The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mobile New Century Gundam X

Title: Mobile New Century Gundam X aka After War Gundam X aka Shin Kidou Seki Gundam X
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise/Sotsu Agency
Format: 39 Episodes
Dates: 5 Apr 1996 – 28 Dec 1996

Synopsis: “Once, there was a war,” a fierce battle between the people of Earth and the rebelling Space Colonies. Within eight months, the fighting escalated to the point where the Colonies gave the Earth Nations an ultimatum, accept their independence or face bombardment by falling colonies. In retaliation, weapons arose to turn the tides of war, the Gundams. However, with one drop prevented, it did not matter as dozens more fell reducing the population to less than a million. No longer were there any victors. Fifteen years have passed since then, and a new generation has risen to claim the future.

The Highlights
Characters: Loveable and human.
Music: Far above par.
Pacing: Somewhat uneven.
Animation: Nothing special but easy on the eyes.
Mechanics: Refreshing and fluid.
Ending: Unfortunately rushed, yet satisfying

In 1995, Sunrise produced Gundam Wing; a series, while suffering from lackluster quality, was a major success. The very next year, Wing was followed up by Gundam X, which was the opposite. Despite this series’ ability to deliver what its predecessor could not, it was deemed a failure and was tragically canceled ten episodes short of its intended ending. Over the years, the series has acquired a poor reputation; however, in reality, not many series are so deserving of carrying the Gundam name on its shoulder.

The first five minutes are reminiscent of the One Year War from Mobile Suit Gundam, and of course you’ve got your accidental teenage pilot, mysterious Char type, and a mysterious girl with special powers. But beyond that, the clichés end. The protagonist, Garrod Ran takes the positive qualities of past Gundam pilots, but is totally void of angst. Even better, he has no special powers. He’s simply a product of his world. The rest of the cast is equally good. Not only is the heroine, Tiffa Adil, very cute, she also breaks away from the Gundam convention of very annoying girlfriend. Of course there is also the Char/Bright hybrid Jamil Neatte, the bondage queen Enil El, child genious Kid Sal, uber pimp Roybea Loy, among other likable and interesting characters, all with their own stories to tell. You may also end up admiring the villainous Frost Brothers for being so damn evil.

For a post apocalyptic series, it’s amazing how well it works with an off beat quirky atmosphere. While the world is barely what it use to be, optimism, rather than depression is the key emotion, even though the dramatic opening themes “Dreams” and “Resolution” would tell otherwise. The mix works well like it does in the ever so twisted Victory Gundam, which had happy-go-lucky music, but the story was hard to stomach (though that is a different recommendation). The animation also helps to display this. It is visually similar to Wing, though with better quality, they style fits. And may I mention that the Mobile Suits and action sequences are a real treat. I would say that the Gundam X is the last great design by mecha animator Okawara Kunio.

Unlike most other Gundam series, Gundam X is divided into a multitude of three to five episode arcs. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and sometimes it worked well, occasionally I wished for some arcs to be longer or shorter. The Estard story at the two thirds point could have been an episode shorter, and the space arc could have been much longer. However, that is where the one true downfall of the story comes: its rushed ending. I am not going to guess why it was canceled, but the show condenses the final arc, probably taking out a lot of story. There is not enough time to let the intensity of the climax properly build, but somehow they still manage to pull it off. The series ended with a rushed final two episodes and yet I was not disappointed. All of the plot ends were tied and nothing seemed forced or like last minute plot devices. Unfortunately, I am left wondering, “what would have happened if…”

Needless to say Gundam X has more substance than most, and I am not just referring to how it compares to Wing. If one can accept that the ending just had to be, there are not many anime that are so constantly satisfying. Hell, even its two filler episodes are a treat.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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