Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team – Complete Collection (2009 Release – Anime Legends) (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
August 10, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM – The 08th MS TEAM is a 12-episode OAV series that shows the nature of war between the Federation and the Zeon. An anime made more dramatic with its Romeo and Juliet type of storyline. This complete collection also includes the special 55-minute “Miller’s Report”. Overall, this series is action-packed, gripping and definitely is high on the list of must-see Gundam titles! Highly recommended!”
Image courtesy of © 1996-2001 SOTSU-SUNRISE. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team – Complete Collection (Anime Legends)
DURATION: 12 OVA Episodes (355 Minutes) + Miller’s Report Special
DVD INFORMATION: English and Japanese 2.0, 1:33:1 Full Frame, Full English, Songs & Signs
COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment
RATED: Suggested 13 & Up
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Originally created by Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino
Directed by Takeyuki Kanda, Umanosuke Iida
Screenplay by Akira Okeya, Hiroaki Kitajima
Storyboard by Akira Nishimori, Kunihiro Mori, Takeshi Ashizawa, Tetsu Shimotaya, Umanosuke Iida, Yuichiro Yokoyama
Music by Kouhei Tanaka
Character Designs by Tomoaki Kado, Toshihiro Kawamoto
Art Director by Shigemi Ikeda
Animation Director: Akitoshi Yokoyama, Jun Sato, Katsutoshi Tsunoda, Koji Sugiura, Shinichi Sakuma, Toru Yoshida
Mechanical Design by Hajime Katoki, Kimitoshi Yamane, Kunio Okawara
Sound Director: Yasuo Uragami
Director of Photography: Kumiko Taniguchi
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kikuko Inoue/Emily Brown as Aina Sakhalin
Nobuyuki Hiyama/Steve Cannon as Shiro Amada
Chinami Nishimura/Georgette Rose as Kiki Rosita
Hiro Yuuki/Tony Ricchi as Michel Ninorinch
Ichiro Nagai/Bob Marx as Gidan Nickerd
Keiji Fujiwara/Christy Mathewson as Eledore Mathiss
Mami Koyama/Debbie Derosa as Karen Joshua
Osamu Ichikawa/Michael McConnohie as Norris Packard
Sho Hayami/Lex Lang as Gineas Sakhalin
Tessho Genda/Steve Kramer as Terry Sanders
Yuzura Fujimoto/Alfred Thor as Kojima
The Year is Universal Century 0079 – The Federation has begun mass production of the prototype Gundams for use by their ground forces. Shiro Amada, commander of the 08th MS Team must lead his squadron through fierce guerilla fighting on the ground. However, the Principality of Zeon is developing a secret project which could tip the balance of power! Can Shiro and his ragteam of cast-offs, rejects, and bad attitudes save the Federation.
A Romeo & Juliet style of storyline in the Universal Century timeline for “Mobile Suit Gundam”.
I decided that in 2008, I’m going to watch every Gundam release in the Universal Century timeline on DVD and one title that was high up on my list was the fan favorite “Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team”. As for this popular MS Gundam OVA series, it has been released several times by Bandai Entertainment. First as individual volumes back in 2002, then a complete set in 2005 and now as part of the “Anime Legends”, the set is re-released with all 12 OAV episodes and the OAV Miller’s Report.
Made in 1996 and released in a 12-episode OVA (followed up by another OVA titled “Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Miller’s Report”), the series was directed by Takeyuki Kanda (“Kiko Senki Dragonar”, “SD Gundam Musha, Knight, Commando”) and Umanosuke Iida (“Origin ~Spirits of the Past~”, “Vandread” and “Hellsing”) and a screenplay by Akira Okeya (“Grenadier”, “Kodocha”, “Transformers: Armada”) and Hiroaki Kitajima (“Noein”, “Vision of Escaflowne” and “Witch Hunter Robin”).
The OVA series would feature a talent crew such as music by popular anime composer Kouhei Tanaka (“Ah! My Goddess”, “Gate Keepers”, “Dirty Pair”, “Gunbuster”, etc.) and character designs by Tomoaki Kado (who worked on series such as “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “.Hack/Sign” and “Infinite Ryvius”) and Toshihiro Kawamoto (who worked on series such as “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “City Hunter” and “Macross Plus”). Mechanical designs are by Hajime Katoki (“Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”, “Gundam Evolve”, “Super Robot Wars OG Divine Wars” and the “Patlabor” movies), Kimitoshi Yamane (“Cowboy Bebop”, “Infinite Ryvius” and “Spriggan”) and Kunio Okawara (“Armored Trooper Votoms”, “Mobile Suit Gundam”, “Gravion” and “Super Robot Wars OG Divine Wars”).
The series takes place during October U.C. 0079 through December U.C. 0079 (during the final months of the one year war) and from reading online reports, 08th MS Team director Kanda Takeyuki wanted to deglamorize Mobile Suits because they were being mass produced and also wanted to focus more on ground-troop level combat.
The 08th MS Team is lead by their Commander Shiro Amada, a man with a unique style of leadership. Shiro is a leader who wants to accomplish a mission without bloodshed. He respects human life no matter if it’s comrade or enemy.
Thus in the first episode, he goes after a Zeon pilot and after the fight ensues between him and the Zeon warrior, instead of killing the soldier, he ends up rescuing and bandaging the soldier. The soldier is Zeon pilot Aina Sakhalin.
Aina is shocked that a Federation officer has tried to save her life and he is nothing like other Federation soldiers. This is a person with compassion. Needless to say, in order to survive, both must work together to rescue themselves from danger and that time alone, the two form a respect for each other.
As we get to learn more about Shiro, from episode two through five, these episodes are more or less introductory episodes to each key individual of the 08th MS Team.
The team consists of:
Terry Sanders: In episode 1, Shiro saves Sanders life. But to many others, he is rumored to be bad luck because each team he has been a part of, everyone has died. Shiro doesn’t believe in any “bad luck” nonsense and puts his faith in Terry.
Karen Joshua: Karen is a muscular woman, a pilot, mechanic and very headstrong member of the team. Throughout the series, you learn why Karen is fighting and so passionate in fighting.
Eledore Mathis: Eledor is in charge of driving the tank. He seems to have a fascination towards Karen but his carefree style gets on her nerves. Eledore is also a songwriter and really doesn’t want to be in the military but to create music.
Michel Ninorinch: Michel is the youngest member of the 08th MS Team. He’s not very military savvy but he assists Eledore in maintaining the tank. His inexperience on the field tends to get on the nerves of the other team members but they regard him as part of the team nonetheless. Each day he sends a letter to his girlfriend BB every day to let her know that he is alive and well. But always worries of the day he won’t be able to send a letter and being killed during combat.
Kiki Rosita: Kiki is not an official member of the 08th MS Team. She’s part of a guerilla group of villagers who side with the 08th MS Team but only partnering together in order to rid of the Zeon in their area. But she grows fond of Shiro and takes part in their missions.
The twelve episodes for “Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team – Complete Collection – Anime Legends” are on a total of four discs and the special on the fifth disc. Included are:
- EPISODE 1 – War for Two
- EPISODE 2 – Gundams in the Jungle
- EPISODE 3 – The Time Limit on Trust
- EPISODE 4 – The Demon Overhead
- EPISODE 5 – The Broken Order to Stand By
- EPISODE 6 – Battle Line on the Burning Sand
- EPISODE 7 – Reunion
- EPISODE 8 – Duty and Ideals
- EPISODE 9 – Front Line
- EPISODE 10 – The Shuddering Mountain (Part 1)
- EPISODE 11 – The Shuddering Mountain (Part 2)
- EPISODE 12 – Last Resort
- Miller’s Report
The first five episodes are more or less getting to know the characters, more character development type of episodes focusing on each key member and their challenges during the war. You also see a side of the war such as the strategies to combat the enemy and also, unlike Gundams that can withstand hits and attacks, these Gundams can easily be damaged or even destroyed. Also, to show that pilots are not always strong. They have their weaknesses.
Once you get to episode 6, the humorous nature of the anime series suddenly turns serious as it sets up the battle between the 08th MS Team and the Zeon team headed by Aina.
During their battle, Shiro and Aina are taken far away and must depend on each other for survival and you learn that from the day they first met, the two have wanted to be together and are indeed in love with each other.
This sets up the final half of the OAV series sets up the stage as Shiro is being accused as a spy for Zeon and he has put his 08th MS Team at risk and for possible execution as accomplices. In order to redeem themselves, the Federation puts them in a mission with a 38% survival rate and that mission is to destroy the Zeon base. This also a mission that pits Shiro and Aina in opposition. Will they remain true to their side of the military or will they remain true to their relationship?
As for Miller’s Report, back when it was released, many people debated whether or not to buy this special episode because it was more or less a rehash of the series but it did come with a few minutes of important footage.
In Japan, with the success of a television series or series in general, there tends to be a special that focuses on clips from the series. Sometimes you get additional footage and fortunately for “MILLER’S REPORT”, you get footage covering Shiro Amada’s trial as he is standing trial on being a spy for the Zeon.
Alice Miller, an officer of the Federation Intelligence Division has been dispatched to find the truth of why Shiro Amada a) Let a Zeon officer go free (not once but twice) b) Why he did not capture the enemy mobile armor when that was his primary mission.
Of the 55-minutes of the special episode, five minutes or maybe less is actual additional footage. It may be a rehashing of clips from the series but the fact is that there is additional footage that has Amada explaining to Miller of why he did what he did, more on Eledore and also the Federation’s perspective of the whole situation.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The video quality is what I expected from an OVA series that took place back in 1995. For those expecting that sharp, vibrant digital look of today’s modern anime of course may be put off by the clarity of anime back then. But this is how it was and personally, the transfer quality of this classic anime onto DVD was pretty solid. I didn’t catch any excessive dust or scratches. Also, digital compression artifacts. It helps that there are only three episodes per DVD as well. So, you really get cool action-packed fight scenes and good lighting that shows daylight and darkness throughout the jungle or desert. Aspect ratio is: 1.33:1 full frame, not widescreen.
As for audio, both English and Japanese dubs are featured in Stereo 2.0. I originally watched the complete series in Japanese with English subtitles but I watched it this second time around via the English dub. The English dubbing was pretty good and for the English dub, one can expect the use of profanity. But it does work because these soldier’s are fighting in a war and are on the battlefield. And also this time around, I watched the anime series with my receiver set for all channels in Stereo and it definitely sounds much better the second time around.
Subtitles are only in English.
“Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team – Complete Collection” comes with the following special features:
- Textless opening theme
- Bonus Clip – (2:28) which is more or less a promo for “Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team”
- Bandai Entertainment Trailers
- MS Encyclopedia – Using your DVD remote, you can scroll through various information of various Mobile Gundam Suits and the Ball.
- Bonus Clip – (9:08) “More About the Universal Century” features a total of three clips (note: Unlike on the other discs, these clips are not separated but shown one after the other) about the war between the Federation and the Zeon. Included are: “Construction of the Colonies” (The Beginning of the Universal Century), “THE ONE YEAR WAR (The Opening Shots)” and “MOBILE SUIT DEVELOPMENT (The Ambitions of Zeon”).
- Bandai Entertainment Trailers
- Bonus Clip 1 – (3:19) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “Operation Odessa”.
- Bonus Clip 2 – (2:49) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “Pilots 1 – Char Aznable”.
- Bonus Clip 3 – (3:16) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “Mobile Suit Development – THE V PROJECT”.
- MS Encyclopedia – Using your DVD remote, you can scroll through various information of various Mobile Suits which include the Zaku’s, Gouf’s, Acguy and Apsalus.
- Bandai Entertainment Trailers
- Bonus Clip 1 – (3:16) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “The One Year War – OPERATION STAR ONE”.
- Bonus Clip 2 – (3:05) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “Pilots 2 – Ramba Ral and the Black Tri-Stars”.
- Bonus Clip 3 – (3:15) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “Mobile Armor Development – THE AMBITIONS OF ZEON”.
- Bonus Clip 4 – (2:40) “More About the Universal Century” featurette about “The One Yer War – THE END”.
- MS Encyclopedia – Using your DVD remote, you can scroll through various information of various vehicles and the characters of “Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team”.
- Bandai Entertainment Trailers
- Textless Opening (OVA)
- Textless Ending (OVA)
- Playstation 2 Footage – (25:52) The following features video clips from the Playstation 2 video game “Journey to Jaburo”. You can watch all clips at once via “All Gundam Opening” or watch the following clips separately: Gundam Rising, Re-Entry to Earth, Garma Strikes, Garma’s Fate, Amuro Deserts, Cross of Sand, Ramba Ral’s Attack, Soldiers of Sorrow, Tragedy in Jaburo, Ending, To Be Continued, Pilot Messages: Alex and Chris Blue Destiny, Shiro Amada, White Dingo, Federation Girls, Hail Zeon!
- Bandai Entertainment Trailers
Having now completed my viewing of the entire series, I can’t help but recommend this OAV series. Also, for it’s price, you are getting all 12 OVA episodes and also the Miller’s Report special.
At first, I questioned the lightheartedness of the crew, the comedy and humor and their abilities as pilots because the early episodes focused on their personal naivety and to see them bested by villagers and to see Mobile Suits being easily destroyed, I really didn’t know what to expect. But the build up in storyline and how they prepare you for the final battle is just exciting, action-packed and you can’t help but root for Shiro and Aina in their Romeo and Juliet romance and the final episode “Last Resort” (which takes place months after the final battle and the end of the war).
I’ve read that in the US, the final 12th episode “Last Resort” was not aired on television because children were featured. For those not familiar with the MS Gundam series, a lot of the adults and men were killed in action on both the Federation and Zeon side. So, women and children were put into the battlefield as soldiers. Also, a side not in terms of the final 12th episode. “Last Resort” was released 3 1/2 years after the 11th episode after the death of director Kanda Takeyuki who died in a car accident. The series was completed by GONZO’s Iida Umanosuke. But for those who have watched the series on television and haven’t seen “Last Resort”, it’s imperative to watch the final 12th episode only on DVD because you get to learn the fate of the Shiro and Aina.
And again, for those who missed out on “Miller’s Report” can now own it along with the other 12 OVA episodes.
Overall, “MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: The 08th MS Team” is just a remarkable OAV series in the Universal Century world of Gundam. You really get a sense of how sick war is and how both sides (Zeon and Federation) and even the non-military villagers have suffered from it. But also, how MS Gundams were not indestructible. Almost like in real life, even with the most modern of technology, may it be tanks or aircraft, they can be easily destroyed.
This was a very big difference in contrast to the “Mobile Suit Gundam” films (and I’m guessing as shown in the earlier episodes) where the Zeon was just in awe of how Amuro Ray’s Mobile Suit hardly suffered any damage.
Also, you get to see a bit of strategy by the 08th team and of course, where Federation and Zeon are just at each others throats in many Gundam storylines, for this storyline, you have a Federation commander and a major Zeon pilot who have fallen in love with each other. It really is a Gundam “Romeo and Juliet” storyline with an impressive ending. A great payoff for those who have watched the OVA’s overtime.
“Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team – Complete Collection” via Bandai Entertainment’s “Anime Legends” is highly recommended!
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