Anime Meta-Review


Char's Counter Attack


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: watchable
  • made: 1988
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

This well liked film in the gundam universe is a regarded as a classic, so why is it here? Well, basically because it's a classic only if you've seen the series leading up to this point, and you really like watching mecha fights. This is because this 2 hour movie contains an awful lot of exactly that. The story involves a newtype (a superior human) called Char who has gone right off the deep-end and thinks killing everyone on earth would be a good move. Sadly he's got an army, and a psycho super new-type child, who haven't got anything else to do. On the other side is the good newtype, named amuro, along with his own psycho child in love with the other psycho child. In addition there is an immense cast of friends, lovers, and other miscellanea. In effect they then get down to the nitty gritty of bashing heads to determine who will win.

This position is somewhat exagerrated, but really the movie does boil down to one long drawn out combat scene. Some will take the position that the players all represent philosophical or political positions, which may be true, but doesn't change the situation much. One of the main problems is that since Char is doing something not only evil but unneccesary there's little sympathy for his position, which makes the attempts at battlefield philosophy fairly uninteresting. Of course if you've seen the preceeding series perhaps you know the reasons behind all this, but probably relatively few people are in that position. In addition the psycho girl who joins his side has to be one of the most murderously insane lunatics ever seen in anime, which sort of reduces the interest in her plight.

Having been far too cruel let me say that there are no shortage of strengths in this movie. For one thing the plot is complex, the cast large and the writing fairly impressive. It quickly calls up the atmosphere of a realistic and complex world and maintains this for the duration. In addition the mecha combat is excellent. The attention to detail in the mecha, and the believable battles, are truly amazing. Even more so this level of attention extends to things as small as how people move around the station, representation of zero-G and realistic damage to the mecha (and people). There are epic battles, dashing solo duels, competing technology and daring stratagems. If you like mecha you simply cannot go too far wrong with this anime. It also manages to attain epic space-opera scope, so those entranced by such things will also find much to like in this skilled production.

And this is helped by the animation. It has dated quite a lot but it is still very impressive. Some of the animation is awe inspiring in its scale, and there are some clever uses of computer graphics. There was one scene of an immense space colony revolving which was almost worth watching the movie for (and if it wasn't CG i'm doubly impressed). The detail in the technology, the realistic physics of zero-g and gundam combat, as well as sufficient logic for why Gundams are used, are all there. I also have no doubt there are lots of models for those impressed by the designs and action they see in this anime. The voices are strong and I was too busy listening to the sounds of combat to pay much attention to the music.

The Anime Movie Guide gives it four stars, calling it an `epic' and pointing out that it was one of the first series to make mecha simply tools of war, and the enemy fellow humans rather than `aliens'.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:16 WST 2009