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Only seven days remain until Humanity will be extinct.
"This will be Celestial Being's... No. This is going to be our final mission."
— Sumeragi Lee Noriega
The first completely new Gundam feature film in 19 years, Mobile Suit Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer is the continuation of the 2007-2009 series Gundam 00, and is intended to be the Grand Finale of the Anno Domini universe.The year is 2314. Two years have passed since the defeat of Ribbons Almark, the Innovadewho called himself "God", and the world is gradually moving towards peace. In this new world, other people around the planet are beginning to Innovate, including a mysterious man named Descartes Shaman. However, an abandoned probe from an expedition to Jupiter 130 years ago (the same expedition that built the original GN Drives) approaches Earth bringing a new crisis with it, one that threatens all of mankind. Celestial Being, still recovering from their battle with the A-Laws and Innovades, are forced into action to save humanity, and the first true innovator Setsuna F. Seiei finally obtains the Gundam he always wished for. Aeolia Schenberg's plan has moved into its final stage...In the same way Gundam 00 introduced several new ideas into the Gundam franchise, the film lives up to its name of "Trailblazer". For the first time in the thirty year history of Gundam, A Wakening of the Trailblazer introduced a living alien race, known as ELS (Extra-Terrestrial Living-Metal Shape-Shifters).It was released in Japanese theaters on September 18th. A US Premiere took place at the New York Anime Festival on October 10th, the DVD/Blu-Ray version was released on December 25 in Japan, and July 5 in America.
Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer provides examples of the following tropes:
Ace Custom: Patrick and Andrei pilots Grey/Brown GN-XIVs, while Graham pilots a Teal Brave unit. Incidentally, all regular units of said mobile suits are colored green (Asparagus for the former, Viridian for the latter).
Advertised Extra: Descartes Shaman and his mobile armor, Gadaleza, are heavily promoted along with the Gundam Meisters and their units as the main characters of the movie. He dies half-way through and his assimilated mobile armor didn't even show up afterwards.
Animation Bump: The whole movie's animation quality is far beyond that of the series, which is to be expected. What really stands out, though, is how much attention the production team gave to small details.
Arc Words: "Unlock(ing)/blaze a trail to the future". Alternatively, "Believe".
Arm Cannon: The Braves' GN Beam Machineguns, and four of the Zabanya's GN Missile Pods.
Assimilation Plot: The ELS, who utilize it as their primary means of understanding new objects and concepts.
Remember the 4th ED, "Trust You"? Watch the ending of the movie, and ask yourself if it isn't at least ironic.
Also, the flower that Setsuna was given at the end of season two makes a return and plays a role in the plot.
And Setsuna, in his dream sequence/vision, gets to look at a similar flower growing in the desert, like what Setsuna did in the 4th OP.
Lyle pilots the rebuilt Dynames while rescuing H/Allelujah and SoMarie/
When the Ptolemios Kai starts getting assimilated by the ELS, Feldt refuses to follow Sumeragi's command to abandon ship if worst comes to worst stating that Christina tricked her on doing the same thing during the penultimate episode of the show's first season.
Canon Immigrant: The Flag used by Setsuna to save Marina is an Orbital Colony Guard-Type Flag with a modified GN Sword in place of the linear rifle.
Captain Ersatz: Meena Carmine to Nena Trinity, though it's justified. In fact, it may be the other way around. See Identical Stranger below for details. Meena has the same hairstyle that Sumeragi had in the first season of the TV series, which is a smart move for somebody trying to seduce Billy.
Christmas Cake: Marina Ismail and Sumeragi Lee Noriega. Both are in their early thirties and still unmarried.
Continuity Nod: An event or character in the series is mentioned once in a while.
Could Have Avoided This Plot: The ELS’ attempts at assimilation weren't for the destruction of humanity, but an attempt to understand them. Had they told this to Setsuna instead of Mind Raping him when he tried to understand them, this whole debacle would never have happened. Then again, this is a Gundam movie, so it's pretty much par for the course.
They did try to tell him, but their way of communication was so intense that it required the Qan[T] to finally be able to comprehend them without the pilot being Mind Raped.
Curb-Stomp Battle: An interesting case in that both sides take turns curb-stomping each other. Seriously, it's like watching a game of Pong.
Dare to Be Badass: Graham gives one to Setsuna, during the latter's sortie in the 00 Qan[T]:
Graham: WHY ARE YOU HESITATING?! You were the one who told me to keep fighting in order to live. You taught me that! Even if it's a contradiction, you must continue to exist! You said that is what it means to live... (Activates Trans-Am) Go on, young man! LIVE AND BLAZE A TRAIL TO THE FUTURE!
Detachment Combat: The Raphael and Seravee II, in more ways than one: Seravee can detach its legs to create Attack DroneWave Motion Guns. Best summarized by an internet-goer: "Wait, the Gundam has a giant set of legs on its head. Also the legs are funnels. Also the funnels are a Gundam."
Disappears into Light: While it doesn't involve dying, this is what happened to Setsuna and the 00 Qan[T] after the battle with ELS. They do come back though... 50 years later.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Arguably Graham. Hey, let's take the one character whose entire philosophical message in the TV series was how you shouldn't commit suicide and have him commit suicide!
Descartes Shaman looks like a Bishounen version of Aber Lindt from season two. On the other hand, his Gadelaza looks like a Protoss Carrier.
The concept is subverted with his intro; because the Jupiter probe's introduced at the same time, it's easy to assume that he was on the probe and just got back, like Paptimus Scirocco. This is not the case, though Shaman seems to still have a bit of ol' Paptimus in him.
Several fans have pointed out that the ELS' designs are very similar to that of Vorlon ships. Even the first thing Setsuna says to them can be rephrased as "who are you and what do you want".
They also look like the Web Creatures from ReBoot, though this is hardly surprising, considering that ReBoot was crawling with references to various scifi shows.
Faster-Than-Light Travel: It turns out that, after analyzing the 00 Raiser's quantization ability, Ian designed the Qan[T] to have a full-blown FTL Drive, called the "Quantum Teleport System". Setsuna uses it to travel to the ELS homeworld, so he can learn more about the ELS and the ELS learn more about humanity through him.
From Bad to Worse: Basically sums up the whole movie, for both sides. To name a few though:
A massive fleet of ELS appears, having enough mass to pull two of Jupiter's moons close enough to the planet to tear them apart via tidal forces.
ESF mobile suits and Celestial Being's Gundams wiping the floor with the ELS fleet, which is answered by the ELS eventually assimilating a few GN-XIV and turning into them.
That huge fleet that appears from Jupiter and has the Earth terrified? Absolutely dwarfed by the appearance of the main unit, a command ship the size of the Moon.
The Gadelaza showing up and wiping out a massive amount of ELS on its own, which is subsequently assimilated by the ELS.
The Celestial Being firing its Wave Motion Gun and nearly cutting the ELS planetoid in half, which in return is answered by the ELS creating a barrier powerful enough to stop its second shot.
The appearance of the 00 Qan[T], and the Zabanya and Harute subsequently handing the ELS their collective asses.
Rather early on, Allelujah and Marie encounter the ELS without knowing what they are. They are nearly hit by a self-driven jeep, which they dodge. They then try escaping, but are being chased by another ELS-jeep. They split up and it chases Marie automatically. Until Hallelujah kicks in and the ELS switch their target to him. He manages to run away, by climbing up on a roof top, from where he shouts: "Haha! See if you can catch me now!"... The ELS respond by having a helicopter rise behind him.
Glass Cannon: The Raphael Gundam, though justified since Tieria has limited resources in creating it in addition to not being equipped with an authentic GN Drive. Because of that, Tieria wasn't able to equip it with GN Fields/Shields and instead prioritize offense. Its Dual Mode Unit, the Seravee II, is also a downplayed version of its predecessor.
Gratuitous English: Contrary to the title of this article, the official title of the movie is "A wakening of the Trailblazer." While those may very well all be words, no native English speaker would have such an A mazing Use of Spaces.
Hacker Cave: Aeolia Schenberg's lab in the epilogue, with nine monitors and at least five computer towers.
Hollywood Tactics: Gloriously averted with the SolBraves. They masterfully display the ability to actually watch each others' backs, use themselves as decoys to draw enemy fire, and behave like a proper squad all around.
Identical Stranger: Mina Carmine looks and soundsa lot like Nena Trinity, to say nothing of the similarity in their first names. What the hell's going on here? Well, according to the novel they're actually very distant relatives, with Mina being born naturally while Nena is a clone of Mina's ancestor.
Large Ham: The entire cast of Celestial Being: The Movie.
Last Stand: The ESF forces in the final battle fought valiantly and struggled with more than they had, but it's clear to everyone within a few minutes of battle — if not before — that they are hopelessly outnumbered "ten-thousand-to-one", and stand no hope for victory. The battle ultimately becomes an attempt to fight for just enough time for Setsuna to wake up from his coma and pilot the 00 Qan[T].
Leitmotif: The ELS have a distinct five note riff that pops up in the music almost every time they appear, usually (but not always) sung via One-Woman Wail.
Le Parkour: Hallelujah has fun using this to avoid alien-possessed vehicles. He was perplexed at what to do when the helicopter came after him, however.
Male Gaze: Billy's POV shot when Mina hits on him on the ride up the orbital elevator.
Mid Movie Upgrades: Setsuna pilots three MS in this film, starting off with a modified Flag, then the repaired 00 Raiser (which doesn't have any GN Drives), and finally gaining the 00 Qan[T] near the end of the film. Lockon also pilots his late brother's Gundam Dynames while rescuing Allelujah and Marie, then using the Gundam Zabanya against the ELS.
Mighty Glacier: Zabanya is the slowest of all the Gundams, but it has tremendous firepower and its durability is impressive to the point that it's the only Gundam other than the 00 Qan[T] to survive the movie.
Pet the Dog: H/Allelujah and Graham both received this in a meta-sense, given how the two were significantly sidelined (especially the former) in the series. The two were given good chunks of screen time in this film with the latter even being promoted to the Sixth Ranger role.
Poor Communication Kills: Continues the tradition in true Gundam style, though in this case it's justified by the two parties having no idea how to communicate with each other.
The ELS have a giant, spherical battleship that increases the gravitational pull of Jupiter enough to cause two of its moons to be pulled in from their orbit and ripped apart by tidal forces. Later, the battleship approaches Earth, and the effects of something the size of The Moon are pointed out.
At first, it seems to be played straight with the Gadelaza: There's no practical reason for making a mobile armor the size of a cruiser packing seven GN Tau Drives and 14 MS-sized "Large GN Fangs" that each store 10 regular-sized "GN Fangs" and boast their own GN Drive Tau. The ESF might have been better off replacing the Gadelaza with an actual cruiser and the GN Fangs with GN-XIIIs, GN-XIVs, or Braves. Then you remember that it's stated to have better performance than five mobile suit platoons.
Senseless Sacrifice: Played with. Though Graham Aker's suicide did help Setsuna do what he needed to do, when you realize that the ELS never intended to destroy humanity and that it was all a misunderstanding, it becomes even more bittersweet. Of course, that’s all just par for the course in this franchise.
Serial Escalation: Pretty much the entire movie, but especially the second half/final battle. The scope, as indicated by the director, was so far beyond anything ever done in Gundam before that it was mind-boggling. And awesome.
The final fight seems reminiscent to the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, except Setsuna does not "escape alive" from the "Death Star", which instead of exploding turns into a giant flower.
There's a character voiced by Tōru Furuya named "E.A. Ray", which may be a pun on "Ensign Amuro Ray", or perhaps even Ribbons' Fan Nickname "Evil Amuro Ray", but Word of God says it's supposed to be "the Eternal Alan Ray". Whatever that's supposed to mean is not explained.
Several to other science fiction works seem to pop up:
Show Within a Show: The beginning of the movie starts with Saji and a few of his friends watching a movie glorifying Celestial Being's actions in the series. It. Is. Hilarious. A certain fansub group even threw in some meta Stylistic Suck along with a Take That during this scene. Most of the subtitles are in Comic Sans, nearly every line has a completely unnecessary translator's note, words like "kisama", "teki" and "ore-tachi" are left untranslated, while words originally in English like "Celestial Being" are translated to their Japanese counterpart, and called attacks get distracting karaoke fonts. Anyone who has ever watched poorly-done fansubs will be in stitches.
So Last Season: The 00 Raiser justifies this by no longer being equipped with true GN-Drives.
Spiritual Successor: The Solbrave Squadron to the original Overflags from Season 1. But while the Brave Commander Type is this to Graham's Custom Flag, the Brave Standard Type is more of a fusion between the Union Flag and the AEU Enact, seeing as it incorporates the design from both.
Super Prototype: Played with six ways to Sunday: The Zabanya and Harute use the recycled frames of the Cheridum and Arios from season two of the series; the 00 Raiser Repair is just that: the 00 Raiser but without any GN Drives; the Raphael uses technology derived from the Gadessa series, but aside from packing three GN Tau Drives isn't anything new; the GN-XIV and Brave units are limited production models for elite pilots; and the 00 Qan[T] and Gadelaza are actually Super Prototypes. Now guess which ones do the most damage to the ELS.
Take That: The Show Within a Show itself is one to movies and TV shows alike that tend to romanticize the winning side and vilifying the other so much, which are so prevalent in Real Life. The way the Gundam Meisters are casted also mocks the racial and gender stereotyping in Hollywood (e.g. Tieria the Scary Black Man and Allelujah the little hot chick). The message of this show, in other words, seems to be, "Tired of the same old Good vs. Evil stories? We've got a new one!"
Tempting Fate: After Hallelujah escapes ELS controlled trucks by getting on a roof he says "See if you can catch me now!" (cue ELS controlled helicopter)
Took a Level in Badass: Patrick gained some serious levels since his Butt Monkey days in the series. All the proof you need is to see him in action during the final battle. Plus, he's the only Federation ace that survives.
Trailers Always Lie / Trailers Always Spoil: Early trailers used the early, incomplete designs of the Gundams as well as other designs which haven't appeared since. More recent trailers unveiled the complete Gundam designs along with more of their abilities, and included the appearances of the ELS, a repaired 00 Raiser, and Ribbons Almark. Then again, if the trailers are anything like the series’ opening credits... Where should we begin? Decartes Shaman is just a minor ESF soldier, "Ribbons" merely one of the countless Innovades that share the same genetic baseline, the real war is with ELS and not the ESF... the list can go on and on.
The Gadelaza's "GN Blaster", which can plow though multiple ships in a single shot and was the only ESF weapon capable of stopping the derelict space station.
Less impressive but also present are the 00 Qan[T]'s GN Buster Rifle and the Raphael's GN Big Cannons. Not to be outdone, Harute can combine its GN Cannons and GN Sword Rifles' outputs to create this effect, and Zabanya's Attack Drones have a gimmick◊ that does the same thing.
The Veda particle laser is so powerful that it can shoot a beam straight through a Moon sized spaceship.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The subplot from the series involving Feldt's feelings for Setsuna and whether or not they were requited is still left unresolved, much to the annoyance of some.
(translation of animage from the movie guide) Question: Even if Feldt was that close to him, she did not get close to [knowing] his true feelings? Mizushima: That’s right. Feldt was told by Sumeragi, “Think of him”, but Setsuna says, “What is this uncomfortable feeling...?” It is a scene where a different matter can be thought of. It is certainly symbolic. Humans communicate using words, but there are things that are not transmitted. I wanted to show these kinds of communication difficulties in the movie. Vague but seems to imply at least that Feldt's feelings weren't rejected rather Setsuna's true feelings are an open-ended question mark.
At the very least, judging from their interaction after Setsuna woke up, there's the implication that they had at least talked things over. It says something that Setsuna directly addresses Feldt right before he sorties. The english dub very slightly adds in some subtext during this scene which adds to the above that may or may not have been intended from the beginning.
After the tragic losses he experienced on the first season, getting caught up in the conflict on the second season (and becoming a semi-Sixth Ranger at that time), and introducing the setting of the movie and having his own part in it, it's strange that Saji doesn't get a short screentime among the other characters when everyone was looking at the giant space flower.
One that actually happens between the end of the war with the ELS and the final scene of the film: Another war is sparked thanks to the prevalence of Innovators on earth, with Celestial Being again intervening and somehow managing to again widen their technological superiority against the warring sides (one of which have mass produced Gadelazas, mind you). While we do see an upgraded Raphael Gundam (Dominions, which uses an armor gimmick similar to Virtue, the armor itself being made out of bits), the pilot is unknown, and the original Meisters and support crew aren't even heard of or mentioned.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The movie begins with one for the second season, showing where all the major players are after two years. It also ends on this note, showing the world several decades into the future with Earth's first interstellar ship about to launch, but only touching upon the fates of a small majority of the characters.
Where It All Began: The first part of the stinger shows an interview with Aeolia Schenberg explaining his motivations.