Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team rewatch – “Miller’s Report”

Welcome to The 08th MS Team rewatch! I’m such a fraud. I’ve never seen this before so I can’t truthfully call it a rewatch, can it? Well yes, I can. As long as I use a disclaimer! Caution: not actual rewatch ahead. Commentary might be poor due to the lack of familiarity with “Miller’s Report”.

Summary: “Miller’s Report”:
Original Release: August 1, 1998

The episode begins with a recap of the desert episode where the 08th team set up an ambush for the Apsalus. It shows the beginning of the ambush up to the point where the Apsalus flies away with Shiro in tow. The title card appears and a voiceover by Alice Miller describes the setting of the story. She’s been sent to the Kojima base to investigate the development of a new Zeon mobile armour (the Apsalus). We’re introduced to Miller properly when Shiro is brought to her by other soldiers. She’s in a hangar and she’s studying the wreckage of the Apsalus. This takes place ten days after Shiro’s return to base, presumably after his inquiry. Miller is familiar with the details of the events of Shiro’s time in the mountains with Aina. She informs him that he’s being investigated for espionage. Shiro dismisses the accusations as ridiculous and Miller agrees with him but she tells him that it’s very difficult to convince the higher-ups to change their minds. She tells him that the only way to prove his innocence is to tell the truth about what happened in the mountains.

Miller knows about Aina and when she tells Shiro, he thinks back to the events of the first episode and parts of it are replayed. While he appears to be remembering these events, he’s actually recounting them to Miller. He also tells her about the events of the inquiry.

The viewer is also privy to more information as we get a scene that takes place at the base’s bar while Shiro is in the inquiry. The other members of the 08th team are talking about Shiro. Sanders is very vocal in how much he likes the captain. Karen isn’t as nice. She thinks Shiro is too simple minded and it’s that personality trait that makes her think he’d make a poor spy. These events are expanded upon from those we see in “Duty and Ideals”. It’s a very good episode and it’s nice that we get to see the consequences of that battle. Kojima decides to trust Shiro a little because he defeated the enemy but the mission he assigns him to is an extremely dangerous one with a low probability of survival. That mission is the one where they get air dropped: “Front Line”.

After he’s done telling the truth about the events that happened while he was with Aina, Miller confronts Shiro about the contradictory nature of his belief in peace and his actions against the Zakus. She fails to convince him to forget about his non-lethal strategy towards warfare and, with the support of his team, Shiro heads out on his new mission.

This movie is essentially a clip show which uses a combination of clips from episode of the OVA series and new clips which expand on them. After having just watched all 12 episodes, it’s kind of a bore to rewatch bits and pieces of it intercut with Miller’s interrogation of Shiro. It’s so uninteresting in fact that I can’t help but wonder why it was ever made.

I admit I wasn’t paying all that much attention to the short movie, my mind just started to wander, but I’m pretty sure that Miller doesn’t find out new information that viewers and fans of the OVA don’t already know. It makes me wonder who the intended audience for this short movie is. Surely the point can’t be for to show viewers that Miller attempted and failed to reform Shiro as a mindless soldier of the Earth Federation Forces. What this movie does it take some the good episodes (desert ambush, inquiry episode/Zaku attack on the guerrilla village) and cuts it up with new footage of Miller’s investigation and the result is a re-edit of those episodes that lessens their impact. I get a feeling it was meant to do the opposite and make it more interesting but it fails to do that.

The focus of the story is Shiro’s relationship to Aina because that, Miller believes, is the key to understanding Shiro. By getting a good understanding of Shiro she will be able to determine whether or not he is a spy and poses a risk to the Federation. The problem is that concentrating on Shiro and Aina is to focus the short movie (well, more of a long episode) on one of the most uninteresting and poorly development storylines of the series.

The conversation between the members of the 08th Team is the most enjoyable scene in the movie. It’s nice to see their personality being expressed for an entire scene. Most of the series gives us snippets of each individual while keeping the center of attention on Shiro. Such a small scene doesn’t make up for the otherwise uninteresting movie, though.

The best part of the episode is just the 08th team talking about their situation. I like this bunch and just having them talk to each other is more interesting than the clichéd diatribe Miller spouts throughout the movie.

The only thing this movie is successful at is tarnishing the superior OVA episodes that precede it. Yes, even the first episode and the one with Shiro and Aina in the mountains are better than this movie. Two decent episodes and two very good ones are used in what amounts to an extended and poorly re-edited montage of good and bad scenes from the series.

At least the next mini-episode, the subject of my final post in this rewatch, was made up of entirely new footage. It’s also pretty great. See you tomorrow.  

No comments:

Post a Comment