Hey flakes, guess what? It’s ANIME REVIEW TIME! Don’t you just love Caps Lock? I do. Anyhoo, all knuckleheadery aside, let’s dive in to an EYS first: an anime review.
I’m not going to lie, I never really discovered Gundam until after a season of Dragon Ball Z was over on Toonami. That’s when I caught my first glimpse of Gundam Wing via commercial. I was stoked. I had always known of giant robot cartoons going back to Transformers and Voltron. Power Rangers brought it to life, but I never heard of Gundam. If I did, it was in passing, as in passing by a store with posters or toys in the window. So, I ventured into Gundam Wing with an open mind and a growing interest. 49 episodes later, and I was hooked. I had to watch as many series as possible to see what other stories could be told. Sadly, the only place I could access these shows for free at the time was on Cartoon Network, and the shows themselves were on at late times. Once disposable cash was in my hand, I made the conscious effort to try and secure Gundam on home video somehow. The question was, which Gundam it be? Sadly, I couldn’t get Gundam Wing because the prices were exorbitant and almost unreasonable. Mobile Fighter G Gundam wasn’t on DVD just yet, and if it was, I either couldn’t find it, or it was also pricey. Then, one fateful day, I turned on Toonami and caught part of 08th MS Gundam Team. This was the first Gundam series I ran into that sort of strayed from the title naming convention (Gundam and either a letter or an “after colony” year) but it was a side story that remained within the main Gundam story line (The Federation vs. Zeon). Seems interesting enough, I thought. So, I went into the city and happened to find the entire series on DVD. Lucky me!
I was able to find every episode broadcast on television, the last episode they didn’t want to show on Toonami (pertaining to war children and such), and even the re-cap mini movie that bridged the gap between the first and second halves of the series. The series follows the 08th Mobile Suit Gundam Team and their battles against the Zeon Empire. Lt. Shiro Amada is given command of this team due to his experience on the battlefield despite his youth. This team is the Earth Federation’s best team when it comes to guerrilla warfare. Making it to this team meant you had the chops to take it to the Zeon forces on the ground, in down-and-dirty combat. There is just one hitch in the works, however. Upon traveling to his unit, he encountered a young space pilot he chooses to save in the midst of a battle in space between the Federation and Zeon. As they work together to save themselves from danger, they meet face to face and introduce themselves. The pilot’s name is Aina Sahalin. As they return to Earth, they do not realize that they are on opposite sides of the war with Aina being the sister of one of the commanders of the Zeon Empire. This is further compounded by the fact that both are considered the “trump cards” of their respective sides. After a number of battles, they encounter each other again on the battlefield, and romance ensues, in a love forbidden by war. This begs the question: can love survive and in turn, peace be obtained on the battlefield between two warring entities?
One could say that this is that it’s “Romeo and Juliet meets giant mech anime.” However, that would be oversimplifying it. Aesthetically, it’s a forbidden love, due to war. But it’s not so much out of personal hatred, as it is out of conquest and power. Shiro and Aina are the keys to victory for their respective sides with their abilities, and they were able to find love for one another despite the sides they are on. Also, I’m pretty sure Romeo and Juliet didn’t have awesome battles and battle tactics with giant mechanical suits. So, take that, Shakespeare!
On a final note, I feel it’s always good to have at least one short-run anime series in your library, let alone a Gundam series. This is the best of both worlds and it doesn’t disappoint. The battles are great, the characters are pretty solid, and I won’t spoil the ending, but you might very well enjoy it. I know I did, right down to the music. Do yourself a favor and check this series out.
Written by: Ezenwa Favian Anyanwu