Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: C+
- Video Rating: A
- 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: 90
- 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. #2
By David Owens
March 24, 2002
Release Date: March 19, 2002
Oh. So this is where the Young Brash Good Guy went to.
He laid low until volume 2, that sneaky fella.
Well anyways, the second volume of Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory came out this week, and true to my word in my review of the first volume, this series is on my Immediate Buy list. The second volume had an annoying drop-off from the first one in one respect, but overall is still solid enough to keep it as an Immediate Buy. Damn Cartoon Network.
That annoying drop-off since the first is in the audio quality, at least in the English track. Anyone who read my first review might remember this, but since nobody reads my reviews anyways, I said Bandai did a "decent job keeping the voices, music, and sound effects roughly the same level so none of them are drowned out."
Well, they fired that audio mixer guy and hired a new one or something, because the audio effects and music are insanely high, while the dialogue is insanely low. This is highly annoying on this volume since there's a lot of background music and sound effects this time around. Sigh. I had to twiddle the balance and boost the center speaker on my setup just so that I could keep up with what the heck Kou was saying at the end of the middle episode on this disc, which is a real letdown after the first disc's all-around superior quality.
Luckily, the audio mixing is really the only failing of this disc. The voice acting itself remains strong, though Kou's voice sounds a bit too much like a 14-year-old now. I must have been too busy ogling Nina to realize it last time. At any rate it's still fairly solid performances throughout, and I really enjoy Dorothy Melendrez as Nina.
The video is, once again, astounding. It's a bit less clear than the first, with a little bit more smudging here and there of black lines due to more details in the background (or so it would seem). Other than that, I still have trouble believing this was made in the early 90s. I'll probably say that in the next review too, but it does bear repeating due to the extremely good quality.
Moving on to the usual stuff, the extras are about the same as the first disc's. This time it includes a little animation clip called "The Mayfly of Space", which is a kind of interesting short starring Cima. The Gundam Encyclopedia is also present, as usual with Gundam releases, as are the previews. Oooooo. Since I'm more of a sucker for creditless openings/closings, I didn't enjoy the extras as much as the first disc's, but they're certainly a nice addition.
I also didn't enjoy the packaging this time around, and even though the cover is reversible, the reverse side isn't exciting either. It's basically a picture of Cima's mobile suit, which looks all cool and stuff, but how about a stillshot of Nina from the seventh episode, when she's laying on her bed talking to her dad on the phone? Hmm.....
Well, anyways, suffice it to say I liked the first cover a little bit more, despite this being a nice art job on this one. I just like people sometimes. Not often, but once in a while.
Per usual, I took little to no notice of the menus. I'm not even certain there were any. I think this disc just flew into my DVD player and magically started right up into the extras and then the episodes themselves. There may be menus here, but they were so mundane that I didn't notice (that and the fact that the audio volume on them is so amazingly low, I didn't realize when they went by. Argh).
As I mentioned in the opening thought, the Brash Young Good Guy shows up 4 episodes late to this series. Episode 5, "Gundam, To the Sea of Stars" sets up some rubberband characterizations that fling all over creation. Hey look, it's Kou in the gundam, fiddling around! Hey look, it's Nina finally wearing a different outfit than she wore in the entire first disc! Hey look, she's flirting with him!
Then about twelve seconds later, she's giving him the cold shoulder and basically treating him like a twit. Wow, what happened here?
Then, another twelve seconds later, Kou IS acting like a twit. What the heck? It's the surprise, unexpected appearance of the Brash Young Good Guy! Not content to show up in the first episode, as they so often do, he hung out in the back of Kou's mind for four episodes, waiting till they got into space, where apparently Kou got lightheaded and turned into Mr. Know-it-all.
He and Nina fight, he and Nina flirt, he and Nina shack up--well, maybe not. But it seems like they hit every degree of closeness and annoyance that exists in a non-existant relationship. Nina then plays up to Mancha's lechery, making Kou jealous and making him doubt himself, and then voila! Brashness abounds!
When Cima decides to come put the smack down on the Albion and the other two blow-me-up-now battleships, the group scrambles (hey, even Keith!) and does their best to hold them off, but Cima and crew prove to be too tough. Enter Kou, zooming out in the non-space-modified unit 01, against Nina's advice. Apparently she likes him again now. But no, she likes the Gundam. But maybe she does like Kou. Who knows, I got dizzy by this point and just watched Kou get his clock cleaned by Cima, wrecking an expensive prototype in the process. To make things even better, he decides he wants to land the mobile suit, while half-unconscious and with it half-dismantled.
Remember, he's Brash now.
Once all this fun stuff happens, the Albion stops at Von Braun on the moon, to get the Gundam repaired. Here, we get to see Nina's buddies from Anaheim Electronics. It's....a company of hot babes! SWEET! And their boss is none other than the Notre Dame leprechaun! Wow!
To make this slightly-longer sixth episode short, everyone gets rip-roaring drunk, Kou gets beat up (again...no wonder he's got no self-esteem), and some one-armed guy finds him and brings him home with him. Kelly (the one-armed guy, not from The Fugitive however) gives Kou some food and then calls him a deserter from the federation army. Kou suddenly thinks he's a deserter now, inexplicably. He then sees a cool mobile suit from the One Year War which Kelly has kicking around in his basement (man, kids these days with all their toys) and gets beat up because he wants to play with it.
While Kou's getting beat up and fixing things, everyone starts looking for him, Nina flipflops even more on liking him, hating him, and wanting to fix the Gundam, and the Bad Guys start making deals with Anaheim. Intrigue! Politics! Suspense!
And it doubles when we all find out who Kelly really is! Ominous! I'd summarize the last few minutes of the sixth episode, but I couldn't hear what on earth they were saying.
The seventh episode has Kou back with the federation, piloting the newly-upgraded Gundam again as a test pilot. Nina is in full-out flirt mode now, tweaking the Gundam just for Kou (aww), and Keith is dating Mora. Whoa. He decides what Kou needs to do is bring Nina to a show, "Shinning Blue Fire", which was the basis for the title of this episode. Bandai fixed the spelling error on the episode title, but not the tickets, ha ha! How amusing.
So Kou waffles this whole episode trying to ask Nina out, she likes him, hates him, gets annoyed with him being a coward. It's like Days of Our Lives, but on the moon. And with big robots.
Eventually, the inevitable fight happens, and Kou has a surprise opponent. No, really. Nina zooms out of nowhere to break up the fight, and gets hurt in the process. This causes Kou to become Pissed-Off Young Brash Guy, and he promptly cleans the bad guy's clock. I guess Kou earned it, after being a punching bag the first 75 minutes of the disc.
Anyways, the end of the disc is pretty touching, and I actually replayed it since it was kinda cute and all.
The second disc of Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory has kept me successfully hooked on the series. I really enjoyed these three episodes, both for the characterization shown (although these guys waffle more than a cook at IHOP) and for the action. I like Kou (punching bag or no), Nina rocks (did I mention she has a shower scene?), Mancha's funny, and Anaheim has a company of babes. In the grand scheme of things, I'd have to say the episodes here were some of the best I've watched in any series, and as I said in the first review, if this is one of the worse Gundam series, then bring on the rest because I can't wait!
Gundam 0083 is a series I'll rewatch numerous times from now on, and I'm very glad that I got into it. The series is halfway over, and although the romance seems resolved already, the conflict with Gato is still looming...
Pioneer Elite 610 HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive DVD Player, Pioneer Elite VSX-35TX Receiver, Pioneer ISO-drive speaker setup, Monster component cables and digital coax cable