Ongoing Investigations: Case #053

We had really been digging the Gundam Universal Century OAVs, the 08th MS Team and 0080 were excellent. They both had their flaws but overall they were really enjoyable. Then we came to Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, third time is obviously not the charm. This was a chore to get through. When the Federation creates a new Gundam prototype with nuclear capabilities an ace pilot from a Zeon remnant named Gato steals it. It is up to Kou to take the other Gundam prototype and capture Gato before he can unfurl a plan that merely begins with stealing a Gundam. It is not the most original Gundam plot but it is one that has worked  but this time it utterly failed. There was something generally wonky about the plot. I kept waiting for a  reveal that all the seemingly utterly horrible decisions made by the Federation were part of some elaborate plot but that is not the case. No one in this series makes anything close to normal human decisions. Kou and Nina Purpleton’s relationship was just so bizarre I could never even attempt to get into it. When you’re longing for the authentic relationships of Tomino you know something has gone horribly wrong. The worst part is this is the Gundam OAV that really ties into the main series since the events in Stardust Memory go on to majorly help create the Titans. This series has fans for two reasons that don’ really matter that much to me: great mobile suit designs and cameo appearance of some important Zeta Gundam players like Bask Om and Haman Karn. This was an utterly horrid Universal Century Gundam series and the sooner I moved on the better.

I like the opening for Stardust Memory, yup, I sure did like that opening. Oh right, now I have to talk about the rest of it. We start with a classic rivalry of rookie vs enemy ace, the robots are cool, the animation is pretty nice, but things just feel off. Why is there a faction of Zeon pirates? And where exactly did they get their uniforms? Cima is completely decked out with a cloak and tiger skinned rug on the floor while many of her henchmen wear shirts with no sleeves or completely open chested. And seeing them interact with regular officers is even more laughable as if they showed up for a costume party that no one knew about. Our female representative on the other side, Nina, is all kinds of contradictory and so ineffectual that one has to wonder how she got her job. Also the pilots on the side of Federation are super assholes minus Kou (but he gets no points because he likes Nina who is a dumb, dumb woman) and Keith (who also loses points for lamest helmet decal). Gato I guess is a pretty bad dude but even he isn’t very engaging. The entire cast is forgettable atleast in any good way. Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory doesn’t start off too badly, but it quickly goes down hill culminating in a nonsensical ending that had me saying “WHAT!? WAIT!” I suppose it should get a few props for really surprising me! I have heard mixed opinions of the series but mine is a definitive “poor.”

I watched the 15-part Gundam Evolve series. It is a unique set of shorts that were either originally packed with certain model kits or played at conventions. They range from about 5 to 15 minutes long. For the most part they are in the Universal Century timeline but there are a few in the others including Gundam Seed, G Gundam, and Wing. Oh and there is a SD Gundam set in a feudal Japanese samurai story setting (see phatbhuda they were thinking of you). All the episodes except for the first feature new footage with CG models of the mecha. Almost all the stories are there for the express purpose of being robot porn aka seeing good looking mecha in combat situations or just to pander to the Gundam fans odd tastes. I mean what else can you say about an episode devoted to the RB-79 Ball. I get the feeling that if you showed this to 10 different mecha fans each one would come way with a different one they liked most. The most interesting was episode 5 where we get a slightly more positive ending to Char’s Counter Attack. Also the little comedy bits with the God Gundam in episode 3 were golden. My only complaint was there should be more Allenby. If you are a Gundam fan there is no reason not to check this out. I can’t think of and episode that was not enjoyable. It might actually take you more time to download them than to watch them. I also suggest them for anime conventions or anime clubs. They are just odd enough to be something that people at the convention or club might not have already seen on their own.

I finished the last half of Eureka Seven getting so caught up that I was watching 6 and then 8 episodes in a row by the end. The plot really picks up steam in the second half and there were quite a few revelations snuck up on me and left me breathless. Renton matures so realistically with a recurring one step forward two steps back and chiding himself in the process. But in the end Renton does everything he says he will. It was unique how characters could change so fully, but believably, as the series went on. Eureka Seven’s most impressive quality is its characterization and relationships that fill up the room when you are watching. Because of this it is a story that instills in you the need to see it through to the end.

Since I got the Gundam 00 S1 Pt.1 Special Edition it came with a copy of Gundam 00F. Gundam 00F is a gaiden manga that takes place during the events of the main Gundam 00 TV series and serves as a sequel to Gundam 00P. It revolves around Fon Spaak a member of the Celestial Being support group Fereshte. Since Fon is a criminal he has an explosive collar around his neck to keep him in line. It seems that Fereshte has several lesser Gundams in their possession but only one true GN drive so Fon goes on missions to aid the four main meisters from the shadows. Most of the chapters revolve around Fon giving some previously unseen aid such as doing some recon work or aiding Lockon in sniping. It’s a decent supplementary manga but it does not stand well on its own. The book ends with Fon having a potentially fatal encounter with Team Trinity so perhaps the plot will start down its own path. As always the art lacks the same spark that most mecha anime have during fights that for some reason rarely translates well into manga. All the characters are pleasant but none of them stood out to me as compelling. I was usually more interested in how they were tied to the TV characters. I will continue to read the series but it is a horrible place to start if you have not already watched the show.

I watched the new Lupin the Third short/Monkey Majik music video. There is no dialogue, just the rock beats of Monkey Majik as the band members get into a scrape with Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko first on the road and then at a local bar. The animation is very nice though there is a point in the middle that switches to still frames disrupting the vibe. Also Fujiko doesn’t look quite like herself but everyone else is spot on. It is a fun little short worth the few minutes.

I could post a picture of Nina Purpleton but I would rather post of Sayla Mass even though she is barely related to Gundam 0083. I assume no one will complain about this change.

6 thoughts on “Ongoing Investigations: Case #053

  1. Daryl Surat says:

    Gundam 0083 is one of the single most expensive and high-profile OAV productions of all time, the other one being Record of Lodoss War. But much like RoLW, it did not hold up well over time and you wouldn’t know it was a big deal, highly-publicized title nowadays since it’s mostly forgotten.

    It looks fantastic. The character and mecha designs are highly distinctive–the GP02a Physalis Master Grade was the first Gundam model kit I ever bought, and then years later I bought it AGAIN–the animation is really fluid (unlike Lodoss), and the fight scenes are quite dynamic. The music is good stuff too, with two memorable songs by MIO (the Yoko Kanno of her day) as opening themes, though it should be said that one of the most effective scenes in the whole piece was the part without any sound or music at all.

    And yet it’s a goddamn nightmare to watch.

    Plot lunacy aside, the characters, particularly on the Federation side, are the worst characters ever. I tell myself that it was 100% intentional that Kou Uraki is literally the UC Gundam equivalent of the Comic Shop Guy from The Simpsons. He embodies what the Gundam fanbase is. He and his cohorts are all useless, particularly his best friend Chuck Keith. With the exception of South Burning–a Tomino-caliber name if there ever was one–and maybe the one captain guy with his SWEEPING THEATRICAL GESTICULATIONS~!, nobody on the Federation side is interesting. Especially Nina Purpleton.

    People always dug Char Aznable, but the absolute suck of the so-called heroes of 0083 was what made the Zeon officially cool as a whole. They didn’t even have to be THAT awesome. Anavel Gato’s basically The Terminator as far as personality goes, but he’s got a boss character design, his robot is one of the neatest Gundams there is despite its armament consisting of “beam saber, shield, NUCLEAR BAZOOKA,” and he frequently beats the entire good guy team on his own. What’s to root against here?

    I get the feeling the idiotic ending of 0083 was the result of Shoji Kawamori et al having went absolutely berserk on the mecha designs without considering it was supposed to be a prequel. How could Zeta Gundam, Double Zeta, and Char’s Counterattack make sense considering the outlandishly high level of tech on display here? They basically painted themselves into a corner, with the only way out being the Michael Bay Transformers ending: “uh…and the government covered it all up so nobody in the world ever knew about any of this, SEE YA.”

    I triple dog dare you to watch the compilation movie 0083: Last Blitz of Zeon. It manages to be handled worse than the compilation for 08th MS Team, Miller’s Report. In fact, other than the original movie trilogy, every Gundam compilation has been bad. This makes the fact that the compilations tend to be what get considered “canon” that much worse.

    I used to feel slightly bad that I don’t actually own 08th MS Team, 0080, or 0083 on DVD. But now I know that unless I find someone to show them to, there’s really no chance I’ll actually go back and rewatch these. This is true for most of my belongings.

  2. reversethieves says:

    You know it’s an official Hisui response when the response is numbered.

    1. I was unaware so much money was sunk into Gundam 0083. It looks really nice so I suppose in retrospect that is unsurprising. Still as you implied all the money in the world can’t turn garbage into treasure.

    2. I sort of liked the mechanic girl for the Federation but I think random Zeon soldiers were in it more than her. South Burning was an OK character but he totally get a punk arse send off. But yeah Kou Uraki is just so … uninteresting. Combined with the fact that Nina is so aggravating, the other pilots are horrible human beings, and all almost all the Federation commanders are just plain SUPER EVIL it makes it really hard to like the Federation. I think they wanted to show you the conditions that led up to the creation of the Titans but they could have done it in away that was like nails on a chalk board.

    3. I mostly found Gato boring as a person. But considering who he was up against boring is 1000% better that utterly horrible or extremely annoying. Still his fights and suits were cool. But he is no Char. Not by a long shot. He is not even a Paptimus Scirocco or Ramba Ral.

    4. Narutaki and I are still the freak jobs of mecha fandom because we hardly care about mecha design so no matter how cool or lame the mech design is it rarely makes a significant impact on us. OK some of the super silly designs on the later mobile armors in original Gundam cannot be ignored. But we mostly consider them a separate factor from our overall enjoyment. Heck I only have model kits of suits based on characters I liked. That is why I have 2 Turn A kits despite the fact that the Turn A is kind of goofy.

    5. I remember Mike Dent mentioned that only the Turn A Gundam compilation movies come close to being as bad as the Last Blitz of Zeon. I would have made Narutaki sit though the compilation movie but we have to get through UC before Tomino gets here. So there is not time for unnecessary watching. Maybe I will trick him into watching it later. :)

    6. I always buy DVDs on the off chance that I ever make enough friends that people would want to borrow stuff off me. Most probably this day will never come. :(

    – Hisui

  3. MechaFaux says:

    Aww am I the only one that likes 0083 and Kou? But seriously I would rather watch Zeta endlessly. Which I kind of do already…

    Btw I just realized you’ve been to 3 of my Gundam panels and we still haven’t really met.

  4. reversethieves says:

    Not that it is the most super accurate methods of judging things but lets look at what My Anime List says:

    Gundam 0080: Score: 7.661 (scored by 2049 users)
    Gundam 0083: Score: 7.651 (scored by 2183 users)

    So people thought that it was about the same level of awesome as War in the Pocket and I give a pretty good review to War in the Pocket. So I think that Stardust memories has its fans. It is just not Daryl, Narutaki, or I. But that is hardly the majority of Gundam fans in the US.

    I find it amusing that I have been to three of your Gundam panels yet we have never said a word to each other. I will have to correct that the next time you have a panel. Or you can visit on of our panels. Either way is good.

    – Hisui

  5. MechaFaux says:

    I honestly didn’t realize who was you ^^; Will say hi next time, I’ll be wearing Haman at NYAF and running the “Essential Mecha” panel along with 3 guys.
    Are you running any panels there?

  6. reversethieves says:

    @MechaFaux

    Narutaki and I usually were I silly little home made badges. That is the best way of recognizing us.

    We will be doing the Bloggers Roundtable on Friday and the Anime Recruitment Panel on Sunday. I forget the times. They will be posted before the con. But I always appreciate mecha so I will definitely show up at the Essential Mecha panel unless pure awesome happens to come up (aka I get a Tomino interview or the such).

    BTW – Do you have a accompanying little red headed girl to be your Mineva? :)

    – Hisui

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