Gundam 00 Post Special (Part 3)

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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.

Conclusion

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. 😀

Related posts:

Gundam 00 Post Special (Part 1)

Gundam 00 Post Special (Part 2)

7 responses »

  1. “that also means no more surprise golden monstrosities ”

    But the golden mecha makes sense for once!

    The MS was built by a rich man with a bad taste in design and wants to be God. Hence he dumped in 7 Tau GN-drives in the shape of a cross, gave it a huge canon, pack it with funnels, and painted it gold so it matches his handgun. For crying out loud, even his video-conference window in his mecha has gold patterns around it; the man was obsessed.

    The golden mecha was not designed by sane military people, and wasn’t meant to be mass produced or even be economical. This is probably one of the few times when a golden mecha was fully justified, as it was a “toy” belonging to a millionaire.

  2. @Vallen Chaos Valiant

    Well, it does makes sense the way you put it. However, for me it really looked out of place in the ‘serious’ atmosphere of Gundam 00. Or over the top. Or perhaps the series had the problem again of not depicting him enough as an ‘obsessed’ man–it was only in the later part he turned out to be a big villain.

    And I doubt Corner was a millionaire–he’d probably have to be a billionaire to be able to build that thing! :-p

  3. More complex strategy would be good, although it’s not (in my experience) all that common in Gundam – though maybe I’ve not been looking for it.

    We’re evidently not on the same page on the ‘tragedy of war’ though: I never thought SEED was very good at portraying it – 0080 must surely be Gundam’s best attempt at doing so.

  4. @TA

    Well, I never said that SEED’s portrayal was the best. I just said it was more convincing than G00’s. I’m talking about how the hate between the Naturals and the Coordinators was demonstrated quite well. What could be more tragic than the Junius 7 drop? Or the fact that the hard-core factions of the opposing groups were hell-bent on exterminating the other?

    0080 was very good, no doubt about that. Let’s say its portrayal was good because that was the focus.

    @Kaioshin Sama

    ??? The Macross franchise never really took itself seriously and with the way the recent addition to it is going, I’m not even expecting anything dramatic. Even though it might not surpass the original series, it’s way more entertaining than G00. 😀

  5. While I respect your point of view, I’ll have to disagree with many of your opinions on Gundam 00. In my opinion, the characters were interesting, the fights were entertaining (especially the final battle), the battles were convincing, the music was memorable (especially the OP/ED themes and battle/character themes), and the ending is suspenseful.

    However, what I do agree with you on is that the show doesn’t make you want to root for anyone in particular. You may see this as a flaw, but for me, this is a strength and is what truly makes Gundam 00 unique. It never forces the audience to take sides nor does it force any ideals down anyone’s throats (even from the first episode, it wasn’t afraid to point out the hypocrisy of Celestial Being’s ideals). Like you pointed out though, this doesn’t make for great melodrama, but to be honest, I’m a bit tired of the usual melodramatic heroic plots I’ve seen in so many other Mecha shows (that includes SEED and Geass) and I find it refreshing that Gundam 00 doesn’t follow in the same footsteps.

    For me, the only real flaw with the show is the extremely slow pace in the first half of the series. However, from episode 17 onwards, I enjoyed every minute of Gundam 00 up until episode 25. Until recently, Gundam SEED and Code Geass were my favourite Real Robot shows, but now Gundam 00 is my favourite. I’m still currently watching Zeta Gundam right now though, so I could change my mind anytime soon.

    Regards,
    Jagger

  6. @Jagger

    >>the fights were entertaining (especially the final battle), the battles were convincing

    Indeed, what salvaged G00 was a decent ending (at least if taken in comparison with the GSD ending). However…

    >>what I do agree with you on is that the show doesn’t make you want to root for anyone in particular. You may see this as a flaw, but for me, this is a strength and is what truly makes Gundam 00 unique

    Actually, for me to really love a series (most of the time) I need characters to like/care for. That’s some requirement, I know, but that’s how it usually works for me.

    >>Until recently, Gundam SEED and Code Geass were my favourite Real Robot shows, but now Gundam 00 is my favourite.

    In terms of realism Gundam 00 wins. But for entertainment value I go for Code Geass. 😀

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