Run From: March 25, 1989 – August 25, 1989
What I Was Doing at the Time: Ah the life of an anti-social first grader. Actually, I don’t really remember that much, which is probably a good thing.
First Watched: April 2002 when I bought both DVDs
Plot Summary: This is a short six-part OVA which was released ten years after Mobile Suit Gundam first aired. For it’s part, it’s part it goes for the always hard look at the experience of children in war. The story takes place through the experiences of Al Izuruha and Zeon rookie pilot Bernie Wiseman with the former’s curiosity and ignorance of war playing off the cynicism of the latter in the last month of the One Year War.
Al begins as just a normal kid with friends of questionable character and a fear of girls. A battle breaks out and he sees a shot up Zaku struggling to get to a nearby forest, where he runs into Bernie. Enchanted by the excitement of war, Al befriends Bernie and the two eventually come to help each other.
Bernie’s becomes involved in a mission to find, then destroy, a new Gundam piloted by Christina MacKenzie (voiced by Megumi Hayashibara). Seeing as the war was always going to finish one way, the initial battle was much the same. Al being witness to the Zeon unit he had come to know over a few days die in bloody fashion.
In the aftermath, he comes across a scene where a dead child is being pulled out of some rubble. This led to a line where Al asks Bernie why people die so easily. Bernie responds by telling him that life is just a matter of luck.
With the colony in danger because of a potential Zeon nuclear strike, Bernie decides to flee. Then he changes his mind, in a sudden bout of courage. He comes up with a plan to defeat the Gundam in a 1-on-1 battle in his horribly outmatched Zaku II.
Unfortunately for Bernie, the battle ends up being completely meaningless, but Al finds out too late to do anything as Bernie is killed by Chris.
Thoughts: It’s been nearly 20 years since this was made, so we can see the direction this franchise has taken:
1979: Mobile Suit Gundam
1989: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
1994: Mobile Suit V Gundam/Mobile Suit G Gundam
1999: Turn A Gundam
2004: Gundam SEED Destiny
2009: Gundam 00 S2
At some point, there was a gradual shift from plot being the most important to mecha and character designs ruling the day. It hasn’t hurt the popularity of the respective series, though.
Also some thoughts on Al’s character. The fact that they show his imagining of a nuclear attack on his colony complete with deaths would be hard to see for almost any modern show, let alone a Gundam series. His character changes greatly, but believably, in a short amount of time, and it’s fitting that the series ends with him in tears at the sad absurdity of it all.