9 July 2008

Gundam 00 Season 1

Although I've finished the first season of Gundam 00 shortly after it finished airing in March, I've decided to repost my thoughts on it. Directed by Seiji Mizushima (well known for Full Metal Alchemist and Shaman King) and with over 300 staff members, how does this new Gundam series fare?

Gundam 00, pronounced "Gundam Double O", sets the story in AD 2307, which is the first time a Gundam series is set on a non-fictional era. By that time fossil fuels are depleted, and humanity now relies on solar power generation systems supported by orbital elevators, each owned by one of the three major factions on Earth: the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations, the Human Reform League, and the Advanced European Union. However, not all countries are able to enjoy the benefits of this system, and military conflicts emerge in various places for energy and power. Arising out of the conflict, a mysterious military organization known as Celestial Being appears, with an ambitious goal to eradicate warfare using technologically superior mobile suits called Gundam.

The brand new gundam series has been quite an excitement for me, even though most of the staff (along with the director himself) are new to Gundam, which is shown by distinctive and unusual mecha designs. Shown in HD (High Definition), the animation and graphics are in general above standard, especially during fight scenes. Combined with the music by Kenji Kawai, battles shown in the series are breathtaking with fluent animation and speed, especially with the one-on-one duels and the fights towards the end. The politcal settings and backgrounds introduced early in the series are interesting and convincing, but they are soon forgotten near midway through the series. One interesting thing to note is that there are no real "good" and "evil" (with a few exceptions); the Celestial Being isn't necessarily the good side, nor the three factions are depicted as either extremes, which has brought the story away from being one-sided.

One concern I do have with the Gundam 00 is the lack of character development. The series tend to jump around a lot as it shifts from one character to another; some scenes or dialogs trying to show more about the character sometimes seem slightly forced to me. The protagonist, Setsuna F Seiei, doesn't seem too much like a main character (perhaps it's just me), and my impression of him has simply ended up as "I am the Gundam guy"... Maybe he'll do better in the next season.

Unlike the rest of the Gundam series, this particular one is split into two seasons of 25 episodes. The first season ended up a little rushed and with some stuff left short, which is a bit of a pity for its potential. However, the epilogue has shown us new stuff to anticipate for the next season in October. Overall, this has been an interesting Gundam series to watch, and I really am looking forward to the next season.

Characters and Gundams from left to right: Lockon Stratos with Dynames, Allelujah Haptism with Kyrios, Setsuna F Seiei with Exia, and Tieria Erde with Virtue

Website: http://www.gundam00.net/
(Screenshots from http://randomc.animeblogger.net/)

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