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Why The Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island Director Is Comparing The Film To Apocalypse Now

Having premiered its first episodes way back in 1979, "Mobile Suit Gundam" is one of the oldest anime franchises around (via IMDb). Though the initial series only ran for a single season before being canceled, the franchise has bounced back time and time again, with dozens of films, video games, and television shows emerging under its banner since the first batch of episodes over 40 years ago.

While the specifics of each new iteration of "Mobile Suit Gundam" occasionally change things up, the broad strokes of the franchise remain the same. In an alternate reality, pilots fight for their freedom and the fate of the Earth using powerful mechanized battle suits called Gundams.

"Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island" is a retelling of Season 1, Episode 15 ("Cucuruz Doan's Island"). The story follows Amuro (Toro Furuya) as he tracks down a former Gundam pilot, Doan (Shunsuke Takeuchi), who is hiding away on a secluded island. However, director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko had a particular cinematic classic in mind when looking for comparisons to the story.

The director sees plot similarities between the two films

Cinephiles and movie fans will no doubt be familiar with Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 classic war movie, "Apocalypse Now." The movie charts Captain Benjamin Willard's (Martin Sheen) mission to track down and terminate rogue Colonel William Kurtz (Marlon Brando) and put an end to his unsanctioned guerilla war during the Vietnam conflict.

Yoshikazu Yasuhiko compared the latest "Mobile Suit Gundam" film to this cinematic classic when he spoke to manga magazine Da Vinci News (via Gundam News). "I was thinking that Cucuruz Doan's Island is similar to Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now," Yasuhiko observed. "In Apocalypse Now, the U.S. military sends assassins to Colonel Kurtz, who escaped from the Vietnam War and established his own kingdom deep in the jungle."

There's definitely a throughline there as both Doan and Kurtz are disillusioned former allies to their causes and are now being hunted by the very forces they once served. Though "Mobile Suit Gundam: Cucuruz Doan's Island" isn't quite as heavy as Coppola's epic war movie, it's easy to see why the director made the comparison.

"It depicts the darkness of the Vietnam War and has a great depth to it," Yasuhiko went on. "I felt that Cucuruz Doan's Island also depicted a kind of darkness of the One Year War."