Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

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He's baaaaaaack!

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack is an anime movie set in the primary Universal Century timeline of Gundam, taking place in UC 0093. Char's Counterattack is the final culmination of the original saga begun in Mobile Suit Gundam and continued through Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ, marking the final conflict of the fourteen year rivalry between Char Aznable and Amuro Ray, and the end of the Earth Federation/Zeon conflicts.

The year is Universal Century 0093. Five years have passed since the First Neo-Zeon War. The Federation has recovered from its defeat and has created a new anti-colonial special forces unit to deal with rebel forces: Londo Bell. Elsewhere in space Char Aznable re-appears out of self imposed hiding with a declaration that he now commands his own Neo-Zeon movement. Unlike movements of the past, Char intends to force the emigration of Earth's inhabitants to space by bringing about an ice age.

The movie is also noteworthy for having a rather unusual genesis. Originally, Yoshiyuki Tomino was going to wrap up Amuro and Char's storyline in Gundam ZZ, but mid-way through production he was given the go-ahead to make a movie, forcing ZZ' s plot to be rewritten (details on its trope page). Tomino's original write-up was a novel called Hi-Streamer, but Sunrise insisted on some changes, resulting in the film as it exists now. Tomino then wrote another novel, Beltorchika's Children, which draws mostly upon the movie but has lots of new content and a few important changes, such as replacing Chein Agi with Zeta Gundam's Beltorchika Irma. These two novels are the origin of the Hi-Nu Gundam (the finalized, "perfect" Nu Gundam) and Nightingale (a bigger, beefier Sazabi), which pop up in video games like Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation.

In 2014, a manga adaptation of Beltorchika's Children began serialization on Gundam Ace, which is still ongoing.

Tropes used in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack include:
  • The Ace: Amuro and Char.
  • Ascended Meme: Gyunei tells Quess that everyone thinks Char is into young girls.
  • Little Miss Badass: Everyone assumes Char is after Quess because he likes young girls. The truth is that he just wants to use Quess to kill people since she's one REALLY powerful Newtype.
  • Big Bulky Bomb: Char's asteroid is crammed with nukes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Char and Amuro end up slaying one another... as Earth is only saved by a miracle.
    • Could pretty much be considered a quasi-downer ending at the same time when you think about it. Which would eventually contribute to the events of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
    • Nay... A miracle it is. However, it wouldn't have happened if it were not Amuro Ray, who made a desperate push first-hand against the Axis using the reaction between the Psyco Frame of Sazabi and his Nu Gundam - which is not made just for show!! Even the Big Bad Char Aznable had to acknowledge the stream of hope and warmth Amuro has caused.
  • Bright Slap: Blink-and-you'll-miss-it: Bright does this to Hathaway. Sadly, it fixes nothing.
  • The Captain: Bright Noa. It's suggested however that despite his position as head of
  • Call Back: An incredibly subtle one to Zeta Gundam, illustrated in this picture.
  • Captain Ersatz: For a character in the same series, no less. Gyunei was originally supposed to be Kamille Bidan, having undergone questionable brain surgery & cybernetic implants to cure the brain damage he suffered at the end of Zeta Gundam, but this was abandoned for various reasons. This concept is later referenced in the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series, where Kamille will occasionally be seen piloting Gyunei's Jagd Doga.
  • Car Fu: The Londo Bell forces use a variant as one of their battle tactics, jumping off their Base Jabber transports as they hit the enemy line and letting them ram into their foes' suits.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "That's egotism!!"
    • "The Nu Gundam's not just for show!!"
  • Character Development: Char, in a negative way at the end of Zeta Gundam before becoming the antagonist in this movie.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hit Sayla hard. Despite being the protagonist's onetime love interest and the antagonist's sister, she's only mentioned once in the film (referred to as Artesia by Char in a flashback to Lalah's death) and never seen. What makes this particularly surprising is the cameo she had in ZZ which was meant to foreshadow the movie.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl (Quess)
  • Colony Drop (Or asteroids, in this case.)
    • Both actually, since Axis-Zeon is a Colony and an Asteroid.
      • And then cranked up to eleven with enough nukes on board to bring about a planet-wide nuclear winter.
  • Conspicuous CG: Notable because it's the first CG ever used in a Gundam work.
  • Continuity Snarl (Aside from the movie itself, you have the Zeta movie trilogy which negates Gundam ZZ and possibly everything after it, Tomino's novelization (which was written first before the movie) of CCA which changes details of the movie and the Evolve 5 short feature based on the novel which retcons Quess' death.)
    • Not so. The established rule is that all animated Gundam work are considered canon. The latest Gundam work, Gundam Unicorn, used a lot of details from Gundam ZZ (characters and MS design alike) and thus indirectly confirmed ZZ's continued canonity (while the Zeta movie trilogy is considered alternate universe, if it negates ZZ at all). The novelization and the Evolve 5 are considered AU and What If? scenarios.
  • Doomed Hometown (Quess' own homeland is the first to be destroyed.)
  • Energy Weapons
  • Evolutionary Levels
  • Expy: Chan Agi was said to be a replacement for Beltorchika Irma, after Tomino wasn't allowed to use the latter. Because of this, Chan was killed off.
    • And since Beltorchika is an Expy of Sayla that makes her an Expy of an Expy.
  • The Federation
  • Flawed Prototype (The Nu Gundam, despite being pretty incredible, is still a rushed and incomplete version of Amuro's original design; the fin funnels are even a last-second addition and just stick to a random latch on the backpack. Officially, the completed version is the Hi-Nu Gundam from Beltorchika's Children, which is streamlined and even better armed.)
  • Good Old Fisticuffs (Nu Gundam & Sazabi's fancy Energy Weapons crap out toward the end, resulting in one of the most brutal bareknuckle beatdowns in anime history.)
  • Gundam Fighter (Several playable characters, including variations of Amuro and Char.)
  • Hot Amazon (Kayra Su)
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • Humongous Mecha
  • Iconic Characters
  • I Surrender, Suckers (Char's strategy for defeating a war weary Federation. Ironically, they seem to be willing to give Char nearly everything he could possibly want even after he launched an unprovoked attack on them).
  • Kill'Em All (The movie kills literally the entire cast except for Bright Noa and his family.)
    • And then his son Hathaway bites it in one of the novels.
  • Knight Templar (Char Aznable intends to force all of humanity into space so they can evolve into Newtypes)
  • Latex Space Suit
  • Lolicon - Ephebophile (13-year-old Quess is an object of much sexual desire from the majority of the male cast. Only Amuro and Bright seem immune --- though how much Char is feeling and how much he's faking is anyone's guess)
  • Love Hurts (A significant portion of the cast is killed because of the male portion's attraction to Quess. Namely, Gyunei (who's in love with her and is killed by Amuro), the mechanic Astonage Medoz (tried to stop Hathaway from going to find Quess, was killed by an explosion - then again, his girlfriend Kayra Su had just died as well) and Amuro's girlfriend Chein (who kills Quess and is offed by Hathaway since he had just succeeded to make Quess pull a Heel Face Turn and Chein ruined it. And let's not even get into Amuro and Char...)
  • Meaningful Name (A blatant Scrappy that everyone hates? That brings about the deaths of so many people? One has to wonder if Quess's last name, which is pronounced like "Pariah", is a hint to Tomino wanting a hated character)
    • Nu Gundam. In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, Amuro actually says "This Nu Gundam isn't just for show!", though it sounds more like "This new Gundam isn't just for show!"
  • Minovsky Physics
  • Never Found the Body: The fates of Amuro and Char are unknown at the end, but in the novelization, Amuro and Char had died.
  • 90% of Your Brain (Quess and Hathaway have a conversation suggesting that this is the origin of Newtype powers, that people used only a fraction (said to be "half," not 10% as in the trope) of their brains while living on Earth, but began to use the rest when they moved into space. How seriously we are to take them is somewhat open to debate, in that they're teenagers, not scientists, and both spend the rest of the movie doing very little that one might consider "smart," or "well thought out." Nonetheless, the franchise never openly contradicts this explanation.)
  • Oh Crap: Char, when his brilliant plan is suddenly derailed.
  • Older and Wiser: Amuro.
  • Real Robot
  • Recursive Adaptation: Beltochika's Children was a novel adaptation of the film of the novel, also by Tomino. Most notable for introducing the venerable High Nu Gundam which often pops up as a secret MS in video games featuring Amuro as his Infinity+1 Sword. A manga adaptation even exists of said novel.
  • The Remnant (Neo-Zeon, which bizarrely has nothing to do with the nation of Zeon.)
  • Self-Made Orphan Quess unwittingly kills her own father in her first battle.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: The climax of the movie where mobile suits are trying to push Axis away from earth, somewhat falls apart when you realize that the mobile suits are pushing it in such a way to decelerate it, which would make things worse.
    • The dialogue however is correct: everyone is freaked when Axis decelerates, and are really happy when it is re-accelerated by the mobile suits and Nu Gundam.
  • Super Robot Wars (One of the mainstays of the series with the plot being used for many of the games. The only non-Zeon times Axis is used fo a Colony Drop is in Super Robot Wars Compact and Super Robot Wars Advance)
    • The mobile suits are used so often that they don't have even be chronologically correct. Who would've known that Amuro piloted the Nu Gundam during the events of Zeta Gundam? Or Char/Quattro in Sazabi??
      • In the case of Amuro, the inclusion of CCA is just an excuse to give Amuro the Nu Gundam so he can match up with the other Gundam series included. Let's face it, the original RX-78-2 Gundam kind of pales in comparison when placed alongside other Gundams such as Zeta Gundam and The F91 Gundam.
    • Also, they liked to spare Amuro and Char from their deaths in the SRW series. But later subverted in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, whereas Amuro survived... Char didn't.
    • Another Century's Episode: So far the only series to be in all 4 cast lists. Not surprising given that Amuro was the original Real Robot pilot, making him to this series what Koji Kabuto is to the Super Robot Wars series.
  • Sword Fight
  • The Film of the Book: It's an adaption of Yoshiyuki Tomino's novel Hi-Streamer. Surprisingly, it also has Beltochika's Children as Novelization) by none other than Tomino himself, based on the rejected plot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Earth Federation leadership's attitude in this movie can be summed up thusly: "Okay Char, we'll give you a huge suitcase full of money and a giant space rock, just as long as you promise not to drop any giant space rocks on us." *Several minutes later* "DUDE, C'MON! WE HAD A DEAL!")
    • Londo Bell is an independent paramilitary organization that fights threats against the Federation. If that sounds familiar, it should, it's the same purpose the Titans served! Is it any wonder Char doesn't trust them? On the other hand, Londo Bell shows much more restraint than the Titans and under Bright Noa's watch is decidedly more benevolent.
  • Warrior Therapist (Taken to truly ludicrous extremes. Amuro & Char spend the last few minutes of their lives discussing Char's Oedipus Complex while smashing each others' mobile suits to bits as the Earth is about to get pulverized by a big rock.)
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist (Char, though how much is still a subject of Fan Wank among UC fans)
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Gyunei Guss's obsession with Quess may be because of his Cybernewtype enhancements. There is evidence in previous series that this is not that uncommon.
    • Makes even more sense when you recall that Quess is not just a normal newtype, but one that got her powers enhanced as well. No wonder Gyunei feels they're Birds of a Feather.
  • Worthy Opponent (Char actually gives Amuro a device that will allow him to fight Char on even terms. He also specifically says "You're worthy enough to be my rival" to Amuro)
  • Yandere - Quess. Gyunei and Hathaway might be male examples.
  • You Fail Nuclear Physics Forever: When the Londo Bell task force ships execute their Macross Missile Massacre with nuclear missiles hidden amongst them in an attempt to destroy Axis's engines before it can collide with Earth, both Char and Gyunei use their funnels to destroy them. The missiles, predictably, go nuclear.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Sazabi's cockpit ball changes size wildly between the scene where it's loaded into the thing's head and at the end where Nu Gundam grabs it out of Sazabi's shattered remains.