As a member of a test expedition sent by the Moon Race to explore the possibility of returning to the Earth, Roland Cehak quickly adapts to life on the green planet. 2 years after his arrival, however, Roland finds himself in the middle of the conflict between his new-found friends from Earth and the invading forces of his Moon Race. As the chosen pilot of the long dormant Turn A Gundam, he must choose to fight for his new home against his own kind, or destroy the planet he has come to love.
Oh gods, how I have waited for this...Yoshiyuki Tomino's latest attempt at a fresh take on the Gundam storyline, This one has serious echoes of Brain Powerd in the writing style, but thankfully more refined. Unfortunately, the writing at the start is still the weakest point. There are some rather jarring leaps in the plot, (especially the sudden two year leap ahead, but that at least is made a bit easier to stomach by the changes in Roland's appearance) but they are less painful than in Tomino's most recent outing. The art style is very different, not just from Gundam but from most series in general. Both the character designs by Akira Yasuda and the mechanical designs by Syd Mead are of a class all their own. I've hard many people crying about the drastic changes of both designs, but frankly I found them a refreshing change from the norm and very elegant at the same time (though Harry Ord's rather freaky red sunglasses I could do without). I really don't understand the whole obsession with attacking the show because the gundam has "a moustache"...I'd rather it had a moustache than the same frikkin' design done over a hundred times. The opening and closing songs are both rather catchy, if a little strange and retro at first. The rest of the music, however, is simply superb...but what else would one expect of Yoko Kanno? I have had the first two soundtracks since they came out about a year ago, and it is such a treat to hear them in the show itself. Tracks like Moon and Felicity are so amazing you'll find yourself humming them for days after hearing them...all in all the music for Turn A Gundam is some of Kanno's best work thus far.
But what of the flaws? First off, as I said before, the writing can leave one rather confused initially. The plot moves at a rather brisk pace and doesn't cover things it really should in order to keep from losing the audience. I'm willing to bet that some of this was due to the fact that the version I saw was horrifically subbed, but still, they do move things really quick in this show which can leave some situations feeling more than a bit contrived. The characters also seem a little on the light side as far as development is concerned; there really isn't much time to focus on their motivations and subtleties as everything zooms by. The story itself does seem quite interesting, with members of both sides joining up to avert a needless and messy war. There are also hints at "The Black History" which seems to relate to the incidents within all the previous Gundam stories (a rather ambitious, if confusing story choice). An interesting change from the typical Tomino storyline, but he just can't resist pulling his old trick of tossing a hapless teen guy into the role of mecha pilot hero...some things just never change (although the naked-in-the-cockpit thing is a new trick...). I really do want to see more to find out if the writing ends up annoying me as much as Brain Powerd's did, but I have a great deal more hope for this show than I ever did for that unfortunate file of refuse. I'd recommend this primarily to Gundam fans (despite the surprising lack of action in the first few episodes) over the casual otaku as the writing oddities and strange mecha designs might turn them off too quickly. Until you hear otherwise, recommended.
Currently only available fansubbed...if you're lucky.