GundamReviews

Gundam 0080 Ep. 1: How Many Miles to the Battlefield?

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Summary

In December UC 0079, the Earth Federation Forces and the Principality of Zeon are locked in fierce fighting during the One Year War. In the Arctic Ocean, the Zeon Jukon submarine U-99 transports the Cyclops team underneath the ocean’s surface. The sub opens its hatches to launch the Cyclops team, which includes leader Hardie Steiner’s Z’Gok Experiment and three Hy-Goggs piloted by Mikhail “Misha” Kaminsky, Andy Strauss and Gabriel Ramirez Garcia. Steiner orders his men to increase speed because they’re running 15 minutes late. The team travels through an underwater ice passage before emerging on the surface to fire missiles at an EFF base. The team destroys multiple buildings and a Medea plane, and in response the EFF deploys several GM Cold District Types. An officer radios another man that they have to hurry with the loading of the Ginga shuttle, but the man notes that they still have two containers to load and will need at least 10 minutes to launch. Misha hides behind a Medea and slides over to grab a GM to use as a shield before destroying another unit. Misha and Garcia report to Steiner that they don’t see any sign of a transport plane and think all the ground mobile suits are decoys. Steiner asks Andy for his report, and Andy responds that he’s riding a lift up to an exit. Andy reaches the top of the lift and spots the Ginga, which he reports back to Steiner and sends a still image as proof. Steiner orders him to stop the shuttle launch and gives permission for Andy to fire his missile. Andy tries to target the shuttle, but he’s forced to seek cover when a GM shoots at him from the ground. Steiner rides up the lift to provide backup to Andy, but Andy says he’ll never make it because the Ginga is about to launch. Andy comes out from cover to target the shuttle and is killed when the GM shoots up his cockpit. His missile fires backward and explodes behind Steiner as he reaches the top of the tunnel. The explosion sends Steiner stumbling toward the ground as the Ginga takes off. Steiner pulls Andy’s body out of the cockpit and lets out an anguished scream. At Side 6’s Libot Colony, 11-year-old Alfred Izuruha runs to school with his friends Chay and Telcott. In class, fellow student Dorothy Hayes pesters Al for drawing mobile suits instead of doing his work, so he turns up the volume on her headphones to the max. She then tells on Al, and as punishment he’s forced to move his desk up front next to the teacher. At lunch, Al complains to Telcott and Chay about having to eat synth meat burgers again. Telcott says his mother told him that they have fewer supplies now because of the war, and Al interjects that the war is between Zeon and the EFF and has nothing to do with their colony. Telcott then says that the war holds up the supply ships sometimes, and he offers to eat their burgers if they don’t want them. Chay then shows Al an EFF rank badge that he claims belongs to his brother, a mobile suit pilot. Dorothy walks by and calls Chay a liar because the EFF doesn’t even have mobile suits, but Al argues with her that they do. Chay says that they didn’t before but do now, and Al stands up and says it’s true because he’s seen them. Al says that since his father works for a shipping company, he was able to see a mobile suit being sent to Side 7. Dorothy calls him a liar, and he says it was big and black and looked tough. She asks for proof, and when Al has nothing to say, she accuses him of making it up and says the rank badge is probably also fake. Chay angrily grabs Dorothy by the shoulders and she responds by kicking him in the groin. Al then struggles with Dorothy and causes them both to hit the floor, which results in him and Chay getting punished by the teacher. After school, the boys talk about trying to get proof of EFF mobile suits, and Chay mentions that Al is supposed to see his father today. Al runs home to get a camera from his room, and when his mother, Michiko, says that she thought he was going straight to the spaceport, he answers that he forgot something. Al runs out of the house and catches a bus to the spaceport so he can get a picture of an EFF mobile suit in exchange for Chay’s rank badge. Al reaches the spaceport and checks in at the security desk, where a guard mentions that his father’s ship will be docking in 10 minutes. Al sneaks through the spaceport and reaches a gate where the Ginga is docked and unloading its cargo containers. He takes a picture of a cargo container but complains that there’s nothing that looks like a mobile suit. A worker asks Al what he’s doing here, and Al lies that he’s looking for a restroom. The cargo container then opens, revealing a Gundam

Al goes to a restaurant with his father, Ems, but says little more than that everything is “so-so.” Ems asks about Al’s grades, and Al lies to him about a few bad grades. Ems hands Al an important letter to deliver to Michiko, and Al asks for a favor. After parting ways with Ems, Al rides a streetcar back into town and buys a drink from a vending machine. He walks home and absentmindedly bumps into a stack of boxes carried by a young woman named Christina “Chris” Mackenzie. Chris asks if he’s OK and recognizes him, and he asks when she got back from Earth. She answers that she just got back today and was taking boxes to her room, but it suddenly starts raining. Al helps Chris take the remaining boxes inside, where she dries him off with a towel and explains that she came back on short notice for a government job. Al sneezes from being shirtless, so Chris opens her suitcase and puts aside her EFF uniform to find a sweater for him to wear. Chris makes milk tea and snacks for them, which they enjoy as it continues to rain outside. When Al heads home, Michiko is annoyed that he didn’t call to say he would be late. Al digs in to his dinner and delivers the letter to Michiko. Al finishes dinner after a few bites and says he’s not hungry because he already ate with his father. In his room he plays a light gun game called Stalking Crisis but abruptly turns it off when Michiko knocks on the door. Michiko gives him his gym clothes for P.E. class and tells him to go to bed right after finishing his homework. Al goes back to his game and destroys all the buildings in the city instead of the attacking giant monsters, which results in a game over. The next morning, Al wakes up and uses his camera to zoom in on Chris next door. They later walk down the street together and Al complains about how much he hates school and homework. Chris tells him that there’s at least middle and high school to look forward to, but he has no idea what that could be like. At school he tells Telcott and Chay that Ems took him into the spaceport, but he didn’t see anything like a mobile suit there. Chay tells Al he won’t get the badge, and Dorothy walks over to show them an array of EFF rank badges she got from a nearby toy store. Chay tells her to shut up, but their conversation is interrupted by a nearby explosion. They then watch as a GM Command Space stands in the street and gets shot down by a Zaku II FZ. Another Zaku and a Rick Dom II attack a GM Command and cause collateral damage to the surrounding buildings. Another Zaku moves through a river and opens fire at a fuel depot used by a GM Command as cover, setting off an explosion. Al and the others watch as a damaged Zaku flies by them and makes an emergency landing in the nearby Forest Park. Al chases after the Zaku and eventually catches up to where it crashed. He takes pictures of the Zaku and stops when he notices the pilot standing outside the cockpit and pointing a gun at him.

Commentary

Upon its debut in 1989, this series marked several firsts, as it was both the first Gundam OVA series and the first (of many series) to revisit the iconic One Year War setting. The episode opens with an intense battle fought by the Cyclops team to destroy a new EFF mobile suit. The battle is hectic and gives you a good idea how this series stands apart from the original series. In contrast to this, the rest of the episode focuses on Al, a young boy from a typical background who doesn’t do so well in school. Not surprisingly, Al and his friends are obsessed with mobile suits and get into fights with Dorothy about it, which is the kind of thing you’d expect from this show at this point. Al almost stumbles into the truth accidentally about a mobile suit being sent to Side 7, but then blows it by lying about it being big and black. The music is usually a strong point in every Gundam series, but Gundam 0080 is unfortunately an exception to that rule. Some of it is decent, but overall it’s not particularly impressive. Incidentally, the CG colony seen at the beginning of the episode is a recycling of the Londenion Colony seen a year prior in the Char’s Counterattack movie.

Original Review: June 2, 2000

Overall Rating
3.5/5
Gundam 0080 Info


Director:

Fumihiko Takayama

Writer:
Hiroyuki Yamaga

Mechanical Designer:
Yutaka Izubuchi

Character Designer:
Haruhiko Mikimoto

Musical Composer:
Tetsuro Kashibuchi

Video Release:
Japan 03.25.1989 – 08.25.1989
U.S. 02.19.2002 – 04.23.2002

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