They’re the best Anime that 1998 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Spriggan, Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Miller’s Report, and more!
MAL Score: 6.67
Deep in the Ararat Mountains of Turkey, a secret organization known as ARCAM has found what is believed to be Noah’s Ark. However, the U.S. Machine Corps., a rogue organization of the Pentagon, wants to take over the Ark as a means of global supremacy. Only a special ARCAM operative known as a Spriggan stands in their way. Japanese Spriggan Yu Ominae teams up with French Spriggan Jean-Jacques Mondo to combat members of the U.S. Machine Corps. led by Col. MacDougall—a genetically-enhanced boy with deadly psionic powers. However, they must act fast and stop MacDougall before he uses the Ark for his own agenda.
Don’t let that put you off though, there’s still some fun to be had in the form of cool 90’s action!
This is the first, and currently only time I’ve seen Turkey depicted in anime. The crew did an ok job capturing its diverse nature; that of being stuck between Europe and Asia. We see metropolitan Istanbul briefly, and far eastern parts like Diyarbakir in the anime and it looks good.
Well actually, the animation in Spriggan is more than good; its impressive considering it was made in 1998. As expected of Studio 4C. Facial reactions and action scenes are detailed and you find yourself scanning the whole screen to take it all in.
For a moment I thought this anime would be totally realistic but that notion goes out the window with a chase scene in Istanbul which made me grin like an idiot. I swear the main character’s modelled after Jackie Chan. He moves around like a hyperactive monkey, doing back-flips and swinging on cables, its fluid and very dynamic watching him beat people up mercilessly.
Unfortunately that is all the character has going for him. Why did he have to be a 17 year old school kid anyway? Why not just a regular guy in his 20’s or 30’s? The anime doesn’t delve into his dual lifestyle, that of being a school kid one day and ARCAM operative the next, and his extremely brief flashback-assisted back-story is almost like an afterthought. All it does is explain his origin, not shed light on anything in his personality, because he doesn’t have one to begin with! He’s a walking cliché.
So in the end I just see the character as a cynical attempt at appeasing teens. "Hey check this out! Wouldn’t it be cool if a kid just like you was a kick-ass mercenary!?" Not really. Unless he’s getting the shit kicked out of him by a girl called Chidori Kaname, I’m not interested. At least Full Metal Panic gave us a compelling back-story to make the entire story have weight. The action scenes in Spriggan may be unrealistic, but they could have retained some sense of coherency with the narrative, it feels very lazy and my Suspend-Disbelief-O-Meter just wasn’t compatible this time.
I can enjoy an over the top action-fest as much as the next Read or Die fan, but here it’s not fun and it’s not dramatic, and when it finally builds to an ever-increasingly illogical Akira-esque climax with a psychic super powered deformed kid and apocalyptic style crap blowing up, I’m losing even more respect for it to be even contemplating Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece, let alone riffing off of it.
Spriggan feels both old-school with its late 90’s violence; the kind where people and objects are eviscerated with unabashed glee that would make the guys who worked on Ninja Scroll hyperventilate in joy, but the anime also feels ahead of its time because of that attention to detail and unconventional setting. You get the sense that if only the story were much much better, as in: if Studio 4C took a different approach at adapting the manga or just took an entirely different one to adapt in the first place, it would have been nestled comfortably in a list of Top Anime Movies Of The 90’s; next to stuff like Production I.G’s Ghost in the Shell which came out a few years earlier.
The story isn’t even worth mentioning; it’s just a bunch of plot points ticked off one by one. Guy has to go from A to B; objects have to get from Y to Z. Spriggan has to go from ‘plan-to-watch’ to ‘completed’ with a score that means it barely entertained me for the running time and I’ll probably never watch it again. An interesting if disappointing look at Studio 4C’s earlier efforts. They’ve come a long way indeed.
Sounds like the plot for a spy action adventure movie? Correct.
* Hero. Cool, young, Japanese Spriggan Yu Ominae (who actually looks Japanese) with amazing physical martial arts skills and ability to take damage? CHECK
* Sidekick. Cool, sexy French Spriggan Jean-Jacques Mondo who has insane skill with guns? CHECK
* Three to four evil villians, all with special kick ass powers? CHECK
* Plot that takes you all over the world for variety? CHECK
* Spectacular action scenes with blowing up vehicles, hand to hand fights, hand to gun fights, gun to gun fights, artillery fights, flying vehicles, land vehicles, vehicles in desert, vehicles in jungle, vehicles in snow? CHECK
* Extremely well choreographed action scenes with kick ass sound and animation? CHECK!
* Plot that starts getting religiously and philosophical towards the last one third to try to make the movie seem more "deep" than just a regular action packed flick? CHECK!
* Somehow the fate of the world rests in the hands of our hero spy, because the bad guys would really mess stuff up? CHECK!
This is a great action flick if you like these sorts of movies. Because it is animated there is a lot more licence to make the action even better, in live action I bet insurance wouldn’t have covered this! The characters are sort of one dimensional but there’s so much eye candy and other stuff to see one can’t help but be entertained. An action movie of this calibre is like taking all the best scenes of Black Lagoon and compressing it into 90 minutes of adrenaline. Great fun and you’d enjoy this if you like a combination of James Bond, Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones.
Spriggan’s core plot revolves around the mysterious prophecy of a lost civilization and fast forward to the present day, an organization called ARCAM are assigned to stop the prophecy from happening. Our protagonist, Yu Ominae, is Japan’s number 1 elite super soldier who is basically indestructible like a German cockroach. Judging from the traits of said bland “badass” protagonist who can do anything, there is no depth regarding his personalty other than a plot device to move the narrative forward. He can be also described as a character projection for the audience as a cheap attempt to be immersive. The side characters are no better as well; they serve as exposition walkie talkies to explain the plot for the dumbfounded audience who don’t pay attention to the screen. The so called villains are merely nuisances to obstruct the protagonist to pad the run-time. Regarding the plot, there isn’t much happening until the climax of the film. Albeit, the action sequences, though are exciting to look at, there are plot conveniences (Yu being overpowered) and plot holes/logical inconsistencies (who was driving the jeep while Yu was in the turret?) that are distracting enough to ruin the immersion. The dialogue exchanges is half ass and not engaging. Most spurt out the most uninspired lines what can be heard from other action films, TV and so forth. Yu’s one-liners can come off as cringe in today’s standards but the film was from 1998 so it could let itself slide if the dialogue wasn’t low quality.
These are the contrivances that dropped the quality of the film rock bottom. Albeit, the writing wasn’t top tier, what it excels was its use of animation. When the production shows effort, it really shows. The best use of the animation or sakuga are found in fight sequences; the sense of fluidity, exciting and fast fight choreography that is jaw dropping to look at. The art is also impressive; immaculate details in the background and locations that resemble so much like real life counterparts such as Japan and Turkey, two major settings that took place in the film. The weapons are also drawn with immaculate detail as well. The best example of fluidity in motion is the chase sequence in Turkey; ambitious in its shot composition and choreography. It is actually the best thing about the film, that the chase sequence was so exciting, filled with heart pumping adrenaline. The only praise of the movie that is worth mentioning; if not, skip the movie and just watch the chase sequence alone.
Spriggan was a prime example of sacrificing the quality of the writing and characters for the sake of making the movie looking pretty as possible. In other words, it was style over substance. Spriggan failed as a feature length film, several instances where things don’t happen does happen such as explaining the whole plot pads the run-time. If the opposite were to occur, this film would’ve done something differently in terms of quality, it would stand itself as competent film among the greats such as Ghost in the Shell. In retrospect, the film was a dumb fun action thriller done in anime. Spiggan doesn’t offer any merit other than its impressive sakuga to hold up to any other superior media. It’s an anime film with pretty colors (this can be compared to the Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works in terms of style over substance). Skip this movie for the chase sequence.
4: Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness
English: Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness
Japanese: 機動戦艦ナデシコ The prince of darkness
MAL Score: 6.76
Two years have passed since the end of the “Martian Successor Nadesico.” Akito and Yurika have disappeared. The Jovians and the Earthlings have joined forces and Ruri is now captain of Nadesico B. As the popularity of Boson Jumping grows, a vast transportation network has been developed. Dubbed the Hisago Plan, this network of Chulip portals holds the answers to the mysteries behind Bose particles and their power. If those secrets should fall into the wrong hands, it could mean big trouble. And big trouble there is. A Martian splinter group has launched an offensive, leaving the United Forces befuddled and desperate. So much so, in fact, that the former crew of the Nadesico is called back to active duty for a special unsanctioned mission-to save us all. Does this menagerie of misfits have what it takes? Who will win the race for the Boson technology? And what the heck happened to Akito and Yurika?
“What were they thinking when they made this?” – That’s the first thing that comes to mind when looking at Prince of Darkness. This isn’t Nadesico, this isn’t the GEKIGAN FLARE-yelling, hotblooded- yet lighthearted- and satiric view of the real robot genre that made Nadesico unique, interesting and a brilliant watch. No, this is a dark, murderous, hideous shadow of Nadesico. It’s what you get if you lock Nadesico into a dark room for a couple years, continuously poke it with a cattle prod and feed it nothing but raw meat. It’s just not the same. But it tries to be.
====WARNING: THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS===
Ok, well for starters, the story is ABYSMAL. Basically the movie comes in parts. Part 1- introducing the viewer to what happened in the time skip between the movie and the end of Nadesico. Part 2- gather all the crew together. Part 3- none of the crew does anything, other than Ruri, and the whole movie ends in virtually the exact same way as the series. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AKITO. Yes you heard me, Akito does not revert to his lovable anime self, no he leaves this movie as a cold-hearted killer who shoots first and asks questions later. After all the series’ development to get him involved with Yurika, he just up and leaves her at the end of the movie. This alone makes the plot of PoD horrible. It just takes away all the good things from the series and throws them in the bin. There is NO Gekiganer in the movie, aside from one line where it is briefly mentioned in passing. This is despite the Jovian’s entire race was centred on the thing for centuries. I’m sorry but I just don’t *get* that.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a few funny lines, but I could count them on one hand, and they simply do not justify the complete and utter abandonment of everything Nadesico had represented.
The artwork is amazing. The Black Selena is an incredible-looking mech, and as with the series, the quality of animation is very high. I have no complaints at all about the animation. However, this does not justify the plot.
Again, no complaints, the sound is at least good enough for me to not have anything bad to say about it, and thus I give it the thumbs up.
Ok, here’s a big thumbs down. Yurika has all of what, three lines in this show? Akito is NOTHING like his previous self.Minor characters, such as prospector or Megumi are delegated to single-sentence appearances, and serve no real role whatsoever. Ruri has almost all of the screentime, with the only other character of notable significance being Ryoko (oh, and the Jovian- the Joe Umisubame (gekiganger) lookalike, I can’t remember his name, he gets a little development). Sure, this isn’t bad if you’re a Ruri fan, but the colour and depth of the cast is one of the pivotal things that made Nadesico great. This movie chucks that into a paper shredder and lights it on fire. You simply get no charater development whatsoever, and the development you do get is largely negative, as in Akito, who is the complete opposite of his three-years-prior self.
None. As a matter of fact I felt sick after whatching this. The animation was good. There were a couple of funny lines. But what was once a bright and funny show is now a dark and pessimistic gloom-fest. Sorry but I actually REGRET watching this, rather than enjoy it.
This series departs from the Anime in such as colossal way that it is simply a complete and utter punch in the face to someone who came here looking for more Nadesico goodness. Watch the Gekiganger OVA, that thing’s far more deserving as Nadesico’s sequel. Don’t watch this.
With that out of the way, let’s begin. It’s obvious that this can be a very polarizing movie: Just take a look at the reviews on this page. An 8, a 10, a 4 and a 1. So there’s definitely a big element of personal preference here. Personally, I think that it does have some pretty big flaws in parts, particularly in terms of some character development, but it’s entertaining enough to make up for it.
The story is fast-paced and exciting. The getting-the-band-back-together elements of the story, while cliche, are very entertaining, and the final battle at the end is typical Nadesico fun. That said, there are definitely some flaws. There’s one in particular that stands out: The villains, the Martian Successors, have motives that are only vaguely defined – it’s stated briefly in the movie that they want to control all aspects of society and life, and that plus some of their regimented attitude makes you think they might be a bit like Nazis or something, but you’re never told HOW exactly they’re going to change the universe for the worse if they come into power. Without this important information, they seem pointless and silly, and their whole plot just becomes kind of dumb. It’s especially disappointing since for some reason the English version was named after these villains instead of the Jovians, and yet once you see them it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s no good reason to name the series after them. Most of the story, though, remains quite entertaining. I was especially interested in the way they built upon the sci-fi concept of the chulips that they had explored in the original series.
The art is as good as ever, even better than the TV series. Admittedly, it was a 1990s series, so the animation was not always top-quality, and nothing much to write home about compared to some of the series of today, but I’ve always felt the more 90’s style character designs had a lot of charm, and the animation was always perfectly adequate. It’s improved upon, though, in the movie, since, you know, higher budget and all.
The music is just as great as usual, with more of the orchestral type stuff that really energized the original series, and it energizes the movie as well. The voice acting is the same as it ever was in the dub, which is the version of the series I watched and so the version of the movie I watched, for consistency. I know some people don’t like the dub at all, but I personally love it, and I felt it was just as good as it was in the original series. I liked especially how Ruri sounded older but still like herself. None of the characters we’ve already met are recast and the voices of the new characters fit in seamlessly, so all in all I’d just say that whatever you thought of the dub the first time around will be exactly the same as what you think of it here. The Japanese appears to be just as good, but I wouldn’t really know for sure. Oh, and the sound effects are pretty good I guess. I wasn’t really paying attention to that.
Ruri pretty much takes over the helm of main character from Akito in this installment, as she’s the captain of the Nadesico B and basically gets to do all the coolest stuff in the movie. Personally, though, while she definitely got a lot of the spotlight, I didn’t think she took much away from the other characters. It’s interesting to see where they’ve ended up and how much they have grown in three years, but they don’t change so drastically as to be unrecognizable and there are still plenty of great character moments. Nearly every character from the series gets at least a few moments to shine here, and Hikaru and Izumi in particular provide some welcome comedy relief toward the end of the movie.
A couple characters really get the shaft, though. Although she’s plot-important, probably crucial actually, we also don’t see Yurika very much during the movie – although admittedly some viewers might be glad to be rid of her. And Akito himself gets some pretty lackluster development. His character frankly becomes a lot less interesting.
There are also a few new characters, mostly the crew populating Ruri’s Nadesico B. They aren’t quite as interesting as the characters from the anime, but they’re likable enough and fit in with the rest of the cast. The new villains, however, have basically no real character whatsoever. Even the leader just seems like some random guy, and their whole group really isn’t given much of a good reason for doing anything that they do.
The most disappointing thing about the movie is probably the ending. By this I don’t mean the resolution of the Martian Successor plot threads that began in the movie; that’s fantastic. What I do mean is that there are a lot of things left hanging open-ended by the finish, and unfortunately it’s the last Nadesico related thing that was ever produced before there were some disputes between the creator and the anime company. There was going to be a sequel in 2005, but it fell through. While I still hope there might be a continuation of the show someday, I’m not holding my breath. Knowing this is the last bit of Nadesico we’ll probably ever get is a bit of a downer and it does make a lot of the ending unsatisfying.
All in all, although I think it might have helped a bit more to consider character development and plot more, especially the matter of who exactly these villains are and why we should give a damn, but it’s still a pretty good movie. Even though the story can be a bit ridiculous at times, it’s still a lot of fun. And although it’s disappointing that this is pretty much the end, you can always imagine what comes next in your mind.
Or hell, write some fan fiction if you want. Frankly, it could be better than any continuation we might actually get.
Seriously, the plot turns on you like a bad crowd at Yannifest and if you don’t pay absolute attention to it it passes you by, causing you to scratch your head and ask ‘wtf’. It did have its good parts but they were sparse at best. They spent way too long trying to convey what everyone was doing post-series but then decided to just flat-out stop at a certain point and try to get the plot up and running… to no avail.
the final battle follows closely with what the plot was doing and you honestly have no idea how or why everything is happening. The dude who[SPOILER] shot Tsukumo in the series just shows up and tells everyone to stop fighting and they do, without hesitation or explanation as to why. They’re just captivated by his hair, i guess.
And they also succeeded in turning Akito into a mopey little bitch. Hooray for Shinji’s Disease and its ability to grasp the heart of ANY mech protag.
i was really hoping this would turn out as awesome as the show was, but i just felt sorry for it.
3: Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Miller’s Report
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム 第08MS小隊 ミラーズ リポート
MAL Score: 6.78
Shortly after being rescued off the Himalayas, Federation Ensign Shiro Amada is accused of espionage due to his encounter with Zeon’s top-secret mobile armor. Intelligence officer Alice Miller is assigned to investigate on Shiro’s whereabouts during his disappearance. Her documented findings will determine whether or not Shiro is a traitor, and what his fate will be as commander of the 08th MS Team.
Story: There is really no story to this. Miller’s is a earth fed that has to write a report on Shiro Amada if in fact he is a double agent for Zeon. So basically all they do is recap what has happened in the anime so far that has led up to this point. They had some extra footage with most of the characters with great dialogue but it was short. I was hoping for more of this, like stuff that was going on during the base when Shiro was under house arrest since they were vague in the anime, but nope we get 40 to 45 min of recaps from the anime.
I am not going to write about sound and animation because it is similar to the anime since most of the recap footage is from the anime it self.
Character:The new character introduced is Alice Miller a earth fed internal in fairs kind of person and she is pretty tough on Shiro because of her job and also a personal reason. All the main cast makes small appearance in the extra footage except for mabey Kiki but definitely everybody is in the recaps.
Enjoyment. My enjoyment was killed by the recaps first of all they took up most of the time on the film and second the recaps were taking away from the series because these episodes they tried to recap were some of the most beautiful and entertaining episodes in anime. I don;t believe those great scenes should be watched in a recap and if you want to see them you should just watch the series again like I have. It is way more enjoyable just to watch the series again than this movies recap.
Overall: I don’t recommend watching this unless you want to see that 5 to 10 min extra footage with your favorite characters from the 08th Ms Team. This movie could have been much better if they eliminated the recaps and just added some dialogue for the characters and thrown in some fights just for fun. 6/10
A 12 episode OVA series with a recap episode that only really recaps 2 episodes seems very strange and there’s a particular reason for that. The director of the first 6 episodes of the series, which were all released across four dates in one year, died during production. A new director was brought in for the remaining episodes but from that point on production slowed and the last 6 episodes were released 2 per year for 3 years. The longest gaps in production were between episodes 6 and 7, and episodes 10 and 11, each being nearly full year gaps. This recap film was released during the second gap. Without the troubled production of this series, this film likely would not have been made.
“Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Miller’s Report” is, to be clear, a COMPILATION movie. A glorified clip show. Re-enforced and fortified with the thin addition of the film noire-esque character of Federation Investigator Alice Miller, filling a few gaps in the story between episodes 8 and 9, and solving the mystery that has haunted many 08th MS team fans (and by “many” I mean maybe two) …how did Eledore re-join the team after his hospital stay?
We are given many clips from the first 8 episodes. Linked together by Miller’s investigation and a small character arc for her. All and all, “Miller’s Report” is a bit of padding to fill in what was an easily overlooked hole in the story line. And does little to enrich was already a superb entry into the Gundam franchise. My advice, if you’re still hungry for some “08th MS Team” after you finished the show or are a stickler for continuity, give it a watch. Otherwise, skip it and just watch “Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team” as is. Cheers!
2: Doraemon Movie 19: Nobita no Nankai Daibouken
English: Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Great Adventure in the South Seas
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太の南海大冒険
MAL Score: 7.13
Finding a treasure is always been so hard! But, nothing is ever impossible for Doraemon and his magic tool. And so, with the help of Doraemon, Nobita and the rest of the gang set sail on a ship to find treasure on an islands. However on their way to the island, the ships have almost been destroyed and resulting Nobita to stray on an island with a young pirate while Doraemon and the rest of the gang somehow involved in a war between pirates.And so, their adventure begins…
1: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz Special
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Japanese: 新機動戦記ガンダムW Endless Waltz 特別篇
MAL Score: 7.80
At the climax of the Eve Wars, on December 24 of the year AC 195, the armies of the World Nation and White Fang met in a ferocious battle. World Nation leader Treize Khushrenada was slain, White Fang leader Zechs Merquise disappeared, and Earth was saved from destruction by the intervention of the five Gundam pilots. Having witnessed the consequences of war and hatred, the people of Earth and the space colonies put aside their differences and together founded a new world government. Under this newly-formed Earth Sphere Unified Nation, a year has passed in peace. The government and the populace have disarmed themselves, and almost every remaining mobile suit has been destroyed. Deciding to follow suit, Gundam pilots Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, and Quatre Raberba Winner place their mighty mobile suits inside an asteroid and send them on a one-way voyage into the sun. But even as they bid their Gundams farewell, a new conflict is drawing near.
Thankfully, Endless Waltz addressed my issue with the art and animation. Much more precise actions, more fluid movements in the Mobile Suits, and much more time was spent on creating battles that looked and felt grittier and more realistic. The explosions didn’t feel as cheap, the choreography was improved, and the beam blasts gave scenes a much better sense of dimension. The suits themselves benefit from flashier designs and with the slightly glossier color palate compared with Wing, they seem to pop out and become more vibrant. Ditto goes with the characters and backgrounds. Wing’s backgrounds to me felt a bit like a faded museum piece of art, but Endless Waltz’s art and animation feels much more contemporary.
A year has passed since the end of Wing, and while you can feel the characters have matured a bit in this timeframe, they’re still their old selves, keeping their old philosophies, battle techniques, strengths, weaknesses, skills, and personalities. This I see most apparent in Heero, Duo, and Relena. Keeping the characters relatively similar is perfect, since characterization was a huge strength of the original series. I’m glad that some time was spent on explaining the pasts of some of the pilots, but the movie only goes back a little while into the more recent events, and it feels like they only scratched the surface into the characters’ pasts. They also went into the true purpose and intent of Operation Meteor, but again, they only scratched the surface. Problem is that after they scratch the surface, the questions start flooding in and you’re left wanting more explanations. The new characters they introduce, Mariemaia and Dekim, are well developed for the time they are in the movie and despite minimal explanation, their intent is clearly shown and radiated towards the viewer very well.
The plot starts out in a rather hopeful note, with the results of Wing’s ending ushering in a new era of peace. But things get going rather quickly, and like Wing, each group of characters has their own agenda as to build up to the climax. Thankfully, unlike Wing, there isn’t a big dead spot in the middle of the movie where some characters get shoved aside and the viewer is left wondering what happened to them. The plot doesn’t slow down in the middle of the movie and the viewers are left wanting everything to come together. Even though each group of characters has an agenda, Endless Waltz doesn’t try to fragment and separate these groups as much as possible, and instead keeps their actions closely tied to the main plotline so there’s a constant feeling of progression.
The shifts amongst these character groups apparent in Wing are also apparent in Endless Waltz, necessary and well done, but since the buildup to Endless Waltz’s climax is neverending, no shift in focus feels clunky and forced, which sometimes occurred in Wing. I would have liked a bit more focus on Wu Fei’s agenda and a little more on what happened to him and Trowa during the 2nd quarter of the movie, however. A slightly grittier battle between Heero and Wu Fei and more focus on Wing Zero would have also been welcome since Heero is the most central of the 5 pilots to the plot, but what Endless Waltz did deliver was still pretty close compared to Wing.
If you liked Gundam Wing, do not skip Endless Waltz. A good, though rather sad, end to the After Colony timeline, Endless Waltz concludes the Wing series very well. It’s like having an excellent dessert after your meal.
Time for a short review! Other than the first Pokemon movie and the first 3 DBZ movies, this was the first anime movie that a whole generation American anime fans watched. So how was it? Well…it was a bit polarizing to say the least. Every generation of anime fans has “the golden punching bag”. That special anime that you just HAVE to hate online in order to call yourself a REAL anime fan. Darling of the Franxx currently holds that title belt. Before that there was Sword Art Online. Before SAO, there was Elfen Lied and before that there was Inuyasha. Gundam Wing was THE anime to hate in the late 90s and Endless Waltz was even more hated. Why? Did it REALLY deserve the amount of vitriol it got? Let’s find out!
Story and characters:
The story is that a militaristic bastard is trying to use the daughter of the main villain from Gundam Wing as a puppet and launch his own coup against Earth’s government. Now only the Gundam pilots and their badass robots can save the day by blowing up some enemy mechs and making people realize that war is wrong. So basically…it’s another Gundam anime. There have been just a couple well written Gundam series over the last 40 years, but mostly they follow the same pattern. A shadowy organization launches an all out war and only some very special teens with awesome robots can stop them. Insert forced anti-war message here. We watch Gundam series for awesome looking robot designs and awesome space battles that get us pumped to go collect models kits. Endless Waltz DOES have a few major issues like Chang Wufei turning bad for the sake of the plot and then turning good again almost immediately. Gundam Wing in general had a huge issue with random character alignment shifts. Still, I’m not personally bothered by this. It’s all a matter of expectations. Gundam Wing is like anime Pro Wrestling. It’s something you watch entirely for the spectacle and you just assume that totally random face turns and heel turns WILL happen.
Art and animation:
Firstly, the new designs for the 5 gundams are all amazing! The original 5 designs were cool, but the “custom models” for Endless Waltz are all massive improvements. I also need to say that this film looked AWESOME for its time and still holds up really well. This was made in 1998 and it looks better than most anime being released 20 years later in 2018. Dragonball fans would come in their pants if a special episode of DB Super looked even half as good as Endless Waltz does. Sunrise was still flush with cash at this point and riding high on that early Western anime boom. No expenses were spared in the making of this movie. It’s mostly hand animated and just looks gorgeous.
Here is another area where Gundam Wing and Endless Waltz shine. The opening song is awesome. The battle songs and background songs are awesome. Every track gets you pumped to see some giant robots throw down. I have nothing bad to say about the Endless Waltz soundtrack. It’s fucking awesome. Go check it out.
So…it’s harmless, dumb fun with amazing production values and music. Why on Earth would people hate it SO much? I’ve been an anime fan since around 1997 and I can tell you the secret formula to being the internet’s most hated anime. Is it having the worst plot and characters? nope. There is an anime called Kimera, that’s about gay vampires from outer space and a douche-bag who is willing to sacrifice all humanity to get some sweet anal. Nobody has ever heard of that atrocity. The anime with the really bad plots typically go under the radar. Is it having the worst art? Nope. Is it having the most filler and worst pacing? Nope. The one thread that connects all the most hated anime on the English speaking internet from the late 90s to the present is demographics. So who are the gatekeepers of online anime taste? Who are the Watchmen? Geek males in their late teens and early 20s that think they’re really smart and sophisticated. It is always been this way. What demographic do they utterly despise above all others? Teenage girls aged 13-19 who are more casual anime viewers and haven’t seen TONS of anime. Whatever anime wins the hearts of “Fake geek girls” is going to be labeled the Anti-Christ online. Gundam Wing was one of these anime. Inuyasha? yep. Elfen Lied? yep. Sword Art? yep. I personally hate SAO, but even I realize it isn’t THAT bad. I don’t hate it more than I hate Bleach or Code Geass and yet nobody hates on those to the same degree. Why? Just look at their fandoms. I was a bit saddened and disappointed when I figured out this little formula, but that’s just the way things are.
Should you go into this movie expecting a cinematic masterpiece? NO. Will you have fun and probably enjoy the cheesy, 90s ride? Yes! I defy you to watch the aerial duel between Wing and Altron Gundam and not be entertained. Or not mark out watching Custom Heavy unleash a hailstorm of bullets and missiles. This movie is quality nostalgic cheese and I will never stop loving it.
This is surely for the better as it allows Gundam Wing to go out with a much greater bang. The initial scenario is nearly identical to that of the final episodes of Wing, but the progression is much different. After peace is obtained a new force shows up to take advantage of the Earth’s powerless state with a big plan that puts the entire planet at risk.
We aren’t here for the plot though (because it’s Gundam Wing), but rather the thrills, and Endless Waltz delivers more of those than ever before through some incredible animation quality that blows the original series animation to smithereens, showcasing both much crisper art and fluid animation. To give an example of just how good the art is, there were many times before where I had seen still pictures of Endless Waltz and thought I was looking at high quality promotional art. It’s really something.
To further justify this sequel’s existence, it gives us some short backstories on all the Gundam pilots that the original series was sorely lacking. It isn’t much, but Heero, Trowa, and Wufei all needed it most. We actually barely get anything about Duo unfortunately, but he was cool enough already, and Quatre’s backstory was actually in the series.
Speaking of Gundams, the most controversial aspect of Endless Waltz has always been Hajime Katoki’s Mobile Suit redesigns. These redesigns clash greatly with Kunio Okawara’s popular originals and have met with much scorn from many Gundam Wing fans due to a perceived lack of respect for Okawara’s designs by Katoki. These new designs are not upgrades, but rather complete retcons that don’t acknowledge the originals other than the base concept. Deathscythe Hell no longer has any weapons besides the Beam Scythe, Sandrock loses its claw and instead fights only with its shotels making it redundant in the face of the fellow melee Gundam Deathscythe, Heavyarms is the same but now blue for some reason, Altron is… pretty much the same, but who cares about Altron? And of course, Wing Zero gets its now legendary angel wings, which you either think are cool as hell or incredibly stupid. Since Deathscythe was hit pretty hard here, you can definitely put me down as someone who dislikes the Endless Waltz redesigns, though I like Heavyarms’s new color scheme more, and Tallgeese III is my second favorite Mobile Suit in the series. While I hated Wing Zero’s angel wings before seeing this, when in motion they have a more mechanical look to them so I’m giving it a pass even though it doesn’t beat the original (it even loses its Mobile Armor bird mode, please help me). These changes were all so, so unnecessary and minimize the original designs. I don’t get it. Worse still, these are almost always the final versions used in the Super Robot Wars games.
Venting over. Endless Waltz contains the best qualities of Gundam Wing’s fast-paced action and these positive qualities overshadow much of the usual lame melodrama. The movie’s biggest misstep is having a set-up and ending that ignores its conflict with the series’s central themes and resets things back to the status quo which Endless Waltz showed didn’t work. Just Gundam Wing being stupid again. If you liked the series, you will like Endless Waltz. If you didn’t like the series, you will at least like Endless Waltz more. It’s that simple.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz Special
2. Doraemon Movie 19: Nobita no Nankai Daibouken
3. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Miller’s Report
4. Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness