The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation III: Love is the Pulse of the Stars

Title: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundm: A New Translation III: Love is the Pulse of the Stars aka Kidou Senshi Z Gundam: Hoshi no Kodou wa Ai
Genre: Action/Drama
Companies: Sunrise/Sotsu Agency
Format: Movie; 95 minutes
Dates:
4 Mar 2006

Synopsis: Conflict between the AEUG and the Titans has escalated to the breaking point. And to make matters worse, Axis has arrived. Faced with two ghosts of the one year war, Camille is left in the middle of a power struggle that is bound to take no prisoners. And with Gryps 2 finally complete, the body count on all sides is sure to pile up.

The Highlights
Story: Intense, fast paced, but lacks the emotional impact of the TV series.
Ending themes: Not quite Gackt’s best.
The Titans: Have dissolved from opportunistic brutes, to one-dimensional thugs, to just pathetic over the course of three movies.
Haman: More decisive and threatening, until the conclusion.
Camille’s journey: Very much lost in translation.
New ending: Mileage will vary.

When I said A New Translation was an entirely different animal, this is where it all adds up. They are excellent in the sense of pure action movies. But as they progress, one cannot help but feel as if something is missing. If one has seen Heirs to the Stars and Lovers, then there is no reason not to finish up the arc. Be prepared; however, as Love is the Pulse of the Stars effectively kills much of what made the third act of Zeta Gundam so powerful.

As with Lovers, the fast pacing of this movie is at the expense of progression. Love is the Pulse of the Stars takes this issue a step further by severally cutting down on character growth and emotional investment in the situation. Among the ones to suffer the most from this are the vicious Titans themselves.  Though their brutal actions (and more importantly, their reactions) are consistent with those of many other unchecked hegimonic powers, much of what they have done thus far has come off as so unbelievably extreme that they had become hard to take seriously. Furthermore, relative to the Titans of the original series, the movie’s rendition of the organization come off as significantly weaker. Without events, such as Kilimanjaro and the speech in Dakar, it makes sense why they are not taking the same actions they originally took. Unfortunately, this denigrates their necessity in the story to simply controlling Gryps and serving as Scirocco’s personal army in the final battle. This reflects badly on Scirocco since his soldiers no longer come off as a perceivable threat. The one thing that excuses the Titan’s lack of influence is Haman’s greater presence in the story. While she has always been a woman to be reckoned with, this movie makes especially clear with the leaders of both the AEUG and Titans cowering at her mere existence. The fact that she drops the ball in the end and just gives up is perhaps the greatest copout of this movie. That is, unless fans of the original Zeta Gundam find the aftermath of the final showdown even harder to swallow.

Since the horrors in these movies are considerably toned down, it makes sense that the ending would not involve Camille’s descent into madness. Unfortunately for longtime fans, this undermines the impact that was once there. Originally, despite being able to vanquish a great evil, in the end, Camille couldn’t save the people closest to him, not even himself. For him to make it out in one piece makes the whole experience feel rather hollow.

As I’ve said before, what makes the trilogy what it is can only be seen in relative terms. People who have never seen Zeta Gundam can enjoy Tomino’s uncanny ability to tell so much through action, but fans of the original will be left disappointed. A New Translation makes a nice addition to Zeta Gundam, it but will never be a worthy substitute.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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