A very short ONA (original net animation), of about 70 minutes, that takes place around the time of the original MSG series. While the storytelling is perhaps a bit muddled and simplistic, along with fairly simple undeveloped characters, at times, and the ending is very weak (probably not going to be explored further in a subsequent adaptations), there are a lot of compelling aspects to this ONA that makes it thoroughly watchable compared to most of the Gundam canon.
They have a solid melding of 2D and 3D animation here that gives it a wonderful visual style and sense of movement, though I think I personally prefer certain sequences in pieces like Zeta, Char's Counterattack, and 0083. It's not cringeworthy like most combinations of 2D and 3D, and the two augment each other effectively.
The art direction and colors are very well planned out by the staff, and the production is the most riveting Gundam has been in a long time. The palette is generally darker and there's a more discernible impact regarding the effects of war, often presented visually instead of just through dopey monologues. The POV shots from Daryl's perspective that occur numerous times are some of the most unnerving shots in the whole franchise. And a lot of impact is carried by the globs of blood floating in the zero gravity environment, from the cockpit, after a skirmish. All of the mains, though probably quite young seem to have a degree of maturity, which makes it certainly more shocking when the command brings in fresh soldiers, most not even looking 16, and refers to them as "expendables." Certainly one of the bleaker entries in the series.
With such an emphasis on action and such a short running time, one really can't expect much in the way of character development. They're all a bit flat, yet there's a certainly visceral punch to each character that makes it work well within the context-'the characters are engulfed in a gritty space battle, haunted by visions of their past, their lost home, pointless notions of honor and pride. It's all delightful melodrama that facilitates the energy of the carnage and the battles between the two leads.
Easily one of the best Gundam soundtracks ever. Jazz, old pop songs with a somber mixture of lounge jazz and a bluesy vibe, and some rather odd sounding electronics-'not the Jpop bookended intro and outro, along with the kitsch music that usually predominates.
One of the best in the series, despite the usual trend towards style over substance being insisted upon-'with style this good, it's easy to eschew a little substance. Up there with 0083, 0080, and Char's Counterattack in terms of animated action.
Review by sb19870 from the Internet Movie Database.