Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     March 20, 2002
Release Date: January 22, 2002


Mobile Suit Gundam: MS 08th Team Vol. #4
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Universal Century 0079. The last battle in Southeast Asia is about to take place. As the Zeon’s being to evacuate their base, the Federation moves in for the attack! Zeon ace, Packard, rushes to engage the enemy in order to buy his troops enough time to escape, but Gineas has other plans...
Driven mad by his quest to finish the Apsalus, he turns on his sister and threatens to destroy the assembled Federation Forces! With the battle almost over, the 08th MS Team are left without a leader – Will Michael and Kiki find Shiro and Aina and put an end to the war once and for all?

The Review!
The final arc of this 08th Team series manages to provide a solid ending to the series and a rather interesting epilogue episode. While I think it ranks just slightly less content wise than the 3rd volume, the end battle for the characters and their motivations continues to be strong.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. This is a pretty slick sounding disc overall, with a lot of action sounds and some background dialogue being thrown to the rear speakers as well as a number of effects from the combat sequences giving things a much deeper feeling. The music makes good use of the stage as well, providing a good rhythm to everything.

Video:
For the most part, the transfer is pretty much what we've seen so far with good looking colors, excellent blacks and grays and al overall nice level of solidity. There is a bit more cross coloration showing up though throughout the episodes in various places. On the Skyworth, it was pretty spotty and only showed up something like a half dozen times. On our non-progressive TV/DVD combo, we noticed it showing up more frequently.

Packaging:
As with the other volumes, we get another great reversible cover. The back side to this one has Shiro and Aina holding hands amid the destruction (which we promptly switched to). The back cover is laid out like previous volumes with a fair number of pictures, a good rundown of the episode and episode numbers and titles. All the technical and production info is nicely laid out The insert provides another shot of the original front cover while the interior provides another letter from Michel to his girlfriend.

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:
The last batch of extras here gives us another look at the Gundam Encyclopedia and four more bonus clips. The bonus clips continue to be one of the best pieces of extras for the Gundam series since it does a great job in fleshing out and filling in the blanks of the Gundam UC timeline with some great looking artwork. My only very minor dislike is that each clip is one single chapter, so you can't skip easily past the same opening animation used in each of them. Or that there was a play all feature for it. But that's just really nitpicking.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The MS 08th Team series has definitely not been a series where the Gundam and mobile suit action has been lacking. Though Shiro's not one of the best pilots, he's not one of the kind of pilots that despises what he's doing, he just gets in there and does the job that he sees fit to do. So he's still got that maverick feel, but he's not trying to run away from it all in general.

With the One Year War now going so poorly for the Zeon forces, the base Ginias had been using is to be abandoned as his Apsalus is nearly ready and can handle most any foe. Aina uses this time to get everyone on board a med evac craft so she can at least save someone. She also spends some time talking with Norris, who she reveals to that she thinks of him like a father. This display is most surprising to Norris, but it only serves to further his resolve in making sure she gets what she wants. And now that her goal is to save the lives of those in the base, he's taking it as a personal mission.

And it's a dangerous battle. With the mountain base being abandoned and there being so many pieces of Federation hardware in the area and the city below it, they're practically surrounded. The Federation is moving in large mobile tank hardware to begin a massive bombing campaign to get the last of the Zeon out, so the few remaining mobile suits the Zeon have are put to use in tracking down and eliminating them as they move throughout the city. They're defended by the 08th Team though, and some great block by block city fighting between the group and the Zeon goes on, with some excellent sequences between Shiro and Norris.

And to make matters worse for everyone, Ginias gets his Apsalus flying with Aina at the helm. This massive beast lays a searing line of fire down across the entire valley and practically shocks the Federation commanders into a stupor. With this larger newer enemy now proving to be a real player, the sheer stupidity of some commanders shows up in great form here when something of a truce is offered. The nastiness and the stupidity of these kinds of wars is showing quite clearly here. Of course, this is also made worse with Ginias' further sinking into insanity as he revels in the power of his creation.

The epilogue episode takes things down a notch by taking place in 0080 after the war is over. Only Kiki and Michel are involved here as they try to bring resolution to everything. The episode works in the end, but it feels like an uneven epilogue as it introduces things that just don't seem to really fit well into the overall universe and don't really go anywhere since it's just an epilogue. But the end pays off nicely making it worthwhile.

Gundam MS 08th Team was a really fun series. Being the first OVA series I hadn't seen before, it was refreshing to see some new stuff mixed in and more stories told during the One Year War. Combined with better writing and better animation, this series is one that I know I'll be watching many times over the years to come. Very recommended.

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

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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