Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Nov 26th 2001
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
With series like the 08th MS Team, it's no surprise that the Gundam franchise has lasted so long. Packed with action, engrossing characters, and the exciting mech fights that Gundam fans have grown to love, this DVD is a must-have for anyone who wants to complete their Gundam collection, or just wallow in a pit of mobile suit action.
On the first episode of the disc, the Federation's 08th MS team finds itself battling inner strife as one of the members, Sanders, tries to quit the team, explaining that in the past, all of his team members have always died on their third mission, with the exception of him. The commander, however, refuses to believe in the curse, and regardless of Sanders' pleas, takes the team out on a mission. Fortunately, the whole team survives the adventure, but along the way, stumbles into the new Zeon mobile armor, the Apsalus. A colossal monster with incredible power, the Apsalus is revealed to be a new secret weapon, and the MS Team spends much of their time trying to uncover more information about it. In the meantime, Eledore, another one of the team members, gets captured by the Zeon on a night out on the town, and is wounded in the process. Packed with adventure and excitement, this DVD is a great buy for any Gundam fan.
With only three episodes gracing the second volume of the 08th MS Team series, the disc may be a bit on the scant side, but it's worth it for Gundam fans. One of the features on the DVD that is especially enjoyable is the reversible cover. Viewers can choose between a Gundam flying at them with fiery red eyes, or a picture of Aina, one of the Zeon pilots, standing on a frozen Gundam. The only hard part is choosing which side to put on the outside, as both covers sport beautiful artwork. One gripe that I have with the DVD packaging, however, is the inside insert. It features a letter written by Michel, one of the 08th MS team members, to his girlfriend BB. While nice because of the personal nature of the letter, its main downside is that it offers a recap of the entire disc, dishing out a spoiler of everything that happens in the three episodes. For people that like to know what to expect in the episodes, it's a good idea, but for the people who want to view the events for themselves, they should wait to open the insert until after they finish the disc.
As usual, Bandai did a superb job of subtitling the Japanese language track. With clear, easy to read lettering, the subtitles are a relief for those who are tired of squinting at miniscule type font. The Japanese cast performed their roles well, delivering their lines with talent and conviction. However, the English language track wasn't as good as it could have been. Although the actors themselves did a fine job, their lines oftentimes had nothing to do with the lines that were spoken in the Japanese version. At occasional times, the meanings of the lines were completely hacked and contorted, but luckily, those times were few and far apart.
For music lovers, this series is packed with pleasant vocals and instrumentals. Reminiscent of the more modern Gundam series, the opening and ending themes are catchy and upbeat; the ending is especially amusing, as it features the team members walking by a camera flashing peace signs and waving nude pictures of women. The instrumentals in the series are as all the Gundam orchestrations have been - grandiose, sweeping ensembles that give the soundtrack a majestic air.
Along with the three episodes that are on the disc, the DVD also features some nice extras. For one thing, it features a mobile suit encyclopedia that is rather standard on all Gundam discs. In addition to that, it also includes special animation clips of the Gundam world, with an illustrated narration of topics such as the Universal Century, the war, and other subjects of interest to Gundam fans. What I thought was exceptionally amusing was the short animated intro to each clip. It involved creatures running around counting off the time with signs until a rocket ship was launched; most notable was their replacement of the number six with a similar sounding word. According to the DVD jacket and the insert, though, there was supposed to be a textless version of the ending sequence. Although I searched for nearly half an hour, I couldn't find where that was located. However, I did discover that in the DVD credits section of the extras menu, the full version of the ending song, "10 Years After," is played in the background.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B
Animation : B+
Art : A
Music : A
+ Intriguing characters, exciting scenes; fun extra animation clips
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