Posted on 26 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mobile Suit Gundam 00




Gundam 00’s Awakening of the Trailblazer is one of those movies where you need to have seen the series for. Spoilers for the Gundam 00 will follow in this review, otherwise I can’t properly explain the impression that this movie left me.

Anyway, I was ready to just get this movie over with, expecting the Gundam 00 Movie to be another forgettable flick. But, to me surprise there was one thing about this movie that made me really happy as soneone who sat through the fifty episodes of the two Gundam 00 series: it has no annoying characters!

Seriously, half of the annoying characters is already dead at this point. The others really impressed me how they managed to spend the entire movie from whining: two years have passed again since the end of the second season, and finally everyone seems to have settled down. Saji and Louise who once urged me to break the screen of my laptop once every episode are actually a cute couple now. Mister Bushido finally dropped that ridiculous mask of his and stopped being a char clone, Marie and Allelujah also are quite happy together. All of the innovators who are still alive have become more than paper bags of characters and even Setsuna has a romantic interest now other than his Gundam.

The cast of this movie is still HUGE. I can’t recall any movie with more characters than this one, and I’m impressed with how it managed to involve all of them in this movie and developed a surprising amount of them at the same time while also introducing a bunch of new ones. It’s definitely much more than I expected.

This movie can very much be compared to Gundam Wing’s Endless Waltz: its villain is completely new but has a vague connection to something important in the original series, it’s much paced very differently from the TV-series that dragged on and it’s actually quite effective that way despite a few glaring problems. This movie takes a lot of time for its build-up, which makes the action scenes stand out even more. The action scenes themselves are actually pretty varied and don’t get boring, yet stay in the same Gundam-esque tradition of having space battles on a huge scale.

As for the plot itself… yeah. The villains are aliens now. Still, it’s handled decently: any kind of realism in Gundam 00 was abandoned anyway since the arrival of the Trans-am system, and this movie just rolls with it, while at the same time tying in neatly with Aeolia Schenberg’s ultimate objectives. The aliens themselves though are as flat as a pancake in terms of character and the ending of the movie is just.. ridiculous. Seriously, it feels like that ending was thought up at the last possible minute.

The graphics of the movie is a very mixed bag. The character animation is surprisingly mediocre for a movie by Sunrise. Instead however, the biggest part of the budget went into the CG near the end of the movie, and granted: that is a visual feast.

Overall, the ending is of headdesk and facepalm level, but apart from that this movie was surprisingly refreshing compared to how annoying and forgettable Gundam 00’s second season was.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Actually well paced for Gundam 00’s standards. Good action, good build-up. STUPID conclusion.
Characters: 8/10 – Shallow villains, but the other characters surprised me a lot: they’re not annoying and are actually able to show off their development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Gorgeous CG, simple character animations for movie standards.
Setting: 8/10 – It adds on the Gundam 00 franchise in its own way. Some things work well, others don’t work at all.

Suggestions:
– Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Endless Waltz
Macross Frontier – Itsuwari no Utahime
Digimon Movie 2 – Bokura no War Game

Posted on 30 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Gundam 00 was the first long Gundam series that was split into two halves of about 25 episodes, rather than continuing for a full run of 50. In te end, it turned out into a decent series: it does the job it’s supposed to do, but it wasn’t anything really outstanding. The second season unfortunately was a bit weaker than the first.

While the first series had some interesting politics in the beginning, the second season drops the politics aspect completely and instead focuses much more on delivering solid action and the story becomes much more character-focused. Central to the story are various different conflicts between opposing sides, and these really range from utterly abysmal (Saji and Louise whine way too much throughout the series) to engaging and pretty good (Allelujahh and Marie). Especially Setsuna deserves credit, as he grows into a solid and capable male lead.

This approach has its good and bad sides. As I said: whenever the good characters take up the spotlight, the series becomes pretty enjoyable, but in the end the second season is just too formulaic. There are too many random battles that don’t stand apart from each other; they hardly ever resolve something and usually end up with both parties simply retreating. Most of the major villains lack development (especially the innovators, who apart from Regetta have as much personality as a paper bag), and all in all, this second season could have also been done in 13 episodes without losing much of the content or impact.

So in the end, this really is a series for those who want lots of solid action. If you’re not into that, then there really isn’t a lot left to watch in this series. The animation pretty good overall, but for me it was hardly ever really aestetically pleasing; the soundtrack is excellent, though. It’s not a bad series by far, and it has some pretty enjoyable parts (my personal favourite being the fall of the elevator), but there are lots of better mecha-series out there.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10
Posted on with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: Ribbons and Setsuna finally face off against each other.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Not the most impressive finale, but I’ve seen a lot worse endings this season. Obviously it was going to be overly cheesy, Setsuna and Ribbons were bound to fight to the death, and in the end Ribbons predictably dies and Setsuna somehow survives in true Disney fashion. Everyone lives happily ever after, blah blah blah, but there were some nice touches in this episode, like how the creators really wanted the show to end in a fight with Exia, rather than 00-Raiser.

I wasn’t too happy with how easily all of the conflicts in the middle east were solved. I mean, it’s not like Ribbons caused those, and the whole reunion of the middle east came really from nowhere. Also, what was that clone doing among the Azadistans? Also, what the heck was the purpose of Mister Bushido in this series? He was pretty much useless for the largest part of he series. One thing that I did like was Patrick’s wedding. That was sort-of cute.

Overall, I can’t really say that I’ve become a Gumdan-fan over the past year and a half, even though I tried. The original Mobile Suit Gundam was Excellent, but the others I’ve seen (Zeta, Wing and 00) all left things to be desired and were just too formulaic. It’s a shame, because all started out in their own way, and had an excellent and promising first half, but in their second halves they just all degrade into a string of random fights that aren’t really that much different from each other. I originally planned to patiently watch all of the gundam series out there, but in the end I’m only going to check out the rumoured really good ones: War in the Pocket, 08th MS Team and Turn A Gundam.

Posted on 22 March 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: The big climax of Gundam 00
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
And so, most of the conflicts are solved in this episode. All because Setsuna couldn’t stand to see all of his friends dying, which unlocked some sort of hidden powers in his Gundam which made it shoot out tons of GN Particles and allowed everyone to settle their difference. I’m not exactly sure what drug it used in order to resolve nearly every single conflict apart from the ones around Ribbons, but I guess that the overall message is that conflicts shouldn’t be solved by brainlessly fighting each other without listening to the other party. Nice, I guess, but a bit unrealistic. Ah well, at least I’m glad that it wasn’t Marina’s song that ended up saving everyone.

In any case, for all of the different conflicts that were solved in this episode, some were good and some were bad: Saji vs Louise was as horrible as ever, though the conclusion between Ali al Sarshes and Lockon was very solid and a very good gunfight. Marie vs Smirnoff basically went nowhere, and Billy vs Sumaragi was cheesy but served its purpose I guess.

Ribbons was pretty pathetic, though. The entire series has established the guy as some sort of evil overlord without any flaws whatsoever. And in this episode he just lets some random guys take over Veda without even an attempt to stop it. He should have known that all innovators could link to Veda, and since he’s such a 1337-hax0rz, he could have easily taken measures to prevent others from accessing Veda. And yet he acts all surprised when Tieria turns out to be alive, using the same trick he used a few episodes back.

I think that the big problem with this episode was that the “ultimate power” was a bit too convenient and selective: it was exactly what this series needed in order to wrap up every hanging thread: everyone conveniently gets healed, it conveniently calls the ghosts of some dead characters who help taking over Veda, while other dead people don’t appear at all, it conveniently cancels out Ribbons’ brainwashing on Louise, it conveniently clears most useless hatred. It’s just too convenient!

Overall, with one episode left, I have to say that I liked the first series better. Sure, Setsuna was pretty annoying back then, but at least his impulsiveness had a certain charm to it, which isn’t something I can say for Saji and Louise. It had a solid build-up with a great climax, and took place in a world that actually felt alive with a complex political structure. The second season focused much more on action and the characters, which all were either a hit or a miss for me.

On a positive note, I do have to admit that I really liked the background music of this episode. Great soundtrack.

Posted on 15 March 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: It has arrived: the huge space fortress.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
I’m pretty surprised: while it hasn’t been anything amazing, the past few episodes have been pretty solid action. I was expecting the show to completely fall apart at this point… and it didn’t. Thumbs up for the creators. I’m never going to label this series among my favourites, but it’s still good to see that this ended up being such an enjoyable series.

So yeah, obviously Ribbons didn’t die. This really was the episode in which all hell breaks loose, and the body count was significantly increased: Regetta dies, Patrick dies for a second time, and Marie is also now potentially dead, though since we never actually saw her die, this means that she’s still going to appear in the next episodes. There’s still this matter of Allelujah vs. Hallelujah that needs to be taken care of, of course.

And yeah, of course I should have known that the big space fortress of this Gundam would be Veda: Ribbons’ headquarters. The army of clones was a bit too much, though. Especially since most of them seemed literally to have the intelligence of a bunch of flies more than anything. The biggest danger of these huge overwhelming numbers is of course the potential for power-level inconsistencies. Ribbons has been portrayed so much as the evil overlord that he seems nearly invincible at this point. But then again, he does have one weak point: when Veda’s gone, he’ll be screwed. It’s of course the perfect source of a grand climax: an exploding huge space fortress. Now all that’s left is to see how they’re going to do that. It’d be pretty anticlimactic if Setsuna would just barge in, hit the self-destruct button and flee outside again.

Posted on 8 March 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: A-Laws gathers up all of its forces for an all-out attack on the CBs.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
I keep expecting this series to become a trainwreck… and it doesn’t. Seriously, there was so much potential for these final episodes to delve into a scream-fest, but aside from some slight annoyances (Louise mostly) the finale of this series hasn’t become a total disaster at all. This episode too was again a very good one, strangely enough.

Finally the character-development comes together a bit, and instead of the scream-fest in the veins of Zeta Gundam that I was expecting, the finale seems to be heading much more in the style of Gundam Wing. While there is no huge battleship to crash into the earth (unless Veda decides to plummet into the earth somehow), it basically was a string of very solid all-out battles together with character-development that instead of spiralling out of control made the cast come more together. Exactly what was happening in this episode.

The ending of this episode was also really interesting, with Regetta killing Ribbons, but then again: this remains Sunrise. Ribbons really sounds like a guy who wouldn’t die even if you killed him, and although the idea of Regetta being the new main villain, I first want to see Ribbons really dead in the next episode.

In any case, this series still can go anywhere. It can still be the series to restore the faith in the Gundam Franchise after the likes of Gundam Seed Destiny, or it can just become one total disaster. And I really hope that it’s going to be the former.

Posted on 1 March 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: A certain character thought to be dead returns.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
Seriously, I so want to hate this series, and yet this series doesn’t let me. And I so want to love this series at the same tie, and that too is something I’m unable to do with this series. There are so many good things about this series, but there are also so many bad things, and this episode again was no different.

Especially Louise got on my nerves more than ever, now that she finally has the chance to kill Nena. Especially the incredibly exaggerated screaming was just pointless. I personally believe that this series would have been a lot better if she had simply died when Nena killed her in the first season. In that case, Saji would indeed have angsted for a lot of episodes, but at least he would have gotten over it, and their relationship wouldn’t have turned into the whine-fest that it is now. In fact, I’m beginning to like Saji whenever he’s not thinking of his former lover.

But yeah, there was lots of good building up in this episode, which is always welcome. While it’s a bit strange for Wang Lui Mei and Hong Long to still be alive, and how four centuries into the future, people still haven’t invented bullets that have enough force to pass through a human body, I am glad to see that they do succeed in telling the CBs about Veda’s location.

And FINALLY, it becomes clear what Aeolia Schenberg intended to do with his plans from the beginning: turning every human into an innovator. That’s what it meant to change the world, and that’s why the GN Drives had to be constructed through such a difficult process. But here I have to wonder: what’s the point of being an innovator anyway? All I’ve seen in the past few episodes is that they have glowy eyes, weird hair and get to pilot fancy mechas. I guess the only thing is the telepathic powers of these guys, but I can’t see how Aeolia would start such an incredibly elaborate and complex plan, just to turn a bunch of people into psychics… Just imagine how people can be able to misuse these powers by intruding into others’ privacy.

Right now, my biggest problem with the second season aside from the obvious Saji and Louise is that it’s a story that could also have easily been done in thirteen episodes. There was no need to drag this on for this many episodes, unless the creators were very consciously building up for something in the end. The finale of this series can really make or break it for me. With such a large amount of build-up, the finale really needs to give this series a solid and satisfying conclusion. If it can do that, then my opinion about this series will very likely become much higher.

Posted on 22 February 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: Lyle tries to talk some sense into Anew
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
I have a HUGE hate/love feeling about this episode. Some parts were really well done, excellent and points where things came together really nicely, while other parts were downright abysmal. Huge bad signs for the finale of this series. At this point, this series still has the potential for an excellent finale if it does everything right, but the potential for a trainwreck is just SO BIG. Agh!

But first the good part: Lyle vs. Anew. A bit cheesy perhaps, but Lyle’s attempts to get Anew back were surprisingly genuine. Anew’s death was very sympathetic, and I especially loved how Setsuna didn’t hesitate to kill his former friend. I’m surprised as well, but Setsuna has turned into a really nice main character: none of the problems I have with this show have to do with him.

But yeah, there was lots of bad stuff in this episode as well. the creators really did the seemingly impossible in this episode: they made the Saji vs Louise plot-line even MORE annoying: they introduced brainwashing! It’s like saying: we need drama! Let’s brainwash a bunch of people into doing bad stuff so that they won’t listen to people reasoning with them! The brainwashing effectively eliminates any form of free will, and turns the characters involved in brainless fighting machines. How the heck are they going to get good drama with that?!

And yeah, this episode pretty much hinted that the creators are going for an “everyone dies” ending. There are so many couples whose finale can resemble that of Anew so much that it’s going to surprise me a lot if half of the cast still alive in this episode doesn’t end up getting killed in some way. Anew’s death worked well, but if the creators are just going to repeat the same thing over and over again, the fun quickly dies. No pun intended, by the way.

Posted on 15 February 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: Blah blah, Saji Louise, blah blah blah…
Episode Rating: 6/10 (Disappointing)
Oh, and I so hoped that this series’ finale wouldn’t go into this direction. This episode was just one big bad sign. It just consisted out of a bunch of people screaming and going emo, and in the end most of the parties simply ended up retreating without still not saving anything. I really hoped that the finale would be more like Gundam Wing, rather than Zeta Gundam, but right now all the signs are pointing to the fact that the creators are going for an emo-ending, rather than a political one.

Saji and Louise obviously were annoying yet again. This episode was supposed to be one of their big climaxes, and with the huge build-up they already had it still failed to capture me. Afterwards, Saji yelling of “Stop! Revenge isn’t going to solve anything!!!1!!” also felt so out of place in this series. I can only hope that Soma Pieres somehow listened to the guy.

And the ending of this episode only increased my fears. Wang Lui Ming had a great plan: give Veda’s location to the Celestial Beings. This would be something that completely shifted Ribbons’ plans and finally give the guy a bit of a challenge. But all of this was ruined when Nena went emo and killed her and her brother. Ribbons in the meantime still is the evil overlord he was twenty episodes ago, and Anew’s “big twist” was just shallow at best. One big problem with these innovators as well is that they’re hardly fleshed out. I mean, what do we really know about these people, other than that they’ve strange haircuts and weird names?

Oh god, I so hope that my fears are wrong with this. This series went on such a good path for it to be ruined by such a crappy finale. My only hope is the revelation of Aeolia Shenberg’s ultimate motives. It’d better be something really good and innovative.

Posted on 8 February 2009 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00



Short Synopsis: A building-up episode before the next big clash between A-Laws and Celestial Beings.
Episode Rating: 7,5/10 (Good)
At first I wasn’t that positive about this episode, as hardly anything seemed to happen at all. What I’m especially bugged about is how the Coup d’Etat really didn’t accomplish anything: the rebels are gone, A-Laws is back to being A-Laws. What the heck was the point of it besides killing off Sergei? I think that’s the biggest problem with the second season of Gundam 00: it’s just too damn one-sided. In the first episodes, we see the Celestial Beings fighting against A-Laws. Eighteen episodes later, and we still have the Celestial Beings fighting against A-Laws. It really hasn’t evolved that much at all.

Nevertheless, near the end of the episode I suddenly realized how good this episode was. There was hardly any fighting, but instead it focused on developing all of the major couples in this episode: Setsuna and Saji, Soma and Allelujah, Marina and the kids, Lyle and Anew (!?), Louise and Andrei, Claus and Shirin, Saji and Louise, Wang and Ribbons, Regene and Ribbons, et cetera. I especially liked how when everyone sortied, they said the names for the ones most important to them. For Setsuna this was his Gundam, and Tieria had Veda. Now that’s the reason why these two are some of my favourite characters of this series. ^^;

So yeah, while the plot really hasn’t been moving anywhere, the characters thankfully are making lots of progress, and especially Saji and Louise feel a lot less annoying compared to their stupidity in the first three quarters of the series. They’re actually preparing themselves to kill each other in the battlefield, and I like how Louise finally has a new boyfriend. It’s just a shame that she chose the third most annoying character of the cast…

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