The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Gundam: Reconguista in G

Title: Gundam: Reconguista in G aka Gundam: G no Reconguista aka G Reco
Genre: Action/Drama
Companies: Sunrise/Mainichi Broadcasting
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2014 – 26 Mar 2015

Synopsis: To prevent the tragedies of the Universal Century from becoming reality again, by Reglid Century 1014 all technological development on Earth has been stifled. Under strict restrictions by the church of SU Cord, power is provided to the Earth from atop their space elevator, the Capital Tower.  However, distrust over the church’s influence has driven the world’s superpowers of Ameria and Gondwana to expand their militaries despite taboos, while the guard of the Capital Tower has opted to create a bonafide army. These growing tensions, however, are merely in the background of most people’s lives, including Capital guardsman Bellri Zenan, until one day an Amerian force, masquerading as space pirates, make their strike on the Tower.

The Highlights
Style: A saturation of manic Tomino-isms, for better or for worse.
Action: Takes an everything and the kitchen sink approach to fight scenes.
Content: Dense in ideas and dynamics, but very little in actual resolution.
Cast: An array of caricatures.
Pacing: Makes the story impenetrable.

One thing was certain when Tomino Yoshiyuki was brought in to direct his first full Gundam in 15 years; he wasn’t settling for a rehash of 0079. As with Turn A, he looked back at all the bloodshed he has penned  and sought to delve into the inevitable consequences. Thus with Reconguista in G, he shows just how deep that bad blood runs, almost too deep for the story he chose to tell. I applaud G Reco for taking a novel approach to the Gundam, though unfortunately its cursory exploration of its world makes this title rather take it or leave it.

Tomino‘s trademark may be his “kill ’em all” attitude, but G Reco tends to follow his more manic tendencies. Mobile Suits have been made “safe at any speed” with what I can only describe as airbag porn. Flamboyantly dressed villains have novelty flowers popping out of their heads. All the while the people of space have modeled their home after Cyrano de Bergerac‘s nose. But a silly story does not imply an unsophisticated one. On the contrary, issues of proliferation and escalation, previously explored in Dunbine back in the ’80s are touched upon here.  At the same time concepts such as the relationship between technology and religion make me wonder if Tomino was not at least in part inspired by the works of Azimov‘s Foundation

To an extent the aesthetic matches those of Turn A Gundam and King Gainer. Yet this series owns its style as its own while still being recognizably Gundam. Everything from the portrayal of space travel to Mobile Suit design carries its own unique touch combining and juxtaposing the utilitarian with the exotic. Action sequences reflect this, with bulky, almost comically primitive Mobile Suits facing against each other early on before things quickly escalate. By the end, any weapon seen in a previous Gundam short of Shining Finger is utilized by an array of exotic machines and silly backpacks. As per usual, Tomino shows in G Reco how action sequences should be directed and why hand drawn fights will always be king.

Though Tomino‘s efforts are appreciated, any good intentions are mostly undone by G Reco‘s fast forward pacing which generates a sense of whiplash and confusion. Throughout, various factions, representing differing values are introduced back to back with little established ethos beyond a few lines of dialog. For some, their intentions only became clear after seeing who they were shooting at. This is a dense anime to say the least and in need of an additional season to properly flesh out the universe.  But while a third cour could have allowed ample time for significant world building, I have doubts that is would have solved G Reco‘s second most pressing matter, it’s dearth of characterization. Protagonist Bellei Zenan finds more in common with super robot pilots predating 0079‘s Amuro Rey, and none of his compatriots grow beyond a few shallow descriptors. Only the obligatory masked man finds any potential for depth through his morose lineage. Alas, he is comedic fodder too often for there to be any time for meaningful exploration of his backstory.  

To say one experiences the world of Reconguista in G from the anime is like saying one has been to London because they have flown over. All the intrigue and action can be seen like rivers and centuries old buildings out the window. Inevitably, little is understood and one is left questioning cannibalism and synthetic bodies, should be brought up a ithout properly establishing their place in the universe. No doubt within this show is a classic Tomino story. It’s just too jumbled to make sense of. 

The Rating: 5

5/10

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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