Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team

Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     September 04, 2001
Release Date: September 04, 2001


Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Universal Century 0079. Shiro Amada has now assumed control of his unit, the 08th MS Team. Their first missions have not been easy, and they don’t look to be getting any easier. On their third mission, the 08th MS team encounters a new enemy Mobile Armor, the experimental Apsalus!

Meanwhile, the Apsalus has been forced to land to make emergency repairs, and the Zeon have taken over the local village - a village where some members of the 08th MS Team are heading for some R&R! Now, they lie in wait in the desert for the enemy Mobile Armor to make another appearance. It’s a long wait, and with one of their team injured, it’s going to be a rough road.

The Review!
More 0079 era Gundam means more good Gundam. Especially in its original language. This disc did not disappoint at all.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the show, dialogue was good and solid and the track overall had a slightly above average feel to it. There's a bit of directionality across the front soundstage in a few areas with the mobile suits running around and while inside, but dialogue is mostly through the center channel while everything else plays nicely along the left/right channels. The opening and ending songs sound great.

Video:
The mid 90's OVA level quality continues to show through here with this transfer being very close to the quality we saw on the first one. The colors look striking, such as one scene early on where you see the mix of green to deep blue skyline, the greens look fantastic. Blacks are nice and solid and there's minimal shimmering during camera panning sequences. There's a bit more cross coloration showing up here, but that seems to be due to the characters we see more of here are more tightly drawn with a lot more linework done on them.

Packaging:
The great looking double sided covers continue here. The main cover showing the red-eyed mobile suit moving through the night is terrific looking with a real sense of danger to it. The reverse side has a great character pose of Aina against a rocky and starry background. The back cover for both provides a nice military feeling look to it, with several pictures from the show, episode numbers and titles and a decent summary. Technical information and creative staff are easily located as well. The insert provides another shot of the main front cover, while it folds out to reveal another written letter to B.B., keeping the insert very much in-character for the show.

Menus:
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, especially in the trailers page, 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.

Extras:
There's some really solid extras here, the kind that I'm usually really wanting. While the package lists a textless ending, none is actually here. What we do get is an installment of the MS Encyclopedia, which details the various mobile suits and equipment used during this particular series. We also get 10 minutes worth of bonus clips, or roughly three mini-shows that detail various things in the UC timeline. Such as the rise of Zeon, the origins of the mobile suits and how colonies are made and started up. All very interesting pieces done seriously with some amusing little side-critters keeping things light.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The strong military feel of classic Gundam really continues here, as we follow Shiro and the rest of the 08th MS Team. With this batch of episodes, we start to get a feel for several of them as more than just two dimensional typical soldiers in a team that's thrown together during one of the biggest wars of the UC.

The first episode delves into partially into the problem that Sanders has. With this being the latest team he finds himself assigned to, he's now on his 3rd mission with them. And all of his past missions have had the team killed on their third missions without fail. Suffice to say he's rather despondent and resigned to the fact, and even talks about resigning to stop the curse that appears to follow him with it. Shiro's got absolutely no time for such crap, and with a new field assignment on their plate, kicks them all into gear.

What they discover while out on assignment is the background plot that runs through these three episodes. We're re-introduced to Aina and her brother, with Aina piloting a massive new mobile armor called the Apsalus. This thing is just huge and heavily armored, yet piloted by an attractive women who I keep thinking of as Belldandy. The first skirmish between the Apsalus and the 08th Team doesn't go over too well for either side, with things left in almost a draw.

The next episode starts off with Eledore celebrating wildly, as he's decided his time has come and he's going to resign his status and go back to the real world. Apparently one of his songs has been picked up by a singer and he's going to be rich and famous. So he takes Michel and they go off on a quick run of rest and relaxation at a nearby town. This sounds ideal to Eledore (less than ideal to Michel) but turns very sour when they realize the town has been taken over by the Zeon while repairs are made to the Apsalus. Now the two find themselves captured and being interrogated, and Eledore begins his mental breakdown while Michel bemoans not really knowing life.

My favorite episode is the last one though. The team has found one of the testing grounds that the Zeon have been using to check out their new gear, and it's been recently used. Now that the Apsalus is back in the air, they're going to have to give it some test time and this is the logical place for them to go. The 08th Team gets the assignment of taking as much time as required to stake out the area and lay a trap for the mobile armor when it arrives.

This multiday task really helps expand the knowledge of each of the characters as they're forced to deal with each others personalities on a more constant basis while being out there alone on the field. Michel continues to complain about things, now that he has to do Eledore's job as well, and about his desire to send B.B. his latest letter. To some extent, Michel just hasn't learned what war is really about yet. Sanders and Karen both kind of just rub him off the wrong way, and Shiro's just trying to do his best and to get this mobile armor.

With the addition of Kiki in this episode, being very affectionate to Shiro and very understanding to Michel, the dynamic between everyone gets a pretty good looking into. These aren't the best people in the world and they're all quite fallible. Being thrust into this situation really tests their tempers and their objectives, and provides a good show of character development.

Honestly, this is what Gundam should be all about. Add in ZRO Limit, Animaze and Neil Nadelman, and this is what all Gundam series should be done like. This is a great production and makes me eager to see more Gundam. Great stuff.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,MS Encyclopedia,Bonus Clips

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.

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