The Results Matter: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for November 2022

The new anime season is in full swing, but while I’m enjoying the hell out of so many things (like Gundam: The Witch from Mercury!), my mind is on the upcoming US midterm election. I plan on (sort of) following up with my thoughts on this subject in a few days but for now, I’m using this time to encourage citizens to vote however they can: in person on Election Day, by mail, by early voting, anything.

I’d also like to thank my Patreon subscribers for this month of November 2022.

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Naledi Ramphele

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from October:

Gattai Girls 12: “Idolmaster Xenoglossia” and Amami Haruka

After like two years, Gattai Girls is back with a new entry!

Evangelion + Beavis & Butt-Head = Chainsaw Man

Call it an epiphany?

Rock-Troll Remake: “Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island”

My review of the nostalgic Gundam movie.

Kio Shimoku

A sparse month of comments, but his tortoise is feeling better!

Apartment 507

Thinking about VTuber Gawr Gura’s recent animated short relative to other bonus animations.

Closing

Congratulations to Brazil for making the right choice and not re-electing an authoritarian nationalist who cares more about his self-image than the wellbeing of the people (sounds familiar).

How about I make some Saint Seiya posts to celebrate?

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights October 2022

More tortoise talk (and a COVID booster) for our beloved Genshiken creator this month!

Kio loves ICO, and is making jokes with others about treating September like the girl from the game.

After taking medicine, the pet tortoise is no longer having snot issues!

The tortoise relaxing. When asked if it ever hibernates, Kio mentions that he never tries to make it hibernate because it’s scary to do so.

Kio agrees with a commenter that the tortoise kind of looks like a croissant sandwich.

The legs coming out as they are is a sign that the tortoise is getting warm.

Kio got his fourth COVID vaccine shot! He took some Bufferin to deal with the side effects.

Kio had a dream where he was going to school again. As is typical of such dreams, he was late to school, he forgot his textbook, he couldn’t find his classroom, etc.

Kio responds with amazement that b the Hashikko Ensemble fan managed to find the reference for the hot spring location used in the manga.

Kio asks why his manuscripts have to emerge from his mind the way they do instead of making it easier on him.

Kio finds a livestream featuring manga artist Kuroi Midori, analyst Koizumi Yuu, manga artist Hayami Rasenjin, and editor Iida Takashi to be quite powerful.

Kio’s plan to set up a camera in his room to keep track of his tortoise has gone better than expected.

Kio is looking forward to the season premiere of How Do You Like Wednesdays? He’s talked about it in the past August and September as well.

Kio went to a batting center for the first time in about 30 years. The speed of the balls was scary. Though he did play in a softball club as a kid and was pretty good at it, it also has been almost 40 years. He did manage to hit a home run, though!

New York Comic Con 2022 and the Long-Lost Hand of New York Anime Festival

The story of New York Comic Con has long been a move increasingly towards mainstream nerd culture. But what happens when that culture changes into one where comics have ascended?

For years now, I’ve associated this convention with prestige TV shows and superhero movies above all else. Comics are still paid lip service and the Artist Alley still brings some of the biggest names you can imagine, but my attendance and attention have waned over time. Even this year, I only went one day when in the past it would have been three or four. But when I was there, I couldn’t help but notice the remnants of New York Anime Festival, once upon a time absorbed into its bigger and more popular brother we call NYCC, emerging with new life.

It would be inaccurate to treat NYCC like an anime con, but the industry presence in the Exhibition Hall was very noticeable. Big booths for Gundam, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and various anime and manga companies littered the space. And when it came to cosplay, the amount of Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen, etc. was hard to ignore. There were plenty of other things (including some very excited folks in Cobra Kai uniforms eager to meet John Kreese’s actor, Martin Kove), yet it felt like Cool Japan stepped one foot out of a casket.

I have to wonder if this stems from the big boost anime and manga have gotten during the pandemic. Ever since COVID-19 forced major changes on how people live, one consequence was that people’s entertainment habits changed. Among these shifts were a massive increase in book sales, and among them graphic novels blew up. But among the boom of graphic novels, manga had ascended even further. Anime and manga are almost undeniably mainstream now (at least when it comes to certain major titles), and perhaps it’s only natural for the mainstream-chasing New York Comic Con to follow suit to some degree.

Gattai Girls 12: “Idolmaster Xenoglossia” and Amami Haruka

Introduction: “Gattai Girls” is a series of posts dedicated to looking at giant robot anime featuring prominent female characters due to their relative rarity within that genre.

Here, “prominent” is primarily defined by two traits. First, the female character has to be either a main character (as opposed to a sidekick or support character), or she has to be in a role which distinguishes her. Second, the female character has to actually pilot a giant robot, preferrably the main giant robot of the series she’s in.

For example, Aim for the Top! would qualify because of Noriko (main character, pilots the most important mecha of her show), while Vision of Escaflowne would not, because Hitomi does not engage in any combat despite being a main character, nor would Full Metal Panic! because the most prominent robot pilot, Melissa Mao, is not prominent enough.

— 

At face value, Idolmaster: Xenoglossia is a perplexing title. Why in the world would the very first anime for The iDOLM@STER, a video game about managing Japanese idols, be a mecha series where the girls strive to save the Earth rather than give successful stage performances? When you get under the surface, though, it results in an even greater cognitive dissonance between the franchise’s origins as an idol sim franchise and this science fiction story ostensibly built on its foundation.

The confusion begins from the very basis of Xenoglossia. The premise is that high schooler Amami Haruka is unexpectedly recruited to potentially become one of the “Idolmasters,” pilots of world-defending robots called iDOLS. Outside of Xenoglossia, the name of the franchise refers to the player as an idol producer. That’s a simple enough change to accept given the story’s setting, but where the show throws the hardest curveballs is the portrayal of its characters.

Despite this being a franchise where fans support the actors who play their favorite idols, the entire voice cast was changed for Xenoglossia. It’s an extremely odd decision in hindsight, but what makes it all the more strange is that the changes don’t stop there: age, size, personality, and more are drastically altered to the point that many characters become almost unrecognizable. The best example is the character of Takatsuki Yayoi. In The iDOLM@STER proper, she’s a small and energetic girl in her early teens known for her high-pitched voice and signature squeal of excitement. In Xenoglossia, she’s noticeably taller and bustier, is the only actual conventional idol in the show, loves to wear mascot outfits), and is much more antagonistic towards Minase Iori. 

I’m not a huge The iDOLM@STER fan, but I’ve watched the anime and have a decent idea of the core cast and their personalities. On some level, it’s impossible for me to fully divorce my preconceived notions, but this level of change is beyond rare. The closest example I can think of is the first Comic Party anime, where a high schooler got aged up and a middle schooler got aged down for seemingly no reason. It’s as if the creators of Xenoglossia just looked at some preliminary character sketches and just went their own way without regard for the source material. 

Funnily enough, the only character who’s mostly like her original self is the franchise’s flagship heroine and Xenoglossia protagonist, Amami Haruka. Her personality remains optimistic and hard-working, though tinged here with a bit of self-doubt as to what she’s capable of. But when she’s surrounded by an endless parade of bizarre doppelgangers, something always feels a little off. If one can ignore that to a degree, the show gets more enjoyable.

In terms of Haruka or any other character’s portrayal as giant robot pilots, they’re never upstaged by any male characters swooping in to save the day; in fact, there aren’t any male pilots at all. Different characters struggle with different aspects of being Idolmasters, and much of the plot is built around striving to overcome those challenges. There’s also a great deal more nudity and sexual behavior (including possibly incest?!) than would be expected of something based on The iDOLM@STER—which might be a dealbreaker for those who strongly believe in the whole “idol purity” concept, but still feels kind of odd for even those of us who don’t.

The relationship between the Idolmasters and their iDOLS also arguably runs counter to “idol purity” because the way they talk about the robots makes them seem on some level like giant mechanical boyfriends—especially the main iDOL, Imber. The robots are shown to be sentient on some level, and the way some characters work to become worthy of and accepted by the mecha while others treat them like companions comes across more like romantic fiction at times. The entire setup of Xenoglossia is conducive to this, showing itself to be the kind of anime where the requisite to becoming Idolmasters has angst-filled drama baked in.

Idolmaster Xenoglossia we got could never be made today. It came out at a time when The iDOLM@STER was a much smaller deal, as evidenced by the fact that the girls are all based on their designs from the first game rather than the revised versions from The iDOLM@STER 2 that have since been codified. This early on, Xenoglossia followed in the fine (?) tradition of titles like Lunar Legend Tsukihime, where it was assumed that a fledgling idol manager franchise needed a boost in star power and storytelling from the anime industry. Now, the shoe’s on the other foot, and if they were to attempt this again, it’d be all but inevitable that the characters would adhere much more closely to their original selves. It’s a historical curiosity, indeed.

Kindness Is a Talent: Deaimon

When a prodigal son returns from a middling music career in Tokyo to the Japanese confectionery shop he called home, he meets his successor: an elementary school girl whose father left her behind. This is the story of Deiamon: Recipe for Happiness, an anime about human connections that manages to be a quiet and heartful yet pleasantly unpredictable story.

What I really enjoy about Deaimon is the unconventional nature of both its protagonist and his relationships. Irino Nagomu (the aforementioned musician son) is a goofy and scatterbrained sort, but his kindness towards others shines through in everything he does, from his strange folksy songs to the attention he pays to the shop’s customers. While the little girl, Yukihira Itsuka, often sees Nagomu as woefully unreliable, they form a bond that can be described as somewhere between “dad and daughter” and “big brother and little sister,” all without any suspicious elements that mar other similar works (*coughBunnyDropcough*).

Nagomu and Itsuka aren’t the only two characters. Nagomu’s parents provide a connection to the tradition of delicate wagashi-style sweets that make up the aesthetic basis of the show, and this bridge between past and present reminds me a bit of the series Hanasaku Iroha. Later, Nagomu’s ex-girlfriend shows up, and the way Deaimon gives attention and care to its portrayal of their history (as well as the complicated feelings that arise) gives further credence to what I said about seeing relationships uncommon in anime.

Deaimon isn’t filled with astonishing plot developments, but it isn’t an aimless slice-of-life work either. Rather, its low-key-drama vibe makes for a hearty dose of emotions that somehow both soothe the soul and excite the spirit. Deaimon heals, invigorates, and makes the world look like a better place, even through the darkness.

Paying It Forward: Love Live! Superstar!! 2nd Season

In 2021, the first season of Love Live! Superstar!! made a powerful impression on me. With its tightly written story centered around heroine Shibuya Kanon’s lifelong struggle with performance anxiety and stage fright, it stood out in a positively memorable way. One of the aspects that helped the storytelling was its relatively small cast of characters compared to the Love Live! franchise standard, so when it was announced that Season 2 of Superstar!! would nearly double the main group from five girls to nine, I worried that the series might lose what made it work so well.  Fortunately, my fears were unfounded, and Season 2 has turned out to be a solid follow-up that does a good job of playing off its predecessor—and also introduces my favorite member in the process.

Love Live! Superstar!! 2nd Season picks up from where the first left off. The elite Yuigaoka Girls’ High School has accepted the School Idol Club and their group, Liella! Kanon has managed to overcome her issues and can sing loudly and proudly on stage. There’s unfinished business in that Liella! couldn’t make it past the preliminaries of the Love Live! competition. The character arcs are mostly resolved, do the question becomes, what story do they tell given that fact?

The answer is to introduce new girls and place an emphasis on a senpaikouhai dynamic that isn’t really present in other Love Live! anime. While other series actively celebrate the lack of such hierarchical distinctions, Superstar!! 2nd Season puts it front and center. That’s not to say it’s big on seniority, but the perspectives provided by experience becomes a key factor in the narrative.

The senpai characters do receive episodes of their own (like a hilarious one about gamer addiction), but they seem to get less screen time overall, and even theirs will link back to the new girls in some way. This is likely by design, as it not only does this work to introduce all the first-years, but it provides a clear indicator of progress for the original five as seasoned school idols who must mentor the next generation. After all their hard work, Kanon and the other senpai have gotten so good that they accidentally scare off most of the new student body, who are too worried about not being able to live up to the standards set by Liella! Like the ongoing debates over fighting game design, Superstar!! 2nd Season asks what is the right balance between granting accessibility and rewarding ambition. 

Superstar!! 2nd Season idoes a good job of differentiating the new girls from their upperclassmen, though they can at times feel a little less three-dimensional. The big sticking point is that they seem to adhere more to anime character archetypes, but they’re developed well enough that it becomes less of an issue over time. Also, I have to admit that I myself can be a sucker when the tropes fall in my favor, such as in the case of my Liella! favorite, Wakana Shiki. She’s an aloof scientist with a secret soft side, and her similarities to Nunotaba Shinobu from A Certain Scientific Railgun (including liberal peppering of English phrases into her speech) is both noted and highly welcome.

As Superstar!! 2nd Season progresses, it gradually brings the focus back to the original girls of Liella!, reviving and adding new angles to some of the challenges from Season 1. For example, a rival antagonist shows up who reignites criticisms of school idols as being inherently mediocre artistically, adding a bit of Zhong Lanzhu–esque flair along the way. But the lessons Kanon has learned from her own challenges and the results of that mean her answers to the questions posed to her reflect the positive changes she’s made.

Overall, Love Live! Superstar 2nd Season manages to be a great continuation that builds on a solid foundation. While it risks getting bloated, its broader character dynamics help to mitigate that concern. What results is an anime that shows what Love Live! is capable of.

I Enjoy Duolingo’s Silly Sentences

Duolingo is probably the most talked-about language app currently around. I myself have tried it in the past hoping to shore up the languages in which I have some degree of familiarity, and also maybe even pick up new ones. Having studied and used Japanese for over twenty years, I’m well aware that attaining fluency in a foreign tongue is a lot of work, so I don’t expect miracles from an app that’s built primarily around accessibility. But Duolingo itself claims to be able to help people learn languages, so I wanted to see how others felt about the app.

A recurring criticism of Duolingo I found, especially when it comes to older versions of the app, is that it often provides example sentences that lean towards the impractical—less “Where is the bathroom?” and more “Who let the dogs out?” However, I think this is what I initially liked about Duolingo. In my experience learning languages, I feel like I make the best progress when I’m given the tools to be silly. I find that having language learning come down to utility—teaching useful phrases to be used in everyday situations or when traveling—tends to de-emphasize thinking more deeply about the language. 

The silly sentences highlight the idea that languages are made of “building blocks” that can be rearranged and recombined. A firm foundation is still important, of course, but the focus on silliness encourages thinking of languages as flexible concepts. Ask yourself, how would any given language translate something like “Who let the dogs out?” Would the word for “let out” be more like “make go out?” Or “let go out?” Or perhaps even “release?” It’s not impossible by any means to get this with the more practical approach, but going at it from a more lighthearted angle takes some of the tension and pressure of learning a language away, at least in my opinion.

I never really used Duolingo for Japanese, and I left a Dutch course largely unfinished back in 2018 that I’m only returning to now. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve found myself returning to the app more or less for the hell of it. This time, my goal has been Mandarin Chinese, and I’ve slowly plugged away at it while purposely taking a more casual approach. I do one lesson a day, and now I’ve completed the entire Mandarin course up to Level 1. What I noticed is that Duolingo can have a tendency to throw you in the deep end and not really explain grammar rules and the like, but much like the presence of silly sentences, I think it encouraged me to be a detective of sorts and try to figure out how the sentences work. That said, the fact that I know Japanese (and can speak another form of Chinese decently well) might have given me an unfair advantage over someone who has no experience in East Asian languages and tries out Duolingo.

Am I fluent in Mandarin now? Certainly not. Given the fact that Duolingo doesn’t even teach nearly all the Chinese characters needed to be considered “fluent,” that’s an aspirational goal that has to go beyond one lone app with an owl mascot. But I was actually listening to a VTuber stream recently that included some Mandarin Chinese, and I found myself catching things I never would have been able to even a year ago. I’d consider that progress.

Evangelion + Beavis & Butt-Head = Chainsaw Man

A sketch of a character that is a combination of Shinji from Evangelion, Denji from Chainsaw Man, and Butt-Head from Beavis & Butthead

I was originally going to write about how Chainsaw Man reminds me of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s the way Chainsaw Man feels like you’re peering into a creator’s psyche, how it both leans into and plays with various tropes, and importance given to feelings of loneliness. The manga (and soon to be anime) stands out from its peers and defies so much of what we consider “proper storytelling,” and I genuinely think it’s going to become an influence on creators on the level of Evangelion

But the two works are also fundamentally different in a lot of ways, and any actual influence from one to the other is indirect at best. The missing piece of the puzzle is that as much as Chainsaw Man has shades of Evangelion, it’s also reminiscent of Beavis & Butt-Head

Denji (aka Chainsaw Man) isn’t suffering the same type of loneliness that Shinji from Evangelion feels. One could argue that Shinji is a whiny teen too caught up in his own head, but the kind of heavy introspection he (and the other characters) engage in isn’t something Denji does for the most part. Instead, like Beavis and Butt-Head, he rarely thinks things through properly, and is also obsessed with losing his virginity. And similar to Beavis & Butt-Head’s environment, Denji lives in a world that seems off-kilter, as if even that which is considered “normal” is more facade than foundation. Also, Denji is not terribly smart most of the time, but he also has brief glimmers of insight—a kind of Butt-Head-esque quality. 

I sometimes describe Denji as being cut from the same cloth as Monkey D. Luffy, but I realize now that this analogy is limited because while they share some things in common, Denji doesn’t have that sense of justice and camaraderie. I realize now that a better comparison is to say that Denji is Shinji combined with Butt-Head. He’s kind of shallow, yet his emotions nevertheless feel real and honest, and ultimately he’s not a bad guy. I think it’s part of what gives Chainsaw Man a strange profundity. 

And if Denji is Shinji + Butt-Head, that would mean the character of Power can be viewed as Asuka + Beavis. Asuka is aggressive and trying to constantly prove herself, while Beavis is like a bizarre embodiment of Freudian id who also comes across as naively innocent at times. It totally works, is something I’m currently telling myself.

Could you imagine what it would actually look like if you tried to cross over Evangelion and Beavis & Butt-Head? It would be a spectacle of the absurd, gross yet fascinating—Chainsaw Man to a tee. In a series where characters grapple with emotional problems that run the gamut of silly and vapid to deep and soul-rending, everything feel bizarre and unstable, and when you add a layer of hyperviolence on top of everything else, you get a series that’s incredibly hard to match.

Truly Something for Everyone: Splatoon 3

In Splatoon, ink is everything. It’s how you take down opponents, it’s how you advance and retreat, it’s how you control space, it’s how you assist allies, and it’s how you win. This core mechanic is so smart, creative, and well-executed that it basically provides a solid foundation for every game entry. Unless the creators actively screw things up, it’s hard to mess with such a successful formula. However, while a bit of a spitshine would produce a decent enough sequel, Splatoon 3 has gone above and beyond to take the lessons from its predecessors and create a more fun and more refined experience.

The bread and butter of Splatoon is its multiplayer, where teams of four compete. While the basic gameplay remains fundamentally the same, and I’m nowhere good enough to notice subtle differences in weapon ranges and the like, it’s very clear that the developers put a lot of thought into improving things. For the more competitive sort, ranked battles now have two types of games available so you can play the ones you enjoy more. For everyone in general, the new generation of super weapons builds on an important development that’s happened over the course of many games. The original Splatoon was famous for having invincible supers with such great power that games revolved around them. Splatoon 2 dialed this back a bit, and now Splatoon 3 puts an even greater emphasis on interactivity and counterplay.

But not everyone is into competing against other players, of course. Fortunately, Splatoon 3 provides alternatives. The first is the return of Salmon Run, a multiplayer co-op experience against waves of computer-controlled enemies. The second is the best story mode thus far, delivering in every way that matters. Like previous games, the singleplayer story mode works as a nice introduction to the games’ mechanics, but the actual plot itself is actually filled with thrilling surprises that provides great fodder for long-time fans without alienating newer players.

Speaking of avoiding crushing beginners, while it’s clear that the Octo Expansion was a major influence on how this turned out, fortunately it’s not as harsh as that Splatoon 2 DLC. I still get chills thinking about the Octo Expansion’s hidden final boss, Inner Agent 3, and I expect an eventual Splatoon 3 DLC to be similarly expert-focused.

I do have a couple complaints about the game. One is that the initial tutorial basically requires players to use the motion controls. While I prefer that method of control myself, I know people who just cannot get accustomed to that setup. Between that and requiring a shooter-type weapon (technically also my preference) to get through most of the singleplayer, and I think that perhaps not enough has been done to help those who don’t prefer the default style of Splatoon but still want to enjoy it. Another is that many of the maps in online play feel a little cramped, and as someone whose preferred weapon (the N-Zap) thrives on mobility, I find myself feeling at times like there’s no escape. I think I can probably adjust to that, though.

Overall, Nintendo has really hit it out of the park with Splatoon 3. It’s basically everything I was hoping for, even as I’m still trying to get used to all the changes. This one’s a winner.

Rock-Troll Remake: “Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island”

Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island can be described as one of the most elaborate shitposts ever. 

This doesn’t mean the film is bad—quite the opposite, in fact. But it’s precisely because Cucuruz Doan’s Island turns out to be a solid work that makes it even more of a shitpost.

Origins

Cucuruz Doan’s Island was originally Episode 15 of the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, about an AWOL Zeon soldier who is now raising orphans on an island that the protagonist, Amuro Ray, crashes on. It’s infamous for a variety of reasons, not least of which are its abysmally off-model animation quality, and the fact that Director Tomino refuses to let it be included in releases outside of Japan. It’s an early instance of a yashigani crab episode, the kind of thing that seems to embarrass all involved. Well, what if 43 years later, they decided to turn it into a feature-length piece with the budget of a full-fledged animated film? 

It’s about as cheeky a move you can make, especially because the idea of re-animating something from First Gundam like this isn’t really done. Sure, there’s Gundam: The Origin, but while the manga is a retelling of the entire story of the One Year War, the anime version mainly covers events before that conflict, making it a prequel of sorts.

Doing More with More

So how do you stretch a 20-something-minute episode into a full movie? Well, you give it More of Everything. There’s more fights: Doan is shown in his Zaku to be fending off unwelcome island visitors from the start, and even has a tussle with the Gundam early on. There’s more plot: The White Base crew’s visit to the island, as well as Doan’s former role in the Zeon forces are given greater context. There’s greater stakes: The threat of worldwide catastrophe looms in this film in a way it never did as a TV episode. There’s more characters: Doan goes from having four orphans to having about three times as many (including an older boy who’s jealous of Amuro), and a whole new platoon of Zeon soldiers is incorporated into the story. Also, Char Aznable shows up (of course), but only in a literal fever dream.

On top of all that, Doan’s Zaku for the film has been purposely designed to be thinner and with a different head construction compared to the standard. This is actually a reference to it being horribly off-model in the original TV series, which has now become the catalyst that has transformed artistic mistakes into the baseline for a unique mobile suit design. This is perhaps the biggest indicator of the somewhat trolling nature of Cucurzu Doan’s Island.

Hindsight and Evolution

Yasuhiko “Yaz” Yoshikazu, the original character designer from the TV series, is actually the director of this film, and it shows. In many ways, it feels more like an episode of Giant Gorg than Gundam in the way characters interact with and explore their environment. The character designs in the film are very clearly based on Yaz’s more modern work a la Gundam: The Origin, but there’s also something about the way characters move that evokes their personalities more powerfully than even some of the best episodes of First Gundam. When Amuro walks around the island, he does so with an awkwardness that really hammers home the fact that he was originally an introverted tinkerer who got thrust into piloting the most powerful weapon of the time. The ways he walks, runs, and reacts come across as possibly even neurodivergent, and makes him feel that much more out of place in the world where he lives. 

In this way, one of the remarkable things about Cucuruz Doan’s Island is the way it acts simultaneously as a nostalgia piece and a work that reflects on Gundam’s long history. In addition to being an opportunity to see the old White Base crew in action again, there are all sorts of details that convey a kind of homecoming. For example, when you see Zeon soldiers (Doan included) react to the presence of the Gundam with fear and awe, it both makes sense in the context of the story and as a nod to the fact that this is the RX-78-2, the Ur-Gundam. Pretty much all the old characters are there with their original voice actors (provided they’re alive). It’s very clear that Furuya Toru and Furukawa Toshio are four decades older and can’t quite play teen characters as naturally as they used to, but they also bring just as many years of experience and refinement to the roles. 

There’s another aspect of Cucuruz Doan’s Island as a do-over that stands out to me, and perhaps to anyone who cares about Gundam lore: Despite being a remake of a TV episode, the movie places itself more in the original film trilogy’s version of events. In addition to the complete absence of the Core Fighter—the cockpit plane that was used as part of the “docking” sequences used in the TV series to give it more of a “super robot” aesthetic like Gundam’s predecessors—Cucuruz Doan’s Island also features the Core Booster vehicle that was created for the trilogy. And while I can’t remember offhand the exact sequence of events, the flow of the story seems to place it more in the trilogy’s timeline of events as well. This, too, feels like Yaz trying to correct past mistakes.

Beyond the Time

I’m not sure which would be funnier: this movie leading to an international release of First Gundam with the missing episode, or if we actually end up with the movie available to purchase but still no Episode 15. Either choice would add onto the legacy of Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island as arguably the ultimate shitpost, and I have to wonder if other properties might attempt something similar.