The One Year War is winding down and the principality of Zeon is desperate to keep the Earth Alliance Federation from completing its new Gundam NT-1. In order to keep it from being destroyed before completion, the Federation has moved this valuable asset to the Libot colony on Space Colony Side 6. Al, son of one of the Gundam's designers, is a young boy who lives in this colony; he quickly becomes entangled in both the future of the colony, and the war against Zeon.
Gundam 0080: Final Verdict: 7.5 " Its worth the time to watch it." Of the Gundams I have see to date, ( Not counting SD... I am going to pretend that was never made....) 0080 is my least favorite. That said, its still pretty good, for those of you who are fans of the Gundam series, This is worth the watch. The charcters do have a really interesting growth arch to them for such a short story- and this gundam is much more Story based than the other gundam series. Where as Gundam is usually very action pact ( Duh, its a series about Giant robots) there is little action in this one until the last couple of episodes in the story. What perhaps most sets this one apart is the main charcters of the story are aligned to the Zeon Faction - where as the Main charcters in almost every other Gundam are the Freedom loving, Federation good guys. ( Except in gundam wing.. where every one is a giant male member with 2 legs under it.) Over all, Gundam is a great series ( including wing) and this Short Anime 0080, is a worthy addition to the Universal century saga. being 6 episodes long, it doesnt drag out the story- and its very much worth the time to watch. If you have not watched gundam before. DO NOT start here. Go and watch the Original Mobile suite Gundam ( or ) if you really have a hard time watching "old" animes, Start with Gundam Wing. P.S. If you have ever been to /d/... you are still screaming and banging your head against hard objects after I made the reference to a giant walking penis)
It brings a whole new chapter to the official first series in which we were to believe that side 6 was always officially neutral, but this series says other wise. Though none of the other series characters are present, it is noted, that you have to be a “freak” to truly pilot the Gundam NT-1 Alex. This series does an excellent job portraying the series about how naïve kids can be. Al is aware of how dangerous things can be, but he puts the excitement factor first without thinking of the potential consequences of what may happen. You also really feel the bond Al and Bernie develop. Bernie has a general understanding of kids, but after awhile, he then sees some use for him in his missions as well and always looks out for him. Bernie has that thing with Al because he is still trying to get accepted by his new teammates because he’s replacing who the team thought was an excellent soldier and is only a rookie.Chris is an important character to the story, but she really doesn’t have much development. She’s important, but not important in my mind to say that she’s a main character, but a significant supporting character. And she and Bernie are oblivious to the fact that they are of course truly enemy soldiers. But the story is really tragic on the potential realities of war. Even though the Federation was portrayed to have the higher moral ground, the Cyclops team portrayed Zeon in a different light. They were portrayed as being tight, and being very dedicated. They weren’t being overall bad people, but just doing their job. I would further explain more, but this is a series you have to see to know what I’m saying.The character design is pretty good. Nothing too much to complain about, but really represents the circular style of the 1980s and isn’t drawn as angular as you see in most animes today. The traditional Zeon and Federation uniforms are still portrayed in this series as well and they look more like basic cloth than 1970s spandex, which shows how transcending the clothing style is this timeline in Gundam.The mech design is pretty cool. It’s more bulky and detailed. There are more traditional artillery features to the Zakus and the Gundam as exhibited and show much more articulation. The battles are only exclusive inside Side 6 so you’re not getting the traditional in space battles technically in this one which was a semi-bummer for me because I would have loved to see how agile the ALEX is in those conditions. But due to the nature of this anime, the battles give a more representation of war realistically because of the collateral damage factor involved in this. Not saying that’s a good thing realistic wise, but a good thing in conveying the intended message in this anime. Plus, the battles rely more on guerilla tactics that you see in 08th MS Team rather than evolved reflexes because you don’t have those kinds of characters in this saga.Personally, I think the English dub and the original Japanese track are equally good. The voice of Solid Snake, David Hayter who I think is credited as Sean Barker plays the role of Bernie and you wouldn’t really recognize it’s him. But I personally prefer his original Japanese voice actor Tsujitani Kouji, who also played Seabook in F91, Miroku in Inuyasha, Ryu in Street Fighter II V, and Ryuuji in Skullman. Also, I can’t deny the presence of one of my favorites of all time, Hayashibara Megumi as Chris. Hearing her name alone should tell you something. Wendee Lee, she’s ok.The theme songs Itsuka Sora ni Todoite and Tooi Kioku, both sung by Shiina Megumi are very good songs that suit the atmosphere of the anime that does have a camp feel to it, but the style of music isn’t really my style. Not really saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s just something I’d skip personally. But the background music is also excellent in its own right and knows how to suit the mood. Sadly, this was the ONLY Gundam series to be in Anime Insider’s Top 50 anime list. 0080 is a great series and a top favorite of mine, but I don’t think this is the best Gundam. But overall, you have to appreciate it for its themes and messages. I say you may need some previous Gundam viewing to understand this 100%, but because it focuses on a different kind of cast and has a different kind of approach, then you can still watch and will probably enjoy it. I felt this series further defines and develops realistic mech anime in relation to that. If you want action, then you got action in this series though that’s not the focus. If you want a series that focuses more on story, character, and character relationship building and development, then you’ve come to the right series.
Story A new prototype Gundam is being developed by the Earth Federation on a supposedly neutral colony. Zeon are aware of this, and send a small team to either steal the mobile suit, or destroy it if this is unfeasible. A decent enough setting, if nothing special on its own. However, rather than focus on the pilots as series of its kind usually do, the main protagonist of this short OVA was a normal 10 year old boy. I'd say the different viewpoint, which I'll go into in more detail in the 'Characters' section, is what makes this story stand out. I've not watched many Gundam series, and only three of those were part of the Universal Century timeline, but this didn't impact my understanding or enjoyment of the series in any way. This OVA works perfectly as a stand-alone story about two sides in conflict, neither inherently 'good' or bad', and the impact their war has on innocent lives. Characters The 10 year old Al is the picture of innocence. Fascinated with the idea of war, he argues with classmates over whether or not the Feds have any mechs, and collects whatever objects or military badges he can get his hands on. This obsession leads him to one of the Zeon task force members after seeing his Zaku crash-land; said pilot, a young man named Bernie, realizes the kid has potentially useful knowledge on the whereabouts of the Gundam prototype, so 'befriends' him in order to learn more. As the series progresses, Al gets more involved with the Zeon team, and is there to witness all but Bernie being killed in their doomed mission. It's only then that the seriousness of war begins to sink in for the child – and when he later sees his friends excitedly picking up used bullet casings in the ruins of their school, rather than join in as he likely would have done back in the beginning, he's just relieved to learn that nobody was hurt in the destruction. Great character development, IMO. Our other main character Bernie was decent too – he can't resist bragging to Al about how he's one mission away from being an elite pilot, but the reality is that he's a complete rookie. When the plan fails, he learns that Zeon plans to nuke the colony if the suit isn't destroyed by December 25th (yep, this is a surprise Christmas anime)! He first considers fleeing, but eventually decides to be the hero he bigged himself up to be, and tries to protect the people he's met there. There were other characters – the rest of the Zeon task force, Al's family and friends, and his neighbour Christina (who seems to have some chemistry with Bernie... though unknown to him and Al, she's the Gundam test pilot)! They didn't receive anywhere near as much development, however. Animation and Sound Very nicely animated, well worth watching in bluray quality where possible! I generally love the look of 80s anime, and Mikimoto Haruhiko is one of my favourite character designers from the decade (and beyond), so I can only offer full points here! The music was nice; the OP was catchy, and the ED had a nostalgic and melancholic feel to it. The background music did the job, though I wouldn't rush out to get the OST or anything. Overall A well-paced, different and enjoyable short OVA, with a strong but tragic ending.
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