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 This series averted a ton of Gundam cliches that originally made me so tired of this franchise.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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  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:49 PM)
    @Emma I think Deen makes some really good looking anime. People tend to give them crap for some of their mid-2000 stuff and justifiably, but their recent stuff and early stuff is really quite visually arresting.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:43 PM)
    Now granted,deens adaptation of sankarea had some pretty neat visuals behind it.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:14 PM)
    Granted that none of those manga had the type of mass appeal that Sankarea has, but they’re some pof the best manga I’ve read within their specific genre (sentimental ecchi comedies/romances). I love his art style too. It just works so well for sappy romantic stuff. Inu Neko Jump will always be one of my favorite manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:12 PM)
    On the subject of Sankarea, I’m about as big of a Hattori Mitsuru fanboy as anyone could be and I have to say that Sankarea is my least favorite manga of his. His strengths and weaknesses just don’t lend themselves very well to that type of horror/drama plot. Umisho, Inu Neko Jump, and Otogi no Machi no Rena even were all better manga.
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:47 PM)
    To be fair to the series though, I thought that the owl was pretty cool.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:18 PM)
    But I’ve heard complaints about the fanservice of rea not making sense considering her past/background and I’m inclined to agree.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:16 PM)
    Ha, and once again another shounen ruined by not being a seinen manga.
    @Aidan: Sometimes..sometimes I feel its the fans that should be writing these things instead…well the good ones =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:05 PM)
    @K-Off, Potentail for Rea to go berserk and starting a zombie apocalypse? Or at least enough to have her slowly lose her mind and chiro having to resort to more and more desperate measures to protect her and stop her from hurting others. There was plently of potentail in the premise, just that the author didn’t have the balls to take it that far.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 05:51 PM)
    Wasn’t awful now by any means but I’d rather stop with it before any good memories of it get ruined =<
    I think I'm just fed up with these shounen comedies/dramas and pandora hearts is also the last time I take a chance on a shounen fantasy show.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 05:48 PM)
    Although as a whole sankarea never really geled together for me, series of genre clashing and a master of none, there were little pockets of interest and the art was good and moments did feel like something more. Some of the fanservice, comedy also felt misplaced.

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