Gundam has been on a roll when it comes to adapting novels or manga into animated works. Unicorn showed why these works deserved to be brought to life on screen with spectacular animation and storytelling on its 7-episode OVA run. On the other hand, Thunderbolt showed its gritty and dark story in awesome, bloody detail.
This time, we get Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway, a long-awaited adaptation of the light novel series Hathaway’s Flash. The first of this movie Trilogy is available on Netflix, and what I want to say right off the bat that this is one of the best Gundam films in recent years.
Souls Weighed Down by Gravity
Hathaway is set during U.C. 105, which is almost a decade after Gundam Unicorn and Gundam Narrative. The Earth Federation remains as corrupt and incompetent as they have been, and an organization named Mafty wants to change how the system is being run through their own brand of terrorism and goal of moving humanity into space.
The plot feels similar to Char’s Counterattack in terms of protagonist Hathaway Noa’s goal of a making people leave the Earth. Hathaway, in question, is also burdened by the memories of what happened during the events of CCA, and being the son of Bright Noa, one of Gundam’s most beloved characters.
The first film sets up the rest of the trilogy by establishing the lofty goals of Mafty, Hathaway overcoming the past and the Federation’s intention of keeping up the status quo. While I can’t say too much of the story without spoiling, the pacing feels just right, with each plot point having enough time to burn while keeping you hooked to the screen all throughout.
In a Flash
While the plot’s pacing is pretty solid, you’d be left wanting more by the end. The Mobile Suit fight scenes were brief, but you can easily see the crazy amount of details that gave me wonderful flashbacks of Unicorn and Thunderbolt’s battle scenes. Finally seeing the Penelope and Xi Gundams in animated glory after 3 decades of waiting is also a treat, with so much detail packed into each suit.
The animation, in general, is also one of Gundam’s best, with locations coming to life, beam rifle residues burning realistically, and buildings crumbling under the weight of mobile suits all having that extra degree of detail. Character animations are also on point, as the likes of Hathaway Noa, Gigi Andalucia, and Kenneth Sleg look great with no misplaced frame in sight.
The background design is as great as the animation itself, with Davao looking bright, green, and picturesque in the film, and with each locale looking close to how Philippine cities and streets look like. Plus, seeing Jollibee in an anime was pretty fun.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway is a great start to the movie trilogy and introduces old and new fans alike to the next 100 years of the Universal Century.
While Narrative felt like a weird entry into the line of UC Gundam movies, Hathaway looked like a more proper entry into Gundam’s massive lore and provides more world-building and character work than the previous film.
With a solidly paced plot, beautiful animation, and new mobile suits to watch, this is a movie worth the watch, and we can’t wait for the next two movies.