Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team: Miller's Report (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2002
What They Say
Universal Century 0079 – Federation Intelligence Officer Alice Miller has been assigned to investigate Shiro Amada, Commander of the 08th MS Team. Her mission: to uncover details of his mysterious prolonged absence after the last battle and to determine whether or not he is a spy for the Zeon forces.
Facing the potential end of the his military career, Shiro must finally choose between military duty and his relationship with Aina as the 08th MS Team strives once more to prove itself in battle.
Miller's Report is a recap of sorts of the first seven or so episodes of the 08th Team series with some new footage mixed in. While not really groundbreaking, it's somewhat surprising to see a niche title like this make it over, but I'm extremely happy it did. This is dedication to the fans.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its remixed language of Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Bandai went so far as to remix both languages, but having listened to it previously in English, I was more interested in hearing the Japanese remix. For the most part, this is a solid 5.1 transfer of previously stereo materials. Dialogue still remains firmly rooted in the forward soundstage with some more distinct directionalty included. There are unfortunately a few areas where the dialogue sounds somewhat hollow, but these are few and far between. What really takes advantage of the remix is the music and some of the sound effects. The music manages to avoid the hollow feeling we found on the 0080 and 0083 discs and sounds quite good, particularly when mixed with the combat sound effects.
In general, this transfer is just like the one we've seen for the 08th series proper, which means it looks great. There's some cross coloration scattered throughout much like the series as well, but it's not as constant as some other shows. Colors look good, backgrounds maintain a nice solid look and there's little line shimmering or jaggies. The new footage included is pretty much seamlessly added so there's no real jumps in animation quality between new and old.
Bandai provides yet another reversible cover for this volume. The main cover features a nice moody shot of Miller, Shiro and the Gundam in the background while the reverse cover features more of a team action ready shot of the 08th group. The back cover features a few animation shots and a decent summary of the show. Disc features and production credits are all clearly listed. The insert provides another shot of the main cover while it opens to reveal another letter from Michel to B.B.
The menus are a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of design and look, they look great. The main menu is set up as a Earth News Network kind of image, with icons in the lower corner to select what you want (yes kiddies, you need to have half a brain to figure out what the icons mean. And if you complain about it, never ever buy a region 2 disc). What doesn't work so good though is the extras submenus. When you move from selection to selection, it loads a different image in the window. This means it's veeeeeery slow moving from one selection to the other and doesn't encourage repeat visits.
Bandai's provided some solid extras for this release. We gt the textless opening and ending from the original OVA's (which don't appear in the progam here). But the big extra is the anime footage from the Playstation 2 game, which runs just over 25 minutes in length. These bits are really interesting to see, especially the older Gundam shows done in somewhat newer styles but retaining their classic look. There's little 08th material here, but that's not the point. This is a sweet extra for those who will never pick up the game but want to see the material.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story of Miller's Report opens with the battle between the 08th Team and their sneak attack trap on the Zeon forces that are testing their mobile armor. The show opens to this fast paced battle and then shifts to a later date, when the remains of various mobile suits from that encounter are set aside in in a warehouse. It's here that we're introduced to the calm and very serious Alice Miller, a woman whose been assigned to figure out whether the leader of the 08th Team, Shiro Amada, is a Zeon spy or not.
The special then flashes back to tell the story of how Shiro and Aina first met and survived that encounter and then shifts the story forward to their subsequent meeting after the opening battle. Interspersed throughout this is some of the new footage with Miller and her questioning of Shiro as well as new segments with the rest of the 08th Team and parts of his inquiry with his superiors.
Miller's Report is a special that's very hard to recommend to the casual fan because in a sense it's saying "Pay for it again". For the die-hard fan, it's rare to get these kinds of specials so to that crowd it's a lot easier to push and say "Get it so we can get some of the even better specials!". Bandai's done a good job of making this one worthwhile by having the 5.1 remix and the show itself being mostly combat oriented. The other big draw of course is the Playstation 2 footage which runs nearly half the length of this program.
Even though we'd finished the 08th series recently, it was interesting to revisit it in this format and get a taste for the Japanese specials that get produced. If you're a fan of the 08th, and especially if you've got a nice 5.1 setup, I'd recommend checking this out.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Playstation 2 Anime Footage
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team