Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Mobile Suit Gundam 0083
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Vol. #1
By Chris Beveridge
January 17, 2002
Release Date: January 22, 2002
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Vol. #1
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
Three years of peace have followed the Earth Federation's victory over the Duchy of Zeon.
Now, in the year 0083, the last remnants of Zeon begin their plan for revenge by stealing a prototype Gundam armed with nuclear weapons. Can rookie Federation pilot Kou Uraki challenge the legendary ace Anavel Gato, and prevent the cataclysmic rebirth of Zeon? The Review!
Now this is the stuff. Back to the UC calendar once again, this time to 0083, three years after the One Year War. Back when mobile suit pilots were men and Gundam's didn't wear capes.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. While the original mono or stereo track isn't included, we have been given a full 5.1 remix of the Japanese track as well as a remix of the English 5.1 track that was released a few years ago. The Japanese 5.1 track sounds pretty good overall with some better clarity and definition to the voices across the forward soundstage, but some of the music comes across as giving a really hollow feel at times through the rear channels instead of giving it an immersive feel. You mostly here the rhythmic beat of the 80's drum music in the back, which distracted my wife to no end.
Having rewatched the VHS of this just a couple of years ago, I'm surprised at just how different this looks from it. The quality of the animation and the cel painting is just stunning. It holds up perfectly against the MS 08th Team release and looks great by present day OVA's and TV series. I'm hard pressed to find any flaws with the transfer here as things just look beautiful, with the newly remastered source material from Japan being used. Backgrounds in particular look exceptionally solid and a lot of those blue sky panning scenes are just stunning. I'm all over this.
The front cover is pretty busy here, with two of the main characters and four secondary characters along the bottom half while the Gundam's duke it out on the top half. But it works out pretty nicely overall. The back cover provides some small screenshots and a brief summary of the show while it also lists the episode titles and numbers. The discs extras and basic features are also clearly listed. The best thing though is the insert. While the front is just another cover shot, the foldout is a UC timeline covering the show from 0079 through episode four in 0083. Very useful here for people who aren't terribly familiar with the timeline.
The menu layout for the show is pretty decent if a bit awkward to move around at times. There's two columns on the main screen with a slice of animation playing in the center. The left side has all the setup features and basic playing while the right side has the individual episodes that lead to scene selection. Scene selection is a bit awkward at first until you find the little white bars that show which scene you're selecting. But otherwise, they're decent if average looking menus.
There's some nice extras included here. The main one is with the cover that's nicely reversible. The main side is mostly a character shot while reversing it gets you all Gundam action with a dark background. On the disc itself, you've got the great looking creditless opening as well as the ending and another batch of Encyclopedia segments detailing more of the mecha of the series seen so far.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For a lot of people, 0083 is considered one of the weaker OVA series. I myself thought that, particularly after watching 0080 years ago before it. But having now seen much more Gundam from different time periods since the shows first started airing, I'm now finding myself liking it a lot more than I originally did.
The show starts off briefly in UC 0079 showing the last big battle that ended that war. We're quickly introduced to Anavel Gato, who is heading back off into battle. He's pulled back by the ships commander after being told his ship is gone and that he has to live to fight another day for the glory of Zeon.
Things move quickly to 0083 though as we get introduced to a group of test pilots. They're led by the somewhat grizzly veteran Lieutenant Burning. A somewhat experienced Allen, and the rookies Keith and Kou. Using a variety of mecha, including a captured Zeon mobile suit, we get to see some of the training exercises that the pilots are put through. The rookies make their fair share of mistakes, but they're not the goofy rookie types you usually find.
After their return to the base, the find that one of the floating bases, the Albion, has arrived there. The ship has been highly anticipated as it contains two of the latest models of Gundam's. There's also a crew on board from Anaheim Electronics who are overseeing its testing and maintenance while at the base. Keith and Kou head directly to the bay where the Gundam's are, with Kou climbing all over one of them. Keith takes them in as well, but finds himself much more interested in the woman whose in charge of overseeing them, Nina Purpleton of Anaheim Electronics.
She's a bit standoff-ish and defensive about her Gundam's, so she's fairly stereotypical in that respect. But the interplay between the three characters and the addition of one of the engineers brings a nice bit of chemistry to the group as Kou is oblivious to her beauty and focuses on her knowledge and her Gundam's. It's later that night that things go to hell though. Through some very low level trickery, based on the lax security of the Federation since the end of the One Year War, Anavel Gato manages to get himself smuggled onto the base.
A new plan has been hatched during the three years, and the first step to launching it is to acquire the Gundam. Wearing a Federation outfit after getting in, he briskly walks right up to the Gundam and gets in before anyone can stop him. To make matters worse, he intentionally took one that had a nuclear shell on it. Kou reacts the quickest and the chase is on as Anavel's support group moves into place as well as Federation mobile suits moving into the fray.
The opening four episodes contain a good arc for the series with the adventures being all Earth based, introducing the players and motivations and setting the stage for the second arc. For the most part, I found all of the characters to be enjoyable, though the womanizing pilot that's brought in gets on your nerves at times. Kou's focus on his goal is very strong here and overpowers everything else. He manages to eventually get some grudging respect as it's learned just who he had taken on when the Gundam was stolen.
The show is very similar to the MS 08th Team series in that it's a straightforward military style show that just happens to have giant robots done serious. The characters are all serious, but there are moments of humor (such as when Kou calls Gato "sir" during battle). The focus on fighting for ones principles is definitely a good one to build a story around, and with Gundam, you can usually bring yourself to favor either side as being the more correct on in its battle.
I'm pretty stoked to see such a high quality presentation of 0083 after so many years of VHS and other methods. This series is highly recommended and free of pretty boys.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Reversible Cover,Mobile Suit Gundam Encyclopedia,Textless Opening
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.