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Anime / Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team

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Zeke don't surf.
"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 12-Episode Anime released in 1996 and 1999. Set during the One Year War, it runs alongside the events of Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket.

The story centers on Shiro Amada, a young and eager 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 sci-fi, and most solidly Real Robot Gundam show to date. Eschewing the One-Man Army ace pilot protagonist archetypes 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 Remaster box set (Hell, Ricardo Fellini really liked it).

This series contains examples of:

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    Tropes A-M 
  • Ace Custom: The Ez-8 is a downplayed version. Functionally, it's a rebuild of Shiro's RX-79[G] using the parts they had available, customized to Shiro's recommendations and battle data. It has a slightly different weapon loadout and performs a little better than the regular RX-79[G], but nothing like Char's various three-times-faster custom suits.
  • 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 Gundam IGLOO.
    • According to the Gihren's Greed games the Zaku I that appears in Shiro's flashback was piloted by none other than Cima Garahau.
    • The SD Gundam G Generation series goes into some detail about Michel's fate after the war. Specifically, he became a TV producer and created a show based on his adventures during the OYW. Said TV series was apparently heavily embellished, being the source of all the non-canon Ez-8 Gundam variants seen in the games, most notably a space use version from a completely fictitious story arc depicting Shiro participating in Operation Star One rather than being crippled in his climactic battle with the Apsaras 3.
  • Alpha Strike:
    • Subverted when Shiro fires all of the Ez-8's weapons simultaneously at Norris while sliding down the side of a building, 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, with no nipples visable, but Kiki's introduction scene of her skinny dipping doesn't.
  • Ascended Extra: The Flight Type Gouf has an incredibly minor presence in the story, a pair of them showing up to flank the Apsulus III and then be destroyed. The Battle in Three Dimensions short featured the main antagonist, Zhukov, utilizing it to attack the 08th MS Team, showing it to be a force to be reckoned with when used to its fullest potential. The short was even named in reference to the suit as its ability to fly brought the fight to a three-dimensional space rather than a typical earth-based two dimensional one.
  • 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 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.
  • 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:
  • The Cameo: In the final episode Dr. Flanagan from the original MSG series appears in a flashback.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: When she realizes she's being peeped on, Kiki takes just long enough to swim to her clothes before she starts shooting.
  • 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 assaults 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 as well as serve as a continual reminder that Gineas is off his meds. 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.
  • Child Soldier: A group of children in the last episode of the series are this, who also act as The Remnant in case of a new war.
  • 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). After that they're able to get her Gundam functioning again by simply replacing the head with one from a GM.
  • Darker and Edgier: This particular Gundam anime did a good job of showing the good and evil on both sides of the war.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
    • Much like War in the Pocket, Mobile Suits tend to not explode when they're taken down. Their reactors are noted to have the potential to go critical if struck by a blast so several characters explicitly try to avoid blowing their enemies up lest they damage surrounding civilians.
    • Ryder actually tries to invoke this when scouting Ginias's base by deliberately sending in troops into trapped areas to detonate their reactors, but he has no luck at it.
    • This series also features robots exploding should their ordinance be shot with Packard destroying the Guntanks by blasting their ammunition and the Apsalus's beam weapon taking a hit.
  • 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.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: The team's three Ground Gundams start out looking identical, but Shiro and Karen's are both damaged and remodeled towards the end of the series, leaving Terry as the only one still using the stock configuration.
  • During the War: Another One Year War side-story (a scene from Garma's funeral plays during episode 1, and part of the second half of the series is Zeon troops trying to regroup after the fall of Odessa), and also a thin allegory for Vietnam. Thin to the point that it could easily be taking place in Vietnam (it's at least taking place in the general area of Southeast Asia, which includes Vietnam).
  • Elite Mook:
    • The Ground Type Gundams can be seen as this to the military. They're essentially grunt suits with better armor and weapons, not game-changers like the main Gundam, but more important than GM's.
    • The GM Snipers at the series end are also fairly powerful suits. In contrast to the standard GM which tends to get thrashed easily in this series, the Snipers are far deadlier, one even managing to cripple the Apsalus.
  • 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; by the end the team typically 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. He's the commanding officer, but he's also new to commanding and the planet which trips him up somewhat.
  • 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 Gundam Compilation Movies.
  • Faking the Dead: After the destruction of the Apsalus, Shiro and Aina, who can't get to the Zeon side (and have nobody left there who cares about either of them anyway) and would likely face arrest and trial if they go to the Federation side, allow the record to state that they both died in the explosion and start a new life away from the war.
  • Fanservice: Kiki's introduction in the second episode features her Skinny Dipping in a pool below a waterfall. The viewer gets a good few shots of Kiki's anatomically-correct breasts. Shiro also first meets her when he ends up stumbling upon her as she's bathing and she quickly produces pistol to chase him away.
  • 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.
  • Fatal Family Photo: In a variation, Michel's fixation on mail from home distracts him from his work to the point where it nearly kills Shiro rather than himself.
  • Fingore: When lost in the mountains, Shiro injures his hand from frostbite. It's not too bad, especially since Aina dresses the wounds quickly. When Shiro has his nightmare about Operation British, he imagines one civilian reaching out to him, and tearing his own fingers as he grabs onto Shiro's helmet.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Shiro and Aina elope after having met a grand total of three times.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause at just the right time during the Apsalus III's start up sequence, it's apparently running a lot of mid-90s software and hardware including both an AMD K6 and Cyrix 6x86MX all Microsoft's DirectX.
  • 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.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: 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.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Both good and bad people exist at all levels of the military on both sides, the Gray vs. Gray vibe comes across strong in the 08th MS Team.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Shiro, in mid-Freak Out, rips off his own mobile suit's arm and bludgeons his target with it.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Aina, as the only prominent female Zeon character, is also the only one who ends up leaving them for her love.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Of the Machine Blood variety, when Norris Packard stabs a tank a fountain a liquid erupts. Generally assumed to be hydraulic fluid or oil or somesuch (supported by the fact that it's pitch black when it erupts from the "stab wound"), but it's really obvious what effect they're actually going for, especially waith Karen saying immediately before that he was targeting the crew of the tank right before he stabs.
  • Hover Skates: The Dom moves with these. The large exhaust ducts on their legs that allow for it prompt Federation pilots to call them "skirts".
  • Kick the Dog: Ginias has a string of these toward the end to demonstrate just how loony he's gotten, culminating in his crossing the Moral Event Horizon. He kills his own allies to prevent them from shutting down the Apsalus project, then kills the Apsalus project team immediately after they finish it, then violates a ceasefire, which gets a ship filled with wounded men and his own evacuating soldiers blown up, then shoots his sister when she calls him on his bullshit. Then gets punched into goo by a giant robot.
  • The Lancer: Karen, the most experienced pilot, and much more pragmatic than Shiro.
  • The Leader: Shiro, the story's protagonist and the 08th Team's commanding officer.
  • La Résistance: The locals fighting Zeon. They're not especially fond of the Earth Federation either, though they eventually warm up to the latter.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: In the last episode, Michel and Kiki encounter a bunch of former Zeon kids who were quite obviously meant to be this. Subverted in that a) they don't know where to start and b) they don't really want to anyway.
  • Latex Space Suit: All mobile suit pilots in space, as is typical for UC Gundam. Amusingly, Shiro wears his (rather than the much more comfortable fatigues that everyone else uses) during his first mission on Earth, and practically drowns in his own sweat because of it. Aina wears her on Earth, and it absolutely clings to her.
  • The Load: Michel, the most emotional and least useful member of the team.
  • Love at First Sight: Shiro and Aina first meet in episode 1, then don't see each other again until episode 6, at which point they consider themselves a couple. At the end of episode 11, which is their third meeting, they desert their respective sides and elope.
  • Machine Blood: The battle between Norris and the Team has this when Norris stabs a guntank, resulting in a massive gout of oil being sprayed across his mobile suit.
  • Mad Scientist: Ginias begins the series as a relatively sane, if obsessive scientist. He starts going unhinged when rumors float around that Zeon may cut his funding in favor of some other project, and snaps completely when its simultaneously revealed to him that his funding and materials will be cut and seized, and that Aina is in love with a Federation pilot.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Aina to Ginias, though it's actually "Mad Scientist's Beautiful Sister".
  • Mauve Shirt: The couple of recurring Guerrilla fighters, The Magellan Team, the 07th MS Team, and Topp Squad. All are named soldiers that populate their respective sides and give the cast some extra faces
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Subverted by Shiro's Ez-8 and Karen's "GM Head". Instead of being a new and improved, more effective fighting machines, both examples are repair jobs designed to keep the units functioning and are not obvious improvements (though supplementary materials state that the Ez-8 has slightly better performance characteristics than a standard RX-79[G]). The "GM Head" had its original head (which was punched off) replaced by a head from a GM model, while the Ez-8 is a near-total rebuild of Shiro's machine after it was completely trashed. Both, however, admirably serve their primary purpose — selling more model kits.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Norris Packard walking alongside his Gouf Custom as they head out for combat. He's literally doing nothing but walking through the hangar, but they do their damnedest to make it really cool.
  • Mundane Utility: In Episode 7, Shiro uses his Gundam's beam saber to create a make-shift hotspring to keep him and Aina warm in the mountains. In the last episode of the OVA, a group of child soldiers use the technique to create one from the beam saber/naginata from a broken Gelgoog, a hint that they'd met Shiro and Aina.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Net Gun: One of the Gundam Ground Type's equipment is a net gun scaled up to Humongous Mecha sizes used in ambush and capture missions. The same gun is used by the Ground-type GM. Later in the UC timeline it seems that the idea gets replaced by the Clay Bazooka, which fires clay rounds to ensnare mobile suits.
  • Never Found the Body: Because they were both at point blank range when the Apsalus exploded, Shiro and Aina are assumed to have been vaporized by the blast. They both survived (though Shiro lost a leg), and they use the fact that everyone thinks that they're dead to desert.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: On multiple levels. First when Shiro begins to realize that most Zeon soldiers are just regular people trying to survive the war, rather than faceless evil psychopaths. Later, he realizes that some of his own superiors actually are psychopaths, just like the Zeon higher-ups.
  • Oh, Crap!: Every time the Apsalus shows up. Notable moment when Michel is about to be blasted away by its cannon. Also, Sanders when he realizes just how skilled Packard is.
  • The Ojou: Aina, who is effectively the matriarch of the Sahalin family, though since her brother Ginias is the patriarch, that leaves her in a distinctly subordinate position.
  • Pet the Dog: In the dubbed version of "Duty and Ideals", one of the lost Zeon pilots gives a village girl a bowl made from a machine gun shell as a gift. The photograph in his Zaku's cockpit is likely meant to imply he himself is a father, so this behavior is especially understandable. The original sub has him simply returning the bowl to the child after using it, but turning it into a gift was done to fit the paternal nature of the scene.
  • Pocket Protector: Aina's pocket watch stops what would otherwise be a fatal gunshot.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Shiro does this to Norris to declare his love for Aina while smacking him with the Ez-8's ripped off disabled arm.
  • Psychic Powers: There are almost no Newtypes to be found in this series. Although the Zeon Child Soldiers who show up in the final episode are from the Flanagan Institute, their interactions creeping out Michel and Kiki.
  • Real Robot: Probably the most so of any Gundam series to date. The mecha are portrayed entirely as mundane (if powerful) military weaponry rather than any sort of unique or special technology, and they even use reasonable military tactics like combined arms (the 08th Team consists of three mecha and a "hover truck" support unit, and later on they're teamed with an air wing of Jet Core Boosters and Guntank artillery units for an assault on a major base). Special note must be made of Topp's squad of Zakus. They're dinged and damaged and have clearly improvised repairs and captured weapons.
  • The Remnant: The Distant Finale deals with a gang of Zeon Child Soldiers claiming that they're waiting for Zeon to come back to continue the war. They're Newtypes from the Flanagan Institute, the same place Lalah Sune was brought to in the original series.
  • Samurai: Norris Packard definitely follows the theme. An honorable warrior, loyal retainer of an aristocratic family, follows orders without question despite his lord being either evil or insane, and ultimately chooses to die honorably in combat rather than retreat, surrender, or be captured? Yep, he's a samurai. It's no surprise that when he's introduced, he's wearing a Zeon officer's helmet, which is incredibly reminiscent of a samurai's kabuto.
  • Rule of Three: Sanders is known as "Shinigami" or "Grim Reaper", because every time he's with the same unit for three missions, the entire unit gets wiped out except for him on that third mission. By the time he's with the 08th team he's painfully aware of the nickname, and tries to get himself transferred away before what will be their third mission together, but they ultimately break the pattern.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Used multiple times to reinforce the fact that War Is Hell. Notable examples include Kiki's village vs. Topp's Zaku team, where neither side wanted any bloodshed but it ends with both sides decimated anyway, and Norris Packard vs the 08th MS Team, which is rendered moot by the actions of both side's superiors a few minutes later.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Aina spends a few episodes trying to get the hospital ship Kergeren off the Earth safely, but in the end her brother screws everything up by attacking during a temporary cease fire and the ship is shot out of the sky (after which Gineas places the blame entirely on the Federation.)
  • Shield Bash: The Ground Gundam (along with the Ground GM and many other MS in the supplemental materials) has a shield with a claw-like front, designed to be used to stab enemy machines (or, for that matter, the ground to be used as a stabilizer for long-range shooting). To this end, it also can be slid forward giving it better reach.
  • Shoot the Dog: Shiro, when he's forced to kill enemy soldiers despite his obvious reluctance to do so. He hates to do it, but it's something that has to be done.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Shiro's Ez-8 Gundam is named after the iconic Sherman "Easy 8" variant.
    • In the final episode, upon seeing a swan flying overhead, Michel claims that he "hates seeing beautiful things". This is a reference to Lalah Sune from Mobile Suit Gundam, who is associated with swan imagery.
  • Shown Their Work: The OP showed scenes where Terry and Shiro were interacting with the local populace peacefully. This is an example of what the military would do in an anti-insurgency operation in order to get the populace to support the military instead of anti-government forces.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Aina, crossed with The Ojou. This is best demonstrated in the party scene where she deflects Admiral Yuri's advances firmly but delicately. She is also, of course, a skilled Mobile Suit and Mobile Armor pilot.
  • Sissy Villain: Ginias, whose slight frame, Pretty Boy looks, emphasis on scientific achievement over martial prowess, and his chronic illness make him less than manly. This is especially evident in contrast to Yuri, a Boisterous Bruiser frontline commander.
  • Sixth Ranger: Kiki, who starts out primarily as a representative of the local guerrillas, but eventually ends up tagging along for missions that take them far from inhabited areas.
  • Slipping a Mickey: In Miller's Report, it's heavily implied that Miller put something in Shiro's coffee to make sure he wasn't hiding anything when discussing his actions and his relationship with Aina.
  • The Smart Guy: Eleodore, who doesn't get to pilot a mobile suit but acts as a sort of on-scene Mission Control.
  • Sociopathic Soldier:
    • While most characters, Federation and Zeon, are shown to be varying shades of gray, Arth (Zaku II pilot of the squad that occupies Kiki's village) is entirely a stereotype of an invading soldier. He condescends to the local populace, just wants to kill the villagers and take what they need, and even has intentions to force himself upon Kiki and only changes his mind because his CO turns her weapon on him.
    • In the novelization, the Federation soldiers who gang-rape Kiki to the point that she commits suicide. Naturally referring the less savory aspects of the US-Vietnam War.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Sanders, multiple times in the backstory. Every team he's been on has been wiped out, leaving him the sole survivor, on his third mission with that team. It's uncertain how many times this happened, but it was enough to give him a reputation for getting his teams killed, as people started nicknaming him "shinigami" (or "grim reaper" in the dub).
    • Kiki is the sole guerrilla to survive the disastrous encounter with Topp's MS Team. Thanks to the 08th Team's interference the village's non-combatants survive, but all the fighters are killed.
  • The Squad: Most prominently the eponymous 08th Team, but other examples include Topp's three-man Zaku team and a trio of Magella Attack tanks that volunteer to ambush the 08th Team.
  • Super Prototype: A surprising aversion in the Gundam franchise: Shiro and company only use limited- or mass-production model mobile suits, with the only unique units they have being made that way in desperate attempts to repair battle damage. Said limited production suits still outperform a Zaku or a GM, but they're still not prototypes. The Zeon forces do have one example in the Apsalus mobile armor.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • One of the reasons this series in particular is so loved by a lot of the fandom is because the Gundams are not portrayed as the miraculous superweapons of the previous series. The machines need maintenance (lots of it), repairs after battle are resource- and time-consuming (two of the team's three Gundams are personalized by the end of the series just from desperate attempts to keep them functioning after a complete trashing [Shiro's] or losing their head [Karen's] rather than intentionally making Ace Customs), and the environment adversely affects them. One of the biggest obstacles the heroes face in the series is sand getting into the joints and components of their machines causing them to break down.
    • In a more short-term example, Shiro attempts an Alpha Strike at Norris while sliding down a building, only for every shot to miss because his movement ruins his accuracy. At least it looked impressive.
    • Also, Ace Pilot or no, one unit up against six at a time is practically a death sentence. Norris sorties anyway under the full knowledge that he's highly unlikely to survive the day's events, and even though he does succeed in his mission, it takes him sacrificing himself to make the shot he needs.
    • As above under Latex Spacesuit, Shiro wears his normal suit for his first Earth battle - and five minutes later, he needs to peel it off because the completely unventilated space suit is making him sweat too much.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Sanders doesn't take the repeated slaughter of his team too well. He has something of a complex about it.
  • The Team: The 8th MS team contains: Shiro, the commanding officer acting as The Hero; The Lancer, Karen, who is the most experienced pilot, and much more pragmatic than Shiro; The Big Guy, Sanders; The Smart Guy, Eleodore; and Michel, who is basically The Load. Later they get a Sixth Ranger Kiki, who acts as The Heart.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Twice, both near the end of the series. Once by Norris Packard, who abandons any hope of being evacuated while fighting the 08th Team, and once by Shiro, who makes an exception to his Technical Pacifist stance to kill Ginias. With Aina's permission, no less.
  • Title Drop: Said word-for-word in the "Battle in Three Dimensions" short found in the Blu-Rays:
    Shiro: The enemy's fighting in three dimensions!
  • Tripod Terror: The Apsaras 3 has three retractable legs used to brace itself when firing its Wave-Motion Gun at full power.
  • Try Not to Die: Shiro issues this order to his team, usually in the form of "come back alive!" At one point, he doesn't say it, prompting Michel to wonder if he's become a Death Seeker.
  • Used Future: While not a particularly good example overall, it's one of the few Gundam shows that attempt it at all. Instead of using pristine Super Prototype Gundams, the main mecha are stopgap units built out of parts leftover from the project that developed the original Gundam, and they get rebuilt/repaired in a variety of unique ways thanks to a lack of spare parts. Attention is also paid to maintenance and upkeep, especially on long range missions where they're away from support facilities for extended durations. While they look relatively pristine in animation (due to the difficulty of hand-animating visible wear and tear at a consistent quality) the promotional artwork for the show (see the BluRay cover above) often depicts the units of the 08th MS team covered with scratches, dents, and accumulated dirt and grime from operating in the field.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Attempted by a group of guerilla fighters. Kiki lands on top of Shiro's cockpit, tricking him into open it to reveal a band of rebels waiting to take his Gundam at gunpoint. Subverted when it's quickly made apparant that none of the guerillas have the first idea how to operate his Gundam, and when Shiro is not inclined to help them, they opt to take him prisoner instead.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ginias, whose goes from a fairly mundane leader of a Zeon research group to a completely Ax-Crazy Mad Scientist type over the course of the series.
  • War Is Hell: As any Gundam series, though this one is notable for bringing the view to ground-level, showing how destructive it is to both sides, many of whom are decent people ordered around by sociopaths from higher grounds where it's easy to dismiss the human cost of the war.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Apsalus's mega beam cannon, designed to destroy an Elaborate Underground Base from high altitude. When it's fired, it blows a hole through a mountain.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Approached from a different direction from normal. In the second half of the series, Shiro has difficulty fighting because after getting to know a Zeon officer as a person and developing feelings for her, he is no longer able to see Zeon soldiers as faceless mooks, and thus is reluctant to kill them. In the climax, Aina convinces him that her brother Ginius is a monster as a person, and needs to be taken down.
  • Yandere: Ginias to his sister and to his mobile armor. He loves them for sure, but would rather no one else has them if he can't.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Norris does this for his last fight against the 08th Team, to prevent them from destroying a ship filled with evacuating wounded.