26 August 2009 | xamtaro
Back to Paradise
From the first episode, I could not get over how unoriginal the premise was, even for its time. It seems that after Amuro stole the Gundam in the first 1979 TV series, having a series premise of "steal Gundam to kick start the story" has become a definite staple that is reused in many of the subsequent Gundam series. Someone is always out to steal a Gundam and in this case it is small band of former ZEON soldiers of the "Delaz Fleet" led by the ace pilot Anavel Gato who intend to use the Gundam GP02 armed with a nuclear warhead to carry out the mysterious "Operation Stardust". To counter this threat, The federation mobile suit carrier Albion, along with rookie pilot Kou Uraki, pilot of the Gundam GP01 is sent to locate and recover the missing unit.
This OVA bridges the gap between the original series set in Universal Century 0079 and Zeta Gundam set in UC 0086 and it does address a number of events like the reason for the formation of the "Titans" enforcer groups and why the Earth Federation has such a strong distrust of the colony inhabitants and "newtypes" in Z Gundam. It even shows the first attempt in this time-line to drop a colony on to an inhabited area, another staple plot device for subsequent Gundam productions.
I am really kind of split on this one. On one hand we have a very well paced Gundam OVA that looks deeper into the inner workings of the regular Federation armed forces. Unlike past Gundam protagonists who were originally civilians drafted into military service who formed a mismatched band of comrades, the main characters here are already regular soldiers, not kids. This lends a greater feel of believability to the series as previous installments (and subsequent ones) had teenagers suddenly becoming ace Gundam pilots. Drama, politics and even a love triangle are mixed together perfectly though there is some mis-placed humor here and there that I did not appreciate. The story touches on many of the themes of the original Gundam series such as teamwork, the blurred lines between good and evil in war, and budding little conspiracies that lend an air of mystery to the plot which manages to move along quickly, never lingering on one particular theme for too long.
The problem is that this OVA presents nothing really "new" unlike the other Gundam OVAs(War in the Pocket and 08th Ms team) that presented war from fresh perspectives. All the themes presented here have already been covered in the previous Gundam series. Aside from that, this series is plagued with some serious pacing problems especially during the more subdued scenes of conversation.
Thankfully, when the action comes around, it comes around hard and fast. The animation in Gundam 0083 is almost movie-like in quality and has by far some of the most impressive mobile suit action scenes in the history of Gundam without resorting to flashy displays of power like in Gundam Seed or G Gundam. The subdued colors used on the mobile suits and vehicles makes everything look believably gritty. Special mention goes to The character designs of the human cast which are on the more realistic side; I liked that as it added to the realistic feel of the show, but others who prefer the typical "wide eyed pretty boy" protagonists of recent series anime might not.
For the casual viewer, Gundam 0083 is sure to impress anyone with its stunning visuals and intriguing, well paced story. It does not require much pre-knowledge of the Gundam franchise to appreciate this show.
For the long time Gundam fan, this OVA would make you a lot more sympathetic to the Federation and maybe even see their almost fascist like actions in Z Gundam in a better light. This OVA can be regarded as either a rehash of popular Gundam plot threads or it can be seen as a journey back to the basics of what made Gundam great. A trip back to Paradise.