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volume 3 issue 8

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13 home / august 2002 / reviews Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack The Motion Picture DVD
Bilingual DVD
124 minutes
Sotsu Agency
One of the greatest conflicts in all of anime comes to a close.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack The Motion Picture DVD
By Adam Arnold

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack is considered by many as nothing short of an animated masterpiece. Effectively drawing the original rivalry between Char Aznable and Amuro Ray to a dramatic conclusion, the two-hour movie is a mecha tour-de-force that is sure to influence animators for years to come.

The year is Universal Century 0093 and the battles of the One Year War are little more than a footnote in the history books for the Earth Federation. Years of political bickering and distrust within the government and military have increased tensions to a point where war could break out again.

Char Aznable, the famous "Red Comet" from the One Year War, emerges from his self-imposed hiding and claims the role of leader for the newly reformed Neo Zeon. Char's official goal is to finally bring independence to the space colonies. Now it seems that the under-staffed Londo Bell space fleet is the only thing still committed to ensuring peace between the space colonies and Earth.

To make matters worse, Neo Zeon operatives capture the Fifth Luna asteroid and drop it on the Earth Federation Force's main headquarters in Lhasa, Tibet. The asteroid's power causes massive damage to the Earth, forcing politicians to pamper Char and meet any demands he might have. During a secret meeting at Londenion, a peace agreement is signed between Char and the Earth Federation, stating that Char would surrender all of his warships in exchange for the sale of the abandoned Axis asteroid. However, it's all a part of Char's greater scheme and only the Londo Bell forces and the Nu Gundam can hope to thwart his carefully laid plan.

Upon first glimpse of Charís Counterattack, one thing becomes very clear - that a lot has happened in the 13 years since the One Year War. In fact, when this film was released in 1988, fans of the series were well versed in the storyline and knew who the Titans were and what AEUG was involved in. Unfortunately, for North American fans that haven't seen the Gundam Z and Gundam ZZ TV series will find a lot of the viewpoints, such as the Earth Federation's neutral stance in the matters, to be a bit strange. The only series that has been released in English so far that really shows the growing tension within the Earth Federation is Mobile Suit Gundam 0083.

Still, don't let that turn you off from watching this movie. There is a little bit of everything for mecha fans. In fact, there are some of the finest examples of outer space combat ever to be animated appearing right here in this movie. In many ways, fans of Macross Plus will find a lot to love in the combat sequences.

There is also quite a bit of character development for fans that really like to see that. We get to see what Char has been up to since he became missing in action after severing alongside Amuro in AEUG. We also get to see Amuro with a girlfriend, and of course, we get to see the final showdown between these two unforgettable characters.

Gundam fans will be happy to know that this DVD comes packed with not only the English dub, but also the excellent Japanese language track. The series was dub only, the DVD movie trilogy was sub only, and this movie is bilingual. The best news of all is that both language tracks come in both a standard surround sound mix as well as a thunderous 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Every explosion and bomb is crystal clear, making the terrors of the battlefield all the more horrifying.

The packaging is a nice little conversation piece as well. The DVD comes with a raised and foil embossed slipcase that has a Neo Zeon symbol on the front and the head and shoulders of the Nu Gundam on the back. The DVD case comes with a reversible cover similar to other recent Gundam releases so fans can pick their favorite cover.

There isn't much in terms of extras, but the ones that are included are definitely worth checking out. Standard things include the theatrical trailer and a filmography. What stands out is the Gundam Model Footage, which is a music video of the entire production process that Bandai of Japan goes through to make the world-famous Gundam model kits. This bit of footage has appeared on a Hong Kong bootleg known as Gundam Evolve, but it's nice to finally be able to see it subtitled.

Also included along with the DVD is a 12-page booklet that contains full-color maps of the full operations involved in the movie, a short timeline of the key events that take place before the movie, and a bit of information on some of mecha shown in the movie. If you weren't sure on what exactly a fin funnel is, then you might want to take a look at this book.

Char's Counterattack is a movie that no Gundam fan would dare miss. It may take a repeat viewing to grasp everything, but complexity aside, there is more than enough action and intrigue to keep even the most jaded of mecha fans on the edge of their seats.

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