Last week, I went over one of the many OVAs of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise. As one could guess, the overall franchise has many timelines in its many shows, like the Future Century, After Colony, and Universal Century timelines. Today’s review is over an entry in the Universal Century, which is what the Gundam franchise started out with.
It is the final days of the One Year War and things are seemingly peaceful for young Alfred Izuruha, who lives in the neutral colony of Side 6. He couldn’t be more bored, and actually idolizes the Principality of Zeon to some degree. Alfred, in fact, does get the “excitement” he wanted when a Zeon special forces unit infiltrates his colony to gather information on a new Gundam unit being built there. Al befriends the rookie of this team, Bernie Wiseman, while also meeting up with his former neighbor and babysitter, Christina MacKenzie. Unknown to both Bernie and Al, Christina is the test pilot of the very Gundam that Bernie is looking for…
Released in 1989, Gundam 0080 was released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Gundam and was the first Gundam OVA series, when one does not count the SD Gundam OVAs. It was also the first Gundam title that was not written or directed by series co-creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, so it does explore some of his concepts, like that of Newtypes. It does keep the concept of how war is cruel and unfair, which is seen through Al’s eyes for the most, as he sees that war isn’t something that should be romanticized.
As was the case in the Stargazer OVA, there isn’t any real evil “side” in this series, as both the Federation and Zeon are just different sides in a war. That isn’t to say that there are some people that do have evil motivations, such as Colonel Killing, but they are mainly supporting characters. Al, as mentioned before, is a naive young boy who doesn’t really have an idea on what the war really is and has an interest in Zeon because its mobile suits are “cool”. Christina is caring, but unflinching in her duty as a test pilot. Bernie is also much kinder than you are led to believe, willing to go on what is pretty much a suicide mission near the end of the series to prevent something horrible from happening to Al and the colony.
The Mobile Suits in this OVA are all a treat to see, as they both look good and are rather well animated in combat as well. This also applies to the Gundam Alex, which doesn’t really get any screentime until about episode 4 of this 6 episode series. For that reason, you get plenty of scenes of grunt mobile suits facing off against one another, but that isn’t bad to see at all.
If there are any problems with the series, it could be for those fans of Universal Century stories that have grown used to the notion of Newtypes and all their baggage, since that is not addressed at all in this series. There are also some other gaffes to consider, like why the colony is continuing to hold school in an area that was just recently attacked or will be attacked. Chris also doesn’t seem to get as much development as Bernie and Al.
With these small problems aside, Gundam 0080 is a good watch if you are a Mobile Suit Gundam fan or like real robot shows in general. The series is available in the states from Bandai Entertainment, though with recent circumstances surrounding the company, it would be better to get this series sooner rather than later in regards to watching it.