Good: This is a damn well-made show. It's hard to find something about it that isn't good. Even the late-'80s animation is used expertly, with some gorgeous visuals (I'm particularly fond of the shot that ends the fourth episode). Some of the characters start out annoying, but their growing up is part of the point, and every major character is endearing by the end. It evokes emotion without being manipulative about it, and the pacing is solid for a six-episode OVA. Basically, Gundam 0080 proves how good the short OVA format can be when done right.
Bad: There isn't really anything objectively bad about Gundam 0080; even its short length becomes a strength rather than a limit. But it's brutal as hell, in a very plain and understated way. I kept calling it "hardcore" while I was watching, which is a compliment, but even though it ended with less carnage than I expected by the middle of the series, it still painted a bleak picture. I've seen it called the only truly anti-war Gundam series, and I think I understand what the commenter was trying to say.
My Favorite Part: The shallow, female-character-hungry part of me says, "The bit where there's only one Gundam and it's piloted by a woman, who is likable and competent." But from a storytelling point of view, my favorite part is probably how it manages to be moving without ever being manipulative. There's a lot of show-don't-tell, and the focus is on the characters and the events rather than the themes and philosophy.
Comments: In case you haven't figured it out yet, this is a really great series. It's only a six-episode OVA, but that's exactly what it needed to be. To everyone who has ever complained that Gundam isn't realistic enough, Gundam 0080 is both the rebuke and the explanation. Its only conceits to the fantastical are space colonies and giant robots; Newtypes and Minovsky particles are distant from the scene. As asterphage put it, in 0080 no one is more competent than the average soldier. When the rookie runs around on flights-of-fancy missions with the kid, he gets yelled at for endangering the larger mission. Battles are short, plain, and intense. Fifty episodes of this would be grinding hell. Six episodes wind up being about perfect, though.
You should watch it if you...
♦ Like giant robots, but dislike the melodrama that usually accompanies them
♦ Enjoy both slice-of-life and action
♦ Want to see how Gundam can be done realistically
♦ Want some subtlety in your anime
♦ Have a pulse and can handle depressing themes and a correspondingly sad ending
♦ Seriously, it's only six episodes, go watch it
STILL TO WATCH
(owned, not downloaded)
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor (up to episode 8 now) and its OVA sequel
Neon Genesis Evangelion (saving for May)
Le Chevalier D'Eon (next up after Tylor?)
Toward the Terra
Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl