Welcome to The 08th MS Team rewatch! Over the course of the next few days I’ll be rewatching one of my favourite Gundam series. Join me this week as the rewatch makes some friends who help it get out of a tight spot. Guerrillas and Gundams have to stick together, no? Read on for episode 3.
Summary: Episode 03 “The Time Limit on Trust”:
Original Airdate: March 25, 1996
English Airdate: July 25, 2001
The episode begins right in the middle of combat. The 08th MS Team is in a difficult situation as they’re completely surrounding by Zakus. They could ask for backup but it will likely not arrive on time since the Zakus are bound to take advantage of their superior strategic position. The team decides to attempt a sneak attack around the Zakus by having one of them travel through a river towards a waterfall and attack the enemies from behind. Naturally, Shiro wants to run the sneak attack but the others are dubious since he’s the least experienced of the three mobile suit pilots. Shiro wants to go in part because the waterfall in question is the same place that he met the naked girl in the last episode. There is a civilians village nearby which is full of guerrillas resisting both the Zeon and Federation forces. It obviously complicates things.
Shiro gets his Gundam high jacked by the guerrilla forces upon arrival at the falls by tricking him into opening his cockpit. He is brought to their village where he meets the leader of the guerrilla village who just happens to be the father of the girl Shiro saw swimming at the falls. Her name is Kiki. Shiro is concerned that he’s being detained too long. He was supposed to make it through the Zaku defences in one hour’s time at which point he and his team were to attack the Zakus from both sides. His team needs his help to get out of the situation they’re in. Shiro convinces the village leader to help him because in the process of defeating the Zeeks (a nickname the Federation soldiers have for the Zeon forces) they’ll also liberate another nearby village from Zeon. He tells them that any spoils from the battle will be theirs. It’s a big price to pay and he’ll be funding guerrillas by giving them military supplies but he can’t let the rest of his team get slaughtered.
Aided by the guerrillas, the 08th Team defeats the Zeon forces and frees the other civilian village.
This episode further develops the dynamic between the members of the 08th Team as well as the other players in the war, specifically Ainas and her brother, Ginias Saharin, and the guerrillas. The Principality of Zeon also gets another named character, Captain Masada, but he dies in the same episode in which he was introduced.
The team is starting to grow more confident in their commander’s combat abilities. Even Karen comments on it. It’s definitely improving the effectiveness of their teamwork and building camaraderie. By the end of the episode, Karen even agrees to being addressed by her first name. It’s a big change from last episode when you consider how by-the-books and uptight she normally is. It’s an indication of how her character will develop during the series. I don’t think uptight is the best description of her. It’s more than she has thick emotional defences but once you’re through, she’s a good friend to have at you side during difficult times.
One of the Zeon offices comments on Shiro’s abilities during the mobile suit battle. He’s particularly impressed at his skill in fighting underwater. Even though he’s not as experienced as Karen and Sanders he makes up for it in natural abilities. It’s not just his team that thinks he’s improving but the enemy also recognizes his skill as a pilot. All of this leads me to wonder why Shiro’s team members thought so little of his during their first mission? Were they just being critical because he was their new commander and they weren’t sure what to expect? I’m sure his age had something to do with it as he looks younger than Sanders and Karen. Now it’s got me thinking. How did Shiro get command of his own team of mobile suit pilots? Out of the five members of his team Karen or Sanders appear to be the more obvious choices. I can’t remember if we learn why or how Shiro got the job later one in the series. I’ll have to keep an eye out for clues.
This episode also introduces more humour into the series. There was a tiny bit in the first two episodes but the development of Eledore and the addition of Kiki as a regular cast member really kicks things up a notch. Eledore is an interesting combination of music loving slacker, skilled intelligence officer and operator of the team’s hover truck. Kiki is young and carefree. She’s familiar with warfare since she lives right in the war theatre and even though she’s not comfortable with it, she doesn’t let it get her down. Her teasing and bickering with Shiro is endearing. Her easy friendship with him leaves an impact on Karen and it contributes to her accepting him, not only as a commander, but also as a friend and teammate.
Next episode, nobody makes any new friends. In fact, there is a lot of teasing and name calling as we learn more about Sanders and his bad luck curse.