ANIME TOP TEN (LIST #1) - #5: Mobile Suit Gundam (1979)

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Director(s): Yoshiyuki Tomino
Script: Hiroyuki Hoshiyama, Kenichi Matsuzaki, Yoshihisa Araki, Yu Yamamoto
Music: Takeo Watanabe, Yuji Matsuyama
 
Like Space Battleship Yamato, Yoshiyuki Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam didn't fare so well in the ratings at first. It was during the second run that it garnered the great popularity that the franchise enjoys today. In some ways, it's not particularly surprising that it didn't do all that well at first. It's animation is horrible and art is inconsistant. However, despite their simplicity, the characters are all charismatic and have a presence of spirit that separate this series from many of its younger bretheren. An Amuro Ray (Tohru Furuya) or a Char Aznable (Shuichi Ikeda) comes onto the screen with vigor and creates a lasting impression without having to go overboard. There are little moments of humanity that mark this drama about a war, like soldiers helping a civillian try to find her hometown, or a young spy hugging her siblings before going off for a mission. There's a lot of character to the show, which shows its age easily, but just as well its heart. The movie trilogy probably handled the Newtype element better, however.