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 This series averted a ton of Gundam cliches that originally made me so tired of this franchise.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.

    *spoliers*

  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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  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:50 PM)
    Guess the last thing I will say about Kevin here is that you ain’t done. You will be back. You always come back.
    See you then.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:45 PM)
    @Mario, I seen it but I ain’t going to screenings. Besides it’s only really come into form with its third volume.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:44 PM)
    Also you were the psgels impersonator? Cause that wasn’t one time, that was three times.
    You are truly a puzzle. Why would you pose as someone you so venomously hate? I am starting to think you may have a mental disorder.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:39 PM)
    Don’t lie. You didn’t want psgels to give you a reason.he gave plenty of reasons and you told him to fuck off. If he gave more reasons you would have told him to fuck off more. What you want is agreement which you are never going to get. Hell I could give reasons why I believe Hunter x Hunter isn’t all that great and I am pretty sure your counter will just be “Fuck off”
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:36 PM)
    Kevin, something’s it sounds like you are talking to yourself. Like this “because I called Psgels a closed minded person who couldn’t be bothered to back up his opinions if his life depended on it.”
    That’s you. That’s all you. You have never backed up your opinions with anything besides a “Fuck you, that’s why”
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:36 PM)
    I will give Kevin one thing. He sure knows how to annoy people into participating. This is the most active the Shoutbox has been in a while.
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:05 PM)
    Anw, anyone here who watched RWBY? There will be some small screenings around the globe for its second volume of Wednesday 27th of July. Just wonder if there is anyone here going to see it?
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:02 PM)
    But this one just has limited screening (once a day) and half of people come to watch it have no idea what they sign up for…
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 01:01 PM)
    @Kaiser: I watched the Handmaiden in my local cinema. Not sure about Dublin but here in Australia we tend to pick up Korean and Japanese titles fairly quickly.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:54 AM)
    Same with action scenes: I might like realistic grounded sword fights, with the battle settling after a few swings and slashes. Others might enjoy over-the-top sequences, with aerial flips and ridiculous power moves.
    This concept can be expanded to the enjoyment of romance, slice-of-life, historic, and any other subject matter. If someone’s a grownup adult and doesn’t realize such a fundamental concept, than they seriously lack critical thinking and social understanding.

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