Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 4 October 2022: Which Gundam? Witch Gundam

Aerial
Everybody has a plan until they get Gundamed in the face.

Despite blogging about anime for more than 20 years, I know surprisingly little about the Gundam franchise as a whole. Aside from some inescapable tropes and details, basically everything that I do know comes from Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny (the only installments that I've watched). Oh, and the compilation movies for the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but that was a long time ago. However, after the prologue to and the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury), I'm fairly confident in assuming regular-type Gundam TV ain't normally like this. And I'm not just saying that because the lead character is a girl.

Suletta and schoolmates
Be nice to the new girl.

I've seem multiple fans describe Mercury Witch Gundam as Utena Gundam, which seems about right to me, with the heavy caveat that I don't know anything about Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) either. It at least fits the stereotypes I've encountered related to Utena. Maybe nobody has turned into a car yet, but it's only been one episode. Basically everything that did happen in the first episode was absurd, and that also fits with my secondhand impression of Utena. Y'know, maybe it's not that weird. Maybe Gundam is always like this and I just never knew. I'm at least aware people get slapped in Gundam, and there is slapping in the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo. Maybe it's not that different after all.

Dated 8 November 2007: Using Banner of the Stars to alleviate Lovely Complex withdrawal

Diaho, Lafiel, and Jinto
Lafiel and Jinto spend some time with Diaho.

Take a Lovely Complex-inspired desire to watch more relationship anime, coincide that with the GREAT RE-WATCHING PROJECT, add a soft spot for space opera, top it off with the AYAKO DOCTRINE, and you'll find me enjoying my Banner of the Stars II DVDs again.

Lafiel
Lafiel.

The best part of the Crest of the Stars and Banner of the Stars series is the relationship between Jinto and Lafiel. It's one of the rare occasions where I don't object to a couple's apparent lack of progress. While there is no reason to think that Jinto and Lafiel are tearing each others clothes off in-between scenes, the lack of eros doesn't compare with Keiichi's and Belldandy's infuriating self-imposed celibacy, mainly because Jinto's and Lafiel's relationship actually progresses over the course of the series. Also because they don't act like idiots. There is that.

Dated 27 November 2005: Seikai no Senki III

I've been so out of it that I didn't even know the third Banner of the Stars was out already. Being a big fan of space opera, and the earlier Crest of the Stars and Banner of the Stars installments, I was all over this.

Lafiel
Lafiel

Somewhat surprisingly, I was unprepared for how much I enjoyed hearing Ayako Kawasumi's voice again.

Let me back up a bit: I went anime-less cold turkey for three months—long enough that hearing Japanese again sounded weird as all Hell. I got used to it, of course. The first show I caught up with was Gundam SEED Destiny, and while it was nice hearing Fumiko Orikasa and Tanaka Rie again, I can't honestly claim that the experience was especially noteworthy.

Lafiel
Lafiel

Ayako Kawasumi's voice, on the other hand, was very welcome. It certainly helped that the character Lafiel is one of her best roles (if not her very best role), but in any case I reaffirm without reservation that the AYAKO DOCTRINE remains good law.

Given my immediate reaction to hearing Ayako Kawasumi's voice again at the start of Banner of the Stars III, I was naturally quite pleased with the OAV's ending. It was definitely appropriate.

Lafiel and Jinto
Lafiel and Jinto

I'm not bestowing enough import upon Seikai no Senki III itself. The Crest/Banner of the Stars saga is a great series, and I was stoked to learn of this new installment. Even if I wasn't a sucker for space opera, the relationship between Lafiel and Jinto makes them one of the most compelling couples in all of anime—at least in my opinion.