Mobile Suit Gundam 00 anime review

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 anime review
It is the year A.D. 2307. Fossil fuels on Earth have been depleted entirely, with mankind turning to the next available power source: solar energy. During this time, 3 orbital elevators with solar power generation systems are built, each under control by the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (formerly United States of America), the Human Reform League (Russia, China and India) and the Advanced European Union. However, not all countries are able to enjoy the benefits of this system, leading to widespread resentment and war. Arising out of the conflict, a mysterious military organization known as Celestial Being appears, dedicated to end all warfare using Mobile Suits called Gundam. This begins the stories of Gundam Meisters (pilots) Setsuna F. Seiei, Lockon Stratos, Allelujah Haptism and Tiera Erde as they are thrown into conflict between the 3 superpowers and the various other factions.

Only six episodes have been scanlated (scanned and translated) as of now, but as I eagerly watched each one, my excitement started to fade away.

Not only were the episodes confusing, they immediately presented the audience with many philosophical debates that usually come later in a "Gundam" series.

By the time the sixth episode rolled around, I was wishing for something more exciting to happen — a more explicit conflict that would last more than 10 minutes and didn’t portray the protagonists as ninjas shooting sitting ducks.

But what really caught my attention was that "Gundam 00" takes place in our future, three centuries from now.

In the year 2307 A.D., the world is divided up into three major groups: the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (U.S., Australia, Japan), the Human Reform League (Russia, China, India), and the Advanced European Union (Europe).

Earth has run out of fossil fuels, so each group has constructed its own orbital elevator to space. These elevators connect earth to systems of solar energy collecting panels in outer space, thus providing near infinite amounts of energy.

But because of the limited number of energy sources, controlled and benefited by the major powers, other countries must fight for fuel and energy.

This leads to the appearance of Celestial Being, a private organization that targets “any country, organization, or corporation that aids war.” In short, Celestial Being wants to end wars by force.

Four Gundam meisters, those who control the robotic and extremely powerful Gundams (which are mobile suits), carry out the will of Celestial Being.

The youngest of the group, Setsuna F. Seiei, is the main protagonist, though it is not always made clear. He’s an independent introvert who’s not good with people, hiding memories of a bloody past.

I don’t particularly like him because he seems like a stereotypical anime character. But at least he’s not obnoxiously annoying or stunningly clueless, like many of the other animes. His past and his character intrigue me quite a bit, and I would like to see him become more developed.

From the first episode, the audience is introduced to many different characters. There are the Gundam meisters, the various nation’s leaders, special forces, a couple of rich Celestial Being supporters, and oddly enough, a pair of normal teenage students. And by the second episode, a man who died more than two centuries ago is suddenly revealed as the figurehead of Celestial Being.

Needless to say, I found it extremely difficult to keep up with the various plotlines and who was who. It didn’t help that names were mentioned only in passing and that the characters all looked alike at first.

Each episode had its own share of battles, but they all seemed so one-sided. Watching the Gundams crush the other mobile suits with speed and ease, I was reminded of the phrase “shooting fish in a barrel.” At first, it was exciting; but after the third episode or so, the novelty wore off. By that time, I was hoping for something to arise that could not be solved in one episode.

And to top it off, by the sixth episode the Gundams had gotten upgraded. Does an already invincible weapon need even more invincibility? At least give the Gundams a slightly more difficult task, like negotiating a peace contract — without pointing cannons at the diplomats.

Instead, the only troublesome things that came up were several internal character problems and a couple “minor” sorties. In the few short episodes released, we discover that one of the meisters has a dual personality, another has a superiority complex, and another has a troubled past. Other troubles include a clueless but determined princess trying to save her country and an older soldier unwilling to mentor a young, genetically enhanced soldier.

With so many seemingly unrelated tangents, I wonder if the series overloaded itself and if the creators can satisfactorily wrap it up in the 50 short episodes that will make up this season and the next.

One of the more interesting aspects of this series is how religion is used. Religious themes are referenced throughout the first few episodes — the destruction of a town is referred to as “a crusade being offered to God,” a Gundam is symbolized as a god, and the term “Celestial Being” itself is used prominently.

Correlations can be drawn between Celestial Being’s mission and the Armageddon or the Apocalypse. Hopefully, though, the series won’t end with Earth becoming a desolate wasteland like Mars. And I hope that this situation won’t occur in our own future.

A distinctive feature of "Gundam 00" is that it is strikingly similar to today’s world, but with distinct Cold War parallels. The world is divided into alliances. The three major world powers play the game of proxy wars, compete in a space race, and show off their military strength. A single false move could lead to the complete destruction of the world.

Celestial Being fights anyone who causes wars, but also embarks on a rescue mission. As a result, each alliance fears and is somewhat hostile toward it, being unsure of how it will act. At least one country tried to use Celestial Being for its own benefit, but ended up branded a “supporter of war,” so its forces were destroyed by the Gundams.

Although it is unlikely that a completely independent force would intervene in our wars, it raises the possibilities of what would have happened if a powerful third military had intervened in the Cold War.

Underlying debates include the usage of genetically engineered “design babies,” Celestial Being’s way of ending wars, and Celestial Being’s true intentions. Is it right to genetically enhance an unborn baby to become the perfect soldier? Can wars be ended by killing? Would people really try to stop wars if there were no apparent benefits for those who attempt it?

"Gundam 00" is not bad, but not first-rate either. As a devout "Gundam Wing" and "Gundam SEED" fan, I would keep watching this for at least another 10 episodes to give it a chance to impress me. However, I doubt that many people would like this, especially since this will probably end up being one of the more speculative and philosophical "Gundam" series.

Since so many problems are presented in the beginning, it would be interesting to see how the series resolves those conflicts. It may even give insight as to possible solutions to our problems today.

I would encourage you to watch this series, if to only gain a sense of the moral quandaries of war and realize that it’s not all that easy to solve as you may think it is. The series may seem tedious and difficult at first, but based on previous "Gundam" plotlines, it would be well worth your time. On the other hand, if you’re looking for romance, humor, and cuteness, I would highly suggest you to find another anime series.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Watch it now:
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