Friday, October 29, 2010

Anime review: MS Igloo: Apocalypse 0079

Apocalypse 0079 picks up shortly after the conclusion of MS Igloo’s first chapter, The Hidden One Year War. The three episodes in this second half of the digitally animated OVA follow the crew of the Zeon ship Jotunheim as their experiments gradually move towards space and the battles that loom ahead as the One Year War draws towards its final days. While The Hidden One Year War focused largely on engineer Oliver May and recounted the various experiments from his personal point of view, Apocalypse 0079 balances the narrative more, giving Oliver, Lieutenant Commander Monique Cadillac, and Captain Martin Prochnow a major role. Other crew members aboard the Jotunheim who received little focus last time around are still given relatively minor roles, but are slightly more important in the grand scheme of the story.

Apocalypse 0079 ties in more directly with the events of the One Year War than The Hidden One Year War. From a high-velocity and heavily-equipped Z’Gok dropping from space in order to destroy Salamis and Magellan-class ships from leaving the EFSF in Jaburo, to the Jotunheim providing assistance at the battle of A Baoa Qu, things feel tightly meshed together. A few guest appearances along the way act as icing on the cake.

With The Hidden One Year War, the animation suffered marginally during the first two episodes. This time around a great attention to detail is taken into account and the animation remains consistent throughout. While there were a few cheesy moments thrown into The Hidden One Year War with deliberate comedic intent, these are almost completely removed from Apocalypse 0079 (with a few minor exceptions). Some may find this a bit upsetting, but it allows the story to stay more serious and focused. The soundtrack – which was almost nonexistent last time around – is sweeping and epic. Many of the pieces pay homage to the soundtrack of the original Mobile Suit Gundam with their overall sound, but at the same time the soundtrack stands out as a unique accompaniment to the OVA.

While the first episode of Apocalypse 0079 deals with an experiment isolated from those of the second and third episodes, it doesn’t feel too far removed and flows nicely with the overarching story. Viewers will feel a much greater connection with May and Cadillac than in the previous chapter of MS Igloo, and overall Apocalypse 0079 has a much more emotionally gripping story that is just as character-driven as that of The Hidden One Year War. With there being a mere three episodes, Bandai and Sunrise have packed as much material as possible into each and the end result is one of the best short OVAs - not just in the Gundam franchise, but of any anime ever made.

My rating: 9.75 (out of 10)

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