Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 180
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 Box Set

By Bryce Coulter     August 03, 2007
Release Date: July 12, 2005


Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 Box Set
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
The great war between the Earth Federation and the Duchy of Zeon is almost over. At the neutral space colony of Libot, the Federation secretly constructs a powerful new Gundam mobile suit. And in this colony, so far untouched by the conflict, a little boy named Al dreams of mobile suits and space battles... until a Zeon commando team discovers Libot's secret, and changes Al's life forever.

The Review!
Gundam 0080, War in the Pocket, is this reviewer's first real exposure to the Gundam phenomena...

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in the English dub. There is a solid set of sounds sent to both front and rear speakers directionally throughout the episodes. The English track sounded decent with no drop outs or distortions. Overall, the English track sounded good for its age.

Video:
The video transfer for this looks great despite its age. Some noticeable cross coloration along the backgrounds and in some of the characters is evident. However, this does ease off after awhile and ends up leaving a very vibrant looking transfer.

Packaging:
Nothing fancy, this collection comes with two discs that are housed in an atypical single DVD case that has a hinged holder for the second disc. The front of the case has a picture of Bernie along with Al. The cover gives one a feeling of two brothers that are hanging out. Bernie obviously is doing his best to be cool, but has an expression that makes one inference that he has a close relationship with Al. Of course, Al is holding what appears to be Bernie's helmet. He has that expression of pride that only resembles that of a younger brother being able to hang with his big bro. The back of the case has your atypical series summary along with a few screen captures from the series.

Menu:
The menu layout here is pretty basic and workable. The menus play with some animation and music. Moving between the menus is nice and fast with good access times. The layout in general works well.

Extras:
The extras in this collection pretty much match what was included in the previous single releases. The textless opening and ending is great, especially if you are into the Gundam theme music. The collection of commercials that were used to advertise the monthly releases of the original LD's are missing from the last collection. Also included from the previous collection, are three Japanese music videos for Shooting Star at Dawn, M-2 and Distant Memories. 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. A block of entries into the MS Encyclopedia are also included from the single collection.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Many of you are probably saying "This reviewer has never been exposed to Gundam??" Well, yeah.... I haven't. My only exposure to Gundam lies in the most recent Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. I grew up with many anime classics, but somehow missed out on the earliest of the Gundam genre. So, I jumped at the chance to review this collection to get a sense of what makes Gundam so great. For those of you who are like me, Gundam 0080 does not disappoint. It definitely follows the complex militaristic and political themes that are unique to all Gundam versions.

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 takes place during December of 0080. The War in the Pocket OVA series focuses on Side 6, one of the neutral and uninvolved sides in the One Year War. As any Gundam fan would suspect, there's no such thing as being neutral when it comes to battles as large as the One Year War. MS Gundam 0080 opens on Earth where the Federation has managed to launch into space a mysterious container despite an attack by a Zeon group of mobile suits. Zeon is suspectful of what is in the container and sets out identify the contents or destroy it entirely. Zeon soon discovers that the container has made its way into the hands of Side 6. As a result, a group of Zeon commandos are dispatched to attack Side 6.

As the commandos make their way to Side 6, a young sixth grader, Al, goes about his daily routine. He and his friends are like most kids, talking about things they don't know and getting into trouble with teachers and parents. Al in particular has an attention deficit problem since he's always daydreaming about being a mobile suit pilot. During one spirited conversation with his classmates, he proudly insists that he's seen a real Federation mobile suit. This is because his father works at a shipping company and Al got get a glimpse of it at the spaceport. Al is dared by his classmates to provide pictures as proof. Everyone knows that Zeon is the only faction that possesses mobile suits. In attempt to prove his claim, Al sets out to the spaceport to sneak in some pictures. Much to his surprise he discovers some shuttles that are unloading some mysterious containers.

The next morning the Zeon commando team commences its attack. Al and his friends watch the attack from the top of the school as the Zeon commandos move about and while the defense forces attempt to defend the citizens and the spaceport. Here, a very telling moment occurs for Al and his friends as they are mesmerized in watching the carnage and destruction. Their dreams have miraculously appeared right before their eyes. One of the Zeon mobile suits is shot down and falls towards a local park. This of course prompts Al to immediately run off with his camera to get some close-up pictures.

As Al approaches the wreckage, he carefully takes a good number of images until he comes across the pilot, Bernard Weisman. Bernie is a top mobile suit pilot, who was reluctantly assigned to the Zeon commando group. Bernie was expecting a platoon of armed soldiers, but was only greeted by a snot-nosed middle school kid. Like any naïve kid, Al voluntarily tells Bernie that there's virtually no military force in the area. Bernie exploits Al's excitement by pumping him for information in exchange for Bernie's flight gear. Bernie also comes to the realization that Al may be the key he needs in order to discover the location of the container that he and his team are looking for as Al willingly shares the images from his camera. It just so happens that Al's camera has images of the container they are looking for. Unbeknownst to the Zeon commandos, this container has the Federations top secret Gundam unit.

Bernie is quickly rescued by one of his team members. With the camera memory card in hand, Bernie heads back to a temporary base that his comrades have set up in an old abandoned warehouse. It just so happens that the abandoned warehouse is a staging area where the commando team is building their mobile suits from the pieces they have slipped in while Bernie attacked the defense forces. Their plan is to assemble the mobile suits so they can launch a surprise internal attack and capture the container. The commando team captain realizes that Al is a valuable asset and encourages Bernie to take advantage of the relationship in order to further increase their chance of success in pulling off the surprise attack. Reluctantly, Bernie accepts his assignment as he is the most junior member of the team.

Al and Bernie's relationship evolves into a sibling type of relationship. Al just wants approval, just like any little brother. Bernie eventually gives into this as their relationship matures. Bernie adjusts well to his new role and even begins to enjoy being a big brother. Al's next door neighbor, Christine McKenzie, is an additional incentive for Bernie to befriend Al. Of course, this brings some amusing moments into play when Bernie first meets and eventually develops an interest in Christine. Unbeknownst to Al and Bernie, Christine is the Federation test pilot for the top secret Gundam project.

The final three episodes of Gundam 0080 kicks things into high gear as the Zeon commando team prepares to make their assault on the space port. Of course, this coincides with the final assembly of the Federation's new Gundam unit, which Christine is testing. From my limited Gundam experience, it appears that the overall theme of "War is Hell" comes across clearly. Gundom 0080 does not stray from this theme. This of course is a rather simplistic implication. However, a new twist to this common theme is about to unfold in a very dramatic, yet profound way.

Al, immersed in the excitement of all that is going on, is living out a dream as he's befriended the Zeon infiltrators. He has yet to realize that he is aiding the enemy. The Zeon commandos are nearly ready to execute the final stage of their mission, knowing that the odds are stacked against them, with the likely exception of Bernie. The team was deemed expendable once they were informed by the Zeon command that they must find their own way out. Forced with the decision to disband or fight, the Zeon captain has decided that the team will execute their duty regardless of the outcome. 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.

The primary objective is to destroy the Gundam unit. However, if it is not destroyed within a certain timeframe, the Zeon high command will launch nuclear weapons to destroy the colony. Zeon can exploit this act as Side 6 never signed a treaty prohibiting the use of such weapons. During the brief time the team has been in Side 6, they've gained affection for it, especially Bernie.

The commando team commences its operation to destroy the Gundam, which results in a massive rampage across the colony. Al witnesses this as Bernie leaves him behind to participate in what he truly wishes he didn't have to do. The reality of it all begins to weigh heavily on Al as he begins witnessing the people he knows succumbing to the ensuing death and destruction. This even becomes more evident as he horrifically watches his own school being obliterated along with everything else around him. This affects him in a very profound and deep way as he starts to realize what he has done in helping the Zeon commandos and Bernie. Al can barely hold back his feelings about it all.

As with most Gundam shows, the plot often hinges on the main characters doing what they believe is morally right and seeing it through till the bitter end. Al's perspective and coming to grips with war is a huge coming of age theme. However, the greatest character growth lies within Bernie as he has changed. His short time on Side 6 and his befriending of Al has changed him. He gains a greater appreciation for life as he mentors Al. His interest in Christine even reveals the potential for something better than he has ever known possible. As the final scene draws to a close, an eerie reflection of what could have been is left with the viewer.

Summary:
Gundam 0080 is a short story that packs a big punch. It truly reflects the themes that are often portrayed in the other Gundam genre. The animation may be dated, but the story rings a certain amount of timeless truth. As Americans, we rarely ever experience this first hand. The ending of this story has left a deep impact on this reviewer's perspective on war, especially on how it affects the innocent. Highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,MS Encyclopedia,Textless Opening,Image Gallery,Japanee TV Ad Collection


Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

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