Turn A Gundam

Title:Turn A Gundam
∀ガンダム (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Music - KANNO Yoko
The year is Century 2345. The civilization of Earth is at about the level it was during World War I. Long ago, humanity traveled through space, but the people of Earth have long forgotten about that. However, an advanced civilization still exists in cities on the moon, and now this Moonrace, in desperate need of resources, sets its sights back on its home planet. Three Moonrace teenagers, Loran Cehack, Keith Laijie, and Fran Doll, are sent to make sure that a return is even feasible, and are followed two years later by the invading Dianna Counter forces. Now, five thousand years after humanity first traveled into space, a new war is brewing between the Earthlings defending their homes, the Moonrace looking to settle on Earth, and other members of the Moonrace who believe a return to Earth may revive a nightmare from humanity's forgotten past...
[50 TV episodes.]
[edit] The Gundam franchise:

Gundam (main story, UC0079-0083) Gundam Z (sequel, UC0087) Gundam ZZ (sequel, UC0088) Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (sequel, UC0093) Gundam Unicorn (sequel, UC0096) Gundam: Twilight Axis (sequel, UC0096) Gundam Narrative (sequel, UC0097) Gundam F91 (sequel, UC0123) Victory Gundam (sequel, UC0153) Gundam: The Origin (prequel, UC0068-0079) The 08th MS Team (side story, UC0079) MS IGLOO (side story, UC0079) SD Gundam Mobile Fighter G Gundam (Future Century) Gundam Wing (After Colony calendar system) Gundam X (After War timeline) Turn A Gundam (CC timeline) Gundam Evolve Gundam SEED (cosmic era) Gundam 00 (Anno Domini timeline) Gundam AGE Gundam Build Fighters Mobile Suit Gundam-San Gundam: G no Reconguista (Regild Century timeline) Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (Post Disaster timeline)
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 7 8 7 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1509#1552]
Turn A Gundam was created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Gundam franchise and is directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Being of a different continuity than the Universal Century timeline, Turn A made for some of the best material I seen for an alternate continuity to the Gundam franchise thus far. Rather than try ripping ideas from the Universal Century continuity and/or get into overblown antics like Gundam Wing, SEED and G Gundam, Turn A Gundam implements its own ideas and mecha designs to a great extent here.

Turn A depicts a time thousands of years in the future where the space battles of old have left Earth in an Industrial Age-like state and those who ventured into space on the moon continued to advance their technologies from that time. The conflict that arises between the Moonrace and Earth people create some interesting tensions with multiple factions formed within each group trying to grab power for themselves and claim superiority for their race or agenda. A number of characters that are introduced seemingly appear good or evil on the surface, but appearances are deceiving as the series does provide details on the backgrounds and beliefs of said characters where their motives become justified and they can be sympathized with. The series also does a solid job exploring the political and social issues plaguing both factions such as discrimination, planetary colonization and military corruption.

Unlike Tomino's earlier work with the Universal Century titles of the Gundam franchise, Turn A is a bit more light-hearted in exploring the tensions between Moonrace and Earth. While the series still features the trademark fighting mobile suits of both factions in war and not being afraid to kill off some characters, Turn A doesn't go for its character killing on major characters and it isn't as dark with its plot twists as you would find with Tomino's involvement in older Gundam works. The series carries some humor with it that is used well to balance out its more serious scenes and it doesn't get in the way of the mood for the series when things get heated.

Along with the show's more lighter plot, Turn A Gundam also sports plenty of original mecha designs for this take on the Gundam franchise, which are quite unique compared to the designs used in other Gundam titles I've seen that still bare resemblance to the original RX-78 Gundam and Zeon models of the original series. For some of the designs, they serve different functions on the battlefield rather than the human-like characteristics and actions adopted with mobile suits from other titles. Beyond the mecha designs, Turn A's scenery and character designs are standard late-90s animation with some implementation of CG animation used with rendering of computer specs and some complex methods of animation like an asteroid used by Moonrace queen Dianna as a personal sanctuary that is seen later in the series. Yoko Kanno does contribute her composure talents for Turn A's soundtrack with the musical tracks, as usual, being catchy and doing very well at complimenting the various scenes that music is used in.

A major flaw with the series which keeps me from wanting to give this a Buy rating though would have to be aspects to its characterization. While a number of characters are reasonably fleshed out, there are others that feel more like they are products of the show's plot who are around to either push the plot into a certain direction or tacked on with some sort of archetype instead of feeling like a normal person. Unfortunately, Loran's very character is one of those said archetypes as he doesn't have much complexity to his personality like you would find with Amuro or Zeta Gundam's Kamille and there isn't any change in his character throughout the series as he is still the same kind-hearted, peace-loving young man who is "always right" with his actions.

Setting aside this major flaw though, Turn A Gundam was the first alternative continuity title in the Gundam franchise that I did get a reasonable amount of enjoyment with thanks to its unique take on the franchise's trademark themes and its engaging plot developments.

Last updated Tuesday, May 22 2012. Created Tuesday, May 22 2012.

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