Monday, January 26, 2009

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team

I haven't seen the original Gundam series, but among the tons of spin-offs they've made a few were straight-to-video direct sequels made in the late 80s and 90s that slot in between the first series and a couple others that were made earlier. The 08th MS Team was the last one made but the first chronologically, and shares a bit in common with the other one I saw, 0080: War in the Pocket. It's actually more of a side story, taking place during the war and telling a Romeo and Juliet-esque tale about two mobile suit pilots on opposite sides of the conflict who fall in love. This sort of tale doesn't seem uncommon for the series, as I remember similar ideas in other stuff I've seen. In any case, it makes for an unremarkable but pretty watchable anime.

The 08th MS Team has the distinctive in its blandness, not very attractive look of most anime from the 90s. The designs for everything are mostly just functional, and the animation isn't going to bowl anyone over. The art doesn't hinder the story either though, and does what it has to. It's a pretty tightly-knit story, as the characters develop as far as they need to. The protagonist is the new team commander, and his crew and some of the rebels they meet all have enough personality to make them distinct enough to keep separate. They have some skirmishes against the enemy until he crosses paths with the girl again, and then the focus shifts a bit as both sides wonder if their representative can be trusted. The girl's brother is developing a new weapon that becomes the objective of the fighting, and things go on in a predictable but entertaining way. After the climax there's a final episode that's quite a departure, as a couple characters look for something, without any giant robots fighting at all. If you're a fan of Gundam or just the genre, it's worth checking out.

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