Mobile Suit Gundam Collection One

| November 30, 2015

Much to what I said in my Turn A Gundam review, the Gundam franchise is a massive undertaking, which has never managed to penetrate the American audience properly. Sure, the Gundam Wing franchise has a nostalgic following, due to the Toonami TV runs, but both Bandai Entertainment and Sunrise never managed to get people to fully committed, like they have in Japan. Nozomi Entertainment is trying to rectify this and presenting the American audience with fantastic releases of the Gundam franchise. While they’ve managed to release a series that fans have been wanting for a long time with Turn A, they’re now making it a point to go to the very beginning and release the original TV series from 1979 on Blu-Ray. The end result is an incredible showcase of how Mobile Suit Gundam became a phenomenon and why this series has managed to stand the test of time.

Set in the far future, a faction of the Earth Federation, the Zeon Principality, has declared independence from federation, leading the two to enter war with one another. Stuck in a stalemate, both sides are trying to turn the tide by using mobile suits, humanoid tanks that utilize the skill of trained pilots, rather than brute force and ammunitions. With this, the focus shines on Ray Amuro, a young boy in the Federation, who in the midst of a major attack by Zeon forces, stumbles upon the work of his father. The RX-78-2 Gundam, which contain both beam sabers and beam rifles are high tech weaponry that could sway the war in favor of the Earth Federation and manages to fall right into the hands of the young hero. After the attack, Ray, his friend Fraw Bow escape on the White Base, in order to find a new life and try to defend themselves against the Zeon threat, with the advanced mobile suit in tow.

Watching this series is really the embodiment of what I love about anime, in that its thematic content is rich and serious, while still managing to be an entertaining TV show at the same time. Granted, many of the aspects of this series has been done to death, but the historical context shows that Mobile Suit Gundam did it first and did it well. Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino doesn’t sugar coat anything in this series and makes it a point to illustrate his themes of “war is hell” right from the very first episode. His creation of the RX-78-2 Gundam also makes it feel that much more realistic, with its designs feeling more like a tool that would be created in the distant future. Its this, along with creating a cast of characters, both good and evil, that feel like actual people, to reinforce those themes and elements that make the Mobile Suit Gundam series stand the test of time.

This series may not be for everyone, due to its age, but Nozomi Entertainment has made it a point off a Blu-Ray that’s pretty impressive that Gundam fans will be extremely happy with. The video is presented in an AVC encoded, 1080p transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. With this series being almost 40 years old, the presentation on this Blu-Ray from Nozomi Entertainment does a fabulous job with the materials they’ve obtained for a nice HD transfer. Colors are rich and vibrant, as well as showing a fair amount of film grain that the show was presented on. While there’s some obvious filtering and noise reduction happening, the picture quality still showcases a fantastic image that Gundam fans will be happy with this disc. The audio on the disc is presented in two LPCM Stereo tracks, one being the original Japanese and then an English dub. Both tracks offer much of the same offerings, in terms of clarity and fidelity, but the Japanese track intro and outro for each episode is slightly louder. The extras are extremely minimal, in that there are a few Japanese commercials for the Blu-Ray releases and textless intro and outros. While it would have been nice for them to include some interviews with Tomino, they’re probably going to leave that for the second collection.

Again, this boxed set for Mobile Suit Gundam isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an anime fan that appreciates animation history or you’re just a huge Gundam fan, this presentation of the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam is just as great as it should be. Recommended! 

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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