Type: TV Series
Episode Count: 50
Genre: Science Fiction / Mecha
Date of Review: February 3, 2014
In case you couldn’t tell by the various robots and other high technologies floating around, the various Gundam series take place well into the future. While the differing timelines all have their own funky names and dating systems, like Universal Century, After Colony, or Cosmic Era, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 makes things nice and simple: it begins hundreds of years from now using the good ol’ Gregorian calendar.
Kicking off in 2307 AD, Gundam 00 examines the actions of a shadowy group known as Celestial Being, who wish to eliminate armed conflict across the globe. They aim to achieve this by using their Gundams, powerful mobile suits the likes of which the world has never seen. Their skilled pilots (known as Gundam Meisters) defeat militaries with ease, sending those in power into a panic. Operating the Gundam Exia is our main protagonist Setsuna F. Seiei, who at first is almost as much of an unfeeling jerk as Gundam Wing‘s Heero Yuy. As you might expect, Gundam 00 is much as story of Setsuna’s journey towards becoming a more balanced human being as it is a political and military drama.
Rounding out the cast are other Gundam Meisters, of course, and they all widely differ from one another. Not only that, as you learn more about each one, your opinions of them are bound to change. The same goes for other members of Celestial Being, such as the crew of their ship. The series features great supporting characters like Patrick Colasour, who starts out really annoying but ends up growing on you. Finally, there’s civilians who inevitably get caught up in the whirlwind of events. You’ll be as interested in their fates just as much as those of the main characters.
Gundam 00 is notable for being the first widescreen, high-definition Gundam television show. As you might expect, Gundam 00 is loaded with robot fights, and the enhanced HD production has led to some of the finest battle scenes ever seen in a Gundam series. (Having said that, I watched this series on DVD, and it upscales magnificently.) Speaking of the art, I love the mecha designs in Gundam 00 perhaps more than any other series. Not just the Gundams, mind you; I also love the support craft, the custom mobile suits piloted by colossal douchebag Ali al-Saachez, and even the “cannon fodder” employed by the Earth governments as they desperately try to stand up to Celestial Being.
Gundam 00 is also the first Gundam show to be split into two distinct seasons. There’s not just an airdate gap between them; at the end of the first season, we’re treated to a brief series of scenes taking place years later. (These serve as an infuriating teaser for things to come, so if you don’t have the entire series handy to binge-watch, be forewarned!) The second season picks up four years after the conclusion of the first, and really takes things in a cool direction. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil season one, now do I?
Balancing out the mecha battles is plenty of drama; from Allelujah Haptism’s inner turmoil to Tieria Erde’s dark secret, Gundam 00‘s exploration of its characters is arguably more important than mobile suits blasting each other into dust. Considering that Celestial Being’s goal is to end warfare, this makes sense. This is at its most effective when character development is juxtaposed with the battles that many are trying to avoid. Case and point: there’s a tragic scene featuring a Haro repeating a single word over and over again that packs more punch than you’d think possible.
The music permeating Gundam 00 is a fine score indeed, and Kenji Kawai has crafted a soundtrack reminiscent of science fiction films. From ominous choral undercurrents to stirring flute and string works to excellent use of recurring themes, the Gundam 00 soundtrack is one of the franchise’s best. Some pieces even sound like they belong in a scifi RPG video game, and that’s not a bad thing; they still finely compliment the onscreen action.
I find that Gundam 00 is a great jumping-on point for newcomers, especially those who balk at “old school” anime. This one’s in the widescreen format that modern audiences are used to, features bold art design and stunning digital color, has amazing battle scenes…but most importantly, Gundam 00 is simply a great science fiction series.