Gundam 00 Season 01, Don’t judge a series by its bishie character designs.

In the future, the world has depleted almost all available fossil fuel reserves and the resulting energy crisis has led to the creation of gigantic solar collectors. These devices are set around the earth with three orbital elevators in place to service them. The countries of the world have divided themselves into three major factions each of which controls one of the orbital elevators. These world powers are now locked in a seemingly endless series of conflicts over control of these orbital elevators and the solar power that comes down from them.

Thanks to these new forms of energy, the Middle East has basically been rendered powerless creating a hot bed of turmoil. Also, the factions of countries controlling things aren’t very surprising. It is essentially the Americans and Japanese (the Union), the Russians and Chinese (the HRL), and the Europeans (AEU). It is a sad commentary to think 300 years in the future people are basically still fighting about the same things.

In response, a mysterious group know as Celestial Being has sprung up and is seemingly declaring war on war itself. With Mobile Suit technology far beyond that of any world power they intervene, they destroy anyone who would engage in armed conflict. They descend into the middle of any conflict and devastate both sides until they must stop fighting. Everyone wants the power of Celestial Being but no one seems to be able to muster the strength needed to stop or capture them. If anyone seems to be a threat to Celestial Being it is Celestial Being itself.

Everyone has some type of talented mobile suit pilot who might actually be formidable if they had the right equipment. Of course at the beginning Celestial Being has the element of shock, where no one has any idea what is going. But as the series progress the Gundam meisters get into some pretty close scrapes with their opponents. It really seems like only a matter of time before they can’t just slip by.

Gundam 00 is set in the Anno Domini era as opposed to the Universal Century like the original Gundam series, the Cosmic Era is Gundam Seed, or any of the other various time lines of other series. Since Anno Domini is the present I think this is meant to be the closest Gundam to real speculative future. Gundam 00 definitely deals with many more real life issues in a very clear manner than other Gundam series. I feel that other Gundam series deal with the horrors and sadness of war but they tend to do it on a very detached level. While not utterly gritty and down and dirty, it is the closest a Gundam series has ever gotten.

The thing about this series is it hits really close to home. Because of the issues it deals with and they way it is dealt with, it doesn’t seem like 300 years in the future, is seems just around the corner. Complete with never-ending conflicts over energy sources. It actually scares me, never have I watched a show like this and really felt like this is the world today. Bus bombings, attacks on civilians, war spilling over onto the innocent, and war-mongering are just a few of the real-life issues that come up. There is a lot of who is a terrorist, is Celestial Being one? What do you have to sacrifice for the greater good? Is there a good guy in this conflict? As the audience, it is interesting to be considering these things while watching a show.

This seems like an excellent show to write a scholarly paper on. I know there is some Gundam otaku working on one as we speak. Some clever history or sociology student can get a thesis out of Gundam 00.

I think we all have to admit that when the first trailer of this series came out everyone had a reaction to the character designs. These guys are far beyond the pretty of Gundam W, these are designs by a BL artist. It is so funny how things like this can color your reaction to a series. The girls in the series are gorgeous too, and each side has its bit of fan-service. I don’t think it is any less honest because of it. In fact, I find this series to be one of the most realistic and dark Gundam incantations.

All I remember were GUYS going crazy about how mad they were about all the girl in the series being fairly busty. Who knew that U.S. Gundam otaku were such prudes? Maybe they don’t want to admit they are secretly huge Loveless fans complete with cat ears. There were a few scenes of slight fan service and one or two “interesting” camera angels during the show but nothing gratuitous. I distinctly remember a scene in which the camera was clearly always centered on Sumeragi’s shapely bottom. But we got a decent amount of fan-service of the male Gundam meisters as well so everyone should be happy.

Our pilots (and other members) have all come to Celestial Being for various reason that we learn about as the series goes on. But you basically start to see the pattern of violence in their pasts thanks to war, corruption, and conflict and they want to stop that cycle. I’ll point out that the youngest is Setsuna at 16 but the rest are a little older, Allelujah at 19, and Lockon at 24. Tieria we don’t know about it although he definitely comes off as older. These varying ages seem to give some depth to their own inner turmoil and wisdom of the world.

To me Tieria does not come off as older as much as more of a jerk than anyone else. Something makes me want to punch Tieria Erde. As stated in our I Hate You Misa Misa article I don’t tend to develop strong diastase for characters but for some reason Tieria gets on my nerves. Something about his nasty attitude and “oh so mysterious” past really grinds my gears. Die Tieria! Die you nasty little male Rei!

Well, it is nice to not be the only one hating on characters! Although, in this series I don’t really have a undying desire to strangle anyone. But Tieria is not my favorite by a long shot, mostly because he is rather under developed and robotic. I took an immediate liking to Lockon and Allelujah. It was nice learning about all the other pilots and watching them move further away from the mold you think they are when the series begins. I was most happy about Setsuna because for the first ten episodes or so all I saw was Hiro Yui staring out at me. I think these comparisons are only natural because of the legacy of Gundam.

I think everyone took a liking to Lockon. He seems without a doubt the most human and easy going of the Gundam meisters. Alleujah gets a lot of development in the beginning and then sort of sticks the the background towards the middle. He gets some character development rather rapidly near the end as well. Setsuna starts off an a Hiro Yui clone but slowly starts to show that he has a soul and the ability to have emotions even if they are somewhat muted. His love story seems somewhat forced or at least a little bit rushed. I guess when you have a cast this big and so many major plot lines you sometimes have to cut corners.

One of the things I really loved about Gundam SEED was its strong female characters. And while I think they continue to create women like this in Gundam 00, I feel a lot of them get pushed the wayside instead of being fully realized yet. Sumeragi, who is the most developed female, is one of my favorite characters. She is a little older and has made a career as a tactical forecaster. She is also the in combat leader of our meisters. We know something serious happened in her past, my guess is some sort of miscalculation that cost a lot of innocent people their lives, and we know she is still punishing herself for it. Her strength and independence are only enhanced by her moments of vulnerability, like when she cries or when she needs a drink.

Sumeragi is undoubtedly one of the most developed characters who is not a Gundam meister. I’m sure that what ever that incident was in her past it will tie in with the main plot line eventually. I like Feldt but I feel they developed her just enough that you wanted to know more about her but not enough that you got a good feel of who she was. I assume we will be getting more of Wang Liu-Mei’s story and character in the next season. I think that the writers want you to be interested in Marina Ismail but I find her quite bland. Princess Princess just seems so generic and slightly moe. Maybe will we see her become more dynamic next season but right now she just comes off as a flat character. I am still waiting for a competent female pilot that is equal to the main male characters in piloting ability (that is not a horrible psycho bitch). Come on Feldt. Be the woman I know you can be! Be the pink haired Allenby Beardsley.

This series plot is really complex with a lot of players on the board. For a while it was hard to keep straight who was who and who they worked for and what they wanted. And the show is constantly giving you ten different peoples’ view of the situation. I really like this because it bring that “the whole world is involved with this” feel to it but it also makes it confusing at times. It is starting to solidify in my mind now but of course now there are traitors and the switching of side seems on the brink of happening.

There are distinctly characters who have very fluid allegiances and tend to back an idea more than any particular organization. Several characters switch sides, like in any Gundam series, but it seems more characters have secret agendas than normal. Even Celestial Being seems to have several layers and factions within it. From the beginning, they make it clear that the only person Ali Al-Saachez works for is Ali Al-Saachez. Of the three major powers I feel, I have the least idea of what the Advanced European Union is all about. They seem to have the fewest named characters and Patrick Colasour is practically a joke character. I did not have a hard time keeping up with who was who but I wish we had seen more of what defines each of the three major powers in the world.

Saji and Louisse are pretty far removed from the actually day to day battles (I doubt it will stay that way). But this adds a layer to the series that isn’t always done. They are just two kids going to school and dating but war destroys them anyway. Their story is really heart wrenching. I think all Gundam series what to show the terrible consequences of war but this small piece of this show does it quite poignantly.

Saji and Louisse are definitely not the same people they were at the beginning of the series that they are at the end. Both of them lose quite a bit during the first season and I don’t see their lives getting any better anytime soon. I also have a feeling that Saji and his sister being orphans is no simple coincidence. I think Saji’s parents death will eventually tie into the history of Celestial Being.

Clearly, we have rivals to our meisters (as the pilots are called) popping up giving us some great battles and interesting dialogue. We are graced with the charming Graham, captain of the flag pilots of the Union; and the very villainous Ali, a mercenary and self-proclaimed lover of war. Both of these guys add some much needed competition for our meisters.

Well there was one secret villain who I think we both thought was slightly over the top with his freaking golden gun and golden Gundam. Dorothy Catalonia and her freaky eyebrows would be proud. (BTW that is not a good thing.) In fact, I would go as far as to say it is if Dorothy Catalonia and Light Yagami had a child he would be equally megalomaniacal. I also got the feeling that Narutaki wanted to punch a certain female pilot squarely in the face until she stopped being a horrible character. But I think she was written to be such an easily hated character. Since not all the villains from the first season are coming back in the next season, I wonder how iconic the next batch of villains will be. Will we get the second coming of Char? Is it blasphemy to even suggest such a thing?

As per usual, no recent Gundam series would be completely without stellar opening and ending songs. I kind of come to expect this and I always look forward to who is going to do them. I can’t decide which opening I liked better. I love the L’arc-en-Ciel song more. But the actual opening for the Brilliant Green’s song is better, since the first opening looks like it is the Setsuna show and there are some other robot pilots hiding in the back room. I hope T.M.Revolution will do an opening for the next season!

All I want is more Feldt in the openings. Because in Season 2 she will be 18 so you don’t have to feel extremely dirty being attracted to her. I liked the first opening better overall but they were both very good. And you know in you heart you want Gackt to do the next opening. Dressed as Allelujah. In your bedroom.

Gundam 00 is the first Gundam series that is being split into two seasons. So for now we got 25 episodes and in the fall we will get the rest. Personally, I would like all of my Gundam in a row with small breaks here and there. However, I was pleased with the ending point of the first season. It was not a cliff-hanger and it was not in the middle of the action. The team of people making this really thought about how to make this season have closure but also leave you without all the answers. While speculation will certainly fly about what we see in the last few minutes of episode 25, we really have gotten the ending of part 1.

I know we have already started to throw around theories on the forums of how season 2 will start. The little epilogue shows enough of the surviving characters to really get us interested in what is going to happen in but not enough to be in any way conclusive. The ending is definitely decisive in terms of the overall main story arc but they leave enough things open to make a season 2. Certain characters fates are also ambiguous enough that I’m sure fans of them will be on the edge of their seats until next season.

Gundam 00 certainly doesn’t pull any punches, which is a bit refreshing. No one is safe from attack, death, or downfall. As the series goes it it pulls further and further away from the typical and kept me guessing about what was going to happen next. It certainly didn’t turn out predictable by any standards. It is really one of the best Gundam incantations in years.

It’s very true. About half way through the series they start killing off major characters left and right. You distinctly get the feeling that no one is safe and they don’t cheap out on it. So far when characters die they die no matter who they are. We have not had that many off screen “soap opera” deaths. I think this Gundam is one of the biggest departures from Gundam formula we have seen since they made G-Gundam but I think this departure really works. I wonder if this Gundam will revolutionize the mecha genre as much as the original Gundam did.

P.S. I think that Black Haro is the evil mastermind behind everything.

UPDATE: Gundam 00 is now licensed by Bandai!

//

One thought on “Gundam 00 Season 01, Don’t judge a series by its bishie character designs.

  1. Phatbhuda says:

    00 hasn’t managed to suck me in yet. Maybe the second half of season 1 will so it for me. It might be the connection to the real world that’s throwing it off for me.

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.