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Reviewby Chris Shepard
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Universal Century 0079, The One-Year War has raged on for almost nine months. Now, the Federation is ready to strike back with its own mobile suits. Young Shiro Amada is en route to Earth to take command of a ground unit of Gundams fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia. But he gets sidetracked when their shuttle passes too close to a battle. Shiro will have to do his best to lead his team to victory, but his encounter with the female Zeon pilot Aina has changed him more than he realizes.
After months and months of nothing but Gundam Wing, Bandai has finally gone back into their never empty bag of Gundam titles and has dropped a new series for the fans to engulf. This time it's Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, a series which began in 1995 and takes place during the One Year War of UC 0079, as depicted in the original Mobile Suit Gundam TV series. That TV series ran for 39 episodes back in the late 70's and spawned three remake movies, released in the U.S. on VHS several years ago.
The DVD of the first volume of The 08th MS Team is of surprising quality. The visuals look crisp with very few flaws at all. The music is at the same top-notch quality as well. The packaging is very military-like, keeping in line with the show itself. And if you don't like the cover of the Gundam getting the beat-down from it's opponent the Zaku, you can reverse it inside out for a different picture featuring two of the secondary characters from the show in a nice little action shot. A cover with the main star of the show, Shiro Amada, would have been preferred although it is a little too insignificant to complain about.
Bandai has gone a little overboard this time with the menus. The main menu contains no descriptions, just pictures for you to guess at what's behind each one. There are only four choices and it isn't too hard to figure out what each picture represents, but it does take a second to think about. Subsections of the menus require quite a loading time when moving between options. Each option brings up a new picture, which means there's a lot of loading going on. The menu system isn't horrible, it's just that Bandai shouldn't have tried so hard to make it so fancy.
The DVD extras are nice. Included is the ever-popular textless opener as well as a section called bonus clips. Unfortunately, the bonus clips aren't that exciting. For the most part they're just a bunch of action scenes from the beginning of the series all strung together set to a piece of techno music. Also, the beginning contains a narration in Japanese about the Gundam series, yet no translation is provided at all. How frustrating.
Finally, the original Gundam timeline. Unlike Gundam Wing, which is the only Gundam series most Americans have seen so far, The 08th MS Team follows a much different style. The characters aren't filled with weird philosophies and they don't stand around ranting nonsense 24/7, as has been said of Gundam Wing. 08th's characters are of a normal type, as far as anime goes, and are much easier to identify with.
The 08th MS Team throws you straight into the middle of a war. Besides the fact that they're in mobile suits, this anime is very much like a war movie as well. There are several scenes where just Shiro, the star of the show, is all alone in his Gundam and is trying to find his enemy to destroy who's hidden in the foliage of the surrounding forests. Where you know only him or the enemy he's hunting will make it out alive. Scenes like these become very intense and are sure to keep its viewers on the edges of their seats. The Gundam battles, although not the most exciting mecha battles ever animated, are eminently entertaining. A well fitting sound track was chosen as well which also helps absorb its viewers into the show. Mecha fans undoubtedly enjoy this title.
The 08th MS Team isn't a complete mecha slugfest. Shiro is well developed and spends a lot of his time out of his mobile suit where we get to know him better. You don't necessarily have to be a mecha fan to enjoy this title; you just can't have any kind of prejudice against such shows. On the negative side, none of the secondary characters have been fleshed out yet, though viewers will probably get more acquainted with them in future volumes. 08th is for fans who enjoy mecha and war, yet still want some development in their characters. For what it is, The 08th MS Team delivers fantastically. New comers to the original Gundam timeline may be a little confused but they will most likely be able to get by. Anime fans that enjoy Gundam are definitely going to want to check this out. Everyone else should deeply consider it.
Overall (dub) : B+
Overall (sub) : B+
+ Very warlike, interesting characters.
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