Reviews: Mobile Suit Gundam 00
Gundam 00 is one of the better things to come out of the Gundam franchise in the last decade. It has an interesting plot (at least in the 1st season), beautifully choreographed action sequences and a highly attractive visual style that remains a personal favorite of mine. However, its weak points are not subtle at all, as I will now illustrate. The point where 00 fails the most is in the character department. 00 has archetypes, not characters. This works when said archetypes are likable in and of themselves (Lockon, Tieria), but dramatically falls flat when they aren't (breaking news, Marina; you're a massive twat!). The archetypes in 00 barely evolve at all, they merely play out their established roles in the genre with barely a missed beat. Setsuna is a prominent example; he is written so flat that the flashbacks of him murdering his own parents extracted only a bored sigh. At the end of the show I didn't get the impression that any of the Gundam Meisters had really evolved or changed due to their experiences at all; they had merely fulfilled the objective they had possessed right from the beginning of the series. Another serious issue with 00 is season 2. Unlike many, I don't think the change in style was illogical within the context of the setting, but I agree that it failed to capitalize on the potential of the series from a broader perspective. Season 1 features complex political intrigue that keeps you guessing, and plays the traditional Grey & Grey Morality tropes present in Gundam to the hilt; I cheered when the GN-X's appeared and had their first victory, despite knowing what their presence heralded for Celestial Being as an organisation. Season 2 drops any such pretensions and becomes about as generic a 'good versus evil' plot line as one could possibly expect. It's like as if Game of Thrones was suddenly retooled to more closely resemble the morality axis present in Star Wars. All this said, 00 is still a great show. It looks gorgeous, with superb combat and a truly epic soundtrack. The good character archetypes are very good, and the bad ones can be mostly ignored (except Marina. Fuck Marina). If you can ignore the gibbering fanboys who insist 'this isn't Gundam because GN particles nnnnnn!!!', then 00 is a worthy successor to the shows that came before it.
Love it, if a bit rushed towards the end.
At first, I didn't get the random events plot during the first 15 or so episodes. However, once I did manage to piece everything together, I started to gradually fall in love with how this series just deconstructed essentially what every previous Gundam series stood for. It got even better for me when Season 2 reconstructed everything from the ashes of Season 1's conclusion. I was a bit disappointed though towards the end of the latter with the apparently rushed Season 2 conclusion. The finale itself though was epic, especially when it came to the beast that is the Reborns Gundam, as well as the bookends moment with the Exia Repair II vs 0 face-off. I myself am a devout fan of the CE continuity as a whole, and had at one point thought the flak against this series was justified. After finishing the entire series, including the movie, I can add this one to my list of favorite anime of all time. Also, thanks to this series, I came to realize just how big of a broken base the Gundam fanbase is, especially with regards to the Western U.C. fanbase. Overall, this series has earned a lot of respect to me, and I would frankly give it a 9/10.
why did so much people dislike the 00 series?
i personally think that it was unfair on how everybody hated on the 00 series the series was realistic despite people disagreeing no other gundam series came close to its way of actually scientifically explaining how the gn particles worked and everybody keeps saying that the series had little emphasis on other characters but i mean come on which series had full emphasis on EVERY character huh? you cant possibly have them all covered and each meister had their own problems which led them to be a gundam meister and their histories are really sad ones (besides tierias one) and forgive them for being withdrawn after seemingly ; been trained as a child guerilla to kill people,artificially created as a supersoldier to also kill people and last but not least his entire family being blown to bits during a terroist attack. its not like these characters are gonna express themselves that emotionally after those incidents. people said that the second series was too fantastical and unreal but i mean come on! g gundam was full of super saiyan mobile suits doing kung fu stuff and you say thats not fantastical? trans am was an unbelievable idea and also has its own background and theory to it which made a little sense compared to the super sayan gundams in g gundam. it showed real world problems and actually showed how the world COULD turn out like after the fossil fuels ran out. the 00 series was the closest gundam series to reality. the series had downsides i agree with that like when...........a particualr person died im not going to say who but yea other than that is was GREAT.i may be a little bias to this series cause it was the first gundam series i watched but i mean if the series was crap it wouldnt matter which gundam series i watched i would say it is crap but this series truly is one of the best gundam series . people shouldnt start saying things about the anime using big words describing things that arent true i would give the first and second series of the anime a 10/10 and the movie . how are aliens stupid? i mean the universe is huge and who is to say that aliens dont exist? the mobile suits were overpowered but how else would you fight thousands of aliens? the beams and explosions were great and cool the movie had a great song (kind of unrelated to the point but i thought i would add it in there)the movie showed the progression of the mobilesuits well.
The Code Geass of Gundam (and that's not a good thing...)
Much like Code Geass, the first season of Gundam 00 was amazing. With interesting characters (I loved Sergei Smirnov and Graham Aker), awesome battle scenes, and some of the best mobile suit designs I've ever seen, I looked forward to every episode with much anticipation. After seeing the near-destruction of Celestial Being, I waited impatiently to find out what will happen to the characters next, thanks to a wonderful cliffhanger at the end of episode 25. Unfortunately, also like Code Geass, Sunrise didn't like the first season's ratings and made loads of drastic changes as a result to bring more viewers in. As a result, the show completely lost its touch. Gone was the Grey And Grey Morality; instead of having morally ambiguous terrorists fighting against the world, we have heroes who are always right fighting against a Complete Monster and his army of superhumans who want to take over the world. Gone was the heartwarming relationship development of Saji and Louise; instead of observing an ordinary couple trying to survive the pandemonium, we see Louise turned into a psycho, while Lockon and Anew Returner get Strangled By The Red String. Worst of all, gone was the realistic premise itself; instead of watching a government struggling to collaborate to take down Celestial Being, we see Setsuna and his Gundam become the biggest God Mode Sues this side of Tendou Souji. Add the sheer amount of Narm and you got a series that wasted so much potential. And whatever you do, don't get me started on the Anvilicious movie that featured aliens. As a fan of The08th MS Team, I was really excited to see another realistic take on Gundam. Alas, the creators got greedy with merchandise sales, and 00 ultimately suffered as a result. If you're really interested, just watch the first season and pretend that the second season and the movie never existed. Otherwise, skip this altogether and watch Gundam X, Turn A Gundam, or any UC series or OVA instead.
A series of disapointments.
Gundam Seed Destiny had its fine points, but was ultimately flawed. It was sloppier, less innovative, and lacked the backbone it's predecessor contained. However, Gundam 00 makes Destiny look like a masterpiece. It is by far one of the very worst Gundam series' I have watched so far, failing in the same departments as it's source material. A show meant to be the Gundam Wing for the new generation, as Seed was with MSG, watching the show you are going to feel like you are watching a remake of G Gundam; full of Ex Deus Machina, and complete fantasy non-sense. Truly it is odd for a show to put so much focus in it's science to have so much fantasy mumbo-jumbo in it. And thats where 00 reaches it's next problem, focus. Far too many characters and factions to keep track of, many of the characters being less than important, and just filling up time that could be used for the characters the fan actually do like, and will actually make some advancements in the story. Sadly, the worst of this comes from Sanji Crossroads story in Season 1, where they try to make it seem meaningful by saying; 'war can come anywhere, even if you are innocent.' However, this only happens 2-3 times in 25 episodes, and Sanji and companies sidestories usually filled up entire halves of every episode. It was a story about an arkward student with an overly needy girlfriend. Thats what it was, nothing more. The very worst parts of this show comes from the action and conflict. The animations are great and all, but if you are looking for intellegence and witty solutions, there are none to be found. EVERY battle, EVERY conflict is solved with a secret weapon, a new mobile suit, or Trans-Am. It is formulated into every episode, and was extremely predictable. Matter of fact, once you first see Trans-Am mode, you can stop watching the show, because that paves way for the rest of the series. Sadly, the show never improves. Character development is limited and some times deconstructed, and season 2 never fixed any problems, it actually made them worst, which begs the question; why make it into 2 seasons? With each new segment, the show becomes more crowded, sloppier, and more predictable, with only a handfull of good moments and episodes. This show did not fix any damage Gundam Seed Destiny may have inflicted on the fanbase, it drove a wedge into the wound, and made it worst. A D+ show at best.
Why does everyone hate 00?
First, let's get one thing straight. Yes, there are a lot of mobile suits in it (as in WAAAAAY MORE than other Gundam series), and they give them a lot of detail and exposition because they want to sell merch. But it might interest you to know that that is not only Gundam's main source of income, but the reason Bandai still commission new Gundam series in the first place. So once we get past that hurdle, what do we find? Actually, a pretty damn good and, um... ''innovative'' take on the Gundam formula and series as a whole. It takes the realistic approach, especially in its setting, which uses the "real" AD calendar and refers to actual conflicts like Northern Ireland. As well as this, it has by far the most political intrigue of any Gundam show thus far, which comes so close to Real Life in the first season it could qualify as Twenty Minutes Into The Future in this respect. Though, any Gundam fan worth his salt will instantly notice that the basic formula is based directly off of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's. As well as this, the combat scenes are visceral and pace well, not to mention being full of surprises; and the (VERY) ubiquitous mecha themselves are generally well-designed, which, along with the nice, shiny art-style provide enough eye candy to soften the obligatory sales points (which, to give credit where it's due, are MUCH subtler than Wing's, SEED's or Age's). That said, nobody and nothing is perfect, and there are points where the series falls short. The characters are one. Bar the four Meisters, Graham, Sumeragi and Ali, it's quite easy to forget the rest, which is a shame, given their cumulative potential, and of the characters that you can remember, only Setsuna, Graham, Ali and Hallelujah reeeeally stick. OK, maybe also Colasour! The plot also has its bugs, requiring your CONSTANT, FULL ATTENTION and photographic memory just to get it all, and its rhetoric becomes somewhat one-sided as the second series progresses. While most complain about the physics and such, I find it an Acceptable Break From Reality at worst, as it's mostly theoretical stuff that some argue must exist somewhere. All-in-all a good 2 series that play with the franchise's conventions and that is, if nothing else, refreshing.
A pretentious failure of a show
My biggest problem with 00 is the moral stuff, but I'd rather not spark any arguments about that sort of thing, and it's a bit YMMV, so whatever. My second biggest problem? The writers have no idea how to make characters likable. Some of them are okay: Graham is just a boss in general, Sergei and Soma were cool until the former died and the latter became a love interest for a terrible character, and Saji and Louise were generally pretty adorable if entirely irrelevant to the plot. But here's the thing: (mostly) everyone has development. Everyone has a backstory. THAT'S IT. There is a skeleton, and some of their skeletons are almost well put together: it's the lack of any real flesh, any real episodes to make me either care about the characters or to make their changes believable. They don't come off like real people: they come off like actors just going through their role. Because of this, the characters in 00 were some of the blandest, and occasionally some of the most offensive, characters I've ever seen in an anime. (Not to mention, TERRORISTS HELLO) The plot's convoluted, silly, and dumb as hell, and doesn't explain a whole lot, instead taking the time to attempt to be "deep" with religious symbolism that serves no real purpose and isn't followed up on in any way rather than fleshing out the plot or explaining much of anything at all. Also, aliens? Really? YMMV, but I hated a lot of 00's main gundam designs, but even if you like the designs, the action was just so... bland. I'm not sure how they messed up big lasers and explosions, but they did. I think my biggest issue was with the movie: even in the big, climactic action scenes, there was no real sense of flow or urgency: there were just a whole bunch of random lasers and random explosions, and we were supposed to think that something important was happening because of that, when it really just came off as a bunch of lasers and explosions. I could go off on a bunch of different tangents but... if you like this show, then good for you. I don't, and I'm really not going to be recommending it to anyone who reads this. Skip this. Watch G Gundam. That shit's the bomb, man.
A series defeated by its own ambition
No Gundam series has ever had the ambition that Gundam 00 had, while several Gundam series have tried to be realistic, none have tried a story of this magnitude. The story tries to talk about taking a world full of different people and then trying to unite them as one, united group. The problem is that the actions taken in the series makes little sense, and the staff appears to know this. Celestial Being wants to get rid of all wars but their actions only seem to be shown to make things worse. They unite the feuding countries into one nation, but it's ruled by a secret dictatorship. They succeed in making Scheinberg's plans a reality which cause a war between Old Humans and Innovators. This wouldn't be a problem if they kept the side who was right ambiguous, but where clearly supposed to support the actions of Celestial Being. Now its possible that the story in the manga was not created by the staff of the anime, but the movie clearly sets up a world like Universal Century and Cosmic Era with the new type of human. History has taught us that such situations never end well. Ironically if the series had less talented writers and Directors we might have gotten a series that tried to tone down the ambition, and just tell an entertaining story. The characters of Celestial Being are fine if somewhat bland. They try to ignore archetypes and make Celestial Being come off as realistic people who have become broken by the world around them. Setsuna is a mixed bag, with character development for a character that is quite bizarre being an atheist kurd who basically worships a giant robot he pilots. The opposition from the first season is also like this showing them as normal people just trying to do their job. Graham in particular was a breath of fresh air from all the clones of Char that keep popping up. The same can't be said about the villains from the second season who are given little character, the innovade are egotistical and rely on veda to solve their problems, and the A-Laws are the Titans under a new name. Mr. Bushido is also a shadow of what he was as Graham. Ribbons is a waste of a legendary VA, whereas Ikeda dominated every scene he was in as Durandal in GSD, Gundam 00 mostly just makes a bunch of references about Amuro Ray. Ultimately it's a disappointment considering the hype that was given the series.
Change, Rebirth and Awakening
When Gundam 00 was first announced, it had a very large legacy to fill. At the conclusion of the TV series, it appears to have gone above and beyond what expectations for it initially were. My own initial reaction was to hope that male characters would look male; I was never a fan of Gundam until I began following 00. The plot for the first season was well-executed. Centring on real-world socio-political matters, the concept of the eradication of warfare felt like the producer's speculation as to what would happen if an external force were to pass judgement on humanity's actions. This engaging premise was executed well overall, although some plot elements would be (deliberately) omitted.and the characters were complex and engaging which meant the season was nicely done. On the whole, the production staff did a pretty good job of setting us up for the second half of this series with the content in the epilogue. The second season centred on Celestial Being's atonement for the fallout of the actions the previous season (namely, the creation of the A-Laws and the Innovators' uprising). The overall story was to bring an end to both these organizations, and featured a greater amount of action than the previous season. In that regard, it was a significantly more enjoyable than the first season, which was plagued with a slow start. However, the story definitely wasn’t as strong as it could have been. While some characters were present to occupy time, although the character development was one such element that made Gundam 00 unique. The overall plot was actually very complex, exploring real-world political, social and economic issues (actually, most Gundam series do this, but 00 is distinctly post-9/11). One of the defining points about 00 was the incredibly complex themes, motifs and symbols that were present in the series. 00 also raised difficult questions about the matter of differing perspectives and goals, all of which merit further discussion. While these are not readily apparent, they add an additional layer of complexity to the series that gives it re-watch value. Quite simply, Gundam 00 is not a perfect anime, but one that comes close to being so. With an engaging plot, entertaining visuals and a diverse cast, the series is highly recommended for Gundam fans (and for those who wish to introduce non-fans into the series).