Number of Episodes: 15
Genre: Science Fiction / Mecha
Date of Review: May 18, 2016
Gundams from across the multiverse star in short films showcasing their strengths. From the classic RX-78-2 to the Dreadnought and even the underrated Ball, mobile suits display their power in stunning 2D and 3D animation.
As you might’ve deduced from the complete lack of plot information in the above description, Gundam Evolve is a series of vignettes released across a seven-year span, designed to tell little side stories featuring our favorite mecha from the Universal Century and beyond, taking inspiration from anime, manga, and more. There is no common thread running through them; you could easily watch them in any order and not be confused. Of course, it does help to have some familiarity with the source material in order to fully appreciate each film.
Some of the shorts are clearly better than others. The original Gundam bit is rather disappointing, as it’s primarily made up of old footage with a new framing sequence. Meanwhile, the intense Strike Gundam battle is absolutely gorgeous. Fun fact: most of the 3D films based their mobile suits on the CAD files from Bandai’s Gundam model kit division. As such, the detail is incredible and realistic; that Strike film alone will make you want to run out and purchase the Perfect Grade kit post-haste!
Beyond the mobile suits, seeing some of our favorite characters from anime and manga alike is very cool, especially in stories that either run parallel to the source series’ narrative. I can’t say much else without spoiling things, unfortunately, but suffice it to say that you won’t be disappointed with any character portrayals.
Gundam Evolve is a nice love letter to fans new and old, despite it being the very definition of a mixed bag. For example, some fans may dislike the exaggerated stylings of the Musha Gundam segment, while others love that stuff. (Count me among the latter.) Or, how can you fairly compare a 2D reflection piece with a supercharged 3D space battle? Regardless, you’re guaranteed to find something you enjoy in Gundam Evolve, not to mention likely discovering something new to pique your interest. (In my case, it was the Dreadnought Gundam, which I didn’t even know existed until I watched this!) Gundam Evolve is well worth your time, and as a collection of short films, you can watch ’em at your leisure.