ANIME & MANGA - Article
12:00 - 17th May 2015, by NEO Staff

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team

The date: 0079 Universal Century. The location: Southeast Asia. The mission: halt the Principality of Zeon's search for resources in the area. The orders: use any means necessary.

War is a hell few would want to experience, but Earth Federation ensign Shiro Amada's latest deployment is especially brutal. Assigned command of Kojima Battalion's 08th Mobile Suit team, he barely even makes it to mission start. Caught in an attack en route to Earth, he ends up trapped in a doomed vessel with an enemy soldier, the beautiful Aina Sahalin. Forced to co-operate, the pair manage to escape, with perhaps a spark of fondness kindled between them.

When Shiro gets to his base camp, he finds conditions on the ground difficult. A mix of crushing tropical climates and lethal mecha weaponry is a far departure from the glamorous space battles he was expecting. Things only get worse when his superior officers learn of his encounter with Aina, and charge his with treason. Given one chance to clear his name, Shiro must lead his team on a dangerous mission to destroy a hidden base, one defended by the fierce pilot Norris Parkard and his protégé – Aina. Will their experience and attraction foster peace, or are the star-crossed lovers trapped in their roles on opposite sides of the war?

Directed by Takeyuki Kanda and Umanosuke Iida, The 08th MS Team is a more mature and grounded take on the events of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, running parallel to the events of the 'One Year War' from a few weeks after the first shots were fired until the final days of the conflict. There are none of the fancy, attention grabbing Gundam units of the title series – here, Shiro and his troops are getting by with mass-produced mobile suits and guerrilla warfare tactics. It's grittier, but rarely grim, with much of the cast exhibiting a macabre sense of humour that can only be born on the battlefield.

Released between 1996 and 1999, the 12 episode series is one of the lesser-known entries in Gundam lore, but also one of the strongest, with keen statements on the personal cost of war, and the effect it has on the lowest ranking soldiers. Never released on UK DVD, it's well worth your time to hunt down on import.

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