This short series deals presents us with a small team of Mobile Suit pilots as they fight Zeon in Asia. This one had me giggling with glee as it was set in the Universal Century, during the One-Year War, and had decent reviews elsewhere. I am a fan of short, limited series where we focus on the essential elements of the plot rather than endless fluff.
As is typical in UC Gundam, we are presented with this new up-and-comer pilot thrust into the thick of things right at the start, given command of a team of ragtag mobile suits.
The opening has a really cool scene where the two protagonists: Shiro and Aina meet when Shiro flies out to face off a Zeon Zaku in a space bubble (a unit designed to transport things and perform repairs). The take each other out, meet in space outside their MS and enjoy a brief moment. The scene was filled with action and made the tender moment between the two much more believable as they expected to die in space.
The episodes are combat intensive and we are introduced to some local bandits/ freedom fighters, follow the story of the Reaper, a team member whose teammates have the unfortunate habit of not coming back. The NCO's down-to-earth common sense clashing with Shiro's aggressive and wild tactics. Shiro and Aina's ultimate reunion is timed right.
The final is not as great as the rest of the story. It felt more than a little cliche, bringing an "okay" ending to a great story.
Story: This is perhaps the best Gundam serial I have seen in a long time. The series hits the tropes, with one being able to see both sides as justified in their actions, both sides being in the wrong. I do like that we are given some insight into other theaters of the war, beyond the Asian focus, namely the Odessa theater. I would give this a 4/5.
Characters: Perhaps a little cliche, but in a short time, they manage to make the cast feel interesting with each of them having one or two quirks without overpowerfing the story. A strong point of this I'd give them a 4/5.
Animation: The animation was "fine" I don't really have anything bad to say about it. 4/5
Overall: Overall, this is a solid series fans of Gundam will want to watch. I think it is approachable enough for a new viewer to get into the universe. 4/5, a very enjoyable series.