a.k.a. Kidou Senshi Gundam 0083: Zeon no Zankou
In the year Universal Century 0083, peace has fallen over Earth. However, that peace is short-lived when a group of Zeon rebels steal the experimental GP-02 Gundam and put the secretive “Operation Stardust” into effect. Now it’s up to Earth Federation Ensign Uraki Kou, the crew of battleship Albion and the untested GP-01 Gundam to stop the Zeon ace Anavel Gato and the renegade Delaz Fleet before their counterattack… but can they?
summary by Ender
Highs: Lavish battles; nice soundtrack
Lows: Anticlimactic finale; story trips around too much
One of the most expansive franchises in anime history expands even further with Gundam 0083. Having nothing to do with the legendary series (aside from the similar timeline), this OVA comes in as a side story meant to quench the appetites of those who crave mecha action. However, it seems it was made to do just that and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong, though; what Gundam 0083 does, it does well. It’s all the other stuff that it can’t do right that brings it down.
For the time it was made, this OVA does not have particularly bad animation. In fact, it’s right on par with most animated movies of the time, which is a good thing for an OVA. The animation really shines during the many heart-pounding mecha battles. Believe me, when ships and mobile suits explode in this series, they explode. The soundtrack is a nice little plus, too, arranged to really give that whole “space epic” feel. Also, the two opening songs, The Winner and Men of Destiny, really complement the series, although considered old by today’s standards.
Action and music aside, the anime seems to be lacking in the story department. Not surprising, considering that it has passed through three different directors with three different visions before completion. It starts off as a modest military drama reminiscent of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and somewhere in the middle it loses focus amidst the battle scenes. A love triangle appears out of nowhere, and then everything turns into a rejected Macross script. Oh, and then it ends… what happened? The love triangle, in particular, seems forced, and the three characters are too much in the dark about one another to actually form anything more than a friendship/rivalry, let alone an actual love triangle. To top it off, despite having climactic battle scene after climactic battle scene, the ending turns out to be, well, anticlimactic. This, of course, happens right when anticipation is highest, so it barely manages to disappoint.
This anime really had a lot more going for it than it initially lets on; too bad it didn’t pick up on them. All things considered, if you want mindless mecha action, you can’t go wrong here. However, if you want something that won’t leave you scratching your head, look elsewhere.
Highs: Battles with plenty of bang; you’ll fall in love with the animation
Lows: Numerous plot and continuity inconsistencies; you call that a love triangle?
One can argue that Stardust Memory provides an important link in the Universal Century timeline. I’ll agree that it does help bridge the seven-year gap between Mobile Suit Gundam and Zeta Gundam, but in the grand scheme of this universe, it does more harm than good.
At the very beginning of this OVA, there’s a short clip from the Battle of A Baoa Qu, and this serves to set the story in motion, as well as get you hungering for some tasty action scenes. Believe me, if there’s one thing that Stardust Memory doesn’t lack, it’s battles… and boy, are they plentiful. Whether on Earth or in space, watching the wide variety of mobile suits, mobile armors and ships go head-to-head in combat might have you replaying scenes over and over again. This is helped because of the ridiculously high-quality animation. Whether someone is eating lunch or a Zaku is being cut in half, it’s guaranteed that each new cel is highly detailed and flows very smoothly into the next cel without any hesitation.
To be blunt, there are various problems with the story, including how well it fits in with the Universal Century timeline. Dealing with just Stardust Memory, the conspiracy within the Earth Federation is never explained, nor is it ever made known why certain betrayals occur. Anavel Gato (the Nightmare of Solomon) doesn’t fit in because he was never mentioned at all in Mobile Suit Gundam despite the fact that he’s nearly as famous as Char Aznable. Technology here is far more advanced than anything found four-years down the road in Zeta Gundam. And there’s not a peep spoken about Newtypes when they’re a key part of the UC timeline at this point. On top of that, the “love triangle” between Uraki Kou, Nina Purpleton and Anavel Gato is as nonexistent as a sequel to Grave of the Fireflies, despite the director’s attempts; Nina suddenly falls in love with Kou for no reason, there’s never any insight into Gato’s feelings or his relationship with Nina and Kou and Gato never even knew about the other having something with Nina. Just how is this supposed to be a proper love triangle?
Action fanboys will definitely come to like Stardust Memory, but Gundam fans… well, take what you want, but just take this OVA with a block of salt. You just might be better off forgetting this anime if you want to be ignorant of the mucking up this does to the UC timeline.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Stardust Memory can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.