As many others have said before me, MS 08th Team.
I first discovered it on Youtube where I saw the opening. It was like a gritty, modern, realistic, militaristic anime. Just what I like! I finished it all, and I love it, spare the last episode.
SPOILER! (You’ve been warned.)
Maybe it was just me, because I saw a lot of people on Youtube liking the last episode, but in my opinion, it felt like a Deus ex Machina where somehow Shiro and Aina are alive and well… with random new kids having the same names as the main characters. I never really like it when shows or games show us brand new characters at the last minute…
SPOILER! (You’ve been warned.)
I also felt like that with MS Igloo too. I honestly thought the ending would’ve been great if Oliver May DIED, just like every other test pilot did! You know, it would’ve fit the pattern with all core themes of suffering and tragedy.
Other than the last episode, the rest of it was well presented in my opinion. It really showed what life on the battlefield was like, and I could actually imagine this series happening in real life if gundams existed. The story was well done and after each episode, I was hungry for more.
2) Characters (Design and Development)
Shiro is definitely not a flat character like Setsuna (I personally have a distaste for the 00 pilot because of his lack of personality…), and is not annoying like the other angsty characters you see in other gundam series! He’s awesome, and you really just grow a liking towards him.
Shiro’s squadmates are well done as well. You can sympathize with many of them, for example, the “Shinigami” (that’s his nickname). Each of them have well-developed back stories (for an OVA series, at least).
I found Nina to be a great female character compared to others. She’s strong-willed, yet feminine, and the romance between her and Shiro is well-done. Her relationship with her brother is also interesting, as she loves her brother, yet she hates him because he’s, well, evil - to put it quite simply.
3) Mecha Design
I like the Gundam Ground Type. Gouf Custom is badass. Ez8? Not really my thing… to be honest.
4) Twists (As in something you didn’t see coming)
The ending. Blegh.
5) Plot Devices (Armors, Political intrigue, etc.)
I don’t really know what to say in this section… I liked the relationship between Aina and her brother, as I’ve said before. It created interesting relationship-conflicts. I also like Nelson ^^ He was a great character device which let us saw the awesomeness of the Gouf Custom. I also liked how in the last few seconds of the SECOND LAST episode, there was a hint that Shiro and Nina MAY be alive, but we couldn’t be certain. I was ok with that kind of ending… until I realized there was one more pointless episode.
6) Romances (Yes I’m gonna include it)
Nina and Shiro. Sometimes I feel it was a bit awkward, I mean, hot spring bath on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere after crash-landing? I found that part to be a bit of an lol-fest, and also I found that their romance was a bit too Romeo-Juliet-y, if that can be described correctly. What I mean is, their romance development was a bit rushed - it seemed as if they automatically began to love each other. Maybe because this is just a short OVA series and not a full-fledged 50 episode series.
7) Dialogue Sequences (Whether or not they were good or bad)
I watched the English dub because I couldn’t find the Japanese one anywhere O.o Anyways, I found it was good. Not bad at all.
8) Combat Sequences (Whether or not they were good or bad)
YESSSSS!!! Awesome! Not like the pointless mindless beam-spamming you saw in the Awakening of the Trailblazer -.- ugh, that was so boring in my opinion. The tactics that the 08th MS team uses is sometimes ingenious, and you really feel like the battles are, well, BATTLES! (Well, like modern-day centralized battles. Unlike WWII battles where tens of thousands died in a single battle, MS 08th Team depicts battles similar to what we see nowadays, where battles are more centralized and more contained, with probably ten or less dying. Modern warfare strategy and tactics are also prominent in this gundam OVA.)
Ginias vs Shiro. I don’t really know what to say
10) Overall Execution of the Whole Series.
Good until last episode.
Too lazy to do actually put my other favourite gundam series in the format that the original poster wanted:
My other favourite ones would probably be Turn A because of the characters, and how I honestly grew to love each and every one of them, and Stardust Memories, where the animation is beautiful, the characters feel alive, the gundams were badass (and HUGE!), and the politics were mindboggling brilliant and awesome. I never would’ve guessed that Operation Stardust wanted to do THAT! (colony drop!) Just like Char I guess!
EDIT: grammar mistakes.