I’ve you have been around my blog enough, you would know how much I love the Gundam franchise. I love it, adore it, and obsess about it. The franchise has a few ups and downs, I would say a lot more ups then downs. Out of the whole franchise itself, the Universal Century is my favorite portion of it. Not only because it started off Gundam, but because of the many components in it. It might seem overly complicated and over stuffed to some people, but to me it’s one of the most well developed and well explored universes in anime. Especially the early portion of it. Now saying all of that, Gundam Twilight Axis is easily the weakest portion of the Universal Century and possibly the whole franchise to date, and there have been a lot recently and believe me when I say that there has been a lot of new additions recently.
Before I jump into my feelings on Gundam Twilight Axis, let me set the seen a little bit. Ever since 2010, the Universal Century has had a resurgence in the form of ovas and movies. The first addition was Gundam Unicorn, a seven episode ova with each episode being movie length and set three years after Char’s Counter Attack (older Gundam movie). Each episode of this ova is at least an hour long with the last episode being ninety minutes. Two episodes were released a year, which made the wait almost impossible for me to bear, because the Unicorn ova version is almost perfect. After Unicorn, another OVA took its place. Gundam: The Origin is another series of ovas with movie length episodes that tells the set up story of Gundam: 0079. Oh man, this series is great as well. The latest installment will appear later this year. Then there is Gundam Thunderbolt, an interesting ova series that is yet another side story to the one year war. While there is no set episode length, there is at least enough going on to tell a coherent story. Music is used as an additional story element, which makes Thunderbolt unique. Mechs and Jazz is a great combo. Finally, Twilight Axis appeared a few days ago. What the hell?
The problem with Twilight Axis’ first episode is that it was completely incomprehensible. For starters, it was only three minutes long. Thirty seconds of which was dedicated to either introducing the series or advertising gunpla. That means that there is only two minutes and thirty seconds left to set up a story. It’s too bad that there wasn’t any attempt at making one. Nothing is explained about the setting. This is supposed to be a few years after Gundam Unicorn. How is the audience supposed to know that if nothing about the setting, the characters, or the year is explained? The worst part is that the next four parts are supposed to be three minutes also. In that span of time, how are we supposed to learn anything about what is going on? I doubt anyone is going to remember what is going on from one episode to another, so the experience is going to end up being incredibly disjointed. It’s like Pupa, but with Gundam.
I kept thinking about why the Twilight Axis series came into existence and I only came up with two answers. The first one is Sunrise is making a lot of money on Gundam and thinks that people would watch it anyway. I’m not sure if that makes complete sense or not because I haven’t seen many people talk about Gundam in my own bubble of existence on the internet. Maybe more people are into universal century Gundam stuff then I’ve originally thought and Sunrise is making bank off it. I mean, they keep making more Gundam stuff for a reason, right? They wouldn’t make more if people didn’t watch it and they didn’t make a profit of it. Another reason is maybe this is a project that didn’t turn out as planned for them. Maybe we are only getting three minutes an episode, because this project was cut at some point. They announced it anyway, so they couldn’t not release it right? Who knows what the issue is really?
The main things that I take away from all this are more Gundam isn’t always a good thing and more complex stories that require character development and world building shouldn’t be only given three minutes an episode. The first one is like chocolate. It is possible to eat too much chocolate. I know that I am going to end up watching more Gundam Twilight Axis as it airs, because Gundam is my thing, but I feel like I am not going to remember anything from it. Who knows, maybe I am wrong. Maybe this first episode reaction that I am having right now will be completely pointless eventually. I doubt it. The second part should be sort of obvious. Unless this is a Looney Tune’s cartoon, a quick Disney cartoon, a Pixar short, or any other short, there needs to be more than three minutes of time for it’s potential to be realized and for the series to be explained. Otherwise, you get a huge, pointless mess like Gundam Twilight Axis.
I try to keep my Gundam talk lower than usual on this blog, but sometimes I have to talk about it. Sometimes, I have to say something about what is going on. Twilight Axis confused me enough that I had to write this post. Even as a Gundam fan that watches everything Gundam that appears, I didn’t know what was going on. I think that we have now seen the most pointless entry into the Gundam franchise.