Parental Guidance Recommended
Credits: © 1995 Sotsu Agency. Sunrise. Directors: Takeyuki Kanda and Umanosuke Ilda.
English Adaptation © 2001 Bandai Entertainment, Inc. Screenshots by GPlus.
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Nine months into the One Year War between Federation and Zeon forces Ensign Shiro Amada is on his way to Earth for the first time to assume command of a ground unit of Gundams in Southeast Asia. Yet before he can get to Earth he has a chance encounter with female Zeon pilot named Aina, from which a relationship develops between the two. But Shiro has more pressing matters at hand as he inherits a dysfunctional unit. Among the problems, his aggressive second in command and fellow pilot is rumored to have caused her last CO's nervous breakdown, and the other pilot on the team has the reputation of being a third time jinx on his comrades. Outside of his team are even more problems. Asides from Zeon forces, Aina's brother is also in the area creating a monolithic Mobile Armor for Zeon, Shiro's superiors do not trust him, and there is a significant guerilla presence in the area unfriendly to both sides. Can Shiro lead his team through the war, and make it out alive?
(12 episodes + 1 "Miller's Report" special)
Probably one of the best Gundam series >>> by Kyubi Kitsune (07.06.2002)
The 08th MS Team stands out from the rest of its predecessors in the UC Gundam timeline in that it takes a departure from the standard conventions of the series. In this OAV the action mostly takes place in the jungle, there are no epic showdowns between Amuro and Char type characters, and the fights are generally quick, intense, and very up close and personal. In a way it is similar to Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 in that the focus is on the common soldier. Because of these departures, an appealing freshness is brought to the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise.
While it would have benefited from twice as many episodes, 08th MS Team is able to present and wrap up an engaging storyline within eleven episodes, and have an epilogue, if somewhat of a misguided one, in the twelfth. Characters are no different. While a lot of them could stand some more development, all the major characters are well presented in a way that everyone has a certain appealing depth to their personalities.
The animation at times is simply gorgeous, like in the beginning of the fourth episode, and is excellent overall for an OAV made during the time. The very nice character designs are done by no other than Toshihiro Kawamoto (Cowboy Bebop). The mechanical designs are a very good update of the ones presented in Mobile Suit Gundam.
The show makes good use of its background music to capture the ambience of the scenes, and the opening and ending themes are nice but none of them really stand out.
While the English dub is satisfactory and is really not all that bad, the original Japanese is just better.
Even if one is not a big Gundam fan, The 08th MS Team is nevertheless a very nice mecha anime that spends as much time on the characters and story as it does the mecha and action.
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 8; Characters 8; Sounds 9
The anime equivalent of 'Platoon' >>> by Shunichi Sakurai (02.28.2006)
Like Gundam 0083, this is a marathon-friendly OAV series documenting the events between the One Year War and the Gryps Conflict. Instead of taking the fight to space with Newtypes and enhanced humans, 08th MST turns its attention to the soldiers on the frontline -- the unsung heroes of war. In many ways, this title even outdoes 0083 as viewers are shown just how gritty the fighting is in the jungles, deserts and mountains.
Main protagonist Shiro Amada has to be one of the most emphatic mecha heroes ever. While sharing Kira Yamato's pacifist slant from Gundam SEED and SEED DESTINY, Shiro is a more rounded and human character and far better for it, having no special talents except for sheer luck and a developing commander's eye. Despite his position, Shiro gets himself into some pretty awkward and silly situations!
His ragtag 8th Team subordinates are all equally memorable, and they are fleshed out in a progressive manner as the plot goes along. Michel's fear of war, Sanders' death jinx, Karen's gung-ho attitude and Eledore's cockiness make for a diverse cocktail of personalities. Even more so than Mobile Suit Gundam, 08th MST emphasizes the very real danger of death on the battlefield, and this theme is reinforced by Shiro's promise of keeping everyone on his team alive and the importance of trust.
Hajime Katoki lends his hand to the mecha designs once again, remaking the famous Gundam and GMs into their more realistic and utilitarian Ground Type cousins. There are even MS that are repaired and modified on the field, such as Shiro's Gundam Ez8 made from his battle-damaged Gundam, lending it even more of a realistic "Platoon"-like feel. The character designs are a little less realistic and gritty than 0083's but they do the job and suit Eledore and Michel's comedic moments well. The fight sequences are excellent and reflective of real skirmishes: short, decisive and brutal, with very little in the way of beam weapons and a lot of machine-gun and cannon fire.
My only real gripe is with the final episode and the "Miller's Report" special. They seem out of place with the events of the other episodes and the series would stand better without them. Suffice it to say, this Gundam OAV series, good enough to stand on its own, belongs to the hardcore fan's war film collection.
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 10; Characters 10; Sounds 8