Posted by psgels on 13 April 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

I now fully understand why War in the Pocket is held in such a high regard. At only six episodes it’s probably one of the shortest Gundams out there… but it has BY FAR the best characters that I have ever seen from the franchise. The fact that this series is told from the perspective of the Zeons (the bad guys in UC Gundam) makes it even better, turning this into the most morally ambiguous Gundam series as well.

The character who impressed me the most was Bernie, the lead character. He starts out like your average Gundam lead: young, rookie, ambitious, et cetera. However, the creators still made him competent: he’s a guy who doesn’t just ignore orders on a whim. The veterans around him also treat him as a rookie, and instead of standing in the spotlights he really is a guy who is tasked with the safe, dirty and boring work. The veterans around him also feel like they’re veterans, instead of the usual experienced soldier whose only tasks it is to let the youth take over. At no point does the angst or emo take over the storytelling, and neither do characters suddenly degrade into morons just to spice things up. This series averted a ton of Gundam cliches that originally made me so tired of this franchise.

The excellent characterization also really helps. Six episodes was obviously a bit short to develop a huge cast, but the two central characters get all the time they need to shine. The animation makes sure that the two of them are as expressive as possible, where it favours paying attention to these small details, rather than overblown battles. The side-characters aren’t as rounded as these two, and actually pretty static, but they’re nowhere near bad. They do a great job in illustrating the points that this series is trying to make. It very cleverly combines this childish innocence to the harsh realities of war, without ever going overboard with the drama.

So yeah, this pretty much is the most un-typical Gundam I have seen. While every other Gundam is an action-series, this really is a character-study first and foremost, where the action only takes up second place. For once we also have battles that stay down to earth (no pun intended), rather than going over the top near the end. And despite the lack of any epicness whatsoever, I found myself enjoying it more consistently than any other Gundam.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Perfectly makes use of its time. Great twists, yet remains down to earth.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent characterization; averts a ton of Gundam cliches, no idiots, morons or emos whatsoever.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Perhaps not the best for a Gundam series, but still very good.
Setting: 9/10 – Puts the loop above settings and characters that are normally just glossed over in Gundam series, and it works perfectly.

10 Responses

  1. AuroraFlame says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. Back when I was a kid, this was the only series I saw that wasn’t a dumbed down shounen or other regular action/franchise show. It was my favorite for quite a while, at least until I started watching anime seriously.

  2. signorRossi says:

    Your comments make me want to give this a chance. I started Turn-A-Gundam’ recently and was fond of it at first, but soon it became too childish and unfocused for my taste.

  3. signorRossi, TurnAGundam is certainly quite different than any of the other Gundam series: It’s certainly a love it or hate it title.

    War in the Pocket, on the other hand is, in my opinion, Gundam’s Macross Plus

    They just don’t make them like this anymore.

  4. Perrin4869 says:

    You got a mistake on the title – it’s 0080, not 0800.
    Other than that, I agree with you, I regard this one as the best Gundam series too.

  5. asa says:

    …i still think 0080 is the worst gundam series…seed destiny FTW (no jokes)

  6. signorRossi says:

    @Dane Scaysbrook
    That’s good to hear, I liked Macross Plus (especially the music), and the Mecha aspect was kept to a minimum there, which was a ‘Plus’ for me, ha ha…
    @asa Will see what I think about it after watching it and report back and also check out Seed Destiny.
    I am almost a Gundam virgin BTW… ;-)

  7. AuroraFlame says:

    Macross Plus is actually a pretty good comparison to make. It’s only a bit longer than War in the Pocket and similarly makes no beyond epic attempt to tie the plot to the larger mythology. It’s completely character-based, and it’s the only Macross where the singer doesn’t get annoying.

  8. fool says:

    I’d love to hear what you think about F91 if you watch it.

    *spoliers for 0080*

    War in the Pocket was good…but say it ain’t so Bernie, I still can’t like an ending where the guy dies due to a sudden plot twist which neutralizes the “real” threat.


  9. signorRossi says:

    Finished watching this just now and it was really quite decent, I can agree with psgels on it.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:37 PM)
    Well finally found that spider on a web right outside the bathroom window:
    It’s gotten way larger and seems to be prospering outside, so I decided to let it be instead of bringing it back in the house. Not to mention that I’m a bit intimidated since old Shelob’s a jumpy little fucker. Well hopefully she’s the type of arachnid that knows how to hibernate, cuz winter’s coming in fast.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:15 PM)
    It’s specially hard to like something that was somewhat made out of spite over the fan criticism of 2.0 becoming ‘too cliche and positive’, even psgels was irked by the overall tone that he thought didn’t fit the series. So Anno went and did a 180; for better or worse. I personally liked it and believe that you can’t have a Eva redo without mindfucks, but I think it all hinges on what the last movie accomplishes to do.
  • jerkocaust
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:14 PM)
    Isnt ninjarealist the one writer who disappeared for months after he got into an argument in the comments lol
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:09 PM)
    @Aidan: you don’t say? I thought we all agreed on everything and just circle-jerked? learn something new every day.
    I wouldn’t expect anything else, since there are a very few positive reviews of 3.0 that are beyond fanboy level of criticism.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:40 PM)
    And by that I mean the bluray release by funimation is coming out and you can finally own it =P
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:33 PM)
    Wait… 3.33…I misread.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:27 PM)
    @Bam: The dvd release for Eva 3.0 is February 2 next year.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:27 PM)
    @bam, if I wrote a review of rebuild 3.0 it would be pretty harsh.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:23 PM)
    I am somewhat disgruntled that there isn’t a review for the last two Berserk movies tho; psgels seemed quite the Berserk fan. He was also warming up to the Evangelion rebuilds but went on permanent hiatus right before the third film came out. I don’t wish a review of 3.0 on anybody tho, since most’ll be pretty hard-pressed to write more than two paragraphs about it.
  • bundleofsticks
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 06:48 PM)
    Also would people really be interested in a blog that only reviews old anime not many people watch anymore? Its better to review new shows

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