Kidou Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt (ONA) – 01

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Another of the many faces of “Gundam” reveals itself in Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt is definitely Gundam for serious Gundam fans, but that doesn’t mean everyone else can’t enjoy it too.  Clocking it at a snappy 15 minutes, this web animation is quite engaging in its simple and straightforward brutality.  Accompanied by a free jazz soundtrack and drawn entirely (as far as I can tell) in glorious hand-drawn animation, it’s certainly not an incarnation of Gundam that stamps itself as a product of any particular anime era.

Thunderbolt is part of the “Universal Century” timeline that provides the backbone of the Gundam mythology – during the “One Year War” between the Federation and Zeon, to be precise.  To be even more precise, the pilots of the Earth Federation take on the snipers of Zeon, with great carnage on both sides even in the premiere.  But these pilots manage to swashbuckle their way through brashly, especially Io Fleming (Nakamura Yuichi) the jazz-loving ace of the Federation fleet.  His great nemesis is destined to be Daryl Lorenz (Kimura Ryouhei), who seems to be more of a mainstream pop guy and seeks revenge against Fleming for killing his sniper colleague Hoover.

This story is very simple so far – pilots from both sides try and kill each other, and often succeed.  But it’s artfully directed by Matsuo Kou, and looks fantastic in all it’s 2-D glory.  There’s a very strong sense of watching something old school in a good way, which is a quality I see in the better Gundam incarnations once in a while but one most Gundam forays into anime aren’t necessarily trying to achieve.

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6 comments

  1. P

    Can I go in blind or do I have to had watched stuff from the U.C. timeline?
    Because I'm definitely one of those hopeless people that love mechas and Gundam but can only manage to watch stuff that skirts around some other timeline or I end up deeply confused.

  2. I'm far from an expert, and I can follow along OK. Just Google "UC Timeline Gundam" and read a short synopsis and you'll have the gist of it.

  3. C

    I think you should watch 0079 (the series) before going in. Just that one. I mean don't think of it as a chore, it is, without exaggerating, a classic that STILL holds up to this day as the best in the franchise.

    I think you should watch 0079 (the series) before going in. Just that one. I mean don't think of it as a chore, it is, without exaggerating, a classic that STILL holds up to this day as the best in the franchise.

    I don't want to come off as elitist, and if you don't want to that's perfectly okay, but it should be required viewing for anyone who likes not just mecha, but anime as well.

  4. l

    Alternatively, instead of the series, you can watch the MS Gundam 0079 3-movie series which will get you going on the base foundation of UC.

  5. P

    Thanks everyone for the advice, if time permits I will check out 0079 (maybe the movie series) before checking this out if not I will do as Enzo says and say a quick prayer LOL. Maybe this will be the start of really getting into Gundam seriously.

  6. a

    Well, I'm more into serious story line for Gundam. The previous Gundam series doesn't pick my interest. As for Seed & Seed Destiny, even though the more to girlish style, I like the story goes with it. If u look back to the past history, it may look likes it (the way natural country was drag into the war). I also love the 00 Gundam & collect the old series to get a better view. But I don't collect the figura though

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