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Gundam Reconguista In G Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Reconguista in G Blu-ray CoverBeautiful sound and fury.

What They Say:
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.). One of the most important resources in this era is the Capital Tower – a space elevator which towers over the land connecting Earth to space. Its purpose, to transport the Photon Batteries the Earth relies on for power. It is worshiped as a holy place.

Tasked with protecting the tower, one day on a practice mission, young Capital Guard cadet, Bellri Zenam is attacked by a high-performance G-Self Mobile Suit. Despite having never before encountered the G-Self, he feels a strange connection to it and its pilot, a space pirate called Aida Surugan. Little does Bellri know that he is about to uncover truths which will shake the entire Regild Century.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release deviates from other Sunrise titles as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo but encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that is chock full of action and the lossless mix works just as well as the uncompressed mix, giving is a very rich and engaging show throughout. There’s a lot of activity in this series with the mobile suit fights and space battles alongside everything else but it also handles the dialogue well with placement, something that’s sometimes more important than usual with space based shows that have characters floating around. The depth hits some good notes at times as well but mostly it handles the overall soundstage really well, making for an immersive design that keeps you engaged with it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2014 and 2015, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twenty-six episodes for this series are spread across three discs in a nine/nine/eight format. Animated by Sunrise, the series has quite possibly my favorite look when it comes to the visuals as it’s so rich and color, detail, and design that I just fall in love with it. That’s call captured really well through the transfer as the colors are bright and vivid as they should be and all the detail from the backgrounds and mobile suits along with the ships is just spot on perfect. There’s a lot going on in this show almost constantly with what feels like little real downtime and that has the encoding working extra hard. The payoff is there though as this is just a striking looking release from start to finish and is the real draw for the show.

Packaging:
The packaging design for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the three discs inside with two on a hinge and one against the back interior wall. The front cover works a familiar key visual image of Bell to the right with his mobile suit to the left where there’s a lot of stars behind them. It works well to bring the infectious youth smile to the forefront while also showing an interesting mobile suit design that feels more rounded and curved than usual but not straying from the core design ideas. The back cover works a mostly black background with a sprinkling of stars in it and we get another good key visual along the left of the main four characters. The right side covers the premise in a smaller than usual form, but effectively, and there’s a tiny selection of tiny shots from the show. Space is still given over to a full breakdown of episodes by number and title and we get some decent production credits, albeit on a weird gold-ish background. The rest is the standard minimal technical grid that covers everything you need to know. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menus for this release are the same across all three volumes as we get a static image that uses the expanded artwork from the front cover. This stretches across the screen and gives us some material with Aida to the left while the navigation is kept to the upper right. With this release authored by All the Anime, it’s interesting to see how they do it compared to the Right Stuf menus. This is done with a but of a button approach that works well enough and offers the submenu selection in a clean way. But what I really like over the Right Stuf method is that the episodes are all part of one big video block as opposed to individual titles, making for quicker movements through the show. Additionally, the credits are kept to a top level menu selection as opposed to being placed with each episode. Unless the credits are being changed with each episode this is something that I’m fine with.

Extras:
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences along with about four minutes of promotional video material.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Originally airing in the fall of 2014 for twenty-six episodes, Reconguista in G was a Gundam series that I was definitely interested in at the time but was unable to follow even though it was made available for streaming. So getting to sit down with it in full was definitely a treat here, especially in such high quality. This series brought Yoshiyuki Tomino back to write and direct it and, well, it shows. I’ve had mixed luck with the Gundam shows once you get out of the core Universal Century material from the One Year War period as they often feel like there’s a lot missing. So I was kind of hopeful with this one as Tomino hadn’t done anything in this regard since 1999 with Turn A Gundam. What I saw here felt like the influences of Overman King Gainer and Eureka Seven being pushed to the forefront – no mystery with the character designs by Kenichi Yoshida of those shows – and that made for an interesting blending with Tomino’s style.

And let me just say up front, the visuals are what make this show. While I’m more than sure that there are a lot of people that will dig the story, for me it was enjoying the visuals. Particularly since the story didn’t connect for me. What this show does here with the modern budget and sprawling approach is almost magical – and really made me wish I liked the story and characters. Yoshida’s character designs are just bright and engaging in a way that other Gundam shows try for but don’t quite achieve. And that gives this a huge amount of life as it plays out, particularly with the combination of the mobile suits and their varied designs as well as the numerous ships. But when you add in the great backgrounds with unique buildings and locations? The whole thing feels like a hugely and richly designed world that you want to sink your teeth into.

Unfortunately, it’s mostly superficial and reminded me why Tomino frustrates me in so many ways – as does a lot of the Gundam properties in general. This series takes place in Regilid Century 1014, which is about a thousand years after the end of the Universal Century, so this puts us in a far flung future from what we knew before. But these connections to the past are tenuous at best and largely feel non-existent outside of the use of mobile suits themselves. Beyond that this is just another timeline and you wouldn’t lose anything because of it. The problem that I run into from almost the start is that while we get so much in the way of rich designs and concepts for the world we don’t get that for the actual makeup of the world. We get a range of characters from different places but as each new element is teased out it just made me feel like it really needed that two-minute opening that simply defines the nature of the world. These are the sides. These are the nations and opposing organizations. What they do is so loose and ill-defined, so distant in so many ways, that you don’t really find yourself invested in it. Particularly since more than half the show is Earth based and just jockeying between nations before having to deal with the forces that are in space looking to cleanse the world of Earthnoids.

With that big picture view of the two sides, one side of which takes most of the episode before they sort of come to the same position, the interesting piece that we get here is the inclusion of a space elevator of sorts. Well, it is one but it’s just a little oddly designed from how we usually see them, instead operating on the idea of just being creative looking. Known as the Capital Tower that helps to obviously connect many places to space, it’s here that we’re introduced to Bellri, a young man in training that’s learning mobile suits and more through the standard training machines. But what throws his life for a curve is when the Pirate Corps make a move on the place and he ends up with the G-Self, a mobile suit that seems to only respond to him, he quickly ends up part of this sprawling event that plays out. Which naturally includes an array of characters on all sides, which increases a good bit more when it hits space later.

In a lot of ways what we get here is standard Gundam. It avoids things like Newtypes but it hews to a lot of familiar tropes of the property, including one character that wears a mask that another character thankfully says looks kind of foolish. At least in this version we get told that it has all sorts of VR tech in it that helps to make him a better pilot. We also get a few characters later on that look like they wandered in from the main crew of Eureka 7 as well, which I was amused by but it also took me out of the show each time they were on. Large casts are nothing new with Gundam but with this being half the length of most series everything is just overly compressed and it never feels like we get to know any of them because of it. Which is certainly problematic because you’re left with a very superficial feeling toward them – much more so than your usual Gundam shows that are already light on actual character.

In Summary:
In the end I think the word that best describes this series is incomprehensible. I can see aspects of it and I can see things tied to what Tomino has done (far too) many times over the years so I can get the themes, but it’s not developed well and as beautifully engaging as the world is, it’s superficial. Which is unfortunate because of this had a richer layer of, well, explanation as to the world and its people and more time to connect with the characters, this could have been a real masterpiece. That said, this is a series that I have to thoroughly recommend just for the animation and design work alone. It’s so striking and appealing that it really is like watching a snapshot of a war without knowing the context of it and being able to just take in the back and forth flow of it. This release brings it to life so well and with such clarity that it’s impossible to look away while still feeling yourself disconnecting from the characters and the script itself. It’s an incredible visual delight and some shows are worth it just for that.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Clean Openings, Clean Closings, Promotional Videos

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Nozomi Entertainment/Sunrise
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
MSRP: $74.98
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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