Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #08 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: N/A
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #08

By Chris Beveridge     May 31, 2005
Release Date: December 14, 2004

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #08
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Universal Century 0087, Seven years have past since the defeat of the Zeon army during what has now become known as the 'One Year War'. An elite Federation military force known as the Titans are tasked with the prevention of further uprising by space colonies orbiting the Earth.

Tragically, the destruction of an entire space colony at the hands of the facist-like Titans threaten to undermine peace between the Earth and those living in space. A civilian, two decorated war heroes, and a powerful new Gundam mobile suit - The world is once again on the brink of war and the future of humanity is at stake...

The Review!
The battle shifts across the Earth and the colonies as the public now becomes an active player in the war for humanities future.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for the series is pretty solid and avoids some of the problems found in older shows. To my ears there's no noticeable hiss or other background noise coming through. We listened to both audio tracks over the course of the review and found both of them to be solid in technical terms. We had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback either.

Originally airing in 1985, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame format. Being nearly twenty years old but being a staple of Bandai's library, the transfer for Zeta looks almost pristine in its nature. Whatever problems we found with what we saw are all source related things and the bulk of it is just due to the time and age of the show. The transfer itself is very clean but there's a fair bit, especially early on, of small nicks and dirt on the cels themselves that carry through. This is basically what you get with older shows like this half the time and it's something that I find that adds to its charm in a way since you know how it was handled and done back then. It isn't something that affects the grading of the video though since it's a source element. Barring that, this is a great looking disc that just shines through.

Released in a slim black thinpak style case, the cover art for this release utilizes the same artwork as the Japanese release bit with a bit of an added border and a more definitive background added to it. The artwork for this cover is one of the more meaningful ones where it has two really good looking illustrations of both Char and Amuro with Char's mobile suit in the background. Char even goes without his trademarked sunglasses this time and the way it's all put together with the background is just striking. The back cover provides a rundown of all five episodes with episode numbers and titles and a brief summary. The Japanese main staff is covered here as well as the basic technical information that makes up the disc. No insert is included with this release as there is a booklet with the overall set.

The many sides to Four is what makes up the menu this time as it has various shots of her in different moods and styles set against a simple starry blue/black background. Episodes are available separately with titles and the only other options available are the basic setup and select pieces. A piece of the vocal song from presumably the ending sequence is playing here and overall this is a good looking menu that fits nicely and doesn't feel as overloaded as some of the past Gundam series menus have. Access times are nice and fast and the disc read our players language presets.


Please Note:
This review is of a single volume from the limited edition box set release of this series. As of this writing, there are no known confirmed plans that this series will see a release in individual form. These reviews are being written in this form to allow for greater discussion of the content and to provide a closer look at each disc without having to rush through the overall set. Like many fans, I've been waiting for years myself for this and wish to savor it and not marathon it in a weekend.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With another five episodes, Zeta Gundam hits a number of areas with this volume and touches on many things that help motivate the characters as well as some areas that are in the area where it affects how the entire public views what's going on in the solar system. Between the neat characters moments as some hit some high notes and the way more things from the original series get highlighted, this is another volume with some giddy moments to it.

A lot of the early focus here continues on with the results from the Kilimanjaro episode and we get to have an interesting but short storyline with Kamille infiltrating the Titans base and dressed up in their uniforms which just looks odd. With his managing to get back in touch with Four, a lot of his feelings are once again worn on his sleeve, which really isn't all that surprising considering his age. Men older than him can be even worse at times. Similar in a way to how Amuro deals with his own mystical relationship in the original series, Kamille has to come to grips with the way life doesn't work out as one fantasizes at that age. He's dealt with the way war has impacted his life before and it's made him harder, but it's uncertain how this incident will impact him in the long run.

With both him and Quattro still being on Earth, they do finally manage to hook up with the Karaba and this leads into one of the better staged battles that the forces have been able to pull off. Most of their previous battles have been things done with them on the run from the Titans but now they're intending to hit things in Dakar where the assembly is meeting in order to let the world know what the Titans are really like. This is one of those moments where the show is most definitely a product of its time since using things like a television broadcast of a battle is something that feels so much like a given to us these days. This does play out well though as their idea to bring the war and its real tragedies to the people requires having someone that most people will know and trust on some level.

Putting Quattro as Char in a suit and having him be part of a group that storms the assembly and takes it over so that he can give a speech about what's going on and the need for humanity to understand what the Titans are doing, as well as the importance of the colonies, it's a great little moment as it goes on especially with Amuro pushing him towards it and insisting that it's now his time to take the center stage in what they've both been fighting for since the beginning of all of this. It's not necessarily a moment of Char growing up, since he's long since done that, but more a moment of him stepping back into a life as one of the most renowned members of Zeon in order to make sure what he wants now can be done. Having him do that and talk about his true past is something that always seems to bother him and the tenseness in doing it so publicly is well done here.

This volume hits up a number of other neat areas as well, such as letting us follow Reccoa a bit more to see where things have ended up with her since her being saved by Jerid before the explosion. Her involvement with the Titans now looks to be an interesting angle. Another that I was pleased to see was the return of Rosmia as she follows Kamille when he's back in space at one of the colonies with Fa and the two kids. What's even more amusing is that the time they all end up spending together puts them right into the secret hiding place of Mineva on the colony and she ends up practically being kidnapped when she wants to go boating and ends up in Kamille's rowboat. It's little coincidences like this that drive you nuts when there's so many colonies and so many locations, but isn't that what the cyber newtypes are all about?

In Summary:
Big moments and small, Zeta Gundam continues to go forward here and the battles have both moments that are key to the future of how certain characters act as well as the ongoing battles that seem to have little impact but continue to impact each of the pilots in some way. Some aspects of the storyline do find themselves dated here, but if you just keep to the mindset of this being a reality where things developed far differently than what we know, it's easy to let things like that slide. In the end, this volume has some really great moments that are both highs and lows. The parallels with the original series continue to be drawn plainly but also some of them are a bit more subtle.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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