Hello everyone. Welcome to yet another rendition of Mecha March. It’s that wonderful time of the year when I focus on Mecha Shows and nothing else. Well, this is happening a lot more then usual for me I suppose. One of my rules that I originally set down for this event was that I wouldn’t even talk about Gundam. Why? Because mecha anime isn’t only about Gundam. There are tons and tons of other mecha shows out there that aren’t Gundam which the public needs to pay attention to. However, I am changing up things this year. I decided that if there is a Gundam series that nobody heard of or considered underrated by Gundam fans, then that rule can be considered broken. One of those Gundam series in question is this one. Not every Gundam series gets the lime light and that fact really hurts sometimes. Gundam X is the series that suffers from that fact.
I find the fate of Gundam X pretty scary and terrible. After years of Sunrise making one Gundam show after another, Gundam X was the series that got the boot early AND got the block cancelled. The Dark Victory Gundam appeared in 1993 with fifty episodes, the wonderful and innovative G Gundam appeared in 1994 for all to see with 49, Gundam Wing came in 1995 and somehow became popular on Toonami (can you tell I have some disdain for it?) with 49 as well, and then Gundam X came around in 1996 and was cut from it’s original 49 episode length to 39. I’ve heard of multiple reasons for this like ratings and some issues and disagreements behind it’s production. Whatever it is, Gundam X has continued to suffer the fate of being a mostly unknown series only some people have heard about. It’s pretty unfair if you ask me. Not that you have to apparently because I answered that question myself.
After War Gundam X is a series that is a what if scenario. It begs to ask what would happen if the One Year War from the original series ended in the worse way possible. That way being the Earth Federation (known as the United Nations Earth) was able to mass produce more then one type of Gundam and Zeon (or the Space Revolutionary Army) decided the only thing they can do is drop a lot of colonies on Earth in retaliation. This event happened in what was called the 7th Space War. Tons and tons of people have died in this apocalyptic event. Fifteen years after all the colonies dropped, only 98 million people on Earth are alive out of billions that were alive before this incident happened. So many people died from famine, disease, and who knows what other kinds of unknown horror happened in that event.
Gundam X is a story of what happened after the Earth’s economy finally started to stabilize and a new generation of people popped up. The economy of Earth is now more stabilized in some areas of the planet. Other areas are ruled by vultures. Gangs of people who ride on ground ships in the desert that scavenge for resources and sometimes attack other vultures for parts and money. That’s who are main protagonist crew is. Riding on the ground ship called the Freeden led by Jamil Neate who was the New Type Ace of the 7th Space War and lost his psychic powers, they are on the searching for New Types in order to protect them from the future. New Types are still sought after by the former United Nations Earth or Space Revolutionary Army on Earth. Maybe the war won’t happen again. Maybe humanity won’t try to kill each other again this time. Nah, some older military people have other plans.
This series is constructed through different mini arcs that each last five to six episodes. Tiffa Adill uses her new type abilities to sketch the next location that the Freeden might find the next new type. Yeah, she’s a little too much of a plot device for me sometimes, but she does learn to grow into herself later on. The unknown aspects of not knowing who they new type they found would be or what situation the new type is in adds a lot of drama and mystery to this anime’s story. As the anime continues on, the arcs become more dire and dramatic. The opening arc is where we learn a lot about on main cast, then the sins of the past start showing up in different forms that can’t be ignored. The Space Revolutionary Army has some hidden mecha projects that feel like unearthing for example. Or we could talk sea pirates or the New United Nations Earth government rising up again and conquering nations. There are other arcs, but these are the important ones.
You would think with all this depressing stuff happening After War Gundam X would be sad, but it is a powerful force of good and hope. Yes, there is a huge tinge of sadness and darkness that makes its way into the series, but the series has a very forward thinking path for the future. Ever since Garrod Ran showed up on screen, stole the new type Tiffa Adil from under Jamil Neate’s crews nose, and found a Gundam in the first episode, the series feels so comforting and relaxtion. That’s right, he used to be a drifter moving from place to place working one hard contract job after another. It took him a while in to understand the Freeden’s crew and work with people, but Garrod Ran is a complete, awkward dork that dares to challenge fate and decides to believe in people. He is also one of the few Gundam pilots in anime to not be special at all. I really do like Garrod’s arc of growing to see more things then himself and getting others to see hope. I really love this guy.
With all that light, there is shadows. I don’t just mean the slow escalation of the growth of the New United Nations Earth all over the planet occupying one nation at a time or the re-emergence of the Space Revolution Army, but the forces pulling at them to fight each other again. Every time the Freeden is caught in battle, at least one of the Frost Brothers, the main villains, are there to fight against the Freeden. Their hatred for the current world and the former world is what keeps them going to hopefully push for a new world they control. In the 7th Space War, the Frost Brothers were rank F New Types who only had the capability of communicating with each other over incredible distances. With Shagia as the tactical brother and Olba who always wanted to fight more, they somehow become larger threats as the show goes on. They have many tactical retreats, but they’ve learn to cut losses and manipulate everyone to do their bidding to where they show up on top of every other group eventually. They would have won if it wasn’t for Garrod Ran and the crew of the Freeden.
With all of those twisted around Universal Century ideas with newer ones, I can’t help but say that I still think of this show as an alternative edition of Zeta Gundam. Not completely, but the comparison is more then valid here. The main reason I say this is because of who Jamille Neate and Lancerow are. Jamille Neate is like an older Amuro Ray. He used to be the main gundam pilot and fight against Lancerow in endless battles like Char Aznable and Amuro Ray. The main difference is there fates. IN this series, the Amuro Ray decided that he had enough with the Earth Government and worked with an independent group to hopefully make the future a better place. So he took the Char Aznable Zeta Gundam role by being a mentor to Garrod who is combination of Judau and Kamille. I really like their teacher and mentor relationship. Lancerow is the Char, but he is locked into training pilots for future engagements like Zeta Amuro. I wish the series spent more time with Lancerow, but it was cut too short.
The crew of the Freeden are fun to have around, but they are all a little too one note sometimes because of the narrative. Or maybe they just don’t get the time they deserve. Sarah is the second in command who takes control when Jamil is in the hospital wing or piloting a mecha, but she doesn’t get enough credit for starting out rough and then holding her own during combat scenarios. Meanwhile, the other people on the bridge are kind of just there for the most part. Shingo is the pilot who can have some good reactions, but that’s about it. Toniya is a hot normal teen who is a bit of a bimbo and that’s just her character. I do really like Sam, the mechanic. He’s a young boy that works to make sure all the mecha are taken care of and can find some time for upgrades when the time calls for it. The doctor is another interesting character because it’s clear he has some gripes, but the show never had time to focus on him. Then the freelance Gundam pilots are have some stories and arcs, but they are always sidelined for Jamil and Garrod. There is seeds of good character stuff here, but that’s all they are.
I think the visuals of Gundam X didn’t help spring it from it’s predecessors that much. Especially since it was the same character designer and mechanical designer as Gundam Wing. Still, I can’t help but really like how each character looks in this despite that fact. Probably because the character designs were the best part of Wing? Like Wing, each person has their own sort of distinctive character and clothing designs. No, they don’t look like Wing characters. Each character is their own. What makes Gundam X better then Wing in the visual department is the direction. The director is still the same one for Wing as well, but this is where Goro Taniguchi started out as an episode director. You can see all sorts of background shots with wonderful colors of fire in the sky in dramatic shots or just find out how well thought out and structured some episodes are compared to others for particular reasons. The animation is kind of blah in the show because there isn’t a lot of movement except in important moments and charges. Same for all the well animated stock footage moment for the Mecha.
Yes, I know that I said that the mechanical designer of Gundam X is the same as Gundam Wing. There are a lot of moments when you can tell that, but I still think that this is where the animator found his calling. A lot Gundam X important mechanical units are like Universal Century ones except changed up a little bit to match the setting. The Bertigo is a Quebly but more in Gundam X’s style. Air Master Gundam is like a Valkeryie from Macross and there is nothing wrong with that. I loved it’s dark blue color change when it gets updated. The Arm Master is similar to Gundam Heavy Arms because of the ammo, but I have to say that I like the color and design of this unit more. Especially when it’s color was changed to red. Lastly, the Gundam X. My favorite edition of the Gundam X was the G Divider mode. The harmonica cannon is the coolest thing ever in Gundam. The original design with the single satellite cannon of destruction is pretty solid though. The lesser mecha in all of this if the Double X because the design is just too Gaudy to look at. It’s just too extra. I like sleeker Gundam designs much better then large and plump ones. Larger sizes are for enemy suits.
So yeah, I really like Gundam X. It does have some story and character problems here and there because of how unoriginal and UC like it is, but I think there is enough going on here to make it special and spell out it’s own path. The two main relations between Jamil Neate and Garrod Ran and Tiffa Adill and Garrod Ran are exception things that prop everything else in this anime up for me. I also can’t help but smile at the finish of each arc. Why? Because that’s where Gundam X’s hope is despite all the dark and apocalyptic things going on. Garrod ran is able to help others naturally find their own personal light and that’s how each arc ends. All Garrod ever had to do is be a dork and himself. That’s it. I really do think this series could be on the list of baby’s first Gundam anime, but I know that it wasn’t for a lot of people because of special circumstances the show had to face. At least it’s available on DVD and Blu-ray now so it’s out there for everyone depending on how much you want to pay to watch it. I highly recommend it. Gundam X is another great path for people to get into Gundam.
I’m not the only blog doing Mecha March this year. Be sure to check Lita Kino’s blog for content too. She’s put a lot of work and effort into this month, so please support her too.