Oct 11, 2008
ParaParaJMo (All reviews)
A lot of Gundam fans will probably tell you this is definitely either the best Gundam series, or at least a top 5 one. Hell, maybe even one of the best animes of all time. Allow me to explain why many including myself feel this way which this review is of course for. Despite being a short oav series, it has a descent amount of character on both the Zeon and Federation’s side where they all stand out and get their chance to shine, and develop as a result of it. Every character has their own ambition and dreams out side of the war. Such as Eladore, the sound specialist wants to be a musician, and Michel, who is timid and cowardly, wants to go back home and be with his girlfriend. And there are some characters who have personal issues such as Terry Sanders who is called the reaper because he’s the only surviving member of his previous units, and Karen just doesn’t think Shiro has what it takes to be a commander. However, Shiro is the all around character who has this mysterious and unorthodox kind of charisma, who is trying to not only develop his own leadership skills, but to find his role in this conflict and to find his way to confess his love to Aina despite being an enemy soldier. Even though he is a rookie, he is still strict and very dedicated to completing his mission and truly values loyalty.

On the Zeon side, we have Aina herself. She is very formal and obedient to her brother, Ginias, who is a straight out psycho-path. And there’s the bad ass Norris, who is their ace pilot , and is a father figure to Aina. So once again, this Gundam series delivers an all around cast with a well paced story that revolves around solving their issues and developing the characters which was how I viewed it. The Romeo and Juliet thing is a bit cliché’, but not really over the top. It’s used effectively and reasonably, and it also helps the development of Shiro and Aina as well. I will further elaborate on what I feel on what I think the themes are.

The art is just fantastic. The character designs are very diverse and distinctive, and the environments are well detailed thanks to the work of Kawamoto Toshihiro, who has also served as a staff member in other duties such as on Votoms, Full Metal Alchemist, Gundam 0083, and Patlabor. I really like the expressions the faces have in the battles as well as the angles and postures. I will elaborate on how I feel about the battles later, so time to talk about the mechanical designs. The mobile suits are of course still in complimentary of the original Gundam designs, except the pack more heavy fire power and have more of a bulky look to it which suits the nature of the battles which I will now talk about. In comparison to your traditional Gundam where it’s all about space battles, we are now reduced to watching guerrilla jungle warfare, so strategy and tactics play a big part into this series like how it did in the final battle of War in the Pocket. So it brings a different sense of intensity, anticipation, and excitement which helps makes this series stand out in comparison to other Gundams because the characters aren’t of course newtypes where they got crazy reflexes. And you have to watch this anime until the end. The 2nd to last battle is most certainly a top 5 in Gundam battles or fights in general of all time. Due to all of these combined great features I can’t say anything bad on.

The voice acting in both English and Japanese are excellent and top quality. Both languages have actors that equally represent their characters. Even though Steve Cannon was very terrible as Ippo in the English version of Hajime no Ippo, he was great as Shiro. He played someone who was new to his role, but really took it seriously. I thought his higher pitched voice was well more suited to the nature of his character, but the Japanese voice actor, Hiyama Nobuyuki brought a different kind of maturity to the character, but wasn’t really as spirited which I felt was part of Shiro’s character. All-round veterans such as Kikuko Inoue plays the role of Aina, who is dead accurate as someone who looks meek, but is very strong willed on the outside. And believe me, I give this anime one of the best performances ever. I say it’s superior to that of Cowboy Bebop’s.

The music is also well suited to the nature of this show. The background music gives a more traditional military style to really represent the way I described the action with its different sense of intensity and excitement as a result of anticipation. And the opening theme Arashi no Naka de Kagayaite is highly energetic, and the ending theme 10 years after really represents a more campy nature that represents the unity of the team.

Well, I’ll conclude this review with two notes. First of all, I feel the only negative this anime has is its ending. Not really saying it’s a bad ending, but it didn’t really live up to what I was expecting and you’re free to disagree with that. But then again, who said endings had to be happy? I felt the Cartoon Network ending leaves things too inconclusive because the true ending they couldn’t show due to the portrayal of kids in war, which I thought, was a totally ludicrous reason. I felt the true ending was too much out of convenience and really felt out of place, and a majority of the cast was really absent. Maybe that’s because the original director died during the releasing of this oav. I don’t know. But my 2nd note is how I love this movie is about loyalty and trust. It’s a consistent theme throughout this show and it portrays it in a sensible way in the scenario presented in this anime. Even though Shiro is the leader and despite his age, I like how he treats everybody equally and he makes sure everybody lives up to his number one rule, that everybody comes back alive.