Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is a 13-episode OAV series that serves as a partial bridge between events that happened between the original Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.Three years after the defeat of the Principality of Zeon, remnants of their military decide to re-ignite the flames of war by Gundamjacking a top secret Super Prototype, the Gundam GP-02A "Physalis", which is armed with a nuclear bazooka. Rookie Earth Federation pilot Kou Uraki, present during the theft, commandeers another nearby Gundam, the GP-01 "Zephyranthes", in an attempt to recapture the GP-02. Unfortunately, the man Kou finds himself up against is Ace Pilot Anavel Gato, the infamous Nightmare of Solomon, who escapes with the GP-02 intact.The Federation responds by sending a team to capture or destroy the GP-02, and Kou finds himself assigned to pilot the GP-01 to the task to both recover GP-02 and to go through general testing that was meant for the two Gundams with the designer Nina Purpleton. Thus begins "Operation Stardust", a plan by the Zeon reminants to demonstrate the Earth Federation's impotence and inspire new rebellion against them. Naturally, things are not as simple as they seem at first glance.The series was released following the success of Gundam 0080 OAV and the movie Gundam F91. One of the factors that really makes this series stand out is the exceptional mecha designs, which has had a strong influence on how to make Humongous Mecha with a militaristic aesthetic. Fan response to the series holds that it does a good job in bridging the gap as a midquel, but the behavior and actions of Gato and Nina were frustratingly underdeveloped.Not to be confused with the film Stardust Memories.
This series provides examples of:
All of the Other Reindeer - The reason for Cima's defection. The full story: She was tricked into gassing the colony used for Operation British, then her commander Asakura pinned all the blame on her, making the "regular" Zeons hate her. The only people willing to work with her were the Marines who hailed from her home colony, Mahal. Then Mahal was turned into the Solar Ray, and the citizens were forcibly deported, with the person in charge (Asakura, again) didn't keep any records of where people were sent, meaning Cima and her Marines effectively lost their home AND families. And when they tried to retreat to Axis, the other Zeons (including Gato) refused to let them come along, citing the colony gassing, forcing them to spend the next four years hiding around the Earth Sphere. The words "The Woobie" come to mind...
All There in the Manual - Putting aside requiring knowledge of the original Mobile Suit Gundam to know the backstory, audio dramas expand on why Cima holds such a big grudge against her Zeon superiors, as well as the origin of her Super Prototype Gebera Tetra as a potential fourth unit in Anaheim's Gundam Development Project that was scrapped by the Feddies and passed along to Zeon — Oh, and it was test-piloted by Char Aznable, hence its red/pink coloring when actually seen in the series.
Liner notes in the Japanese DVDs fully explain the final fates of the more important characters.
In addition, Crossbone Gundam Skull Heart finally explains why Gato was considered the "Nightmare of Soloman" even though he never crossed paths with Amuro. He fell victim to suspicions of the Gundam's destruction and left his post to go on the offensive, giving Amuro the opening he needed.
This is true as far as it goes, but fails to capture the true ridiculousness of the situation. The reason he thought the Gundam had been blown up? An insane Feddie pilot had customized his RB-79 Ball with a Gundam face and when the Zeeks caught sight of it they thought the Gundam had been decapitated. The upshot of all this is that when they finally noticed the actual size of the thing it caused a panic among the Zeon ranks, thinking that the Federation had developed a gigantic 40 meter Gundam, which eventually inspired them to actually go ahead and make one with Zeta Gundam's Psyco Gundam.
The canonicity of that scene, at least in relation to the Psyco Gundam and the Zeong (the latter sequence supposedly inspired the Zeeks to make the Zeong that big as well), is up for debate. According to early Gundam manuals, the Zeong was big as it was because early psycommu systems were high energy guzzlers, and larger and more powerful generators were needed in order for them to operate. This wasn't too much of a problem with mobile armors like the Braw Bro or the Elmeth, as they were large to begin with, but when the Zeeks attempted to mount psycommus in Zaku units, they found their MS sized generators too weak and inefficient in sustaining the system, let alone the rest of the MS. As such, the Zeong was made massive in order to accomodate a larger and more powerful generator, and the Psyco Gundam was designed around the same angle, though the latter was made even larger so that it could also house a Minovsky Craft System (basically the thing that allowed the White Base to fly in Earth's gravity). Overall though, this explanation doesn't take away the awesomeness and hilarity of Umon's run with his so-called B Gundam.
Also, one of the Gihrens Greed games reveals that Cima was the one who gassed Shiro Amada's home colony, having been told the stuff was only sleeping gas.
The designs reveal that the GP-03 has a core fighter, a concept not mentioned in the series because it was redundant with the Orchis/Stamen system.
The core fighter is actually an MSV that only appears in the model kits. The Stamen Gundam was designed to be able to swap between the core fighter and a panoramic cockpit, which is what it uses all through the series proper. A design merging both systems wouldn't be developed until ZZ Gundam.
BFG - The YMS-16M Xamiel carries a 680mm artillery cannon. This thing is so big it must be folded in half when not in use, and is actually slightly longer than the mech is tall WHEN folded. And this is a 27 meter tall mobile suit in a time when most are still "only" 18 meters!
Bolivian Army Ending : For the Delaz Fleet. Gato tells the mobile suits of the Delaz fleet to rush the perimeter set up by the Federation and make it through to Axis. If only one survives, he says, it will be worth it because they will tell future generations the truth of their struggle. Even if some of them survived, the audience knows that Axis will be long gone by then.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday- Kou's brief encounters with Gato at the beginning of the series start him on a quest to become the best Gundam pilot he can be. When he finally confronts Gato in space some months later... Gato only vaguely remembers him.
But later subverted in that, when Kou and Gato finally face-off again and Kou manages to destroy GP-02, Gato makes it a point of remembering his name.
Call Forward - The series epilogue show that the events led more or less to the rise of the Titans from Zeta
Casanova Wannabe - Bernard Monsha. In his first appearance he expresses disappointment at having to leave a girl to be assigned to the Albion, but once he gets there he is hated by practically all of the women and a fair amount of the men as well.
Character Development - Lots. Kou's maturation from rookie to ace, as well as his relationship with Nina Purpleton, are two of the major subplots.
Char Clone- Averted. Anavel Gato seems like another Char cookie-cutter character at first glance. But aside from being The Rival to Kou, he's actually quite different. He lacks Char's smugness, and also lacks the ulterior motives that most Char Clones have; whereas Char and his counterparts are never truly loyal to anyone but themselves, Gato is absolutely devoted to Zeon's ideals, arguably more than any other character in the Universal Century timeline. He also never wears a mask, making 0083 one of the few Gundam series with no masked characters at all.
In addition, Gato has considerably less respect for his adversaries than Char is demonstrated to have. Gato believes that most of the Federation rhetoric is drivel (irony considering Delaz's speeches) and that the Federation soldiers don't value anything. In the very least, Char is more even-handed in his opinions about the Federation, going as far as to work for them in Zeta.
In Super Robot Wars Compact, he gets to join your group after Quattro convinces him because he realizes that Quattro Bajeena is Char.
Downer Ending: Nina backstabs Kou (for stupid reasons, even Gato showed him more loyalty), preventing him from doing anything about the colony or Gato. The Colony drops onto Earth in the American Mid-west, destroying the crops there for many years. The Delaz fleet are all wiped out by the Federation Forces and their actions only give justification for the creation of The Titans. Kou and Captain Synapse are court-martialed for stealing GP-03, Kou is sentenced to one year in prison, Synapse is sentenced to death (it's unknown if he actually got executed in the end). The Albion crew all become Titans. The Federation decides to delete all of the data on the Gundam Development project and drop the charges against Kou. He is re-instated in the military but he loses his rank. Kou gets assigned to a base in Colorado where he meets all of his old friends, and Nina, again.
Early-Bird Cameo - We get a foretaste of the bastardry Jamitov Hymem, Jamaican Daninghan, and Bask Ohm would commit in Zeta Gundam with their appearances here. Haman Karn also has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo.
Everyone Can See It: Despite the fact that Nina was clearly into Kou she vehemently denied it early on. A good example would be when Mora asks Nina whether she likes Kou or the Gundam better. She responds 'The Gundam'. By the end of the episode, it's pretty obvious that she meant to say Kou.
Evil Plan- It's heavily implied that those in The Federation who would become the Titans engineered (or magnified) parts of the crisis to justify forming themselves as an official body at the end of the show, and the show implies that the Federation government is already starting the decay in influence that allowed the Titans to take over in Zeta Gundam. By the end, however, it's blatantly obvious, as Jamitov had Admiral Cowen, the Reasonable Authority Figure silenced, Jamacian makes it quite obvious the civilian leadership is held in blatant contempt by himself and the EFSF who support the dominance of the military, and Bask blatantly informs Synaspe Cima Garahau was working with The Federation to purposely screw over the Delaz Fleet (and by extension the good guys)
Face Heel Turn: Whereas the crew of the White Base stayed in the regular forces or went civilian to help Karaba during the Gryps Conflict (many of them ended up in the AEUG regardless), the crew of the Albion had a much darker fate: they became Titans.
Hot Scientist - Nina Purpleton is the prime example, but the other girls working at Anaheim Electronics are far from homely.
Humongous Mecha - Duh. However, the series provides two of the biggest mechs in early UC, the Neue Ziel and the GP-03 Dendrobium.
Idiot Hero - Kou, mostly for trashing Unit 1 for little reason, it hadn't been modified for space combat yet and in the end he had to be saved himself. He did it because of pride and trying to prove himself.
Idiot Ball - The Federation knows Zeon remnants are running around with one of their extremely powerful nukes, they also know the naval inspection is one of the prime targets. Nobody does a damn thing. Might be justified though if Jamitov was influential enough to stop too much from being done about it. Still...
A popular theory is that the people who would become the Titans purposely let the nuking happen, so they could use the incident as justification for their rise to power. Knowing Jamitov, that's not too unbelievable.
Jerkass- Lt. Bernard Monsha, at first. He gets better, and his Super Robot Wars portrayal usually either downplays his asshole tendecies or show his character by the end of 0083 (where he was far more likable)
It's probably important to note that Monsha never stopped being an asshole, the later episodes simply stopped focusing on him in light of the many events that were transpiring.
Mid-Season Upgrade - When the GP-02A was destroyed, Gato was given the powerful Mobile Armor Neue Ziel. Kou got it twice: First when he wrecked the GP-01 and had it upgraded to the space use FB version, and when it's destroyed the Albion crew jacked the GP-03 Stamen for him.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: For all the efforts of Gato and the Delaz fleet, their actions don't seem to have much effect on the Federation except for making them angrier and more totalitarian and thus allowing people far worse than the ones they were fighting against to gain political ground. Truth in Television as this is the typical government response to terrorist attacks, personal freedoms get smaller as a response to violent threats.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo - People are not pleased to know of the existence of the nuke-launching Gundam, and said nuke's detonation is possibly one of the most terrifying events to watch in the entire Gundam franchise.
Out-Gambitted - Subverted. When Gato finds out that Cima's duped him and Delaz from day one, he goes batshit insane and still tries to screw over the Federation by dropping the colony anyways. In spite of many obstacles, he succeeds... but then Bask just uses all of that for more justification that the Titans should be made.
Over Shadowed By Awesome - Kou ends up being an amazing pilot, but his abilities can seem trivial when going up against the Nightmare of Solomon.
Pair the Spares - Chuck Keith and Mora Bascht, although there is enough coverage of their relationship to bump them towards official Beta Couple.
Plot Hole - Clearly the writers thought up the whole Nina/Gato pairing much later because if she knew who Gato was, why did she let him take a Gundam with a giant nuke equipped?
To elaborate, when Gato is stealing GP-02A, Nina looks him dead in the face and doesn't recognise him. There's nothing to suggest that Nina even knew him by anything other than reputation until the final four episodes, where her love affair with Gato was simply a contrivance to generate drama and prevent Kou from foiling Gato's plans.
Psychic Powers - Averted. 0083 was the first UC Gundam to lack anything even remotely related to Newtypes. In fact the initial episodes demonstrate that Kou is not proficient in handling the Gundam, and is prone to making stupid mistakes despite mobile suit training, converse to his Newtype counterparts who automatically know how to operate a mobile suit despite never having used one.
Retcon - Used In-Universe. All the data on the Gundam Development Project is deleted and Kou's prison sentence is revoked so that the Federation can pretend that they didn't violate the Antarctic Treaty.
Spoiler Opening: Episode 8 includes the debut of a new opening sequence, featuring all the regular cast members, aside from the conspicuous absence of Lt. Burning. Guess who's dead by the end of the episode?
Super Prototype - All three Gundams, as well as Cima's Gebera Tetra and the Neue Ziel.
This series takes the concept and it becomes the primary focus of the story. Unit 2 should not have been built in the first place and is the instigator for the whole thing event. Most other Gundam series (with at least one exception) the actual mobile suit storyline is secondary to the actual war.
Super Robot Wars - Appears in quite a number of SRW games, starting with Super Robot Wars 3, where you can reenact Gato stealing the GP-02A. Unit 2 usually gets stolen by someone.
Surprisingly Good English: The English version of "The Winner," "Back to Paradise," used in episode 1 and halfway through the series.
Suspiciously Similar Song - Many people find that the first opening theme, "The Winner", reminds them of "Danger Zone" from Top Gun. In the less obvious example, the "Men of Destiny" resembles "Mighty Wings".
Sword Fight - The climactic battle between the GP-01 and GP-02A.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Near the end Gato asserts that he's the only one who can beat Kou in the GP-03. Turns out he was right, but Gato ends up saving Kou's life by presumably moving both out of the range of the Solar System's beam.
Wide-Eyed Idealist - Despite being the bad guys, Delaz and Gato both hold an ideal of Zeonic pride that prevents them from seeing Cima's betrayal of their cause coming.
Gato was practically the embodiment of this trope, as his whole character revolved around trumpeting the "glory of Zeon". When he wasn't bashing Kou around, he was either lamenting his side losing the war or telling the "Just Cause of Zeon and Spacenoid Independence" on the mountain. Delaz was more grounded, though his speech on reigniting the "Zeon War for Independence" showed how much of a (blind) idealist he was, as if abandoning A Bao A Qu in the wake of Gihren's death didn't make it obvious.
Worthy Opponent: Gato acknowledges Kou as his rival after their duel over Konpei Island. Kou is also briefly mentored by Kelly, in spite of their opposing sides.