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 remnants 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 Mobile Suit 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. A manga adaptation by the director called Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Rebellion started in 2013, which revisits the events of the OVA in a manner not too dissimilar to Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, fleshing out the main story and even continuing past the OVA's ending where it is still ongoing.
Not to be confused with the film Stardust Memories.
This series provides examples of:
- Ace Custom: Gato and Cima both have customized Gelgoogs in their personal colors; Gato's carries a more powerful beam rifle, while Cima's Marine Commander has slightly better specs than the baseline version plus head vulcans.
- Ace Pilot: South Burning and his old subordinates in the One Year War were implied to have been fighter pilots before switching over to mobile suits. Which does help to explain some of their mannerisms.
- Adaptation Expansion: The 0083 Rebellion manga, which revisits and expands on the events of the OVA while further bridging it to both the OYW and Zeta.
- Alas, Poor Villain: While Cima's death is treated as a standard major villain death in series; the Mayfly of Space shorts add more depth to the character. It juxtaposed their violent end with the circumstances leading up to it and the lamentations they have about the direction their life took.
- All for Nothing: The theft of the GP 03. The reason the crew of the Albion wants it in the first place is because of its nature as a one-man army: it was designed to protect strategic points in space. They're incapable of breaking the perimeter the Delaz Flotilla has formed around the falling colony, so they think Unit 3 will allow them to get through and stop its descent. However once they get to La Vie en Rose, they run into the insane Federation stooge Nakato who demands they use the Gundam to protect the ship (which is not currently under attack). They steal it, which results in the said stooge killing its creator. Nakato blames the theft and her death on the crew of the Albion, but they manage to get away with the Gundam. However by the time they reach the colony, the Flotilla has been rejoined by Gato, now piloting the Neue Ziel, a powerful Mobile Armor created by Axis, which completely nullifies any advantage Unit 3 had. As a result of this Captain Synapse gets sentenced to death and Kou gets sent to a Federation labor farm (though he only spends 3 months of his year-long sentence before the Federation's erasure of the Gundam Development Project leads to his sentence being struck off the books.)
- 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, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam Skull Heart finally explains how Gato could be considered the "Nightmare of Solomon" yet never crossed paths with Amuro despite them both being present at the battle — he heard rumors that the Gundam had been destroyednote and left his post to go on the offensive, giving Amuro the opening he needed.
- One of the Gihren's 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 was designed to be able to swap between a core fighter and the panoramic cockpit it uses in the series, which is never mentioned in the show.
- There's a little-known audio drama called "The Battle of the Runga Sea" where the Albion gets ambushed in a shoal zone and Uraki tries out an experimental long beam rifle for the GP01 (essentially a precursor to the Zeta's mega launcher), which burns out after a single shot. The story was adapted as a single stage in the Playstation 2 game Encounters in Space, but otherwise the only way for Western fans to know about it is by browsing summaries online.
- Amazonian Beauty / Statuesque Stunner: Less combat-oriented than most, but Mora Bascht is as tall as most of the guys, slightly taller than some, visibly muscular, and often has to physically punish Monsha's attempts at hitting on her mechanic team. At first, she seems to be an example of No Guy Wants an Amazon, but by episode 7 ends up being the female part of the Beta Couple.
- An Arm and a Leg: Loss of limbs is standard for Gundam.
- The moment is partly obscured by a Rick Dom in center frame, but during A Baoa Que, Gato's Gelgoog has its gun arm blown off by an offscreen Fed soldier. This seems to be the reason he abandoned the suit and went to grab a Rick Dom.
- During the attack on Kimberlite Base, Bates's GM Custom has its leg blown off by Zakus.
- During his first bout with Cima, the GP-01 has its arm blown off by Cima's Gelgoog.
- The GP-02's left arm is disabled when Gato launched the nuke as said arm was wielding the shield to protect him from the blast. When he fights the GP-01, Kou figures this out and severs the arm, robbing Gato of his shield.
- Arc Welding: In terms of mechanical designs, this series ties the mechas from Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, which mostly just did its own things, to the wider Federation and Zeon tech tree: the GM Custom and the GM Cannon II both incorporated tech from the Alex, showing that its technology didn't just go to waste after its destruction. The GM Cannon II was also based on the Guncannon Mass Production Type. The Albion was based on the Gray Phantom. The Gelgoog Marine took design cues from the Gelgoog Jager, and the Rick Dom II made a reappearance.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Anavel Gato's name is a weird mashup of Hebrew & Spanish, despite the fact he looks neither Jewish, nor Hispanic. He still gets points for being one of the few Zeon characters to have a name that's made up of real words & not just Foreign Sounding Gibberish, though.
- Badass Normal: And they're both regular humans to boot, in a completely Newtype-absent show set in a universe full of them.
- 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!
- Big "NO!": Gato's reaction to Delaz' murder.
- Bittersweet Ending: Operation Stardust succeeds, with the colony drop heavily damaging the Federation's North American breadbasket. However, this backfires for the Delaz Fleet and leads to the rise of the Titans. Syanpse is executed, Kou is court-martialled, and most of the rest of the Albion crew joins the Titans. However, Kou was reassigned to a Federation base in Colorado thanks to the GP Project being erased, where he meets Chuck and Nina again. It's also heavily implied that the two have since come to terms again, and could possibly be in a Maybe Ever After scenario.
- 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.
- Boom, Headshot!: Delaz is killed this way. It even mirrors Gihren's death back in the original series; sitting in the command chair and then shot through the head by a treacherous commander.
- Hangar Bunnies: Mora Bashct's lovely mechanic crew.
- 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.
- When Bask Ohm fires what remains of the Solar System 2 at the Neue Ziel (and Unit 3, which is engaging it in combat... oh, and the Feddy's advanced fleet). There is a similar scene late in Zeta Gundam where he fires the Gryps Laser for the first time and kills everyone in a colony; except this time he just has a shit-eating grin instead of laughing psychotically.
- The Cameo: Asakura, the Zeon Official from Mobile Suit Gundam who oversaw the Colony Laser shows up in Mayfly of Space. Cima hates him, but one has to look into more supplementary materials to find out that he was the one who oversaw the gassing of Operation British.
- The Cavalry: The remnants of the Konpei Island fleet. They are initially outwitted with the Colony Feint and cannot assist in stopping the drop due to needing to be refueled. When they are, they ultimately return to assist the Albion and wipe out the remains of the Delaz Fleet.
- Character Development: Lots. Kou's maturation from rookie to ace, as well as his relationship with Nina Purpleton, are two of the major subplots.
- Kou actually proves that despite his rookie skills, he demonstrates a keen mind for clever improvisation. His defeat of Unit 2 against the still superior Gato is evident of this.
- 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.
- Kelly Layzner is more of a Char, since he is a temporary mentor to Kou, has blond hair, and pilots a red mobile armor.
- Chekhov's Gunman: When Delaz gives his speech, Kowen is seen watching along with a room of Federation officers. To his side is the recognizable form of Bask Ohm, an early indication of the Titans involvement. Bask himself would play a major role at the series' end.
- Colony Drop: The true and final objective of Operation Stardust.
- Combining Mecha: GP-01 has the original Gundam's Core Fighter system. GP-03, being designed for colony defense purposes, can dock with a massive weapons platform and has the option of using a core-block system.
- Coming in Hot: The memorable scene in which a totaled GP-01 crashes into the Albion's hangar.
- Compilation Movie: The Last Blitz of Zeon/The Afterglow of Zeon.
- Continuity Nod: When the Colony is headed for Earth the Federation's last resort is the Solar System II, the successor to the weapon used in the original Mobile Suit Gundam during the attack on Solomon. Much like the Solar System I, the urgency of the situation causes it to be fired before its at full strength.
- Cool Ship: The Albion and the Cima Fleet's Lili Marleen, both sleeker and upgunned versions of the original series' Pegasus- and Zanzibar-class ships respectively.
- In fact, nearly every ship seen is an upgraded version of the originals.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The Neue Ziel is an incredibly powerful Lightning Bruiser Mobile Armor armed with powerful beam-cannons, dense armor, massive beam sabers, and an I-Field Generator. It cuts through Mobile Suits and Fed ships with ease all the while immune to the beam fire. However in spite of that power it's overly reliant on Beam Weapons and when it goes up against the GP-03 Stamen (which also has an I-Field Generator) Gato laments that the primary beam based armament is completely ineffective. The GP-03, by contrast, has numerous missiles and ballistic weapons meaning it can strike the Neue Ziel while the Neue Ziel's shots are mostly ineffective.
- Cyber Cyclops: Pretty much every Zeon mecha except for the GP-02A (which is technically a Federation suit).
- Deadly Scratch: In episode 8, South Burning's GM Custom takes minor damage in a skirmish agains Cima Garahau's Gelgood Marine Commander Type. Unfortunately, said "minor damage" includes sparking wiring and a slowly-leaking fuel cell, which eventually causes the mobile suit to explode without warning while Burning is still inside it — tragically, right before he's able to reveal the details of Operation Stardust to his comrades aboard the Albion.
- A Death in the Limelight: South Burning gets a lot of character focus in episode 8; offering the audience glimpses into their past life, reaffirming their relationships with the other protagonists, etc. The episode is rife with foreshadowing invoking the Fatal Family Photo, Retirony, Mentor Occupational Hazard, and the characters' own lamentations on the life they've lived.
- Deus ex Nukina: The GP-02 nukes the Federation naval inspection.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Gato and the Delaz Fleet ultimately serve as this. The true antagonists go on to formally establish the Titans, with no one still alive the wiser.
- Driven to Suicide: The Anaheim Director. And Gato, who kamikazed into one of the Federation's many ships.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Burning. And how.
- 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 bad guys' plan is a complete success. The Delaz fleet are all but wiped out by the Federation Forces and their actions only give justification for the creation of The Titans. But, the success of the operation also convinces other Zeon remnants, namely Axis Zeon, to begin their own actions against the Federation, thus setting the powder keg that would become the Gryps War. 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). Most of the Albion (save for Kou, Keith, and Mora) crew become Titans. The only reconciliation here is when The Federation (under the Titans' whim) decides to delete all of the data on the Gundam Development project, and subsequently 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.
- Some of 0083's characters themselves get cameos in subsequent anime depicting the One Year War. Cima Garahau is (according to various sources, including the Gihren's Greed series) the pilot of the Zaku I that gasses Shiro Amada's home colony and Admiral Delaz can be seen (sporting a full head of hair) in a staff meeting in the fifth Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin movie.
- Easily Forgiven: Even after Nina backstabs Kou for Gato, the former still forgives her for the entire thing. Though, it's heavily implied that they only came to terms again at least a full year after the entire incident.
- Enemy Civil War: Between the Cima Fleet and Delaz Fleet towards the end of the series.
- Energy Weapons: Wouldn't be Gundam without 'em.
- "Everybody Dies" Ending: Most of the Delaz fleet who isn't with Karius does not survive the series. The flotilla of mobile suits Axis was forced to leave at the end rush the Federation fleet to get through to an Axis transport that's already left the Earth-sphere.
- Oh come on, like you didn't think too that Nina is a clone◊ of Charlie Blackwood...
- The GP-02 wouldn't look too out of place in a Metal Gear game. Even more hilarious when considering that Gato has the same voice of said game's protagonist.
- 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 Is Bigger: Zeon, as always, fields big imposing Mobile Suits. When the GP-01 and GP-02 are introduced, the menacing bulky form of the GP-02 pretty much guarantees that it'll be an antagonist suit, Gundam or no. The Xamel, Val Walo, and Neue Ziel are especially gigantic Zeon Mobile Weapons. While the GP-03 Dendrobium gives the protagonist a massive towering suit, at its core it's still an average sized Gundam.
- 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)
- Expository Paint Job: The original color scheme of Gundam Unit 1 matches the classic RX-78-2 Gundam. One it is upgraded to the spaceworthy Full Vernien, its colors are rearranged to match the Zeta Gundam (from a pre-existing series, set after this show).
- 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.
- Failure Is the Only Option/Doomed by Canon/Foregone Conclusion: This show sets up why the Titans was established, as well as how Axis Zeon began taking action. Yeah.
- Fantastic Racism: While not very overt, it's shown that Earthnoids (or at least the older generations) tend to call Spacenoids "space-men," not too dissimilar to the "Chinaman" slur for the Chinese.
- Flaunting Your Fleets: The Federation Fleet Review.
- For Want of a Nail: If Lt. Burning's mobile suit hadn't exploded for a few more seconds, he could've told everyone about the true purpose of Stardust and maybe actually averted it.
- Similarly, if the Albion had just been a little bit more accurate with its mega particle cannon shot when Gato prepares to leave Earth, GP-02 would've never even made it to space.
- Even further back, had the Federation made any real effort to keep nonessential personnel out of the Gundam hanger during maintenance - especially given that they were loading one of them with a nuclear warhead - Gato would not have been able to steal the GP-02 in the first place. Gato actually lampshades the Federation's pathetic security while he's breaking in.
- Former Regime Personnel: Some of the staff and engineers under Anaheim Electronics' employ are mentioned as being from Zeon following the company taking over its rivals' assets. This also means that Delaz and Axis Zeon have a ready supply of spies, informants and sympathizers within the corporation.
- Four Is Death: Defied, according to the backstory; Burning's team during the One Year War was called the "Immortal 4th Team", and everyone identified as a member of it during the war survived no the events of 0083.
- Played straight with Cima in her Gerbera Tetra (meaning "four").
- Gone Horribly Right: The Colony Drop succeeds thanks to Gato, but unfortunately it's just used as further justification for creating the Titans organization.
- Grand Theft Prototype: Performed by Gato in the first episode; the official English title for the episode, "Gundamjack", was the former Trope Namer.
- Kou and the Albion crew were forced into doing this in Episode 11 when they take the Stamen Gundam and the Dendrobium Mobile Armor in order to stop Operation Stardust.
- Gratuitous French: Aiguille Delaz's given name means needle in French.
- Gratuitous English: Both opening themes. The full-English versions of both OP themes, renamed "Back to Paradise" and "Oblivion", skirt between this and the Surprisingly Good English.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Kou and Gato, of course.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Cima is killed by Kou for her betrayals despite being ostensibly being on the same side.
- Hover Skates: The Doms are capable of this, as they are in other entries in the UC timeline. 0083 also has the Xamel from the first two episodes, which is so bulky that it can pretty much only move via its hover skates.
- Humongous Mecha: Duh. However, the series provides two of the biggest mechs in early UC, the Neue Ziel and the GP-03 Dendrobium.
- Hypocrite: Delaz and Gato come across this way. They act outraged that the EF broke the Antarctic Treaty when Zeon broke it first (M'quve's little stunt with the nuke at Odessa); they hate Cima for gassing the colony even though Gihren gave the order, and they trumpet the cause of independence even though their cause involved brutally murdering the very people they claimed to liberate, and they attack the Federation's ethically dubious realpolitik while preparing to engage in a war crime that will kill millions more.
- 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.
- Indy Ploy: Kou becomes quite good at this.
- Informed Attribute: The GP 01 is said to be highly adaptable, but the closest the anime ever gets to suggesting this is mentioning that it didn't technically need the Full Vernien upgrade, and could have been made spaceworthy just by changing out the Core Fighter. 0083 Rebellion is better about this, showing more alternate equipment versions like a Full Armor type equipped with a variant of the Gundam Alex's Chobham armor, an amphibious type borrowing parts from MSV's Aqua GM, and a "Heavy Full Armor" version that borrows from Gundam 0081's 7th Gundam.
- Inspired by…: According to Jacob Wheeler, the lyrics of "Magic" were inspired from accounts of people he personally knew who had trouble with personal relationships.
- Interquel: The series serves as this, bridging the events of the One Year War and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. The 0083 Rebellion manga emphasizes this even further, showing among others Kou's time in the academy and the plight of the Delaz Fleet right after the Battle of A Baoa Qu.
- Jack of All Stats: The GM Custom, to quote Kou "Remarkable for being totally unremarkable." It's a stripped down Mass-Production version of the Alex from Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. It doesn't have the raw power of the Alex or the Gundams in this series, but performance-wise it's said to be almost equal to the original RX-78-2 Gundam. It doesn't excel in any particular area but it's performance is above a typical GM and it functions well on Earth and Space; by contrast the GP-01 maneuvers much better in space but requires significant tweaking and upgrades to do so or its performance is substandard.
- Killed Off for Real: Burning, Delaz, Cima, Gato, and Synapse.
- Knight Templar: Aiguille Delaz and especially Anavel Gato. To an extent much of the Zeon Remnants under Gato qualify. They're driven by their ideals and the dream they have for a future under Zeon, free of the corrupt Federation influence. Their Fanaticism carries on the ideals of the faction that wiped off half of Earth's population and they in turn seek to perform similar atrocities.
- Large Ham: "SOLOMON! I HAVE RETURNED!" and of course "GATOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"
- Latex Space Suit: What with being Gundam and all, the pilot suits.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: The future Titans use Operation Stardust to further their own ends. Gato and Delaz devise the plan and set it up so they can make a rallying point for Zeon. Cima divulges their plans to Bask Ohm and then Jamitov and Gene make a counterplan to take advantage of the chaos that would ensue. In essence they would allow Gato to kill off swathes of the Fed Forces and let the Colony Drop, but at the last second Bask would destroy the falling Colony with the Solar System II. This way they would create a power vacuum in the Federation and create their own rallying point to launch the Titans. It doesn't necessarily go as planned due to a variety of factors but even though the Colony still falls, the Titans use the tragedy to seize power and in the end they still get what they want.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Not exactly between her and Kou, but Nina's actions at the end of the story frustrated many fans.
- Meaningful Name:
- Neue Ziel is German for "New Goal".
- The Gerbera Tetra. "Tetra" is the Greek cardinal prefix for the number four, fitting with the unit's originally planned role as the fourth Gundam of the project. It also foreshadows her death when she uses it.
- Meaningless Villain Victory: Played with. Operation Stardust pulls through. Unfortunately, neither Gato nor Delaz, let along a good chunk of the Delaz fleet get to savor it before dying horribly. In the end, the ones who really make the most of their victory are the ones behind the emergent State Sec known as the Titans, as well as providing the motivation needed for Axis Zeon's eventual uprising.
- 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.
- Cima upgrades from her custom Gelgoog Marine to the Gerbera Tetra.
- Minovsky Physics: Again, Gundam verse.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Zeon remnants, but particularly Gato, whose devotion borders on fanatic levels.
- Never Gets Drunk: Ivan Paserov, the Albion's helmsman. When the crew's on shore leave many get drunk in a bar save Ivan who slams drink after drink before going for the bottle with no sign of intoxication. A small group of his crewmates even watch him, fascinated by how much he can keep down.
- 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.
- Nuke 'em: The whole reason GP-02A was built.
- 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.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Jamitov Hymem in contrast to Admiral Kowen's Reasonable Authority Figure. The former is part of the reason Operation Stardust succeeds.
- Older and Wiser: Burning to Kou whenhever the latter's in a pinch.
- 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.
- Personal Hate Before Common Goals: The series eventually reveals that Cima Garahou, one of the primary antagonists of the anime, was actually The Mole and had been sabotaging Zeon all along, and was trying to prevent their Colony Drop. That doesn't stop Kou from killing her on the battlefield despite orders to cooperate with her, him being unable to forgive her for what she's done and those he's lost as part of her machinations.
- Plot Hole: Clearly the writers thought up the whole Nina/Gato pairing mid-series(there were different writers for the second half of the series), because if she knew who Gato was, why did she let him take a Gundam with a giant nuke equipped? Hell, 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.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: See the page quote.
- 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, conversely to his Newtype counterparts who automatically know how to operate a mobile suit despite never having used one.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: See above quote again.
- Recursive Ammo: Missiles that shoot more missiles out of the side are quite useful.
- Red Baron: Anavel Gato, the Nightmare of Solomon.
- The Remnant: Delaz Fleet. Cima Fleet seems this way too, but...
- Axis Zeon also makes an appearance, supporting the Delaz fleet by providing additional resources, including Gato's Mid-Season Upgrade.
- 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.
- Running Gag: Carrots. Seriously. They're rabbit food!. This is apparently in reference to Ryo Horikawa, who also does not like carrots. It may also be a double reference to his most famous rolenote .
- Say My Name: "GATOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Bask's speech at the end has extremely patriotic music played over it. Of course his speech is about the rise of the Titans, so not something you should really be patriotic about...
- 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?
- That same sequence also contains the falling colony. No, seriously, go back and look.
- The first opening, meanwhile, inverts this. The second half of the opening prominently features a duel in space between Kou and Gato in their two Gundams - in the actual show, Kou takes the original GP01 into space only one time, and immediately gets it nearly destroyed because it wasn't designed for zero-gravity. He never does battle with Gato again until he's upgraded to the Full Vernien variant.
- 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?
- Scenery Gorn: Early on in the 0083 Rebellion manga, it's revealed that the countryside surrounding Nijmegen, where Kou spent his academy days, remains a wasted ruin left over from the One Year War. While in the OVA itself, viewers are treated to the nigh lifeless coastline close to Torrington Base marking a massive crater's edges. The same crater caused by Operation British.
- Shoulder Cannon: The Albion stocks two GM Cannon II's for Keith and Adel to pilot. They're built from the Gundam Alex as successors to the GM Cannon (itself an attempt to scale down and mass-produce the trope's image Guncannon).
- When Cima first appears she intentionally crashes some of her ships into the allied fleet just to annoy its leaders. Kamjin Kravshera from Macross, who Cima is often compared to, did the exact same thing in his first appearance.
- In both Stardust Memory and Mobile Suit Gundam it is revealed that the Worthy Opponent who dies near the halfway point of the series (Kelly in the former, Ramba Ral in the latter) is actually an old friend of the female lead (Nina and Sayla).
- Kelly Layzner gets his surname from Blue Comet SPT Layzner, another Humongous Mecha series which had the misfortune of competing against Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.
- Start of Darkness: For the Titans. Even more tragic is who joins them: the crew of the Albion are all shown donning Titan uniforms.
- 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. In most other Gundam series (with at least one exception) the actual mobile suit storyline is secondary to the actual war.
- Supporting Protagonist: Kou and the Albion crew are ultimately this. The focus is decidedly more on Gato and the Delaz Fleet. Not to mention the masterminds behind the Titans.
- Surprisingly Good English: The English version of "The Winner," "Back to Paradise," used in episode 1 and halfway through the series.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- Kou may be a skilled Mobile Suit test pilot at the start of the series, but adjusting to the brand-new and untested Gp-01 is still awkward for him, as its controls are completely different from that of a Zaku II or GM. It also helps that he's just a normal person and not a Newtype as well.
- Nina is a Mobile Suit designer, so she knows how to pilot a core fighter. However she has no training as a pilot, so can't handle the resulting g-forces. She screams all the way to her destination.
- Sword Fight: The climactic battle between the GP-01 and GP-02A.
- Technology Porn: The quality of the mecha animation in 0083 would not be equaled by any subsequent Gundam production until Unicorn.
- Theme Naming: All three Gundams are named after flowers (GP-01 = Zephyranthes, GP-02A = Physalis, GP-03 = Dendrobium Orchis (the weapons platform) / Dendrobium Stamen (the actual Gundam). The Gerbera Tetra is too, since it was originally intended to be the GP-04.
- Meta example, both 0083 and the preceding OVA (0080), used the years within the UC calendar in their title. Combined with 08th MS Team, you could say that all UC Gundam OVAs made in the 90's had the number 8 in the title.
- Unfriendly Fire: In the series' climax, Kou murders Cima despite having explicit orders not to, as they are now on the same side.
- Unknown Rival: Kou to Gato. After losing GP-02 against him, it's a genuinely mutual rivalry.
- Unwitting Pawn: Technically speaking, everyone in this entire series, with the exception of Cima Garahau, Jamitov Hymem, Jamacain Daninghan, and Bask Ohm, were duped from day one.
- Values Dissonance: In-Universe. From a nationalist or bushido standpoint the Zeon remnants' actions of Operation Stardust are noble acts of dying with honor rather than surrender. To the Federation, they just come across as a bunch of terrorists. Something the Titans exploit to their advantage.
- Vehicular Turnabout: Among the many Mobile Suits being used by the Federation at Torrington base are a few captured Zaku II F2 units, repainted in Federation colors. Seeing these units in said colors enrages Gato's men enough that they destroy one of them on sight during the attack on the base later.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Like with many other UC OVA sidestories, the main cast is unaccounted for in the main canon. It's especially noteworthy here because many of them go on to join the Titans, an organization that meets a very violent end in Zeta.
- Captain Synapse and Admiral Kowen are both stripped of their positions and side materials indicate that they were executed but their fates are left ambiguous.
- Admiral Gene Coliny the Man Behind the Man who helped found the Titans is also unaccounted for in the greater Gundam canon.
- Years later, the Advance of Zeta manga would give some clarity to Monsha's fate having stayed with the Titans until their destruction and then fled to avoid prosecution but most of the other characters are MIA.
- 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.
- Wrench Wench: Every person we see in Anaheim Electronics' Mobile Suit division is a woman. This might explain why all of the GP series are named after flowers.
- You Are Too Late: Type 6, multiple times.