Part of me wonders if released in different circumstances, Gundam Unicorn might have been a bigger hit. While it was certainly by no means a flop, its unique release strategy, first as expensive individual OVAs and then, years later, as a compendium two cour series that ceremoniously chopped said OVAs up into 20 minute segments always felt like it spread out the hype for what could have been a glorious wholesale revival of Gundam in perhaps the same way Jojos exploded in popularity after its latest anime incarnation. Not to say that Gundam isn’t big now – but I still feel it could be even bigger.
Central to the pure pleasure of Gundam Unicorn though is, for me, this gorgeous Utopian feel it has – like Star Trek. All clean lines and white majesty through the blackness of a star-studded space. The dirt and grittiness of the earlier UC series has cleaned the way for an end-game, a finale of magisterial proportions where the hope and optimism the series has been hinting at all along is so close, so utterly within sight.
And Sawano Hiroyuki’s central orchestral movement for the series is right at the heart of that. So full, so powerful – like an anthem to a real-world state power. All choral bombast and ever rising grandeur, two intercurling themes that go away from the out and out rawness of some of his other work (Attack on Titan springs to mind) to offer a cleaner, richer kind of power. I always imagine this song playing out at the Olympics or something like that, this utter ode and paen to the potential of humanity as a race – what we might achieve if we put aside our differences. That beauty is so special, so optimistic – and I find myself returning to this piece again and again as the ultimate in inspiring ‘let’s do this’ energy.