Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon is a film that condenses down the 13-episode Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory OVA anime series to two hours in length.

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon
Directed by: Takashi Imanishi
Written by: Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino
Starring: Akio Ohtsuka, Rei Sakuma, Ryo Horikawa, Chafurin, Kazue Ikura, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Kouji Totani, Mari Mashiba, Masashi Sugawara, Yoshiharu Yamada, Yuji Mikimoto
Run Time: 120 minutes

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon begins when the Albion is leaving Australia, and we get narration from Nina Purpleton, as well as a flashback to, Gato stealing one of the Gundam prototypes from the Torrington Base. After this, she starts narrating about Kou, and we basically return to the same reused scene we just saw, except it goes back a little way to Kou and Keith arriving at the hangar and encountering Gato before he steals the Gundam prototype. But we see Gato take the prototype in this flashback as well. There had to have been a better way to get this information across without basically relying on the same footage twice.

At this point, we basically never return to Nina and the others on the Albion as it’s leaving Australia, and the story just continues going forward from that point. I knew a lot would have to be cut in order to get a 13-episode OVA series down to two hours, but there were a couple of spots where events were cut, but really should have remained. If I hadn’t seen the OVA series first, I would have been confused by one of the sections that was cut.

The time Kou spent with Kelley Layzner was edited in such a way that Kou never overhears the conversation that Kelley has with Cima about repairing the mobile suit to help the Delaz Fleet. And since this section was cut, it no longer makes sense why Cima was visiting someone else on the moon, because this other meeting isn’t depicted as being terribly important in the long run. Also, the section after Kelley goes on a rampage after finding out that he won’t be piloting the mobile suit he fixed is cut. The confrontation Kou has with him here was rather important for Kou’s character development, and it also helped to provide an explanation for why Nina returns to the ship after saying in an earlier scene that she wouldn’t be. If the confrontation with Kelley needed to be cut, then Nina’s scene talking with her father also needed to be cut. Without seeing Kou rescuing Nina during the confrontation with Kelley, the viewer gets no explanation as to why Nina is back on the ship.

And most of the story concerning Kou getting his hands on the third Gundam prototype is also cut in this recap film. We suddenly see Kou in the hangar, and an Earth Federation officer is there, pointing a gun at him. If you don’t watch the OVA before this movie, then you miss seeing this Earth Federation officer halting the testing on the prototype and telling Kou that he isn’t to go anywhere near it. Without that context, this section of the movie feels jumpy and makes little sense. Also, Nina’s co-worker jumping in front of Kou to protect him and getting shot instead of him is also cut from this recap film.

The recap films done for the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime had added content that helped to explain some things, especially when it came to the Newtypes, since this was rather glossed over in the original anime series. Unfortunately, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon doesn’t add anything new to help embellish parts of the story near the end of the OVA that weren’t as developed as they could have been. Instead, sections of the story are removed, and the loss of a couple of these sections ultimately weaken the story in the film. So not only do the storytelling flaws from the original OVA remain, but the film creates new flaws with some of the omissions that were made to get the story down to a two hour length.

Since this was a recap film, I knew going into it that there was the potential for it to feel jumpy and to lose content. Unfortunately, some of the decisions that were made to truncate the story hurt it more than I had thought it would. For anyone interested in watching the Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: The Afterglow of Zeon recap film, I would highly suggest watching the 13-episode OVA series first. Without seeing the OVA series, you’ll be missing the context for some of the story that’s presented in the film.

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