Highs: Gripping storyline; excellent soundtrack; believable characters; humanity at its best and worst
Lows: Slightly disorganized introduction
Now and again, an anime comes along that makes me stop dead in my tracks. For one
reason of another, I canít ever get a select few series out of my head, and they become truly memorable for
me. Victory Gundam is one of those series.
Despite being set in the Universal Century, a brush-up on UC history is not necessary.
Set nearly eighty years after the One Year War, that epic struggle, among others, is now a distant memory.
As a result, this series is able to stand on its own and weave one of the most engrossing and intriguing
storylines I have ever witnessed. Even though the series lasts for 51 episodes, the pacing never suffers to
any degree. It knows when to speed up and also when to hit the brakes and let the viewer absorb what just
happened. Twists and turns are revealed at a steady pace and certainly kept me at the edge of me seat.
Thereís just one little hang-up, and it comes at the very beginning. Initially, Tomino wanted to start the
series by setting up the landscape and story without showing or even mentioning the titular mecha
(something that he would eventually get to do in Turn A Gundam). Sponsors of the series didnít like the
idea, and a switch was made to introduce the Victory Gundam in the first episode. As a result, the series
starts right in the middle of a heated battle and pursuit with no knowledge of how it started or why itís even
happening. Fortunately, the next three episodes, which are set up as a flashback, end up explaining how
they got to that point. So for those keeping score, the first episode is actually the fourth if you look at it
chronologically. Again, this is the only flaw I could really think of, and since everything is eventually
explained, I can excuse this.
In this war, it doesnít matter how power is gained. All that matters is that one has it, and
both sides stop at nothing to obtain and increase it. The sense of impending death permeates the story, and
no one is safe. The cast of characters here are so realistically fleshed out that it is very easy to find youself
sympathizing with them. The fact that many of the main characters are children makes the trials and
tribulations shown throughout the series that much more horrifying. You canít help but feel terrible while
watching Uso endure such heavy losses at such a young age or hate the Zanscare soldiers for their ruthless
nature and general disregard for humanity. At the same time, Usoís courage to keep fighting for those who
died is admirable in the face of the atrocities committed by the Zanscare Empire. By the time the final body
count has been tallied (and trust me, itís a high count), there are no winners; there are only survivors. And
yet, despite it all, there is still a faint glimmer of hope in the form of little Shakti. No matter where she is or
what has happened, she continues to retain what little humanity there is left in the world while everything
else seems to come crashing down around her.
Of course, it wouldnít be a Gundam series without excellent music, and Victory
Gundam is another success in the world of anime soundtracks. Composed by Akira Senju (Fullmetal
Alchemist: Brotherhood), sweeping orchestral pieces flow right along with each intense battle while also
complimenting the quieter and more peaceful moments, few as there may be, admirably. Not to be outdone,
catchy vocal pieces are present before and after each episode. While the themes may be fun to listen to, itís
also almost unsettling how ironic the opening themes are in relationship to what is going on once an
episode begins. With upbeat melodies and lyrics coupled with such positive titles as ďStand Up To The
VictoryĒ and ďDonít Stop! Carry On!Ē, the impact of what is going on in this vicious war is magnified
In the world of anime, many consider the various Universal Century Gundam series to be
the superior chapters in this storied franchise. Dark, at times depressing, and nothing short of gripping,
Victory Gundam is one of the prime examples of this train of thought, and it also stands as a series that
should not be missed by the average fan.