2014’s Gundam Reconguista in G is the thirteenth incarnation of the ever-popular Gundam franchise, animated by Sunrise and written and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Set long after the end of the Universal Century Era in a new time period known as the Regild Century. Humanity’s space-faring days are largely over and Earth has known a long period of peace and prosperity. When a young girl named Raraiya in a mysterious mobile suit falls from the sky and is captured by the Capital Guard, cadet Bellri Zenam encounters that same mobile suit – the G-Self – and it’s pilot, a Pirate girl named Aida Surugan during a training exercise on the orbital elevator known as Capital Tower, a series of events that will change the course of the era begin to unfold.
After the Capital Guard capture the G-Self and Aida, it is revealed that Bellri is one of a few people who possess the ability to Get In The Robot™. Throughout the first few episodes, Bellri comes to work with the pirates on board their ship, the Megafauna, to go up against the newly formed Capital Army and eventually unite their combined forces when it is revealed that a greater threat exists on the far side of the moon, poised to take the Earth by force.
Unfortunately, the story is almost incomprehensible at most times. You can’t have a mecha series without politics and intrigue, but G Reco is just too cryptic. It never really makes sense why Capital Guard cadet Bellri decides to fight with the pirates in the first place. Capital Tower is worshipped as a holy place, and is the centre of SU-Cordism, the dominant religion of the Capital Territory but even that takes a while to be explained in any meaningful way. The caveat is that this release only covers the first half of the series, so maybe it all makes sense later on, but for now it just seems like the writing got caught up in wanting to be grand and mysterious and instead just feels disjointed and confusing. Amid the floundering story they do find time to characterise the main cast reasonably well, and the group of Bellri, Aida, Raraiya and Noredo are a largely likeable bunch, even if their motivations are difficult to follow.
If the lacklustre storytelling is the downside, the animation and designs are the opposite side of the coin entirely. The character designs are fantastic, the animation has a lovely hand-drawn feel and the mecha designs are top notch. Opinions are divided there, of course – ask a dozen different people about G-Reco’s mechs and you’ll probably hear a dozen different opinions. For me though, from the hero suit the G-Self and it’s different backpack every couple of episodes (Bandai gotta sell gunpla yo), the G-Arcane, Grimoires and the weird gangly Elf-Bullock and Mack Knife designs, there are just so many cool and refreshing designs on show. The battles are superbly animated and a joy to watch, especially once shit hits the fan and things go into space.
It’s confusing and generally wants to be far more important than it is, but I did still find G-Reco oddly compelling, which I suppose is to it’s credit. Maybe if I watch one more episode things will start making sense? No? One more then… And on it goes. It’s far from the worst mecha series I’ve ever sat down in front of in any case. The discs are presented in Japanese with subtitles only, and extras are limited to promos and textless songs. With Reconguista in G Part 2 sitting in my review pile I’m keen to see how the rest of the story unfolds and if the rest of it makes any sense, but at least I can count on some cool robot battles. That said, I bought the model kits of the G-Self and G-Arcane after watching the first handful of episodes, so the series has already done it’s job… You win this round, Sunrise and Bandai.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.