The worst-laid plans of Cyclops and men

MS Igloo 2, Episode 1: Don't grab me bro

MS Igloo 2 looks set to deliver tragedies in tidy boxes, continuing in the footsteps of its predecessor. As far as the first OVA went, the most noticeable improvement over the first MS Igloo is in the characters, who used to be cold, pasty, and moved in a stiff fashion not unlike…robots. The CG exceeds even that used in Vexille and the Appleseed‘s, so the march of progress continues.

Because MS Igloo loosely chronicled the collapse of Zeon, the new technologies rolled out took a desperate and absurd turn, which left a mixed impression on me. I don’t anticipate the same thing happening this time around, because we’re tracking the winners of the conflict.

What hasn’t changed, it seems, is the depiction of obsolescence of weapons and their users throughout the evolving One Year War. This made for great watching, as test pilots made their own peace with their outdated machines, facing the inevitable as best they could.

This first installment of MS Igloo 2 isn’t compelling from that standpoint. Where making a mistake is highly correlated with death, you could argue that a lot of the MS Igloo pilots did not make any mistakes until the very end. It’s hard to watch a string of screw-ups, so this was a plus.

MS Igloo 2, Episode 1: As a spectator, I too am horrified at the turn of events

Discounting the mistake we see in that night air patrol, official mistake number one was the decision to let an unhinged lieutenant lead a grab bag of veterans and recruits in rear-guard action, without armor, artillery, or close-air support. Mistake number two was waxing poetic to convince the lieutenant to do it.

Fortunately, Zeon is not without its share of slightly unhinged people, and this one pilot serves himself up for what should have been a textbook play. But for all the small head scratchers — no wireline communication, no centralized fire control, letting scratchy-voiced recruits do their own thing, lots of choke on battlefield — the one that blows them all away is a deus ex machina.

MS Igloo 2, Episode 1: How convenient

Literally.

So you mean to tell me that this Zaku has been camping underground this whole time, lets two comrades die, and then jumps out to ambush the Federation platoon, which by this time has only one member left standing. Maybe the pilot’s a glory hog? Maybe the three of them didn’t get along? Locker room tension?

No wonder Zeon lost the war. They let crazy metaphor-rambling infantry commanders beat the stuffing out of them.

Were this some other series, I’d be inclined to stamp the trainwreck seal of approval and call it a day. But for a franchise that, while admittedly small, seems to take great care in all aspects of production, it’s almost upsetting. The next two installments hopefully will be better in the writing department.

If there was one thing that might have salvaged overall opinion on the show, it would be the circle strafe in a jeep. Now usually it takes some practice to do in a 1v1 because you have to keep moving while firing. You’d think that with one person doing the moving, and one person doing the firing, it would have been a piece of cake. I forgot that at least one person has to act all macho, yell some insults, generally not pull the trigger, and then get the both of them ripped apart via shrapnel mines.

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