Mobile Suit Gundam F91 Review: Seabook Arno vs. The Crossbone Vanguard

Mobile Suit Gundam F91    

Seabook Arno and Cecily Fairchild
Original Artwork © Yoshikazu Yasuhiko / Sunrise Inc.

Written and Directed By: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Screenplay By: Tsunehisa Ito & Yoshiyuki Tomino

Character Designs By: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko

Mechanical Designs By: Kunio Okawara

Music By: Satoshi Kadokura

Runtime: 1 hour 59 minutes

My Rating: ★★★★★  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overjoyed. That’s how I felt when I read this Anime News Network post announcing that RightStuf Anime will be continuing their collaboration with Sunrise for the re-release of various Gundam titles, such as Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Last Blitz of Zeon, and Mobile Suit Gundam F91. Through RightStuf Sunrise recently re-released Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta, Mobile Gundam ZZ, and After War Gundam X, with upcoming Blu-ray releases of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, Gundam Build Fighters and Gundam Build Fighters Try currently available for pre-order. In addition to those Gundam titles, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt, and Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans have all been dubbed in English. It’s a glorious time to be a Gundam fan, and only the GIF below can accurately depict my happiness at this moment!

Gundam Jubilation

I’m an enormous Gundam fan, undeniably so, but I’m also honest. There are some shows and films in the Gundam franchise that I simply don’t like, and/or just aren’t that good. I mean, they can’t all be perfect. Occasionally we Gundam fans will be subjected to a series like Superior Defender Gundam Force, or Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th M.S. Team, to which Mobile Fighter G Gundam is highly preferable. Thankfully that’s not the case here, because Mobile Suit Gundam F91 is, in my opinion, one of the best films in the Gundam franchise.

SeabookSet in U.C. 0123 (Universal Century year 0123), we first meet 17-year-old Engineering student, Seabook Arno, in Mobile Suit Gundam F91. Seabook appears to be an ordinary teenager living in space colony Frontier IV. He’s attending a pageant with his younger sister, friends, and his schoolmate and love interest, Cecily Fairchild. During the pageant, Frontier IV is attacked by the Crossbone Vanguard, under the orders of Meitzer Ronah and Iron Mask. The purpose of the attack is to bring Cecily to Meitzer Ronah, and declare Frontier IV as Cosmo Babylonia, which would now fall under the rule of the Ronah family. Multiple colonists, including some of Seabook and Cecily’s friends are killed during the attack, leaving Seabook with no choice but to reluctantly pilot Gundam F91. It’s your standard Gundam plot: Teenage Boy’s town or colony is attacked by [insert evil military group here], leaving the teenage boy no option but to become a badass Gundam pilot. Yeah, we’ve seen this premise countless times before, but for me, it never gets old.

Seabook proves to be a great Gundam pilot and soldier, able to eliminate more Crossbone soldiers than other Earth Federation pilots. Gundam’s main protagonists are typically one of the following: The Emotionless Killing Machine (Setsuna F. Seiei, Mobile Suit Gundam 00; Heero Yuy, New Mobile Report Gundam Wing), The [Initially] Reluctant Soldier (Amuro Ray, Mobile Suit Gundam; Kamille Bidan, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam), or The Whiny Pacifist (Shiro Amada, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th M.S. Team; Banagher Links, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn). Occasionally a Gundam protagonist will be a combination of both the Reluctant Soldier and Whiny Pacifist, such as Mobile Suit Gundam SEED’s Kira Yamato, but that’s rare. Seabook falls into the category of the Reluctant Soldier in that if he finds himself in danger he doesn’t hesitate to kill his enemy, although he will later regret that he had to kill them. He’s a really likeable character, smart and caring; he’ll risk his life to protect those he loves.

Cecily F.Cecily Fairchild is as important a character as Seabook, so without spoiling any plot points I’ll just say I don’t care for her. She’s probably the most immature and indecisive character in F91, and that’s saying a lot, considering how many small children there are in this movie. In the first 10-15 minutes of F91 she makes a hasty decision without asking any questions, and spends most of the movie confused. She stays ignorant to what’s going on around her throughout the entire movie, and is unable to recognize when she’s being manipulated. By the time Cecily decides to do something sensible, something good, the movie’s almost over.

This film was released in 1991, so the animation is obviously dated, but even in standard DVD format Mobile Suit Gundam F91 still looks fantastic. The mecha designs, animation, and sound effects all make the battle sequences and destruction extremely entertaining to watch. The music is well done, complimenting the tone of each scene nicely, but I especially like the two songs Hiroko Moriguchi contributed to the soundtrack: Eternal Wind ~ Hohoemi wa Hikaru Kaze no Naka and Kimi o MitsumeteKimi o mitsumete is credited as an “insert song”, but I didn’t hear this song at any point while watching the Sunrise North American release of this film.

As for the voice acting behind the characters, I’ve only ever watched F91 in English, and I can say it’s a very good dub. Steve Cannon (Neji Hyuga, Naruto; Tōshirō Hitsugaya; Bleach) voiced Seabook, and Michelle Ruff (Yoko Littner, Gurren Lagann; Euphemia li Britannia, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion) voiced Cecily. They’re both great actors, so I have no complaints about their performances, and the rest of the English cast is solid.

Character designs were done by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, so characters who appear in F91 share a resemblance to those featured in Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, just as characters from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn resemble characters from F91. I love Yasuhiko’s artistic style, so this doesn’t bother me at all.

Lalah Sune
Lalah Sune (Mobile Suit Gundam)
Annamarie
Annamarie Bourget (Mobile Suit Gundam F91)
Dorel Ronah
Dorel Ronah (Mobile Suit Gundam F91)
Angelo Sauper
Angelo Sauper (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Suit Gundam F91 has a terrific plot, awesome battle sequences, endearing characters…and romance. It’s the kind of movie you’ll enjoy every time you watch it, and is without a doubt a classic; something anime lovers of all genres can appreciate…not just Gundam fans. I highly recommend purchasing F91 on blu-ray, now available at RightStuf Anime. You won’t be disappointed.

Seabook and Cecily
Original Artwork © Yoshikazu Yasuhiko / Sunrise Inc.

Have you seen Mobile Suit Gundam F91? If so, what did you think of it? How do you think it compares to other Gundam films or OVAs? Please leave a comment below, and thanks for reading.

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