Up until this point, I haven’t seen many UC Gundam shows. I’ve only seen the three 0079 movies, 08th MS Team and this, 0080: War in the Pocket, which is my favourite so far. The reason? While 0079 and 08th MS Team do a good job of humanising Zeon, War in the Pocket actually made them, or at least one of them, a protagonist I could sympathise with (I mean, you could argue something similar regarding Char in 0079, but I feel like he’s a special case). I hope some of the other UC Gundam shows have something similar to offer.
I also liked Al’s dilemma regarding how the conflict between the Earth Federation and Zeon affected his friends’ and classmates’ opinion of Zeon. Al obviously doesn’t care about politics, he just likes the Zeon because he thinks the Zaku is cool, but the society he lives in spares no one, and even children are expected to have not only an opinion on politics, but the “right” opinion. And when the war is finally over, when Al starts crying out of grief for his personal loss, his friends comfort him by telling him that there will be another war. This probably makes Al feel even worse, but the fact that his friends completely misunderstood what he was crying about shows just how ignorant they had been regarding the reality of war.
And can you blame them? After all, Al picked his side purely based on the fact that he likes the Zaku, so I think it’s unreasonable to expect his friends, his classmates, to be any more insightful regarding the war. The difference is just that Al had the misfortune of meeting and befriending a Zeon soldier, which eventually forced him to personally experience the horrors of war. On the other hand, though, can you call that misfortune? For a moment, Al had a true friend who he looked up to, and though this friend eventually died in a fairly gruesome way, would Al’s life have been better had he never met this friend? I don’t think there’s a simple answer to that question.