I rewatched Gundam F91 earlier today, having first watched it just three years ago. The reason for this was to remind myself of my love for the F91 era, which is made of Beam Flags , Space Aristocrats and Kicking Jegans In the Face. I also wanted to remind myself why and how the movie was a beautiful, if flawed job.
The story is as goes: Tomino wanted to make another Gundam series, which would last for 50 episodes or so. He wrote enough material for 13 episodes when the TV project was scrapped, and put a movie together instead. Now, I don’t have to tell you what happens when a 50-episode TV anime gets condensed in the span of 2 hours.
The sloppiness of the story shows. Tomino writes terribly enough, putting in characters whose motivations are something like “I ADMIRED YOU BEFORE BUT NOW YOU’RE SPENDING TIME WITH THAT NEW CHICK AND NOW I WANT KILL YOU”. People are introduced and are never heard of again. Some even die offscreen. The main villain’s motivation is explained in the span of a few seconds and one sentence. This movie has more holes than actual plot threads.
But as far as mobile suit action goes, Gundam F91 is excellent. Taking place entirely in space, it depicts a brutal battlefield inside a space colony, where a dozen or two civilians are harmed every time a mobile suit does as much as fire a shot. The Crossbone Vanguard mecha look menacingly Imperial, yet still retain a functional appearance. The Gundam F91 itself is a highly distinct design that lends itself highly to agile maneuvers.
Having read Crossbone Gundam, which continues Seabook’s and Cecily’s story, I’ve found a new appreciation for this film. In Crossbone, they are older and more restrained than they were in here, but their love has only tempered strongly throughout the years. I think it’s one thing F91 managed to do right: having a nice couple with just the right amount of drama.
Which leads me to ask: what could have happened if F91 wasn’t shafted by production disputes? Could we have had another Zeta Gundam in our hands? I would have loved to see more about the interesting Crossbone Vanguard, who are unlike the utter stupidity that is the Zanscare Empire from Victory Gundam. The SNRI-Anaheim feud which has been lovingly expounded in fluff and obscure media could have been fleshed out more, to satisfy total mechasexuals like myself.
But all of that would have been made without the glorious production values that the movie has. Maybe for that, I am just thankful.