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MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM MS IGLOO vol. 2 – Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO – Apocalypse 0079 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 2, 2008 by  



“MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM MS IGLOO – Apocalypse 007″ features very awesome, action-packed CG visuals in conjunction with a captivating, enjoyable and tragic storyline that deserves a special place in the hearts of MS Gundam “Universal Century” fans.

DVD TITLE: MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM MS IGLOO – Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO – Apocalypse 0079

DURATION: Approx. 85 minutes + 8 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles

CATALOG #: BUDH0127

COMPANY: Bandai Visual/Honneamise

DIRECTOR: Imanishi Takashi

SCREENWRITER: (ep. 2 and 3) Ohkuma Tomohide, (ep. 2) Ohnogi Hiroshi

Original Story by Yatate Hajime, Tomino Yosiyuki (from Mobile Suit Gundam)

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

The war for independence, later called the One-Year War, is reaching its end…

Side 3, the farthest colony form Earth, proclaimed themselves as the Principality of Zeon and declared war against the Earth Federation.

Despite what the members of the 603 think, the war is reaching its end.

The 603 Technical Evaluation Unit’s long, harsh journey is reaching its end as well…

What I love about the Mobile Suit Gundam series (most importantly the “Universal Century” timeline) is how intricate the detail of the toll war has taken on both sides.

I remember after watching the original “Mobile Suit Gundam” films, I have always looked as the Principality of Zeon as just the worst enemy. As compared to the Empire of “Star Wars” or the Zentradi of “Macross”. People who have no regard to the life of mankind and just bent on destruction.

But as we start to watch other series such as “Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket”, you started to get this feeling of suffering.

With the first volume of “MS IGLOO” ala “The Hidden One Year War”, we got a glimpse of a side of the “Principality of Zeon” through the eyes of Engineer Lieutenant Oliver May.

Primarily of his goal of obtaining data on prototype war machines and weapons which more or less shows the heroes of who put their lives on the line for their Principality of Zeon but mostly for the advancement of technology in the war.

With each episode, we have seen tragedy. But with the lives of those who have perished in the war, has given them hope.

We saw a human side, not a dark or twisted side of the crew of the Jotunheim. Joining Lt. Oliver May is Captain Martin Prochnow, a rational decision-maker and commensurate captain. Special Operations Lt. Commander Monique Cadillac, who supervises the tests of the prototype weapons and not exactly well-liked by the crew because of her brash tongue and the other crew members on the Jotunheim.

“MS IGLOO” shows us the other side of war, the side of the Principality of Zeon and how, even the crew learn about how they are used in the war and also, how individuals feel about the war and the Earth Federation.

I would have never pictured myself caring for the characters that belonged on the side of the Zeon but “MS IGLOO” does a fine job of taking you on a ride with the crew and just overall getting another perspective, especially against the Earth Federation.

For the first episode of vol. 2 titled “In the Skies of Jaburo, I Saw the Sea”, the story focuses on Sub Lt. Werner Holbein who is a marine in charge of operating the Mobile Diver System. Holbein comes from the support ship Muspelheim which was shot down by the Earth Federation.

Similar to the last volume, there is a continuation of testing of the prototype weapons and of course, the theme of tragedy.

But the most intriguing episodes are the final two of “MS IGLOO Vol. 2”.

Episode 2 is titled “Cross the Path of Light” which introduces us to Commodore Herbert von Kuspen who is an experienced officer and becomes the main person in charge of the Jotunheim.

While waiting for enforcements to arrive, you learn that who was sent to the Jotunheim are not experienced soldiers. They are young Zeon soldiers who must pilot the mass-produced weapon “Oggo”. One of the young soldiers is Chief Petty Officer Erwin Cadillac (the 16-year-old brother of Lt. Commander Monique Cadillac), who is chosen as one of the three to take on the Earth Federation’s RB-79 Ball (the mass produced pods).

Episode 3, the final episode on vol. 2 is titled “Spirits Returning to the Cries of Thunder”. Because of the lack of experienced soldiers around (many have been killed in battle and the reinforcements for the Jotunheim are young teenagers), the main character, Lt. Oliver May known for collecting data on the prototype weapons, has now been ordered to pilot the Combat Supportive Type Mobile Armor “Big-Rang” and head out to the warzone. The Big-Rang is a weapon that serves also a refilling station for the pods.

This episode is literally the final battle and and the main characters become major players in war against the Earth Federation. Who lives? Who dies? Definitely an action-packed episode.

So, without spoiling this second volume, the storyline was well-done in my opinion. I really enjoyed seeing another perspective of the war and what was accomplished by the team in six OAV’s (two volumes), I am very pleased with the overall storyline.

It appears that for the second volume, not sure if it was necessarily a boost in technology or what. But the second volume looks incredible in 3D. The action scenes were well done and I could imagine how challenging the project was. This final volume features tragedy in different stages and how emotion was captured, was well done. Also, the OAV’s are featured in 16:9 LB.

As for audio, Bandai Visual is known for their high encoding and giving fans what they want in terms of audio as both mixes were encoded at 448kbps and featured in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Stereo. And the Japanese voice acting is top notch. Sorry, there are no English dubs on this DVD.

Special features include the next episode trailers, textless opening and endings and an MS Igloo Gallery.

Similar to previous Bandai Visual releases, like the first volume, the second comes with a 24-page booklet with episode synopsis, character profiles, technical profiles for vehicles and weapons, episode highlights and insight to certain scenes from vol. 2. Like the first volume book, vol. 2 is just as informative and fun to read.

After watching the second volume of “MS IGLOO”, I can’t help but appreciate the Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Universal Century) timeline but also appreciate what Imanishi Takashi and staff was trying to accomplish.

As for Gundam going 3D animation, well this is where it becomes a stickler for people. Especially during the time of high budget 3D animation, if one is expecting a series in the caliber of “Final Fantasy: Advent Children” or even other big budget 3D films, then you might be disappointed because again, Imanishi and team had to work with a strict budget. By saying that, I felt that what he was able to accomplish was well done. Although a lot of scenes do take place on the bridge, there are some really cool action scenes during the battles and I actually like to see how emotion was utilized with the character and the texturing of the skin and I guess, I tend to look at it more of a technical sense and what was achieved

Its somewhat how I feel about video games especially now with next gen consoles. You can have the best graphically looking game but without a good storyline and gameplay, it’s nothing. For an OAV series, “MS IGLOO” features cool 3D animation but also a very intriguing storyline that I found gripping, action-packed and just the emotions of war (anger, sadness, deception, determination, persistence and even happiness even if brief) and the team captured those emotions well.

The second volume features really awesome visuals and I have to say that this second volume not only features a gripping, exciting and tragic storyline but there is something about this volume that I found special within the Gundam UC world and again, that is seeing a whole new perspective through the eyes of the Principality of Zeon and its characters.

If you are a Mobile Suit Gundam fan (especially for the UC world) and own the original series or its four films, “Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta”, “MSG 0080: War in the Pocket” and”MSG 0083: Stardust Memory” on DVD, I highly recommend checking out the “MS IGLOO – Apocalypse 0079” and of course, the first volume as well.

A terrific ending for “MS Igloo” and and definitely a Gundam series worth adding to your anime collection!

+ A storyline taking place during the One-Year war and a Zeon perspective

+ Intriguing storyline and pretty cool 3D animation

+ Very informative booklet

+ Well-acted and awesome audio

– Some fans may not be open to 3D animation

– Fans who hope for an English dub will not find it on this DVD

OVERALL RATING: A






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