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Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting ~ ♫

May 1, 2012

“Look! The East is burning red!”

Domon Kasshu/Master Asia, Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Mobile Fighter G Gundam, often singled out as the bastard child series of the franchise (when the haters aren’t ganging up on poor ‘ol G-Savior).

Where do I start?

G Gundam is, despite the “Gundam” in its name, closer to something like Dragonball rather than any kind of Gundam series thus far. I mean, you’ll understand once knowing the premise of G Gundam; as an alternative to open warfare, the world’s ruling leader is decided by a once-every-four-years martial arts tournament taking place on Earth, with the participants from various colonies that represent their former Earth-version nations (Neo Japan, Neo America, Neo something something…). Domon Kasshu, man with a mission and representative of Neo Japan, arrives on Earth with only two goals in mind; first, to win the 13th Gundam Fight, and secondly to find his missing brother.

Now, let me put in a word of warning; G Gundam is as shonen as they come. Expect a flurry of punching and kicking as well as unabashed use of name-called attacks, and the common syndrome of punching things that don’t take any damage; the last one is quite jarring, since in most Gundam series a well-placed smack (and let’s not talk about iron balls, beam swords and guns, boys) will dent something unless the recipient happens to be the Gundam of the show.

The show is closer to the likes of Jojo’s Bizzare Adventures, Fist of the North Star or the many Chinese wuxia and martial art flicks that dominated the Asian movie screens in the 1990s than any Gundam shows. Probably one key difference is that the pilot reflects the Gundam; even the characters themselves can kick, punch, jump and strike as good as their mechanical counterparts, one reason being that the entire premise of G Gundam is a martial arts tournament. It gets pretty crazy later on when people start throwing energy punches, making tornadoes out of their bare hands and generally having a jolly good time trying to emulate Street Fighter all-around; and that’s before they get into their Gundams. And when it comes to the

The fights are, despite the 1990s tag on G Gundam, nothing to sneeze at. It’s not the greatest quality, but Gundam SEED has spoiled things for me; as long as the scenes aren’t recycled endlessly, I’ll think it’s good enough for others to enjoy. Not to mention that the music and fight cheorography mesh well together; screw having elaborate fight scenes, if it gets the heart racing despite it being a energy-blast-pushing-match, well, does having flashy animation really matter in that case? It’s all about the spirit of things.

Despite many people watching G Gundam and remembering the fights (and yes, I won’t deny that they were memorable in their own way) it was the execution of the storyline that helped seal the deal for me. Everything from the various characters backstories to how it was integrated into the backgrounds of the main cast, as well as the main plotline of Domon chasing after his goals.

And then there’s the inter-team dynamic. You’ll be hard-pressed not to feel for the main cast around Domon, and they all have their own reasons for wanting to win the Gundam Fight. It might be stock shonen fare, but when added in with the G Gundam plot of fighting against an evil force, their wishes suddenly become a lot more noble. And when it comes to long-standing relationships, the show swings it at you like a sledgehammer.

G Gundam isn’t flawless by a long shot; sometimes, poor plot pacing and corny dialogue plague the show and the entire series descends from awesome to cringe-worthy to even painful to watch. But despite these flaws, G Gundam is one of my personal favourites from the Gundam meta-franchise; a fresh take in a different direction, where the show has no qualms about challenging itself to push in another direction, taking its mistakes in stride.

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