More often than not, a series begins really well only to come to a spluttering, dry-coughing halt so revolting that you wish you had never witnessed its demise. Every once in a while, however, there comes an anime which has the opposite effect; it starts off with all the energy of a stillborn only to come to life just when you least expect it. Gundam 00 is one such example. At first it looks like it won't have a patch on Gundam Seed; but not only does Gundam 00 end up being bigger and better than Seed, it also comes with a far more accomplished story.
My initial impression of Gundam 00 was that it was heading straight towards an Oscar nomination for ‘most pompous piece of crap ever'. The series wants to be a powerful, twisting tale about ending war forever; but even if you manage to set aside your cynicism and convince yourself that this goal is possible, the fact remains that Gundam 00 begins as a jumble of plot ideas strung together with no apparent direction in mind. This mishmash includes split personalities; genetically modified humans; some weakly developed politics; and, the worst element of all, an organisation trying to end war by attacking absolutely everyone.
However, after an age of seemingly random plotlines and a rather messy strategy to eliminate war, Gundam 00 pulls itself together and delivers a knockout ending the likes of which makes Seed look like a wannabe. The real turning point arrives when the governments decide to take action against Celestial Being; of course, the characters loyally keep up their mantras about eliminating war, but the plot gets on with the real job of cramming in as many epic battles and tense confrontations as possible.
The downside is that the developments come to depend on several shounen clichés, including typically evil antagonists and inexplicable mecha power ups. Luckily, this is precisely what Gundam 00 does best: while the airy fairy ‘let's fight war' approach of the first half was tediously unconvincing, the second half of unambiguous human conflicts kept me glued to the screen.
While Gundam 00 doesn't stand out stylistically, it cannot be faulted for its technical quality; the colour tones, shading and level of detail are designed to give the environments a more convincing twenty-first century flavour - an attribute which several of its predecessors lacked. Moreover, motion is well-animated and the action sequences are simply thrilling to watch.
Easily the best aspect of the animation has to be the concept for the Gundams; the mecha are designed to be as bulky as possible and have bits jutting from every corner of their alloyed being. In addition, just when you think mecha can't get any beefier or more accessorised, Gundam 00 gives us machines with sparkles coming off their backs! My guess is the more numerous the appendages the stronger and faster they will be in battle! Joking aside, they may be silly on one level, but they do look incredibly cool in action; the fact that they inflict unprecedented collateral damage with the subtlety and finesse of a bludgeon is half the fun.
Gundam 00 gets full points for the Japanese voice acting and a stunning second set of themes (‘Ash Like Snow' by The Brilliant Green is now one of my top favourite OPs); kudos also for the handful of fun metal instrumentals, which give the action sequences that extra sense of energy. Where it falls short is with an average first opening theme and a score that generally repeats one tune way too often.
Generally speaking, Gundam 00's characters are decent but hardly complex. For every character I empathise with, there are at least ten I couldn't give a toss about; Peries the super soldier, Wang Liu Mei, and virtually all of the antagonists fall into this category. I will make one concession, however: although the vast majority are nothing more than average, a handful of the central characters show great potential for depth in the final few episodes. Since Gundam 00 is one of at least two seasons, the hesitant score of 6.5 assumes there's much more character development to come.
Setsuna F. Seiei, the central protagonist, is a prime example of a character that improves over time. He initially stalks through his scenes with a flat voice and equally flat expression, generally doing his best to be robotic. Later on, although his personality never quite picks up, his purpose becomes much clearer; this revelation makes it easier to care about him in the long run, and I now look forward to more from him.
As for the other Gundam pilots, they will be remembered more for their quirks than their complexity. Lockon Stratos is not bad as far as normal, upbeat individuals are concerned, and Tieria Erde's feminine looks are at least more unique than his aloof attitude; still, I wouldn't go as far as to call either of them deep. The least believable pilot has to be Allelujah Haptism; as well as having the stupidest name ever, he suffers from a particularly cheesy case of multiple personality disorder.
Ironically, the characters with the most dramatic journey are a couple who remain superfluous to ninety percent of the plot: Saji and Louise. They spend most of their time having petty lovers' tiffs and shopping, which gets somewhat distracting when you're trying to watch Gundams blow shit up. Like Setsuna, however, their role seems to promise a lot more development in the future.
Gundam 00 starts off rather directionless, but it eventually pulls itself together and becomes the sleek, gut-level adventure it always wanted to be. Frankly, the best thing about Gundam 00 is that there's more to come; if this season's ending is anything to go by, it has the potential to be one of the best Gundam series yet and I await the next instalment with bated breath.
Notice: This review covers both seasons and movie finale of the anime.
On an aesthetic level, Gundam 00 reuses the best elements of previous series and creates an up-to-date version of them.
- People in the finale start to read other peoples’ minds and the dead begin to talk like in Universal Century.
- The Innovators are the Newtypes of UC or the Coordinators of Seed.
- The A-Laws are the Titans of Zeta.
- The Meisters have the same goals as the rebels in Wing.
Gundam 00 is also a failure. Financially, it didn’t make nearly as much money as the previous god awful Gundam Seed. In comparison to other iterations, it wasn’t as good of an alternative universe as Turn A. And as a standalone series, it stops making sense from the very first episode. What kind of a plan is to bring peace by stopping war with more war? Only five year old could buy this nonsense.
Not like many were questioning the ridiculous premise when it began airing, since the production values were impressive for their time, the character designs didn’t look like shit, and the soundtrack wasn’t pop garbage. As far as pretty colors and nice sounds go, even I was amazed, while the nonsensical plot could be excused as if everybody being insane and not knowing what the hell they are doing.
And that’s where the positives stop, since the writing is garbage. Starting with the characters who have tragic backdrops, like any decent war drama should have, but they otherwise look too sexy for this body. It’s like they belong in some otome game or a dating simulation; they have a subtle erotism about them which was taking me out of the experience. I mean, they are not terrible like in Seed, or cutsy like in Age, but they definitely feel out of place in a war drama we are supposed to take seriously and yet it’s full of girls with high-pitched voices and emo dudes repeating cheesy one-liners about paper-thin logic where you stop war with more war. Only the Universal Century has proper designs.
The same can be said about the mobile suits. They overdid with the rule of cool in a series we are supposed to take seriously. This is not G Gundam, or Gundam Wing, it’s not supposed to be mindless action. So what the hell do they have beam sabers at their feet, second heads popping out of their backs, going Super Saiyan in battles, and firing energy beams 100 times their size? It’s too sexy for this robot and once again proof of why the Universal Century did it right. How are you supposed to be invested in the drama when the mecha battles remind you of the Power Rangers?
There are not even some sort of tactics used in battles, despite wasting half an episode in explaining the plan in following wars, when in practice it is just firing a million lasers and blowing apart the enemy forces. The only thing that defines the victor is who is using the latest power up, so both parties are constantly one-uping each other with constant upgrades, new transformations, and even more broken Super Saiyan robots.
The story had the potential to be mature when it began with shady politics and grey political agendas of global superpowers, but fell apart after a dozen episodes, or more specifically when the Throne team was introduced. After that it became angsty teenagers kicking the crap out of armies of mook soldiers with their overpowered mecha. The mystery behind the founder of the Celestial Being, the hidden agendas of the Innovators, the ideal world of eternal peace, and the encounter with aliens, were all bullshit. They constantly throw in concepts like public indifference about wars, religious exploitation, political propaganda, and forget them completely after a couple of episodes.
In season one, an entire organization of inhuman experimentation is revealed to the public. In season two, a cover up for the murder of dozens of millions of people becomes public. Also several world powers reassemble in a unified super-power and many weaker countries are leveled by doomsday devises. Did any of those world-shaking events have any effect on the people of Earth? Not even for a second! Like nothing happened. Also, in the movie finale, aliens invade Earth and kill millions but as soon as truce is achieved, nobody cares in the least about that.
There are many side stories that are building up for dozens of episodes and are resolved in anticlimactic ways. And by resolved, I mean killing most of the characters, thus ending their plots in the laziest way possible during the final episodes. Such as a princess preparing a world-shaking event for 47 episodes, with an air of certainty written all over her face, and then some chick goes crazy and kills her in 5 seconds. Special mention to characters that survived a dozen exploding robots, just to be killed by an exploding robot and are never be mentioned again.
The writers really didn’t know what they were doing in the finale, as the scenes change frenetically, and long monologues try to explain with words everything they forgot to resolve for 50 episodes. Too lazy for this mecha. The movie sequel became notorious for its bad pacing, pointless action, boring characters, and the addition of aliens, that had no reason to exist in any Gundam, that had no characterization, and that were defeated with an asspull.
There is also some really bad writing when it comes to characters:
- Setsuna F. Seiei has such a memorable name because he repeats it every 5 minutes to the point it makes you wish he was mute.
- There is a pacifist princess AGAIN which is always out of place and why Universal Century is amazing for not having such bullshit.
- There is that Throne pink-haired girl siding with the guy who killed her brothers for no reason.
- There is the Innovator leader revealing to his allies that they are no longer useful to him; thus almost begging them to betray him.
- There is Saji and Louise, two civilians that are taking up way too much screen time without offering much to the plot. The idea behind them was to show the devastation of war through the eyes of civilians, but it was so cheesy and overblown to the point it was ruining the drama. Just how many times did the two of them accidentally meet the Gundam pilots, and why all the misfortunes in the world befell specifically on their families, in the exact same time?
- Some have split personality which makes them like good Jekyll and evil Hide. Others have convenient memory loses or are controlled like mindless puppets. Others pay no attention to vital events for a dozen episodes or are too stupid to see an obvious traitor right before their eyes. Some of them get killed and give you hopes the rest will need to adjust but nah, they are conveniently replaced by similar people in the sequel.
So yeah, Gundam 00 is full of insulting-to-your-intelligence convenient events and idiocy. Very pleasing as a dumb action mecha series and a complete failure as a war drama that keeps trying to take itself seriously. If there is something I understood from this show, it would be:
War is a bad thing… so I will enter my super-awesome-special robot that makes me look so cool and will start blowing shit in order to prove my thesis.
If it’s not Universal Century, it’s too bullshit for this Gundam.
As a big fan of “Gundam Wing” and “Gundam Seed”, I was eager to watch the newest epic Gundam series and it did not disappoint.
Consider this review for both seasons.
All the good stuff of the Gundam series is present.here. Cool main characters, exciting one-on-one mecha battles, interesting military maneuvers and large-scale battles. There’s some melodrama but not to the point of “Gundam Seed”.
This is just an epic mecha series with characters who are not really kids, so that stands out from many other mecha series. It feels grown-up.
I also like the ideology of the heroes’ organization. They come to Earth to end all wars, no sides taken. I had mused about such a concept at one point and I was pleased to see how well this series handles it. Of course, there’s a myriad of complications and they even deal with the Middle East situation.
Towards the end of the series there are several “deus-ex machina” moments. Suddenly, the Gundams acquire abilities or power-ups that they hadn’t mentioned at any point before that. It feels a little bit like “Dragonball Z” or “Naruto”. However, by that time you are so deep into the plot and the characters that it can be forgiven in lieu of the epic-ness it delivers.
There’s also a gallery of secondary characters to keep track of and I think I wasn’t able to remember who was whom, but that’s just a minor complaint.
There’s one big event that didn’t resonate with me as much as it did to the characters. It is one of the biggest events that take place in the series and it was regarded as a huge tragedy, but both “Gundam Wing” and “Gundam Seed” had more memorable disasters.
Also, the guys in this series are not as fleshed out as the aforementioned Gundam series. I mean, they are cool and all but I think the “Gundam Wing” group was far more charismatic and a better collection of different personalities.
Yes. If you are a Gundam fan then double yes.
If you have never watched one of the more serious Gundam series and want to check why they are so popular, this is a great one to begin with because it has the newest and best animation between “Gundam Wing” and “Gundam Seed”. If you like it, then feel free to check the previous two to replicate the epic experience you just underwent but with a different cast and different military situations.
Intense, adrenaline-pumping, action-pacted, tragic, head-spinning, five words that may truly describe this anime. I have to say that this one really impressed me. It was your typical Death Note, only they used machines in place of a notebook. Oh and not only do they have the some similar qualities but also the person who voices Light in Death Note, voices in Gundam 00.
The story line couldn't be any better, and you can't really change the characters. They used people who truly wanted to change the world at the cost of their own lives. I must say that I did cry. It was a heart-breaking ending (the song Love Today, really added to the last episode). Each episode has a story line of its own, and different missions. They all tie together, so I wouldn't recommend that you skip much. You might find that you missed something. It takes a lot of courage to go after an impossible goal, and even though this is just an anime, it does still hold a lot of truth to it. Who is the real bad guy in this anime? Is it Ali AL-SAACHEZ? Or maybe its war itself... But over all this anime really does hold a high score from me. Not because I'm a real fan of violence, but more of because I would watch this anime again given a chance. When I watch it again it'll be in Japanese.
I started this anime only because the name had caught my eye, on a day I was hunting for something to watch. After watching the first episode with me everyone spread out to do their own thing. I had gotten to episode 4 that night [funny thing, my sister did too]. I stopped watching it for a while after that because waiting for the episodes to load took up so much time! I had other things I had to do and lost interest. About 5 days ago or so, I picked it up again. And now I'm starting on season 2. But really the first few episodes, even the ending, can just blow you away...
Sometimes you shouldn't complicate the simple.
Gundam 00 is a peculiar installment in its franchise. Being an introduction into the Gundam franchise for many a fan, myself included, it has arguably become the most popularly viewed entry besides Wing. One could say that the writers looked at Wing and decided to take some of the base elements of it to create their own story that touched on war-related issues of the current times. Then that same person could say that they probably should have followed Wing just a little more loosely given how convoluted and nonsensical circumstances regarding the main group became.
A group known as “Celestial Being” has appeared in the distant future with one simple objective: fight to bring peace and end all war. Many factions across the globe disagree with their objective which seems aggressively contrary to their methods. Four young adult pilots, half of whom have been affected by war, are deployed by Celestial Being to stop disputes with force, relying on what Gundam fans have referred to as the “overkill formula”, in which single machines mow down dozens of mooks at a time. Sounds relatively simple enough as long as the show manages to highlight and keep track of the multiple factions. The idea comes with the potential to explore all sorts of concepts related to war, terrorism, protests, and global violence in ways unique to the timeline, while slowly peeling the layers of each major combatant. To an extent, 00 seems to capitalize on this potential, even showing a more personal example of what happens to civilians caught in the crossfires of battle.
Then we get the robot equivalent to Dragon Ball Z’s Kai-o-ken, an extra private faction that hijacks a poorly explained supercomputer the main protagonists’ faction was using, a council that oversees all of this, even more private investors with their own agendas that get killed off unceremoniously, special particle beams that prevent healing, a myriad of poorly-conceived world-building mechanics that get dropped after what little exploration they had such as the space colonies, a badly done newtype-esque type attribute known as quantum brain-waves, and the knowledge that the series has dropped the ball in making sure we are able to keep up with every private faction. This isn’t even going into the cloning, the innovade/innovator business, plagiarism and self-contradiction galore, the increased levels of over-complication in regards to the quantum brain wave mechanic that defines the timeline from the moment one of the main characters gets affected by it as early as episode 3 of season 1, and superpowers that allow communication with the dead, all of which occur in the second season!
I’m sorry, was that overwhelming? Good; now you know what watching the 00 series is like!
One could argue that this series is best enjoyed without attempting to stretch your mental capacity to house all the convoluted nonsense and mental-gymnastics taken by the second half of season 1 onwards. Thanks to the flashy and well-animated mech battles with loads of colorful particles and explosions, and the sexy character designs that pave the way for many moments of casual semi-nudity without the need for fanservice, I’d agree. The designs of each mech are nowhere near as iconic or memorable as those of most other installments, but they do serve their purpose in seeming like the aggressive war machines they are. The music, while certainly not up to Kenji Kawai’s standard, has some decently memorable tracks that do an acceptable job of complimenting the plethora of fights shown throughout. The opening themes also serve well at getting people excited for each episode, as mediocre and often meaningless as each episode may be. They also represent the state of the show in each half, with the first being more simple and about characters getting to know each other and how things are beginning to play out, and the second being more chaotic and more intense in nature, as the action and overall emotional baggage rack up. Sadly, the ending themes, which do follow this, are less enjoyable.
For anyone hoping the characters would provide much of the enjoyment you would likely obtain from the show, just know this won’t likely be the case. The main 4 are mostly simple enough. Allelujah Haptism and Setsuna F Seiei (get used to these kinds of names) had the potential to be the most interesting in the show, given that the former suffers from split-personality disorder and that the latter, who is the main protagonist, is a more reserved and agitated chap who became a child soldier who grew to display trust and touch issues after being betrayed. They only somewhat capitalize on these personal aspects, more so for Allelujah than Setsuna, as the latter is largely Heero Yui from Wing, but with more baggage. Lockon Stratos is the most easy-going and friendly of the bunch, so many will deem him the most likable, even when the chips are down and he gets angry at his comrades or at terrorists. Contrast this with the initially unlikable and ultimately boring Tieria Erde. The rest of the astronomically large cast was largely tolerable, with very few standouts in positive or negative regards. The few exceptions include the fun and determined Graham Acker, the gloriously evil Ali al Saachez --both of whom are Setsuna’s main rivals--, and a brutally disappointing trio that joins the main 4 in the second half. Few are badly written per se, beyond how the script becomes a joke towards the end, but most of the potential many of these characters had is lost, with the second season doing them no favors. You might enjoy the rest of the crew the main protagonists collaborate with, notably the commander, Sumeragi, but getting attached to the wrong crew member may cost you towards the end. They are likely the best characters in the show, given that they allow form some pleasant and even humorous interactions with the main cast and even each other.
Gundam 00 was a potentially captivating series somewhat squandered by an increasing need for complication and drama. As such, its characters largely feel somewhat wasted and its world feels poorly explored and half-baked. You will find fun with the battles and even a few of the side-characters and their interactions, but you would want to treat this series as simpler than it actually is, lest you watch it start to be torn apart by the power of expectations and critical thinking. 00 goes downhill from here, so if you wish to start this, just know you’re getting the best of what the timeline has to offer rather early, and enjoy the fights and ideas.