Victory Gundam and the World Masterpiece Theater

Maybe I just wanted an excuse to post this picture.

When I was watching Victory Gundam, something clicked in my mind. Have I seen this stuff before? Not exactly, but it was a big deja vu feeling.

Thanks to an AWO review about the anime classic Nobody’s Boy: Remi (which ironically is not a representative of the World Masterpiece Theater itself), I remembered. Victory Gundam is essentially a WMT show, albeit with robots and war.

I started to connect the dots. Victory is set mostly in Europe, and has very few characters (if any) of Japanese ethnicity. The main character is a kid with a family-oriented goal in mind–to reunite with his missing parents. Cartoonish animation. A wistful, moving score with vaguely Western sensibilities. Kids who routinely manage to beat up adults twice their size. Dogs.

I thought I was stretching things for a bit, but then I watched the OP.

He wouldn't be jumping for joy if he knew what kind of show he was getting into.

He wouldn't be jumping for joy if he knew what kind of show he was getting into.

The picker-upper song with its uplifting lyrics is totally unrepresentative of the show as a whole. There’s no mistaking it: Victory Gundam is the kind of show I watched as a kid!

I would like to think that the WMT shows that were an ubiquitous part of weekday Filipino TV programming ruled the roost for a reason: they delivered a compelling narrative by putting their child protagonists through hell, until they got better, or in more extreme cases, died. A Little Princess Sarah was a huge phenomenon here, and even my mom watched it faithfully and could remember key plot points in the series. And it works very well; we Filipinos are total suckers for this stuff. (I’ll try to expound on that in the next post.)

Victory Gundam works the same way. Every episode, I was engrossed with the prospect of seeing Usso wade through a quagmire of bad things, because I wanted to see how he’ll pull through. There are very few happy moments, but they are good enough for you to hope for more, and this approach is highly effective. I had been wired for this stuff way before I learned how to feed myself.

Which explains why I love it.

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8 Responses to Victory Gundam and the World Masterpiece Theater

  1. ToastCrust says:

    Stand up for the Victory’s still one of my favourite OP’s.

    I enjoyed Victory Gundam quite a bit too.

    • schneider says:

      The fights in this show are really something, and they’re choreographed very well.

      • ToastCrust says:

        The only real complaint I have in my head is about the deaths of the Shirke Squadron.

        To have them all die, definitely works out well.

        But I don’t think it was the best idea to have all of their deaths happen in a concentrated cluster of episodes systematically one-after-the-other.

        At least, that’s how I remember it. After a while, it just becomes “I wonder which one will die this episode” rather than “if someone will die this time”.

  2. sadakups says:

    To be honest, I have the DVD set, but I only have seen the first two episodes and never touched it because of the notoriety of the show being depressing… which is something that I do not to be right now considering my current state as a human being.

  3. Jacques says:

    The OP, Stand up for the Victory, is still one of my favourite song, and I still have it in my mp3 playlist. Great show, but it’s depressing when you start seeing people dying one after another like falling dominos. Still remember the part where Usso’s mum (i think) got the head decapitated.

  4. Pingback: Two Years | Continuing World

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