So I've just seen Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket

…Whooo…
That was quite honestly, a ride.
I don’t know what to say, because the main MSG franchise’s first OVA is sooo… different. Different, and honestly THE most effective show, regular or shortform, in the entire Gundam Universe.

I don’t know what else to type…
But I can try to type my first impressions.
Set either just after or sometime after Amuro Ray and the crew of White Base left Side 6 in the episode “A Fateful Encounter”, 0080: War in the Pocket is one of the most realistic Gundam shows. And it’s also nothing like other Gundam shows, including those other shows which can be called “realistic” and/or “gritty” (I.E. Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta, 08th MS Team, Thunderbolt S1/December Sky, etc.) Those shows were made to be mecha anime and sci-fi epics. 0080 is a J-Drama that just so happens to feature mechs. Other G shows had intense, highly choreographed action sequences that made good use of their sound design and animation budget, and were enjoyable to watch as well. 0080 has “action scenes” that are quick, violent and more akin to what can best be described as “bloody murder”. Although the main point of the main franchise is showing you that war is bad, 0080 goes whole hog and features no heroes or villains besides Zeon Lieutenant Killing. Finally, most shows have a defined main character amongst an ensemble cast, 0080 is a three-man show between Alfred, Bernie and Chris. Hell, even the opening credits are different: most Gundam openings depict shots of our cast, and action shots of the Hero Suit, and other featured MSs. 0080’s opening depicts childish chalk drawings of Mobile Suits from the One Year War.

And THAT’S why 0080: War in the Pocket is such a great series: It is unlike any other mainline Gundam show and the differences I described are pulled off so well that it doesn’t even matter that it’s so different: It earns its place in the high echelon of fantastic Gundam shows, TV or OVA, and to those who haven’t watched it, you have to watch this OVA if you’re ready for something different. Trust me, this is a classic for a reason. Also, the NT-1 Gundam, the Hero Suit at the heart of the OVA’s plot is a fantastic design.

EDIT: I almost forgot: The English audio, much like most English audio tracks for the main Gundam franchise, is fantastic, though really the main big name you’ll recognise in the cast is Wendee Lee, best known for providing the EN voice of Faye Valentine in Sunrise’s other most popular work, the “Space Jazz” drama Cowboy Bebop, who voices Christina Mackenzie. I’m also pretty sure that her Bebop co-star, Steve Blum (who voiced Spike), lends his talents to voice Al’s father.

I like almost every parts of war in the pocket, I simply cannot find anything that i hate. But I don’t necessarily love it either.

It’s famous as one of the most recommended gundam show to watch for newcomers because of two reasons: it’s short, and it doesn’t require knowledge about gundam universe. One last reason why it’s this famous is because it’s a drama that happen to feature gundams. It’s different, yes.

Sadly that’s what took away the magic from me. It’s like watching Armageddon, knowing that bruce willis is going to die. That movie specifically became famous because at that time, it’s not common for the leading role to die in hollywood movies. I watched war in the pocket fully aware that it’s going to be a drama between a kid and a zeon soldier (an enemy), focusing on the ugliness of war instead of giant robots fighting. very unorthodox, but not much impact for people who are already aware about the plot twist.

And lastly, it probably done things first. But definitely not the only one who does it. Newer series like iron blooded orphans also skillfully depicts the ugliness of war, main characters -kids, that we have become fond of, often gets killed unceremoniously. That’s war. Also it’s not gundam if the antagonist is straight up “villain”, from char to full frontal, they always appear kind & logical at some point -probably even worthy to root for. I mean, who’s the villain in gundam wing? Zech? Treize? Une? Oz? White fangs? At one point all of them have sided with our protagonists.

All in all, I agree that war in the pocket is a classic. Those who like gundam should definitely watch it. Probably go in blank and temper your expectations.
Oh, and i was wrong when I said I didn’t love any particular thing. I totally adore alex, thing is an absolute beauty.