Beginning four years after the one year war, 0083 starts with the arrival of two new Gundam units to be used for gravity testing. Things take a turn for the worse when members of Zeon steal Unit 2 and the nuclear warhead it that it has been armed with. Young test pilot-in-training Kou Uraki, piloting Gundam Unit 1, must now capture the stolen Gundam before it can be used to fulfill Zeon's mysterious "Operation Stardust".
StoryMobile Suit Gundam 0083 takes place chronologically after the events of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series and Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, and is an intended sequel to the series events. Matter in point: it links the events in the greater timeline from 0079 to 0087 in the Gundam Universe timeline. Note: I strongly would not recommend one who hasn't seen, or at least isn't familiar with, one or both of those series to see Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, because the series potency will likely be lost upon you. By itself, it isn't intented to stand alone and may lose some in terms of the objective of the series, not to mention the overall backstory and the events the characters discuss accordingly. The story revolves around Kou Uraki, a young Gundam pilot caught in the midst of an insurgence when forces from the Space Federation, and the last remaining Zeon pilots, steal a nuclear armed Gundam from the Earth Federation. Kou is allowed by the Gundams' creator, Nina Purpleton, to steer a remaining Gundam in order to retreive the other from the enemy. Little do they know the true objective of the Zeon forces: as they commence and pursue their plans to complete Operation Stardust. The true motive for Operation Stardust becomes clear as the series presents itself accordingly, and provides the bulk of the unexpected turns in the plot. The story itself isn't by any means farfetched and progresses handily without excessive repetition of events, with a interesting amount of twists that never come too quickly for the viewer to be surprised by them. Granted, I've enjoyed Gundam 0083 since I saw it around the time I watched it among a few of the first few Gundam OVA sets I saw, but over time its quality hasn't measured up compared to peer Gundam series, and seems to be more of a link in the overall Universal Gundam franchise rather than being able to stand on its own entirely. In part, the rather bulky yet underdeveloped cast might have much to do with this factor, and instead of being a primarily character driven story, it boils down to the momentary events, some unfortunately which aren't given ample expansion. Still, some of the characters are worth enough merit (perhaps even the secondary ones more than the primary) to watch this series because of their vailiant efforts. The only problem further I had with the story was the rather bulked conclusion, which has a multitude of events occur without much explanation or due development. So generally, I would say 0083: Stardust Memory is a series that progresses with nice battle sequences and some prime moments in its wake in adding to the Gundam franchise, particularly to the note of the Rise of the Titans, but if you're looking for a Gundam story to move you through both characters and story, chances are this won't deliver for you unless you're a Gundam/mecha/action fan or you have watched the previous installments in the Gundam franchise and want a bit a background of what happened three years after the One-Year War.AnimationI was impressed with the animation for this installation in the Gundam franchise. While created in the early 90s, the character design is consistent and manages to upsurp some of the designs in series that follow it progressively, giving it a more mature and seamless feel, though the fluidity in the battle sequences is typical "stop and pop" Gundam fare. To today's standards, I don't know if if measures up on all counts with respect to coloring or crisp appeal, but it's worth noting this series had a high production for its time.SoundGundam 0083: Stardust Memory has a stellar soundtrack on many counts, including the stellar opening themes and very nice endings. "Men of Destiny" by MIO, the second OP theme might be worth the price of noting this series on many counts, and the nice animated sequence that accompanies it defines the best among Gundam music. BGM might seem a bit outdated, but it seems to work well in the intensity of the battle scenes and work even in the more slice of life moments as well.CharactersI'm torn to really rank the characters from Gundam 0083 because some of them are definitely worth watching in the moment and for their bit interactions, but the greater part of the problem with this series is that there seems to be little to no character growth or expansion. It's difficult to really know/get inside the head of the characters and sometimes following logic with their actions doesn't become clear until certain events in the storyline come to pass. Kou is a young pilot that doesn't seem to know what he's fighting for until the people he loves are the ones caught in the crossfire. Yet, I think one can argue that Kou isn't completely taken into the events of the series without some level of responability, as he couldn't stop the initial phase of Operation Stardust from occuring and relentlessly pursues the man responsible for stealing it. He does tend to have his moments where emotion gets the best of him, but then again, you realize he's not some random genius with brilliant superpowers, just an ordinary Gundam trainee, who neither lacks or has a surplus of emotion. The main interactional focus of this series seems to be between both Kou and Nina, developing both a romantic yet sexual tension between the two that doesn't come full circle until the end of the series. I'll admit I didn't see this coming in part, but while at times it was engaging and practical to watch, I couldn't really "connect" with their relationship in full. Gato is also shown to be the main antagonist in the series, as a part of the Space Federation and fighting on vengence for the people he wants to protect in Zeon. I had a hard time believing, however, that he was the main bad guy, because he really isn't. This is a good thing because you actually see he cares about his cause. He's a complex character, and one I actually found myself caring a little more for than Kou, the protagonist. Other characters to note: Cima Garahau, who, to me, seemed like the real villainess of the series with her deceptive, backhanded ways in the Space Federation. She was an interesting character, but lacked enough development to really bring her to the forefront. South Burning was my favorite character from the OVA, and one I have fond memories of for his maturity and way of guiding Kou and his friend Keith through their respective battles. It's a little sad we don't get to see a lot of his backstory throughout the series and provided some key events involving his character, it marks a turning point for Kou and his involvement in the war.OverallI actually did enjoy Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory on many levels, yet I cannot say this is one of the best offerings in the Gundam franchise unless you've already seen or know about the prior installments within the series. Stand-alone, it may leave the viewer with more questions than respective answers, but those who love the Gundam/mecha franchise should give this one a try. The animation/score are excellent for its respective time, but the story/characters may leave some wanting more.
Stardust Memories (SM) is the second side story Tomino made before tarnishing the UC continuity after Char’s Counterattack with pointless sequels. Assuming you are aware of how the timeline of the show goes and have read my review of the original show, so I won’t have to repeat myself, this is how it goes. SM takes place between the first and second seasons and even attempts to bridge them together by explaining how those assholes the Titans got to power. Other than that, the whole show is a cheesefest. A major problem with the show is that it involves a major battle that could have changed the course of history, yet none of the major pilots from the first series appears or is even mentioned. In a similar fashion many pilots in this series are considered to be elites but are also never mentioned in the main storyline later on. So as a side story it is thrown in the main events in a very sloppy way. This was not a problem with the previous side story, War In the Pocket, because none of its characters were major players in the war, and all the events that took place there were just an unimportant scrimmage that went unnoticed.Aside from that, even the overall story feels like a dumbed down rehash of the original show. The evil dudes steal a super mecha, the idealist protagonist steals an equally super mecha to stop them, and then you get the usual battles in each episode. There is a sort of a plot twist towards the end regarding a major treason and a second secret weapon of mass destruction but not even that managed to affect the showdown in any significant way. Even the characters feel too simplistic to care. Despite being elites and military higher ups, they barely have much of a backdrop or are fleshed out much. The protagonist in particular is a complete shounen cardboard, with absolutely nothing to remember him about. Also, there is so much action in this show that it ends up overshadowing character appeal for shallow entertainment. As far as action goes, it is great for the time it was made and if you are watching it just for that you will love it. The production values are very good, although I found the character designs to be typical and some robot designs too bulky and impractical. In all, this side story took the exact opposite route of War In The Pocket. You are going to watch it for the cool action and not for its characters or the story. And since we are already getting lots of good action in the main storyline, not even those save face after awhile. I mean the pacing is ok and the characters are rather colorful but nothing stands out enough to matter. Thus I recommend it only for mecha maniacs and Gundam completists. Those of you who are not deep into the franchise can skip it altogether. And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 9/10 Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 2/2, Visual Effects 2/2 SOUND SECTION: 7/10 Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3 STORY SECTION: 5/10 Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 1/2 CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2 VALUE SECTION: 4/10 Analysis: Historical Value 1/3, Rewatchability 1/3, Memorability 2/4 ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10 Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 1/2, Story 1/3, Characters 0/4 VERDICT: 5.5/10
This is the story that sets out to bridge the gap between the original Gundam series, and Zeta Gundam. Does it do a great job of that? Personally, yes and no. Yes, because you learn about what happened to the Federation to where it become in Zeta Gundam, and no, because you don’t really get to see what happens to the majority of the original cast from the series such as Amuro and Char, and mostly concentrates on the cast created exclusively for this saga. There are some other previous Gundam characters that will have brief cameos, but if you want to know, watch and find out. But I say for what it does in an overall sense, it works out pretty well.Kou and Anavel do have good chemistry as rivals, but isn’t really that epic in comparison to that of Char and Amuro. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but you really can’t top that. The cast does ok in standing out, but I just don’t feel they have the kind of impact that an Amuro, Captain Bright, or another cast member from the original Gundam can have. But both Kou and Gato are likeable characters in their own right and you can see things in their points of view. Kou just has something to prove to himself and to his peers, while Gato is doing it for duty and patriotism to his nation. The only thing that bothered me was the Nina and Kou story arc. I felt it was thrown in there too much for convenience and I felt for the sake of giving it an all around story by adding in that element, which I felt was unnecessary. Yes, I will admit that Nina and Kou do have a good chemistry as well, but I just felt it was really useless and doesn’t really advance anything and felt the twist to that relationship was anti-climatic. But anyway, the development is basic and the pace is moderate.I think the art design is really excellent for its time. It represents a certain transition era of how anime is done today to how it was done back then. Like if you’re familiar with my other reviews, I always talk about how in the 1980s, anime was more circular and in the 1990s and now, it’s more angular. Well, this anime was done in the early 1990s and you get a balanced mixed of those styles and they mesh excellently. I say Kou’s circular design really represents he’s still a kid, and Gato’s more angular look shows more dignity and maturity and higher status to him. So I really like that use of those art styles to contrast those two in my personal opinion.The mobile suit designs I think are my 2nd favorite of all time. After all, the great Shoji Kawamori himself does the mechanical designs; you can’t deny his presence and credit. I like how detailed and articulate they are. Though the mobile suits tend to look more packed and bulky, the skills of the pilots that are portrayed justify their agile mobility and fast speeds. The action is explosive, fast paced, and electrifying. Plus, the GP02A like some other Gundams sort of breaks the tradition with the head design of being more rectangular and not having the grilled mouth, which I thought was cool and looked intimidating. I really loved the features all the mobile suits have and you get overall variety.OK, I will state that I have no familiarity with the dub with this anime so I can only comment and score on the Japanese. Forgive me for not mentioning the dub since I have never seen it. I was shocked to learn that Horikawa Ryo, the voice of Vejita from Dragon Ball Z, happens to voice Kou Uraki! In comparison to Vejita with this role, he’s more humble, childish, and developing. I thought he did excellent in portraying such a character. And I also enjoyed Ohtsuka Akio’s performance as Gato. He also voices in Solid Snake in the Japanese Metal Gear Solid and is also famous for playing Batou in the Ghost in the Shell installments. He brings a unique kind of appropriate charisma to the character where you can also feel the passion he his motivations.The majority of the music is also highly energetic and suits the high-octane atmosphere of this series. The opening theme, The Winner is highly addictive and goes along with how I just described the soundtrack and atmosphere in an overall sense. And the first ending theme, Magic, is a unique George Michaels esque love song that is sung in perfect English. It’s about wanting that moment with that girl now and forever and want to always make it special. Gundam 0083 does have some romance, so I felt it was an interesting touch. I say 0083 is more for the dedicated and hardcore Gundam fan. Those not familiar with the Gundam franchise will probably not understand some of the basic concepts such as who Giren and Kycilia are who are briefly mentioned in the intro to the first episode, and about why Sydney is under water. But if you want to watch it for the action, then you’ve come to the right series. Also, if you want to watch cool looking robots, then you still came to the right series. The plot isn’t necessarily the best, but I don’t think it’s flawed enough to be considered bad or below average. Granted some things about it do get annoying, but in the end everything works out. Once again, I still say those who are familiar with the original Gundam, and especially Zeta Gundam are going to understand the story best considering the purpose of this anime.
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