Part 3 of 3 of Gundam 00 Post Special. (Might contain spoilers. You’ve been warned. =p )
The Redeeming Aspects of Gundam 00
- The 25 episode format is easier to digest (and marathon)
The decision for the 25 episode format works both ways actually. As posted in Gunota Headlines, this allows for 2 seasons and more marketing (and obviously sales) in between. They actually did it first with Code Geass. If it smacks of obvious profit-making in mind, I am not disturbed at all. This is still business, and if it allows Sunrise to bring us better quality/entertaining shows it’s good. I can still remember my exasperation at the numerous (and useless) flashbacks/recaps they loved to use in Gundam SEED/Destiny. In Code Geass they also had those but didn’t seem as annoying. Of course we also have flashbacks here and there in G00 but they only serve to remind us of the characters’ motivations, e.g. Lockon’s loss of his family and Setsuna’s past sins. As long as they don’t punish us with 4 seasons of Gundam 00, the 25 episode format is the way to go. On the other hand I wonder if other mecha shows from other studios will follow suit.
- Taking inspiration from real world situations is refreshing
I remember watching the first 2 or 3 episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam and thought, Hey, they ripped off the scenes from Gundam SEED! And SEED Destiny! Of course it can be explained that GS/GSD probably was making homage to MSG or that it was an update of it (as I’ve read somewhere). However, it just smacks of lack of originality to me. With G00 taking inspiration from real-world conflicts, I didn’t have to worry about seeing another variation of spaceships with an inexperienced crew and attempts to steal mobile suits and a teenager who’s not a pilot just hops inside a Gundam and saves the day.
- Decent attempt at depicting tragedy of war
I always thought that Saji and Louise were characters the series could have done away with. Then I realized, Okay, so they’re supposed to be the civilian point of view about the war. The drama about Louise losing her parents (and her hand!) wasn’t too effective, but even then it’s a fact that some things that happen in a war are pointless and non-combatants do suffer and be frustrated at what’s happening. It still pales in comparison to Gundam SEED though, something you would not expect from a show that derives from real-world conflicts.
Things to improve on
- Show more semblance of interesting strategy and deeper realism
As a vehicle for boosting sales of Gunpla, G00 isn’t that bad. But as an anime series and successor to Gundam SEED/GSD as the next alternate timeline series, it is painfully bland. The way to countering this is for the writers to retake lessons in War and Propaganda 101. What do I mean by this? Remember when Setsuna delivered the Azadistan hostage without carrying any weapons? Now that was strategy, a clear example of an attempt to win sympathy in the arena of public opinion. If the series is taking itself seriously then it should really all-out take itself seriously. Yes, that also means no more surprise golden monstrosities please. Otherwise G00 will just be passed off as a mediocre attempt.
- Better portrayal of characters
The writers failed at making the characters truly interesting, I hope they don’t make the same mistake in the 2nd season.
Gundam 00 fails as an interesting Gundam series, but manages to come out as a decent anime. It wouldn’t be on my favorites list, and I can’t recommend it to anybody easily except to mecha fans, especially Gundam fans. There’s still a chance for redemption with season 2 in October 2008. However I’m not having high hopes for it.
And that ends my exercise in putting to words my impressions of Gundam 00. (I also hope to hear about others’ thoughts though in the comments.) Now I can finally move on to Macross Frontier. 😀