|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Kidou Shin Seiki Gundam X
I've heard of Gundam X receiving mixed receptions from fans of the Gundam franchise with some going as far as considering it the "black sheep" of the franchise. So curious to see what the series had going for it, I chose to download the series and see if it was anything worthwhile. Suffice to say, I think I can see why reception to this series is mixed. |
Gundam X is supposed to depict a "what if" scenario in the Gundam franchise to depict what would happen to Earth if the war between Oldtypes and Newtypes got heated enough where a space colony drop was implemented and devastated the human population and atmosphere on Earth. To a degree, Gundam X does a solid job in setting up its world featuring many people trying to survive on their own and groups of hired vigilantes and thieves known as Vultures taking up jobs for any money they need for their survival or mercilessly destroying and killing anything in their way for personal gain. Remains of the Federation still exist in this new era as they try to reclaim the old power that they once had by conquering areas of the world that refuse to unite under their cause. Newtypes are also focused on as they still face a good amount of prejudice in this world with corporations and Federation forces still seeing them as tools of war and some elements similar to racism are brought up in later episodes regarding differences with the origins of Newtypes and their abilities.
What does work against the series though would be its style of plotting and its very characters. Gundam X is divided up into several plot arcs focused on the journey of Garrod, Tiffa and the crew of the Freeden as they seek out Newtypes, evade hostile Vulture ships, evade Federation forces and try to prevent a second catastrophic event like the colony drop from 15 years ago. While the arcs help to flesh out more elements to the world of Gundam X and occasionally develop the characters, the pacing to said arcs in many instances tend to be a bit slow and cause progression to grind to a halt at points. I also found that the series was trying too hard at dramatizing a number of serious scenes that took place throughout the show thanks to its overuse of angst and melodrama with its major developments. The last arc for the show's final two episodes is rushed in its developments special thanks to said early cancellation of the show as the series tried to cram the major plot developments for said final arc. The final arc is notable in that it reveals the origin of Newtypes, but said revelation felt vague and left a sour taste in my mouth. Gundam fans might not want to take what is revealed at the end at heart considering this is another alternate continuity in the series franchise.
I also had issues with many of the characters portrayed throughout Gundam X as well considering many just followed standard character archetypes found in other anime or being used as plot devices you would have seen done before in earlier Gundam titles. Male lead Garrod's the hot-headed and defiant teen you would have already seen with Amuro and Kamille, only he's not as well-fleshed out as the two mentioned characters and he quite often has to conveniently get his hide saved in life-threatening situations by other members of the Freeden crew or other new characters that happen to be around, which make me question why he even is the male lead of this series. Female lead Tiffa isn't much better off either as her character is much more flat than Garrod's as she plays the all too-common "shy, quiet and reserved female character" archetype needing a male lead to give her a confidence boost which has been done to death in enough modern otaku-pandering shows. As you can pretty much see, I could care less about the romantic developments that Gundam X was pushing with these two because of how shallow and archetypal their characters were. I don't even want to get started mentioning the Frost Brothers as I found them to be the weakest villains I've seen in any Gundam series that I've seen thus far due to how poorly developed and shallow that their motivations were for their actions and manipulations throughout the series.
In terms of animation, Gundam X is of standard animation quality you would find for a mid-90s anime series. Yet compared to Gundam Wing which was made around the same time period, X is better polished in its scenery and character designs and its quality doesn't degrade in heavy action scenes like what occurs with Wing. However, the show still relies on a number of animation shortcuts as reused frames and speed stripes are used rather frequently throughout Gundam X. Much of the music used throughout the series consists of low-pitched and fast-paced tracks used for the title's tense moments and action scenes while more slow-paced and light instrumental tracks are used for the title's calmer and dramatic moments. Both diversities do their part in enhancing the key scenes that take place throughout Gundam X, but nothing memorable stuck out with them for me. And while I did enjoy listening to the English and Japanese versions of the title's ED song, "Human Touch", I didn't think the song fitted in too well for a Gundam series and seemed better suited for a romance drama title.
Overall, Gundam X did present some interesting ideas for its "what if" scenario in the setup of its post-apocalyptic world from the heated Oldtype/ Newtype conflict from Universal Century titles in the Gundam franchise. Unfortunately, the title's cliched characters and style of plotting did hurt its overall quality for me as it didn't seem to want to try making something as significantly different and unique like Turn A Gundam for an alternate continuity series. I guess as many will say, your mileage will vary on how well you get latched on Gundam X as I certainly didn't find myself enjoying it all too well.
Last updated Tuesday, July 17 2012. Created Tuesday, July 17 2012.