Monday, August 2, 2010

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory

Chronologically, this is the third OVA that takes place between the original Gundam series and Zeta, which continues the story with another new threat to uh... whoever the good guys are. I'm not going to pretend I know a ton about the Universal Century's backstory. The Zeon guys are colonists who rebel against the Earth government, with the latter portrayed as the protagonists, although they usually make efforts to have at least certain people with Zeon seem sympathetic. Other shows like Gundam Wing take place in very similar but definitely different universes. I haven't really been watching these OVAs because of interest in the overall story though, more of out some weird appreciation for what they do. I definitely prefer the look of modern anime to stuff from the 90s, although sometimes that stuff is fun to see again. What might be most interesting about the whole Gundam series is that despite being about giant robots, it's still relatively hard science fiction, and that stuff is interesting to see on the rare occasions where it's actually filmed or animated.

And it's a series that really doesn't hold your hand. You have to try to follow the various factions and characters to really know what's going on. Stardust Memory takes place a few years after the first big war from this timeline, and a few more years before the next big one, and serves as a bridge between the two conflicts. In addition to its heavy military plot, there's again a love story to humanize it and keep it from getting too sterile. I wasn't a huge fan of the way they handled this one, though. It seemed schizophrenic in its efforts to remain interesting. First they like each other. Then she's a bitch for no reason. Then she treats him like a kid. Then he goes AWOL. It's all just a bit forced. But it gets tied in somewhat interestingly with the main story, resulting in an emotional and seemingly significant ending. It's sort of a foreboding one, although the main characters themselves seem to come out okay. The 13 episodes are a pretty quick and entertaining watch whether you really care about the political and military jargon or just like seeing robots blow each other up. I'm almost interested at this point in checking out the full TV series from the same storyline.

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