REVIEW: ‘Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’ Fights It’s Battles Through Shades Of Grey

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Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway - But Why Tho

Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway is a Netflix Original sci-fi/mecha anime produced by Sunrise. It’s been over a decade since Char’s Rebellion rocked the Solar System. Now, an individual going by the name Mafty leads a movement to see humanity completely migrate from the Earth so it can recover from the centuries of abuse it has suffered at humanity’s hands. But what is Mafty? An idealistic dreamer who wants what is best? Or a simple terrorist that gets innocent people killed?

It’s said the more things change, the more they stay the same. Rarely does a viewing experience hit that note as hard as my watch of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway. With my only previous experience with the renowned Gundam franchise being the 1995 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, I found myself amazed by how much the storytelling and visuals have grown and matured in their approach to concepts like revolution, terrorism, and war, while not abandoning those broad concepts that made Wing interesting and unique to me back when I was first discovering anime.

The movie opens as a space shuttle makes its descent from space headed for earth. The passengers are comprised mostly of Cabinet ministers who are returning for an important political conference. Among them are also a few random civilians such as notable military son Hathaway Noa and a mysterious young woman named Gigi Andalusia. Before the shuttle can make landfall it is boarded by terrorists that plan to take the minister’s ransom to fund Mafty’s fight against the government.

From the taking of the shuttle, right up until the credits roll, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway blends deep political and moral discussion with intense moments that strip away any grandiose or glory one might think of combat with, and goes out of its way to showcase just how terrifying the future combat of Mobile suits would be. This is captured in one of the tensest and stressful science fiction combat sequences I have ever witnessed.

Shortly after surviving their run-in with the terrorists onboard their shuttle, Hathaway, and Gigi are required to stay the night at a local hotel so they can give their statements the next day. During the night, Mafty forces attack the city. As Hathway desperately tries to keep Gigi from harm, the city around them is consumed in fire, ripped apart by explosions, or melts before their eyes as massive beam weapons turn everything they touch into liquid.

The monstrous disparity in size between the Mobile Suits and the human population trapped in their wake takes the powerless feeling that civilians trapped in a firefight always have and cranks it up by a factor of ten. Every step by the metal colossuses sends bystanders stumbling, and each impact of falling debris and shrapnel threatens to wipe them all from existence. It is easily one of the most intense sequences I’ve seen recently.

While this horrifying sequence steals the show for Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway, the rest of the movie’s roughly hour and thirty minutes are put to equally good use. The many looks, thoughts, and opinions about the actions of Mafty, by both those in the know and those not, do a great job at illustrating how complicated any armed uprising can be, and how it can mean so many different things to so many different people.

The visual style of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway captures all the intensity and emotion of its biggest moments with great skill and polish. While the visual approach here may not be as unique as other recent Netflix offerings, its focus on the emotions and impact of the conflict that centers its narrative is served extremely well with this less original, but extremely well-executed approach.

When all is said and done, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway delivers a tense, philosophical look at the feature’s central conflict, and how it can mean so many different things to so many people.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway is streaming now on Netflix.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway delivers a tense, philosophical look at the feature’s central conflict, and how it can mean so many different things to so many people.