From rambling to first impressions of Turn A Gundam

Moans about anime blogging that somehow lead into my first impressions of Turn A Gundam. Yes, you read that right, please try to contain your excitement!

post-421795-1161075973.jpgLately, I’ve been running a little low on inspiration. Blogging can be great fun, but it’s hard work when the ideas aren’t flowing as freely. In the last week alone, I’ve scrapped two half-written articles simply because they felt like a chore to write, and after all, dear reader, the last thing I want to do is infect you with is my apathy. I’m thoroughly enjoying the likes of Gurren Lagann, Seirei no Moribito and Toward the Terra, yet I’m finding it increasingly difficult to write about any "current" anime at all, if just because I feel like my voice is drowned out by the sea of fandom; you know, I want to say an episode is cool, but its kind of pointless when dozens of others have already said the same thing.

By way of those feelings, over the weekend I started watching Turn A Gundam. Despite its obscure reputation, respected opinions have assured me that Turn A is the best of the post-UC Gundam productions and to be completely honest, the fact Yoko Kanno composed the music is enough to merit a substantial leap of faith anyway.

As of writing, I’m four episodes into the series and so far, I’ve enjoyed it. For a Yoshiyuki Tomino anime, the lead character (effeminate, white-haired teen called Loran played the stellar Romi Paku) is remarkably pleasant, and that the story has so far unfolded on Earth lends a dash a colour and diversity to Tomino’s typically oppressive, space dwelling back-drop. His ideas continue to fascinate me, as does the depth of the universes he creates; personalities, technologies, cultures, rituals; its easy to lose yourself, to believe in the story — the little details are so important.

Turn A is clearly influenced by a Miyazaki style environmental paranoia. The story begins as three kids (from a splinter human settlement on the moon) land on Earth with a mission to investigate the lush green planet and its industrial society. Two years later the army, mobile suits in tow, invades. Based on these four episodes, there is an obvious lamentation of both advanced technology and its irresponsible use, ultimately leading to the pointless desecration of nature as a power struggle escalates into an all out yet completely pointless war. A number of subtexts can be read into the invasion and occupation of Earth by "foreigners", not least of all a post-WWII fear of Western culture and technology occupying traditional Japan.

Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack is another highlight, epic and sweeping as ever, I’m looking forward to further acquainting myself with the OST. High amounts of nudity not withstanding, the animation is fine, clearly hand-drawn and evoking the sense of depth and life that today’s CG dominated, artificial fare has somewhat misplaced.

Author: bateszi

A huge bloody nerd. I apologise in advance. I live in Cambridge, England. That's not an excuse, by the way.

10 thoughts on “From rambling to first impressions of Turn A Gundam”

  1. whoa this is crazy… i dl all the eps of animea.com a while ago its on my to watch list and i checked this out 4 eps in a long while ago… crazy huh. i put a halt in it to finish off other anime. i finally finished ghost in the shell SAC 1 and 2. and i have to say that sometimes i astonish my self. having had it on my hdd for OVER A YEAR. when i was about to delete it i decided i’d force myself to watch 3 eps because i knew that i should like a show as intelligent as it but the lack of overarching stories was ruining it for me and making me sleep. suffice to say after watching ep 21 i figured i should just catch the ending and i was blown away. to the point where i was asking myself what was wrong with me. ep 21 was especially phenomenal and it was a great show.

    however 2nd gig is about a 10000 times better than the 1st gig and is at its heart a love story and an overarching story. a mudafucking love story in ghost in the shell. and it will break your heart many times over. yes ghost in the shell has a love story, and it will break you. i couldnt believe it myself. until i found myself dl the soundtrack (yoko kanno is not human by the way, she is a heavenly siren entity) and i listened and listened to the point where it just hurt to think about the story. and not hurt in a bad way, but in the way that u know spike dies when u listen to the bebop ost or when u listen to the wolfs rain ost. u know they die and its sad but it isnt at the same time…. not sure if it makes sense.

    this is why i watch anime. to feeeeeel. however i have greatly digressed from my point about turn a gundam. lol. check out gits if anything just watch 2nd gig. it took me 2 yrs to watch 8 eps of 1st gig lol. however i powered thru 2nd gig in a day. i guess it shows how much ive grown?? just watch 2nd gig u wont regret it. i’ll be watching crest/banner of the stars next. graduating college and taking a couple of months off is awesome man. i swear i havent had this much free time since middle school…

    ive been listening to the ghost in the shell ost for a whole day now even in my car, doing laundry and washing dishes… and do u ever notice that people who dont even watch anime like yoko kanno’s music w/out knowing it?? i was with my boys and all in my car going to the mall and they were like yo this jazz shit is tight… and i was like yea… i know… lol… i told u she wasnt human…

  2. i just realized i didnt say much about turn A. i love the animation it reminds me of escaflowne in a way… im hoping it turns out to be an epic love story that deals more with the characters, and less about war. im getting tired of the whole war is hell, and we teenagers are stuck in the center why, why, why. i hope theres some big mystery or something. like 12k or blood+ but with mecha. plus this has to be the only anime with a brotha as THE main character. lmao… i wonder how the publicized the anime with japan… a black kid with white hair and green eyes… must have been a tough sell as a hero. props to the director/creator for doing something original.

  3. You’ll love Turn A Gundam. Personally I feel it’s the best Gundam series perido, UC or no. The development of the characters is probably the best Tomino has ever done.

  4. I saw some scene about a year back on youtube where some bikini-clad women wearing space helmets are zipping around in some hangar trying to get the main guy. Athough now that I think about it, it might have been from a different series since the main character didn’t have white hair.

    …..but anyway! I’ve been meaning to check this out as well.

  5. @kauldron26: I’ve seen all of the 1ST GIG but not much of 2ND GIG (first four or five epsiodes). I really need to sort that out, since everyone seems to love it. The fact Mamoru Oshii contributed to the 2ND GIG is probably what pushes it into the stratosphere; he may be as pretentious as hell, but he’s a wonderful writer too. And I’ve actually got the proper DVD of Solid State Society here too. I laughed at what you said about Yoko Kanno and your friends because it’s completely true, her music totally transcends whatever OST it was originally composed for and stands alone as a great piece of music.

    As for Turn A Gundam, it’s weird in the sense that it hasn’t been especially angsty despite the fact many of these kids have seen their parents die. It reminds me of Miyazaki in that way, the characters seem to be strong enough to get through that trauma without the obligatory three or four episodes of “depressed in a darkened room”.

    Finally, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the the lead character has brown skin. A lot of Turn A seems to be about how different races and cultures are struggling to live together, yet Loren is so full of hope that you can’t help but love him.

    @S.A.: Cheers for the recommendation. I must admit back in late 2005 I went through a major fascination with UC Gundam and gorged my way through all three of the original movies, Zeta Gundam, 0080 and finally Char’s Counterattack. I just loved the depth of the universe, the politics and all of that. Tomino isn’t an amazing director and sometimes the narrative loses its coherence, yet everything is so full of life that I’m incapable of quitting.

    @Protodude: It’s worth checking out. So far, Turn A has been decidedly unGundam in its sparing use of episodic skirmishes and “mecha porn”. If you enjoy the likes of Escaflowne, you’ll probably love this just as much!

  6. Well, at least I’m not the only one lacking motivation. I think at some point I swore to never watch another gundam series, ever. But that’s a blatant lie. Gundam is too big a franchise, so many series, so many universes, I get too confused. XD I’m going to end up watching everything you blog about, Berserk, Toward the Terra and now, Turn A Gundam. Going on my to watch list. I’m putting Toward the Terra on hold until it ends and I find myself a batch torrent. Glad that Turn A Gundam is finished, here’s to downloading! =D!

  7. I have to confess I found Turn A boring as hell for the eight episodes I managed to watch it. I can see the appeal of it to many people, but I’m really surprised how pretty much every Gundam fan seems to love it as much as they do. Sometimes I wonder if they’re not just being a little elitist due to the unusual, for Gundam, nature of the series. A black lead and a mustachioed Gundam don’t make a great anime as far as I’m concerned; no matter how novel.

    After eight episodes the flat characters didn’t interest me – didn’t hate them either but I found them terribly bland. The proto-industrial world while again something different didn’t do much for me either. The mecha designs, which are admittedly important to me, weren’t to my tastes either.

    I’m not the biggest Gundam fan in the world: but I do very much like the original, Zeta, and 08th MS Team. Maybe I’m just a UC fan? Although what I saw of Gundam X was okay… Anyway, you’ll probably get more out of Turn A than I managed as these days I don’t have the patience to persevere too much with series I can’t get into. I try to give animes a 1/4 of their length to hook me, but I couldn’t even manage that with this one.

    I’d just tell you to get back to Legend of the Galactic Heroes already!

  8. @Xerox: Gundam has its ups and downs. I presume you were burnt by the new wave of “SEED” shows? They take a lot of elements from the older Gundam anime and mix it all together to produce something that feels slightly generic. I’d perhaps recommend you hold off on Gundam until the new 00 show starts airing this fall; it looks right up your street with regards to ultra-bishonen, plus its from the director of Fullmetal Alchemist, so it should be good.

    @Equitan: I know, I need to get back on LotGH, once I’m done with Turn A I’ll try to make sure it goes to top of the list. I’m up to episode 10 of Turn A so far and I’m really enjoying it just in terms of a big fantasy adventure rather than a typical Gundam series. I like the landscapes, the flying machines and the clashes of culture. I just find it interesting, I guess. I admire the honesty of Loren too, its rare to find a central mecha pilot so damn cheerful; kinda reminds of Kenshin in that way.

  9. “I presume you were burnt by the new wave of “SEED” shows?” Hit the nail on the head. SEED ruined a lot, a lot, of things for me about gundam. As for 00, I’m actually pretty interested, specially because it’s ultra-bishonen (you know me too well, XD)! Mamuro Miyano is voicing the lead character, I’m looking forward to that as well. I didn’t know that the director FMA was doing it, makes it all the better. =D!

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