were really interesting and showed a lot of different facets to their characters, it is just a bit jarring.

The biggest problem with this second movie is the pacing though. It's edited in such a way that it's often quite choppy and occasionally even a little random, like in no time the White Base will be in one place then next cut it'll be somewhere else. At times it just feels a bit edited together as well, with the story jumps and jarring shifts in focus from one scene to another, it sometimes lacks the transitional scenes you'd normally get in a movie that was made for that format. Parts of the story end up suffering as well, since it seems a bit ridiculous that the crew are going all over earth through all these battles just to get to Jabrow, and in the end they'll have to leave pretty quick anyway. It's a bit of a shame but the pacing does become a bit distracting.

Char is also notable by his absence for large parts of the movie as well. After being a focal point of the first movie, he got demoted and is relegated to a scant few appearances, mainly bunched at the beginning and the end of the film. Some new information comes to light with him, and the confrontation and relationship with Sayla is definitely something to look out for (as well as the continuing rivalry with Amuro), but in the case of Char I came away feeling I was missing a bit of the larger story that was originally here.

In Summary:
Gundam Movie II is a must buy for fans of the first, or this genre in general, as it is made up of a piece of anime history. The pacing for this middle story is questionable at times and does sometimes have a negative effect, but still the story itself is strong and has held out over a long period of time. Watching this film, with some of its interesting characters and relationships, brings on a nostalgic feel, but in a good way. I'm really looking forward to the final movie.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0 & 5.1),Subtitles: English; French; German; Polish

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.

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