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Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team

UC 0079 - After the success of Operation Odessa, more and more Earth Federation soldiers are sent to earth to free it from the hands of the Principality of Zeon. As Zeonic troops retreat to unknown parts of the world, it's up to the Earth Federation Ground Force to find them and exterminate them. Ensign Shiro Amada is made leader of the 08th MS Team, leading a team of Ground Type Gundams into battle. His mission: to distract the enemy and find a mysterious new Zeon weapon. But can he complete it when he falls in love with a Zeon pilot, named Aina Sahalin? (Source: Otakufreakmk2, copyedited by Kolokotronis)
User Count6470
Favorites Count134
Start Date25th Jan 1996
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank1706
Rating Rank804
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
SubtypeOVA
Statusfinished

Episodes

All Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team released episodes

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Reviews

Things that float my boat:  • Realistic Mecha • A tight story with a good ending • A small group of characters that are well characterized through actions, and not flashbacks Add those up and you get this show, apparently. This is my first Universal Century Gundam show, and I can see why it’s the most popular. For those of you who don’t know, Universal Century is the timeline that the original show started and it’s still being continued, most recently by Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. 08th MS Team takes place in 0079 UC, which means it’s older Mobile Suits and technology, which means the show is more real robot and less super robot, which I like. This is probably one of my favorite shows in all seriousness. It’s twelve episodes and it just does so many things right that I can’t help but love it. This probably has to do with it being right in my wheel well but it stands up on its own in my opinion. This show is also almost ten years old now, being made in 1995(the same year I was born. Sheesh.) and sports some extraordinarily good animations for its time. The mecha are picked out in serious detail, with rivets and such, as well as internal mechanisms. The battles are similarly superbly animated, with amazing detail and fluid motions. One fight towards the end of the show, Norris Packard vs the 08th MS Team, stands out as one of the single best mecha battles I’ve ever seen. However, by the same token, it has a mid-nineties dub, which is spotty. Most of the time it’s good, but one notable incident was pretty bad. Overall though, dub=sub. Music and sound wise, the show is a treat. Most of the music is a full orchestra and very well done to suit each scene. The sound is also very well placed and sounds right. For example, the Zaku I and II appear in one scene together, and they sound different when they walk because they’re different weights. Now while these things are all pretty impressive, what counts is story, and this show has got a pretty good one. I won’t spoil anything, because I’m going to recommend the crap out of this show, but I do have to give you an idea of what you’re getting in to. This show occurs during the One Year War with the Principality of Zeon(who are basically space Nazis). Our protagonist, Shiro Amada, is being sent to earth to help the Federation Forces in Southeast Asia, where the Zeon forces are developing what is thought to be their last hope to win the war on the ground, the Mobile Armor Aspalus. The Aspalus is the brainchild of the series main antagonist, who is notable for not being present for the majority of the plot. You’d think that’d be a problem, but not really. The other members of the allied squad include a white guy with dreadlocks, who’s paranoid about being the death of his previous squad, a female sergeant who doesn’t trust anyone, a communications officer who just wants to play music, and Shinji Ikari. Wait, that’s not right… The last member is very similar to Shinji at the very beginning of Evangelion though, in that he’s not particularly brave and prone to emotional breakdowns. The last member of the main cast is a Zeon pilot that Shiro ends up saving in space during an experiment with a Zaku Variant. She becomes important later. The characters are all sufficiently developed, and none of them are really a weight on the show as a whole. However, the thing this show does best, and no other show I’ve seen that’s done better, is that it keeps a fairly neutral standpoint on the conflict. What this means is that it’s very difficult to ‘root’ for either side, and that there are good and bad people on both sides of the war. This contrasts with the original Mobile Suit Gundam, where the heroes are heralded as the best people ever and the Zeon are practically Saturday morning cartoon villians(well, technically they were, but shut up.). But portraying neutrality in warfare is extraordinarily difficult, and the fact that this show does a good job is notable in and of itself. Overall, I found this show to be very enjoyable and also generally good in the same way I think of shows like Evangelion and Hellsing. It’s not like Black Bullet or Rosario in that it’s a show you watch to kill time, this is a show you watch because it’s just good. And interesting. And worth watching.

*The 08th MS Team* attempts to be a down to Earth, in-the-trenches take on the Gundam franchise that doesn't follow through.  The viewer follows the 08th squad through various skirmishes.  From an episodic stand-point, by following this small group of soldiers, the viewer has the chance to see great development of the team, both in collaboration and the individual members.  The overall story, however, doesn't cut it and is contrastingly naive compared with the depth of the characters and themes. First off, the soundtrack and animation are both superb.  Both the opening and ending theme songs draw the viewer in with nice builds that are quite enjoyable.  That ending sequence didn't get old once, lethargically displaying a scene instead of quick flashes of stills and characters, which is a unique form of the ending sequence in an anime.  Animation is hand-drawn, with great coloring and visual appeal.  The backgrounds are so detailed they can be overwhelming at times, filled with lush trees and the signs of war.  The mechs are standard gundam and look fantastic.  The actual fight scenes are quite realistic, considering how inaccurate and slow to react the machines are, which mirrors the state of the technology.  These aren't lithe and dexterous machines that move gracefully, they are more along the lines of blubbery seals when they duel. Characters are also superb.  The individuals in the squad are very creative, nuanced, and have so many great dynamics among each other.  Five, the number of soldiers in the 08th team, is the perfect number to get to know each character with depth and make an emotional connection while also displaying interactions between each of the members.  There were many instances in the show where I would laugh or smile because of small things the characters would do, like Eledor requesting his own song on the radio or every time we heard Michal's letter to Fibi. Development of the characters follows suit, to an extent.  The development varies on episode and over-arching scopes.  For instance, Sanders overcomes his fear of the crew dying on its third mission in one episode, whereas Michel becomes bolder as the series progresses.  The team itself develops in how they work together and trust each other.  Compare episode one to episode eleven.  The team can't initially stand its commander yet becomes more loyal and supportive gradually, to the point they are frantically hoping to find him alive in episode eleven.  Sadly, Shiro, the commander of the team, doesn't receive as much development as his teammates.  He matures, definitely, and fights the enemy less and less directly, saving lives where he can, but his true nature is veiled in a forthright character that is obsessed with his love at first sight, Aina. The romance is a love-at-first-sight archetype.  Each respective individual loses their minds and falls in love instantly with someone they don't know.  Love-at-first-sight is really a stronger term for a crush, and like many anime that use this kind of device, it never develops into more than a crush.  The couple, which instantly forms, never bothers to understand their partner more than superficially.  Questions (and answers to them) like: “What do you believe about such and such?” and “What do you want out of life” never come up.  It's just two people that like each other for there looks, right?    The love story here is awful and would have been better left entirely out show.  They could easily have done without it entirely and achieved a similar plot.  To make the romance worse, it is a core element of the show, though I believe it's unnecessary, there is no denying that a majority of the screen time falls to Aina and Shiro is it drives plot.  This makes it impossible to ignore the shallow feelings and takes away screen time that would have been better used showing Shiro growing as a commander and his teammates bantering in addition to developing a more meaningful plot. This anime would have been exemplary if it focused more on the themes it presents.  Those are leadership, camaraderie, and unrequited love, to name tho biggest ones.  Shiro's the greenest addition, besides Michel, to the 08th Team, put in charge of soldiers that have no respect for him.  He develops as a leader, taking care of each of his crew while staying determined.  Eventually, his comrades come to trust him.  Camaraderie is a huge focus because the show is centered on the interactions of the team as they fight there way through difficult circumstances.  The soldiers have to open up, as reluctant as they are, to their fellows, about their fears and desires, which leads them to becoming a pretty decently functioning squad and a sort of family you could even say.  Lastly, unrequited love - and I mean actual feelings for someone besides just looks – is a big theme.  It is, of course, undermined by the couple in the limelight.  For example, look at Kiki's feelings for Shiro, which begin initially as an adolescent crush but develop to deeper feelings, particularly noticeable in the last episode.  Then there is Michal, who writes letters to Fibi who ends up turning her back on the relationship, though Michal still has strong feelings for her.  So what does 08th MS Team give these two characters continually battling for their respective love interests?  Less than nothing.  The show says, “keep going for it no matter what” then slaps the viewer with an ending that does nothing to resolve this for Fibi or Michal!  In fact, both Fibi and Michal, have to face the fact that both their interests are in serious relationships with other people.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, actually its quite realistic from my limited experience, but there is no resolution for Fibi or Michal's feelings.  None!  They could have showed them moving on somehow.  No, instead you get to see that those two love birds Aina and Shiro are doing swell.  Good for them. To continue with my criticism of the ending, leadership and camaraderie are not tied up either.  Both are thrown out the window by Shiro, but he's in love, so it's okay.  He abandons his team that has turned into a family for him and doesn't bother contacting them in any way to let them at least know he's okay nor does he do anything self sacrificial for them analogous to a great leader.  Honestly, the best leader in this show is by far Yuri, who makes hard decisions to save his soldiers.  He's also super cool and one of the best zeeks in any Gundam series.  This is probably blasphemy, but to me he's cooler than Char any day because he cares so much about his men.  The show made such a an awesome leader, ergo why didn't Shiro develop into a leader more like him?  You can probably guess what I'm going to say.  Because of the stupid love story!!! Deep breath.  Deep breath.  Okay, its not owing to hatred that I'm so vehement.  I genuinely appreciate and enjoy *08th MS T*{::}*eam*.  The heart of the matter is that this show had so much potential and was so close to being absolutely incredible that all it needed was more focus on the themes that they'd already injected into the show from the beginning, and it would have been phenomenal.  They were mere inches from having a masterpiece, and a fixation on a shallow love story threw it all down the tubes. Sorry, back to how themes was back-stabbed by the finale.  Next up camaraderie: Shiro didn't let any of his friends know he was alright.  Also, his team was split up and sent to different parts of the world.  That second one is something that would not be at all unlikely, but it is unaddressed.  Michal doesn't seem to care too much that the team's been separated.  It's only a passing remark at the beginning of episode twelve.  The only promising signs of companionship are both the insinuation that Michal is still in contact with his team and the fact that Shiro named a bunch of hoodlums after his friends.  So, they did better than they did on a couple of the other themes, but nothing complete or final could be felt or really deduced by the end of the episode on that topic.  Perhaps the ending was going for, “life moves on and separates close comrades, but it's not difficult or meaningful in any way, except maybe it's difficult if you're Michal and you think your supposedly dead commander is actually alive and really want to find him.”  Something like that. No worries, I'm done with my attack on what ruined the show.  A minor flaw or something I would have appreciated insight into was the structure of the 08th MS teams command structure.  Despite the fact they operated gundams, they seemed to be extremely independent with a lack of oversight or financial concerns.  Those gundams were probably pretty expensive, so why were they treated as simple grunts?  Other than what I've complained about, the show did a good job.  The episodic nature is a welcome and refreshing contrast to series focused on series-long, epic plots that involve saving humanity or something.  This is just about a crew.  And something else I refuse to mention anymore.  Just guess.  I dare you. With a zoom in on the battlefield and a squads personal lives as they skirmish, this an extremely unique addition to the gundam saga.  It falls into some serious trouble with a trope and ultimately loses its way.  Still, it has redeeming qualities, including the themes it ends up neglecting, the beautiful animation, and the great soundtrack.  The cast is hilarious and provides continual comedy relief mixed with real challenges for the squad members.  This snippet of soldier life is fun and an adventure that should not be missed if you are a fan of gundam or military ventures.

89/100 One of the best Gundam series due to how realistic it was, and the way it managed to balance characters and plot.

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