They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Yoroiden Samurai Troopers Kikoutei Densetsu, Dirty Pair Flash 3, Gundam Evolve, and more!
50: Yoroiden Samurai Troopers Kikoutei Densetsu
English: Ronin Warriors Legend of Kikoutei
MAL Score: 6.53
A strange, silent warrior appears. When the Inferno armor is summoned to battle him, the mysterious warrior calls forth his own armor—a black copy of the Inferno armor! Now, the warriors will find themselves half a world away fighting once more to save humanity, but this time, from their own armor!
49: Dirty Pair Flash 3
English: Dirty Pair Flash 3
Japanese: ダーティペアFLASH 3
MAL Score: 6.54
Sexy superagents Kei and Yuri find themselves in serious trouble when they attempt to track down Kei’s godson and cross paths with a killer ski patrol. This collection of episodes also features the crime fighters fending off seagulls and assassins. There is no time to rest for these two anime characters, who must continually put their lives on the line in order to successfully complete their important missions.
48: Gundam Evolve
English: Gundam Evolve
MAL Score: 6.58
A series of short films packaged with certain model kits and aired at conventions, the Gundam Evolve series chronicles a number of side-stories, alternative scenes, and even bonus omake from all around the Gundam canon. Featuring a mix of animation media—from traditional cels to 3-D CG rendering to even cel-shaded 2-D animation—these often 3-5 minute shorts cover such events as Domon Kasshu’s training (and a bit of a romantic tift with Rain Mikamura) from G Gundam, Amuro Ray battling Quess Paraya from Char’s Counterattack, Kamille Bidan training in the Gundam Mk.II from Zeta Gundam, and Canard Pars dueling Prayer Reverie from the Gundam SEED X Astray manga.
47: Yoroiden Samurai Troopers Gaiden
English: Ronin Warriors Gaiden
MAL Score: 6.59
Although Talpa has been defeated, the Warriors don’t get much of a break. As they celebrate Ryo’s birthday party, the news tells them of a strange killer in samurai armor wreaking havoc in New York. And the armor looks very familiar. Now, they will have to battle the ancient sorcerer Shikaisen for Sage’s life!
46: Crusher Joe OVA
English: Crusher Joe: The OVAs
MAL Score: 6.60
The galaxy is a strange and dangerous place, and there are times when even the United Space Force can`t help. That`s where the Crushers come in – skilled troubleshooters who will deal with any problem, large or small, for a fee (large only!) And there is no better Crusher than Crusher Joe!
In both one-hour long episodes, the Crusher team (Crushers being this universe’s elite mercenaries) is called in to solve a problem for a planetary government. The plot is very heavy on space action, with even less character moments than the movie. The storylines are rather standard for serialized SciFi and would be at home in a Star Wars spin-off. Don’t expect thought-provoking questions, just enjoyable space action.
As a plus, the animation quality at least matches the already good movie animation and is accompanied by orchestral music befitting a SciFi.
45: Dirty Pair Flash 2
English: Dirty Pair Flash 2
Japanese: ダーティペアFLASH 2
MAL Score: 6.63
Always causing more destruction than they prevent, special agents Kei and Yuri face tough challenges while at an amusement park planet. This anime set finds the pair facing off against an android hit woman, transvestite assassins, ghosts and more. In addition, the Lovely Angels get into several wild adventures while tracking down a con man and giving love advice to the computer programmer they’re protecting.
44: Kimi ni Maji Kyun!
MAL Score: 6.63
Full chorus animation and situational anime bundled as a DVD with the “Kimi ni Maji Kyun!” CD release.
43: Dirty Pair Flash
English: Dirty Pair Flash
MAL Score: 6.64
Kei and Yuri were originally junior auxiliary agents in the Worlds Works and Welfare Agency (W.W.W.A. or 3WA for short) when the two were paired together under the codename “Lovely Angels.” Kei was coming off her fourth probation for something she had done, and Yuri’s dating exploits were common knowledge, not to mention the two had an instant dislike for each other when they met.
At first, Kei and Yuri refused to work with each other, and Kei even resigned from the 3WA. Afterwards, the two continued to work together, although they earned their nickname, “the Dirty Pair” because of all the collateral damage the two (unintentionally) cause in the completion of their cases. And even though the two now get along with one another, they continue to bicker and complain to each other.
Although it is often said that these are younger versions of the original Lovely Angels Kei and Yuri, in truth this series is an alternate universe telling of Dirty Pair, set in the years 2248-49.
The stories are quite good and varied. Mission 1, the first 6 OVAs is one central plotline, as is Mission 2 with 5 episodes. Misson 3 is a collection of random episodes. Mission 1 was quite annoying and dealt with the relationship between Kei and Yuri. Mission 2 was the best in terms of a cohesive storyline. Mission 3 is just fun, funny and features 2 boob shots.
The real issue with Dirty Pair Flash is the re-set of the characters. They made both Kei and Yuri younger and very immature. Both are now 3WA agents that are great physical specimens with good combat scores and extremely low IQs. WHAT???!
What happened to Yuri being the smart one as per the previous Dirty Pair? Now all she is interested in is clothes, boys and telling the world how cute and pretty she is. Definitely not much interest in the job. The beefed up Kei is now a total tomboy in love with guns, who happens to have the IQ of an egg. I understand the “old” Dirty Pair was reckless but making them reckless bimbos is a bit much.
Overall, the stories are ok, the action is good, the animation is better, sound is so-so. In addition there is a lot of semi-nudity and eye candy for the ecchi guys to look at. I really wanted to enjoy this series more but the incongruity of how the characters were made killed a lot of it for me.
We open with a computer conversing with the chief of the 3WA about the status of the “lovely angel” pair of Kei and Yuri and how they’re rubbish at their job. Apparently, they both did well at practical exams but terribly at academics and they’ve also both been suspended a fair number of times. We cut to Yuri taking a walk down a street when she happens to run into Kei. She wonders how Kei can be out and about so care-freely when she’s currently suspended. An agent crashes in front of her and hands her a card that she has to get to the 3WA. Naturally, Yuri tries to pawn it off on Kei because she has a date. And the two end up getting caught in a wacky chase sequence leading steadily back to their headquarters. From there, the card leads them into a bunch of shenanigans.
The biggest issue with Dirty Pair Flash is that it’s not particularly skilful when it comes to switching between more absurd and more serious content. You’ll get a ridiculous action sequence in an airport and, not long after, the closure of Lady Flair’s supposedly tragic story. And these aren’t elements that work well together. In general the OVA doesn’t do well with trying to handle anything more serious because it’s always fresh from, or shortly away from cutting to, something absurd.
Now, I will give the OVA credit on that front. It has some really funny moments. The chase sequence from the first episode is quite good and the airport sequence is the OVA at its absolute best. Really, when it’s just going with absurd action sequences, it works. And the series is largely trying to be comedic. Those moments where it takes itself a little more seriously are rare.
The characters in this are pretty basic. The OVA tries to add some complexity with the whole Iris and Molly story and by having Yuri work with someone who has all of her faults to try and force her to grow as a character but the characterisation never really moves beyond the very simple archetypes that we started with. Which works fine when the OVA is going with its absurd action and doesn’t really when it’s trying to be a bit more serious. One thing I do quite like about the way it handles the characterisation is the whole arc with Yuri & Kei coming together as partners. It’s definitely the closest the OVA comes to having real complexity with its characters.
The artwork is actually pretty good. It’s a bit dated by today’s standards, certainly. But it still holds up pretty well. The OVA does delve into fan-service a bit, although not as much as I anticipated, but it’s also got some interesting designs for its futuristic technology and the absurd action sequences are nicely done. Which does contribute to them being the height of the OVA.
Matsumoto Rica & Kouda Mariko do a nice job as our leading ladies. The rest of the cast is perfectly fine, considering most of them have very minor roles and those who have larger roles are very basic roles like the insane antagonist and the sympathetic antagonist. I quite like the music. Wakakusa Kei did a good job on the soundtrack. It’s certainly better than what he did for Hikaru no Go.
There’s not really any. We know Yuri dates a lot of guys and Kei doesn’t show romantic interest in anyone.
Dirty Pair Flash is a decent enough anime. If you’re looking for an anime buddy cop work about a couple of ladies, it’ll probably satisfy you well enough. If you want something more complex or a completely unique take on that whole formula, it’s not the series you’re looking for. For myself, I give it a 6/10. Next week I’ll look at Yuu Yuu Hakusho: The Film.
42: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Memory of Eden
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダムAGE MEMORY OF EDEN
MAL Score: 6.64
This project will recompile the television series (from the Asemu arc onward) to focus on the characters Asemu Asuno and Zeheart Galette.
This OVA, on the other hand, solves a lot of the original’s problems. As a retelling of the Asemu arc, widely considered the best part of Age, it is actually pretty well-written. Two main characters’ friendship and rivalry is engaging to watch. The characters are more Shounen-esque than the typical Gundam, but it’s not a bad thing. Top-notch animation quality and great directing provide some of the best mecha action I’ve ever seen. The story, unlike most Gundam, never drags on.
Unfortunately, most of the necessary background information was explained in the original anime, so you need to either watch that or read the wiki. With a runtime of only two and a half hours, this OVA is extremely focused. It tell the story extremely well, but much information is left out. Thankfully, if you have watch enough Gundam and mecha, you can understand most of it with minimal explaination.
Overally, I enjoyed this OVA a lot. Watching this anime, I believe that a three-movie remake can turn Gundam Age into one of the best mecha anime of all time. Shame Gundam Age flopped hard, so we are left with an incomplete retelling. If you are a fan of Gundam Age (all 5 of them!), or have somehow watched all of Age despite hating it, this a must watch. For others, it a good way to waste 2 hours.
41: Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム MS IGLOO: 1年戦争秘録
MAL Score: 6.65
The year is Universal Century 0079. Oliver May is a technical officer in the Zeon 603rd Technical Evaluation Unit , in charge of testing new military technology. Stationed in the Jotunheim, a civilian transport ship that was converted into military use, Oliver must head into battle and experience the One Year War, only this time from the perspective of a weapon tester who struggles to make an impact on an evolving war during changing times.
Story and Characters
The year is Universial Century 0079. The series is mostly seen through the eyes of Oliver May, a technical officer in the Zeon 603rd Technical Evaluation Unit , in charge of testing new military technology. Stationed in the Jotunheim, a civilian transport ship that was converted into military use, Oliver must head into battle and experience the One Year War, only this time from the perspective of a weapon tester who struggles to make an impact on an evolving war during changing times.
The 3 OVAs tell stories of 3 different weapons and their technical champions. The first is about a mass cannon who quickly finds a champion in the Jotunheim’s gunnery master. The second is a tank which showcases its best power in the hands of an experienced artillery instructor who has a little bit of a drug problem. Finally there is the Zudah mobile suit piloted by a handsome war hero, but all is not what it seems to be.
If I had to rate the OVAs separately, I would have to say the second episode as a standalone would deserve a 10, with the other two being between 8.5 and 9.
The way the plot played through was very good. Each character had their point of view and was fully fleshed out in a very short period of time. I got to like them all very quickly and before I knew it I was emotionally involved. It’s the characters more than the weaponary that makes this series great, even though the protagonist(s) all have an affinity and passion for their favorite weapon. Let’s just say shedding tears is possible during Gundam.
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 …
I was very surprised by how good this OVA was and thoroughly enjoyed it. It packed more emotional punch in 3 episodes than the entire of Gundam Seed Destiny. Just goes to show that length does not necessarily make a good or bad anime.
The CG animation is fairly good, but when compared to recent animated features it doesn’t shine as much as it could have. It was released as a part of the Gundam 25th anniversary. The characters look fairly realistic, but this certainly isn’t the cream of the crop in regards to CG animation. Overall it is fairly well done.
The Opening song is decent, nothing spectacular, but you can hardly judge a show on it’s opening song. The rest of the music is produced by an orchestra, and does a decent job of heightening the mood or tension of the moment. Some of the music is repeated over the course of the OVA, but as it is short there is no cause for concern. The voice acting is generally well done with the exception of one character. The only Asian character on the show, his crying scene is painful and he fails to show any emotion realistically.
The characters of the show are very nicely fleshed out over the course of the show. Although short, this OVA does a very nice job of developing the characters and nobody comes off as particularly flat. The character models are fairly realistic and their motions are very realistic. No complaints about the characters.
I enjoyed this OVA and as the first Gundam that I have completed I was pleasantly surprised by the direction the story took. It was nice to see the story told from Zeon’s side and I look forward to the sequel: Apocalypse 0079. As a prequel to the original Gundam it does a nice job of introducing the development of the Mobile Suits, as well as the propaganda, and conflicts that will be featured in the Universal Century storyline.
There was so much that could have gone right with this series.
If I was to sum up MS IGLOO, the words that would be best used to describe it are “It was a complete disaster”.
The concept sounded promising, a re-telling of the One Year War from the Zeon’s perspective. Sounds great, I mean, finally we get to hear what the One Year War was like from the Zeon’s point of view. Already you have me hooked, I mean we’ve seen what it was like from Amuro’s point of view in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, 8th MS Team showed us how the One Year War was for a group of conventional Mobile Suit pilots and 0080 effectively shows us how the war is for a little child. So when I found out about this series, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear what the Zeon’s thought of it.
Oh what a bad move that was.
If there is one positive from this OVA’s story, it’s that we at least get some backstory on Operation British and the Battle of Loum (aka Char’s big moment when he destroyed 5 Magellan Class battleships, and when Mobile Suits where first used in actual combat) but aside from that? Nothing. The story is a complete and total shambles, in fact I’d be hard pressed to call weapons testing a story when placed in a meta-series that is thick with mythology.
Its not that MS IGLOO’s story is bad; it’s terrible. An episodic series about weapons testing does not work in a series that has become well known for its large scale mech battles; and to be honest its not like the story would be able to stand on its own two feet as a completely stand-alone series either, the reason? It doesn’t have its own two feet to stand on, it constantly tries to place itself in the Gundam continuity and fails. Another problem that the series has is its evident lack of character development, even if it is an episodic series, a lack of character development is inexcusable. If I wanted a show where the characters are worse than wafer-thin cardboard cut outs I’d just go off and re-watch the entirety of the crap half of Tsubasa Chronicle. But I’ll get onto the characters later.
Now the interesting thing about MS IGLOO, is its decision to put the entire series in CG, if done right, this could have worked so well for Sunrise and Gundam in general. I mean, can you imagine? CG Gundam eh? Now THAT sounds like something special, definitely would have put an interesting spin on things. But no, Sunrise managed to completely squander that opportunity as well. The character models in CG look awkward and flat, here’s an example, they look like a bunch of rejects from Final Fantasy The Spirits Within and even that film had the decency to opt for photo-realism. As for the Mobile Suits? Hah, don’t make me laugh. Try imagining a bad looking game from the PS2, imagining it? Now think about how bland and flat the textures in that game looked and then compare that to the Mobile Suits in MS IGLOO, done that? That bad looking game from the PS2 era doesn’t look so bad now does it?
I suppose that when they’re actually in motion they at least look the part, the one benefit about those bland Mobile Suit models is that they at least animate smoothly, the same can’t be said for the characters though, I mean we have a salute here and there and odd bit of walking now and then, but most of the time they stay in one place at one time, Sunrise can’t even create the illusion that these CG models look even remotely good. Talk about a wasted opportunity.
The voice acting in MS IGLOO is appalling. There is no other word that I can use for it without going into obscenities and its never a good idea to use too many of them in one place. Hideo Ishikawa may have managed to impress people as Itachi Uchiha and Juushirou Ukitake, but in MS IGLOO, he sucks. Voice acting tends to make a character more convincing, of all the characters, Oliver May manages to at least make some sort of impact but that doesn’t mean he’s good. However the real cretin of the voice cast is Miki Nagasawa, I’ve heard bad voices and I’ve heard annoying voices, very rarely though do I ever see a cross between the two. Nagasawa is unforgivably bad, her Monique being one of the most annoying female characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing on my computer monitor, I actually felt bad for the poor thing; no not Nagasawa’s character, the computer monitor, there were a few occasions that I swear it was going to start breaking down on me because of how bad she is.
If I was able to say anything about the characters, it would be…they certainly know how to leave an impression, and no that isn’t a good thing. They are hard to watch, a lot of the time I felt like giving up on MS IGLOO because of how bad it was, and the characters are the main cause for it – at no point do you ever feel a connection with them, they’re just there, on your screen, wasting your valuable time, I could have accomplished so much in the time it took me to watch an episode of MS IGLOO, something that would have actually been productive rather than wasting goodness knows how many minutes/hours on this travesty that I know I will never get back.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to say that MS IGLOO is one of the worst Gundam side stories available, it fails at being a re-telling from Zeon’s perspective, it fails at being a stand-alone series, it fails at making you connect with the characters and it fails at showing weapon testing, its original aim.
If this was the first Gundam series you watched, I feel sorry for you. You wasted time, and probably got a sour taste in your mouth of what is usually an excellent mecha show, you’re better off forgetting this disaster and going off watching something that’s actually good in the Universal Century like 8th MS Team or indeed the original Mobile Suit Gundam. I’m pretty sure most long time Gundam fans will agree that this is definitely ranking up there as one of the worst Gundam series out there.
And to those who have actually watched and enjoyed this series, I have to ask: Are you mental?
40: Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: Gravity of the Battlefront
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム ＭＳ ＩＧＬＯＯ ２ 重力戦線
MAL Score: 6.69
MS igLoo 2 goes back to the first MS igLoo and tells the story of the Federation soldiers side that has to fight against the monstrous Zakus. Each episode tells a story of a different federation soldier that is cursed by a Death God that came down to earth with the Zakus and shows the desperate struggle against mobile suits with only conventional weapons such as tanks and missiles. Each soldier, fueled with revenge, and a Death God looming over their backs, fights against the odds that is the terrible might of a Zaku.
Story and Characters
The year is Universial Century 0079 at the start of the war when Zeon has just landed on earth. These 3 OVAs are the stories of 3 common soldiers, their weaponary and revenge as their motivation in fighting for the Earth Forces during the period.
OVA1’s protagonist is the conflicted Ben Barberry, notorious as a death god for sucking the life out of his unit but somehow surviving. At the start of the war, Zeon’s Zaku’s held the tactical advantage and Ben’s anti tank unit is hastily renamed the anti Mobile Suit unit with their weapon of choice being a modified bazooka that fires (larger) anti Mobile suit missiles. Ben and his new unit of fresh recruits are sent to hunt Zaku’s while providing cover for the Earth Forces Retreat – in other words, a suicide mission.
OVA 1 was reminiscent of world war 2 movies where everything is in black and white – the color, the landscape, good/bad, right/wrong, strong/weak. You felt like you were there with Ben struggling to survive and keep his men alive, and if nothing else it drove home 2 messages for me. First, it SUCKS to be ground troops against Mobile Suits. Second, technological superiority DOES matter.
OVA 2 had the most tactics as it was a cat and mouse game between two old enemies. Earth Forces tank Ace Herman Yardell survived against the Zaku ace Elmer Snell, the “White Ogre” and has sought revenge since. Both men have somewhat of a bushido code, wanting to fight only the best, and go to great lengths to achieve it, including feigning mechanical failure to get out of “Boring” fights.
At this stage in the war, earth forces tank has clearly somewhat bridged the technological gap to the Zakus and it is a pleasure to watch the genius Yardell (who is nuts) fight.
OVA 3 is the story of Arleen Nozen, a technical lieutenant unjustly imprisoned for leaking information to Zeon on the RTX-440 Ground Assault type Guntank. Arleen lives for revenge against the true informant, her ex (lover) because he not only betrayed her but the information leak resulted in her guntank program’s development being halted with only 3 being produced. The Evil General offers a chance of amnesty to 3 prisoners in exchange for fighting in the battle of Odessa – Arleen accepts. By Odessa, the earth forces now have their own mobile suits so Odessa is the battle to push Zeon back into space.
Of the 3 OVA, this one had the best weapon. I thought the Guntank was phenomenal in it’s flexibility! It had awesome maneuverability, high speed, ability to transform into 3 form factors and a TON of armaments to boot! Oh my god, information on this is truly worth stealing. If development continued this would surely have become a Mobile Armor. This OVA as a standalone would deserve a 9 because of the beautiful plot twist at the end.
All 3 ovas had easily identifiable and likeable characters developed in a short period of time, one could even consider their weapons as characters which grow in importance from OVA 1 to 3. The OVAs succeeded in making me cry. However, I felt like the death god theme was misplaced or could have been left out and the story would have been much better. The death god certinly wasn’t “needed” and it seemed like it was put in just to showcase the beautiful animation of this character.
The Animation was incredible from a technical standpoint (10) but weak in characterization (6) for an average score of 8.
One thing that cannot be denied is CGI has made great strides in a short time. I am continually amazed by the level of detail rendered – you can see individual strands of hair, eyelashes/eyebrows, even the pores on the skin of an individual’s face! Compared to MS Igloo I they’ve also made great improvements in movement and explosions, these no longer look chunky/block/fake but are instead smoother, rounder and more realistic.
The problem is with characterization. The shots of a character acting surprised by widening/opening their eyes bigger is overused and looks artificial. Cel drawings don’t have the same issue as we are accustomed to exaggerated facial reactions. Igloo 2 suffers from this problem because the art is so good you tend to compare it with what real life people would do and if it isn’t a realistic reaction or expression in live action it looks artificial in CGI. Now, the women are rendered very lovingly and their expressions are for the most part realistic, but not so for the men in OVA1 and OVA2.
Igloo 2 has no OP, but 3 different EDs, all of which tie to their stories so I thought this was inventive and clever. The voice acting wasn’t as good as I hoped, some of the voices just didn’t seem to mesh with the character personalities.
Enjoyment and Overall
I loved how realistic this was. Each OVA was a look through the eyes of a small common soldier, but the overarching theme is Earth eventually caught up with Zeon’s technological superiority and the entire course of the war changed. All things being said I really enjoyed this anime and would recommend it to anyone. I hope to see more MS Igloo.
What I liked:
– Better animation. MS Igloo 2 boasts very nice looking mobile suit animation, and a lot of love went into characters’ hair. The shinigami looks great with long flowing locks.
– Cooler Mobile Suits and fights. The original MS Igloo suffered from a dearth of interesting Mobile Suits and relied on weird new designs like the Oggo to draw Mobile Suit enthusiasts. Fortunately MS Igloo 2 has possibly the coolest Guntank yet, as well as plenty of incredible Zakus, GMs and other assorted weaponry. The battles are dynamic, strategic and fun to watch. Since all the fights are on land it’s a lot easier to understand everything’s relative location, which was harder in the original when most fights were in space.
– More personal plots. MS Igloo 3 focuses on three individual stories with plots very personal to the main characters. This makes the series more emotional than the original (although that’s like saying it’s more emotional than a rock).
What I didn’t like:
– The facial animations. Little has changed in this department. Facial expressions are distorted and ugly, to the point of ridiculousness. This can ruin suspense and make serious scenes look very silly. The female characters interestingly don’t suffer as much, while still displaying strong emotion.
– Extremely unlikable characters. Many of the characters are snide, aggressive and rude to each other. Some of them even seemed verging on insane. I would have preferred a more creative take on the emotional toll of war.
– The contrived shinigami aspect. The shinigami felt very out of place in MS Igloo. The UC timeline, especially events like the one year war, are known for being more realistic and technology driven than later timelines, so throwing a god of death in there felt like an odd choice.
Should you watch MS Igloo 2?: Yes, but only if you’re a diehard Gundam fan. My preferred watching order would be:
– episode 1 of MS Igloo: the Hidden one year war for that sweet Char cameo
– then skip the rest and watch MS Igloo 2 in its entirety
39: Soukou Kihei Votoms: Big Battle
English: Armored Trooper Votoms: Big Battle
Japanese: 装甲騎兵ボトムズ ビッグバトル
MAL Score: 6.74
Big Battle is a one-shot OVA set after the climax of the original Votoms storyline, but before the epilogue at the end of the series itself. With the Gilgamesh and Balarant forces still trying to advance their PS programs, Chirico and his old friends are forced into one last gladiatorial battle against a special PS and a formidable land battleship.
Big Battle doesn’t tread any new ground, and doesn’t even offer much else than some padding to make the Votoms universe seem bigger. Thankfully, the OVA’s budget doesn’t suffer from the constraints the show had, and you can see the main ATtraction with sexy 80s OVA animation. Even with the bigger budget, the OVA isn’t shiny enough to make you think it was an OVA, and the art style jives well with the visual precedent set by the series.
I recommend watching it sandwiched in with the rest of the Quent Arc episodes. While it doesn’t do anything new, it’s entertaining, and gives Votoms fans what they love best: Chirico writing the book on badass.
On the other hand, this means that nothing major to the main storyline happens in Big Battle. Then again, Votoms never really relied on its continuity so much and works best when viewed as a series of standalone Chirico adventures. Here, circumstances determine Chirico and friends have to face off against psychotic Balarant Perfect Soldier Radaa Niva. Cruel and evil to the bone, this standard character archetype is actually new for Votoms and it feels more satisfying than ever to see Chirico and gang give the beat down to a thoroughly reprehensible guy. Niva feels like enough of a threat and even pilots a unique AT known as the Ecrevisse (or “Danger Melon”), and seeing a unique AT in Votoms is always a treat.
For the most part, this plays like an extended episode of the series. Unlike the other OVAs, Big Battle came out a mere two years after the series finished which unfortunately means the animation isn’t much better. The soundtrack is also the same. On the bright side, if this were a part of the series, it’d be one of its best moments. The Big Battle itself is an interesting premise, and despite the implications of its name is not a free-for-all battle. I don’t want to ruin the cool surprise I got, so I won’t give the details.
For better or worse, this is completely on par with the Votoms series and anyone who’s a fan owes it to themselves to check it out.
Unlike Red Shoulder Document / Roots of Ambition, Big Battle is a self-contained ‘side-story,’ an adventure that has little to do with the main series. It doesn’t tell us anything new about Chirico, Fyana, or Ypsilon.
Niva is the star of the show here, being introduced and having his whole story finished within one sitting. He’s a straight forward antagonist.
With Fyana being present, those who have finished AT VOTOMS know that there is still something at risk; and that makes for better emotional investment as Big Battle’s simple, but enjoyable storyline unfolds.
Give it a watch if you like VOTOMS.
38: Dirty Pair: Bouryaku no 005-bin
English: Original Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy
Japanese: ダーティペア 謀略の００５便
MAL Score: 6.76
It’s Chief Gooley’s worst nightmare come true. The Lovely Angels are back on the job, but this time the 3WA’s Central Computer has assigned them two cases at the same time: investigate a space liner explosion in which three hundred people died, but no one`s come forward to claim any insurance money; and find a missing scientist and his family.
Could the two cases be connected? Only the Central Computer knows and it’s not talking. So it’s up the Dirty Pair to get down and dirty and solve the puzzle before time runs out for a grieving grandfather, his family and the universe!
As the title hints, there IS a Conspiracy, so it comes as no big surprise when the 2 cases are linked. The story is predictable and the animation is old school. If they didn’t cut corners on the animation so much I would have scored it higher. This movie did kick up the ecchi factor. It was like Kei and Yuri visited the plastic surgeon after the original TV series was done. I spent half the movie wondering how on earth Kei and Yuri’s "bras" could in reality hold their boobs up, wires or no wires, it’s just not possible to pack that much mass into clothing designed with a diamond cutout on the middle of the chest, without something(s) falling out (if you know what I mean).
But I digress, characterization and comedy are the biggest hallmarks of Dirty Pair, and this movie goes over the top on both. Chief Gooley goes into mega hysterics when the central computer assigns The Dirty Pair to these two cases. I thought it was WAY over the top considering that Chief Gooley has worked with them forever and so should be semi "used to it" by now. Comedic bits are evident in the reaction of various people when the Dirty Pair introduce themselves.
The real issue with this movie is besides the ham factor, the voice acting is atrocious. The Japanese version is slightly better than the english voice actors, but even then you can’t keep a straight face at some of the things that are said. The english voice acting for Kei was terrible – I didn’t believe anything that came out of her mouth. It made half the show seem like a very bad 1950s B grade horror schlock, no Oscars will be won for the voice acting here.
Overall, this was not a very good movie and it could and should have been done much better to do justice to the Dirty Pair.
In the universe of “Dirty Pair,” humanity has spread across the universe and thus gave birth to the United Galactica and a corporation called the World Welfare Works Association (3WA) which our two main girls, Kei (red) and Yuri (blue) work for. The 3WA sends “trouble consultants” like Kei and Yuri to solve various problems, and in grand fashion, the two lovely angels cause nothing but destruction and mayhem wherever they go.
In this particular hour-long OVA, Kei and Yuri are picked by the computer to investigate a mysterious plane explosion causing many people to simply go missing, much to the dismay of the Chief. And thus, that is all there is to it. Let the mayhem commence in typically awesome Dirty Pair action.
Being an OVA, the characters and dramatics are a little over the top, such as the Chief reacting to the computer picking Kei and Yuri or the clothing options for the two; oh so space 80’s. However, the animation for Dirty Pair never looked better. Sound and music match fairly well for action sequences. Even the story is somewhat darker and has a more serious plot compared to the more over-dramatic humour the show usually brings. Some might deter from this new aspect of Dirty Pair and that is fine if looking for more of the original anime.
Kei and Yuri are as lovable as ever, with Kei being the assertive flirt with a short fuse while Yuri is the more soft spoken and romantic type. Basically, Dirty Pair 005 is an OVA that creates a more serious atmosphere with still maintaining what is loved about the franchise, chicks with big sticks.
Taking everything into consideration, I’d rate this a 6/10. As I mentioned, too dark and serious to merit rewatching. As much as I like Dirty Pair, this was likely the low point for the franchise. At least, before Dirty Pair Flash. Makes me wonder what to expect from Affair of Nolandia…
37: Soukou Kihei Votoms: Genei-hen
English: Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc
Japanese: 装甲騎兵ボトムズ 幻影篇
MAL Score: 6.77
For their silver anniversary, Vanilla and Coconna return to Uoodo along with Gotho in the hopes of reuniting with Chirico. Once there they find a red shouldered AT at the Battling arena.
But from there the story picks up as the trio is driven into the background, and a curious mix of the old narrative with new elements forms the meat of the story in episodes three to six. While more votoms is never a bad thing, it’s quite clear that the initial direction taken was judged to be a mistake, and that a more serious approach was necessary for what is currently the last chronological entry in the franchise. The fact that there’s only about four episodes to execute this more complicated plot is simply a mistake. While the nostalgia factor continues throughout the show, the plot just doesn’t really hold up even when it tries to do something interesting.
One net positive is that the creators have learned from Shining Heresy, by incorporating some elements from it without taking in any of the boring stuff. It doesn’t make the plot better exactly, but by acknowledging that it happened Chirico’s current status and journey feel a lot more valid. It’s not inconceivable from a story perspective that Votoms could one day be continued, and Chirico’s path has become one that is interesting just by it’s sheer length both in and outside of it’s universe.
The CGI has stepped up quite a bit from Pailsen Files. While it’s far from flawless, it’s never openly painful to look at, and there’s occasional good use of what CGI has to offer in terms of quicker animation than hand-drawn frames ever could. That being said, Chirico himself doesn’t get into all that much scopedog action for once, and with the limited amount of time the focus is much more on the plot.
When you get down to it Phantom Arc is a retread of old Votoms, and your enjoyment will greatly depend on how much you care about seeing Vanilla, Gotho, and Coconna again, as well as your interest in some of the ideas from Votoms’ Quent arc. Anyone who is a fan of the franchise at least owes it to themselves to watch the first two episodes for nostalgic purposes, and perhaps the rest to see the current conclusion to Chirico’s saga.
36: Aoki Ryuusei SPT Layzner OVA
English: Blue Comet SPT Layzner
MAL Score: 6.79
The Layzner OVA serves as an alternative version of the TV series.
The first episode, titled “Eiji 1996”, recaps the first part of the series (episodes 01-24). The second episode (“Le Caine 1999”) takes place after a time skip, and contains episodes 26 through 37 (episode 25 of the TV series, being a recap itself, is skipped here).
The final episode, “Seal 2000”, is an expanded version of the final episode of the TV series (38) and features new animation and a longer epilogue.
35: Natsu-iro Kiseki: 15-kaime no Natsuyasumi
Japanese: 夏色キセキ ～15回目のナツヤスミ～
MAL Score: 6.79
A seven minute epilogue to the TV series, released as an OVA.
34: Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム MS IGLOO -黙示録0079-
MAL Score: 6.81
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 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.
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.
33: 30th Gundam Perfect Mission
Japanese: 30th GUNDAM PERFECT MISSION
MAL Score: 6.83
30th Gundam Perfect Mission is a short original video animation (OVA) officially released by Sunrise in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Gundam metaseries. It features all the titular and mascot gundams of the main series in a non-cannon conjoint mission.
(Source: Gundam Wikia)
Overall: 9/10 (no story, no character, one music, total fun).
For more information, this clip was for the 30th gundam anniversary, it shows all the gundams from each universe including the ones outside from the Universal Century.
It starts off with the RX-78-2’s core lander coming from earth all the way to space trying to avoid something from behind, they never really show that this something is because all the gundams are pretty much trying to protect it from that one thing… if it was just a Zaku II I’d shit myself because seriously, you’d need all the gundams from every universe to protect you from a grunt unit? Nonetheless still a spectacular array of visual goodness, if you are a gundam fan then you should definitely check this out.
The art is really new, and considering it’s only like two and a half minutes long it’s no surprise that they made the animation as crisp and clean as possible.
the sound effects are exhilarating, although you can’t really hear the music but if you listen carefully it builds this escalating buildup for the final gundam they display which is the original RX-78-2, it does the last stand pose, with all the gundams around it and it ends.
It’s only two and a half minutes and I guarantee you that you wont regret watching it, pure awesome.
The animation is good as expected of Sunrise Studios, the audio has all the classic Gundam sounds, and seeing the old series suits done in modern style is great.
Overall it is really fun to see all your favorite suits gather together in one animation even if it is a short one.
Fans of Gundam should definetally check this one out.
32: Love Live! School Idol Project OVA
Japanese: ラブライブ! School idol project OVA
MAL Score: 6.85
Bundled with the sixth single of the anime’s μ’s idol group.
That is roughly the first 10 minutes. The remaining 5 minutes is devoted to a musical number, a song called “Music S.T.A.R.T!!.” If you liked the music in Love Live, it would probably be worth it to you to watch this OVA just for the song. I don’t particularly enjoy Idol music, but the same quality of music and animation in the show is clearly present here (for better or worse), so if you’re into that go ahead and give it a watch.
Also worth noting: I don’t grade OVAs or specials; MAL forces you to pick an overall score to attach to your review. The score I gave this does not mean anything.
This is a really materielistic OVA. What you’ll get: a new music video, Maki in loli form and the characters interacting. You won’t miss out on anything, if you just leave this one be, but it’s not offensively bad, or anything. It’s just a vaste of an OVA. But since the series has an abundance of those, I’m not really heartbroken. This was the first I saw though, so that’s kind of lame, but that is really the worst I can say about it.
In the future, please just release the music video and leave out all the rest.
We open with Maki having a nightmare where she’s being chased by hooded figures. She finishes telling Hanayo about it. Which scares Hanayo, likely making it necessary for her to take solace between Rin’s legs. The next day Maki’s not at school and the rest of our cast decides to go visit her, leading to a slightly trippy sequence followed by a musical number. So, the “story” is basically build up for the music video.
The issue is that the build up is awkward. It’s a bit surreal and has some magical realism shit going on that doesn’t really go with the rest of the franchise. It doesn’t help that a lot of it is stretches of a character running and it’s not that interesting.
I will say, it does have a few cute moments. Nico’s face when they decide to visit Maki along with Nozomi’s narration. That’s cute. Little baby Maki telling the rest of the girls that she’s always really liked them. That’s cute. I also do like the music video bit.
The regular μ’s cast is all there. The OVA doesn’t give us anything new but it is nice to see the group doing their thing. Even in a short OVA.
The OVA looks much like the series proper. About the worst I can say about it is that the running scenes are a little lazy in terms of their backgrounds just staying pretty much the same throughout. Other than that it all looks good. It’s well put together. The music video is very much what we’re used to from the franchise. With the costumes, choreography, lights and bright colours.
The acting in this franchise has always been well done. The music portion features a really good song in terms of its performance. If you’re a fan of that type of idol music, you’ll enjoy hearing the song.
It’s almost like Sunrise was pandering to me specifically with this one. There’s a lot of homo-eroticism in the music video. The girls’ idea of a party is, apparently, getting in sleepwear, cuddling up to one another and staring at each other longingly. This isn’t a Never-ending party, it’s a never-ending Sapphic sleepover. Which is much better. And you might think “But Ktulu, you wouldn’t be allowed into a never-ending Sapphic sleepover.” Which is true, but I don’t go to parties either. The most people I’ll be in a room with is about seven other people for D&D.
Areas of Improvement:
1.Less surrealism in the build up.
2. Fewer and shorter scenes of running.
3. Maybe just lose the dream angle in favour of something that suits the franchise better. Like a Sapphic sleepover.
Is this OVA as good as the series proper? No. Is it going to be enjoyable if you’re not a fan of the series proper? No. If you’re a fan of the series, will you enjoy it? Very likely, yes. It has its cute moments and the music video portion is great. So, if you’re a fan of the franchise, you should probably watch it. If you’re someone who likes the music but doesn’t care much for the rest, watch the last five minutes. If you aren’t sure whether you’d like the series, watch the regular anime first. For myself, I’m giving it a 6/10. The mediocre build up combined with the great music video makes for a decent viewing experience.
31: Zone of the Enders: 2167 Idolo
English: Z.O.E. 2167 Idolo
Japanese: Z.O.E 2167 IDOLO
MAL Score: 6.89
Z.O.E. 2167 Idolo takes place a few years prior to the events of the series Z.O.E Dolores, i, and is centered on the “Deimos Incident,” an act of terrorism by the Mars revolutionaries.
The BAHRAM army pilots Radium and Viola are the best in their class, and have such have been chosen to do spearhead testing on a new type of weapon; Mars hopes this weapon will liberate them from the UNSF’s (United Nations Space Force) tyranny. This new technology called the “Orbital Frame,” is powered by an extremely rare and powerful source of energy known as the Metatron ore.
Story (7/10): I gave the story a seven as I think it flows nicely but as you can imagine for a 55 min story, it does lack the breadth of a full movie. However, the story is believable and really gets into the emotions of the characters. It also lends some understanding to the background of Viola’s character and you can get to see why Viola is so bitter in the ZOE game.
Art (6/10): Nothing particularly groundbreaking but does its job effectively enough.
Sound (8/10): The music shares most of the characteristics of the games in terms of style and fits in nicely with much of the action of the film.
Character (6/10): The characters develop quite well considering the length, but perhaps not quite enough to really get to the motivations of the characters.
Enjoyment (8/10): A quick astute dose of good quality anime, so I would say the enjoyment level was quite high.
Overall (7/10): If you’re a fan of the ZOE game series then I would highly recommend this if you want to get the background into the origins of the Orbital Frame. Even if you’ve never the played the games, it’s still a highly enjoyable OVA.
30: Soukou Kihei Votoms: Koei Futatabi
English: Armored Trooper Votoms: Alone Again
Japanese: 装甲騎兵ボトムズ 孤影再び
MAL Score: 6.93
Chirico visits an oasis town and meets Gotho and his friends for the first time in 32 years.
The story itself is quite short and familiar. Chirico visits his old friends in their Oasis town, but violence looms ahead. Chirico’s arrival doesn’t exactly do anything to stop that, but it’s clear our hero has grown somewhat over the years, and seems to be quite conscious of the fact death and destruction follow wherever he goes. It’s this growth that makes Alone Again more interesting, as Chirico manages to show a more matured side of himself without losing his stoic attitude.
The CGI has stepped up a little from Phantom Arc again, but it’s nothing more than just serviceable. Seeing scopedogs zip around the desert won’t get boring anytime soon, but there’s still some residual clunkiness in the way the fights are portrayed.
What makes Alone Again shine is the ending. It somewhat redeems a bad character while tying a more satisfying and fitting thematic end to the story than Phantom Arc did, ending on a balance that implies a better continuation than we already know is actually coming. It’s the best way for Chirico Cuvie’s story to end, and for him to move on from the past.
Armored Trooper Votoms: Alone Again is really made for a small niche of fans who have already watched Phantom Arc and were either wondering what happened beforehand or wanted an ending more in line with what we have come to know as Votoms. It manages this, but for a few brief minutes also reaches a peak higher than the franchise has ever achieved before.
29: Soukou Kihei Votoms: Kakuyaku taru Itan
Japanese: 装甲騎兵ボトムズ 赫奕たる異端
MAL Score: 6.94
Chirico is awoken from cold sleep and separated from Fyana. His attempts to find her come to the attention of a Nextant, the replacement for the Perfect Soldier program. At the same time, the new Pope is to be nominated, and Chirico is religiously considered to be “The Untouchable”. With one of the nominees related to the Nextant, Chirico’s actions will have far-reaching political ramifications.
The strongest two arcs of the original VOTOMS TV series were easily the middle two arcs (Kummen and Sunsa) in which Chirico is rivalled by Ypsilon for the affections of Fyana. It’s an oddly engaging love triangle stuck in the middle of a real robot series that focuses on the mentality of a soldier.
Shining Heresy attempts to go back to this by introducing a new rival for Chirico in the form of Teitania, a “Nextant” who was created ostensibly for the purpose of replacing ATs and I guess also destroying Chirico. However, it also incorporates notes of the Woodo arc of the VOTOMS TV show by setting her up as a female love interest for Chirico.
This is done in the most awkward and illogical way possible; Teitania literally falls in love with Chirico for no really good reason after he shoots her. Let me emphasize that Teitania sees Chirico like two times and is shot by him before falling madly in love with him and deciding to follow him forever. It makes Fyana’s reasons for loving Chirico seem completely legitimate.
The biggest problem with Shining Heresy is that it is not about Chirico. Chirico barely ever appears on screen; the other characters certainly do a lot of TALKING about Chirico but the focus of the OVA is clearly on a completely unrelated story about “The Catholic Church, Except In Space” and a yawn-worthy competition over who is going to become the next Space Pope.
To the OVA’s credit, the original VOTOMS show did not really explore the role of religion in the VOTOMS universe so in theory it’s a cool idea to explore it, but the problem is there’s no context given. Why does this church matter? What do they control? What are the stakes at hand in this competition to kill Chirico in order to become the next Space Pope? None of these questions are resolved by the end.
Oh yeah, Fyana is there too. But she has like a total of 5 lines and is pretty much just a plot device.
And here’s the thing about Fyana: She’s always been a very flat character. She hit her stride in the middle of the TV series when she was actually fighting in her AT, but the latter half of the series reduced her to a damsel-in-distress sitting around yelling “CHIRICO!!” every so often. But they’ve gone a step past that in Shining Heresy and she’s incapacitated for the entire OVA and then… well…
I won’t spoil what happens but the conclusion of Shining Heresy left me scratching my head and wondering “OK, but why?” Well, the answer to that question seems to be that the writers wanted to take Fyana out of the story and replace her with Teitania. Seeing as VOTOMS is about Chirico, that is the only major development that has transpired by the end of this OVA, and one wonders why the writers felt the need for this development. Sure, Fyana wasn’t the best character, but she was Fyana! 50 episodes and several OVAs of Chirico chasing Fyana, and for what?
The art and sound are OK for a 90’s OVA; it’s obviously a low-budget production but nothing stands out as ugly. There’s a new OP that isn’t quite as catchy as the original OP but is still listenable. The scarce few mech battles are pretty interesting as far as VOTOMS go, and I honestly thought Teitania vs. Chirico in episode 1 was the highlight of the whole thing.
Overall, it has a few fun action sequences but they’re stuck in a swamp of boring dialogue about Space Catholicsm. It tries to ambitiously explore the role of religion in the VOTOMS world but it fails to properly provide context for why the story being presented matters at all. Still, if you plan to watch the other VOTOMS OVAs after this one, you may want to just grit your teeth and bear with it for the major plot development that occurs in Shining Heresy.
The story is the biggest and probably only major weak point in The Shining Heresy as a whole. Shining Heresy’s writers had to fish for a new conflict to make the next entry in VOTOMS ripe for watching and ultimately decided to turn the Space Church into a major factor, something that was pretty much only mentioned in the original show. After a number of asspulls with Chirico and his immortality it was decided that he was a freak of nature and was deemed untouchable, and a Nextant (which is basically a human AT and the successor to the PS program, I have to admit it’s actually a really badass concept) named Teitania is sent to either convert Chirico to their religion or exterminate him. The reason for this despite marking him as untouchable either wasn’t there at all or it just slipped past me and I really don’t want to go back just to find out.
A big part of the original VOTOMS story was Chirico’s struggle to be with Fyana, who he fell in love with.. After seeing the two finally get together following being hunted down by entire armies, then subsequently watching The Shining Heresy you’ll feel pretty duped because Teitania ends up replacing Fyana as Chirico’s love interest only after they try to kill each other a few times or something. I don’t mind good endings or sad endings but when one is already established and then soiled by another story it only comes off as frustrating to me.
In just 5 episodes there is enough to keep you entertained and maintain a continuous interest in watching however. Seeing the evolution of VOTOMS from the 1980s to the 1990s standard is really fulfilling in its own right and through time it still stays true to what made the original series so good, with its gritty combat and emulation of real war’s expendable nature. Along with that it still has its jazzy soundtrack that works so well with the series and a new opening that I must admit I like better than Honoo no Sadame after hearing it so much.
If you’re a fan and you want something that looks and sounds good, even if it doesn’t really FEEL good, The Shining Heresy will satisfy you. If you’re not interested after seeing this review take my advice, and let the story end where the show ends.
The mecha scenes are good, but the last fight between Chirico and Teitana is rather ridiculous in how the protagonist wins.
All in all, Votoms is a very hit or miss series – and this OVA sequel is very hit or miss, too. Teitana’s infatuation with Chirico makes little sense, as does the Church obsession with him. It would have made more sense if they brought up what Chirico does at the very end of the series. How does Wiseman fit into their Church? Does he at all?
Not boring to watch; definitely enjoyable to sit through. But rather disappointing.
28: Dirty Pair: Lovely Angels yori Ai wo Komete
English: Dirty Pair: With Love From the Lovely Angels
Japanese: ダーティペア ラブリーエンジェルより愛をこめて
MAL Score: 7.03
Released direct to video in Japan after the original TV series was canceled, this OVA is actually the final two episodes of the TV series.
I was initially expecting something better, but Episode 25 of the TV series (1st episode of the OVA) followed in the same lines as the TV series. A short and simplistic plotline, with little to no character development, and the sound an animation had not improved at all. Not a good sign. In fact, what is sadder is in the 24 episode TV series the watcher actually finds Nammo (the robot) and Mughi (their cat) more interesting as characters. This is dispelled in Episode 26 though.
The second episode of the OVA (Episode 26) was much more enjoyable. Kei and Yuri fight over a piece of cake at the start, making their cat “Mughi” the unwitting middlecat in their silly battle. They then decide to disobey orders to rescue their commander, Gooley, who is being held hostage. That episode showed more character development for the Dirty Pair than the previous 24 episodes of the TV series.
Episode 26 was awesome on 3 levels, which actually elevated this anime from mediocre to fair (needed better animation to be Good). There was suspense, drama and a tight plot with emotional moments. Humor was evident, especially the scene where the 2 girls come out dressed as orange tabby cats, guns blazing! There were some great lines, like “Men prefer breasts!” and “just like a woman you can’t shut up!”.
Overall, this 2 episode OVA was better than the TV series, the second being much better than the first. For the 2007 standard, this series is OK, nothing groundbreaking, but nothing totally horrible either (except the old school animation). The characters and concept are very promising. The producers must have realized that with a little better animation, soundtrack and plot, the Dirty Pair franchise could take off – and they’re right.
I’m an outlier tho, I’m compulsive, so since I’ve seen one of the Dirty Pair movies (Project Eden) and liked it, I’m now compelled to watch ALL the rest of the Dirty Pair series. Here’s to hoping the animation gets better for the rest of it.
The designs for Yuri and Kei has downgraded from the main anime series. Sometimes they look like their old selves then they look a little different in the facial they look slimmer. While in episode two the animation improves they look like their selves from the main series.
The first episode is your standard Dirty Pair episode with Yuri finally going on a date with guy who completely ignores her on their date While Kei is at home fixing the AC or something. Then getting called up for a mission with Yuri meeting her on location later. The humor is very funny that’s all I can say about that. But I love the last five minutes of the episode where it basically turns into The Terminator.
As for the second episode it feels like a series finale episode there’s a lot of consequences (No Spoilers) I wish the show wasn’t canceled if this episode was on the show’s original run I’ve given the anime a higher score on her maybe the classic Status. Even tho Dirty Pair is a Classic anime series
27: Dirty Pair OVA
Japanese: ダーティペア (1987)
MAL Score: 7.09
Set in the future Kei and Yuri are Trouble Consultants for The 3WA. Code Named “Lovely Angels”, but, they are known throughout the galaxy as The Dirty Pair. They always solve their case, but, not without causing collateral damage and mayhem.
Not bad. Not great. Pretty average. Your enjoyment may vary depending on your age, when you see/seen this, and your tolerance for older anime. This OVA has absolutely no continuity, so you can literally watch the episodes in any order and it won’t matter. You may or may not like this aspect; I personally prefer a strong central plot.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the stories told here. After each one I would want to see another, not because they were particularly good, but I think more so because each one left me feeling perpetually unfulfilled. The stories are just little adventures that never really add up to anything. So they’re mildly entertaining in of themselves, but always left me wanting. Also, most of the fights are cartoon army style where thousands of shots fly by, or the enemies can be shooting at almost point blank, and everything but the target gets hit.
Same as the story, or maybe because of it, nothing really develops here either. The characters are neither particularly annoying, nor particularly memorable. Everyone but the main two characters are practically cameos. Even then you still only get a vague idea of the main characters personalities.
The art was fine, I suppose. Nothing that stood out but pretty standard for the period, I believe.
I listened to about an episode and a half of the dubbing, and that was enough for me to conclude that this was some of the least enthusiastic voice acting I’ve heard. Neither the themes nor background music stood out to me.
Art: The art was typical 80′ – 90’s art style if you looking for fine arts it is not for you but if you like some old school action with a little poor but ok arts i think you would like it.
Characters: The 2 female agents the series are based on you can like them pretty well but you don’t get much back story around them so you got to like them for what they do in each episode i guess. For me they was ok and good enough.
Story: As for the story it’s not bad but not that good either couse what i mentioned earlyeryou don’t get to much story it is episodes with a new adventure each time and that is ok with me. You get a good load of action each time so. And we can say that this is i think for the younger audience, not any blood or bad language. I saw it was some longer series about Dirty Pair so maybe you get some more story there i don’t know.
So all in all you get the action you maybe want to see, not very adult content so very good for the children. I think that most children would love it.
one of my favorite episode´s was episode 2, the Halloween robbery wich had some good parody´s with some popculture from its time and earlier. Artwise it is alright to watch, some bad animation but it was a diffrent time so deal with it, but good detailed background animation and not such a stiff movements at the least.The soundtracks ( opening ,ending) really gave a feel that it would be an entertaining anime serie, 1987 , cant go wrong there even during an episode its enjoyable! as for the charachters, because it was the late 80´s u still can see lots of stereotyping throughout the serie´s that can be excpected, even for the main charachters i was sometime´s fed up with some personalitys and stuff you know, the japanese SCHOOLGIRLTYPE screaming …. ugh too much there man… overall i had quite some fun watching it and the music made me finish the whole thing, and the some over the top comedy- action monents
26: Accel World EX
Japanese: アクセル ワールド EX
MAL Score: 7.12
OVA bundled with the Accel World simulation and action games. The Blu-ray OVA discs came with the PS3 limited edition versions and the DVD with the PSP limited edition versions.
The project was split into two PSP and PS3 titles, and one episode was released with each game:
#EX01: Reverberation;Zankyou (bundled with Stage:01 Ginyoku no Kakusei)
#EX02: Vacation;Onsen (bundled with Stage:02 Kasoku no Chouten)
Accel World EX (OVA) is actually based on a project split into two non linear sections that were released based off the video game for the PS3 platform. Those lucky enough who purchased the game will find these gratifying gifts from the producers that comes in the form of Blu-ray DVDs for fans of the original series/light novels. It is also based on its prequel predecessor Accel World. As such, expect many of the same themes, characters, setting, and backgrounds similar.
Because it is non linear, the OVA are standalone episodes that has little to no connection to one of of the other or vice-versa. It is divided into two separate states. The first stage known as Reverberation;Zankyou still takes place in a similar setting but with a newer concept shown AFTER the original anime series. What this means is that it can be a little spoilerish but more importantly, viewers should familiarize themselves with the original series. The episode does not reintroduce all the concepts from its prequel nor are there actual backgrounds of the story from it. It is a stand alone episode and gives more of a fillerish vibe.
The episode itself contains action, drama, and very small inklings of romance as compared to its prequel. In fact, I found some of the misunderstandings between the duo of Kuroyukihime and Haruyuki to be forced and weak. It is not well executed from my point of view especially with their relationship. Despite this though, the two still make a good team especially with their skills and the new concepts applied. With that concept spawns action which was surprisingly well presented. It does lack that feeling of seriousness especially when compared to the latter half of the prequel but it earn its entertainment points.
The designs of the avatars remains generally the same but with the newer concepts applied that brings forth some amusing moments. This is especially true for Kuroyukihime avatar that makes her character already stand out more than she should be. As for the second episode, it follows the typical trend with most OVA standpoints in today’s anime industry. That spells out a simple word: fan service. Of course, in series like this, Reki and his works makes no escape towards this trope. With many of the baring skin and lustful embrace postures, the second half of Accel World EX is a gratuitous presentation. A viewer shouldn’t be surprised though because as it has become a popular trend today.
Both the artwork and soundtrack remains generally the same with Hima doing the original designs and music composed by Kotoko. It focuses on the electronic rhythms and stereo-like vibrations. Along with the OP/ED songs, it brings out the cyber word that is Accel World once again.
All in all, these two OVA episodes are a gift for the fans – either fans of the anime, light novels, or the video games. It’s a bit of a shame that this time around, story isn’t part of the formula for these two episodes. Instead, it is substituted with generics and luring visuals. Still though, it could also be a ride of entertainment if you’re in for it. It’s hard to say if this is a reminder that the series is still popular in Japan but given the sales, a season 2 is possible on the horizon. However, Accel World EX is up for grabs if you’re in for some fun.
Consistent with the main series. Fairly good overall detail and colorization ruined by the blob of the South Park main character. A bit of concentrated fan service in particular scenes in the second episode.
Identical to the main series. This uses the second OP in the main series as well as the same BGM and VAs. Nothing particulary special here.
Pretty much explained the plot in the intro. Nothing is particularly drastic, though I found the first episode a bit far-fetched (sort of borrows the idea from SAO that being an ace in one game makes you really really good in another similar game, though I don’t think good enough to beat a master at the other game). The second episode is more character-driven with some more character background and a lot of Fuuko Kurasaki.
There isn’t any really huge development here. You find a bit of additional detail on fat blob’s past but that’s about it.
This was a fair watch but nothing spectacular. The first episode is more action based whereas the second is a relaxing break. For Accel World fans.
they don’t continue the story but they are 2 funny side stories, one expanding on the setting and another expanding on the characters, the quality is consistent with the main episodes
one of them is more of the typical swimsuits scenario, hotsprings, containing several revealing costumes for the girls, more on the fan service side but the character interactions are still relevant and develop them further
the other has some action in it, revealing outfits too, relevant character interactions, and the most surprising story bit for the overall setting in the entire anime
25: Kikou Ryohei Mellowlink
MAL Score: 7.13
As the sole survivor from a squad that was sacrificed and hung out as scapegoats for embezzlement of military resources at the end of the 100 years war, Mellowlink Arity is out for revenge.
Carrying the dogtags of his deceased comrades and armed with a dated anti AT rifle, he swears to hunt down and exact revenge on the corrupt officers that betrayed his squad, and maybe even uncover the truth behind the plot as well.
As a revenge tale, you shouldn’t expect anything profound from the plot. Simplicity is the name of the game here, so the setup is fairly obvious…you get pieces of info along Mellowlink’s journey that unveil why he’s hunting down these high-ranked officers.
The main draw of the show, IMO, is the clever, tactical ways in which Mellow dispatches his enemies. Whether it’s using misdirection ploys or baiting pursuers into a trap of mines, he’s always got some scheme going on to get the upper-hand. And seeing how he’s just a lone man against giant mechas most of the time, it’s absolutely essential he turns the battle into a match of wits rather than outright strength. Some of its episodes are better than others at depicting this, but overall, the action here engrosses with its gritty guerrilla warfare…a stark contrast to other mecha anime like Gurren Lagann and recent Gundam shows.
Concerning the animation, I think it’s important to point out it was made back in the late ’80s. As a bit of an old-school fan myself, I don’t mind it at all, but younger anime fans accustomed to shiny CGI and sparkly colors may be put off by the gritty, earthy look of the show.
It’s not outstanding or a classic, but you will not be disappointed if you watch it.
If you are a mecha fan or more specifically Votom fan this is definitely for you. since its a votom spin-off
I personally really like the mechs (A.T’s). Even though the main character dosn’t use one. He uses a anti-AT rifle to take out the mechs the “bad guys” use.
The animation is typical of the 80’s. character animation isn’t that strong. BUT some of the still frames the use for paning is pieces of art.
I’m not sure who animated the series, but it sure resembles the work of Moriyasu Taniguchi. who is awsome 🙂
The Music is …. awful, sorry.
It’s a lone ranger story. A soldier running around taking revenge for his fallen comrades who where betrayed. with a hint of love story.
The main Character is cool. like a little Rambo with is own signature move.
That out of the way, this is a solid, old school sci fi anime with a somewhat fresh take on the mech genre. The premise is a quite straightforward (basic, if you’re being harsh) revenge story about an ill done by ex-soldier hunting his former commanders to avenge his dead comrades. It functions as an episodic series for the most part, with the last few episodes following a short “finale arc”.
All these episodes are titled based on the environment they take place in – quite appropriately, as the environments are the stars of the episode in lieu of a really charismatic or interesting cast. Mellowlink, the protagonist, is pretty much just a bland soldier man without so much of a hint of an arc, his ‘love interest’ is equally one dimensional and their relationship is just as pointless and unnatural feeling. The antagonists are all just cackling shonen style villains with no depth either – not inappropriate for a story of this style, and to be fair they have their individual gimmicks for each episode, but still, all this means something has to fill the gap this cast leaves. And it’s the environment: while the animation is nothing to write home about, there are some quite excellent looking background paintings of mysterious and exciting sci fi vistas.
As for “mech and tech” stuff, I wouldn’t consider myself any kind of mech expert, so take my assessment with a spoonful of salt but I would describe the stuff on display in Mellowlink as interesting but homogenous. The Mechs on display, AT’s as they are called, have a cool design similar to Gundam’s Zakus but a bit more “real” feeling (they remind me of some designs from the Mechwarrior Games). This shouldn’t be a surprise, as they were designed by the same person who designed the Zaku, Kunio Okawara. While it’s a cool design, I don’t love it – it does seem a bit devoid of personality, although perhaps that is the intention in taking the “real robots” concept to its conclusion. But from what I can tell, this one triclops design is the only one on display which makes things get a bit stale, when you are watching Mellowlink blow up the same mech for the 5th time in that episode. (Note that as I said I am unfamiliar with this setting – perhaps there was some subtle differences between the mechs, but by and large they all looked the same, and perhaps there was some lore reason for them all to be so…I can’t say).
But it is perhaps unfair to focus on the mechs in a show which is about a mech hunter. Which is as I said in my intro, quite an interesting take I haven’t seen in other anime. The concept seems to be inspired by WW1 and early WW2 anti tank rifles, which reflects a broader trend in this anime – everyone seems to be using some early 20th century inspired technology, with Browning MG’s and German style armoured cars. It’s a neat aesthetic and it works well, giving the show a grimy, gritty feel that it’d otherwise lack – there’s rarely any sense that the protagonist is in danger, and opponents are disposable cannon fodder to him.
While I may seem disproportionately harsh in criticising this anime, I did enjoy it more than my scores would suggest. It’s a low tech sci fi anime with solid mech designs and a pace fast enough to stop you getting bored – which ticks a lot of boxes for me. If you’re similarly into that scene, or the idea of a guy with a giant AT rifle fighting chunky, realistic mechs just sounds fun to you, I think this anime is worth your time.
24: Soukou Kihei Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder
English: Armored Trooper Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder
Japanese: 装甲騎兵ボトムズ ザ ラストレッドショルダー
MAL Score: 7.14
Released in 1985, this OVA tells a critical part of the story between the TV show’s Uoodo and Kummen arcs. Although the TV series covered the Red Shoulders in some detail, we didn’t get to see much of Chirico’s time there or the people involved, and we get both of those here.
For starters, there are more significant plot developments in this than most single episodes of the Votoms series, and that’s a huge plus. We get to see the origins of Ypsilon and learn that he didn’t just come out of nowhere for the Kunmen arc. We get to see more insight into Chirico’s past and some greater detail on the characters that make it up, as well as some closure that makes the Red Shoulder Document a much more worthwhile watch. The animation isn’t as good as the aforementioned OVA, but is still superior to the series. Recommended.
23: Mai-Otome Zwei
English: My-Otome Zwei
Japanese: 舞-乙HiME ZWEI
MAL Score: 7.27
My-Otome Zwei takes place one year after the events of My-Otome. Arika is now a full-fledged Otome (though still under the tutelage of Miss Maria) and Nagi is incarcerated in a prison somewhere in Aries. The various nations are at peace with one another and plan to hold S.O.L.T. (Strategic Otome Limitation Talks) to discuss limiting the numbers of Otome.
A mission to destroy a meteor threatening to collide with Earl sets into motion a chain of events which result in a mysterious shadowy figure attacking Garderobe and several Otome as well as a new, more powerful version of Slave appearing across the planet. To make matters worse, Queen Mashiro disappears following an argument with Arika. The series follows Arika’s search for Mashiro as well as Garderobe’s attempts to uncover the truth behind the shadowy figure.
Overall, Mai-Otome Zwei has a very slow, reflective mood. While there is an enemy to be defeated, and a world to be saved, even the protagonists do not seem to be overly worried by the asteroid-induced crisis. And, given the history of happy endings in the Mai-world, neither should be the viewer. This is not to say that there is not a superbly animated showdown, but the emphasis of the OVA is on checking in with all main characters from the original series, not on the rather featureless antagonists. As an epilogue to Mai-Otome, the anime worked well for me.
Note: Mai-Otome Zwei is a follow-up OVA to Mai-Otome. Watching Mai-Otome first is crucial to understanding the story and watching Mai-Hime is at least helpful.
22: Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
English: Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム0083 STARDUST MEMORY
MAL Score: 7.28
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.
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.
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.
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.
9.5 out of 10
21: Future GPX Cyber Formula 11
MAL Score: 7.28
It is now time for the 11th Cyber Formula World Grand Prix. With all the expectations and pressures placed upon him, Hayato Kazami struggles to regain the championship form that he had a year ago. Moreover, Osamu Sugo, aka Knight Schumacher, has reentered the competition, and declared Hayato to be an enemy. Hayato, with the new Super Asurada AKF-11, must now defeat someone he once deeply trusted in order to secure his second championship.
20: Soukou Kihei Votoms: Red Shoulder Document – Yabou no Roots
English: Armored Trooper Votoms: Red Shoulder Document – Roots of Treachery
Japanese: 装甲騎兵ボトムズ レッドショルダードキュメント野望のルーツ
MAL Score: 7.28
After armored trooper pilot Chirico Cuvie is given orders to transfer to Planet Odon, he and all of the other new recruits are sent into a simulated battle to test their abilities. However, this ‘simulated battle’ turns out to be a serious fight to eliminate those without the necessary skills. Chirico survives along with just three others, despite the fact that he fought while injured. It soon becomes apparent that this is not the first time he has survived against incredible odds, a fact that Colonel Peruzen wishes to exploit. But is Chirico truly immortal?
At first I thought that since this came out years later that this would be even darker and more violent than the original, but if it was, it was a negligible amount. The gritty realism has always been the highlight of Votoms, and I hoped it would be realized and taken even more seriously here. I’m satisfied that they’ve kept this value, at the very least.
I’m also disappointed that I didn’t get any more insight into Chirico’s character. He seems the same as he was at the start of the series. I assumed the harsh Red Shoulder training (of which we didn’t get much of because of the length) would be what turned him into a stoic soldier, but I didn’t get to see any kind of transition. Instead the whole thing mainly felt like a tribute to the Chirico we already know and a highlight of his special traits that make him up in a different context. I’m a little upset, because the potential for this part of Chirico’s history was very high. Still, I was entertained.
19: Future GPX Cyber Formula Saga
MAL Score: 7.35
After his disappointing loss in the last round of the 14th Cyber Formula World Grand Prix, which causes him the championship, Hayato Kazami decides that he needs a change and switches over to the Sugo Garland SF-03 for the 15th Cyber Formula World Grand Prix while he waits for the newest Asurada design. However, his hope to make up for the past year’s letdown is made difficult when Aoi ZIP Formula undergoes a major restructuring and brings in Kyoshiro Nagumo as the new president of the team. The new car that he brought to the team, driven by newcomer Phil Fritz, is seemingly unbeatable…
18: Mai-Otome 0: S.ifr
English: My-Otome 0: S.ifr
Japanese: 舞－乙HiME ０～S.ifr～
MAL Score: 7.38
This is the prequel of My-Otome, which predates the events before the My-Otome Series. In this series, it focuses upon the origins of Lena Sayers, the mother of Arika Yumemiya and former bearer of Lofty Crimson Jade / Blue Sky Sapphire GEM, and Sifr Fran, the biological mother of Nina Wáng and the former queen of Windbloom Kingdom, as well as the origins of Schwartz, Aswad, and the Garderobe Academy and its Five Columns. The kidnapping of Sifr and the powerful revelation of Lena’s GEM will soon fatefully determine the outcome of the future for themselves and the others around them.
The following review, while is spoiler free as far as Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ is concerned, may contain spoilers for other Mai metaseries. Proceed at your own discretion!
Reviewing OVA can be tricky at times due to their highly condensed materials. Thus it only make sense that there will be slightly different evaluating criteria for them compared to the common anime.
Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ is the prequel to the popular Mai-Otome series produced by Sunrise. This OVA elaborates (in great depth) about the origin of many things which results in Mai-Otome including the origins of the Blue Sky Sapphire GEM, Schwartz, Aswad, the Garderobe Academy, and the hidden connection between Mai HiME and Mai-Otome. Therefore it should be no brainer that one should watch Mai-Otome before watching 0~S.ifr~.
The one department where this OVA really shines. Thanks to the mysteries left behind by its predecessor, 0~S.ifr~ had much to cover (and fans were expecting nothing less). While the 3 episodes combine to roughly 80 minutes in length, the amount of materials it covered was extremely impressive. Each event in the story was well executed and planned in advance (not some random event out of the blue). Of course, in order to fully understand the topics in the OVA, one is required to have backgrounds from Mai-Otome AND Mai HiME.
The animation quality is still the area which needs improvement on. As a product of 2008, the animation level is definitely not the best that Sunrise could have produced. There were not much differences (if any) between the animation quality from Mai HiME (2004) to 0.~S.ifr~.
All three endings were sang by Minami Kuribayashi (Erstin Ho in Mai-Otome). Minami also sang a large portion of Mai HiME and Mai-Otome’s theme songs, so any Mai series fan should have been accustom to her voice by now.
One interesting point viewer might notice when watching 0~S.ifr~ is style to the music sound entirely different from the previous Mai metaseries. That is because 0~s.ifr~’s music was not written by the popular musican Kajiura Yuki, instead the music this time is provided by the less well knownKuniaki Haishima.
Character voice (CV) should also be a point of interest in 0~S.ifr~ because of the great casts of talented seiyu.
1. Ami Koshimizu, CV of Sifr Blan, mother of Nina Wang. Ami Koshimizu has voice acted in numerous popular series, including Kallen in Code Geass, Horo in Spice and Wolf, Nina in Mai-Otome, etc.
2. Endo Aya, voicing as Lena Sayer, mother of Arika Yumemiya. Endo Aya has a very sweet voice voice acting as Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier, Matsu in Sekirei, Kinue Crossroad in Gundam 00, Miyuki Takara in Lucky Star, etc.
3. Ryoutarou Okiayu, voicing for Bruce Wallace (the fan voted “best” male protagonist in all Mai metaseries), father of Nina Wang. Ryoutarou Okiayu has been around for quite a long time, his more notable roles include Kuchiki Byakuya in Bleach, Scar in Fullmetal Alchemist, Treize Khushrenada in Gundam Wing, Andrew Waltfeld in Gundam SEED/Destiny, etc.
4. Souichirou Hoshi voicing as Shiro (Yumemiya?), the unconfirmed father of Arika Yumemiya. Souichirou Hoshi is famous for many roles, they include Kira Yamato in Gundam SEED/Destiny, Kazuma in Scryed, Gino in Code Geass R2, Brera in Macross Frontier (this role I could have never guessed), etc.
Simply put, Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ is full of brilliant seiyu!
Many “mysterious” characters in Mai-Otome have their puzzling backgrounds cleared up in 0~S.fir~ mainly Lena and Sifr, the two main female lead in the story. Unlike its two TV predecessors which have a surprisingly large cast of characters (thus lead to a difficult time for certain unique characterization to become apparent), 0~S.ifr~ has “all the time in the world” as it focuses on Lena and Sifr. For a 3 episodes OVA, director Hisayuki Hirokazu has done a great job developing the “stars” of the story and how their families are linked to the Mai HiME universe.
Enjoyment + Final Impression:
Lena is by far the most likable female lead in all the Mai series and what happened to her after 0~S.ifr~ and how her body was treated in Mai-Otome just made it very sad to watch this OVA. Nonetheless, this is an OVA that should be watch by anyone who enjoy Magic, Fantasy, Drama, and some Nudity 😛
Despite being only 3 episodes only, Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ has a satisfying story with a beginning that gradually develops as the plot thickens and ends with a conclusive note. The story is balanced with both deep and comedic moments, and is filled with action-packed scenes.
Like the other Mai-Otome series, the art is the same. There is little CG effects. Despite this, everything is still sharp and clear. The movements of characters (especially in battles) are quite smooth. CG effects are used in battle scenes, and are quite effective. From the glowing beam from a gigantic rifle to Lena Sayers’ duplication attack, the added effects bring up the level of excitement.
Background music could have been better. There were scenes that had pure silence in the background. The background music for other scenes didn’t really add any extra effects. I found the music for battle scenes to be dull. The ED song, however, went great with the credits and pictures.
Character development was pretty impressive, considering this was a three-episode OVA. Both Lena Sayers and Sifr Fran were quite different at the end when compared to what they were like in the beginning. Both learned and adapted throughout the story. The minor characters were a bit boring, but their roles helped with the story.
Overall, Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~ was a great OVA that greatly complemented the main series. I recommend watching this before the main series, since Lena Sayers… yeah.
But a show doesn’t need edge to be entertaining. If you know what to expect from an Otome OVA, then you should be able to extract some fun from this. The usual approach of having a bloated cast of cute and sexy (definitely leaning more toward the sexy type this time, which is a shame because I’d rather more girls like my beloved Arika!) girls and a story that juggles both action and some dramatic subplots is still applied. It’s just that, with only the space of 3 episodes to work with, and almost no appearances from established characters, the OVA struggles to make any of its array of characters feel worthwhile or in any way memorable. I mean, sure the character designs were as cute and unique as ever, and they were vital enough with their lines, but they just didn’t get enough material to really give them presence. No one was fleshed out or had enough screentime to leave a mark or have their idioms/personalities remembered. Because the plot had to move so fast, and because the episodes had such sparse release dates, it was more like seeing disjointed flashes of the characters and they all ultimately burr together into a mess of moe.
Sifr, the lead character, essentially felt like Arika from the Otome TV series without the clumsy moe-appeal. Rena Sayers was soft-spoken and unnaturally guilt-ridden about her powers, but I didn’t find her interesting at all. Most people would agree that her two points of interest rest firmly on her chest, one of which is delightfully exposed in the final episode (which gives it a lower nipple count that Zwei). The character I was most interested in had less than a handful of lines. Sakura has a really amazing character design and I was really intrigued by her mysterious role in the show. Her inclusion seems to be just a hook to lead into a following OVA series, if there will be one. I suppose it worked too, because I would watch another OVA just for her. The villainous force was pretty much laughable, although M9 was a lethal foe whenever she was thrust into battle.
And speaking of battles, there was a lot more action-based excitement than in previous series, especially in the final episode, where the banked animation budget was pillaged to deliver a fast and furious duel between the two opposing superpowers in the series: Rena Sayers and M9. The immense power of any androids in the ‘Mai’ franchise has always struck me as kind of bizarre, as though being made of metal and alloy entitles you to limitless abilities and power – why not just do away with Otome and build royal android bodyguards? But M9 provided the only test of Rena’s powers and the result was actually quite spectacular, even with the slight DBZ feel. Any battle that spans more than one atmosphere and involves more than one re-entry has gotta be good! The action quota in this series was certainly fulfilled, and the animation was there to back it up, even if there are some obvious shortcuts in places to save the cel count (like teleportation). As with the other series, the detail in the cel animation is quite low, but this enables the studio to keep things consistent and curtail potential moments of QUALITY. Perhaps the reason they seemed to have plenty to spend on the animation is due to their cutting off of Yuki Kajiura from the musical lineup. She has done the score music for every other entry in the franchise, so this is a pretty big change. Fortunately, I’m not a big Kajiura fan so I wasn’t altogether bothered by the switch to an unknown for the musical score. About half of the score music was strikingly familiar, which made me feel like the whole score was just lifted from other movie/tv scores and tweaked a bit. But nonetheless, the music did the job almost well enough and, at the very least, it wasn’t awful to the point of vexation.
So the production was like the rock of the series – the only thing that was solid and reliable. The plot, on the other hand, was more like a face-full of gravel – a painful mess. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a case of severe over-ambition. We have a group (or just one?) of writers who envisioned 26 episodes worth of plot and couldn’t bring themselves to simplify it when it came to the crunch and it had to be crammed into about 80 minutes of anime time. By the time it got to the end of the show, I had given up almost entirely. There was something about a weaver, which is dangerously powerful. Rena has a mysterious power, or it may have not been mysterious and I simply failed to pay attention well enough to miss the bullet-speed explanations. There was too much going on with all the characters, for any one of their subplots to have any satisfying conclusion (or even a middle or beginning), and the main plot lacked momentum in its confusion.
The result is a colourful series with cute characters, some pretty fun action scenes, and not much else. For interested fans, there are still sprinklings of references to Mai HiME, hinting at a connection between the universes, but it’s clear now that that won’t be taken anywhere. More importantly, the ‘Mai’ formula just feels tired now, without humour and dramatic impact. Hell, Sifr didn’t even have much fanservice (although Eri being stripped down to her cat-ears and panties in episode 2 was pretty good, and I suppose there was quite a lot if you count the incredibly cute maid outfits as fanservice). Thankfully, it did have the requisite amount of yuri undertones for a “Mai” series though, and the scene where Eri was trying to get a kiss out of Rena while the others gossiped behind a couch was one of my favourite scenes. I definitely preferred Zwei to this, because it already had that established cast and story to work with, and because the pacing was more relaxed.
17: Future GPX Cyber Formula Zero
MAL Score: 7.40
A freak accident during the 12th Cyber Formula World Grand Prix causes Hayato Kazami to miss the rest of the season, and critically injures both his body and his will to continue racing. Hayato’s longtime friend, Asuka Sugo, helps nurse him back to health, and in return he proposes to her and promises her that he would never race again. But as time goes on, Hayato begins to doubt whether he really wants to retire, and decides to make a comeback after all. And with the 13th Cyber Formula World Grand Prix now underway, he must struggle to regain his racing form; regain the trust of Asuka, whose promise he broke; and thwart the malicious intents of Henri Clayton. All the while, the reason behind Hayato’s accident begins to unveil itself: the “Zero Zone.”
16: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Final Plus: The Chosen Future
English: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Final Plus: The Chosen Future
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダムSEED DESTINY FINAL PLUS 『選ばれた未来』
MAL Score: 7.41
In year 74 of the Cosmic Era, the civil war raging between the earthbound Naturals and space-dwelling Coordinators comes to a close. Suffering a major setback, Kira Yamato pilots the Strike Freedom Gundam and leads the Archangel and its crew in a desperate bid to destroy the Requiem, a super-weapon intended to wipe out most human life in the universe.
Alongside Kira fights his best friend and rival Athrun Zala, an ace pilot who must defend himself against the wrath of his former subordinate Shinn Asuka, pilot of the powerful Destiny Gundam. Shinn believes Athrun to be a traitor, an obstacle in the course of the universe’s peaceful future.
As life-or-death mobile suit brawls are waged for the fate of the galaxy, a sprawling war between humans who are incapable of understanding one another draws to its conclusion.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Final Plus: The Chosen Future. The title’s such a mouthful, you’d think it would have equal amounts of substance to it.
…But there’s almost none. Maybe it’s my fault for jumping in without knowing this is mostly a re-do/recap of SEED Destiny’s final episode, but at first I thought I was watching the wrong video. Slowly, but surely, I began to notice the insignificantly infrequent extra scenes and realized that this was the OVA I’d eagerly awaited (for about 5 minutes) to see.
Basically, I wasted a valuable hour of my time. I already knew what would happen from watching the final episode of the actual series, so Final Plus was no longer enjoyable. In fact, it was quite the grueling experience. Watching a re-do held absolutely no suspense, no excitement, and no emotion at all. The so-called "newly added scenes" were parts I could’ve lived without seeing. The only section remotely worth seeing is the final 8 or so minutes which were completely new scenes never seen in the final episode. But seriously, I could’ve spent my 50 minutes doing something else…
So please. Do yourself a favor. Instead of watching this OVA, do something productive. Watch something else. Perhaps the Hellsing Ultimate OVA… just don’t watch this. Heck, you can even go out and play sports or something… just DON’T DO IT!!!
MAL Score: 7.43
In the year 2041, mankind created their first space colony on the moon. But after a freak cataclysm devastated human civilisation on Earth, the republic of the moon built a domed megalopolis known as Eden. Now in the year 2267, a boy called Takeru spends his time engaging in hover-craft races against rival street gangs, unaware that he is about to embark in the journey of unearthing Eden’s origin.
Disappointment came in when I learned that Otomo was only designing the characters and the technological look of the series rather than writing the stories. However, after watching this OVA series with 7 episodes, I can now say I was impressed, although it could have been so much better plot-wise.
Freedom is set in 2267 in the moon colony Eden, after the Earth has been left uninhabitable due to an ecological disaster.
The world of the series really is impressive. There are no giant mechas or spaceships travelling at the speed of light. Instead of relying on useless fantasies, Freedom goes beyond your average anime series and presents us with a more realistic world, where people work and live in. And besides, you never see anything happening on the moon so that is definitely a plus.
The biggest fault in Freedom lies, without a doubt, in the plot.
Screaming Akira, this series follows a group of teenagers, led by Takeru, who spend their time racing and working on their “vehicle”, a three-wheeled motorcycle. Whenever they get in trouble, they are assigned to community service, or “volunteer work”, as the CAC calls it, which basically consists of walking along a tube on the lunar surface to check for leaks. It is during this tedious duty that Takeru witnesses a satellite smash into the Moon’s surface nearby and within discovers a photograph of a woman standing over a group of children on what looks like Earth. We will basically follow Takeru in his search for this woman.
It takes two episodes (out of only 7) for the story to take that important twist that moves things forward and, even after that, things seem to progress rather slowly. There is, in fact, too much talk and not enough plot.
Another negative aspect is that there was too much Cup Noodle product placement. Although Freedom was originally made as an advertising campaign, it doesn’t look good. If this was a TV-series, it would be alright, but not as an OVA.
The artwork and animation are two of the strongest points of Freedom.
The artwork is like an evolved form of Akira, since the style is basically the same.
Animation is amazing, but it might require getting used to. Freedom is one of the very few anime (that I know of) to be made totally in 3D cell-shaded CG. Most people will probably need to get used to the style, but once you can look beyond this, you’ll be rewarded by a great series.
The quality of art and motions is really well done. Their awkward motions are vividly portrayed. The racing scenes look like an upgraded version of the bike-chasing scenes in Akira, and they are also excellent.
The opening is fantastic. I specially like how they associate things, like the vehicle with a kid’s tricycle. And the race sequence is like a manga brought to life and evolves as important events take place along the series. Truly amazing.
If you’ve seen Ergo Proxy, you’ll probably detect resemblances in the soundtrack. Yes, the author is the same (Ike Yoshihiro) and the music style is also similar. I shouldn’t need to say anything else. The soundtrack is spectacular.
The opening was one of the best ones I’ve seen. The song matches perfectly with the animated sequences. The singer’s name also speaks for itself (Utada Hikaru). As for the ending, despite being just instrumental, it strengthens the powerful climaxes on the first three episodes.
As for the voice cast, it’s not outstanding, but gets the job done (except maybe Sanae Kobayashi, who had a rather mediocre performance as Ao).
The characters are the biggest strength of this series, although they’re just a group of hot-headed teenagers. Freedom is what a shounen anime should be. Shounen animes often forget that every teenage boy is an idiot. Freedom portrays that in a pretty realistic way, as their personality is consistent throughout, as opposed to the regular shounen with random idiotic “filler” scenes that are used not as part of the character, but simply as comedic relief. This is much better than your regular lead who just wants to become the best in the world, which just leads them to brainless directions without any real goal in mind… not really that interesting for me.
Flaws in the character department mostly appear in the last episode because the creators decided to be too epic for their own good, and some characters become a bit unrealistic for the sake of a more “epic” ending.
The enjoyment department is incredibly subjective but, personally, Freedom has its moments. Those moments are usually action scenes and the climaxes of the episode, which are, without a doubt, breath taking. Past those parts, most of it is average.
Overall, Freedom is a very good sci-fi anime with great characters, a nice OST and a powerful animation and it’s definitely a must watch for fans of the genre.
14: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Operation Meteor
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Operation Meteor
Japanese: 新機動戦記ガンダムＷ オペレーション メテオ ODD＆EVEN NUMBERS
MAL Score: 7.43
Two video releases recapping events from the Gundam Wing TV series. Each Operation Meteor video contains an ‘Odd’ episode and an ‘Even’ episode. The ‘Odd’ episodes feature Heero, Trowa and Wufei, while the ‘Even’ episodes feature Duo and Quatre. The episodes also featured brief new footages of the characters after the final episode of the TV series.
13: Future GPX Cyber Formula Sin
MAL Score: 7.45
After Aoi Zip Formula was banned for one year from Cyber Formula racing due to cheating, Jotaro Kaga, alias Bleed Kaga, returns for the 17th Cyber Formula World Grand Prix. However his old car is no match for the returning champion Hayato Kazami, whose skill has improved tremendously, and his Nu-Asurada AKF-0. An old face, Kyoshiro Nagumo, appears suddenly to him and offers him the Ogre AN-21: a prototype to the Bio-Computer operated Al-Zard series created by the developers of the Asurada, and an ultimate racing machine that only a few can drive. Kaga must now master this car, confront his own inner demons and, most importantly, defeat his longtime rival Hayato in what is possibly Kaga’s last and greatest Cyber Formula season.
12: Ranma : Akumu! Shunmin Kou
Japanese: らんま1/2 悪夢! 春眠香
MAL Score: 7.52
Twelve years after the final OVA was shown, and the end of the manga, a new piece of Ranma ? animation was made for the “It’s a Rumic World” exhibition of Rumiko Takahashi’s artwork. The new 30 minute special is based on the “Nightmare! Incense of Spring Sleep” manga story from volume 34, and was shown on odd numbered days at the “It’s A Rumic World” exhibition in Tokyo from July 30th to August 11th.
Ten years has to pass for me to finally decide to watch the Ranma ½ OVA, one of the emblematic animes from my childhood (not at the level of Dragon Ball or Saint Seiya, but not that far). And people, I was very, very pleased with what i saw, being equal or better than the original series. Of course, that was because those episodes adapt chapters of the manga, so there was no chance of failure. But one of the best things about watching those old OVA was that, while I was searching for them, I found that, almost three years ago, a new one was created! What can be expected from this new production? Let’s see…
…but not just yet :P. You see, before the start of the proper OVA, there’s a short film in which Inuyasha, Kagome (Inuyasha), Lum, Ataru (Urusei Yatsura) and Ranma meet each other in Tokyo. I’m not going to talk about the plot (for two reasons: first, being a 3 min short, you can’t say much without spoiling, and second, it has its own entry in MAL: it’s called Rumic World), but is both hilarious and awesome. You should totally check it out.
Now, for the proper review:
Ranma ½: Nightmare! Incense of Spring Sleep shows us, once again, how Ranma frustrate one of Happosai lingerie theft (using the classical but always effective technique of: becoming women -> topless -> win!). With revenge in mind, Happosai uses the incense that names this OVA, which is able to sleep the victim until next spring. Ranma dodge the attack of the old man, but unfortunately, is Akane who receives the impact, falling, almost immediately, in a dream… not so deep. The thing is that, although the incense put the person sleep, that person is also in constant alert, so if anybody approaches too much, is brutally beated up. So, Ranma and the rest of his weird companions will have to figure out how to awaken Akane without dying in the attempt.
So, we have a simple yet very effective story, in the lines of what we already saw in Ranma ½. That’s simply cause this is not an original story, but an adaptation of a story from volume 31. Recurring to the original source is always a plus.
The characters are the usual ones, that lovely group of amoral sociopaths that will do anything to achieve their respective objective. All the important characters appear (something very important after all these years, since all the fans want to see the cast in all their glory), from titulars Ranma and Akane, to the rest of the Tendo, Genma, Ryoga (obviously got lost at least once), Kuno, Shampoo (who run over Ranma in her bike, like always), Ukyo (with a boy’s school uniform! :D), Mousse, Cologne and Happosai. Special mention for Gosunkugi (that weirdo with the voodoo dolls) and Hinako (character who appears from time to time in the manga, but in the anime was obviated, and only appears as a teacher in the first released OVA), two (very) side characters that managed to get some screentime.
As for the animation… While everything looks more modern and colorful, I have to say that the characters look weird. Nah, not weird. They look bad. Seriously. Just look at the picture in this OVA page, there you can see that the characters look odd… and in motion is even worse. At first, I thought that the nostalgia was clouding my judgment, that I can’t accept something different… but I didn’t have any problems with the new versions of Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya or Hunter x Hunter… so, no nostalgia nonsense.
With the sound is another story. It’s remarkable that after almost 12 years, they brought back all the original seiyus. And when i say all, is all. Even Kodachi, wich has only two lines, has her original voice! I grew up with the latin dub (which was very good), but the work of the japanese voices is superb, specially Ranma (both male and female), Akane and Shampoo. It’s a shame that there isn’t an opening or ending…in the previous OVA, both op and ed were sung by Ranma, Akane, Nabiki, Kasumi and Shampoo, and they sounded awesome.
So, even if it looks weird (but maybe is just me being an ass… but I really don’t think so), this is Ranma ½ at its best. Delirium, humor, fights, and even Hiroshi and Daisuke, everything is there. Highly recommended for Ranma fans… and for the ones who only watched the TV series, go and watch the previous OVA! Every single one is hilarious and awesome.
Después de más de 10 años, hace unos días me largue a ver las OVAS de Ranma ½, una de las series emblemáticas de mi infancia (no al nivel de Dragon Ball o Saint Seiya, pero por ahí anda). Y qué bueno que lo hice: quede muy, muy satisfecho con lo que vi, siendo igual o mejor que la serie original. Lógico: esos capítulos adaptaban directamente partes del manga, así que no había chances de fallar. Pero lo mejor, fue que al decidirme a ver las OVAS clásicas, descubrí que hace unos tres años, habían sacado una nueva! Que se puede esperar de esta nueva producción? Veamos…
…O mejor todavía no :P. Antes de empezar con la review propiamente dicha, quería destacar el corto que hay antes del capítulo, en el que vemos a Inuyasha, Kagome (ambos de Inuyasha), Lum, Ataru (de Urusei Yatsura) y a Ranma encontrándose en Tokyo. La trama es, básicamente, Ataru acosando a Ranma y Kagome, con las consecuentes reacciones adversas de Inu y Lum. Todo el corto es muy cómico, pero quería destacar el encuentro de Ranma e Inuyasha, en el que el primero le pregunta al segundo en que fosa de Jusenkyo callo, a lo que Inuyasha responde que su voz le suena demasiado familiar xD. Pero bueno, vamos al OVA propiamente dicho:
Ranma ½: Nightmare! Incense of Spring Sleep nos muestra a Ranma frustrando, una vez más, uno de los robos de lencería de Happosai (recurriendo a la clásica pero siempre efectiva técnica de: transformarse en mujer -> topless-> win!). A modo de represalia, Happosai usa el incienso que da nombre a este OVA, que es capaz de hacer dormir a la víctima hasta la próxima primavera. Ranma esquiva el ataque del viejo, pero por desgracia, es Akane termina recibiendo el impacto, cayendo, efectiva y casi inmediatamente, en un sueño… no tan profundo. La cosa es que este incienso hace que, aunque la persona está dormida, este en alerta constante, y cualquier persona que se acerque recibirá una paliza. Así que, Ranma y el resto de sus variopintos compañeros tendrán que dilucidar como despertar a Akane sin morir en el intento.
Entonces, tenemos una historia simple y cómica, bien en las líneas de Ranma ½. Esto es, más que nada, porque esta no es una historia original, si no que adaptada una historia del manga (si podemos creerle a esta pag, es del tomo 31). Eso siempre es un plus.
Los personajes son los mismos de siempre, ese adorable grupo de pintorescos sociópatas amorales que harán lo que sea para conquistar a su respectivo objetivo. Todos los personajes aparecen en algún momento (algo muy importante después de tantos años, uno quiere ver a todo el cast en toda su gloria), desde los titulares Ranma y Akane, a el resto de los Tendo, Ryoga (que obviamente se pierde al menos una vez), Kuno, Shampoo (atropellando a Ranma con su bici, algo infaltable en sus apariciones), Ukyo (con uniforme escolar de hombre :D), Mousse, Cologne y Happosai. Mención especial para Gosunkugi (el tipo raro de las muñecas vudú) y Hinako (personaje que aparece de vez en cuando en el manga, pero que en el anime fue obviada, y solo aparece como profesora en los OVAS), dos personajes (muy) secundarios que se las ingeniaron para hacerse lugar.
En cuanto a la animación… si bien todo se ve más moderno y colorido, tengo que decir que los personajes se ven mal. Muy mal. En serio. Solo miren la imagen que está en la main page, ya ahí salta que los personajes se ven raro… y cuando están en movimiento es todavía peor. Al principio creí que la nostalgia era lo que me impedía aceptar algo distinto, que la serie de los 90 me nublaba el juicio… pero no tuve problemas con versiones nuevas de Saint Seiya, Dragon Ball o Hunter x Hunter, así que… porque tendría que ser el caso con Ranma?
Con el sonido es otra historia. Es muy destacable que, después de casi 12 años, trajeran de vuelta a todos los seiyus. Y cuando digo a todos, es todos. Hasta Kodachi, que solo tiene dos diálogos, tiene a su voz original! Yo me críe con el doblaje latino (que es muy bueno), pero el trabajo de los seiyus originales es soberbio, especialmente Ranma (tanto femenino como masculino), Akane y Shampoo. Una lástima que no hubiera opening o ending para que lo canten, como en los Ovas anteriores (en los que también se sumaban Nabiki y Kasumi).
Así que, aunque se vea raro, esto es Ranma ½ en estado puro. El delirio, el humor, las peleas, todo está ahí. Ampliamente recomendado para los fans de Ranma a los que se les haya pasado esta OVA, y a los que solo vieron la serie… vallan a ver también las OVAS anteriores!
11: Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor: New OVA
English: Mobile Police Patlabor: The New Files
Japanese: 機動警察パトレイバー NEW OVA
MAL Score: 7.56
Special Vehicles Division 2 is back on duty, along with their Ingram Patrol Labor (Patlabor) robots. Using their courage as well as the Ingrams, Captain Goto’s motley crew of officers battle crime in Tokyo city. They also deal with their personal lives, as well as the supernatural.
As with previous Patlabor works, the strength of this OVA is mainly in how the characters are so enjoyable, the bizarre and often surreal direction of Mamoru Oshii, and the wonderful OST by Kenji Kawai. If you have seen and enjoyed anything Patlabor related, it is likely you will enjoy this. However, it should be noted that this OVA is particularly ridiculous even for Patlabor standards. Aside from the first half that deals with more Schaft attacks, this is mostly pure comedy and weirdness. The series has never really sold itself on loads of mecha action, but for better or for worse, there is almost none here. The OVA is still rather enjoyable regardless though, and makes for a solid view after completing the TV series.
Oshii’s very deliberate and slow direction is in full effect. The comedy is reminiscent of his 1989 comedy OVA Gosenzosama Banbanzai, but perhaps not quite that level of full blown surrealism and absurdity. As previously mentioned, much of the enjoyment can come from how well developed the cast is. So it isn’t a very good idea to watch this unless you are already rather familiar with Patlabor through the previous works. That isn’t to say you can’t enjoy this if you are not, but you will get more out of it if you already know the characters and have become attached to them. Much of the humor is derived from the awkward situations they are placed in and must deal with, and that will be lost if the viewer is not familiar with their personalities and the tone of the series. I would go as far to say that this was pretty much made to be a direct extension of the TV series, and it does in fact deal with specific events from it that will require prior knowledge to understand.
Production values aren’t as high as they are with Early Days and the movies, but they are right up to par with the TV series. Kawai’s music is as awesome and fitting as ever. I love how much he utilizes bass and that shines through here left and right. It’s not his best work ever, but it’s still great. The artwork isn’t as impressive as it is in Early Days and the movies, but it’s right up there with the TV series. So, sadly there doesn’t seem to have been a budget increase despite it being an OVA, but it still looks great for the most part. The mechs always look incredible, but you don’t see them much here.
Overall, definitely worth a watch if you are into Patlabor. Not the strongest entry of the series, but it delivers, especially if you are into weird Oshii works. The bulk of the episodes rely on off the wall humor and out there stuff, so if that sounds like your cup of tea you should enjoy it. Once the Schaft episodes are over it is pretty much a free for all of bizarre occurrences the Division 2 team members are forced to deal with, most of them ranging from fantastical to eerie or impossible. I would have liked to see something more in line with the movies and with more Labor action, but I can’t say I was really displeased either, and I would watch it again. It gets bonus points for the Red Spectacles reference.
This second OAV series is an extension of the 47 episodes TV series, and should be watched after it. In the TV series, a lot more focus were put into the mecha, there were (a few) more action scenes ; more plotline about the development of new models of Labors, and about the SV2’s missions with their Labors. All these plot elements were concluded in the last episode, without anything spectacular but still satisfying. Of course if you expect Patlabor to be a heavy political/action show, you will be disappointed. From the begining, the Patalabor animated series was about policemen being blocked in the godforesaken hole of Tokyo, wainting for some mission that ended up to be “arresting drunk guy that seized a Labor to do something stupid”. The TV series already exploited that to the end, so here you’ll get Patlabor mostly without mechas. The more this OVA series progresses, the less there is mecha action. The writers just wrapped up quickly the action arc known as “Griffon arc”, still leaving some unresolved elements (a way to say that, even after the end of the series, the SV2 will continue their job and there will still have criminals to arrest) to go for the core of Patlabor : the bunch of various young misfits that compose the Special Vehicules Unit 2. It will go from completely comedic episodes (I found them hilarious), then, when you expect it the least, BANG! A serious episode about some members of the squad that gets awesomely intimist. Yeah, because Patlabor gets very intimistic when it wants, getting really into the character’s life and all. But even in simple comedic episodes, there is still a way to show the character’s personnallity, they always stays appealing despite their flaws. Those guys are average guys, which is rare in japanesse animation! They don’t suddenly have specific abilities, what they can do comes from past experiences. If one is good with computer, it’s because he was in informatics beforehand, for example, and never any of their character traits feels exagerated or forced, even when it is used for comedy. This is what makes them seem more humain.
This was the writers last show before the end, so they ensured to have fun, but they never forgot to let their characters shine. Some of them doesn’t feel like they were exploited enough and that’s a shame, but they still had at least one moment during the whole series, whether it would be during the TV part or this part. It has it’s flaws of course, but I can’t put the finger on it, beside the fact that I felt a lot more could have being done. But at one point, it has to end. After that, the Patabor franchise would “end” on Patlabor 2, which didn’t gave enough time to show a glipse of the charactes some years laters… Well, in an another continuity (the third movie being a spin-off, and even taking place before the second movie, can’t count as an “end”). This extension of the TV series is a goodbye, to those idiots working more efficiently than they seem, sometimes immature, sometimes desctructive, but full of wisdom and courage. Personnally, I’ll miss them.
The first four episodes serve as a conclusion to the TV series in a final bout with the black labor. This reason alone, if having seen the TV series, will be enough to justify watching New Files. However, the rest of the OVA series is random episodes in true Patlabor fashion as it follows the division 2 team on various adventures, work related or not. That is what makes up Patlabor The New Files.
Director Oshi (previous Patlabor) creates a slow paced environment and well developed characters to invent any situation imaginable ranging from getting lost in the sewer system, fighting in a bath house, or even to getting hammered (drunk) on vacation.
When it came to the animation, nothing is new here. Unlike the TV series and the original OVA, New Files does not do anything to impress. It is still good, but the music is lacking along with almost zero action. This really is just another OVA series to give the viewer more of the team and their hijinks they get into. After those four initial episodes, the series falls flat in wanting more Patlabor action.
Patlabor New Files is a fun watch if having already watched the previous iterations, and just want more. Otherwise, this is the weakest of the anime series, but still remains pretty enjoyable at the same time.
10: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Special Edition
English: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Special Edition
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム00 スペシャルエディション
MAL Score: 7.58
Condensed version of both the first and second seasons of Gundam 00 featuring some new animated sequences and some partially re-recorded dialogue.
Skip the first movie, watch the second movie onwards instead.
This review is only for the first of the three part movie. The other two movies were ok but this first movie was a total waste of time.
Whoever that made this movie just took a bunch of scenes from the original series and combine it into one movie. Everything feels very random and there is no continuity, anyone whom has not seen the original series will not know what is going on.
Don’t get me wrong, the original series was one of the best in the Gundam franchise, however this movie seems to be a cash grab to milk the fans. Forget about the new animated sequences because it really is not noticeable among all the quick scene changes. There are other Gundam movies that combine the series into movie format that is done really well (see the original Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy) which first time viewers who have not seen the original series, will still be able to enjoy. Whoever who has not seen the original series will be at a total lost and because of this mistake of a first movie, may not continue in watching the second and third movie which will be a waste as those two are much better.
9: Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch Special Edition – Black Rebellion
Japanese: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ SPECIAL EDITION BLACK REBELLION
MAL Score: 7.61
An OVA summarizing all 25 episodes of season 1 from Lelouch’s viewpoint.
8: Seikai no Senki III
Japanese: 星界の戦旗 III
MAL Score: 7.69
Jinto and Lafiel were riding on a light-armed transport ship “Bokbrusue” and navigating at the planar space of the Hyde System. This was for Jinto to govern the Hyde System, which returned to Empirial rule after the Union retreated, officially as an Earl. However, the government of Martin, Jinto`s motherland, resisted obstinately against the Empirial rule. On the other side, “Daiichi Jyuurin Sentai” (the First Devastation Fleet), formed with the new ship type “Attack Vessel”, travelled to the Hyde System for drilling practices, but…
I cannot reveal too much more about the series without giving spoilers but the character development in this 2 episode OVA is outstanding. Every character has grown up and changed, even Diaho the cat. The plot is tight and the pacing is just right.
The ending is outstanding. Many loose ends are tied up but there is always room for further sequels in this universe. This is how a good franchise should end, if it is indeed the end. With people wanting more, but not really needing more because it is a "satisfying" ending.
If future ones are as good as Banner of the Stars III then I hope they make a 4th, 5th and 6th series.
Let me get two things out of the way, so you can walk away if you feel offended:
1) I believe the Abh are the real villains of the show, and there’s actually a genuine reason the people hate them so much: these people are blindly self-justified aggressors at heart.
2) Worse still – the show is actually aware of this, and deliberately distorts the picture to make Abh-haters come off as terrible or pathetic human beings. In this regard, this show is shameful on a level that no other anime I know could possibly match.
Given the above points, there’s actually a good reason I decided to pursue the sequels after witnessing the moral horror that was Crest of the Stars. The thing is, I happened to catch a glimpse of the end-credits of this show, and they seemed to paint an entirely different kind of picture – it seemed to end on a tragic and poignant note that finally seemed to acknowledge that the Abh and their ways weren’t so noble or beneficial after all, and that people were suffering because of it. This one admission would have given the show’s developments an entirely different meaning, and redeemed the entire franchise completely. That was what made this show seem so promising. This is also the reason I even bothered with Banner I, because it seemed to build up to this deconstructive conclusion (however, I skipped Banner II as just reading the synopsis made me want to throw up). Long story short, it proved to be an extremely misleading picture, yet again.
A brief introduction – the show starts in the aftermath of yet another battle between the Abh Empire and United Mankind (the humans aligned against Abh expansionism). Our protagonist Lin Jinto seems to have suffered some injuries from the war and wants to take a break from the fighting. Our other lead, Lafiel the Abh (also Jinto’s girlfriend by this time), decides to join him. Jinto is an ordinary human appointed as head of his conquered homeworld by the Abh overlords due to hereditary circumstances, and Lafiel is a member of the Abh royalty, one of many individuals directly in line for succession of the throne. Jinto’s homeworld Martine is vying for independence from Abh rule, and at the heart of this movement is Teal Clint, incidentally a close confidante of Jinto’s now-deceased family. This is the backdrop in which this roughly hour-long OVA begins.
For much of this brief show, Jinto revisits old places and old acquaintances. Everywhere he goes, his well-wishers try to stuff some sense into him, to no avail. Jinto is convinced that what he is doing is for the best. The show also reveals the final clincher about the Abh that should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about just how sinister the whole setup had been all along. And in the face of all this, the show puts up a loving, smiling face – as though it just treated you to the most wonderful developments ever.
Now, I’ve reviewed the first two installments without having to drop any spoilers, but here it’s simply impossible to criticise the show without getting into plot specifics, because not only is it here that it indulges in its worst ever dishonesty, but it’s actually far worse than the previous installments, and stoops to a level so low that it needs to be explicitly pointed out to be appreciated. With that in mind:
First he meets his old childhood friend Que Durin (the sole friend who saw him off to Abh country in the first series, if you recall), offering him a post where he can assist Jinto with various administrative matters. When they meet at his place to sort out the details, Durin confesses his reason to distrust the Abh in what is a stakes-changing shocker of a revelation – to eliminate the possiblity of revolt or in-fighting, the Abh are genetically hard-wired never to be able to turn on their superiors, and despite any possible grudges or resentment find it practically impossible to disobey orders (the phrase “I was only following orders!” gets taken to a whole new level of creepy…). Jinto himself reveals the final piece of this puzzle – which is that by mandate of Imperial Law, any ethnic Terran (i.e. ordinary human) members of the Abh nobility are only allowed to conceive genetically-modified children who would be physically full-fledged Abh – blue hair, body implants and all. The picture that emerges is a system where everyone born into nobility (and therefore important positions of power) are blue-chipped humanoids who have more in common with a random Abh than with their own parent, and effectively no free will….this is even worse than I could have ever imagined. I’m simply at a loss for words here. And it’s no coincidence that this vital piece of information was withheld until the very end of this franchise. But the even more horrifying part is that the show makes his apprehensions out to be ultimately unfounded, and that it’s precisely these qualities that actually make the Abh GREAT. Give that a minute to sink in.
In the middle of all this, there is an even more crucial development. Jinto’s home planet Martine has been vying for independence from Abh rule (and the show has the bloody audacity to refer to the Independence party as the “Feudal government”). The Abh retailate by destroying their planetary defenses under the pretext of a drill-exercise goof-up due to miscommunications. And then – here’s the singular worst part – the blame is shifted on the Independence party for forcing the Abh’s hand, and they are accused of “coercing the dissenters into submission” by activating the defense system and thereby forcing everyone to get on board with the independence movement because there’s “no turning back now”. “No civilised person with a decent undertsanding of the galaxy would do this – these are the ignorant actions of an isolated Lander” is how an Abh conveniently puts it. The show tries to suggest that only ignorant and misguided individuals would want to try and seek independence from a forcefully-occupying power that they never wanted any part of in the first place. It also implicitly suggests the most singularly bald-faced lie ever, which is that the majority of the population would NOT want independence from such an invading/occupying force, because of which one would have to resort to such underhanded measures to get the population on board…I can no longer help myself here, I just need to vent out that this is singularly the most shameful, two-faced and obscene notion that this show has so far hurled at me.
Anyways, things being what they are, Jinto decides to do damage control and visit Teal Clint – who is the acting Prime Minister at the helm of the independence movement. A decent man, an honourable man, someone with spine to stand up to the Abh. Someone who saved Jinto’s hyde (sorry about the pun) when his very life was at risk. Jinto ought to be grateful to this guy. And also to his wife Lena who doted on him as a child and went just as much out of her way to make sure he was safe. Instead, he has chosen to side himself against the very people who saved his life (whereas the show makes it out that it’s the Abh whom he owes his loyalties to). But the two don’t care about any of that right now, they just want to see their boy again – such is the love they have for him. The most heart-wrenching part for me was when Jinto replies that he has responsibilities now, to which Lena tearfully retorts, “Responsibilities as an Abh? As an Invader?” She speaks for all decent individuals with that line. Anyhow, Jinto agrees to visit, and they are tearfully overjoyed to see him alive and well – and desperate, Clint suggests what I personally had been practically yelling all along (in my review of Banner of the Stars I, if you recall) – give up the Abh title and return home clean by seeking political asylum. The Martinian people would have understood – the title was forced upon him when he was too young to consent, and he was personally not guilty of any wrongdoing at the time.
But it is here that the show gives its singularly most insincere pretext in the entire series so far for Jinto to side with the Abh hegemony, and moreover for Clint to give up on independence – if Jinto steps down, any other person appointed in his place will “not be so generous”, and so a war might break out, putting Martine’s very existence at stake. I might even have agreed with that stand (on a strictly short-term and tactical basis, mind you) if Jinto was portrayed as being CRITICAL of the Abh at heart but just playing along so that his homeland can have a future, but it’s abundantly clear that he has been completely bought into the Abh way, and is very much in line with their program (there is a telling scene right before that meeting where Lafiel tells him, “This is Your battleground”…). This is where I think that the rationale is deeply insincere and two-faced – it seeks to present Jinto as a neutral and unbiased player in the game when in fact he is anything but, and thus give more credibility to that line of argument. And in any case, just by taking such a stand, Jinto has all but explicitly incriminated the Abh to be coercive thugs ruling with a velvet glove covering an iron fist. But does the show even acknowledge this? Nope. It diverts your attention to how Jinto feels sad at no longer being allowed to return to the forests and the beautiful landscapes of his homeworld, but it pales in comparison to the peerless, radiant beauty…of Lafiel. “Life’s too short to live in depression and regret”, the show croons. How sweet, how romantic….someone please kill me right now, I can’t take any more of this. And as if in answer to my prayers, the show ends, right there.
Ultimately, the show actually voices legitimate criticisms of its own premise through these two associates of Jinto, but then covers over them with the most shamefully insincere rationalisations. The blame is shifted on those who refuse to go along with the Abh hegemony, as always. Even at best, the scenario is portrayed as an unfortunate or unavoidable outcome of unfavourable circumstances when in fact the Abh are completely to blame for what has happened. And all of this is glossed over very expediently, and the focus very quickly shifts to some other issue before you realize anything is amiss – and in this department, Banner III operates far more slickly than its predecessors. Come to think of it, the only reason for this made-on-the-quick OVA to exist seems to have been to coyly deflect the most threatening of legitimate criticisms that can be levelled against the show’s basic premise.
So…back to Earth – Banner of the Stars III does end on a tragic note, all right. It is the tragic end to all human freedom, not just Jinto’s privilege to visit the planet that he unilaterally lords over. But who cares, because he is ensconced in the sweet and caring arms of the most beautiful, wonderful Abh princess, for the rest of his boot-kissing life. And the Abh will take over all planets (because that is their “destiny”, and one they themselves daren’t question) and thus finally bring about lasting peace to all of mankind. The End. Seriously, am I the only one here who needs to throw up?
Anyhow, it’s getting late now – here’s my final verdict on the entire Stars franchise: the Stars aka Seikai series isn’t Love in the Time of Cholera – it might as well be called Love Cholera. Fans of good Space Opera ought to look elsewhere – the appearance of intriguing political complexity was an elaborate facade to intellectually overwhelm more casual viewers into passively accepting something they would otherwise have puked at. Fans of good romance ought to look elsewhere – all the coy romance between the two leads takes place whenever the show needs to blindside you to the utter and complete hypocrisy of their interactions with the outside world.
Heck, fans of good Sci-fi should look elsewhere, because what actually seemed like a genuinely intriguing and promising sci-fi concept about (seemingly) progressive-minded genetically-modified space-faring humans, turned out to be so creepily monstrous and subversive that it makes even the most depraved eugenic ideologies of the past seem tame by comparison. If you look at it closely, its premise is actually closer to those presented in classic dystopic literature – except here it’s presented as something wonderful rather than horrible. Its status as something of a “classic” among old-school anime circles is, IMO, an unfortunate case of people being taken in by its serenely operatic atmosphere and its fairly engaging and believable character dynamics, and failing to see that it’s all in the service of some especially sick and reprehensible ideas. The people who made this show ought to hang their heads in shame. Seriously.
Crest/Banner of the Stars was a classic space opera series for it’s time, and it’s easy to see why. The world building is well above average, the OST is good for it’s time, and the cast of characters are colorfully interesting.
The focus is mostly on the Abh. They’re a peculiar race with a lot of positive and negative quirks. By and large, they make for interesting characters. Despite being intelligent, attractive, and long-lived, all of them have noteworthy character flaws, whether it be brashness, pride, narcissim, or arrogance. It’s great having a cast of characters who are flawed, yet still unique and different from what you typically get.
The best characters however are the two leads, Jinto and Lafiel. Jinto offers perspective from someone who is with a human background (and now affiliated with the Abh empire). Lafiel grants a typical Abh perspective. That said, the two are at their best when they are together. The chemistry between the two is fantastic, as is their small, natural romantic progression. Every moment they are together is enjoyable.
Of course, this OVA is also lacking in some categories.
While the Abh are interesting enough as characters and we have two great leads, the series could benefit a lot if it gave us additional perspective from the Human Alliance. I like rooting for the Abh because of how unique and interesting they are, but the story would be more intriguing if we got to know the important Alliance characters more. Additional perspective would make the story more interesting and suspenseful.
The pacing and plot isn’t as good as it was in previous seasons. It rushes through an entire novel in about 70 minutes, a stark contrast to the last seasons 200+ minutes for one novel. As a result, the OVA isn’t paced or organized the best, and rushes through some scenes that needed time to breathe. There is almost no action to speak of either, which is hard to believe for a series that has some in every other season (in some respects this may be a positive though, since earlier seasons are brought down by poorly executed action sequences).
The animation and OST were solid for their time. This is an original, classic space opera story filled with interesting characters. Only a few mild complaints in pacing, structure, and the lack of characterization of the Alliance characters hold back this OVA.
If you are a fan of Sci-Fi, classic space operas, and a colorful cast of characters, I can heartily recommend the series, starting with the first season (Crest of the Stars). As for me, I’m ready to dive into the novels.
7: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Japanese: 新機動戦記ガンダムW エンドレス ワルツ
MAL Score: 7.75
In the year After Colony 196, one year after the conclusion of the intergalactic civil war, a state of stasis prevails over the Earth and its colonies. Seeing no further use for their Gundam mobile suits, war heroes Duo Maxwell, Heero Yuy, Trowa Barton, and Quatre Raberba Winner decide to destroy these weapons by launching them into the sun’s surface.
Before the Gundam reach their destination, the universal peace is shattered by the emergence of Mariemaia Khushrenada—the only child of the former tyrannical aristocrat Treize. Mariemaia abducts diplomat Relena Peacecraft and announces plans to launch “Operation Meteor,” with the intention of posthumously fulfilling Treize’s world domination plot.
With the help of former enemy Zechs Marquise and his mobile suit Tallgeese, the heroic pilots must reacquire their mobile suits to wage one final battle against the Khushrenada dynasty, including fighting against their former ally Wufei Chang, now aligning himself with Mariemaia’s ambitions.
Story: It still holds onto that Gundam wing feeling, but with a faster sense of pace and scale. The reintroduction of the characters~ and transition between plots and battle are flawless. There is a higher feeling of "emotion" and drama than was in the original series~ possibly because the stakes feel alot higher.
While there are still politics, because ova’s are shorter they thankfully lessened its role in the story~ though there are several speeches it doesn’t mess up the pace of the story as much. The epic battles and character development are the high points of this series.
Art: It was improved greatly from the original series. The character designs and gundams feel much more crisp and detailed. Some of the gundams actually have additional accessories… while I don’t see much of a point of them Having "REAL" wings with feathers, and A cape… it does make them look really awesome=D
Sound: The sound still caries that "90’s" anime feel…but it was toned down a little. Both the opening and OST were superior to the series.
Character: Well… they’re the same old characters=D
There’s not much more that can be said about them if you’ve already seen the series, and I don’t recommend you watch the OVA’s before the series. But the only reason Gundam Wing is as popular as it is, is because the characters are very unique, fun, and developed. The OVA does show more into each of the characters past, and in the case of Trow~ his entire history is finally revealed.
Enjoyment: I remember watching this series for the first time on the edge of my seat through all 3 OVA’s. It just such an epic feeling for me, at that time this movie was just more astounding than watching Goku from DBZ go super saiyan for the first time (I was very young when I first saw gundam wing). Watching it again as an adult~ the enjoyment has not gone down after time. Its animation and story is not dated~ and it is far superior in plot, character, and battles of its predecessor Gundam Seed. (IMHO)
I’m a very picky grader~ but there is hardly any argument I can make against this OVA.
Naively, I thought Endless Waltz would be a huge improvement over the television series. I was right in part. The animation is fluid and impressive, the drawings are more detailed, and the Gundam designs are really impressive. The OVA gives the characters some much-needed context, and the OVA clarifies the television show’s themes of resistance against hegemony. But it’s still a narrative mess (I thought Zechs Marquise wanted to drop a colony on Earth – now he wants to stop Dekim Barton from doing the same thing?). It’s an improvement over the show, and it is definitely aesthetically pleasing and impressive. But the story is so incomprehensible and stupid, I couldn’t bring myself to like it, no matter how hard I tried.
6: Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch R2 Special Edition – Zero Requiem
Japanese: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ R2 Special Edition Zero Requiem
MAL Score: 7.80
An OVA summarizing all 25 episodes of season 2.
Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch R2 Special Edition – Zero Requiem is an OVA from the series Code Geass. This OVA and the one before it are basically movie-length recaps of the series, the first movie recapping season 1, this one recapping season 2. Now, I actually tend to find recaps quite boring, but I actually enjoyed these 2, despite the fact that they’re 2 hours long each. But that isn’t because they are flawless recaps, it’s because I love Code Geass.
This OVA starts off where it left off, Suzaku had just shot Zero’s mask off, finding out it is Lelouch. I like how they cut straight to the new scenes instead of redoing everything from the end of the previous movie.
Of course, I love the story. It’s Code Geass, how could I not love it! Now of course since this is a recap, they didn’t include everything from the main series, but that is the point of a recap. Nothing new in these OVA’s about the story, so I’ll cut this section short.
Classic Code Geass animation and style. I really love the animation for Code Geass, and I find it very unique.
Again, it is a recap, so nothing new here. Sorry for the shorter reviews, but these next 2 will be longer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the characters from Code Geass. But it feels like these OVA’s don’t really dive into the characters other than Lelouch. Even C.C. and Suzaku don’t get much here. They basically throw away everything about the lovable characters, except for when they need to be there for either the story, or to help Lelouch progress. They removed basically all the school scenes, so we hardly get any Class Pres, Rivalz, or Nina. They even left my man Arthur out! They really failed for some characters though. For example, Rolo, they just introduced him as Lelouch’s brother, and we hardly see him after that, except for his death of course, and they don’t show the first time he uses his Geass. Another character they failed on is Cornelia, they never re-introduce her back from the dead, they just but her on the screen out of nowhere with no explanation. A final example is Schneizel, they barely gave him any screen time.
If I’m being real, I was most focused at huge events like the huge battle between Lelouch and Schneizel, and character deaths. The other things, which I really enjoyed in the anime, made me feel bored. This is probably due to the fact that i just finished Code Geass not too long ago, so these scenes are fresh in my mind, but it doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t enjoy it much.
Now, this review is coming to a close. The OVA’s did good for what they’re meant for, but they just left out so many things that could have carried the series further. I recommend if you’re new to Code Geass, just watch the show. It’s much more enjoyable and shows a ton more development than these. Plus, these OVA’s were super hard to find, and when I did find them, the subtitles weren’t great.
5: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
English: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム 0080 ポケットの中の戦争
MAL Score: 7.92
Alfred Izuruha is a 10-year-old who lives in the neutral colony cluster of Side 6 and, like most boys his age, is obsessed with the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. Unbeknownst to him, Al’s next-door neighbor, Christina, is the test pilot of a prototype Gundam being developed in secret by the Earth Federation in the colony. A Zeon Special Forces team is assembled and tasked with infiltrating the colony in order to either steal or destroy it.
When a skirmish breaks out between the Federation and infiltrating Zeon forces, the fascinated Alfred stumbles upon a Zaku mobile suit that has been shot down, piloted by Zeon rookie Bernard “Bernie” Wiseman. After this encounter, the two start a mutual friendship, so Alfred can learn more about the war that interests him so much, and Bernie can acquire inside information about the colony to aid his team’s mission.
Sometimes, the best war stories are not told from the perspective of the people who fight, but from those who don’t. Without offering any sort of resistance in most cases, civilians are defenseless against the cruelties which are present at these times. This way, some horrific stories remain hidden without record and linger profusely in the wounded hearts of many. Gundam is a series that usually relies heavily on action to show off the designs of the mechs, which are the main selling point of the franchise. By this method, a lesser emphasis is placed on what is happening in the background of the stories, separate from the pilots who control them. War in the pocket diverts from the norm and instead focuses on Side 6, a neutral colony in space consisting of peaceful civilians. One of these people is Alfred, a 10 year old boy who is still full of dreams and hasn’t yet understood the gruesome reality around him. What follows is a coming of age story about overcoming loss and the pointlessness of warfare.
Right from the get-go, we can see that schoolchildren are highly uneducated about the war surrounding them; most of which are not even aware that two opposing sides exist. The demeanor of the children is reminiscent of those isolated in an authoritarian state, where people are blind to what is happening across the borders. Mirroring this, the children are in awe of the battles, eagerly waiting for the next one to occur within their site. While this may seem unrealistic- and it is- we have got to remember that these kids have not yet understood death nor destruction. Likewise, a greater importance is placed on arbitrary ordeals, such as ignoring that one irritating girl in class or proving whether a military badge that they found was real. It all agglutinates into mass irrationality.
The show likes to play with contrasts. There is a reoccurring scene in the beginning of each odd episode, showing the daily routine of citizens in the morning. If you play close enough attention, there are small changes which show the progression of disaster, foreshadowing the climax of the story. These include different items placed in shopping windows, detailed alterations in nuances proving discomfort and abrupt happenings at the end of the entire sequence. Similarly, irony is used to an almost sarcastic degree. When Alfred returns home at the start of the series, he encounters his mother, who provides him with demands such as to complete his homework. After agreeing with every word of hers, she tells him that “You’re just full of the right answers today”. He then proceeds to repeat “Yes, mom” to every little action in his room, such as while playing a video game. However, while playing, he goes against what the game tells him to do, still repeating the words. He ends up shooting down his own school, home and town. This is sign of boisterous nature and one that characterises his innocence, unaware that this is exactly what could occur at any time in reality.
The train of mendacity is finally altered with the fated encounter of Bernand, a Zeon (enemy) soldier who has crashed into a forest after a battle within the colony. Alfred ran towards the falling Zaku (enemy mech) without being fazed, as he is still unaware that there are two sides in a war. This confrontation is highly symbolic, portrayed by the falling light from Bernand onto Alfred, hinting on potential salvation in the future. It is by this concurrence that a mutual understanding is shared between these people, where a gap in age and social standing allows for a contrast in power to be present. Bernand takes advantage of his situation and thereby uses cunning techniques to obtain intel from Alfred, in any way that he can. Given by Alfred’s clueless nature, he agrees to help Bernand collect information almost as a game. Here on, a friendship is built upon misunderstandings and lies. The way the story is structured is genius, where a realistic situation allows for the maturity of an unassuming child.
The title alone is enough to induce brainstorming. A picture is shown at the midsection of each episode, where the title-drop is present. Here, Alfred’s pocket is exposed, stuffed with several toys. The thing is, these toys mimic weapons of war. Hinting on the reoccurring themes of contrast and irony, a missile, gun and knife are all miraculously fit into a tight pocket, reflecting on the tight budget of nations during times of war. All these items are essentials for fighting in modern times and are drawn in a pastel-like style, once again illustrating immaturity. Alfred is drawn with a wide smile indicating youthfulness. I don’t think that they could have used more suitable imagery that the ones presented here.
Yet another example of excellent planning, is the pacing. This is carefully adjusted to display an adolescent view of the world. What is shown on the screen is always extreme: whether that is tragedy or staleness, the feelings are always palpable. There are clear cuts in the show, which are never jarring and serve to depict the ambiguous state of the setting. Moreover, the setting of the colony itself is allegorical. A capsule surrounded by nothingness: space. The warfare which develops directly outside of the colony produce flashes of light, imitating those emitted by stars, a symbol of false hope. Politics are mostly set aside, which simulate the thinking of children.
People do not fall into hysteria after being shot, but instead silently subdue into a state of panic and fall unconscious rather quickly. This is what would happen in a real world scenario, one that is often overlooked from fiction. However, there are a few times where realism is lessened to make way for bombastic moments. An example of this is when Alfred sees the damages of a battle in his home town. He quickly ignores these (which are of immense scale) and moves on. A child should be more affected by this, which is hardly a complaint judging by the irrationality of the story itself.
Be that as it may, but War in the Pocket is an almost purely character driven tale. Thankfully, all of the primary characters are suitably complex and intricate. The chemistry between Alfred and Bernand is organic, multi-layered and intriguing. Almost like a father-and-son, their conversations are backed by their divergence in age, coupled with simple language and natural gestures. Both characters are pragmatic and mordant especially when exchanging words alone.
Alfred is an astute and well-mannered boy, who uses his intelligence to persuade people with ease. His disposition is matched by his age and so are his actions. He regrets nothing and always moves forward. Unlike a lot of characters his age, he is not unnecessarily immature and he can think for himself. I found myself in awe of how well written his characterisation actually is. His development as a person is key to the kind of tale this is (coming of age). He doesn’t become a man after a single tragedy nor does he have a sudden revelation; but the amount of progress and evolution that his character undergoes is akin to that of a series tenfold its length. I can say with safety that he is my favourite youngster in anime. Once the series is over, his past self is but a shadow of his present.
Bernand is a character ridden with many compound emotions. He holds few grudges and shows little animosity, which is a rare trait, especially for a soldier in enemy grounds. Always trying to be the voice of reason, he acts as a source of admiration for Alfred. We know little about him or his past, but what is apparent is his lack of confidence. Never standing out among his peers, he tends to exaggerate or distort his achievements; one such being the number of kills that he has committed. Stating to Alfred that he is one kill away from being awarded an ‘ace’ title (five kills), he later reveals that he has not yet committed a single execution. This proves that Bernand is not infallible and more – so portends an event which will later test this virtue.
The two improve themselves by learning from each other, while working towards a single goal, each for their own reasons. These reasons later intersect and demonstrate that their initial objectives were shallow and selfish. From this, their growth as characters and (more importantly) as people flourish.
Finally, Chris (shortened from Christina) serves as a distinction in position and as an agreement in charisma. She is like an intermediate between Alfred and Bernand, yet is the catalyst for their problems. She shows sides of vulnerability as well as courage, while being especially honest. She never makes assumptions of people, nor questions their actions and so she tries to focus on facts to provide advice. War in the pocket makes excellent use of her character, where her wisdom is given an almost satirical filter as she is oblivious of her own actions.
Unfortunately, a lot of the side characters are ignored or put aside which is quite apparent. I would have liked to have seen more of the family and schoolchildren, as well as other Zeon soldiers which are mentioned throughout the run-time. Once again, this is a relatively minor distaste, as the focus of the main characters is apparent and is given priority. Besides – they do more of a good enough job to carry the show by themselves.
Art and Animation: 7.5
War in the Pocket is aesthetically pleasing. While a lot of shows airing at the time had numerous animation errors or inconsistencies, these are far and few between here. There are only a few moments of repeated animation and even these are not noticeable. When a battle does occur, it always looks above par. Even the shot of the colony from space featuring CGI is not jarring in any way (and this is from 1989!). Scenes flow nicely due partly from correct framework as well as sufficient number of frames.
All of the characters’ designs look great, thanks to the efforts of Haruhiko Mikimoto who famously undertook the designs of Macross. The facial expressions are articulate and vivid, while they never look off-model. What is particularly characteristic of their designs are their eyebrows, which become absent soon after moving up their faces. This gives greater emphasis to the key features of the face which exemplify emotions better.
There are few times however where any cinematography is used. This leaves for a slightly bland experience in terms of artistic abruptness and the show looks slightly uninspired. I also can’t help but compare it to other OVA’s of its time and being that this was to commemorate Gundam’s tenth anniversary, I expected something more exceptional.
Listening to the numerous soundtracks that War in the Pocket offers, I couldn’t help but think of marching children. Very few OSTs have ever made me visualise and personify music into something so fitting. Never feeling repetitive nor outstaying its welcome, the composition and its placement always feels just right. The instruments used are not repeated; instead a significant array of organs are used for many different purposes. The songs also never overpower the scenes which they are used in. Rather, they empower them.
I admired the opening and ending songs. I don’t usually pay much attention to these as they are mostly used for advertising a certain company or group, but War in the Pocket is not your average show. The opening features a panning shot of a wall and the graffiti covering it. At first, there are detailed drawings showing obscure imagery of war, displaying many colours. In an instant, this changes to monochrome illustrations from who presumably is a child. Chalk is used to hint at this and what would normally be a harmless act is juxtaposed by what it means. The music used is nostalgic while ironic, stating things like “I want to slip away from this artificial world and make myself free” and “I can keep on running until I finally reach the sky”. Being that the sky is artificial and that it houses numerous deadly battles, this shows the hopeless wishes of the young artists themselves.
The ending song is very similar in lyrical and artistic composition. If close enough attention is payed, an abundant of different outcomes can be made from its meanings. However, the beat shifts from every sentence spoken, in perfect harmony. From this, a different image is shown, which relates perfectly to what is spoken. The colour layout is fascinating for very specific reasons, but one must watch the entire show to find out what that means.
My only gripe is with the voice-acting quality. While there is plenty emotion here, it is outdated to a degree. That means a dip in quality from what we would get from modern shows. Even with this, the actors did a fantastic job in displaying all the right nuances at the right times and this includes Alfred. Voice-acting for children were notorious in these times but it does not show here.
War in the Pocket is an experience like no other. It never forces emotions out of the viewer, but instead embellishes them. I cried multiple times throughout the story, but not from melodrama. The show produces catharsis without unnecessary tension, which is a very difficult thing to achieve. From start to finish, from comedy to tragedy I was never left behind. War in the Pocket makes use of your most simple, primordial feelings – and like this – nurtures you with care. I will never forget what I witnessed from this.
The story of 0080 is distinct from other gundam series in that it features a civilian child’s point of view on war. It is the story of Alfred Izuruha’s journey of disillusionment as he grows out of his starry-eyed romance for war and the military, ultimately realizing the devastation and meaninglessness of it all. Though the risk of spoilers prevent me from elaborating further, it must be noted that the story goes beyond merely reminding the viewer of the obvious, such as "lives are lost during times of war". Al’s personal growth is a heart-wrenching and emotional ride as he learns firsthand about the true faces of war from Bernie and the few days the two share together within the time frame of the series. Though virtually every gundam series share the anti-war theme, 0080 is the most effective amongst all of them in relaying the simple message: war is bad. As unimpressive as that sounds, 0080’s achieves this without being preachy or cheesy (two very common pitfalls in war anime), while evoking strong emotions from the viewer.
The limited cast of 0080 is fairly ordinary, but very befitting of the story’s needs. As hinted above, Al is a great character simply because of his unique and integral role in the story, though he may come off as too bratty and annoying for his own good in the beginning. Like most other gundam series, the two sides of the conflict are not portrayed as black and white. Zeeks such and Bernie and Feddies such as Christina are just ordinary people following orders from the institution of war — the only true "bad guy". This allows the moral and lessons of the story to bear more weight than a typical "good guys vs. bad guys" scenario.
Since 0080 aired in 1989, the aesthetics of the OVA does seem aged. However, the animation, especially during the action scenes, are still sights to behold to this very day. Though 0080 is skimpy on mecha action, the few scenes that does appear throughout the series are very well done, some of which even rank among the most memorable mobile suit battles to be animated.
All in all, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket is recommended to anyone interested in a great story about the tragedy of war, especially fans of the gundam franchise. With a moving story, excellent hand-drawn art, and great characters, it is hard to go wrong with this small but radiant gem in the prolific gundam universe.
To get one thing out of the way, war in the pocket is entirely stand alone and requires no knowledge of the original series it takes place in. If you know a gundam is a mech and that there is a war then you know all you need to know to get into this ova. The immediate thing one is going to notice when going into war in the pocket is that its pacing is on the slow side. It take the slow build with a pay off formula and masterfully pulls it off. Everything that happens in the ova’s first half leads to a impacting pay off for its faster and hard hitting 2nd half. The way it handles its transition from the slow and light hearted first half to the impending tragedy looming over head is nothing short of masterfully executed as it will truly make you grow attached to these characters and the world around them so that you will actually feel something in the coming events as the characters do. The use of its scarce action scenes is also nothing short of perfectly executed as they are few and far between but all of them contain impact when they finally happen in addition to be wonderfully choreographed and animated feeling as brutal as the story is trying show war is. When a action scene shows up you dont think “Oh man a cool action scene” but rather you experience some really tragic events shown through harsh and heavy imagery that are anything but glorified.
War in the pocket is almost entirely character driven, it focuses on a single event and the characters reacting to it rather than trying to expand on the conflict of the original series. The main focus is on our elementary school child protagonist Alfred and his relationship with a zeon grunt named Bernie. The relationship feels real as do the characters themselves. They are not only relateable but also dynamic as they go through more believable character development over the course of these 6 episodes than entire series are capable of providing. Alfred our main protagonist delivers a different viewing experience than any story i can think of as it focusing on showing how a child his age views something like war, we see this in many stories but usually with side characters but never have I seen it done through the eyes of the central protagonist. At the start of the series he idolizes war and conflict as do kids in real life sadly do, and as the series goes on he begins to learn more and more about just what harsh consequences war pertains not only to those fighting in it but also the civilians caught in the cross fire. Its got a very harsh but sadly true message about how people see this awful event of war in real life and is able to convey just how harsh it truly is. Its able to do this while still making the characters not just likable but lovable. you will care about these 2 as the series goes on and you actually feel something when they do.
Though the series being heavily character driven can also be a turn off for some, if you longing for a more plot driven story-line then war in the pocket will be a disappointment. There is a bigger picture going on but rather than exploring that larger event it instead to shows just how people out of the loop of this larger conflict react to it. It shouldn’t be a problem to most but it is understandable why some may walk out wishing the story may had focused on a larger scale rather than the smaller singular event they do focus on. People may also be turned off by the main character alfred since he is a kid, and as a results hes very naive and gullible, hes a realistic portrayal of how a kid acts but its also understandable that hes not the ideal character entertainment wise to be following for a story to some even if i personally could not imagine a protagonist any other way for a story such as this. The undeniably biggest flaw with war in the pocket comes in the way of its just straight up bad ost. Its not just that the songs are really bland but they kill a ton of the atmosphere and tone by being way too happy sounding. It works for the first half but during the latter events of the story it simply is out of place and even at a few moments can detract from some powerful scenes. Most notable is the very last scene of the ova which is nothing short of powerful….buuuut I cant help but feel it could had been more powerful if a song that sounds straight out of a cheery slice of life wasn’t playing very loudly throughout its final moments and the ensuing credits. its not enough to ruin such a powerful story in my opinion but iIlong for something more fitting especially when the audio of the sound effects is top notch.
War in the pocket is one of the most polarizing and impacting stories I have had the privileged of sitting through, it doesn’t revolutionize a genre but what it instead does is tell a powerful story that had more impact on me both while watching and well after its had finished playing than entire 50 episode series were capable of providing. The conflicts, character, and relationships all feel real, the slow build to a pay off is perfectly done, and the entire series just continues to stay lingering in my mind many months after I have finished it. Its depressing that a story this stand out and impacting has been lost to obscurity despite how well it has aged and impacting it may be. If you ever have the time i urge you to check out war in the pocket, while i doubt its for everyone, this isn’t a story that should be lost in obscurity like it has and is more than worth your time.
4: Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
English: Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム 第08MS小隊
MAL Score: 8.02
In year 0079 of the Universal Century, the Earth Federation initiates Operation Odessa—a full-scale assault to retake a major Ukrainian city from the Principality of Zeon. It is a success, and the remaining Zeon forces scatter across the globe. The Earth Federation gains the upper hand in the One Year War and deploys its ground troops around the planet to hunt down the stragglers.
As part of the deployments, Ensign Shiro Amada is transferred to Southeast Asia to take command of the 08th MS Team—a special squadron of RX-79[G] Gundam Ground Type pilots. In their first guerilla operation, Shiro’s team is tasked with distracting the Zeon forces while Federation ground troops locate a mysterious new Zeon weapon. Everything goes according to plan until Shiro runs into Aina Sahalin, an ace Zeon pilot he met in an earlier battle, during a skirmish. Their reunion weakens his resolve to continue fighting, and now the young commander Shiro must prove his loyalty to the Federation—or be branded a traitor.
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.
This is one aspect that as stated earlier was mediocre. It had so more potential and I beleive if it had been a series, not an OVA, it could have been developed far better. Without divulging to much, the basic premise is that it is a side story to the original MSG and takes place near the end of the War between the EF and Zeon. It follows a rag-tag unit, the 08th MS team, and their various encounters while adding a romantic element with the commander of the team and a Zeon pilot. The zeons pilot happens to be sister to the Zeon Commander in the same area as the 08th team. A noraml ‘Gundam’ thing to do. However where as some Gundams pull it off, this one does not. The overall story is dull, and frankly the ending is unbelivable and bad. Also, and this is where opinions are split, the action is very realistic, or at least as realistic as possible, which I dilike. Some people like this, I personally do not. When I watch Gundam i want to see over the top action and fighting, but in this regard I was let down, which I could have excepted if the story had actuallt been decent. On top of this most Gundams have an overarching political or philosopichal meaning, even if they are obvious, and I like the chance to think about those things, to me the anime gains more meaning that way. The story here is simply a narrative, a story with no meaning, nothing to really pull out of it thematically, so in that regard I feel it fails.
I have nothing bad to say here. The animation was excellent and a large step up from it’s contemporary, Wing. It was gritty, and realisitic looking, and all the MS had details glaour. The art was excellent for it’s time and a joy to see in motion.
The Sound overall was good. The effects were excellent and the voices in Japanese i felt were wonderful, but in English failed as per usual. I did not car for the opening, ending, or sountrack however as it was pretty jazzy, which really isn’t my style.
Oh dear god. This is were my opinion differs the far by most. I could not stand most of the characters is the show, with maybe two exceptions. I did not think they were realistic at all. Their ideal were foolish and childish, and they were often overdramtic. Along with that they were the most rag-tag group of soliders I have ever seen, and would not last very long in an actual Army as they have a lot of trouble following orders.
So, as you can most likely can tell, I had my problems with this series. It is not bad, but i could have watched far better things even if it is only 12 episodes.
Without a doubt in my mind, it was simply mediocre. It was not Bad, but with such a wide range of other, better Gundams out there to choose form, I would not bother. However, if like myself you wanted to watch it as it takes place between the original and Zeta, adn you wnat to watch them chronologically, then go ahead, just don’t expect to be blown out of the water.
The more realistic and intricate fight scenes are great which personally I favor more than the huge overexaggerated fight scenes in wing and seed (which I don’t actually mind though).
Whatever you do, do NOT be put off by the old animation. If i remember correctly, I watched this right after finishing the 2nd FMP series and I consciencely didn’t even notice the old animation style while being swept away by the excitement and pleasure of watching the 8th ms team.
Characters are incredibly likeable and they’re all sound of mind (well, they are compared to the characters in other gundams).
But the factor that just blew me away was the enjoyment. Disregarding any of the aesthetic qualities and originality or blah blah blah of the series, I simply enjoyed the series and ended up watching through all 12 episodes straight through. It was just fun to watch. 12 episodes may seem short for a gundam masterpiece, but it turned out way better than my expectations. This is highly recommended for those who love gundam, or hate it. This is a more action/feel good style of gundam that people who may not be into mecha might most likely enjoy. All of my friends, who never were interested in mecha until this one popped up, agree. A fun, short, sweet, and memorable ride following the determined gundam crew and the struggles & adversity they face…
3: Yuusha-Ou GaoGaiGar Final
English: GaoGaiGar Final
MAL Score: 8.08
Following Gutsy Galaxy Guard`s victory over the Zonder Empire and the 31 Primevals, a new threat makes their appearance on Earth. GGG – with Guy Shishio and the newly-constructed GaoFighGar – team up with their French counterpart Chasseur to battle the evil organization BioNet. Among Chasseur`s ranks is Renais Cardiff Shishioh – a former BioNet cyborg with the relentless pursuit of destroying those who took away her humanity. But as GGG and Chasseur fight the BioNet, GGG`s bases around the world are suddenly attacked, and the recently-discovered “Q-Parts” and the original Gao Machines are stolen by Mamoru Amami, who has been abducted and cloned by an even greater threat known as the “Eleven Kings of Sol.” Evicted from Earth by the United Nations, GGG must now travel to the far reaches of the galaxy to battle the Eleven Kings of Sol and save Mamoru before it`s too late.
The plot of Final takes place, I’d estimate, roughly 6 to 12 months after the final events of the original series. I’d spoil the whole thing if I delved even into the slightest detail, but let me just say this: The story resembles that of the original’s second half, totally getting rid of the “Villain of the Week” formula. You should know what you’re getting yourself into. Let’s just say the main antagonists were to be activated after the Zondars and the 31 Primevals had been defeated before hand.
The design and art of Final have vastly improved over its predecessor. Not only that, but the animation has been revamped and is superior in fluidity. The mechas are colorful and detailed, though some transformations could use a bit of work. As for the environments, they are superb, especially if you consider when this was drawn. You’re taken to India, China, France, and multiple real life areas where (oh my god) real life monuments are seen! Overall, a vast improvement over the original, which was subpar even in the color department.
Musical scores are spot on with the tone of the episode. They managed to fit it well with the scenes. My major complaint is that I felt the background music could have been more varied instead of rewashing the same one over and over. You have to consider they use mostly the same background music from the original, but I guess that could be considered a plus to some people. Sound effects have improved, but not dramatically. Most of the robot movements have been given the “UC Gundam” startup sound, if that makes any sense. You’ll hear it when you hear it. I don’t recall it being in the original, but regardless they’re in Final. As for the voice acting, most of them were great (Guy, Soldat J, Renais, etc.) but some were just outright annoying. Atleast Mamoru definitely improved.
For the most part, Guy is the most memoriable of all. Shishio Guy is very hot-blooded and proves himself time after time after time. Soldat J is heroic as usual, and yeah you get the idea. All of the returning characters have the same thought processes from the last few episodes of the original. As for the new characters, well they’re great addutuibs. Renais is a cyborg similar to pre-final Guy, who was raised to be some sort of human weapon (literally.) Her owners were part of a criminal organization called BioNet, which was the antagonist of the first episode. Her personality resembles that of a tsundere to some extent. The two new “Ryu” robots are awesome! First off, they’re female! That’s right, female robots! Really, that’s all you need to know.
If you’ve seen the original series, you’ll find this add-on to be superior in pretty much all regards. Excitement is rampant and neverending; you’re sure to enjoy this sequel.
I certainly got all of that, but I wouldn’t say it had the charm of the original. The TV series is approximately 25 episodes of classic super robot plot updated for modern audiences with plucky kids, brave heroes, talking robots and masses of explosions and shouting, followed by another 24 episodes of a more arc-based plot with its own exciting story and charm. It’s a good solid show for anyone who loves or loved the classic super robots of the 70s and 80s.
The OVA tries to be more edgy and adult, with the stakes raised to massive levels and the villains more “mature” in design. As a case in point – GGG TV had for its villains a train conductor, a masked pilot, a ballerina and a sailor. Then it had a clown and a team of mutant enemies themed on body parts.
GGG Final has a dominatrix, the Grim Reaper, a doctor who injects himself to become more powerful and a plethora of creepy kids and other misfits. When you’ve got a PVC and spikes clad villain chaining up the female heroes and “disciplining” them, or an oversized doctor using his “Doping” powers, it’s not quite as charmingly pulp as what you’ve come to expect. There’s also a lot more nudity and fanservice, and to be honest it doesn’t really work.
The battles tend to be inconclusive as the show saves itself for the final hour-long episode, something that mecha OVAs and movies sometimes fall prey to (Char’s Counterattack seems to come to mind) and even then the fight relies on fakeout deaths and stalemates until its climax, at which point it’s all over. The real problem is how it’s set up in terms of power-ups. The intial fights, which pit GaoGaiGar against itself, are great. However, then the villains need to be shown as more powerful than the planet-sized Z Master who capped off the TV series – and this means the heroes need another couple of power-ups which only serve to make GGG more ridiculously tough and (in my opinion) a lot uglier than its original form.
The ending of the OVA also bears discussion – it attempts at the same time to be hopeless ala Zambot 3, and have a noble sacrifice, while also leaving it open for a sequel. As a result, it doesn’t really work at all. When you’ve raised the stakes as you have, the ending either needs to be full-on heroic or actually tragic, rather than inconclusive.
All in all, GGG Final is a beautifully animated follow-up to the TV series which unfortunately misses what made the series so good. Overpowered robots and massive stakes do not instantly equal quality – as any Russell T Davies Dr Who finale, Godmars and Gundam SEED Destiny all prove. Similarly, the villains are dull for all their “extreme”-ness – I’d rather have plainer designs like the Zonderians, but at least they had personality from Penchinon’s creepy laughing to the actually quite sinister behaviour of Primada.
It’s worth a watch if you’re a completist or a fan of the show, since the fights are well-choreographed, but in this case bigger doesn’t equal better – and GGG could happily have been left at the ending of the series.
STORY… Not much has changed in this category, but you get a sense of nostalgia when you see the heroes of 3G back again. There’s still villains wanting to rule the universe, but where it gets interesting is the methods used by the villains. The methods carried out by the villains inflict absolute despair on the heroes that it had enough SHOCK VALUE to make me say, “No way… Did that really just happen? Whoa, the heroes might actually lose this time.” But then I suddenly remembered that this is GAOGAIGAR, the heroes ALWAYS find a way to win. And with that, lies a flaw- While watching this, I never had the sense that the heroes of 3G would lose in the end= slight sense of predictability. But as I got towards the end, I was finally given a befitting ending that left me satisfied. Watch it for yourself to find out.
ANIMATION… This is one of the strong points of the series and also where I explain why kid viewers will have to wait until they’re teenagers. The robot designs definitely look fresher, crisper, and much cooler. There are definitely those heavy GAR moments when power-ups are achieved and when transformations are done. The battle scenes are splendid- seeing mechas go at it, as bits and pieces of their armor break apart and lots of sparks flying everywhere with each intense collision. Not to mention, over the scale screaming of emotions of the pilots. Definitely fun to watch. It was enough to make me say wow. It’s just that awesome. Haha… To my surprise, there is a lot of nudity and ecchi themes like huge breasts jiggling and seeing panties under the skirts of women. They even focus on it for like 1-2 seconds, sometimes 2-3 seconds. I thought this was a kids’ show!? Anyways, let’s go on- there are still the over exaggerated movements for the simplest of commands, and luckily, you don’t see as much of that stuff anymore, (not like in the first season, wherein, every episode it’s loaded with that junk) so you’ll be more amused rather than annoyed. I also applaud the designers for making the villains look more menacing and dangerous. They weren’t lazy this time. I commend them for that.
SOUND… Not much can be said in this category, there’s still the same opening theme song, but with a “grander” feeling about it. Maybe it’s because it’s the finale? I guess so… I didn’t particularly like the ending theme song. In essence, it’s still basically the same soundtrack.
CHARACTERS… The same heroic 3G group is still here, but early on, the series lets you know that most members of the original crew have all moved to different places and different people have replaced their old positions. For example, remember how Mr. Chief use to give the approval for Final Fusion with wild energy and emotion? The new guy who replaced him is so relaxed, and so laid back that it is outrageously funny watching him give the approval for Final Fusion (because it’s something you’re not use to, if you watched the first season). There are also the introduction of a few new side characters, like the new sister robots of Enryu and Hyoryu, and Renee, who is Guy’s cousin. But I ended up not really feeling for them because this is about the original 3G and their final battle. It feels as if they were just put in there because the number of villains turned out to be extra, so the directors needed an opponent for the villain. Surprisingly, Mikoto Utsugi was given a stronger role in the story, which I found to be respectable and likeable- refreshing. The directors finally made full use of the cast, which resulted in a better story.
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10= Awesome
+ Still conveys the wonderful message: “Anything can be overcome with courage.”
+ Has SHOCK VALUE.
+ Full use of cast characters.
+ Excellent Animation. (Especially mecha battles loaded with GAR moments.)
+ Finally delivers an appropriate ending GaoGaiGar should have had a long time ago.
– Predictability still exists.
– Too much unnecessary nudity and ecchi themes.
Note: I can’t really say whether you should watch this or not. If you watched the first season, then why not watch it for closure? (It’s what I did and I was rewarded.) But if you didn’t watch the first season, then you don’t have to bother with this one. Remember, tell the kids they’re going to have to wait a few years before watching this. I recommend this for GaoGaiGar fans and for regular viewers who happened to watch the first season.
2: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
MAL Score: 8.13
In the year Universal Century 0096, three years after Char Aznable’s failed attempt to force human migration into space, life continues in the colonies orbiting Earth. One such colony, at Side 4, is home to Banagher Links, a 16-year-old who lives a quiet life among his classmates.
Audrey Burne, the last descendant of a great tyrannical family, takes it upon herself to steal the key to a mysterious device known as “Laplace’s Box.” It is said that the Box has the power to shape the course of the universe, and Audrey travels to Side 4 in an attempt to take it from its current holder and keep it from the Sleeves, the surviving remnant of Char Aznable’s Neo-Zeon. In her search, she stumbles across Banagher and changes his life forever.
When Side 4 comes under the attack of the Sleeves and its prolific fighters Marida Cruz and Full Frontal, Banagher takes control of the newly built Gundam Unicorn to defend his friends and protect the fate of humankind.
Since the advent of the original Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, the Gundam franchise certainly has grown to become one of the most iconic shows in anime and has undoubtedly revolutionized the mecha genre itself. Now we take a look at the long-awaited, most recent addition to the Universal Century, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
For those who know the Gundam UC timeline it is obvious, however for the newcomers, it should be known that Gundam Unicorn, despite its name, is not to be taken lightly. For the uninformed about Gundam history, it would be preferable, though not necessary, to watch other Gundam series in the UC timeline taking place before the date Universal Century 0096 and/or at least understand some basic terminology and history in this vast mecha universe. Summarily, Gundam Unicorn adds a final history of events to the early UC timeline masterfully concluding the first 100 years of UC. Now with everything said, we press forward to take our chance at possibility.
The story opens with the creation of the Universal Century (UC) dating system itself, signifying a new era of exploration, prosperity and possibility. Now jump almost 100 years to UC 0096. Earth and space relations remain tense yet the people in space, the remaining Zeon struggle one last time for freedom after suffering many wars of defeat. A simple premise, but what exactly occurs during this period has potentially complex and profound consequences all humans living in earth and in space.
Possibility. It has been mentioned in multiplicity already but with great reason. Such a powerful yet vague word and that can sum up Gundam Unicorn concisely. Why? The answer lies in Laplace’s Box, a mysterious unknown item to all of mankind that exists, but is rumored to tip the balance of power to the Zeon. As remarked by Full Frontal himself, “Would you believe in the possibility something so ambiguous yet so powerful?” This is why the Neo Zeon rise one last time. This is why they, the spacenoids, fight for the possibility of an object no human being knows about. This is why they must find Laplace’s Box in order to break free from the Earth Federation’s grip and the key to the box is none other than the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, the beast of possibility, the symbol of hope.
The Gundam series has always focused on the philosophical and societal aspects of civilization. War, politics, human development. The Newtype myth, those held down by gravity, the harmony of human evolution. These themes are just some foundations that build the interactions in the Gundam universe albeit it wasn’t always effectively portrayed or was slightly excessive. Unicorn becomes an exception though. These themes still persist in it, and they are executed flawlessy.
For a seven episode OVA, the pacing is nearly perfect. Maybe it is because it was this long(or short) that everything fit together timingly. When it is slow it is, calculating, deliberate and methodical. Likewise, when it is fast, it is quick, action-packed and intense. The only contingency in Unicorn is that compared its original novel counterpart, some events were compressed due to the length issue, but otherwise, Unicorn still manages to deliver and deliver with an outstanding ending.
Typical with many Gundam series, characters in Unicorn are well diverse and developed. Our main protagonist is Banagher Links who finds and pilots the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. He is your common young, naïve, idealistic protagonist, but just like all the Gundam pilots before him, we see his growth and development into a newtype, aided by friends and enemies. Aside from Banagher, Unicorn contains a multitude of other characters, old ones from previous Gundam installments that will cause a grin of nostalgia, and new ones that certainly become as memorable. Mineva Lao Zabi, Marida Cruz, Bright Noa(!!!). All of them are very unique in their own right and possibly even more enduring than Banagher himself. Of course, let us not forget Full Frontal, the masked antagonist, the leader of Neo Zeon. Certainly he is very unique. His presence and mysteriousness are what makes him so gravitating and his being as a whole is one of the most intriguing aspects of Unicorn, making him rightfully being named the “Second Coming of Char”.
Art & Design
Once again, I digress into the original Mobile Suit Gundam. In retrospect quality of animation was decent but due to budget constraints it was lacking towards the end, but it is not the same situation for Gundam Unicorn. Given it being an OVA and its lengthy release, art direction and design most definitely outdid itself. The production values are absolutely off the charts. Animation is simply one of the best out there in modern standards. In keeping with the style of the Universal Century, the universe retains the sense of pseudo-realism and scale. Old and new mobile suits alike make an appearance that will absolutely steal and capture the moment. With all its military conflicts, battles occur decisively and are executed wonderfully. Animation of the mechanics and movement are fluid while destructive battlefields are viewed from every perspective. Attention to realism and detail is nothing short of perfect.
Now one of the more disputed opinions is the use of CG at certain parts, particularly during the transformation sequence for the Gundams. However, it was probably necessary and appropriate to implement CG during these specific scenes to properly display the high level of detail in mechanical transformations while the Gundams themselves are not enacting human motions or actual movement.
While the actual mechs are amazingly crafted, likewise can be said with the character design. Reminescent of the original Gundam style, it maintains a retro design on the characters. Keeping a mix of both old and new, the character designs are distinct and retain the qualities of earlier decades with updated modern animations that show the same level of detail on characters just as with the mechs themselves.
Aside from the music, it should also be noted that voice acting itself is stunning. Both subbed and dubbed both deliver without fail and because of this the characters are very approachable and can easily be resonated with.
Instaneously from the beginning, one can understand that the music is one to be remembered for Gundam. Sawano Hiroyuki has certainly outdone himself for the Unicorn soundtrack in particular even compared to his past and recent works. His music is very distinctive in its epic-like sounds and tones that effectively gives a rollercoaster sense of the moment that is occurring. Contrastingly, there are also the beautiful, memorable scenes where they become engraved in us and his music sets the tone and fortifies that. Hiroyuki has managed to give Unicorn a proper soundtrack that emotionally provokes and hypes us like no one else. That sense of longing, that feeling of hope, that chance at possibility. All those emotions are present in Sawano Hiroyuki’s Unicorn soundtrack.
What this is, is a closing, an ending to the last years of the first century of Universal Century and Neo Zeon’s final actions. Has Unicorn solved all the problems of earth and space? Certainly not, but its happening and conclusion has done justice to itself and the UC timeline as a whole. Unicorn takes the best from Gundam UC and refines all of it skillfully. The characters, the plot, and the mobile suits make it worthy of a being Gundam. For those who might only see this one series individually, Gundam Unicorn is still well worth its time, but more consequently, as part of the Universal Century, it is a masterpiece and an integral addition to the Gundam series.
In short, take a chance at possibility and go watch Gundam Unicorn.
The issue with Gundam Unicorn is that it sort of sits at a paradox. As a standalone, it’s a hell of an anime; but your experience greatly depends on whether you have the knowledge of the Universal Century (you know, Mobile Suit Gundam) to fully grasp the scope of the anime. Unicorn serves as the penultimate conclusion to the Universal Century story that started back in 1979 in the timeless tale known as Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, the OYW (one year war).
Growing up with Gundam, the story seen with my eyes absolutely differs from those who wanted to simply watch “a mecha” or “a gundam”. Go find a Gainax anime or Studio Bones anime, for Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is a direct continuation of CCA (Char’s Counter Attack) rather than a new high budget Gundam project. It’s not simply a Gundam… it’s THE GUNDAM, and the final chapter for that matter.
An example, those who rate this lowly also believe Banagher Links is a whiny two-dimensional cookie-cutter protag, and that Riddhie is an emo cry baby, and Mineva Zabi is a lifeless zombie, and Full Frontal’s a bad guy who has evil/bad intentions and everyone should die. Those are associations created by those who do not fully comprehend the story told.
If you haven’t watch the previous TV series, and many times before for that matter, you’re better off not watching it at all because it’s not meant for you. This is an entirely exclusive experience, and you’re not welcome to watch or rate unless your a fan of Mobile Suit Gundam… because Unicorn is simply not meant for you. If one plans to watch this improperly, you’ll be taking back about a tenth of the experience (that being animation and ost), while Gundam aficionados are getting the full 100%.
On a brighter note, it’s never too late to watch the classics, because you’re missing out on the most important anime of a lifetime. Go back an enjoy the masterpieces that are MSG 0079, Zeta, ZZ, CCA, even the OVA’s 08th MS, and 0080. Go ahead and enjoy the metaseries and immerse yourself in it’s rich universe. I may have came off as pretentious or discouraging, but truth be told, it is what it is.
On a side note, don’t you dare read this and think you’re ready
Oh yeah, and Art/Sound/Characters/ Enjoyment/Overall 10/10, like that matters.
The long awaited 4 years for the conclusion to the Unicorn series has finally made contact and landed. To many others, impatience grew to what made people become frustrated with the series. Have they never heard of the saying, good things come to those who wait? Was it worth the wait? In my opinion I’d like to dwell on in this review, it is very well worth it for a Gundam fan.
For the 4 years of long waiting, it’s just a wild cat and mouse game coming from space, then to Earth, and all the way back to where it all began. With only 7 episodes to follow on where Banagher Links went from a civilian life to maturing towards the end of the series, it’s very subtle how one could quickly progress that far. The storyline continues three years after the events of Char’s Counterattack, and the space drama continues on with what remained from then. It wouldn’t hurt a new viewer to start watching this series without the previous, but there will be a lot of gaps of missing backstory and terminology to figure in while watching. What was probably the most important deal is let a friend or whoever will start watching the series is to watch CCA first before hitting the last episode. Major spoilers there, and that’s what will really giveaway their interpretation to the mysterious events happened in CCA. Overall though about the story, it wasn’t too hard to follow, but the only complaints was the hyped up revelation revealed to be controversial and surprisingly metaphorical in a sense in the end.
For being the highest budget Gundam series Bandai put serious money into, their staff definitely knew the kind of return on investments they were getting back from their hard work. Each and every mobile suit deserved their fair share of detailed brilliance. With every new kind of mobile suits revealed in every episode, it’s a sign for hobbyists to go out and just buy, buy, buy gunpla kits for their collection. The art quality reached its peak once you watch episode 7. The staff went all out on it to even do the unexpected, redoing some famous Gundam scenes in HD. As a Gundam fan, this is one very pleasant gift to all fans and veterans who have been watching since nearly 40 (35 to be exact from 2014) years ago.
Unless you’re just a music hater, the overall soundtrack made for this series are truly a masterpiece. From the majestic triumphant of the UNICORN piece, to the epic journey of nostalgia through the BEGINNING piece, all the tracks plays accordingly well with each and every scene of all the episodes. As an incredible fan favorite to many, “merry-go-round” was an ace in the hole as to how it was cut into the ending to Episode 3. Just to note for all readers, give the OST a try with the hooks I recommend: MOBILE SUIT, FULL FRONTAL, MOBILE ARMOR, and last, but not least, UNICORN.
From the very first episode, I focused most of my attention to the mechas and their battles. The characters on the other hand, they’re the key plot to this whole space drama the Gundam universe is famous for. To be fair, the expression of emotions displayed during the series were humanistic and not just monotonous. Let’s start with Banagher, the 16 year old high school student who got dragged into the conflict led by the adults from the previous wars. His pacifism morals is almost typical like any other hero who doesn’t want to bring on many pointless deaths. In comparison to other most notable pacifist heroes from alternative Gundam series, Banagher’s case is bearable unlike one who says he wants the fighting to stop but still kills or the other who goes as far as to protect the enemies and let his comrades die. And one who opposes him is the Second Coming of Char, Full Frontal. Resolve above all, the ghost of Char still plays the cool and collected leader who seeks to change what the world must come to. The jealousy, the sense of duty, and tragedy that plays along that reaches out well from this this series that’s more than just mecha porn, but the space drama that it is.
For the 4 years of wait that it has been, I’ve better to enjoy this since otherwise that wait would have been for nothing. What I’ve particularly enjoyed most were the incredibly details in mecha designs, the amazing work of the OST, and the art and animation running throughout the series. The mecha designs and displayed in the series inspired me to go out and purchase a few model kits to build, despite the serious lack of time for me to do anything due to the university life now. Although I was not much for the story or characters, what did hit me like a truck were the tragic moments throughout the series. The deaths that occurred, incredible feels from when the hero cried for them. And this is what makes the characters enjoyable, the emotions.
For this OVA series, it’s not the perfect series out there, but it’s outstanding. The scoring of nearly a 9 and a half is what I think this deserves as it serves decent closure to Universal Century conflict. It doesn’t answer everything, but that leaves it to how the viewer’s would like to interpret that with their imagination. Possibility is what drives humanity forward, and anything is possible if you truly put your mind to it. Give this series a chance, especially now since all of the episodes are available to marathon it without waiting those hellish half to a full year of waiting in between each episode. After watching it the first time, give it a rewatch to actually grasp everything the series gave out in case you might not have understood all of that happened the first time.
Every human has possibility, give some of that possibility to try Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn out!
1: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
English: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダムTHE ORIGIN
MAL Score: 8.34
In the year 0068 of the Universal Century, Casval Rem Deikun’s life is thrown into chaotic disarray after the assassination of his father, a prolific figure in the crusade towards civil rights for people who live away from the Earth’s surface. Casval and his sister Artesia receive aid from soldiers who were loyal to their father, and the siblings are whisked away from their home, separated, and thrown into a twisted fate that sees them come into their own as soldiers and adults.
Years before stealing the name Char Aznable or his “Red Comet” moniker, Casval must contend with the rise of a militarized version of his father’s ideology and his own vengeful nature as intergalactic war molds him into a legendary mobile suit pilot.
It would be unwise to herald such a title as absolute perfection; there are blemishes in this magnificent work of art. The questionable overreliance on 3D CGI can be off-putting when non-mechanical objects rendered in such a style look worse than Dozle in a car accident. Additionally, the film series stumbles choppily at first before truly hitting its monumental stride. Some of the ending themes are forgettable and the music takes a while to truly match the scale and magnificence of the series proper. Certain moments regarding character relationships can feel rushed as well. However, in the face of an 18-meter behemoth of passion and glory, these issues the size of a small dent. They exist yet mean little; mere bumps and scratches in the left calf of a machine painted, oiled, and buffed with the utmost care.
The character designs by legendary Gundam veteran and original mangaka Yoshikazu Yasuhiko are absolutely perfect, perfect updates on both the iconic designs of yore and the art redesigns of the manga. The expressions are the liveliest in the entire franchise, striking the perfect balance between character detail and freedom of animation of the models. As for the mechanical designs of the pre-0079 era, they work exquisitely as the prototypes and predecessors of what would become the norm of the One-Year War. The CGI work for these mechs, in particular, is nothing short of commendable, as the clunky experimental designs of the iconic mobile workers –prototypes to the iconic mobile suits– are capitalized on tremendously. The directing of the action sequences –courtesy of franchise veterans Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Takashi Imanishi– is exquisite, most especially in regards to the iconic Custom Red Zaku II Char pilots. One need look no further than the spectacular opening scene in episode 1 or the battle in episode 6 to know exactly how kinetic and monumental these skirmishes are. The smoke effects work wonderfully as well, particularly in regards to the purple smoke and explosions of Federation ships and student artillery. Dare I say, if the CGI were present in the mechanical models exclusively, this would be Gundam’s visual magnum opus! It already achieves such marks from a directorial standpoint.
Even more care was taken to make sure that each development of the characters, narrative, and technology, kept the integrity of the original series intact. Char’s vengefulness was built up perfectly and shown to be as innate to him as humanly possible. Seeing him in a position of power is an absolute treat, whether it be him taking down a Guntank single-handedly as a child, or beating up a spy with his fists and a spiked plank. His malicious tendencies also originated from a place that feels both human and sensible, unlike a more direct counterpart in Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader and how the Star Wars prequels attempted to do the same. Additionally, witnessing other major characters from the original series in their younger forms was particularly charming. The biggest standouts were Dozle –the lovable oaf– and Ramba Ral, both of whom were particular highlights in Origin. Even witnessing a younger Amuro Ray was wonderful, especially when everyone’s favorite troublesome little mascot, Haro began acting like the lovable goof fans know and love. The characters brand new to Origin held up as well and worked wonderfully in their roles, particularly Ramba’s father and the man who would take care of Char and Sayla in the second episode. Every second spent with these characters is wonderful and full of the type of bittersweet pleasantness you never get in anime, especially when you are familiar with where they end up in 0079.
The voice acting held up tremendously as well. Keith Silverstein did a marvelous job playing Char’s teenage and adult self, with just the type of calculated, semi-dominant, and slightly spiteful tinge that truly made up Char as a person up until the end of the original 0079. Kirk Thornton was splendid as a slightly younger but ultimately gravely Ramba Ral, and Doug Stone was splendid as his desperate, constantly stressed, and slightly deranged father. The most interesting casting choice was Mike Pollock -best known for his role as Eggman- whose performance as Char and Sayla’s caretaker, Don Teablo Mass. There are a plethora of other cast members who did wonderfully in their roles as well, such as Liam O’Brien, and other well-known VAs such as Lisa Ortiz and Patrick Seitz make great background character voices. Even Hamon’s singing in the penultimate installment –in both languages– especially in the context of the original’s story, is as beautiful as it is soul-crushing. Everything melts into a wonderful English dub, lip-syncing issues aside.
There’s a sense of love and passion Origin exudes, a marvelous sense of charisma that exemplifies the joys of cinema. It may not be as thematically rich as Thunderbolt, as visually mesmerizing as Char’s Counterattack, or as inviting as Turn A, but in many ways, this exemplifies the best of what Gundam has to offer. Even when displaying a sense of brutality synonymous with Gundam, this love letter to the franchise never stops bringing a sense of whimsy and evoke visceral emotion to the silver and digital screens. You may need to watch other installments to truly appreciate this one, but in doing so, this is your reward: the absolute pinnacle of Gundam!
This time around our story does NOT center around bunch of kids who fights against each others with super robots, and question their morality after falling in love with enemy kids. And when people lose their families, they do NOT get over it in mere 10 minutes like they do in the alternative version, the original Mobile Suit Gundam. No. This time our story centers around politics and military tactics, and comes off exactly as mature and realistic as is possible in the animated medium. However, from its core ‘Gundam Origin’ is character biography. It aims to capture the life of Casval Rem Deiku in a way most similar to Sports series such as ‘Major’ and ‘Hajime no Ippo’, but also close to Career series such as ‘Glass no Kamen’ (actress) and ‘Uchuu Kyoudai’ (astronaut). I am mentioning these 4 series because they are the only other anime I have ever seen to go as deep into character-centric story telling as ‘Gundam Origin’. I am a huge fan of this concept, and never in my life did I think I would see the 5th successful series to achieve this to be This anime. I have been blown away.
The details put on art and animation are insane. These six episodes took three years to make. And while this is not uncommon for OVA series at all, the team didn’t exactly spend their days loitering around. This is a work of such high caliber it mainly reminds me of ‘Hellsing Ultimate’. Outside of few building scenes, there are practically no scenery that hasn’t been animated. Even during debates, there are no scrolling backgrounds to make it create the illusion of animation and movement. During these scenes, almost every side character is in some way reacting to the conversations, be it in forms of expressions, habits or body gestures. It’s crazy.
The thing that impressed me the most is the character design, more specifically their faces. Approximately 93% of the 200something characters don’t even look like anime characters. For the first time ever, I have been impressed by the animated faces of middle aged men. They have unreal amount of details, separately designed side/front profiles and realistic facial features. The faces have so much depth that it doesn’t even stop there. Especially during close-ups, we can see shadows cast on their faces according to their facial features and room lighting. If this doesn’t impress you then I have no idea what could. Also, for the first time since ‘Gankutsuou’ has a goddamn piece of clothing burned in my very soul. I am talking about the onepiece dress seen in episode 2 at Club Eden. Talk about pretty. For the sake of readable length, I won’t go further into details, but practically everything has been polished and there isn’t much CGI outside episode 6. But even in the finale the CGI is so well done that less experienced viewers won’t even realize they are looking at CGI.
The series is, by no means, perfect. One of the side characters, Zabi Garman, can be seen as a plot element who only exists to lead the story in preferred direction. Our main character can be criticized of being a Gary Stu level Jesus who is perfect at everything and anything. Personally, I didn’t find any of these factors to be actual “problems” that could ruin the series for me. Rather, I thought they were done well. For example, the expectations others’ and Garma himself put on him didn’t match his personality, so it was easy for him to get played. Most of the time everything feels like it has been done with high level of self-awareness. The team behind Gundam Origin seems to be well aware of all its flaws and did their best on making it believable, acknowledging its imperfections and weaker sides.
Since I haven’t spoken anything about the sounds yet, I suggest you head to your closest youtube and copy-paste the following song title “Crowley Hamon – Don’t Say Goodbye” and enjoy. I let this piece speak for itself.
When it comes to enjoyment, I can’t speak on the behalf of Gundam fandom for the reason that I am not a fan of Gundam series in generally. Thus far the only ones I have really enjoyed were Vietnam, Hamburger Meat and Nice Float (08th MS Team, 0080 War in the Pocket and Unicorn – in case you are not up to date with hottest Gundam memes). I can still speak as a fan of mature anime series, as a fan of character portray, and as a fan of anime in generally. The levels of mature and realistic are -ironically- almost unrealistic, the characters are far better than anyone could expect, and the art kept constantly impressing me. I will call Gundam Origin an obligatory view for all anime fans.
First we need to go into a little background. Gundam is one of anime’s most beloved and influential franchises. However, its sheer size and the number of different entries and alternate continuities make it a very daunting franchise to get into. Sort of like anime’s Dr. Who in that regard. Where do I even start?
First, we need to go back to 1979. The original Gundam started out as a glorified toy commercial for robot model kits, but was turned into a beloved classic by the sheer dedication of Yoshiyuki Tomino. Mr. Tomino is a WEIRD man whose autism power level exceeds even my own. However, he’s also a creative genius. He introduced hard science fiction concepts like Lagrangian points, space colonies, and even added a layer of politics to make Gundam less of a super robot show and more of a Space Opera like the 1977 blockbuster, Star Wars. Tomino blurred the lines between Saturday morning cartoon and hard science fiction like Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. We get so absorbed into the world of Gundam that we forget that there’s zero strategic reason why mobile suits would be humanoid in shape or why the Zakus score so many kills with their karate kicks and cute little axes.
Everyone assumed that Gundam was made as an anti-war drama. However, Tomino said that the series is meant to be interpreted as a metaphor for growing up. A message especially intended for the otakus that collect Gundam models. The Earth forces represent the peaceful security of childhood and the space Nazis of Zeon represent the scary world of adulthood. The New Type mutants and their psychic powers were Tomino’s way of saying that people don’t listen to each other and need to start doing so. When you consider that this franchise was created to sell robot toys, Tomino’s messages and ambition were incredibly bold and respectable. He could have just phoned it in, but he went WAY above the call of duty to make an all time classic!
After the HUGE success of the original Gundam, we reach the 2nd phase of the Gundam franchise. At this point, it’s more than just a toy commercial and expectations are higher. With Zeta Gundam, Tomino expanded the politics of the original Gundam and transformed Char from a revenge obsessed, cool villain to a beloved anti-hero. The OVAs like War in the Pocket and 8th MS Team decided to go all out with the anti-war themes and make Gundam more serious. These 3 entries are generally regarded as the pinnacle of the Gundam franchise. They basically stretched it to its limits.
Now we have the 3rd phase of the Gundam franchise. Shit that looks cool and tries to recapture the lightning in the bottle. This is where we get G-Gundam, Gundam Wing, Thunderbolt, Seed, and yes, Gundam: The Origin. Some people might get mad that I just compared Origin to Wing and G-Gundam, but hear me out. Was Origin trying to teach an important lesson to depressed Otaku? Was it trying to expand the character psychology of beloved characters or take Gundam to new heights as a serious political drama? HELL NO! Origin is just a feel-good handjob for Gundam fanboys that wants to celebrate how fucking cool Char is. It is EXACTLY would you would expect if Star Wars fanboys were given 200 million dollars to make a Boba Fett movie in 1996. There is a scene in Origin where Char is playing basketball for no reason and dunking on fools like he’s Lebron James. Because OF COURSE Char would be able to do that! He’s fucking Char!
When people hear about Origin, they hear that it’s the prequel to the original 1979 Gundam. This is the place where most new fans start now. Well guess what? It’s not actually a prequel! Origin makes SOO many retcons that Sunrise admitted that it takes place in its own timeline! This was after fans pointed out that Origin basically torpedoes the plot of the original. An extremely important plot point in the original Gundam is the Antarctic Treaty. The reason nuclear weapons aren’t a factor in Gundam is because both sides agreed to stop using them after they were massively used to devastating effect in the battle of Loum. In Origin, nuclear weapons were never used at Loum. Instead, Zeon just used their cool toys to STOMP the Federation with extremely minimal casualties. Origin includes the famous “Zeon is exhausted” speech from the original, but in the context of The Origin it doesn’t make any sense! Zeon WAS exhausted in the 1979 series because they won the battle of Loum at heavy cost, largely due to the use of nuclear weapons that offset Zeon’s initial advantage in robotics. While Zeon won at Loum, they lost a ton of men and weren’t able to keep up with the Federation’s wartime production after that battle. Loum in the 1979 series was basically if the Japanese had won the battle of Midway while still losing 4 carriers. They needed it to end the war and once it didn’t they were fighting a losing battle due to differences in population and manufacturing power.
One bold decision that Origin made was to cover in greater detail Zeon’s genocidal operation that killed half the human population. In the original series, it happened prior to the start of the series and the casualties are kind of vague. Origin leaves no doubt that Gihren Zabi is the most pants on head insane, evil bastard in human history. His own father calls him “a grotesque parody of Adolf Hitler”. There’s a dramatic scene where Ramba Rall quits the Zeon army after witnessing the sheer depravity of Zeon’s plans. So I guess his fight with Amuro never happened in the Origin timeline, which creates its own string of issues. My point is that Origin directly draws attention to one of the biggest issues in Gundam. Zeon’s leader is SO insane and unbelievably evil that it becomes a joke to portray any Zeon soldier sympathetically. Any person with any shred of human decency would defect or lay down arms after the unprovoked slaughter of 5 billion people! Most of the Zeon colonists still had relatives on Earth. There wasn’t enough time for their society to see everyone outside of Zeon as completely sub-human and ingrain this ideology in every single one of them!
Do you know what Origin REALLY wanted to focus on though? How cool Char is! We don’t actually learn anything new about Char. He’s a man who sold his soul for revenge against the Zabi family. He fights for evil in order to eventually claim revenge on the people that killed his father. Oh and then he fights for the independence of Space people…then he just cares about his pissing contest with Amuro…then he wants to kill the Zabis again. Simply put, Char has never been a perfect character even before Tomino ruined him with Char’s Counter-Attack. So why do we like Char? Because he looks cool! He kills all his opponents with ease while making snarky remarks. He outsmarts his enemies, backstabs his allies, and scores with all the ladies. Char is a male power fantasy that embodies how we would like to see ourselves. He’s confident. He’s in charge. He’s fucking BADASS! Even Tomino soon realized that he loved Char WAY more than the hero Amuro and started thinking about sexy new girlfriends for Char. According to Tomino, it’s very important that we ALL know how often Char gets his dick wet. Origin takes this Char worship to the laughable degree you would expect. Char is Japanese Boba Fett meets James Bond meets Conan the Destroyer. Personally, I think Gundam is at its best when it’s tackling themes or challenging us emotionally like War in the Pocket. I don’t JUST want to jerk off to Char all the time!
So where does this leave us? If you’re a Gundam fan, I would still highly recommend that you watch Origin. It’s very fun and it looks spectacular! I’ll happily add this to my extended favorites, where it can hang out with Wing and G Gundam. I didn’t write this review to say that I dislike Origin! However, I just read a review that Origin transcends the other Gundam series and is more like Galactic Heroes than a mere Gundam! This frankly just makes me laugh. Origin is not this 300 IQ masterpiece that just shits on all the other Gundam series. It’s a very enjoyable, good Gundam series that has become a little too overrated IMO. Still recommended!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
2. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
3. Yuusha-Ou GaoGaiGar Final
4. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
5. Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
6. Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch R2 Special Edition – Zero Requiem
7. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
8. Seikai no Senki III
9. Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch Special Edition – Black Rebellion
10. Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Special Edition
11. Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor: New OVA
12. Ranma : Akumu! Shunmin Kou
13. Future GPX Cyber Formula Sin
15. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Operation Meteor
16. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Final Plus: The Chosen Future
17. Future GPX Cyber Formula Zero
18. Mai-Otome 0: S.ifr
19. Future GPX Cyber Formula Saga
20. Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
21. Future GPX Cyber Formula 11
22. Soukou Kihei Votoms: Red Shoulder Document – Yabou no Roots
23. Mai-Otome Zwei
24. Soukou Kihei Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder
25. Kikou Ryohei Mellowlink
26. Accel World EX
27. Dirty Pair OVA
28. Dirty Pair: Lovely Angels yori Ai wo Komete
29. Soukou Kihei Votoms: Kakuyaku taru Itan
30. Soukou Kihei Votoms: Koei Futatabi
31. Zone of the Enders: 2167 Idolo
32. Love Live! School Idol Project OVA
33. 30th Gundam Perfect Mission
34. Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079
35. Aoki Ryuusei SPT Layzner OVA
36. Natsu-iro Kiseki: 15-kaime no Natsuyasumi
37. Soukou Kihei Votoms: Genei-hen
38. Dirty Pair: Bouryaku no 005-bin
39. Soukou Kihei Votoms: Big Battle
40. Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: Gravity of the Battlefront
41. Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War
42. Dirty Pair Flash
43. Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Memory of Eden
44. Dirty Pair Flash 2
45. Kimi ni Maji Kyun!
46. Crusher Joe OVA
47. Yoroiden Samurai Troopers Gaiden
48. Gundam Evolve
49. Dirty Pair Flash 3
50. Yoroiden Samurai Troopers Kikoutei Densetsu