Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team


2157b5ab3a6706da69dea6450e21421e 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

RATING: A-

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Mobile Suit Gundam

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My original intent with the Gundam Franchise was to do some kind of month long celebration. Unfortunately, I find myself out of time and in need of pulling something out of the reserves. So, here it is, my first of many Gundam reviews. Not as elegant as I thought they would be but at least I’m getting them out. Today we will begin by looking at the show that started it all, Mobile Suit Gundam.

As people leave Earth to start a new future in space colonies, the Principality of Zeon announces their independence and begins a war with the Earth Federation. As war between these two forces spreads, it soon comes to the peaceful colony of Side 7 which has been secretly developing mobile suits for the Earth. The son of the chief designer, Amuro Ray finds the manual for the new machines. Hopping into the cockpit of a suit called the Gundam he is is able to fight off the invading Zeon forces. Now thrown into war Amuro will find himself having to soldier on with piloting the Gundam to protect the new war ship the White Base and the friends he has on board. Unfortunately he will also have to face the ace pilot of the Zeon Forces, Char Aznable, the red comet.

The original series set the themes that would become synonymous with the franchise. Themes such as war is hell, human nature won’t change once we are in space, the enemy is a person too, and intense giant robot combat would echo in the different series that would follow. The enemy is a person too was probably one of the most unique aspects of the show. Before this the enemies in mecha shows were members of evil organizations whose only goals were destruction and mayhem. There are moments where individuals from both sides were shown as being just people who were fighting to survive or to advance but under different circumstances may have been friends with those from the other side. The staples of the franchise would be introduced in this series as well. The cylinder space colonies called sides, the giant robots called mobile suits, and those with mental powers called Newtypes that would be a regular occurrence for the series all originated from this show.

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The mecha of this series are iconic. The original RX-78 Gundam is such a recognizable part of the Japanese culture that a life sized state of the machine has since been constructed in Japan. The Zaku-II and various others suits of the Zeon forces had such a unique design that it helped to cause the fans to obtain a close bond with the enemies. Sadly it was the extreme variety that I feel led to the Zeon’s defeat. If they had only found a single mobile armor they could have mass produced instead of having so many prototypes that were defeated on their first appearance they may have had a better chance at victory. A fleet of Big Zams would have helped them to win the war.

The two main characters of this series, Amuro and Char really are two characters from opposite sides and I don’t just mean which team they are fighting on. Amuro is a man who never wanted to fight but once in the war discovered he was a natural prodigy for combat. Meanwhile Char used war to his advantage to exact his revenge and fight for his own personal agendas. Yet throughout the series the two go toe-to-toe causing their skills and their blossoming abilities as Newtypes to increase exceptionally. Their rivalry and relationship would continue through not only this show but also through Zeta Gundam and Char’s Counteracttack.

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Despite the influence and impact that this show has made in the anime community its not without its flaws. For starters the show’s animation has not aged well and is hard for some fans to sit through. This makes the series not as easy to approach for those who aren’t used to older animation. Also the series did suffer form cancellation and its ending does wrap up a bit fast. Still, these problems don’t make the show totally unapproachable. And any true Mecha fan should find the time to sit down and watch this classic anime series all the way through.

And that’s the original mobile suit Gundam. The show that launched a plethora of sequels and spin offs.  Stayed tuned Mecha fans for more. Until then, FLY GUNDAM!!

RATING: B+