Mobile Suit Gundam F91

Type: Movie
Genre: Science Fiction / Mecha
Vintage: 1991
Date of Review: January 6, 2014

After the trifecta of Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and Gundam ZZ plus the film Char’s Counterattack to wrap things up, the time was ripe for new stories and characters in the Universal Century. A new television series was planned, but various factors resulted in that being halted and the completed work being stitched together into a film. The result is Mobile Suit Gundam F91, which takes place thirty years after the end of the Second Neo Zeon War.

We’re rapidly introduced to Seabrook Arno, his girlfriend Cecily Fairchild, and a vicious conflict meant to bring about a new kingdom known as Cosmo Babylonia. As expected, mobile suits are involved, and this film introduces a new faction known as the Crossbone Vanguard. To fight them off, a new Gundam prototype designated the F91 has been built…and who do you think ends up piloting the machine?

The fact that Gundam F91 was originally designed to be a fifty-episode television series is sadly its biggest downfall. Everything feels incredibly rushed, and you’ll often feel as though you missed a massive chunk of time as events whiplash from one to the next.

All is not lost, however. Gundam F91 features some of the most detailed and fluid animation ever seen in a Gundam production. And this was in 1991! I dig the F91’s design, especially with the giant lettering on the shoulder armor that evokes real-world military hardware. The orchestral score is well done, and features some blindingly obvious Star Wars ripoffs homages. Finally, the characters are still pretty good, and the basic story leaves you demanding more. (It’s continued in the manga Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam, which takes place a decade later and has itself spawned many sequels.)

Gundam F91 certainly has its flaws, but it’s worth watching for the stunning animation alone. It’s not a perfect piece of Gundam anime by any means, but still an entertaining space action film. It’s just a shame that Gundam F91 could not have been fully realized.

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