Mobile Suit V Gundam Collection 1 includes the first 26 episodes of the series, as well as some bonus features.

Mobile Suit V Gundam Collection 1
English Publisher: Sunrise Inc.
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: October 4, 2016

The series is set in the Universal Century, year 153. The Zanscare Empire, which rules almost all of Side 2, has declared its independence from the Earth Federation. The Zanscare Empire has begun an invasion of Earth, under the justification of creating a new space-based order.

Uso Ewin, the main character of the series, lives in Point Kasarelia, the illegal residence area in Eastern Europe. He, along with his friend, Shahkti Kareen, are caught in the fighting between the Zanscare Empire and an opposing resistance organization known as the League Militaire. Uso has the unfortunate luck of accidentally commandeering a mecha from the Zanscare Empire piloted by Cronicle Asher. This ultimately leads him to the League Militaire, and Uso turns out to be a natural pilot for the Victory Gundam. By joining up with the League Militaire, Uso hopes to find out what happened to his parents, who disappeared when he was younger. The 26 episodes included in this set show 13-year-old Uso discovering the horrors of war as he fights with the League Militaire.

Shahkti keeps wanting to return to Kasarelia because she hopes her missing mother will return, as well as Uso’s missing parents. At one point, the two of them return home, but their stay doesn’t last long because Uso is drawn back to the battlefield and to the fighting in order to protect the people he cares about.

Early on in the series, Uso goes to help the people of Uwing, which is near Kasarelia. He wants to protect a girl named Katejina Loos, and it appears that at the beginning of the series, Uso has a bit of a crush on her. Katejina travels with the League Militaire until she’s kidnapped and held hostage by Cronicle. After her abduction, though, we see her getting closer with Cronicle and by the end of the episodes in this set, she seems to have sided with the Zanscare Empire.

Over the course of these episodes, we are introduced to a number of characters, especially those affiliated with the League Militaire. Marbet Fingerhat is a female pilot who was originally intended to be the one to pilot the Victory Gundam, but Uso got the assignment after he seems to be a natural at piloting it without any real training. We are also introduced to the Shrike Team, made up of several women, yet led by a man named Oliver. Three of the members of the Shrike Team are named after American female celebrities (Kate Bush, Peggy Lee, and Connie Francis). However, the remaining members of the team don’t have this naming convention, so it seems a little odd. Unfortunately, Uso has to deal with the deaths of some of the members of the Shrike Team after getting close to them. There are also some other kids and young people in the group, as well as a dog named Flanders and the round bouncing robot named Haro.

During these episodes, the audience learns about Uso’s parents, as well as the identity of Shahkti’s mother. Let’s just say that the truth behind Shahkti’s heritage is a major game changer for the series, and the repercussions of this revelation aren’t entirely revealed by the last episode in this set.

Uso is obviously the main character in the series, but his growth and development during these 26 episodes are guided by his circumstances and the various characters he interacts with. I have a feeling that Uso will continue to grow and change as a character in the remaining episodes of the series, and it will be interesting to see how he handles certain situations after what happens to him in the final episodes that are included in this set.

I have to admit that when I first started watching Mobile Suit V Gundam, I wasn’t entirely sure if it would be something that would appeal to me. The series does have a little bit of a slow start, but once the various pieces were in place and all the important characters were introduced, I found myself becoming invested in these characters and their story. By the time I finished watching all 26 episodes included in Mobile Suit V Gundam Collection 1, I was wanting to watch the other collection in order to find out how the story would continue.

When it comes to this Blu-ray release, it has 1080p High Definition / 4:3 HD Native video. For audio, it has Japanese LPCM Stereo. I had no complaints with either the video or audio quality of this release.

There are a total of four bonus features included on this release. The first two features are the clean opening and the clean closing. These are the opening and ending credits, but without the credit text covering up the images.

The third bonus feature is “End of Episode Promos.” I thought this was going to be a collection of all of the next episode previews for the episodes included on this release, which seemed a little strange, since they were included at the end of each episode. It turns out there were five episodes that aired in Japan that included information about a contest being tacked on to the end of the previews when those particular episodes aired in Japan. All five appear back-to-back, and the bit attached at the end of each one was exactly the same between the five of them. I understand wanting to include all of them for viewers who are completionists, but I found this to be rather repetitive.

The final bonus feature is “Eyecatch Animation.” During the eyecatches that are included on this set, we see Haro growing bigger and how this affects Flanders. It turns out that this bonus feature takes the eyecatches from all 51 episodes of the series and puts them together into one piece. In that regard, you end up getting “spoilers” for the remaining eyecatches that will appear on Collection 2.

My guess is that there weren’t necessarily a lot of items they could include as bonus features, which would help explain why this release got what it did. However, with the “Eyecatch Animation” being used for Collection 1, what are they possibly going to include as bonuses for Collection 2 in addition to a clean opening and closing?

This Blu-ray release isn’t bad for what it is, and it’s a “must get” release for North American Mobile Suit Gundam fans that want to own Mobile Suit V Gundam in their anime home video library.

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