The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Char’s Counterattack aka Kidou Senshi Gundam Gyakshu no Char
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise/Sotsu Agency
Format: Movie; 124 minutes.
Dates: 12 Mar 1988

Synopsis: Char has returned, three times more villainous, three times more powerful, and with three times the hair cut. Distraught by the events of the Neo Zeon War, he has decided to take matters into his own hands by plunging Earth into Nuclear Winter. In response, Federation agents Bright Noa and Amuro Ray join forces one last time to put an end to the mess that Zeon had started. The battle itself evolves into not only one of ideals and ethics, but that of personal hatred, as Amuro and Char fight to the death over the woman they both loved, Lalah Sune.

The Highlights
Action: Intense.
Emotion: Pure.
Cameos: Lacking.
Epic Factor: Cubed.

More often than not, a TV show making its way to the big screen, or vice versa, tends to be a major screw up of some kind. The same goes for conclusions, which are notorious story killers. So imagine how difficult it is to do them both of the simultaneously, especially when the conclusion is wrapping something as big as the original Gundam saga. Fortunately, director Tomino Yoshiyuki has never disappointed me. Personally I believe that when spearheading movies, he’s at his prime. So then Gundam fans should have no worries about his epic finale, and intended last chapter, Char’s Counterattack.

The beauty of an action movie is that there is no excuse for shoddy work, and it shows. In a TV series the animation budget has to span across an entire season, but this two hour battle utilizes its advantage with fight scenes that still hold up today. I can easily describe them as fluid, fast, and forceful. Every mobile suit is in constant motion, and those that aren’t, get torn to pieces by each other or by the powerful Nu Gundam and Sazabi. The designs of the movie also have the advantage of being envisioned by mecha veteran Izubuchi Yutaka who had worked previously on Gundam ZZ, along with who would one day be Evangelion‘s Anno Hideaki.

Of course, all of this action is just icing on the cake, or at least it should be. This is a story that the Gundam saga had been building up to. As Federation soldiers or rebels, Amuro and Bright had finely tuned senses of right and wrong, so it makes sense why they would be fighting to save Earth, despite the vermin who infested it. Char, on the other hand, had always been impatient and overly idealistic. Even though his paradigm shift from how he was during the Gryps War seems a little forced, the picture painted from 0079 and the Zeta Duology (Z and ZZ) helps one understand how he could even think of committing an act as vile as an asteroid drop. These are strong characters made even better as their conflicting values are put to the test. Personally, what got me was that despite his methods were unacceptable, in the end, Char was right.

Of course, a movie that is based around the rivalry between two men can fall apart easily if their motives are plain not believable, though pulls it off with one simple statement. Deep down at the bottom of their hearts, Amuro and Char truly hate each other. They hated each other when they realized that they were equally matched. They hated each other when their obsession over Newtype Lalah Sune, lead to her death. They must have detested each other when their situation demanded them cooperating. And definitely they hate each other now more than ever. I think that this antagonism is best described by annoying character Quess Paraya, “So that’s why married couples fight.”

If there is anything I would have asked more from this movies, it is one thing: it is having a couple of cameos. This movie may be about Amuro and Char, but it doesn’t hurt to quickly feature old heroes like Camille, Judau, and Char’s sister Sayla. However, that could just be asking too much. The only thing I recommend is that one at least sees 0079 and Zeta first, ZZ is not as prudent, though better forshadows Char’s decision. In the end, this is Char’s Counterattack is a showdown between legends and is a must watch for any fan of Gundam. Since this movie is not for everyone, the clue to know whether it is right is that it is three times more exciting than one could imagine.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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