Mobile Suit Gundam The 08th MS Team

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

It’s taken some time, but it’s finally time to address the Gundam franchise in this column. Mobile Suit Gundam is arguably the biggest anime franchise there is, and one of the biggest media franchises around. In many ways, it is Japan’s answer to Star Wars, and much like the galaxy far, far away, the Gundam franchise includes so many entries, timelines, and universes that it can be incredibly daunting for newcomers. So let’s explore the easiest (and best) way to dip your toes into this massive property — by watching the excellent Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team.

Set right in the midst of the One Year War that both kickstarted and also defined much of Gundam, The 08th MS Team moves away from the epic space battles and instead focuses on a grounded, grittier side of the war. Deep in the jungles in Southeast Asia, we meet a Federation soldier named Shiro Amada who, after a fateful encounter with separatist Zeon soldier Aina Sahalin, starts to question the nature of the war and whether he really wants to fight the other side instead of running away and marrying an enemy soldier. 

What starts as the misadventures of a dysfunctional group of soldiers quickly escalates into an exploration of the pointlessness of war, with a poignant anti-war message. Oh, and there are also giant robots with laser swords. 

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