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Gundam 00 second season Ep 1-25 (complete) April 5, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime.
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exia1Another year, another Gundam series finishes its run. Gundam 00 finally ended with the end of its second season last week.I do like the split season idea. Kind of keeps things from getting boring over a 50 episode arc and raises anticipation. This worked well with Code Geass and Gundam 00, so am hoping they do something similar for the new Full Metal Alchemist and whatever new show follows.

So Gundam 00. For me, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, I liked it, but was rather disappointed. It was fun without being very profound, considering it has the usual epic Gundam themes of war, peace and human evolution. It certainly got me more pointlessly excited than any other Gundam series I remember, even if every time it ultimately climaxed in ridiculousness :p Yes, I know it’s one big toy advert and most Gundam series inevitably end with a big confusing fight, but good Gundam, with a proper, engaging story arc and characters (like the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta, or even SEED) can be so great I can’t help but feel disappointed.

SPOILER WARNING

First the characters: there were just too many of them. It’s the same problem SEED Destiny had: in the end there were just too many people to keep track of and many character arcs lost out on that bit of backstory that would have really endeared them to audience. The Meisters and crew of the Ptolemy were great (if a bit bland), but what about the likes of Marina Ismail, supposedly the Princess of this series?

Where they did try to build up audience endearment slowly — with Louise and Saji — I felt it was a little mishandled. Very slow build up (to the point where I wondered where this was all going) followed in the second season by an intensely angst driven arc. Same with Allelujah and Marie. There was a lot of build-up with the super-soldier backstory and Marie/Soma Peries’s want of family, but it kind of got rushed to conclusion very early on in the second season. I would have liked to have seen more twists with that. And what the heck happened to some of the other characters who got marginalised? Feldt? Mr Bushido/Graham? (I really thought he would have a bigger part to play in the finale.) There were just far too many characters to flesh out properly and as such a lot of loose plot threads.

Still, I’m very glad they didn’t go for a SetsunaXMarina ending. That would’ve been supremely stupid given the lack of romantic build up. And I’m especially pleased Marina’s song wasn’t some magic hand-holding panacea. Lacus Clyne she ain’t and in this universe I wouldn’t have bought it, in the same way I would have in the SEED universe.

In terms of the storyline itself, I can see what the writers, producers and director were trying to do here and, honestly, I applaud them for it. It was brave and ambitious to finally set a Gundam series in our own universe and inject some realism (!) into it (actual political tensions, solar elevators). Unfortunately that was slightly overwhelmed in the end by the infinite number of surprise Gundam technologies (or the God-like skills of Setsuna), but ho hum. Gundam upgrades are now part and parcel of the franchise but the term deux ex machina lost all meaning as the series went on, which got rather annoying. But I guess once you accepted that was the way of things, it was part of the series’ charm that you can’t wait to see what the next upgrade is!

That brings me to one of the things I did love about the show: the mecha designs were awesome! Again, that has to be expected when every episode seems to reveal a new function. But some of the mobile suit designs were outstanding, from the Gundams themselves to the fodder FLAG and JNX suits. From a personal point-of-view, Exia is an incredibly sexy design. I cannot wait for a 1/100 MG (and hopefully a PG) kit. I’m also a big fan of the Cherudim and Dynames designs. Very guerilla. The nods to original Gundam (0 Gundam. Ribbons’ GN Cannon) were also a nice touch.

As noted in a previous post, the music was awesome. But as well as the OP and ED themes, a shout out has to go to Kenji Kawai for a good accompanying score. Very atmospheric.

On the ending, I really enjoyed the fact that it came down to 0 Gundam vs. Exia. Who would’ve seen that coming? Usually it’s just two upgraded superpowered suits taking each other out. Also, the fact that Patrick survived right to the end was hilarious.His inclusion was a wonderful sign that the writers and producers weren’t taking this too seriously. That and the scene in episode 18 where everyone sortied thinking of their loved ones (Tieria: Veda; Setsuna: Gundam!).

The overall ending was a bit weak in that there wasn’t much closure and it was essentially one big reset button. In the end it was pretty much as we were at the start. Heck, they even played Daybreak’s Bell again :p But there’s the 00 movie in 2010. I think that will be pretty good. The excitement of the series, boiled down into 90 minutes should be a real adrenaline rush. They can’t fit in too many character arcs, nor will they feel the need to drag some things out over 50 episodes. Plus the animation budget will be higher, so won’t mind just a lot of explosions and fap inducing mecha :p

So, all in all, while I am a little ambivalent on some things, I can’t help but like Gundam 00 a lot. It was great mindless entertainment and as a giant robot fan, I couldn’t help but be entertained.

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