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Episode 6: War in the Pocket

 

Review by Chris Guanche

June 4, 2000

 

Summary

 

Al and Bernie repair the damaged Zaku to fight the Alex. Bernie needs weapons for the Zaku, which Misha hid on two trucks. When they arrive at one of the parking lots, the Federation Forces are towing away the truck. They head for another parking lot and find the Federation Forces there as well. Al creates a brilliant distraction by vandalizing their jeep because the Federation killed his father. As the soldiers try to explain that the Zeon are to blame, Bernie gets away with the truck. Inside the truck is a heat hawk and a dozen hand grenades. Bernie doesn't think that he has enough weapons and doesn't believe he can win without a rifle. He sees Santa Claus balloons in the city and gets an idea. At night he and Al go to a balloon factory and steal fireworks and Santa balloons. Bernie's plan is to lure the Alex to the forest where there are no civilians. By using fireworks and balloons to distract the Alex, Bernie believes he can defeat the Alex with just the heat hawk. Al and Bernie get the remaining parts by purchasing them or stealing them from wrecked GM's spread throughout the colony. Finally, the Zaku is repaired, and Bernie gives Al a ride in its hand. It is now Christmas Eve, and Al asks Bernie if there is anything else he can do to help. Bernie gives him a package with a disk and tells him to follow the instructions if he gets killed in battle. Al begins to worry, and Bernie tells him defeating the Alex will be a piece of cake. Bernie wishes Al a Merry Christmas, and Al tells him not to get killed. Bernie looks over at Chris' house and thinks about her celebrating Christmas with her parents. In his room, Al prays to God and asks him to protect Bernie and the colony.

 

The next day Al and his mother pick up his father at the space port. As they ride a ramp down to the city, Al's father explains he was delayed because of a battle right outside the colony. He says that a Zeon ship surrendered and was carrying nuclear weapons to destroy colonies in Side 6. Al realizes that the colony is saved and that Bernie doesn't have to fight the Alex. He gets off the elevator and heads for the forest to warn Bernie, but Bernie has already launched in the Zaku. Chris takes the Alex out to fight, and Bernie heads for the forest, where gas is already fogging up the area. Chris attacks the decoy Santa while Bernie hides. He attacks her, and she wounds him with her arm cannon. He slices through the Alex's armor with the heat hawk and wounds her as well. Al arrives as they fight, but is unable to do anything and watches helplessly. Chris pulls out her beam saber and attacks. Bernie severs the Gundam's head, but Chris rams the saber right through the cockpit. Al watches in horror as the Zaku explodes. He is catatonic when Federation Forces soldiers find him injured. Al is shocked when the Alex cockpit is opened and Chris is pulled out. He hears the Federation Forces soldiers refer to Bernie's remains as a "pile of hamburger." Within a week, the One Year War ends with the victory of the Federation. Later, Al watches Bernie's disk in his room. Bernie says that if he is dead, he doesn't want Al to blame the Gundam pilot or the Federation Forces because they're doing what they think is right. He also says that if he survives and the war ends, he'll return to Libot to visit Al. As Al heads for school, he sees Chris with her arm in a cast. She tells him that she's being transferred to Earth, and she asks Al to say goodbye to Bernie for her. Al tells her Bernie will be sorry to have missed her. At the ruined school, the principal gives a speech about the cost of peace, and Al breaks down and cries. Telcott and Chay tell him not to worry because the next war will be even better.

 

Commentary

 

A tragic ending for the series, most people would agree. But it's perfectly fitting, I think. Al's dreams of how cool war is are shattered. War isn't like a video game with neat mobile suits and good vs. evil. War is a terrible thing between people who are not evil, just trying to survive. By the beginning of this episode, you almost have to accept that Bernie is doomed. He's a rookie pilot in a damaged Zaku fighting against an experienced pilot in a Gundam built for Newtypes. If you watch the original series, you'll see that a Zaku can't even scratch a Gundam. Bernie ends up doing very well actually, but not good enough. It's tragic that Bernie and Chris like each other and end up having to fight. The battle is tense, because it involves two sympathetic characters. You don't want either to die, but you know that one (or possibly both) will. It has more of a dramatic effect that Bernie dies, because Al has a closer bond to him than with Chris. If you ever had any doubt about this being one of the best Gundam series, this one episode will dispel that doubt. In some anime, hundreds of people could die in one episode, and it's meaningless. In this series, one person dies, and it means everything. That is the sign of a good series.

 

Overall Rating

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5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam 0080 Episode 6 Gundam 0080 Episode 6

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Buy the collection (eps 1-6) on DVD from Amazon
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