A Gundam series that takes place in primarily a jungle area and emphasizes guerrilla tactics? I’m hesitant to make the comment this show is “Vietnam Gundam” but now as I write this review I wonder if that’s not me being a bit too cautious on my part. Anyways, this is another OVA side story of the One Year War from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. One that asks: Can love bloom on the battlefield?
On his way to this new assignment on Earth, pilot Shiro Amada has an encounter with a Zeon pilot named Aina Sahalin. Later on Earth, Shiro becomes the leader of the 08th MS team tasked with suppressing Zeon forces in Southeast Asia. Together with his team, Shiro works to keep his comrades safe and to find a way to make it out of the war alive. Unfortunately, Shiro will see Aina again as she’s the test pilot of the new Zeon mobile armor, the Apsalus, that is being tested in the same area.
The series offers a very unique experience compared to other series. It doesn’t empathize the traditional head to head battles with mobile suits crashing into each other type of action that we see in other series. Instead there is a great focus paid on stealth, infiltration, and setting traps for the enemy. One episode showcases the efforts to plan, set, and practice an operation to take out the Apsalus. Once again the Gundam Franchise does its best to dive deeper into how people work through war.
The characters also offer a very interesting mix of different individuals with unique motivations. Shiro has a relationship with an enemy pilot, Sanders has survivor’s guilt, and Michel working on keeping his relationship alive with his girl back home. The Romeo and Juliet aspect of Shiro and Aina’s relationship is the real stand out though. The two are very cute together and as the viewer you’ll find yourself rooting for them to make it in the end. They have a rocky road though that they’ll have to experience first.
The machines in this series are great entries to the UC Gundam franchise. The Apasalus really is one of the better designed mobile armors that exist in Gundam History. If the Zeon has been able to mass produce this machine they would have definitely won the war. Also, I love the EZ-8, even though its a machine that is made out of spare parts I still think its a pretty awesome machine. Especially the way Shiro pilots it. That man really knows how to push a mobile suit to its breaking point.
The one aspect of this series that most fans are very familiar with is that it had a hand off mid way through its run. It was originally directed by Takeyuki Kanada between episodes 1-6, but from 7 to the ending it was instead done by Umanoskuke Iida. It does make a person wonder if the Kanada would have finished the series in a different way then what we actually got. It does make a person think.
That “What If” aside, this series is still really good. I highly recommend it to any fan of Gundam but also Giant Robots in general. It proves the point that love can indeed bloom on the battlefield.