#1 Ugly as sin
MS Igloo is a series of 3 OVA releases that act as a bit of a prequel to Mobile Suit Gundam. However, instead of going with regular, old animation, the entirety of the MS Igloo series was made in CGI. It’s experimental and a daring move for a franchise this prominent, but it also leaves the series looking less-than-ideal.
Truth be told, for 2004 this is probably some of the best full-CGI you are going to get and the more realistic look for characters is not wholly unfitting for the Universal Century setting. However, it does have clear shortcomings when put into motion. Characters look weird when they have to display significant emotions, things often seem to move either too fast or too slow, I never got quite comfortable with it at all. Especially in season 1 you often see these giant spaceships move around like they just got the boost at the start of a Mario Kart race.
#2 Repetitive formula
For the most part, MS Igloo chronicles the story of army engineer Oliver May, a man with a passion for weapon development who works on a repurposed civilian ship that becomes part of the Zeon spacefleet. He is put in charge of developing and testing several new weapons that the Zeon army wants to use against the Federation during their invasion of earth.
Minor spoiler in the following 2 paragraphs.
That might not sound like the most exciting plot, but I thought it was at least a bit interesting to get this background on how new arms are developed in this distant space age. It’s just a shame that every episode takes on the same formula and keeps recycling the same twists. Oliver gets a new project, there are some setbacks, Oliver has to fight to get the project to be taken seriously, and eventually the resulting weapon is put to use and the person charged with using it dies.
Every episode introduces some new, eccentric character to be the test pilot for Oliver’s latest work, the show rushes through their characterization, and then some misfortune happens that claims their life. Not only does repeating this same formula 9 times rob the series of surprise, some of the “accidents” that happen feel like a stretch just to have something sad happen at the end. Spoilers end
#3 Season 3
After the first two seasons complete Oliver May’s story, the third is a bit of a different beast altogether. Instead of focusing on weapon development and the war from the Zeon’s perspective, it instead focuses on Federation ground forces waging war on the Earth’s surface.
It still uses the same general formula mentioned above, but without Oliver or seeing the war unfold from the Zeon’s side, season 3 is little more than a few short war stories that really aren’t that interesting. The protagonists are even more throwaway than before and they have this weird supernatural bend with an ugly CGI ghost God that goes around collecting the souls of fallen soldiers from both sides. MS Igloo is already a tough sell on its own with the niché appeal of its story and ugly CGI visuals, and season 3 is all of that with less redeeming factors.