Reviewed by: Eeeper
Released by: Bandai Entertainment
Region: 2 - Japan
Length: 95 minutes
Audio: Japanese 5.1 Surround
The new era begins. The turbulent era known as the Universal Century has ended. Now, mankind looks towards prosperity and peace in the new era known as the Regild Century (R.C.)
I don't quite know how to describe the plot of Mobile Suit Gundam: Reconguista in G Go! Core Fighter without trying to ascribe values that are redundant if you haven't seen the TV series it's adapted from so instead, here's a plot synopsis from the Gundam Wiki:
Photon Batteries, Earth's energy source, are brought down from space via the Capital Tower protected by the Capital Guard. Bellri Zenam, a Capital Guard cadet, gets involved in fending off an attack of pirates during his first practical training session, and helps to capture them. He feels something mysterious with the captive girl Aida and finds himself being somehow able to activate the high-performance mobile suit that she calls "G-Self". Staged in Regild Century, the era that comes after Universal Century ends, the boys and girls advance directly towards the truth of the world through their adventures.
A lot of the plot of Go! Core Fighter (I'll keep referring to it by its full title because it's one part excitement and one part statement instead of the other way around) happens as a by-product of the actions of our protagonists and antagonists not as a catalyst for the action. So if you've seen the TV series that Tomino also directed that this first film is based on, great! You'll know a little bit more than the person who's never seen the film and is being led from scene to scene, moment to moment with no clue THAT line is important or this character is more than they seem. If you've never seen the Universal Century films or shows that precede Go! Core Fighter, don't worry. This is set in the time after that (it makes references to previous series Turn A even though chronologically, Recon takes place AFTER Turn A) so it's a blank slate. But we have the plucky pirates who kidnap our heroes that have connections to another big political power who's at war with another political power. So not much has changed since the last show before it. Bellri has the proverbial "Heart of the Cards" with the captured Gundam G-Self and I like him because any main character who has to poop surrounded by girls with a jacket as cover while a live feed beams the whole thing back to the crew of the pirate ship that he's being kidnapped to gets the thumbs up from me. That and the fact that he just wishes the girls would stop ganging up on him. Same goes for Aida; she spends the film not being in charge of the G-Self (even though she can actually pilot it) so she settles for f%&king with the Capital Guard and Army's plans, then Bellri's plans, finally her own people's. I can respect a girl who can't be bribed or bought, who just wants to watch the world burn. She cries a lot but if my mentor, friend, and possible crush was run through by the boy who stole my mecha, I'd be upset too. Of all the background characters, Raraiya Monday is still my favourite even at this point where being in the G-Self, from an outward perspective, has turned her childlike and monosyllabic. Klim Mick is the subject of the "I'm a genius!" meme and for that, he wins plus he's the most Tomino character in the cast: he knows enough to stay ahead of the curve, hangs out with the hired help, and generally feels bad if he doesn't get to turn the lights off. And yes, Tomino's naming structure is on-point as always.
The way Yoshiyuki Tomino's mind works must be interesting. He doesn't believe in foreshadowing, doesn't like gradual tension, and Chekov's Gun holds no interest for him. For him, it's all about the feeling on screen. The character's feelings, the audience's feelings, and most importantly: how he feels about the scene at hand. For him, it's all about the moment rather than the bigger picture. Therefore, when something as pesky as the plot gets in the way, he ignores it until he absolutely has to. He's more engaged with having the characters react to the situation around them instead of caring where the next hammer blow comes from in the script. Because for all his uncaring nature about the plot, he writes it in a way that I really should care what's happening in the background. I really struggle sometimes with the idea that he knows how it's supposed to come together as opposed to the more logical reasoning that he writes it, films it, and then makes it fit together.
Tomino has a very old-school idea of space combat. He has the Gundam do something and then it cuts to a reaction from the pilots. Then he cuts to a wider shot of the action as a Gundam changes its stance or implements a type of weapon change or engages a piece of tech. Then he cuts to the shocked look of the opposing combatant as they realise our hero is THE REAL DEAL. Then the hero looks shocked that they achieved the victory. Unlike, say, Gundam Thunderbolt's Kou Matsuo who would have the Gundam's slam into each other and then wide shot to the two mechs bounce against each other like ping pong balls, leaving energy trails behind them as they move away and towards. No, our boy Tomino likes his action simple and his consequences freezeframed. So a lot of the action in Go! Core Fighter is functional. Because unless it ends with Aida sobbing uncontrollably in front of Bellri, it's not worth putting on screen.
I'd love to say that a newcomer could watch Go! Core Fighter but that's impossible. I watched the TV show this movie condenses some of for its plot and I felt slightly adrift so I can only guess what a non-fan would think. The film has some interesting characters and ideas but it's so vague that I kind of want to see the second film now to see how much Tomino changes to suit the running time constraints. It's a frustrating exercise but it's so off the wall that, perversely, this is a Gundam title that I'd love to own on disc because I want the chance to go over and over it because it's so imprecisely precise in what it wants that it bears repeat viewing. Tomino has two more movies in a series of five (part three was released in July this year) to go so maybe the madness will get better or more lame but for now, I'm perversely fascinated to see what happens next.