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MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080 – WAR IN THE POCKET Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 19, 2008 by  



“A six-part Gundam OAV series that gives you a child’s perspective of how war sucks. Very different from any Mobile Suit Gundam out there!”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080 – WAR IN THE POCKET Complete Collection

DURATION: Approx. 150 minutes (six OAV episodes)

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / English and Japanese audio, Stereo

CATALOG #: ISBN-1-590409-595-7

COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

STAFF INFORMATION:

DIRECTOR: Takayama Fumihiko

ORIGINAL STORY: Yatate Hajime, Tomino Yoshiyuki

TELEPLAY BY: Mark Amato, Stephani Pena-Sy

SCENARIO: Yuki Kyosuke

SCREENPLAY: Yamaga Hiroyuki

CHARACTER DESGIN: Mikimoto Haruhiko

DESIGN WORKS: Izubuchi Yutaka

MECHA DESIGN COOPERATION: Akitaka Mika, IShizu Yasushi

MUSIC: Kashibuchi Tetsuro

PRODUCED BY: Sunrise, Inc., Bandai Visual Co., LTD.

Universal Century 0079. When the Zeons learn of a new Gundam being built, the veteran Cyclops Team is dispatched to the civilian colony of Libot to investigate. Their newest member, Bernie Wiseman, gets shot down in action and meets young Al, who dreams of mobile suits and space battles. Al thinks of Bernie as a friend and even goes great lengths to track him down while on his mission.

He doesn’t realize the potential danger he’s in. And Al’s next-door neighbor Chiristina returns home with a new “government job.” She’s really the test pilot of the top-secret Gundam Alex – the objective of Bernie’s mission! As the story unfolds, three lives will be changed forever by this one small part of the war.

“MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080: WAR IN THE POCKET” takes place in December, Universal Century 0079. Literally the final month of the One Year War between the Earth Federation versus the Principality of Zeon.

In Side 6 is the civilian colony of Libot which is neutral and have not been picking any sides between both the Earth Federation or Zeon but the Zeon are dispatched to the colony after the Earth Federation were seen, trying to fly and sneak something top secret to the colony.

For Zeon pilot Bernie, all he wants is to be the best pilot out there and assumes things will be safe on the neutral planet while on a mission, that is until the Federation mobile suits come out with guns ablazing.

Bernie’s Zaku crashes into a dense forest-like area and is discovered by a young boy named Al. A 10-year-old kid who is so starry eyed towards mobile suits and space battles.

Al tends to get into arguments (and bad grades) in school because his interest is so much into mobile suits and space battles that he ends up helping Bernie and actually assisting the Zeon Cyclops Team, not knowing that he’s being used.

To make matters much more interesting, his next door neighbor that he adores, Christina is back at home and has join the Earth Federation but not knowing that she is testing the new Gundam Alex, the new Gundam that Bernie and the Cyclops Team are after.

“MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080: WAR IN THE POCKET COMPLETE COLLECTION” offers all six OAV’s on two discs. Re-released in 2005, this anime OAV series released back in 1989 was the first Gundam OAV series and also the first Gundam series not given to the co-creators to direct. This led to the side story that didn’t deal with Newtypes but more towards the civilian perspective of the war.

VIDEO:

Since the video source is from 1989, for its age, the transfer to the DVD is pretty good. The animation was colorful and speaking of animation, it’s so cool to have the character designs by Mikimoto Haruhiko (Macross, Gunbuster).

AUDIO:

Audio is in stereo.  There is no digital 5.1 mix but I would imagine that with the series approaching its 20th anniversary, perhaps a digital 5.1 mix on Blu-Ray is a possibility.

I listened to both the Japanese and English dub and although I am a bit biased towards to the Japanese voice acting, the English dub was not too bad. If anything, the worse is only when it focused on the Cyclops Team with one of the members having this accent that just didn’t come over so well.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

As for special features, both discs has a good amount of bonus features such as the original Japanese trailers, music videos, textless opening and endings, Mobile Suit Encyclopedia (detailed information on the mobile suits) and “All that Gundam” with music by Kawai Kenji showing Gundams battling each other and then you see the promotion of Gundam 0080 with Bernie, Al and Christina.

I know that “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080: WAR IN THE POCKET” is a classic and many fans adored the storyline because it showcased the perspective of war from a young child’s perspective and how war pretty much sucks!

I enjoyed the overall OAV series but personally, I had some problems with it and mainly it centering around the 10-year-old Al.

For example, in the first episode, Al sees Bernie’s Zaku crashing from his school yard.  Automatically, he knows where it fell (in a dense forest area).  For days, this Zaku has remained stationary in that forest area with no one ever finding it but Al.  I can’t believe that no one has found this Zaku (which is still somewhat functional) except Al and that bugged me a little.

Then there was a segment where Bernie and Al are in space suits (after breaking into a top secret area).  As if there are space suits and helmets for short kids instantly available in a working area.  I know that it was important to show this bond between Al and Bernie but this bugged me a little as well.

And then there is the final episode, a great episode but how a ten year-old kid can cover so much ground running versus an adult to get from point A to point B in time for a battle, again…that bugged me a little.

And of course, how Al seems to sneak into top secret areas and covertly gets information. Very stealthy!  Granted, I know this is me zeroing in on Al too much but this is a ten year old kid, not Solid Snake (ie. Metal Gear Solid).

But aside from these little nitpicky things that I found that in no means does it detract from the overall series because “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080: WAR IN THE POCKET” is a series full of action, humor, tragedy, happiness, sadness and warmth.

One of the things that I liked was how the screenwriter focused on the relationship between Al and Bernie which more or less becomes like his big brother or father figure that he looks up to.  And then showing the contrast of him being miserable at home, without a father figure and always complaining of his mother and you see how it affects him deeply, even in school.

But his emotions and his perspective of war from the beginning of meeting up with Bernie and then leading up to the final episode and to see how Al is affected was truly emotional and definitely gives a certain perspective of the war from a civilian.

It’s a pretty interesting storyline to have that civilian perspective but also a perspective of fear after helping the enemy, the ramifications that come with it.  The animation really captured Al’s emotions quite well.

I have to admit that by Takayama Fumihiko directing and Mikimoto Haruhiko responsible for character designs, “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080: WAR IN THE POCKET” had this special feeling of being something different compared to what was released around that time or before and just giving fans something fresh visually and in storytelling.

All in all, this complete collection on DVD can be found online for a good price and for any Gundam fan, this is a must have in their collection.

Definitely recommended!

+ Very cool storyline giving viewers the civilian perspective of the wa

+ Cool character designs by Mikimoto Haruhiko, cool animation

+  Great voice acting on the Japanese side, really good voice acting on the English dub aside from few minor characters

+  Twenty years later since the original release and the OAV series still stands strong in its own.

–  A few farfetched scenes with Al

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