It is the year 0083 of the Universal Century. The rebellious Principality of Zeon has been defeated in the One Year War by the Earth Federation. However, a faction of Zeon remnants led by Aguille Delaz fled from the final battle, hiding themselves away. After three long years, they attempt to rise up once more, sending Delaz’s ace pilot, Anavel Gato, to infiltrate a Federation research base to steal one of two secretly developed prototype Gundams along with its deadly nuclear warhead.
Threatened by the rogue Gundam suit and seeking to retain peace, the Earth Federation mobilizes the newly developed Albion carrier to recover the stolen unit. Manned by the remaining test pilots, with rookie pilot Kou Uraki piloting the remaining prototype Gundam, the Albion and her crew are determined to stop Gato, retake the stolen Gundam, and prevent the Zeon remnants from starting another war.
This is the story that sets out to bridge the gap between the original Gundam series, and Zeta Gundam. Does it do a great job of that? Personally, yes and no. Yes, because you learn about what happened to the Federation to where it become in Zeta Gundam, and no, because you don’t really get to see what happens to the majority of the original cast from the series such as Amuro and Char, and mostly concentrates on the cast created exclusively for this saga. There are some other previous Gundam characters that will have brief cameos, but if you want to know, watch and
find out. But I say for what it does in an overall sense, it works out pretty well.
Kou and Anavel do have good chemistry as rivals, but isn’t really that epic in comparison to that of Char and Amuro. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but you really can’t top that. The cast does ok in standing out, but I just don’t feel they have the kind of impact that an Amuro, Captain Bright, or another cast member from the original Gundam can have. But both Kou and Gato are likeable characters in their own right and you can see things in their points of view. Kou just has something to prove to himself and to his peers, while Gato is doing it for duty and patriotism to his nation.
The only thing that bothered me was the Nina and Kou story arc. I felt it was thrown in there too much for convenience and I felt for the sake of giving it an all around story by adding in that element, which I felt was unnecessary. Yes, I will admit that Nina and Kou do have a good chemistry as well, but I just felt it was really useless and doesn’t really advance anything and felt the twist to that relationship was anti-climatic. But anyway, the development is basic and the pace is moderate.
I think the art design is really excellent for its time. It represents a certain transition era of how anime is done today to how it was done back then. Like if you’re familiar with my other reviews, I always talk about how in the 1980s, anime was more circular and in the 1990s and now, it’s more angular. Well, this anime was done in the early 1990s and you get a balanced mixed of those styles and they mesh excellently. I say Kou’s circular design really represents he’s still a kid, and Gato’s more angular look shows more dignity and maturity and higher status to him. So I really like that use of those art styles to contrast those two in my personal opinion.
The mobile suit designs I think are my 2nd favorite of all time. After all, the great Shoji Kawamori himself does the mechanical designs; you can’t deny his presence and credit. I like how detailed and articulate they are. Though the mobile suits tend to look more packed and bulky, the skills of the pilots that are portrayed justify their agile mobility and fast speeds. The action is explosive, fast paced, and electrifying. Plus, the GP02A like some other Gundams sort of breaks the tradition with the head design of being more rectangular and not having the grilled mouth, which I thought was cool and looked intimidating. I really loved the features all the mobile suits have and you get overall variety.
OK, I will state that I have no familiarity with the dub with this anime so I can only comment and score on the Japanese. Forgive me for not mentioning the dub since I have never seen it. I was shocked to learn that Horikawa Ryo, the voice of Vejita from Dragon Ball Z, happens to voice Kou Uraki! In comparison to Vejita with this role, he’s more humble, childish, and developing. I thought he did excellent in portraying such a character. And I also enjoyed Ohtsuka Akio’s performance as Gato. He also voices in Solid Snake in the Japanese Metal Gear Solid and is also famous for playing Batou in the Ghost in the Shell installments. He brings a unique kind of appropriate charisma to the character where you can also feel the passion he his motivations.
The majority of the music is also highly energetic and suits the high-octane atmosphere of this series. The opening theme, The Winner is highly addictive and goes along with how I just described the soundtrack and atmosphere in an overall sense. And the first ending theme, Magic, is a unique George Michaels esque love song that is sung in perfect English. It’s about wanting that moment with that girl now and forever and want to always make it special. Gundam 0083 does have some romance, so I felt it was an interesting touch.
I say 0083 is more for the dedicated and hardcore Gundam fan. Those not familiar with the Gundam franchise will probably not understand some of the basic concepts such as who Giren and Kycilia are who are briefly mentioned in the intro to the first episode, and about why Sydney is under water. But if you want to watch it for the action, then you’ve come to the right series. Also, if you want to watch cool looking robots, then you still came to the right series. The plot isn’t necessarily the best, but I don’t think it’s flawed enough to be considered bad or below average. Granted some things about it do get annoying, but in the end everything works out. Once again, I still say those who are familiar with the original Gundam, and especially Zeta Gundam are going to understand the story best considering the purpose of this anime.
Set three years after the events of the One Year War, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is a mixed bag. While it boasts strong visuals and action, its mediocre plot and the lackluster characters ultimately prevents 0083 from the full extent of its potential.
The premise 0083's story is very promising at first glance. The valiant and desperate attempt of the Zeon remnants to pave a road for the future of its beliefs and its people makes them commendable antagonists, and the thus viewers are able to sympathize with both sides in the struggle between Federation and Zeon. However, upon closer inspection, one finds the
story riddled with the juvenile rivalry between Uraki and Monsha, as well as the thoroughly uninteresting romance between Uraki and Nina, which derails the focus from the promising overarching conflict to rather petty squabbles. When the story of 0083 is in high gear, it is quite rewarding, rife with exciting battles and unexpected twists. The problem is, like an aged car, 0083 often finds itself stuck on its low gears in terms of storytelling.
Much of the faults concerning the plot of 0083 can be blamed on the main characters themselves. Uraki is a painfully generic mecha protagonist without much, if any, redeemable qualities. Angsty and lacking confidence, the story does not provide much room in which the view can sympathize with him, even considering the challenges Uraki faces over the course of the story. Nina's role as Uraki's love interest only manages to evoke either terrible boredom or the gag reflex; it is bland and devoid of any trance of genuine emotion. Gato, though certainly better than the aforementioned pair, also gets somewhat tedious from his own over-zealousness -- he is a character who seems to gobble up the very propaganda he spews, which in turn makes it more difficult to hold respect for the character.
Fortunately, 0083 excels in the animation department. Each and every fight is smoothly animated with hand-drawn frames, be it a small training skirmish or a grand space battle. This OVA series features detailed and technical background art and some of the most exciting action scenes from the gundam franchise to date, especially those of the last battle, which can only described as epic in proportion. 0083 also features superb mecha designs not only in the form of the gundams themselves, but also the various grunt suits used by both factions. Even after seventeen years, the visuals of 0083 are still more than enough to lure the gaze of any mecha fan.
The sounds of 0083 are standard fare. Typical gundam sound effects are to be expected here, which is just fine, as they serve their purpose well. The catchy opening theme "Men of Destiny" is full of that nostalgic 90's feel -- it gets the viewer in the mood for some giant robot action.
In the end, the flaws of 0083's plot and characters limit the enjoyment of the OVA series exclusively to fans of the mecha genre. However, mecha fans will be able to find plenty of what they love: superb sci-fi action, and mobile suit battles they'll remember for a long time to come, provided they can manage to endure through the other aspects of 0083, which may feel agonizingly long and difficult.
With its masterful balance of action-packed battles, intense drama and a touch of romance, Gundam 0083 is required viewing for any anime fan.
Gundam 0083 gets started with a bang in the very first episode and the momentum carries through all the way to its dramatic end. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked and waiting for what's to come. Both drama and action are given equal screen time and presented with equal intensity.
For an OVA from 1991, the animation quality in this series is simply amazing. In fact, Gundam 0083 still shines by today's standards. The design of the artwork itself
is also a highlight with great detail being put into backgrounds and things such as uniforms.
There is quite a bit of the typical background music you'd expect to hear in a war story. However, also included are some well-composed atmospheric pieces that set the mood for certain dramatic scenes. The opening themes are upbeat and catchy, with the second in particular being a highlight with it's brilliant guitarwork. Both endings are slower ballad type numbers. The contrast works well here as it fits with the anime's ability to balance dynamics. In terms of voice acting, the main vocal cast cast does a great job conveying the emotions of their characters. The English dub is also surprisingly well done and on par with the original.
We are the shown the perspective of both the Zeon and Earth Federation with the main focus being on Anavel Gato and Kou Uraki, respectively. The characters of Gundam 0083 are all adult which makes this series stand out from most other Gundam stories. Don't take that mean there ins't as much room for character development though, as plenty of growth occurs during the course of the OVA.
As the series progressed, I was drawn in more and more by the characters and found myself torn between the two warring sides. Every episode left me in anticipation of the next.
As someone who isn't extremely fond of mecha series in general, Gundam 0083 was able to keep me entertained and make me wish there were more shows like it.
Stardust Memory is mecha pornography, and I am a total mecha pervert. If you ever got a little hot when you watched Gurren Lagann's combination, aroused by the scent of a Gundam model, or felt flushed after watching Macross Zero's THRUST VECTORING, then you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, you'll probably be able to enjoy it, albeit on a different level. The best thing about Stardust is that the creators know that there is a segment of the human population that are raving mechaphiles (why else would their cheaply made plastic models sell so well...and be so damned enticing...), and the brunt
of the episodes (or at least the most that you'll take out of it) are composed of well-animated fight sequences in space, and a clever land battle. The OVA has all of the charm of old-school Gundams and Gundam fight scenes with the sophistication of 80's OVA animation: the mobile suits are dingy and get pockmarked with bullets and shrapnel, and most of the fights are determined by the pilots' skill and wits, rather than a magic Deus Ex Gundam. The space battles are orgasmic, with thrusters flaring about as the characters dodge beam rifle shots over lavishly-rendered backgrounds. All of the fights have a kind of heft and plausibility that some of the newer series just don't have. They are a blast to watch, and I can only imagine how good it'll look in the Blu-Ray release.
The other thing you'll take away from it...is how poorly written some of the characters and scenarios are. Nothing really stands out: Nina's a bitch, Gato is manly and a fantatic, Cima wears too much makeup, Burning is Burning, and Kou hates carrots. Nobody's really worth mentioning, and whenever there aren't beautiful mobile suits on the screen, you want to skip past the aimless dialouge and watch some more giant robot matches. There's talk of conspiracy, and the ineptitude of the Federation's bureaucracy is a lot more apparent here than it was in first. The OVA ties into Zeta Gundam, but the references, and its place in the Universal Century timeline aren't too obvious the first time around, and feel a bit out of place. It's the same kind of problem that the Star Wars prequels suffered from: everything looks shiny and new compared to the older material, and a little bit of text at the end of the OVA keeps it from messing with the continuity. All of that aside, it fleshes out our understanding of the Gundam universe a little bit more, an gives us lots of cool-looking mecha to play around with. And most importantly, more cool-looking mecha to buy as plastic models.
We’re closing in on the 40th anniversary of the Gundam franchise from when it debuted back in 1979 and fans around the world are going through a renaissance of material as Sunrise is collaborating with distributors to bring their crown jewels out for release.
Gundam is one of the largest anime franchises today, made up of more than a dozen TV shows, as well as movies, OVAs, and more. With so many stories split up into multiple timelines, it can be tough to know where to start. But don't worry. This comprehensive Gundam guide will help light your way.