Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a day to remember love! However, we won’t be doing a Macross post today because I want to share with you a great moment in animation. This is from Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team; one of my favorite installments of the franchise. One of the remarkable things about this show is the Capulets vs. Montagues kind of love story between a young commander in the Federation forces and an experimental mobile armor pilot from Zeon.
What makes the love story remarkable, among a number of reasons, is the sudden and utter turnaround in attitude by the Federation commander Shiro Amada after a sexual encounter with his paramour in the snowy mountains.
Shiro was present at his homeland, Side 2, during the initial Zeon G3 poison gas attacks on the colonies in the first weeks of the One Year War, witnessing all of the fellow colony inhabitants die horribly around him, Shiro saved himself only because he was lucky enough to wear a sealed space suit. Witnessing this wanton civilian death filled Shiro with a deep hatred for the Zeon, and everything they stood for.
Despite this hatred, I never saw Shiro display any actual bloodlust. I saw in him an eagerness to prove himself as a leader to the more experienced members of the 08th MS Team, which led to several reckless moves. But that is all, I never got the impression that he is a hateful or bitter victim of war.
The pilot Shiro showed much compassion for in the first episode is Aina Sahalin herself, who was especially touched by his behavior. She too, was apparently led to think that the only good Feddie was a dead one.
For whatever reason, Aina left Shiro a treasured keepsake – a pocket watch that’s some kind of heirloom of the Sahalin. This encounter (Shiro actually brought down Aina’s mobile armor, though not without critically damaging his Gundam) allowed him to return it.
At first I thought this relationship was going to be a tad forced, but given the events of the first episode it felt inevitable. So I just kicked back and enjoyed the romance. It was quite romantic up in the mountains.
I somehow always found Zeon girls hotter.
And Aina happens to be the hottest.
They actually started talking, getting to know about each other while in the hot water. To his credit, Shiro did his best to listen – even though he probably didn’t understand much about Gineas and what he and Aina did in their work on the ground. And I thought nothing more would come out of this romantic interlude, until…
Okay, I really thought to myself: Oh my, this is Gundam! (I had seen a naked Frau Bow taking a shower in the orignal series but that’s it)
And then the mist covers everything. The evils of war are pushed aside for the moment, to be confronted seriously later.
And then, Aina’s rescuers arrive – to be met by the 08th MS Team search party. A battle inevitably ensues, and both Shiro and Aina are confronted by how fleeting their moment truly is.
And then the changes in Shiro begin to manifest.
Shiro would spend the rest of his career preventing further hostilities between the Federation and the Zeon, something his own team and his superiors get quite disturbed about. But yes, the power of love and Aina really turned this man (yes, he is. He attacked a Zaku II Prototype with a Ball) into a daring pacifist. If you’ve never seen a Gundam show before, The 08th MS Team isn’t a bad show to start with at all. And if you’re a Gundam fan and you haven’t seen this, you simply must see it. I may seem to make light of it in this post, but this OVA is very very good.
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