Lieutenant Oliver May and the 603 Technical Division Unit aboard the Jotunheim continue testing and evaluating experimental weapons to aid the Zeon war effort against the Federation Forces. At the end of each experiment, the tale of the trials and tribulations faced by the weapon and its test pilot adds a small chapter to the long history of the One Year War
This awesome sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War picks up where the prequel left off, with Lieutenant Oliver May and the 603 Technical Division Unit aboard the Jotunheim continuing testing and evaluating experimental weapons to aid the Zeon war effort against the Federation Forces. A war effort that is not going to well for the Zeon.
These 3 OVAs tell stories of another different weapons and their technical champions. The first is about a deep see diving mobile suit piloted by a seaman, who is lovingly and very realistically rendered. He had the best backstory, which is amazing
because like all real sea-men, he doesn't talk very much.
The second features small sub-mobile suit units and stars Erwin Cadillac, the unpopular Captain Cadillac's younger brother. Erwin is much more likeable than his sister, winning over basically ... everyone including the viewer. Finally there is the mobile armor who ends up being test piloted by Lieutenant Oliver May himself, yes, things are going THAT desperately in the war. When he came racing to battle in his mobile armor ... for a moment I felt like a proud mother!
If I had to rate the OVAs separately, I would have to say the first episode as a standalone would deserve a 10, with the other two being between 8 and 9. Be aware that by this sequel series, you're already fully invested emotionally in the characters so if you're the emotional type (like me) keep the tissues close by.
CGI type similar to Final Fantasy Spirits Within/Advent Children. Some details are unbelievable (can see individual eyelashes and strands of hair) while others look very obviously CGI'd (repetitive explosions) which seem chunky and blocky. Overall, this was well done compared to most of the older gundam series which has dated animation. The animation is more of a personal preference as to whether you like the CGI or cell drawings.
Sound was the weakest part of this anime. Voice acting was good but music was so so. Except every time they play that sad violin music the viewer gets so well trained that they inevitably expect someone else to die ...
Very satisfying conclusion to the 1 year war from all standpoints. Was a toss up between giving this a 8 or 9 rating but overall the first ova was a lot better paced story wise.
The sequel to MS IGLOO: The One Year War, MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079, continues the adventures of the 603rd Technical Division as the One Year War comes to a close. The sequel follows the same formula with a new weapon being introduced in each episode and a pilot to fly it. The final two episodes are strung one after another and don't have the time gap that is evident in the other episodes. The final two episodes are very action oriented and, in my opinion, don't do as a good a job in respects to storytelling.
The animation is the same CG as the first OVA,
but it seems a little better. This is probably due to the explosions -- they look extremely realistic. The characters and ships see no improvement, but the animation is still very good overall. Not spectacular, but still very good.
The sound is fairly well done. The opening song is nice, and does a good job of setting the mood for the rest of the show. The voice acting is still very good and emotions are very accurately displayed by the actors. The background music is nice and often creates an ominous setting while adding scale to the enormous space battles. Sound is nothing particularly special, but there isn't anything bad about it either.
The characters are mostly the same as in the first OVA, but the newly introduced characters, especially the Seaman, add great depth to the story and are very enjoyable. All of the voice actors from the original returned and did an excellent job again.
In my opinion, I found this OVA to be better that the previous one, and this is mostly due to the added battle scenes, and the main characters getting a piece of the action. With this the emotions are also a lot higher and since we've become accustomed to watching these characters over six episodes now there is a certain emotional attachment to each one. The ending is very nice as well. Being the only Gundam series without any actual "Gundam Units" this series does a fantastic job of giving the story from the prospective of Zeon.
When I saw the concept of this series, I was instantly sold. A "Weird OYW" show about failed Zeon weapons? It sounded amazing. I still have to admit some of the ideas are rather cool - the giant laser platform for starters.
However, why does it get an overall 5 then? Because it's distinctly lacking in a lot of ways. The CGI is good when the MS and vehicles are on screen, but the characters cycle through absurd facial expressions. I don't know if this poor quality is a limitation of CGI or an intentional homage to the wacky perspective and animation errors of Mobile Suit
Gundam, but either way I greatly prefer the cel-animated look of even shows like Victory Gundam, which itself is on the lower end of animation quality at times.
Similarly, some of the weapon ideas are fundamentally stupid, even for the franchise that brought you the Zakrello. The Z'Gok Diver looks uninteresting, and while it's great fun in Giren's Ambition V, its episode is quite weak. The plot is predictable in its attempts at eliciting an emotional response, and by the end you have no attachment to the characters because they are so neatly fitting into archetypes. In addition, the ending episodes make prominent the Nazi influence on Zeon to an almost uncomfortable extent - the generic space villains with capes and silly hats of the original series are replaced by trenchcoats, jackboots and other paraphernalia.
What the show does do right, most of the time, is action. There are several fights I'd consider very good (the Hildolfir fighting the Zakus, Char at the Battle of Loum, and the bits of the fall of Zeon you see) but the hamfisted attempts at tragedy make Victory Gundam look like a serious and tragic war story, and it need not be said barely compare to shows like War in the Pocket or Area 88 in their attempts at showing the human cost.
Watch MS IGLOO if you're a diehard UC fan, or you think Zeon were robbed of victory. Otherwise, it's quite possibly the weakest entry in the Universal Century.
MS Igloo: Apocalypse is an interesting addition to the UC timeline. The premise is intruiging: why not revisit the one year war from the zeon perspective, through the eyes of experimental weapons testers? That pitch immediately gives lots of room for fun Mobile Suit/Armor/Pod designs and creative fights. Unfortunately I found that Apocalypse (and Hidden One Year War) was instead a trudge towards inevitable tragedy.
Story: I hope you don't mind spoilers - if you're watching Apocalypse before the original MSG anyway, you're doing yourself a major disservice. Hidden one year war and Apocalypse follow the Jotunheim's battles throughout the One Year War, with callbacks to
major events and locations such as Jaburo, A Baoa Qu and the battle of Loum. This is nice fanservice, especially with a cameo from Char. However the downside is - we already know how Igloo ends. A Baoa Qu is lost. Zeon falls. Due to this, any suspense Igloo tries to grow is marred by the fact that we already know Zeon loses. The way 09th MS team avoided this was by creating its own enemies and battles that happened within an already established event. This is lacking from Igloo, which I find to be its largest downfall.
Animation: Complete CGI is a jarring difference from the usual cel animation, but MS Igloo puts it to good use in fight scenes. Mobile Suits move fluidly and battle scenes are dynamic. The biggest positive to the CGI is that the scope of the battles is really captured, with hundreds of ships on screen at times. The downside is that the characters look... Kind of gross. The mouth movements don't match up to the voices and most gesturing looks more like mindless flailing. This is in part an unavoidable product of the times, but it hurt my experience so I have to take it into account. It's no Avatar.
Sound: An orchestral soundtrack fits well for Igloo's serious tone, however the soundtrack is incredibly understated. Few pieces stood out to me.
Characters: The main characters don't get nearly enough time to consider getting development, so Igloo instead focuses on stuffing them in Mobile Suits and killing them. There also seemed to be a weird abundance of sneering villainous types. However the main cast was largely likable, helped by nice voice acting and a few touching moments.
Mobile Suits (because come on, what else are you here for): All recurring Mobile Suits looked great. The GMs and Zakus looked awesome in 3D, so watching them was a treat. The experimental Mobile Suits, however... The designs of the experimental mobile suits range from Horizontal Tin Can to Mobile Suit With Huge Skirt. The Oggo was particularly ugly. I realise that they're experimental, but Zeon is so well known for being recognisable and fashionable that seeing a pile of tin cans zipping about is a bit of a shock. I would have preferred more experimental Mobile Suits, and fewer Oggos.
Overall: MS Igloo should be considered fanservice for hardcore Gundam fans. It's purely optional content unnecessary for understanding the Universal Century timeline. I did find it gave me a refresher of the events of the One Year War, but I'm not sure whether watching MS Igloo so far was really worth it.
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.