Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 Vol. #2 (of 2) (

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, April 26, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002

What They Say
Universal Century 0080. In an attempt to destroy the experimental Gundam, the Zeon commando unit launch a devastating attack on the neutral colony of Libot. But when their attack fails, Libot soon faces an even greater threat from space.

Now the young Zeon soldier Bernie and Al must accomplish the impossible - destroy the Gundam, or the colony and its millions of inhabitants will perish.

The Review!
The second half of the six episode OVA series comes out looking great here, breathing new life into one of the real classics of the Gundam mythology and from the OVA boom of the late 80’s and early 90’s.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The Japanese language track gets a boost here by being remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, and unlike a lot of spots in the 0083 release, this one sounds a lot better and a lot less hollow. Part of this is due to less music in general, which means less hollow 80's songs. The action sequences make the most use of the new found directionality as well as some background voices going to various speakers, such as children in the school. The English track also got a 5.1 with pretty much the same results. My only real disappointment is that the original mixes were not included, since some older fans will have an affection for them and some audiophiles truly dislike how downconverted 5.1 tracks sound.

The remastered transfer used here continues to look great. The show continues to feature great looking colors and solid looking backgrounds. There’s a few instances of very minor cross coloration and some slight aliasing in a few tight scenes, but for the most part it’s easy to just lose yourself in how great it looks.

Bandai scores once more by providing another reversible cover. The retail cover has a nice cast shot of Chris and Bernie as well as the main children characters.. The back cover gives a closeup on the three primaries as well as providing a few small animation shots. There's a brief summary and a listing of the episodes and their numbers and titles as well as the various disc features. The reverse cover provides a great piece of artwork that I believe was used for the Japanese release that has Chris walking inside of Side 6. The back cover for this side is similar to the other one except it's a bit less busy on the top half. The insert here opens to give a timeline of these episodes as to where they take place, which you can use to check out against other One Year War timelines.

The menu layout here is pretty basic and workable, but lacks something that's made other recent menus stand out a bit. The menus play with some animation and music but don't draw you in like the ones used for the MS 08th did. Moving between the menus is nice and fast with good access times. The layout in general works well, though I would have prefered to see the translated credits placed in the extras section instead of inside the DVD credits section. But i'll take this over having them in the show itself, which was nice to see the original print.

A solid selection of extras are presented in this release. The translated opening/ending sequence, which looks like they were pulled directly from the VHS run a few years back, shows up in the extras this time. We also get three Japanese music videos for Shooting Star at Dawn, M-2 and Distant Memories. The second textless ending gets its place here as well as more MS Encyclopedia pieces. There’s also a short (1.10) feature called All That Gundam with music by Kenji Kawai that showcases a brief Gundam battle that was used to highlight one of the 0080 releases.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final three episodes of Gundam 0080 are some of the stronger Gundam episodes I’ve managed to see so far in my fairly limited Gundam viewing. With most military and war oriented anime, the general theme, be it prominent or underlying, is generally that war is bad. It’s a simplistic thing of course, but it’s one that can be told in many layers and told in a variety of ways. With 0080, the war between the Federation and the Zeon gets up close and personal for young Al.

While he’s befriended the Zeon infiltrators and proven useful to them, they’ve all come to realize what their real mission is, with the likely exception of Bernie. The team has essentially been tossed aside once they were told to find their own way out and by assigning such a novice in Bernie to such an apparently critical role. But the captain has decided that they’ll do their duty regardless. So it’s with that knowledge that they go undercover and worm their way into the Federation base that Bernie and Al have proven exists.

While the plan is to destroy the Gundam that’s in there, they have more than one reason to do so. If they cannot destroy it within a certain timeframe, the Zeon high command will send a ship with nuclear weapons to destroy the colony. Side 6 was one of the few who did not sign the treaty prohibiting such weapons, so they can find themselves open to such an unbelievable attack. During the brief time the team has been in Side 6, they’ve gained an affection for it, but not the usual full-turnaround you see in less complex shows. These men are still Zeon through and through, but some things are just too much.

The resulting actions leads to a massive rampage across the colony between the one working Zaku and the Gundam as well as the damage the team infects on a human sized scale. This is where things really hit home for Al as he starts to see people he knows and thinks he knows well dying in front of him, seeing his own school practically obliterated and everything else around him. This affects him profoundly but in a more internal way than you’d expect. When his friends try showing him all the cool shells they’ve found and other parts, he can barely hold back his feelings about it all.

As with most Gundam shows, things move towards the characters doing what they believe is right from their perspective and following through on it. There’s little namby-pamby stuff here as most of those involved outside of Al are adults and actually act like it and make good on what they say. Bernie’s evolution throughout the series parallel’s Al’s to some extent in how they both grow up under some form of duress. And thankfully the potential love story doesn’t overwhelm things but instead turns incredibly bittersweet.

I loved 0080 the first time I saw it and the dozen times I’ve seen it since. This is by far the best presentation of it I’ve seen and these two discs are going to get many viewings over the years to come.

Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Mobile Suit Gundam Encyclopedia,Textless Ending #2,Music Video's (3),All That Gundam Promo

Review Equipment
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: A
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080