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The End of the Great Rivalry

October 19, 2009

     Five years after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Char Aznable, the son of Zeon Zum Deikun, leads his own Neo-Zeon forces against the Londo Bell defense forces of the Earth Federation in what was to be known as the second Neo-Zeon War.  The movie Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack depicts the conflict and the end of the longstanding rivalry between Char Aznable and the protagonist of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, Amuro Ray.  Amuro is now a part of Londo Bell, along with former White Base and Argama captain Bright Noa and former Argama mechanic Astionage, along with new members Chan Agi and Kayra Su.  When Char plans to attack Earth, the Earth Federation gives him the Axis asteroid, the former base of the first Neo-Zeon movement, as an attempt to placate him.  Meanwhile, Hathaway Noa, Bright’s son, begins to fall in love with the young daugher of a prominent politician, Quess Paraya.  However, Quess is far more enchanted with Char and ends up defecting to Zeon, where her Newtype powers are taken advantage of by placing her in first a Jagd Doga and then the powerful mobile armor, Alpha Azieru.  Char launches the Axis asteroid at Earth to cause an ice age and force the people of Earth to immigrate to space, but Londo Bell predicts the move and intercepts.  In the course of the battle, many lives are lost, and Amuro, in his Nu Gundam, and Char, in his Sazabi, fight over the memory of Lalah Sune and the fate of the world.

     Now, a movie that promises one more fight between this two great rivals sounds absolutely awesome, right?  Like a fanboy’s dream come true, right?  Well, I can think of another movie like that: Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.  And I give a similar response to Char’s Counterattack.  This whole movie was contrived purely to see Amuro and Char kick the crap out of each other, as Advent Children was for seeing Cloud Strife and Sephiroth do the same.  As such, the plot is absolutely atrocious.  For one, the continued idiocy of the Earth Federation after, say, fifteen years (and believe me, they don’t get any smarter) is just mind-boggling.  It makes me wonder how they ever came to power, considering how stupid they are.  Then, the Hathaway-Quess subplot is just obnoxious.  Quess is a little bitch who is supposed to be the movie’s main tragic Gundam woman, but she’s so dislikable that I don’t know what Tomino Yoshiyuki was thinking.  Chan Agi is another character meant to replace Sayla Mass who is so shallow and uninspired that it’s sad, Hathaway Noa isn’t at all a sympathetic character, acting more like Katz Kobayashi in Zeta Gundam, and Gyunei Guss has just a bit of a lolita complex.

     As for the four returning characters, Char’s motivations are just mind-boggling.  Are we missing something between Zeta Gundam and this movie?  Wasn’t he all like “freedom for spacenoids” and a good guy back then?  And didn’t he hate Neo-Zeon?  What’s up with that?  I mean, yes,  he’s still fighting for freedom for spacenoids, but this is kind of a big change in modus operandi here.  And he’s still pining for long-dead Lalah Sune, who was more than ten years younger than him anyway.  Oh yeah, and Amuro’s still pining for her, even though he only met her in person once.  Amuro’s snoozy, since he’s mostly spending time with the boring Chan Agi, Bright Noa just gets barely any screen time, and Astionage gets less than that.  So, the characters are boring, and the plot’s ridiculous.  I mean, the idea that Char would actually send the Psycommu system schematics to Anaheim Electronics just so he could fit Amuro is pretty far-out, even for this series.

     So, as I said, this movie was entirely for the purpose of satisfying fanboy dreams of having Amuro and Char fight one more time.  And to be honest, even though they look cool, neither Nu Gundam nor Sazabi are even that exciting of mobile suits (beam rifle, beam saber, shield, bits, and that’s it), so the fight isn’t even that cool.  Honestly, I think even Kamille Bidan’s fight against Paptimus Scirocco was way better.  If you want an epic Amuro versus Char fight, go watch the end of Mobile Suit Gundam again.  When their mobile suits get trashed, they fight with rapiers!  That’s epic!  The animation is admittedly quite good for the time, but that’s only one plus.  The music is…  did that movie even have a soundtrack?  As for the voice acting, I had no choice but to watch it in English.  Personally, I prefer Brad Swaile as Amuro Ray, but aside from him, the Japanese seiyuu are definitely better.  I mean, Michael Kopsa’s okay, but I think all of us would rather hear Ikeda Shuichi as Char.  And since I had to watch it in English, I got to have Quess’ whininess multiplied by her terrible voice actress.  Great.  So, honestly, unless you’re a diehard Gundam fan, skip this movie.  Just watch the original Gundam again and pretend that was how Amuro and Char’s rivalry ended.  At least Final Fantasy VII Advent Children had some kick-ass fight scenes to justify that contrived story.

Story: 2.8      Animation: 8.8      Soundtrack: 4.7      Acting: 8.5     Overall: 3.7

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