The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Turn A Gundam

Title: Turn A Gundam aka ∀ Gundam
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 50 Episodes
Dates: 2 Apr 1999 – 14 Apr 2000

Synopsis: In Correct Century 2345, the denizens of Earth have reached the technological level of the World War I era. A massive cataclysm has destroyed most of the space traveling technology mankind once had, and only through hard work, resilience and thousands of years of progress has humanity reached such a feat. Since then, humanity has long forgotten it had once traveled through the stars… That is until a group of highly advanced people from the moon begin colonizing the Earth by force.

The Highlights
Story: Unusual, episodic and addictive.
Animation: Bright and detailed but the colors feel somewhat reserved.
Music: Usual Kanno Yoko goodness.
Characters: Feel a bit stilted but are effective mediums of the story nonetheless.

For Gundam‘s 20th anniversary celebration, Sunrise decided to create a series that binds all the alternate universes of the Gundam franchise into one. The company prudently chose the original creator, Tomino Yoshiyuki, to lead this massive undertaking. From this endeavor, Turn A Gundam was born.

There is no other series of the franchise that rivals the originality and ingenuity of Turn A Gundam. Everything from the mobile suit designs to the music has been recreated from scratch. While many see the robot design as a fallacy of this series, one cannot help but applaud the unique designs for accurately mimicking the unorthodox attributes of this show. With Kanno Yoko helming the music and a cast of competent animators, the show is pleasing to both the eyes and ears.

For a show of this franchise, this project is really a mold breaker; Tomino manages to create a work that does not follow the precedent set by his previous works. The anime boasts some authentic character behavior in both battle and politics. While the cast remains the central vehicle of the series, the show places a lot less emphasis toward the actual war itself. Those who expect colossal battles with outrageously high body counts will be left disappointed. Despite undeniable parallels to the previous works of this franchise, the massive facelift gives a sense of freshness that the Gundam world severely lacks.

In virtually all respects, Turn A Gundam is a rock solid anime, but I cannot help but feel something is missing. The show is relentless and entertaining, but I feel an emotional disconnection with some of the characters. At times, certain individuals feel too much like plot archetypes rather than living, breathing personalities. It doesn’t help that the main character, Loran, is among these “certain individuals.” However, for a story driven anime like this one, my quibbles are minor; the excellent story is what drives this anime.

Some say that the Gundam franchise has gone on too long and should stop producing sequels. Abominations such as Gundam Wing make such cries seem appealing, but as long as there is a good story to be watched, I refuse to miss out. While there is neither flashy action choreography nor a deep psychological study, Turn A Gundam is still a well-built testament to the Gundam dynasty that is more than worth your time.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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