Anime Meta-Review


Gundam: F91


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Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: flawed
  • genre: mecha
  • made: 1991
  • Review created: Sun Sep 17 23:51:00 EST 2000
  • mod: none

Someting, and something fairly serious, went wrong in the making of this movie. I'd like to start by describing the story, but I don't know if that is possible, because basically it looks like many stories are joined to form a complex and convoluted mess. Essentially we start with a bunch of youths on a space colony that is under attack by what look pretty close to being pirates. Not that this matters to our hero's, as all they want is to avoid being splatted by the falling gundams. As the story develops it seems that the `bad' guys are interested in one of the youths, while the remainder fall in with the opposed, slightly less bad, military. Somehow they both end up fighting on the front lines, probably as representatives of two competing philosophies.

At least I assume this is the case, because every so often there'll be a `serious' bit where people start talking sententiously about the role of the military, the nobility or the duties of parents. There's also a guy in a darth vader mask, the head of the space pirates, who keeps mumbling about something, but I don't listen to obvious nutters. The rest of the time is largely an awful lot of mecha combat which, mysteriously, sees two kids become master gundam pilots in what feels like about 15 minutes. Amongst this is a bit of comedy, as the youths from the start adapt (or don't) to being `soldiers'. This movie simply collapses beneath the weight of detail attempted. It really feels like they've tried to compress an entire television season into one movie. The number of characters, events and story threads simply leads to confusion and disbelief. The pace means that a lot doesn't seem to make sense and no conclusions are ever reached. Indeed even the `talking' bits, and the psychological bits, don't seem to make much sense at all. Confused and confusing, not my idea of fun.

Which is a shame, because it means it is largely killed by over-ambition and trying to do too much in one movie. Certainly the production values, even though this is an older animation, are pretty high. There is some excellent technical design and animation of complex objects. The Gundam battles themselves are complex and quite believable. Indeed the opening sequence, which is pretty long, of war and civilian casualties in the colony is pretty excellent stuff. Watching the effect of gundam weapons on people is fairly brutal, even to getting to watch a woman (with child) getting hit by a shell casing. Considering gundams are ~10 meter tall mecha even this is more than enough to kill. There are some problems, the voices are not given time to settle in, the technical animation has relatively low framecounts and the human animation looks strangely `soft' some times but this is still very watchable stuff. The music is stirring space opera themes, feeling very star wars at times, but good enough. It's just a shame that while you are watching the mecha action your mind is still busily trying to work out the last plot jump.

None of the sites I source from have a review of this title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009