Secret Santa 2010 Project Reveal

And now the part you have all been waiting for. The Secret Santas are revealed, the ancient conspiracy is foiled, and the destined couple finally consummate their relationship. This is the master list of all the participants, what they reviewed, and who gave them their recommendations. I know that several people are not going to finish on time because of various mishaps during the holiday season. So I will do my best to update this list at least once a day as reviews come in. Hopefully everyone watched something a bit unexpected and maybe learned something new about the range and scope of anime. Other than that Happy Holidays and I wish you and yours the best of luck in the upcoming year.

Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, A pocket full of tears.

There is an interesting spectrum in the three Gundam OAVs we have watched recently. On one end is Gundam 0083 which is the biggest in scope and totally focused on the mobile suits. It deals with the events that make Zeta Gundam possible but I highly doubt that anyone claims their favorite characters come from 0083.  In the middle you have 08th MS team where the story is  more personal while still having a good mixture of mecha to character importance. Then you have Gundam 0080, everything about this series is personal. The objectives, the feelings, and the missions are all clearly motivated by the characters not the politics. There are mobile suits but they are almost MacGuffins to move along the individual stories within 0080. I won’t claim that 0080 is the Gundam series for people who hate robots, that Gundam series does not exist. However, this is the Gundam series for those who care most about the people behind the machines and how they are effected by war.

Since we decided to watch the Universal Century OVAs in timeline order, this was our second stop and truly I felt 0080: War in the Pocket had much to live up to since I enjoyed 08th MS Team so very much. I knew this OVA was going to be different from other installments in the Gundam franchise merely because I had been told so, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant till actual viewing.

Maybe just to prove that this OAV is very different from any other Gundam series, we start with an elite commando team trying to steal an experimental mobile suit from a secret facility. While this seems extremely formulaic it deviates when after two attempts the Zeon unit cannot waltz off with it like it was a free sample of cheese and crackers at the local supermarket. During the second attempt Bernard Wiseman is shot down and crash lands in a deserted part of the colony. Bernard is discovered by a young boy named, Alfred Izuruha, who is a mobile suit fanatic. As Alfred beings following Bernard they become friends. Bernard soon discovers that the Zeon fleet has decided they will just destroy the whole colony. Will Bernard try and save his new friend or will he leave everyone on the colony to die.

From what I have seen, the 0080 OVA may be the Gundam series that deals the least with robots and pushes the development of its characters and the moral ambiguities encountered in war. Also of note, Gundam tends to do away with young children protagonists except as background or minor characters, but not so in 0080. But hold on there, no Alfred isn’t a super annoying (okay sometimes he is annoying just not all the time) and irrelevant child character. He shares the screen with Bernard and is equally vital to the telling of this story.

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