Over its 30 year history, Gundam has become so popular that I would not think much of an introduction is necessary. The giant robot is featured in anime series and movies, mangas and video games, and models of Gundams are owned and treasured by many. If you happen to be a fan of mecha animes, you would have seen quite a few, if not most or all, of the Gundam animes. Even if you are not, chances are that you have heard of them or could recall seeing some really cool Gundam products on display at the shops. So reviewing Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory proves to be rather challenging, as fans would have already seen it and formed their own opinions, while those not fond of mecha will not want to see Stardust Memory anyway. But I have decided to follow the examples of the heroes in Gundam and face up to this challenge, and so here I bring you my review of Stardust Memory.
The story of Stardust Memory took place along the Universal Century timeline, which was first featured in the original 1979 anime series. The year was UC 0083. At the end of the One Year War, an armistice was signed between the Earth Federation government and the Republic of Zeon. During the 3 years that followed, the Earth Federation developed a new prototype Gundam mobile suit which could be armed with nuclear warheads. To everyone’s surprise, someone penetrated a test base in Australia, and successfully stole one of their 2 prototype mobile suits. The person turned out to be Anavel Gato, nicknamed ‘Nightmare of Solomon’, the Zeon ace pilot who once struck fear in the hearts of Federation soldiers. Kou Uraki was a pilot fresh out of the academy but showed a lot of potentials. By chance, he came to pilot the remaining Gundam, with a mission to pursue Gato and reclaim the stolen mobile suit…
The story is rather simple and only mildly interesting, while the cast of characters especially the main character Uraki are all fairly likeable. Today’s viewers may find the pacing of the story a bit too slow. It starts off strongly, with the attack at the Earth Federation base and the pursuit that follows, but soon things begin to progress along rather slowly. Also, for viewers new to the Gundam universe, watching Stardust Memory may prove to be quite a frustrating experience. Some knowledge of the background details is assumed, and this could really only have been gained from watching the preceding instalments of the series. As a result, newcomers may not be able to fully appreciate the plots and dialogues of this anime, which will no doubt detract from the whole viewing experience.
Considering that Stardust Memory was made back in the early 1990s, the animation is pretty decent. The giant robots look cool as ever. The characters are well drawn, backgrounds are colourful, and movements especially those seen in action sequences are fluid and natural. The space battles are complex and skilfully choreographed, and easily the best feature of the anime. Sounds of guns and explosions are done well and complement the action nicely.
Overall, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is an average entry in the Gundam franchise. It features some spectacular battle scenes and a likeable cast, but the story and storytelling are letdowns. Fans of all things Gundam will probably still find much to enjoy in this anime, but uninitiated viewers are better off starting with some of the more modern series of Gundam if they are keen to find out what Gundam is all about.