Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Shine in the storm.
"Feeling as you do, do you believe you can still fire at the enemy?"
One of the most popular Gundam OAVs
, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
is a Twelve-Episode Anime
released in 1996 and 1999 and set during the One Year War
of Mobile Suit Gundam
and Gundam 0080
. The story centers on Shiro Amada, an eager young Earth Federation
officer, as he takes command of the titular mobile suit team. Notable among Gundam
series for abandoning nearly all of the franchise's Super Robot
origins, thereby making it the hardest scifi
and most solidly Real Robot Gundam
show to date. Eschewing the One-Man Army
ace pilot protagonists in Super Prototype
Gundams of the main series, 08th MS Team
instead focuses on The Squad
doing their part in a much more localized conflict, just a small part of the larger war. With nary a Newtype
in sight, and the local Gundams being cobbled together out of spare parts
instead of ubermachines
, 08th MS Team
has a much different flavor than the average Gundam
The series begins with Ensign Newbie
Shiro Amada en route to Earth, having just been assigned to command a mobile suit team. Along the way, he becomes involved in a battle and ends up working with an enemy pilot
named Aina to survive after they're both stranded in space. Once he makes it to Earth, Shiro soon has his hands full, between having command of the 08th MS Team
, dealing with the locals
, unearthing his team's emotional issues
, and encountering Aina again. Meanwhile, the war heads towards its conclusion, with Aina's brother Ginias working on a project with the potential to win the war in a single stroke...
In 1998, a compilation movie, called Miller's Report
, was released, focusing on Shiro's court martial in episode 8 of the series. This movie was never released in North American theaters, but is available on DVD, and scenes from the movie were spliced in with episode 8 in the 2001 Toonami
broadcast. In 2013, a short film, Battle in Three Dimensions
, was bundled with the Blu-Ray box set (Ricardo Fellini
really liked it).
Like most Gundam
shows, 08th MS Team
has appeared repeatedly in Super Robot Wars
; it debuted in Super Robot Wars 64
, and has since appeared in A
(and A Portable
), Compact 2
, and, most recently, OE
This series contains examples of:
- Ace Pilot: Norris Packard, a single Zeon soldier who repeatedly poses a threat to the entire 08th Team, is explicitly identified as an ace by Sanders (in a tone somewhere between awe and terror). By the end of the series, all of the 08th Team's pilots count in terms of "five confirmed kills", but it's Norris who best exemplifies the character role.
- A Father to His Men: Shiro, whose priorities for his team are roughly "don't die", "accomplish the mission", and "try not to get anyone else killed" in that order. On the Zeon side, there's Yuri Kellarny, who honestly and earnestly cares for his men despite being loud, obnoxious, and pissing off Ginias because he thinks it's fun.
- All There in the Manual: The Hover Trucks have a proper name, the Bloodhound, but it isn't mentioned onscreen until Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO.
- Alpha Strike: Subverted when Shiro attacks Norris by sliding down the side of a building while firing all of the Ez-8's weapons simultaneously, only to miss entirely. Norris even comments "Well, that looked impressive".
- Despite being completely ineffective in the source material, this maneuver is often made the Gundam Ez-8's strongest attack in its appearances in Super Robot Wars. Sometimes even the building appears from nowhere just for the Gundam to slide down!
- Anime Anatomy: Oddly, Aina's scene with Shiro in their improvised hot spring has this, but Kiki's introduction scene of her skinny dipping doesn't.
- Asshole Victim: When a trio of Zeon mobile suits occupies the guerrilla village, the first one to die is the unsympathetic asshole of the three.
- Badass: Norris Packard, a Zeon Ace Pilot who pulls off feats of piloting that run the spectrum from extremely unlikely (like successfully predicting — and dodging — fire from enemy units that he can't even see) to physically impossible (like using a built-in Grappling-Hook Pistol to suspend his ~60 ton mecha from a rusty abandoned rooftop water tank) to outright Plot Armor (such as beginning his climactic fight with the 08th Team by bursting from an underground elevator to pose dramatically atop an abandoned building, leaving himself entirely in the open without any sort of cover for a good 30 seconds, without getting shot to pieces by a numerically superior enemy who were warned of his arrival and aware of his position). And he makes it look awesome.
- Badass Normal: All of the show's long list of skilled, dedicated, veteran soldiers are entirely normal humans — notable in a setting where Newtypes are, if not exactly common, at least end up as a major factor in virtually every important conflict.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Shiro and his team in general are pretty decent folks, with Shiro himself being a Technical Pacifist. That said, they're definitely competent in what they do. Not to mention that Shiro drops said Technical Pacifist clause against Ginias and actively kills him.
- BFG: Both sides of the conflict occasionally use cannons that are quite large even on the scale of Humongous Mecha. Sanders wields the 08th Team's in the latter half of the show.
- Bigger Bad: Ginias may be the series' Big Bad, but the presence of the Zabi family (and especially Gihren) can be felt throughout the show. Gihren's speech is broadcast in the first episode, portraits of both he and Degwin adorn the walls of Ginias' headquarters, the "Sieg Zeon" salute is given in front of said portraits, and so on and so forth. The Zabis essentially plays the same role in this show, as Adolf Hitler will in almost any World War II movie.
- The Big Guy: Sanders, the second most experienced pilot, physically largest member of the team, and usually carries The Squad's BFG.
- Bittersweet Ending: In three stages, no less! At the end of the penultimate episode, both Shiro and Aina are missing and presumed dead by the rest of the team, but a final shot reveals them both alive, struggling to escape the battlefield, with Shiro missing the lower half of one leg and Aina suffering from some pretty nasty burns sustained earlier in the episode. The last episode is a semi-Distant Finale, taking place somewhere between a few months and a year or two later, and features Michel, now an alcoholic (or at least something of a loser), meeting up with Kiki again to look for Shiro. After a somewhat bizarre series of events, the final scene shows them arriving at a cabin in the woods, the new home of Shiro and Aina, with Aina being visibly pregnant.
- Blood from the Mouth: Ginias exhibits this in the first scene of episode 11, presumably a symptom of his Soap Opera Disease.
- Call Forward: A case of Genius Bonus and "blink and you'd miss it". In the very first scene the 04th MS Team is moving out from headquarters; this is the one lead by South Burning from Gundam 0083. You can even hear someone—probably Monsha—shouting as they move out.
- Catapult Nightmare: Though we're never told how much of it is Flash Back and how much of it is Nightmare Sequence, Shiro catapults out of sleep and immediately pulls a gun on his Love Interest after dreaming about the One Week Battle, when the Zeon murdered billions of people by flooding the space colonies with nerve gas.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Aina's watch, which Shiro ended up with after the first episode, which probably helped his growing romantic feelings for her. When he finally gives it back, it seems like it's finally served its purpose, until it then saves Aina when she's shot by Ginias.
- Colonel Badass: Norris Packard, holds the naval rank of captain, equal to an army colonel. He is also a Badass.
- Cranial Processing Unit: Averted; Karen's Gundam remains operational even after getting its head punched off, and even manages to destroy its attacker with a bit of help aiming (and the only reason it needed help was that its cockpit displays had been smashed in addition to its head being removed).
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Karen Joshua, the most down-to-earth and hands-on member of the team.
- Defecting for Love: Aina for Shiro, though she doesn't join the Federation so much as they both give the finger to both sides and go AWOL.
- Distant Finale: Not that distant, but the final episode takes place sometime between the end of the One Year War and Gundam 0083.
- During the War: Another One Year War side-story, and also a thin allegory for Vietnam. Thin to the point that it could easily be taking place in Vietnam.
- Energy Weapons: The 08th Team starts out equipped with beam sabers and gets equipped with beam rifles about halfway through the series. They still tend to carry a mix of weapons, though; typically the team has a beam rifle, a machine gun, and a BFG.
- Ensign Newbie: Shiro is the Trope Namer; Eledore (at least in the dub) refers to him as this.
- Expy: Cool older pilot who took care of a young Zeon noblewoman when she was a kid, acts as a Worthy Opponent toward the hero, and pilots a Gouf... Are we sure Norris Packard isn't Ramba Ral's lost brother? His English VA, Michael McConnohie, even voiced Ramba Ral in the dub of the Mobile Suit Gundam Compilation Movies.
- Fanservice: Kiki's introduction in the second episode features her swimming naked in a pool below a waterfall. The viewer gets a good few shots of Kiki's anatomically-correct breasts. Although, depending on the person, these scenes are done more as a form of artistic expression than as a means of simplistic fanservice. Shiro doesn't even react beyond simply stating "she's pretty". (Kiki's reaction is a bit stronger — her Pervert Revenge Mode involves firearms.)
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The RX-79[G] ground type Gundams have asymmetrical torsos. Instead of the usual vent, the left side of their torso houses a combination gatling gun and multi-purpose grenade launcher.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause at just the right time during the Apsalus III's start up sequence, it's apparently running alot of mid-90s software and hardware including both an AMD K6 and Cyrix 6x86MX all Microsoft's Direct X.
- Gatling Good: Norris' Gouf Custom has one attached to its shield. It's also detachable to lighten the mecha's load after it runs out of ammo.
- General Ripper: The Earth Federation Forces' Captain Ethan Ryer, who is remarkably callous about throwing away the lives of his men, sending mobile suit teams on suicide missions into the trap-filled entrances to Ginias' Elaborate Underground Base in the hopes that their mecha will Go Critical when they're destroyed and take out the base for him.