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Sunrise opens a new chapter to the Gundam Universal Century saga with Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative, the long awaited continuation of the “UC” series past Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. As the name implies, along with the common “NT” abbreviation, the film is quite literally about the Gundam narrative, referring to the Newtype mythos and their exploitation by governments for the sake of warfare. Gundam as a franchise revolves around warring factions and political intrigue but the evolution of man(Newtypes) have always been a recurring and staple subject in mainline entries of the franchise, especially the UC series.
Narrative is a loose adaptation of the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn -Phoenix Hunting- 11th volume with many considerable changes to create an original storyline. The story follows Earth Federation Mobile Suit pilot Jona Basta and Luio & Co.’s Michelle Luio and their involvement in the “Phoenix Hunt” operation to retrieve the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03 Phenex . Both characters harbor deep feelings in the mission knowing the pilot of the Phenex is their late childhood friend Rita Bernal. The Phoenix Hunt operation is interfered by “Sleeves” remnants under command of Zoltan Akkanen, an unstable Cyber Newtype who was a failed “Resurrection of Char” candidate.
Narrative relies on much Gundam lore and history to build its story(0079, Zeta, and Unicorn) that may confuse or alienate newer fans, but serve as a treat for veteran fans of the Gundam franchise. The film is structured as more of a sequel to the Unicorn story, than a standalone entry as some may have hoped. Narrative is the answer to the political tension concerning Newtype civil rights(Laplace Incident) as seen in Unicorn, and focuses more on the metaphysical elements of the Newtype theory. As the characters pursue the limitless abilities of a Newtype and to “transcend the now”, the film gives a poignant lesson that humanity is not yet ready for such power.
Animation & Music
The Narrative film sports gorgeous, breathtaking mecha animation and battles befitting the juggernaut that is the Gundam franchise. The Sunrise production staff touted its use of hand drawn animation for the film. Hiroyuki Sawano returns from Unicorn as the composer for the film, once again delivering a high energy and alluring soundtrack. The upbeat insert theme “VigilaNTe” serves as the perfect thematic representation of the emotional torment Jona feels for Rita.
The film utilizes a poetic “going backwards to move forward” approach to expound on the narrative of Gundam, kicking off Sunrise’s new UC NexT 0100 Project to cover the next 100 years of the UC Gundam saga.