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Site Version .004 - Gundam Review Up

Mobile Suit Gundam - 08th MS Team

I'm far from a Gundam expert, prior to this show I had only seen a handful of episodes from the original series and only ever built one model kit from the franchise. So 08th MS is really my first dive into Gundam and it's main timeline, Universal Century. It takes place during the One Year War concurrent with the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and shows a part of the ground war on Earth. The plot centers largely around Shiro Amada, the main protagonist and commander of the 08th MS Team, and Aina Sahalin, a Zeon test pilot, as the duo struggle with their love despite being of opposing sides.

The show is available on for streaming on Hulu, and on Amazon in Blu-ray format.

Video Review - Soon

As a preface, this review is written without having seen the Miller's Report movie. First off, The animation of this show is great. Nowhere did I see any oddities, and the look of the show overall is one I liked. It's just close enough to trigger a little Pokemon nostalgia and gave me some Metal Slug feel. The Gundams themselves and the action they take part in is another highlight: Not only is there plenty of that action, it shows a semi-realistic form of mech combat as the Gundams go through some Vietnam esque jungle patrol as well as more open battles. This ties in to what I wasn't expecting to like, which was just how close this gets to the Band of Brothers style of military drama. It's something I'd never seen an Anime do up to this point, and while it doesn't go all in on it, I like how far it does go for the most part. Characters actually get injured and one of the support characters ends up wounded and put on the back line for a few episodes.

Though there begins some of my issues. None of the main cast ends up at real risk; they can get injured, but any time they really risk death there's some kind of rescue or way out. I don't need to have the whole cast die brutally, but I would prefer that there be some actual risk. Another problem, and probably my biggest, is the main characters. Shiro tends to not get on well when he's not in a fight. He has times when he doesn't follow his own orders, does dumb things, and then ends up surprised by the consequences of his actions(Or lack of action). as well as this, he lacks a real personality beyond being "Hot tempered protagonist Man". Aina has the same issue, but even worse; Her personality is "war bad" and seems to have few thoughts in her mind other than her brother and Shiro. The 08th's support team also likes to make itself an annoyance, with Eledore getting into trouble unnecessarily and Michel being an annoying, inept, and cowardly character that the show would be better without.

A lot of these characters seem to have the issue of being self centered; Most of them, despite being part of a war where countless people have died and are suffering in similar ways, seem to think this conflict is about them. Aina, from the cockpit of a mech which several people died to protect during it's development and testing, and which was designed to help fight this war raging across multiple planets and space colonies, has the gall to declare that this is "Her War". Michel keeps a journal written to sound like he's really the one out in the thick of it despite being in the radar truck, and pines so hard for his girlfriend that he gets distracted and nearly causes the deaths of his comrades. Shiro himself seems to think that love and his claim that "There are good people on both sides" is enough to clear him of charges of Desertion and Aiding the Enemy. And all this is without getting into episode 12, which is where it goes off the deep end. Without directly spoiling it, what you get is two of the worst characters in the show looking for the two lovers in what is probably the dumbest and most disgustingly saccharine thing I've ever seen put to animation. It's full of pointles symbolism and really makes the whole show way worse.

To get close to a final verdict, I will say that I wanted to like the show. The first 8 episodes or so had me invested despite the issues, and even though the text of me going over positives is dwarfed by my complaints, there are things here I really liked. The problem is that there's also too much wrong with it for me to like it despite my best attempts. And so, it gets a B rating, or if you prefer a score, 6/10. If you're after an anime Military drama, or you want to get some good mecha action, there are reasons to watch this. However, cut off at episode 10;You'll miss the plot's conclusion, but trust me, that's for the better.