While not with as much promotion or fanfare as Dragonball
Z, the Gundam universe has developed a nice following
of fans who keep up with the various series, models, collectibles
and games. Originally aired in Japan in 1994, this series
was created as an alternative universe to the main Gundam
story arc as a celebration of the series' 15th anniversary.
The story of G Gundam revolves around fighting-tournament
Gundam battles. In the future (year Future Century 60), humanity
has had to leave Earth for colonies abroad. To settle disputes
between the colonies, a Gladiator-like warfare/tournament
has been created where representatives of each colony duke
it out in their powerful Gundams (giant robots). Winners will
dictate who has control over disputes between the colonies.
The main focus of the story is on Domon Kasshu, the Gundam
fighter for Neo-Japan, who while fighting for the honor of
his land is also on a search for his brother, Kyoji, who pilots
the devastating Dark Gundam. To balance out Domon's emotional
and often brash personality is Rain Mikamura, his friend,
mechanic and often a source of wisdom, whether he chooses
to listen or not. To complement the main characters are a
handful of opponents and allies, including Argo Gulski, Sai
Saici, and George De Sand. These characters are likewise fleshed
out with motives and agendas all their own.
Fans of previous Gundam series will take note that
this series is far less entrenched in deep political/military
conflicts as previous series. There isn't the same ocean-deep
storyline where you feel like you're watching an intergalactic
conflict going on. Instead, the story is paired down to a
smaller group of characters, with far more elements of magic
and the supernatural imbedded into the storyline.
I do think that the mech design is better in this series
than in previous incarnations, but the character animation
and illustration does tend to take a step back. Though, if
you like the more retro-style of the characters, this won't
be a problem for you. On the whole, the series has a more
throwback style to it, which is evident in both the illustration
and even the story to some degree.
At times, though, I do feel like I was watching a Gundam
version of Dragonball Z, where the characters yell
and carry on in an outlandish fashion. There is less intrigue
and certain events fall into Anime stereotypes, but on the
whole, G Gundam is a fine series. If you found other
Gundam series to be a little too over the top in the
story department, then you should enjoy G Gundam just
fine. It still has all the excellent Gundam elements
into it, just in different proportions than previous series.
If you want to know more about this series, check out the
site on Cartoon
Network, or try to catch a few episodes as the series
is running during Toonami. There are already DVD sets out
if you are interested in what you see.