Last year, Netflix brought us Gundam: Hathawaya recent entry in the vaunted mecha franchise Timeline “Global Century” This, despite the weight of the context on it, served as an interesting introduction to Decades old epic. This year we have another Gundam A movie is on the way – but it works best if you already like the series.
This is because Mobile Suit Gundam: Kokoroz Doan Island It is an intriguingly indulgent entry to Shorouk. For a franchise that’s known to expand and iterate on itself across countless stories and timelines as in the nostalgia saga that started it all – Amuro Ray vs. Char Aznable, Earth Federation vs. Principality of Zeon, the white demon that is RX-78- 2 Gundam—Duane Island It might be one of her most permissive entries in a long time. Directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, the original 1979 character designer Gundam Anime, and artist adapted to lavish manga like Gundam: OriginThe movie is a roughly two-hour adaptation of the fifteenth episode of the original Gundam suit mobile. Set during the original series One Year War, the film follows Amuro Ray and the crew of the White Base as they are tasked with investigating a mysterious island in the Canary Islands, where the Scouting Federation has been wiped out. What Amuro finds after a showdown with Zaku’s mobile suit is one fugitive from Zeon, the titular name Cucuruz Doan, who has traded war to raise a group of orphaned children.
The episode was ridiculed at the time due to the animation flaws in the shoe series budget, and the episode was titled “The Island of Kokoroz Dhawan” –disavowed by GundamThe creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino, and outside of Japan were legally unwatchable until the show started Streaming on Funimation In 2020. It’s an odd choice to adapt to a big screen, yet perhaps one that also makes sense: It provides an opportunity for Shorouk, and Yasuhiko himself, not only to ignite the flames of nostalgia for the beloved original series, but to undo the mistakes and flaws made more than 40 years ago. , to give the story Gundam She wanted to say all those decades past deserved their polish. This means that despite its great uptime, Duane Island This is for all intents and purposes a TV episode due to a budget that extends into theatrical runtime.
This works and hinders the film in equal measure. For starters, it is measured At its own pace, as the mystery surrounding the island is set, Doan’s intentions, and Amuro’s willingness to believe those intentions after becoming impotent and stranded without Gundam during the first half. Things start to get even worse than the original episode with the introduction of two Zonne threats midway through – Duane’s old elite Zako team, tasked with investigating the island because it’s a secret missile-launching facility for Zon’s forces on Earth – and from there he heads toward the conclusion of a mecha-on-mecha action and plenty of explosions, but he At the same time it looks like it is being rushed somehow along the way. Without the budget constraints of a TV animation, it’s definitely a great movie, but likewise without the constraints of TV storytelling Duane Island You become more about feelings than it is a tight plot, and you are along the way.
That’s not to say Doan’s Island doesn’t try to use its runtime well in parts. The slow opening gives both the audience and Amuro time to endear to the rowdy, easily panicked group of orphans that Doan has taken in, to understand in part why they would eke out a hard life of trying to farm in the island’s volcanic soil and use its flimsy structures as impromptu water pump facilities to survive in secluded isolation, not far from the coast of the Federation’s luxuries in Las Palmas. Making both us and its protagonist care about these children as Doan does makes the action of the second half that much tenser (even if you know what’s going to happen, given this is an adaptation of an episode of a 43-year-old anime), and the rush of seeing not just Doan’s beat-up Zaku face off against his former allies, but the classic Gundam itself, is given the time and delight such an indulgence deserves.
But that still makes a movie that is a little too long and a little too indulgent for its own good, which is hard to recommend to newcomers in the way that last year’s Hathaway—even though it was layered under eons of context from the wider Gundam franchise, and itself is an adaptation of even more obscure, hard-to-access material—wasn’t. And that’s not because Doan’s Island leans on knowledge of the original Gundam to a fault, or because it throws events and terminology at you in such a way to obfuscate anyone but the diehard fans, but simply because without a wider understanding of the movie’s place in the original series’ story, it’s simply… fine. A little long, but still a fine time.
What makes Cucuruz Doan’s Island much more rewarding is coming into it already having experienced Amuro’s story across the original anime and beyond it in follow ups like Zeta Gundam and Char’s Counterattack. A Gundam diehard already knows the story of its adaptation, and knows that this is an Amuro that we are encountering still early in his own story, not quite the man he would become by the end of the original show. So seeing his reactions to a Zeon deserter, getting to understand the humanity of a man who, at some point, would’ve been an enemy to be blinked out in an instant as Amuro does without hesitation to his foes in the back half of film, are enriched by knowing just how fundamental the lessons the young man learns here are to understanding his whole journey. Seeing him face pilots far more experienced than he would be at this point, and overcome them, speaks to his eventual skill and his blossoming as one of the series’ fabled “Newtypes.”
Curucuz Doan’s Island isn’t the kind of fanservice that points at the Gundam, nudges you, and yells “look! It’s Gundam!” But it’s a fanservice that allows the people who already love its story to feel like that love will let them enrich and better appreciate this newly polished chapter of it. And it’s that which makes it worth seeing, even with all its pacing issues and its otherwise peculiar tale. If you’re a Gundam neophyte, there are certainly things to enjoy, but this is a movie for the fans of Gundam’s earliest years, for better or worse—and for them at least, it’s definitely going to be for the better.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan’s Island will release in both dubbed and subtitled formats in the UK on September 21 and 22, in the U.S. on September 27 and 28, and Canada on September 29 and October 1, and will also release for a special one-week run in Australia starting September 29.
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