The Universal Century, a history marked by space colonization and space warfare, has passed. Humanity's prosperity has ushered in a new era of global peace known as the Regild Century. Bellri Zenam, a pilot training with the Capitol Guard, is chosen by the G-Self-a highly maneuverable Mobile Suit of unknown origin, operable only by a select few-to embark on a journey that will change the course of the Regild Century forever.
The problem with Gundam is it is much like a hot garlic bread roll: you're not sure which end to start eating it and once you do, you regret eating that much but once you get a taste for it, it becomes your heroin. So I've seen Gundam shows over the years but never enough to say I was a "Fan". My brother watched all of Gundam Zeta and I liked it but not enough to finish the whole damn thing. I've seen chunks of Gundam 00 and I own the Trailblazer movie on blu-ray because, hey, it's Gundam on blu-ray. So by the time I got into Gundam Build Fighters, SUNRISE were teasing out the first trailers for Reconguista in G, which marks the return of original Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino to the chief directors chair. Recon is set in the, ahem, Regild Century era which is after the Universal Century era which is the one everyone is most familiar with. Long story short, it's where most of the shows are from. However, this being a Tomino show, he doesn't come flat out and say where this is set so we can only guess. Check out this handy guide on Wikipedia to the UC Era for more info.
Bellri Zenam is a cadet with the Capital Guard, a city state between two warring nations, Gondwan and Ameria (nice, Tomino, subtle), and the only place that has a space elevator that allows the only solar energy to be collected for the planet. He's onboard one of the Capital's space stations called a Nut when it's attacked by Space Pirates led by Aida Surugan, the pilot of a new mecha called a G-Self (it's a Gundam unit). Soon after he, Noredo (another student from the academy) and a girl named Rarariya who was found with the G-Self, first themselves brought to the pirates lair after Bellri pilots the G-Self. The island is hidden from Capital Forces so Bellri settles into a wait and see with the pirates. At the same time, his mother Wilmit, who is the Operations Director for the Tower discovers that the Ag-Tech Taboo which governs the use of technology is being bent if not broken to further the aims of the higher ups in Capital territory. The fact that Bellri is missing and the Capital is using him as an excuse to arm their forces to "rescue" him makes her even more suspicious.
The best thing to say about this new approach is that it's trying to start a blank slate and I can't fault it for that. There are hints that there was another era before it as the nations and places seem to have been formed out the remnants of the Universal Century. The forces of the Capital Guard, who are meant to be a police service and nothing more, are building an army. That's not in dispute, Wilmit's 90% certain that her boss Colonel Cumpa is working around the ban on technology to build a mech and infantry army. In the first of these episodes, we are getting bits and pieces of the world after UC. Bellri is a good kid but even he knows when he's being lied to. He's being lied to by the pirates who are trying to compartmentalise their operations despite relying on Bellri to defend them from Capital Forces. Speaking of them, Bellri knows they're not supposed to have any major military forces, in fact they're specifically prohibited from having any. So he stays with the pirates to get a better idea of their operations to report back to Capital and defends them from Capital forces since his friends are also with the pirates. Also, he's in love with Aida so that's a bigger pull for him. Aida herself is a bundle of conflict. She was in love with Cahill Saints, who led the raid to recapture the G-Self and Aida, but he was killed by Bellri in self defense and she can't seem to bring herself to like Bellri because of it. It really is a big thing for her to the point when she allows herself to be nice to Bellri, she scurries off and cries and asks Cahill to forgive her. This girl is also a Princess (because, why not?) of Ameria. Well, not really but she is the daughter of Gusion Surugan, the Inspector General of Ameria so she could throw her weight around, but instead she defers to more experienced people in the Pirate Raiders crew. Rarariya is a strange one. A quiet, childlike girl with dusky skin tone and blue eyes, she is connected to the G-Self in more ways than one. She suffers from amnesia and sometimes panics whenever she's near the G-Self. After Capital personnel take her into their care, she remains withdrawn. When she finds herself with Noredo and Bellri among the pirates, she starts coming out of her shell and we learn that she might be from Towasanga which is a colony around the dark side of the moon that is the leftovers from the colonies of the UC era.
One thing that hasn't come up, so far anyway, is the Gundam trope of Normal and Newtypes (people with extra sensory abilities). It's in lots of the shows in various guises and it's one of the things I both look forward to and dread at the same time. In fact, except for the basic parts, this Gundam seems to be playing with the building blocks of the previous shows and just being happy to put them into any shape it feels like. Tomino's writing and directing feels like a man who is writing a brand new show which just happens to have been written by another bloke called Tomino and that's where the influence ends. I'll put my cards on the table and say that I never warmed up to Gundam Zeta. I've tried over the years but there's something numbing looking at the episode count and finding you're 30 some episodes in and it's still boring. I know people have warned me that Gundam shows take forever to get going but I don't have that much of me lifespan that I'm willing to sacrifice for that. With Recon, it just feels fresh and light. I'm conning myself if I think that it will stay frothy and airy for the rest of the show. Far from it, it looks like the mother of all battle royale's is coming. From these first seven episodes, the show is set up for better things.