Anthony Scopatz

I think, therefore I amino acid.

Forgotten Film Rant #8

So this past week was rather busy, and so I didn’t get to watch a proper movie. However I did finish a Gundam mini-series (more on this later).

Basically, I had an excellent weekend. I even got to hang out with Naole and Melody and Anthony and Robin for a bit on Friday night. And rather than being watching them play Halo, I derailed the conversation to being educated about deviants. This led to my favorite quote of the weekend which made the comparison between religious rites and orgasms. Sure, most of them are faked but it is the ones that aren’t that make all the trying worthwhile.

(And if you have never heard my thoughts on male orgasms, you are in for a treat with that conversation.)

For whatever reason, I almost cried multiple times this weekend. I almost never almost cry, and even more rarely actually do. So clearly my emotions were running on high. But the last time is the one you get to hear about.

`Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: A War in the Pocket (1989)`_: Right, I know totally lame to tear up at a Gundam. But let me explain.

War in the Pocket” was the first Gundam not to be directed by Tomino, and rather than focusing on the Science Fiction aspect of things, it really is a coming-of-age tale during wartime. It takes place on the Side 6 Colony (the Switzerland of Space) where both sides are running covert operations. That is until things get messy.

The story focuses on a Mobile Suit obsessed 10 yro boy Al who is rather immature for his age. He takes the first opportunity he can to befriend Bernie, the Not-A-Char of the series, whose MS gets shot down near his house. The obvious conflict ensues when it is revealed that Al’s next door neighbor and older-sister-figure Chris is a Federation Forces Pilot (Allies analogy, to the literal Zeon Axis). Naturally, Chris and Bernie become the softest of paramours with out them really knowing that they fight for opposite sides.

However, “War in the Pocket” really shines in the way it abandons all of the standard Gundam tropes. In general the pace is a ton slower than you have come to expect. And sure, Burnie is ridiculously blond, supposed to be a newtype, occasionally wears sunglasses,and fights for the Zeon, but that is about where the comparison with Char ends. He never ever in his backstory or in the series shoots down even a single mobile suit. He is basically a failure. Also he lies to impress Al, a lot.

Moreover, the whole narrative progresses without any main character ever dying or even getting close, in the grand scheme of things. You come to expect an ending closer to Miyazaki than Tomino. This makes the ending especially heartbreaking. They sort of stick the knife into you.

But then they twist it around a bit. There is a soul crushing moment where an injured Chris informs Al that she is being transferred back to Earth. But then she gives him a prolonged kiss on the cheek. The framing and timing of this scene is perfect and I about lost it.

The only thing I can compare it to is “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (the book). The ending was that well done. I really give props to the director for doing and succeeding at something different. I started off not liking it at all, but by the end I was fully on board. Right in time for him to toss me back into the sea!